CBI Agent Cho (Kang) comes fetch consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) from his attic as they were called for a new case: Hollis Percy, the owner of the town named after a Wild West town for tourists has been murdered. Before following his stoic coworker, Jane sets a little trap for possible intruders. Meanwhile, Lisbon (Tunney) meets Bob Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) for coffee and a friendly chat.
The episode was a good surprise: not only did it deal with the events of ‘Behind the Red Curtain’ -or rather with their consequences-, but it also laced the dramatic moments with funnier ones and gave some well-used screen time to everyone on the team. Writer Michael Weiss managed to produce an intriguing combination between an old-school TM episode and a new step leading to the impatiently awaited season finale: a tragic love story as the murder case, a hint of mischievousness and a good deal of serious matters, those are the ingredients used for this well-written addition to a startling season. 10/10.
Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)
Kirkland/Jane: the attic mystery battle
VIS #1: Jane in the attic
Jane is scribbling away in his little notebook when Cho comes to get him. From the get go, the consultant appears hyper aware of his surroundings: he recognizes Cho before hearing his voice and is defiant enough not to let him enter his inner sanctum. The attic seems off-limits for everyone except Lisbon and he is getting a step further in transforming it in a safe place: until recently we didn’t see him bother trying to lock the door; then he put a padlock. Now, he adds a way to verify if his privacy has been violated and he does so when no one is watching: he sticks a toothpick between the door and its frame to be able to tell if someone enters …
This opening featuring someone calling Jane in his attic to go to a crime scene is by no way unusual, but the setting puts further emphasis on the fact that the episode has a deeper meaning. More details add to this sentiment. Jane later refuses to shake the medical examiner’s hand because there is blood on her glove. It recalls the raison d’être for Jane’s secrecy: he knows he has shaken RJ’s hand, a hand covered with his family’s blood… And when the consultant states that the victim knew his killer and argued with them, the woman asks him details and Jane elaborates the usual reasons for arguing: “money, power, love, jealousy…” and she adds “revenge”, the very motivation for Jane’s quest.
VIS #2: Lisbon and Kirkland at the rooftop café
Meanwhile, ffollowing what had been suggested since their very first meeting and in spite (or rather because) of Lorelei’s demise, Lisbon and Kirkland meet up for coffee. The scene shows them settled at a table. Lisbon makes some small talk about her youth, giving some details about herself. It’s particularly intriguing since Lisbon is known not to share willingly any part of her past and the team (read: Jane) had to lure systematically any titbit of information from her. Whereas, Lisbon soon comes to realise that her companion is not as open about himself since when she asks him specifics, he eludes a direct response and avoids telling her where he comes from or what kind of family raised him; he mentions a father and a mother, but doesn’t even mention what kind of job they did: no names, no location, no social status… He concludes by “I like to say I grew up in America” to cover up for his lack of information about his origin.
It’s even weirder since their meeting is pretty date-like: they aren’t here to talk business like they were with Haffner in ‘The Red Barn’. Their meeting up is informal and they’re supposed to share something about them given that they are in a first name basis and they compliment the other (« this is nice, you’re really easy to talk to, Teresa »). Kirkland’s reluctance doesn’t make much sense if he is really here to get to know Lisbon as a woman: instead, it takes a worrying significance if we assume he is following a plan like he was when he killed Lennon in the previous episode. Indeed, Kirkland gives the impression to feign normalcy: he listens, talks, compliments, still everything seems off, as if he was hiding his true colors under a “normal” appearance. It reminds of the nurse’s comment about him wearing a mask in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’. And his real goal is revealed when they part ways: he interrogates her about Jane’s opinion about RJ and asks her to keep him on the loop. Meaning that he wants to confirm how much Jane knows and certainly also if her consultant suspects what really happened in the hospital room. It seems that every guy asking her out this season is more interested in Jane than in her: first Haffner scouting her for a company owned by Visualize, then Bob testing the waters through her…
Anyway, Lisbon is no fool and she realized right away that something is amiss. She doesn’t hesitate to ask him things about himself when he doesn’t tell anything spontaneously, then she cuts things short under the pretence of having a case when her men have already returned from the crime scene. Another hint is that she is cold when he comes back to the bullpen and even comments on it; even if the guys confirm that it is indeed cold, her dismissive “so I’m not crazy” might indicate that her encountering with Bob had a chilling effect…
Later, she makes a report of the meeting to Jane and states that « everything about Bob Kirkland is odd ». Her bluntness and her refusal to defend Kirkland’s investigation and authority like she did in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’ show that she is aware that something is wrong. Jane must have talked to her about Lennon and Bob’s presence at the hospital: anyway, the Homeland Security agent is no more her “new best friend”, instead it’s Jane who has assumed again his role as a confident. In insight, the coffee break the two of them shared reminds a bit of the dinner Darcy and Jane never had but planned to eat in ‘Cheap Burgundy’: both times, the characters had a hidden agenda and tried to lure the other in a false sense of security before getting information out of them; and both times, they failed.
