Mentalist War of the Roses Review


Synopsis

California Bureau of Investigations gets called in when a young woman named Natalie Kobeki (Christine Garver) is found murdered near Bart Station, San Francisco. Jane gets a call from convict Erica Flynn (guest star Morena Baccarin) who tells him Natalie used to be a client at her matchmaking service (Every Rose has its Thorn) and that she can help him find her killer.. Much to Senior Agent Lisbon’s (Tunney) concern, Jane convinces their boss Luther Wainwright (Michael Rady) to spring Erica from jail for a limited time to help solve the case.

Concise Verdict

I’ll admit I was as confused as Lisbon the first time I saw this episode. I couldn’t understand any of Patrick Jane’s motivations, not even enough to decide if they were as out of character as many fans claimed. Then I realized I was looking at the pieces too closely so I took a step back: a marvelous mosaic was revealed. War of the Roses might be controversial amongst diehard fans but character wise, it contained enough clues to makes sense.  Well acted, executed, I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite episodes this season. 9/10

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

So this one made me think. A lot. I love when that happens and I reach a (hopefully) reasonable conclusion instead of making a list of pet peeves. As it is, I instead have a list of possibilities as to what exactly had been going on in Jane’s mind during this episode. Not entirely sure which one is right though. Ken Woodruff’s sly writing left room for several possibilities, all character appropriate. I tried to include most and probably imagined a few in the process. It wasn’t easy. Luckily, Windsparrow, an avid reader/commenter on this blog helped me along. She and her Man had quite a few intriguing conclusions, and some pretty funny ones too.

Note: Before you read this post, you might want to read my dear artist’s @chiziruchibi’s Mentalist 4×15 Rant: Self Therapy. She made several good points and I know many fans felt the same way about the episode. One might say this review was written to pacify those concerns.

Windsparrow:  Permission to Doblerize the ‘Shippers, Captain!

YOU MUST CHILL! YOU MUST CHILL! (Lloyd Dobler, John Cusak’s character in “Say Anything”)

Reviewbrain: That’s probably something most  J/L shippers needed to hear.

Windsparrow: The first time I see a new episode of The Mentalist, I am at work. Small TV on the other side of the room, I’m busy writing up stuff from the shift. So all too often I miss nuances of facial expressions and other subtle details. So I make the Man of the house record it and watch it with me on the weekend. This week, I made him watch it with me as soon as I got home.

Reviewbrain: It was that kind of episode, wasn’t it. So glad you’re here to help me make sense of it all. Between us, the clues Mr. Woodruff dropped us, and readers’ comments, I’m sure we can reach some level of understanding. Let’s take it by topic.

Rigsby/Sarah/Baby

Windsparrow: One thing that seemed jarring on the first viewing is how advanced Sarah’s pregnancy has gotten, especially since Rigsby only told Cho in last week’s episode. It also rather appears that Rigsby has neither told Lisbon about the pregnancy, nor yet made arrangements in advance to make it to childbirth classes. Re-watching with the Man, I complained about the “Soap Opera Aging” syndrome. He told me he thinks it was not so much that as a way to establish the passing of time. In other words, Red John has been quiet for a few months. Possibly this could have been done with a bit more finesse, but it could be very important.

 Reviewbrain: The timeline made me dizzy too. Erica claims that Natalie was her client 10 months ago (which, in real time would mean right around the time her first appearance, “Every Rose has it’s thorn” was aired so that kinda makes sense.) But it’s been seven months since Rigsby got Sarah pregnant? I’d try to do the math except I’m so hopeless I needed a tutor for my nine year old.

I do like your man’s theory that the advanced pregnancy was a method used to establish a passage in time in which RJ had been inactive. This helps reassure me that the writers didn’t just fast forward because they wanted Rigsby’s baby to conveniently arrive in time for the season finale. Because if that was true, then I’d be very worried that the writers are going to have the baby and/or Sarah be endangered.

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain January, 2012. Not to be used without permission.

I love Rigsby with Sarah. I love how she told him they weren’t ready to get married. I love how she babbles when she’s nervous. And I love how nice she is to him, how mindful and gentle she is of his insecurity. I want them to have the baby, realize they are madly in love, get married (not necessarily in that order), and live happily ever after.

Jane/Erica

Windsparrow: After seeing the previews last week, knowing that Erika Flynn would be putting the moves on our Patrick Jane, I reminded myself that in her last appearance, there did not seem to be all that much true attraction between them. Back then she kept telling him he was attracted to her. But it looked to me as though she was trying to work the power of suggestion mojo. On Patrick Jane. ::snirk::

Reviewbrain: She tries it here as well.  When Erica calls Jane at the beginning of the episode, Jane is at first bemused, then gets annoyed when she tells him that she and Natalie grew close during their sessions, adding “but you know how that is”.  Her power of suggestion MO hadn’t changed a bit, and like in the previous episode Jane was able to see right through it. At least at first…

Windsparrow: What is different this time around? A few episodes ago, Jane’s sexuality was let off the trauma leash. It ran around the yard digging up old bones and scaring the neighbor’s cat.  And in a few instances throughout this season we have seen hints that he might be emotionally ready to be something other than all grieving, all the time. And now this gorgeous, smart, seductive woman comes back and tells Jane he is attracted to her. Again. Is he attracted to her? If he is, is it just a physical reaction to physical stimuli? No blame there, if he is. A more important question is, is there any emotional attraction? That would have a heck of a lot of meaning for Jane’s character. But if there is, I flat-out do not see it.  Maybe I just do not recognize what is there. The Mentalist is the only thing I have seen more than clips of Baker. I have seen Baccarin in other things; I have seen her playing a character that has chemistry with other characters. I know what it looks like. This ain’t it.

And that is what I needed the Man’s opinion on. Either he really does not see it either, or he is afraid of having to clean bits of my grey matter off the walls of our living room when my brain explodes if he gives the wrong answer.

Reviewbrain: You gave me a lot to think about, and well, I don’t want to make your head explode…but…here’s the thing: We’ve agreed that Jane wasn’t attracted to Erica in the past. And there’s been plenty of proof. In “Every Rose has its’ Thorn”, after she insists he has feelings for, Jane says “You’re wrong, I feel nothing like that towards you for one simple reason. You killed your husband.” And we all know how derisively Jane feels towards spouses who are unappreciative of their significant others; goes without saying he’d feel even worse towards those who kill them. Jane reiterates his disgust twice when catching Erica he tells her “that body, that was your husband” and again in his final interview with her at CBI when he says that she shot her husband in cold blood.

Something was different in this episode and while Jane’s unleashed libido from a few episodes back (Fugue in Red) does help explain it, I do think the reason is a bit more complicated than that. Erica masterfully, genuinely managed to get under his skin. First she calls him and tells him to come see her for information on the case. Jane, obsessive person that he is, couldn’t help but take the bait. And it all spiraled out of control from there…

VIS #1:  Jane visits Erica in Prison

Jane quickly calls Erica out on her having an ulterior motive for wanting to help out on Natalie’s case. She tells him that she wants out of the prison temporarily. “You have no idea now what this is like, Patrick. Living in a cage. Knowing I’ll be here for years.”

-First of all, Jane does know what it feels like to be in prison; he did some time himself after shooting Carter. And his trial gained enough media that it’s been referenced by other people. No way Erica didn’t know this. She needed him to get her out of jail and would have researched him carefully. And she can because we know she has the guards at prison wrapped around her finger (she used one of their cell phones to call Jane and said “helpful as always” to the guard).

So I posit by telling Jane that he doesn’t know what it’s like to be in her position, Erica was actually indirectly reminding him of his own time in prison, how boring it was, manipulating him and gaining his sympathy by covertly pointing out that he could have just as easily been in prison himself.

And when Jane asks Erica “What if you’re lying”, that her motive wasn’t a reprieve from jail but a chance to escape from it, Erica states that he once said he could see right through her “Transparent as glass I believe? So tell me. Am I lying now?”

Here, she’s preying on his ego. If he can truly see right through her then she poses no threat to him.

I’m not sure if Jane realized what Erica was doing. But if he did, I suspect it probably would’ve only fueled his desire to prove her wrong, to show her he couldn’t be manipulated. And so he agrees to let her out, pretending to believe her, the same way he did when they first met. He wanted her to think he was doing her bidding, only to catch her when she tries to make her escape and come out victorious.

At least that was the plan. And this, Jane’s ego, his competitiveness, is exactly what Erica counted on to get her out of jail.

So until now, how far do you think Erica played Jane?

VIS #2: Jane/Erica’s kiss (es)

The manipulative duo’s intimate hotel room scene was almost a direct replay of the one at Erica’s matchmaking service at the time of episode “Every Rose”. In both instances Erica tries to seduce Jane, and he calls her out on it. In Every Rose, when Jane accuses her of killing her husband, Erica tells him he doesn’t believe it, that:  “You’re simply doing what you’ve been doing ever since your wife died. Intentionally sabotaging any relationship by pushing away anyone who makes you feel something. It’s a tragic but natural response for the guilt you feel over your wife’s death.”

Her mind game hadn’t worked. Undeterred, Jane had told her “I do push people away. And I do feel guilt over my wife’s death. But that does not change the fact that you murdered your husband I am more certain of it now than ever.”

Likewise, in this episode, when Jane tells Erica she’s seducing him to hide the fact that she wants to escape, she again counterattacks that he doesn’t really believe that; that he’s just using it as an excuse to avoid his feelings for her: “Those agents outside the door, aren’t to keep me from escaping.  They’re to keep you and I apart.” When Jane says he is in fact afraid she’ll escape Erica asks him what he’d do if they were alone. This time, Jane doesn’t put a stop to the game. Instead, he kisses Erica.

-I have to say the way Jane gazed at Erica right before they locked lips seemed very calculating to me. You can practically see the wheels turning in his head as he made his decision. Why’d he kiss her? I think Jane decided he’d beat Erica at her own game of seduction; prove to her that he wasn’t affected by her, and instead try to seduce her. I also think he was multi-tasking; that he wanted to test himself to see if in fact, he could kiss a woman, if he was capable of moving on. And who better than to experiment on than an inmate who was going back to prison? No emotional attachments right?

Yeah, that plan didn’t exactly work very well (if, in fact, that had been his plan).

If Jane’s horrified reaction after the kiss was just part of a bigger ruse, part of the impromptu seduction he’d decided to pull on Erica to get her off her game, letting her think that she had affected him, then it didn’t work. She still managed to escape.

And if Jane’s utterly fearful expression was genuine, wasn’t an act, then the kiss wasn’t quite as harmless as I suspect he expected. He got caught in the moment despite himself; lost control; hence the vulnerable, traumatized look Windsparrow pointed out. Even Erica was shocked by how affected Jane was; like she couldn’t believe her seduction actually worked. I’m even wondering if Jane’s reaction managed to move something within her cold self-serving heart. But again, even if it had, it wasn’t enough to weaken her.

So, attraction?

I’m not sure. Not at the beginning of the episode, of that I’m positive. But after their first kiss it certainly is possible.

Jane seemed very troubled the next day. I found it interesting that we didn’t see him guiltily playing with his ring the way he did when he went out with Kristina. Perhaps Jane doesn’t feel like the kiss was significant enough to count as a betrayal to her memory. It certainly wasn’t the first time he’d kissed a woman without feeling guilty over it (Sophie Miller, Madeline Hightower). The only time we truly saw signs of unease was during Jane’s date with Kristina, because that had been a big deal; he’d been trying to move on. Conversely, Jane’s dinner with Erica (and the subsequent kiss) were just part of his grander plan to prove his mental prowess over hers. This is supported by his telling Erica firmly at the end of the episode “It wasn’t a date.”

But if that was true, that Jane didn’t feel like he was betraying his dead wife, and provided his reaction wasn’t just an act for Erica’s benefit, then why the trauma after the kiss?

I don’t know, maybe he suddenly remembered that THIS WOMAN IS A KILLER!

Sorry, had to let it out.

