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Mentalist White as the Driven Snow Review


This review was supposed to be co-written, but Violet wrote the bulk of it and was quite comprehensive. All I had left to do was sprinkle my two cents in where ever I could. Everything was written by her, unless otherwise denoted by an “RB” to stand from my thoughts. Love you, Vi!- RB.

Synopsis
The FBI is rushing against time trying to find Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) after she has been kidnapped by Richard Haibach. Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) confronts Patrick Jane begging him to do whatever it takes to get his wife safely back.

Concise Verdict
With all the action that was part of this episode I thought it must have been written by Tom S. Or Daniel Cerone. I mean that as a compliment to Eoghan Mahoney, who gave both Righetti and Yeoman fantastic material to work and enough suspense (and character moments!) to keep viewers attention riveted. For the most part. 9/10.

VIS #1: the guys are at the bar
Picking up right where the previous episode left off, Rigsby’s enters the bar where he is having drinks with Cho and Jane after getting off the phone. The guys comment on how great his wife is. The happily married Rigsby agrees to which Jane tells him “A Price Above Rubies”.

RB: One of the reasons I loved how this scene was just chock full of allusions to previous episodes. One was the quoted phrase, a favourite episode of mine where we got to see the entire CBI team in black tie. Tunney fans will remember the black dress.

Violet: The phrase also underlines that the past is still weighting Jane down, since that episode took place just after Bosco’s death: it reminds how someone close to them was killed because of Jane’s actions (which will happen again here with Grace). Back then, Lisbon feigned being fine, just like she’s been doing with Jane since his return. Also interesting detail: back then the title may have referred both to the victim’s wife and to Lisbon as Jane put a tiara on her head… so even if she’s absent, she’s at the center of the scene.

RB: I agree. The men may be talking about Grace here and what she means to Wayne, but the allusion to that past episode makes and the fact that Jane is one who made the comment makes it easy to infer who he feels is priceless.

Violet: Rigsby then tries to play matchmaker by telling Jane that Grace and him “always” thought that Jane and Lisbon would end up together.

RB: I shouted at the television: FINALLY!! Ahem. I mean, after all these years it’s about time a character brought up the subject. And I don’t think it was a coincidence that another episode alluded to in this scene was Red Handed, the only other time we’ve seen Jane and the men at a bar. That scene four years ago was another time Rigsby might have ventured to ask Jane about his relationship with Lisbon, especially considering how hard Jane had tried to get Lisbon to keep an emerald necklace/earring suite he bought her at the time….but I digress…

Violet: It’s a very heartwarming touch to watch how the man who has been clueless about how to seduce Van Pelt for years is willing to help two friends find happiness. One may wonder if he doesn’t do it for Lisbon mostly, as much as he likes Jane.

RB: I like to think so. Rigsbon is a pairing I’ve always loved. In a strict older sister/younger brother chemistry which was shown on the show on several occasions

Violet: After all, he’s kept in touch with his former boss and listened to her when she claimed she had no regrets anymore about the past before running to Jane once again when the chance arose… Plus, that’s actually the first time someone of the team made a direct reference to the special bond between Jane and Lisbon. It was nice seeing that Wayne and Grace had been shippers all along, not to mention rather funny: the all time “official” couple of the show seems to have passed on the baton to the partners who are starting to send stronger romantic vibes.

RB: It is rather ironic, isn’t it?

Violet: While Jane chuckles to hide his surprise and embarrassment, Cho agrees with his friend.

RB: I also thought he seemed bashful, but in a pleased sort of way…

Violet: After a rather ironic “right”, he mentions the pony, a meaningful special gift he had given her….

RB: This just in case viewers didn’t automatically remember it after the last episode 

Violet: …after Jane showered his new team minus Lisbon with childhood reminders. The pony had been given at the beginning of the show, which put emphasis on the “always” in Wayne’s statement: the team watched many interactions between the two leads (“you’re blushing, boss” in S1; Jane touching her face when he was blinded in ‘Bloodshot’;

RB: Note, both incidences Wane was the sole witness. Methinks he was an early shipper…

Violet: Cho telling “Jane, right”, when Lisbon ditched their investigation to help Jane after Darcy stranded him; Jane’s remark about Lisbon being meaner to him at the end of ‘Something’s Rotten in Redmund’… Unlike with Bosco’s feelings for Teresa, they never really commented on it

RB: Probably because no one knew about them. If memory serves me right, even Jane was surprised when he found out about it, whereas Jane’s affections were more obvious to the team.

Violet: They observed and drew their own conclusion… It enlightens again how people tended to consider them as a possible couple, just like Abbott and Kim did at first.
Jane deflects the allusion to the past by wondering aloud where the pony may be now: things are not right between Lisbon and him and he’s way to secretive to pour his heart to the guys, obviously. That’s probably why he gratefully uses the pretext offered by the barmaid to leave them.

RB: Actually, I found it telling that he didn’t leave right away and instead told the barmaid that he was busy with his friends. I remember wondering if, in fact, Jane, given the opportunity, actually wanted to discuss his relationship with Lisbon with the two guys. I find the idea fascinating.

Violet: The friendly atmosphere at the bar compensates the mild coldness of ‘Grey Water’.

RB: Alternatively, Jane’s warmth towards Rigsby in this episode just makes the aloofness of his greeting to him in the previous one more bizarre.

Violet: Again, the encounter is also placed under the shadow of a darker past as alluded to subtly by the name of the hotel where Grace and Wayne are staying and where she’s taken from. As a threatening counterpoint of the bar ‘El Lazo’ –which the double meaning pointed out by Reviewbrain in the previous review-, the hotel is called ‘Rose Mountain Inn’, a color frequently used in title as a reference to RJ. Still, viewers are reminded that many things have changed. When Cho drives Wayne back to the inn, he tells him the FBI is offering both him and Grace a job. The other man is hesitant, because he and Grace have now kids. Their priority has shifted from being in the team (the reason for their break up) to protecting their family life.

RB: I like the reference here to how much their characters have grown up. The reminder is timely…

VIS #2: Jane confronts creepy Haibach

The parallels with the past events and particularly with RJ are even more visible when Jane and Lisbon start interrogating their main suspect, Haibach, who was unwittingly involved in Jane’s quest to get the serial killer. Firstly, the glimpses we got of Grace in a cellar, just like the one Hardy used to keep a young girl prisoner in the S1 finale and the one where RJ’s presumably first victims’ skeletons were found in ‘The Red Barn’; still, it may be also interesting to compare the choice of this place with Jane’s own kidnapping in ‘Ball of Fire’: that episode had the team worried for his life, as they are now for Grace, and its resolution ultimately led to an increased closeness with Lisbon…

Speaking about her, Haibach is pretty resentful towards the former CBI team leader and snarls “oh, you apologized. But that didn’t stop your planning, did it?” It draws an implicit comparison with her own attitude towards Jane: he apologized for his actions -in his last letter from the island, he mentioned being sorry for leaving her on the roadside- and he tried to make it up to her by getting her a new job, but she doesn’t seem to be able to completely trust his intentions anymore.
Plus, even though Haibach claims there is “no game” on his part –another allusion to RJ-, he obviously enjoy mocking them: when Jane asks if he knows where Van Pelt is, he replies “no, I don’t, how could I?” in a sing song voice… just before he “guesses” exactly her situation. Later, when an angry Rigsby launches at him, yelling that he’s an animal, the man yells back “you people are the animals”, because back then he did nothing and was still targeted because of them…
He’s right. Jane dismissed his kidnapping when Kirkland tortured him and Lisbon even chided her consultant for his indifference. But Haibach easily forgets his own crimes: he’s a paedophile and this was hinted at by the secret child bedroom he created in his house. He planned to kidnap a little girl when Kirkland targeted him, which foreshadowed Grace’s situation. He shows therefore the same logic as RJ, who took revenge on Jane’s family because the fake psychic had “slandered” him in the medias…

Haibach’s plan progressively takes form: he enjoys himself by playing his two enemies face to face -Jane ,who deliberately put his name on his fake list, and Lisbon, who came after him repeatedly- while revealing the vengeful motive behind his acts when stressed out. His meticulous planning is showed later when Abbott and Kim interrogate him as he’s able to provide a suspiciously detailed alibi (a video of him on the bus/his bus ticket/several witnesses): he’s obviously mocking them. Playing cat and mouse with his victim and hiding in plain sight were two of RJ’s favorite mind games too.

