After FBI closes down CBI, Patrick Jane falls out of contact with everyone except Teresa Lisbon. CBI ex-head Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston), now being pursued as Red John contacts Jane and asks for a meeting. Jane heads over for the final showdown, but his progress is thwarted by FBI Agent Dennis Abbott who has issued an arrest warrant for the missing Mentalist.
I had quite a dilemma writing this one. First of all, while moderating comments on the blog, I had already been spoiled as to who the killer was (although, when guessing who the suspect is the most well known actor is usually the safest bet). Second, and it pains me to say this, but I didn’t really like the episode for reasons which I will list below (as they contain spoilers). Thankfully, however, Violet did and between the two of us we came up with what would hopefully be a fair review. But I take full responsibility for the final score. 7.5/10.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)
FBI Agent Dennis Abbott Question the Team
RB: Abbott arranges a meeting with Lisbon and her team where he tells them that he’ll be questioning them individually. Basically, he threatens to expose whatever “questionable” decisions they’ve made to ensure him that they were not collaborating with their boss, Bertram. That is, unless they cooperate fully with the FBI.
Violet: In a way, his tactic reminds a bit of Darcy arresting them to get them to tell where Jane was in the desert… Here, he makes them come to their empty bullpen –which saddens Lisbon- and makes the team sit on foldable chairs: this is representative of their status. They lost their job, they don’t have any official authority anymore.
RB: To me, his hardline behaviour reminded me more of LaRoche. While just as unwavering as Darcy, Abbott here is in a position of higher authority, like LaRoche as head of Professional Standards was. And while Darcy was full of solid determination, she was never as overtly threatening as LaRoche was.
Violet: Plus the man has obviously done his research. The thing is, they all did questionable things under Jane’s guidance: not only following his schemes had lead them to do things bordering in the illegal, but Cho also took the law in his hands twice, when his former friend was killed in ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ and to help a child in ‘Rhapsody in Red’; plus he made himself an enemy of Tamsin Wade when he tried to protect his ex-girlfriend former hooker Summer. Rigsby killed his father’s murderer, and even if he was cleared, the case might still be suspicious since the team helped out later LaRoche, who did investigate him then. And Grace hacked the seven suspects’ phones and was engaged to a minion.
RB: You can see how nervous his words made everyone. Wayne and Grace don’t have the best poker faces. And even Cho seems affected. Only Lisbon is able to give an unaffected, albeit grim smile. Ironic, since it later becomes clear whom Abbot suspects the most of colluding with Jane.
Bertram at the shop
Violet: The scene when Bertram and his acolyte Cordero are entering the little shop in order to buy stuff and call Jane is packed with allusions. When the reporter is talking about Bertram/ RJ, the RJ smiley on the television screen looks like the one in Panzer’s murder scene, which may reflect that willingness to get closer to Jane, to make contact with him, as Bertram is precisely about to call him on his phone. Beside, after the newsflash, the shop owner changes channel and a Western film appears: the movie might foreshadow the gunshots Cordero and the cop who is entering shortly after are shooting at the other, the confrontation with outlaws and the duel between the protagonist and the bad guys, all elements present in the episode. Last, Gale’s hat and sunglasses remind viewers of the disguise Jane chose in the shop when he was on the lam with Lorelei: Cordero trying on some sunglasses put emphasis on the parallel…
RB: Two things struck me in this scene. First, Jane calling Bertram by his name as opposed to Red John when he contacted him. To me if felt like foreshadowing that Bertram wasn’t in fact RJ. I just don’t know if this was intentional or not, or if it was, what the purpose would be. I’d think the writers would have wanted the fact that Bertram wasn’t the real RJ to be a surprise. Or maybe they are recognizing what most viewers are already suspecting, that he isn’t RJ, and giving them a nod, letting them know that Jane is onto RJ ruse as well.
The second thing was the fact that when Bertram called Jane, Jane was in the CBI attic. It tickled me that while Abbott was below asking Lisbon where Jane was, not knowing he was a few floors above him.
He soon finds out, however. The police quickly trace the call Bertram was making to Jane’s phone and barge into his attic only to find it empty.
Violet: The FBI agents and SWAT team barging in the empty attic reminded of ‘Red Queen’: again, this alludes to the past Jane had with RJ and his attempts at getting him.
Abbott Confronts Lisbon
RB: Abbott’s attention is soon focused on Lisbon. He asks where Jane is and when she says she doesn’t know, he says that he doesn’t believe her.
Violet: He adds tells her that her “boyfriend” is colluding with Bertram and that she might be too. Lisbon’s answer is calm and assertive: “I am not. He is not.” Then she adds that he’s not her boyfriend. Abbot’s reply to this is intriguing: “it’s a damn shame, Teresa”… Is he telling her that he regrets the situation a cop like her is in? That he deplores her lack of cooperation? Or, as the familiarity of calling her by her first name hints at, is he telling her that she should have had a romance with her consultant while she could?
RB: If that last were true, then perhaps he is echoing some viewer’s thoughts J But I think the rest of his statement clarifies his meaning, “by all accounts you were a good cop”.
