Rich divorce attorney Alton Creek demands CBI’s help when he receives death threats. Apparently, he’d heard of the Serious Crimes unit from one of his friends, Summer (Samaire Armstrong) a working girl who was recently recruited by Agent Cho (Kang) as a confidential informant (Pink Tops). The case becomes a homicide when Creek’s speedboat explodes, killing him at Gold Harbor Yacht Club in San Francisco where Senior Agent Lisbon (Tunney) and Consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) were meeting him. While the Serious Crimes unit tries to solve the case, FBI Agent Susan Darcy (Catherine Dent) requires Jane’s help on another matter: the death of investigative crime reporter James Panzer (Blinking Red Light).
Clarity thy name is Ashley Gable. Enough said. 9.5/10
Detailed (AKA humongous) review (spoilers galore)
There was a very lively discussion via comments on the Blinking Red Light Review on what Jane’s purpose was in going on Karen Cross’s show with Panzer. That is, if he hoped to get Panzer to confess on screen or if he had known he’d set him up to get killed by Red John. More discussion was on whether Jane felt compelled to use RJ or if he had been glad to do so to bring RJ back into the open so can start overtly hunting him again. The latter possibility had left me equally broken hearted and frustrated as I felt it nullified Jane’s character development and clashed with the clues we were given that he had wanted to move on from his revenge. Thankfully, Always Bet on Red addresses these musings in a way that reassured me where Jane’s intentions are concerned, if not his actions.
As a bonus, we also got much needed screen time for Agent Cho much via his new CI in the B plot.
B-plot: Cho and Summer
Kang and Armstrong were great together and depicted their characters burgeoning friendship and attraction in a very natural manner. Summer’s interest in Cho is just as prevalent as ever. She sells him information not just for money, but in exchange for dinner as well. Cho manages to talk her down from a nice restaurant to a pizza; no mushrooms. It’s very cute seeing the unflappable Cho being persuaded by the tiny bleached blonde. He obviously likes her and she seems to be helping him ease up on his hard-edged demeanor even around others. We’ve gotten more facial expressions from Cho in this episode than possibly all last season combined. And while Kang’s deadpan is an iconic and beloved aspect of his character, it’s nice to see his character let loose a bit.
On another note, we’ve also gotten more continuity that Cho’s back is still hurting him via his continuous pill-popping and Summer’s concern. More and more I’m starting to think that the writers will definitely be going somewhere with this storyline. Perhaps an addiction to painkillers?
VIS #1: FBI Agent Susan Darcy questions Jane/ Jane and Lisbon talk about Red John
Darcy shows up in Lisbon’s office to tell Jane that she had taken over the Panzer case since the San Francisco PD had gotten nowhere with it.
-Panzer’s case being previously handled by the SF PD was a clever move by the writers. It justifies the lack of follow up on the case (until now) in a very realistic and believable manner.
When Darcy asks to speak to Jane about the case Lisbon starts declining, citing work, but Jane asks Darcy to sit down in Lisbon’s office and goes to make tea.
- Jane treating Lisbon’s office as his, and Lisbon letting him isn’t just a sign of how comfortable these two are around each other now. It was his way of telling Lisbon that he wants her to be there during his questioning. By having his boss listen in, Jane is tacitly showing Darcy that he has nothing to hide and neither does Lisbon.
Jane asks Darcy what it matters who killed Panzer, since he was the SJK. Susan tells him that there is no proof. When Lisbon backs up Jane’s suspicions Darcy points out that even if it that were true Panzer’s killer still needs to be apprehended. At Jane’s why Darcy states: “Because killing someone without government permission is wrong.” Lisbon interjects to ask Darcy what she wanted to ask.
-I suspect Lisbon’s intervention here was to keep Jane’s blatant disregard of the law from placing him under suspicion; and/or from putting herself in an awkward position from any questions which might arise regarding how she’s able to work with such a loose canon (i.e. Bosco’s concerns that Jane hurts Lisbon’s career…among other things). Thankfully, Darcy’s train of thought doesn’t seem to have gone there. But it’s nonetheless dangerous:
“Are you sure the man you killed was Red John?”