VIS #3: The Attic is Broken Into
Bob’s true goal is further enlightened when two men pass the CBI building security and secretly break into the attic. The first thing that comes to mind is that they must have been observing him or at least have inside information of some sort since they know where to search, given that they didn’t bother searching Jane’s almost unused desk in the bullpen for instance. They also seem to also know what they would find. They carefully take photos of every note, list and picture on Jane’s suspects board before leaving the place like they found it… well, almost, since Jane’s simple trick worked and they didn’t see the little white stick falling down on the floor.
Later, back at the Homeland Security headquarter, they give the loot to their boss, none other that the mysterious Kirkland who decides to “take it from here”, to his employees’ surprise. So in other words, he uses the resources provided by his position, but doesn’t want to let his men learn more than needed about what he’s looking for. Jane’s research board was too huge and complex to understand without a bit of time to analyse it -the synthetically briefer list is on his notebook-, so there is little that they can gather from it without spending some time to understand the connections Jane made. Kirkland’s reluctance points towards a personal motivation, as indicated by his rapt interest when he looks at the pictures taken in the attic. After his odd question to Lennon about recognizing him, that furthers the impression that he must be personally involved with Jane’s quest.
This manoeuvre enlightens even more the ambiguity of the character: he uses a somewhat official investigation for a personal initiative, like he probably did before when Jane first arrived at the CBI in ‘Red Dawn’. He’s definitely sneaky: listening in on Lisbon’s conversation with Bertram in ‘There Will Be Blood’, killing Jason Lennon in the previous episode before he had a chance to speak to Jane, trying to discreetly obtain insight on Jane’s ideas through Lisbon and know stealing information from him. Bob’s interest is focused on Jane and his investigation and, every time, he’s taking a more active part in wanting to know what he discovered.
VIS #4: Kirkland studies Jane’s notes
To add even more mystery to the man, he’s seen studying his prize late at night. He’s alone in a rather big room containing things like a printer, a desk and a couch: he’s either at home or in a pretty comfy office, but either way the place seems quite private. He’s reconstituting the puzzle of Jane’s clues board and his deep concentration, the loneliness and the dark atmosphere gives a rather spooky vibe.
Besides, the man is drinking a Bloody Mary: this is the cocktail Jane drank at the anniversary of his family’s death in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’ and the red color reminds of the RJ arc. Both details allude to the fact that Kirkland makes a very plausible accomplice for RJ (or even RJ himself, although it’s quite unlikely since they only met after Lorelei was sent to jail) and that he may be trying to decipher how close Jane is getting… On the other hand, the moment is still ambiguous since his fascination with the investigation and the fact that it was Jane’s drink might indicate that he’s hunting down the serial killer too. His dedication, his solitude and the haven provided by a large office-looking room with a huge widow reminds of Jane’s own obsessive musings in the attic at night. Still, a question remains: if Kirkland is a better guy than he seems and if he is chasing after RJ too, how come the serial killer didn’t try to get into the attic himself, given that he must know that there is a possibility that Lorelei had revealed something about him?
VIS #5: the ending
After closing the case, Jane comes back to his attic and finds the stick on the floor. His reaction: a smile and a contented look around when he enters the place… His smile is the only indication that he must have been planning the outcome all along; he had the same (albeit even more gleeful) reaction after his night with Lorelei and back then it also revealed that he in the middle of a scheme. He was tricking Kirkland in showing his true intentions, thus set the trap and waited for a reaction. He was waiting for him to tip his hand; that’s why he didn’t come back to the attic during the whole investigation, he lounged on the couch in the bullpen or stayed at the tourist town: he knew that he was offering a golden opportunity for Kirkland to sneak in. The gloomy look he flowed the man with at the end of last episode showed that he was suspecting him of having a hand in Lennon’s death, and we can guess that he deduced that his antagonist would be willing to evaluate the situation by trying to know what he thinks. Is it therefore too far-stretched to assume that Jane also kept with him the true conclusions he came to about RJ? After all, he didn’t leave his notepad behind and didn’t seem bothered that someone had a look at his place and had probably taken some pictures given the complex presentation of his work… He may as well have planted false information on the board or, at the very least, he knows that the information it provided is useless and/or incomplete.