Violet: Like he did in front of the team, the man tries to pressure her into the suspect position, while playing on her personal emotions and her professional pride. He wants to push her into getting comfort from Jane, whom she claims she has no idea where he is. This has Lisbon rectifying that she still is.
RB: That was a great moment to a great scene. I loved how very in control Lisbon was, letting Abbott know that despite what he may think is not a dirty cop. Then there was how the scene was shot; how the camera followed her for a bit as she walked away for a bit before resting on Abbott, staring at her departing figure.
Mother Teresa and the Team
RB: Lisbon is leaving the CBI when Rigsby calls out to her in the parking lot. He and the others leave the SUV they were hiding in and tell her they heard Bertram contacted Jane and are laying low. Lisbon tells them that there aren’t any arrest warrants for them yet to which Cho replies “Give them time.” When Grace asks where Jane is, she tells them not to ask.
Violet: Lisbon tries to comfort her team too: she gives them some very reasonable advice. She orders them to protect themselves and not to try to find Jane. What’s even more moving than her mother hen attitude is the others’ insistence in calling her “boss”… It’s obvious they feel protective of each other.
RB: I agree. There is a definite feeling of solidarity here. Even when they agree to Lisbon’s decree that it’s every man for himself now, Cho asks “So where is he?” And it’s not really surprising. The family theme has been brought on time and time again in the show, especially in the last season. And while some viewers felt it unprofessional how quickly the secret of the RJ suspects was leaked to the team in this season’s premiere, I felt it just more evidence of how close knit they all were. You can’t keep a secret in a close family. What I’m less sure of is if Lisbon actually responded to Cho here. The episode’s ending hints that she might have but I don’t think so. I think at this points she’s aware of the threat her team faces in Abbott and think she’d want to keep them from that.
Jane and Lisbon
Violet: The two partners meet in the park where they discussed Sophie Miller’s death.
RB: The bird theme was rampant here.
Violet: Again, pigeons are fed, this time by Jane. The last time, it was a woman and, in ‘Wedding in Red’, Jane was feeding ducks.
RB: Lisbon tells Jane he’s a wanted man to which he replies “I’d like to think so.” The tiny bit of humour (flirting?) goes a long way in the serious situation. Lisbon replies that she’s serious, that Abbott put out a warrant for his arrest. More humour is found when Lisbon asks Jane “are you going to tell me?” to which he responds “Oh, by the way Bertram called,” before clarifying to Lisbon that whatever the man wanted, he didn’t have the time to express. Lisbon informs Jane that he has to get rid of his phone, that the FBI will put a trace on it eventually. Jane reasons that he can’t until Bertram contacts him again, “It’s all very suspenseful.”
I absolutely loved Jane’s blasé attitude here conveyed beautifully by Baker’s purposefully bored tone. He must be positively excited and it almost seems like his feeding the pigeons is a way to calm himself down.
Violet: When Bertram calls to ask for a meeting in order to give Jane a little closure, with “no weapons, no tricks”, Jane is already testing the waters: he gauges Bertram’s reaction at the notion that he’s asking for a date (the criminal is amused, he answers « yes… no…” while chuckling).
RB: He further tests him when he asks him why he should trust him to which Bertram replies that he could have killed Jane many times but he didn’t. Jane here, doesn’t let Bertram know that only recently tried to get rid of him when he was unconscious, and goes along to set up a location. Bertram suggests a place but Jane states that he doesn’t know it. Jane then chooses a station which Bertram turns down as being too crowded.
Violet: Jane then tests Bertram’s reaction to a new location for the meeting: the church near the cemetery where Angela and Charlotte are buried. Gale’s relative lack of a reaction is telling given that RJ has used the place to send him a message in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’ and that Jane tried to infuse his last confrontation with RJ with symbolism since he chose to have it in his Malibu property.
RB: I actually found Bertram’s response, “Of course I do” to be an admission of sorts as to the location’s significance. But it could have been for us viewers’ benefit since we got to see Bertram’s facial expression as opposed to Jane who only had his tone to go on. I know I immediately thought that Bertram’s response could only mean that this was Jane’s family’s final resting place, and suspected that the chapel there might be the church Jane was in when the previous episode ended in.
After Jane hangs up he tells Lisbon about his scheduled meeting with Lisbon.
Jane’s response at Lisbon’s worries explore some important parts of their relationship: he’s honest with her telling her that she knew that this day was coming and that it’s here. He tries to protect her by not making her an accessory to murder (“I don’t want you involved – I’m involved… – Not anymore”).
RB: We later find out that Jane is also protecting Lisbon by not being completely honest with her. Even before Bertram’s phone call, Lisbon suspects that Jane knew more than what he was letting on. She’s understandably confused at what Bertram was still doing in town; why he didn’t just flee the country, and voices disbelief that Jane has no conclusions of his own. Her attitude here might reflect more cynical/concerned viewers. Jane, despite how far he’s come is still hiding things from her. But now we know it is for her own good.
Violet: Last, he asks for her gun and she gives it to him because she trusts him.
RB: This part actually drove me crazy. Jane doesn’t want Lisbon with him because he wants to protect her, yet he asks for her gun, which, if found at the scene will lead right back to her? Now Jane says he won’t use it, he only wants it as a prop (and he sticks to his word). But still, its mere presence at what he knows will be a crime scene can’t be good for her.
