Mentalist The Great Red Dragon Review


Synopsis

The Great Red Dragon picks up where Fire and Red Brimstone left off. Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) continues his pursuit of the tattooed suspects and reveals a secret society of corrupt law enforcers. But his and Lisbon’s search for Red John amongst them leads to unforeseen consequences.

Concise Verdict

Another exciting entry in this year’s phenomenal season. 9/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review

Teresa Lisbon arrives at Jane house just in time to witness an explosion. Going inside she tries to apprehend Reed when she sees the tattoo on his shoulder but he manages to escape. Seeing Jane down, a distracted Lisbon allows Bertram to flee the scene.

-Lisbon can’t be blamed for not suspecting her boss; Jane himself never suspected that there would be more than one tattooed person.

Bertram tries to kill Jane

Bertram arrives at the hospital and overhears Cho tell Lisbon that forensics found the remains of three people in Jane’s house: Brett Stiles, Ray Haffner and Thomas McCallister. Lisbon answer’s glibly that she would have thought that Stiles could survive a nuclear attack. Cho tells us that Stiles, Haffner and McCallister are all positively dead based on DNA found at the crime scene even though “the bodies are all burned to a crisp.”

-Lisbon’s response bothered me here. Yes, Stiles was going to be arrested by the FBI for multiple crimes. He was also sick and going to die anyway, but Lisbon didn’t know that. Also, Haffner was creepy but as far she knows innocent of any crime. The same goes for McCallister. The fact that three people were killed in Jane’s house, during his hunt for RJ doesn’t seem to bother here at all. It should. If not from an ethical standpoint then from a legal one. After all, at this point, who knows who was responsible for the explosion at Jane’s house?

Bertram overhears this and learns that Smith is still in the wind. He takes this opportunity to try and silence an unconscious Jane before he lets out that Bertram  is part of whatever conspiracy the tattooed men are in. Thankfully, he is interrupted by Lisbon. He orders her to find Smith, trying to get her to leave to finish off Jane but the unconscious consultant wakes up. Bertram, knowing he missed his chance leaves the hospital, breaks his phone and sheds his coat the better to disguise himself.

-Unfortunately, Lisbon’s reunion with conscious Jane doesn’t shed much light on what happened in Jane’s house prior the explosion. We know that we heard a gunshot, but Jane’s dream sequence, remembering the event doesn’t’ show who fired the gun or what started the explosion. Was the bomb something that  Jane set up off screen? Maybe not as the reported casualties (Haffner and Stiles) remained sitting further than where Jane had led his suspects. If he had set up the bomb, you’d think he’d use it to get rid of his RJ suspect and would hence lead the suspect towards the bomb.

So we’re left thinking that if the bomb was, as Rigsby says brought there by one of the men. I suspect one of the so-called deceased men: McCallister, Haffner and Stiles. Perhaps one of them wanted to use Jane’s distracted state to fake their own death. But if so, then why?

Two possibilities: In the case of the dying Stiles, he could have done it to pass his remaining time freely without being hounded by the FBI. Or, If either he, McCallister, or Haffner are in fact RJ (too cautious to tattoo themselves) faking his death could be a plan to further outsmart Jane. He’d have no reason to suspect a dead person of being RJ.

Bertram is Ousted

Jane wakes up and tells Lisbon that Bertram has a tattoo as well. Lisbon then puts out a statewide search for both him and Read Smith.  Grace and Wayne follow a lead on where Smith could have gone but a uniformed officer beats them to the location: a medical clinic. Detective Cordero (Joe Nieves),  the Sac PD officer who was in charge of investigating Bob Kirkland’s shooting also arrives. Greeting each other with “Tyger Tyger” the two policemen confirm Smith is inside. The agent tells the uniform  “I just got word from inside CBI a couple of agents are on their way now”, and tells him he needs to hurry and get rid of Smith. Meanwhile he’ll slow down the agents when they arrive.

-Cordero’s words confirm that RJ still has a mole within CBI.

The officer goes inside where Smith is having the bullet Lisbon shot in him removed. He interrupts the process and tells Smith that he’s here to help him and asks why Smith didn’t call the “association”. Smith replies: “Funnily enough I got trust issues.”

-I love this reference to how RJ’s people who get caught get whacked. Smith, unlike other RJ people we’ve seen, seems to at least have a will to live.

Grace and Rigsby arrive at the scene and are greeted by Cordero who tells him that he and his associate beat them to RJ and have it covered. Jane calls and tells Rigsby not to trust anyone in law enforcement. The advice has the CBI agents charging in despite Cordero’s protests.

The officer takes Reed out the back where he is telling him the “association” has a safe house ready for him. Reed replies that he said that to  “someone” once before he shot him the back six times.

-Love the reference to Reed’s killing Bob Kirkland, continuity and reminders to those of us suffering short attention spans.

Grace and Wayne arrive just in time to save Reed. While Wayne deals with the officer, Grace tries to catch a fleeing Smith but is fired at by Cordero. The officer is taken in while Cordero and Smith manage to escape.

Confused Grace updates Lisbon that the detective tried to kill both the CBI and Smith. Jane tells her to check the officers shoulder.

-At this point it’s safe to say Jane has already figured out that RJ goes way beyond just one person. We get proof of this when he questions the officer.

Jane and Cho interrogate Officer Paul Hagen

At CBI, Grace tells Lisbon that Agent Cordero can’t be found; he called in sick at work- and that the captured officer’s name is Paul Hagen.

Jane and Cho question the unresponsive man. Despite refusing to talk, Jane is able to glean a lot of information from him simply by reading his reactions to Jane’s questions:

“You’re not a big talker. I get it. Loose lips and ships and all that. The bad news is that you have a lousy poker face.”

He figures out that:

- Hagen belongs to a secret organization of cops sand other government officials. ”

-Agent Smith is a member as well.

-Hagen doesn’t know if Bertram is a member, nor if he or Smith are Red John.

-Tyger, tiger, is the organizations password, greeting and distress signal.

Jane/Lisbon Regroup

Jane tells Lisbon that they need to check Partridge’s body, since he told her Tyger, Tyger before he died, hoping she’d recognize the cry for help and save him. They assume he must have a tattoo on his shoulder and send Cho to look for it. Cho checks out the body and finds out that the left shoulder has been scoured, possibly to remove any evidence of a tattoo.

-Love how viewers suspicion of Partridge has finally been addressed. He’s a member of RJ’s secret society.

Bertram orders Cordero to Kill Smith

A missing Cordero meets Gale Bertram and tells him that Smith is in the wind. Bertram responds “It’s a good place to be,” and has Cordero wait for him while he enters a storage facility and retrieves cash, what looks like several fake passports, and a gun. Shortly, when Smith reaches out to CBI to turn himself in, Cordero immediately knows about it and tells Bertram.

-Once again, we get proof of an RJ operative at CBI.

Bertram asks if Smith knows who Cordero is. Cordero replies no, that Smith didn’t see him. Bertram gives him a CBI badge and tells him to “pick up” Smith and to “get it right this time”.

-Bertram’s authoritative demeanor here is a role reversal from what we have seen of him before. We’ve seen Reed Smith talk quite rudely to Bertram in the past, telling him “it’s your job to know” with regards on how far Jane’s investigation into RJ had gone. At the time I was surprised that a mere agent would talk to a director that way and speculated that perhaps he was conveying someone else’s sentiments, someone with authority higher or at least as equal as Bertram’s. Alexa Shultz’s maybe?

So it’s interesting here to see Bertram take the reins on making sure Smith is silenced.

Jane and Lisbon Question Smith

Cordero arrives at where Smith is and shows him a CBI badge, telling him Agent Van Pelt sent him. A relieved Smith tells him, “You gotta keep me safe. They are everywhere.”  Pulling his gun out, Cordero points at Smith and says, “Yeah, we are.” Lucky for Smith Cho arrives at the scene before Cordero can force him into his car and saves him.