The moment is echoed by the very last scene where we see that Kirkland has finished reconstituting Jane’s board on the floor of his office. He looks at it, satisfied; it is night time and the light coming from outside projects shadows of the paper sheets: his big and dark figure is looming over them in a threatening way and the blinds on the window imitate some bars and add to the hostile atmosphere.
That ending emphasis the importance of the event. It’s a pivotal episode, a true ‘Red Letter Day’: a moment which is noted as having a very particular significance. The title may also allude at Jane’s trick to get the murderer to confess with his envelopes (a envelope contains a letter), but above all it underlines that it is the day when Kirkland reveals himself to Jane as being more than simply interested in the official part of the RJ investigation.
Rigsby and Van Pelt: orchids and drama…
The second arc of the episode features the drama-loving and eternally indecisive couple formed by Rigsby and Van Pelt. Indeed, the evolution of their relationship is synthesised in four moments which amusingly reflect the steps they took in the past.
1) Rigsby holds a torch for Grace: he has offered her an orchid that stands proudly on her desk when Lisbon comes back from her coffee-break with Bob. The choice of gift shows that Wayne knows Grace well, since there was a white orchid on her desk in ‘My Bloody Valentine’ (she put Craig’s necklace on it after making peace with his death) and we can see in a later scene that she has another potted flower behind the orchid. He knows what she likes and tries to be rather unobtrusive with his gift, since it can be constructed as a welcome back gift while still having subtly romantic undertones. And, like they did in season 1 and 2, everyone knows who has given the flower, seeing that Lisbon and later Jane immediately assume it’s from him: everyone is aware that he’s still interested.
2) Rigsby needs to take a decision: in the break room, Cho finds Rigsby mooning over a box full of donuts. The man can’t make his mind over which one he should eat. His blunt friend tells him he needs to “make a choice”. He’s talking about the food, of course, but also about Van Pelt. Cho is telling him that he has to stop being a coward and face the situation, like he already stated in ‘Red In Tooth And Claw’. That reminds of the times when he and Jane advised the younger agent when he was longing for his redhead coworker in the beginning of the show.
3) Meanwhile, Grace is also reminded of her past when she interrogated the victim’s wife. The woman was explaining the problems he had with faithfulness and that he was “terrified of change”, before asking Grace if she is married. The agent answers that she is not and adds ironically that married life “sounds like fun”, secretly commenting on her own disastrous engagement with Craig O’Laughlin. It seems that Wayne is not the only one who has been thinking about the past and who is about to make an important step forward on their personal life…
4) Rigsby confronts Grace in front of the elevator when the case is closed. He starts dancing around the matter stating that the week was good and that he’s been “moving with the wind”, before suddenly telling that they need to talk. Van Pelt is understandably surprised so he gets more precise: “about you and me”. She starts saying that there is something she needs to tell him… and, as if on cue, Duncan, Van Pelt’s new boyfriend, barges in. We’re back on the old drama that seems to define their relation: one has regrets/the other has already moved on with someone else. It looks like Van Pelt is decided to write a new page of her life: a few weeks in another city, a new professional experience, a new man on her life; still things might not be as straightforward as they seem, since she already knew what he meant when her former lover asked for a discussion about them and she felt like she ought to tell him about Duncan, meaning that she isn’t oblivious of his feelings. And later, when he awkwardly excused himself, she cast a look at his crestfallen retreating figure instead of focusing of the newcomer. Argh! those two definitely have some overly complicated love lives…
Icings on the Cake
It’s rather rare that we get in a serious episode some glimpses of Jane’s usual mischievous and playful personality. Jane’s funny cowardice, his glee when the cowboys were fighting in the saloon and the scenes with the not very gifted magician added a nice lightness to the plot. In fact, his relative politeness when asking the magician for “a couple of minutes of [his] stage time” in exchange of his help with the tricks was indicative of a progress: even if Jane was awfully offending and patronizing, he didn’t just con him out of stage like he would have usually done (like with the kid in ‘Something Rotten In Redmund’). Is Jane (very) slowly starting to acquire a bit of respect for others? And calling him a “magician and mental mystic” was the cherry on top…
Is that really believable that Kirkland’s men didn’t see the stick between the door and the frame? It’s a pretty basic trick and I guess men careful enough to put everything in place afterwards should have noticed it right away…
The whole episode is filled with reminders of the recurrent themes woven through the entire season. Many elements are concentrated in here and it conveys the impression that things are speeding up for the season finale in subtler ways than meets the eye…
1) As if in an answer to our discussion on whether flowers on this show have significance, the orchid theme makes yet another appearance and is even commented upon by Jane with the rather ironic in insight “well-chosen, Rigsby”. It’s a not so discreet follow up of the other orchids this season, from the ones in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ to the meeting with Lorelei in Orchid Lane: this time, it doesn’t appear directly in associated with the RJ plot, but it seen right after Lisbon’s meeting with the mysterious and murderous Kirkland who is linked to that story-line. Beside, Lisbon connected it playfully to something more sinister when she commented that she knew Rigsby offered the flower because she’s « a homicide detective »… Also, I don’t know if it’s a mere coincidence, but the orchid is related to Wayne’s hope for a love which is meant to encounter obstacles, like it was for Jane in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ when he was talking to “Charlotte”.