Like I was saying, Jane could have suddenly realized he was kissing someone who murdered her husband and it occurred to him that besting her wasn’t worth him getting intimate with her. Or maybe it happened like Windsparrow said. Jane, for all his asexuality, found himself responding to Erica’s seduction and that’s what scared him: the realization that he was ready to move on from grieving for his wife, as hinted when he placed that flower in the ocean (Blood and Sand). That epiphany certainly would have been major enough to warrant his shell-shocked face.

It’s also just as likely that Jane himself had no idea what he was feeling. His plan to counter-seduce Erica didn’t work and instead he was left pondering whether he feels as attracted to her as she insists and what the ramifications of that will be. Realizing that he was letting himself get too close to his “mark”, and that’s dangerous given that his initial goal was to con her, Jane then threw himself into the case and wrapped it up quickly.

I just want to point out that while Jane/Erica had wonderful chemistry together, it’s not necessarily sexual. There was another dynamic that seemed to lace their interludes together. A few instances which highlighted the idea that Erica and Jane were kindred spirits.

1. At her hotel room when Jane asks Erica what her question was, she said that she lied because “these days I don’t get to spend time alone with charming men”. Jane replies “there’s a reason for that, so that you don’t kill them.” Erica replies “We all have our baggage.”

At this statement, Jane gives her a look that says touché; recognizing the insinuation that he’s not different from her. Even though the circumstances were vastly different, they’ve both killed people.

2. When Erica tells Jane she’s been thinking about him a lot, about what would have happened if they’d met under different circumstances. Jane answers “Thinking about what might have been will drive you crazy.”

Jane’s tone here was almost like he was giving Erica advice based on his personal experience; experience he thinks she might benefit from.

3. After Erica plays her part in Jane’s ruse to catch Natalie’s killer, she tells him “You didn’t have to leave the other night.” To which Jane responds “We can’t have everything we want”.

Again, Jane’s tone here, coupled with the “we” was almost like he was imparting words of wisdom to a fellow mentalist. Of course, it could also have been his way of gently hinting to her that the game was over, as only a few moments later he reveals that he’d caught her lawyer whom she’d planned to use to escape.

So it might be that, more than lust, Jane felt sympathy towards Erica, friendship. It certainly explains how nice he was to her after she’s caught. He seemed to feel (gag) guilty/sorry for putting her back in prison. Then there was the way he let her down easily when he revealed that her escape plan failed. There was also his response of “Me too” to Erica’s statement that she had a lovely time. Finally, Jane allowed Erica to kiss him again right before she got in the car to leave. To me, all this felt like he was giving her a consolation prize. Like Jane, having won his match with Erica, was magnanimously allowing her to take comfort from him before going back to prison. Ironically, her kissing him was probably to distract him from making sure the men who picked her up were legit cops.

But what do I know. Maybe Jane truly was attracted to Erica and his final interactions with her were his way of bidding her a bittersweet goodbye for what could never have been between them.

I just honestly don’t think so. And not because of any secret J/L shipping I might have (shh!) but also because of their last conversation together.

VIS #3 Jane Promises to Catch Erica

After fleeing successfully, Erica calls Patrick to thank him for their “date”. He tersely tells her it wasn’t a date and answers sarcastically “something like that” when she asks if he misses her. He then tells her that he will catch her. Erica tells him she’s almost looking forward to it and hangs up. Jane looks troubled.

-If Jane was truly attracted to Erica, then her escaping, beating him, wouldn’t have bothered him as much as it obviously was. Rather he would have remained as impressed as he initially was when he found out she’d escaped and possibly even been attracted to her more because of it.

Jane here was being a sore loser. The reason Jane he is bothered is because the whole time he thought had the upper hand on Erica when in fact she was the one with the upper hand. She succeeded in seducing him and he allowed his judgment be compromised by her. But there are even greater ramifications to Jane’s loss here which I’ll come back to later below.

But first….

Speaking of Lisbon, she was a bit absent from this episode. But what scenes she did have, especially the ones with Jane were very interesting…

Lisbon’s Umbrage with Jane

Last year I wrote a pre-season four article titled “Mentalist, No Love Triangles Here” the purpose of which was basically to prove that Jane and Lisbon have never shown any signs of being jealous of each other’s possible romantic interests. Up until this episode that hasn’t changed (Lisbon didn’t even react to Jane’s statement that Darcy had “great legs”; though that might have been because she knew he had been trying to distract her from a conversation he did not want to have).

In this episode, a lot of fans have jumped on the fact that Lisbon was totally jealous of Erica. If this is true, then it’s important to consider why rather than just assume her jealously is a byproduct of her being secretly in love with Jane. While it is obvious that Jane’s proximity to Erica annoyed Lisbon, I don’t think jealousy was the initial cause here. Lisbon had plenty more to be ticked off about, and I’m not just talking about how both Jane and Luther dismissed her valid warnings that Erica is dangerous and a flight risk. While it must have stung, poor Lisbon has gotten used to having her opinions dismissed in favor of Jane’s. There was something deeper gnawing on her.

Let’s examine the evidence:

1. Waiting to meet with the warden, Jane tells Lisbon there’s no need to be glum; that she won’t be held at fault if anything goes wrong. Lisbon mocks him for attributing that as the cause of her worry. Jane casually confirms Lisbon’s’ suspicions that Erica’s motive in helping out with the case is likely to try to escape. Lisbon is understandably frustrated. Fed up with his nonchalance, she flat out asks Jane if he’s letting Erica out because he needs her help or because he wants it.

-And there we have it. Lisbon’s was upset because she couldn’t understand Jane’s motives. She was worried that Jane wanted Erica’s help; wants her and no, not because Lisbon herself wants Jane. Though that might also be true, there is much more at stake here. Like Windsparrow said above, an emotional attraction would have “a heck of a lot of meaning for Jane’s character”. And I’m %100 sure this is the the bulk of what’s bothering Lisbon. Considering all the lines Jane has crossed (and gotten away with) since he killed Carter (Blinking Red Light, Always Bet on Red), it makes complete sense that Lisbon would want to stop him from breaking another law, making another mistake. Allowing Erica, (a woman who killed her innocent husband!)  to seduce Jane into letting her escape…. I think this, Lisbon’s recognition of the danger Erica posed to Jane’s ever diminishing ethics, was the main reason Lisbon was so “glum” and why she didn’t want Jane to be alone with Erica. Hence her joining them later in the Limo.

2- Seeing CBI’s attractive Ron fawn all over Ms. Flynn, Lisbon tells Grace “What is it with this woman? She can get men to do whatever she wants and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.”

Grace explains the phenomenon to Lisbon with an awesome “Really? I get it. I mean, if I were a guy”.

This does nothing to appease our favorite green eyed monster. And yes, my using this phrase means I think she was jealous here, no way around it really; although green eyed fairy might be more accurate. Honestly, the face Lisbon had on after Grace leaves…. Ms. Tunney has no right to be so freaking adorable. It’s unfair to women (and babies) everywhere. I’ve wanted to hug Lisbon so many times during this episode that I lost count.

So Lisbon was jealous here, but again this does not necessarily mean because she in love with Jane (or Ron), though I doubt anyone would blame her for either. So why the jealousy?

Come on people, we’ve all been there. We’ve all known a person so attractive and/or charismatic that they seem to effortlessly have people wrapped around their fingers…unless, of course, you are one such person (in which case I congratulate you and advise you use your powers wisely). Readers who can’t think of anyone need look no further than Jane. He’s totally charming and can usually get people to do what he wants. Lisbon is actually (or at least used to be) one of the few immune to his spell. So now I’m wondering if Lisbon truly was confused about Erica when she asked Grace about her secret to men-whispering, or if she was just pretending to be cause it gave her a chance to vent.

3- When Lisbon tells Jane that enough is enough, Erica needs to go back to prison, Jane refuses and tells Lisbon “I need her.”

Reviewbrain: There’s no way around Lisbon’s reaction here, either. She seemed genuinely hurt; stung even. You can almost hear her wondering “What can Erica do that I can’t?”

Windsparrow: I kind of love that little smirk Jane gives after Lisbon walks away upset and a bit jealous after he tells her he “needs” Erica.  I am not entirely certain what it means, but it did not look malicious as though Lisbon has only been a mark. And it was not a tight, awkward grin as though he worried about her having inconvenient emotions. He looked as though he kind of likes that Lisbon feels enough for him to be jealous.

Reviewbrain: I totally agree with your take on Jane here. He hadn’t meant to mess with Lisbon or hurt her here. He was too busy thinking about the case. You’ve phrased his emotions perfectly. Not just with regards to this instance. I love your description of other emotions Jane has had regarding Lisbon in the past. I felt a few of them are relevant for the best scene listed below.

Best Scenes

 The winner: Jane and Lisbon in the attic/Jane and Erica’s last conversation

 Note: I chose this scene as the best because of I felt it a perfect (somewhat explanatory) ending to an episode that had filled me with confusion and trepidation. Also, there was a subtext party going on here. If there’s one thing I love more than continuity, it’s subtext. And when you add moodiness via rain, Erica being on an island somewhere and the phenomenal acting of all involved… I was taken. As I’ve already discussed the Jane/Erica aspects of the scene above, I’ll only be concentrating on Jane/Lisbon here.

Jane is sitting in his perch drinking tea when Lisbon comes in to tell him that US Marshalls have joined in the search for Erica. Jane tells Lisbon they’re wasting their time. She answers “Thanks for your optimism”.

-Reading between the lines one can see a hint of accusation in her tone, like this was Jane’s fault (which admittedly it was). They then have the following dialogue:

Lisbon: “I have to ask, Jane. Did you know Erica was going do this?”

Jane “Try to escape. Of course. Who wouldn’t.”

Lisbon: You didn’t answer my question.

Jane: No, I didn’t…..answer your question.

Here’s the thing. Jane did answer Lisbon’s question. She asked if he knew Erica would escape and he said he did. So that’s not the question Lisbon was referring to when she said Jane didn’t answer her question. What she wants is for Jane to reassure with regards to her underlying concern: That Jane knew Erica would escape, and could have stopped her, but didn’t. Jane knows this, but didn’t want to responds, hence the initial offhanded “Of course” followed by a blatant refusal to answer Lisbon when she tries to get an honest answer.

Windsparrow: During the final scene, when Lisbon asks Jane if he knew Erika was going to escape and she walks away from him, frustrated and unsatisfied with his answer, seeing the look on Jane’s face caused the Man to exclaim, “Bastard!” in a particular tone of voice  – exactly the same one he uses when the cat jumps up on the dining table and filches a piece of meat off his plate. The tone is equal parts frustration and amusement at the cat getting the better of him. “No, I don’t see any chemistry between Jane and Erika. He’s too busy messing with Lisbon.” More seriously, he said, “It looks like Jane is playing a long game with Erica.  He needs her for something and when he is ready, he will reel her back in.”

A little while ago, I asked him why he thought Jane looked so devastated after that first kiss. He said, “He felt terrible because he realized he wanted to be kissing Lisbon.” Of course, as he said this, he had a little Jane-messing-with-Lisbon grin on his face. Bastard!

The Man’s idea of Jane playing the long game is one I am beginning to love for two reasons. One, it leaves plenty of room for my precious ‘ship. Two, it means Jane has not been stuck merely reacting to Red John over the last several months.  I have been suspecting Jane of simply not being enough to best RJ – not smart enough, not devious enough. And Jane’s chief weapon is his smarts and deviousness. Well, his two chief weapons are his smarts, his deviousness, and Lisbon’s fanatical devotion. No wait, Jane’s three chief weapons are smarts, deviousness, Lisbon’s fanatical devotion, and the rest of the SCU’s loyalty. Jane’s four… no, amongst Jane’s weaponry against Red John are such elements as his smarts, his deviousness, Lisbon’s devotion, the SCU’s loyalty, and… Let me come in again…. (My apologies to Monty Python for this horrible parody. I would apologize *for* it, but I am not sorry.)

My point is that, on the surface, it was beginning to look like Jane’s only hope for taking Red John down would be for RJ to fall into that serial killer error of making mistakes either through arrogance or a subconscious desire to be stopped.  But if Jane really has the Jane-scheme to end all Jane-schemes going on under the surface and has been working on it for months, then this is vastly more important to the show and to the character than who ends up sailing off into the sunset together at the end of the show.