At CBI, Smith tells Lisbon he wants a deal that allows him to walk freely. Jane tells him he’s free to leave if he wants but he won’t last long now that he’s been targeted by his “friends”. At Lisbon’s promise that they’ll put him in a federal prison far  away from California, where he’d be safe.

Smith starts telling his story of how he got involved in a secret, corrupt society of law enforcers. After suffering a back injury, he got hooked on painkillers the doctor had prescribed him and mistook a little girl for a suspect he was chasing. Under the influence of the drugs, he shot her. And despite all the evidence and witnesses the local cops had against him, he got away with it; a fellow cop reached out to him and helped him. The cop was a member of “The Blake Association”. Reed explains “someone’s a big fan of his I guess.”  He adds that “cops, judges, FBI Agents, anyone in law enforcement that needs a secret covered” are members. “You need a favor you ask for it. You’re asked to do something you do it.”

Smith doesn’t know who is in charge, nor all the members but posits that there must be “hundreds of us, maybe thousands.” He admits to killing Bob Kirkland because he found out about the association and states that Red John must be a member. When Lisbon asks how he knows, he states that Rebecca Anderson, Sam Bosco’s killer was Red John’s follower. And when she was arrested “someone” asked him for FBI credentials so that they can get to CBI. And after she was killed, “that’s when I knew I did a favor to a serial killer.”

-At this moment a guy passes by whistling.

Jane then Smith the million dollar question “Did you murder my wife and daughter?” Smith denies this and Jane believes him.

What the heck was that whistling man doing there? RJ’s mole? RJ himself? A red herring? Oddly enough, Jane doesn’t seem to suspect the whistler, despite knowing that RJ is “an excellent whistler” as Sophie Miller had stated.

Jane’s New Plan

With his only remaining suspect in the wind, Jane and Lisbon call a press conference and reveal that Gale Bertram is Red John, that he’s at large and that anyone who sees him should call the CBI.

-At this point I doubt Jane is %100  percent sure Bertram is in fact RJ, but he’s a suspect nonetheless and the fastest way to find him was to reach out to people outside of law enforcement for help.

The Team Talks

The receptionist of the storage unit where Bertram was at reaches out to the CBI. As Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt go through it for clues Rigsby asks their opinion on the latest development.

Rigsby: Bertram is Red John?

Grace: Looks like.

Rigsby: And if Jane find’s him he’s going to kill him.

Cho: Yup.

Rigsby: And we’re good with that? Killing the boss?

Grace: I am.

Cho. Yeah.

Rigsby: Okay. So long as we’re all on the same page.

Awesome scene. Short, sweet and to the point. Also, in character. If Rigsby, the sweetest of all three characters ended up taking revenge for his dad’s death, it makes sense he’d stand aside to let Jane get his own defense. And we know Cho is no stranger to taking the law in his own hands due to his gangster past (Blood in, Blood out). Van Pelt, as well, has always been a pragmatist (some have even called her cold). It doesn’t seem like she’d have a problem with getting rid of RJ, even if it means killing him.

More importantly, it could just be that the the team is as sick of the RJ case as I-er, as Jane and Lisbon are. They’ve been hunting the man for years and he’s thwarted them at every turn. Now that they are finally making progress and getting close to him, any hesitation will only get in the way of his capture/demise. And finding out that he’s in such a position of power as division head only adds insult to the injurious fact that he’s a serial killer.

That is, if Bertram is RJ, of course.

Cho finds a (USB?) memory chip hidden in a lighter. Tech savvy Grace opens it on the computer it appears to be a list of names but they are written in code. She sends it to Jane to deal with.

-Love the continuity of that course Grace took on computer hacking. Also, it seems like the team came across actual documentation regarding the Blake Society, if this is really a list of names then it might be all the members.

Ruthless Bertram

Bertram is at a bar drinking when his face appears on television. He instantly kills the bartender who recognizes him and finishes his drink before calling someone saying “I need a ride.”

Some witnesses must have seen blood covered Bertram leave the bar because the next scene has Jane and Lisbon on their way there when Rigsby directs them to a house Bertram owns in the same area.

Cho is already there with a team of officers he personally checked making sure have no tattoos. All seems okay before SAC PD SWAT arrives at the scene, no doubt contacted by one of Bertram’s friends to confuse the situation. As Jane suspects, Bertram in disguise of a SWAT member, is picked up by Cordero.

FBI Shuts CBI Down

FBI Supervisor Dennis Abbot (Rockmond Dunbar) arrives from the Texas division as an outside party to clean out both the FBI and CBI from the members of the Blake Association. And since Bertram, the head of CBI turned out to be a serial killer, the entire CBI is shut down with every single employee being fired as Abbot collects evidence for his investigation.

-Wow. You kinda know that something like was coming and yet it was totally unexpected. I do wonder, however, what kind of evidence Abbot’s people were hoping to find in Jane’s couch. That seemed like just overkill. And it totally broke my heart. As it undoubtedly broke Jane’s…

Arriving in the unit he asks what’s going on when the agent moving his couch hands him something saying “that’s yours”.

-What the heck was that! I watched the scene several times but the best I could figure was that it was spare change from the couch? Or keys? What?!!

Abbott introduces himself to Jane, saying he’s taking over the investigation and tells Jane to stick around town as he’ll need to interview him at some point. And in case seeing Jane’s beloved couch carted off didn’t do you in, a Fed had to bump into Jane causing his blue cup to fall from its saucer, breaking on the floor. Both Jane and Lisbon are horrified, and for Abbot’s and newer viewer’s sake, Jane explains “that was my favorite cup” then leaves.

Lisbon follows him out, asking him if they should start breaking the coded list Grace found but Jane declines saying “it’s a waste of time” and that “we’re done. There’s nothing more to do here.”

At Lisbon’s disbelief that Jane’s quitting he responds “No I’m not quitting, I’m letting go. It’s out of our hands for now.”

Jane tells Lisbon he’ll be in touch and apologizes for everything before he leaves CBI. Later we see Jane (gasp) enter (GASP!!!!!) A CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*dies*

God I was so tempted to end the review there but how could I? It’s basically the entire point of the episode…maybe the entire series?

To be honest, I’d been expecting a scene like this ever since season four’s episode Blood and Sand. But now?

Wow.

I’m left with two options: to believe or not to believe what I am being shown.

But what other reason could there be for Jane going to church other than a desperation causing him to reach out, and therefore admitting, that there is a being higher than him? Could that be what he meant by “It’s out of our hands for now?”

One option that occurred to me had to do with the (coins?) Jane was given. Perhaps one of the coins Jane was given was his Saint Sebastian coin (originally gifted to him by Byron, a grateful husband in Bloodstream). In that episode’s review, I had stated:

Byron gives Jane his St. Sebastian medallion; he states that the Saint helps people in pain, and that it gave him a lot of strength. Jane is skeptic of a “magical medallion”. He makes to return it, telling Byron that he isn’t really a believer, but then changes his mind and keeps the gift; thanking Byron. The episode ends on Jane’s pensive face.

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

Now Jane probably only accepted the gift for Byron’s benefit, but it is a pretty optimistic gesture, nonetheless (especially compared with the rest of the season).

Now, to tackle some huge “ifs”:

IF amongst the coins returned to Jane was the St. Sebastian coin, and IF the agent who gave it to Jane works for RJ, then MAYBE the coin was a message that Jane should meet RJ in church and that is his reason for being there.

Lots and lots of ifs. Now for some more.