Violet: Lisbon followed his lead and allowed him to have his revenge. She didn’t stand in the way; instead, she stuck with him to the very end, choosing affection over the law. Was she thinking that this was their only opportunity to catch RJ? Or was it because Jane needed it? Was she telling the truth when she told him that the serial killer deserved no trial, in ‘Fire and Brimstone’?
RB: This last question is actually what immediately popped in my mind. In Fire and Brimstone, I had completely believed Lisbon’s words. That she believes RJ doesn’t believe in a trial, and I think the reason for this is, seeing how powerful he is, she knows he’d probably escape before he even makes it to trial. And I think then, like then, Jane understood this in her but kept her away not because he didn’t believe her but because he is protecting her.
Violet: Anyway, she covered as far as she could for his crime, as she did with Bosco. Once again, Jane’s influence on her and on the team has made visible their most admirable qualities, but it also gave them moral ambiguity. Hence their pleased and relieved reactions at realizing he escaped Abbott and when he tried to reach Lisbon when things were over.
RB: One could argue that Lisbon’s morality has always been in question. Or, at least, ever since we found out that she once covered for Bosco. I do think Lisbon truly believes in the law because one simply can’t take matters of life and death in their own hands, but when faced with criminals who are somehow above the law, like the man Bosco killed probably was, and Jane’s RJ undoubtedly is, she is not above looking the other way.
That is not to say I agree with her actions here. It would probably have been much easier to follow the law had she been dealing with someone she doesn’t love as much as Jane (or respected as much as Bosco). Emotions are obviously playing a big role here.
As to the rest of the team, we know ex-gang member Cho believes in situations where one takes the law in his own hands. Rigsby’s had his own taste for vengeance. Grace? Being a person of religion could play both ways here depending on one’s own interpretation; you could either “turn the other cheek”, or go with “eye for an eye”. In fact, the same could be said for Lisbon, or even Jane if that’s all he took from his visit in the church in the previous episode.
FBI Agent Abbott
Violet: Abbott’s attitude towards Jane is pretty telling. Whereas Darcy tried clumsily to make him confess his involvement, Abbott knows them well and proves it when he managed to find Jane by following Lisbon, based on his theory that he’s her “boyfriend” and that they will make contact at some point (hence putting a bug in her car to monitor her meeting with him). He deduces from Jane’s panicky eagerness to leave – promising on his honor that he would come back- that he’s planning to meet Bertram: he understands their motivations. Lisbon cares for Jane so she will help him; Jane wants RJ so he will try to meet him. Even when Teresa then the team rush him, he tries to diffuse the situation when they get into a standoff with the FBI (like in a Western again) and let Jane go when she whispers that he take her car.
He calmly tells her afterwards that her car is bugged and arrests them. He might or not have counted on their complete support to Jane, anyway the agent is clever enough to take it in stride. He even comments that their screw ups make his life easier… And he later proves his ability to think outside of the box by asking for a paper map to a helpless younger agent and pinpointing Jane’s location.
Religion is a primordial aspect of the scene: the driver who brings him to the cemetery has a crucifix hanging in his car; a statue of Jesus in front of the church… He meets Bertram inside only to be told that the man has no idea who RJ is, but that he plans to kill Jane… Of course, Gale is the one who end up dead, as McAllister, the real RJ, had used him as a decoy, like he did with Carter. His brief funeral oration is indicative of RJ’s state of mind: « poor fellow, smart but dumb ». McAllister considers himself very clever and powerful, but this opinion contrasts violently with Jane’s: he calls him a delusional sexually depraved egomaniac sociopath, which fuels McAllister’s anger. It’s almost like each of them is confessing the other’s sins in this first and last official confrontation: McAllister states that that “obnoxious judgement” about him is what caused his family to die. His irritation hints at a kind of hurt at Jane’s rejection. When he presses his advantage by asking Jane who he is to judge him, Jane simply answers “nobody”. On the contrary, Thomas gloats: “you can’t imagine someone smarter than you… I have no delusions, I built a secret empire, I control the lives of thousand of people, my world is life and death.” While Jane doesn’t want to know why he did what he did nor how he did his tricks, McAllister is eager to get praised for his intelligence: Jane concedes that the psychic card was a nice trick; he also understood that his reason to kill Partridge was that he used the man to substitute his DNA with a body he had in ice… and the second part of what happened in the empty house is revealed when the killer cowers in fear at the pigeon Jane took from his jacket: he was indeed interrupted by the birds when he had Lisbon in his power. The power play is irrevocably reversed now and McAllister begs for mercy, stating “you’re not like me, you’re a good man”, in total opposition of what he stood for all those years and what he tried to make Jane become. The widower replies: “I have to say I’m a little disappointed”.