On the other hand, as a counterpoint to those allusions to the serial killer, there are several parallels with Jane’s situation regarding him. He understands what Wayne is going through as a father, and he tries to comfort and calm him by telling “you have children you need to see grow up”. Indeed, even through the younger man is in danger of losing his wife, he’s graced with the chance of knowing his kids are safe. Jane wasn’t as lucky and his imagining an adolescent Charlotte in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ showed how much he regretted it. Later, as Rigsby talks to his son Ben, the kid asks where Grace is… In addition of enlightening that the Rigsby’s form a harmonious family, since she’s only his stepmother, but obviously a loving one.

Rigsby goes and finds the clever consultant, begging for his help, “whatever it takes”. As a consequence, Jane barges in the interrogation room and threatens Haibach. He yells “you know me” and promises to track him down, alluding to his past quest to avenge his family and to the fact that he killed three men in the process. He shows again his uncaring and obsessive side: “I have nothing to lose. I have played with the house money for years. If I go to prison for what I’ll do to you, I don’t care”…

While it looks like he’s stuck in the same position than with RJ, it’s still interesting that he’s painted the almost exact image his co-workers must have had of him for years: a vengeful obsessed man with no string attached and willing to use them for all what they were worth… But this “been there, done that” vibe doesn’t really match the reality anymore : his “I have nothing to lose” contrasts with his loneliness and his letters to Lisbon, when he was writing that her absence was what made his situation awkward. Same with his willingness to recreate his nest at the CBI: that speaks of his fondness for his friends and the memories he shared with them. Therefore, this coldness hides a fiery defence of people he cares about. And he explains to a bewildered Abbot that he’s trying to work Haibach out of his comfort zone: again, he’s using the same strategy than with RJ. He’s trying to get the other to make mistakes, without caring for the consequences of his own actions. This dangerous game Jane is playing contrasts with Kim’s tentative approach to get Haibach’s lawyer to step back and help them: the insensitive woman accuses her of feeding her a « sob story » in an « unprofessional, disrespectful » manner. Like her client, she enjoys the power she has over the agents (telling them “ok kids, time’s up. Put your pens down” when she barges into Abbott’s office). This indicates that the legit route would take them nowhere to save Van Pelt.

VIS #3: Grace proves that she’s resourceful

Meanwhile, the redhead is making the best of the situation and manages to escape the cellar she’s locked in: she’s smart and determined. Soon, she’s alone in the wild and her isolation is further emphasized by the snow. Her dangerous situation reminds of her predicament in ‘My Bloody Valentine’. When a car stops by her, viewers may get a hint that the danger is getting closer: the driver, an inoffensive-looking woman, is listening to rather loud music, echoing ‘Redwood’ (the playlist the victims were listening to when a cruel killer attacked them) and ‘Red Gold’ (the killer changed the radio station in his victim’s car).

Van Pelt’s suspicions flare when she enters the woman’s cabin: she understands that there’s no electricity because there’s a fireplace, thus the woman was lying when she told there was a phone. Her observation skills hint at Jane’s influence, just like her resourcefulness… She also uses his technique to get the other to let her guard down: she tries to make friends by telling her to call her Grace; when it fails, she still manages to make her talk in order to buy time to try to escape. Her efforts are in vain, but it shows that she learned many things with the master of lies.

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

 

Jane’s shadow can also be detected in the woman’s character: she’s Haibach’s sister and she feels anger and guilt because she couldn’t protect him… She’s seeking to rectify a past error to the extent of not caring if she hurts or kills people in the process.

VIS #4: Rigsby and Jane kidnap Haibach AKA saving Grace

Jane and Rigsby decide to take action and kidnap Haibach: while he’s leaving the FBI headquarters in a car with his lawyer. While Haibach is ranting to her bout making Patrick Jane suffer, Jane has disguised himself as their driver stops the car to let Rigsby get in. Jane’s grin and adorable driver hat is thus the sixth time in as almost as many episodes that an undercover job is featured –Kim playing a part in the island; Abbott asking Jane to pose as a psychic in ‘Green Thumb’; the dates with Krystal in ‘White Lines’; Lisbon wearing another black hat in spy fashion in ‘The Golden Hammer’; Jane sleeping in the community in ‘Black Helicopters’. One could even argue that, given his impassioned reaction to Grace’s kidnapping, his mildly indifferent greeting in the previous episode plays with false appearances as well.

Abbott realizes what the two men have been up to and wants to get some information out of Lisbon and Cho. Lisbon knows nothing (Jane’s good old “deniability”) and Cho adds “we have nothing to do with it, but we’d do it if they’d asked”. Again, it echoes their confrontation with Abbott in ‘Red John’, when Cho led the way to confront the man into letting Jane go. Their boss remembers: he is aware that they find Wayne and Jane “brave”, but that doesn’t stop him from threatening their jobs… That’s a curious reversal for Dennis: before, he was the one threatening the CBI, now it’s Haibach’s lawyer supported by an unfair law that protects a kidnapper who poses a threat for his new team.

Jane playfully leaves the lawyer stranded on the roadside, after exchanging his driver uniform with her phone and teasingly putting his hat on her head. It comes full circle with him leaving Lisbon without phone on that cliff, which was alluded to when he left Kim and drove away his Airstream at the market. This time, instead of being a hurtful gesture which probably caused her present mistrust, it proves that he cares: he won’t stop at anything to save Grace.

And the role reversal is even more obvious as Rigsby acts crazy and Jane is the one trying to calm him down (“talk to me, I have a plan, there’s another way”)… The usually untameable consultant seems very reasonable for once: he’s assuming Lisbon’s role when Wayne is channelling his inner Jane…his brutal streak.

Plus there’s a multiplication of references to RJ: Rigsby tries to set Haibach on fire (like Todd Johnson and echo to the bombing in ‘Fire and Brimstone’: fire is a recurrent image of RJ’s power); after the man took Wayne’s discarded gun and made them drive to the abandoned cabin, then to his sister’s house, he discovers that the guys used a trick on him: all along the gun had no ammunition and he’s the mercy of an armed Rigsby (it reminds of Jane’s trick with the pigeon, Lisbon’s gun and the other gun hidden in the church); Haibach threatening them from the back of the car, then being threatened by Rigsby ridding shotgun is a wink to the limo scene in ‘The Crimson Hat’ (RJ was talking from the back of the car using a phone attached to Luther, Jane was sitting shotgun and it was the first time Jane had been able to talk to him directly). In a way, this moment in the car with Haibach almost sums up Jane’s history with the serial killer because while it looked like RJ was more powerful, Jane overpowered him too with a clever trick… But Haibach and his sister get the upper hand again and are about to take revenge for his missing thumb by shooting Rigsby and deciding to chop Jane’s fingers too, in a double allusion to Lorelei who was ordered to cut off Jane’s fingers in the limo. The RJ vibe is even furthered by Haibach giddily telling that he wants to “play a little game” (again) with a terrified Jane. Fortunately, Rigsby proved more resistant and determined than the killers took him for: even gravely injured, he walks outside the house to shoot them. He was able to protect his wife and saved the day, what Jane always regretted not doing for his family… The implied glimpse into the past is closed when Jane lying in the snow sees the black helicopter sent to rescue them. It was what he asked to Lisbon over the phone in ‘Black Helicopters’: symbolically the nightmarish window on the past is closed and they’re back to the present situation. Wayne can start to recover physically, just like Jane may start to heal mentally from the loss of his family that he couldn’t yet overcome, since he still can’t allow himself to take his ring off for good.

VIS #5: at the hospital

When Wayne is resting on his hospital bed with his beloved Grace the atmosphere is much more cheerful: Lisbon hugs Grace while telling her how worried she was, then Jane hugs her too. The both of them are making a beeline for the door together –at long last!- when they’re interrupted by Abbott and Kim. Abbott compliments Rigsby (“you impressed all of us”), but both husband and his wife refuse heartily the job they are offered. Kim hands some flowers to the redhead and, last but not least, Cho, Wayne’s dear friend, pats Grace’s leg before leaving them alone too.