IF, on the other hand, the FBI Agent ISN’T working for RJ and was merely returning to Jane personal property they found in his commandeered couch then MAYBE seeing the Saint’s coin reminded Jane of Byron’s words and that’s what led him to the church; he was searching for a way to relieve his pain.

Of course, there’s always a third option that Jane wasn’t given anything important and the loss of his favorite couch and blue cup caused him to reach out to God and pray that Agent Abbott be cursed for depriving him of his two security blanket substitutes. I’m only partly joking here because Jane loved that couch and that blue cup.

Best Scenes

Jane’s questioning of Officer Hagen was quite enjoyable. Baker’s expression were as amusing as ever and I love how it ended with the man telling Jane “Get out of my head”.

Rigsby and Grace’s shootout was very exciting and well executed. Truly good writing, acting and direction.

Honorable Mentions

Actor Michael Gaston was phenomenal. Going from the kind eyed, political father-figure boss to a ruthless killer.

Drew Powell was also quite enjoyable. I loved his sarcasm as the doctor was attempting to pull out the bullet from inside him.

Writer Jordan Harper. Lots of masterfully intercut scenes in this one. Kept up a wonderful pace to the episode.

Every single regular cast member including CBI Ron and Karl. Love every single actor here.

Icings on the Cake

Husband and wife team Grace and Wayne worked so well together. It was nice to see them so in sync.

Pet Peeves

I was so annoyed that Lisbon didn’t even attempt to get Jane to tell her what happened at his house prior to the explosion. I wanted to know what happened! But I’m guessing the reason we’re being kept in the dark is to later spring on a surprise on us if any of the presumed dead people there ends up alive. I still would have like Jane to mention that he can’t remember what happened due to a concussion or whatever.

Jane’s and Lisbon’s final elevator scene seemed a little rushed to me. That could be intentional to show how upset Jane was, he simply couldn’t stand to be in CBI anymore. Or it could hint of his eagerness to get to church (for whatever reason). But it still seemed too hurried for me.

Conclusion

Jane’s Belief’s

All joking aside, let’s not forget that the show’s entire premise is a man searching for redemption, and for some people that equals finding religion. We’ve had more biblical/religious references than I can count on this show (visit link to read Violet’s fantastic post for more details). The most obvious being that the two main characters are named after two Saints (Saint Teresa, Saint Patrick) and that Jane’s dead wife’s name is Angela. One might argue that the last scene was out of character given how often Jane protested other people’s religious beliefs as being unfounded. But to me, it always seemed like he doth protest too much; like he’s willing himself to not believe as opposed to someone who truly was agnostic or atheist. Perhaps Jane was once a believer but lost that with the death of his family. If that was true then his reaching out now would be easier to digest. And even if he never was, then one could argue that Lisbon’s own belief rubbed on Jane after all the years they spent together. She’s certainly picked up a lot of his and, like any couple, it only makes sense that the opposite would be true as well. Jane’s only human after all.

Who’d love it if, in the next episode, it just turns out that Jane is meeting RJ in church and that’s the only reason why he’s there? But even if that was true, then what possible reason could there be for Jane sitting in a kneeling position? One can’t possibly ignore everything…

Is Bertram Red John?

Personally, I don’t think so. We’ve had hints that Bertram answers to someone else. His making a call to someone right before meeting Jane at the mall in Strawberries and Cream, is just one example. I suppose that could have just been him playing a part, keeping the FBI updated on the RJ case. But until I see the final showdown between Jane and RJ I won’t buy him as being Jane’s family’s killer.

So if not him, then who? CBI Ron? Karl? A still alive Haffner, McCallister, or Stiles? Cho?! (This would totally break me, but, after all, he does know Blake). Jane’s long lost twin or his dad? Anyone’s guess is as good (or as bad) as mine.

The Great Red Dragon

In this episode, when Cordero picks up Bertram, Bertram tells him he’s hungry and the former replies he knows a great Chinese restaurant. This recalled the restaurant Jane met Hightower in and the decorative dragon there. In that episode’s fantastic review, Violet (and company) went into great detail regarding it’s symbolism which I’ve reposted here for its relevance (and because there’s no way I’d do a better job analyzing The Great Red Dragon (i.e. Satan):

….the dragon at the Chinese restaurant may be an allusion to the Great Red Dragon from the Bible, featured in a four watercolour paintings from Blake. The dragon is mentioned in Book of Revelation (aka the Apocalypse) 12 and 13. The text is pretty telling, as commenter A.Anggraeni mentioned in the comments for ‘The Desert Rose’ review:

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne […].
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. […]” (Rev. 12, 1-14)

Here, we have:

- the seven-headed red dragon (seven suspects initially) coming from the sea, an important theme for RJ;

- he’s eager to murder in order to “rule all the nations”, cf. RJ’s thirst for power.

- he’s defeated in a war and he and his “angels’ lost their place in Heaven (may that be meaning that RJ and his minions will be defeated and law enforcement agencies will be purged from their accomplices?)

-Bob Kirkland was fighting RJ’s evilness in his own way and his twin brother was named after God’s Archangel Michael.

- The dragon retreated to earth after being defeated and losing the woman to God and he’s angry because “he knows that his time is short”… which may or not be referred to by the fact that RJ felt threatened and defeated to some extent when he lost his influence on Lorelei and had to kill her. He reacted out of anger by sending that DVD to Jane because he feels his adversary is coming close…

- He’s defeated “by the blood of the Lamb”… Since Ruby called Jane “lamb”, I hope it doesn’t bode too ill for him… Too bad that would-be angel doesn’t “have wings” as he told to the killer in ‘Wedding in Red’… I’m also hoping that sentence “they did not love their lives so much/ as to shrink from death” won’t foreshadow a fatal issue for anyone in the SCU.

- Also, it’s probably a stretch, yet it’s intriguing that the women was given eagle wings to flee from the dragon at the end, given that birds are pretty present these last two seasons…

The Bible also tells (Rev. 13, 1-8):

“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”

And (Rev, 13, 11-18):

“Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”

Again, there seem to be many allusions to those passages in the show:

- RJ accused Jane of “slandering” his name in the media. He placed himself as God.

- The cult-like philosophy used by RJ may be an allusion to the worshipping;

- in the empty house where Lisbon was targeted, there was the number 666 and she “received” RJ’s mark on her “forehead” (the smiley).

- Like commenter Rose UK remarked there are two beasts under the dragon’s influence. The leopard-like one, who blasphemies the name of God, and the second one, lamb-like, who deceived people by getting them to worship the first one. I don’t know if that’s relevant for the show storyline, but I wonder if some characters couldn’t fill those roles: the red dragon could be either the secret organisation (provided that RJ is only one of his powerful members and not its master) or a charismatic leader hiding behind the scenes (like Bret Stiles or even the sect Visualize as a whole, which might control said organisation). Then, the leopard-beast, or tiger in our case, might be RJ, or at least the serial killer(s) who impersonates him… leaving the role of the more inoffensive looking beast to some person who could recruit new members. Or those functions might be held by one man alone and then it could referred by Betram’s “I’m many things to many people”

Today’s episode’s title is Red John. FINALLLY!!!!!!

Synopsis

The Great Red Dragon picks up where Fire and Red Brimstone left off. Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) continues his pursuit of the tattooed suspects and reveals a secret society of corrupt law enforcers. But his and Lisbon’s search for Red John amongst them leads to unforeseen consequences.

Concise Verdict

Another exciting entry in this year’s phenomenal season. 9/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review

Teresa Lisbon arrives at Jane house just in time to witness an explosion. Going inside she tries to apprehend Reed when she sees the tattoo on his shoulder but he manages to escape. Seeing Jane down, a distracted Lisbon allows Bertram to flee the scene.

-Lisbon can’t be blamed for not suspecting her boss; Jane himself never suspected that there would be more than one tattooed person.