When a woman distracts Jane long enough by attacking him, McAllister runs away and Jane chases after him and he no longer can hide behind his minions. There’s an interesting progression: everyone believes Jane is the police and Thomas is the criminal. Nobody guesses they’re witnessing a murder, the only sense that McAllister is dangerous. In the cemetery, a woman tells Jane where his prey fled to –complementing the female minion in the church. When he manages to leave the cemetery, he’s spotted by a young girl in a house: the woman and her children symbolize in a way his victims as the girl is more or less the same age the dreamed Charlotte was, and Jane’s family was killed in their house full of modern bay windows… It’s obvious RJ is only getting his comeuppance, as suggested by the pigeon landing on the mother Mary’s hand in the church. And the roles are again reversed in the detail that it’s Jane who avoids calling the police.
The contrast is even more noticeable when Jane catches him: McAllister’s whining « please don’t kill me, let me live” only enlightens further Jane’s determination, visible when he firmly tells that he doesn’t care about the list of the Blake association members. After all those occurrence when he had been obsessing over lists, he’s finally stopped. The various lists/ notebooks he’s used in cases, the list of guards who might have helped to take Lorelei away, the list of men he shook hands with, the seven suspects list, everything came to that moment when Jane tells he doesn’t care about the list of members. He only wants RJ’s final words to be that he was sorry for killing his family. His shifting of Jane’s perspective is also apparent in the way he handles the gun after strangling the man: even probably deliberating if he should end his own life, he chooses again to differentiate his fate from his adversary’s. And that’s probably what the team and Lisbon understand when they hear her phone ringing: he’s done the deed and survived. While RJ’s accomplice is seen fleeing from the cemetery without caring any further, Jane’s friends have stuck by his side until the very end.
This final links together many themes associated with the serial killer which concludes both his life and his antagonism with Jane:
- good/evil. The beliefs RJ has imposed on his followers are shattered when he admits Jane is “a good person” unlike him and when he shows that he fears death; in opposition to his assessment that there was no hell or afterlife in the limo in ‘The Crimson Hat’. Contrary to what Bret Stiles told Jane, a dying man can fear death…
- religion: the church, the candle used to hit the minion, the pigeon as a message from God on the statue of Mary.
- the game: Jane and RJ disagreeing on whether or not it was a game
- hunting: Jane chasing his wounded prey and killing him in a park
- magic: the pigeon used as a distraction as if it was a magic trick
- the birds theme, obviously…
- the color red: the decoration on the candle, the blood of the serial killer
- the ocean: alluded to since RJ was killed near a pond.
Beside, the story of his quest is also resumed by the three kinds of weapons involved in the confrontation: the gun – like the one which he shot Carter with; the blade the minion tried to use on him, à la RJ; the chocking reminds of how the killer (presumably RJ) of P.I. Kira Tinsley tried to silence her at first.
Last, it appeared that Jane was mostly right in his very first reading of RJ in that television talk show: the serial killer was indeed a sad little man and, while McAllister called him a “worm”, he was the one who ended up wriggling on the floor. It may be unintentional, but it has a kind of ironic poetry to it… His myth has shattered like the glass panel he passed through.
Post-mortem of RJ
It was to be expected, RJ was just an ordinary mal man: in spite of his followers’ adoration, Carter remarked that he was not the Devil, but a rather “normal” man. Lorelei also insisted that he had his weaknesses… Plus, there were different clues pointing at McAllister.
1) The explosion, aka the bomb and the shirt: like Jane pointed out, McAllister waited to be far enough from Stiles and Haffner (and the fake DNA proof he planted) to detonate the bomb. Moreover, the reason Lisbon let Bertram escape after the explosion was because he had hidden his telltale tattoo under his shirt. On the contrary, Smith didn’t: he was still in his undershirt while Gale had put his shirt back, because he probably knew there was a plan in motion and that he would need to fly out of the scene. After all, he called someone (RJ?) on the phone after being told that Jane was planning to confront his nemesis, therefore he must have received instructions: that’s probably why he was so close to Jane when Lisbon barged in, he was about to finish him off. Now, the thing is that at the end of ‘Fire and Brimstone’, McAllister was seen walking while readjusting his Sheriff green shirt too… And last thing: if he was not standing close to Haffner and Stiles, how come his corpse was supposed to have been burned to a crisp too? He could have died to an injury, but the body should have been mostly intact, like the three other men around him.
There is also the fact that fake deaths were a common occurrence of the show: RJ using Carter to make believe he was no more, plus the strings of fake deaths in the last seasons (‘Rubby Slippers’, ‘The Red Shirt’, ‘Red Lacquer Nail Polish’) prepared viewers for this moment.
2) “Thomas” was both Gale’s fake identity in ‘The Great Red Dragon’ and McAllister’s first name. As commenter Shady007 pointed out in the comments for the 2nd part of the post about the major themes of the show, Thomas the Apostle is also called ‘Didymus’, which means “twin”. Therefore, the two men were linked: Bertram was posing as his “twin”, his substitute. And the expression “a doubting Thomas” alludes to the Saint’s reluctance to believe that Christ had resurrected before confirming it by examining his injuries: it might have been a way to warn us that we should been careful with what we were told too. The whole thing was a smoke screen and there was a “resurrection” in the making too… It reminds of the season premiere, with Jane asking if he had two heads and the stunt the killer pulled with the two guns.
3) The pigeons of course, were indicative of his phobia.
4) The church is also a reminder of their previous meeting, when Thomas saved his life by killing the man who threatened Jane. He did the same thing in the S2 finale by killing the young couple who had Jane wrapped on a chair by plastic.
