Mentalist Bloodstream Review


Synopsis

CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) arrive at Mount Stantz Golf and Country Club, California where a man’s body was found in one of the golf stalls. The victim is Micah Newton, a doctor who was also the head of Blessed Sacrament’s Hospital’s Organ Transplant committee.  Jane is explaining to Lisbon how he thinks that Newton was under stress based on marks on his gold club when Professional Standards Unit Head Agent J. J. LaRoche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) joins them at the scene and asks to speak with Lisbon. It turns out LaRoche wants to interview Lisbon regarding her boss Madeline Hightower, former CBI Head turned fugitive from the law after evidence was found that indicts her as the culprit in Todd Johnson’s murder. Annoyed, Lisbon excuses herself. When LaRoche attempts to continue his line of questioning Lisbon loses her patience. She demands to know why he’s hassling her after he’s already named his suspect, but doesn’t give him a chance to respond. She continues her tirade and states that as soon as a new head is announced she’ll ask that LaRoche be kept away from her. LaRoche then informs her, that he, in fact, has been made the new head of CBI. He adds that he’ll honor her request to be kept away from him and demotes her, putting her right hand man Agent Cho (Tim Kang) in charge of the team.

Concise verdict

Ms Swafford brings us another delightfully light episode. Bloodstream has a fun tidy plot, contains a lot of good lines, some continuity, and (gasp!) a somewhat optimistic ending. There is also plenty of character interaction; it was done quite subtly too which I personally find more interesting. But perhaps the best part of the episode is that Jane was completely innocent of any wrongdoing with regards to Lisbon’s situation. That was so weird to write.  9.5/10.

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

The premise of Bloodstream in which Lisbon is demoted provides a great opportunity to learn about the characters. I’m happy to say the opportunity was not wasted. Specifically, we get insight into Lisbon, Cho, and LaRoche’s characters.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #1 Opening scene

LaRoche’s presence at the Country Club where the SCU was investigating a crime scene is intriguing. He could have waited until Lisbon returned to CBI from her crime scene to interview her. Either he likes to take walks or he simply overly vigilant and didn’t want to wait to ask his questions. But if LaRoche was in a hurry, as the new CBI head, he probably could have requested Lisbon return to the office. He either didn’t want to inconvenience Lisbon by making her leave her crime scene, or he wanted to see her and her team in action (i.e. spy on them). Or it could have been both. I do think the former is not an unlikely possibility. Despite his terse demeanor, LaRoche has always been civil to Lisbon. In fact, he was downright polite to her in the previous episode. He even expressed sympathy towards her after evidence points to Hightower as being a killer, saying that he was sorry about her boss.

This makes Lisbon’s short temper with the man more surprising; especially since her calm demeanor is well established (‘Red Badge’)

To be fair, LaRoche’s querying her of Hightower (whom we know Lisbon likes) broke her last thread of patience with the man. Lisbon is very protective of those she cares about, and during his investigation of Todd Johnson’s murder, LaRoche had several run-ins with her. The first time he annoys her is when he suspected Jane (who was avoiding him) as the culprit in the murder (‘Jolly Red Elf’). Laroche ends up questioning a drunk Jane; much to Lisbon’s dismay. She was also very upset with J.J when he questions Rigsby (whom he also suspected) without her knowledge (‘Bloodsport’).

Yes Lisbon is usually very calm and polite, but I think her behavior here is understandable considering the circumstances. It also provides nice continuity as it shows (and is in fact the only sign we have) that Lisbon is still upset over Hightower’s fate.

The semantics Lisbon uses in her rant might be another hint. When she goes off on LaRoche she says: “you named your suspect, she’s on the run, why do you keep showing up on my crime scenes.” She doesn’t say “you named the killer”. This could entail that despite the staggering evidence, Lisbon doesn’t believe Hightower is guilty.

LaRoche probably suspects as much which is why he felt the need to question Lisbon. He knows Lisbon admires Hightower (‘Red Queen’) and mentions that she spent time with her kids (‘Red Gold’). It could be LaRoche wants to make sure her emotions are not leading her astray; i.e.: making her help Hightower escape the law.

This is another reason why Lisbon got so angry with him; she resented the implication. She says as much when he asks her if she was in contact with Hightower : “You mean have I been in contact with a wanted felon without notifying my superiors? No I have not.”

Jane’s reaction in this scene was also quite telling. In the promo it seemed that he looked guilty and/or that he had prior knowledge that Lisbon was going to be suspended. Since it turns out that Lisbon got herself suspended, Jane is obviously only guilty of being a good guesser, and/or not telling Lisbon about LaRoche’s promotion. Jane obviously knew about it; hence his becoming increasingly nervous throughout Lisbon’s rant; he knew she was putting her foot in her mouth and was worried about the consequence she’d have to pay.

So how did Jane find out about LaRoche’s promotion before Lisbon? J.J probably told him. Jane has been making a conscious effort to get close to LaRoche ever since the PSU Head (as he was at the time) started his investigation into Todd Johnson’s murder. Jane asked J.J to keep him apprised of the case (‘Jolly Red Elf’), saying that he likes the mystery. Then, we are told that the two men discussed whether Hightower could commit murder (‘Red Queen’). Jane also tries to befriend Laroche by giving him a bottle of scotch (‘Red Queen’).

Now there are several possibilities regarding why Jane is spending so much time with LaRoche.

The saying goes “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” We know that Jane suspects someone at CBI of being Red John’s mole. It could be that Jane’s befriending Laroch because he suspects him.

But that’s unlikely. If Jane suspected J.J in any way then he wouldn’t have gone along with LaRoche’s suspicions that Hightower was guilty of Todd’s murder.

