Tag Archives: Robin Tunney

Mentalist Always Bet on Red Review


Synopsis

Rich divorce attorney Alton Creek demands CBI’s help when he receives death threats. Apparently, he’d heard of the Serious Crimes unit from one of his friends, Summer (Samaire Armstrong) a working girl who was recently recruited by Agent Cho (Kang) as a confidential informant (Pink Tops). The case becomes a homicide when Creek’s speedboat explodes, killing him at Gold Harbor Yacht Club in San Francisco where Senior Agent Lisbon (Tunney) and Consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) were meeting him. While the Serious Crimes unit tries to solve the case, FBI Agent Susan Darcy (Catherine Dent) requires Jane’s help on another matter: the death of investigative crime reporter James Panzer (Blinking Red Light).

Concise Verdict

Clarity thy name is Ashley Gable. Enough said. 9.5/10

Detailed (AKA humongous) review (spoilers galore)

There was a very lively discussion via comments on the Blinking Red Light Review on what Jane’s purpose was in going on Karen Cross’s show with Panzer. That is, if he hoped to get Panzer to confess on screen or if he had known he’d set him up to get killed by Red John. More discussion was on whether Jane felt compelled to use RJ or if he had been glad to do so to bring RJ back into the open so can start overtly hunting him again. The latter possibility had left me equally broken hearted and frustrated as I felt it nullified Jane’s character development and clashed with the clues we were given that he had wanted to move on from his revenge. Thankfully, Always Bet on Red addresses these musings in a way that reassured me where Jane’s intentions are concerned, if not his actions.

As a bonus, we also got much needed screen time for Agent Cho much via his new CI in the B plot.

B-plot: Cho and Summer

Kang and Armstrong were great together and depicted their characters burgeoning friendship and attraction in a very natural manner. Summer’s interest in Cho is just as prevalent as ever. She sells him information not just for money, but in exchange for dinner as well. Cho manages to talk her down from a nice restaurant to a pizza; no mushrooms. It’s very cute seeing the unflappable Cho being persuaded by the tiny bleached blonde. He obviously likes her and she seems to be helping him ease up on his hard-edged demeanor even around others. We’ve gotten more facial expressions from Cho in this episode than possibly all last season combined. And while Kang’s deadpan is an iconic and beloved aspect of his character, it’s nice to see his character let loose a bit.

On another note, we’ve also gotten more continuity that Cho’s back is still hurting him via his continuous pill-popping and Summer’s concern. More and more I’m starting to think that the writers will definitely be going somewhere with this storyline. Perhaps an addiction to painkillers?

VIS #1: FBI Agent Susan Darcy questions Jane/ Jane and Lisbon talk about Red John

Darcy shows up in Lisbon’s office to tell Jane that she had taken over the Panzer case since the San Francisco PD had gotten nowhere with it.

-Panzer’s case being previously handled by the SF PD was a clever move by the writers. It justifies the lack of follow up on the case (until now) in a very realistic and believable manner.

When Darcy asks to speak to Jane about the case Lisbon starts declining, citing work, but Jane asks Darcy to sit down in Lisbon’s office and goes to make tea.

- Jane treating Lisbon’s office as his, and Lisbon letting him isn’t just a sign of how comfortable these two are around each other now. It was his way of telling Lisbon that he wants her to be there during his questioning. By having his boss listen in, Jane is tacitly showing Darcy that he has nothing to hide and neither does Lisbon.

Jane asks Darcy what it matters who killed Panzer, since he was the SJK. Susan tells him that there is no proof. When Lisbon backs up Jane’s suspicions Darcy points out that even if it that were true Panzer’s killer still needs to be apprehended. At Jane’s why Darcy states: “Because killing someone without government permission is wrong.” Lisbon interjects to ask Darcy what she wanted to ask.

-I suspect Lisbon’s intervention here was to keep Jane’s blatant disregard of the law from placing him under suspicion; and/or from putting herself in an awkward position from any questions which might arise regarding how she’s able to work with such a loose canon (i.e. Bosco’s concerns that Jane hurts Lisbon’s career…among other things). Thankfully, Darcy’s train of thought doesn’t seem to have gone there. But it’s nonetheless dangerous:

“Are you sure the man you killed was Red John?”

Awkward! Lisbon buries her face into her mug while Jane states “Yes I’m sure.” Darcy’s body language doesn’t exactly suggest that she believes Jane but she goes along and says then they are dealing with a copycat. She asks Jane if he can think of anyone who would want to do this.  Jane forgoes the obvious conclusion that the killer was an RJ fan and puts the motive as being Panzer himself; that the killer is “Someone who would want to avenge Panzer’s crimes, I’d imagine.”

I found Jane’s statement very interesting. Why would he make such a far-fetched conclusion and leave the more believable and perhaps even real one that Panzer was done in by one of RJ’s own? It’s not like RJ hadn’t had people kill for him before.

Susan Darcy seems to be just as confused. First she shrewdly points out:  “Well who else thought that he was the SJ killer, aside from you?” Jane tells her whoever did is the killer. Darcy then states:  “But surely the motive is to avenge the insult to Red John, right. I mean look at the cutting patterns. Clearly our suspect is someone who studied Red John obsessively.” Jane chalks it up to being a killer who liked RJ’s style enough to want to copy him.

-Okay…so Jane’s (fake) theory is that Panzer’s killer is someone who wanted revenge on Panzer for all the girls he killed, who also liked RJ enough to copy his style, but not enough to want to avenge the insult to him? As Lisbon would say, that’s a stretch even for Jane.

Darcy doesn’t seem entirely convinced either. She gives Jane her card and tells him to call if he thinks of anything else.

As to Lisbon, she seemed displeased with Jane’s lies. Once Susan leaves, she confronts him. And for once, it’s on screen!

Note: There was blessedly little to analyze here. Their discussion is very straightforward and I’m taking it as fact, word for word..

Lisbon: “Don’t you think it’s time to tell the truth about Red John?”

Jane: “The truth is I killed Red John. You can ask anyone. It was on the news Lisbon.”

-I love this: apparent “reality” versus hidden truth.

Lisbon: “But you think he’s alive.”

Jane: “I told you that. You Lisbon, nobody else. And it’s better that way.”

-What a loaded line. It implies trust, expectations, and intimacy. Should Lisbon tell anyone of Jane’s suspicions, I have no doubt he’d treat it as an abject betrayal. But Jane is probably assured on that point; he’d told Lisbon he’d kill Red John then flat out lied to Hightower that he was over his revenge (Red Moon) in front of Lisbon, knowing that she wouldn’t oust him.

Lisbon: “Then why make him re-emerge? You manipulated Panzer into insulting Red John so that Red John would kill him.”

-Thank you Ms. Gable for making Lisbon ask the very question that has been haunting me since Blinking Red Light. Lisbon’s question conveys her concern that Jane isn’t over his revenge; that she considered the possibility that Jane intentionally brought out RJ to openly hunt him again.

Jane: I didn’t know how else to stop Panzer. He would have just kept on killing.

So Jane’s motives were altruistic? He didn’t want to restart the game with Red John?! Really?!! REALLY?!!

What a relief!!!

I believe that Jane was being honest here. That he genuinely thought that this was the only way Panzer would have been stopped.  I don’t agree with him though. Panzer could have been watched, tailed, traced until he was caught in the act of trying to commit another murder. That’s not unheard of. I think it’s what Lisbon calls solid police work.

Now it’s not clear (at this moment) whether Lisbon believed Jane’s statement or not (we are given a hint in a later scene though). She doesn’t give an opinion probably as there are more pressing matters to discuss..

Lisbon: “Now you’ve got the FBI asking awkward sorts of questions. You’ve kept this from the team, it’s not good.”

Jane: “Well, it’s lucky they don’t know. Cause if they did then they’d have to lie to the FBI wouldn’t they. In this way they can tell what they think is the truth.”

Lisbon: Do you know how messed up that sounds? What is wrong with the simple truth, telling people that he’s alive?

Jane: “I told a jury that I shot him dead. Where does that leave me?”

-I’m not sure if this concern is valid. Jane was acquitted of killing Carter, not Red John. But seeing as Jane’s defense was that he killed Carter in self defense; that Carter was RJ…. I guess if it turns out that RJ is still alive then zealous ADA Ardiles could accuse Jane of perjury, of lying that Carter was RJ to free himself. If any lawyers are reading this please feel free to comment.

There was just one question I wished Lisbon could have asked Jane:

Why not let think Darcy think Panzer’s killer was an RJ fan/copycat? It’s more feasible and closer to the truth.  Why did Jane insist on the fact that Panzer was killed by someone who knew he was the killer, despite the probability that no such person existed? At this point in the episode Jane had no way of knowing that Tom Maier, the father of Panzer’s first victim would kill himself and thus provide a convenient scapegoat for Jane (that Jane would blame him for Panzer’s death).

In searching for the answer I recalled what commenter Zee said on the Red Shirt review in relation to Jane’s views on being remembered after death.

Maybe, Jane considered being remembered after death as “childish vanity” was probably because if the real Red John’s died, people will still remember him.

I suppose the same principle could apply here. Jane doesn’t like the idea that RJ has followers, people willing to work for him probably even after his death. So he adamantly brushes away the possibility that Panzer was killed out of revenge despite it being convenient to him

Note: Convenient, because should RJ kill again Jane can chalk it up to being the work of a copycat and keep people from thinking that he killed the wrong man.

There are other possibilities as well…I listed all the ones I could think of in the following poll. Please choose the one you think most likely…

If the last possibility is true, then Jane’s attempts didn’t work because RJ later does become interested in the case. He sends Jane a video showing someone stalking Darcy…

VIS#2 Jane warns Darcy in her Hotel Room.

Jane shows Darcy the video and tells her that Panzer’s killer has taken an interest in her. He adds that she’s in danger and should drop the case. Susan tells Jane the video just makes her more determined to find the killer. She thanks him for trying to save her and politely kicks him out of her hotel room.

-Seeing Darcy shut the door in Jane’s face, it occurred to me that Jane may not realize how suspicious he might seem. First he tells Darcy that finding Panzers killer isn’t important as Panzer himself was a killer. Then he tries to set Susan on a wild goose chase looking for who else might have known Panzer was guilty; other than Jane that is. Then he shows her a video of someone stalking her and asks her to drop the case, warning her that it’s dangerous. If I was Darcy, Jane would be my number one suspect at this point. Like she said, either Panzer’s killer is Red John, or someone who studied Red John obsessively (i.e. Jane). Since Jane testified that he killed Red John, it wouldn’t be strange for Darcy to think that he’d once again gone vigilante on another serial killer. By the end of the episode Darcy’s suspicions towards Jane (if she had any) were probably laid to rest. But more on that later…

VIS #3: Lisbon/Jane discuss RJ’s threat to Darcy-attic scene

Remember how I stated that it wasn’t clear if Lisbon believed Jane when he said he only manipulated RJ to stop Panzer, thus implying that he hadn’t wanted to restart the game with RJ? We get a hint here that maybe Lisbon didn’t believe him…

When Lisbon asks Jane if he’s crazy for not telling Darcy that RJ is stalking her, Jane defends himself saying that she would have just pursued him more earnestly if she knew. Lisbon then demands:

“Is this about helping Darcy or keeping Red John to yourself?

Lisbon’s statement shows she doesn’t believe Jane’s motives are entirely selfless.

Jane is outraged at the implication: “This is not about me of course I’m worried about her!”

-Jane, I love you to bits, but you can’t really blame Lisbon her suspicions. I suspect this is her “not %100 percent” trust of Jane at work here.

Lisbon and Jane agree that Red John’s text “She is cute. This is going to be fun” was a message meant for Jane. She adds “Red John is trying to form a closer relationship” with Jane. Jane is quick to deny “There’s no relationship” to which Lisbon points out: “What if RJ took murdering Panzer as some kind of invitation? You manipulated a serial killer there’s gonna be consequences”.  Jane is defensive: “I didn’t have a choice. I had to stop Panzer.”

-I’m glad Lisbon has thought enough about the situation to point out to Jane (albeit indirectly) that he’d gone from hunting Red John to working with him. As to Jane’s repeated statement that he didn’t have a choice…again, I’m sure in his mind, at the time, Jane thought he didn’t. But then, Jane isn’t good at thinking though the consequences of his actions, this isn’t anything new. That’s where Lisbon’s “moderating influence” is needed. Unfortunately Jane’s split second decision when he set up Panzer during the interview left no room for discussion, for thought. But the situation now is different. Lisbon is discussing the matter with him but Jane won’t listen to her.

Note: I can’t help but wonder if seeing how doggedly Susan Darcy is chasing Panzer’s killer, Jane might now think that, with his help, Susan might have been able to catch Panzer before he killed again…that him taking the law into his own hands might not have been necessary.

Jane tells Lisbon that he’ll try to get Darcy off the Panzer case before RJ hurts her. As it turns out, he is given a very convenient opportunity to do so when Tom Maier (father of Panzer’s first victim) kills himself. Jane fabricates evidence and a suicide note to set up Tom as having killed Panzer as revenge for his daughter. Case closed.

VIS #4: Tom Maier’s funeral

Terry, Tom’s wife tells the funeral attendees that the FBI found a suicide note written by her husband.

-I loved Jane and Lisbon’s body language here as Terry spoke.  Lisbon’s has a resigned slightly sour look on her face, arms crossed while Jane holds his hands clasped in front of him in an almost repentant gesture. Meanwhile, their eyes continuously drift towards each other’s general vicinity, without ever landing; always pulling away just in time. That is, until Terry breaks down, unable to continue reading Tom (fake) note confessing that he killed his daughter’s killer. She asks Jane to finish reading it for her:

Jane: “Killing the man who murdered our daughter is the best thing I will ever do.”

Here, Lisbon finally looks at Jane. Similarly, his eyes rest on where she is standing when he says the following words: “I hope you will forgive me”.

This show needs a disclaimer. Baker, Tunney, Heller and company are bound to break something if they keep tugging on my heartstrings like this… ;_;

Jane and Lisbon catch up with Darcy at the funeral. She tells them that the case was a slam dunk. They found the evidence Jane fabricated; Tom Maier’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, Panzer’s blood on one of Maier’s shirts hidden with the murder weapon in a bag. But Darcy wonders why he was stalking her “Why the video?”  Jane answers “Hunting monsters changes you.” When Susan asks if this applies to him as well, Jane concurs.

-Susan’s question to Jane, if hunting monsters changed him, may or may not convey that she suspects (or suspected) Jane of killing Panzer (that is, again, if she ever did). Until now, there is nothing to suggest she ever did. But it might be something the writers are working towards..

As they leave, Lisbon tells Jane that he has changed Jane and the subtext implies that it hasn’t been for the better.

-This statement really vindicated me. I’ve been saying all along that I miss season one’s Jane and a lot of people have told me that he’s better now that he used to be. I agree on some levels, but not all. Yes, Jane is now closer to Lisbon, he’s more open. But he’s more ruthless than he ever was and not as compassionate. Although we’ve gotten glimpses of season one Jane this year, but it seems like one step forward, two steps back. The guy just can’t catch a break and is being bombarded with angst and drama, most, sadly, of his own creation.

Jane doesn’t respond to Lisbon’s contention that he’s changed. Instead, he tells her: “Darcy is off the case Lisbon, she’s safe.”

-Seriously, does Jane honestly think it is that simple? I’m going to draw from the episode’s title to explain Jane’s reasoning here. I think Jane is betting on the message RJ sent him via Timothy Carter (Strawberries and Cream):  that RJ truly had wanted to retire; that he was sick of killing and wanted to move on. But then RJ got Jane’s inadvertent message that he wants to “play” again when Jane manipulated Panzer into angering Red John. Jane tried to diffuse RJ’s excitement (as depicted by him killing Panzer, plus the movie and message he sent to Jane) by using Maier as a scapegoat for Panzer’s murder. Perhaps Red John will take Jane’s fabrication as a message that Jane got cold feet, that he doesn’t want RJ to re-emerge. Jane’s fear and the pains he took to keep the truth of RJ’s existence secret might stroke RJ’s ego enough to make him let things be. After all, as far as RJ knows, only he and Jane know RJ is still alive. After Red John avenged the slight Panzer made on his character, he might give up on Darcy and take the opportunity Jane presented him to keep RJ dead to the world; to move on with his new life.

At least, I think that’s what Jane hopes will happen.

Lisbon however, has another concern:

“What about you? How is Red John going to feel when he finds out you spoiled his fun with Agent Darcy?”

-I doubt Jane is concerned RJ will ever kill him. He had the opportunity before but didn’t. He’s too obsessed with him to kill him. My concern is how both Jane and Lisbon are taking it for granted that RJ will just let Darcy be now… and that Lisbon is taking Jane’s statement that Darcy is safe for granted as well and is more concerned with what RJ might do to Jane. It’s great that she cares about him, but never to the point where she just takes his statements as facts. He’s been wrong before and Lisbon needs to remember that if she’s to keep them both from getting into trouble due to his schemes.

Best Lines

“At least he was dead, you know, when the shark ate him.”-Lisbon. Tunney’s reading of this line, plus Cho and Grace’s reaction to her statement was so funny.

“You’re stranded on an island with Attila the Hun, Joseph Stalin and a lawyer. You got two bullets What do you do?” –Rigsby, attempting to tell Cho a lawyer joke.

“No.”-Cho’s response to Rigsby’s above attempt. Kang rocks.

“Panzer. The gift that keeps on giving.”-Lisbon’s, referring to the newest thorn in her and Jane’s sides.

“No in house dating Larry, rules.” Colette-often, guest characters make significant statements which reflect the main characters as well. This might be one of them.

“Jane. Is there something you want to tell me?”-Lisbon, when Jane has Terry Maier show up at CBI.

“Deniability Lisbon, deniability. Your best friend.” –Jane, in response to the above. For once, I agree. If Jane isn’t going to take Lisbon’s advice, then she’s better off not knowing anything about his schemes.

“I got a lot to do so have a nice day.”-Jane, to Lisbon. Aw!

“I’m not a hooker, bitch!” –Summer to Colette. Armstrong’s reading of this line was funny.

Honorable Mentions

Ashley Gable delivered a strong script in which every word was obviously carefully measured. I doubt it was easy giving so much information in a single episode.

Catherine Dent performance as Susan Darcy. It was hard guessing what the FBI Agent was thinking and I’m still not sure I know.

Simon Baker and Robin Tunney

Tim Kang and Samaire Armstrong: I liked their chemistry in this episode.

Icings on the Cake

-Thank you Simon Baker for running away, for running far far away when the bomb exploded at the beginning of the episode. It’s nice to see that some things never change. Jane’s life preservation instinct (oh the irony) is one of my favorite aspects of his character. UPDATE:  @Chiziruchibi seems to agree as to its importance :)

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain January, 2012. Not to be used without permission.

More Icings on the cake

-I liked how Grace was the one who saw the video and message RJ sent to Jane. First, her presence in the office is a reminder that she’s got her own angst to deal with and is burying it in her work. Second, I wonder if perhaps she will be able to figure out that the video was sent by RJ. It’s an exciting idea. Jane could contend that Maier, fearful of being exposed by Darcy tried to scare her off the case, then decided to just kill himself. But it is still a loose end and I’m interested in how it will be explained.

Pet Peeves

We never got an explanation on how Collette the lawyer knew how to make a bomb. It’s not exactly something she’d learn at her job is it?

There was something weird with the background behind Jane when he was talking to Darcy in her motel room. Almost as if it the skyline wasn’t real. I have no idea what that was..

Conclusion

I find myself strangely at peace with this episode, despite my entire being protesting over both Jane and Lisbon’s actions. I think it’s because Jane’s motives have finally been explained. He’s not prolonging the game, he doesn’t want to overtly seek Red John. His intentions had been pure however misguided. It’s nice to be clarified as to the former. Continuity on the latter (i.e. Jane’s idiocy) is a nice bonus.

Jane’s statement that he had to use RJ to stop Panzer also suggests that Jane’s previous placing of a flower in the ocean , plus all the other clues we got that he wanted to move on could have been genuine. Jane had wanted to move on. The question is does he still want to? I guess the letter Jane wrote as Tom Maier and the meaningful glances to Lisbon were meant to show that no, he isn’t yet over his revenge, perhaps in spite of himself.

But where does that leave Lisbon?

Now this may or may not have anything to do with the Jane/Lisbon relationship, but I found the Colette the perp’s words, her screaming about how long she waited for the victim, that he had promised to marry her equally stirring and depressing:

“I’ve waited for him for years. I put my career on hold to be with him. I wanted a family and now it is too late. He took away my life!”

The above spiel reminded me of Jane’s speech to Dublin’s secretary (Red Sky at Night): “unrequited love is a terrible thing, you need to find someone who will love you back. You deserve it” and again made me wonder if this is why Jane was pushing Lisbon to go out with Mashburn (Red Hot). Perhaps he worried that Lisbon would waste away her years waiting for him? Not that I think she is, mind you, but Jane probably cares enough about her for it to be a concern for him.

The possibility also made me think that despite how many viewers may be rooting for a Jane/Lisbon romance it may not be the best thing for the characters. We have Jane’s indirect contention that killing the man who killed his family will be the best thing he ever does; and the subtext that that is the only thing that will ever make him happy. But more and more I’m starting to wonder about what makes Lisbon happy. Jane’s friendship seems to have become ever more important to her and that’s nice to see. I’ve always stated that her detachment stood in the way of real intimacy with Jane and her other co-workers (Bloodstream, Every Rose Has its Thorn). Thankfully this issue has been addressed and her character has been wonderfully developed.

But now I’m starting to wonder if it might have been better for her to remain detached.

Lisbon went along with Jane despite not knowing what he was up to. I got the distinct sense that she only truly realized what he’d done (fabricated evidence) at Tom’s funeral; hence her unhappy expression. But then, listening to Jane/Tom’s statement that killing his daughter’s killer brought him peace can only make her more lenient, more understanding, and I honestly can’t blame her.

Basically, Lisbon is in a lose-lose situation. She’s got a co-worker who is also a friend who blames himself for his family’s death. It seems that he can’t live without revenge (at least that’s what he believes) and I fear Lisbon has gotten too close to Jane to be able to stop him. His recent brush with death can only make her more vulnerable to his affections (Fugue in Red). She’s just had another grieving father commit suicide (Tom Maier). I suspect this is something Lisbon subconsciously worries about. Her own father killed himself years after her mother died (presumably out of grief) and she knows Jane once spent time in a mental institution (presumably because he was suicidal)

Can she really stand up to Jane when he needs her to? I truly hope so but I fear she thinks her hands are tied. We see her disapprove of Jane’s actions , and I realize that she wouldn’t want to undercut his innocence. She would also definitely not want to betray Jane’s confidence. But I don’t understand what is keeping Lisbon from disclosing to Darcy that she suspects RJ is still alive. It’s a logical enough conclusion that any reasonable person might come to. After all, it was the first thing Darcy suspected. And Lisbon is her own person, why can’t she agree with Darcy regardless of what she knows? Especially since no one (besides Minelli) ever took her opinions more seriously than they did Jane’s (sad but true).

Disagreeing with Jane may or may not hurt him, but Lisbon’s silence here is bound to come back and haunt her should anything happen to Darcy. Jane attempted to protect Lisbon (i.e. keeping her in her office during Darcy’s questioning to show her innocence. Conversely, trying to get her to leave when he used her office to question Terry Maier; not wanting Lisbon involved in his scheme to fabricate evidence, telling her that deniability was her best friend) but when the truth comes out, her complicity in the cover up will undoubtedly emerge.

I just want to end the review with the priest’s final words before the body was buried, which I found very telling considering all the laws Jane broke, and his and Lisbon’s shared secrets and collusion…

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me so love, and where there is darkness, light. Amen.”

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Mentalist Fugue in Red Review


Synopsis

CBI serious crimes unit is called to a crime scene near Rancho Murieta Fire Station where hero firefighter Paul Satterfield has been found in the woods nearby with his throat cut. Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) goes searching for the murder weapon when he is attacked by the perp and drowned in a nearby pond. Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) finds him and paramedics manage to revive him. But when Jane comes to, it turns out that he suffers Dissociative fugue: temporary loss of personal identity.

Concise Verdict

I had tried avoiding as many spoilers as possible over this episode but a few pieces of knowledge managed to make their way into my twitter feed. The first was that Jane would lose his memory, reverting to his old self, and the second was that this episode contained Simon Baker’s favorite Jane/Lisbon scene so far this season.

I gave an inward groan at the first. Regulars know I have little patience with so called “thrilling” Jane-based plot lines and have been begging we go back to more case-based episodes. I was fully prepared to launch into my usual, “enough, we still have over three seasons to go and SLOW THE HECK DOWN ALREADY!” rant. Also, we’ve seen enough of the old Jane this season (via fake psychic reads) to know how he used to be. I didn’t see the necessity for more reminders of “look how much he’s grown” and started despairing that my inner Cynic might have permanently taken over. Fueled largely by the increasingly dramatic episodes this season, he pointed out that nothing screams desperation and a need to impress than excessive drama.

Then I watched this episode.

Due to the generous dose of character moments (I’m a sucker for those)  I had to re-watch Fugue in Red several times to make sure my judgment was not being compromised by how much I enjoyed those scenes.

I’m glad to report writer Daniel Cerone had Cynic effectively put a sock in it.

MY GOD WHAT AN AMAZING EPISODE!

Despite the “Jane in distress” plot this was a team episode. We got to learn a lot about how the members of the Serious Crimes unit view Jane and his existence in their lives. Was it gratuitous with all the Jane/Lisbon moments? Sure. Did those moments overshadow the case?  *gasp* No!  Because those moments were woven so intricately within the episode. The drama was not out of place and most importantly wasn’t used to distract from an otherwise weak episode (a major peeve of mine and a sure way to get a low rating on this blog). Not only was the writing excellent (including a new setting and clever set up) but so much attention was paid to the details. The direction, production and music were all outstanding and the acting was superb. This was a perfect episode in the same vein of ‘Blood and Sand’ and ‘Blinking Red Light’. I’m still concerned that all the thrilling plots are a bit too much for a relatively young show but if Heller et. al. are going to continue with these home runs, who am I to argue? But let it be known that I’m going to be holding this show to the great heights it has achieved. There was, however, a major cop out at the end (we needed about 30 more seconds) so:  9.8/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

Before I get into the discussion (the bulk of which will revolve around Jane’s interactions with the team) here are a few interesting facts about Dissociative Fugue:

-It occurs after trauma.

-The person suffering the episode may acquire an entirely new personality, and a new life, disappearing from the places/people/life he or she knows.

-Once the person “wakes up” from their amnesia he/she will not remember anything that happened while they were in the fugue state.

-Dissociative fugue can be recurring if the underlying trauma is not dealt with.