2) The fish: as it has been stated in the wonderful comments for ‘Behind the Red Curtain’, the marine theme has been quite present in season 4. There is a big fish as a decorative trophy near the surveillance camera the waitress pointed out at the saloon. That element reminds the viewers that Lorelei, the deadly tempting siren who liked to skin-dip in the sea, may be dead, but the consequences of her revelation have not disappeared with her: Jane is hot on RJ’s trail… And the sea theme might have also a deeper double meaning in this episode: Kirkland has been “fishing” for information and Jane has “baited” him with the attic… Who is the fish and who is the fisherman?
3) The family theme is declined in different aspects:
- the already well-illustrated theme that “family” –blood-related or chosen- is something that can turn into a danger or a threat: the recent episode have showed many killers being part of the victim’s “family” (‘Red Lacquer Nail Polish’), or team-members (‘Red, White and Blue’, ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, …). Here, the father hurt his wife by being unfaithful and his son by not revealing he had a sister; the woman the son fell in love with. As a consequence the son killed the father. This tragedy tangled more inextricably the family relations as both Ian’s chosen family (his lover) and natural one were the same since he was unknowingly in an incestuous relationship. Beside, Ian confides to Jane after confessing that killing his father felt good for one second because “the old bastard finally understood. When he was dying, he finally understood what he’d done to all of us”… a guilt-laden father whose lies and past mistakes caused great grief to his child, no way that would remind us of Jane, of course…
- Still, this aspect of a family’s negative influence is somehow tempered by the recurrence of people bonding with estranged family members. First, Lorelei found her sister, after the girl was sold by their mother; in the previous episode, a mother and the daughter she left met again, here it’s a brother meeting and falling for his unknown sister. In those three cases, the characters feel a very deep love for the long lost family member and have a meaningful relation with them, but things go south and everything ends in disaster… Does this suggest that, after meeting again his daughter in his belladonna induced hallucinations and bonding with her, Jane’s inability to let go is bound to have terrible consequences?
- The incest is an interesting part of the storyline. Many interpretations are possible for the bigger picture it draws: first, the love between siblings might be a teasing for shippers, a wink and a way to acknowledge how the closeness between Jane and Lisbon has evolved. It was labelled as a form of complicity between brother and sister by the writers during the first seasons, while now both characters have shown that what they feel is deeper and more complicated. Second possible meaning, if Ian killed to protect a forbidden relationship, that might be compared to Jane’s unstated but logical new motivation for finding RJ: his closeness to Lisbon has started to become a danger for her. Lorelei asked for her head and many suspicious characters are beginning to approach her for dark reasons (Haffner, Kirkland). Thus, killing RJ is a way to ensure her safety and to protect their bond, which he is seemingly not allowed to discuss in the meantime (forbidden relationship). Last but certainly not least, the lovely Windsparrow had a very intriguing idea: she remarked that this is the second case that involved incest as a plot device, the first one being Renfrew’s liaison in season 1 ‘Red John’s Friends’. It’s interesting that in both episodes RJ’s presence is looming over them: Renfrew was about to spill the beans about the serial killer but he was killed before, whereas in this episode, Jane seems to gain control of the situation by (probably) playing Kirkland and keeping his notebook to himself… It’s almost as if the incest emphasised the contrast between the moment when Jane realized for the first time what force he was up against and the episode where he might be slowly gaining the upper hand.
4) Spectacles have been pretty present recently, first with the show-conference Jane provided the student with in ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, and more importantly with the musical in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’. Both in the latter and in this episode, the show is a metaphor for a bigger secret hidden behind inoffensive appearances: in the previous episode the killer chose to play a parting real-life in order to hide that the musical had no investor, while here the tourist town faces serious difficulties and the owner hided the secret daughter he had with a former lover. Both secretive men pulled strings around them and that enlightens how the characters are surrounded by false appearances (Kirkland’s secret true goal; RJ hiding behind the mask of a acquaintance), but those appearances are about to crumble down, like both shows were, due to Jane’s progress towards the truth…
5) There is no allusion to poker in this plot, but there are cards in the context of a magic trick and it might be meaningful that Jane takes possession of them. It is a reminder of the poker play with Bertram again in ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, before he was revealed as an ally of Bob… and it suggests the power play between Kirkland and Jane with the usual artifices used in poker, like hiding one’s hand and bluffing.