Jane’s proximity to J.J is probably part of  a conscious strategic decision. If the man is guilty, then Jane has a better opportunity to find out. And if he is innocent, then it can only be beneficial for Jane to be close to someone as smart (and now, as powerful) as LaRoche. Especially if Jane intends to eventually expose Todd’s real killer and vindicate Hightower.

Finally, perhaps Jane is spends time with LaRoche because he sees him as an actual friend. I liked when in the previous episode Jane told him “are we kids or what?” Obviously, he just said it to get the man’s guard down, but you also get a feeling of mutual respect there.

VIS#2 Cho and Lisbon scene.

I’ve been waiting for this scene ever since I saw the promo and it does not disappoint. Cho goes to Lisbon’s office and tells her that what happened to her isn’t right and that he and the team came up with a plan: they’ll continue working as usual, taking orders from her, but that he’ll report to LaRoche for her. Lisbon declines. She states that she’s fine with what happened, and encourages Cho in his new position, reminding him that he’s a senior agent. Cho responds that if he’s going to be boss it has to be “for real”. Lisbon answers that she’ll back him up %100 and that she’ll empty out her office in the afternoon. Cho declines, saying that he doesn’t want her office, when Lisbon starts to argue he adds: “I prefer no walls between me and my team.”

Snap! Also, genius. Pure genius.

The above quote is officially my favorite in the entire season because it addresses an issue that’s been bothering me for a while now: Lisbon seems to have an infinite amount of tolerance when it comes to Jane as well as a general cool detached demeanor. We know she’s a relatively calm person but lately her patience is starting to seem almost supernatural. This scene made me realize that the reason Lisbon can put up with Jane is because of how she seems to detach herself from the people (and events) around her. It’s almost like she censors things for herself to be able to deal with them better. What other explanation could there be for how composed she is at losing her undoubtedly hard earned position as unit head? I would have thought she’d be freaking out, especially with how upset she was when Jane got her suspended in Season 2 (Blood Money).

Perhaps therein lays the difference. In ‘Blood Money’, Lisbon’s suspension was through no fault of her own. But here, her impatience is what got her demoted. And as someone who advocates the idea that a person has to sleep in the bed they make (she’s used the idiom at least twice in season one) her pride (never thought I’d use this to refer to Lisbon) won’t let her fight LaRoche’s decision. So she takes the punishment lying down (or, perhaps a better phrase would be ‘like a man’) and keeps up a strong front.

Cho however does not take her act at face value. His one single statement seems to hint that he knows she is not okay with the matter, and he wishes she’d open up to him about it instead of pretending that she is.

What happens after Cho leaves Lisbon’s office only supports this argument. He joins the team in the bullpen and tells them that he really is the boss, not just pretending for LaRoche’s benefit; that “Lisbon didn’t go for it,” almost like he was expecting her stubbornness and is disappointed in her.

So much expressed using so little words…good stuff.

Cho’s subsequent behavior towards Lisbon as the case progresses only further displays his umbrage with her. He is by no means disrespectful; but he has no problem asserting his opinion over Lisbon’s now that she told him to act like her boss. It’s almost like he’s making a point. And yet, gentleman that he is, Cho attempts to talk to Lisbon about the situation (maybe to apologize); but that’s in another scene in (VIS#3) and will be discussed later.

VIS#2 Jane and Lisbon at the hospital

-When Jane asks the victim’s assistant Francine Trent (Holley Fain) if any of Newton’s transplant patients are still alive, Lisbon calls out his name reproachfully, to which he states “you’re not my boss anymore.”

The tone he uses is matter-of-fact, not like he’s rubbing it in her face, but he’s not exactly being gentle about it either. It’s as if Jane knew of Cho’s plan and Lisbon’s refusing to go along with it, and that she should be ready to take whatever he dishes out since she made her choice.

-Later when Jane again says something callous, Lisbon apologizes to Francine to which she replies” “That’s okay, being scared of doctors and hospitals is perfectly normal.” Jane quickly denies being scared and Lisbon just as quickly (and nervously) changes the subject.  Later, another doctor calls Jane out on being afraid of doctors.

I appreciate the double reference as an allusion to the time Jane spent in a mental hospital. I do wonder if there’s another point to it though, other than continuity of course.

- Lisbon seems to enjoy her newfound junior status; at least where Jane is concerned. She smiles, rather than frowns, when he annoys Dr. Quick who takes over the victim’s position as head of the transplant committee. When Quick complains, Lisbon tells him that Jane is out of her control, and to send all complaints her boss Agent Cho. Later when Lisbon goes to check on why the victim’s badge was radioactive, Jane passes on joining her saying that he’s going to the cafeteria. Lisbon, who knows him enough to know when he’s lying, states that she won’t ask him where he’s really going because she doesn’t have to, now that she’s not his boss.

Lisbon’s carefree attitude here makes it seem like she’s trying too hard to see her situation in a ‘glass half full’ kind of way. Jane knows this, if the look he gives her as she walks away from him is any indication. It’s a mixture of admiration and true affection. He looks relieved at Lisbon’s positivity in the face of what is undoubtedly a troubling situation for her, and that this aspect of her personality only increases his regard for her.

Actually, this happened once before in episode ‘Code Red’ (season two) when Jane made Lisbon think she was dying (as part of a clever ruse, of course, but also) because he wants her to start appreciating life. Jane was very impressed with how well Lisbon handled the situation. After she calls Cho to say goodbye, Jane tells her:

“It’s a fine farewell. I feared that you’d become tearful and incoherent but no, succinct, noble. Bravo.”

I like the continuity. It’s like Lisbon’s adaptability continues to amaze Jane.  While he doesn’t come right out and say it as he did in ‘Code Red’, Jane’s expression in this episode speaks loud and clear.

