Tag Archives: Robin Tunney

Mentalist So Long, and Thanks For All the Red Snapper Review


Synopsis

When surfer Jay Banner (Matt Flanagan) goes missing in Santa Marta his roommate Tark (Preston Jones) calls his congressman father to get the CBI on the case. Senior Agent Lisbon (Tunney) and CBI consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) arrive at the scene where Jane quickly discovers Jay’s body buried on the shore. The two go to talk to the victim’s boss and Lisbon is surprised to discover that the marine salvage yard where Jay worked is owned by her old flame Greg Tayback (Kenny Johnson) and his wife Greta Marshall (Claire Rankin).

Concise Verdict

Ashley Gable’s last episode on The Mentalist flaunts many of the reasons why she is so beloved and shall be sorely missed by Mentalist fans: she’s one of the few writers to consistently and expertly bring light to Lisbon’s character. Teresa’s encounter with ex-fiancé Greg makes for a lot of awkwardness; very entertaining. The episode is also perfectly cast, directed, and scored and has a hefty dose of continuity, allusions, and foreshadowing. Best of all, “So Long and Thanks for all the Red Snapper” doesn’t fall into the category of being “just another character episode”. That is, the spotlight isn’t just limited to our favorite Serious Crimes head. The other team members (and actors) get a fair share of attention as well in this wonderfully balanced and perfectly entertaining stand alone: 9.5/10

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

Proud Poppa Rigsby

It comes as no surprise that despite the nerves expressed in previous episodes (War of the Roses, Ruddy Cheeks) Rigsby is embracing his role as a father. Wayne takes a day off because his son is sick while his girlfriend has to go to court. And when Rigsby comes in the next day, he has spit-up on his suit jacket (a condition parents of babies have). But instead of being embarrassed at the stain, Rigsby wears it proudly like a badge of honor, happy to tell anyone who asks that it’s vomit.  He doesn’t bother washing it off even after his boss comments on it, telling her “You know what, he’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

A comment that might be a bit untimely considering the case Lisbon has, but more on that later…

I especially loved Grace’s reaction when Rigsby tells her “It’s just vomit”. You can just see her thinking, “Well, wash it off.”

Speaking of Van Pelt…

Enduring Grace

Van Pelt had two very important scenes. The first was when the police chief Anson (Brett Rice) patted her shoulder, condescendingly turning down her offer to help his cops search for the victim’s boat.

-Righetti’s expression of veiled disdain was awesome here. It reminds me of Lisbon’s reaction when she suffered similar, though much more disgusting insult in episode Red Tide. I love both the allusion to one of my all time favorite episodes, as well as the indication that Grace is back to her strong self assured, in control, self; not unlike Lisbon.

Another indication is in her next scene when she overhears Cho call Summer “babe” on the phone after asking her to check up on a drug dealer the victim was in contact with. Grace asks him what’s up with the two of them. Unlike how Cho willfully told Rigsby of his relationship with Summer (Pink Champagne on Ice) Cho clams up at Grace’s question and tells her Summer is his CI. When she tells him Agents aren’t allowed to date CIs, Cho tells her “You’re giving me relationship advice?”

-Cho of course has a point, but it might have been nicer if he’d pointed out that Grace herself dated a co-worker, instead of making the broader jab at Grace’s dating history (which includes her more painful and tragic experiences too).

Grace bites down on her hurt to tell Cho, as a friend, that perhaps it’s not wise for him to be around someone like Summer. Cho doesn’t respond.

-Grace’s bravery here in the face of Cho’s hard stares is completely in character; prior to Craig, that is. Her readiness to voice her opinions was always one of my all-time favorite aspects of her personality and I’m glad to see it again.

But there is another issue at hand here. Grace considers Cho a friend while he obviously doesn’t. At least, not the way he does Rigsby. We’ve had a few moments of Van Pelt trying to engage the stoic agent in conversation about himself to which he usually shoots her down (Something’s Rotten in Redmund). It might be her advice to him here, “as a friend” is the reason why he didn’t attack her again and simply let the matter drop. I’ll be watching out for more Cho/Grace scenes in the future to see if their dynamic shifts any.

Cho and Summer’s Angst

Like Violet predicted in the previous review, Cho and Summer’s relationship ends in this episode. But not due to her clinginess; rather due to her addiction to danger which Cho called and tried to fire her (At First Blush). At the time I thought he was being unfair and just looking for an excuse to get rid of her (and his attraction to her), especially if, as I thought might have been the case, she had just been trying to impress him. But it turns out Kimball was right.

While following up on a lead for Cho, Summer steals drugs from Tookie (Keram Malicki-Sanches), an old acquaintance of hers. The drug dealer realizes what she did and instead of giving the cocaine back Summer accepts a beating. Worse, she lies about the cause of the bruises on her face to Cho; he only finds out the truth behind the incident after beating it out of Tookie. When Cho later calls Summer out on her lie, she tells him “I’ve been beaten far worse for a lot less,” Adding “I know I’ve been bad but I’ve been so bored and this was such a rush.”

-So much information in two sentences. They explain how damaged Summer is and why, for now at least, she and Cho can’t be together.

Cho is understandably enraged at Summer’s disregard for her own safety and probably also over the fact that he was barely able to contain himself from beat Tookie to a pulp, risking his career. And to make a bad situation worse, it appears Summer is no stranger to drugs (as had been hinted at when she takes Cho’s pain pill in Ruddy Cheeks) and wanted to keep the cocaine. The two have a heated altercation in when Cho grabs the bags and shouts out at her “I’m a cop, what did you expect!”

-One could ask Cho the same question. In fact, it almost seemed like Cho was talking to himself.  What did he expect ? Sadly, while Summer was only too eager to stop being a prostitute, her addiction to danger is still an issue. Both she and Cho recognize this and at the end of the episode part ways. She leaves for her sister’s in Seattle and he bids her a sad goodbye at the train station.

-This was a lovely bittersweet ending, especially when contrasted with Lisbon and Greg’s happy parting. Armstrong and Kang were wonderful in this tear-jerker moment, made even more so by Neely’s phenomenally moving tunes.

Heart-breaker Lisbon

VIS #1 The Reunion

Jane watches Lisbon and Greg’s interaction like a hawk from the moment it becomes apparent that they know each other. Then Greg introduces Lisbon to his wife Greta, and she balks, repeating “This is Teresa Lisbon? The Teresa Lisbon?”

-Jane’s face probably reflects most viewers here: it’s like a child’s at Christmas, knowing some juicy back story will be given regarding our closed-mouth agent.

Jane happily states “The one and only,” barely containing himself as Lisbon explains that she and Greg used to date. Greg qualifies that they were actually engaged to which Jane guesses that she called the relationship off and broke his heart. Lisbon and Greg both awkwardly dodge the issue but his wife reveals that Jane’s assumption is correct “Yeah, you did. Because Greg was still talking about you when we met.” Jane is absolutely tickled at this information, he has a good laugh before calling Lisobn “Heartbreaker” .

-Jane delight here seems to stem partly from how surprised he is at learning something unexpected about Lisbon (i.e. his smile when Lisbon hinted she wasn’t a goody two shoes like he thinks in Something’s Rotten in Redmund).

If Lisbon and Greg were seeing each since they were kids, then Jane was wrong in his guess that Lisbon never got to dance with the boy she worshipped from afar in high school (Rose Colored Glasses). In this scene Lisbon states that she was way too young (to get married). In a later scene Lisbon later tells Greg that ever since she was seventeen she could tell when he was lying to her. So it seems that they were high-school sweethearts.

Unless, it’s also possible that Lisbon and Greg were friends first, before they dated. I can imagine that scenario as well. I don’t think Lisbon would have left Greg if she loved him as much as he loved her. It might have been a friendship turned romance from his side.

VIS #2 Lisbon “seriously!” doesn’t discuss Greg with Jane

Jane tells Lisbon that “Greg seems very nice.” To which Lisbon says “I am not discussing it with you.”

Jane continues, undeterred “Nice, solid, dependable, I can see why you dumped him.”

-For some reason my thoughts went immediately to episode “A Dozen Red Roses” where Jane asked rhetorically “Why do girls like bad boys so much?” I wonder if this is true for Lisbon as well since the subtext here is that Jane thinks she’s not into good guys like Greg is.

Lisbon replies “I mean it, Jane!” she is “seriously” not discussing this. But at his “suit yourself” feels compelled to self consciously explain “I did not dump him we both decided to take a break.”

-Can I just say that Tunney was so adorable in this scene that it hurt. Utterly gorgeous and cute and….yagkkgiej!!!

Ahem. Moving on…

Jane then replies “The old let’s take a break,” showing that he has no question whatsoever in his mind on how the relationship ended. Lisbon then repeats “I did not dump him!”

VIS #3 Lisbon Interrogates Greg

When Lisbon and Jane find Greg on the victim’s boat with cleaning supplies (to wipe off prints), she launches into cop mode and interrogates him.

-Lisbon was quite tough in this scene. It’s quite impressive to see her not letting her past relationship with Greg get in the way of her job. But then (besides in Ring Around the Rosie), does it ever?

Instead of answering Lisbon’s questions, Greg tells her, “It took me a long time to get over you, Teresa. A long time. But I finally did.”

-At first, I thought he was trying to derail Lisbon by getting personal. Lisbon probably thought the same as she ignores his statement. But in hindsight, I think Greg was partly musing to himself on how unaffected he is by Lisbon here. Or perhaps, on a some level, he was hinting to Lisbon about what was really going on. That he was sticking up for the woman he now loves.

Greg finally tells Lisbon that people who look guilty can have an innocent explanation for their actions. However, he refuses to tell Lisbon what his is, saying that she won’t believe him, even after she says that she can help him.

-I think it’s only natural that Lisbon’s good cop routine didn’t work after she’d already played bad cop. But I found Greg’s refusal to confide in Lisbon very telling, especially considering their history. He knew her enough to know that she wouldn’t believe him. And he wasn’t wrong either, as becomes apparent in the next scene.

VIS#4 Lisbon talks to Greta

When Rigsby tells Lisbon that salvage equipment was found on the victim’s boat, she goes to Greta to check if any of it was from their company. Since none of Greg’s equipment was missing, Lisbon concludes that Greg isn’t Jay’s treasure-hunting partner; their possible suspect. But then she figures out that Greg was keeping silent to protect his wife, who was having an affair with the victim. Greta tells her that she and her husband had a rough patch and that “Jay was just fun. He has no responsibilities just fun.”

-Yeah, I don’t think Lisbon can relate to that. Poor woman’s had to be responsible her whole life. First mothering her brothers, and now mothering Jane.

Greta goes on to say: “I wanted to imagine a different life. Just for a while. I mean haven’t you ever wanted to do that?”

-Lisbon can probably sympathize with that line. Especially considering the wistful expression she got on her life after Rigsby left her office, radiating happiness at his newborn. It was nice seeing these two women, who live completely different lives, wanting something they can’t have. But it was so subtle, not in your face cliché grass is always greener. Good writing, good acting.

Lisbon she tells Greta that her affair gives Greg motive to kill Jay. Greta tells her: “You know him. You really think he could kill someone?”

-Greta’s question reminded me of another time Lisbon was quick to believe the worst of people she knows (Walter Mashburn in Red Hot). Given her trust issues one can hardly blame her. On the other hand, it’s perhaps unfair to attribute her behavior to personal reasons. After all, part of her job to examine all suspects. Or could it be that, as a female cop she feels she needs to push harder?

Hmm…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Lisbon is by far the most mysterious character on this show. Personally, I think she is uncharacteristically driven by passion when a case involves people she knows and/or cares about (see Where in the World is Carmine O’Brien). Perhaps it’s this (damaged) intensity that Jane was talking about when he said that Greg wasn’t right for her; that not everyone can handle that. But more on that later.

VIS #5 Lisbon and Greg Catch Up

Lisbon tells Greg that he won’t be charged with breaking into the boat. He thanks her ironically then admits that he incriminated himself to keep the cops from suspecting his wife in Jay’s death. Lisbon tells him, sincerely: “You’re a good man. She’s lucky to have you.” Jay responds “You’re strong now, you know that, you didn’t used to be so strong.”

-Jay’s statement here makes me think that perhaps he was there for Lisbon when all the agony in her teen years was going down (dad’s alcoholism, his suicide).

He then adds that he bets Lisbon is good at her job. Lisbon replies modestly, “Yeah, yeah, I’m okay, I think.”

-Once again, Lisbon is blushing like a schoolgirl at a compliment related to her job. The woman loves what she does. And just to prove it…

Jay adds “You seem happy.” Lisbon tells him she is. Greg tells her he’s glad they met again. Lisbon then tells him: “I’m sorry for running off the way I did.”

-Wow. Lisbon didn’t just dump Greg, she totally took off without telling him! No wonder she wouldn’t tell Jane anything, poor woman was ashamed. Can you imagine what he’d do with that information?

Seriously though, how bad was Lisbon’s situation back then for her to just decide to run away from it all? Greg seems to know as he responds “Hey, no biggie.”

Lisbon gratefully kisses him on the cheek and leaves.

-SWEET! This was such a sweet scene. Kenny Johnson and Tunney had wonderful chemistry. They conveyed a deep regard and affection and I really enjoyed them together.

VIS #6  Jane and Lisbon Catch Up

After Jane returns Arkhan’s coin, he tells Lisbon not t be wistful, that Greg was never the right man for her. Lisbon denies any wistfulness, but agrees with Jane’s latter statement.

 -I’m not sure how seriously we can take Lisbon agreeing with Jane that Greg wasn’t the right man for her. She might have just done so to close the subject; she’s been known to let him draw his own conclusions on topics she’d rather not talk about. Not to mention she’s got all kinds of emotional baggage and trust issues which will make it hard for her to be in any relationship. It’s probably why she’d rather focus on her professional rather than her personal life.

Hmm. What if Jane knows this, and his comment was just his way of trying to make Lisbon feel better?  On the other hand, there’s a whole lot of shipper-teasing going on…

Jane adds that Lisbon is “Far too intense and particular for a man like that.” At Lisbon’s dismay, Jane says they are “good things”. When Lisbon demands proof, Jane asks “Whatever happened with that guy from narcotics.” Lisbon tells him “Jeff” bit his nails, which Jane says is particular of her. Lisbon then defends that “it’s a disgusting habit!” and get a “there’s intense” from Jane.

-First of all *gasp* Lisbon goes on dates! Though obviously not much, since Jane only came up with one example.

As to the teasing I mentioned, is it coincidence that Lisbon’s ex happens to be sun-baked golden and blonde like her consultant? Or that Jane’s statements flaunting how well he knows Lisbon are just begging for a snarky reply of “What, are you saying *you* are my type?”

Sigh. This is like the time the idea popped in my head (Pink Champagne on Ice) that these two have been secretly dating off-camera. Madness, really, but it’s not my fault writers insist on making J/L’s obviously platonic friendship exude such sentimental undertones.  Or are they? I can’t even tell anymore…

Best Scenes

Honestly, this whole episode was so awesome it was impossible for me to decide. Readers, please help me out and share your favorites in the comments.

Honorable Mentions

Kenny Johnson was really wonderfully cast. He and Tunney were fabulous together.

I enjoyed Keram Malicki-Sanchez’s scenes very much. Great acting.

Tim Kang and Samaire Armstrong were once again fantastic together. His quiet restraint was a great foil to her dramatic character; makes the impact when she gets Cho to lose it even greater.

Ashley Gable creates wonderfully individual and memorable characters. She also weaves an exquisite yarn giving consistent clues, like Greta mentioning the storm ( and repeated subtle allusions to it) to the landlord opening the window in the victim’s apartment. Finally, how can anyone go wrong with a treasure hunt?

Blake Neely. No surprise here.

Best Quotes

Note: these set my foreshadowing radar off.

“Why do people quit. They just quit.” Greta.

“Use them and toss em.”-Greg, on how Jay used women.

“I’m a peaceful man. I can’t explain it. I don’t know what came over me.”-perp, on killing Jay.

And these were just awesome…

“Oh, look at the little Crabbie!” Jane +nature= love. But just to be accurate, that’s not “little” Jane!