I am going to reserve judgment on whether or not I love or loathe this one until we see where it really fits in the overall story arc.

Reviewbrain: While I also love the Man’s theory, I just think it too good to be true. If Jane was playing a long game, well, a longer one than the span of this episode anyway, I doubt he would have been so surprised when Erica escaped, or as morose as he was after she ended their call.

So it seems your other more depressing conclusion is true: Jane is just stuck reacting to RJ. Jane may think he got one over on RJ by manipulating him to kill Panzer. But in reality, if Jane couldn’t even win in his game against Erica, then he is nowhere near capable yet of beating Red John. At least that’s what I think Jane’s reasoning would be. Hence him sipping tea, licking his wounds alone in his godforsaken attic.

And this, Jane’s bad mood could have been the reason why he refused to answer Lisbon’s question. Borrowing from Windsparrow’s above description, he had no time to bother with her inconvenient emotions (her jealousy, if that’s all he thought she was feeling). After all, he has much bigger things to worry about. If he couldn’t beat Erica, what are the chances that he can get Red John?

But neither Jane messing with Lisbon, nor his being in a bad mood seemed to be good enough reason for Jane’s demeanor here. The first time I saw this episode, I had a replay of my reaction to episode “Red Queen” where, after Hightower tells Jane he should clue Lisbon in on what’s going on, he replies “I’m better off on my own”.  I’d ranted at the time and was full well and ready to do so her and launch into a “WHY THE HECK WOULDN’T HE JUST TELL HER THE TRUTH” spiel.

But then I realized, why the heck would he? Telling Lisbon the truth would mean admitting to her that this whole case had been a game to him, that he wanted to see if he could best Erica, that he thought he could, but he lost.

Just a few episode’s ago Jane was defending himself when Lisbon told him he was losing his touch. And ever since the Panzer incident and Darcy’s inquiry in it Lisbon had been telling Jane that he was wrong in how he was handling things. If Jane admitted to a mistake here, it would be admitting that he was human and capable of error, and god forbid that happen. He would be risking Lisbon rethinking her trust, blind devotion, and the free reign she gives him.

 The thing is, Lisbon knows Jane is not infallible. She’s called him an idiot plenty of times. It still hasn’t stopped her from going along with his ruses (to my utter disappointment). Jane and Lisbon’s season four closeness seems to have given her some blind spots when it comes to his flaws.

 But I suppose Jane fears his recent errors in judgment might be the last straw to make her reclaim her (seemingly blind) devotion. Because like Windsparrow pointed out, Jane sees Lisbon’s loyalty as one of his biggest assets. So it’s only natural he wouldn’t want to lose that by losing her faith in his abilities. And as it seems Lisbon and Jane’s new motto is “No harm, no foul”, he wouldn’t want to let her in on his plan until after he cleverly thwarted Erica. But he didn’t win, so he couldn’t tell her.

The thing is, by holding out on Lisbon, Jane is in fact, risking losing Lisbon’s hard-earned trust. By not being up front with her Jane risks pushing Lisbon away.

Unless….could that be Jane’s intention? I raised the possibility that Jane might want Lisbon to stop blindly going along with him, to stand up to him. Could him pushing her away here be the reason for that?

Aw, crap. All my optimism brought Cynic out of his basement. He’s laughing at me again.

Whatever. I tried to list all the possibilities here in the poll. Please choose the one you think is most accurate.

The other Best Scenes:

1st runner up: Jane/Erica in the hotel room.

2nd runner up: Rigsby, Sarah, and Madam Atusa. This scene was so hilarious, I even forgave the unlikeliness that Sarah wouldn’t have known by this point whether Rigsby had other children or not.

Honorable Mentions:

Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Morena Baccarin, Jillian Bach, Owain Yeoman.

Writer Ken Woodruff

Director

Pet Peeves (?)

The question mark here is because I am not sure if this was intended or not..

Erica’s Flynn planned and killed her husband. It was not manslaughter. So I’m guessing the short time period, ten months, coupled with her and Jane’s statements regarding the witness against her in “Every Rose” were intended to make us fill in the gaps: that Erica cut a deal with the DA; a confession for a lighter sentence. But I’m just wondering if I’m assuming too much…

Conclusion

Personally, I don’t think RJ is smarter than Jane, but Jane’s just got too much going against him: mainly himself. I think the changes Jane has been going through this season (après Panzer) have been detrimental to him. He’s becoming ever more egotistical and that’s causing him to make mistakes. In this episode, for example, the second he got Erica out of jail then her escape was just a matter of time. Even if Jane thought he could control his own reactions to her (which turned out to be untrue) he had no way of ensuring, controlling the effect she had on others.

And despite Jane knowing Erica’s methods, despite his knowing her MO and seeing her attack a mile away, Jane still wasn’t able to dodge it. Because she used his ego against him…wait, that reminds me of someone…

Anyway, we have Jane ignoring Erica’s crime and the threat she poses in favor of indulging in a cat and mouse game with her. Wait, that also sounds familiar…

Cynic: Red John?

Reviewbrain: Yes!

Cynic: Duh. It’s kind of a given the reason Red John is obsessed with Jane is because of how smart he is. We have the same thing going on here. In Every Rose has its Thorn, when Lisbon asks Jane why he’s obsessed with Erica, Jane tells here “Because she doesn’t think I’m smart enough to catch her.”

Reviewbrain:So it’s the mental exercise that Jane craved at the time, even more so here. The same reason why RJ is so obsessed with Jane. I wonder how long it will take Jane to notice these similarities. Without rules, order, faith, his wife’s memory, something anything for Jane to believe in besides his own ego and arbitrary/selective code of ethics, Jane has no way of beating Red John.

Cynic: I thought I was supposed to be the pessimist..

Reviewbrain: On the other hand, Minelli once said (after Jane lost Hardy, an important lead to RJ) that he had been going way to hot on cases. I guess boredom and restlessness could account for Jane’s behavior too, especially if its’ true that RJ has been quiet all this time (the four months of Sarah’s pregnancy).

I just don’t know if it excuses it.

As to Jane’s refusal to confide in Lisbon, it creates good realistic drama between them. For now, I’m totally on board with the tension. In fact, I welcome it. One of the reason’s I love this episode is because it gives us Jane/Lisbon conflict. Don’t get me wrong I like that they’ve been all happy/cute/BFF this season. But frankly that can get boring. I’ve particularly found myself wishing Lisbon would revert to her season one persona that got along well with Jane but was mistrustful enough of him to doubt everything she says. I’ve also been wondering where the rest of the “not %100 trust” for Jane was hiding when it was needed the most (Red John, Darcy, Panzer, etc.).

It’s nice to know it’s still alive.

And using Erica to reawaken it was a stroke of genius.

And I am now official brain fried. Help me out woulja? What were your favorite lines in this episode?

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By the way, don’t miss next mentalist episode by @mentalistwriter, @jordan_harper featuring Malcolm McDowell!

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61 responses to “Mentalist War of the Roses Review

  • All-I-need

    I think my brain was fried, too. Good lord, who came up with this and WHAT did they take?

    Now, to quote you:
    “You can practically see the wheels turning in his head as he made his decision. Why’d he kiss her? I think Jane decided he’d beat Erica at her own game of seduction; prove to her that he wasn’t affected by her, and instead try to seduce her. I also think he was multi-tasking; that he wanted to test himself to see if in fact, he could kiss a woman, if he was capable of moving on. And who better than to experiment on than an inmate who was going back to prison? No emotional attachments right?”

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have a writer tell us that this was the intention here!

    Personally, I hope Jane was so horrified because it suddenly dawned on him that he really is capable of moving on, something he has always denied. That must have come as a shock – and sadly 20 seconds too late. I was so hoping for him to close in on her and say “Nothing” and leave her in the damn room, looking dumbstuck. THAT would`ve been great.

    Anyways, what really surprised me – and I only realized that now while reading your review – was Lisbon.

    She was suspicious of Erica from the beginning. In fact, she was absolutely sure Erica would make a run for it – which she did. So, my question is: why didn`t Lisbon in true Jane-fashion make arrangements in the background while everyone else was preoccupied with ignoring her warnings? She could`ve easily pulled some strings to make sure Erica would be snatched at the airport at the latest. I was actually waiting for that to happen. Imagine Jane`s and Wainwright`s faces if Lisbon walked by, shoving a handcuffed Erica along the hallway, and saying “I told you so” to them in a snippy voice before personally carting her off to prison.

    The strangest part really WAS the timeline, though. At first I was really happy when Erica mentioned the victim was a client ten months ago. Finally, another mark on the timeline!
    Then I saw Sarah. Admittedly, at first I thought she was wearing a fake baby belly for this absolutely hilarious class. And that would have made sense, somehow. But for Sarah to get pregnant THREE months after she and Rigsby first met? No way! I mean, have they never heard of protection? That`s just stupid. I`d have prefered it if Sarah`s pregnancy would`ve been either anounced earlier or maybe drawn out longer. But hey, who are we to judge? Maybe she`s having twins and just LOOKS like she`s about to burst? (just ignore that she mentioned the week she`s in, she could be counting twice – one for each child).

    I hope Lisbon will blow up in Jane`s face sooner or later, he`s being an ass and it`s time for her to have a “healthy influence” on him again. Maybe a punch in the nose is in order – again.

    Anyways, I`m looking forward to the next few episodes – rumor has it episode 19 will be a casino episode. Yay!

    Oh, and you asked about favorite lines – I actually don`t have any this time, but the most hilarious scene was definitely the childbirth class. That woman had me in stitches. Really, what on earth is she smoking? And it was so cute how Sarah and Rigsby tried to stiffle their laughter and hide their smirks. They really make a cute couple, even though I`m slowly starting to wonder just how Rigsby became a cop and where on earth he left his balls. That`s getting ridiculous, really.

    Thanks for another great review, and may I just add that I totally agree with Chizuru_Chibi`s rant? Nicely put, really!

  • windsparrow

    “I’m not sure if Jane realized what Erica was doing. But if he did, I suspect it probably would’ve only fueled his desire to prove her wrong, to show her he couldn’t be manipulated. And so he agrees to let her out, pretending to believe her, the same way he did when they first met. He wanted her to think he was doing her bidding, only to catch her when she tries to make her escape and come out victorious.

    “At least that was the plan. And this, Jane’s ego, his competitiveness, is exactly what Erica counted on to get her out of jail.”

    Yeah, that explains a lot, doesn’t it? And I just realized that if I quote all the parts that you wrote that I just want to say I like or agree with, I’ll end up quoting almost everything except my own stuff and the surveys.

    “Finally, Jane allowed Erica to kiss him again right before she got in the car to leave. To me, all this felt like he was giving her a consolation prize. Like Jane, having won his match with Erica, was magnanimously allowing her to take comfort from him before going back to prison. Ironically, her kissing him was probably to distract him from making sure the men who picked her up were legit cops.”

    I had a strong impression that Jane was well aware of being under Wainwright’s scrutiny in that moment and could not help but think Jane accepted that kiss from Erika as a kind of message to Wainwright. Of course, I am not entirely certain what it would be. But I do hope that what Wainwright takes away from it is, “You know, maybe if I listen to Agent Lisbon more and the sparkly sociopath less, I won’t ever have to watch him swap spit with another sociopathic murderer just before she escapes again.” Then again, I fear some people cannot learn from their mistakes.

    “So now I’m wondering if Lisbon truly was confused about Erica when she asked Grace about her secret to men-whispering, or if she was just pretending to be cause it gave her a chance to vent.”

    The thing is, it’s not just the pretty, pretty physical package that charms others. It’s a whole mind-set – of being willing and able to manipulate people, of having that sense of – entitlement might be the word, but I am not sure, but it involves expecting people do to things so they do them. Sheldon on Big Bang Theory works that, without the charm or excessively pretty exterior. Someone as straightforward, as hardworking as Lisbon cannot cross that barrier – she believes it is Wrong to manipulate people that way, so even if she were to try, she would not carry it off, because it’s attached to a core believe that the charmer deserves it (or the charmed deserve to be used). It is entirely possible to envy that expectation as well as resent it.