VIS#3 Cho and Lisbon Kitchen scene

When Lisbon commends Cho on a good call, he responds that he just did what she taught him. She’s about to leave when Cho tries to say something else. But when he starts “Listen, Boss,” Lisbon cuts him off cheerfully: “Don’t call me boss. I’m not your boss, you’re my boss.” Frustrated, Cho abandons his lunch.

There are so many ways this scene could have played out, but here, less is truly more. Lisbon’s chirpiness is just further evidence that she’s only pretending to be okay. The fact that she won’t talk about the situation says otherwise. Again, Cho knows this, which is why he’s so upset he can’t even eat. Seeing the normally unflappable Cho so affected was stirring beyond words. The solemn, silent Cho trying to talk, maybe even apologize, Lisbon avoiding him, says enough about the gravity of the situation as any heart to heart could have.

VIS#3 Lisbon and Suspect Interrogation Scene

– Jane suspects Yegor Golenka (David Meunier) of killing Dr. Newton because he wouldn’t approve his boss (a Russian crime lord) for a kidney donation. Lisbon brings him in for questioning. When he acts disagreeably, Lisbon snaps at him.

“Speak up and look me in the eye when you talk to me. Show some respect.”

Tough Lisbon, I love you. She doesn’t go overboard, but I’m guessing it was easier for her to show up due to current frustrations on the job.

- When Lisbon asks the suspect where he got his gun, he tells her they practically grow on trees in California. She responds that he needs a permit to own one.

Now this is an obvious reference to the gun Jane has which no one knows about. But more than continuity, I think it’s foreshadowing to the inevitable showdown. It will be very interesting to see how Lisbon handles the discovery compared to what she says here. Viewers will get to see how much Jane’s prepping her (as he seemed to be doing this season ) into cutting him slack and disregarding the law has  worked.
VIS#4 Lisbon’s scene with new CBI Head J.J. LaRoche.

When Lisbon discovers that the victim’s assistant Francine was selling nuclear pellets on the black market LaRoche commends Lisbon for a job well done. She tells him it was Cho’s call, and that Laroche was right to put him in charge. Laroche responds that he’ll write a commendation in both their files and that she’s back to being head. Confused Lisbon asks why she was taken off in the first place. To which J.J. responds, “maybe I was messing with you,” with a small smile; he then adds that it also taught her that he won’t tolerate disrespect.

Now I know I’ve been pushing the fact that Lisbon’s is only pretending to be okay. I guess it could be perfectly reasonable that she is in fact relieved to not be in charge. But Tunney’s reading of her lines in this scene is what ensured me that Lisbon’s behavior all episode was just an act, that she in fact was upset over her demotion.

We know Lisbon isn’t really used to receiving praise, and when she does she literally glows. That is not the case here. Lisbon brushes off Laroche’s compliment. This might be because she wants LaRoche to know that Cho is indeed a good agent. But I think it’s more because it’s hard for her to receive a compliment from the man who demoted her, especially if she’s still hurting over it. I have no proof; this is all in Lisbon’s facial expressions and tone.  But what makes it even more obvious is how shocked and confused she is when LaRoche reinstates her. Lisbon’s almost petulant when she asks LaRoche why he pulled her off; rightfully so.  She’s been trying to adjust after having the proverbial rug literally pulled out from under her feet, only to be told that nothing in fact has changed.  LaRoche’s answer hardly serves to make her feel any better. Her dazed reaction seems to hint that Lisbon knows she’ll have to tread carefully around him from now on.

It’s fascinating to me that Lisbon doesn’t understand LaRoche’s behavior when it seems pretty obvious: his ego was bruised from her rant and he retaliated without thinking. It’s such a mundane reason that I actually find it thrilling because it shows that LaRoche is not as unfeeling as he pretends to be. He’s very human and made a mistake which he rectified given the first opportunity to do so. But as he’s the new boss he can’t very well admit to that. So being the clever manipulator he is, he uses the mistake to his benefit, making Lisbon think that he actually did it to keep her on her toes.

I’ve been wrestling with LaRoche as a viable suspect in the “Who is RJ’’s mole” mystery and more and  more I find myself thinking him an  unlikely suspect. Even his actions in “Blood for Blood” (when he tried to get Grace to spy on her team)  now seems like over vigilance on his part  to do his job. He obviously sees things in a very black and white perspective. In that respect, he’s not unlike Jane actually who’s also willing to do whatever it takes to catch  killers. But while LaRoche operates within the law, Jane has no problem breaking it.

Okay, at the risk of upsetting my readers, I’m going to say it: I think I like LaRoche. If he does turn out to be Red John or an accomplice, I can always blame Pruitt Taylor Vince’s incredible acting for making me believe him innocent.

Feel free to express your outrage (or sympathy) in the comments.

VIS #5 Lisbon and Team in Her Office

After Lisbon is reinstated, she ensures Cho that it wasn’t because he didn’t do a good job. He replies that he knows, and that seems to be all the talk these two need to get their camaraderie back on track.

Cho then calls in Rigsby and Grace, to Lisbon’s dismay: “If there’s a group hug coming, I am so outta here.”

The team reassures her that they just want her to join them for drinks, to celebrate Cho returning to their ranks. Lisbon declines, saying that she has a lot of paperwork to do, adding “Next time”. They bid her good night; Cho even gives her a smile “Good night, boss,” and they leave.

After they leave, she tells herself, “Price of power.”

Yes it is, but I doubt Lisbon would have it any other way as she’s far from unhappy here. Lisbon isn’t very social so perhaps she actually appreciates that the demands of her job keeps her from having to mingle with people. The way she turned down her team’s offer here is very much like how she turned down Mashburn’s offer for breakfast (episode ‘Red Hot’). In both instances she cites the job as being the reason. It’s nice continuity and I’ll be looking forward to see if Lisbon ever does take up her team’s offer of “next time”.

