*This review was originally posted Dec. 20, 2013. Due to technical difficulties it has been deleted and re-uploaded.
Three months after his plan to get a deal with the FBI went down, Jane (Baker) is confined in a cell and Lisbon (Tunney) has gone back home to Washington. She is visited in her small office at Cannon River by FBI Agent Kim Fischer (Emilie Swallow) who wants her help to convince Jane to work a case on the field with the FBI.
This second episode of The Mentalist 2.0 is a bit less hopeful and soulful than ‘My Blue Heaven’, yet it starts the much needed adjustment phase in a pretty funny manner both regarding the status Jane will be getting in his new life and the character’s emotional adaptation. Jane is at his most mischievous and his antics as he struggles against the new authority Abbott and Fischer are trying to force upon him add a welcome lighter tone after the darkness that threatened to engulf him at the end of his quest. Also there’s some continuity with the RJ storyline, without getting back on the obsessive side: rather the show tends to focus on new possibilities and it happens that the serial killer’s fate gives the agents a mean to threatens Jane, while a the same time offering him a solution to defeat their attempts. All in all, writer Daniel Cerone graced us with a quite enjoyable and interesting little number.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)
VIS #1: Fischer comes to Lisbon’s office
The episode opens with Fischer coming to ask for Lisbon’s help in convincing Jane to work with them. Like in ‘My Blue Heaven’ then, the very first news we got from Jane come from Lisbon and, again, the contrast with her old life is blatant. Before, Chief Lisbon was talking to kids about her job instead of fighting crime; now she’s searching for her missing stapler instead of investigating murder cases… Yet the contrast is even cruder after the glimpse we got of the modern and busy FBI building and Kim indirectly remarks on it by telling her that it is “adorable” while entering Teresa’s office.
Also, like Abbott did, Kim wants to use Lisbon to get to Jane and Lisbon is clearly aware of the woman’s intentions. Under Teresa’s polite façade, it’s obvious that she isn’t very pleased by the idea that her friend and former consultant is in their hands: they wouldn’t even have her letters delivered. When Fischer remarks that Jane has been in solitary confinement for three months “by desire”, Lisbon retorts that Kim only wants to use him. Indeed, viewers know that the agent is using against him what she learnt about his state of mind on the island: then, he was enjoying the feeling of freedom the ocean provided him with and he was suffering from loneliness –he even thanked her for talking with him because he “needed the company”; now, he’s been deprived both of his free will and of the comfort writing letters offered him…
Kim explains her motives to try to get Jane on her team: the man is a real opportunity for the FBI. His quest to stop “the reign” of the mass murderer uncovered the corrupted Blake conspiracy reaching half-way across the country and, in the meanwhile, he also managed to close every case he got his hands to. Such impressive achievements would sure look good for the FBI… and for her and Abbott’s careers. After all, that was what appealed to his former bosses, may them be Hightower and her special status for her golden boy, or Luther who suggested helping him out in Vegas – having kicked him out – because their closed cases rate was dropping… Yet, the power struggle between Jane and Kim seems to be shifting: while Jane kept stubbornly refusing Abbott’s deal, Kim is already backing down a bit by trying to find a solution and asking Lisbon for her help. It enlightens that, as a paradox, Jane is the one who has actually the upper hand, even if he has been incarcerated: they want him, so they just cannot use the only tangible threat they have over him. If they indeed send him to a real jail for his crimes, they will lose every possibility to make him work for them… They are at an impasse. That is why Fischer turns to Lisbon; she’s aware that the other woman is both one of Jane’s demands and his former boss. There’s a double interest in using Teresa: she knows him very well and can help her learn how to handle him, while at the same time, her mere presence can convince him to get to work. She represents a temporary concession which both makes her the proverbial carrot –he obviously misses Lisbon even now, since he cannot see or write to her – and may provide Kim with a precious useful insight into his psyche. This manoeuvre gives viewers the first real glimpse into agent Fischer’s mind: she’s smart and a professional who doesn’t hesitate to make good use of what she knows. It’s blatant that she’s thought about how best to move her pawns: she even set the ground for a future girl talk with Lisbon to learn more about the history she shares with her former consultant. Her phrasing indeed hints that, like Abbott, she suspects that there is something of a more intimate nature between the two ex-coworkers: she remarks to Lisbon that “one of his demands is you”. She realized that what he really wants is to have Lisbon back, working with her is more a mean to an end than a real demand.