    “Erica’s Flynn planned and killed her husband. It was not manslaughter. So I’m guessing the short time period, ten months, coupled with her and Jane’s statements regarding the witness against her in “Every Rose” were intended to make us fill in the gaps: that Erica cut a deal with the DA; a confession for a lighter sentence. But I’m just wondering if I’m assuming too much…”

    That is a reasonable assumption. Change Of Plea to a lesser charge and reduced sentence happens frequently. When I was a court clerk, there was a standard COP deal for certain serious traffic violations. Soooooo much easier than than setting a trial date, summoning a jury, etc. etc. yakkity smakkity. In addition, a lawyer can drag that kind of thing out for darn near ever if there’s a judge who feels like being cooperative. Even without much cooperation from the judge, it would be easy to imagine that for a few months after being charged with murder, Erika would be out on bail, continuing to run her business, while awaiting trial and/or final plea bargain. The speed at which Jane’s case went to trial was absurd, if not outright impossible. So it is not to be taken as guide to a reasonable time frame.

    “Don’t get me wrong I like that they’ve been all happy/cute/BFF this season. But frankly that can get boring.”

    Well, I for one could sit around watching them being cute together indefinitely, but it wouldn’t advance the story arc and I doubt the network would appreciate it if the show became all cuteness, all the time. When I first started watching the show, I posited the theory that the conflict between Jane and Lisbon is even more integral to the show than the conflict between Jane and Red John. Without the main conflict, where is the show? Nowhere.

  • windsparrow

    “why didn`t Lisbon in true Jane-fashion make arrangements in the background while everyone else was preoccupied with ignoring her warnings? She could`ve easily pulled some strings to make sure Erica would be snatched at the airport at the latest.”

    What if there is a hint to why this could not happen in last episode’s little chat with Ardilles? Since “Strawberries and Cream” Lisbon has become more and more alienated from her usual professional connections. What if she has burned too many bridges for Jane, and now she no longer has the ability to do that sort of thing even if she wants to?

    Or ya know, no one is really bothering to develop the female lead’s character in favor of leaving her as part of the frame that displays the male lead to his best advantage.

  • reviewbrain

    This:

    “The thing is, it’s not just the pretty, pretty physical package that charms others. It’s a whole mind-set – of being willing and able to manipulate people, of having that sense of – entitlement might be the word, but I am not sure, but it involves expecting people do to things so they do them. Sheldon on Big Bang Theory works that, without the charm or excessively pretty exterior. Someone as straightforward, as hardworking as Lisbon cannot cross that barrier – she believes it is Wrong to manipulate people that way, so even if she were to try, she would not carry it off, because it’s attached to a core believe that the charmer deserves it (or the charmed deserve to be used). It is entirely possible to envy that expectation as well as resent it.”

    Yes! The only time Lisbon did pull off such a deception was in episode Red Sky at Night when she manipulated Jane into meeting the victims daughter so he’d take the case. And she didn’t feel good about it because she’d told Hightower that it was “unethical”. And the grief Jane gave her for it afterwards! The hypocrite! I
    suspect he hated it not just cause Lisbon tricked him but because if she continued doing that then he’d have to redefine her character as a good honest woman. And I don’t think he would have liked doing that. For all his talk that she’s too straight, I believe deep inside Jane actually likes that about her.

  • ortforshort

    My take on things:

    This episode was perfectly reasonable and made total sense to me, but, hey, I’m a guy.

    Jane/Erica:
    Jane obviously knew this was a ploy for Erica to escape.
    His curiosity got the best of him and he played along.
    Erica is also a smart cookie.
    She knew the best way to get to Jane was to challenge his ego by making a blatant attempt to escape.
    Jane figured he could handle whatever she threw at him – his ego.
    Altho’ Erica is hot and none of us guys are made of stone,
    I don’t believe for an instant that Jane wasn’t just playing along with Erica to make her think she had the upper hand and get her overconfident.

    Wainright –
    After strong bosses like Sistah Girl (Hightower) and LaRoche, having a weak boss is a refreshing change.
    It allows for some leeway, which we definitely had a lot of in this episode.
    By the way, Erica didn’t dupe Jane, she duped Wainright.
    If Wainright hadn’t completely dropped the ball with the security, Erica doesn’t escape.
    Jane knew what she was up to and it was actually pretty lame.
    Jane wasn’t in charge of security.

    Plot Holes:
    I’m not a stickler on the kinds of plot holes we saw here:
    Erica getting to use a limosine because she had been on good behavior for awhile.
    Sarah’s sudden bulge ==> if guys are writing this, let’s get this over with already

    Lisbon:
    She’s (not so) secretly in love with Jane.
    Altho’ he’s playing like he’s attracted to Erica, Lisbon doesn’t know that.
    Erica is also the opposite of Lisbon and thinking that Jane is attracted to that has got to be a big blow.

    Rigsby/Sarah –
    Sarah needed to get “Hand” as George Costanza would put it. She’s a smart cookie. A lawyer.
    With Rigsby clearly still in love with Van Pelt, she doesn’t want to go thru life with a guy who loves someone else.
    She is now forcing Rigsby to prove his love to her in order to have his baby and keep his self respect.
    She has gotten “Hand” back.

  • violet

    What can I say? I positively LOVED this review, it’s definitely one of my favorites! It was intelligently done, funny, well thought… In a word, great! :)

    I’ll just add a few comments, but overall I almost completely agree with everything that has been told, either by you, Reviewbrain, or Windsparrow or the Man.

    1) Rigsby and Sarah

    Is that me or Rigsby didn’t take too well Sarah’s refusal? He looked as if she had rejected him… I’m sad to say I don’t think their couple will last…

    2) Jane

    I think the situation concerning Jane’s attraction is more complex than it seems. He declared that he wasn’t “attracted” to her at their very first meeting in “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” because he knew she was a murderer, but there was still something intriguing enough for Lisbon to ask him why he was obsessed with Erica. So don’t forget there is sometimes a huge difference between what the writers want to convey and our take on it: take for instance Kristina, who among those watching the show had felt the chemistry between her and Jane? I for one did not. So in retrospective, one might say he was in denial back then with Erica, that he was somewhat physically attracted to her but wasn’t ready to admit it, or that he was so harsh with her because she tried to use him just like every other man she met and he didn’t consider himself as such… I’m not sure anymore.
    After all, complex man, complex feelings: he has an ambivalent take on himself, full of pride and arrogance and, at the same time, he’s self-loathing and insecure. He acts all charming, assuring that he’s able to seduce any woman and a while later confess with vulnerability that he wants an ideal woman stronger and better than him. So is that really so strange that he might be attracted to women whose morality is questionable? Kristina, who he kept repeating was a fake psychic, and now Erica, a manipulative killer? Intelligent, challenging women, able to use others as he does, in whom he can recognize himself… Even though he knew such relationship wouldn’t work (he felt bad dating Kristina and Erica was a criminal), they are a way to valorize himself. There is two ways to do so indeed: either to choose an angel who would bring the better out of him, or to pair up with an “evil” (even that poor Kristina) similar to him to support his worst sides and understand his doings.

    Either way, I loved how you explained his reaction to the kiss! I completely agree with you on this: he suddenly remembered that she was a killer and stopped out of reflex. I also like Windsparrow’s point of view, about being shocked that deep down he was willing to move on. Erica the matchmaker herself told him so during his interview, so it would make sense that the matter was brought on again in a different way. I must say that when I first watched the episode I understood the scene both ways: 1) he was getting into the kiss but pulled out remembering who she was, hence the look of shock “how could I kiss her knowing she’s a killer?”, 2) the morning after, he was brooding because he came to realize that moment of weakness meant that he was ready to be with a woman again and had trouble accepting it. He needed to sort things out.

    3) Erica

    “Even Erica was shocked by how affected Jane was; like she couldn’t believe her seduction actually worked. I’m even wondering if Jane’s reaction managed to move something within her cold self-serving heart. But again, even if it had, it wasn’t enough to weaken her.”

    I’m not so sure she was surprised that her seduction worked. She had settled the mood, she was confident in her charms and Jane was the one to kiss her. I think she was sure she was able to seduce him or anyone for that matter. Then it was more as if she didn’t expect him to pull out the kiss.
    In fact, I believe she might have been attracted to him, based on her insistence on seducing him. After all, she could have gotten out of prison without involving him, she had the guards at her beck and call, had her lawyer fall for her, the possibilities were many… And she didn’t need to give him that last kiss. You may be right and her goal might have been to distract him from examining too closely the cops, but she would have managed that with a last witty remark. One could also say that it was to put him in a difficult position with his boss, since a stricter man than Wainwright would have reacted differently (I can’t help than imagine Virgil witnessing such a scene… Ouch…). But still, for me she really had a soft spot for him, that’s why she called him. That last conversation felt more like a mixing of amusement and regret than a way to gloat about her victory, although of course the simple fact that being able to make this call was one per se…

    In spite of that, I rather agree with your interpretation of why Jane refused to answer Lisbon before this call. It was a mind game all along and his words to Erica about him catching her in the future were clear: the game is still on. The title was a reference to it, since the War of (the) Roses was a period of political troubles in the medieval England, spanning many reigns during witch two rival families battled for governing, meaning that there was all along a struggle for power between Jane and Erica.

    I really liked how you linked it to Red John, with Jane interested in her just like RJ is in him… Moreover, I think the parallel also applies to his way to deal with both adversaries. Here, he lost to Erica, not because she was smarter than him, but because he was clouded by his emotions. Being confused about himself didn’t allow him to see that she used the same trick with him that he had used with her. She used an illusion to make him see what she wanted him to see. Just like he used her husband’s corpse to make her believe her young lover was dead, she faked a tentative of escape (the lawyer) to make him believe that she was getting back in jail. He used her emotions, her pride in not needing any man and in not loving her secretary, and made her feel safe to confess, since that witness was dead and she was alone with Jane. Here, she made him feel safe by letting him discover her first plan and by playing their scene in the open with many witnesses, and used his own mixed emotions (trying to reactivate his reactions to the first kiss, if I follow your interpretation, RB).
    Therefore, it was getting emotionally involved that had cost him the victory. Same goes with RJ: he needs to let go completely of his feelings to think clearly and catch him. No more seeking revenge and getting caught up in plans and counter-plans, he simply needs to keep his head cold and catch him like another criminal.

    4) Lisbon

    Your analysis of Lisbon’s reactions was excellent. Indeed, there was fear for Jane’s ethic, about his motivations, mixed with a feminine underlying jealousy of Erica. That was pretty realistic given how different both women are. It reminded me of something LittleMender has pointed out for ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorns’, a little side remark about the placing of the actors in that ep: “at least twice, Lisbon almost immediately replaced Erica in Jane’s line of vision, a subtle device contrasting the cunning of the one with the integrity(purity?) of the other.”. What was only implicit and subtle then is now explicit. That enlightens even more the contrast between them and, in consequence, between the two predominant aspects of Jane’s characters, the cunning and seductive jerk and the better person hiding underneath. That interpretation was made quite obvious by the scene in the Limo, with him sitting between them…
    Now, about Lisbon’s jealousy about Jane, it was also present. She was hurt indeed by Jane’s words and because of that she distrusted him in the final scene. Erica was his accomplice all along while Lisbon was entirely left out of the loop. The situation was quite similar to the setting of “Red Gold”, where Jane investigated with Hightower alone and then teased Lisbon about being jealous of him “going out with another woman”. ‘War Of Roses’ seemed almost a darker and more dramatic version of this: first, Lisbon stayed in the bullpen instead of investigating with him, this time probably by choice, because she deeply disliked Erica and tried to avoid spending time with her. Moreover, here Jane didn’t want to taunt Lisbon, his “I need her” was certainly a way to explain he needed her less for the investigation than to clarify his thoughts, since he seemed pretty confused the morning after the kiss. The problem is that the subject seemed to have shifted from “needing her help” (before getting her out of jail) to needing her, period. It was the first time Jane told her something remotely emotional about another woman. The “she has great legs” about Darcy was a passing comment, while this one about Erica was not… So, for me, Lisbon was indeed jealous of the supposed bond between Jane and Erica: this despicable woman has taken her role in this ep, she’s been Jane’s partner, his confident (at least about the case) and, by Jane’s words, an emotional support. Lisbon was bound to feel rejected, given how close they have become. And Jane really enjoyed seeing her like that and he tried not to give it away by grinning just after. That scene was very interesting!