“Ah, dude, that’s seriously uncool.”-Lance Gladstone Brendan McCarthey’s reading of this line was so awesome.

“Wow. Breeder.” –Jane to Greg on having three kids. I love how spontaneous the comment was and how awkward everyone looked afterwards. Then there’s the awesome subtext. Lisbon, by dumping Greg either deprived herself from motherhood, or dodged a bullet…

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

Awesome…

Quotes, continued..

“There’s no tyranny like petty tyranny.”-Jane to Chief Anson (Burt Rice).

“Look sometimes stuff looks bad and there’s an innocent explanation.” Greg to Lisbon.

“I’ve been beaten far worse for a lot less.”-Summer to Cho.

I know I’ve been bad. But I’ve been so bored and this was such a rush.” Summer.

“I’m a cop. How’d you think this was gonna go?” Cho, to Summer.

“Oh my God.” Lisbon looking heavenward after Jane derails her questions and insists she get in the tow truck.

“I’m never too busy to solve a murder.” –Lisbon. Tell us something we don’t know…

“You were very busy with Greg.”- Jane on why he didn’t tell Lisbon his plan.

Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed a pattern that whenever Lisbon has personal stuff going on now, Jane always takes off?

I wonder why that is…

Pet Peeve

-The treasure! I’m dying to find out, is what will happen to the treasure now? After it’s released from evidence, that is.

-As heartbreaking and lovely as the end scene was, I think the conclusion was a bit too sudden. I mean, we don’t get an explanation as to why Summer is going to her sister’s in Seattle. It felt very awkward. Why not just end the relationship with the powerful scene between Cho and Summer, at an impasse? It would have kept viewers in suspense for the duration of the summer and given writers the opportunity to revisit the relationship should they choose to do so. And if not, I think most viewers would have been able to draw the conclusion that the relationship ended.

On the other hand, we wouldn’t have had the gorgeously bittersweet goodbye scene. Guess that answers that question…

Conclusions

A major theme in this episode was that of what could have been and goodbyes (Pink Champagne on Ice, War of the Roses). I would have assumed that the episode was a reflection of Ashley Gable’s own decision to leave the show if it wasn’t for the fact that dreams, what could have been, goodbye’s and new beginnings have been established subjects of this season, as far back as the Season three finale. But while Jane is the obvious target of these topics, Lisbon is as well. Her friendship with Jane has reached epic levels and she’s continued to stand by him one idiocy after another. Thankfully (for her character’s sake), she was kept in the dark for the duration of most of his schemes and only found out about the rest when it was too late to prevent them. The writers were very clever about this but I wonder how long they can keep it up.

As Jane, it seems like he’s taken Red John’s advice (via Timothy Carter) to forget about revenge and move on with his life. We’ve gotten plenty of clues. He bade a symbolic goodbye to his wife and child by placing a flower in the ocean (Blood and Sand). Even when he lost his identity in Fugue in Red, Jane wanted to start a new life. In War of the Roses Jane talks to Erica about not being able to have whatever he wants, but he is able to kiss her twice, showing that he is not as physically dead as he seemed before.

But the most obvious clue was Jane’s steadfast refusal to let anyone know that RJ was still alive. This, to me, was proof that Jane was willing to let sleeping dogs lie. Why else would he go through so much trouble to pin Panzer’s murder on someone else? And if that’s not enough, there’s also the fact that, apparently, Jane has no idea all the RJ evidence is missing from CBI, and has been since episode “Red is the New Black”. This was ten episodes ago, and in terms of the show’s time, Sarah’s pregnancy was only revealed the prior episode. So we’ve got RJ evidence, not in the CBI for months but not a peep out of Jane. And this was way before Darcy reveals that she suspects him in episode Cheap Burgundy so no, we don’t even have that as a justification either. So Jane, for months now, hasn’t been using RJ files/evidence to investigate RJ. Which, considering that RJ killed Panzer, he would do if he were interested in catching him. It seems that Jane has accepted RJ’s trail running cold.

Speaking of Darcy, until now Jane has been confident that Darcy will be unable to prove anything regarding his involvement with RJ. We’re sure to find out in the next two episodes. Looks like my blood pressure will spike once again.

Whatever. I lived through the season three finale, I can live through this season’s final eps. Bring it on, Heller!

Now, can anyone steer me to a physician who readily prescribes Valium?

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Mentalist Ruby Slippers Review


Guest reviewed once again by Violet the life-saver. Don’t forget to vote to tell her how wonderful she is :)

Synopsis

CBI Agents Lisbon (Tunney), Cho (Kang) and consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) investigate the death of a man handcuffed into a car and burnt to death in a dark alley. Jane immediately links the crime to the nearby cabaret where drag queens run a show. Meanwhile, the victim’s identity is confirmed as a very young man who happened to be gay and used to be bullied in parallel by his abusive father, a homophobic coworker and a sadistic lover.

Concise Verdict

Writer Daniel Cerone keeps throwing our way excellent storylines. ‘Ruby Slippers’ offered some enjoyable funny moments, enlivening a very intense and emotional story, written with great sensibility. All in all, a highly recommendable episode.  9.5

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

‘Ruby Slippers’ shows someone who couldn’t help but stay locked in a victim status, yet manages to get help and to become someone else, someone happier and more self-assuming. There were again plenty of nice references to previous eps: Jane is seemingly thrown off his game, just like he was after the failed attempt at robbing LaRoche near the end of S3 (‘Redacted’). That discreetly underlines that the show is approaching the end of another season. Moreover, for the third time in a row, we get an episode based on spectacle; after the low run casino where we get a glimpse on Jane’s youth, the theatre enlightening his potential for tragedy, here we have a drag queen show with a very emotional aspect. Three different stages for a growing distancing with Jane’s problems that becomes almost cathartic.

Dorothy’s ‘Ruby Slippers’

VIS #1 Jane and Van Pelt visit Archie’s father

Lisbon sends Jane and Grace inform the victim’s father of his death. Archie’s father is sad, but insists that his son was nothing like him and used to be a victim. Jane senses that something is off and begins poking at the man about him not being close to his son because the boy was gay. The man then asks if they are going to write “on their files” that Archie was gay.

-I really liked Grace’s reaction to the father’s question. She simply answered that they didn’t keep tabs on people. That calm demeanour shows once again that she has mostly recovered from her trip into anger and darkness: she’s not anymore the vindictive woman who knocked over a social worker’s coffee cup because she was irritated (‘Blood and Sand’). She can stay calm in front of a man’s latent homophobia even though she’s displeased. Moreover, there’s been some time since we got to see her investigate with the consultant. She was sitting with him on his couch in last episode, but here they are on the field, where Jane has been mostly alone or with Lisbon until recently. That detail alone hints that there is more collaboration with the team.

Both Jane and Grace soon leave the father to see the boy’s room. Jane immediately points out that it’s not a normal teenager room, since the decor was obviously done by the father; the room is not personalized, not even with posters. Van Pelt comments that hers was full of them, a personal comment that also indicates that things are alright with her. Nevertheless this room serves a greater purpose than just enlightening Grace’s teen years: the lack of homey feeling is the first glimpse we have in Archie’s life, and its sobriety bordering on austerity contrasts with the glimmer of the dressing room at the cabaret. In fact, later on, the other room (or rather bed) at the shelter where the boy slept after leaving home conveys the same painful lack of comfort and privacy.

That scene indeed presents and explicates Archie’s emotional situation before dying, the same he encountered in the other aspects of his life, at work and in his love life. He had no room for his real personality, and used to be mistreated because of his weakness and/or his sexual orientation.

VIS # 2: Jane returns to the cabaret

During the investigation, Jane learns that Glenda has seen the murderer but refuses to tell anything. He then comes back to the cabaret to convince her and gets to know better the rest of the drag queens troupe. That scene is a key moment, first, investigation wise, because Glenda finally accepts to try and identify the killer because she can relate to Archie. Indeed, she had admitted before to Jane that she’s also been a target, balancing her life as a drag and a day job as Glen, a “normal” man who became cosmetologist. We also learn more about the female impersonators and Glenda’s role among them: she’s the drag mom, that’s to say a protector and a confident for each of them, as she has taught them how to dress but above all how to accept who they are. That acceptation is made even deeper since she suffered herself because of intolerance.

Jane seems very at ease with his new friends, in a way that reminds the immediate complicity he had with the nurses at the hospital in ‘Bloodstream’. He’s so comfortable in fact that he mentions in passing that he would also like to learn how to accept who he is. And for a showman as Jane, being able to confess his insecurities is something huge and this line illustrates a change of mind in our usually iron-willed consultant.

VIS # 3: Jane’s First Revelation

The truth is progressively exposed: first Glenda is unable to choose one suspect from the pick up line. When pressed by Jane, she tells that the man was slender, eliminating all three men from the suspect list. Jane really stages every step of this scene and ends up accusing the three suspects of being responsible for Archie’s despair and suicide, from the thief of a co-worker who kept bullying him, the abusive lover who hurt and threatened him, to the father who rejected him.

-That theory is credible because it explains the lack of useful information from Jane during the investigation. If he had a hunch but no proof to assert such an audacious hypothesis, he would have indeed remained silent about it in case that he were wrong. That fits his character. Moreover, this kind of downer ending is what we’re been used to in the darker episodes of the show: usually, we get a somewhat bittersweet ending in most murder cases. Besides, that also fits the criteria of classic detective stories. Desperate characters killing themselves in a way that incriminates an enemy appear in many stories, including in Sherlock Holmes’, the literary model for Jane (‘The Problem of Thor Bridge’).

VIS #4: Jane’s Second Revelation

After the case has been officially closed, Lisbon, frustrated that she can’t arrest the suspects for Archie’s murder makes do with charging them for their other crimes. Lisbon then meets Jane in the kitchen and the intimate setting makes her speak her heart. She’s saddened by Archie’s suicide. Jane then takes her to the cabaret. He has a surprise for her: Archie is alive and has become a drag queen under the name of Fifi. He’s faked his suicide and his friends helped him with his elaborate plan. Lisbon accepts to keep the secret and both investigators end up watching Fifi on stage.

-The final scene full of optimism contrasts deeply with the heart-breaking ending of the previous episode. Back then, Jane was depressed by the birth of Rigsby’s son, while now he’s pleased by Fifi’s revival. The conflict is still here, but there is healing. Besides, those two characters coming to life in two episodes in a row hint at a possible new turn of things in the show, hopefully for the better.

Furthermore, Archie’s revival is developed by the many elements that refer in a significant way to Victor Fleming’s movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939).

1) The characters:

-the most anecdotic of them is the puppy that Summer choose for Cho. In a way, it impersonates Dorothy’s little dog Toto. Not an important hint, but a cute one!

- Glenda is obviously Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the godmother-like character who helps Dorothy in her quest. Here, she gives Archie counselling about his new image, she helps him to accept himself and to act accordingly.

- Archie/Fifi explicitly refers to Dorothy at the very end, when she sings the song ‘Over the Rainbow’ with glistering red stilettos (the red slippers) and the same hairstyle as Judy Garland in the movie.

2) The storyline is cleverly transposed:

- there is an enemy to kill; back then it was the Wicked Witch of the West, whereas for Archie, the enemy is that disliked weak image of himself that attracts hate from others. Hence the fake suicide: he symbolically killed this part of him using fire, like Dorothy used water.

-The movie storyline was built as a path towards home, since “there is no place like home”. Archie had no real home to return to: his ordeal takes him to a new kind of family, and above all to tolerance, freedom and peace of mind.

-The ruby slippers are first present under the form of the broken high heel of a red shoe, glistering like the precious stone. It’s the symbol used for drags in the episode (Fifi wears another pair of them on stage and we get a glimpse of Glenda’s black stilettos before following her legs and skirt clad figure when she comes to see Lisbon in the bullpen). In the movie they were the means used to be get away from the land of Oz. Dorothy had to tap her heels together three times. Here, as a wink, it seems that the heel was found after our travestied Dorothy has symbolically tapped her shoes and the heel has broken. Indeed, she’s already returned home when the episode begins: she found a way to both hide herself and get a new life. Like her fictional model, Fifi has understood that she doesn’t need to run away from herself anymore.

Moreover, those slippers were also the first clue for the CBI team to found the guy that the bully at work kept referring to as a “princess”. There’s also a bit of a Cinderella reference, Given that the episode reunites a lost shoe (or part of it at least) and a situation where a good godmother helps her protégé to achieve happiness. The difference is that happiness here doesn’t mean for Archie only finding a love interest, but more learning to love who he is. And in this fairy tale, the main character has worked and earned his success, he’s taken an active part in his achievement.

Jane’s path on the yellow brick road

There is a parallel between Archie’s story and Jane’s. Like him, Jane needs to confront three adversaries. First, the father: Archie’s dad used violence and certainly psychological abuse on him, he restrained him to force him to become someone he wasn’t, someone like him. Jane’s father did the same thing, he forced his son to manipulate, lie and cheat. Hence Jane’s hate for whom he’s become. Second point, unease at work: Jane’s past career is also a problem, since he feels guilty for what he’s done to people who believed him. Last, Archie knew an abusive relationship with someone he loved. For Jane, Red John represents the failure of his private life, he stole what could have been the most positive thing for him. He’s ridden with guilt and regret. For Archie, these three threats are related to aggression from someone else, that’s what makes him a victim, while for Jane they are more different sides of his own conscience. Still, Archie’s rebirth, strategically aired after an episode where the consultant was surrounded by tragedy, is full of hope for Jane too.

The similarities go even further. In season 2, when the Red John case was given to Bosco, Minelli called out Jane’s lack of realism by telling him « you’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy». And another analogy with “The Wizard of Oz” is developed, starring Jane as a new Dorothy on his path towards revenge, Red John as the Wicked Witch he needed to kill before getting peace, and Glinda/Lisbon as a tutelary figure who protected and helped him out. It’s interesting to note that ‘Ruby Slippers’ showed a kind of complicity between Glenda and Lisbon. They talk together with ease and Lisbon is even dragged on stage by Glenda the drag queen.

The episode resumes a dynamic that we haven’t seen in some time but that was characteristic for past seasons: Jane investigates alone, manages to hide the truth until the end. The team gets to do the leg work, while Lisbon is relegated to her boss function, she deals with angry attorneys, demands results and chastises Jane for his lack of efficiency.

Nevertheless, the analogy now is in fact more nuanced than it was in season 2. There has been a shift in Jane’s goal meanwhile, so the conflict is more interiorized.

- He helps his Glinda in this ep, he shows her what really happened backstage. Somehow he’s become a kind of tutelary figure for her too, meaning that he’s grown up.

- He’s closer to accept who he is. There’s been an insistence in showing since S2 that he has the capacity to heal. When we compare with the shameful and self-deprecating image he probably has of himself, we can notice that he’s proven he has the same three qualities looked-for in the movie. He is a coward, who flies away from danger, yet he confronted it more than once. The brain he used to manipulate as a psychic is now a tool to serve justice. His cold heart that needed « someone better than (him) » has been proven capable of empathy. All that contrasts with Paddy from ‘Fugue in Red’, who is certainly close to the representation he has of himself (except maybe for the womanizing part): manipulative, selfish and ready to play with emotions, afraid to face the truth of his own life.

- Unlike in season 2, the coming back home part is more related to the craving for a new life than to Red John’s death. Like Fifi, he wants to live, not to die. Therefore, between he lines, this episode synthesizes that longing to live again that has been fermenting this whole season. Things are crystallized before the finale.

As a conclusion, the comparison with the old movie shows at the same time that Jane’s character has evolved and how a door has been opened. There is a possibility for him to come to reconciliation with himself and to repair the deep insecurity he still feels.

Cho and Summer

Yet, hope isn’t everywhere and Cho’s love life isn’t as sunny as it could be. Is his summertime coming to an end? Either way, the usually impassive Cho begins to have problems with his bubbly girlfriend.

Troubles begin when Summer calls him to ask his advice on a cute but irrelevant question since he’s out investigating. She wants to give him a puppy that reminds her of him. This reason for disturbing him is absolutely endearing but the woman seems not to take his job very seriously, while he does. That was already hinted with the alarm clock incident in ‘Ruddy Cheeks’, when she turned it off and he got to work late. She’s thoughtful and eager to please him, but she risks also appearing a bit clingy and immature.