Lisbon’s attitude is also pretty interesting: she’s slightly less reluctant with Kim than with Abbott, who she obviously dislikes. She accepts to help her by giving her advice: Jane “is hardly federal agent material”, so Kim is losing her time by trying to bend him. Even when the other woman asks if he was state agent material instead, she retorts that no, but “he wanted to be”, enlightening the difference in their methods and her underlying disapprobation: if Jane were a butterfly, one could say that Kim would be trying to catch him with vinegar, while Lisbon understood pretty quickly that she would have more effective result choosing honey… She cared about his well-being from the start (‘Red Dawn’), whereas Kim perceived him as a tool until now. Yet Lisbon finally relents and accepts to use her experience in the risky Jane-field, may it be because she’s deeply conscious that she doesn’t look very good with her urgent stapler issues, or because Kim’s reasons for wanting to solve a national security issue at play got to her as another law enforcement officer or because she simply wanted deep down to see Jane again. After all, that’s probably why she went to Austin the first time…
VIS #2: Lisbon visits Jane in his cell
Jane is openly delighted to see his partner but immediately notices that she’s here unwillingly… In response, she mimics enthusiasm by puffing her chest: after the emotional hug from the previous episode, their old camaraderie based on humor and teasing is coming to the surface as soon as they start interacting. Still, under that lightness, they’re both aware that the situation is quite serious. Jane indeed says that they’re in the same predicament; Lisbon disagrees, telling him that she’s lives in Washington, while he’s in a cell… she’s pretending to distance herself from his situation both spatially and emotionally, but Jane is not fooled. He knows that they’re both trapped in a condition they don’t like. Lisbon is as much in denial as she was when telling to Wayne that she liked the quiet and didn’t miss her past life anymore, even though she pounced on her letters once alone. On the other hand, Jane insists that he won’t settle for anything less than the demands he presented to Abbott: “if I can’t live on my terms, I’ll be in prison anyway. I may as well live in this cosy little detention suite”… This rejection of entrapment is very interesting: it puts emphasis on the evolution of Jane’s character, after spending a decade trapped in his obsessive hunting orchestrated by a serial killer. Here, he refuses both to let others dictate him how he should live and he wants to be free and no longer under the spell of obsession. The ocean around the island and the trailer he asked of Abbott echo this need. Therefore, the notions of freedom and moving on are central in the start of this new direction and respond to the past themes regarding his quest of RJ.
Lisbon’s response is as straightforward as it used to be: “get your ass off the chair”. That had Jane grinning ad sauntering behind her. No doubt he’s been enjoying that flash of her old familiar bossiness, even more since he admitted that he liked when she got all authoritarian on him in ‘Not One Red Cent’… Getting on familiar ground is their way to re-establish their former relationship, based on enjoying the other’s company and teasing and bickering (Jane shouting to the guard at his door « federal officers coming thought! »). It only enlightens the difference in their status now, particularly as we’ve been told they’re in the « Federal Bureau of Investigation » in Austin (not just the simpler “FBI”), reminding viewers that they’re not longer working for the California Bureau of Investigation… Different place, different agency. Furthermore they’re filmed from above standing on the middle of the FBI circular logo and the new credits only enhances the novelty of their situation.
Same with the briefing: it’s apparent that the kind of investigations they’ll be dealing with is meant to be of a larger scale than in the old SCU (namely the kidnapping of a computer programmer protecting the federal banking system); they don’t do the legwork at crime scenes, they work on photos on a big screen, they have a bigger team, more modern material… Also, as they’re coming in the new bullpen, it’s obvious Jane is perfectly aware of what’s going on and that Abbott wants to use him. When the other man calls him their “asset’, he retorts that “it’s so touching”; when he’s asked to sit down because Abbott wants to go on with the meeting, he answers that he’s fine, keeps standing and immediately dismisses him by greeting Cho. The stoic agent chuckles and answers “we’re in the middle of a meeting, we’ll catch up later”, hinting that they didn’t see each other during his detention, then… Jane is assessing the situation, evaluating people in the room as much as the photos on-screen: he’s looking intently at Kim while she avoids his stare, then he comments “I knew you saw me, huh huh”, before finding a clue on the victim’s wife background by looking on the photos.