    (Best line for me: “that will be fun” from Jane, sandwiched between both women. That scene made me giggle!)

  • reviewbrain

    One could argue that Erica duped Jane because he didn’t foresee her secondary escape plan. I do love your refreshingly simple and forward take on things and was extremely (pleasantly) surprised that you think Jane was trying to catch Erica all along and wasn’t attracted to her. Let me ask you this then; that look he gave her after the kiss, you think it was an act then?

    Thank you for your thoughts :)

  • reviewbrain

    I love your pointing out how Jane seems to be drawn to woman who similar to him and somewhat morally unethical. I wonder if it’s because he needs friends, people he can relate to, or if it’s because he knows that he’d never seriously get incolved with them. On the other hand, his leaning more towards evil could be because he’s so tired of being judged by Lisbon all the time; not that she does but he might feel that way. People like to spend time with others who make them feel good about themselves. Perhaps, despite her infinite patience, Lisbon’s virtue is making it it hard for Jane to relate to her now, especially consider how much deeper he seems to be getting into lawlessness…

    Ouch. That would be a painful realization for Lisbon, as ortforshort stated. I wonder if that’s what hurt her the most. The fact that Jane and Erica have so much more in common than she ever could.
    Poor woman…

  • reviewbrain

    Tha k you so much for your kind words, and all your comments. Insightful as always :)

  • asianinasia

    hey there, first off I want to say that I love your reviews. I actually just started watching The Mentalist recently and finally caught up to the current episode (quite rapidly actually).

    anyway, I admit to not really paying attention too much so I just have one general series question about Patrick Jane that maybe you can answer:

    Is it ever stated where Jane learned hypnosis? Maybe this is something that no one really cares about except me, but I remember there were a few episodes on his carny life and his dad teaching him to read/observe people. I was just curious if they ever said where he picked up this useful skill from since it didn’t seem like the carnival or psychic acts used it

  • ortforshort

    He would have to be a pretty good actor to pull that one off. But then, he (both Jane and Simon Baker) is a pretty good actor, isn’t he? My feeling is, as attractive as Erica is, Patrick is just too good to sucked in by her like the young kid in the first episode we saw her in and the lawyer in this episode. He’d be kicking himself all over the place if he had let her get to him. I don’t think so. But, on the other hand, you’re right, it really did look like she got to him. That’s one of the reasons I like this show so much. The writers never beat you over the head with what happened, they leave it all up to your interpretation, your perspective. I think he’s a lot less vulnerable than you guys do. But it’s all how you look at it.

    By the way. I love this blog and look forward to it and hope you’re feeling better.

  • zee

    Hello Reviewbrain,

    Hands down, the best review so far this season! You’ve basically stated every theory I’ve had about the reasons Jane loves to spar with Erica and the attraction factor between them.

    All in all, it’s an episode I enjoyed very much and yes I do think they are attracted to each other, at first, but towards the end, someone has to let Erica know to drop the tango stance.

    I think the facial expression she gave (“the chin shrug”) at the end phonecall suggest that she does have genuine feelings for Jane. But im pretty sure Jane ain’t reciprocating, especially after that kiss.

    I must say, Erica brought out meaner side of Jane more in the office scene of looking for Natalie’s lover. Maybe he’s just being himself, vindicative of adulturers.

    Lisbon is not jealous, just envious of Erica. Also, best line of the episode,

    ” Just Cho.”

  • reviewbrain

    Hello there, welcome to the blog :) It has never been stated where Jane learned hypnosis. It is taught in Universities in certain subjects but I doubt Jane ever studied there since he never went to high school. Personally I think it was self taught from a book. He’s an avid reader so that makes most sense to me.

  • reviewbrain

    Oh, yeah!! I felt that too about himand Erica discussing dinner when the man is sitting there crying. You could be right, it could be she brings out the worst side of him. His empathy and compassion is something I think she would have looked down upon so he he might have hidden it from her.
    Or,he could have done that because he didn’t want her to think him weak. Hmm. But if he was trying to ensnare her then letting her see possible weakness might have actually helped him in his deception. Ugh. Let’s just leave at what you said *_*

  • reviewbrain

    I do like Patrick’s vulnerable side because I find it balances his arrogance. As to Jane kicking himself all over the place, that’s kinda what I thought he was doing brooding alone in the attic.

    Something came across me regarding your previous comment. You said Lisbon didn’t know Jane what was doing with Erica, and was hurt cause because she’s in love with him.

    I personally see them as being friends at this point, friends close enough that it would hurt her to have him spend so much time with someone else.

    Buy if its true she’s in love, then I wonder if Patrick knows this. And if he did, why he couldn’t have just told her what was going on to spare her feelings..

    I am feeling better, thank you. And I’m so glad you like the blog. It’s nice having you here :)

  • windsparrow

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed my contribution. I definitely enjoyed reading your analysis as well.

    “One could also say that it was to put him in a difficult position with his boss, since a stricter man than Wainwright would have reacted differently (I can’t help than imagine Virgil witnessing such a scene… Ouch…)”

    Jane could have put her off, or flinched or something, to show that he was not accepting her kiss. That he calmly accepted it right in front of Wainwright is what makes me think Jane allowed it to send a message to Wainwright. If Jane did have an inkling that Erika had a back-up plan for escape, and did not warn against it so that she could get away because he does have use for her as part of his long game, it would be something along the lines of “Yeah, you know how you sided with the brilliant sociopath over the experienced, dedicated Agent? Guess what, now you get to watch the brilliant sociopath smooch another sociopath just before escaping while the whole responsibility for it falls on your head. Good luck with the paperwork, and next time try listening to the experienced, dedicated Agent.” That message would just be a side benefit of having Erika loose for his long game – Jane took steps to nudge Hightower into being nicer to Lisbon, he might want to do the same with Wainwright. Or Jane was aiming to take Wainwright down a peg or two since he likes to do that with arrogant people who do not respect the people they have power over.

  • windsparrow

    “I don’t believe for an instant that Jane wasn’t just playing along with Erica to make her think she had the upper hand and get her overconfident.”

    That is reassuring. I am glad to hear it – from someone who has no need to fear having to clean up the mess if my brain explodes because he gave the wrong answer ;-D

    “If Wainright hadn’t completely dropped the ball with the security, Erica doesn’t escape.
Jane knew what she was up to and it was actually pretty lame.
Jane wasn’t in charge of security.”

    I was impressed with the security detail Wainwright arranged for Erika. Not favorably, mind you, but I was impressed. The two agents who were there to guard Erika should have unhesitatingly accompanied her in the limo. Or, since Lisbon was in there as well, one goes in the limo and the other drives their vehicle back. But to have two agents whose purpose was to prevent her escape just be awed into “Oh Em Gee! She, like, totally got a limo, and that wasn’t covered in the memo and now we don’t know what to do! Oh Em Gee!” It is also sloppy for the CBI to allow Erika to return to prison in a different way than she left – CBI Agents (read, her security detail) should have taken her back and put her directly into the custody of the prison. Very sloppy to transfer custody out in the open like that, outside a fancy restaurant after a fancy meal. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. How much of this is stretching inaccurate portrayal of police procedure to accommodate the plot, and how much of it is portraying Wainwright’s sloppiness in leadership, I cannot parse. Back in Wainwright’s university days, he would have taken a number of psychological tests during classes on psychological testing – I wonder what results he got. Maybe his professors would not be the least bit surprised that the man is fool enough to trust the judgment of someone he deems to be a sociopath about what is safe to allow another sociopath to do without much in the way of independent thinking. Setting Wainwright up for a fall simply by arranging circumstances in which Wainwright would fling himself at the ground as hard and as fast as humanly possible certainly seems like something Jane would do.

    “With Rigsby clearly still in love with Van Pelt, she doesn’t want to go thru life with a guy who loves someone else.
    She is now forcing Rigsby to prove his love to her in order to have his baby and keep his self respect.”

    I feel she was happily asking Rigsby to co-parent their child no matter what the status of their relationship, while simultaneously not changing that status merely because they have a child together. I was hoping that they would be able to manage that. I’m not in the least surprised that Rigsby would make the offer, but I am pleasantly surprised that the writers aren’t going for the cheap conflict of putting him in a doomed marriage together with all the fuss and bother that entails, and so allowed Sarah to be aware of their actual emotions and needs. It is entirely possible to handle parenting in a loving and responsible manner without a marriage certificate. In real life, when a couple divorces, not every couple will use the children as bargaining chips or leverage to hurt each other. Some of them manage to break up the marriage while maintaining a team approach to their children’s upbringing.

    Sarah was mature enough to save them both from a bad marriage. Now it is up to Rigsby to be mature enough not to let the ego bruise of rejection (not of him, but of the offer) mess with either his relationship with Sarah, or their ability to raise their child together.

  • Mary_N (@RobinTunneyBlog)

    First of all, I have to say that reviews of this kind help a lot, especially when you had a lot of trouble with an episode as in my case.
    I was left very confused at the end of this episode, so basically I’m venting here lol

    My main concern was, and still is, how female characters are treated lately.
    And here I quote what windsparrow said:
    “Or ya know, no one is really bothering to develop the female lead’s character in favor of leaving her as part of the frame that displays the male lead to his best advantage.”

    THIS. This is exactly how I’m feeling at times this season. Especially about Lisbon. It’s in episodes like this that I miss the “I take no c*** from you, Jane” Lisbon.
    Here she was weak, dismissed and ignored. She was right since the beginning, she saw it coming all the way, and no one bothered to listen to her.
    Of course, Luther didn’t have to listen to her, because otherwise there wouldn’t have been an episode at all. But come on… really?
    It was frustrating to say the least. It was better having no Lisbon at all in this episode… having her in Chicago visiting her niece and brothers, for example.
    I get it that Jane is the main character and has to have the main developing, but this way some of the other characters might lose the shine they used to have. At least in some episodes, and with some writers.

    I’m not a J/L shipper, so I didn’t look at the whole kiss situation with that kind of perspective, but still I think that kiss was somehow forced. As if it had to happen that Jane had to kiss a girl sooner or later. Just because… (?) I didn’t feel any kind of chemistry between him and Erica, and in some moments Jane looked like a doll.
    At least with Kristina he had a “strong” reaction, which I really liked.

    And at the end, he was proved wrong, he understimated Erica.
    I too don’t think that Lisbon was jealous in a romantic way, she was annoyed and irritated by the whole situation of “we let a killer out to solve a case”. And I don’t think it was just because of Erica herself being a beautiful and charming woman. She would have reacted the same way if it was a man in the situation. Then of course, she’s a woman, and we tend by instinct to feel “jealousy” or irritation towards another woman who is able to capture the attention… Especially, in Lisbon’s case, if no one is listening to her right points against the decision to let Erica out.

    So, I’m really not ok with episode… the ending scene was just, meh.

    “But then I realized, why the heck would he? Telling Lisbon the truth would mean admitting to her that this whole case had been a game to him, that he wanted to see if he could best Erica, that he thought he could, but he lost.”

    Jane’s ego at 100%. Such a shame, there’s no way he will find a more honest person than Lisbon with whom he can talk.
    I couldn’t really find a moment in which I could feel a connection with Jane’s character, not for one second. Usually, even when he plays his ways, I tend to feel a connection with his character and his feelings, but in this episode it really didn’t happen, I’m sorry to say that.

    At least I loved Sarah in this episode. I really like her. I hope she won’t turn out to be some kind of mole or whatever, because they would break my heart!
    I loved too how she handled the situation. She made the best decision for both her and Rigs. They don’t have to rush things, you can have a baby and not get married.
    While I’d like to see her and Rigs together forever, I really fear the writers have something in store regarding VP/Rigs and that won’t involve Sarah of course… I really hope I’m wrong though, she’s such a lovely character!

    Thanks again for the great review, and great job with the drawings!! :)

  • windsparrow

    “At least I loved Sarah in this episode. I really like her. I hope she won’t turn out to be some kind of mole or whatever, because they would break my heart!
    “I loved too how she handled the situation. She made the best decision for both her and Rigs. They don’t have to rush things, you can have a baby and not get married.”