Bertram tries to kill Jane

Bertram arrives at the hospital and overhears Cho tell Lisbon that forensics found the remains of three people in Jane’s house: Brett Stiles, Ray Haffner and Thomas McCallister. Lisbon answer’s glibly that she would have thought that Stiles could survive a nuclear attack. Cho tells us that Stiles, Haffner and McCallister are all positively dead based on DNA found at the crime scene even though “the bodies are all burned to a crisp.”

-Lisbon’s response bothered me here. Yes, Stiles was going to be arrested by the FBI for multiple crimes. He was also sick and going to die anyway, but Lisbon didn’t know that. Also, Haffner was creepy but as far she knows innocent of any crime. The same goes for McCallister. The fact that three people were killed in Jane’s house, during his hunt for RJ doesn’t seem to bother here at all. It should. If not from an ethical standpoint then from a legal one. After all, at this point, who knows who was responsible for the explosion at Jane’s house?

Bertram overhears this and learns that Smith is still in the wind. He takes this opportunity to try and silence an unconscious Jane before he lets out that Bertram  is part of whatever conspiracy the tattooed men are in. Thankfully, he is interrupted by Lisbon. He orders her to find Smith, trying to get her to leave to finish off Jane but the unconscious consultant wakes up. Bertram, knowing he missed his chance leaves the hospital, breaks his phone and sheds his coat the better to disguise himself.

-Unfortunately, Lisbon’s reunion with conscious Jane doesn’t shed much light on what happened in Jane’s house prior the explosion. We know that we heard a gunshot, but Jane’s dream sequence, remembering the event doesn’t’ show who fired the gun or what started the explosion. Was the bomb something that  Jane set up off screen? Maybe not as the reported casualties (Haffner and Stiles) remained sitting further than where Jane had led his suspects. If he had set up the bomb, you’d think he’d use it to get rid of his RJ suspect and would hence lead the suspect towards the bomb.

So we’re left thinking that if the bomb was, as Rigsby says brought there by one of the men. I suspect one of the so-called deceased men: McCallister, Haffner and Stiles. Perhaps one of them wanted to use Jane’s distracted state to fake their own death. But if so, then why?

Two possibilities: In the case of the dying Stiles, he could have done it to pass his remaining time freely without being hounded by the FBI. Or, If either he, McCallister, or Haffner are in fact RJ (too cautious to tattoo themselves) faking his death could be a plan to further outsmart Jane. He’d have no reason to suspect a dead person of being RJ.

Bertram is Ousted

Jane wakes up and tells Lisbon that Bertram has a tattoo as well. Lisbon then puts out a statewide search for both him and Read Smith.  Grace and Wayne follow a lead on where Smith could have gone but a uniformed officer beats them to the location: a medical clinic. Detective Cordero (Joe Nieves),  the Sac PD officer who was in charge of investigating Bob Kirkland’s shooting also arrives. Greeting each other with “Tyger Tyger” the two policemen confirm Smith is inside. The agent tells the uniform  “I just got word from inside CBI a couple of agents are on their way now”, and tells him he needs to hurry and get rid of Smith. Meanwhile he’ll slow down the agents when they arrive.

-Cordero’s words confirm that RJ still has a mole within CBI.

The officer goes inside where Smith is having the bullet Lisbon shot in him removed. He interrupts the process and tells Smith that he’s here to help him and asks why Smith didn’t call the “association”. Smith replies: “Funnily enough I got trust issues.”

-I love this reference to how RJ’s people who get caught get whacked. Smith, unlike other RJ people we’ve seen, seems to at least have a will to live.

Grace and Rigsby arrive at the scene and are greeted by Cordero who tells him that he and his associate beat them to RJ and have it covered. Jane calls and tells Rigsby not to trust anyone in law enforcement. The advice has the CBI agents charging in despite Cordero’s protests.

The officer takes Reed out the back where he is telling him the “association” has a safe house ready for him. Reed replies that he said that to  “someone” once before he shot him the back six times.

-Love the reference to Reed’s killing Bob Kirkland, continuity and reminders to those of us suffering short attention spans.

Grace and Wayne arrive just in time to save Reed. While Wayne deals with the officer, Grace tries to catch a fleeing Smith but is fired at by Cordero. The officer is taken in while Cordero and Smith manage to escape.

Confused Grace updates Lisbon that the detective tried to kill both the CBI and Smith. Jane tells her to check the officers shoulder.

-At this point it’s safe to say Jane has already figured out that RJ goes way beyond just one person. We get proof of this when he questions the officer.

Jane and Cho interrogate Officer Paul Hagen

At CBI, Grace tells Lisbon that Agent Cordero can’t be found; he called in sick at work- and that the captured officer’s name is Paul Hagen.

Jane and Cho question the unresponsive man. Despite refusing to talk, Jane is able to glean a lot of information from him simply by reading his reactions to Jane’s questions:

“You’re not a big talker. I get it. Loose lips and ships and all that. The bad news is that you have a lousy poker face.”

He figures out that:

- Hagen belongs to a secret organization of cops sand other government officials. ”

-Agent Smith is a member as well.

-Hagen doesn’t know if Bertram is a member, nor if he or Smith are Red John.

-Tyger, tiger, is the organizations password, greeting and distress signal.

Jane/Lisbon Regroup

Jane tells Lisbon that they need to check Partridge’s body, since he told her Tyger, Tyger before he died, hoping she’d recognize the cry for help and save him. They assume he must have a tattoo on his shoulder and send Cho to look for it. Cho checks out the body and finds out that the left shoulder has been scoured, possibly to remove any evidence of a tattoo.

-Love how viewers suspicion of Partridge has finally been addressed. He’s a member of RJ’s secret society.

Bertram orders Cordero to Kill Smith

A missing Cordero meets Gale Bertram and tells him that Smith is in the wind. Bertram responds “It’s a good place to be,” and has Cordero wait for him while he enters a storage facility and retrieves cash, what looks like several fake passports, and a gun. Shortly, when Smith reaches out to CBI to turn himself in, Cordero immediately knows about it and tells Bertram.

-Once again, we get proof of an RJ operative at CBI.

Bertram asks if Smith knows who Cordero is. Cordero replies no, that Smith didn’t see him. Bertram gives him a CBI badge and tells him to “pick up” Smith and to “get it right this time”.

-Bertram’s authoritative demeanor here is a role reversal from what we have seen of him before. We’ve seen Reed Smith talk quite rudely to Bertram in the past, telling him “it’s your job to know” with regards on how far Jane’s investigation into RJ had gone. At the time I was surprised that a mere agent would talk to a director that way and speculated that perhaps he was conveying someone else’s sentiments, someone with authority higher or at least as equal as Bertram’s. Alexa Shultz’s maybe?

So it’s interesting here to see Bertram take the reins on making sure Smith is silenced.

Jane and Lisbon Question Smith

Cordero arrives at where Smith is and shows him a CBI badge, telling him Agent Van Pelt sent him. A relieved Smith tells him, “You gotta keep me safe. They are everywhere.”  Pulling his gun out, Cordero points at Smith and says, “Yeah, we are.” Lucky for Smith Cho arrives at the scene before Cordero can force him into his car and saves him.

At CBI, Smith tells Lisbon he wants a deal that allows him to walk freely. Jane tells him he’s free to leave if he wants but he won’t last long now that he’s been targeted by his “friends”. At Lisbon’s promise that they’ll put him in a federal prison far  away from California, where he’d be safe.

Smith starts telling his story of how he got involved in a secret, corrupt society of law enforcers. After suffering a back injury, he got hooked on painkillers the doctor had prescribed him and mistook a little girl for a suspect he was chasing. Under the influence of the drugs, he shot her. And despite all the evidence and witnesses the local cops had against him, he got away with it; a fellow cop reached out to him and helped him. The cop was a member of “The Blake Association”. Reed explains “someone’s a big fan of his I guess.”  He adds that “cops, judges, FBI Agents, anyone in law enforcement that needs a secret covered” are members. “You need a favor you ask for it. You’re asked to do something you do it.”