So contrary to what I originally thought, Jane in this episode did not necessarily revert to who he was prior to Red John killing his family; he just as likely could have acquired new personality traits to supplement those he did not remember having.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I actually appreciate this ambiguity. Whether Jane reverted to his conman self  or became a new person didn’t matter to me because the way he acted while under the fugue presented me with two equally pleasant possibilities: Jane always was a good person or at least wanted to become a good person OR Jane’s friendship to Lisbon was so strong he sensed it even while under his fugue. I’ll explain this more later but first let’s see how the team dealt with Jane’s loss of identity.

WAYNE RIGSBY (Owain Yeoman)

Despite being the victim of many of the mentalist’s antics, Wayne Rigsby likes Jane and has spoken up on his behalf more than once.  When Jane is forced to quit to investigate a Red John lead on his own (Red John’s Friends) Rigsby tells Lisbon”  “It’s not that we need him, he needs us!” In a later episode where Jane again leaves the CBI, this time out of anger because the Red John case was taken away from him, Rigsby uses the opposite approach. He tells Lisbon “No disrespect, but I think we need Jane,” tacitly urging her to bring the consultant back.

So Rigsby’s loyalty and occasional sensitivity has already been established. While there were a few instances where Rigsby was interpreted to not be a team player, his reluctance was explainable either by his inherent respect for rules and/or fear of losing his job.

Rigsby’s regard for Jane is further built upon in this episode. When Lisbon tells the team that Jane is coming back to work, Rigsby, concerned, states “This is crazy he should still be in the hospital” but goes with Lisbon’s instructions when she says that they should act normally around Jane; that he needs to be surrounded by familiarity until he gets his memory back.

But when Jane appears to show an interest in Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) , Rigsby faces a new challenge to dealing with the mentalist that has nothing to do with his dilemma of breaking rules.

Jane shows up in the bullpen and when Van Pelt tells him he gave them a scare, he leans in close and tells her it wasn’t his intention.

It’s interesting that Rigsby immediately glances at Lisbon here (maybe hoping she’d intervene, or just checking to see if she sees what’s happening) before he chimes in to say he’s glad Jane is okay. Jane (intentionally?) calls Wayne “Pigsby” (perhaps to undermine him). Wayne corrects him and Lisbon then turns the discussion back onto the case.

Later Lisbon tells Jane and Rigsby to interview the firemen at the station. When Jane complains that he doubts he’d be useful Rigsby tells him he’s pretty good at picking out suspects mostly by “causing trouble.” Jane asks if Rigsby doesn’t mind the trouble and he replies “We’re a team, we help each other out.”

For his amiability, Rigsby has to then endure Jane’s asking him to help him out with the “luscious redhead” Van Pelt. Jane says since Rigsby and Grace obviously dated and she dumped him maybe Wayne can give him tips on how to “open the cookie jar” to get some “tasty ginger snaps”. Rigsby’s tip is a terse “back off”.

I don’t know what was funnier here, Rigsby’s reaction or Jane’s godawful lewdness but I was laughing so hard in this scene. For the record, I think that, perhaps more than being attracted to Grace, Jane was enjoying messing with Rigsby. I found his subsequent “I thought we were a team” very telling. It could also be that Jane was multi-tasking.

But despite Fugue Jane’s play at Van Pelt, Rigsby remains professional and the two work very well together; Jane ruffling feathers and Rigsby smoothing them over. I have to say watching Baker and Yeoman together was a great treat and I hope to get more scenes in the course of the season.

 GRACE VAN PELT (Amanda Righetti)

Grace’s reaction to learning that Jane was coming back to work and that they should behave normally is “I’m not sure how to be normal around Jane.”

-I was very surprised at this line especially since Grace always seemed to be the person who acts most naturally around Jane. She’s the only one who ever bothers arguing with him over non-work related matters, and they seem to have a nice sibling dynamic going on. Jane butts into her business (like he does with Wayne) and she seems to enjoy working with him; willingly going along with his cons. So, yeah, I find Grace’s reaction that she doesn’t know how to act around Jane a bit strange, but it could also be that despite how well they seem to get along, on some level she is wary of him.

Grace (unlike Rigsby) doesn’t notice anything strange about Jane’s attention to her (further support that Jane was indeed just being his normal friendly self with her). She does however seem flattered when Rigsby later mentions that the only reason Jane didn’t con her is because he wants to date her.

-I found her reaction to be realistic and quite amusing, especially coupled with Lisbon’s hilarious facial expression and darting eyes between Rigsby and Van Pelt. It was almost like she’s saying “God, please no more drama between these two.”

But Grace’s pleasure at the idea of Jane’s interest quickly turns into disgust when she sees him in action, conning a woman at a bar, saying that he’s in touch with her dead mother. She tells Lisbon “I hate him”.

-Given the fact that Grace knows Jane is suffering a Fugue state, her intolerance here could be more continuity to her PTSD after having to kill her murderous fiancee Craig. Or that trauma could have nothing to do with her annoyance here as Grace hasn’t always been the most patient woman. As it is, I’m glad that her behavior in this episode was mostly normal; that she seems recovered from her tragedy and has only become slightly tougher from it (i.e. her questioning of the victim’s wife).

KIMBALL CHO (Tim Kang)

Jane is teamed up with Cho to check out Wlicox’s house, the last fire the victim helped put out. When Jane balks at going door to door talking to the neighbors “like a salesman” Cho tells him “You do it all the time. You say it’s one of the more interesting things about being a consultant.” Jane laughs, then tells Cho he’s a clever one, indirectly calling Cho out on trying to manipulate him.

-Cho’s approach to dealing with Fugue Jane is exactly opposite of Rigsby’s. While Rigsby (who usually tries to limit Jane’s chaotic methods) was up front about those methods as part of Jane’s crime solving techniques (despite his disapproval of them) Cho lies to Jane despite his usually being more willing than Rigsby to go along with Jane’s indiscretions.

So Cho’s nonchalance at using Jane’s Fugue state to make his job easier here is very interesting. Perhaps he doesn’t believe that Jane is indeed suffering from memory loss and wanted to test him. Or maybe inwardly Cho always disapproved of Jane’s antics but had been going along with them all this time out of necessity; given the chance to avoid them, he didn’t refuse it. Or maybe the reason had more to do with control as hinted at by Jane’s semantics since he tells Cho “I’ll do your bidding.” We get more clues later.

When Jane goes to Wilcox’s home under the guise of searching for his daughter’s doll, Cho asks Jane what his play is. Jane says it’s to  “Bring a ray of hope to a family, I suppose and help my friends solve a crime.”

Cho tells him that he doesn’t buy it, that Jane doesn’t help them because he likes them.

Jane is taken aback by this statement: “I don’t like you?” he asks, confused and perhaps even disturbed.

-This reaction is not surprising as everyone else on the team has been more than friendly with Jane despite his annoying some of them. Cho’s comment on the other hand was blunt, perhaps cruelly so considering Jane’s memory lossand the fact that Jane hadn’t done anything to warrant it with him (up to that point anyway).

Cho elaborates. “You don’t not like us, but you have deeper reasons for helping people. Without those reasons you’re a hustler.”

-And there we have it. The reason Cho had no qualms conning Fugue Jane is because he doesn’t trust him. While Jane had obviously retained his mentalist abilities, in Cho’s opinion, he is bereft of the motivation to use those abilities for good.

Jane tells Cho that he’s wrong about him; he does like them and he wants to find the girl’s doll. When he does Jane takes the opportunity to manipulate Cho. First he fakes regaining part of his memory, getting Cho to reveal that Jane had a family. Jane runs with it “how can I forget my family” garnering enough of Cho’s pity so that he’ll leave him alone (i.e. to collect himself). Once alone, Jane tries cracking the safe in the house before he takes off.

-Personally I think Jane’s flight was a reaction to Cho’s negative assumptions of his character. Perhaps it was Jane’s way of getting back at Cho. Or, Jane could have become fearful of whatever little Cho revealed about his past. This theory is supported by his later telling Lisbon that he wants to leave, start a new life.

In the bullpen, when the team is fretting over losing Jane, Cho tells Lisbon “Look, don’t take this the wrong way but the death of Jane’s family made him a better person.”

-I’d say Cho’s statement was made out of anger at Jane’s actions except it isn’t in his character to do that. When we consider this along with Cho’s earlier remark that Jane without his tragedy is just a hustler, I think it’s safe to assume that Cho doesn’t think much of Jane as a person.

But what isn’t very clear is whether Cho thinks Jane’s quest for revenge is his reason for helping the CBI, or his quest for redemption. As far as we know the only person Jane told for a fact that he will kill RJ is Lisbon. He’d stated to the team that he’s seeking personal revenge but that could have been equated with his catching RJ, not necessarily killing him.

Regardless, even if what Cho said is true, it’s not necessarily relevant in this case. While Jane has retained some aspects of his character, ”Fugue Jane” does not necessarily equal “Jane before Red John”. But Cho isn’t exactly the most sympathetic person so it’s no wonder he didn’t bother with this distinction.

LISBON/JANE

There were oh so many good scenes between Fugue Jane and Lisbon, but for the sake of brevity I’ll only elaborate on the more telling moments.

Intro..

When Jane wakes up in the hospital, in reply to Lisbon’s “It’s good to see you breathing.” He replies “It’s good to see you period,” taking her in. He then asks her if they are sleeping together, explaining at her indignation that it’s the only reason a cop would come to his bedside. Poor Lisbon hopes that he’s putting her on. When it’s clear he’s not she starts telling him about himself, but stops short of explaining why he stopped pretending to be a psychic; that his wife and daughter were murdered.

Lisbon tells the team that Jane needs to be surrounded by a familiar environment and that he needs something to hold onto so they are going to give him that. But despite Lisbon’s contention, instead of having Jane accompany her during the case as is their norm, she lets him go along with the others.

Jane/Lisbon Bench Scene

When Lisbon tells Jane to check the Wilcox home with Cho he tells her “So it’s his turn to babysit me now.” Lisbon answers “Well somebody has to.”

-Notwithstanding the reasonableness of Lisbon’s statement, Jane’s comment does beg the question why Lisbon isn’t the one watching over him. It’s probably just a plot-based decision; a chance to show all the characters reactions to Fugue Jane. It also gives the actors more or less a fair share of screen time (something I’m forever grateful for and wish a continuous effort would be made to do so). But if readers think there is even the slightest chance that Lisbon was actively avoiding Fugue Jane for whatever reason, I’d be very interested in hearing why. I have my own theory, but more on that later…

After Jane recites some of the things he does remember Lisbon remarks that his memory palace is still intact. Jane’s reaction to this statement is one of my favorite this entire season: “I told you about the memory palace?”

-Fugue Jane’s tone and facial expression with this line says it all: he is surprised and intrigued that he apparently trusts this woman enough to share one of his mentalist secrets with her.

For his benefit Lisbon explains: “We’re friends.”

-Again, Jane’s facial expression is that of amiable wonder.

When Lisbon asks him what he remembers about his wedding ring, Jane interprets it as being the best way to gain a woman’s trust. Lisbon is incredulous over this explanation: “So you wear a wedding ring to get over on women.” Jane answers: “worked on you.”

-At this point I think Fugue Jane was trying to lure Lisbon into revealing more about his identity by insinuating that his wedding ring deceived her into trusting him. Or maybe it was his roundabout way of poking to see if his apparent trust for Lisbon is reciprocated. Either way, Jane was fishing for more information regarding their relationship. But Lisbon doesn’t bite, instead turning the conversation onto the case.

Later in response to Cho saying Jane’s loss of his family made him a better person, Lisbon responds that this person was always inside of Jane; that his family’s murder just brought him out. It’s nice to see that Lisbon knows Jane enough to think that he always was a good person. And I’m saying know because in my opinion this became fact ever since episode Throwing Fire when a young Jane was shown crying over having to deceive a dying girl (doing his father’s bidding).

Later, Lisbon defends Jane again, this time from Van Pelt, when the two women find him doing the fake psychic reading in a bar. At Grace’s “I hate him” Lisbon is quick to point out “that’s not him”.

Now, remember when I said I had a theory over why Lisbon was shuffling Jane off onto the others? A possible reason could be that Fugue Jane is such an incorrigible flirt. The man even dared to cop a feel of Lisbon’s behind as they leave the bar. I had a hard time picking my jaw up off the floor after that, though I’m not sure if it was due to his audacity or to the fact that Lisbon didn’t kill him for it. I do have a possible explanation for her patience other than the fact that Jane is obviously not himself. Perhaps she thinks that after being celibate for eight years, and without normal Jane’s inhibitions and issues, Fugue Jane might be finding it a little hard to reign in his libido.

Jane/Lisbon (2nd) Hospital Scene

Lisbon escorts Jane to the hospital. When she tells him she’ll see him in the morning, he tells her not to bother, that he’s done with the detective work. Lisbon is understanding and tells Jane he can stay in the hospital till her recovers his memory, but Fugue Jane has no interest in that. He gleefully tells Lisbon that he plans on calling one of the many women he met to check him out. Frustrated Lisbon states that that she can compel Jane to stay as a witness. At her threat, his mood sobers:

“Why would you do that? You think I can’t see what’s going on here. You people, you’re tiptoeing, you’re dancing around some forgotten tragedy. I’m happy now. Just, just let me be happy.”

Talking about hitting where it hurts. Lisbon, selfless friend that she is, acquiesces to Jane’s request:  “Fair enough. Look I’ll miss you but I’ll leave you alone, okay?”

Tunney totally broke my heart here. Lisbon is such a sweetheart, but then that’s nothing new and it seems that Fugue Jane sensed as much.

I have three theories here:  Jane, sensing that Lisbon cares about him used that to get her to leave him alone. Or, Jane said the above statement to gauge Lisbon’s feelings for him, to see if she cares enough about him to let him go, either out of curiosity or to indirectly piece the puzzle of his life back together. Or, Jane, wanted to gauge how tragic his life truly by testing Lisbon. If his past is as horrible as he suspects then Lisbon will probably choose to leave him alone rather than risk dredging it up again.

So which is it?

But despite Jane’s request to be left in peace, when Lisbon asks him for parting advice on the case, he angles around to get her to ask him to finish it. First, he tells her he found out who the killer is, asking her if she needs him to spell it out. When she says she does, he then states “I suppose you need me to gift out the killer too”. At this point, Lisbon seems to realize what he’s doing and answers with a smile “You usually do.”

Jane responds that he’ll give her the killer as a parting gift the next morning, bidding her goodnight. Lisbon, pleased, settles in to spend the night in a chair in Jane’s hospital room. To her dismay, Jane points out that there’s room in his bed. Lisbon warily rolls her eyes but doesn’t budge from her seat.

Have I mentioned how much I adore Lisbon?

Jane/Lisbon bullpen goodbye scene

After the case is solved Jane comes to bid the team goodbye brandishing his “responsible adult”: an attractive young woman, Tamarra, on his arm. Lisbon congratulates him on solving the case even though some of the cash was missing. At Jane’s query she elaborates that Wilcox said Jane took the money but that Wilcox probably just hid it. Jane tells her “I’d look for an accomplice that’s a big job to pull off alone.”

-By this statement Jane is once again fishing for an invitation to stick around.

But Lisbon doesn’t seem to get it. She tells Jane that they’ll look for an accomplice and gives him his last paycheck. Jane then bids them farewell and starts to leave but not fast enough to keep Lisbon from noticing a diamond bracelet on his friend’s arm. “That looks real,” she comments in dismay. At this statement Tamarra gives Jane a smooch on the lips, saying that he wasn’t lying (presumably about the bracelet being genuine). Here Lisbon and the others realize that Jane did in fact steal the missing money.

A few points: Jane did not need to come back to CBI and he’s certainly not stupid enough to parade bling bought by the cash he stole there. I posit that Jane wanted to be caught, that he wanted to stay even though he didn’t have his memory back.

Further proof of this is that when Lisbon calls him out on running away, dares him to take a ride with her before he takes off, Jane agrees.

I think Jane wanted Lisbon to help him get his memory back. That he on some level realized she cared about him and that he trusted her enough to want to stick around, to dare face whatever it was she would get him to face because at least she’d be around for when he regains his memory and that it was better to have someone who knows him, that he seemingly trusts than some random stranger.

As to Lisbon, it’s ironic that after telling everyone that Jane needs to regain his memory on his own she is the one who actively forced him to regain it. The scene in the end where she leaves Jane to open the door to his room of terror, the crime scene of his wife and daughter’s murder was heartbreaking. Lisbon’s “I’m sorry” was heartfelt, yet resolute.  I can’t help but wonder if her actions here are a result of being affected by Jane’s “greater good” creed, or if this is all her. I imagine she thought it better in the long run. Firstly, so that Jane not be alone when he regains his memory, and perhaps more importantly that she keep this potentially harmful  (to himself and others) Jane from being let loose.

I so wish the episode lasted a bit longer so we can see what (if any) other comfort Lisbon would have offered Jane. But as Jane shouldn’t remember anything that happened during his fugue state, I can only assume (hope) that aside from being confused for a while, he’ll be fine (once Lisbon fills him in on what happened).

Best Scenes

Seriously, how can I be expected to choose? The entire episode was one best scene. I will venture a guess as to what was Simon Baker’s favorite Jane/Lisbon interaction: the scene in the hospital in which he tells her to let him be happy. It was my favorite scene, along with the intro, Lisbon crying over Jane, then his regaining consciousness. Other favorites include the hilarious (first) hospital scene, Cho confronting Jane, Rigsby and Jane in the fire station, the ending…see my dilemma? I am curious as to fans’ favorite moments so please let me know in the comments.

Honorable mentions

Karl Sonnenberg: those who do not know him, he is the technical/medical advisor on the show. He’s the one responsible for how realistic Jane’s revival scene was and probably for Simon Baker’s safety as he was acting the drowning scene.

Director Randy Zisk: Aside from the flawless thrilling intro, there were many lovely takes in the episode. The sweeping angled shot of the fire station showing us so much of this great setting was much appreciated. Other shots include moments where Jane is seen from Lisbon’s vantage, especially the last scene of the episode. It conveyed the conflicting idea that while Lisbon is more than willing to look out for Jane, he is ultimately alone in his tragedy; she can only look upon him from afar.

The entire cast was phenomenal. Kang as usual brings a quiet intensity to Cho while Rigsby’s reactions to Jane’s antics were delightful comic relief. Righetti gave a strong performance as well. But by default (due to the nature of the plot) Tunney and Baker stole the show.

Stacy Haiduk I recognized her instantly (its hard not to with those eyes) and was pleased that she was as intense as I expected.

Music: Blake Neely really outdid himself this time. The teaser music of the episode was exciting and blended flawlessly with the intro. The ending was a also real tearjerker. But then there were also tunes in between, especially when the victim’s wife was being questioned. Moody and lovely.

Icings on the Cake

Lisbon and Grace tag teaming to question the victim’s wife.

Finally getting an inkling of how Cho feels about Jane.

Jane’s awkward kiss with Tamarra. It conveyed his inner conflict and how unused he is to exhibiting this particular display of affection, especially to someone he barely knows.

 Teach me Please: This is a new category where I’ll place the fun (mostly mentalist) facts we learn on this show. In this episode, aside from the phenomenon of dissociative fugue, we learn how Jane uses anagrams to remember things:  Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach is an anagram which represents the order of taxonomy in biology:(Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species). And an  anagram on how to spell the word because is: Big elephants can always understand small elephants.

Best Lines

The entire episode was full of great lines, from beginning to end. I mentioned many above but here are some I may have missed.

“It’s good to see you, period.”-Jane to Lisbon.

“Are we sleeping together?” Jane to Lisbon.

“Excuse me?!” Lisbon in response to the above.

“Well you’re a cop, that’s obvious. But you’re not treating me like a suspect and I can’t see any other reason for a police officer to come to my bedside unless we’re, unless we’re sleeping together.” Jane to Lisbon.

“ No. We. Are. Not sleeping…together.” Lisbon’s reading of this line was priceless.

“We’re working towards it though right, so I haven’t missed anything.” Jane!

“Are you putting me on?” Lisbon.

“Jane, I’m not impressed. I told you my mother died when I was a girl.” Lisbon. Wow. Really? I wonder when that happened. My bet is in episode Red Tide, off screen.

“The closest a man should come to touching a fitted sweater is helping a woman out of one.” Jane on fashion.

“Causing trouble mostly.” Rigsby, in answer to Jane on how he recognizes suspects.

“In Atlanta a woman credits her dog Floyd Henry for pulling a cancerous tumor which saved her life. Why do I remember that?” Jane in an aside to Rigsby as he interviews the firemen.

“You said I caused trouble.” Jane, to Rigsby when he receives glares for getting a dog to point to a paramedic as a suspect.

“Yeah, to help the investigation that guys the paramedic that saved your life.” Rigsby, in response to the above.

“We’re friends.” I melted at Lisbon’s simple explanation. Yes they are.

“Adrenaline. Couldn’t get enough of it. Drinking in all that glory, dancing in the fire. How do you compete with the high of being a hero? Everyday, a rush towards a big cliff. I bet getting stabbed was the biggest rush in his life.” Victim’s wife to Lisbon and Grace. Stacy Haiduk was so good. I love how she made her voice break a bit towards the end; belying she did care about her husband despite her bitterness.

“You don’t help us because you like us.” Cho to Jane. Major revelation.

“You don’t not like us. But you have deeper reasons for helping people. Without those reasons you’re a hustler.” See the above.

“Not me.” Grace on not being conned by Jane. Not much to be proud of when he didn’t even try, Grace.

“Really?” in answer to Rigsby saying Jane didn’t con her because he wants to date her. But what I loved about her statement is Tunney’s reaction to it, looking warily between her and Rigsby. So funny.

“Are you gonna make me call back up to get you out of this bar because I will do that, Paddy” Lisbon, to Jane. Awesome Lisbon is back!

“Let me know if you change your mind, or you know, get it back.” See the above.

“Put your game face on cockroach, for the dignity of your family.” Jane to Wilcox.

Conclusion

The responsibility of stating this episode’s possible moral fell on blunt Cho: Jane is a much better due to losing his family (i.e. good can come out of tragedy). This fact is quite true but let us be aware of the limits of this idea. Avid fans may remember Rebecca ( Red John’s lackey and Sam Bosco’s killer) said as much to Jane when she justified Red John’s actions to him; that he was creating light out of darkness (or something to that effect) in episode ‘His Right Red Hand’. Personally, I’m more inclined to go with Lisbon’s statement. That Jane always was a good person. Aside from the evidence in ‘Throwing fire’ we’ve had more support in this episode:

-Jane told Rigsby that he owed him 60 bucks. True, he wasn’t honest about the amount but perhaps he was just rounding down. What’s important is he admitted to owing him money.

-Jane did get the doll for the perp’s daughter.

-Jane called the perp a cockroach, showing his derision at the man for throwing away his life with his family.

-My theory that Jane only stole the cash from Wilcox because he wanted Lisbon to catch him with the money; to keep him from going anywhere.

That laughing you hear is Cynic; please ignore him.

And speaking of morals, Chizuruchibi has another very important moral from this episode:

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain December, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

 

Not only that, but if I were Lisbon, I’d be paranoid to ever let Jane out of my sight from now on…

 

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Mentalist The Red Shirt Review


Synopsis

The CBI Serious Crimes unit is called in when a van explodes presumably killing football legend Doc Dugan (guest star Craig Bierko). When CBI Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) discovers that Doc is in fact alive, it is revealed that his assistant Jake (Russ Hunt) had subbed for him and was therefore killed in his stead. Jane then convinces Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) that they should allow the public to think that Dugan died as they try and solve the case. Meanwhile, Agent Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and his girlfriend Sarah (Jillian Bach) are in San Francisco for work and the trip results in a lover’s quarrel.

Concise Verdict

In the last episode’s review I’d stated:

“The one-shot episode’s need to be evermore perfect now that he (Red John) is sticking around.”

And…

“In a show that’s almost entirely devoted to Simon Baker’s character, the spotlight needs to passed around as much as possible. And I don’t mean have episodes devoted solely to individual characters…rather give characters as equal share as possible within the episode.”

Hallelujah, my prayers have been answered!

Every single actor was in top form here, perhaps because they were given such great material to work with. Aside from great moments for the series regulars (Yeoman especially shone in his character’s subplot), The Red Shirt also introduces guest characters viewers can become vested in; a vital element of this show. The direction was also superb with great location shots and while the case isn’t exactly complicated, a lot of interesting methods were used to solve it including the mandatory clever ruse at the end. Also, CONTINUITY! The result was an extremely satisfying one-shot (these are the heart of the Mentalist, in my humble opinion). Thank you Jordan Harper for restoring my faith in this show. Now if we can only have more  episodes like these… 9.5/10.

 Detailed (aka humungous) Review (spoilers galore)

There were several important scenes in this episode. As some dealt with recurring plots (both in the episode and in the season) I combined their discussion.

Rigsby/Grace/Sarah Love Triangle

In episode Blood and Sand Grace was shown to be bitter towards Wayne’s new relationship, telling him “Good luck” but “Be careful” because Sarah (Jillian Bach) was a public defender.

In this episode, Grace is more graceful towards the situation. Rigsby is in San Francisco to testify in court. When he tells Grace that his girlfriend Sarah is with him as well, Grace artfully changes the subject back to the case; she’d asked Rigsby to comment on how the bomb was built.

-While Grace seemed disturbed at the fact that Sarah and Rigsby were traveling together, even if they both had work, it was nice to see her handling it better than she had in the past.

Sarah tries to prepare Rigsby to testify in a trial by acting as the perp’s lawyer. When she asks him questions regarding his criminal father Rigsby bristles and leaves her.

-While I wish Sarah had given Rigsby warning first that she was going hardline with her questions, I think she was sincerely trying to help him and didn’t mean to hurt him. I also love that she called him “babe”. It shows a certain level of intimacy and genuine affection.

Later, Rigsby tells Cho (in one of the best scenes of the episode) about how his trip sucked. As Rigsby recalls what happened, he realizes how Sarah had been just trying to help him and states that he got mad because she was doing her job very well. He later adds that her ruthlessness is actually “pretty awesome”. At the end of the episode, when as he tries to make up with her Rigsby inadvertently riles Sarah up even more by telling her that she’s a public defender, she can’t help but be the way she is. Sarah passionately defends her job, and hardly gives Rigsby a chance to get a word in before demanding to know if he has a problem. Rigsby says no and proceeds to make out with Sarah.

-I think a lot of women fell in love with Rigsby here. The fact that he finds Sarah’s strength of character a turn on is a very attractive quality; it takes a big man to handle a spitfire. Can this couple be any cuter?

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

Cho’s Injury

Cho has been taking a lot of pain pills in recent episodes and continues to do so here. I’m starting to wonder if this is the start of an addiction story line rather than simply being continuity to the injury he suffered to his back when he got hit by a car in episode “Where on Earth is Carmine O’Brian”. Cho even goes as far as to lie on Jane’s couch when he’s in pain after tackling a suspect.