Jane has obviously been aware of RJ’s real identity for some time, because he stated that RJ committed an error by staging the explosion. He may have knew since he came out of the hospital to learn that there were only two other survivors. It’s probably why he claimed publicly that RJ was Bertram: he was the perfect scapegoat and it distracted the police attention since Jane had probably never intended to get to his nemesis legally. As always, he kept the information close to the vest. When he went to church in the previous episode, he set the stage for his confrontation; when he met Lisbon at the park, he already caught a pigeon while waiting for her since she didn’t see him do it. He anticipated being frisked, hence the second gun he asked from Lisbon: two weapons, like he had in the guest house and like RJ himself had both the bomb plus his gun as a Sheriff. Further proof of his suspicions is that he looked around in the search when he entered to meet Bertram…
Jane also proved to be fundamentally different from his nemesis, in spite of what Rebecca and Lorelei had claimed:
- Jane usually acts like a coward, yet he’s pretty courageous, since he went into the church alone, even though he knew he would be surrounded by killers, contrary to RJ who had two accomplices with him and who begged for his life.
- McAllister admitted: “you’re not like me, you’re a good man”.
- Jane used his deep insecurity to acquire a dose of humility: he’s “nobody”. He made progress in the pride department. The line also alludes to Odysseus telling the Cyclops that he’s “Nobody” in order to trick the monster who wanted to kill him (cf. also FBI “Agent Nemo” who took Lorelei away last season).
- He asked the man if he was sorry: he wants to avenge his family. There’s no pride involved here.
We got an interesting glimpse into RJ’s mind: his vanity explains his hunger for power. His need for being recognized for his actions underlines his deep lack of self-confidence: it explains why he felt undermined enough by Jane’s cutting reading to kill his family. It also enlightens why he chose women he had power upon: Rebecca was broken; Rosalind was blind and very lonely. Both needed reassurance, which allowed him to assume a domineering role in their lives. But Lorelei was attractive but rather out of his league: he sensed her inner fragility and managed to break her completely in order to make her his.
Last, the contrast between his sorry self and the greater image he wanted to give off shed a new light on why he kept Jane alive all those years instead of ending the game before. His pursuit was stimulating and Jane’s interest must have felt flattering. His narcissism was fed by this brilliant man thinking highly of his capacities. He therefore didn’t try to break him further by killing off Lisbon: he was probably interrupted by pigeons, but on the other hand he never attempted to kill her directly beforehand. His minions had attacked her before, but the man himself didn’t until he was angered by Lorelei’s death.
Same with the subtext of sexual attraction binding the serial killer to Jane, the “kind of love” Stiles alluded to and that was illustrated by sharing his lover Lorelei with him. Jane is aware of it since he asked Bertram if their meeting was “a date” and since he told Thomas that he was “sexually depraved”. McAllister who revels in admiration, was also fascinated by the same aspect of Jane’s personality. And McAllister was the only one of the three last suspects who tried to befriend Jane. Reede Smith was only angry at him and the best Jane could get from him was a truce. Gale Bertram liked Jane and admired him, but he never really tried to uses his position to get closer. But McAllister played with him when they first met (even though his character certainly wasn’t chosen as RJ at the time), then he asked Jane to call him by his first name (in the premiere) and competed with him playfully in observing clues on the corpse in ‘Wedding in Red’. He was seeking his attention. He also tried to get closer physically, by meeting him in the woods, following him (which allowed him to save his life) and offering him his hand to get back on the roof. And when Jane called him on his phone, he reminded Thomas that he had offered him his help. RJ’s need for admiration from his adversary, this sin of pride which ironically caused Jane’s downfall in the pilot, was also perceptible in his willingness to explain his acts to Jane when he finally met him as himself: he selfishly wants to impress him, while the fake RJs urged the consultant to get closure (Bertram, over the phone) and to go on with his valuable life (Carter). Those were only pretexts to get to him, obviously, but the difference is nonetheless telling.
The fact that Jane’s attention helped create the RJ myth and flattered his vanity is definitely linked to the murder of the serial killer. Like he wanted him to, RJ finally had Jane where he implicitly wanted him: focused on him, touching him in a rather intimate way (strangling him); they’re in close contact, looking at the other in the eyes. Like actor Simon Baker said in an interview a few days ago, the act of killing him reminds of a sex scene: Jane is above the other man, breathing hard, while McAllister is grunting. Jane’s breathing escalate in a kind of “release” when the deed is done, symbolizing both the result of RJ’s fascination in him and his need for being “released” from his guilt and his old life.