Also nice: how Lisbon only talks to Cho after she’s boss again; more continuity; this time on how Lisbon’s such a control freak.

Still love her.

VIS #6 Jane and Byron Jordon (Johnny Sneed)

Byron Jordon (husband of woman awaiting a kidney transplant at the hospital) comes to CBI and thanks Jane. He says that his wife is finally getting a kidney and he thinks Jane’s ‘advocacy’ had something to do with it. Jane of course denies this. Byron gives Jane his St. Sebastian medallion; he states that the Saint helps people in pain, and that it gave him a lot of strength. Jane is skeptic of a “magical medallion”. He makes to return it, telling Byron that he isn’t really a believer, but then changes his mind and keeps the gift; thanking Byron. The episode ends on Jane’s pensive face.

I love this scene because it recalls similar ones from seasons one and two where Jane used to connect on some level with people involved in the cases he solved. It’s nice continuity that Jane still has a hard time accepting gratitude for the good he does. It’s also very ironic. Jane is such an attention seeker, but whereas he loves to be recognized for his talent and brains, he shies away from gratitude; perhaps because he thinks he’s undeserving of it.

Now Jane probably only accepted the gift for Byron’s benefit, but it is a pretty optimistic gesture, nonetheless (especially compared with the rest of the season). More important than Jane’s religious beliefs, the gesture might be indicative to Jane’s state of mind. Jane’s an established agnostic but if he’s becoming less rigid in this aspect of his life, it opens up the possibility that Jane could, in the future, be more open minded regarding other established die hard beliefs he has (i.e. his need for revenge).

Honorable Mentions

1-       – Tim Kang was incredible in this episode. It’s rare that we get to see an emotional Cho and he plays Cho’s dilemma at being put in charge and his frustration with Lisbon with perfect subtlety. He also had great chemistry with Tunney. Too bad dating within the unit isn’t allowed.

2-       The hospital nurses Viola (Amy Hill) Daisy (Jessica Camacho), and Gloria (Emily Nelson), were delightful. Their scenes with Jane provided great comic relief in this episode. I especially liked Nurse Viola being charmed by Jane and Nurse Daisy’s contention that Dr. Watson can’t be the killer because “he’s cute. And nice.” The woman has interesting priorities J. It was nice when, in the end, it turned out that she and Watson were in a relationship because it explains her statement.

Best Lines

“Oh, you may touch the hem of my garment.”-Jane to Lisbon when he’s proven correct about the victim’s vocation.

“We really need to get you a bell.”-Lisbon to LaRoche when he sneaks up on them.

“I don’t want your office. I prefer no walls between me and my team.” Cho to Lisbon.

“You’re gonna make a hell of a boss man, I’m already scared of you.”- Rigsby to Cho

“She does the detecting I do the insulting.”- Jane introducing himself and Lisbon.

“Au contraire this is just the venue. A roomful of professionals who prescribe drugs they know little about to cure diseases they know less about for people they know nothing about and they call me a fraud.”

“I’m not gonna ask where you’re really going, you wanna know why? I don’t have to.” -Lisbon to Jane.

“This man, he has a gun, and he pointed it at me. He’s very rude and that’s not even including the assault.” – Jane tattling to Lisbon about Yegor Golenka. Hilarious.

“What’s the going price for a kidney these days is it an X-ray machine or a new wing on the hospital or does Ivan the terrible have Dr. Quick’s niece tied up somewhere?

“A scream a day keeps the doctor away.” –Jane to nurses.

“Price of power.”-Lisbon.

Pet Peeves

Some loose ends in the case were wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking.

1-       In the end of the episode Lisbon mentions that Dr. Quick was fired for exchanging a kidney for an MRI machine. I would have liked to know how they found that out. Jane stated it, but no proof was actually given.

2-       Also, I watched the scene endlessly but still can’t figure out if the Russian crime lord ever got his kidney or not.

3-       What did Byron Jordon mean by Jane’s “advocacy”? Did Jane donate a lot of money for the hospital in exchange from Jordon’s wife getting bumped up the list? Or could it be that Jane himself took measures to expose Dr. Quick’s selling of organs?

Best Scenes

This was such a tough decision to make this time. The whole episode was fabulous with tons of character interaction.

The winner: Cho and Lisbon in her office, when he offers to only pretend he’s in charge and she refuses. Tim Kang and Tunney Lisbon were fabulous, and more details were given above at VIS #2.

1st runner up: Lisbon’s scene with new CBI Head J.J. LaRoche when he reinstates her. Again, details were given in VIS#4.

2nd runner up: Lisbon and Van Pelt at the Hospital

Lisbon is running the distance from where the victim was giving a lecture to where his badge was used five minutes later. She makes the time in 7 minutes so Grace says either the victim was faster than she was or someone else used his badge. Lisbon states that someone must have stolen his badge, because she’s a fast runner. Grace gives her a look to which Lisbon insists “What! I’m fast!”

I adored this scene. It is so rare that we get to see such nice interaction between the female members of the Serious Crimes Unit. And this was such a lovely one, made possible perhaps by the fact that Lisbon wasn’t the boss at the time. I doubt that Grace would have teased her otherwise. But now the ice is broken, maybe we’ll get more moments like these.

What was your favorite scene?  And…

Finally, here’s really interesting fic I found about LaRoche on fanfiction.net: The Truth About Cat’s and Dogs.

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10 responses to “Mentalist Bloodstream Review

  • All-I-need

    Wow, I feel I really need to assure you that I don`t mind that you like LaRoche. Feel free to like him all you want and don`t you ever apologize for your opinion. Freedom of speech is a great thing.