Wainwright’s Leadership

We got a couple of scenes with the CBI’s new boss Luther Wainwright (Micheal Rady)  in this episode. Although Wainwright had told Jane that he’ll adjust his actions according to his belief that Jane is a clinical psychopath (Ring Around the Rosie), we have yet to see any evidence of that. To be fair, since Red John’s re-emergence is an issue yet to be handled this season, perhaps the situation simply has yet to present itself. One could argue that Luther had a chance to assert his claim during the SJK (Blinking Red Light) killer case but instead he allowed Jane to handle the matter his own way.

Wainwright continues to give Lisbon’s team a fair amount of leeway. He tells Cho at the beginning of the episode that he’ll handle the reporters while they solve the case, his voice trailing off when Cho leaves him standing awkwardly. Later when Luther finds out that Lisbon kept the fact that Dugan was still alive from him hidden, he merely points out to the fact that the case should have a positive result or he won’t be happy. After which he wonders if it’s possible to get an autograph from Dugan.

I’m not sure what to think of Luther. He seems bright enough. In another of the episode’s best and funniest scenes he catches up with Lisbon pointing out Dugan’s girlfriend as the prime suspect reading some of her threats. He also notices when Lisbon pretends to head towards the elevator, instead of going upstairs like she had been (to where Dugan was hidden) when Luther  caught her in the hall. When Lisbon stammers an excuse that she was wrong to go upstairs, Luther, concerned, advises her to get plenty of rest.

So he’s both smart and kind. But Luther’s kindness here seems at odds with how he  bluntly (and perhaps cruelly) told Jane that he’s a clinical psychopath. But that makes him more interesting. Either he has a soft spot for Lisbon (one won’t blame him) or a problem with Jane (again, one can’t blame him), or simply, at the time, Wainwright’s words to Jane, the results of his psychopathy test, was simply his way of getting back at Jane for keeping him out of the loop in episode “Ring Around the Rosie”.

So he’s either vindictive, or he simply felt the need to assert his authority. Perhaps once he did that, he was able to be his amiable self again. At least that’s the theory. I hope we learn more in future episodes. So far, Wainwright is the least defined of all CBI heads; I wonder if it’s intentional…

Lisbon’s Character Development

When it is revealed that Doc Dugan is still alive, Jane cajoles Lisbon into going along with his plan to continue having everyone think Doc was dead.

-I knew she’d end up agreeing and it saddened me as I miss the Lisbon who thought out Jane’s plans before going through with them. For a while now we’ve seen major signs that Lisbon is more tolerant towards Jane, and a few small ones that she still retains her own way of doing things. But the instances of the former exceeded those of the latter both in significance and in occurrence. I’ve been worried that Lisbon had become far too complacent. I should have known better seeing as Jordan Harper wrote this episode; he’s usually generous in depicting Lisbon awesomeness and that was the case here as well.

Lisbon agrees to go along with Jane’s plan, but only after she gets permission from the victim’s mother.

-I’m not sure why Lisbon agreed despite her initial misgivings; perhaps because Jane’s playful goading was irresistible, or maybe, seeing how Jane so excited about solving the case she didn’t want to burst his bubble. Whatever the reason, Lisbon did not lose sight of the bigger issue: a life had been lost and Jake’s family had the right to decide if they would go along with pretending he hadn’t died.

It’s nice to see evidence to support Jane’s statement in episode “Little Red Book” to Bertram that Lisbon is a healthy moderating influence on him. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciated this scene. It reassured me that all I love about Lisbon; her sympathy, strength of character, compassion, and honor has not changed. For that, this was my favorite scene in the entire episode.

Once the case is solved Lisbon takes Dugan with her to see Jake’s mother. She apologizes once more for the woman’s loss then allows Dugan to reconcile with his assistant’s mother and spend time with her.

-I adored this scene as well. Besides bringing the focus of the show back on the people affected by the crimes committed, it recalled many previous situations where Lisbon (like Jane) tries to make the victims’ families feel better about their loss.

Later, Lisbon joins Jane at the CBI’s rooftop café. Their discussion of how Dugan seemed to sincerely want to change for the better, and the opportunity which gave him the perspective to do so leads to Lisbon to asking Jane if he’d want to be remembered after he died. Jane cites this desire as “childish vanity” and says that being dead, he won’t care, and neither would Lisbon when she dies, although he does say that she will be remembered fondly.

-I think Jane’s turning the matter into the familiar “there’s nothing after death” was very telling; he did not answer Lisbon’s question which makes me think that he in fact does want to be remembered. His contention that it’s “childish vanity” only gives it away. Is there anyone on this show more childish or vain than Jane?

As to Lisbon, the woman who constantly refuses to eat with Jane (unless it’s case-closed food) is actually sharing ice-cream with her consultant; and the J/L fans thought her agreeing to drink tea with him was progress towards a more romantic relationship. I can only imagine the swooning. Admittedly, it was a very sweet scene. I may need to brush my teeth now :)

Best Scenes

I’m leaving it up to you all this time. You can vote more than once ;)

Honorable Mentions

The guest stars were very well picked and familiar enough that viewers would not be able to decide whom was the perp based on that. Bierko is of course always a pleasure to watch, but so was Ashley Williams, Emilio Rivera, Ray Laska, and Chrisopher Gartin. Recurring guest star Jillian Bach was also as adorable as ever while Micheal Rady continues to give a solid portrayal of Luther Wainwright. But mostly, it was nice to see the series’ stars all get a more or less fair share of screen time and share in Baker’s spotlight. Tunney, Yeoman, Kang, and Righetti were all fabulous.

Icings on the Cake

-Location captions are back! The ones telling us where in California we are that were missing in the beginning of the previous episode.

- The case’s premise and case solving techniques were novel and interesting, but what I love most about this episode is that it was classic Mentalist in the best sense. The case occurred in Sacramento and a lot of time is spent at the CBI. But there were plenty of locations within (CBI cafe rooftop, hallway in front of the elevator, room where Dugan was held) amongst others which kept the episode visually pleasant and fresh. And that’s not even counting the sports bar or San Francisco. It’s a huge contrast to the bland locations of the last episode. As to the case, Jane multitasks as detective and matchmaker. He cleverly sets up the perp while allowing Dugan to hear that his ex-wife still loved him. Again, Jane using his powers for good is a classic aspect of the show and is reminiscent of the earlier episodes. The affect is just as delightful here.

-The issue of celebrity idolatry and the disillusionment of fans discussed here via one of the suspects is an interesting topic and an increasingly relevant one.

- Jane’s speech on the 30 yard rule and on why the truth hurts was also interesting and a good fact as we’ve come to expect from this show.

Best Lines

“What do you say, Lisbon, huh what do you say?” –Jane to Lisbon . He’s so eager here, like a little kid. I miss this Jane.

“Really, really dead, wicked witch of the west dead.”-Jane to reporter on Dugan.

“I’m not dead.”- Doc. Craig Bierko’s  reading of this line was so great.

“I don’t wanna play dead!” –Doc. See above comment.

“No thanks.” Grace, replying to Doc’s offer on if she’d like to know why his girlfriend worships him. Amanda Righetti is so charming here and funny. I missed this Grace.

“Tempting, really, but I shot and killed my last boyfriend. I’m not ready for a relationship, yet.” Grace to Doc, at his continued propositioning  of her. Also, see above comment.

“He had all these holes that he dug in himself and he had to find a way of filling them.” Anne Dugan. Amazing line, delivered wonderfully by Ashley Williams.

“Any nibbles? Let’s dangle another worm shall we.” This line is just so Patrick Jane. 3+ years I imagine it gets harder for writers to come up with new dialogue while keeping it sounding like Jane. This was a great example.

“First punch is free that’s how pathetic I think you are, pathetic! I’m getting worked up.” Jane, dictating tweets to Cho to lure in a suspect over twitter. -Simon Baker was fantastic here. Jane’s version of “getting worked up” is stressing the repeated “pathetic” coupled with a shudder over his zeal. Careful Jane, you don’t want to hurt yourself!

“You told off a mobster, somebody tried to kill you and you don’t even mention it? You’re about as helpful as an actual murder suspect.” Annoyed Lisbon is so funny!

“Maybe we need the other end of the wire, the listening…” Love tacit continuity on how Jane remains unfamiliar with police devices.

“Oh that’s a great looking suit for a policeman. Most of you have no taste. -Arnold Greene to Jane. Love, love, LOVE Jane’s big bashful yet pleased smile here. The ham can’t resist flattery! Again, vanity ;)

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Mentalist Pink Tops Review


Synopsis

Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and her team are called to South Sacramento where a Yoli Concepcion (guest star Natalia Castellanos) has been shot to death. To local Sergeant Henderson’s (guest star Dean Norris) dismay, Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) quickly figures out that the woman was an undercover cop. Henderson reveals that Yoli was part of his Undercover Narcotics task force and was tailing a major dealer name Omar Vega (Kamar De Los Reyes) at the nearby club Luxure. Henderson adds that Yoli’s identity must be kept secret to ensure the safety of the other officers. Later, during the course of the investigation, Agent Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) runs into a prostitute named Summer Edgecombe (Samaire Armstrong) who reveals that she has inside knowledge on Vega.

Concise Verdict

Pink Tops paid homage to many of this show’s excellent qualities: character continuity, humor, many excellent one liners, and character moments (including what fans have lovingly dubbed “Chigsby”, or Cho-Rigsby interaction).  But something felt off to me the entire episode (and no, I’m not talking about that which everyone complained about which I’ll discuss below in the spoiler zone). It took me a while to figure it out but there were a number of small factors which combined to keep Pink Tops from fulfilling its potential. That being said, 8.0 is pretty darn good.

Detailed AKA (Humungous Review) (spoilers galore):

A while back I was chatting with @CJDavey on twitter where he mentioned that the reason a certain mentalist episode wasn’t amongst his favorite was because it didn’t feel like a mentalist episode to him. As soon as I read that tweet, I realized this was exactly how I felt about Pink Tops, though I was still having trouble figuring out why I felt that way. So I enlisted my good friend and guest reviewer Violet’s help. Now anyone who has read her reviews knows that she’s not shy about expressing her opinions, which is exactly what I needed here. But before we get into what may not have worked in Pink Tops, let’s talk about all that did. This might take a while…

Continuity on the Red John case

A lot of fans expressed disappointment that this episode didn’t reveal more about the Red John case but I actually found enough hints, enough subtext to leave me quite satisfied and happy.

Jane and Lisbon in the teaser

When Jane arrives at the crime scene he remarks, somewhat cautiously to Lisbon that she looks “marginally rested”.  Lisbon tells him she was actually hoping to get some sleep to which Jane replies that she could go back to bed. As expected, Lisbon refuses, saying that their assistance is needed.

-I found this exchange, the questions it raises, and Jane and Lisbon’s demeanor to be very interesting.  Why are Lisbon and Jane tired? Have they been working the Red John case? Have they been busy dealing with the fall out Red John’s re-emergence must have had on their unit? Were they being investigated to the point of exhaustion by Professional Standards and/or FBI?

Or has the serious crimes unit simply been overwhelmed with other cases?

Violet: The atmosphere reminded me somehow of the beginning of S3 after Kristina went missing, with a sleep deprived and uncontrollable Jane. This could suggest that he isn’t dealing very well with what he’s done (since RJ being alive isn’t really new for him). If that’s the case, we can also spot a hint at character development, since unlike in S3 he didn’t take it out on others (well he tries at first, with the Sergeant, but only once).

Reviewbrain: Actually, Jane behaving after misbehaving is his usual MO (i.e. Red Gold after Blood For Blood, and Every Rose has its Thorn after The Red Mile). But Violet’s point that he doesn’t take out his frustrations on others is quite true, especially compared with his vindictiveness in Season three. This is possibly more evidence that he’s gained some of Lisbon’s professionalism. Or it could be more that he’s becoming more humble (my inner Cynic is laughing again) and/or, like Violet states, Jane feels uneasy with himself. Because while in Season three Jane’s antics came across as a result of a frustrated and self-righteous victim, his demeanor in this episode, this season really…well, he’s not a victim anymore is he? At least not of any external source.

I’ve already raised the issue that the writers might be planning on making Jane into a killer (as they’ve been making perps this season more sympathetic and uncannily similar to Jane). I even explored the possibility that Jane has become a serial killer even (see rant in Blinking Red Light review). That being the case, I found Jane’s demeanor in this episode, wary and unsure, very reassuring to say the least.

The end scene of the episode made me even happier.

Jane/Lisbon end scene

After the case is wrapped up, Lisbon comes across Jane and makes small talk with him (asking him how he figured out who the killer was, etc.) before she comes right out and states:

“It’s time.”

When Jane asks her for what, Lisbon tells him that they need to talk about Red John. Jane then points out that the victim’s widower has arrived, distracting Lisbon and taking off to avoid the discussion.

Whatever Jane’s reasons may be to take off, this exchange lets viewers in on the fact that he and Lisbon have not yet talked about Red John’s re-emergence. Either they hadn’t had a good chance to do so (due to how busy they’ve been as hinted at in the episode’s teaser) or they have been avoiding doing so (hinted by Lisbon’s “It’s time”, and their cautious body language throughout the episode).

Both possibilities could be true; the serious crimes unit might have had an influx of cases which conveniently allowed Jane and Lisbon to skirt the issue of Red John. It could also be that they have avoided the topic until the dust (suspicion) of the higher-ups (and/or FBI) has settled.

Violet: The fact that Lisbon waited for the right moment to discuss the situation is a nice realistic touch: she let him some days to recompose and gave herself the time to assimilate it all. Now why Jane didn’t want to talk about it? Was the talk only about the consequences of RJ resurfacing or about the way Panser died? Did she want to ask how he felt while he didn’t want to share? Or does he want to keep his plans secret like he used to do, maybe because he was disappointed in her for trying to meddle with Carter’s wife?

Reviewbrain: That last is a very interesting possibility. Jane certainly sounded angry when he found Lisbon at Sally Carter’s jail cell. His “What are you doing here” when Lisbon called him to the scene after Sally died sounded pretty accusatory.

Violet: The aspect of the talk Jane is avoiding couldn’t be only about RJ as in “OMG! He’s back!” because Lisbon already knew about the possibility even if she didn’t believe it. So Jane is trying to be sneaky one way or another, especially since he left Lisbon in charge of dealing with the grieving widower. In another setting, it would be Jane who’d relate with him.  But here he was trying to isolate himself.

Reviewbrain: My favorite possibility for the furtiveness is one I had explored in Season three and am evermore convinced of now: Jane, feeling uncomfortable with his hidden dark side (“Red Moon”) fears talking to Lisbon about Red John (and how he lured him into the open via Panser) because he’s afraid of Lisbon’s reaction; that she may not like him anymore afterwards (canon since “Every Rose has its Thorn).  Just as likely, however is the possibility that Jane doesn’t want to talk to Lisbon because he himself is unsure of what he’ll do when/if he catches Red John this time around, and Jane isn’t exactly the type of man who likes appearing unsure. Some support for this theory is Jane’s calmer state this season. Alternatively, I suppose it could be that Jane has already decided on what he wants to do and wants to keep whatever conclusion he’s come to from Lisbon. But I don’t think so.

Wishful thinking aside, Jane’s tendency to behave quite well after he’s misbehaved (reprised in this episode) hints that Jane fears he’ll one day push his luck too far. Now Lisbon has accepted a lot of things from Jane, and he seems pretty in awe of her for that. Perhaps that’s why Jane fears that one day he’ll do something she simply cannot accept, so he’d rather keep things hidden from her to lessen the chances of himself negatively tipping the balance.

Note: In a related theme, it’s beginning to seem to me that perhaps Jane can only be straight after he’s veered a bit; like he can only be good after he’s been bad. I wonder if there’s any truth to that. And if so, I wonder if that’s an addiction, a compulsion or habit.

Cho’s Storyline

The subplot revolves around the prostitute Summer (Samaire Armstrong) and Cho. Summer takes an instant liking to Cho and spends her time alternately coming on to him, trying to find out things about him, and impressing him. I loved how Tim Kang a chance to show off his subtle acting (and the fact that Cho can have more than an impassive expression on his face). Armstrong played off him pretty well too, despite my wishing that she’d choose between either moving her head or her eyebrows, instead of both simultaneously as she said her lines; a few of her scenes almost gave me vertigo. But she conveyed Summer’s youthful exuberance and contrasting blasé attitude pretty well. I think I’ll agree with Lisbon and say I like her too.

And I think Cho does too :)

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain November, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

Cho/Summer Final Scene

During the case, Jane goes undercover as a dirty law enforcer, wanting to make a deal Vega. It’s part of his plan to find Yoli’s killer (who he suspected was another cop who turned sides). When Cho and Rigsby lose Jane’s signal, Cho finds Summer and demands she tell him where she knows Vega’s location is. The scene is quite heated and Cho, impatient and fearful for Jane cuffs Summer. Hurt, Summer tells Cho that all she wanted was a bit of civility. She tells him what he wants to know, and demands he release her and leave her alone.

Later, once the perps are all caught, Cho goes to Summer. She assumes (accurately I think) that he feels bad for the way he treated her. Cho states that he wants her to sign on as his informant.

- Cho looked like he felt pretty bad (as much as his can anyway) over what he’d done; especially coupled with Summers hurt (yet stubbornly prideful) facade. Cho offering summer a job is meant to validate Summer’s usefulness, make her feel better about herself. It also gives Cho a convenient excuse to see her and issue an indirect apology; probably the only kind Summer can hope to get considering Cho’s personality.

Note: Cho’s pride is one of the reasons why seeing him break down in remorse, apologizing to his friends grandmother (Blood in Blood out) was such an effective scene.

Summer (and viewers) can’t possibly expect the same reaction from Cho here, but it’s a good start. Especially when coupled with the scene’s punchline.

When Summer tells Cho “For cash money, I’d snitch on my mom”, Cho leans in close and asks Summer, in a perfect deadpan “What did she do?”

And for once during most of their interactions this episode, it is Summer who is left momentarily speechless. Cho is awesome :)

Violet: The part about Cho and Summer was the funniest! There’s such a contrast between the lively and bold woman and the usually impassive Cho! While Rigsby’s date shows a physical disparity, here the difference in character makes it even more humorous! Now, I wonder: why every team member feels the need to have complicated relationships? Rigsby and Van Pelt, all the same together and separately (the cougar; Van Pelt’s disastrous bad luck with guys), even clipped Lisbon and her playboy Mash… I guess Elise was too boring and normal for the show: I feel now that she was only a plot device for explaining Cho’s rage in ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ and now that it’s over, she lacked drama. Too bad, I liked her!

Some new questions arise about Summer, since there will be without any doubt more of her very soon: will the attraction have consequences of Cho’s career? It would be certainly frown upon given her source of income, so will Cho go against the rules for her as he did for the kid in “Rhapsody in Red”? Anyway, he was in dire need of a private life, so Summer is more than welcome!

Reviewbrain: I liked Elise too and thought that having at least one normal couple would have been good for the show. While the plot of a call girl befriending a cop isn’t anything new, it promises to be dramatic. I just wish that it was saved for a later season. It seems that there is way too much drama going on already, I feel exhausted merely thinking about it. But a major perk will be getting to see how Kang handles the material; we’ve seen enough of him to know that it’ll be a real treat.

Best Scenes

The winner: Cho and Rigsby in the Car

Rigsby remarks to Cho “So that Pro seemed like a piece of work huh?”  When Cho responds “Summer?” Wayne answers “Oh, so she’s Summer now?”

-I like this exchange for the subtext it suggests. The fact that Summer knew Cho’s name is Kimball when he came to let her go hints that she asked Wayne about him. Wayne bringing her up in this scene shows that he picked up Summer’s interest in Cho and wants to see if the woman made as big of an impression on his partner as he had on her.

Of course, it doesn’t take long for Cho to turn the conversation on his Rigsby.

Cho then states “She is Summer, that’s her name. Just like she knows your name is Wayne. Wayne is immediately (adorably) defensive “It’s was just some potato chips” to which Cho shoots back “you emptied an entire vending machine.” Rigsby, flustered, explains, “Yeah, she was hungry.”

-To be fair, Rigsby is a man with a big appetite, though why he thought Summer is capable of ingesting the same amount as himself is not very believable. Methinks he had fun chatting with her.

But more than the revelations of the scene, it was so much fun watching Rigsby and Cho interact. I’ve missed these tiny moments between the two especially as this season has been mostly about Jane/Lisbon and Grace/Wayne. It’s nice to see these buddies get some quality time too.

1st runner up:Cho and Summer’s end scene. It was both touching and funny and Armstrong and Kang did very well in it.

2nd runner up: Jane and Lisbon’s interaction in the opening scene. From Jane’s concern that Lisbon isn’t getting enough sleep, to Henderson shoving Jane up against the wall, his adorable “I’m here”, Lisbon’s anger, and then Jane pouting that Lisbon didn’t push back when Henderson called him a circus act; this was all very familiar and made me so happy especially considering the darkness of the episode prior.

Best Lines

“Okay, I’m here.” Jane to Henderson when he pushed him into the wall.

“You’re not known for your management skills are you?” Jane, to Henderson.

“I like your swagger”-Vega to Jane.

“Keep guessing, pinstripes.”- Vega to Jane. The great moment was afterwards when Jane mouths “pinstripes” to Lisbon, in amusement. I missed this playful Jane, the one who’s amused even as he’s being insulted. It reminded me of his huge grin when a suspect assumed he was gay in season one. I  miss season one Jane..

“Was he in a boy band?”-Summer to Cho about Rigsby. Love the reference to Rigsby’s good looks, and beautiful voice. But more than that, this line was plain hilarious. Again, Ms. Swafford gives me one of my favorite lines in this show.

“Bad back, huh?” Summer to Cho. Love the continuity on Cho’s car accident a few episodes back.

“I bet you just doodle on that thing don’t you?” Summer to Cho as he takes notes.

“I like her”-Lisbon on Summer. I love the subtext here; that Lisbon enjoyed watching her unflappable senior agent be teased.

“Another Robocop. Where do they find you people?” Lalo, victim’s husband to Grace. Its’ interesting that Grace kept her cool here. Perhaps she’s recovering from her PTSD.

“Must be difficult living two lives.”- Jane to undercover agent Trey. Looking for advice Jane?

“Pinky swear?” –Summer to Cho.

“I’ll bet.” Cho to Summer’s  contention that she can make him cry like a baby.

“There may be hope for you yet.” Summer to Cho, in response to the above.

“Mind turning the bass down a little? Makes me want to go to the bathroom.”-Jane to mobsters.

“I’m really disappointed about my shoes.” – I adored this line! I think Jane’s been wearing the same shoes for the last four years and this statement is continuity on how much he loves them.

Icings on the cake

-Jane sampling spaghetti sauce at the victim’s home; another favorite character moment Jane’s love of food.

-Rigsby finding Jane’s jacket and shoes. As Rigsby has been used mostly for comic relief this season, I applaud Ms. Swafford for reminding viewers that he is a very observant investigator who is very good at finding evidence (he noticed two types of cigarettes in The Scarlet Letter, he also found the camera lens in Red Sky in the morning).

-I liked the little details we got into the drug ring; the impromptu method of water-proofing drugs was one I hadn’t come across before.

-I appreciated that Dwayne from Perry’s gang was playing a loud video game when he was killed. Explains how he didn’t hear how the rest of the gang was shot.

-I don’t usual comment on this but the children who played the victim’s kids were absolutely gorgeous.

Honorable Mentions

Stephen Bishop (Trey), Gina Rodriguez (Elvira) and Wilmer Calderone (Lalo) were very well cast. I wished Trey especially had been given a bigger role. Couldn’t he have he been sent undercover to Vega instead of Jane? It wouldn’t have been the first time the Serious Crime’s unit worked with the local cops, although (unfortunately) that has become a rare occurrence. I’ll be watching out for this actor.

Not so Pet peeves (AKA What might have gone wrong )

Violet: While the writing didn’t show downright outrageous flaws, it definitely lacked something. Sincerely I didn’t feel all that interested in knowing who the killer was: the victim was simply tagged as an “undercover cop/maybe cheating wife”, although they could easily have added some more personality to liven things up a little. Same with the others characters: the victim’s boss’s anger and grief at the crime scene only gave an occasion for Jane to act harshly, as for the charismatic drug lord who almost only served as a counterpart for the consultant. And the final revelation that the killer was a colleague and friend? Well, they missed a golden occasion for character analysis and drama, in a intense scene the interrogation room as they usually do! It’s almost as if the plot only added one cliché of a standard TV cop show to another: bad corrupted cop? Check. A bunch of drug dealers shot in a house? Check. Cops tailing their agent-with-the-bug and losing him? Check. And so on…

Reviewbrain: Personally, I didn’t mind the classic plot. The drug cartel thing hasn’t been done before on the Mentalist (although a possible storyline had been raised last season in Rhapsody in Red with Terrence Rome).  And while the “call-girl falling in love with a cop” plot is a bit cliché I’m interested to see where it goes. But I do agree that the execution of this episode left something to be desired…

The casting/wardrobe of the victim felt off. I find it strange that Jane noticed the victim’s bra type (which, incidentally, I doubt was a sports bra; I think the purpose of those is to hold the cleavage in during exercise, and hers was close to spilling out simply from walking fast) but didn’t comment on the possibility that the victim may have had surgery to accentuate her assets (if I’m wrong about this, then I truly apologize and I hope the actress takes the mistaken assumption as a compliment on her physique). But the dialogue and the casting/wardrobe simply didn’t feel like it matched. Another example is how Jane commented on Yoli’s muscular arms, but she was wearing flowing sleeves that didn’t really reveal those arms. Either cast/dress the actress in a manner that fits the dialogue, or change the dialogue (for example, having Jane comment on her muscular legs; which were in plain sight.

The music

I’m sorry to say that I felt the ball was really dropped here. Is there a rule which states only Jane gets the funny soundtrack? Why did Cho’s first questioning of Summer have to be in silence? What happened to all of Blake Neely’s lovely whimsical tunes? They were sorely missed and would have made a humorous scene even funnier.

Also the songs chosen at the club didn’t seem to fit the Latino demographic shown in the episode; especially considering that Omar Vega was the “behind the scenes” owner. Nor did they serve to give the club a “jammin” aura.  Music chosen for other episodes (Crimson Cassanova, Rose-Colored Glasses,) packed a much bigger punch.

As to the characterization, Violet had a point especially when it came to the club owner, Vega. We’ve been told by multiple characters how dangerous this man is. But when he learns that Yoli was a cop, all he says is “Damn”. This reaction seems downright mellow considering this is a man we’ve been led to think is terrifying.

Violet: Even Jane was good, but not flamboyant, and they could have him play more with the situation. Jane introducing Lisbon in the night club was funny, but it could have been so much better! Although this lifeless attitude was probably intentional to show how tired he was. At least Lisbon got a chance to show she can still keep Jane in check.

Setting/Sets

Violet: The major disappointment was the dry representation of the undercover universe. I mean, when the murder happens in a specific profession, like the haute gastronomy or an orchestra, we got a bit of a picturesque atmosphere… Here? A noisy club, some warehouses, one or two shootings and a bullpen  some more-or-less disguised cops strand across without interacting with each other, at least on screen… What a shame, the situation had potential for so much more!