He keeps studying her when they’re going to Brooklyn by plane: « you know, you can relax, everything is good». Kim is still pretty cold towards him, arguing that he’s a detainee under her charge and urging « you do as I tell you, you understand? ». Jane takes this opportunity to test her reactions: “oh, I understand. I understand you very well, better than you do yourself”… which leads to them revealing to Lisbon why things are tense between Fischer and Jane; Lisbon is rightly surprised to learn that she was on the island and Kim hurries to explain the situation: “I was undercover. I was using a false persona”; her insistence on the fact that she was there under false pretends is a bit suspicious and Jane pounces on it: he claims that she was sincere back then and that her persona as a FBI agent is the mask. Jane is trying to destabilize her while at the same time probably seeking a personal bond with Kim: his assumption about her hiding her true thoughts behind a professional façade is backed up by her touching his hair when he was unconscious on his bed in the island, yet despite suspecting as much he’s still hell-bent on undermining her. He did the same thing with Hightower; actually Jane seems to enjoy strong women in charge, at least when they’re not trying to control him. Hence the mixing of rebelliousness towards her authority and sympathy for the woman beneath the mask… which of course contrasts with the way he gleefully obeyed to Lisbon’s order before.
Another aspect showing adjustment is the way the first steps in the investigation subtly echo the past. The hot dog Jane craves alludes at the years he spent out of the U.S…. and it reminds of his work dynamic with Lisbon, since she used to lend him money and it was usual for him to eat on a case (tacos in ‘Red, White and Blue’ or an ice cream in ‘The Red Box’ for instance). But here, Kim keeps him from taking the food, enhancing the change in rules and that he has a new boss. Besides, the victim’s wife is called Defiance –which announces accurately his behavior towards the FBI and, to some extent, Lisbon’s attitude towards his controlling tendencies – and Jane talks to her in her apartment, in front of a large window… which oddly reminds of the setting of his attic (so much that it was probably the same set). The shot of Jane’s face with the window as a background is oddly familiar, even though the view behind it is meant to be Brooklyn instead of the CBI rooftop. Moreover, Jane isn’t embarrassed to talk about his past, he has made peace with it: he mentions his father, which he avoided doing before (telling Defiance that he came from the carnie circuit. “My dad was a showman”) and responding to her assumption that he’s psychic with a calm “so I’m told” instead of his previous abrasive “there is no such thing as psychics”. Before, when he was to assume this particular role for the team he was more reluctant. These changes are also hinted at by Lisbon and Fischer following him around as they are respectively his former boss and his new one. And, of course the notion of being trapped that Jane brought forward when meeting Lisbon comes back in the case: the husband felt trapped in a cold computer world made of rules and numbers. He turned his mind towards the wife he loved and his precious garden to escape this world: the title “Green Thumbs” is an allusion to this aspect of freedom. It’s not a surprise then that Jane uses both the garden and the wife to escape his own cold world of new rules.
VIS #3: Teresa in Kim’s office
After Jane pulled his stunt and ran away, Lisbon followed Kim back in Austin and she assisted to the briefing of the other woman. Yet Fischer’s attitude towards her employees irritates her: as Kim is stressing out her authority on the poor agent who had the misfortune not to spot Jane, Lisbon exchanges a glance with Cho. He intervenes by telling his boss that the man wasn’t the only one misreading the situation. After he called her on her own mistake, Lisbon adds that she wants to go home since Jane is no longer with them: she explains that they’re “only going to find him if he wants to be found, which he doesn’t or he wouldn’t have left in the first place”. The fact that Lisbon dismisses so easily the other woman in front of her team hints that Lisbon disagrees with her, as a former team leader herself. She used to cover up for every one of her men and not only for Jane and she takes that opportunity to get her revenge for the slightly patronizing attitude Fischer had in Cannon River… Not that Kim is necessarily a bad person at heart, she’s just not as giving as Teresa who accepted to work with an irate Hannigan and who took a helpless Jane under her wing.