Later on she barges in the bullpen to bring him lunch and collect her pay check as an informant, even though he explicitly asked her to wait until the evening. He’s not very pleased by her display of affection but his mild irritation goes further when his informant/secret girlfriend casually greets his boss, with who she’s on first name basis (the girl seems very familiar with the team indeed…). He’s afraid to be discovered and takes her into an interrogation room to have a little privacy and discuss the problem at hand: they need to be discreet or she needs to quit being his informant. That only highlights how ambiguous and uncomfortable Cho’s status is in this situation. He doesn’t want Lisbon to find out, because his career or Summer’s job are somewhat at stake, but above all because he is certainly afraid to lose her respect. He’s proven so with the painkillers incident. After all, he already told Rigsby that he was seeing the former hooker, so the problem really seems related to Lisbon. Except for Jane, she’s always the person people want to hide from. She has been given this role too at first during the romance between Wayne and Grace, only for slightly different reasons. Still, both couples wanted to stay under Lisbon’s radar not to lose the chance to keep working together.

There seems to be a problem of communication in our contrasted couple. Cho needs a bit of distance and tries to be professional and thus, keeps their relationship a secret. On the other hand, Summer doesn’t respect enough his boundaries, maybe because she’s feeling insecure, since she asked him in this episode if he was ashamed of her and she has already admitted before that it unsettled her not to know what he thinks. It’s becoming obvious that they will soon need to find a solution about the mixing of their professional and personal status.

Best Scenes

The winner: the ending. That soft and delicate singing was one of the most uplifting moments of the show. Lisbon’s emotion and the gentle teasing about it were an added bonus.

1st Runner up: Jane and Lisbon in the kitchen- going backstage at the cabaret. That scene showed how the friendship between those two has progressed. First, Jane genuinely tried to keep her out of his scheme, so we can guess he decided to tell her when she admitted to being upset with Archie’s fate. He didn’t refuse her a choice in the matter like he used to do, he didn’t hide the truth to manipulate her or to test her reactions like he did in S3 ‘Blood for Blood’. And the big difference in Jane’s motive opens the possibility of redemption and a new hope. The trust between them was also quite touching: she was not afraid to tell him her inner turmoil, he trusted her to keep his secret and probably did it out of affection for her.

2nd Runner up: Lisbon and Glenda in the bullpen. The interaction between those two were very natural and non judgmental. That was very refreshing and nice.

Best Lines

- “In this dress, darling?” Glennda, clad in a form-fitting sparkly blue gown, to Lisbon asking her why she didn’t pick up her broken heel. Female bonding all the way…

- “Whenever I get dressed, I try to conceal where I’m going, who I’m going to see and who I’m going to blow on my way.” Glenda responding to Lisbon about her drag day outfit. Seductive? Yes. Witty? Definitely.

- « Ouh ! Don’t let them know that you said that » Jane to Lisbon after she states that that nothing stood out with the drag queens… when she searched their background.

- “He’s just like you Kimball. He’s so fierce on the outside and a softie on the inside. And he’s got this squished up face” Summer to Cho. About the puppy. Yes, that’s the lamest attempt ever at convincing a hardcore cop to adopt a dog.

- “Oh my. He stops my heart every time.” Glennda when Jane pops up at the rehearsal. Ooooh, seems like someone has a soft spot for Patrick…

- “Fifi Nex… Phoenix. Risen from the ashes.” Jane to Lisbon, when he explains her that Archie has become Fifi. Pay attention, people, clues may be everywhere!

- “Is that a tear I see?” Jane to a moved Lisbon while listening to Fifi’s song. The man can’t help but tease her at any time…

- “Yeah, keep watching” Lisbon to the above. Always so human and self conscious; that’s one of her most winning traits.

Honorable Mentions

- Daniel Cerone managed to give us a hopeful episode and that alone is quite rare in the show. And the fact that the storyline was also very well built was the cherry on top.

- Carlon Wilborn did a great job in impersonating Glenda as an eccentric, charming and rather admirable character. I’d also like to point out that writer, stylists and actors managed to give a real personality to each one of the drags, from the chubby and endearing dentist to the gorgeous slender brunette in that stunning green dress. That’s rather impressive, given that we get to see them a few seconds at best.

- They also managed to personalize the team’s reactions to Glenda’s appearance. Rigsby is very amusing in his awkward but polite way; he clearly doesn’t really know how to deal with her: he calls her a “nice guy” but acts gentlemanly as if she was a woman (in front of the men bathroom of all places!). Jane is very at ease and Grace simply accepts the situation in her open-minded way, while Saint Teresa shows empathy.

Pet Peeves

- As much as I enjoyed this episode, I can’t help but think the representation of the gay community is maybe a bit reductive. The characters were either targets or drag queens when they assumed their sexual orientation. That lack of perspective is explained by the fact that the episode dealt with one specific destiny. Still, the general effect would have been better balanced if they introduced another gay character from outside that glittering world. A witness or an investigator; someone who would have showed a different take on things; who had maybe a supporting family or friends (other than just two saddened female acquaintances) or who had at least encountered more than violence or a rather awkward tolerance.

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

 

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


Mentalist Something Rotten in Redmund Review


Once again, this review was written by my dear friend Violet. I am so glad I was unable to work on it as I doubt I would have done as wonderful as job as she has.-Reviewbrain

Synopsis

Consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) meets CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) at Redmund High School where one of the most popular teachers has been killed. Right away, Jane begins to discover the secrets of the high school, the students’ as well as the teachers’. He soon becomes particularly interested in the school drama club, the members of which are preparing to put on a play: a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Concise Verdict

The mere idea of Jane roaming freely in a high school plays with an old expectation for many viewers. Season two’s ‘Rose Coloured Glasses’ took place in a high school reunion and we were told Jane never went to high school. His time in Redmund thus gives us a glimpse at what kind of student Jane would have been as a teen and that’s quite satisfying and funny. More continuity is present via many discreet winks to past episodes conveying an impression of coherence and familiarity: the ruse of the girl betraying a guilty conscience by not looking around in a crowd was used in S3 ‘The Red Mile’; Jane helping someone to stop smoking?  Think ‘Blood for Blood’ in season 2. And Jane working his charm on a stage reminds of ‘Rhapsody in Red’. All in all, ‘Something’s Rotten in Redmund’ is a pleasing episode, even if not mind-blowing one. It presents a  rather well done story, with its set of credible red herrings and a surprising final revelation– spectacular, but still realistic-, enhanced by some really amusing moments. The result may not become the best episode of this heart-stopping fourth season, but it surely gives us an endearing one: 8/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

An important theme of this episode is how clever Jane is at working on various threads at the same time. The beginning is classic: Jane ticks off the local authority figure at the crime scene, like usual. Then there is a progression, as Jane discovers secrets from the more obvious to the more hidden ones. The investigation thus quickly falls in a pattern of mixing various types of clues, including ones from the crime scene, some hunches/deductions, or searching for some elements he’s sure of finding in Redmund because “every school has them”. All the while he’s switching focus between students and teachers. He seems to be everywhere, investigating every possibility.

VIS #1 Jane and the delinquent

After spending some time searching for the “bad kids”, Jane manages to interrogate their leader Krista. Seeing her about to lighten a cigarette: the consultant tries to convince her, or rather force her, to stop smoking by using suggestion. Jane’s willingness to help the local bad girl, in his own manipulative little way, shows how he is able to be genuinely concerned enough about youngsters’ welfare to try and do something for them. He’s once again on the side of morality, like he was in ‘Pink Champagne on Ice’.

The scene also showed us that he is talented enough to adapt his speech to his audience. Indeed, when he used the same mean to help Trina’s aunt in ‘Blood for Blood’ he called to her disgust and indignation towards businessmen making money with the unhealthy stuff; whereas here, he just tell his “patient” to look at herself in a mirror. Therefore he used young girls’ common weak point, the image they have of themselves, implying that the uneasiness and shame she’ll feel may be the trigger to decide to change. It’s a minor point, but it gives us an indication about how he works with his audience. Always interesting.

VIS #2 Jane in the bathroom – and called in the Principal’s office

- Jane sneaks in the second floor boys’ bathroom while the students are in class and paint a huge “Snyder sucks” in blue on the mirror…

-Our unruly consultant is then called with Lisbon in the principal’s office to be given an earful for his naughtiness. Jane then confirms that Snyder knew he had performed the vandalism act because of authorized security cameras hidden in the bathroom.

This funny and unexpected scene is without any doubt the best of the high school part. And it shows another perspective on how his mind works: he prepares his act, here by baiting Snyder. Then he just has to catch the fish.

In the meantime, Jane reminds very much of a mischievous teenager, playing a prank against authority and being caught red-handed. Baker’s impersonation of a grumpy kid is truly hilarious. It fits with Jane’s usual charming childish behaviour (pulling up his leg while looking into a huge waste bin, giving Lisbon a shadow puppets show and so on). Yet, the twist here makes things even more amusing, since he acts like a teen even though he’s an adult among real teenagers. The scene moreover is well structured and balanced, as all this playfulness serves to uncover that disturbing fact that cameras have been hidden in the boys’ bathroom. There is a subtle gap between this apparent carefree attitude and the serious matter behind and that contrast gives depth to his character.

Another interesting side is Lisbon’s reaction.  She’s had to apologize on his behalf countless times, it’s no wonder her speech rightfully feels more than rehearsed. But, here, not only she acts as her boss, but she also assumes what comes as a parent’s role: after being called by the secretary, she asks him what he’s done and scolds him in front of Snyder. That’s pleasingly emphasised by his petulant child behaviour. She deftly slides over two meanings of being his ‘responsible adult’: from being a superior who is blamed professionally wise, to taking the attitudes of a mother in front of her disobedient child.

Jane playing with Hamlet

 In a perfect counterpoint, the school theatre soon becomes a sort of microcosm in Redmund. The mood behind the stage is faintly different, as is Jane. While he mostly tries to bug the truth out of people at school, he’s far more charming with the young actors and their teacher and manages to get them under his spell… until the end, where we learn that he was trying all along to sneak into their little theatre company for investigative purposes.

VIS # 3 Jane gives a lesson on being an actor – Jane at the play

Again this is a scene in two parts:

Act one: he gets them to think he was an actor by reciting a tirade from “Hamlet” from memory. And, after earning their admiration, he’s asked to give tips and enunciation exercises. That only further establishes his status, he seems a great actor who knows the play inside and out and a reliable person.

Act two: the evening when they are performing, Jane gets rid of one of the kids to have his part. He then founds himself playing the ghost of the dead king supposed to reveal his son Hamlet that he’s been murdered. Of course, Jane-ghost’s revelations about murder are quite different and serve to accuse the drama teacher who’s having an affair with the underage lead actor.

-Same pattern than with Principal Snyder: he prepares things beforehand but we can only understand in retrospect what it meant. Many elements are in common in both schemes:

1) in both cases the trick is for Jane to perform an act and above all to be seen by his mark while performing it, whereas it is acting as a delinquent or posing as an actor.

2) There is some emphasis on the notion of watching (the camera/ the play taking place on the scene).

3) Lisbon’s role is similar to what it was in the office, as she comes to see him perform like a mother would do, sitting with the students’ parents, even if she didn’t know that he would be on stage.

4) In both occurrences, Jane is again the champion of justice and morality, since he calls Snyder creepy and a pervy, and is not afraid to qualify the corruption of a minor as “an unnatural lust between a woman and a boy”.

Now, the choice of “Hamlet” as the play they are performing is extremely revealing. References to Shakespeare have been a connecting thread during the second half of this season. In ‘Fugue in Red’, Jane told Lisbon part of his memory palace consisted in naming Shakespeare’s plays in the chronological order. In ‘Cheap Burgundy’ he was able to catch the killer, a fan of the Bard, by purposely misquoting a passage from ‘Macbeth’. Here, his precise knowledge is even more obvious since he’s able to quote lines from at least two characters, Hamlet and his father.

‘Macbeth’ and ‘Hamlet’ are certainly famous classic plays about murder. Jane also shares interesting traits with Shakespearian characters. Like many of them, he’s witty and has a knack for saying serious things with a joyous air and lightness, being able to discuss death matters with Lisbon before sharing an ice cream. This mixing of various moods also masks a tragic streak. Like Lady Macbeth, Jane is obsessed with guilt; he hides with Hamlet behind the mask of a fool, the prince feigning craziness while Jane plays a jester. In truth both men seek revenge over a dead relative’s assassination above all things, even when others may have to suffer collateral damage. Both plays end in loneliness, madness and death and that’s what Jane himself risks, between the mess of Panzer’s murder, his struggling with Red John, Darcy’s accusations and the claims that he may be a psychopath. That definitely conveys an anguished and tragic undertone to this so to say “full of sound and fury” season.

 Rigsby is a Father

VIS #4 the ending: Rigsby sends a photo of his baby boy

On a brighter side, the shortest pregnancy of history has come to an end. Rigsby’s stress and the cute haste he showed in leaving the bullpen, keeping his phone between his teeth, already hint that he’ll be a loving father. This is even further illustrated when he sends a picture of his newborn son Benjamin to every member of the team: it proves how proud he feels and the team reactions are all the more endearing as they are gushing over the baby. That’s a very sweet moment.

We finally get to see a reaction to the news from Lisbon and Jane. Lisbon has obviously a soft spot for babies and in true mother bear mode defends the newly born against Jane’s teasing remarks. He then leaves and the mask begins to slip revealing a soul deep sadness, while Lisbon’s knowing look follows him. A poignant ending that probably explains why the writers didn’t touch on the matter before.

 And that leads us to the big question…

What is Lisbon’s role? 

Many aspect of Lisbon’s relationship with Jane appear in this episode. They skim between personal and professional.

1/ She is Jane’s partner: they are together in the most important moments of the investigation, when Jane finds their first suspect, in Snyder’s office, during the play. Their partnership opens and closes the investigation, since both at the beginning and at the end, he finds their prey and she catches her.

2/ They share again moments of deep complicity, like when they banter before Snyder enters the office. They also communicate with their eyes when Jane sticks his head in the curtain to make her understand everything is ok. And she seems to be the only one in the team who understands him enough to guess how he must feel in front of the baby picture. She’s the closest thing he has to a confident.

3/ Jane has also influence on her: he brings out the mischievousness in her. She brags about not having been a good girl at school but not to have ever been caught. That’s just a way to encourage him to be more discreet the next time. Shouldn’t she instead keep trying to tame his antics? And at the theatre, she just flashes her badge to take a seat and watch the play. Abuse of authority, anyone?

4/ She acts as his responsible adult, almost his mother. That was the case when she was watching him on stage among parents and school staff, or when she was apologizing in his behalf to the principal. This part almost seems to be an image they give in public. In the office, they were teasing each other even though she acted as if she resented he got in trouble, then Snyder entered and both easily slipped back into their part of serious Agent and disobedient consultant. Somehow, that authority she shows over him feels sometimes like a façade: when they are alone, they act more as equals.

All those elements are already part of her character. Obviously, the warmth of their friendship generously displayed here has the same goal than his cleverness in the field, that’s to say to contrast with the end of season events. Nevertheless, Jane brings on the scene another point and that’s more than a little intriguing:

5/ he draws indeed a parallel between Lisbon and the perp in love with one of her students and suggests that she’s “smitten” with him. In the past some people accused Lisbon of having a soft spot for her consultant, for instance Bosco back in season 2, or more recently Osvaldo. But no one has ever defined the nature of this inclination before. That’s the first time Jane himself addresses the complexity of the bond they share. As a fact, there are objective similarities in both situations: Jane is Lisbon’s subordinate and, as it’s heavily implied in this episode, he’s under her responsibility, thus a hypothetical relationship would leave a forbidden taste, albeit to a far lesser extent of course. Plus, Lisbon has indeed admiration for Jane, she’s lenient and willing to go to great extents for him, like Ms Austin did. But, by comparing Lisbon’s feelings for him to what Ms Austin called love and what himself designated as “lust in the woods”, he adds a new potentially romantic and sexual component to the mix. A new component to which Lisbon just replies with a loud “Shut up!” in a semi-amused voice. Is that a hint that things are slowly and consciously growing into something more, on her part at least? What do you think?