Reviewbrain: I’ll have to agree with Violet that the sets in this episode were woefully simple. Even when Jane goes to Vega’s bookkeeper, all we get is a depressing looking little wooden sign with Luxure written on it to let us know that this warehouse or facility or whatever is part of the club.

Even the caption at the beginning of the episode which is usually tells us where exactly California we are was missing; and location is a major part of this show. Yes, we were told by the local cop, but it was just another missing aspect that left me wondering “What’s wrong with this picture” rather than concentrate on the unfolding events.

Mostly Pet Peeves

-If I had five bucks for every character called Yolanda on this show I’d be able to donate a lot more to Indie movies. At least this time the victim’s nickname “Yoli” set her apart.

-It feels almost blasphemous to be saying this, but I felt that Simon Baker overdid Jane’s act in the scene where he pocketed drugs from Trey. He was a bit too effusive in his apologies, especially since we were shown that he stole the drugs from property; didn’t need any further hints. I’m surprised Trey didn’t suspect him.

Conclusion

I’d been worried that viewers will become desensitized to the show’s awesomeness due to all the dramatic plots and increasing number of Red John episodes. But I never thought that the show’s quality might drop because the more dramatic episodes have it running out of steam (as seems to be the case here).

I know this isn’t a Red John episode and that it wasn’t written by one of the shows big guns, but an equal effort in production must be made for all the episodes if the show is to retain its quality.  Pink Tops is a perfect example of how even a well written script can have less than stellar results. And considering how most of the episodes this season  have been so amazing (and Blinking Red Light, prior to this one was arguably the most dramatic and phenomenally executed) a large amount of effort needed here to ensure that Pink Tops doesn’t come off feeling like a filler. I didn’t feel that effort and it doesn’t seem fair.

Personally, I prefer the non-RJ episodes (it’s no secret I wished we’d seen the last of him). But the one-shot episodes need to be evermore perfect now that he’s going to be sticking around.

I think the powers that be need to go back to season’s one and two and study those fabulous stand alone episodes which earned this show its watchable reputation; episodes like The Scarlett Letter, Ladies in Red, The Red Line, Russet Potatoes, Red Herring , Rose Colored Glasses, Red Badge, Code Red and a Price above Rubies were wonderfully produced, had intriguing settings and characters, and were sharp.

Finally, we’ve had the fact that Jane is “just a consultant” ingrained for three seasons now but more and more he is acting like an agent. While it is not the first time Jane has gone undercover, I can’t help but think that, in a show that’s almost entirely devoted to Simon Baker’s character, the spotlight needs to be passed around as much as possible. And I don’t mean have episodes devoted solely to individual characters (I actually find those awkward); rather, give characters as equal share as possible within a single episode. Episodes Redline, Red Alert, Rhapsody in Red, Ring Around the Rosie, Bloodstream, and Every Rose Has its Thorn are all good examples of how this was done effectively. I love Simon Baker and Patrick Jane, but once in a while I want someone else to be in danger, to save the day. And that shouldn’t be too hard to pull off as he’s just the consultant.

 

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Mentalist Blinking Red Light Review


Synopsis

The Serious crimes unit of CBI catches a case of a young woman who was kidnapped and bound before having her throat slit. It turns out that hers is only another in a string of deaths caused by a serial killer known as the “San Joaquin Killer”. Special Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) likes photographer Richard Haibach (guest star William Mapother) for the crime. Meanwhile, investigative reporter Karen Cross (guest star Miss Pyle) gains interest in the case and asks blogger James Panser (David Paymer) for his insight; Panser had devoted his life to documenting the SJK’s criminal career after the first victim, a child of one of his neighbors, was killed. CBI consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) also takes an interest in Panser and secures his aid in the case. The stakes are upped when another girl is killed and FBI Agent Susan Darcy (Catherine Dent) approaches young CBI Head Luther Wainwright Agent (Micheal Rady) to take over the case.

Concise Verdict

I hated this episode, a lot. I think it is safe to say that the amount of hate I have for Blinking Red light is only equal to how brilliant it was. I didn’t like it, but it was perfectly written, acted, directed. The musical score by Blake Neely was phenomenal, it makes you think, leaves you guessing, and shocks you in the end. I hated this episode, but as I don’t grade episodes on whether I like them or not, rather, on how well put together they are, this one’s a 10/10. Congrats Ken Woodruff.

DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

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DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

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DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

In my review for Scarlet Ribbons, I stated:

Personally, I wanted season four to give Jane a chance for character growth and resolution; something which only seemed possible with Red John’s death. But Scarlet Ribbons suggests that this could still happen, even with RJ alive. How guilty Jane felt over lying to the jury, and how easily he came clean to Lisbon about this fact has me feeling very optimistic. Jane, being Jane, of course justifies his actions as being a means to an end. But his simple admission that he feels bad is a huge step forward.

My inner cynic however, thought that Jane sharing this information with Lisbon was largely due to Jane’s selfish desire to have someone share the burden of the truth with him. Cynic also stated that Jane needs Lisbon to know the truth so that she’ll continue investigating Red John cases with him. I pointed out that there’s nothing wrong with needing to confess your sins to a friend; that’s part of what friends are for. Also, that Jane had been investigating the RJ case on his own all last season; he hardly needs Lisbon’s help. Cynic countered that if it wasn’t for Lisbon’s help then Jane wouldn’t have been able to reveal Craig as RJ’s spy in the season three finale. I conceded that point but proceeded to lock Cynic up and stuff him in the darkest dungeon in my memory palace as I refuse to let my mind use Lisbon’s awesomeness in an argument as evidence that Jane is manipulating her.

Speaking of Lisbon, I’m dying to see her reaction to Jane’s revelation that RJ is alive. It’s one thing for her to accept Jane’s killing RJ; he’s said he’d do it for years. It’s a whole other ball game knowing that he shot some random criminal. She took a risk with the reward being Red John’s capture. Now that she knows it’s not Red John, she might not be as docile towards the whole situation.

By the way, Cynic (screaming from his dungeon) wants the record to show that he mentioned the fact that while Jane is upset over lying to the jury, he’s not upset that he killed a man. Cynic adds that this is the second time Jane killed someone, and that he once stated “good riddance” when a suspect (Gorman from Blood for Blood) was killed during his arrest. I agree that Jane’s disregard for human life he deems unworthy plus his unapologetic demeanor is worrisome. It’s something I’ve been concerned about since he jaded himself by watching Steiner’s suicide. It seems a legitimate issue and I’ll be watching for future developments. Perhaps Jane telling Lisbon that he shanked a guy for money in prison was his subconscious expressing his own concern for his sanity (humanity), but Jane was projecting this concern onto Lisbon.

Cynic is laughing at me.

 Cynic: Just like I’m laughing at you now. BWAHAHAHAHAHA- Hey, wait, is that a muzzle?! Umph!!

Ahem. Sorry about him.

I also commented in the Blood and Sand Review:

I’m starting to fear the writers are “mentalizing” us, preparing us for something horrible Jane is going to do *_*

I’d be psyched that I was able to accurately interpret the writers hints for this season if I wasn’t so traumatized.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, I’m starting this review with the last final scenes since I can’t seem to write anything else before getting them off my chest. It’s also useful to go backward with this one as I plan on exploring the events which led up to Jane doing what he did.

Helping me along I’m happy to once again present my dear friend Little Mender who was kind enough to listen to my rants concerning Jane and managed to sum up in a nutshell my grievances with the situation. She also provided a comprehensive analysis of those crucial last moments. Below you’ll find both her thoughts (and mine), indicated by our respective pen names.  

Very Important Scene (VIS) #1: Title scene: Blinking Red Light

Feeling that newly in charge FBI agent Susan Darcy won’t take his suspicions of James Panser seriously, Jane takes matters into his own hands and accepts Karen Cross’s invitation to guest on her show alongside Panser. On the surface, Jane and Panser are both being interviewed as experts on SJK case. Below, they are facing off as Jane tries to get Panser to reveal himself as the real killer on air. Jane claims that it is only a matter of time before the serial is caught, insulting SJK (hence Panser) on live television.  

During a break James tells Jane that he knows what he is doing and that he will not let him “ruin this” for him. When the show starts again, Karen Cross asks James if he thinks the killer will strike again. Panser goes onto to give the following chilling soliloquy.

“He is growing more bold and more confident every day, more sure of his abilities and his greatness and why shouldn’t he be? He has been able to evade detection so easily he is too good to be caught.”

Panser is completely unaware of the dramatic and murderous affect his words have on Patrick Jane. During this foreboding speech viewers can just see how affected Jane is. No doubt he is stricken not only by Panser’s confidence that he won’t be caught, but also by how true Panser’s words seem of Red John, how he has eluded him all these years, and still does. He stares at a Blinking Red Light on one of the camera’s; almost as if he is hypnotized by it and Panser’s words. It might be that he was…

Karen wakes Jane from his trance when she asks him if he has any comments. Jane looks at Panser for a while and the man looks back; it’s the final stare down in the battle before the secret weapon is brought out. One can almost see Jane making a decision. When Karen calls out his name again, he says “It’s funny, Red John thought exactly the same thing.”   

Panser: “Somehow I don’t think the San Joaquin killer will be quite as easy to kill as Red John.”

Jane’s reply is simply “You’re very much mistaken.”

Panser: “Red John was an accomplished killer no doubt and I applaud you for ridding us of him, but there is no comparison to the San Joaquin. Red John was a common sociopath, lazy, sloppy, delusional…”

At this point, Jane attempts to intercede: “You really have no idea what you’re saying, Red John-” before he is cut off by Panser “Red John is dead, and the fact that he allowed himself to be caught and killed by you just proves my point.”

Less optimistic viewers than I probably figured out Jane’s exact intention in bringing Red John up the moment he did. They probably realized that Jane’s silence at this point, his taking a drink of water as he watches Panser rant over RJ’s weakness, wasn’t him fearfully stepping out of the way of a man intent on hanging himself with his words. Rather, less optimistic viewers probably realized Jane’s subsequent silence was him enjoying watching Panser hang himself with the rope Jane (most likely intentionally) gave him.

Little Mender: I think Jane thought to out Panser on Karen Cross’s show, or at least trick him into giving himself away. But he knew that would never happen (Panser actually was too smart for that), and he didn’t formulate the plan to lure him into a death snare until he was watching the red light. It would have triggered something in his conscious mind–a television talk show, an interview, discussing Red John, evaluating and assessing and dismissing him. I also think he wasn’t trying to get him to stop talking but was subtly egging him on, getting his ire up to keep going and say what Jane knew would incite RJ.

Reviewbrain: I completely agree, though I wish to the ends of the earth that it’s not true Jane was egging Panser on. But the only other realistic possibility which crossed my mind, is that Jane’s half-hearted attempts to stop Panser were so that he can later delude himself by thinking “Hey, I tried to stop him, it was his own fault” and so lessening any feelings of guilt (if any) which might arise (is that even likely?). So yeah, not exactly a better alternative.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #2: Jane and Panser in the Dressing Room

Jane, leaving the TV set, sees Panser in what is either the a bathroom or dressing room. He stops to tell him, in a huskier than usual voice, “You ah, you were very good out there. “  Panser thanks him. Jane leaves the room, closing the door behind him. Panser, looking at himself in the mirror says, “I was good.”

Little Mender: When Jane stops in to compliment Panser on his performance, his expression is serious and weighty as if he’s aware of the heinous import of what he’s done. But just before he exits, there’s that hint of a smile, as if he’s actually congratulating Panser (and himself) for doing exactly what Jane was leading him to do. My first consolation is that the smile MIGHT be Jane’s personal confirmation of what he believes of the worst of himself (reference his talk with Todd Johnson about hiding the darkest part of what’s in your heart so no one suspects what you’re capable of).

Reviewbrain: Again, I agree with Little Mender and I want to point out that the key word here is Jane “believes” the worst of himself; meaning this belief is not necessary true (despite all signs that it is). At this point in the scene, it is clear that Jane knows exactly what he has done and is a bit shaken, as evidenced by his demeanor and throaty tone. And yet, his congratulations to Panser also seemed like a smug, grim “Goodbye, we shouldn’t be seeing each other again.”

VIS #3: Jane in the attic

In the next scene, we see Jane’s mobile ring on one of the crates in the CBI’s godforsaken attic, made even more so by the eerily darkness. Jane sniffs before picking up the phone. 

Little Mender: As for the attic scene, Jane never leaves his phone lying around. I don’t think he can afford to lest someone should pick it up and read or listen to a saved message. It’s logical to deduce that he left the phone behind specifically so no one (especially Lisbon) could get in touch with him or find him, perhaps stopping him or dissuading him from what he thought to do or what he finally decided to do.

Reviewbrain: This is actually a very interesting possibility that never crossed my mind. I don’t know what Jane might have on his phone that he doesn’t want people to read, or if he had the presence of mind to leave his phone in the attic before taking off to Karen Cross’s show, but I suppose it is possible. Though I suppose if Lisbon intended to stop Jane she would have attempted to before he left her (as she does numerous times in Season 3, i.e. The Blood on his Hands). Personally, I had interpreted the phone’s position, along with the fact that there was a teacup nearby, to mean that Jane was lying on his makeshift bed some distance away from his phone after he drank tea. That, along with the Jane’s sniff before picking up the phone leads me to think that he was actually distressed (mind you, even if a little bit) over what he had done.

The fact that Jane is up again in that heinous attic does not bode well. Jane started sleeping/spending time in that attic after he “met” Red John in the season two finale. I always thought he was just working too hard on the case to go home. That and the fact that Jane once said he sleeps better at CBI. Now I’m starting to think Jane has another reason to stay at CBI; perhaps he feels safer there. I wonder if it’s Red John or his own demons that he fears the most…

Note: Jenny Lson brought to my attention that Jane’s tea set in this scene is not his usual turquoise blue cup. Rather, it is more similar to the one we saw Jane drink out of in Rosalind Harker’s home in Red John’s Footsteps, as well as the one Red John himself drank out of in the same episode. I think the heads of this show are too detail oriented to accidentally have Jane drink from the same type of cup as RJ’s. I’ll be saving this detail to discuss later.

VIS# 4: End Scene: Red John Smiley

Jane arrives at an unspecified location to find Lisbon, FBI Agent Susan Darcy, and a third unknown cop staring him down. He asks “What happened?” Lisbon tells him it’s Panser and to go see for himself. He does, approaching the crime scene he is faced with Red John’s smiley, no doubt drawn in Panser’s blood, the man’s dead body nearby.

Little Mender: When he arrives on the scene, Lisbon’s stance is defensive and suggests suspicion. Of course, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s because of the red smiley and all that it signifies. But while she probably doesn’t know where Jane went or what he did yet, there has to be the memory of his cryptic remark just before he left her last. I also think it’s significant that she didn’t accompany him to the scene but only directed him to it with a jerk of the head. She also didn’t reach out to him as she often does, a gesture to comfort or soften the blow, but kept her hands firmly in her trouser pockets.

Reviewbrain: Lisbon’s wary stance her is completely different from the sympathetic caring demeanor we’ve seen from her all this season. I’m glad of it, to be frank. I’d love to believe that she knows what Jane pulled. Alas, I think it more likely that she’s simply upset that she now has unequivocal evidence that Jane was right, Red John is still alive and is upset that this can of worms has opened up again. Mind you, it’s not that I doubt Lisbon’s ability to put two and two together and realize Jane’s role in Panser’s death; rather I don’t think the writers will let her realize it, at least not at this point, to delay the possible confrontation between her and Jane until they deem it timely.

Little Mender: I also noticed the stance and expression of the FBI agent who had taken over the SJK case, squinting at Jane, suspicious, wary and assessing. She seemed intelligent and broad in her thinking in those few minutes we saw her earlier, and she’s got to be thinking on his assertions that Timothy Carter was RJ, wondering if he knew or came to know the truth of that matter and if he knowingly lied to the jury, wondering how far he would go to stop another serial killer, wondering if he had some part in this or at the least wondering what behaviors the current situation might evoke in him. I would love to see something of what’s to happen down the road.

Reviewbrain: So would I. Jane has been wrong plenty of times before and if he continues on this path it’s only a matter of time before he does something else even his arrogant self will have cause to feel guilty for; killing someone innocent perhaps. Someone has to hold Jane accountable for his actions before this happens. And not just for the innocent lives he might take in the future, but for his own sake and Lisbon’s as well. I had hoped this would be Lisbon’s role this season; we’ve gotten clues that it might be and I’m inclined to hope that just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that it won’t. But if not Lisbon, I’ll happily take Agent Darcy.

Little Mender: My second consolation, if you could call it that, is that as he approached the scene and that little smile appeared (so much like the lightly smug smile he wore after killing Timothy Carter) is that it was directed, not at the dead body, but at the smiley face, as if the big win was flushing out RJ and that Panser being stopped is just a side benefit. Heartbreakingly, it’s just as likely that satisfied expression could be about his playing Red John.

Reviewbrain: Little Mender again manages to find the silver lining in a particularly black cloud. To be honest, I think it’s pitiful we’ve been reduced to consoling ourselves with the merest hints that Jane’s crimes are not deliberately evil, but just a means to an ends, if that were even true. Jane might have just as easily gotten Panser killed as payback for his insulting him as for that fact that he thinks he’s a killer (see how he used Ellis Mars vindictively in Red Moon). Hmm. Someone killing someone as payback for insulting their ego. Who does that remind us of?

Alternatively, Jane’s smile upon seeing the smiley could be interpreted as an excited “Game on”. Ugh.

Jane’s Character “development”

In reply to my comment (mentioned above) that the writers are mentalizing us for something horrible Jane might do, commentor All-I-Need stated:

He already killed someone, what could he possibly do that´s MORE horrible? Kill someone in a really really gruesome way? Not likely with the way he`s behaving nowadays…not to mention the fact that Lisbon stays closer to him now, to give him less opportunities to slip away and “do something stupid”.

Jane did manage to slip away from Lisbon, and now I think we have our answer on what could be more horrible than Jane killing a man: Jane becoming a serial killer.

My friend takes the idea even further…

Little Mender: All of this makes me wonder, does Jane realize that he is now, by loosest definition, a Red John accomplice? Does he realize the danger and implications of killing or luring someone to their death if he considers it to be “for the greater good” (an assertion made by RJ’s comrades about his ways)? Does he realize the definition of a serial killer? Perhaps two isn’t enough to make him meet that, but surely if he does it again (and I would think it increasingly easy) he would qualify. Surely three “victims” who meet certain descriptive killed over a period of time would suffice. And if that definition makes Jane a serial murderer, Lisbon (by loosest definition) fits the bill as well. Of course, she’s exempted from retribution by Jane’s standards as judge, jury and a law and god unto himself.

Reviewbrain:
So true. For someone who acts like he doesn’t believe in a higher power, Jane certainly acts as if he himself is one. I only hope that Lisbon’s only religion is enough to save them both. And I contend that Jane has already established a pattern of a serial killer:  Hardy (Red John’s Footsteps) Stiener (The Red Mile) Timothy Carter (Strawberries and Cream) and now, James Panser.  

Note: Hardy’s kill was a rightous one, Jane did it to save Lisbon’s life. But it was his first “kill”. Interestingly, it was the most horrified we’ve seen Jane despite the act being completely justified. A cop once told me the first time is the hardest. Little Mender is right, it is becoming increasingly easy for Jane to kill.  In the case of Steiner, Jane may or may not have done (or not done) enough to qualify for the crime of “assisted suicide”, but for the sake of this argument, he comes pretty close. Especially when you consider that his main reason for staying was not out of compassion, rather, to desensitize himself so that he’ll be able to kill Red John.

Little Mender: I read an interview at the end of S3 in which Bruno H said that Jane wants to go in a different direction now and be more open, make changes and move on with his life, implying a desire to be in a more positive psychological and personal place. Obviously that wasn’t true. There have been a spate of interviews and a few twitter messages from people connected with the show, and I don’t think any of them are to be believed, following the previous pattern of misleading viewers to keep us guessing. Jane’s behavior toward Lisbon and privately with the flower in the ocean thing is so confusing that I have to believe they are–rather clumsily–building toward something as they started to do about mid-season in S3. I find myself hoping that Jane is heading for a major fall. I just wonder who else will have to pay.

Reviewbrain: I feel for Little Mender; the reason I (try) to avoid all spoilers and teasers (even trailers) is because they tend to be misleading; their function is to market the product to viewers not to necessarily be honest with them; and while I used to think this show was the exception to the rule it is clear that that is no longer the case.

However…I don’t think Heller was being deliberately misleading in this case. The apparent contradiction between Jane’s peaceful demeanor earlier in this season and his vigilantism here has actually been set up very well, which is why the episode got the  full grade it did despite how much it depressed me.  

VIS #5: Jane and Panser visit Molly Meir’s family

We’ve often seen Jane relate to bereaved husbands, but rarely do we see him relate to grieving parents. I think the last time I remember was in season one. In Blinking Red Light, the case seemed to greatly effect Jane particularly after he visits the first victim Molly Meir’s parents. When Molly was killed, she was the same age Jane’s daughter would have been had she lived. Seeing her enraged mother screaming her disbelief that this “monster” was still out there killing more girls, her father’s quieter yet just as grieving demeanor…

What if Jane, by putting a flower in the ocean, really had intended to move on, to forget revenge? This possibility becomes especially likely if Jane believed that Red John really did want to retire (based on what RJ told Carter to say, his attempts to make Jane think he really was dead, and the fact that he has all but disappeared after Jane shot Carter).

Then, Molly’s mother’s frustration remind Patrick of his own. Seeing her suffering helpless family clearly pushed him to work the case harder, and finally pushed him to sign Panser’s death warrant when he couldn’t catch him.  Jane felt compelled to act to stop “this monster”, as the mother called him, to make up for his inability to stop RJ? If true, I wonder how many other surrogates Jane will have for RJ before he realizes what he is doing…

Little Mender: That could be it, I guess. Also, after reading your comments, I thought of him walking out of the first victim’s room, leaving her father staring at the screen, watching her dance and Panser saying more than once that the SJK would never be caught. And those two things made me wonder if Jane did what he did because he couldn’t bear another serial killer continuing. I guess there is some merit in what he did–he just seemed to at ease with it. And I don’t like Lisbon’s growing tendency to just let things go. I’m still bothered that she didn’t even seem to flinch when Jane told her he had purposely lied to the jury in his case. Or, maybe she just accepted that as part of how the system works, with all of its flaws. I’m getting a little tired of wondering and contemplating.

Reviewbrain: I guess the biggest question now would be how Lisbon will react now that Red John is back. I know since last season I’ve been advocating more than anyone for Lisbon to start letting Jane connect with her emotionally, blah, blah, blah, but at the same time I also stated that it shouldn’t be to the point where she completely loses wariness of him. I was as happy when Lisbon visited Jane in jail as I was when she told him she doesn’t trust him %100 (Scarlet Ribbons); as happy that she apparently kept the stone he gave her as I was when she insisted on remaining to ask her own questions after Jane told her they should go (‘Blood and Sand’). I took these as signs of the perfect balance Lisbon needs to have to deal with Jane: be intimate enough with him so that he’ll open up to her, while at the same time retain enough of her professionalism to be the voice of reason; a grounding force for when Jane goes too far. Jane’s statement that Lisbon is a “healthy moderating influence” (Little Red Book) along with his newfound tolerance towards spiritualism, and the flower he set into the sea (Blood and Sand) also had me overjoyed that perhaps Lisbon was changing him as much as he was her. This episode, however, the team dynamic shifted in a way that had my inner Cynic (y’all might remember him from the Scarlet Ribbon’s Review) screaming like a harpy.

Jane takes Lisbon under his wing

In the episode opener, Jane who has a flat tire has Lisbon talk him through their latest case. Lisbon notes the clean way the girls throat was slit, the carefully knotted wire binding the girls wrists and feet and the pebbles from the crime scene placed on the victim’s eyes. Jane tells Lisbon that she’s right in thinking that the suspect is a serial killer; Lisbon argues that she can’t assume that when Cho reveals that the profile fits four other victims. Jane congratulates her on calling it.

Later Jane has Lisbon use her intuition to narrow a list of eight suspects down to one. And while she tells Jane that she simply can’t dismiss the others based on her hunch he points out that her hunch is as good a place to start as any, adding “Well done Lisbon”.

Cynic: Witness the master grooming the student for his own nefarious use later.

Reviewbrain: Jane is just helping Lisbon hone skills she already has; and that’s a big step considering his ego and need to be the smartest in the room.

Cynic: He’s doing it because he needs her as his sidekick.

Reviewbrain: No, it’s just more proof of his burgeoning affection.

Cynic: Affection you say? And that makes you happy? Weren’t you the one who said (in the Blood for Blood Review)

Gaining Jane’s affection comes with the price (or gift) of him trying to convert you to his religion; that religion being, that he’s always right and Red John is the devil.

Reviewbrain: Uh, Little Mender, a little help here?

Little Mender: I’ve thought his watching her more was about his heightened sense of protectiveness, but now I have to wonder if he’s been gauging how much further he can stretch her, how far he can make her willing to go. I’ve got to hope she’s not so far gone that if she realizes what he did she won’t just absorb it and go on. But, if she can’t do that, their relationship will be left in tatters, nearly all hope for Jane’s “redemption” gone, and Jane won’t have the desire to repair it because I fear that, drawing the line at her life (and knowing Lisbon would draw the line at her family’s and team’s lives), Jane doesn’t care what Lisbon might have to sacrifice for him. She’s already let him know she expects to lose her job. What more can there be? And if he continues on this track, if she gets in his way, how safe can she hope to remain?

Reviewbrain: I guess I’m outnumbered. Let the record show that despite all my defense of Jane, even I am unhappy that Lisbon didn’t even try to find out what Jane was going to do when he told her that while her hands were tied, his weren’t. It’s a contrast to when last season she wanted to know where he was at all times; it’ll be interesting to see which MO she’ll be operating under in the future after this episode. Also, even I couldn’t help the feeling of foreboding watching Jane instruct Lisbon and congratulate her so happily. I had to remind myself that Jane telling Lisbon to go with her instincts could be a good thing.

Perhaps this is where the answer lies: We know that Jane needs someone better than him to guide him. Could this be what he is (perhaps subconsciously) doing? Jane encouraging Lisbon to rely on her instincts gives the implicit meaning that he trusts them as well. Could this mean that when and if she reaches a point where she does not agree with him, where she tries to stop him, Jane will listen to her?

Cynic is laughing at me. Again.

Conclusion:

In the Blood and Sand review, I commented:

All I want, whatever new plotline is developed, is for Jane to be able to retain his newfound peace. I’d hate for it all to be built up only to have an event occur which makes him regress. That would completely depress me.