    I agree with your assessment of the episode, apart from the LaRoche thing. I am just a deeply suspicious person, sorry for that. I`ll change my mind once he saves everyone`s lives. ;-)

    However, I completely agree with you on Lisbon´s great show of “let´s pretend”. She did a pretty good job but everyone who knows her was able to pick up on what she was doing. I loved how Jane stared at her in the hospital, all admiring and with a certain fondness. Makes every shipper`s heart jump =)

    You asked about favorite scenes: Mine was definitely the whole hospital thing. I LOVED how Jane somehow managed to flirt with all three nurses at once, get a patient some pain medication, gather information AND find proof that the anesthesist was stealing aforementioned pain meds. THAT is what I call multitasking. Can`t help but admire that.

    Also, I almost died of laughter when he wrote “Cut at your own risk” on that Russian mobster`s body. Is that ingenious or what?! Damn, I love Jane wreaking havoc on everything and everyone. If it`s such a nice chaotic havoc, that is.

    This episode definitely was exactly what you`ve been asking for all throughout this season: lighthearted and funny with no suspense worth mentioning. And that´s great, because I can already see myself ending up in one room with a nice cardiologist in the near future.

    I also checked out the fanfiction you recommended and I have to agree with you: very interesting reading material. LaRoche being a dog-person does make him look a lot nicer but I still don`t like him. I can`t help it, there`s something about him that irkes me. I just can`t put a finger on it.

    Admittedly, I was kind of disappointed when Lisbon turned down the team`s invitation to go for drinks and I do hope she`ll go with them “next time”. It seems like kind of a double standard for her to drag Jane down from the attic so he`ll spend more time with the team while she herself declines their offers and prefers to be left alone. And her “Price of power” did sound a little triumphant, like she was happy to be back in charge, but there was something in her face that could almost pass as regret. I think she really wanted to go with the team, especially after Cho`s earlier comment about not wanting any walls between himself and the team. I`m sure he was talking about metaphorical walls as well as real ones. And when it comes to metaphorical walls, Lisbon is a master.

    I`m looking forward to the next episode and hoping for some more light stuff, though I highly doubt we`ll get any more light-hearted episodes. If we do, I certainly won`t complain. I missed them, too.

    Oh, and one last comment on Jane and the husband of that ill woman: You`re right, he really can`t accept gratitude, like he thinks he doesn`t deserve it. Maybe there´s also the added pain of seeing a man whose wife was saved, who survived. Must feel like a slap in the face for Jane to have that man`s gratitude directed at him. I`m glad he took the patron saint. Maybe there´s still some hope left after all.

  • reviewbrain

    I was just joking about the LaRoche thing…kind of. I wasn’t looking forward to receiving hate mail just cause people disagree ( I should have known mentalist fans are classier than that :) )but i’d never let that influence my opinion either or else I wouldn’t have Mentioned my liking LaRoche in the first place ;)

    Great comments as usual. You’re right the hospital sceens were so funny and Jane really was very busy this episode wasn’t he? We didn’t even see him on the couch once :)

    Lisbons walls rival the great wall of china; understandable considering her tragic past. She lost a lo of people close to her and it must have hurt her enough to make her wary of letting anyone else
    in. I do think in this case it does have a lot to do with respect; maybe as a relatively young boss and a woman at that she’s afraid he’ll lose her edge over her subordinates; that maybe they’ll start taking liberties with her if she mingles
    with them outside of work. As to Jane; well, obviously she worries about him; tou’re completely right about her double
    standard but u doubt she’s see it that way. It would be interesting to have Jane point it out to though I don’t think he will. He’s got other things on his mind and probably his own reasons for maintaining a distance; he doesn’t go out of his way to get her to talk about her problem here does he? Not like in ‘Code Red’ or ‘Redline’ or even ‘aingevite baa’.

    I agree that this is probably the last of the fun episodes of the season
    as there are only three left. Though with the spoilers we got for season finale, all the others leading up to it should be equally easy on the nerves just to balance out the season

  • All-I-need

    You´re right, we didn´t see him on the couch once. Huh, now I`m wondering: is this a good or a bad sign? ;-) Considering your couch-theory it could be interpreted as bad because he didn`t spend any time on the couch … however, considering the circumstances it was pretty great – he was busy with something other than RJ for a change, which is always nice to see.

    Well, if we don`t see Jane pointing that little double standart out to Lisbon in the show, you could just add it to your story, couldn´t you? I guess it would fit in pretty well.

    Of course he didn`t go out of his way to talk about it to her. He was already busy enough as it was and I think he liked how carefree Lisbon was around him for a change. Maybe he also thinks that since HE spends such a massive amount of time alone, he is the last person to tell Lisbon to spend more time with the team.

    It´s a tricky situation because it can be twisted around either way without really covering all the angles. Of course Jane can always argue that he is not the boss and therefore doesn`t need to be so close to the team – he IS only the consultant, after all.

    Due to the nerve-wracking potential of the upcomming episodes I am seriously considering picking up meditation. I think I remember a thing or two from a retreat we did in school and that might help prevent any forms of cardiac arrest while watching. Just kidding, don`t worry.

  • tpel

    I like LaRoche too! After reading all the hatred for him over on the CBS Mentalist discussion board, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds him oddly endearing.

    I’m not sure I agree entirely with your analysis of the character motivations in the episode. While demotion, naturally, stings a bit, I thought Lisbon really was making the best of it, enjoying her freedom from Jane-control. LaRoche is unlikely to be permanently in charge of the team, since his specialty seems to be internal investigation, so Lisbon had no reason to believe her demotion would be permanent. So, while I agree she was overstating how fine she was with the change, I thought she did that to show her support for Cho, not to mask deep distress.

    I can see LaRoche getting frustrated with Lisbon, particularly when she wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise — must be really irritating for a slow, deliberate talker like him when someone, particularly a subordinate, won’t let you finish a sentence. But I hope his temporary demotion of Lisbon was part of a larger strategy, not just a knee-jerk reaction. Otherwise, it was kind of a crappy thing to do . . . to Cho (You’re promoted! Now you’re not! Great job, though.). A lot of his actions over past episodes can be interpreted as testing the quality of the relationships and loyalty among Lisbon’s team. That could be important information if he suspects the corruption in the CBI goes beyond one cop-killer-killing mole.