For the first time in what feels like forever, Jane and Lisbon are shown leaving the hospital while bickering. Lisbon reproaches that it was a “stupid idea”, Jane protests that it was “not stupid, simple but not stupid…” When she admits that she’s still angry for not telling her and she was really scared, he tells “I’m sorry.” She replies “no, you’re not. I can tell when you’re no being sincere », which refers both to their old friendship and to her past assumption that she could tell when he was lying in ‘Red Sky in The Morning’: both times, like in many others, the two partners are seen walking away bickering as the episode ends. It hints that at least part of their friendship is back: while those are pretty much the same things Lisbon reproached to Jane recently –taking decisions on his own, scaring her by running away and dismissing her as if she was his inferior- it’s very apparent that the intention behind her words is different. Jane has proven his affection for them taking huge risks for his friends: like before, even if his methods are questionable, he’s mostly trustworthy at heart.

That’s the most heartwarming aspect of the episode: Jane has paid his debt to the team for standing for him. Like in ‘Red Alert’, which featured Lisbon’s silent grief over Bosco’s death, and in ‘My Bloody Valentine’, when Grace refused to acknowledge the loss of her love, the conclusion of Haibach’s wrongdoings ended being a life-affirming experience. Jane’s decisions here showed that he cares about them: he hadn’t just using them for his quest. He made it up to them for his actions, which is probably why Haibach’s character was chosen to be the culprit: he had happened to be a casualty in Jane’s quest, just like the team and Lisbon had become at the end, as they had to deal with the consequences… Hence the catharsis: Jane considers them as his friends and he wants to protect them. In spite of not being truthful with his words or his motives, he was sincere in his affection for them. Sacrificing their careers at the CBI for him had been worth it.

Honorable Mentions

Writer Eoghan Mahony provided a touching homage to two great characters (Grace’s cleverness and Rigsby’s impressive determination were a last hint at character development since it enlightens how efficient they have become) At the same time, he masterfully used this goodbye to set things right in the new setting: Jane and Lisbon acting like friends again; Wiley takes a more prominent part in the investigation; Abbott is a by the book boss but he admits he’s impressed by Wayne. He doesn’t play a double game like Bertram, nor is emotional like Luther; he isn’t as unfair with Lisbon as Hightower used to be at first… If he keeps being this measured, he might even compare one day with Minelli… Same with Kim: like in the market when she interrogated the “peanut butter people” some time ago, she’s still pretty awkward in her role as a boss, but that doesn’t undermines her friendliness (talking to the lawyer, bringing flowers). And the old team is reunited no more as colleagues but as a family: it’s the first time they’re all together at the hospital at the same time… They weren’t together at Jane’s bedside (when he was in a fugue state/ drugged/ blinded by a bomb), neither at Lisbon’s (when she was shot by Craig/attacked by RJ even if there were flowers), neither at Grace’s (when she was shot in the earlier seasons) nor when Rigsby’s father was dying. But now, they are, because their closeness is caused by affection and devotion. It’s a rather beautiful conclusion to their story and a solid beginning for the new Mentalist.

rb: Owain Yeoman and Amanda Righetti were fantastic in the episode as well. I loved how physical their roles were, especially Wayne’s. considering his build it would have been a crime to have him leave the show without making use of his physical prowess (which, is rarely brought up : Russett Potatoes, Like a Red-Headed Stepchild). I can see both Righetti and Yeoman moving on to action films now.

Icings on the Cake

The beautiful, beautiful snow white setting of the episode denoting perhaps that the show was starting a new clean slate.

Pet Peeves

Violet: When Jane, Haibach and Rigsby get off the car to enter the cabin, there’s snow, but they don’t seem to mind the cold, even though they’re wearing light clothes and there’s no steam coming from their mouths. I may be overly picky, but this destroyed the illusion a bit for me…

RB: For me, the first was Grace getting duped by Hazel. After showing how awesome Grace is at managing to escape we’re supposed to believe that she’s careless enough to flag down the first approaching car without thinking that it might be the perp looking for her? Grr.

Then there is Hazel. I don’t know if it was the writing or the acting, but she felt like such a flat two dimensional character. Whether it was her telling Grace that she’ll tell on her to her brother (about how she tried to escape) or boasting how she knew Grace escaped, most of her scenes made me cringe.

Conclusion

RB: After being so happy that the RJ plot is finally over, I can’t stop thinking about the left over lackeys in the encrypted file. I still don’t get why no one (either in the original CBI team or in the FBI) thought an RJ fan might have been after the wire taps. Now they proved to have nothing to do with Grace’s kidnapping, I’m probably just being obsessive. But I will say this: while Haibach might have been the perp in this episode, there is still no proof that he is the one who put a trace on Ardiles and the CBI members. Haibach’s revenge might be red herring to deflect from the fact that (possibly vengeful) Blake association members still exist.

Finally, I am ecstatic at the surprise ending of this episode. I honestly thought Rigsby had been killed for a while and did not look forward to the result. I would have hated to see Jane set off on another guilty streak, this time for having his actions inadvertently cause the death of Wayne and Grace. I also loved how Rigsby was the ultimate hero, in every sense of the word. In this episode, he saved more than just his and Grace’s life. He saved Jane’s newly peaceful existence from shattering again. A worthy ending to a worthy character. Righetti, Yeoman, you will be missed.

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.

 

 


The Good Wife “Dramatics, Your Honor” Reaction


MAJOR SPOILERS. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE.

MAJOR SPOILERS. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE.

MAJOR SPOILERS. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE.

I have been watching The Good Wife ever since it first started airing. I have been in love with the show all this time and have watched with equal parts awe and trepidation.

The awe was at the sheer intelligence of a show that keeps giving me material to think about and the writers’ ability to consistently make me laugh. The trepidation was a result of the sad belief that eventually, like so many other shows, it will one day finally fail to do so.

But that day still seemed far off. When Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) left the firm to start her own with Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry), I was ecstatic. We’ve already seen her and Will have their romance. Having her remain at the firm was just risking the affair starting up again (the main incentive, viewers were led to believe, why the character left).

The fact is, the show is called “The Good Wife”. Having her run off into the sunset with Will Gardner (much as we might have enjoyed it) was just plainly never going to happen. A new direction had to be set for the series and having them become enemies seemed as good a plan as any.

Then another “uh, oh” moment came to me when they started reconciling. Were the writers really going to ruin the new-found status quo by reverting back to an old plot? I was so ready to be disappointed and comforted myself with the fact that there were other so many interesting characters with new relationships (finally!) coming together that will keep the show interesting (i.e. Eli/Natalie, Kalinda/Cary).

I feel so humbled now that I had underestimated The Good Wife writers so. I always knew they were good. Fabulous, even. But I never knew how good they were.

Just when I started worrying that Will and Alicia’s romance will start up again, they went and killed off Will’s character.

Will Gardner is dead.

This decision, which stemmed after Josh Charles informed the show runners he was leaving the series, was pure genius. In fact, I’ll go as far as to thank Mr. Charles for inciting it.

No words can express how utterly excited I am to see the affect his character’s death will have on the other players. When faced with a decision to get rid of the character, Robert and Michelle King went with the one that most made sense. Simply put, it’s the most interesting. Also, it conveniently solves Peter Florrick’s legal problem while creating a perhaps much bigger, more personal one for him.

How will Alicia react? How will Diane, Kalinda, and every other character who loved and respected Will Gardner?

I don’t know. But I sure as heck can’t wait to find out. Rest in peace, Will Gardner. You were a freaking awesome lawyer, passionate lover, and loyal friend. And no one can ever have as beautifully brooding eyes as you can. But you died defending a client you liked, whom you believed to be innocent, and whose mental capacities finally went to pieces during his trial. Like a soldier who wishes to die in battle, you died in the courtroom. In the arms of an opposing lawyer, no less, who tried to save your life (the wonderful Matthew Goode as Finn Polmar).

Can there be a better, more honorable, or original  ending for a major character?

I doubt it.

Click here to read Robert and Michelle King’s letter to The Good Wife fans regarding their decision. I agree with absolutely everything they said. More than that, I respect their utter transparency and loyalty to fans in sharing their thoughts. This is class, people.

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.

 


Mentalist Grey Water Review


Synopsis

Lisbon gets the case of J.J. LaRoche’s murder transferred from SF PD to the FBI, only to discover that the culprit is now targeting ex-CBI Agents Wayne and Grace Rigsby. The two join Lisbon, Cho and Jane in Austin, Texas as consultants and run down a list of possible suspects. Meanwhile Agent Kim Fischer investigates a murder of an anti-fracker in which the prime suspect is an anti-corporate group.