I suppose it was too much to hope for Jane achieving his peace at this point in the series . But I must reiterate my concern from episode The Red Mile; using such dramatic plots with so much time left on the show is not the wisest move. I’ve had so many people telling me that I’ve been over grading this season’s episodes; that they didn’t feel many of the tens’ I gave were deserved, until after they read the reviews. I can only imagine this is because the show has had so many dramatic plots; mostly RJ centered, that it has desensitized the audience to the point where many of them can no longer appreciate the show’s subtleties. If the ratings are down from last year, I’m certain this is the only reason.

The show needs to slowly wean the audience off its adrenaline fix. Otherwise, in trying to outdo itself, it risks losing what made it special to begin with. You’ve got three + seasons left. SLOW THE HECK DOWN ALREADY!!

Unless they have all the season plots planned up to season seven (which, with these writers isn’t unlikely), in which case, God speed. I wish I could fast forward to happier times, finish the series, then rewatch knowing all will be well in the end.

I also stated, in the Blood and Sand Review:

Some issues raised, and I hope will continue being explored include: what people have to do to survive, where the line between victim stops and that of perpetrator begins, as well as how close the serious crimes unit has become and how far these people will go to help each other.

In my review of Strawberries and Cream I said that I while I was unhappy Jane killed “Red John”, I didn’t think he’d be able to live with letting him go. In “Blinking Red Light” we see Jane feeling compelled to commit yet another murder (Jane may not have killed Panser himself; but he may as well have). We also have him skewing the line between victim (having lost his family so viciously) into becoming a perpetrator.

It remains to be seen how far Lisbon will go to protect him. I just want to point out the there are different forms of protection.

There is an Arabic saying which loosely translated states: “Help your fellow man whether he is the criminal or the victim. If he is the victim, you help by fighting for him. If he is the criminal, you help by stopping him.”

What this statement means, is that by stopping a friend from doing harm unto himself or others, you are literally helping him; even if it may not seem like it to that person.

I want Lisbon to help Jane. Not by going along with everything he say/does, but by stopping him from becoming what he pretty much has already become: a killer.

My desire for her to remain the loyal, strong and ethical person that she is greater than ever. It’s the only hope I see for Jane’s character. Some may find watching Jane become a serial killer exciting. I don’t. Because while so far all his ‘victims’ have been criminals (and in the case of Panser, we have no proof of that whatsoever) it’s only a matter of time before he kills someone innocent on a hunch. Jane is not infallible, no one is. I just hope Lisbon’s (not %100) trust for Jane, and her own sense of the law remains intact enough to prevent Jane from giving himself more acts to feel guilty for.

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

I suppose it is possible that all the psychological references here were to prepare us for the fact that this is the new face of the show: Jane the serial avenger. I have to say I’m not interested in that show; if I was I’d watch Dexter, not the Mentalist. I can appreciate the irony of Jane turning into the very man he despises (a major hint was his using the same tea set RJ does). I can even appreciate him not being aware of it. But having Lisbon stand by and do nothing to stop it would probably be more than I can stomach. Having her be completely unaware of it is worse because it’s simply not realistic. This show’s hook was supposed to be Jane seeking redemption by solving crimes and getting his archenemy. Killing, even a righteous killing, is hardly the right path to redemption, in my humble opinion.

And while I appreciate how nicely the writers set up this plot line, no amount of build up will allow me to forgive them turning my favorite character into a serial killer. Jane is not amoral; he’s worked long enough at CBI to be aware of the law. He just chooses to ignore it.

If I could sit in a room with Patrick Jane it would probably be a parody of his scene with Panser at Karen Cross’s show. I (the blogger) would probably be playing his role in that scene, telling him how he needs to stop killing people and it’s only a matter of time before he makes a mistake and is caught. Jane (the killer) would be Panser, lost in his own ego and grandiose defending his genius; him being too good to be caught.

Surreal.

Best Scenes

The winner: The scene where Lisbon and Grace search Haibach’s home. I loved the intensity, the music, the build up, the direction, everything was phenomenal.

First Runner up: Jane and Panser’s Karen Cross interview; the title scene.

Third Runner up: The scene where Jane and Lisbon go to the warehouse. The direction was superb, and David Paymer was phenomenal. His performance truly has me doubting Jane was right about him being the killer.

Best Lines:

“Working on a computer, what’s next? Rayguns? Teleporters?” Lisbon to Jane.

“He’s become wrapped up in his own mythology, drank his own Kool aid, so to speak.” Jane on SJK. Takes one to know one Jane.

“He’s a sad little man, living in his own fantasy of power and prestige. I’ts only a matter of time before he makes a mistake.”-Jane on Panser. Jane, see the above comment.  

“What did they do, hold your shoes hostage?” Jane to Karen Cross. Awesome comment especially since she swapped her sexy killer heals for comfy sneakers.

“That kind of duplicity, leading a double life, I don’t know how you do that.” Panser to Jane.

“This is a man to be feared, not pitied.”- Panser on SJK. I’m starting to think the same might be true for Jane. But even the fear I feal is for him.

“We’ll think of something.” Lisbon, to Haibach, on why he was being arrested.

Icing’s on the cake

Our beloved foodie is back! Kudo’s to Woodruff for having Rigsby wolf down a hot dog in this episode. And Cho’s look of distaste at all the ketchup on his face was priceless as well.

Lisbon’s curdling glare at Haibach and her fighting with his lawyer: I’ve missed pissed off Lisbon. Her hardness here reminded me of her distaste of  Kurdich in episode Red Tide. Tough Lisbon we love you!

Jane looked a bit terrified at the new victims gouged out eyes. It’s nice to see that there are things which still get to him. We should enjoy this while it lasts…

Honorable Mention

Simon Baker (as director and actor). He really goes all out with the directing and makes some very interesting shots using surprising angles. Robin Tunney was as delightful as ever; pissed off, cohorting, taking charge. David Paymer; again, I’m not so sure he’s not innocent, Missi Pyle; love her smiling at Jane, apologizing for last time. Blake Neely (composer) I think his music speaks for itself. Finally William Mapother as Haibach; his scenes were Lisbon were very good, especially when he started crying at being caught.

 Pet Peeves

If the truest motive of a serial killer does lie within the first victim, how come we never got to know why Panser fixated on Molly Meir?

Did Karen Cross’s accent disappear along with her heels?

Did Lisbon really need to arrest Haibach? Couldn’t she just have said that they have a suspect in custody without risking being sued by his lawyer?

Jane’s been wrong before. Just because he says Panser is the SJK doesn’t make it so. Even Panser’s statements “I’m not going to let you ruin this for me”, and his statement “I did good” could simply be referring to the fact that he didn’t let Jane steal his spotlight, didn’t let Jane set him up for a murder he didn’t commit, and that he’s pleased with himself that he stuck by his own analysis of SJK instead of allowing Jane to bully him into submission.

That would be totally awesome. If Jane had RJ kill Panser because he thought he was a serial killer, only for Panser to turn out to be completely innocent; his only crime having a too neat medicine cabinet, liking the same song as one of the victim’s did, and being unfortunate enough to cross the almighty Jane. What a wakeup call that would be.


Mentalist Where in the World is Carmine O’Brian Review


CBI Serious Crimes unit is called in when chief of police Marnie Green is found shot dead in Fairmont. While checking the Chief’s home Senior agent Teresa Lisbon finds her own brother Tommy Lisbon (Henry Thomas) there with his daughter, Annabeth (Madison McLaughlin). Tommy, a bail enforcement agent, tells Lisbon he had asked the Chief to keep an eye out for a white collar fugitive named Carmine O Brian.  that he was tracking. Teresa is aghast that her brother is working as a bounty hunter. As the two siblings compete on who will capture O Brian first, CBI Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) discovers who the real killer is.

Concise verdict

Considering how phenomenal ‘Blood and Sand’ was I felt sorry for whoever would write the next episode. I felt even sorrier when I learned that the episode would center around Lisbon as this was something fans have been waiting for for so long that expectations were bound to be high. But despite all this, ‘Where in the World Is Carmine O Brian’ was a satisfying episode on most fronts and an enjoyable one too. 8.5.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review

It seems the task of making Lisbon do questionable and out of character actions must always fall on writer Appelbaum. But while the motivation was not clear at the time of Blood for Blood (although I’d  considered many possibilities at the time which since then were proven true) it is a bit more understandable in this episode thanks to a few well placed hints. While I’m still not positive on how a few things went down in the episode (behind the scenes), I understand that this ambiguity was most likely intentional; very sly indeed. I’m mostly referring the plan which ultimately got Chief Green’s killer, Chad, but more on that later.

Once again the episode can be divided again into an A and B plot. The former is Lisbon’s, while Amanda Righetti ones again takes the spotlight in the latter to deal with her character’s running themes this season.

B Plot: Grace’s problem with Wayne’s new relationship/ her post traumatic stress.

In ‘Blood and Sand’ Van Pelt exhibited obvious jealously and bitterness over her ex-boyfriend’s new relationship. In this episode, she gets a chance to ask Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) about Sarah Harrigan after he answers yes to Annabeth’s question on whether he has a girlfriend. Grace wonders if Wayne is in love and when he states that it doesn’t matter Grace tells him it certainly matters to Sarah. Rigsby points out that taking relationships too seriously gets people hurt (implying how he was hurt by Grace). Softening the blow he asks her what love even means to which she responds that she’s not the best person to ask as her last relationship didn’t end well.

-I think after being wooed by a criminal (for the second time) we’re starting to see some regret from Grace over letting Rigsby go. Future episodes will no doubt show whether this is true.

As to Grace’s PTSD, a lot of fans had wondered (and some had hoped) if Jane will be able to help her cope. They were no doubt happy to see Jane make Grace feel better by helping her entrap a lecher the team found while searching for Chief Green’s killer. While this made Grace feel a lot better at the time I don’t know if it will be enough to help her heal completely.

A Plot: Lisbon’s Relationship with Tommy

Lisbon’s brother Tommy was first mentioned in episode ‘Code Red’. Lisbon, thinking she was dying, asks Cho to look up her Tommy’s phone number in her planner, and to call him and tell him that she forgives him for “whatever” and to tell him that “He needs to make peace with his brothers”

-The dialogue suggests that Tommy is the black sheep in the family and makes the strained relationship between the siblings obvious. As does the fact that Lisbon (at the time anyway) didn’t even have Tommy’s number saved on her cell phone.

We get more hints in this episode. Tommy asks Lisbon to not “bust his chops” like she always does, meaning Lisbon has disapproved of his behavior in the past. Later, when Lisbon vents to Jane, viewers get a clearer picture on what the sibling’s dilemma is. Lisbon is like a concerned, slightly overbearing parent who wants the best for her kids. Tommy knew she wouldn’t approve of his new job and so didn’t tell her about it. Lisbon on the other hand feels betrayed, resentful and left out at not having her opinion count in her brothers’ lives after she’d raised them.

Viewers are able to sympathize with both Lisbon and her brother here. She has obviously been burned by Tommy in the past and it becomes clear that her brother is used to manipulating her to get what he wants. First, he gets her to take care of his daughter while he searches for Carmine. Later, he lies to her about going back home, spies on her (via spyware on her phone) to get Carmine, and only reveals that he’s in trouble, asking her help, when he’s desperate.

Tommy’s behavior here is so like Jane’s (viewers need go no further than episode ‘Redacted’) that it goes a long way in explaining why up to this season Lisbon has been so wary of her consultant’s efforts of an intimate friendship in the past. It also explains how until now she’d chosen to deal with Jane and why she’s so suspicious of him (other than the obvious reasons, of course). She’s known someone like him in the past; her brother and doesn’t trust his personality type.

But Tommy is sympathetic as well. He’s broke and is trying to raise his child the best he can. Bounty hunting is the job he found that pays well and that he’s good at. The scene where Lisbon and Tommy have it out in her office is heartbreaking because both Lisbons are full of such righteous anger that reconciliation seems impossible…until Jane steps in.

The Lisbons Catch Chief Green’s killer

Jane gives Carmine O’Brian to Tommy (whom he’d wanted to collect his bounty) then tells him to pick up his daughter at the inn (where the killer Chad works for his father) where Jane had taken her. Jane then quickly grabs Lisbon to follow Tommy and “explains on the way”.
Next, viewers watch Lisbon call Chad and tells him that she needs the hotel’s security grab a bounty hunter who has with him a potential witness in Green’s homicide. Once Tommy enters the hotel, Chad approaches him and offers him money to take Carmine to Mexico. Tommy asks why and calls Chad out on wanting Carmine away so that he can’t oust Chad as Green’s killer.

-Henry Thomas was so good in this scene. I watched the scene several times to decide whether Lisbon had filled him in on the situation beforehand (via phone call before she called Chad) or not. I *still* can’t tell if Tommy was really a clueless participant or if he was just that good of an actor and was tricking Chad. I hope the latter is true. Lisbon working alongside Tommy to catch her killer puts her in a more favorable light than her using her brother to lure in a dangerous criminal. Especially if we are to believe that the reason she hated his new job in the first place is because she was worried about him; as illustrated by her “Be careful Tommy” at the end of the episode.

I guess it could be possible that Lisbon didn’t tell Tommy about the plan to stick it to him, put him in his place and use him like he used her earlier. But I refuse to believe Lisbon is would willingly put her loved ones in danger. It’s completely out of her character to be that careless  or that petty.

On the other hand, it is something Jane would do. I guess the question is how far has Lisbon been affected by Jane?

This is where the “well placed clues” I mentioned earlier come into play:

1- Lisbon’s call to Chad is a tacit indication that she could have just as easily called Tommy to fill him in on the plan.

2-Later when she parks the car, she asks Jane “Where is he?” worried. Jane assures her that Tommy will show up and when he does Lisbon states “If anything happens to him…” This statement and the tone Tunney uses in saying it shows restrained yet resigned concern; like a mother watching her child go to school on the first day. Jane plays the father in this analogy, appeasing Lisbon with, assuring her and asking her to trust that her child will be okay.

3 -Tommy didn’t seem too surprised when Lisbon and Jane showed up (again, it took me several replays to realize this).

4- And finally, Jane’s “well done Lisbon family” seems to cinch the fact that they were all actively, voluntarily cooperating in the bust.

Note: I don’t think Annabeth’s part was planned though, based on Jane’s surprised (yet proud) face when he saw that she had been the one to trip the fire alarm.

mage by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

I for one am assured that Lisbon filled Tommy in on the plan beforehand. No matter how much she’s been easing up on, she still has her boundaries (just as Jane has slowly been gaining some from her). I’m also positive that her problem with Tommy’s job really does stem out of concern for him (along with whatever past negative experience with him which have her doubting him). His using her had to hurt too. But I think, after their fight, Lisbon felt guilty and recognized the opportunity Jane’s ruse offered her to reconcile things with her brother. Having Tommy participate in Chad’s collar would show him that his older sister trusts his abilities enough to have him help her.

But what really annoys me is that we don’t know! This is like Gable’s episode ‘Red Hot’ where we get a lot of hints on what may be going in the characters’ minds and behind the scenes  but we don’t know for sure. For example, was Lisbon in Mashburn’s hotel room or not?

Similarly, it recalls Heller’s episode ‘Red Moon’ where Jane and Lisbon have it out in Hightower’s office; Had Jane told Lisbon that he suspected Todd at that point? I doubt it or she wouldn’t have been so emphatic with her “Vengeance is not legal people need to know that” obviously referring to Jane. I also doubt she would have been so annoyed when Hightower sided with Jane if her and Jane’s argument had just been an act. But again we don’t know.

If it was Appelbaum’s intention was to follow the show’s main writers in keeping the viewers burning with curiosity I dare say he’s very satisfied.

Now one may argue that I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I beg to differ.

Best Scenes

2nd runner up: Lisbon and Tommy’s fight

I detailed above the importance of this scene but I didn’t mention how amazing Thomas and Tunney’s acting was. Consider it mentioned.

1st runner up: Lisbon vents to Jane

As stated above in the discussion above, this scene revealed a lot about the problems between Teresa and Tommy. But it also offers continuity to Lisbon’s relationship with Jane and was funny to boot. Lisbon starts talking s to Jane about the case when he tells her: “Fascinating but not what you really want to talk about.” And that was all he needed to say to get Lisbon to start venting.

I think viewers have now gotten more than enough proof that the wall of China between our main protagonists has crumbled down to close to nothing. There was a time when Jane wouldn’t even venture to reach out to Lisbon (Red Tide) and another where he’d had to prod her continuously to talk about what’s bothering her (Redline). Here Lisbon has a practically one sided conversation while Jane lends a friendly ear and utters a few benign yet meaningful comments. When he tries to give Lisbon some good advice “Live and let live, you’ll all be happier” she gets him a terse “Mind your own business” for his trouble. Tunney was hilarious here, and Baker’s expression after his character is effectively told to shut up is funny as heck too.

The winner: Lisbon and Tommy’s End Scene

After the case is closed Lisbon asks Tommy if he still wants Carmine. When he says yes she tells him she can pick him up from holding, adding that while she’s not happy with what he’s doing she could be wrong; and that since he’s got such a great kid he’s obviously doing something right. She adds that she’s proud of him, maybe even a little jealous.  They are words Tommy obviously needed to hear. Floored, he thanks and hugs her.

-Here, Lisbon yielded one motherly instinct (protectiveness) for another (tenderness). I suspect it was very difficult for her as she’s obviously used to dishing out the former. I’m not sure if she was being completely honest with Tommy when she said the above statements or if she just wanted to be encouraging.

But her next sentence is crystal clear: “I love you, and you know I’m here for you right?”

Lisbon clearly wants her brother to feel like he can count on her, as opposed to hiding things from her and manipulating here. But she realizes he can’t do that if he can’t communicate with her. The idea that he feel unable to do so seems painful to her, as her question whether he knows he can count on her is what brings her to tears.

As I expect it will the rest of the viewers. Tunney was phenomenal. She gives Lisbon an air which Jordan Harper dubbed (and nailed) via Mashburn: “damaged intensity”. It makes whoever sees her want to hug her.

Conclusion

Last week I attempted to explain Lisbon’s lack of anger towards Jane’s shooting Timothy Carter; a job a couple of the commentors did much better than I (see previous Mentalist post).

I think this episode also serves to explain why Lisbon is being more understanding towards Jane: she wants to be in on his games the better to control them.

But this raises an important question: is she? Controlling them?

Perhaps control is the wrong word here because it implies that someone is in charge when it seems more obvious than ever that these two are partners, working in tandem.

Let’s just say that knowing about Jane’s ruses beforehand gives Lisbon a chance to choose how/if she wants to participate, even if is after the fact. For example, in this episode, he told Lisbon about his plan after he’d already given Tommy Carmine, but she could have still put it to a stop. It was nowhere near as manipulative or as terrible as putting her on the spot the way he did with Trina in ‘Blood for Blood’ (Yes, I will continue bringing it up; I’m like a elephant that way, I never forget)

It will be interesting to see if Jane will only involve Lisbon in schemes he suspects she will follow willingly, he was very happy with her in this episode when she did; which I like to think meant he wasn’t 100% sure that she would. I do hope that her willingness to listen to him will also work vice-versa. That in the future he will be more open to taking her advice even when she *doesn’t* agree with him.; something I’ve been wishing for since last season when I stated that he needs someone to guide him.

In the event that a situation arises where Jane and Lisbon do not see eye to eye, we will know for sure if Jane’s character has developed as much as Lisbon’s. We’ve gotten some signs, but it might be that Jane’s newfound peace could be a double edged sword; it could make him as incorrigible as ever.

If the latter is true, I doubt anyone will fault Lisbon if she reverts to her old way of dealing with Jane, or at least not be as obliging as she has been so far. In fact, I dare say most fans will be disappointed in her if she doesn’t.

Because while it’s  been wonderful to see understanding Lisbon, it’s not fair to the character that her opinion only matter; that she only be included in her loved ones lives provided she always go along with what they want or agree with them.

Icings on the Cake

This is kind of random but I love Canadian actor Carlo Rota J

I though Cho getting hit by a car, forcing him to take it easy and providing a reason for his absence in this episode was quite clever. I wonder if it’s also part of a plot line for him…

Honorable Mentions

Henry Thomas was very good and was able to showcase Tommy’s character traits very well depending on the characters situation: defensive, sheepish, desperate, manipulative, unsure; he was excellent and he and Tunney had great chemistry together.

Robin Tunney: see above.

John-Paul Lavoisier as the perp Chad was very good. Especially in the last scene, his confession and how wired he was while talking; like he was already begging for a coke hit.

Pet peeves: Lisbon’s scene at the mini-arcade with Annabeth.

-At first I thought Annabeth’s part in the conversation with Lisbon (her telling Lisbon that she wanted to be a cop like her) was horribly cliché. Then when Tommy winked at his daughter after he finished downloading the spyware to Lisbon’s phone, I realized that she could have just been buttering her aunt up to keep her busy while her dad does his thing. I don’t know which annoys me more.

- Why oh why couldn’t Tommy have been wearing his “Bail Enforcement Officer” jacket when he went to the hotel in the scene where Chad is captured? It would explain how Chad was able to ID him as the bounty hunter. As it is, it seems that Chad is a mentalist like Jane is, able to identify a man’s profession simply by looking at him; unlikely.

 I’m beat. Care to share your favorite quotes? Also, please rate and comment. 

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Blood and Sand Review


Synopsis

A girl’s body, Talia Suarez, washes up on San Felix Island’s shore, off the coast of California. Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and her team are called in as there is evidence of attack on the victim. Consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) figures out that Talia was killed on the island, and did not drift from the mainland as the island’s inhabitants believe. Meanwhile, Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) starts showing signs of post traumatic stress due to shooting her criminal fiancée.

Concise Verdict

Mentalist writers are really going all out this season. They’re making every bit of dialogue count, infusing it with back story and adding details to make the crime solving process more believable. Blood and Sand is another strong addition. Writer Eoghan Mahoney gives us a gorgeous setting, loads of character interaction, introspection, and a highly interesting case. I’d send him flowers if I had his address. The superb acting, exquisite direction, and dreamy music also contribute to make this episode another perfect 10/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

It is normal for a procedural show to have very little time within a single episode to spare on “normal” dialogue and character interaction. That is not the case in Blood and Sand so I organized this review to handle the generous helping of character plots. Instead of important scenes, I’ve split the discussion according to the main themes dealing with the following characters: Teresa Lisbon, Grace Van Pelt, and Patrick Jane.

Lisbon’s Character Growth

Lisbon accompanies Jane to look for the piece of wood he threw in the ocean when they first came to the crime scene. Usually, Jane prefers going on his own the better to surprise Lisbon with the results of his efforts; it’s his MO which stems at least partly from his need to show off. But that no longer seems the case. Even the simple act of having Lisbon search along with him supports the theme of increased understanding and teamwork between them (as shown in every episode so far this season). Further indication of this is how Lisbon told Jane “Good idea” when he first threw the tree limb without asking him why he did it. More and more viewers are getting signs that Lisbon just gets Jane these days, and doesn’t need to ask for explanations behind his actions.

Jane finds a translucent stone on the beach (I’m guessing a piece of quartz) and gives it to Lisbon. She says “Nice” before adding, “Not what we’re looking for.” Jane tells her she could make a necklace out of it. Lisbon agrees, albeit somewhat skeptically, that she could. Jane tells her that she should and that she “should have some kind of restful hobby”.

First of all, Lisbon*gasp* does not *GASP* throw the stone away as I thought she would (at least not on screen). She holds it in her hand for a bit, then in the next shot her hand is empty. If she was going to get rid of the stone I’d think she would have done so immediately, so I’m thinking she probably put it in her pocket. Second Lisbon does not mock Jane for his sentimental suggestion that she make a necklace out of the quartz. She doesn’t even react defensively to Jane’s statement that she could use a restful hobby Lisbon is always on the defense whenever Jane tries to help her or reach out to her in any way. Who is this woman?!

Don’t get me wrong, I love it!

Much as I adore Lisbon’s fierce personality and snappy comebacks, last season I wished she’d understand the affect her detachment has on her team (‘Bloodstream’). I also hoped she’d recognize that sometimes, Jane’s seemingly careless personal statements are in fact tentative attempts to connect emotionally with her (‘Every Rose has It’s Thorn’). I also wished that once in a while she’d respond to those attempts as it is clear Jane’s in desperate need for her to do so.

Can it be true? Have my prayers been answered?!

It seems like it. When Jane finds the piece of wood proving his theory that the girl was killed on the island, he tells Lisbon “I told you!” She doesn’t respond with an eye roll or even a sarcastic “whatever” she indulges him with a “Yes you did,” like a mother congratulating a needy child on a job well done.

First Jane is growing up, now Lisbon is becoming more emotionally available, now this is what I call exciting!! :D Character growth how I love thee!

Now this change is not limited to Jane, nor is it new. I mentioned this before but Lisbon seems to have a soft-spot for Rigsby in particular (Red Gold). Their interaction is very sibling-like. He’s the only team member (aside from Jane) who risks teasing her and is at times even protective of her (‘Flame Red’, ‘Russet Potatoes’, ‘Red Menace’, ‘Red Gold’). I always thought Lisbon put up with it (as much as Lisbon could, anyway) because he possibly reminds her of her younger brothers. She was especially affectionate, almost motherly with him in ‘Like a Red-Headed Stepchild’ when he came clean to her about his father being involved in the case (one of my favorite scenes ever).

But more recently this affection has been extending to the other members of the team as well. Readers may recall Lisbon in the ‘Strawberries and Cream’ calling Cho by his first name and asking him to trust her. And in this season’s premiere she told Grace as a friend to talk to the department shrink and not let what happened to her (killing her fiancée in self-defense) eat away at her.

Alternatively, the one person Lisbon never gets close to is Jane. So it was nice to see her letting him in along with the others. She even drank his tea last episode. That is not to say that Lisbon has lost her strong personality, especially when it comes to Jane. He remains the one person she has yet to refer to by his first name, a fact I (perhaps hypocritically) actually love for now. And while she trusts him more than she did, it’s not enough to always follow his lead. When Lisbon and Jane question Jed Stack and his men, she recognizes Whit (Zack Ward) as being suspicious and tells Jed that she’d like to interview him.  Jane interrupts telling her there’s no need, that he’s already interviewed Stack’s employees and that “We should leave”.

Both Lisbon and viewers know Jane enough by now to realize when he’s in the process of hatching a plan. But Lisbon still has her own way of doing things. She ignores Jane and demands to know where the workers were, staying Jane mid stride and making him double back slightly. I don’t know if this is Lisbon’s way of affirming her position as boss or if her professionalism is driving her need to cover the basics here. Either way, it’s nice to see that she’s still her own woman. The moment is also indicative and continuity to the fact that Lisbon still doesn’t trust Jane %100 (as she stated in ‘Scarlet Ribbons’). That’s in keeping with her guarded character and is therefore very gratifying to see.