Best Scenes

The winner: the final scene. The team’s reactions to the baby were moving and Jane’s particularly was pretty deep. That was a true epilogue, giving us answers to some questions and asking others.

Update (by Reviewbrain): Lisbon’s gaze following Jane as he walks out of the bullpen is very telling. She knows Rigsby’s baby picture must have stirred melancholy emotions within him. This awareness, their friendship and closeness this season makes the following strip possible…

 

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

 

One can hope, anyway. Jane certainly looked like he needed a hug after that last scene…

-Reviewbrain

1st runner up: Jane in the Principal’s office. Adorable and hilarious.

2nd runner up: Jane playing the ghost. That scene was very well done. Jane is older than the young Hamlet, so he fits completely as a fatherly figure. His three-piece suit matches the old-fashioned black suit and string necktie that was chosen for the original actor. He takes delight in playing with the original lines. Every detail is just perfect. And the major aspects of his character are reunited: showmanship, creativity, sense of justice, charm and charisma.

Best Lines

“Well, I did a little stage work”- Jane, when asked if he is an actor. Yeah. Understatement of the year.

“Patrick Jane, please report to the Principal’s office immediately. I repeat: Patrick Jane, Principal’s office.”- Naughty Jane is summoned for his crimes. Made me crack a smile, especially given his delighted expression.

“Eleven years in Catholic school and I never been called in the principal’s office once.”- Lisbon reprimanding Jane.

“That’s because you were a boring goody two shoes.”- Jane, to the above. Because attack is the best form of defense.

“I never said I didn’t do something bad, just that I never got called”- Lisbon, to the above. Naughty Teresa rocks!

Honorable Mentions

At long last, we get an episode where the actual murder investigation is at the center of the story. Thanks for that!

How the heck did they come up with the idea of Jane interrogating a witness while sparring? It was particularly original and funny.

They made a rather good job at giving us the impression of a crowd and of the multitude of problems typical for a high school (drugs, teachers’ problems, awkward teens or rebellious ones). Since many thematic episodes were lacking in atmosphere (the undercover cops for example), that’s really great!

It’s also a nice change to have a victim who was truly and completely a good person: every grudge he had encountered was because he tried to protect his students. Now I don’t know if I’m biased, but I kept wondering all along if this love-worthy man who “probably felt guilty for something” and tried to right the wrongs by rescuing everyone wasn’t supposed to somehow announce the fall of another character who shares the same traits… that may refer to caring Lisbon or guilt-ridden Jane. Or I may very well be reading too much into it.

Pet Peeves

Ok, I realize that teenagers on TV are generally played by young adults -or sometimes not so young- but some scenes suffer from this here, as really, a number of their high school students seem well on their twenties… Albeit charming and full of youth, Sophie Kargman (the letter maker) and Augie Duke (our smoky-eyed smoker of a bad girl), give a distinctive grown up vibe, but the worst moment is the teenager hooker’s interrogation: Kristina Apgar seems as old as Van Pelt. That’s a bit confusing and disconcerting…

Conclusion

Jane’s talents are perfectly showcased here. He is able to set in motion different plans; as if every idea provides him with a new bit of information and gives him an occasion to show his skills and the extent of his arsenal of mind tricks. He works as a perfectly well-oiled machine. It somehow reminds of the bubble of efficacy, calm and tranquility that Reviewbrain defined for the beginning of the season and which was just waiting to blow up. He’s so completely a mastermind, just so in control of the situation that you know he’s about to slip up.

MILD SPOILER ALERT

—-Not to mention it was certainly intentional that this episode featuring Jane on the top of his game was aired when infamous spoilers began to be leaked: it is probably meant to contrast with the epic fail already programmed and announced.

Note: art will be posted as soon as it’s ready. Please check back later :)

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


Mentalist Pink Champagne on Ice Review


Note: I find myself in circumstances where I may be unable to write reviews for some time. I hope things will get back to normal soon. Thankfully my dear friend and blog commenter Violet has once again agreed to help me. I am beyond grateful and don’t doubt readers will enjoy reading this review as much as I did :)

Synopsis

When a dead man is found shot in the middle of a road, CBI agents Lisbon (Tunney) and Cho (Kang) and Patrick Jane (Baker) immediately realize the victim was connected with a nearby second-rate casino, the Golden Fox. Once there, Jane has the surprise to bump into an old friend, Jack Hellion (Andrew Rothenberg), who runs the casino magic show. Jane soon discovers that his former fellow is in big trouble and decides to help him.

Concise Verdict

While the settling promised an intriguing and enlightening glimpse in Jane’s youth, the result was rather disappointing. The reunion between Jane and his long lost friend is just a bit awkward and doesn’t give the viewers anything big to munch on. That Champagne definitely lacked sparkles… That’s even more frustrating since writer Eoghan Mahony had managed to deepen Jane’s history in the past by creating psychiatric Sophie Miller (S1 ‘Red Brick and Ivy’). Fortunately, some amusing moments here and there and make things a bit more lively. Conclusion: another mostly filler episode. 7.5

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

Jane’s evolution

I said the episode didn’t give us a lot of thinking about Jane’s youth. But, as a paradox, some moments enlightened a bit his evolution since the beginning of the show.

VIS #1 Jane joins his friend in the dressing room

After the magic show, Jane and Jack meet for a little chat while the magician is taking off his make up. The atmosphere is friendly, albeit a bit awkward, as both men seem to have gotten “sidetracked” from their promising futures from sixteen years ago. Jack explains that he got into drugs. Jane doesn’t mention the tragedy he went through -which his friend obviously ignores- and just tells that now he works with the police without explaining any further.

As much as the discussion is frustrating with the lack of juicy information, we get to witness perhaps the first time when Jane isn’t too ill at ease with a fragment of his past. Even more surprising, is Jane readily assuming his new life: when Jack is shocked by his new choice of career, Jane only goes farther in his role of consultant for law-enforcement by showing him the picture of the victim.

That impression is even confirmed when Jane confronts Hellion about his secret, namely that he is forced into robbery by the kidnappers of his girlfriend. Jane first plans to step in the game… by calling the police. Seriously, where were we looking when the man has acquired such lawful and Lisbon-esque reflexes?

VIS # 2 Jane turns to the team for help

Meanwhile, the team doesn’t stay idle and come up with various leads, a second dead body and a theory that involves Hellion. Then Jane barges in asking for their help. Three things stand out:

1/ the team and Lisbon are at long last a little efficient! They’re able to do an independent investigation without Jane’s help, have linked the victim with Jack’s staff and guessed there was something suspicious with the guy. They would have made something out of it if they had the chance to interrogate the man, no doubt about it.

2/ Jane has come at once after talking with Jack to ask for their participation. He doesn’t mock their theory. He doesn’t want Lisbon’s help only, nor did he invent a role for just one of his colleagues like he usually does. He asks for their help as an ensemble, as a team. That’s a rare enough occurrence to be mentioned. Usually, he does so for something big; even the last time he pulled out such a plan (‘Ring Around the Rosie’), Lisbon wasn’t included in his “long term con”.

3/ they are back to be wary of Jane’s so-called brilliant ideas. That was a very nice touch, as was Jane’s attitude in front of them. He tries to make them feel guilty by feigning hurt and leaving saying “I’ll manage on my own”. When he turns around as if he was leaving, his eyes betray that he’s playing them, but Lisbon runs in and takes charge, like in good old times…

In fact, many elements remind us of the lightness of Season 1. Everyone gets their characteristic part: Jane investigates alone, as a clever con man/ mastermind; Rigsby plays the naïve mark chosen as a “volunteer” during the show; Grace is the pretty girl used to distract the head of security; Cho makes the arrest, while Lisbon saves the day. This is definitely another bit of light-heartiness in the chiaroscuro that is S4.

In the same way, if we compare ‘Pink Champagne on Ice’ with S1 casino episode ‘Red Handed’, we see some interesting differences that make Jane’s evolution obvious: while at the time Jane occupied himself by gambling and tried to earn his colleagues’ friendship with extravagant gifts and by explaining part of his tricks (poker and the memory palace), here he already has their trust. They are reluctant by reflex, but they don’t doubt in playing along. They all work together like a well-oiled machine. He doesn’t hesitate either in asking for their help instead of trying to deal with everything alone… Moreover, Lisbon is more ready than ever to assume full responsibility for what may happen. We’ve been repeatedly showed all of these things during the last episodes, but, there, with the parallel with the first season, they are made even more visible. As if we were meant to see how well things still are before the big fallout that may come in the approaching finale.

The big plan of the week: ‘Jane’s Eight’

This arc is at the same time the better part and the biggest flaw of the episode. It’s flawed because it could have been handled better (see Pet Peeves), yet the casino robbery was an interesting alternative to Jane competing with his friend on the field of prestidigitation.

Scenes won’t be commented individually here but rather as a whole. Jane’s scheme was indeed inspired by many movies picturing casinos robberies and ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a good example of them (I couldn’t resist parodying the title here). The main elements have been used indeed.

- Classic characters: we have a friend in distress, kidnappers, ex-cons less than reliable, the traitor and of course the mastermind.

- The technicalities: the use of disguises, the gimmick with the keys, an astute way to hide in the safe room. Not to forget the inevitable scene of surveillance of the main room with the chronometer in hand, the messed up camera as well as the innocuous mean to take the money out. Name it, you have it!

- Distraction is the key… the most classic move: pretty girls are the best way to distract people (Van Pelt, the assistant helping Jack to get an alibi during the show). Here the theme is linked with prestidigitation since there are a magic show as well as mirrors to make the two friends disappear and a substitution of boxes with Lisbon hidden in. To quote last season, the woman really gets the part of Jane’s “lovely assistant” here…

That peculiar aspect makes ‘Pink Champagne on Ice’ another of those themed episodes disseminated in Season four. We already have been presented with an undercover cop episode, one in the fashion world, as well as many in appealing locations (island, vineyard). The writers definitely try to vary and give dynamism to moments that aren’t related to Red John. Those nice efforts also illustrate how willing they are to avoid the monotony of routine investigations, which is always a problem in a recurring police show: many episodes like this one are built quite originally -a new team; Grace lost in the woods; Jane becoming amnesic or off investigating with Darcy; a supposed murder victim alive and hidden in the attic, a killer who hasn’t killed yet, etc…. Viewers are distracted from the angst involving Red John and things don’t get too boring. One especially clever move for that matter is referring to S1 best assets, for example punching Jane in the nose, always a big hit (pun totally intended).

 

VIS #  3 : Cho’s blossoming love life

During the investigation, Rigsby notes a bunch of red flowers lying on the side of Cho’s desk. Cho just tells that they are for Summer and, to his friend’s surprise, he admits that he’s seeing her. That brief scene hints at various things. First, Cho begins to go public about his affair with the former hooker/ informant. Things go well and seem to be getting serious, since flowers to a lover hint at romantic feelings more than at just a casual fling.

Is that a way to make us understand that all is great with him and that his addiction is history? Or is it a stretch to wonder if he’s trying to smooth down a quarrel by offering flowers to his girlfriend after stopping the use of painkillers? I just hope this cute moment isn’t meant to be all we’ll get as a conclusion for the addiction arc…

Best Scenes

The winner: VIS# 2.  The team’s reaction to the prospect of posing in another of Jane’s plans made me crack a smile. With a pinch of nostalgia at that.

1st Runner up: Lisbon emerging from the box. The idea that Jane choose to stuff in there the most petite woman (with her big gun) is quite amusing. Her voice steady, she literally kicks in to save the day. She isn’t even unfazed to have half of her hair in her face. You’re a super cop or you’re not.

2nd Runner up: the epilogue. At the very last both friends acted a bit more natural around each others. Jane using the other’s admission about drugs to insinuate that it damaged the foundations of his memory palace was pretty funny and in character.

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

 

Honorable Mentions

- Even it wasn’t an outstanding episode, thanks to Eoghan Mahony for creating at least one character from Jane’s past who is neither a mark nor a carnie, but who still manages to fit with Jane’s sense of spectacle and magic tricks. It’s a nice change!

- Is that me, or the atmosphere of the casino, a little lame, sad and without glamour, also remind of Mahony’s ‘Blood and Sand’? The island had a bit nostalgic, out of time vibe. Part of its inhabitants was running away from their past, just like this little more than a bump on the road casino illustrates Jack’s failures…

- Finally we have a team episode: the communication between Cho and Rigsby, the team scene, Wayne supporting Lisbon, all those moments make us feel that the team can still be a whole. Every one of them took part in the scheme this time, not just our dynamic duo.

Pet Peeves

- Was that hypnosis scene even necessary? A man who performs every night and day magic tricks that demand smoothness and dexterity, in front of a public, suddenly has trembling hands because he’s nervous… Not the most believable of events, but ok, we can go along. But would hypnotism even work on him since he probably already knows the trick or at least what Jane was doing? “Relax: I’m hypnotizing you” is not the most calming thing ever in my book… And I won’t even mention that just because he’s a magician he knows how to crack a safe.

- Is that credible that the security of a casino is so lousy? They mess with the camera, take the key and sneak into the most ill-secured safe chamber ever, and that’s all it takes to robber a casino. Worst, one single man goes in there alone with all the keys, ready to be knocked out cold if someone was hiding in the hallway – the “Personnel Only” door isn’t locked, no less. And the owner cannot even afford a second camera in the room, a simple glass window in the door must suffice. I guess it’s *really* a second-rate casino. They’d rather call it the Skinned Fox…

- I also guess there is truly nothing suspicious with a guy who has nothing to do with magic carrying a huge magic box out of the safe room. Silly me, why would one the guards need to ask him about it, really?

Best Lines

- “Mentalists, big talkers, no skills” magician Jack Hellion to Patrick Jane. That’s one of the rare mentions of our main character as a “mentalist” rather than a fake psychic. Other than in the title of the show, of course…

- “I am looking for clues… Yes, in the newspaper. That’s why I’m reading every single word” Jane explaining to Lisbon why he spent the team’s brainstorming session sitting on his couch reading the news. The lazy guy doesn’t even bother trying to be convincing anymore…

- “Did he say “crazy idea”?” Lisbon’s circumspection after listening to Jane’s attempt to drag them all into his last scheme is particularly cute.

- “ He said “trust me”.” Cho responds warily to the above.

- “Always a bad sign” Rigsby concludes that rather endearing ensemble.

Note: thanks to JohnScott for pointing out (comments for ‘Season Four Finale Hysteria’) that the ‘Pink Champagne on Ice’ was a quote from the famous song ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles: “”Mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice / We are all just prisoners here of our own device”. Although his interpretation of the quote seems a bit daring to me, I must say I completely missed the hint here. It’s probably a wink to the mirrors used in the robbery and maybe a description of the cheap, shiny, and quite sad atmosphere in that half-way casino where Jack ends up after wasting his promising career in drugs. Now I can stop wondering who may be drinking that invisible champagne!

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


Cheap Burgundy


Synopsis

When the FBI requests to borrow CBI consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) to help out on a homicide in Santa Carla, CBI head Luther Wainwright( Michael Rady) is only too happy to oblige.  Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) warns Jane that FBI Agent Susan Darcy (Catherine Dent) is probably using the case to investigate him. Namely, that Darcy will try to get Jane into revealing that serial killer Red John is still alive. Unconcerned, Jane goes off to help the FBI solve the murder of a young married mother. Meanwhile, Lisbon and her team are left to close their own case by trying to get a rich suspect to admit killing one of his female employees.

Concise Verdict

Jane getting punched, Lisbon getting ticked off, I was sold on this episode less than ten minutes in.

Cheap Burgundy was fantastic from start to finish. I especially loved how organic all the character moments were. I don’t know what it is, but Jane was just more Jane in this episode. And Lisbon was just more Lisbon. Baker and Tunney were simply sparking with good humor and familiarity even as they were arguing. The episode also had plenty of serious moments. In that sense, it was very reminiscent of some of the best episodes season one Mentalist had to offer. This has always been what sets Heller (and his show) apart from others; the perfect balance of comedy and darkness. I love this balance. I’ve missed this balance.