  • reviewbrain

    Crappy but endearing! It shows that robocop is human!

    Welcome  to the blog. We love exploring different opinions here :)
    Nice elaboration of Laroche being unable to a word in because he’s such a deliberate speaker. I also like your interpretation of his actions as exploring the dynamics and characters of the team. I do agree that Lisbon wanted to support Cho, but I think her hurt trumps that or she would have listened to him when he tried to talk to her. You’re absolutely right about her trying to make the best of it. I expect Lisbon’s always been resilient that way; that she had to be to cope with her early life, and now Jane. I do think, unless Hightower is vindicated, and as long as she doesn’t end up getting killed, Laroche will remain te Head of the CBI. It makes sense because he was head of the professional
    standards unit (which seems like a big deal as that they’re allowed to investigate other units) so it’s probably just one step up for him.

  • hardly_loquacious

    Alright, so I do have somewhat different thoughts on this ep. I agree in part with most of what you’ve said, but I don’t take it to the degree you have. These thoughts are lengthy. I apologize in advance.

    I’ll try and lay out my position as logically as possible, which, to sum up, is that LaRoche does like Lisbon, but his actions weren’t quite as altruistic as you’re portraying.

    To begin:

    LaRoche is promoted to director. So he is now no longer just in charge of the PSU, but a whole range of activities. I’m going to assume he’s still the head of the investigation into Todd Johnson’s murder, but he may not be. Still, for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume yes. It’s not an important detail. What’s important is that he now has way more responsibility than he did. And he needs to inform people of this, including Lisbon. Fair enough.

    He, knowing that she’s just got a case, decides to go visit her at a crime scene to tell her.

    I don’t buy that he did this simply as a courtesy to her because it disrupted her day the least, for several reasons.
    1) Why is it crucial that Lisbon receive this information right that second? Clearly Hightower’s post had been vacant for a few days at minimum. It’s not like the CBI grinds to a halt without a director. LaRoche *could* have waited until she was back from the crime scene to tell her the news. And he could have called her and scheduled a meeting. He didn’t need to summon her to his office per se, just “Hello Agent Lisbon, as soon as you’re back at the CBI I need to see you. P.S. I’m your new boss.” Maybe not in those words, but you get my point. He could have scheduled a meeting. That way it doesn’t disrupt either of their schedules. He didn’t which to me suggests he had another reason for showing up at the crime scene, which leads up to reason number two.
    2) He leads off asking about Hightower. He doesn’t lead off with telling her about the change in command. If he had, she’d have behaved differently. But he kept that in his back pocket. As LaRoche, master interviewer/manipulator tends to do. If this was all about Lisbon’s convenience, why not at least be upfront about the new position. I grant you, he starts off being polite about Hightower, but he also knows this is going to be a sore subject for her from the last episode. Which suggests to me that he was possibly trying to provoke a reaction, or at least throw her off her game. He never informs her of his meetings with her or her team beforehand. It’s a power thing. Which means he’s playing her, at a crime scene.
    3) He’s the head of the entire CBI now. Shouldn’t he be balancing his priorities? Is interrupting the head of the Serious Crimes Unit at a crime scene the best use of his time? He has to see that he’s distracting her, and whatever else he thinks of her, I do believe he knows Lisbon is a competent agent. He may be getting used to the job, but he is also hindering her from doing hers. And again, his line of questioning wasn’t so time sensitive that he couldn’t have waited a couple of hours or so for her to return to the CBI. Part of it is probably that he’s getting used to the new job, but still.

    Now, I am willing to admit that part of this is just due to LaRoche’s personality, which is fairly abrasive. He’s socially awkward. And sometimes I suspect that he has no idea how he comes off to other people. However, he also uses his strange demeanour to make people feel uneasy. He seems to start almost every conversation like an interrogation. By coming at Lisbon with Hightower at a crime scene, he’s approaching her when she’s distracted, and about a subject he knows is upsetting to her. I think he likes talking to people when they’re off balance to give himself an advantage. In my opinion scheduling a meeting’s a more equal playing field.

    I’m not saying he’s evil. I actually think he probably isn’t. I do think he doesn’t care about social convention, or he isn’t good at it, and so he’s resorted to using manipulation and his own gifts of logic and deductive reasoning to get what he wants.

    Possibly he does it because it’s all he knows, and he has no idea how else to get the information he wants in the same way that Jane catches every killer with some overly dramatic scheme that cuts corners even when doing it by the book would probably work in some cases, if it would take longer. LaRoche and Jane are basically the same character, and LaRoche’s methods put Lisbon at a disadvantage, in the middle, just as Jane’s do. Only thing is, Jane is far more charming (and handsome) when he does it. So he’s forgiven more easily.

    LaRoche is flawed. And he may well genuinely like Lisbon. I would much prefer that option than him being somehow in league with Red John. I want to like him, and I think I’m getting there.

    But his personality still grates on my last nerve at times like this. Because really?

    I think he might like Lisbon though. Because he starts off the conversation asking her if she has any theories about HTW’s disappearance, not accusing her of anything. On the other hand, he doesn’t take into account at all that she might not respond well to that line of inquiry at a crime scene, especially since, from her perspective it’s got to look a little like he’s been gunning for members of her team and we know Lisbon is protective. So she’s already defensive. I think she’d have been less defensive if she’d had a little warning. Warning, which as I said before, he probably deliberately didn’t give her.

    Admittedly, I’m not entirely objective for several reasons.