Smith doesn’t know who is in charge, nor all the members but posits that there must be “hundreds of us, maybe thousands.” He admits to killing Bob Kirkland because he found out about the association and states that Red John must be a member. When Lisbon asks how he knows, he states that Rebecca Anderson, Sam Bosco’s killer was Red John’s follower. And when she was arrested “someone” asked him for FBI credentials so that they can get to CBI. And after she was killed, “that’s when I knew I did a favor to a serial killer.”

-At this moment a guy passes by whistling.

Jane then Smith the million dollar question “Did you murder my wife and daughter?” Smith denies this and Jane believes him.

What the heck was that whistling man doing there? RJ’s mole? RJ himself? A red herring? Oddly enough, Jane doesn’t seem to suspect the whistler, despite knowing that RJ is “an excellent whistler” as Sophie Miller had stated.

Jane’s New Plan

With his only remaining suspect in the wind, Jane and Lisbon call a press conference and reveal that Gale Bertram is Red John, that he’s at large and that anyone who sees him should call the CBI.

-At this point I doubt Jane is %100  percent sure Bertram is in fact RJ, but he’s a suspect nonetheless and the fastest way to find him was to reach out to people outside of law enforcement for help.

The Team Talks

The receptionist of the storage unit where Bertram was at reaches out to the CBI. As Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt go through it for clues Rigsby asks their opinion on the latest development.

Rigsby: Bertram is Red John?

Grace: Looks like.

Rigsby: And if Jane find’s him he’s going to kill him.

Cho: Yup.

Rigsby: And we’re good with that? Killing the boss?

Grace: I am.

Cho. Yeah.

Rigsby: Okay. So long as we’re all on the same page.

Awesome scene. Short, sweet and to the point. Also, in character. If Rigsby, the sweetest of all three characters ended up taking revenge for his dad’s death, it makes sense he’d stand aside to let Jane get his own defense. And we know Cho is no stranger to taking the law in his own hands due to his gangster past (Blood in, Blood out). Van Pelt, as well, has always been a pragmatist (some have even called her cold). It doesn’t seem like she’d have a problem with getting rid of RJ, even if it means killing him.

More importantly, it could just be that the the team is as sick of the RJ case as I-er, as Jane and Lisbon are. They’ve been hunting the man for years and he’s thwarted them at every turn. Now that they are finally making progress and getting close to him, any hesitation will only get in the way of his capture/demise. And finding out that he’s in such a position of power as division head only adds insult to the injurious fact that he’s a serial killer.

That is, if Bertram is RJ, of course.

Cho finds a (USB?) memory chip hidden in a lighter. Tech savvy Grace opens it on the computer it appears to be a list of names but they are written in code. She sends it to Jane to deal with.

-Love the continuity of that course Grace took on computer hacking. Also, it seems like the team came across actual documentation regarding the Blake Society, if this is really a list of names then it might be all the members.

Ruthless Bertram

Bertram is at a bar drinking when his face appears on television. He instantly kills the bartender who recognizes him and finishes his drink before calling someone saying “I need a ride.”

Some witnesses must have seen blood covered Bertram leave the bar because the next scene has Jane and Lisbon on their way there when Rigsby directs them to a house Bertram owns in the same area.

Cho is already there with a team of officers he personally checked making sure have no tattoos. All seems okay before SAC PD SWAT arrives at the scene, no doubt contacted by one of Bertram’s friends to confuse the situation. As Jane suspects, Bertram in disguise of a SWAT member, is picked up by Cordero.

FBI Shuts CBI Down

FBI Supervisor Dennis Abbot (Rockmond Dunbar) arrives from the Texas division as an outside party to clean out both the FBI and CBI from the members of the Blake Association. And since Bertram, the head of CBI turned out to be a serial killer, the entire CBI is shut down with every single employee being fired as Abbot collects evidence for his investigation.

-Wow. You kinda know that something like was coming and yet it was totally unexpected. I do wonder, however, what kind of evidence Abbot’s people were hoping to find in Jane’s couch. That seemed like just overkill. And it totally broke my heart. As it undoubtedly broke Jane’s…

Arriving in the unit he asks what’s going on when the agent moving his couch hands him something saying “that’s yours”.

-What the heck was that! I watched the scene several times but the best I could figure was that it was spare change from the couch? Or keys? What?!!

Abbott introduces himself to Jane, saying he’s taking over the investigation and tells Jane to stick around town as he’ll need to interview him at some point. And in case seeing Jane’s beloved couch carted off didn’t do you in, a Fed had to bump into Jane causing his blue cup to fall from its saucer, breaking on the floor. Both Jane and Lisbon are horrified, and for Abbot’s and newer viewer’s sake, Jane explains “that was my favorite cup” then leaves.

Lisbon follows him out, asking him if they should start breaking the coded list Grace found but Jane declines saying “it’s a waste of time” and that “we’re done. There’s nothing more to do here.”

At Lisbon’s disbelief that Jane’s quitting he responds “No I’m not quitting, I’m letting go. It’s out of our hands for now.”

Jane tells Lisbon he’ll be in touch and apologizes for everything before he leaves CBI. Later we see Jane (gasp) enter (GASP!!!!!) A CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*dies*

I was so tempted to end the review there but how could I? It’s basically the entire point of the episode…maybe the entire series?

To be honest, I’d been expecting a scene like this ever since season four’s episode Blood and Sand. But now?

Wow.

I’m left with two options: to believe or not to believe what I am being shown.

But what other reason could there be for Jane going to church other than a desperation causing him to reach out, and therefore admitting, that there is a being higher than him? Could that be what he meant by “It’s out of our hands for now?”

One option that occurred to me had to do with the (coins?) Jane was given. Perhaps one of the coins Jane was given was his Saint Sebastian coin (originally gifted to him by Byron, a grateful husband in Bloodstream). In that episode’s review, I had stated:

Byron gives Jane his St. Sebastian medallion; he states that the Saint helps people in pain, and that it gave him a lot of strength. Jane is skeptic of a “magical medallion”. He makes to return it, telling Byron that he isn’t really a believer, but then changes his mind and keeps the gift; thanking Byron. The episode ends on Jane’s pensive face.

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

Now Jane probably only accepted the gift for Byron’s benefit, but it is a pretty optimistic gesture, nonetheless (especially compared with the rest of the season).

Now, to tackle some huge “ifs”:

IF amongst the coins returned to Jane was the St. Sebastian coin, and IF the agent who gave it to Jane works for RJ, then MAYBE the coin was a message that Jane should meet RJ in church and that is his reason for being there.

Lots and lots of ifs. Now for some more.

IF, on the other hand, the FBI Agent ISN’T working for RJ and was merely returning to Jane personal property they found in his commandeered couch then MAYBE seeing the Saint’s coin reminded Jane of Byron’s words and that’s what led him to the church; he was searching for a way to relieve his pain.

Of course, there’s always a third option that Jane wasn’t given anything important and the loss of his favorite couch and blue cup caused him to reach out to God and pray that Agent Abbott be cursed for depriving him of his two security blanket substitutes. I’m only partly joking here because Jane loved that couch and that blue cup.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain December, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain December, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Best Scenes

Jane’s questioning of Officer Hagen was quite enjoyable. Baker’s expression were as amusing as ever and I love how it ended with the man telling Jane “Get out of my head”.

Rigsby and Grace’s shootout was very exciting and well executed. Truly good writing, acting and direction.

Honorable Mentions

Actor Michael Gaston was phenomenal. Going from the kind eyed, political father-figure boss to a ruthless killer.