The episode was thankfully very straightforward. It had to be as it finally deals with issues that have remained obscure for the better part of the season. The direction was also very creative and I can’t wait to get the DVD’s so I can better study all the nuances this one had to offer (speaking of which, who do I have to suck up to to get a director’s commentary on this one?).

Written and directed by Heller, Cheap Burgundy shines in what is becoming a stellar season. 10/10.

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

We’ve been waiting for the reveal, and I think it totally paid off. I love surprises. Nice surprises mind you. I never suspected the twist at the end. I mean, I suspected part of it, but I never believed it would happen. And as it completely makes sense, it was a great surprise.

Best Scenes

2nd Runner up: Rigsby trying to Hypnotize the Suspect

The scene with Wayne trying to hypnotize the perp, ending with his embarrassed denial when he calls him out on it, and Lisbon letting her head fall on the two way glass was so funny.

Note: This is one of the scenes where the directing stood out.

1st runner up: Jane and Darcy Have it Out

Jane tries to get Darcy to make an arrest to lull the real killer into a trap. She declines before he has a chance to explain his plan telling him she’s tired of his antics. Jane replies:

“Don’t talk to me about to me about games and you don’t care a damn about Katie Bauer nor is your job in jeopardy.”

Here, Jane is calling out Darcy on lying to him earlier, trying to manipulate him into helping her by playing the damsel in distress routine, telling him that she needs him to help her win her case or her job would be over. He adds:

“Quit your play acting you’re not very good at it.”

Darcy gives it to Jane straight up: “Red John is alive and you know it. And the only question is why you would deny it. Why try to throw me off the trail. I realize something you’re not hunting red John you’re protecting him. That’s why you claim he’s dead.”

-This is where I was shocked. I thought Darcy would accuse Jane of killing Panzer. I never thought she’d suspect him of working with RJ. Jane seemed genuinely disturbed by Darcy’s statement. I expect his being in cahoots with RJ over killing Panzer makes Darcy’s statement hit too close for comfort even if she is wrong about him protecting RJ.

Jane tells her as much: “That’s absurd.” Darcy replies: “What other conclusion could I come to. If you’re enemies why hasn’t he killed you? Why hasn’t he killed the people you work with?”

Jane (honestly?) answers that he doesn’t know.

-VIEWERS REJOICE!! OUR CONCERNS HAVE ONCE AGAIN BEEN VOICED!

Ahem. I don’t know if Jane honestly has no theories here (I do believe him though) but I’m going to state my theory. I’ve said this before but I think RJ really does want Jane to move on; he said as much through Timothy Carter. RJ likes Jane and it’s highly possible that it’s true that he doesn’t want to cause him any more pain.

Darcy then reasonably asks Jane “If Red John is dead, why are the people who cross him still dying?”

Jane tries to brush off that RJ has disciples, but that he’s not one of them. Darcy refuses to believe him, understandably, since he won’t even admit RJ is alive. Jane finally does and when she asks him why he would deny it Jane says “It was a mistake. But I’m not his friend nor am I one of his disciples.”

-I wonder if Jane’s protests here stem from fear that he is becoming like RJ (as hinted in the last episode by Stile’s “You’re coming along”). I do wish we could see more evidence on whether Jane at least recognizes the grim potential there.

Darcy states that she hopes Jane can prove it to which Jane replies “I don’t have to prove anything. You do.”

-Perfectly written, perfectly acted scene.

The winner: Jane and Lisbon Catch Up

I’m not even ashamed of this choice. Notwithstanding how adorable our leading man and woman are, the scene was very important.

Jane is sleeping on a bench waiting for Lisbon to come pick him up. She wakes him up by honking the horn. He gets in the car and she asks him what happened with Darcy. Jane deflects first by asking Lisbon if she’s not interested in the case, then by telling her that he missed her. Lisbon *gasp* actually *GASP* replies that she missed him too!

;__;

I’m so proud of these two kids!

Even Jane looks a bit in awe at Lisbon’s uninhibited heartfelt statement.

I’m also very proud of Lisbon here. She doesn’t let the let the warm and fuzzies distract her from her goal in finding out about Susan (which I suspect was part of the reason Jane said he missed her). Lisbon quickly turns the subject back onto Darcy. Jane asks her to drive, appeasing her with a: “You think I won’t tell you?” Lisbon sighs and relents.

-What’s interesting is that Jane’s question sounded rhetorical. As if Lisbon should now trust him enough to be reassured that he’d always keep her in on the loop.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

;________________;

But, wait, if it’s true that they are that open with each other now, then how do we explain Jane brushing Lisbon off at the end of episode War of the Roses? Was it the exception to the new rule? It must be so because in this episode, although it took Jane  time (hours it seems) to steel himself, and Lisbon pushing him further, he does eventually tell Lisbon that Darcy suspects him of being in cahoots with RJ.

I love how he says it:

“I admitted that Red John is still alive just like you wanted me too and she accused me of working for him.”

-Typical Jane leaves out the fact that he only admitted RJ was alive to Darcy because she already had him cornered with her accusation that he was protecting the serial killer. I wonder if he did this intentionally, or unconsciously. If it was intentional, I don’t think he did it to throw any blame on Lisbon. More likely, he didn’t want to reveal how very little control he had in the situation that led to the admission. Another reason could be to appease Lisbon into thinking he finally took her advice.

Lisbon understandably starts panicking over Darcy’s ominous suspicions. I love how when Jane tries to shift the subject, telling her he can’t believe they still didn’t solve their case, Lisbon snaps “Don’t try to distract me with insults.”

-What I find astonishing is how flabbergasted both Jane and Lisbon seem at this development. I guess it’s only natural, they’ve got all the lies and cover up of Panzer and RJ’s involvement that it never crossed their minds that Jane would be considered guilty of working with RJ. Kind of ironic, since, on some level, that’s exactly what he did.

Karma’s a b&*$h.

Icings on the cake

-I very much appreciated Lisbon not being at CBI when the Serious Crimes unit had to let Filo walk. Her being busy helping Jane out on his case excuses her not being able to crack her own- she wasn’t there to do it- and keeps her from seeming inadequate. I’m so grateful for how Heller took care of her character like that.

-Jane being nice to Lila (Melissa Marsala) after she fainted was wonderful. I love nice Jane. I miss nice Jane.

-Speaking of Lila, her family’s situation was very touching and relevant. Her older brother Manny (Marcos A. Ferraez) is steadfast in defending his brother James (Gino Anthony Pesi) from killing Kati Baur. Lila on the other hand says that she loves her brother James so much but fears he is in fact capable of murder. The torture the siblings face, wanting to believe in James while doubting him might be an indirect method to convey what Lisbon must face every time she feels doubt towards Jane. She wants to believe the best of him but at the same time knows him enough to question him. Until now, loyalty has always trumped doubt.

-  Jane’s cold read of Darcy really humanized her and allowed viewers to see her for more than just the hard-nosed detective that she is.  I’m very impressed with how the recurring characters have been developed this season; first Sarah, and now Darcy.

-Little Miss Fierce is back! In a leather jacket! I loved everything about Lisbon in this episode. I’m even glad she seems to be growing out her bangs and going back to her season one hair. If the bangs aren’t going to be as perfect as they were in season two, then I’d rather her be without them so we can see more of her gorgeous face.

-James Barca glomping Jane, and Jane awkwardly patting him on the back repeating “yup” every time the man thanked him for proving his innocence was awesome. As was Lisbon hiding her smile in the background. It’s nice to see Jane as shy as he ever is at accepting gratitude.

-Continuity that Jane is very well read. He mentioned in Fugue in Red knowing all of Shakespeare’s work. I felt it clever that this tidbit was used to solve the case.

Speaking of which…

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

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

 

Honorable Mentions

Yeoman for his hilarious portrayal of Rigsby trying his hands at hypnosis.

Tunney for making Lisbon as badass as we love her to be and as adorable as we know her to be. The contrast between her hard tone with the perp and her high pitched pleas to Jane to tell her what’s going on is adorable, and in character for Lisbon’s.

Baker’s character always gives him a wide range of emotions to play but he was somehow even more irresistible here. I think it was this episode’s mixture of some of Jane’s more likable facets: nice, playful, somber, and vulnerable.

Catherine Dent makes Susan Darcy a very worthy adversary for Jane. I don’t think I’ve said this before but I really like her honest acting. She makes Darcy sympathetic.

Blake Neely for his eerie foreboding tunes as well as for his playful ones.

Best for last, Mr. Bruno Heller. I hope we get more of his writing this season as he has been missed greatly. And if he could include director commentary on this season’s DVD’s so we can learn from his genius I’d be forever grateful.

Best Lines

“Uh, that’s assault, Lisbon, arrest him.” Another thing I’ve sorely missed was the amusement of watching Jane talk through a  bruised nose :)

“She’s trying to investigate me on the sly, bless her heart.” Jane, on Darcy. It’s interesting that Jane doesn’t see Darcy as a threat. The War of the Roses review  garnered heavy discussion on how Jane seems to have a weakness for women. His underestimating a woman might once again get him in trouble.

“So you get to go off and have fun while we deal with the Filo mess you left us?” Lisbon to Jane.

“That you didn’t kill Red John, that you lied about it, that you did a lot of stupid things to cover up the lies and that now he’s back and you’re very sorry, that truth.” Lisbon, in response to Jane asking her what truth she wants him to tell Darcy. A lot of recap in one line. Plus we get continuity on Jane’s idiocy; always nice. (I love the guy, but a reminder that he’s only human is healthy, I think.)

“Can’t you see that your stubborn arrogance is gonna come back and bite you in the-Agent Darcy!” Lisbon, breaking off her tirade at Jane when Darcy enters her office.

“My pleasure, glad to see the back of him.”-Lisbon to Darcy, after she thanked him for letting her borrow Jane.

“I’m gonna have a great time, there’s my back.” Jane’s hurt response to the above.

“I want this little bitch toasted like a marshmallow.” –Gary Filo. Awesome read of the line. Also love Lisbon’s stunned look here and the hard line she took with Filo afterwards.

“I’m not gonna pay you to hold my hand while this idiotic girl acts out her hatred of powerful father figures, just go.” –Gary Filo to his lawyer, on Lisbon. How hateful can a man be? Good writing people. And acting.

“That creep is a psychopath and he’s guilty and we’re going to make him say so.” -Awesome Lisbon.

“I’m sorry, that’s just me. I like to fiddle.” Jane to victim’s family.

“Yes, Franklin will you smooth things over here? Darcy and I have to go.” -Jane to officer after he insults victim’s family.

“Now, when I have eggs coming?” Love the continuity of Jane and his beloved eggs. He even eats them at night.

“Deep down inside you’re a cruel man aren’t you?” Darcy getting to know Jane, calling him out on using her pain to distract her from asking him about RJ.

“Newsflash, I don’t work for Red John.” Jane to Lisbon, with a little laugh of disbelief.

“I have to go. Jane needs me. You guys are gonna have to handle this yourselves.” -I love Lisbon’s little smile and pleased (smug?) tone when she tells the team that Jane needs her. On the other hand, her being so pleased also has me worried about how much Jane’s opinion of her is starting to matter. Sigh.

Conclusion

Luther Wainwright agreeing to work with Darcy hints that the reason he cooperated with her before (Red is the new Black) is in fact him being a bureaucrat. The fact that she outwardly threatened to take him down with Jane further suggests he was just covering his butt because he was afraid of the big bad FBI lady. Darcy telling him that Jane is sociopath probably also worked towards his decision to help her out, it wasn’t too far from his own conclusion of Jane (Ring Around the Rosie).

On the other hand, is it me or did he seem pleased at the prospect of getting rid of Jane via Darcy? Perhaps that’s why he supplied her the evidence to begin with?

Then there’s always the theory that he himself is an RJ mole. It could be why we still don’t know much about him.

What do you all think?

As to Darcy, I can’t for one second blame her for gunning for Jane more than ever now. Jane’s actions have been suspicious and questionable. But I suspect what cinched the matter in her head was his cold read of her. She had agreed to it, had listened to Jane, even allowed him to reach as far as her painful loss of her sister. But then he stopped and she tried to move onto the subject of RJ, like he promised they would. It was then that Jane upped the ante with the following:

That’s why you’re relentless in your work. Because you are relentlessly hard on yourself. You know you should cut yourself some slack, you’d be a lot happier. You’re sad because you shut down your emotions which accounts for your stilted seduction technique. You’re capable of great passion if you just let yourself go. But you won’t. Not until you redeem yourself. Make the wrong things right. But how can you hope to do that. You can’t bring your sister back. You’re on your own.

Let’s be honest here. Jane might have felt sympathy for Darcy, he might even have felt her a kindred spirit suffering from misplaced guilt, but his major goal was to distract her from discussing RJ. I don’t blame Darcy one bit for telling him that he’s a cruel person, we all know he has a mean self serving streak;  hence her thinking he’s a sociopath.

Now if Jane had just told Darcy everything from the beginning (like Lisbon told him to) instead of waiting until she forced his hand, I think she would have believed him. The fact that he only admitted RJ was alive after she accused him of being his ally just makes Jane look guiltier.

To Patrick’s credit, he did seem a bit sorry, maybe even ashamed of himself after Susan called him cruel. Perhaps he would even do things differently given a second chance.

I suspect he will wish he had once it becomes clear that he’s wrong in his claim that Darcy couldn’t possibly have anything on him. Please see the Always Bet on Red review for more details.

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


His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts


Synopsis

Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and her Serious Crimes Unit investigate the murder of Gabe Meadows (Jake Olson), a journalist who had been on a crusade to expose the cult Visualize. When incriminating evidence appears against the cult’s enigmatic leader Brett Stiles (special guest star Malcolm McDowell),  consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) is intrigued by Brett’s lack of concern at being the prime suspect of a murder investigation.

Concise Verdict

I was a bit worried when I learned that McDowell was guest starring again. The actor is a legend but his last appearance had grated on me. In this episode, however, Brett Stiles was written exceptionally well and as always played charismatically by Malcolm McDowell. I was overjoyed and found myself holding my breath hoping the episode would have as perfect and ending as it did a set up. It did and once again I found myself at a loss trying to describe just how awesome an episode is. All I can say is this one was on par with some of the best of earlier seasons (my bar for grading newer eps). The music by Blake Neely was perfection; a nostalgic mixture of season one tunes fans know and love and thrilling new ones too. The direction by Charles Beeson was exquisite and the casting was exceptionally good including the ethereally talented and beautiful Louise Lombard. Did I mention the writing was perfect? A truly enjoyable, well thought out addition to this season. 10/10

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)

It was so much fun watching Brett and Jane spar verbally and mentally. But more than that, Brett’s appearance allowed for some very important questions to be raised and issue to be addressed. Mainly, regarding Jane, Lisbon and Grace (Amanda Righetti).

Brett/Jane

Brett comes over to CBI to get a Visualize member guilty of messing with the crime scene to cooperate with the CBI. Jane notices Brett has professional bodyguards with him and asks him what happened that he no longer trusts his own people to protect him.

Brett replies, “Well I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.”

-I think this was my favorite line of the episode. Even the mention of RJ serves as continuity that events of ‘Red is the New Black’ will be dealt with. Also, not only was the line very funny, it was very in character. Brett here is letting Jane know that he knows RJ’s alive, while simultaneously giving Jane a jab about mistaking Carter for RJ. This knowledge lets Brett come off as superior to Jane.  He’s a powerful man who knows Jane’s big dark secret. Brett was deflecting, pointing out Jane’s problems to keep him from guessing Brett’s true motive, his own problems at Visualize.

Brett does this again when Jane asks him why he’d help a “lowly drone”.  Stiles first says that every member of his church is like his own child, then ask Jane about he is still being chased by his demons, once again to distract Jane form his motive in getting involved in the case. Jane can’t help but rise to the bait and answers firmly (defensively?) “I’m chasing them.”

But just because Stiles got to Jane doesn’t mean Patrick isn’t aware of what Brett is doing. He quickly puts together the puzzle and realizes that Stiles is using the murder to incriminate himself and to flush out possible traitors in his organization. There were some pretty great moments to be had while Jane figures out Brett’s game.