When Fischer gets Lisbon to talk more privately in her office, it becomes obvious that the slight mistrust is reciprocated as she asks Lisbon if she helped Jane escape. The reason she gives for suspecting as much is that Lisbon is “his… friend”… Without any doubt, like Abbott, she doesn’t label Jane and Lisbon’s relationship as simple and platonic friendship, at least out of earshot from any of them… Whereas Lisbon chooses or not to understand the implications of that pause, she defends her position by saying that she’s both his friend and an officer of the law, implying that one doesn’t necessarily exclude the other… Interestingly, when she eavesdropped on Lorelei accusing him of having feelings for her, Lisbon yelled to him “I’m not your girlfriend, I’m an officer of the law”… similar words, yet different inference. Both then and now, Lisbon tries to preserve her position against a woman coming between her and her best friend… to some extent, it may perhaps suggest that there might be a sliver of ambiguity between the professional and personal level from Kim’s part, as there was with Lorelei. Either way, during the investigation, Lisbon seems relatively eager to prove her skills, coming up with theories and suggestions. After being brushed off by Abbott, it comes as natural that she may want to prove her professionalism and her self-worth, particularly after the case of the missing stapler… There is no doubt that she was forced to reconsider her ability since she probably didn’t get much career opportunities after the McAllister debacle…
Kim then chooses another tactic and lowers her defences, admitting that she needs her help again: “I was so sure I had him figured out”. It seems Kim is still following her leash, stick and carrot logic and, as such, she cannot understand why Jane fled, since they had Lisbon… Chief Lisbon simply answers “welcome to my life”. It doesn’t really come up as a surprise then that Kim takes that opportunity to resume the line of questioning she started earlier. It’s cop-girls talk time. She asks Lisbon with genuine curiosity “how did you make it work for so long?” Lisbon replies that se thought about it during the last two years, but she still has no idea… Is that a stretch to make a parallel with Jane’s line on the sunset scene in ‘Fire and Brimstone’ “you have no idea what you meant to me all those years… what you mean to me”? Since ‘Red Dawn’, we know that what links Jane to her is a mixing of layered affection and gratefulness because she saved him and gave him a chance to build a new life for himself; she gave him the roots he was lacking. Nevertheless, Lisbon probably doesn’t realize the extent of his feelings: she’s still unsure of his motives and the nature of what they had. Anyway, Kim comes to the most logical explanation: that they might have been involved at some point. It’s a pretty normal question, after all as Jane has been writing her letters for years and sending her seashells. Abbott assumed that they were lovers based on their behavior – she was protective of him while Jane was relatively behaved with her. It’s also not the first time he manipulated people to get her back on his team; he did as much with Haffner, except that now he cannot have another reason than affection and making it up to her. Not to mention that assuming they’re involved s pretty legit in hindsight: the point has been alluded to by Bertram who tried to use Lisbon’s jealousy about Lorelei, and by Bosco who questioned her reasons to keep him on her team… Even Jane’s subconscious wondered at the fact that there had been nothing between them, both in his fugue state and through Charlotte. Nonetheless, Lisbon’s reaction is to deflect the question and her smile falters: she remarks “it’s a strange question, why would you ask me that?” She questions then the motivation behind this line of interrogation with the result of embarrassing Kim (“no reason… I just… never, never mind…”) The thing is that Kim might indeed find Jane endearing (the hair touching in the island held no necessity for her job): so did she ask that because she was just curious and wanted to find a way to get leverage on him? Or is she interested by him on another level? The more the two women talk, the more the subtext seems to take a personal aspect… It might explain Lisbon’s underlying caution around Kim: she realizes the agent is basically taking her former place in Jane’s life (hence the “welcome to my life”). Either way, she takes pleasure on showing off her knowledge of Jane’s antics when she declares « that’s Jane » in a sing-song voice when he finally reappears.
And Jane makes unknowingly a special effort to accredit the thesis that a personal bond is what kept him somewhat in line with Lisbon. He’s positively uncontrollable:
1) he writes a letter to Abbott. It’s an allusion to the fact that the agent found him because of his letters to Lisbon. And he handwrites “top secret” on it: it’s childish as is the yellow big “JANE” he paints on the street. Plus the –e ends with an arrow pointing to the place he would be sitting waiting for them to pick him up; that arrow reminds a bit of the tail of a devil in cartoon, a wink to his mischievous nature…
2) He goes against a direct order by eating his hotdog: by doing so he mocks Kim’s authority and her controlling tendencies. Funnily, Jane parodies what the agents are doing: he mock runs like Kim and Lisbon; he knows the FBI has access to satellite videos, so he writes his name on the ground; he makes fun of their obsession for secrecy with his “top secret” mention… He’s perfectly in control of the situation, unlike in the island.