Drew Powell was also quite enjoyable. I loved his sarcasm as the doctor was attempting to pull out the bullet from inside him.

Writer Jordan Harper. Lots of masterfully intercut scenes in this one. Kept up a wonderful pace to the episode.

Every single regular cast member including CBI Ron and Karl. Love every single actor here.

Icings on the Cake

Husband and wife team Grace and Wayne worked so well together. It was nice to see them so in sync.

Pet Peeves

I was so annoyed that Lisbon didn’t even attempt to get Jane to tell her what happened at his house prior to the explosion. I wanted to know what happened! But I’m guessing the reason we’re being kept in the dark is to later spring on a surprise on us if any of the presumed dead people there ends up alive. I still would have like Jane to mention that he can’t remember what happened due to a concussion or whatever.

Conclusion

Jane’s Belief’s

All joking aside, let’s not forget that the show’s entire premise is a man searching for redemption, and for some people that equals finding religion. We’ve had more biblical/religious references than I can count on this show (See Violet’s fantastic post for more details), the most obvious being that the two main characters are named after two Saints (Saint Teresa, Saint Patrick) and that Jane’s dead wife’s name is Angela. One might argue that the last scene was out of character given how often Jane protested other people’s religious beliefs as being unfounded. But to me, it always seemed like he doth protest too much; like he’s willing himself to not believe as opposed to someone who truly was agnostic or atheist. Perhaps Jane was once a believer but lost that with the death of his family. If that was true then his reaching out now would be easier to digest. And even if he never was, then one could argue that Lisbon’s own belief rubbed on Jane after all the years they spent together. She’s certainly picked up a lot of his and, like any couple, it only makes sense that the opposite would be true as well. Jane’s only human after all.

Who’d love it if, in the next episode, it just turns out that Jane is meeting RJ in church and that’s the only reason why he’s there? But even if that was true, then what possible reason could there be for Jane sitting in a kneeling position? One can’t possibly ignore everything…

Is Bertram Red John?

Personally, I don’t think so. We’ve had hints that Bertram answers to someone else. His making a call to someone right before meeting Jane at the mall in Strawberries and Cream, is just one example. I suppose that could have just been him playing a part, keeping the FBI updated on the RJ case. But until I see the final showdown between Jane and RJ I won’t buy him as being Jane’s family’s killer.

So if not him, then who? CBI Ron? Karl? A still alive Haffner, McCallister, or Stiles? Cho?! (This would totally break me, but, after all, he does know Blake). Jane’s long lost twin or his dad? Anyone’s guess is as good (or as bad) as mine.

The Great Red Dragon

In this episode, when Cordero picks up Bertram, Bertram tells him he’s hungry and the former replies he knows a great Chinese restaurant. This recalled the restaurant Jane met Hightower in and the decorative dragon there. In that episode’s fantastic review, Violet (and company) went into great detail regarding it’s symbolism which I’ve reposted here for its relevance (and because there’s no way I’d do a better job analyzing The Great Red Dragon (i.e. Satan):

….the dragon at the Chinese restaurant may be an allusion to the Great Red Dragon from the Bible, featured in a four watercolour paintings from Blake. The dragon is mentioned in Book of Revelation (aka the Apocalypse) 12 and 13. The text is pretty telling, as commenter A.Anggraeni mentioned in the comments for ‘The Desert Rose’ review:

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne […].
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. […]” (Rev. 12, 1-14)

Here, we have:

- the seven-headed red dragon (seven suspects initially) coming from the sea, an important theme for RJ;

- he’s eager to murder in order to “rule all the nations”, cf. RJ’s thirst for power.

- he’s defeated in a war and he and his “angels’ lost their place in Heaven (may that be meaning that RJ and his minions will be defeated and law enforcement agencies will be purged from their accomplices?)

-Bob Kirkland was fighting RJ’s evilness in his own way and his twin brother was named after God’s Archangel Michael.

- The dragon retreated to earth after being defeated and losing the woman to God and he’s angry because “he knows that his time is short”… which may or not be referred to by the fact that RJ felt threatened and defeated to some extent when he lost his influence on Lorelei and had to kill her. He reacted out of anger by sending that DVD to Jane because he feels his adversary is coming close…

- He’s defeated “by the blood of the Lamb”… Since Ruby called Jane “lamb”, I hope it doesn’t bode too ill for him… Too bad that would-be angel doesn’t “have wings” as he told to the killer in ‘Wedding in Red’… I’m also hoping that sentence “they did not love their lives so much/ as to shrink from death” won’t foreshadow a fatal issue for anyone in the SCU.

- Also, it’s probably a stretch, yet it’s intriguing that the women was given eagle wings to flee from the dragon at the end, given that birds are pretty present these last two seasons…

The Bible also tells (Rev. 13, 1-8):

“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”

And (Rev, 13, 11-18):

“Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”

Again, there seem to be many allusions to those passages in the show:

- RJ accused Jane of “slandering” his name in the media. He placed himself as God.

- The cult-like philosophy used by RJ may be an allusion to the worshipping;

- in the empty house where Lisbon was targeted, there was the number 666 and she “received” RJ’s mark on her “forehead” (the smiley).

- Like commenter Rose UK remarked there are two beasts under the dragon’s influence. The leopard-like one, who blasphemies the name of God, and the second one, lamb-like, who deceived people by getting them to worship the first one. I don’t know if that’s relevant for the show storyline, but I wonder if some characters couldn’t fill those roles: the red dragon could be either the secret organisation (provided that RJ is only one of his powerful members and not its master) or a charismatic leader hiding behind the scenes (like Bret Stiles or even the sect Visualize as a whole, which might control said organisation). Then, the leopard-beast, or tiger in our case, might be RJ, or at least the serial killer(s) who impersonates him… leaving the role of the more inoffensive looking beast to some person who could recruit new members. Or those functions might be held by one man alone and then it could referred by Betram’s “I’m many things to many people”

Today’s episode’s title is Red John. FINALLLY!!!!!!

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25 responses to “Mentalist The Great Red Dragon Review

  • Julie

    A great review but my understanding is that the Blake society is separate from ‘Red John and although some members maybe Red John associates and Red John is a member and sometimes uses the organization, it doesn’t mean that every member of the society works for Red John. My guess is that most of them don’t. Finally the day is almost here, this week has been killing me!

  • zee

    Hello Reviewbrain!

    Excited that you’re free enough to write this review. :)

    Love it that the episode speaks for itself with straight forward clues but I don’t buy for a second that Gale Bertram is Red John…

    But I have to say its a pivotal moment for Jane to be kneeling at a church looking humbled, unless, of course, it’s another con for Red John. (I’ll be a little pissed though.)

    Looking forward for what’s to come!

    Regarding the coin, I must say you have stayed relatively spoiler free! I came across another poster saying the coins the Feds passed to Jane was meant as a spontaneous gag from one of the Show’s crew. It alludes the comic conspiracy of coins always losing their themselves into nook and crannies of couches/sofas.

  • Rose UK

    Hi RB, thanks for your review! Very interesting thoughts about the coin; I hadn’t thought of any of those possible ideas. :) I just thought it was a reference to Jane always playing with coins as part of his tricks, and evidently losing them.

    My strongest reaction during this episode was: “NOOOO! Not the cup! Not the couch!” Talk about symbolism. ;)

    I agree that Bertram is not RJ – mostly because it seemed such an anticlimax if it were. I think that Jane went to the media to deflect attention away from the real RJ, and is going after him alone. Again. Having ditched Lisbon. Again. ;) (In a scene very reminiscent of Red Rover.)

    Fun detail (only noticed upon second viewing): When Bertram picks up the paper stuffing from the container in the storage place, you can see the lighter-drive hidden in it at the bottom. Clever!