Concise Verdict

This episode was a bit of a roller coaster. It started off as a thriller and ended as one as well but was a bit slow in between.  There were plenty of nice moments, a couple of not so good ones, and a major peeves too.

Detailed Review

I’m slowly easing myself into writing again and took a more straightforward approach to this review. It consists of three main parts.

1- The Good (AKA what really worked in the episode)

I like the role-reversal at the beginning shoot out scene, having Wayne hide with the baby and Grace come in with the gun saving the day.

I enjoyed seeing the team work together again, narrowing down their list of suspects as suggested by Jane.

While I was never convinced that John Hutten was a realistic suspect I nonetheless enjoyed his storyline and scenes. Paul Schulze was quite engaging and having him escape from the feds to carry on an affair was a

Another thing I enjoyed was having the team back together again. Commenter Laura commented in the previous review that she missed the old bromance between Cho and Rigsby, rightly so as it has always been a great asset to the show. It was nice to see them working together again. There were a couple of nice moments whether it was Cho giving Rigsby a man hug or teasing him that he can’t drive while they run down suspects together.

I never realized how much I missed Wayne the investigator till I saw him in action. And it looks like he misses it too as he tell in seamlessly back into the role with Cho.

The burning water (due to the methane content) scene was a neat attention grabber.

Lisbon apologizing to Richard Haibach.

Grace and Wiley bonding over hacking software.

6x14

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

There were also some nice character insights: how trusting Wiley is (he just took Jane at his word that he had a court order), Abbott’s participation in catching the killer (the man can certainly act in a ruse), Wayne being more confident and self-assured than we’ve ever known him to be.

Speaking of Abbott, I like seeing how he had Lisbon’s back trusting her instincts on Haibach, despite his telling the man’s attorney that the investigation was closed, and having her make the aforementioned apology.

Guys’ night out. What I would give to be a fly on the wall wherever they were.

The end with the dark figure hovering above Grace was all sorts of spooky. Blake Neely might want to look into scoring a horror flick; tune at the end was really scary.

2- The Bad (AKA what didn’t work)

Somehow I just wasn’t really interested in the “cooperative” hacking group; don’t know why.

Acting of guy who played the victim was a bit over the top, as was the scuffle scene that resulted in his death.

After reuniting with his former colleagues after two years, all Jane can manage by way of greeting is a “good to see you, guys”? Really? Even Robo-cop Cho and formerly detached boss Lisbon managed to give both Wayne and Grace a hug when they arrived, but touchy feely Jane couldn’t? I mean, yes, he was drinking his tea at the time but that really is no excuse.

3- And the Ugly (AKA what sucked)

*I would’ve liked to see a reaction from Jane or Lisbon regarding LaRoche’s death. We know the man liked them both and it felt really wrong not to have them acknowledge his passing in a meaningful way. It’s a huge waste considering how fantastically developed the character was and how he and Jane had bonded. Couldn’t we at least have known whatever happened to his dog?

*When Lisbon updates Rigsby on the case, at the very beginning of the episode, she tells him that SF PD agrees whoever murdered Ardiles, LaRoche, and bugged the CBI team’s phones is someone that was once arrested by CBI and/or is holding a grudge.

Now Lisbon and the ex-CBI team know there is a number of RJ allies/lackey’s (members of the Blake association) still at large. And Jane knows this. Heck, one woman had tried to kill Jane during his face off with McCallister.  Now I could be wrong but wouldn’t THEY have a grudge on CBI and company? The fact that this didn’t occur to anyone, Jane especially, really bugs me. The team should be looking for their suspects in the encrypted list of Blake members.

One could argue that Ardiles had no connection to the RJ case. I’d counter-argue that the perp might blame him for RJ’s death. How so? Well, Ardiles was the one who prosecuted Jane’s case when he was charged with Timothy Carter’s murder. If Ardiles had won the case, Jane would be in prison and wouldn’t have been able to catch/kill RJ. It’s a bit of a stretch but INMO not as big as having to believe that NOT A SINGLE AGENT likes a Blake member (or even the entire association) for wire-tapping the CBI and targeting its past members.

Best Quotes

“In my day, if you had a problem with someone, you would just tell them. None of this computer hacking nonsense.” –Samuel. Cool line. Also reflects the teams’ current predicament with their unknown perp.

“Take a break. Get something to eat.” Aww! Grace knows how to make Wayne feel better.

Conclusion

I don’t speak Spanish, but couldn’t help notice the name of the bar Rigsby and the guys were meeting at: El Lazo. An online search tells me it means either link (as in bond) or lasso. I find both definitions interesting: while Rigsby and company are bonding at the bar, Grace is being lassoed in her motel room. Wonder if this irony was the intent behind the choice of the bar name. I like to think it was as that would be really cool.

Finally, GRACE BETTER NOT DIE!

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.

 


Mentalist Black Helicopter’s Review


Synopsis

The FBI are sent to Juarez, Mexico where a US Attorney is found dead. The investigation leads consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) to a free citizen’s farm in Gentry, Texas. Meanwhile, Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) enlists the help of ex-colleagues Grace (Amanda Righetti) and Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) to investigate the death of Osvaldo Ardiles.

Not so Humungous Review

(In which writer is under the residual influence of anesthesia and can’t be trusted to give a grade)

I can always count on Erika Green to bring a smile to my face. I enjoyed Jane’s interactions with his new team members and appreciated how we were cleverly given a chance to get to know them through Jane’s gifts to them: Jason Wylie (Joe Adler) got a Tamagotchi (electronic pets that were quite popular about ten years ago).  Dennis Abbott got a Voltron toy (based on the cartoon/anime series) while Agent Kim Fischer received a magic wand. Even Jane’s old comrade Kimball Cho received a gift in the form of jumping beans. One might wonder why Lisbon didn’t get anything. I’d just like to point out that way back in season one (Red Sauce) we were already shown what her secret desire was: the surprise pony Jane gave her for her birthday.. Also, it seems like the significance of the gifts was, as Abbott pointed out, was Jane attempting to fit into his team. Even Cho had expressed concern with that regards to Jane, hence his getting  a gift too despite having worked with Jane in the past. Lisbon has no such concerns.

The new dynamic between Jane and Lisbon, personified by the fact that she is no longer his boss continues to be a theme this season. In this episode it means that she will sometimes be delegated to tasks that exclude him. In this episode, Lisbon was stuck going through the victim’s files. Jane, when Cho and Fischer arrive at the crime scene without her, immediately asks where she is. Then back at HQ, he looks for her and we finally see him deposited on his new couch, with Lisbon working on her computer nearby. It’s a familiar scene, albeit less private than viewers are used to in Lisbon’s CBI office. Later Jane invites Lisbon to join him for a drive to Gentry, and when she refuses to ride his “silver bucket” Jane says “Fischer it is then”. Whether Jane’s intention was romantic or not, he was obviously trying to get a rise out of Lisbon. It was nice to see that she didn’t take the bait, calmly informing him that she was still working on a lead into Ardiles murder-waiting for a warrant from a judge. Jane then helpfully suggests she enlists LaRoche’s help whom we are told now works for internal affairs.

Pet Peeves

It’s no secret I adore LaRoche. I not only love the actor, but have found his character to be a major asset to the show ever since Daniel Cerone introduced him in Jolly Red Elf. That said, I don’t mind having him killed off (at least, not as much as I thought I would). But having it happen the way it did, with him leaving a nonsensical dying message was a real disappointment. As far as I could tell, LaRoche was killed by gunshot after he set off a trap rigged to shoot anyone who walked into it. So why the heck-how in the heck did he come to the conclusion that he was shot by Red John? Was there an RJ smiley that I somehow missed (all too possible since I’m not operating at full capacity at the moment). Or am I wrong in my original assumption that LaRoche said “Red John” right before he died? It just makes no sense. If I am wrong and LaRoche had in fact been saying something else, then the scene is just confusing, which is just as aggravating.

Fischer’s statement to Jane that he’s “sleeping on the job” was a bit grating. I mean, the man had been driving for five hours straight, Kim, during which you were sleeping (at least part of that time). Cut him some slack.