Still, even if he shows that he can run anytime and that he’s actually free of his choices he’s also willing to prove that he wants to stay and that he can be useful. When Kim visits him in prison, he’s dismissive of her anger and tells that he’s ready to discuss the deal now. He’s proven his point, that they cannot get anything from him if he doesn’t want to. Kim seems ready to wash her hands of him: she says that next week he will be prosecuted for the murder of Thomas McAllister, among other charges: interestingly, RJ is named by his legal name, hinting that his reign has indeed come to an end. He died as a human not as an omnipotent shadow. Jane is playing with her, proving his superiority: he’s lying on the bed with his eyes closed, he asks them is they caught on the body yet and explains his reasoning by asking rhetorical questions. He knows he’s played his cards right and that Kim’s interest is picked, although she’s reluctant and really doesn’t get him. She’s afraid that he’s lying and that it’s his “idea of a joke”. For fear of getting ridiculed again, she goes check on his theory with her boss alone. As Abbott remarks, “if there’s something this job kills inside, it’s a sense of trust”…
VIS #4: Cho on the job
Meanwhile, Cho meets his probable future partner in the person of Jason Wiley, who managed to spot Jane’s yellow message and to localize the missing consultant. The younger agent’s nickname of Coyote, like the cartoonish “Will E.” Coyote, seems strangely fitting given that he caught on their own mischievous Road Runner. The guy comes across as a naïve geek, a mixing between the rookie technology-oriented Van Pelt and the funny Ribsby, who was also nicknamed in reference to a kid show (“Bert and Bernie” because of his friendship with Cho). His interaction with Cho is obviously meant to create a sense of a team, adding comic relief and fresh younger blood to the show.
Later, after actually finding the body, Kim turns to Cho to get advice on Jane, since she couldn’t get much from Lisbon. She explains the situation to her agent and that he made fools of them. A smiling Kimball adds that it won’t be the last time. He explains to his boss that she won’t get him under control: “Jane is what he is.” She needs to lean to use him to her advantage. This explains how practical Cho was able to work with Jane himself: he didn’t try to enforce his point of view on him, but rather adapted to his methods. He took whatever results the wayward consultant was able to provide them with while letting the consequences aside. He’s saying in a colder way what Lisbon has been repeating for years to defend his position in the team: « he closes cases»… At the same time, this logical reasoning occults the very real friendship Cho felt for Jane: he smiles when he sees him in the FBI and was the most vocal of the team when they barged in Abbott arresting him in ‘Red John’. It seems that Cho has a perfect understanding of the FBI: he keeps things close to his vest to give least opportunity to being questioned, while staying as straightforward as he used to be, particularly with his boss.
Interestingly the new team appears clearly for the same time when Jane steps out of the elevator back to Austin. Abbott is their supervising agent, who delivers the news that, whereas it appears Jane was right, the kidnappers actually asked for a ransom so the missing computer programmer isn’t hiding after committing a murder. Lisbon is the feminine presence asking the right logical questions (“what class of kidnapper uses snail mail”, reminding viewers that Jane’s letter to Abbott is one its way); Wiley comes with technical stuff (answering to Lisbon that “it’s smart, really, old school, not electronic or prints”…). Kim is the control-freak leader replacing Lisbon; indeed, Teresa is now to some extent emotionally involved with a team member while avoiding the topic, like Grace used to be, while Cho is his old self. Last, not least, Jane is useful but challenging –he insists in going back to Brooklyn right when he just arrived from there… The team dynamics are already visible.
VIS #5: Lisbon gives Jane a piece of her mind
On their way back to Brooklyn, Jane is sitting next to Lisbon in the plane, whereas Cho and Kim, the two actual FBI agents in charge of watching him are sitting farther and separately. Obviously Jane has chosen to sit here to be closer to Lisbon. This moment replaces the usual talks in the car they used to have before RJ’s demise. Indeed, when Jane asks her what is wrong, she accuses him of running away not just from the FBI but from her too. After defending himself (« but I ran back »), Jane is forced to reluctantly admit that he was not thinking about her. Lisbon is hurt because he treated her as is she was disposable… when he retorts that he made her one of his conditions, Lisbon tells him “that’s my point. What makes you think I want to work with you again?” Here lies part of the problem: as her reaction in front of Abbott at the end of ‘My Blue Heaven’ hinted at, she’s not happy that he didn’t think that she could in fact refuse the offer and choose the new lie she’s gotten herself. He selfishly took her for granted and tried to decide in her place what he thought was best for her, because it simply was what he wanted her to do. He did it for years and she didn’t really complain that he had “taken over her life” as Bret Stiles put it once. Now, she decides to give him a well-deserved reality check: « you were difficult and exhausting and maybe I don’t want to put the rest of my life on hold to be your sidekick»… It’s apparent that she has finally managed to weight down Jane’s influence in her life as well as she has questioned her role and her choices during those two lonely years she spent without him. During the decade she worked in the shadow of her brilliant consultant, she progressively lost all the consideration her bosses were supposed to have for her: se went from being the agent in charge helped by an unstable consultant under Minelli to being Jane’s disposable handler from Hightower’s point of view, since the woman at first threatened to make her take the brush of the golden boy’s misbehaviour. Then she was discarded by Bertram who tried to give her job to Haffner. Lastly, her opinions were ignored by Luther (particularly flagrant in ‘Ring Around the Rosie’) and Kirkland tried to use her to pry information about Jane. It seems that the closer she got to him and the more she started becoming a trusted partner instead of an authoritarian figure, the less others and particularly her bosses considered her as a capable agent instead of Jane’s assistant… hence her being demoted when Jane’s position in the CBI went down with the agency. It’s telling for instance that Kim told her that Jane uncovered the Blake association, whereas she had been working with him all he time: the had been here at every step of the last part of the RJ investigation, she talked about the list with Jane and she wasn’t present for the showdown only because Jane managed to sneak alone twice – once from her, the second time from Abbott. The man saw that they formed a team but, even so, the FBI consider that Jane is the only valuable asset. Deep down the whole thing must seem really unfair for Lisbon. To some point, it seems that she feels she can only considered for herself out of his influence.