    Symbolism alerts:

    – In addition to the ‘furnace’, ‘hammer’, ‘shoulder and art’, ‘Lamb’ and other references to the poem Tyger Tyger that have now appeared (as pointed out by Anomaly), we now have yet another item in this episode – ‘dread feet’. (As in, the severed foot.)

    – Light/dark. Once again, like Bloodshot, we have Lisbon’s face materialising out of the darkness of Jane’s unconsciousness when he comes to.

    And other random comments:

    I loved Cho asking if Lisbon was alright at the beginning. And I loved the scene between VP, Rigsby and Cho in the storage place. Like RB said, it was all totally in character.

    Jane in church…. HM. I don’t know what to make of all that, really. What were the images he was looking at? One was of the Virgin Mary, I think. Do they have any significance, do we think?

  • phoenixx

    Thanks for the review :D

    To the “evidence in the couch” I don’t think they meant to actually finding evidence there but the FBI cleans the house therefore everything has to go and it obviously shows that Jane and Lisbon’s world is falling apart, cause though the CBI was the closest to a home Jane had, it’s also Lisbon’s real home in a sense, even more so. But the evidence, imo, is just in the Computers and files etc.

    Also the whistler that had Smith shaking, I think that was just to show how paranoid and antsy Smith is and that really anyone could be part of the “BA”. But I’m pretty sure the guy whistling had nothing to do with either RJ or the BA.

    I don’t believe Bertram is RJ either, RJ would never try to kill Jane that way, their story is way to personal to just slice his throat but I start to believe that Bertram might be someone who knows who RJ is. And I agree with Julie that RJ and the BA are two seperate things but RJ uses them.

    Also a bit dissapointed we didn’t get an explanation to what happened in the house but I guess that’s because it would reveal to much and probabaly even RJ’s real identity…I’m convinced it’s one of the supposed dead, I find it hard to believe that for example McAllister who was right next to the three people that survived the explotion without a scratch (yeah that was a bit of a pet peeve for me) got bown to pieces that would make more sense with Stiles/Haffner who were sitting on the couch.
    And what they said about the DNA wasn’t exactly a postive death cerificate as DNA can be planted.

    Well tomorrow we know…luckily I didn’t get spoiled so far.

  • Elizabeth Haysmont

    Let us not forget that VanPelt DID send the “list” to Jane. Was the information therein what makes Jane go to the church? Does it tell Jane that it’s a meeting place/safehouse for Blake Association members? My question is who is the woman in the pews of the church? They’re very careful to not show her face.

  • phoenixx

    Oh forgot the scene I thought that was once again so subtle on the Jisbon:

    When Jane wakes up in the hospital it was almost a total copy of the “Bloodshot” scene when Jane was blind and the moment he could see again it was Lisbon’s face he saw first, here again Jane comes to his senses and the moment his vision gets better he sees Lisbon’s face.

    In fact it’s always Lisbon he “returns” to. With all the action and stuff that happened it’s something that happened so fast it’s easy to overlook but after the “Sunset” scene it good to see how Jane smiles when he sees her and the way he says her name, like he didn’t expect to see her again which he probably really didn’t.

  • Manda

    Loved the review!

  • canddee2012

    Re Lisbon…….I love that Patrick called her by her first name…….now wait…..maybe that was in the promo….anyway it says a lot to me, especially when he told her in “Devil’s Cherry that she could call him Patrick.

  • canddee2012

    Thank you, Reviewbrain, for an excellent review.

  • mosquitoinuk

    Hi Reviewbrain! thank you ever so much for your efforts!

    I need to re-read your review but something I want to mention is that when I saw the scene where Cho, Van Pelt and Rigbsy discuss the “are you ok with Jane killing the boss” I thought the producers and writers wanted *us* audience to hear that out loud. Why? because killing in cold blood is difficult to justify and they wanted us to be with *them*. I’m not sure I’m being very coherent here; what I mean to say is: there is an agreement amongst these people and definitely *no drama* about RJ’s death, which is a way to “lead” the audience. I laughed at the lightness of it all but afterwards I thought it was a clear indication of the things that will come. Rigsby asked out loud “are you ok” and I felt it was directed at us as much as Van Pelt and Cho. The fact that the other 2 are more than OK, gives approval to Jane’s ultimate act (a murder, in fact, I’m now absolutely convinced) and a veneer of acceptance, so, we will feel that is it perfectly justified when in fact, it isn’t. I felt we were being groomed.

    Now, I’m not particularly happy with it but I understand the pressure of trying to keep Jane a sympathetic character. They have done a terrific job so far because I still care for Jane (him being a jerk and all) but I find it rather unsettling. Jane has always been ambiguous as a character but I’m not sure I would like for him to get away with murder (in this case, literally). Will he face the consequences or not? Is he going to get his way?

    I can hardly wait for tomorrow!

  • bloomingviolet2013

    Wonderful review, Reviewbrain! very intelligently done and thought provoking! I agree with you that it was weird to have Lisbon dismiss so easily the death of the three other suspects: she did found them creepy, of course, especially Haffner, yet Saint Teresa should probably have shown some emotion or at least regret for those (relatively) innocent lives wasted… Indeed, your remark about Smith having fallen prey to the organization because of back pain which caused an addiction to pain killers reminded me of Cho: he too suffered the same kind of injury and addiction, but he decided to stop taking drugs when he realized he was endangering people (namely Rigsby). It’s another element, along with the numerous mentions of Lisbon’s morality (in contrast with Kirkland’s brutal determination), which enlighten the differences between the team and the wrong-doers working against them. Like you pointed out in the scene when Grace, Wayne and Cho discussed the situation, there’s a deep connection between them, based on communication and the willingness to help each other. All qualities lacking in the Blake conspiracy. That is why it would have made sense that Lisbon had showed once more her deep humanity, imho…

    Also, I really think the organization and RJ’s followers are the same thing, yet different at the same time. I would tend to believe RJ created the Blake conspiracy (hence the “Tyger, Tyger”, which refers to his philosophical view of the world), only he must have selected who would only be doing the dirty legwork (the young Hagen cop, Smith), and the ones he would convince to follow/help/worship him because they have rather psychopathic tendencies or a fragility he could use to his advantage (Cordero probably, along with the other minions either inside law enforcement or outside of it like Lorelei and Lennon). Since they probably don’t know each other in a general basis, getting both sides of the coins to work for him without necessary knowing of the other -or him- seems easily feasible.

    In the church, I think Jane was praying indeed, whatever reason had he had for entering. Besides, he was looking at the Virgin Mary (a motherly symbol of infinite love and forgiveness, like Lisbon), at Jesus (the Lamb, the savior) and at a painting representing Moses with the Tables of the Law given by God (stating among other interdictions “Thou shalt not kill”). Therefore, he’s looking at a symbol of the woman he’s about to hurt, at the personification of the mission he decided to assume (getting rid of the Devil) and at the image of the law, both divine and earthly, that he’s about to break. Interesting scene, really.

    Last, certainly not least: I was also very taken with the contrast between panicky, unprepared Smith and cold, calculating Bertram – who probably stayed near Jane in what remained of the guest house to silence him as if he was killed during the explosion. I would have liked to mention another observation, but, due to the wild spoilers frenzy floating around, I realize it’s now a clue and so I will clam up for now. I guess this point will have to wait until after tomorrow night. :P

  • Taissa

    Weeee! Review Time! :D

    I don’t have much to say (the review says pretty much everything). The review is great, as always. At the end of the episode when Jane goes to the church I remembered the many comparisons and analysis of bible texts you guys have made here. I kind of thought there were some references to past episodes in this one. Jane waking up and seeing Lisbon, the “chinese restaurant” line, Jane at the elevator saying he is “quiting”, the coded list reminded me of the CD the at the end of season 3 (and those weird symbols also remined me of the Zodiac Killer).