In a related matter, it has come to my attention that a lot of fans are confused over Lisbon not being angrier with Jane over his shooting Timothy Carter. I feel that the writers have more than laid enough ground for this to be likely and realistic (read Red AlertBlood for Blood’, ‘Every Rose Has it’s Thorn’, and ‘Redacted’ Reviews for details). But I realize that a lot of the stigma is out of fear for Lisbon’s strength of character. IMHO Lisbon has come to realize that you can’t hold people to your own standards; or like Grace put so succinctly in season one, “sometimes you have to go along to get along”. Also, in the Season three premiere Lisbon told Jane “We’re a family”. Ideally, family members should accept each other, vices and all. Jane shooting Timothy Carter may have crossed the line, or it may have not. He has always told Lisbon what his intentions were. He even straight up told the jury what his intentions were at his trial: he shot Carter because he wanted revenge for his family. And he was acquitted by the justice system which Lisbon believes in.

None of this makes what Jane did right, as I am sure even he knows by now, but perhaps it helped ease the forgiveness process. Let’s not forgot that Jane told Lisbon Carter had a gun, implying that he shot him out of self defense. That and the fact that Lisbon believes Red John is dead, makes her think everything that happened  afterwards, her getting shot, her getting suspended, was worth it. Most probably, when Red John shows up again will be when the poop hits the fan. I doubt it’ll be pretty, but I know it’s going to be riveting.

So what do you think?

Grace’s Post Traumatic Stress

Grace’s waning emotional well-being was established early this season via her concerned coworkers; mostly ex-boyfriend Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman).  In Little Red Book, he questions whether it’s a good idea for her to get her Godfather, a minister, to sign the necessary forms for her to get back to work (instead of the department shrink as protocol). In ‘Pretty Red Balloon’ he worries about her after she shot a dangerous suspect. Then in ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ he seemed disturbed that she used the story of killing her fiancée to get a Henry Tibb’s wife to cooperate with their investigation. Finally, he stops her from almost shooting Tibb’s in her zeal during the investigation.

In this episode Grace loses her temper with the victim’s social worker and knocks over her coffee cup when she and Rigsby get up to leave Social Services . Outside she vents about the worker’s careless attitude. Rigsby tries to calm her down and when she doesn’t tells her that he should drive as she’s too upset. A struggle over the car keys ensues until Wayne, realizing his and Grace’s proximity, relents his position, both physical, and within the argument.

For her part Grace seemed intrigued (pleased even) by her and Rigsby’s little moment. It is clear that she doesn’t realize that Rigsby is just looking out for her as a friend; but she finds out soon enough.

Grace loses her temper again when she and Cho go to bring in suspect Dennis Kagen (Dwain Murphy). Despite Cho telling her he’ll take lead, she grabs at Dennis who reacts by hitting her. Enraged, she punches him in the back even after she cuffs him. Later at CBI Kagen insists on having a lawyer present. The public defender’s office sends Sara Harrigan (Jillian Bach).

Viewers will recall Sarah and Rigsby met when he questioned her during a case involving the owner of a matchmaking service (Every Rose has its Thorn). At the time she bashfully asked Rigsby if he was seeing anyone, he replied no, and later took the hint and asked her out.

I am so happy to see her again. In the ‘Like a Red-Headed Stepchild” review I expressed concern in the comments that Rigsby telling Grace he was still in love with her constituted as a vow to of celibacy, or something. I felt that it wasn’t fair to have him pine for her while she lives happily ever after (or was supposed to anyway). Guest reviewer Violet pointed out that, on the contrary, Rigsby expressing himself opened the door for him to finally be able to move on from loving Grace.

Thankfully, it looks like Violet was right. It looks like Rigsby and Sarah have been dating for a while now. It also seems like he’s told her about his previous relationship with Grace; as made obvious by the recognition on Sarah’s face and her moment of awkwardness when Van Pelt introduces herself. Speaking of which, at that point Grace doesn’t even know Wayne and Sarah are dating, but is nevertheless not her usual friendly self when she greets Sarah. Her “Do we know each other” was very reserved, almost to the point of being rude which might have added to Sarah’s discomfort.

Rigsby, hearing Sarah’s voice quickly intervenes and offers to take her to her client. His abruptness has Grace pondering what’s up with them, to which Cho helpfully explains that Wayne and Sarah are obviously dating, to which Van Pelt get’s a partly bemused, partly derisive look on her face.

Her day doesn’t get much better. Lisbon tells her that not only did she have to release Dennis due to Grace’s excessive force with him, but that she also got a complaint from Social Services about the coffee Grace spilled on the social worker. Grace denies having done anything wrong and is heavily defensive, almost abrasive, even as Lisbon explains that their unit is under a lot of scrutiny and that it is vital they make a good impression on the new boss. Lisbon then asks her kindly,  “As your friend, should I be worried about you?”

This is the second and perhaps the last time Lisbon will reach out for Grace, since, apparently Grace is in complete denial that anything is wrong with her. Lisbon then puts on her boss’s hat: “Any more of this and we will have a serious problem.”

It seems that “more of this” will be happening sooner rather than later, if Grace’s  heated and vindictive interrogation of the killer at the end of the episode is any indication. But more on that later.

After Rigsby and Grace get a confession out of Whit, Rigsby starts talking to explain his behavior at the office with Sarah. Grace interrupts to say flatly “Oh yeah, congratulations, she seems nice.” Rigsby goes on to tell Grace that he doesn’t want things to be awkward between them, she tells him that she’s the least of his problems, hinting quite meanly that Sarah is a problem. When Rigsby asks her to explain, Grace states that Sarah is a public defender adding “Good luck, but be careful”.

Grace looks like she’s picked up some techniques from Jane, but is not necessarily using that knowledge for good. Her comments about Rigsby’s girlfriend were to deflect from the fact that she may have a problem with him seeing other people.  It’s a bit underhanded considering he is being so nice about the issue and is taking her feelings into consideration. On the other hand, Grace is clearly in a highly fragile emotional state. Her mood swings and temper are a clear sign of post traumatic stress. In episode Little Red Book I stated that I respected Grace’s decision to talk to her Godfather priest about what happened with her fiancée. Now I’m starting to think that she just got him to sign off on her papers, that she didn’t discuss the issue at all, and that Rigsby at the time sensed she’d do that hence his asking her if she thought it was a good idea.

It’s really sad to see what Grace is going through. However, it seems that emotional trauma and the effort one must make to overcome it is going to be a running theme this season, and not just for Grace. More on this in the conclusion..

Jane’s New Found Tranquility

In seasons one and two, Jane had a peaceful aura about him (to balance his darkness) that all but disappeared after Kristina Frye was kidnapped by Red John. Last season saw a more intense, impatient, and preoccupied Jane. This season, Jane still seems preoccupied, but also more at peace; as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders despite his insistence that Red John is still at large. As a result, a lot of the fun, positive aspects of his personality are starting to shine through once more. His dedication to his job (which had been almost non-existent for most of season three) is already back (see Ring Around the Rosie). In this episode, we get his love of nature. So much has happened since Jane’s attack of Stendhal syndrome (Red Gold) so it was really nice to see him once again positively delighted by his surroundings. He repeatedly comments on the beauty of the island, is enchanted by having a butterfly rest on his hand, and finds and gives Lisbon a pretty stone. I missed this Jane so much. I’m so happy and relieved to have him back:

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

Jane’s quiet, introspective non-revenge based discussions with people are something else I sorely missed. In this episode he visits islander Lydia Bibb (Debra Mooney) at her tea house. She brings him his favorite beverage and cake while Jane asks her about Jed Stack (Steve Rankin). She tells Jane the man seems nice enough. Then she sits down and admits to Jane that she felt guilty after he told them about the victim being killed on the island. Lydia states that she threw a flower in the ocean for the girl, explaining that it’s an old island custom to “send a message to your people who have passed over.” She adds that although Talia Suarez isn’t “her people” it might still work. Jane not unkindly tells her “It can’t hurt.” Lydia says that while Jane must think she’s “a foolish old woman” the gesture nevertheless made her feel better, like she helped give that girl peace.

At the time of the conversation I admired Jane for not making fun of the nice old woman. I was undecided as to whether his newly peaceful mindset was responsible for his tolerance and restraint , or if Lydia just got lucky that their conversation was interrupted by a phone call.

I was flabbergasted, astounded, and gutted when, at the end of the episode, Jane himself puts a flower in the ocean. This small tiny act shows that not only did Jane respect the sentiment behind Lydia’s gesture, he himself is either starting to believe in such things or wants to. Jane who a little over three years ago stated that there is no afterlife is now going through the motions of attempting to communicate with his wife and daughter.

No words. I am speechless, I am tearing up as I write this review. I am overwhelmed by look of utter hope on Jane’s face, during this scene and the phenomenal music that didn’t just tug on my heartstrings, it practically ripped them apart.

Thanks. Thanks a lot, Mentalist people. Even proving my theory right that Jane may in fact be starting to believe in something holy does not excuse you turning me into a blubbering mess, an inarticulate lump of sucky poetry, disastrous imagery and drama-ism. I can’t even make sense anymore and it’s all your fault.

*sigh*

It’s a good think I love this show so much and that I don’t have much common sense else I’d take whatever is left of my poor fried muse and run for dear life.

Best Scenes

The winner: You have to ask? See the paragraph above where I ramble on how the episode’s final scene…you get the picture. Just one thing to add. As I was writing this review, I had an image of Simon Baker’s face watching the flower Jane set in the ocean float away on my monitor. My kid bro passed by my computer, saw the image, and said the following: “You know the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words? His face is worth an entire review.”

Pretty accurate, don’t you think?

1st runner up: Jane and Lisbon on the beach.  See Lisbon’s part of the analysis to refresh your memory on why.

2nd runner up:Whit’s Confession

One of the Mentalist’s strong points is the excellent casting and ability to create profound characters viewers will react to; not just recurring characters, but those in the stand alone episodes as well. One I always found very intriguing was the cook in ‘Red Herring’. A passionate woman, she didn’t mind having the flesh off her fingers cut as she helped her chef create his vision, but his betrayal in taking away her dream of opening her own restaurant made her kill him. I doubt I’ll ever forget her eerily unrepentant demeanor.

In this episode we get an equally profound character/ killer in Whit, played with perfect intensity by  Zack Ward.

Rigsby, sensing Whit’s guilt and shame plays ‘good cop’ feigning sympathy for the man in an effort to get him to confess. Wayne begins the stable hand’s morbid tale of living life with predatory sexual urges; ones he attempted to control by moving to San Felix Island and working on a ranch devoid of women. Grace, whose mental state has her only too happy to play ‘bad cop’ conveys what most viewers will undoubtedly feel: outrage at the mere idea of Whit’s claim that he is not to blame for his actions. She tells him that he gets no pity, neither in this life nor the next.

Righetti, Yeoman, and guest star Zack Ward were all outstanding in this scene.  Ward manages to make Whit sympathetic, like he really did his best to stop from hurting anyone. His anguished scream “you think I want to be like this!” was very convincing. As to Grace, seeing the caring, usually compassionate woman be so cold towards a man who seems genuinely afflicted was jarring. It’s one of Righetti’s strongest scenes on this show, and she’s had several (usually with Simon Baker’s character). Yeoman is just as good, Rigsby acts as a buffer, a reprieve from Grace’s disgust, offering Whit a friendly ear to confess. He was so good, I’m wondering if, perhaps on some level, Rigsby truly does sympathize with Whit; that perhaps Rigsby knows what it’s like to have violent urges…

Hmm. That could very well be the case. Jane stated once that Rigsby has a brutal streak, and we saw it in action in episode Russet Potatoes.

This makes Rigsby’s later statement to Grace “We sure had him fooled” all the more intriguing…perhaps Grace isn’t the only one who wasn’t pretending during that interrogation. Or it could be that Rigsby was trying to ease Grace’s obvious tension; paving the way for his attempt to talk to her about his new girlfriend, I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, the confession was a powerful, powerful scene.

Icing (s) on the cake:

-The exchange between Cho and Lisbon: Cho’s position as Lisbon’s second in command seems to be reinforced lately. He’s been more autonomous, sending Rigsby and Van Pelt to jobs he knows Lisbon needs, been running the team from the office while Lisbon is otherwise occupied, etc. I don’t know if this is intentional or not (i.e. if ground is being set up to give him a relevant storyline), but I like it anyway. I also like Kang’s tone when Cho asks Lisbon “Where are you going?” partly demanding, partly curious. I know I’m going to get flamed for this but it’s almost like he doesn’t want her to leave.

For the record readers can blame All-I-Need for this theory. She’s the one who commented that Cho was looking at Lisbon with puppy-dog eyes when she was chastising the team for going behind Haffner’s back to save her job (Little Red Book). I think Lisbon’s team is starting to appreciate her more and worrying about her more after she got shot, hence Cho’s demanding to know where she’s headed. That’s not too far-fetched is it?

Unless…what if the team is starting to resent the amount of trust Lisbon has for Jane, especially since it got them into so much trouble? What if Cho’s “right” was ironic?

Hmm.

-Sarah Harrigan

I really liked Sarah last season and I think I still do. It was very interesting to see that while she respected Rigsby’s desire to keep their relationship hidden from Grace (most likely to spare both their feelings) she had no problem ousting him to Lisbon. I like what it says about her character; she refuses to be kept like some sort of dirty secret, and she knows enough about Rigsby and Lisbon’s relationship (I suspect he talks about his boss) to know that there’s no need to keep Lisbon from knowing about them.

I also like her “I try” when Lisbon tells her “You’re meaner than you look.”  It hints at a strong personality. Now, it remains to be seen if this strong personality will be a good fit for Rigsby, he seemed a bit disturbed when he agreed with Lisbon’s statement that Sarah is meaner than she looks. Personally, I respect her for owning up to it. Plus, she’s really cute and its hilarious that she’s about half of Rigsby’s size.

-Simplicity of Jane’s explanation to the islanders: I appreciated the use of a blackboard with a drawing of the island to ease Jane’s explanation on how unlikely it is that the victim’s body came from the mainland. It was all very logical.

-The islanders: I don’t know if it’s the beautiful setting or the detailed writing or the convincing guest actors, but the island community felt very real. Alex Hyde-White as fussy Peter, Steve Rankin as grouchy rancher Stack, Debra Mooney as the sweet Lydia Johnathon Shmock as “Butterfly Man” and Wade Williams as Fisherman Jack were rounded enough to not be stereotypical. The community set up was so well done it was like being transported into an Agatha Christie novel.

-Extras: Lisbon sends Jane some muscle via my favorite extra’s, CBI officers Ron and Karl, played respectively by the highly telegenic John Troy Donovan and Karl Sonnenberg. I love these guys :)

Honorable mentions

Styling: Whoever is dressing/styling Robin Tunney. Her tuxedo style jacket looked very much like Jane’s suit jackets; very stylish. She had me drooling for most of the episode, mostly over her silky white blouse. So feminine and pretty *_*. The side swept bangs are also lovely. It seems like Lisbon’s getting a softer style to match her softening personality. I wonder if this was a coincidence or if it was an intentional decision by the stylist. And if it was intentional could that be the reason for Righetti’s ever thinning eyebrows; to match her new-found character’s edginess? They are quite severe and make her look older.

Director John Polson: It’s rare to have the opener end on a character other than Jane, but to have this one end on both Jane and Lisbon further contributes to the feeling of solidarity they’re experiencing this season. And yes, the crime scene is very, very beautiful, and director John Polson really makes the most of it, giving plenty of bird’s eye views of the island, shots of the beach, as well as the docks.

Music: Very stirring musical score by Blake Neely. It invoked just the right amount of sadness, apprehension, bitter-sweetness,  nostalgia, and hope. The score for the final scenes (Whit’s confession, Jane’s end scene) was especially moving.

Best Lines

“I’m just poking at you. It’s often instructive”- Jane to Jed Stack

“Mass Vanishment.”-Jane to Lisbon on the missing community.

“That’s not even a word.” Lisbon to Jane, in response to above.

“I can picture them gathered together in a dimly lit room plotting their mysterious island purpose.”-Jane on the missing islanders.

“Point of order, Chair, I have the floor.” Peter to Lydia. I kept laughing every time this guy complained.

“You’re meaner than you look.” Lisbon to Sarah.

“Yeah, you are.” Rigsby to his girlfriend, agreeing with Lisbon.

“I try.”-Sarah, in response to the above.

“As your friend should I be concerned?”-Lisbon to Grace. Caring Lisbon is sweet.

“Well as your boss any more of this and we’ve got a serious problem.”- Hard ball Lisbon is awesome!

Pet Peeve

The note Jane finds in Talia’s diary stated “San Felix Fish”. I thought the name referred to Le Fleur’s fishery as I suspect was the intention. Having Cho then figure out Fish was the name of the man Talia suspected killed her dad shows how smart he is. But it seemed too unlikely that the killer’s name was Fish, yet he has nothing to do with the fishery. On the other hand the link was explained very nicely later on that I can’t really call it a pet peeve. I’m just picking; the episode was way too good I guess I just have to find fault somewhere :P

Another non-pet peeve is how Jane had CBI collect the islander’s coffee cups to analyze them for DNA. I say this is a non-pet peeve because both he obviously knows he can’t use that DNA to ID the killer, he just pretended it’ll be used to have the suspect identify himself by running. And it worked beautifully. Later, when Jane figures out that while Gardner killed Talia’s father, Whit is the one who killed and raped Talia, it was necessary to get Whit’s confession as any lawyer would argue his DNA was acquired without his permission. And that’s one of the things that makes Grace and Wayne’s scene, getting Whit’s confession, so important.

Conclusion

The mentalist is a show which explores some of the darker aspects of the human psyche. There’s the intrigue of how Red John was able to recruit so many people to his evil cause, how he brainwashed Kristina into thinking she was dead, etc. We have also been given many examples of criminally ill perps including the killer couple in ‘Red Hair, Silver tape’, the other criminal couple in ‘Scarlet Ribbons’, and Red John’s’ posse (Rebecca, Todd Johnson, Craig O’Laughlin), among others.

Psychological themes abound in Season four as well. In Little Red Book the victim was an amoral personality (quite similar to Jane). In episode Ring Around the Rosie, Jane tried to stop a psychopath from putting himself in a position of going to jail for attempted murder. He didn’t succeed.

In this episode we have another mentally disturbed perp. But I think Whit is one of the few (if not only) killer we came across to show actual attempts to quell his darker side. The fact that his crime was one of opportunity, not planned, was very cleverly set up by Mahoney in several scenes early on in the episode. First by Whit’s employer Stack when he said that he employees no women, and second, by Whit’s co-worker who said that Whit was furious over having to go to the mainland to get his broken arm set. This was done to ingrain the fact that Whit, aware of his uncontrollable impulses, never wanted to leave the island, never wanted to encounter any woman he might hurt.

I don’t know if these issues are being raised as a set up for a future plot line, but it seems very likely.Last season Jane identified with many bereaved husbands. This year the emotional turmoil seems to stem from the killers themselves, and is almost coinciding with the main characters as well. We have Jane possibly healing after getting shooting Red John out of his system (granted, it wasn’t actually Red John, but the affect is undeniable). Conversely, we have Grace (who it has been hinted has her own dark past hidden) unraveling before our eyes.

I wonder what role the new boss Luther “Master’s degree in psychology” Wainwright will play within this theme. His bookishness but lack of experience seems to have struck out (or in, depending on your perspective) so far with Jane. I wonder if he’ll be able to do any good, or if he’ll be like an amateur with a gun; a bad combination.

Some issues raised, and I hope will continue being explored include: what people have to do to survive, where the line between victim stops and that of perpetrator begins, as well as how close the serious crimes unit has become and how far these people will go to help each other.

I love this show.

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Mentalist Ring Around the Rosie Review


Synopsis

Lisbon and her team are on standby at a protest rally the mayor is attending when a dead body is found. Lisbon calls Jane to the scene and as he approaches he identifies a man he feels is suspicious. He shares his concerns with Lisbon. She has the man, Henry Tibbs (Christian Camargo) searched and a gun is found on him.  As Tibbs is licensed to carry his piece, the new CBI head Luther Wainwright (Michael Rady) thinks he should be released. Jane asks that Tibbs be kept under watch as he suspects he will ultimately be harmful. Later, a viable suspect is identified for the dead body found at the rally. Willie Shubert (Henry G. Sanders), a homeless man who used to be Lisbon’s favorite musician, confesses to the homicide. But Lisbon refuses to believe his guilt and pursues her own investigation despite Luther telling her he’s taking the case to the DA.

Concise Verdict

Like in ‘Jolly Red Elf’ which introduced J.J. Laroche (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the task of bringing in a new pivotal character to the show once again fell on  Daniel Cerone. This time it’s the new CBI boss Luther Wainwright. But more than personifying memorable new players, Cerone excels in making the most of dialogue and giving characters a fair share of screen time.  The excellent direction by Chris Long also served to make ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ a well rounded and tight episode even as it differs from the usual format. 10/10

Detailed AKA Humungous Analysis (spoilers galore)

I analyzed Very Important Scenes (VIS) where necessary and combined others where convenient. I apologize in advance if I missed anything.

VIS #1: Jane/ Lisbon at the Rally

When Lisbon calls Jane to the scene, he tells her she needs to speak up (he’s drinking tea a place surrounded by protesters).  Lisbon asks if he’s nearby. Jane states that depends on if she and her team are still “crowd-watching”. When she tells him there’s a dead body he affirms his proximity.

-Last season Jane made a habit of arriving late to crime scenes. This season, he’s apparently on standby even during boring police work. Oh joy. It seems we won’t be seeing emotionally/physically distant Jane any time soon. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since we have yet to see him in the blasted CBI attic. But further reassurance is always welcome. Also, the simple exchange between Jane and Lisbon tacitly hints at what may have happened off screen before the episode started. I can just see Lisbon at CBI earlier asking Jane to come along to help, he refuses, but follows the team anyway. For some reason this makes me think that off-screen, following episode ‘Pretty Red Balloon’, Jane attended the mandatory seminar despite his telling Lisbon that he wouldn’t. It just seems like something he’d do now; riling Lisbon up by saying he won’t go (to tease her and assert his control) only to show up anyway.

Jane tells Lisbon that he saw a suspicious looking man with “haunted eyes, nervous energy, and an overcoat on a hot day”. She tells him his deduction is based on particularly thin hunch. He tells her she’s probably right, but when he points out that “It’s only the mayor’s life at stake” Lisbon sends Cho and Van Pelt to check out the suspect. They find the man is armed with a fully loaded gun and lead him off while Jane watches.

-I adored this. There was something just so classic about the ending of the scene, Jane standing with his hands in his pockets watching the agents cart off the suspect. Also nice was how quickly Lisbon acted on Jane’s observation. You just know tension between the two is bound to show up later this season; no doubt when Red John makes his reappearance. And while I’m admittedly looking forward to what will be great material, I plan on fully enjoying their established congeniality while it lasts here.

VIS #2: New Boss Luther Wainwright shows up

I like how no one realized Wainwright was boss when he first enters the bullpen. He looks as old as Van Pelt. Now the opening scene established Rigsby and Cho’s respective feeling regarding Luther. Rigsby is annoyed that “he barely qualifies” while Cho approach is “you get used to it”; a comment which had me wondering what other bosses or people Cho thinks don’t qualify; was he speaking in general or did he mean heads of other teams?

This scene allows viewers to gauge the rest of the team’s reactions. Lisbon, characteristically professional quickly regroups once she realizes who Luther is by introducing herself and welcoming the man. Sweet Grace smiles nicely at him, seeming pleased with his amiability. As to Jane, he observes Luther shake hands with the rest of the members of the team. Now we’ve seen Jane with Hightower and LaRoche and he’s always careful around new bosses. But he seems to have no problem revealing how vaguely unimpressed he (initially) is with Luther. When the boss tells Jane he’s still working his way through his file. Jane remarks: “Do me a favor, don’t tell me how it ends”. Luther gives him a bemused smile. When Wainwright says he prides himself on trust and transparency, Jane interrupts to ask him how old he is adding that Rigsby’s running a pool.

Perhaps Jane’s slights are his way of testing Wainwright, wanting to see his reactions. Or maybe they are Jane’s way of establishing his being the alpha male of the group. To Wainwright’s credit, he doesn’t react to Jane’s jabs and instead focuses his attention on the case. Luther points out that the victim might have been a photographer based on an observation; Jane’s forte, to which the mentalist replies “Sharp”.

I think Jane maybe initially resented Luther’s presence and couldn’t have been bothered to hide it as he’s going through a rough time (he recently found out that Red John is still alive and that he killed a man in vain). If even respectful Rigsby is smarting from having a kid be his new boss it’s only natural that egomaniac Jane would as well. But after Luther’s keen observation perhaps Jane decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Note: I was ecstatic that Wainwright’s age was mentioned so many times as it was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw him in the promo.

VIS#3: Jane and Lisbon plead their cases to Wainwright

This scene sets the stage for the two major plots of the episode that will be discussed in further detail below:  Jane/Tibbs and Lisbon/Willie plots

Jane:

Jane tells Luther that Tibbs is “a man on autopilot, set to kill”.

I guess it takes one to know one.

Jane adds that Tibbs he adds that he’s about to commit murder , maybe even mass murder, and “Who wouldn’t want to try and stop that kind of nightmare?” When Luther tells Jane that theoretical criminology has no practical value, Jane replies: “No practical value, I guess the same could be said for middle management bureaucrats.”

It’s subtle, but Jane’s passion followed by his annoyance hints at a more personal motivation for wanting to stop Tibbs. I think his zeal here is due to an inner desire for redemption. While this theme is in no way new to the show (it’s been there since the pilot) in season three especially it was personified by Jane’s desire to kill Red John rather than putting his efforts into solving cases/catching other murderers. Not so here. Old Jane is back; the one who completely immerses himself in all his cases and doesn’t treat them as mere distractions from his ultimate goal.

I wonder what brought on this change. Perhaps it’s because now Jane has something new to redeem himself for. Or maybe now that Jane realized that murder isn’t as satisfying as he thought it would be he has a new found reason to prevent it.

Lisbon:

Lisbon tells Wainwright that Tibbs might have actually killed their victim as she doesn’t believe that Willie Shubert is the killer, despite his confession. When Luther asks how she can tell, Lisbon states “You kind of have to hear him play the saxophone.”

Tunney’s reading of this line was awesome. It’s like Lisbon knew her argument wasn’t very logical but was giving it her best shot. Jane is charmed by her efforts as he states: “I love it Lisbon, the beautiful soul defense.”

What I love? Lisbon’s response to this. She tilts her head ironically like she’s saying “Worth a shot”.

Unfortunately Luther is unimpressed. He agrees to give Jane time to trap Tibbs, saying that he likes to reward passion, but tells Lisbon he’s taking Willie’s confession to the DA. Lisbon asks “What about my passion?”

I love this line too because for once, it shows Lisbon fighting back the unfairness of having her worth/skill being questioned by the higher ups (Hightower, Bertram) while Jane gets an automatic carte blanche to do what he wants. In fact, is it me or was Minelli the only boss who ever trusted Lisbon’s instincts over Jane’s? And not because he favors her but because he knew both of the them equally well and knew exactly how Jane gets around Red John cases. Can we please please have him back and out of retirement once Luther is out of the picture? It’s not that I don’t like Luther but it as none of the bosses lasted over two years I’m assuming he’ll eventually be gone as well.