Here then Lisbon gets off her chest part of her resentment directed at him: she’s at least a little bit angry to have been left behind in Brooklyn as an echo of her sorrow when he left after murdering McAllister. Back then, she suffered but she managed to go on with her life to some extent and Jane’s selfishness must feel like he despises what she has built: “you think you know what is best for my life, but you weren’t part of my life for two years. Let’s get this case wrapped so I can go home.” It’s contradictory to some extent because actually Jane at least tried to still be a part of her life by writing to her –she certainly was a big part of his, given that he seemed to think about her a lot – and she never stopped reading those letters and keeping his seashell close to her. Conclusion: she was hurt when she feared he might have left her behind again and she tries to hurt him too to some extent by forcing him to face reality. Thus, what she said to Kim is true: she really has no idea of the extent of Jane’s affection and of his reasons for making her the very first of his demands. His reaction is pretty emotional: he’s affected, saddened and ashamed by her reproaches; this is enhanced by the detail that he’s slapped by the wife immediately afterwards… his “defiance” literally slapped him in the face. Yet, Lisbon keeps sending mixed signals: when Kim asks how she came up with a clever theory, she puffs her chest and says “I’m a police chief’… before amending “I’ve got a lot of reading time on my hands” when the others just stare at her. She tries to take pride in her status, but she’s bored out of her mind with her job and she still tries to impress the others.
VIS #6 and #7: Jane gets what he wants
After solving the case in which he showed that appearances can be tricky, Jane meets again with Abbott who is impressed by his work. He implicitly offers him a position in his team, telling him that he has a sharp mind and that he «can see this arrangement working on a permanent basis». Jane is oddly complacent, adding: “I can see working with you in the future, but only on my terms and you know that”. It’s a battle of wills which resumes the talk they had in ‘My Blue Heaven’, only calmer because each of them is sure that he has better cards in his hand. Abbott stresses out that he’s on the side of the law: there is no deal, “we are offering you a career, a clean slate and a chance to make a difference”. When Jane playfully relents, Abbott shows his hand a little more: “I’m sure some people find this side of you endearing. But I’m not one of them”… this reminds viewers that Abbott is the first of his bosses after Minelli who is not fawning over Jane. He doesn’t trust him: truth be told, he represents the law and has been a threat for Jane’s team since his very first appearance. He’s the first serious adversary Jane got in his life post-RJ and this transition has been enlightened in the island after the date with Kim. As Reviewbrain pointed out, she reminded very much of Lorelei, who was sent by RJ like Fischer was sent by Abbott to convince Jane to join forces with him too… Until they find an arrangement which would get Jane a legal status again and a chance to build a new life –one that goes somewhere at least-, Abbott is the enemy who trapped Jane again: he’s the one now standing between him and his chance to fully move on.
Jane has also learnt his lesson concerning Teresa: he asks Abbott for a job offer for her. She wouldn’t just be “dragged here” to please him like she put it earlier, but she would get a real job, with career perspectives and a form of acknowledgement of her own merits. Yet, Jane is still trying to recreate his nest: like his room in Venezuela reminded of the attic (large window giving him a great view near his desk; narrow bed), here he asks for what made his daily routine at the CBI and that he had to lose and/or leave when Abbott closed it off. A couch, tea and Lisbon, to get a sense of home: “I need a couch because everything is cold and hard around here”…
When Abbott flat out refuses and says that he’ll be following his murder trial on TV, Jane uses the same tactics as with Kim: he feigns letting him the advantage, before forcing him to come back to negotiate. Some moments before, the detail that the kidnapper had a tattoo on his arm symbolizing that he belonged to the BTK street gang reminded indirectly of the three-dotted tattooed men of the Blake organization. And the list of its members is precisely what Jane mailed to Abbott when he was out of sight of the FBI. The agent runs after him and catches him outside of the building. To say that Abbott is destabilized is an understatement: he asks him where he did get the list, to which Jane answers that it came from Bertram’s hideout (in ‘The Great Red Dragon’). Jane presses home its advantage, insisting that he knows the other man arrested most of the members mentioned on the list, but that a few of them whom he couldn’t identify are still free. Their names are blackened on the list, but Jane says that they’re “big names, all of them » and threatens to leak the list to the press. Devilish Jane has “the power to create misery”, stressing out the word “power”. And when Abbott relents and accepts his terms, Jane demands that they are written on the contract: “if I gave you the names, you’ll break the contract. You’ve already did it once”. He’ll only give him the names only afterwards. Jane is now able to dictate his conditions and did it in a way that would have Abbott at his mercy: he’ll get what he wants and his boss will know that he cannot use anything against him. Jane’s definitely won the power play.