    Maybe they used up all their “develop female characters” brain cells on Sarah. Because I knew Rigs was gonna ask at some point. And I was terrified that she would say yes, ignoring the reality of their emotional needs in favor of doing the expected thing. They really did surprise me with allowing Sarah to be self-aware enough to know that getting married simply because there is a baby on the way would mess up rather ensure future happiness. As for whether it is worth trading part of Lisbon’s character, I will leave off deciding till we really see where each character ends up.

  • ortforshort

    He could just be brooding because she won and she’s gloating. I think Patrick prides himself most on his mentalism – his ability to read people and manipulate situations. With a situation as obvious as Erica, it’s hard for me to believe that he would allow himself to be manipulated romantically by someone he knows uses that as her weapon. To me, it’s almost unthinkable that he would allow that to happen. As far as telling Lisbon what he was up to – he never tells anyone what he’s up to. The last person he would have told would have been Lisbon. If she acted like she was OK with him fawning over Erica, Erica would have suspected something right away. This way, with Lisbon obviously extremely miffed over the situation, it looked a lot more real.

  • ortforshort

    The Rigsby/Sarah plotline is very uncomfortable to guys because it’s our nightmare. Being a guy, I think that Sarah is mainipulating Rigsby into “growing up”, forgetting about Van Pelt, and moving on to his responsibilites as an adult. I think she’s holding out his future fatherhood as the bait. Not trusting women as much as you do, I don’t see Sarah sharing custody of the child if Rigsby doesn’t marry her – but she wants that on her terms – he’s going to have to ask (beg?).

  • windsparrow

    “Not trusting women as much as you do,”

    Yeah, I suppose personal experience enters into how we see and feel these things. It is pretty natural that I would hear more single-mother horror stories, and you would get more single-father horror stories from our respective sets of friends. All I can say is that my read on Sarah’s character is that she is much more on the Lisbon end of the spectrum than on the Erika end. Since that’s where I sit, I just really have a hard time seeing manipulation in her response to Rigsby’s proposal.

  • Fern

    Admittedly, I feel asleep and did not see the full episode, so I am basing my ‘theory’ on things I’ve read up on here in this review. Although, the review paints a clear picture (thank you), I did not see for myself the reactions described so I could be far off base. It is very possible I’m overthinking/giving Jane far too much credit. Maybe I just want Jane to be operating on a completely higher level that anyone has imagined.

    I started thinking along these lines when you posted about your “Man’s” theory that Jane has Erika as part of a bigger plan and also the comparison between Erika and Kristina Frye…….

    We saw as far back as Season 2 (or was it 3?!) that Jane feels like Lisbon is getting too close to him and he doesn’t want Red John to notice since he knows RJ is watching him. He told Lisbon that bad things happen to people who get close to him referring to Kristina’s disappearance, and I really didn’t think Jane and Kristina were all THAT close.

    Maybe Erika is part of Jane’s plan for Red John to go after her. He wants everyone including RJ to think he is taken with Erika. He could be conflicted about knowing what RJ is capable of & what he may do to Erika hence his brooding at the end and his treatment of Lisbon, pushing her away. Like Panzer, maybe he see this as the only way of stopping Erika who manipulates wherever she is (i.e. the prison guards). He’s letting her think that she’s won this round. Like Jane said about Red John at the end of Season 3, he thinks he is a step ahead and is therefore two steps behind.

    I can’t wait to see what actually happens….

  • ortforshort

    Manipulation is probably the wrong word here. Let’s just say that she’s laying the groundwork for things going the way she wants them to in the future. The first thing is that Rigsby forgets about Van Pelt and clearly demonstrates that in front of her and Van Pelt. She’s not going to let this go on the way it is. And, I suppose here’s the manipulation part, if he doesn’t, he can kiss this baby good bye – that’s the bait. She may say a lot of stuff now like he’ll make a great father or whatever, but she’s holding all the cards regarding the baby. She wants to move to New York, he has no say. She meets another guy, he’s pretty much out of the picture. I think she’s using the threat of the fatherhood thing to get Rigsby back in line. I’m not blaming her, I don’t see how she can play this any other way and live with herself

  • reviewbrain

    Wow. I must say that seems a tad bit… I don’t know just because she’s a tough lawyer doesn’t mean she’s that calculating. I honestly hope not, anyway. She seems genuinely sweet to me..

  • windsparrow

    Yeah, “manipulation” is the wrong word. It is vastly too charitable a word for a woman who would use her child to make her guy knuckle under. Vicious and spiteful are better. Either Sarah is a “nice girl” or is simply masquerading as one. If she really is a “nice girl”, even the thought of doing as you suggest would make her sick to her stomach.

  • violet

    I also think you’re a bit hard on Sarah, Ortforshort. Of course, as a lawyer and a wise woman, she’s aware that Rigsby needs to “grow up” indeed, meaning mostly to choose what he really wants, who he wants to be with and why, cause it’s clear the air has still not been cleared up completely with Van Pelt. So what is she doing in that scene with the proposal? Protecting herself, by refusing to be dragged in a situation where the lines will remain blurry (she knows that he likes her, but not if he loves her; he’s proven that he’s willing to assume his role as a father, but never say that he was happy to have this child with her). I don’t believe she’s planning on using their baby as leverage to force him into anything: that would be planning far too much ahead. She rather seems to be taking each step at a time and go where things lead them. I’m not saying her attitude wouldn’t turn nasty, just that she doesn’t plan to hurt Rigsby. She cares for him.
    Think back to the scene where he got angry with her because she brought in harshly the topic of his criminal father: he thought she was a cold hearted woman, only to realize later that she did it with the best intentions. The situation is similar here: she seems to be yanking his chain, but it’s more that she took a reasonable decision; she just doesn’t want to worsen a situation where things are still unclear.

    (By the way, something made me smile: is there really such a huge difference between men and women on this matter? What if Grace had been expecting Craig’s baby? That would have been a nightmare as well, don’t you think? Having a child with the -supposedly- wrong person is never a piece of cake, for men and women alike… ;) )

  • ortforshort

    I think I’m not painting the picture correctly. Put yourself in her shoes. You’re a bright young lawyer with a good career. You don’t need to get married for the child support money. You want to get married for the right reasons. You got pregnant with a guy who you could easily see spending the rest of your life with. You would like to marry him. But – he’s in love with another woman. No bueno. What to do? You can’t marry him with things the way they are. You need to force him to make a decision. Now. Her or you. And you need that to be clear to everyone so there’s no bull later on. You reject his marriage proposal – you have no intention of going thru life as a charity case. So there it is. Either he man’s up and lives up to his responsibilities and forgets his infatuation with his co-worker or it’s over. And, to give him a little more incentive, you both know that he has no control over the child if he’s not married to you. I think conniving or manipulative are strong words here. I think practical and forceful are better words. I don’t see this lawyer as the sweet little buttercup you seem to see, however.

  • reviewbrain

    Hmm. When you put it that way it does seem more Plausible. Still think she’s a buttercup though ;)
    We’ll find out soon, I bet. thanks for clearing that up!

  • Mon

    Great review, and yes my brain is also fried: up way too late reading Mentalist stuff. A few quick comments on this ep:
    I think I pretty much agree with your take on the Jane/Erica scenario. It started out as a plan, and then got a bit messy after the kiss. How could it not? Jane kissing a woman is a huge deal for him, no matter who she is.

    As for Erica, she is an attractive woman and, as many said, it’s understandable that Jane would find her so, but there’s also a glamour factor; I somehow have the impression that Jane likes women to look good, even glamourous. This is hinted at by Jane enjoying seeing Lisbon look nice n’girly in a big bridesmaid dress (ok that dress wasn’t a good example of glamour), but what I’m getting at is that he likes obviously feminine women. (On a side not, he’s been heard at least twice commenting that Lisbon would look good with shorter hair…hmm Erica’s short hairdo was quite catching!)

    Finally, on the potential Jane/Lisbon/Erica triangle if you could call it that, I did think the writers made an obvious comparison at the end between the two women, what with them both wearing green, Erica in a green dress (which Jane admires) and Lisbon then in a green shirt. I’m starting to think that wardrobe on the mentalist set may be a fun job.

    Out of curiosity, I’m wondering if ye thought that the two Roses from the title are Erica and Lisbon? The good and the evil perhaps…?

    Overall, I enjoyed this ep, even if you could pull apart a few plotholes. Rigsby/Sarah at the birthing class was v funny. Morena Baccarin was v enjoyable in her role (I prefer her here than in Homeland methinks). And seeing Jane so out of his comfort zone was interesting. I too was raging at his flippant treatment toward Lisbon at the end. Indeed, sparks must fly soon between these two. Please let there be a giant argument soon-phew I’m off to sleep now!

  • SamJMarquez

    I think you may be right in regards tothe writers titling the episode War of Roses ion reference to Erica and Lisbon. I also found it interesting that Erica wore green. Because green represents Lisbon, every Mentalist character has a colour associated to them. In Chibi’s illustrations you can see it, blue for Jane, red for VanPelt and so forth. So the fact Erica wore a green dress made me realize they are subtly comparing her to Lisbon and my thought was proven right when Lisbon wore green in the next scene.

  • windsparrow

    There is just no way I can see the scenario you describe as anything other than viciously manipulative. But I clearly lack the ability to make my case in such a way as to convince anyone but myself.

  • reviewbrain

    I agree with you. But while I believe Erica’s sweeter than apple pie, I understand how “viscious” people might be (been on the receiving end many times).
    I just have to add we have no indication Sarah harbors this secret desire to get married (not everyone does). Also something else occurred to me. Is it me or was Sarah, when she thought Rigsby was breaking up with her, taking it very well? Methinks she’s so overwhelmed by the pregnancy and the possible pressure it mightbputbon her to get martied, that she almost seemed relieved. For all we know she might have a phobia of marriage, gun-shot weddings in particular.
    But I really think we’re all over analyzing here. Simplistic explanation is probably the most accurate ;) she’s as lovable as she seems. Plus, really, there was no more room for other mentalists in this episode.

  • violet

    @Ortforshort, I agree with your description of what goes in her head. What makes me uncomfortable is the conclusion you draw from it: why would you assume that upbringing the baby is automatically at stake? “And, to give him a little more incentive, you both know that he has no control over the child if he’s not married to you”… Why? He’s the father, he has legally and morally a word to say. What makes you think Sarah would automatically deny him that right if they break up?
    So, one way or another, you think Sarah has a hidden agenda with Rigsby:
    – had she told him frankly to choose between his soft spot for his ex or his feelings for her and the baby, she would have been manipulative
    – had she accepted his proposal, it would have been to ensure the poor man stayed in her control
    – here, she is a clever, albeit cold, woman who is implicitly bargaining with the father of her child…
    The thing is what we know about her shows that she is indeed smart and doesn’t hesitate to play a little dirty in her job, but she is still far more mature than Wayne: so far, he has just gone with the flow, as he did with Van Pelt or any girlfriend he had on the show. Is that too far a stretch to want to believe that such a woman is able to separate her personal relation with him, with all the uncertainties it carries, from the fact that he is the father of their baby and therefore has a right to be a part of his child’s life?
    Again, I’m not saying that she’s any angel (I don’t really like her, in fact, she’s nice and all, but she has so obviously been brought in the show for stirring troubles that it becomes a bit annoying), or that the situation won’t turn ugly if Rigsby doesn’t choose her. Just that there is a possibility that she is honest.

  • Mon

    Yes, in my mind I do associate Lisbon with the colour green, and I was wondering how I’d come up with that, but it probably is from seeing drawings such as Chibi’s..plus they do have Lisbon wear green quite a bit, she also was given green jewellary by Jane way back in season one or two, when Van Pelt received red jewels.
    I still like to think of the two roses as being Lisbon and Erica, but another comment on here by Violet actually makes perfect sense when she points out that the war of the roses was a medieval political war, and therefore Jane and Erica’s power struggle could also be described as such.
    I had a thought while reading through the comments on here today:
    To quote reviewbrain:
    “Unless….could that be Jane’s intention? I raised the possibility that Jane might want Lisbon to stop blindly going along with him, to stand up to him. Could him pushing her away here be the reason for that?”
    This is a possibility if Jane really does need a strong woman, better than himself, yet able to accept his flaws, as he stated in Erica’s matchmaking video, and as mentioned by a previous poster here.Lisbon’s sudden leniency regarding Jane’s antics prevents her from filling that role, which Jane obviously needs to keep him on the straight and narrow. Well..one can only hope..it’s better than thinking he was just being a total ass towards her. I’ll admit it: I’m a J/L shipper and scenes like that last one in the attic don’t agree with me at all!