Reviewbrain: Violet didn’t have time to add any best scenes or best lines, and I had an hour or two free so I added some of mine. As always, thank you for hard work! Readers, please also feel free to share in the comments your favorites moments in the episodes and best quotes ^_^
Having Jane return to his attic, seeing that his bait had been taken, then having the scene cleverly transition into Kirkland in his apartment was fantastic. Blake Neely’s powerful tunes helped express the urgency and suspense of the fact that Jane might *gasp* be making some real progress in the Red John case. Read Violet’s analysis of VIS #5 above for more reasons.
Jane Catches the Killer
A similar sense of urgency prevailed when Jane hooked Ian in his trap and forced him to confess to killing his father. Jane threatens the secret to be revealed to his “assistant” Lily was very effective. Jane’s sympathetic demeanor even as he is threatening Ian to reveal his motive to the unsuspecting girl was quite revealing. It hinted to viewers that unlike the selfish motives we’ve been getting from unrepentant psychos we’ve been getting most of this season, this crime was more tragic than it twas senseless. Jane leaving an empty envelope in her hand was might seem like a cruel act but the deception was actually a kindness.The later scene revealing the sordid and terrible situation of the brother and sister was a great reveal.
Kirkland Examine’s Jane’s Evidence
This choice shouldn’t come as a surprise; Violet already explained how wonderfully riveting it was to see Kirkland in his natural habitat as he went over Jane’s evidence. I’m also sure I wasn’t the only one who went into hysterics when I saw him drinking a Bloody Mary. Who the heck is this guy ?!
Writing : This was truly a classically engaging, perfectly written and balanced episode. Thank you Michael Weiss.
Music : Blake Neely’s music is as perfect as ever. Whimsical, then powerful where necessary.
Production by all (quite a few of the writing staff, I’m happy to see) and the direction by Guy Ferland was flawless. As was the editing.
Hair/Make Up: The men are as strapping as ever but the women have never looked more naturally beautiful.
Acting: There were quite a few talented guest actors and actresses: The Percy family members, Lily, Francisco, Kevin (the Wild West show actors), the Sherriff: they all fit their roles perfectly. Are regulars were also in top form.
“We’re gonna hold here. They’ve got this covered. ” Jane, to the coroner after shots were fired. Continuity on coward Jane = love.
“Very thoughtful, Wayne “. –Lisbon, to Rigsby on Grace’s gift.
“How’d you know it was me ?” Rigsby in answer to the above.
“I’m a homicide detective. ” Lisbon’s reply.
*I loved this entire exchange. Any hint of the sibling-like relationship between Lisbon and Rigsby makes me ridiculously happy. Here, her tone when she called him out on giving Grace the gift, his guilty expression like a caught child, and her knowing reply…sigh. I had hearts in my eyes the entire time.
“Bro! That thing is real!” Kevin, the magician to Jane. LOL !! This kid was an awesome actor. Loved his tone and expression here, dropping his western act after Jane took his gold nugget.
“You’re still in love with her but instead of telling her you bought her a plant.”- Cho to Wayne.
“But that’s pretty zen though, right?” Wayne, in response to the above.
“Not yet. Sounds like fun.” Grace’s deadpan to victim’s wife after she asked if she was married. Lol. Snarky Grace is cool.
“Candy-ass pickpocket trying to bust my chops. Nobody handles me.” Kevin grumbling out loud after he quits. Really loved this guy’s reading of all his line. Hilarious.
“That you two were in love ? That was easy.” -Jane, to Ian, on how he knew about his secret relationship with Lily Soto. It could be wishful thinking but might the writers be reassuring (teasing ?) us to trust the (obvious ?) hints that Jane and Lisbon are in love?
“Sometimes it’s best just to be relaxed about this stuff. ” Lisbon to Rigsby about not knowing what Jane’s performance is about.
Now, Suzjazz suggested a poll to see what percentage of fans want J/L to live happily ever after as a couple. I’m feeling indulgent (i.e. have some time one my hands) so here it is
Note: Tunney fans head over to affiliate website Robin’s Green Shades to see what the fantastic actress did. Congratulations to webmistress Novella and everyone else. You deserve it!
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