The second of Jane’s victory comes from Lisbon: after the professional success, Jane gets to win on the personal board too. Lisbon is giddy about Jane bringing the FBI to its knees. It’s a very intimate moment: they’re both happy and she’s familiarly sitting on the bed he’s lying onto. He then sits up to get even closer to her while they’re beaming at each other. And there’s a great deal of trust: when she asks him how he did it, he answers truthfully and let her on the trick he uses with Abbott –he doesn’t know the names of the corrupted cops, he just lied. Lisbon is “impressed” and understands his reasons for escaping were “to create a bogus list with the names”. There’s no doubt she’ll help him to figure them out: the two partners are about to get involved in a new secret investigation once again. Indeed, Lisbon admits that she’s accepted the job offer from Abbott, not because the idea came from Jane but because she wanted to: “it’s my life and I decide what to do with it”. And to seal their deal, she has brought him a gift: a pair of thick woollen beige marled socks.
Jane’s bare ankles have been shown at least twice during the episode and in the previous one Cho asked him where his socks were, so this useful gift fits sensible Lisbon. Plus, it’s at the same time a way to tease him (they’re “hand made in Washington”. Not to mention not exactly his usual classic socks) and a mean to symbolize that he can now get his normalcy in a –literally- warmer environment (Jane commented that the FBI was “cold” which is why he wanted a homey couch). And Jane is unusually touched and pleased by her present: it’s the kind of slightly absurd yet meaningful gift he would enjoy (he gave her a pony and a couch after all), besides it proves that she thought of his wellbeing. She’s affectionate and happy, so she didn’t accept the job only because she was bored… Lastly, the setting is so intimate, really, that it seems like the writers are again teasing the shippers: the mood is so warm that the two of them could have ended up kissing without breaking the atmosphere….
Daniel Cerone did a good job in reinventing the investigating line of the show: he storyline and Jane’s stunts felt familiar, yet the whole thing had a refreshing flavour and a sense of novelty. As always, the cast was great and the new additions fit in rather smoothly. Special kudos to Blake Neely for coming up with two new playful credits in a row! :)
- Cutting a body to pieces must have resulted in a lot of blood, not just rather clean hands and legs like those showed onscreen…
- The sight of Brooklyn from the roof was a little too obviously a photo pasted on a blue screen. I found it so distracting I almost couldn’t concentrate on the dialogue…
- Is that me, or is the new list of former Blake associates a bit confusing? I mean, did Jane make it out from scratch as Lisbon implied? Did Van Pelt manage to decipher part of Bertram’s list two years before and did Jane use it from creating a fake list? Or did he take it from Abbott’s hotel room in the island with the help of his young friend who whispered something in his ear before he left? Honestly, that should have been explained a little better in my humble opinion…
- Last point which isn’t really a pet peeve but more a personal slight disappointment: it was great that Lisbon got to finally stand for herself a bit in front of Jane, but wouldn’t it have been deeper if she also expressed at the same time what she felt about the murder Jane committed? I so hope this point will be cleared out later in some way. Even some “I forgive you” or “I don’t really mind” would be fine…
This was definitely a transitory episode on more ways than one: firstly, the former obsession theme is indirectly addressed since, while adjusting to his new position, Jane is using RJ’s network to get back in a reasonably close substitute of the best parts of his old life. I don’t know if it was a deliberate subtext or just a coincidence, but it’s interesting that Lisbon defined his reasons for refusing Abbott’s deal as stemming from his “pride”. Indeed, Jane spent the episode undermining his and Kim’s authority, as a payback for their stunt in the island, while proving that he’s still cleverer than them. This pride used to be at the basis of his relation with RJ: Jane’s ego drove him to show off on TV and McAllister’s need for admiration motivated him to punish the fake psychic then to play with him afterwards; in the church, this theme was again subjacent and Jane twisted it by showing humility while RJ’s ego knew no bounds. Now, Jane still wants to be recognized as the smartest in the room, yet the difference in his situation is very telling: it’s necessary for him to get considered as an asset to get his autonomy back. This time, his motivation is no longer obsession, but freedom. He’s come a long way. And the fact that he’s starting a new page in life is emphasized by the name of the supposed victim: Abel Scheiderman is involved in the first murder case after Jane left his ‘Blue Heaven’, (as the victim, then as the murderer), like the Biblical Abel was the first murder victim after Adam and Eve were chased from the garden of Eden. It’s definitely a new beginning.