  • reviewbrain

    “This is a possibility if Jane really does need a strong woman, better than himself, yet able to accept his flaws, as he stated in Erica’s matchmaking video, and as mentioned by a previous poster here.Lisbon’s sudden leniency regarding Jane’s antics prevents her from filling that role, which Jane obviously needs to keep him on the straight and narrow.”

    I suspect his wife used to play this role. And I’ve Been pointing out how Lisbon needs to fill it now needever since episode every rose has it’s thorn. So glad you think so too. Oh, and I associate green with Lisbon too. I think it’s because of her eyes :)

    I loved your comment below regarding Janes appreciation of femininity and style. I think I mentioned in one of the posts how Lisbon style has become softer this season; one of her blazers also looks identical to Jane’s suit jackets, very Classy and attractive and I’ve wondered if it wasn’t more evidence of his increased effect on her. Also, I agree the writer having Jane say “very fetching in Green” about Erica’s dress was a comparison to Lisbon, like you said. After all, why this color?

    As to the title, another reference/ comparison to/between Erica and Lisbon’s opposing personalities would be my guess

    Thank you do much for your comments. You brought up interesting aspects I hadn’t considered :)

  • hardly_loquacious

    I agree with you about the show’s crappy treatment of its female characters, though I would argue it’s been going on for years now.

    In many ways, the female characters are the only ones who ever have any significant consequences to their actions (apart from Jane’s family’s murder, which I’m not really including here since it occurred before the show started). And the general ‘development’ (if we can call it that, but I don’t know what else TO call it) of Lisbon’s character (and for that matter Van Pelt’s) is driving me crazy this season.

    I also see no chemistry between Simon Baker and Morena Baccarin. I just found that scene weird. Admittedly, I am a J/L shipper, but it had no effect on my opinions of this ep.

    Please show, I get that Jane is the protagonist. I really do, but could you pay a little attention to the development of your other characters sometimes? I just want a little balance in the power dynamic on the show. That’s all.

  • hardly_loquacious

    Well, I’m going to preface this by saying this ep was easily my least favourite episode of this show of all time. I really, really didn’t like it.

    I’m also going to say that while I am a Jane/Lisbon shipper, that has little to nothing to do with my general hatred of this ep.

    I just found this episode a huge mess.

    1. Sarah’s rapidly advancing pregnancy. Ludicrous, just ludicrous. I agree that it was done to show the passage of time, but I’m sorry, that couldn’t possibly be the only reason. Especially since the birth now coincidentally coincides roughly with the finale, which is inevitable going to involve Red John. This almost certainly means some big dramatic thing is happening. The birth is either going to be used to counterbalance some big RJ tragedy, or be tied into one. I just feel like the whole plotline deserved better. I hope you’re right and Rigsby and Sarah work it out, but the timejump makes me highly skeptical.

    2. So Red John’s been silent for four months? And Lisbon has obviously not confronted Jane in any kind of a way re: the Darcy situation. Also, Darcy herself hasn’t had anything to say to him in the last four months? Really?

    3. Erica Flynn. I don’t like the way MB plays this character very much. I never have. And I find that SB and MB have no sexual chemistry between them. I agree with you that they have some sort of weird connection, but I never found it romantic in the slightest, which is why it kind of worked for me the last time Erica showed up. It did not work for me this time. I didn’t find the scene in the hotel room showing any kind of calculation on Jane’s part, or attraction on either. I just found it awkward. Jane kissing Erica just reminds me of his date with Kristina Frye, and he knew he wasn’t ready for something then, so I don’t know why he thought he would be now. I agree that she was manipulating him, and there was some weird power dynamic going on between Jane and Erica throughout the episode, but mostly I just found it off somehow.

    4. Hated how Lisbon was basically relegated to furniture in this episode. The scene in the limo was funny, but really did nothing but highlight how nonexistant she was in this ep. (Please show, you keep referencing it, please let Lisbon actually get mad at Jane for the things he’s effectively done to her. Conflict would be so very welcome.) And Jane needs someone working against him some of the time to rein him in. I don’t find the show as enjoyable otherwise.

    I do like your interpretation of her brief scene with Van Pelt. I am totally on board with Lisbon understanding Erica’s abilities but just being annoyed at them in general. That makes sense. Because if Lisbon is supposed to be really good at her job (a position the show seems determined to constantly undermine until it suits them, so basically when she needs to pull a miricle out of somewhere to save Jane), then she would be intelligent enough to understand why Erica attracted men. I’m going with your theory.

    I like your theory of Lisbon’s annoyance. That would be mine as well. I don’t think she’s romantically jealous, hurt and feeling slighted and brushed aside, yes. But I don’t think her irritation is borned out of a hidden love for Jane. At least I hope not. (If it is, I will be highly annoyed. Highly annoyed.)

    I’m also willing to go with your theory as to why Jane didn’t tell Lisbon that he hadn’t let Erica escape. He didn’t want to admit to being wrong. I really like that idea. Which, parenthetically, I know I’ve been calling for Jane to be wrong for a minimum of two years now, but I meant that Jane would be wrong and the rest of the team would be right. Not Jane would be wrong and a convicted murderess would be right. By the end of the ep, I was actually praying for the show to fall back on it’s usual misogyny of having Jane incapable of being wrong on a case. Alas. The one time that fails me…

    5. Jane himself. I have no idea if he let Erica go or not. Honestly, he didn’t seem to care one way or the other in that last phone call. I don’t think he was upset, particularly, just neutral. I was sitting there, going, “What was that?” at the end of the scene. And also, muttering insults at Jane.

    I did like Wainwright’s reasons for letting Erica help on the case. Creating innovation solutions and synergy? Such bureaucratic buzzwords, and so in character for Wainwright. I laughed, hard.

    The only other thing I liked was the proposal scene. Really liked Sarah in that scene.

    But other than that, I found this ep a mess. A big mess, in which I had no idea what the purpose of it was. Especially given the random timejump. IF, you’re right (and I really, really hope you are) and this entire season is one big plan on the writers part to build realistic tension between Jane and Lisbon, leading to conflict for next season (and I mean real conflict, that lasts, not something that happens in one episode and then DONE), then that would be fabulous. I probably will never love most of S4, but it’ll at least make sense. But we’ve kind of gone down this road before, and that never panned out.

    I like your analysis, but I’m not convinced the writers have thought about this in as much detail.

    That said, I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the most recent ep, because I loved that one.

  • Mon

    Thanks for the reply, reviewbrain :) Reading your blog and everybody’s theories helps me to make sense of my own. Must catch up with the latest ep online, looking forward to your next review.

  • rhostog

    Thank you for another excellent review, and the thought provoking comments. If it’s OK for me to add my thoughts?
    The last scene in the attic, I saw a frustrated teenager lashing out at a parent or sibling! Maybe my judgement is coloured by living with a teenager!! but I’m afraid Jane sounded just like a 14-year-old, upset by someone he can’t get back at, so he’s rude to his mum or says something mean to his sister. And Lisbon, well experienced after bringing up her brothers, did exactly the right thing, walked away – there is no point arguing with a teenager in that mood. Jane’s sometimes child-like nature is part of his appeal – his enthusiasm for tricks and schemes, his impulsiveness, the way he says things that other people would hold back – so I would suggest it’s not inconsistent.
    Somehow I just can’t get interested in Rigsby and Sarah – their relationship doesn’t seem real somehow; I can’t work her out at all but she seems just that bit too sugary to be true.
    This episode was further confirmation of my low opinion of LW/Mr Bean. But I do feel interested to know where they’re going with him. Can anyone be genuinely that useless? (Well yes, I’ve worked with worse, but nobody would believe it… :-) )

  • windsparrow

    “LW/Mr Bean. But I do feel interested to know where they’re going with him. Can anyone be genuinely that useless? (Well yes, I’ve worked with worse, but nobody would believe it… :-) )”

    You think of Wainwright as Mr. Bean? Perfect. Also, easier to type. I just hope he doesn’t turn into a Blackadder. Also, if he doesn’t last long, maybe they will bring in a Red Green kinda guy, who will have this cousin….

    Having had some spectacularly bad bosses myself, I would find that Wainwright would not be in my top three worst bosses, if I had to work with him. He, at least, is easily managed. (Boss who reprimanded me for refusing to drive a medically fragile person to church during a snowstorm that had made the roads hazardous, I’m looking at you. Yes, church is important, but so is staying alive.)

  • LiliLaTortue

    Hi, new here but have been reading your reviews with great interest. I just love them. Keep it up!

    As for this episode, it made me want to stop lurking and write a few lines.

    I mostly agree to a lot of what has been said but the way I see it, Jane has some Achilles heels one of them being Red John: He seems to lose all his “powers” when RJ is around or even just mentioned. He always goes all bonkers and misses important stuff (like the rope in the season3 finale). The second, directly related to this episode, is that he seems to lose it a bit when he’s in presence of outrightly seducing women who try to “con” him. It happened in season 1 with the rich widower where he admitted the soft spot and nearly caved (or so it was kind of implied) and then with Kristina and of course with Erika. Actually when thinking back he also gets all gooey when Lisbon is wearing a dress (CBI ball with the Tiara, the bride’s maid dress or even half naked Lisbon where he tries to peak through the peephole)

    Anyway my point here is that it’s not just Lisbon that comes out weak here but, to me, so does Jane. Seems a bit an easy mark that Jane…

    Anyhow it seems the show is building into a big angry Lisbon moment or so it seems implied but I have been waiting for THE conversation since mid-last season and I won’t hold my breath (or I’d be dead 100 times since then lol).

  • violet

    You forget Sophie Miller, who sought his help but lied to him… I wonder if that weakness in front of cunning beautiful women (Lisbon not included ;)) can’t be labelled as excessive self-confidence. He’s so sure of his power of seduction that he can’t imagine being the conned one! ;)

    I also wonder if, inversely, he doesn’t have at the same time a thing for a hint of weakness in women: Sophie and Erica showed an appearance of strength, but were both quite instable in fact, as Sophie had been in an emotionally abusive marriage and Erica was kind of a sociopath… As for Lisbon, among the moments you referenced, Jane’s reaction to her was stronger when she had shed her usual assurance (when she was sleepy and when she was embarrassed by her dress).
    Guess we’ll know pretty soon since the show seems more adamant to explore this aspect…

  • windsparrow

    I’ve long thought Jane has a thing for women who are above him. He married a woman he referred to as a “princess” of their carnie subculture; glommed onto Sophie, his psychiatrist when he was in hospital; the woman he is closest to now is Lisbon, the leader of the team he works with. A guy wants a woman of higher social rank, he’s got to bring something to the table. What better way for a lowly knight errant to get a princess than to rescue her from something? He is the fellow who told Lisbon, “I will always save you,” a very romantic (broader sense of the word) thing to say. So it would make sense for him to also, as you say, “…have at the same time a thing for a hint of weakness in women….”

    Wonder what Tamarra’s vulnerability was?

  • reviewbrain

    Jane as a frustrated teen? Wainwright as mr. Bean? I love it!
    Figures though that the most likely possibility would be the one I forgot to put in the poll :-/
    I guess him not wanting to talk to Lisbon can technically be a similar answer.
    Seriously though, I love your comment because I do see Jane as being emotionally immature; even bawled my eyes out in a few reviews when I saw signs I him “growing up”. But I guess not enough to lash out at “mom” for his own mistake even though she restrained herself from saying “I told you so”.
    Welcome to the blog, and thank you very much for your comment :)

  • reviewbrain

    I just realized I forgot to thank you for your kind praise. Please excuse me I must have been too excited about replying to the points you made. I’m so glad you liked the review, Windsparrow’s help was invaluable, as all are the comments here. Thank you :)

  • reviewbrain

    Hello Mary and Hardly Loquacious!