A Plot: Jane and Tibbs

It is hinted at that Jane sees Henry Tibbs as a kindred spirit when he instantly recognizes the man’s desire to kill. But just in case it wasn’t clear enough, the final scene where Tibbs is captured makes it obvious.  Jane anticipates where Tibbs is going; an event where the mayor is at. Having replaced all the bullets in the man’s house with blanks, the Serious Crimes unit members are in place when Tibbs shows up. Jane attempts to talk the man out of his thirst for blood: “You don’t want to pull that trigger. You think you do you think it will switch off that vacancy sign in your soul but the truth is, taking a life is just going to make things a whole lot more complicated. Believe me. “

-Pretty self explanatory, right? Jane is speaking from his own experience killing someone in cold blood. I love clarity.

Tibbs replies: “I don’t expect to live past today.”

-Another similarity between the two men. Previously, Jane didn’t care if he lived after Red John is caught (Season one ‘Red John’s Footsteps’). Thankfully, that is not the case anymore as he told Timothy Carter (whom he thought was RJ) that he’d move on (get married, have a family) once he’s dead.

And like how Lisbon tried to get Jane to see past his desire for revenge in the season one finale, Jane tries to get Tibbs to see past his desire to kill. He tells him “But you haven’t hurt anyone yet. You put that gun away now and we will get you the help that you need.” But to no avail. Tibbs is already over the edge. But at least the team was able to stop him from hurting anyone.

What I’m wondering now is whether Jane would appreciate if someone did the same for him next time he’s trigger-happy.

B Plot: Lisbon and Willie Shubert

Lisbon tells Willie she checked into his history and found out that he lost his wife in a car accident; that he was driving and that’s why he stopped playing. She then asks him to explain his false confession and finds out he wants to stay in jail to stave off the winter cold.

I loved Lisbon’s plot. Her interference on Willie’s behalf makes sense considering her vested interest; Willie was her favorite musician in college. I’m not saying Lisbon is not compassionate, it’s just a side of her we don’t often see. Also, Lisbon is usually by the book (unless circumstance mandate she be otherwise). She probably wouldn’t have looked into Willie’s history if she hadn’t known him, if she wasn’t grateful for the comfort she found in his music when she moved away from her family. I think that along with his downfall being caused by his guilt and grief over his wife’s death was her impetus to help him. Maybe, on some level, Willie is serving as a surrogate for Jane. Personally, seeing Lisbon interact with this man, I felt like I finally understood the depths of Lisbon’s compassion for Jane’s tragedy, even if she rarely ever shows it. If she’s this kind towards I complete stranger, you can only imagine how much she cares for Jane.

After Lisbon tells Willie about the deal she cut with the DA on his behalf, she gives him a saxophone, encouraging him to play again when he gets out of jail. After she leaves the room, Willie start to play and Lisbon stops to listen for a while in obvious pleasure.

Lisbon is so sweet.

VIS #4: Jane/Luther,  Jane/Lisbon end Scene

Jane enters the bullpen with tea to find Luther on his couch. He tells Luther (not disrespectfully) “that’s kind of my spot” and thanks Luther when he gets up. Luther then calls Jane out on setting him up; that he knew Luther would stress Tibbs into committing murder. Jane tells Luther that there’s no way of ever really knowing and adds: “To be honest I was rooting for you. I find your brand of youthful earnestness quite refreshing.”

While Jane was being sarcastic to Lisbon when he told her that Luther might be able to save Tibbs, I don’t think he was being sarcastic here. In fact I think the above statement, while a bit patronizing, was the nicest thing Jane said to Luther throughout the entire case. Perhaps Jane being right about Tibbs and effectively putting Luther in his place; showing him what little experience he ha, put Jane in a magnanimous mood. Or maybe Jane was too preoccupied with brooding over the case to give Luther more thinly (and not so thinly) veiled insults. Or maybe, Jane decided against further mocking his new boss after he’d just used him in a scheme.

Whatever the reason, at this point, I think Jane was trying to smooth things over with Luther, even if he hadn’t really been rooting for him.

Unfortunately, Luther does not realize or does not appreciate Jane’s sentiment.  He tells Jane he did a psychopathy test on him. Jane, amused, states, “Oh, you haven’t.” Luther starts reading off some of the criteria: “Glibness and superficial charm, check.” Jane tells Luther: “You flatter me.”

Jane said the same to LaRoche when he did his own mini-analysis of him in ‘Jolly Red Elf‘. But while LaRoche’s analysis was flattering, Luther’s is anything but. So I’m inclined to think, more than a reply to Luther’s statement, Jane’s “you flatter me here” is referring to the fact that Luther felt he needed to evaluate Jane’s personality.  Wainwright continues naming facets he feels apply to Jane’s character: a grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning, manipulating, poor behavioral control, failure to accept responsibility for own actions. Jane just continues smiling and drinking his tea. While he shakes his head at one point, it’s doesn’t necessarily mean that he disagrees with the traits being ascribed to him.

Luther then tells Jane: “I cross referenced all my observations with your history as a thief and con-artist. And uh, congratulations Jane. According to the score, you are a clinical psychopath.”

Jane’s reaction: “Wow. Well, certainly explains a lot.”

Despite Jane’s flippant demeanor, he was actually waiting to hear Luther’s verdict. And despite his glib remark, Luther’s conclusion seemed to disturb him. I don’t think it’s because Jane cares about what Luther thinks of him; rather because Jane himself seems to be questioning his own character and trying to redeem it (as shown in this season’s premiere, and Pretty Red Balloon). So Luther’s psychoanalysis came while Jane is in a particular vulnerable state; though Luther doesn’t know that.

The new boss then tells Jane that now that he knows what he’s dealing with, he’ll adjust accordingly.” Jane replies: “as you should”.

It’s very in character for Jane to not bother defending himself. He could easily point out that by applying the test now Luther is contradicting himself. Wainwright said it himself: such tests only give accurate results when one has spent enough time with the subject. Wainwright doesn’t know Jane, not the way Lisbon or the audience of the show does. Luther hasn’t seen Jane’s kindness and his empathy, he hasn’t seen Jane purposely shy away from gratitude; no doubt because he feels himself unworthy of it. He hasn’t witnessed Jane’s deep disturbed breaths as he saw Timothy Carter’s body on a slab in the morgue, or his remaining by Lisbon’s side when she had a bomb strapped to her, or heard him tell Lisbon that he’ll take the consequences of shooting Red John.

What Wainwright sees is the Jane that manipulates people (usually Lisbon) into breaking the rules; the pied piper, the puppet master who loves to make people dangle on his strings. But the bitter irony is that this Jane is no longer as predominant as he used to be. In fact, he barely even exists.

I hope Luther’s psychoanalysis does not cause Jane to regress. Jane’s dejected manner seems like he thinks he agrees with Wainwright’s need to “adjust” if his telling Lisbon that he likes the new boss is any indication. It’s almost like Jane is relieved he finally has a boss who sees him for what he once was; like he deserves to be abhorred.

And yet…

Jane asks Lisbon if she’d like some tea. She tells him she’s tired and is going home. Jane tells her that he made a pot. Lisbon agrees to take one to go. As they walk to the break room Jane asks her if she thinks he’s an antisocial personality. Lisbon answers, “Yeah sure, who isn’t?”

Am I the only one who sees Jane’s earnest desire to connect with Lisbon? It’s been there since season one, and she’s been fighting him every step of the way (see Jane/Lisbon moments). But in spite of that Jane is comfortable enough with Lisbon to ask her opinion on his character. I think it’s very brave and shows the amount of trust he has in Lisbon; especially considering how he knows that she doesn’t approve of many aspects of his personality. It’s like he knows she’ll make him feel better. I was also overjoyed that Lisbon, for once, refrained from giving him a flippant answer or a snappy comeback as was her norm whenever Jane attempts a personal discussion. I don’t know if she understood his need for comfort or if her increased regard towards him prevented her from being her usual aloof self.

Either way I hope her frank reply goes towards making Jane feel better about himself. Whether she knows it or not, her opinion is one of the few which actually matters to Jane. It’s nice that she’s allowing him to vent to her, even if she doesn’t realize that’s what he’s doing.

Finally, now that Luther analyzed Jane, I am very interested to know where he thinks Lisbon fits in all this. He refused to accept her hand up after he falls to the ground when Tibbs fired his rounds. That along with his terse “Lisbon” before he left the bullpen makes it seem that perhaps (like Hightower before him) the obvious friendship between the two irritates him. Or maybe he was just annoyed that she didn’t fill him in on her and Jane’s plan. Maybe he thinks she’s as fooled by Jane as his psychic clients were. Maybe he thinks less of her for working so well with Jane. I have no idea, but I’m dying to find out.

Best Scenes:

End Scene. It was nice to see Jane and Lisbon spend time together at the end of the day, his congratulating her on catching her man and vice versa. Plus future conflict between Jane/Lisbon/Luther was also nicely set up. See VIS #4 for details.

1st runner up: Jane and Lisbon plead their cases to Wainwright

In keeping with the role reversal we’ve been shown of Jane and Lisbon this season, her arguing out of instinct is something rare and more like something Jane would do. But what makes this scene truly great is how Jane and Lisbon were perfectly supportive of each other. Usually in the boss’s office, they are at odds. It’s more continuity to how in tune they are this season. Despite Jane telling Lisbon that his and her minds’ are in sync, I think this is the first season we’ve seen this truly be the case. See VIS #3 for details.

2nd runner up:  All Lisbon’s scenes with Willie

Everyone knows Lisbon has a heart of gold. It’s so great to see it from time to time. And Tunney was so warm and empathetic here. I’m so glad her character is starting to get some more focus.

Icings on the Cake

- It’s truly rare when we get an episode where all the characters seem to get a fair amount of screen time. In this episode, Cho gets to be all awesome showing off his perfect shooting skills. Rigsby gets to keep Van Pelt from rashly shooting Tibbs, and Grace gets to bond with Tibbs’s wife. And while the format of the episode was a bit different, it was also perfectly balanced and ended full circle on our favorite crime-fighting duo, Jane and Lisbon.

-Having Jane and Lisbon work separate cases allowed Jane to lead the group (butt heads with Wainwright) without Lisbon being caught in the middle. This is nice as it gives her a break from having to pay for Jane’s decisions. It also made me ridiculously happy as it is a pet peeve of mine when Jane acts as the boss of Lisbon. Her not being around during this case made that unnecessary.

-Lisbon solving her case on her personal time allows her to assert her herself without breaking the rules. I love how, unlike Jane, she is able to do what she wants without ruffling feathers.

-I’m always tickled when we get recurring extras (usually CBI Ron or CBI Karl) on the set. It gives a touch of realism to the show as back-up officers are a necessary requirement.  In this episode, Karl (from Strawberries and Cream) helps the team clear a building. Played by the show’s technical advisor Karl Sonnenberg, he certainly has the build and gait of a cop. I look forward to seeing him again.

Honorable mention

Whoever is in charge of wardrobe. Everyone was looking sharp in this episode. I especially I like Lisbon’s hair. The serviceable bun hints that she was going for a more professional look now that there’s a new boss. Nice detail. Also, Tunney’s make-up artist deserves kudos as well. I think her freckles were actually visible at one point in the episode. I miss Lisbon’s freckles.

Best Lines

You two want me to believe that a man who confessed to murder did nothing and a man who did nothing is a murderer. “-Luther Wainwright to Jane and Lisbon.

“You may even be smarter than you look.”-Jane in response to the above.

“You’ll be fine, just don’t be yourself.”-Jane to Rigsby.

“Yeah, my dad liked his westerns”-Rigsby to Tibbs in response to his namesake. It’s great to have some back-story on the characters even if it is just the origin of their names.

“Observe Agent Rigsby, as neurotic as a border collie, he can’t stop touching his face.”-poor Rigsby!

“See, you’re normal. That man has the conscience of a mollusk.” –Jane to Luther on Tibbs.

“Nice”-Lisbon on Tibbs’s home.

“Well, it’s a choice. Lacks a woman’s touch.”-Jane on Tibb’s home.

“Well, at least you didn’t shoot this one.” –Rigsby to Grace. Could this line suggest that Wayne is uncomfortable with Grace’s speedy recovery over shooting Craig? Or was he concerned that she was so quick to draw her weapon in their current situation? Hmm.

“Or he could save Tibbs”-Jane’s sarcastic reply to Lisbon’s musing that the boss might be in over his head, that Tibbs could kill him.

“We are with the government. We’ve been watching you.” LOL!!!!!! Luther couldn’t have added to Tibbs’s anxiety more if he had been trying.

“Hey, how’re you doing. You’re under arrest for the attempted murder of…everybody”-Cho to Tibbs.


Mentalist Pretty Red Balloon Review


Synopsis

Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and her team take the case of a missing boy, Conner, on the request of his mother Elizabeth Flynn (Kelli Williams). Beth is an old client from Jane’s psychic days and wants him to use his “powers” to help find her boy. Lisbon asks Jane to step back from the case as the psychic angle is complicating matters. Jane agrees but changes his mind when Beth’s current spiritual adviser Nate
Glass shows up. Jane is then caught between convincing Beth that he was never a psychic, discrediting her current psychic, while trying to find the missing boy before he is killed.

Concise Verdict:

Written by fan-favorite Ashley Gable, Pretty Red Balloon depicts the wondrous marriage of angst, humor, mystery, suspense, and, wait for it…morality, that made me fall in
love with this show. It also comes with the bonus of excellent guest stars, slyly superb direction, and so many references to previous episodes that my continuity radar blew up. Oh, yeah, and the whole cast was awesome especially (surprise surprise) Simon Baker. Do I really need to say it? 10/10.

Detailed AKA Humongous Analysis (spoilers galore)

It’s no secret that (one of the reasons) I love this show is how much it makes me think. But I confess after an entire season of suspense and intrigue I’m really starting to appreciate the more straightforward episodes  That is not to say they are less exciting or compelling. In fact, being kept in the loop of Jane’s schemes has it’s own rush as exemplified by the analysis below.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #1: Episode Opener- Jane/Lisbon/Van Pelt in the Bullpen

Jane tells Lisbon he’s not going to the CBI’s mandatory seminar, setting her on edge since she’d just gotten her job
back. It would have been a perfect opportunity for the more unforgiving fans to go on a “Jane is such a bastard, etc.” rant. But after Lisbon leaves, Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and Jane’s exchange of “It’s good to have her back” lets the audience in on the fact that Jane is only teasing Lisbon out of relief at having his beloved boss back at work; his own way of welcoming her back, affirming her presence to himself and viewers.

Clarity is such a beautiful thing. Thanks to this scene I
didn’t have to spend the rest of the episode wanting to strangle the guy.

As to whether Jane will actually go the seminar:

VIS#2: Jane tries to Come Clean to Beth (again)

When Beth tells Jane she wants him and Nate to work together to save her son, Lisbon asks that Nate leave. When the trio
are alone, Jane once again tries to try and convince Beth that he was never a psychic, and that Nate isn’t either.

Jane: “I’m not a psychic, I never was. I was a con artist. I took your money, and I told you lies.”

-Baker’s delivery here was so emphatic, so purely un-apologetically honest. Jane in no way sugar coats what he did. This is very mature of him. Jane’s accepting the consequences of his actions might be one of this
season’s running themes
(‘Scarlett Ribbons‘).

But to no avail. Ironically, Jane was so good at lying, now that he’s telling the truth Beth refuses to believe him. She asks if he’s really not a psychic then why he’s working with the police. Lisbon explains: “Mr. Jane is working with us because he is an excellent investigator. He is going to be very helpful in this I promise.”

-I think this is the first time Lisbon ever gave Jane such a complete compliment. She’s acknowledged his talent before but usually in more reserved, at times even derisive tones: “He’s a pain in the ass but he’s usually right” or simply “He gets results” and “He closes cases”. Can this glowing
praise be that Lisbon is starting to respect Jane more? Or was she being nicer because she felt sorry for his undoubtedly painful predicament at coming clean to a former client? Hmm.

Beth states that she understands. At first Jane and viewers think that’s she’s finally gets it. But then she continues saying that Janes gift is such a burden that of course he has to deny it.

-When I heard this, I thought: it is a burden all right, but not it the way she thinks. I’ve said this before about Jane: genius is such a lonely place. Viewers may recall Jane’s brother in law, Danny from last season (Cackle Bladder Blood) whose unapologetic demeanor at scamming people out of their money was almost like he thought they deserved it. With such power as Jane’s, it’s easy to fall into using it for evil, into gathering money and adoration, rather than for good. Red John being the extreme example.

The scene gets even better. Beth goes on to say: “Even Saint Peter denied who he was three times”

-I went crazy with glee at this line. I can’t help but wonder if Religion skeptic Jane realizes the irony of his being compared to a Saint. Does he find it insulting or hurtful?. He’s obviously disturbed (maybe annoyed? ashamed?) by it as he quickly interrupts Beth, his tone hard as steel, stating that “There are no such things as psychics”.

But to no avail. Beth pleads with him to not deny his gift, no matter how hard it must be. She begs him, reaches out her hands to him, crying out his christian name and all Jane can do is stand there and take this undoubtedly punishing spectacle silently as Lisbon tries to calm down the frantic crying mother.

-Phenomenal acting all around.  Viewers can just see Jane’s agony in Baker’s eyes as the rest of him is very, very still. Meanwhile, Tunney makes Lisbon’s concern and attempts at calming Beth down seem like she’s trying to protect Jane from the pain she knows the woman is unwittingly inflicting on him. Finally, Williams is picture perfect as the desperate mother grasping at straws to save her son.

VIS #3: Grace and Rigsby at CBI

Before questioning witnesses/possible suspects, Van Pelts states sarcastically that they might be better off using Beth’s psychic, Nate Glass. Rigsby, surprised, asks: “I thought you liked that spiritual stuff, what about your cousin Yolanda?” Grace then points out “Yolanda is real, that guys’ a fake.”

-CONTINUITY, PEOPLE!

Ahem. I love this exchange, obviously, for the continuity it provides as well as what it tells us about Van Pelt. Grace has always been a woman of strong convictions. Her psychic cousin was first mentioned in the ‘Pilot’ when she got into a somewhat heated and powerful discussion with Jane over whether real psychics exist or not. It is nice to see that despite everything that happened to her Grace still maintains her beliefs. While some may see her as being gullible, I actually think this shows strength of character. I have always loved Grace’s ability to stand for her beliefs and I’m so glad she didn’t lose that. This scene is also quite clever in that it allows the show to remain objective and respectful to members of its audience who do believe in psychics.

Finally (and I’m not sure if this was intentional or not) but reminding the audience of the pilot sets the stage for another issue discussed there and is readdressed later in this episode (more on that later). Talk about multitasking.

VIS #4:  Jane Confronts Nate Glass; Lisbon and Jane

After Glass pretends that he’s contacted Beth’s son, Jane approaches him, remarking that Glass is “not great, but pretty good”. Glass responds it’s a gift. Jane points out that as he was once a fake psychic himself, he wouldn’t ask Glass to back off, except that a child’s life hangs in the balance. Glass won’t take the hint and says that’s why he’s here to help to which Jane responds: “You don’t want to push me. Back off this woman. Get out of here right now or you’re going to regret it.”

-Yikes! It’s always exciting to see hardball Jane come out to play. It usually happens in matters related to Red John (with Bosco when the Red John case was taken away, and Stiles when the visualize leader brought up Red John to rattle Jane). Another instances was during Jane’s run in with another psychic Ellis Mars (Red Moon). Mars had the misfortune of getting on Jane’s bad side when he tried to cold read him.

While in the above examples Jane’s anger seemed to stem from being affronted personally (he especially enjoyed vindictively putting Ellis Mars in his place) the purpose behind his threats here seems altruistic. Jane cares about Beth and her son. The only possible ulterior motive Jane may have here is his desire to right previous wrongs. He can hardly be blamed for that.

Nate refuses to back down. He tells Jane: “I can understand your frustration. You had the vision and you lost it and I can’t think of anything more horrible.”Jane tells him that he’s got a lot of nerve; and that maybe, more than just a fraud, he’s the kidnapper too. Lisbon joins them to state that she’s already checked out his alibi during the previous abductions.

-Love the easy transition here and how Lisbon took the initiative to have Glass checked out. It’s nice that after working so long together her and Jane’s thought processes are so close they are almost identical at times. Another possible running theme this season; how in sync these two are.

Lisbon, noticing Jane and Glass’s obvious contempt for each other tells Jane that they don’t have time for a feud. She adds “It’s like you’re conscience is battling your old self there’s no upside.” Jane replies “you think that’s why I’m here? That’s intriguing.”

-Yes it is. So is Jane’s reply. Either Lisbon’s comment hit the spot and he’s surprised she read him so well, or Jane himself didn’t realize that’s what he was doing until she pointed it out to him. Or perhaps Jane is intrigued by the fact that Lisbon thinks he has a conscience. Again, It’s a far cry from her usual derisive statements regarding his character. I’ve pointed out in other reviews that despite his seemingly huge ego and strong exterior, Jane has an insecure streak and actually does care what Lisbon thinks of him. CJDavey shared a similar opinion in the “Little Red Book” comments when he stated that Lisbon’s “What does that make you” statement (about how as an honest person she’s a terrible liar) seemed to bother Jane. Perhaps this is why Jane is intrigued. That despite Lisbon’s usual disapproving stance regarding his character, she actually sees the moral dilemma he’s facing now as expressed by him wanting to oust Glass as the fraud he is.

Thoughts?

VIS #5: End Scene : progress in the Jane/Lisbon’s friendship

Last season I stated that of the two characters, Jane was the more emotionally invested in their friendship and made more overtures at connecting emotionally (‘Bloodstream‘, ‘Every Rose has its Thorn‘, and ‘Jane/Lisbon moments‘). I’ve also wished that Lisbon would let go of some of her strict professionalism and open up more both to her colleagues and to Jane. I’d gotten my wish somewhat in the Season three finale as well as in this season premiere when Lisbon started addressing her colleagues by their first names and reaching out to them as friends. This scene shows that she’s starting to become more friendly with Jane as well.

It starts when Jane explains to Beth how he was able to trick her stepson Jonathan into thinking Jane knew where he was keeping Conner.  But before Jane starts the explanation he looks briefly at Lisbon (almost as if for guidance) and she gives him an encouraging nod.

I loved Lisbon’s support here. It’s continuity to the idea expressed by Jane’s video interview (in Every Rose) that he needs someone strong, someone better than him. At the time I wished Lisbon would realized what he needed was someone to guide him. It seems this theme will be explored further this season. First, Jane told Bertram explicitly that Lisbon was a good influence on him, and in this episode, they share a nonverbal exchange where Jane takes a cue from Lisbon.

Just as wonderful is how, as Jane gets into his explanation to Beth, Lisbon continues to gaze upon him with something very close to affection and possibly even pride.  Usually it’s Lisbon who’s on the receiving end of such looks from Jane so it’s nice to see the opposite.

Lisbon looks especially pleased by Beth’s contention that although Jane lied to her all those years ago, she is happy because he’d given her hope.

And if looks are not enough to show Lisbon’s growing regard, then her pep talk to Jane is.

When Jane and Lisbon leave the house she tells him: “Cheer up.”

-Lisbon’s direct approach here is a far cry from her awkwardly offering to let Jane drive the car in ‘Red Brick and Ivy’.  In that episode, Jane asks Lisbon if he really looks so sad; unintentionally embarrassing her when he calls her out on her awkward yet sweet attempt to cheer him up (she never lets him drive).

Here, Jane first tries to cover his melancholy, saying he is cheered. Lisbon, unconvinced goes on: “You heard her, you gave her hope.”  Jane’s reply is a (gasp!!!) self-deprecating (GASP!!) admission that he didn’t give Beth hope, he sold her hope; hence acknowledging that he does in fact feel bad. Lisbon tells Jane that she thinks hope is worth it at any price.

-I don’t know what surprises me more. The fact that Lisbon is unabashedly going out of her way to try to make Jane feel better or his admitting being down (as opposed to his telling Lisbon all last season that he’s fine).

I think this is the easiest personal discussion these two have ever had. Even Jane’s subsequent teasing Lisbon, asking her if she’s running for office now, is like his way of establishing equilibrium. It’s almost like he’s saying “thanks for the concern but I honestly feel okay now.” Lisbon takes the hint and easily falls back into their normal banter, telling him “Okay, you know what, you’re a wicked charlatan and  you’re going to hell then.”

Jane’s reply? “That’s more like it I’ll save you a seat by the fire.”

-Remember how I said in VIS #3 that Van Pelt’s reference to her cousin could be an indirect way of reminding viewers of the pilot? This scene here is why I thought that. Because in the pilot Jane said “There is no afterlife.” But he doesn’t say that here. In fact, when Lisbon tells him she’s not going to hell, he jokes that she’s made other arrangements and asks her where she’s going. Lisbon then challenges “Do you really want to have this conversation? Ready for some little theological talk here?” Jane then admits that he doesn’t and Lisbon continues teasing him “I thought you wanted to feel better, not worse”.

Now I’ve previously raised the issue that Jane may no longer be as agnostic as he once seemed. In the Strawberries and Cream finale review, I stated (in relation to the scene where a bomb-strapped Lisbon prays):

The fact that guarded Lisbon is praying in front of skeptic Jane really underlines the gravity of the situation. As does the fact that Jane doesn’t mock her for doing so. He even goes as far as saying he’d do the same if he could. This statement simply blew me away; as I’m sure it did Lisbon if the shock on her face is any indication.  It is not clear at this point whether Jane is starting to believe in a higher power or whether Lisbon’s been rubbing off on him. But that is not the point. What does matter is that he’s gotten close enough to Lisbon to respect her beliefs in spite of his own apparent lack of faith. For a control freak like Jane, this is huge. Unless the reason for his tolerance is that he himself is starting to want to believe. And then we have another chicken-egg scenario. Don’t you love when writers give us those?

I even set up a poll regarding the matter where readers voted:

What’s interesting here is that while Jane told Gupta in Strawberries and Cream that he likes a good theological debate” here he’s shying away from having one with Lisbon.  Perhaps killing a man in cold blood has served to somehow make him reconsider his stance on religion.

Personally, I always thought the Jane’s refusal to believe in the afterlife is due to a masochistic desire to deny himself any ease which may come from thinking that his wife and daughter have “gone on to a better place”. I also think he fears, on some level, that his family was taken away from him as divine retribution for all the people he conned. But that’s just a pet theory and I readily admit it has no basis whatsoever other than Jane’s ego and my feeling that he doth protest too much.

So what do you guys think now?

Best Scenes:

This whole episode was a best scene. It’s ridiculous to ask me to choose one. But this is me trying:

Best Scene: Jane comes clean to Beth

See VIS#1 for details.

1st Runner Up: Jane’s psychic read

Before Beth leaves the CBI Jane goes to bid her farewell. He grabs her hand to shake it, and then proceeds  to fake one of the best psychic reads of all time, all in the presence of Beth’s current psychic Nate.