We can also infer some educated guesses from what we learned on RJ. Of course, it is obvious that every detail of RJ’s true nature was made up progressively, but some questions seem to receive at least some lead to a possible answer. It’s plausible for instance that not every minion that came across Jane knew of their master’s true identity. Rebecca admitted that she knew him, as for Hardy who labelled him a friend, and his lover Lorelei. We can deduce that Carter met him too, since he heard of details on Angela and Charlotte and Lennon brought Miranda to him. In retrospective, the very closed up Blake association might explain the heterogeneity between the minions: there might have been psychopaths on one hand and bad cops only receiving orders on the other. Indeed Craig was neither a psychopath nor a broken man. He seemed to fit more the type who had a dark secret to hide. Did he know who he was serving, like Cordero? Or was he only part of the Blake conspiracy like Smith and did he receive the order to seduce Grace and get information out of her and to kill Todd Johnson when he became a liability without really understanding the full implication of what he was doing? Either way, while he didn’t really the psychological standards of RJ’s followers, his possible involvement in the corrupted association raises a pet peeve, as Grace should have seen the tattoo on his shoulder at the time. Guess the writers didn’t imagine that detail at the time… The other possibility is that he was convinced by RJ’s religion, like Haffner was by Visualize: in this case, he would be closer to Gupta, who was able to kill coldly for his faith but wasn’t interested in murdering people without a purpose (or so he told to Lisbon at least).
Still, Todd Johnson might have been aware both of the conspiracy (“Tyger, Tyger”; “it would blow your mind”) and of RJ’s identity because he tried to approach Jane with the revenge angle.
Same with the connection with Stiles and Visualize: RJ spent some time in the barn and got the idea of creating some spiritual concurrence infiltrated too in the law enforcement agency. This may be why Stiles knew of his activities: his own agents living among cops and collecting information for him may have come across members of the Blake association. He may even have some spies in it, which may be how he got the address where Kristina was held captive.
Lastly, about RJ’s knowing the seven names on the list, he may have simply but astutely guessed them. He knew how Patrick’s mind works. Kirkland knew Bertram so it’s logical to infer that McAllister was aware of his activities and of the fact that he had been keeping tabs on Jane for years. He was a good enough suspect. Stiles revealed that he knew things about the serial killer: even though he couldn’t be at the barn, Jane had been suspicious of him from the start. Same logic with Haffner, who ha worked with them briefly after the debacle with Carter and had been Lisbon’s friend for years: he was obviously the one passing information on them to Stiles. He gloated to Lisbon that he had connections in the CBI even after he quitted so he could have very easily learnt everything he had wanted about them for years. This goes for the outsiders, because we know now that every one of the three remaining suspects was working for him… they were certainly the Blake members closest to Jane –no other colleague was mentioned as a member-, so it was easy to pick them up. Now, the real genius was to suppose Jane would have guessed he was a potential suspect, given that the small town sheriff had made no effort to see him again. In addition to fitting the criteria, he had to have guessed that Jane sensed that something was off with him. After all, RJ was a clever man…
Violet: In spite of McAllister not being a wrong or illogical choice, the ending might leave a dissatisfying and disorientating impression, probably because it’s a bit hard to reconcile this rather mild-mannered and overall pitiful version of the serial killer with the evil monster shrouded in mystery who shocked Kristina into catatonia, who seduced Lorelei to the dark side, who butchered Eileen and so many others and who severed Sophie Miller’s head. I can’t help but think that they should have shown something to make us see directly what he was able to do, like they did with Bertram slaughtering the poor bartender. A flashback would have been nice at this point, or a gory remark like the talk they had about gutting animals not so long ago… This RJ was a bit to clean, in my humble opinion.
RB: Ugh, where to start…like Violet, I just didn’t buy McAllister as RJ. And I don’t think it was the actor’s fault (Xander Berkley’s reputation speaks for itself) as much as how not enough continuity was infused in RJ’s conversation with Jane. For example, we’ve been led to believe that RJ wanted to retire via Carter, and for all ends and purposes his killing had stopped until Jane colluded with him to kill Panzer. But there was no mention of that here whatsoever. RJ mentioned that Jane’s pride is what caused his family’s death; in fact it was RJ’s pride that was hurt so much he couldn’t handle the insult and had to retaliate. But where was RJ’s pride at the end? No lording over Jane the fact that he gave him a chance to move on with his life via Carter? In fact, no mention of Carter whatsoever!
-Speaking of Carter, Strawberries and Cream was a perfectly written, directed, and cast episode. At the time, the writers could have decided to end the RJ arc. They didn’t. In the review of Scarlett Ribbons, I wrote:
If we go with the idea that RJ really is alive, then there are both pros and cons to the situation.
- Many viewers were concerned that The Mentalist without Red John wouldn’t work; the reasoning being you can’t have Batman without the Joker. If he’s still alive, there’s no need to worry about whom will fill RJ’s shoes as Jane’s new arch nemesis.
- Story-wise, the decision makes sense. If Mentalist is to have seven seasons, then we’re in the middle of the series; a good time for the story’s climax; which Strawberries and Cream undoubtedly was.
- Speaking of the season three finale, I don’t think the fact that Timothy Carter was not Red John detracts from the powerfulness of that episode. After all, Jane and the entire CBI team thought he was RJ.
- Making Jane (and viewers) think that he shot RJ was a like having the ultimate fire drill. An experiment, if you will, for writers to see how best to handle the final showdown. I am very interested to say how Jane acts given a do-over.
- Lisbon’s absence during the showdown in Strawberries and Cream, while very clever, felt wrong. RJ not being dead provides an opportunity to remedy this.