1- First he visits Brett at his headquarters and observes him amongst his posse. Brett introduces Karl Leban (John Newton) and Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo) as “Two of my most loyal lieutenants.”

-I love Jane’s reaction to Brett’s emphasis on the word loyal and Jane’s reaction to it, you can practically see the wheels turning in his head. I suspect Brett did it to get a read out of his lieutenants, see how they’d react to his outward abject trust of them. Jane on the other hand stored the information as a piece of the puzzle to be assembled later.

2- When Lisbon tells Brett that he’s under arrest for murder, Brett’s followers all rise in his defense. It was a very tense moment which further highlighted the leader’s powerfulness. The message was very clear here, Brett is in complete control of his decisions and all of his followers as well, and can make things very ugly if he wanted to.

3-Later at CBI Jane tells Brett that Gabe’s research states Stiles always has someone else do his dirty work. Stiles replies that “That’s something you’d know a little bit about. Getting Red John to kill the San Joaquin killer that was very nice. Almost elegant I’d say.”

-Based on Brett’s reaction, I wonder if Jane’s comment that Stiles uses people was him baiting Stiles,  wanting to see how much Stiles knows about Red John and Jane’s role in getting him to kill Panzer. Jane had to have known that Stiles wouldn’t let a comment like that go. At least, he should have. I guess that depends on who one believes to be the better mentalist, Jane or Stiles.

Stiles then adds “Yes, you’re coming along,” to which Jane quickly (defensively?) replies “I’m doing nothing of the sort.”

Any ideas on what Stiles meant here? Perhaps, based on Jane’s quick retort, Stiles was hinting to Jane that he is turning into the very person he’s set out to catch. It’s possible, especially based on Brett’s subsequent statements:

“You’re not very happy, are you Patrick. Perhaps you feel a bit like the sorceress apprentice, you’ve woken up a power that you can’t quite control. Tell me, how is Rosalind Harker enjoying life under FBI protection. Is she glad that you brought Red John back into her life?”

-I love the continuity here and how Brett pointed out that despite Jane’s larger than life personality and his successful manipulation of Red John, he is far from satisfied in his life. It would be great to know if Jane ever thinks about his purpose, what it is he wants from his life other than revenge. We got some hints earlier in the season, but none after the Panzer incident. Though Jane’s contention that he needed RJ to get rid of Panzer, his covering up RJ’s involvement, and Brett’s comparing Jane to the sorcerer’s apprentice hints that Jane, at one point, might have wanted to move on from hunting RJ. At least overtly. His kissing Erica a few episodes ago could also mean that he’s trying to move on from his wife’s death. It would be nice to have more evidence either to support or refute this.

What we do know is that Brett’s jabs had Jane decide that having Stiles as his ally can only be beneficial to him, especially since Jane knows Brett has information on Red John (Blood on His Hands). So Patrick plays along with Brett’s act of being a murder suspect and  helps him ferret out his competition. Brett accurately figures out that Jane did this so that Stiles would owe him. Both men acknowledge the debt.

Brett/Lisbon

When Lisbon interrogates Brett Stiles, he unleashes his mind games onto her.

“Tell me Agent Lisbon. Do you enjoy watching Patrick Jane take over the team and your life?”

-VIEWERS REJOICE! OUR CONCERNS HAVE BEEN VOICED!

Ahem. Thank you Mr. Harper for using Brett to ask the question most Lisbon fan has been wondering this season.While Teresa’s no-nonsense attitude is a very enjoyable aspect of her character, it has been in hiding for a while now.

A few episodes ago, I wondered:

Is it me or has Lisbon become a pushover? It’s not just Jane anymore. When she asks to see Duvall and the model is all “he’s not available” she resignedly tells her to have him call her back without even trying to exert her authority (or flash her badge) as she usually does. I’m starting to think Windsparrow is right, Lisbon is exhibiting signs of being burned out by the job (or perhaps by Jane might be a more accurate statement). She’s just lacking her usual spark, spunk, and bite.

In a season where her strength of character has been questioned by so many viewers, it is particularly important to reinforce her motives on why she tolerates Jane’s increasing control especially when she still disagrees with him sometimes.

So why does she? Lisbon answer to Brett: “We close cases. That’s all that matters to me.”

- Teresa’s mantra for letting Jane get away with murder is as steadfast as it always was. It’s interesting that the reason she gives Brett is the same she gave Sam Bosco two seasons ago. But Stiles doesn’t buy into it any more than Bosco did.

“You’re telling me you love justice more than yourself. Come on justice, what is that it’s just an idea. You are flesh and blood. Why sacrifice the real for the imaginary?”

Lisbon’s reply?

“I’m not looking for a guru I’m looking for a murderer.”

-Jordan Harper shows that Teresa Lisbon is as awesome and as subtly badass as she’s always been. Seeing her face up to a powerful and manipulative man like Stiles is very reassuring and soothing. But it remains to be seen if she can do the same to Jane.

So many fans have asked me why Lisbon continues to go easy on Jane despite his continuous errors in judgment. With regards to Red John, I figure she’s able to forgive Jane because he had always told her what he would do; he never lied about it so she had time to steel herself for the occasion.

As to his season four messes, Lisbon learned about most of them after the fact so there was very little for her to do to prevent them.  I also suspect Lisbon is pragmatic enough to pick her battles with her consultant. She has to be to be able to work with him so well and for so long. She’s probably just saving her energy for when things get really bad. But I understand the concern and I myself wish that her tolerance bar wasn’t quite as high…or as low as might be the case

Another possible reason is the fact that Lisbon’s own sense of justice seems to be getting closer to Jane’s (a major theme in season three). In a comment to the Red is the New Black Windsparrow elaborated:

There are layers and layers here. Yes, she is tired of fighting the grinding gears of bureaucracy, and Jane’s machinations, and the unimaginable stress of the Gordian Knot that is the Red John case. Another factor is her shifting loyalties. When the show first started, Lisbon was married to her job. Her primary allegiance was to The Law (as the surest way to Justice) and to the CBI as a manifestation of The Law. It was easy to see that she trusted her place in the agency in general. And she relied on her relationship with her boss, Minelli, as an anchor. Over time, her shifting relationships to higher-ups eroded that reliance. While Hightower was not the personal anchor that Minelli was, in the end Lisbon’s bond with Hightower was still of primary importance as a conduit for her relationship with the agency. Then the agency betrayed Hightower in a way that would leave Lisbon feeling more than a little adrift. Then being cut loose by the agency, that would have been an even more personal betrayal. Her loyalty to the agency was punished. Jane stepped in, saving her job (and saving the jobs of her team which might inspire even more gratitude). It seems plain to me that her primary loyalty now is to her ersatz marriage to Jane and the version of Justice that he can help her to achieve.

I’m going to agree here. I’d also like to add that more and more I’m starting to believe that the joy Lisbon gets working with Jane exceeds the grief he causes her. She seems to genuinely enjoy his company now as opposed to her MO the first three seasons of avoiding him. They are friends. Good friends whom it seems spend time together outside of work. They’ve shared at least a couple of meals and she’s been to his house and even knows about the bloody smiley he still has there (Fugue in Red).

But this new closeness, as nice as it has been, doesn’t necessarily put Lisbon in a better situation to control Jane’s wilder schemes. Indeed, Lisbon is increasingly content to simply look the other way and has adopted Jane’s “no harm, no foul” doctrine. Another, which I’m actually grateful for is the “deniability” rule. I like this one because as long as Lisbon doesn’t know what Jane is up to, then her integrity (and character) remains preserved. Even if she learns it after the fact, it would be too late to stop him.

I do wonder if the poop will ever hit the fan and Lisbon realizes that, perhaps more than her friendship, Jane needs her guidance. Or perhaps that’s not true. Perhaps we’ll learn that Lisbon enjoys conceding control to Jane as it lessens the pressure on her as a boss.

Hmm. Wanna bet on it?

I do think (hope) the last option is true. Time will tell. But perhaps the perp in this episode was being used as foreshadowing to a shift in the role Lisbon plays in Jane’s life….and vice versa. But more on that later…

Best Scenes

2nd runner up: Jane reveals Brett’s Game

The scene starts when Stiles beckons to Jane with his finger from behind the two way glass after Lisbon shows him a (doctored) photo of him leaving the crime scene in a blood spattered shirt. After that, every single word out of both of their mouths was fun, fun, fun. Really great scene.

1st Runner up: Brett’s tries to manipulate Grace

All of Grace and Brett’s scenes together were amazing, starting with how she tries to pull off the  helpless maiden routine to get him to reveal if he has any property. Stiles then cold reads that Grace  has a problem with her landlord and teaches her to get rid of her anger by visualizing it as smoke she exhales from her body. Grace is skeptical but tries the technique later in private. Grace later volunteers to question Stiles on who was giving Meadows information on Visualize. She is derailed when Stiles once again turns the matter on her, guessing that she has killed and asking if she found perspective from it. Grace tells him it changed her and he asks if her friends noticed. She states that they did a little and that “I think it freaks them out.” Brett replies “Of course. They don’t have the imagination or the vocabulary to converse with you about it. You know you are like a little bird that fell out of the nest. But you don’t need the nest you need to fly. And that I can teach you.”

-I loved the music in these scenes. The piano was appropriately titillating; representing the Stiles trying to entice Grace into joining Visualize, getting under her skin and into her mind. The direction was perfect.

As to the analysis, Onan 1st over at twitter asked me if I thought Grace being approached by Stiles was a move orchestrated by Jane to see what Brett knows about Stiles. It’s an intriguing possibility but I think Jane was too busy helping Stiles’ set himself up and solving the murder. We also don’t see Jane approaching or asking Grace about if Stiles tried to talk to her.

But it’s true that Jane does want to use Stiles to get to RJ. He knows Stiles has information on Red John (the Blood on His Hands) which is why he wanted Brett to owe him one. He’ll collect the favor when he needs to.

Now Brett has obviously done his homework on Grace, based on his knowing about her shooting Craig and even that she has a problem with her landlord. He would have known that she was feeling vulnerable and might fall for his tactics. I suspect that Stiles has plenty of followers in law enforcement (like the officer at the beginning of the episode). Having one so close to Jane would have been an extra bonus.

As to Grace, she did seemed intrigued by Stiles. She is, as Onan 1st stated clearly looking for “more” from this world. But thankfully she is wise enough to not fall for Brett’s tactics. Perhaps seeing how affected Nora was by him, she was reminded of his crimes. Or maybe, like she tells Brett, she truly is over bad-boys.

I don’t believe that Brett’s implication that Grace’s friends were unsupportive of her. But perhaps she took Lisbon and Wayne’s telling her to talk to someone about her problem (Scarlett Ribbons, Little Red Book) to mean that they weren’t able/willing to listen to her. Or maybe she’s right, maybe they are freaked out by her change. But I doubt Jane would have any problem if Grace wanted to talk to him. Perhaps she’s the one who is finding it hard to talk to someone who knows her. A lot of people find opening up to strangers easier than to their friends and loved ones. It’s what Jane did in Jolly Red Elf. I think that is what Grace did with Brett and I think that is the reason for her kissing him on the cheek at the end. She was grateful.

The winner: Stiles returns to his throne/murderer revealed

First, this:

Cooper: “Brett, I thought-

Brett: “What you thought my corpse cold enough to loot. Do you really think I’m weak enough to be pushed aside? Do you think I’m stupid enough to be caught with blood on my hands? Tell me Cooper do I seem weak to you now?”

-McDowell here was so terrifying. If I were Cooper I would have wished I were wearing a diaper at that moment or I would have been truly embarrassed. Seriously, it was like he was channeling Anthony Hopkins from Silence of the Lambs. Speaking of which…

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

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

LOL!!!

Anyway, Brett’s Hannibal-like terror and menace was tempered by his subsequent astonishment and disappointment that all the members of his inner circle had doubted him and voted him out.

Then Nora Hill states that she stood by him. Jane expresses surprise that she didn’t suck up to the new boss, while Lisbon states the evidence against Stiles was very incriminating. Nora had to know for sure he was innocent. Stiles then realizes that Nora is the killer. Nora then stands up and slaps Stiles, telling him viciously, “Damn you for what you turned me into!”

I just about spontaneously combusted here. What an awesome and fabulous scene!

Honorable Mentions

Malcolm McDowell not only stole every scene he was in, he brought out the best in an already exceptionally fine cast. His scenes with Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Amanda Righetti, and Louise Lombard were so good it hurt. Speaking of which, the aforementioned actors were all spectacular as well.

Speaking of Louise Lombard, I went all sorts of crazy when I saw her name as a guest star. I practically flailed when she appeared on screen. CSI fans will know her as the amazing actress who portrayed beloved CSI-turned cop Sofia Curtis. I absolutely adore her and was stunned when she suddenly disappeared off the show. She is as fantastic here as she was in CSI’s 2-parter classic, A Bullet Runs Through It”. If I may veer off topic for a bit, she and Paul Guilfoyle created quite the waterworks in those episodes (television fans and wannabe screenwriters, that episode is a must-see).

Lombard is similarly phenomenal in His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts, especially in the scene where she confesses to Cho that she killed Meadows out of fear that he’ll reveal her as his informant to Visualize. She states that she honestly doesn’t feel remorse “150,000 people die every day, why should I feel anything for one man just cause, cause I was the cause of his death?” The contradicting tears and shaking jaw, proof that she’s just trying to convince herself, were part of an Oscar-worthy performance.

Icings on the cake

-Lisbon bonding with the victim’s sister. It was very in character to see how disturbed Teresa was when Jesse Meadows (Caitlyn Custer) didn’t seem bothered by her brother’s death, saying that he left her when he left visualize. It shows that Lisbon values family over everything and her showing Jesse the video letters the victim left to his sister is continuity that Lisbon tries to give the victims’ families’ closure whenever possible.

-I loved seeing Jane use his intellect to help his cause in a way that doesn’t mandate his breaking the law. Thank you, Mr. Harper for showing that this isn’t an impossible feat.

-It’s nice to see Grace and Cho sharing more scenes together. More of this please.

Best Lines

“Trash duty.”-Grace whispering under her breath at job Lisbon gives her.

“Is there a problem?” -Lisbon, in response to the above. Love Boss Lisbon.

“Alright, when Cho shows up grab him, spread the pain around.”-Lisbon to Grace, in response to the above, after Grace’s statement that there’s no problem.

“Pre-member bigot!” Cop/visualize member to Jane.

“Well I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.” –Brett to Jane. AWESOME

“I gotta get back to running my religion.”-Stiles

“Yes, your flock won’t fleece itself.” –Jane, in response to the above.

“Apparently you major in yourself.” Cho’s reply to Lisbon’s inquiry that Visualize has a college.

“Mind suffers from Junk food as much as the body does.”-Nora to Lisbon on why the Visualize college has no internet. SO TRUE!

“Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after ya.” Randall Parker to Risgsby. A cookie to whomever reminds me of who first said this quote.

“Hope the whole arrest your master thing didn’t ruin your lunch.”-Jane, to Leban.

“No, I can gloat from a distance” in reply to Leban’s question if he came to visualize to gloat.

“Like the Brett Signal.” Jane convincing Leban to gather Brett’s posse

“You’re good. Not as good as Jane, but good.”-Grace to Brett. Love her loyalty here.

“Either one of you framed Brett Stiles for the murder, or you didn’t.” LOL. Jane yanking suspect’s chains.

“You overestimated the courage of your bootlickers.”-Jane to Stiles

“I figured if they wanted to cook your goose a little I’d turn up the heat for them.”-Jane to Stiles.

“Well thank you Patrick, I didn’t think you cared.”-Brett, in response to the above, after Jane helps sets him up further to.

“Great sales pitch. But I’m sort of over bad boys these days.” Grace to Brett’s final attempt to have her join Visualize.

Conclusion

So I mentioned that how Nora was affected by Stiles might be foreshadowing on Lisbon and Jane’s relationship.I felt this way once before this season. In episode Always Bet on Red (see that review’s conclusion) I wondered if the perp’s bitterness at having her love be unrequited was a hint at a possible outcome in the event that Lisbon develops romantic feelings towards Jane.