Best Scenes

The Winner: Dunbar and Swallow stole this one. When Fischer complains that Jane ditched her, Abbott seriously tells her that Jane is trying to fit in, brandishing Jane’s gift as proof. His boyish delight at Voltron “Not just a robot” was very funny…

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

 

…as was Fischer reiterating “Dennis, he ditched me. Seeing how annoyed she was, Abbott tells Fischer “that’s not cool” to which she responds “No! No, that is far,  far from cool!”. These two are growing on me :)

 

First Runner Up: Grace and Wayne’s visit to LaRoche. His calling Wayne “young Rigsby” and the respectful manner in which he greeted Van Pelt charmed me, as did the couple’s clandestine smiles to each other at his plight of a new job. Like Lisbon said, he lost his job because of her team and despite his amusing wariness towards them, there was no real malice in their interaction. I’m glad he remained a likeable character until the end. Did I mention I’ve always loved LaRoche?

Second Runner Up: Kim getting grilled at the market and Jane’s rueful expressions at her rookie mistake dealing with the mistrustful locals. Really well written, well acted scene by all involved including guest stars Kevin Daniels and Cindy Pickett.

Icings on the Cake

Tim Kang’s smile when Jane gave Cho the jumping beans. Who doesn’t love jumping beans?

Kim’s statement that she thought she could “change so many things” when she was little if she just had a magic wand. This statement just screamed “divorced parents” to me. Now whether my assumption on what the subtext meant is true or not doesn’t matter. Each viewer is free to draw their own conclusion and that’s what makes the scene so clever, I think. Lisbon’s discerning look at Kim also made for a nice little moment between the two.

 Best Lines

“Bad as this job is, it’s drama free.”- LaRoche to Wayne and Rigsby. Poor LaRoche L

“Been there” –Jane, to Alex, regarding his alcoholism. It’s an interesting statement; we’ve had no reason to think Jane was ever an alcoholic and while it could have been a convenient lie to get close to him, I think Jane here was referring to addiction in general.

“With the peanut butter people?” Lisbon, to Jane.

“Are you ever coming back?” Lisbon, to Jane. This seems like an innocent question but it subtly recalls Jane leaving Lisbon. Twice. Methinks someone might have abandonment issues now.

“I’m gonna need a black helicopter and a tank”.

“You can’t be on the road forever Patrick you gotta let it take you someplace.” Alex, to Jane. Now that Jane’s killed RJ (we think?) where is his next journey?

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.


Mentalist Green Thumb Review


*This review was originally posted Dec. 20, 2013. Due to technical difficulties it has been deleted and re-uploaded.

Synopsis

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.

Concise Verdict

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.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain January, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain January, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

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….

Honorable mentions

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! :)

Pet Peeves

- 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…

Conclusion

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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Mentalist My Blue Heaven Review


Synopsis

Two years after he kills serial killer Red John, ex CBI consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is living a new isolated and calm existence. But, it is interrupted when he gets a surprising offer from the FBI Agent Dennis Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar)  to come back to the U.S. and work with them.

Concise Verdict

My Blue Heaven was like a breath of fresh air. Like Jane, I greatly enjoy natural beauty and we got to see plenty of it here. Not only was it a refreshingly light and humorous episode, but it was also a beautifully directed, acted, edited and (most importantly) written episode. 9/10

Detailed AKA Humungous Review

My Blue Heaven takes place two years after the events of episode Red John in which Patrick Jane finally takes revenge for his family’s death. For the first time since the show started, an episode does not contain any reference to the show’s (now deceased) main antagonist (i.e. the color red or any variations of it).

Teresa Lisbon’s Fate

The episode opens up to show viewers Teresa Lisbon giving a presentation on what being a policeman means to a classroom full of elementary students. Despite the children calling her “Chief” the simple fact that she is in a uniform represents her demoted status: she is no longer an agent.

-While this may be true I would still have loved to find out how Lisbon not only managed escaping being imprisoned for aiding and abetting a wanted man, but managed to go back to working in law enforcement. My guess is, the fact that Jane was never caught (and therefore never charged) might have helped.

After Lisbon returns to her office, she is informed that an Agent Abbott wants to see her.  The FBI agent greets her, tells her she has a nice place then proceeds to ask her if she had heard from Jane. She says she hadn’t and that she doesn’t really want to. Abbott then expresses surprise since they were “so close”. Lisbon says it was a long time ago.

-A few details here. Just before Abbott enters Lisbon seems to gaze at a bouquet of flowers in the corner of her office (I think they were orchids?) with a slight smile. I immediately thought that they might have been a delivery from a certain missing consultant.

The second detail is the shell she has decorating her desk. Like Abbott (who asked if he may see it) I immediately concluded that it was from Jane.

We also find out that while Lisbon hasn’t heard from Cho “in ages” she is still in touch with Grace and Wayne. In fact she has dinner with them the very next day.

The scene after said dinner takes place is interesting. Wayne tells Lisbon about how his and Grace’s company is doing well. And when Graces excuses herself to talk to the babysitter he explains “new mother, you know how it is” to Lisbon, letting viewers know that he and Grace have a baby now. I also like how Wayne isn’t as worried, reminding viewers that this is his second baby so he has more experience (and therefore less to worry about than Grace.

Then there’s Lisbon reassuring Wayne and Rigsby that she’s enjoying her new life, despite missing the CBI “at first”. It’s quiet now, which she likes. I personally got the feeling that she was putting on a show for the couple. But after they leave, and you see Lisbon happily reading Jane’s letter (one of many which she keeps in a box) you get the feeling that, as sad as the moment may seem, she genuinely is content just knowing Jane is okay.

Patrick Jane’s Blue Heaven

Turns out Abbot was right in his tacit assumption that the shell came from Jane. The next scene takes us to a beach with Jane (sans suit and avec beard!) is taking a walk. He enters his apartment and we hear via voice over the contents of a letter he’s writing to Lisbon.

While the initial contents (Jane describing dolphins in the ocean) is quite general conversation, the rest of the letter, which viewers are shown a glimpse of later is much more intimate. Jane apologizes for leaving Lisbon on the beach “that evening”- I assume the day he lured the RJ suspects to his house in episode Fire and Brimstone. And he also mentions that Lisbon not being here is the only thing that makes this new chapter in his life “strange and sad”. He ends it saying that he misses Lisbon and signs it “You know who”.

-Aww!

Also in the same montage, we get to see in Jane’s apartment that he’s trying to learn Spanish (he has an English-Spanish dictionary) and another book called “Daily Zen”. The fact that Jane tells Lisbon that he has his “daily routines” hints that he’s gotten used to his new found existence.

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

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

From what we can tell, an early morning swim/walk on the beach, followed by writing a letter to Lisbon while drinking tea before breakfast in a beach restaurant is one of them.

Jane then takes a walk to the post office where he asks about the price of stamps. We found out that they are “cheaper than yesterday but still more expensive than last week”.

-This tells us that Jane sends Lisbon letters on a regular basis.

Jane then asks he woman at the counter if anyone asked for him. They reply no and after Jane leaves the women comment that he’s a “sad man” which they base on the fact that he’s always asking if someone is looking for him. Also, that he’s a very nice man but that his Spanish is terrible.

-Jane’s daily question here is no doubt to find out if the FBI have discovered his whereabouts.

Jane’s New Friend

While eating breakfast, Jane spots a woman reading an English book. He quickly strikes up a conversation and despite saying he’ll leave her to her book manages to get himself invited to sit at her table.

-This scene was both sad and sweet. Probably only those who have had the experience of living abroad where there first language isn’t spoken can emphasize with Jane’s delight here at being able to finally speak English and have someone understand him.

The woman introduces herself as Kim (Emily Swallow) and we find out she is on vacation pondering on whether to accept a new job offer.

-I was all over this line. The instant Kim mention a job I just knew she was here to check out Jane. As the end of the episode later proves, my inkling was right. But I must say, Kim played her role so perfectly she had me doubting myself for a while. In hindsight, however, you see all the small hints she left and how she (and Abbott) played Jane like a fish.

-She was so cool, reading in English in front of him, having him approach her first.

-After she has him hooked she asks if he knows a good place for dinner, fishing for a date.

-She makes him perfect tea (the woman has done her research!)

-She gives him her number just in case he ever comes back to the US.

-She meets him one last time at the beach restaurant to give him her book to read leaving Jane to ponder his fate alongside the lonely old man who has been living there alone for longer than Jane has been.