    Reason A) I love Lisbon. Unabashedly and unequivocably. She is my favourite by quite a large margin. And I am getting sick of the “Everybody beats up on Lisbon. She never gets a break. All consequences fall to her (usually to her alone) and/or she always has to clean up the mess.” Admittedly this was worse LAST season, and admittedly this time she is actually responsible for her own problems. But I tend to react swiftly and defensively to any threat to Lisbon (to the extent that I read “Lisbon gets demoted” in the episode synopsis and resorted to alcohol before the ep even started when I first watched it, because I was fully expecting it to send me into a rage. I was pleasantly surprised in the end). I am just that overprotective of fictional characters that I love.

    Reason B) I was kind of hoping in my secret heart, that Lisbon and LaRoche would form some sort of alliance. I was hoping he would be less morally grey, more of a foil for Jane. He’s still a foil for Jane, but not in the way I wanted. Did they have to make him quite so socially awkward and weird? Could he not have just scene everything in black and white but still seemed to have some idea of how to interact with people? I wanted Lisbon to have some sort of unequivocal support in a universe where it often seems like she’s the lone voice of sanity.

    I’ll accept that LaRoche reacted to her disrespect. But he’s the one who goes around provoking people for information, something his new position allows him to do even more easily. His methods are irritating. And Lisbon is constantly under fire. And yes, she definitely deserved a bit of a smackdown. But I still say the whole situation was avoidable. And he was the one who set the foundation for it.

    The Lisbon/LaRoche dynamic has definite potential. And I genuinely hope he’s not evil (because, REALLY SHOW?), but he’s still not completely in the clear with me either. He’s flawed, and that’s okay. But he’s still very flawed.

    P.S. Cho irritated me in this ep. I didn’t always like him. But I haven’t really liked Cho since Blood In, Blood Out. I wanted to smack him when he told Lisbon he didn’t want walls between him and his team. Hard.

    I completely agree that Lisbon basically lies to herself and lets herself believe things to get her through the day. At this point she’d have to. I’ve assumed that for years. It’s one of the only fanwanks that makes any sense for her behaviour towards Jane. But she also has a strong sense of fairness. I think she realized that she’d screwed up, and that she really had no choice but to take her punishment. I agree with you on that. Of course she’s upset, but she buries emotion and pain. And I really doubt she wanted to talk about it. She was probably coming to terms. I doubt it had really hit her yet.

    And I think we can assume that Cho could at least guess at some of that, so why the need to make the snide comment? She’s having a crappy day Dude. I get that you’re (to your credit) not thrilled about being suddenly promoted above your boss that you really respect, but she’s the one who’s just had the rug ripped out from under her.

    I get where you’re coming from. But why did he need to make a point about her stubbornness? Why not do as she asks? Why rub it in, especially right away?

    Especially since Cho is hardly Mr. Communicative. He’s worse than she is. He’s the one that went all rogue and basically shut her down after he was attacked in Blood In, Blood Out (I genuinely hate that ep, if that’ s not clear). He basically went all nutso. And given that Lisbon’s job is her life as far as we know, this is probably a pretty big deal to her. Maybe not quite the level of a personal attack but still. I don’t see how Cho, Mr. Monosyllable himself, has any right to be twitting anyone about not being communicative. Especially so quickly afterwards the demotion.

    I think she was genuinely enjoying not being in charge, at least at first. I don’t think all of the sunny attitude with Jane at the hospital was an act. Some of it was probably genuine relief.

    I did feel a bit badly for Cho in the later scene, when she shut him down though. I liked him in that scene.

    But then, I also know that if I had been Lisbon, I really wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it really. She’s dealing with it by being positive. Maybe it’s the only way she can deal with it. If something like that happened to me, I‘d need to come to terms with it myself before talking to someone.

    Again, I’m basically hardwired to side with Lisbon first. I liked when Cho just calmly took over. But there were a few times I really wanted to smack him.

  • reviewbrain

    I love this comment. I admit I get excited over interesting conclusions that I tend to gloss over the more obvious ones. Of course Laroche questions people at situations that would be more to his advantage. Why else did he go ahead and question Jane knowing he was drunk? Why else was Lisbon so protective of Jane at the time and didn’t want him to do so. Why else did Jane assure her that it was fine, repeatedly, assuring her that he knew what laroche was doing and that he could handle it? And I was ecstatic that you agree that laroche and Jane go about things the same way, but that Jane gets cut a lot of slack over it because he’s charming. You explained
    it so well. And that you pointed out Laroches asking Lisbon for theories regarding Hightowers whereabouts, because I’m sure he was genuinely interested in her opinion.

    About laroche not telling Lisbon he’s the new head: I don’t know how that would have affected her answers, but it definitaly would have affected her temperament. I think it just didn’t occur to him to tell her; that it was (manipulative) business as usual to him. He did try to point it out to her but she overroad him; not that I blame her. I was actually happy to see her riled up for a change, but like I said, I beleive other factors had her in short temper, and Laroche served as a convenient vent (partly his fault for coming btw Lisbon and her crime scene ;)

    As to Cho, you reminded me that I had been angry at how during Blood in, Blood out, Lisbon was reasonably piqued at first then feircely supportive later on, but he’d brushed off her concern and we were never even shown a thank you from him.

    So it’s safe to say Cho earned the brush off this episode. On the other hand, I’m less angry with him here than I was during BIBO because his behavior here shows that he cares, is hurt that she won’t let him, and it was fun seeing him lose control because of it. It is interesting to see that while Lisbon, who was boss cut him slack at the time of BIBO because she knew he was going through a tough time, he couldn’t do the same for her.