- Many viewers (including moi) had genuinely fallen for the idea that Red John was dead. We had all summer to get used to it. Now we’re suddenly being told that he’s not. I used to take pride in the fact that Mentalist writers have an honest relationship with their viewers. If it’s our interest they’re trying to keep, they shouldn’t fear, we’ll always keep watching. Really, there’s no need to mislead us. Unless they wanted us to feel the same anticlimax that Jane did. If so, mission accomplished.
- Crying wolf can get old very quickly. Next time really should be the real deal.
- Now that Jane’s been acquitted of killing Red John, he can hardly use the same defense for when he actually does kill the murderer.
-My main frustration with episode Red John is that it failed to meet the high expectations the writers gave me after an episode like Strawberries and Cream. Also, it neither followed through on the pros nor did it remedy the cons listed above. Now, regardless of whether we agree killing RJ is the right or wrong thing to do, we’ve already seen Jane take his revenge once. What’s the point of repeating the same thing again? I don’t want to undermine the character growth we’ve seen in Jane in season’s four and five, except, this episode kind of did just that. Also, given the chance for a do-over, the audience expects to see something new. There just wasn’t enough new in this episode for me.
-We’ve seen Jane mess things up for CBI and fix them back up before. But this time I’m afraid the team compromised themselves past the point of any believable resolution. I’m glad Jane has found a loving family who is willing to risk their careers and freedom so that he can have his revenge. But there is just so little common sense in that that I’m angry they were put in this situation in the first place. I really can’t see any realistic resolution for this; especially now that Haffner is dead and Lisbon has no admirer offering her a job. Methinks much suspension of reality will be needed to get through the next few episodes.
-Speaking of Haffner, what was up with all his threats to Lisbon and Grace about them going to regret their actions? Was he just warning them of the hole the RJ investigation was digging for them? It seemed like he knew too much to just have him die without addressing his threats.
-And what about all the other characters that seem like an afterthought now? Mancini? The judge and other influential people Lisbon was introduced to in the poker game? Then you’ve got fantastic guest actors like J.J. LaRoche and Walter Mashburn who would have been great allies for Jane in the final showdown. It just seems like such a waste not to use such well rounded characters by phenomenal actors. But then, even Lisbon wasn’t worthy of being present in the final scene…
-Then there’s the fact that the set up to this episode was not nearly as tight and perfect as the set up to S & C. At the time of episode The Red Tattoo, we didn’t know who it was that killed Kira Tinsley. Now we can assume it’s either RJ or one of his lackeys (who, as far as we’ve seen are all in law enforcement). We’re supposed to believe that these big burly men had a hard time putting down a (maybe) 120 pound (probably less) woman? It just doesn’t make any sense. Also, why the heck would he hire a private investigator when he’s got “hundreds, maybe thousands” members in the Blake Society?
- How did the team know where to find Jane and Lisbon? Did they follow her?
-Jane swore “on his honor” to turn himself in. Somehow, I don’t see that happening after his calling Lisbon and leaving her a message of “I’ll miss you.”
-I’m sorry, but as good as Xander Berkely is, he is nowhere near as believable a Red John as Bradley Whitford.
-I could go on but I’d much rather move on to what I did like about the episode…
“Hey?!” Bertram’s surprised utterance when he was shot was probably my favourite moment in the entire episode. In my humble opinion, Michael Gaston would have made a much more intriguing RJ. You never knew if he was truly dense or just acting the part. And I certainly enjoyed his scenes with Jane more than I did with McAllister.
“It’s totally fair. Game’s over, I won.” McAllister’s statement to Jane in RJ’s creepy voice was awesome. It was so very sudden and disturbing and was only ruined by my thinking “No way in the world that was Xander Berkley’s real voice”. Again, part of why I couldn’t buy him as RJ.
“You see? For no reason at all you’re rude and contemptuous.” RJ to Jane. Yeah, I think Jane has plenty of reason’s, McA.
The team arguing in the FBI car after they were cuffed was hilarious. Whether it was Grace and Wayne bickering or if it was Cho ribbing Wayne over being polite to the FBI agents.
The moment Jane took out the pigeon from his jacket was phenomenal. A moment of clarity where all the bird symbolism this season came to an ultimate climax. Now we know why Lisbon is still alive, the birds saved her.
And now we know why Jane chose the church, he had a gun hidden in it previously. Then there was the dove perching on the statue of Mary. It was all very beautiful. In fact, I wish that would have been the end of the episode. But perhaps the subsequent chase between Jane and RJ was plot-wise necessary. Maybe all the witnesses will play a role.
Violet: This rather low key ending of the elusive serial killer entails an interesting conclusion: RJ was only a human being, and a pitiful one at that. The criminal’s myth is shattered, the pathetic man appeared behind the fearless mask, like Jane had been hiding his broken soul behind a charming and carefree façade. RJ was dull and weak, not powerful as he was made out to be: the criminal and his crimes are condemned and despised, at the exact moment Jane is committing a crime himself. As always, the show is wrapping Jane’s quest in ambiguity, from its beginning to its end.