Evil Genius Abbott

You can’t help but admire FBI Agent Abbott, since he was the one who undoubtedly had Kim approach Jane to prep him for Abbott’s offer. She’s a brunette (who looks strikingly like Lisbon from behind!). He must have chosen her to remind Jane of the woman he left behind. Abbott He does so more obviously when flat out tells Jane he was able to trace him through the letters he sent Lisbon via his carnie friends. “Smart, but not smart enough”.

Then there was Abbott agreeing so readily to Jane’s “terms” scribbled on a napkin in his haste to seal the deal on returning back to the United States to work for the FBI. I love Abbott’s smile and reply of “we can work with that” to Jane. And I didn’t believe it for a second. Poor Jane was so desperate that he bought the man’s act. No doubt he was feeling mightily proud (and superior) after he used Abbott to catch (and punish) a drug dealer who had both killed a dog Jane like and assaulted Jane. But you can tell from Jane’s giddy expression that he couldn’t wait to get back to the US (and Lisbon) and that might have been what affected him from reading Abbott accurately. That, or Jane might just be rusty.

One thing I found interesting: Abbott contends that he doesn’t need to agree to Jane’s terms and gave Jane his own as soon as they were in FBI headquarters. But one thing Abbott did do was oblige Jane and have Lisbon be ready to greet him as soon as they arrived. He didn’t need to do that, but the fact that he did makes me think: a) Abbott is not as adverse to having Lisbon work with Jane as he pretends he is. Or, b) Abbott knows that as soon as Jane finds out he’s been tricked into coming back to US soil (where he can get arrested) his stubborn streak will have him refuse to sign the contract with the FBI. So Abbott is probably counting on Lisbon to talk some sense into Jane and agree to Abbott’s offer.

The Reunion

Jane arrives at FBI Austin HQ to find Cho waiting for him. He says he’s not surprised Cho did well to get into the FBI but expresses some dismay at Cho’s less than warm welcome. Cho says he is happy to see Jane, but he doesn’t think he’ll be able to fit into the FBI. After Jane enters the room where he is meeting Lisbon and Abbott, we get to see Cho smile.

-Now I took this to mean one of two things (or both, maybe): Cho, as he stated, is happy to see Jane he’s just never been big on showing emotions. Also, Cho knows Jane is about to be cornered and was amused.

Once Jane sees Lisbon, it seems like he can barely keep his eyes off of her. The phrase “a sight for sore eyes comes to mind”. He gives her a big hug telling her he’s missed her (a sentiment she reciprocates). And once she sits down asking him what’s going on he tells her gleefully “You’ll see. It’s going to be great.”

Jane’s delighted expression both at being reunited with Lisbon and at the prospect of surprising her with their going back to work together was equally sweet and amusing. It just makes Abbott’s subsequent busting of his bubble funnier.

Also amusing, Lisbon’s contention “I have a job, I can’t just leave it because you suddenly decided to come back!” And Jane shushing her in front of Abbott, telling her “we’ll talk later” . It was nice to see them argue again like an old married couple.

Icings on the Cake

The scene where Kim is preparing Jane tea in his apartment was heavily reminiscent of The Crimson Hat (where Lorelie was preparing Jane tea after their evening together). You can just see Jane thinking he was having a déjà vu. It was so funny seeing him try to recall if they slept together, finally mentioning that he was drunk last night, and his relief when she reminds him that he was beat up.

Jane took off his wedding ring! I don’t attach any special significance to the fact that Jane took it off to go out with Kim, rather I think he was just trying to get used to not having it on. And going on a date for the first time after he avenged his wife seems like as a good time as any. Also, just to keep shippers from blowing a gasket: Jane’s had several surrogates for Lisbon before in plenty of first time moments: Erica (first kiss), Lorelie (first you-know-what), and now Kim (first date sans ring).

Cho is as hard to read as ever. I’d love to find out just how much (if at all) he helped the FBI find Jane; how else would Kim have known exactly how picky Jane likes his tea?

Loved seeing Matt Gossen as part of the cast. Here’s to having CBI Karl and Ron back at some point too J.

Honorable Mentions

Simon Baker was astounding in this episode, pulling double duty as director and actor. The opening scenes were especially well done, capturing Jane’s new home from multiple vantage point (including above). His depiction of Jane as well was riveting: the sad loner, the playful detective (loved the kick he gave the perp) and the boyish lover.

Music! Blake Neely’s score is as perfect as ever. The playful new exotic intro theme was a nice and appropriate surprise for Mentalist 2.0.

The editing was perfect. Loved all the transitions between the scenes.

Really enjoyed the performances by both Rockmond Dunbar and Emily Swallow.

Best Line

“Kim!” Jane, when he sees his fellow vacationer at FBI.

“Who’s Kim?!” Lisbon, to Jane. No comment ;)

“That is a napkin.” Abbott’s dressing down of Jane’s “terms”.

Best Scenes

The winner The reunion, for obvious reasons. Also, it was nice to see someone (Abbott) play Jane for a change. Also, Tunney and Baker’s facial expressions in that scene so expressive. These two have always had awesome chemistry on screen and their acting was just superb. As was

First runner up: Jane’s first scene: such a beautifully shot scene.  Also, it has to be said: very few things are as romantic as letters. And having one read in Simon Baker’s soft throaty voice is something I’m sure turned millions of fans into mush.

Second funner up: Jane setting up the drug dealer to be caught by Abbott. You can just tell that he had fun especially showing off to Abbott.

Pet Peeves

Wayne and Grace’s fate was quite realistic and easy to comprehend:  they are no longer in law enforcement but own a private business which utilizes their expertise. However, we find out from Abbott that Lisbon’s been working as a chief for around a year and a half. I would have loved to find out how she was able to get that job and escape jail time so quickly. The same goes for Cho’s status at the FBI. Perhaps Abbott cut Cho a deal; he gets hired as long as he gives them information to help them find Jane (how else did they find Jane’s carnie friends). But still, the lack of explanation is annoying.

The set for Jane’s paradise home was a bit too “clean” if that makes sense. It didn’t really look like a lived in village despite all the Spanish speaking children.

This is me being crazy, but what the heck did Wayne mean by telling Lisbon “you know how it is” about Grace being a new mother? It made me want to physically raid Lisbon’s apartment just to see if she has a new baby of her own hidden somewhere XD. I blame the lyrics of the song “My Blue Heaven”

Foreshadowing, anyone?

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The Mentalist Red John Review


Synopsis

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.

Concise Verdict

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.

The showdown

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…

Pet Peeves:

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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…

Best Lines

“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.

Best Scenes

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.

6x09(1)

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

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.

Conclusion

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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Mentalist The Great Red Dragon Review


Synopsis

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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humungous Review

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

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

Bertram tries to kill Jane

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bertram is Ousted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane and Cho interrogate Officer Paul Hagen

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

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

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

He figures out that:

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

-Agent Smith is a member as well.

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

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

Jane/Lisbon Regroup

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

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

Bertram orders Cordero to Kill Smith

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

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

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

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

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

Jane and Lisbon Question Smith

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

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

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

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

-At this moment a guy passes by whistling.

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

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

Jane’s New Plan

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

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

The Team Talks

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

Rigsby: Bertram is Red John?

Grace: Looks like.

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

Cho: Yup.

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

Grace: I am.

Cho. Yeah.

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

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

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

That is, if Bertram is RJ, of course.

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

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

Ruthless Bertram

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

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

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

FBI Shuts CBI Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*dies*

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

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

Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, to tackle some huge “ifs”:

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

Lots and lots of ifs. Now for some more.

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

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

Best Scenes

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

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

Honorable Mentions

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

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

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

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

Icings on the Cake

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

Pet Peeves

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

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

Conclusion

Jane’s Belief’s

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

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

Is Bertram Red John?

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

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

The Great Red Dragon

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

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

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

Here, we have:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And (Rev, 13, 11-18):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humungous Review

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

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

Bertram tries to kill Jane

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bertram is Ousted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane and Cho interrogate Officer Paul Hagen

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

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

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

He figures out that:

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

-Agent Smith is a member as well.

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

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

Jane/Lisbon Regroup

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

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

Bertram orders Cordero to Kill Smith

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

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

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

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

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

Jane and Lisbon Question Smith

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

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

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

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

-At this moment a guy passes by whistling.

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

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

Jane’s New Plan

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

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

The Team Talks

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

Rigsby: Bertram is Red John?