    I have a theory regarding Lisbon’s apparent underdevelopment. In my point of view, it is in the writers’ best interest to keep her, her thoughts, her belief’s as mysterious as possible because then viewers (and Jane) have no idea what to expect from her. At least, this is how it should be. I remember in one of the Season one episodes (Miss Red) I think, Jane thanked Lisbon for going through on one of his plans, letting the perp walk to which she stated that they wouldn’t have been able to hold her anyway. This hinted that Jane hadn’t though Lisbon would agree.

    Perhaps this is what the show is now moving towards. After being through so much together, Lisbon has come to rely on Jane’s schemes (which admittedly work in *most* cases) because she’s gotten used to doing so. But she seems to have forgotten to look for “that crazy look” in his eyes when he get over-involved and she needs to reign him back in.

    I really think (hope) the writers are gearing towards a major Lisbon event/episode (a la Red Badge) where she re-evaluates the way she has been dealing with Jane. Hopefully then we can get our butt-kicking Lisbon back. And if they through in a tackle (like in Red hair, silver tape) I’ll be in delirious with happiness.

    As Windsparrow said, more important than Jane’s conflict with RJ is his conflict with Lisbon.

  • reviewbrain

    LiliLaTortue :
    Thanks for de-lurking and welcome to the blog :)

    “Anyhow it seems the show is building into a big angry Lisbon moment or so it seems implied but I have been waiting for THE conversation since mid-last season and I won’t hold my breath (or I’d be dead 100 times since then lol).”

    You and everyone else ;)

    You brought up a common trait that I’ve observed in my life; the more egotistical a person is the easier they are to con. And Jan is *very* egotistical. knowing he is attractive to members of the opposite sex would make him automatically think he is safe from their wiles. That, with the natural male instinct to be drawn to attractive women seems to be the cause of this particular “Achilles” heel. And you’re right. He does come off seeming weak, especially to his own flaws

    Windsparrow:
    I hate to say this but: could it be that Jane’s attraction to women he deems are higher than him stems from his ego as well? Like wanting to date the prom queen just to prove that you can?
    His wanting fame and money could have been his way of “bringing something to the table” at the time of his marriage to Angela.

    As to Lisbon, if Jane thinks he already has her, and is therefore no longer interested in making the effort to keep her (and here, I’m talking strictly as a friend/boss) then I hope he’s in for a major wake up call. It’s nice to know that you have something that will let you get away with murder (literally) but that doesn’t mean you can take them for granted.

  • violet

    Very true, Reviewbrain! His ego makes him weak! ;)
    As for the women higher than him, I’ve called this trait a « princess complex » after the episode with the pink dress (lol)!
    I think he searches for women above him less because of his huge ego than because of the “better than me” part of his ideal, a way to compensate his low self-esteem, at least symbolically… If it was really a “prom queen” effect, he would have been more interested in women from high society, since he meets a number of them during cases. But no, the superiority here is just in reference of his own status (his doctor, his boss,…)

    And if one wants to continue the fairy tale/ “romantic” arc, we have here another character: Erica would make a great queen/ witch from Snow White. ;)

    I hope you’re right about the wake up call, he’s way too comfortable in his relation with Lisbon! He clearly is begiining to take her for granted…

  • violet

    And Tamarra’s greatest vulnerability/attractiveness for Paddy nack then was probably that she was an easy mark. Or just easy, your choice… I mean, what chances did she stood in front of a manipulative, amoral amnesic Jane?

  • LiliLaTortue

    Thanks for the welcome Reviewbrain !

    I agree that his weakness most probably stems from Jane’s ego and I am totally on board with you Violet and your « Princess Syndrome » phraseology! It fits perfectly. ( I also would discard Tamara as just a mark).
    It’s true that the women Jane’s interested in have power and yes, Lisbon is going to have to show a bit more “muscle and bark” to regain his consideration.
    It has really irked me that she’s gotten so soft on him. I’ve read a lot of analysis of ways to seeing it a bit differently but I still believe that the writers purposely threw in the jealousy arc in this ep, no question about that. Whether they will pursue this or not is totally unclear and it could just be for the fun of one episode but even non-shippers have to have felt the jealousy sting here.

    Lisbon is my favourite character, meaning that to a certain level I often identify and it has become very difficult to do so cause even if I would have been a tad jealous of Erica, I would NEVER have let it show, too much pride and I thought Lisbon being private and guarded would not have let it slip so obviously especially to Jane and VanPelt! That having been said the faces of all three when Lisbon enters the limo are just priceless!!!

    How much are they going to let poor Lisbon take before she acts on it?

  • windsparrow

    LiliLaTortue:
    “Like wanting to date the prom queen just to prove that you can?
    His wanting fame and money could have been his way of “bringing something to the table” at the time of his marriage to Angela. ”

    That’s not the feeling I get from him. For one thing, neither Lisbon nor Sophie are particularly glamorous. Attractive and beautiful, yes, but prom queen-like? Not so much. Without further details on his backstory, I have the picture in my head of him “rescuing” Angela from the carnie scene – he was the one with skills that could be applied elsewhere – and may be more related to his romantic streak. That hunger for money and fame seems more closely connected to his egotistic streak.

    I do think he is due for a giant ass-kicking from Lisbon. But one problem with that is it that to some extent there are major conversations between those two that must take place off-screen – the conversation after she hit Culpepper for one. So it is hard to know just what they have already covered and gotten over or through. And I wonder if they are setting Lisbon up for serious burn-out or something else entirely.

  • windsparrow

    Oops! This comment was really a reply to reviewbrain.

    And I can’t emphasize how much my own brain keeps bumping up against the question of what goes on between Lisbon and Jane off-screen. And I don’t mean that in a smutty fanfic way. Well, maybe sometimes. But not for purposes of this discussion.

  • windsparrow

    ::blushes:: This really is the best place I have found for intelligent, in-depth discussion of this show. I am so glad to have found it and to be part of it.

  • violet

    A lot must take place off-screen, you’re right. The serious talk after the Culpepper incident, but also after Panzer’s death, if we are to take the hint from the look on her face at the crime scene and the fact that she knew what really happened; not to mention after Jane killed Hardy, or when Kristina disappeared, and so on…
    Not only those, but remember the look on Lisbon’s face when Jane ordered that ice cream they shared: amused but not surprised. Or how naturally he asked her for lunch on the phone when he needed her contacts to manipulate the proofs in order to incriminate another man. How close are they and more importantly, since when? Did they really begin to hang out together this recently?
    More and more we are shown that what appeared earlier as a severe lack of communication between them is more a series of clever ellipses made to blurry the true depth of their friendship. That way, we feel the connection, but the writers get to keep the mystery around those characters’ thoughts, their reactions and what they plan to do.
    After all, Reviewbrain is right about Lisbon, we never really know for sure what she thinks behind that politically correct façade she puts up…

  • zee

    Don’t sweat about it ;) And ditto windsparrow’s words.
    Albeit a modest community of The Mentalist fans, but with so much sagacity and dedication.

  • Julie

    i finally had to stop reading all the comments or I wouldn’t have time to post, so sorry if it has already been said.

    First the kiss, I was discussing this with a friend and between us we came to a conclusion. At the point up to the kiss, Jane was playing with her. He knew what she was trying to do, told her he knew and I think his intention was to pull away, but then he decided to kiss her. Then he it stirred something inside him and he reacted and then pulled away. I think his look after the kiss was his surprise at his reactions. Afterwards he never treated her like he wanted to stay far away from her and was happy to be with her and so I think he realised that he didn’t have any real feelings for her and so he felt safe to still be in her presence.

    I don’t think that Erica pulled one over on Jane as far as escaping was concerned as I don’t think he ever concerned himself with her security and didn’t feel that getting her safely back to prison had anything to do with him. This was shown by his reaction to her actual escape, we wouldn’t have got that admiring smile if he had felt duped.

    I don’t think Lisbon really thought he had anything to do with her escape which is why he played with her and why she didn’t make a big fuss.

    My favourite line. “There’s a reason for that – so you don’t kill them!”

  • reviewbrain

    Don’t worry, I got it :)

    What I meant by prom queen wasn’t the type of woman he’d go after but the egotistical mentality that some men have in wanting a woman everyone knows is special, just to prove that they can get her. Whether they can keep her, however, is another matter entirely.
    But Jane obviously does seem to have a hero complex, so your theory is probably the most accurate.

    As for Lisbon, she is my favorite character and I am excited over the idea that the writers are setting her up for something big. My biggest hope is that she quits. Just ups and quits her job. And doesn’t come back until she and Jane reach an understanding of sorts; an *acceptable* one over what her role is as head of the SCU is. But for her to do that, she kinda has to remember what that is on her own…and that enabling Jane is only okay as far as that helps her unit.

  • Dreamy

    Great and reassuring review ! I haven’t seen that episode (so, don’t expect a clever and useful comment as I just want to share my feelings) but I’m pretty sure that I won’t watch it when it’s aired in France, merely because I know I’ll hate it (or maybe, I’ll just watch the Rigsby/Sarah moments). I’m part of those people who were extremely pissed off at watching the “kiss scene” (I watched it on the Internet and there were lots of violent reactions….including mine) and I’m not even a big J/L shipper. I mean, yes I’m a shipper but not as much as most fans. Concerning the episode, I knew something like a kiss would happen between jane and erica and I knew I’d feel completely down after reading about this horrible moment in various reviews about War of Roses. And I did. For at least a week. I’m perfectly aware that it’s ridiculous to get upset because of a fiction but I really HATE erica (I feel like her character was actually made to be hated) and I hoped jane would never feel anything for her…Too bad…

    Then, I read your review. Of course, I appreciate all of your reviews but I have to say that this one truly comforted me. Actually, I started to “recover” from my little “depression” only after reading it and now I feel better (when I say depression, it’s just because I couldn’t find a word in English that means “being a little sad”…maybe sadness would be a better word). I know you’re not one of the screenwriters but your reviews contain great analysis about details that can come unnoticed but actually reveal a lot about the characters and the situations. So, thank you so much. At least, there is a little chance that jane doesn’t feel anything for erica and believing it is enough to get me relieved, even though it might not be true. We’ll see how the story develops.

  • breakyourwings

    I saw your comment and I was like “OMG, I could have totally written it”. I felt exactly the same after watching War of roses (I call it the cursed episode LoL). I did feel sad as well. The word that came to my mind was “betrayal”, especially after the kiss scene and even more after the second kiss (seriously I can understand that the first one was an “accident” but what the hell with the second one ?!?). I think that more people felt genuinely hurt than we could ever imagine (and not necessarily “fangirls” or even shippers). Even if you try to convince yourself that it’s just fiction, the feelings you have about this fiction are REAL. But there’s no reason to be ashamed when you feel that way. We all knew that jane would one day kiss another woman and we all knew it wouldn’t be lisbon (unfortunately =_=). But still, it would have been more “acceptable” if that woman hadn’t been a manipulative and cold-blooded murderer.

    However, I don’t think you should worry, Dreamy (though I myself am a bit worried XD)as I doubt erica will come back. Remember brooke harper the fake psychiatrist in season 1 ? They implied that she would come back, that jane and her would meet again. But she never came back (so far). To me, the ending of war of roses (the call) felt like a goodbye. You know, that kind of goodbye when you say “see you soon” while you’re actually thinking “OK we say we’ll see each other one day but we both know that we will never meet again”. I felt the same way after the last Mashburn/Lisbon scene.
    Otherwise, the episode was actually OK (except that I really can’t have an objective opinion about the kisses. I don’t want to be unfair so I just won’t say anything..).

    To Reviewbrain : for my first (long) comment, I want to tell you that I really like your reviews :) and like for Dreamy, this one reassured me (especially your theory about the kisses). I’ve known your blog for only two weeks but I’ve read ALL of your reviews and it was a pleasure. Plus, it’s a good means to improve my English :).

  • reviewbrain

    Wow! All of them in two weeks! You must have superpowers :) I’m so glad you find the reviews useful. Welcome to the blog! I hope to see hear your thoughts again soon :)

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