RB: I’m not sure that was the writer’s intent, however. It seems like we are supposed to very much be sympathetic with what Jane is doing, but I really don’t feel that way. The thing is, as a viewer, I preferred Jane when he was a character I was able to both emphasize and sympathize with. So many people have suffered as Jane has suffered, but not all have seen fit to take the law into their own hands. Just because Jane somehow can’t bring himself to move on unless he takes his own vengeance doesn’t make it okay; at least, not in a so called civil society. And the way Simon Baker played him, like he is delighting in Jane’s vengeance grates on me a bit. It’s not what I would have wanted for Jane. RJ tells him he’s a better man than he is, and that’s true. But RJ’s not really a good example to compare Jane with. Was it too much to hope for to have the bar be raised a bit higher where ethics are concerned? Or are we supposed to believe, that if even Saint Lisbon agrees with what Jane is doing, then it was the right thing to do?
Violet: The conclusion of Jane’s actions is also perceptible in the subtext of his scenes with Lisbon: their meeting in the park echoed the many intimate conversations they had over the years. They used to take place in her now no longer existent office, which glass walls were taken away while Lisbon was standing in the bullpen, or in the attic, now empty of Jane’s presence –symbolically, he was last seen here when Bertram called him the first time: his thinking room was emptied when he got his last serious lead. The scene concluded the trust arc, because he was asking for complete trust here: she knew he was armed, that he wanted to kill, that he refused to tell her where he was going, yet she accepted his actions and helped him. In the course of a few years, she went from not trusting him (S1 finale), to not trusting him hundred percent (after Carter’s death), to this act of absolute faith. Even though her predictions from season 2 were confirmed: at the time, after being suspended because of him, she admitted she had known from the start that he would cost her her career… it is done, she is no longer a cop nor a CBI agent, and she got arrested because of him.
Their second moment, the message left on her phone refers to all the talks they had over the phone, like when she was in danger -when she was trying to find a bomb in a living room in the earlier seasons; when she was alone with a killer in a cabin in S1; when she was with O’Laughlin in ‘Strawberry and Cream’ and, more recently, when he was trying to reach her and RJ called him back in the premiere. In this last occurrence, Jane was trying to apologize for his outburst after she entrusted Grace (and the team by extension) with the seven suspects list. Time proved that he could indeed fully trust them.
It also echoes the times he tried to tell her goodbye: the scene in front of the elevator in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’ and his “I’ll keep in touch” in the previous episode. Plus, his emotional scene in the sunset is alluded to indirectly with the notion of missing her. In four sentences, he tells her everything: the factual “it’s over” might also mean that his life among them is over. “It’s done” is in not so many words the confession that he killed his nemesis: he’s honest with her. His reassurance that it’s going “to be ok” is more sincere than the same line told also over the phone after stranding her in ‘Fire and Brimstone’: this time, he’s got a real chance at something new and he acquired it by telling her the truth instead of tricking her. His “I’ll miss you” ends the period of his life on a note of genuine affection, along with the remembrance of his family in the fleeting image of a woman and her little girl in the background. It is the most sincere he ever would get because he no longer needs her and therefore has no reason to lie any longer.
RB: Very true, and very sad as well. To me, this moment felt like the only reason Jane had to stay at CBI was killing RJ. And that, despite all the bonds of friendships he made, ultimately, his vengeance was more important. It was very disappointing.
Violet: That last image hints that Jane got closure less because of the murder than because he implicitly forgave himself. He may let go of the guilt, having killed without getting literally blood on his hands unlike Lady Macbeth, those hands that had shaken RJ’s ones unknowingly. Facing that self-important RJ, he had to know that it was not his hubris that caused his loss, not really, because RJ is only human, not a god hell-bent in punishing him. It was McAllister’s own inflated pride that caused the death of his family. He was the one who couldn’t stand someone smarter (“I’ll show you clever” in the video he made of Lorelei). During the confrontation, Jane stayed calmer than he’d ever been when getting close to his goal; he had no crazy look in his eyes, like he did when he first confirmed McAllister’s identity in the guest house. In a sense, he may have accepted the necessity of “letting go”, like he told Lisbon after the downfall of the CBI: maybe not of his goal, but of its blindly obsessive nature. He thought with calm, refused to acknowledge RJ’s reasons. He refused to die by his own hand and chose to live instead. He called Lisbon to tell her goodbye; all things he never did before. Maybe the maturity he acquired wasn’t directed to refusing to murder his nemesis, like I had hoped all along, but to realize and choose that his life had not to stop when he achieved it.
RB: True, but, again, we’ve already gone through this after Strawberries and Cream. Jane thought he had killed RJ, but didn’t want his life to be over. He decided to live and turn himself in. The only difference this time is his decision that he deserve to live the life of a runaway.
Violet: Which leads us to what will happen now. In Revelation, 21 we can read:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.””
“It is done” indeed, as Jane put it: no more deaths by RJ, no more mourning or pain: “the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars” are all burning in hell for crimes. All things new: the end of an old corrupted world and hopefully the beginning of something more fulfilling for them all, a new heaven.
RB: That would be nice. I for one wasn’t one of the people who watched the show just to witness the cat and mouse game between Jane and RJ, rather, I enjoy Jane’s interactions with the team and anyone and everyone else. Not to mention, the interesting cases. I look forward to going back to great one offs, and whatever resolution there is for the show.
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