Grace: Looks like.

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

Cho: Yup.

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

Grace: I am.

Cho. Yeah.

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

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

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

That is, if Bertram is RJ, of course.

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

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

Ruthless Bertram

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

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

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

FBI Shuts CBI Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*dies*

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

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

Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, to tackle some huge “ifs”:

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

Lots and lots of ifs. Now for some more.

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

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

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

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

Best Scenes

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

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

Honorable Mentions

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

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

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

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

Icings on the Cake

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

Pet Peeves

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

Conclusion

Jane’s Belief’s

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

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

Is Bertram Red John?

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

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

The Great Red Dragon

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

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

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

Here, we have:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And (Rev, 13, 11-18):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mentalist The Red Tattoo Mini-Review


Synopsis

The CBI takes on the case of a gymnast trainer who, before he died, claimed he was stabbed in his empty, locked hotel room. The case is complicated even further when it turns out the victim had strong ties with the Visualize. The cult sends ex-CBI Agent (and Red Jane suspect) and current Visualize employee Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond) to work with CBI Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon and her team on the case, much to consultant Patrick Jane’s dismay.

Concise Verdict

This was another entertaining episode in this strong season with plenty of twists and more continuity on the Red John plot. Unfortunately, some major time consuming crap hit my fan in real life so I was only able to watch it once; and even then not as closely as I wanted to. I am not even going to pretend I can write the review I wanted so I’ll resort to naming some topics for discussion. Sorry to disappoint readers but I know I can count on fellow fans to this episode justice.

Jane/ Lisbon / Haffner

I found it interesting how Jane avoided Haffner for most of the episode. I only assume he was so annoyed by the man’s obvious (and disturbing) interest in Lisbon and had no patience for him or his ego. Lisbon’s conduct was nonetheless intriguing. She puts on a pretty sleeveless blouse to charm Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo) into revealing information about the victim’s ties to Visualize, but sends Grace to touch base with Haffner, who has admitted he is interested in her, telling Grace “he likes you”. I can only imagine she finds him creepier than she did Haibach.

Rigsby the Matchmaker

More allusions to the happiness of Rigsby’s marriage are made, this time by his talking about his bliss to an extremely uncomfortable Cho. I hope all these warm and fuzzies aren’t just being thrown around the better to break our hearts should something devastating happen to the newlyweds. It could be, like what we saw on screen, just a way for Rigsby to offer to find someone for Cho. What with Cho being the only unmarried member of the unit (we all know who the other couple is) it certainly is nice of Rigsby.

Red John/ Visualize

I’ve always thought that Red John might have been a Visualize member gone rogue as it seemed like a reasonable explanation for how Brett Stiles knows so much about him. All-i-Need had also mentioned ( at least a year ago) that one of the reason’s Stiles’ wont’ give up Red John is because RJ might have copies of the confession tapes (in which Visualize members talk about every bad thing they ever did) as leverage on Visualize.

Now in this episode, Haffner disappears from the scene around the same time Kira (Beth Riesgraf) a freelance investigator RJ used, is being silenced. Her attacker is interrupted and she reveals he has a tattoo of three red dots on his left shoulder. Jane thinks this attacker is Red John. One could be led to believe that Haffner was the attacker and is therefore Red John. But I have a few qualms with the latter idea.

1-      I am not entirely convinced this perp was RJ. RJ (or his minion) was able to take down Lisbon, a trained CBI agent in a second but has trouble dealing with Kira?

2-      Why would RJ use a private investigator? Doesn’t he have a whole cult of followers willing to do his dirty work for him? Or did he, in “cleaning house” (as Hightower called it) kill them all?

3-      Speaking of cleaning house, will we ever find out why Todd (Red Moon) killed so many cops? Were they also part of the house cleaning RJ was doing (paving the way for his retirement, as was later revealed by Timothy Carter in Strawberries and Cream)?

4-      I wish Jane would have talked more about how he came to the conclusion that Kira was hired by RJ. Isn’t there a chance Visualize would have hired her, considering the fact that the case of the week involved Visualize? Perhaps Haffner didn’t feel Lisbon and her team were being forthright with all the information they had.

Icings on the Cake

Absolutely love all the screen time CBI Ron and CBI Karl are getting. One can’t help but wonder if one of them (Ron, especially) might be revealed to be Red John. Either way, really enjoying their on screen presence.

Pet Peeves

Really, Rigsby? You talk about Haffner being an RJ suspect in the middle of the bullpen as if it is daily conversation completely unaware of the risks. REALLY?!

The resolution of the case was fantastic and made total sense, but I wish we got more insight into how Jane figured it out- the mechanism used, I mean, not the relationship of between the victim and the gymnast which was nicely explained via flashback.

Kira was such a dead ringer for Summer Edgecombe that I could hardly concentrate on the words coming from her mouth. I kept wondering if she had a long-lost sister or something.

Haffner’s threats to Lisbon disguised as warnings are getting really tiresome. Actually, his entire presence is. So glad Grace called him on his sucky job of protecting the victim.

Conclusion

I do believe that the writers want us to believe RJ has a tattoo on his shoulder. I’m just a little iffy at this point because it seems like you can’t be a Mentalist fan without doubting everything you see on screen. But one thing is for sure, we won’t have long to wait. Every episode this season is revealing a new piece of the puzzle. I can’t wait till we see it all put together.

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

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

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.

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Mentalist Wedding in Red Review


Synopsis

A murder in Napa county gives CBI consultant Patrick Jane a chance to investigate Sherriff McAllister (Xander Berkely), one of his suspects in the Red John Case. Meanwhile, a change in the CBI’s policy on inter-office relationships intrigues Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and boyfriend Agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman).

Concise Verdict

A change of scenery is always great and the lovely setting of Wedding in Red set the stage for what turned out to be an equally beautiful  episode. Romance is a tricky genre to write and under a less talented writer (and actors) can be trite and juvenile. Needless to say this wasn’t the case here. Daniel Cerone’s fresh dialogue, action, and awesome acting makes season six’s third episode is another winner. 9.5/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)

The Case

Other than serving how dysfunctional both the groom’s and the bride’s family’s are, and (perhaps) how incompatible they seemed, the case served little purpose than to advance Rigsby and Van Pelt’s relationship, as well as give Jane (and us viewers) insight onto Sheriff McAllister.

Grace/Wayne Romance: The setup

The episode starts with a very domestic scene; Grace playing with Ben, Wayne’s son. We learn that she spends most nights at his place since it’s easier for him when he has his son. We also learn that the CBI no longer has rules on inter- office relationships; a fact Grace informs Wayne after he tells her “I could still make an honest woman out of you yet”. Grace’s “You could” had more meaning that just the fact that their relationship was no longer professionally taboo. There was a wistfulness in her voice that served as foreshadowing.

Wayne senses Grace’s tone and later discusses the matter with Cho who helpfully reminds viewers that Wayne is a marrying-type man: he proposed to the mother of his child. Wayne states that he did it because he felt his son deserved to grow up with married parents. But with Grace he feels unsure due to past complications in their relationship. He asks for advice which Cho declines to give.

Later, after Jane wrecks the relationship between the victim’s niece and her fiancée, he assigns Van Pelt the task of mending the break so that he can find the culprit. This inadvertently gives Wayne the assurance he needs from Grace as he watches her give advice to Stacy (Ericca Piccininni ):

“I had someone. Staying together would have ended my  career so I let him go. It ended badly so I shut down inside. Closed doors to feel safer. Problem is, with every passing year you close more doors until eventually you wonder if anyone will get through. “

This was a great, accurate, and sincere recap of Wayne and Grace’s relationship. But the best part is the regret we (and Wayne) hear in her voice when she talks about letting him go. Then there is her admission that she still has her wedding dress (from when she was engaged to Craig):

“It reminds me of who I was, naive, maybe a little foolish, but full of hope. If I destroy that dress I will forget what hope feels like.”

Beautifully poignant writing acted out to perfection by Righetti. And having Rigsby look in through the interrogation window (unbeknownst to Grace, I’m sure) served as just the right impetus for what would occur later.

The Proposal

The case again gives the couple a chance to come together, this time in the form of Lisbon asking Rigsby to provide a distraction during the wedding party to allow the suspect time to escape. Rigsby leaps at the opportunity and uses the act to propose to Grace in what was one of my favorite scenes in the episode.

First, he asks Lisbon how he looks.