-There are no words for how awesome this scene was. Jane’s performance, Lisbon artfully joining him in the act; his holding her hands, saying in a shaky voice “Lisbon, I don’t like this, I don’t like this”; I was smiling the whole time especially when he falls on the ground (a cue to Lisbon no doubt) which she follows, giving him a slap to come to his sense. Jane does and afterwards begs Beth to not touch him again; feigning fear that she’ll trigger another episode.  Lisbon then does her part of ordering everyone to search the area Jane’s vision described. When everyone leaves, Jane stands up and tells Nate with a poop-eating grin “That’s how you do I psychic read”.

I just burst out laughing.

Jane then walks into Lisbon’s office (leaving Nate silently seething behind) and shuts the double office doors behind him. Fantastic. The master, the magician, Patrick Jane has left the building :D

So good!!

And this is why Simon Baker deserves an award. Not because he can do drama (though he’s fabulous at that too, see 1st best scene); many actors do drama. But how many can do all that other stuff in between. You know, acting like a fake psychic, who doesn’t believe in psychics then puts on such a fabulous show isn’t “just another workday” for actors. I’m just saying.

2nd Runner Up: Jane Lisbon End Scene

See VIS #6 for details.

Icings on the Cake:

Master Cho: Once the team starts suspecting a serial kidnapper, Agent Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) gives Grace and Rigsby the low down on how the case is going to be worked now. Love the assertion that this man has seniority over the rest of the team. Also really like how Rigsby and Van Pelt just followed his orders without question. This team is a well oiled machine and I’m so glad they’re back. Chemistry between Kang, Yeoman and Righetti is really fun.

Cop Lingo:

The point 1, 2, and 3, 4 corners or whatever jargon Lisbon used when giving the team their locations was such a sweet touch of realism.

Wayne and Grace

Love how Grace and Wayne are interacting so naturally together. He asks her if she’s okay after shooting a suspect and she jokes that she’s starting to enjoy killing people. I wonder if Wayne is waiting for cues that Grace is over her fiancee to make a move. Or if he’s finally moved on to the point where he can be her friend despite his saying last season (‘Like a Red-Headed Stepchild’) that he can’t.

Honorable Mentions:

The casting of the Mentalist is usually superb and quite a few big guns were brought in this episode. Todd Grinnell as the unlikely perp was quite effective and even manages to be somewhat sympathetic. The first suspect Gary (David Bowe) was also very good; relatively benign at first then freakily violent later ( is it just me or did he remind anyone else of Steve Buscemi?)  and Brain McNamara was excellent as Beth’s protective and unyielding older brother. As to Kelli Williams; to this day the memory of Lindsay’s (William’s) impassioned defense of the nun-killer in The Practice, and her subsequent agony and tears when she won the case; setting the killer free gives me goosebumps. She can now add Beth’s desperate pleas for her son’s life in this episode to her list of moving roles.

Simon Baker: Really? You need to ask? Read the previous 7 pages worth. Better yet, watch the episode. But amongst the things I didn’t mention was the scene where Nate Glass talks about how Beth’s son made contact with him. Baker was fabulous showing Jane’s barely restrained annoyance. Honestly he was so angry I half expected that for the first time we might see Jane actually get violent.

Robin Tunney: Tunney really broke my heart in the opening scene where Lisbon first orders Jane, then pleads with him to go to the  seminar. Her glare is always a joy too. But she really shone in this episode while questioning Beth. Ms. Tunney is the only one actress I’ve ever seen who can make accusing a mother of killing her son to inherit his money seem not cruel and insulting. Then there’s her comforting Jane and all the concerned looks she throws him that show that maybe Lisbon is becoming as attached to Jane as he is to her.

Best Lines

“Amen.”- Jane reply to Glass’s fake “Halleluiah”

“You should have gone to jail you miserable sleazebag.” Deke (victim’s uncle) to Jane. Love the reference to Jane’s killing Timothy Carter and his trial. Lovely, realistic continuity.

“Well, nice to meet you too. Not sure I’m a sleazebag, miserable–” Jane, in response to above. Jane is usually happy enough to concede to insults he thinks he deserves. Interesting he chose not to comment on the “should have gone to jail” (ambivalence? Guilt?) and chose instead to comment on the “sleazebag” accusation (really doesn’t fit him, does it?) before starting to comment (and possibly agree) to the “miserable”.

“Oh you should have seen me ten years ago.”-Jane to victim’s uncle when he asks him what’s wrong with him that he treats people so horribly. This reinforces the idea that Jane has changed (as he’d stated in Cackle Bladder Blood) and also shows that Jane sees his brutal honesty as being nicer than fake kindness.

“There’s no need to be cranky”-Jane to Lisbon. Whenever Jane calls Lisbon grumpy, or cranky I get all warm inside.

“I was thinking love is strange. And I was thinking about a sandwich.

“Mr. Glass. Nice to finally meet you. And you got no action, you’re a disgrace to the profession. That contact you made with Connor? Weak, weak.” –I love when Jane turns his taunting onto someone who actually deserves it  :)

If you liked this review, please rate it, and leave a comment to share your own thoughts .

And here’s next episodes promos:

CBS

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Mentalist Little Red Book Review


 

Hello People! As I’ve been hit by the flu and new obligations in addition to pre-existing ones, I asked my good friend and fellow Mentalist fan @CJDavey to write this week’s review. He did an excellent job and on such short notice! I can say I agree exactly with 99.5% with everything he wrote. The other 5% I’ll express in the comments ;) Thanks Connor!

-Reviewbrain

Synopsis

Following his acquittal of all charges in last week’s season 4 premiere, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is reinstated as a consultant for the CBI once again. CBI Director Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston) informs Jane that whilst Lisbon (Robin Tunney) is suspended and the rest of the team reassigned, he must work with a new team of agents lead by Agent Ray Haffner (guest star Reed Diamond.) Annoyed at Bertram’s punishment of Lisbon, Jane sets out to divide his new team and bring together his old one, all whilst getting Lisbon her job back and solving the case of a murdered gym instructor.

Concise Verdict

After a brilliant season premiere (given an 8.5 on this very blog) I am happy to say that Little Red Book improves on such quality, and does so in a way that is able to move the story and characters forward whilst remaining one of the most entertaining shows currently on the air. It involves some refreshingly fun Jane moments (nice to see him retain this side, after everything that has happened), several cases of excellent character development, very welcome continuity in the shape of returning characters and one thing we ALL like to see – team love. Last week’s premiere and this episode even more so, work together as a good wrap up to the fallout from the events of 3.23/24 Strawberries and Cream Parts I and II and in part ables the story to move forward from here without leaving the finale to feel like a waste. As for the emotional fallout, that’s not over by a long shot – but would we have it any other way? Massive thanks to @mentalistwriter for a truly brilliant episode. A perfect score of 10/10

Detailed AKA Humongous Analysis (spoilers galore)

Very Important Scene (VIS) #1 – Opening – Jane and Bertram

-          Jane seems calm, but a bit on edge. This is supported by his body language, as he taps his finger repeatedly on his lips. After Bertram presents Jane with his Identification, bringing Jane back into the fold, Jane queries:

“What about Lisbon?”

Jane’s whole demeanour here suggests he is uninterested in his own reinstatement, something backed up by his persistence in asking Bertram just why he is punishing Lisbon. He goes on to state that Bertram is “dumping” her, that re-hiring him and firing Lisbon is “perverse” and even going as far as taking the blame for the Red John operation himself claiming “My operation. It was my operation.” Jane’s tone as he says this is clearly one of annoyance, though he knows his place still and doesn’t become too irate at the risk of ticking Bertram off more than he already is. Instead, as Bertram tells Jane to go out into the field with Haffner and his new team ASAP, he says calmly “no, I don’t think so.” Whilst he does then leave and join Haffner’s team, with the way things turn out in the end it is fair to say that Jane is true to his word. It is clear he has a plan.

The main aspect of this scene I would like to point out is just how much Jane clearly wanted Lisbon back, and how visibly unhappy he is that she is being made an example of. Whilst Jane is my favourite character on the show I have felt that he should’ve backed Lisbon up more in the past, especially when it comes to her being reprimanded for his actions. An example of this would be in 2.19 Blood Money after Lisbon was suspended for failing to keep Jane under control. Whilst Jane was by no means happy with this and though he did hatch a plan to get her back (similar to this episode’s plan in fact, in that it involved him helping her solve a case to take to the powers that be) his entire attitude here, particularly in this scene, was different. It was more determined and in turn more caring. The fact that Jane openly admits to the divisions head honcho that it was his fault further amplifies this point. This was refreshing to see, and was only the first of many moments in the episode where the team’s solidarity as a family unit shone through. This was something I openly called for leading up to the start of this season, so it’s fair to say this made me very happy. Anyway, Jane doesn’t push the boat out with Bertram as he knows he stands a much better chance at getting Lisbon’s job back through a carefully thought out plan.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #2 – Jane visits Lisbon at her apartment

Jane visits Lisbon, which results in us getting to see inside her apartment for the first time since 2.03 Red Badge.  I know I was excited by this too. Jane immediately shows his concern for Lisbon, asking how her arm is. Lisbon replies, stating that it is better due to physical therapy. Now, I am no body language expert but Lisbon’s here is coming across as adorably awkward, possibly due to having Jane in her apartment (she wasn’t exactly in the state of mind to care about this in Red Badge.) As for why she’d feel this way? I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve already seen another reviewer point out exactly the same thing so I know I’m not alone in this line of thought. Just look at her face when she sighs, before biting her lip and looking to the side. I think the best and most likely reason for this is that Lisbon, being the ‘lone wolf’ that she is, simply isn’t used to having people visit her outside work – especially a colleague. But of course, Jane is more than a colleague – he’s a close friend, something which becomes more apparent as the conversation progresses. Jane asks about Haffner, leading to a surprised “you’re back at work?” from Lisbon. Her surprised response along with Jane’s subsequently stilted answer suggests that whilst Lisbon claims to be unperturbed by her suspension, she does in fact care and Jane realises this. Lisbon goes on to state a few titbits on Haffner, including his use of “creative surveillance techniques”, something which becomes important in Jane’s plan and solving the case. One thing that does seem sincere on Lisbon’s part is when she claims that losing her job is “worth it” because they got Red John. Seriously, this is the biggest indication yet of just how much Lisbon has come to care for Jane. Can you imagine Lisbon saying this at all in the first two seasons? The fact that she seems willing to sacrifice her job in order to have caught and killed Red John as Jane had always wanted, in spite of always condemning this herself, shows for me anyway just how close these two have become. As for those Lisbon fans out there wondering why Lisbon isn’t angry at Jane for shooting Timothy Carter, the complete opposite in fact – she’s happy for him, I tell you this: The main bulk of the Jane/Lisbon journey in season 3 was made up of Jane’s attempts to bring Lisbon around to the idea of him killing Red John and to, in a way, make her more like him. This was brought up numerous times in @brainyreviewer’s reviews last season, and it does not surprise me at all that Lisbon has adopted this approach so far this season. Do I think that Lisbon would’ve let Jane go ahead with it had she been there at the mall? Not at all. But with it all said and done, Lisbon seems to be happy for Jane – she just wants her friend to move on and find some peace. This proves Jane’s actions in S3 to have been at least partially effective. The best example of this was in 3.14 Blood for Blood, in which Jane convinced Lisbon to let a girl off the hook, a girl who had been abused by her Father and who in turn shot him dead. Jane was essentially attempting to get Lisbon to ignore her cop instincts and to do what may be considered ‘right’ in the long run, rather than what her duty as a cop entails. Was Jane’s shooting of Timothy Carter right whether he was Red John or not? As a rather left wing person, I say not, but the important thing about this show is that – so far anyway – it has not preached to the audience on whether Jane’s actions were right or wrong, it has simply been faithful to the characters and what their actions or reactions would likely be to the given situations.

Another question I’m seeing a lot of fans ask is why Jane doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of guilt for killing the wrong man. I don’t know what to think about this really. I hate to politicise again, but I’ve always considered Jane’s views towards criminals more right wing in nature. This could be a result of what happened with Red John or he may have always been this way, but it was particularly apparent on 3.04 Red Carpet Treatment in which Jane expresses his displeasure at being woken up in order to investigate the dead body of a convicted rapist and murderer.  Whilst there’s no proof as to whether Timothy Carter was a murderer or not, Jane knows he worked for a killer and certainly did some very ‘evil’ things. I’m not suggesting for a moment that Jane would’ve still gone through with the shooting had he known Carter wasn’t Red John, he wouldn’t have. What I am saying is that the point mentioned above, along with the fact that Jane believed Carter to be Red John at the time (Jane doing what he felt was right in the moment) allow Jane’s conscience to be clear. Well, on this matter anyway.

Now, where was I? Jane goes on to say that they “didn’t get Red John”, before Lisbon hits back with the opposite opinion. As Jane goes off on his explanation as to why Red John is still alive, Lisbon interrupts with a hint of worry in both her face and voice “Jane…” Robin Tunney did an excellent job as always here. It may have only lasted a split second, but that subtle look on her face expresses perfectly Lisbon’s worry for Jane’s state of mind.  Now, I hate to blow my own trumpet (ok, I don’t hate it) but Jane goes on to confirm my theory from the premiere as to when he realised Timothy Carter wasn’t Red John, in that it must’ve been Red John who got the gun taken from the crime scene and the phone swapped. I said in the comments for last week’s reviews that when the two detectives tell Jane that this is the case, he then realises that he shot the wrong man.

Lisbon then poses a very interesting possibility. What if Timothy Carter was Red John, and he went to the mall knowing that Jane may take extreme action and planned the gun and phone extraction beforehand as a result of this – messing with Jane’s head in the aftermath, making him believe that Red John is still out there when in fact he is long gone. Thinking about it, it’s a real possibility and one that would be very effective. Red John would’ve condemned Jane to a life of torment chasing, as Lisbon says, a man he’s already killed. This reminded me of something series creator Bruno Heller said in an interview soon after the Season 3 finale, something which in fact makes a lot of sense if you actually consider Lisbon’s theory to have any element of truth to it. Heller says “Thing is, Red John is a master of the mind game. If Red John wanted to die, maybe this is how he wanted to die.” Whilst I still choose to believe that Red John is still out there, this theory cannot be completely ignored. Yes, even with what happens in the last scene.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #3 – Grace in therapy

This was a short, but very effective and important scene. After summarizing the situation with O’Laughlin, Van Pelt begins to wonder if talking about will help at all. Her therapist tries to explain why it needs to be talked about. Van Pelt responds by letting out an embittered laugh, before darkly jesting “could’ve been worse…I could have married him.” This response and Graces generally dismissive attitude towards her therapy sessions in this episode are a good continuation of what we saw the character heading towards in last week’s premiere, and I hope is indicative of what’s to come as a whole for the season. Seeing her being this angry isn’t nice, but it’s endearing in a way and it’s very exciting to see a less naive Grace coming out this season and I know I’m not alone in this opinion. Once again, Amanda Righetti played this perfectly so praise must go to her for bringing out what could be considered a ‘darker’ Grace for season 4.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #4 – The ‘secret meeting’

The team (minus Lisbon) meet secretly to discuss the situation. Jane tells them that they have one chance to get Lisbon her job back. The plan is to crack the Kuzmenko case before Haffner does, using their success as leverage with Bertram to get him to re hire her. As Jane hatches the plan to set up Haffner with his ‘book of lovers’, Rigsby shows reluctance to go along with the plan:

“I don’t like it. It’s insubordination we’re already on the edge here.”

Grace: “It’s for the boss.”

Rigsby: “This goes wrong and we’re out, they’re not gonna give us another chance.”

I’ve seen many people criticising Rigsby for his hesitation to help Lisbon, one reviewer even called him a “weasel.” Whilst I certainly wouldn’t  go that far (who doesn’t love Rigsby?) it does worry me slightly that whilst Van Pelt and Cho are so up for helping, Rigsby doesn’t seem to share the same ‘do what it takes’ attitude when it comes to helping out someone who is not just a colleague, but a friend. The worst thing is this isn’t the first time Rigsby has adopted this approach. In 2.03 Red Badge when Lisbon is being accused of murdering a convicted paedophile, the rest of the team seems to support her pleas of ‘not guilty’ whilst Rigsby doesn’t seem so sure. I believe he said something along the lines of “if Lisbon had the guts to kill him, she has the guts to serve her time.” Or something to that effect. It’s surprising to see this issue raising its ugly head again, especially when I consider Lisbon and Rigsby’s relationship to be one of the healthiest on the show (who else remembers their scene together in 3.21 Like a Redheaded Stepchild?) On this occasion it could just be a coincidence that they chose Rigsby to show hesitation, feeling they needed at least one reluctant party considering the high risk factor involved in the plan. Either way, I do hope they revisit this in some capacity. Maybe next time Lisbon needs help he’ll be the first to step up to the plate rather than the tentative last.

Overall though, this was another example of the team showing their strength and yes, their love for each other. Jane’s planning and Cho/Van Pelt’s pretty immediate ‘yes’ to said plan was moving.  More than ever our team is coming across as a family. This is of course something you’d expect after 4 seasons, but it’s great to see it working so well regardless.

Very Important Scene (VIS) #5 – Lisbon visits Sally Carter

There’s so much to say about this scene, that I’ll try my best to keep it down to a short couple of paragraphs to avoid this review becoming even more long winded than it already is. LaRoche is a truly complex and interesting character. He quite happily helps Lisbon in her request to visit Sally Carter (wife of the late Timothy Carter) in prison. He says:

“I don’t mind Teresa, Bertram has treated you poorly.”

LaRoche being so nice here didn’t exactly surprise me, but it was nice to see. I (and Reviewbrain) have said on numerous occasions that we believe LaRoche to be a genuinely nice man at Heart, and it became increasingly obvious that he actually likes Lisbon. I for one never considered him ‘evil’ or ‘mean.’ Sure, he was creepy at times but consider the context. For all of his appearances last season he was often interrogating people, people he suspected of murdering Todd Johnson. In this situation, of course he was going to use his darker side, likely in an attempt to unnerve and intimidate each suspect. The same goes for 3.17 Bloodstream onwards as Hightower’s duties are signed over to him. As the temporary boss of the unit, any alleged intimidation on his part was likely an attempt to assert his authority rather than coming from some sort of malicious intent. This is apparent in said episode when he puts Cho in charge before reinstating Lisbon at the episodes end. It was to show that he will not tolerate any disrespect on the part of his agents, and to be honest he was completely justified in doing this. None of this ever made LaRoche a bad man. I mean c’mon, he owns a fluffy white dog. Regardless of all this however, I was not expecting what happened next. As he says his goodbyes, he hugs Lisbon – and quite lovingly, might I add. What is it with Lisbon and getting hugs from her bosses? That’s Minelli, Hightower and LaRoche now who have all ended up squeezing her tiny frame. She needn’t worry about new boss Luther Wainwright joining in 4.04 Ring around the Rosie as I’m sure he’ll be under her spell in no time. Anyway, don’t get me wrong LaRoche certainly does have a dark side (what the hell is in that Tupperware box?!) but this last scene of his all but confirms my suspicion that he is a big cuddly teddy bear deep down in that complicated, layered Heart of his. Goodbye J.J., we hardly knew ye.

As they enter Sally Carters cell, they discover her face down in the bunk with blood gushing from her wrist and onto the floor where Lisbon discovers a note. As Jane arrives, she tells him she came to ask if her husband was Red John before reading a note that confirms her suspicions. Jane then takes the note and reads it intently. Jane’s focus as he reads said note suggests that he himself is starting to become unsure as to whether Timothy Carter was or was not Red John. This is backed up by the final scene…

Very Important Scene (VIS) #6 – Jane and Rosalind visit the morgue

After Jane’s plan succeeds, Haffner is reprimanded by Bertram and Lisbon reinstated to her post, Jane goes to the morgue with Rosalind Harker. To recap, she is the blind former lover of Red John who we met in 1.23 Red Johns Footsteps. When we saw her last, she was adamant that her man Roy Tagliaferro was a good man and couldn’t have been Red John. This time, Jane assures her that Roy and Red John were in fact the same man. As she feels Timothy Carters cold, dead face she seems to get quite emotional before saying:

“I never met this man. I have no idea who he is.”

The fact that Jane went out of his way to contact Rosalind and get her to ID Carters body shows, for me anyway, that a seed of doubt had been planted in his mind both by Lisbon and by the note that Sally Carter had left, if indeed it was her that left it. That possibility raises another question; does Red John want Jane to think he’s dead so that he can then strike again unsuspectingly on those he loves? I’ll get into that another time, but I’m sure we’ll see soon. Either way, it doesn’t seem to have worked. As Rosalind confirms that this man is not Roy Tagliaferro (an alias), Jane’s face tells the whole story – whilst he was sure before that his family’s killer is still out there, now he is certain. It was brilliant acting by Simon in this case, as his facial expression at this revelation oozed fear and realisation, two things I’m sure Jane was ridden with in those last few seconds. As the door closes on Carters body – and Jane – Blake Neely’s chilling music kicks in, the screen goes black and we too are hit with the harsh reality: Red John is still out there and he will be back one way or another.

This episode has so many excellent character moments that I missed out a few others, and there were also many other highlights I couldn’t quite fit into the VIS’s. As a result, here is a short list of other moments from the episode that I particularly liked:

-          Jane climbing over the body before claiming “this man is dead, I’m all but certain of it.”

-          The whole sequence of events in which Jane messed with Haffners team, particularly the Tork/Niskin plot.

-          The fact that Jane liked Lisbon’s tea, at first approving with an “mmm” and then even asking if he could take it away with him. She clearly knows the man well.

-          The whole plan with Cho being an informant on Jane’s actions with Haffner was very well played. Of course I knew that it was part of Jane’s plan, but Tim Kang played it brilliantly – enough to plant the tiniest seed of doubt in my mind. Even if it was only for a second.

-          Jane using some of the gym equipment. Hilarious. “Ooooh feelin that, yeahhh.”

-          Jane reading up on his baseball facts before reading one to Haffner.

-          Jane hypnotizing Agent Masterson.

-          The team in Lisbon’s apartment and Grace saying “we want to work for you.” Genuinely touching and another indication of their solidarity as a team.

-          Jane asking Lisbon for “the glowy spray stuff.”

-          Jane stating that he is “about 68.2% sure” the plan will work.

-          Jane telling Bertram that he “will continue to have a problem” if he doesn’t re hire Lisbon.

-          The penultimate scene in Lisbon’s office with her and Jane. It had a feeling of everything being back to normal and ‘all is right with the world’ to it.

 

Best Scene: Jane and Rosalind visit the morgue

For the reasons I have already mentioned above, really. Some may see it as re heated servings of the ending from the premiere, but to me this served as the ultimate confirmation that Red John is still out there and it was played out very well. It was genuinely chilling and included some brilliant acting from both Simon Baker and Alicia Witt.

Thoughts on Red John (Particularly the ‘He is many’ theory…)

The way I see it, the ‘he is many’ theory is becoming more and more likely. Now, I must stress exactly what I mean when I say ‘many’ because many fans seem to get this confused. I do not simply mean that the Red John network has many people in it, because we already know this to be true. The question is: Does ‘Red John’ have one head mastermind behind it, one man who leads his people and who killed Jane’s family personally or has there in fact always been more than one Red John? If  the ‘many’ theory turns out to be true I see it coming out this way; Red John is an organisation/cult/church whatever you want to call it, that has gained countless followers over the years but started with a small group of founding members. These founding members could include people such as Orville Tanner, Brett Stiles, Timothy Carter and possibly even Kristina Frye among others. The fact is Red John HAS to have either been started by one man, the one they call Red John or by a small group of people who killed in the name of Red John. It can’t simply be “Red John is a large number of people all over the state and it always has been” because Jane and the audience need a villain to go after, not to mention the fact that such a group has to be started by either an individual or a small collection of people. It’s impossible to see it any other way. Too many fans respond to the ‘many’ theory with the claim of “yeah, he has people everywhere.” Of course he does, but that is not what the ‘He is many’ possibility refers to at all. Not for me anyway. This is all just conjecture of course, but I had to get it off my chest and I’m sure whichever way the writers lead us that it’ll be a thrilling, rewarding journey and ultimate conclusion.

Icing on the Cake

As a certain someone often points out, continuity is a very important thing and this episode was rife with it. The show could’ve easily just gone back to normal after the premiere and put the team back together. Instead, we have the much more likely and believable scenario of the team being reassigned and Lisbon suspended. Kudos to the writers for not taking the easy way out with that one. There is also some good continuity in the form of returning characters. We knew LaRoche was only temporary, so they could’ve just let him disappear from the show – but instead we get one final (for now) appearance that is not only significant, but adds another layer to an already complex character. I think we must thank Pruitt Taylor Vince for his brilliant performance; he’s welcome back any time. Last, but certainly not least we have the return of Rosalind Harker. She is the only one (that Jane knows of) to have been intimate with the man we know as Red John, so it makes perfect sense that Jane would contact her for help in identifying Carter’s body. Props to the writers once again for bringing this sense of continuity in the show. The recent news that Karen Cross (Missi Pyle), Erica Flynn (Morena Baccarin) and Brett Stiles (Malcolm McDowell) will all be returning this season shows that this trend will long continue into the shows future.

Pet Peeves:

-          My only real pet peeve with this episode is the aforementioned issue with Rigsby and his reluctance to help Lisbon. Don’t forget he also very nearly cost Cho his job last season in 3.12 Bloodsport by bringing him into his Daddy issues and forcing him to lie for him, something Cho had quite proudly never done to a fellow cop before. Looking back on other similar cases, maybe this is in fact completely in character and therefore shouldn’t count as a ‘pet peeve’ but something about it just didn’t sit right with me. For the record, I DO like Rigsby a lot. What do you think? Am I being too harsh on Rigsby? Please let me know what you think by voting in the poll below and sounding off in the comments!

-          LaRoche has left. Booo! Hopefully he returns in the future.

Conclusion

My expectations for Season 4 have so far been met, and in this episode exceeded. The development of Jane/Lisbon in the premiere was very good under the circumstances, and that rich vein of character development carried on into this episode – particularly with the team as a whole, and how they need each other more than ever. When an episode manages to have excellent character interaction whist balancing it with other entertaining highlights and a pretty solid case, then you know you’ve done something right. A big thank you to all involved and particularly writer Tom Szentgyorgyi for a truly fantastic episode.

This was my first review, and is much less in depth than what you are likely accustomed to reading on this wonderful blog. I apologise for this, but I did my best! J I only included a single favourite scene and fused some of my favourite lines into the ‘other moments I liked’ section in order to shorten it down, not that it worked.  Also, I realise I tend to go off on a tangent a lot – this is due to my passion for the show, I hope this shines through.  I’d like to thank @brainyreviewer for giving me the opportunity to write this review. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

Here are two promos for the upcoming episode 4.03 ‘Pretty Red Balloon’ airing October 6th. I can’t wait! :D

CBS

CTV


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