Similarly here, I can’t help but wonder if Nora’s slapping Brett and her spitting out “Damn you for what you turned me into” is an example of why Lisbon should be more wary of her increasing closeness to Jane. Is it an indication that Jane’s lawlessness might rub off on Lisbon to the point that she herself does something wrong?  I find the possibility truly intriguing and not just because, prior to the episode, I done *cough* creative writing which explores the possibility that one of the reasons Jane sometimes holds out on Lisbon is because he wants her to remain steadfast in her own beliefs, even as he ties to convert her to his own. All hopeless optimism I’m sure, but the slightest possibility that the theme might be explores has me all sorts of excited.

Do you think the writers are giving us hints via these female perps?

Last but not least:

Here are the twitter link for composer Blake Neely , writer, and Director Charles Beeson should you want to congratulate them on an excellent job in this episode.

Speaking of excellent, here’s a video @ducrichy made for me for the mentalist.  A fun happy Jane video to offset season four’s angst. Thank you so much!

Note: I want to apologize for being late on this review. I recently took on a new job in addition to my full time one. I also wanted to comment on this episode’s title which Harper stated comes from a poem written by Saki but I’m just too overwhelmed at the moment to give reviews the detail I’d like. I do hope readers will forgive me and help to pick up the slack :)

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Mentalist War of the Roses Review


Synopsis

California Bureau of Investigations gets called in when a young woman named Natalie Kobeki (Christine Garver) is found murdered near Bart Station, San Francisco. Jane gets a call from convict Erica Flynn (guest star Morena Baccarin) who tells him Natalie used to be a client at her matchmaking service (Every Rose has its Thorn) and that she can help him find her killer.. Much to Senior Agent Lisbon’s (Tunney) concern, Jane convinces their boss Luther Wainwright (Michael Rady) to spring Erica from jail for a limited time to help solve the case.

Concise Verdict

I’ll admit I was as confused as Lisbon the first time I saw this episode. I couldn’t understand any of Patrick Jane’s motivations, not even enough to decide if they were as out of character as many fans claimed. Then I realized I was looking at the pieces too closely so I took a step back: a marvelous mosaic was revealed. War of the Roses might be controversial amongst diehard fans but character wise, it contained enough clues to makes sense.  Well acted, executed, I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite episodes this season. 9/10

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

So this one made me think. A lot. I love when that happens and I reach a (hopefully) reasonable conclusion instead of making a list of pet peeves. As it is, I instead have a list of possibilities as to what exactly had been going on in Jane’s mind during this episode. Not entirely sure which one is right though. Ken Woodruff’s sly writing left room for several possibilities, all character appropriate. I tried to include most and probably imagined a few in the process. It wasn’t easy. Luckily, Windsparrow, an avid reader/commenter on this blog helped me along. She and her Man had quite a few intriguing conclusions, and some pretty funny ones too.

Note: Before you read this post, you might want to read my dear artist’s @chiziruchibi’s Mentalist 4×15 Rant: Self Therapy. She made several good points and I know many fans felt the same way about the episode. One might say this review was written to pacify those concerns.

Windsparrow:  Permission to Doblerize the ‘Shippers, Captain!

YOU MUST CHILL! YOU MUST CHILL! (Lloyd Dobler, John Cusak’s character in “Say Anything”)

Reviewbrain: That’s probably something most  J/L shippers needed to hear.

Windsparrow: The first time I see a new episode of The Mentalist, I am at work. Small TV on the other side of the room, I’m busy writing up stuff from the shift. So all too often I miss nuances of facial expressions and other subtle details. So I make the Man of the house record it and watch it with me on the weekend. This week, I made him watch it with me as soon as I got home.

Reviewbrain: It was that kind of episode, wasn’t it. So glad you’re here to help me make sense of it all. Between us, the clues Mr. Woodruff dropped us, and readers’ comments, I’m sure we can reach some level of understanding. Let’s take it by topic.

Rigsby/Sarah/Baby

Windsparrow: One thing that seemed jarring on the first viewing is how advanced Sarah’s pregnancy has gotten, especially since Rigsby only told Cho in last week’s episode. It also rather appears that Rigsby has neither told Lisbon about the pregnancy, nor yet made arrangements in advance to make it to childbirth classes. Re-watching with the Man, I complained about the “Soap Opera Aging” syndrome. He told me he thinks it was not so much that as a way to establish the passing of time. In other words, Red John has been quiet for a few months. Possibly this could have been done with a bit more finesse, but it could be very important.

 Reviewbrain: The timeline made me dizzy too. Erica claims that Natalie was her client 10 months ago (which, in real time would mean right around the time her first appearance, “Every Rose has it’s thorn” was aired so that kinda makes sense.) But it’s been seven months since Rigsby got Sarah pregnant? I’d try to do the math except I’m so hopeless I needed a tutor for my nine year old.

I do like your man’s theory that the advanced pregnancy was a method used to establish a passage in time in which RJ had been inactive. This helps reassure me that the writers didn’t just fast forward because they wanted Rigsby’s baby to conveniently arrive in time for the season finale. Because if that was true, then I’d be very worried that the writers are going to have the baby and/or Sarah be endangered.

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

I love Rigsby with Sarah. I love how she told him they weren’t ready to get married. I love how she babbles when she’s nervous. And I love how nice she is to him, how mindful and gentle she is of his insecurity. I want them to have the baby, realize they are madly in love, get married (not necessarily in that order), and live happily ever after.

Jane/Erica

Windsparrow: After seeing the previews last week, knowing that Erika Flynn would be putting the moves on our Patrick Jane, I reminded myself that in her last appearance, there did not seem to be all that much true attraction between them. Back then she kept telling him he was attracted to her. But it looked to me as though she was trying to work the power of suggestion mojo. On Patrick Jane. ::snirk::

Reviewbrain: She tries it here as well.  When Erica calls Jane at the beginning of the episode, Jane is at first bemused, then gets annoyed when she tells him that she and Natalie grew close during their sessions, adding “but you know how that is”.  Her power of suggestion MO hadn’t changed a bit, and like in the previous episode Jane was able to see right through it. At least at first…

Windsparrow: What is different this time around? A few episodes ago, Jane’s sexuality was let off the trauma leash. It ran around the yard digging up old bones and scaring the neighbor’s cat.  And in a few instances throughout this season we have seen hints that he might be emotionally ready to be something other than all grieving, all the time. And now this gorgeous, smart, seductive woman comes back and tells Jane he is attracted to her. Again. Is he attracted to her? If he is, is it just a physical reaction to physical stimuli? No blame there, if he is. A more important question is, is there any emotional attraction? That would have a heck of a lot of meaning for Jane’s character. But if there is, I flat-out do not see it.  Maybe I just do not recognize what is there. The Mentalist is the only thing I have seen more than clips of Baker. I have seen Baccarin in other things; I have seen her playing a character that has chemistry with other characters. I know what it looks like. This ain’t it.

And that is what I needed the Man’s opinion on. Either he really does not see it either, or he is afraid of having to clean bits of my grey matter off the walls of our living room when my brain explodes if he gives the wrong answer.

Reviewbrain: You gave me a lot to think about, and well, I don’t want to make your head explode…but…here’s the thing: We’ve agreed that Jane wasn’t attracted to Erica in the past. And there’s been plenty of proof. In “Every Rose has its’ Thorn”, after she insists he has feelings for, Jane says “You’re wrong, I feel nothing like that towards you for one simple reason. You killed your husband.” And we all know how derisively Jane feels towards spouses who are unappreciative of their significant others; goes without saying he’d feel even worse towards those who kill them. Jane reiterates his disgust twice when catching Erica he tells her “that body, that was your husband” and again in his final interview with her at CBI when he says that she shot her husband in cold blood.

Something was different in this episode and while Jane’s unleashed libido from a few episodes back (Fugue in Red) does help explain it, I do think the reason is a bit more complicated than that. Erica masterfully, genuinely managed to get under his skin. First she calls him and tells him to come see her for information on the case. Jane, obsessive person that he is, couldn’t help but take the bait. And it all spiraled out of control from there…

VIS #1:  Jane visits Erica in Prison

Jane quickly calls Erica out on her having an ulterior motive for wanting to help out on Natalie’s case. She tells him that she wants out of the prison temporarily. “You have no idea now what this is like, Patrick. Living in a cage. Knowing I’ll be here for years.”

-First of all, Jane does know what it feels like to be in prison; he did some time himself after shooting Carter. And his trial gained enough media that it’s been referenced by other people. No way Erica didn’t know this. She needed him to get her out of jail and would have researched him carefully. And she can because we know she has the guards at prison wrapped around her finger (she used one of their cell phones to call Jane and said “helpful as always” to the guard).

So I posit by telling Jane that he doesn’t know what it’s like to be in her position, Erica was actually indirectly reminding him of his own time in prison, how boring it was, manipulating him and gaining his sympathy by covertly pointing out that he could have just as easily been in prison himself.

And when Jane asks Erica “What if you’re lying”, that her motive wasn’t a reprieve from jail but a chance to escape from it, Erica states that he once said he could see right through her “Transparent as glass I believe? So tell me. Am I lying now?”

Here, she’s preying on his ego. If he can truly see right through her then she poses no threat to him.

I’m not sure if Jane realized what Erica was doing. But if he did, I suspect it probably would’ve only fueled his desire to prove her wrong, to show her he couldn’t be manipulated. And so he agrees to let her out, pretending to believe her, the same way he did when they first met. He wanted her to think he was doing her bidding, only to catch her when she tries to make her escape and come out victorious.

At least that was the plan. And this, Jane’s ego, his competitiveness, is exactly what Erica counted on to get her out of jail.

So until now, how far do you think Erica played Jane?

VIS #2: Jane/Erica’s kiss (es)

The manipulative duo’s intimate hotel room scene was almost a direct replay of the one at Erica’s matchmaking service at the time of episode “Every Rose”. In both instances Erica tries to seduce Jane, and he calls her out on it. In Every Rose, when Jane accuses her of killing her husband, Erica tells him he doesn’t believe it, that:  “You’re simply doing what you’ve been doing ever since your wife died. Intentionally sabotaging any relationship by pushing away anyone who makes you feel something. It’s a tragic but natural response for the guilt you feel over your wife’s death.”

Her mind game hadn’t worked. Undeterred, Jane had told her “I do push people away. And I do feel guilt over my wife’s death. But that does not change the fact that you murdered your husband I am more certain of it now than ever.”

Likewise, in this episode, when Jane tells Erica she’s seducing him to hide the fact that she wants to escape, she again counterattacks that he doesn’t really believe that; that he’s just using it as an excuse to avoid his feelings for her: “Those agents outside the door, aren’t to keep me from escaping.  They’re to keep you and I apart.” When Jane says he is in fact afraid she’ll escape Erica asks him what he’d do if they were alone. This time, Jane doesn’t put a stop to the game. Instead, he kisses Erica.

-I have to say the way Jane gazed at Erica right before they locked lips seemed very calculating to me. You can practically see the wheels turning in his head as he made his decision. Why’d he kiss her? I think Jane decided he’d beat Erica at her own game of seduction; prove to her that he wasn’t affected by her, and instead try to seduce her. I also think he was multi-tasking; that he wanted to test himself to see if in fact, he could kiss a woman, if he was capable of moving on. And who better than to experiment on than an inmate who was going back to prison? No emotional attachments right?

Yeah, that plan didn’t exactly work very well (if, in fact, that had been his plan).

If Jane’s horrified reaction after the kiss was just part of a bigger ruse, part of the impromptu seduction he’d decided to pull on Erica to get her off her game, letting her think that she had affected him, then it didn’t work. She still managed to escape.

And if Jane’s utterly fearful expression was genuine, wasn’t an act, then the kiss wasn’t quite as harmless as I suspect he expected. He got caught in the moment despite himself; lost control; hence the vulnerable, traumatized look Windsparrow pointed out. Even Erica was shocked by how affected Jane was; like she couldn’t believe her seduction actually worked. I’m even wondering if Jane’s reaction managed to move something within her cold self-serving heart. But again, even if it had, it wasn’t enough to weaken her.

So, attraction?

I’m not sure. Not at the beginning of the episode, of that I’m positive. But after their first kiss it certainly is possible.

Jane seemed very troubled the next day. I found it interesting that we didn’t see him guiltily playing with his ring the way he did when he went out with Kristina. Perhaps Jane doesn’t feel like the kiss was significant enough to count as a betrayal to her memory. It certainly wasn’t the first time he’d kissed a woman without feeling guilty over it (Sophie Miller, Madeline Hightower). The only time we truly saw signs of unease was during Jane’s date with Kristina, because that had been a big deal; he’d been trying to move on. Conversely, Jane’s dinner with Erica (and the subsequent kiss) were just part of his grander plan to prove his mental prowess over hers. This is supported by his telling Erica firmly at the end of the episode “It wasn’t a date.”

But if that was true, that Jane didn’t feel like he was betraying his dead wife, and provided his reaction wasn’t just an act for Erica’s benefit, then why the trauma after the kiss?

I don’t know, maybe he suddenly remembered that THIS WOMAN IS A KILLER!

Sorry, had to let it out.

Like I was saying, Jane could have suddenly realized he was kissing someone who murdered her husband and it occurred to him that besting her wasn’t worth him getting intimate with her. Or maybe it happened like Windsparrow said. Jane, for all his asexuality, found himself responding to Erica’s seduction and that’s what scared him: the realization that he was ready to move on from grieving for his wife, as hinted when he placed that flower in the ocean (Blood and Sand). That epiphany certainly would have been major enough to warrant his shell-shocked face.

It’s also just as likely that Jane himself had no idea what he was feeling. His plan to counter-seduce Erica didn’t work and instead he was left pondering whether he feels as attracted to her as she insists and what the ramifications of that will be. Realizing that he was letting himself get too close to his “mark”, and that’s dangerous given that his initial goal was to con her, Jane then threw himself into the case and wrapped it up quickly.

I just want to point out that while Jane/Erica had wonderful chemistry together, it’s not necessarily sexual. There was another dynamic that seemed to lace their interludes together. A few instances which highlighted the idea that Erica and Jane were kindred spirits.

1. At her hotel room when Jane asks Erica what her question was, she said that she lied because “these days I don’t get to spend time alone with charming men”. Jane replies “there’s a reason for that, so that you don’t kill them.” Erica replies “We all have our baggage.”

At this statement, Jane gives her a look that says touché; recognizing the insinuation that he’s not different from her. Even though the circumstances were vastly different, they’ve both killed people.

2. When Erica tells Jane she’s been thinking about him a lot, about what would have happened if they’d met under different circumstances. Jane answers “Thinking about what might have been will drive you crazy.”

Jane’s tone here was almost like he was giving Erica advice based on his personal experience; experience he thinks she might benefit from.

3. After Erica plays her part in Jane’s ruse to catch Natalie’s killer, she tells him “You didn’t have to leave the other night.” To which Jane responds “We can’t have everything we want”.

Again, Jane’s tone here, coupled with the “we” was almost like he was imparting words of wisdom to a fellow mentalist. Of course, it could also have been his way of gently hinting to her that the game was over, as only a few moments later he reveals that he’d caught her lawyer whom she’d planned to use to escape.

So it might be that, more than lust, Jane felt sympathy towards Erica, friendship. It certainly explains how nice he was to her after she’s caught. He seemed to feel (gag) guilty/sorry for putting her back in prison. Then there was the way he let her down easily when he revealed that her escape plan failed. There was also his response of “Me too” to Erica’s statement that she had a lovely time. Finally, Jane allowed Erica to kiss him again right before she got in the car to leave. To me, all this felt like he was giving her a consolation prize. Like Jane, having won his match with Erica, was magnanimously allowing her to take comfort from him before going back to prison. Ironically, her kissing him was probably to distract him from making sure the men who picked her up were legit cops.

But what do I know. Maybe Jane truly was attracted to Erica and his final interactions with her were his way of bidding her a bittersweet goodbye for what could never have been between them.

I just honestly don’t think so. And not because of any secret J/L shipping I might have (shh!) but also because of their last conversation together.