-Aw! Wayne wants older sis Lisbon’s encouragement.

When a confused Lisbon tells him he looks fine he downs a glass of wine (or is it punch?) before he takes the mike from the DJ and says his piece.

-Now Yeoman and Righetti nailed the scene, but what I also loved was Lisbon’s reaction through all this. She represents the viewers.  At first she was confused. Then horrified as she looked between the two as the speech went on; but as Rigsby finishes talking about the bad patches and goes on to talk about how they found each other, you can just tell she’s about to cry. Like Grace, she knows this is real, this isn’t just an act. And she looked so happy for them.

As was I, I must admit. I was never a fan of the romance, but the two have just grown so much that they grew on me and my old cynical heart just melted. Here’s to Righetti and Yeoman for turning me around. And for Cerone for the mature dialogue that allowed them to win me over.

Sheriff McAllister

Jane and McAllister’s reunion was quite amusing. First he balks at the CBI’s presence saying he could handle the case, but then he takes the opportunity to good-naturedly spar with Jane, both trying to get a read on the victim based on his clothes.

-I loved the continuity here; the scene recalled the friendly game of rock/paper/scissors Jane and the Sheriff had the first episode he was introduced. Then there was this:

McAllister: “His scent, do you detect oregano about it?”

Jane (sniffs): “That’s a leap”.

I swear I laughed out loud here :D.

Later, after repeatedly telling Lisbon he needs to be alone with McAllister to get a read on whether he is RJ, Jane’s opportunity unexpectedly arrives when the Sheriff surprises him near a cliff. When Jane comments on how silently the man’s approach was he explains: “Old habit, I’ve been a hunter all my life.” And when Jane asks what he hunts, he replies, “Anything with a face, game’s game, right?”

Oh-kaay….

The conversation continues as follows:

McAllister: “You hunt?”

Jane: “No I’m too squeamish.”

Thank you, Cerone. Love this continuity on how Jane doesn’t handle blood and gore well. But more than that, it was an opportunity for Jane to say the following…

“I couldn’t handle all the skinning and gutting.”

…and gauge the Sheriff’s reaction to the bloody verbs describing Red John’s crimes. But McAllister doesn’t seem to skip a beat : “Sure if you clean and quarter a kill, it takes a certain stomach for that.”.

When Jane adds that it also takes “a certain blood-lust”, McAllister responds “There’s a grain a truth in that”.

All in all, it was an ambiguous but nonetheless appropriately creepy scene which probably left viewers with a bad feeling towards the man…the better to counter it when he saves Jane’s life later.

McAllister had raised a red flag for both Lisbon and Jane’s suspicions when it seemed like he had a fear of heights (just like RJ, according to his statement to Sophie Miller). But later, he climbs on top of the church roof to shoot the perpetrator saving Jane’s life, proving that he’s perfectly fine with heights.

Jane is (again) surprised by his sudden presence, which the man explains by saying he felt compelled to keep an eye on Jane because it felt like he had an agenda for working the case. Jane responds that he sometimes gives off mixed signals.

Here, it seemed that Jane was obviously grateful for the man and perhaps was rethinking him as a suspect. But when McAllister starts at the presence of pigeons on the roof, saying that he hates them, it seems like Jane is reminded that RJ’s declaration to Sophie Miller on being afraid of heights, could have been a lie to mask another phobia. Of birds, perhaps?

Bird Theme

This is obviously going to be a major theme this season. We had ducks at the beginning of this, episode. Also, for three episodes in a row, we’ve seen and heard pigeons. The first time was at Brett Partridge’s crime scene; second was when Jane and Lisbon were discussing Sophie Miller’s death (in a park? With a suspicious woman nearby). Finally, in this episode, they were perched on the roof of the church Jane and the perp where on.

A cursory search on what they could symbolize led me to this interesting webpage. Not sure which (if any) of the symbolism is applicable to this show but it’s an interesting read nonetheless. Curious to see what readers might think..

Best Lines

“As long as there are no rank issues.”  Grace, to Wayne, on the new inter-office dating polity. Rats. So Lisbon can’t date Jane cause she’s his boss. Good thing they’re practically already married.

“Do you wanna date Lisbon?” Grace, to Wayne. I interpret Wayne’s subsequent shudder as a reaction to him imagining dating his older sister (which is what is the canon relationship between Rigsbon, in my book).

“That’s very astute Lisbon. Well obsevered.”-I think Lisbon, like myself, was skeptical at first of Jane’s comment and suspected he was patronizing her. But after examining his face was reassured that it was an honest to god compliment. Better yet was the shy smile she tried to hide afterwards.

“Love is in the air, Lisbon.” –Yes it is Jane.

“Rigsby, you’re with me.” –Take charge Cho is hot Cho.

“Where did this inebriated smooth take place?” This was such a Jane thing to say.

“You knock her up too?” Cho, to Rigsby when he mentions considering marrying Grace.

“It would be like killing a lama. Why would you?” Bride’s father, explaining how no one could have had a motive to kill the victim to Jane.

“They spit.” Jane, in response to the above.

“I’d like the putty to spackle those emotional wounds that’s why I’m calling you.” Jane, to Grace on fixing the ruined wedding.

“I swear, I can marry you off in a minute.” (Ron passes by) “Don’t tempt me.” Jane, to Lisbon, on how he is legally ordained. Hilarious. For the record, Lisbon can do a lot worse than hot CBI Ron. Unless, of course, he turns out to be RJ.

“Whoa, that sounds messy. And beautiful.” Jane, in response to the  “And the twain shall become one flesh,” verse.

“By the power vested in me by a mail order ministry.” Jane, marrying the happy couple.

“I’d love to Charlie, but without wings…” Jane, to perp Charlie , when he demands he climb on top of the roof.

“Did you not see me on the roof?” Jane, to Lisbon’s statement that he missed the action.

Icings on the Cake

I remember a time when Jane would barely graze Lisbon’s back when he sees her out of a room. Now he not only helps her in her jack, but fluffs her hair out of it too? I went through the of the previous reviews several times but I couldn’t find a great point someone made on the intimacy hair touching represents or I would have quoted it here :( Whoever it was, please repost the comment in this review.

Honorable Mentions

All the regulars were off the charts amazing but this one was Righetti and Yeoman’s show with special performances by Kang, Tunney and Baker.

Writer, Daniel Cerone. Director Randall Zisk, Composer Blake Neely.

Pet Peeve

Lisbon’s dialogue concerning McAllister got a bit repetitive.

Conclusion

No best scenes here since I loved the entire episode. But I have to say the ending was absolutely beautiful. Wayne and Grace’s wedding was so sudden and unexpected. But also in character and I loved that. We’ve seen how quickly Rigsby proposed out of obligation to Sarah, so it makes perfect sense to me that he’d propose to Grace out of love which never for in six years.  Like Grace said, it’s been a long time coming.

Then, there was the fact that Jane was nowhere to be found, only to see him peaking through the door where the ceremony took place. It was like the pure happiness on the couple’s faces was more than what he can handle seeing directly. It was such a great bittersweet decision on the part of the writer. As was this line:

“Love freely given has no beginning nor no end. You rings represent the love you have for each other.”

Jane’s ring is a huge part of his character. I wonder if he’ll always wear it, even after avenging his wife’s, death, because it represents her love for him.

Then there was Cho, telling Grace and Van Pelt that their ride to the hotel is ready. As they left the building, a group of soldiers fired blanks completing the celebration as Wayne and Grace were driven off in a horse drawn carriage.

At first, I thought that the gesture would surely have been Jane’s doing. But then I remembered that Cho was the one who had questioned the civil war re-enactment buff with Rigsby. Jane didn’t know about him and so probably didn’t organize the event. And just to assure me further, was the smile on Cho’s face as he escorted Grace into the carriage, and saw her and Rigsby ride off.

Cho’s been hearing Wayne whine about Grace for six years. We’ve seen him plenty of times be annoyed with the affair. But seeing how happy he is here shows that, through it all, Cho always cared about the couple and is glad they finally got their act together. Seriously, he looked like a proud happy bridesmaid/best man at the end. I think I actually saw a tear in his eye. Or maybe those were just mine….

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

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

Of course, all this sweetness can’t last. There has to be a reason for this decision on Heller’s part to have the couple married now. Dare I hope for a happily ever after? Or is it just the calm before the storm?

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