    But I don’t fault him for it, his behavior is normal and is further proof of how Lisbon is inhumanely empathatic and patient. I’m starting to think anger is an emotion that has been eradicated from her when she was younger. Or, as a victim of child abuse, she fears anger as an emotion because she was hurt by it so many times. Like we agreed she also denies things to be able to handle them better and more power to her I say: I doubt she would have survived her life, and would be able to put up with Jane (and his morbid quest)
    otherwise.

    There’s an Arabic saying which, translated roughly, states: “beware of the calm person when angered.” meaning, when that person finally does lose their temper you’d better watch out.

    I think the day when Lisbon (and Jane) finally remember that anger does exist within her won’t be pretty. I adore Lisbon. She my favorite character and I want to see what it takes to make her lose control. I want to see how she’ll react to Jane’s secrets. I suspect a part of her doesn’t want to know. Just like I suspect part of the reason he doesn’t want to tell her is because he doesn’t want the status quo to change.

    But there will come a time when both will have to face all that’s been swept under the rug.

    Perosnally I’m looking forward to it. I hope it won’t be as disappointing as her giving in needlessly like she did in Blood For Blood.

    I hope the writers are building to a reaction from Lisbon following the discovery of Janes secrets.

    Oh, and never worry about comment length. It’s safe to say patrons of this blog appreciate depth and details. Why else would they read my reviews :)

    Don’t be a stranger!

  • hardly_loquacious

    I think we do agree on LaRoche. I just have my “fiercely protective of Lisbon” streak to contend with. Also, his manner irritates me sometimes.

    Cho earned the brush-off even without his behaviour in BIBO. She’s the one who’s been wounded, she should be able to decide how she wants to deal with that. Or she should at least get a day to decide and come to terms. It had just happened. He needn’t have been snippy.

    Although, no, I don’t hate him as much hear as I did in BIBO. Although, unless he actually blows up the CBI building that would be hard to achieve. That episode pretty much single-handedly destroyed Cho as a character for me, because in a way it invalidates a lot of what I had assumed where his character traits, but not so.

    Lisbon is ridiculously tolerant, I will agree. But I doubt it’s that she doesn’t feel anger (and she’s certainly yelled at Jane more than once, though she almost certainly hasn’t gone after him as hard as she could), I suspect it’s more that she controls it. But I agree, one day that control is going to snap. It’s what I refer to as the Red Badge situation coming true. Red Badge is one of the few S2 eps I love, and when she’s playing all crazy and she talks about all her anger building up inside her and errupting to Dr. Carmen, I doubt she was lying.

    I kind of want to see it, though it could be frightening. I wonder if her genuine anger is cold. It could be. That would almost be more frightening than if she just screamed at someone.

    And if it does happen, Jane needs to be endearingly concerned. He just does.

  • violet

    Sorry for being so late in adding a comment! :) I actually just realized I haven’t done it yet… Well, here, in a few points…

    Your explanation about Laroche’s motive is particularly convincing! It manages to fit the character (or at least what we suppose is his character, since our Robocop quite difficult to read) and gives him a new side, more human. Great analysis!

    I think Lisbon’s reaction subtly changes during the episode. At first, she wasn’t that carefree. She seemed more to act positively because she didn’t want Cho to feel bad about his own promotion. She’s willing to put her team at ease with the new situation as well as she’s trying to avoid being pitied. This is for Cho a great chance to prove himself and I really got the feeling that she tried not to get in his way. Her excessive devil-may-care attitude appears after Jane’s blunt statement (“you’re not my boss anymore”). His words seem to have a double impact: first, it’s true, so she doesn’t have to worry about his pranks, she’s free to enjoy herself with his antics (and she always has that not so well hidden smile tucking at her lips when he acts foolish, like recently in The Red Mile when Jane starts the fire alarm). Second effect, his words probably hurt her at some level -that we can only suppose, since we don’t see her reaction after he spoke-, hence the “I don’t have to” and the congratulation gift he gives her in the form of solving the case.
    Moreover, the scene when she’s running was too dramatized for not having another meaning: it looks like she’s wildly running from her problems, desperately trying to let them behind her, just like in the French expression “fuite en avant”. I think that moment shows how she feels deep down, just like when she shattered her office glass wall when she was facing difficulties at work during the confusion with Carmen. With someone as closed as Lisbon, who is continuously putting distance between herself and her emotions, such actions are the only mean we have to indirectly understand her disarray. So, between that glimpse of her inner turmoil and the turning point of Jane’s words, her reaction was more complex than just a façade she was putting, although she’s indeed trying too hard to see something positive in her dismissal.

    Last point: the ending with the husband expressing his gratitude to Jane was also indeed a ray of hope, but a quite gloomy one, if I may say so. Jane arbors a sad and thoughtful expression when he realized someone has seen pas his cheerfulness at the hospital, and has so taken the medallion for what it was, less a gift out of gratitude than a gesture of understanding from someone who was suffering just like him and gives him the religious/magic charm he no more needs since his wife will soon be recovering. Just like that widower who gave him the gun he used for shooting his wife’s murdered, Jane is recognized here as a brother in suffering.
    In fact, the theme of pain is developed in the whole episode around Jane: first physical pain with the patients when he tells them to scream to ease it, connected to well-being with the nurses when he makes them express themselves by screaming too, then the husband and his medallion mixing physical and psychological suffering. And, at last, Jane’s own despair, alone and refusing to express his misery. Implicitly, after Minelli and Hightower asking him to reveal the truth to Lisbon, Jane here is being told by the husband to seek some form of help (and by his own advice to the patients to let it out).
    And now that I have expressed my own feelings in this awfully long comment, I need to rush to The Red Mile! :)

  • Sid

    “2- Also, I watched the scene endlessly but still can’t figure out if the Russian crime lord ever got his kidney or not.”

    I don’t know which scene you watched endlessly but it says at the end of the episode that he did get the kidney. They wrap up the case by saying the doctor was fired and they mention the gangster and his pre-owned kidney.

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