VIS #3 Jane Promises to Catch Erica

After fleeing successfully, Erica calls Patrick to thank him for their “date”. He tersely tells her it wasn’t a date and answers sarcastically “something like that” when she asks if he misses her. He then tells her that he will catch her. Erica tells him she’s almost looking forward to it and hangs up. Jane looks troubled.

-If Jane was truly attracted to Erica, then her escaping, beating him, wouldn’t have bothered him as much as it obviously was. Rather he would have remained as impressed as he initially was when he found out she’d escaped and possibly even been attracted to her more because of it.

Jane here was being a sore loser. The reason Jane he is bothered is because the whole time he thought had the upper hand on Erica when in fact she was the one with the upper hand. She succeeded in seducing him and he allowed his judgment be compromised by her. But there are even greater ramifications to Jane’s loss here which I’ll come back to later below.

But first….

Speaking of Lisbon, she was a bit absent from this episode. But what scenes she did have, especially the ones with Jane were very interesting…

Lisbon’s Umbrage with Jane

Last year I wrote a pre-season four article titled “Mentalist, No Love Triangles Here” the purpose of which was basically to prove that Jane and Lisbon have never shown any signs of being jealous of each other’s possible romantic interests. Up until this episode that hasn’t changed (Lisbon didn’t even react to Jane’s statement that Darcy had “great legs”; though that might have been because she knew he had been trying to distract her from a conversation he did not want to have).

In this episode, a lot of fans have jumped on the fact that Lisbon was totally jealous of Erica. If this is true, then it’s important to consider why rather than just assume her jealously is a byproduct of her being secretly in love with Jane. While it is obvious that Jane’s proximity to Erica annoyed Lisbon, I don’t think jealousy was the initial cause here. Lisbon had plenty more to be ticked off about, and I’m not just talking about how both Jane and Luther dismissed her valid warnings that Erica is dangerous and a flight risk. While it must have stung, poor Lisbon has gotten used to having her opinions dismissed in favor of Jane’s. There was something deeper gnawing on her.

Let’s examine the evidence:

1. Waiting to meet with the warden, Jane tells Lisbon there’s no need to be glum; that she won’t be held at fault if anything goes wrong. Lisbon mocks him for attributing that as the cause of her worry. Jane casually confirms Lisbon’s’ suspicions that Erica’s motive in helping out with the case is likely to try to escape. Lisbon is understandably frustrated. Fed up with his nonchalance, she flat out asks Jane if he’s letting Erica out because he needs her help or because he wants it.

-And there we have it. Lisbon’s was upset because she couldn’t understand Jane’s motives. She was worried that Jane wanted Erica’s help; wants her and no, not because Lisbon herself wants Jane. Though that might also be true, there is much more at stake here. Like Windsparrow said above, an emotional attraction would have “a heck of a lot of meaning for Jane’s character”. And I’m %100 sure this is the the bulk of what’s bothering Lisbon. Considering all the lines Jane has crossed (and gotten away with) since he killed Carter (Blinking Red Light, Always Bet on Red), it makes complete sense that Lisbon would want to stop him from breaking another law, making another mistake. Allowing Erica, (a woman who killed her innocent husband!)  to seduce Jane into letting her escape…. I think this, Lisbon’s recognition of the danger Erica posed to Jane’s ever diminishing ethics, was the main reason Lisbon was so “glum” and why she didn’t want Jane to be alone with Erica. Hence her joining them later in the Limo.

2- Seeing CBI’s attractive Ron fawn all over Ms. Flynn, Lisbon tells Grace “What is it with this woman? She can get men to do whatever she wants and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.”

Grace explains the phenomenon to Lisbon with an awesome “Really? I get it. I mean, if I were a guy”.

This does nothing to appease our favorite green eyed monster. And yes, my using this phrase means I think she was jealous here, no way around it really; although green eyed fairy might be more accurate. Honestly, the face Lisbon had on after Grace leaves…. Ms. Tunney has no right to be so freaking adorable. It’s unfair to women (and babies) everywhere. I’ve wanted to hug Lisbon so many times during this episode that I lost count.

So Lisbon was jealous here, but again this does not necessarily mean because she in love with Jane (or Ron), though I doubt anyone would blame her for either. So why the jealousy?

Come on people, we’ve all been there. We’ve all known a person so attractive and/or charismatic that they seem to effortlessly have people wrapped around their fingers…unless, of course, you are one such person (in which case I congratulate you and advise you use your powers wisely). Readers who can’t think of anyone need look no further than Jane. He’s totally charming and can usually get people to do what he wants. Lisbon is actually (or at least used to be) one of the few immune to his spell. So now I’m wondering if Lisbon truly was confused about Erica when she asked Grace about her secret to men-whispering, or if she was just pretending to be cause it gave her a chance to vent.

3- When Lisbon tells Jane that enough is enough, Erica needs to go back to prison, Jane refuses and tells Lisbon “I need her.”

Reviewbrain: There’s no way around Lisbon’s reaction here, either. She seemed genuinely hurt; stung even. You can almost hear her wondering “What can Erica do that I can’t?”

Windsparrow: I kind of love that little smirk Jane gives after Lisbon walks away upset and a bit jealous after he tells her he “needs” Erica.  I am not entirely certain what it means, but it did not look malicious as though Lisbon has only been a mark. And it was not a tight, awkward grin as though he worried about her having inconvenient emotions. He looked as though he kind of likes that Lisbon feels enough for him to be jealous.

Reviewbrain: I totally agree with your take on Jane here. He hadn’t meant to mess with Lisbon or hurt her here. He was too busy thinking about the case. You’ve phrased his emotions perfectly. Not just with regards to this instance. I love your description of other emotions Jane has had regarding Lisbon in the past. I felt a few of them are relevant for the best scene listed below.

Best Scenes

 The winner: Jane and Lisbon in the attic/Jane and Erica’s last conversation

 Note: I chose this scene as the best because of I felt it a perfect (somewhat explanatory) ending to an episode that had filled me with confusion and trepidation. Also, there was a subtext party going on here. If there’s one thing I love more than continuity, it’s subtext. And when you add moodiness via rain, Erica being on an island somewhere and the phenomenal acting of all involved… I was taken. As I’ve already discussed the Jane/Erica aspects of the scene above, I’ll only be concentrating on Jane/Lisbon here.

Jane is sitting in his perch drinking tea when Lisbon comes in to tell him that US Marshalls have joined in the search for Erica. Jane tells Lisbon they’re wasting their time. She answers “Thanks for your optimism”.

-Reading between the lines one can see a hint of accusation in her tone, like this was Jane’s fault (which admittedly it was). They then have the following dialogue:

Lisbon: “I have to ask, Jane. Did you know Erica was going do this?”

Jane “Try to escape. Of course. Who wouldn’t.”

Lisbon: You didn’t answer my question.

Jane: No, I didn’t…..answer your question.

Here’s the thing. Jane did answer Lisbon’s question. She asked if he knew Erica would escape and he said he did. So that’s not the question Lisbon was referring to when she said Jane didn’t answer her question. What she wants is for Jane to reassure with regards to her underlying concern: That Jane knew Erica would escape, and could have stopped her, but didn’t. Jane knows this, but didn’t want to responds, hence the initial offhanded “Of course” followed by a blatant refusal to answer Lisbon when she tries to get an honest answer.

Windsparrow: During the final scene, when Lisbon asks Jane if he knew Erika was going to escape and she walks away from him, frustrated and unsatisfied with his answer, seeing the look on Jane’s face caused the Man to exclaim, “Bastard!” in a particular tone of voice  – exactly the same one he uses when the cat jumps up on the dining table and filches a piece of meat off his plate. The tone is equal parts frustration and amusement at the cat getting the better of him. “No, I don’t see any chemistry between Jane and Erika. He’s too busy messing with Lisbon.” More seriously, he said, “It looks like Jane is playing a long game with Erica.  He needs her for something and when he is ready, he will reel her back in.”

A little while ago, I asked him why he thought Jane looked so devastated after that first kiss. He said, “He felt terrible because he realized he wanted to be kissing Lisbon.” Of course, as he said this, he had a little Jane-messing-with-Lisbon grin on his face. Bastard!

The Man’s idea of Jane playing the long game is one I am beginning to love for two reasons. One, it leaves plenty of room for my precious ‘ship. Two, it means Jane has not been stuck merely reacting to Red John over the last several months.  I have been suspecting Jane of simply not being enough to best RJ – not smart enough, not devious enough. And Jane’s chief weapon is his smarts and deviousness. Well, his two chief weapons are his smarts, his deviousness, and Lisbon’s fanatical devotion. No wait, Jane’s three chief weapons are smarts, deviousness, Lisbon’s fanatical devotion, and the rest of the SCU’s loyalty. Jane’s four… no, amongst Jane’s weaponry against Red John are such elements as his smarts, his deviousness, Lisbon’s devotion, the SCU’s loyalty, and… Let me come in again…. (My apologies to Monty Python for this horrible parody. I would apologize *for* it, but I am not sorry.)

My point is that, on the surface, it was beginning to look like Jane’s only hope for taking Red John down would be for RJ to fall into that serial killer error of making mistakes either through arrogance or a subconscious desire to be stopped.  But if Jane really has the Jane-scheme to end all Jane-schemes going on under the surface and has been working on it for months, then this is vastly more important to the show and to the character than who ends up sailing off into the sunset together at the end of the show.

I am going to reserve judgment on whether or not I love or loathe this one until we see where it really fits in the overall story arc.

Reviewbrain: While I also love the Man’s theory, I just think it too good to be true. If Jane was playing a long game, well, a longer one than the span of this episode anyway, I doubt he would have been so surprised when Erica escaped, or as morose as he was after she ended their call.

So it seems your other more depressing conclusion is true: Jane is just stuck reacting to RJ. Jane may think he got one over on RJ by manipulating him to kill Panzer. But in reality, if Jane couldn’t even win in his game against Erica, then he is nowhere near capable yet of beating Red John. At least that’s what I think Jane’s reasoning would be. Hence him sipping tea, licking his wounds alone in his godforsaken attic.

And this, Jane’s bad mood could have been the reason why he refused to answer Lisbon’s question. Borrowing from Windsparrow’s above description, he had no time to bother with her inconvenient emotions (her jealousy, if that’s all he thought she was feeling). After all, he has much bigger things to worry about. If he couldn’t beat Erica, what are the chances that he can get Red John?

But neither Jane messing with Lisbon, nor his being in a bad mood seemed to be good enough reason for Jane’s demeanor here. The first time I saw this episode, I had a replay of my reaction to episode “Red Queen” where, after Hightower tells Jane he should clue Lisbon in on what’s going on, he replies “I’m better off on my own”.  I’d ranted at the time and was full well and ready to do so her and launch into a “WHY THE HECK WOULDN’T HE JUST TELL HER THE TRUTH” spiel.

But then I realized, why the heck would he? Telling Lisbon the truth would mean admitting to her that this whole case had been a game to him, that he wanted to see if he could best Erica, that he thought he could, but he lost.

Just a few episode’s ago Jane was defending himself when Lisbon told him he was losing his touch. And ever since the Panzer incident and Darcy’s inquiry in it Lisbon had been telling Jane that he was wrong in how he was handling things. If Jane admitted to a mistake here, it would be admitting that he was human and capable of error, and god forbid that happen. He would be risking Lisbon rethinking her trust, blind devotion, and the free reign she gives him.

 The thing is, Lisbon knows Jane is not infallible. She’s called him an idiot plenty of times. It still hasn’t stopped her from going along with his ruses (to my utter disappointment). Jane and Lisbon’s season four closeness seems to have given her some blind spots when it comes to his flaws.

 But I suppose Jane fears his recent errors in judgment might be the last straw to make her reclaim her (seemingly blind) devotion. Because like Windsparrow pointed out, Jane sees Lisbon’s loyalty as one of his biggest assets. So it’s only natural he wouldn’t want to lose that by losing her faith in his abilities. And as it seems Lisbon and Jane’s new motto is “No harm, no foul”, he wouldn’t want to let her in on his plan until after he cleverly thwarted Erica. But he didn’t win, so he couldn’t tell her.

The thing is, by holding out on Lisbon, Jane is in fact, risking losing Lisbon’s hard-earned trust. By not being up front with her Jane risks pushing Lisbon away.

Unless….could that be Jane’s intention? I raised the possibility that Jane might want Lisbon to stop blindly going along with him, to stand up to him. Could him pushing her away here be the reason for that?

Aw, crap. All my optimism brought Cynic out of his basement. He’s laughing at me again.

Whatever. I tried to list all the possibilities here in the poll. Please choose the one you think is most accurate.

The other Best Scenes:

1st runner up: Jane/Erica in the hotel room.

2nd runner up: Rigsby, Sarah, and Madam Atusa. This scene was so hilarious, I even forgave the unlikeliness that Sarah wouldn’t have known by this point whether Rigsby had other children or not.

Honorable Mentions:

Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Morena Baccarin, Jillian Bach, Owain Yeoman.

Writer Ken Woodruff

Director

Pet Peeves (?)

The question mark here is because I am not sure if this was intended or not..

Erica’s Flynn planned and killed her husband. It was not manslaughter. So I’m guessing the short time period, ten months, coupled with her and Jane’s statements regarding the witness against her in “Every Rose” were intended to make us fill in the gaps: that Erica cut a deal with the DA; a confession for a lighter sentence. But I’m just wondering if I’m assuming too much…

Conclusion

Personally, I don’t think RJ is smarter than Jane, but Jane’s just got too much going against him: mainly himself. I think the changes Jane has been going through this season (après Panzer) have been detrimental to him. He’s becoming ever more egotistical and that’s causing him to make mistakes. In this episode, for example, the second he got Erica out of jail then her escape was just a matter of time. Even if Jane thought he could control his own reactions to her (which turned out to be untrue) he had no way of ensuring, controlling the effect she had on others.

And despite Jane knowing Erica’s methods, despite his knowing her MO and seeing her attack a mile away, Jane still wasn’t able to dodge it. Because she used his ego against him…wait, that reminds me of someone…

Anyway, we have Jane ignoring Erica’s crime and the threat she poses in favor of indulging in a cat and mouse game with her. Wait, that also sounds familiar…

Cynic: Red John?

Reviewbrain: Yes!

Cynic: Duh. It’s kind of a given the reason Red John is obsessed with Jane is because of how smart he is. We have the same thing going on here. In Every Rose has its Thorn, when Lisbon asks Jane why he’s obsessed with Erica, Jane tells here “Because she doesn’t think I’m smart enough to catch her.”

Reviewbrain:So it’s the mental exercise that Jane craved at the time, even more so here. The same reason why RJ is so obsessed with Jane. I wonder how long it will take Jane to notice these similarities. Without rules, order, faith, his wife’s memory, something anything for Jane to believe in besides his own ego and arbitrary/selective code of ethics, Jane has no way of beating Red John.

Cynic: I thought I was supposed to be the pessimist..

Reviewbrain: On the other hand, Minelli once said (after Jane lost Hardy, an important lead to RJ) that he had been going way to hot on cases. I guess boredom and restlessness could account for Jane’s behavior too, especially if its’ true that RJ has been quiet all this time (the four months of Sarah’s pregnancy).

I just don’t know if it excuses it.

As to Jane’s refusal to confide in Lisbon, it creates good realistic drama between them. For now, I’m totally on board with the tension. In fact, I welcome it. One of the reason’s I love this episode is because it gives us Jane/Lisbon conflict. Don’t get me wrong I like that they’ve been all happy/cute/BFF this season. But frankly that can get boring. I’ve particularly found myself wishing Lisbon would revert to her season one persona that got along well with Jane but was mistrustful enough of him to doubt everything she says. I’ve also been wondering where the rest of the “not %100 trust” for Jane was hiding when it was needed the most (Red John, Darcy, Panzer, etc.).

It’s nice to know it’s still alive.

And using Erica to reawaken it was a stroke of genius.

And I am now official brain fried. Help me out woulja? What were your favorite lines in this episode?

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

By the way, don’t miss next mentalist episode by @mentalistwriter, @jordan_harper featuring Malcolm McDowell!

No new drawings this time, my dear artist has been travelling but I’ll add them as soon as she’s done. Meanwhile, check out this awesome video


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