    I read the director of the episode talking about it and the idea of removing the couch and breaking the cup wasn’t on script, the cup breaking was Simon Baker’s idea, representing that their world was shattering.

    After this episode I reeaally don’t think Bertram is RJ, he’s too sloppy. I think one of the “dead” suspects is. I even belive it could be Stiles, after that creepy ritual that ended with him saying “I WILL RETUUUURN!”. Actually, I think is quite possible that none of them are dead. The dead bodies are completely burnt, but Bertram, Jane and Reed were completely fine. So what happened to the “real” bodies? I think one of 3 is RJ and the other 2 were followers, so they all faked their deaths.

    Anyways…
    Tomorrow we’ll have -almost- all answers. So I’l just sit back, pretend I’m relaxed and cool (and not anxious and desperate for a time machine) and read the comments.

  • MikeH

    Wow.. another fantastic review and analysis. I love coming here each week and reading these essays. I have just a few comments of my own to add:

    1. I agree about the symbolism of the teacup falling and breaking. But didn’t Jane look much more distressed about this than just his favorite cup breaking?

    2. Had to love the way Baker rolled his eyes down when he and Cho were interviewing the bad cop. Priceless Jane look.

    3. I was curious about the doctor’s name Alek Lavrov. There is an artist named Alex Lavrov who has a recent painting called “The Endless Game”.

    4. I can’t believe that the fake death theme will arise again. McAllister was standing right next to Smith and Bertram who didn’t get hurt in the blast. So, seems unlikely that McAllister would have died. Also, TNT this week just happened to replay The Red Shirt episode which centered on Jane having the victim who supposedly burned to a crisp in a car bomb fake being dead so that Jane could catch the killer. Also, have to disagree that Partridge is for sure dead… maybe another fake death scheme.

    5. I love the possibility of one of the coins given to Jane was that St. Sebastian coin and the reason for him going to the church. I hadn’t thought of that at all. Plus, it sure seems to me that when Jane is sitting down in the pew, the camera focuses for a moment on Jane’s pants pocket where that coin could be.

  • MikeH

    Oops, meant to write that “I can’t belive that the fake death theme will NOT arise again” Too many hints to me that this will be the case.

  • rita

    Great review, and such a lot of detail, I need to re read to get it all.

    I don’t think it is Bertram either, it was too…..obvious, and that isn’t the way that TM seems to work.

    About the Church scene…I am afraid that I don’t think Jane has found religion….I think he has always been curious about different religions, he seems to know a lot about the bible, but equally about other beliefs. I noticed at the part where he went in to the qew and kneeled down, the camera dwelt for a long time on where he was kneeling, I think it possible that he has something already hidden there, or indeed he may have already read the list of VP’S and be ready to meet someone there.

    Can hardly wait for tonight. Well tomorrow morning for me!!

  • Rose UK

    This is all very exciting. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day tomorrow. ;)

  • mosquitoinuk

    I will only be able to watch the episode tomorrow late evening…I’m staying out of twitter, news, etc. Will be back after having watched! oh dear…

  • MikeH

    About the Church scene… I’m thinking that the time displayed on Smith’s phone 12:37 when Jane sent him the address to the meeting (same time also shown on Jane’s phone when he called McAllister the 2nd time) might be a clue. Bible verse John 12:37 might be telling us something…..

  • bloomingviolet2013

    Good catch, MikeH! It might indeed… :D

  • Lou Ann

    Mosquitoinuk, you say, ” but I’m not sure I would like for him to get away with murder (in this case, literally).” But hasn’t Jane already gotten away with murder, Timothy Carter’s? Of course, we could look upon it as Self Defense because Carter had a gun with hollow point bullets. But the gun wasn’t in Carter’s hand when Jane gunned him down. To me, it’s the fact that he’s done it before and still remained the sympathetic hero which prepares us to expect him to do it again, with impunity.

    As for Jane’s turning to religion, I wish it could be true, but I don’t think that’s why he’s in church. My skepticism comes more from my experience with American network TV than from within the world of the show. American network TV is very leery of promoting Christianity over or above other faiths. It doesn’t shy away from popular spirituality, but actual mention of God, not to mention Jesus, is unusual unless it is part of the characterization of an extremist. (We are coming upon the Christmas season and what will we find on network TV? The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. You won’t find anything directly related to the real meaning of the holiday.) Most of the treatment of faith in TM has been oblique references to “the Kingdom of God is a real place and you have an immortal soul” (general idea of heaven or an afterlife, not a uniquely Christian belief). The exception that makes the rule, Theresa’s recital of the Hail Mary in Strawberry’s and Cream, had floored me when I saw it because it was so specifically Christian and not common to network TV, at least in my experience.

    A while back someone had discussed Lorelei’s being call the Mistress of a Serial Killer and there was discussion of RJ’s possibly being married. Bertram has always worn a wedding ring in previous episodes, I believe, but I noticed he didn’t have one in this episode. I’m not sure how significant or intentional that was. It was just something i noticed.

    I must also express kudos to RB for a great review and hope that your life is becoming less stressful. Loved everyone’s comments, too.

  • KM

    Thank you so very much, Reviewbrain. I don’t have anything to add, because when on add episode 8, then it is too easy to spoil. I wish I had come earlier. Cheers!

  • mosquitoinuk

    @ Lou Ann:
    “Mosquitoinuk, you say, ” but I’m not sure I would like for him to get away with murder (in this case, literally).” But hasn’t Jane already gotten away with murder, Timothy Carter’s? Of course, we could look upon it as Self Defense because Carter had a gun with hollow point bullets. But the gun wasn’t in Carter’s hand when Jane gunned him down. To me, it’s the fact that he’s done it before and still remained the sympathetic hero which prepares us to expect him to do it again, with impunity.”

    Indeed and I always found this a bit unacceptable. Of course, they tried to make it acceptable because Carter was also, a really bad man…and here we are again, playing with the audience’s feelings, because, a guy who abducts young girls to rape and and torture them, sure is not going to get the sympathy of the viewers…he didn’t get mine for sure!. Carter is a monster, ergo, when Jane shot him (he was the wrong guy though) it is OK (?). Jane has never had the same qualms Teresa has. This was clearly spelled out in “Red Listed” when Lisbon was trying to protect the fake suspects on Jane’s list and he wasn’t really too bothered whether or not they’d live. Jane is far too ambiguous and to be quite frank, this vigilante streak in Jane’s personality I find rather unsympathetic (personally). I have always rooted for Jane in the sense that I always hoped Teresa would rub off on him. There has always been this tension of…who will change their ways? Jane? Lisbon?

    I don’t want to spoil anything before the discussion of “Red John” so I will stop here…but I’m really looking forward to our discussion then Lou ann! :-)

  • Rose UK

    Also looking forward to reading your discussion/thoughts, fellow ReviewBrain-istas. (ReviewBrainians?) I have a feeling people are going to have plenty to say!

  • Lou Ann

    Mosquitoinuk: Yep. Saw the episode Sunday and have rewatched it several times. The next day I so wished we could have started sharing our impressions right away, but I know we must wait for the review. I anticipate an amazing review.

    Jane is a complex character. Yes, he kills Carter after hearing the psycho describe how his wife and daughter smelled the day “he” killed them. And he isn’t too worried about the rest of the men on his fake list. And yet, he doesn’t go so far as Kirkland to just decide to eliminate them all in order to assure he has eliminated the guilty one. For him, that’s crossing the line. And then….but that’s for next discussion.

  • Carla Oliveira

    I can’t believe! I just see this now! I was missing so much your reviews and lost it! I’ll read it right away! I can’t lose it for nothing!

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