But the change that is more prominently featured concerns Lisbon: there’s a more visible affection and a new openness between them as each answers very easily the other’s questions, which leads to some disagreements from Lisbon. In a way, it reminds of Reviewbrain’s analysis of ‘Jane/Lisbon’s Moments’: for years, Jane has been trying to get closer, while she tried to keep him at arms lengths. Back then, she was the agent in charge and he was a kind of pet who accepted to let her tame him little by little. Also, as a paradox, he was the one giving her occasional marks of his affection (giving her a couch and sleeping on it, buying her red delicious apples; sharing an ice cream with her and tea after Luther insulted him; playing with her with the wooden box and at poker). Here, there’s the first time Teresa actually offered him something; plus she was sitting very close to him. It is certainly not alluded to in this scene, but the first time she sat with him like that was in ‘Ball of Fire’ when she thought he was lost to her: that time marked a shifting in their relationship too. Nevertheless, Jane was the one who kept sending her mixed signals at the same time… Now, it seems that Lisbon has taken over this particular role.
1) Professionally, she insisted on what she wanted from life: a home and her job at Washington where she existed without being catalogued as his sidekick. She wants to be considered ad valorized for herself, not her ability to work with her former wayward consultant. She admitted to Fischer that she had thought back about her old CBI life and about her work relation with him. She accepted becoming his colleague again only after receiving a proper job offer. And she let Jane know only after let her in the confidence… It’s an interesting new side of Lisbon; she doesn’t just go with the flow like she used to, we can now feel a backbone resisting to Jane’s overwhelming influence. Before, she started as a control freak with little to no private life, then she let this controlling and secretive man take over her life, which lead her to lose everything and to build back a life from scrap away from him. Even though this new life seemed to have involved a lot of thinking about the past, she certainly also enjoyed the freedom it gave her. It was time she needed to get back some measure of control against Jane…
2) She also tried to distance herself from him to same extent on a more personal level. Her reluctance showed when she visited him unwillingly and Jane later remarked that she told she wasn’t interested in the case. The shifting is again noticeable here: before, she refused to let him corner her on certain private topics because it was inappropriate (like in ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’); now, we can sense a measure of wariness in her behaviour towards him. In a way, she has lost part of her trust in him: the familiarity and caring are still here, but she couldn’t tell if he wanted to run away or to run back. She probably isn’t really aware of why he came back to the States, only that he was lured by Kim and the promise of a deal; she certainly doesn’t realize how lonely he was or how much he really missed her. Thus she sees him again as controlling, but she may not discern that he’s needier towards her right now than dismissive and manipulative. She needs time to rebuilt her trust in him as well as her self-confidence: he’s left her too many times – Vegas; the sunset scene that Jane apologized for in his last letter; after killing McAllister he wasn’t here for two years… each time, she had no guaranty that she would see him ever again. Is that really surprising that she’s wary to let him in again? It’s only self-preservation. Even though she’s genuinely happy to get him back, she’s still in an emotional limbo, like Jane was before he took the plunge and decided he wanted to get back. She’s emotionally involved but doesn’t want to touch the subject, either with Fischer or with Jane himself. For instance, she never actually asked him why he wanted her to work with him, she only reproached him to decide for her. Like when she met him again in ‘My Blue Heaven’, she formally thanked him for letting her know that he was alright and she only admitted to have missed him after he did. So, it’s plausible that she distanced herself because she didn’t actually now how to deal with her emotions or what she wants deep down: they need to redefine their relation and, given her mixed signals, the ball may be in his court. In the meantime, she might keep refusing to build her life on him again… this emotional issue will certainly be explored further soon and probably in a not so straightforward manner. They’re both stubborn individuals and Don’t-Do-Personal Lisbon seems to be back for at least a little while…
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