Awkward! Lisbon buries her face into her mug while Jane states “Yes I’m sure.” Darcy’s body language doesn’t exactly suggest that she believes Jane but she goes along and says then they are dealing with a copycat. She asks Jane if he can think of anyone who would want to do this. Jane forgoes the obvious conclusion that the killer was an RJ fan and puts the motive as being Panzer himself; that the killer is “Someone who would want to avenge Panzer’s crimes, I’d imagine.”
I found Jane’s statement very interesting. Why would he make such a far-fetched conclusion and leave the more believable and perhaps even real one that Panzer was done in by one of RJ’s own? It’s not like RJ hadn’t had people kill for him before.
Susan Darcy seems to be just as confused. First she shrewdly points out: “Well who else thought that he was the SJ killer, aside from you?” Jane tells her whoever did is the killer. Darcy then states: “But surely the motive is to avenge the insult to Red John, right. I mean look at the cutting patterns. Clearly our suspect is someone who studied Red John obsessively.” Jane chalks it up to being a killer who liked RJ’s style enough to want to copy him.
-Okay…so Jane’s (fake) theory is that Panzer’s killer is someone who wanted revenge on Panzer for all the girls he killed, who also liked RJ enough to copy his style, but not enough to want to avenge the insult to him? As Lisbon would say, that’s a stretch even for Jane.
Darcy doesn’t seem entirely convinced either. She gives Jane her card and tells him to call if he thinks of anything else.
As to Lisbon, she seemed displeased with Jane’s lies. Once Susan leaves, she confronts him. And for once, it’s on screen!
Note: There was blessedly little to analyze here. Their discussion is very straightforward and I’m taking it as fact, word for word..
Lisbon: “Don’t you think it’s time to tell the truth about Red John?”
Jane: “The truth is I killed Red John. You can ask anyone. It was on the news Lisbon.”
-I love this: apparent “reality” versus hidden truth.
Lisbon: “But you think he’s alive.”
Jane: “I told you that. You Lisbon, nobody else. And it’s better that way.”
-What a loaded line. It implies trust, expectations, and intimacy. Should Lisbon tell anyone of Jane’s suspicions, I have no doubt he’d treat it as an abject betrayal. But Jane is probably assured on that point; he’d told Lisbon he’d kill Red John then flat out lied to Hightower that he was over his revenge (Red Moon) in front of Lisbon, knowing that she wouldn’t oust him.
Lisbon: “Then why make him re-emerge? You manipulated Panzer into insulting Red John so that Red John would kill him.”
-Thank you Ms. Gable for making Lisbon ask the very question that has been haunting me since Blinking Red Light. Lisbon’s question conveys her concern that Jane isn’t over his revenge; that she considered the possibility that Jane intentionally brought out RJ to openly hunt him again.
Jane: I didn’t know how else to stop Panzer. He would have just kept on killing.
So Jane’s motives were altruistic? He didn’t want to restart the game with Red John?! Really?!! REALLY?!!
What a relief!!!
I believe that Jane was being honest here. That he genuinely thought that this was the only way Panzer would have been stopped. I don’t agree with him though. Panzer could have been watched, tailed, traced until he was caught in the act of trying to commit another murder. That’s not unheard of. I think it’s what Lisbon calls solid police work.
Now it’s not clear (at this moment) whether Lisbon believed Jane’s statement or not (we are given a hint in a later scene though). She doesn’t give an opinion probably as there are more pressing matters to discuss..
Lisbon: “Now you’ve got the FBI asking awkward sorts of questions. You’ve kept this from the team, it’s not good.”
Jane: “Well, it’s lucky they don’t know. Cause if they did then they’d have to lie to the FBI wouldn’t they. In this way they can tell what they think is the truth.”
Lisbon: Do you know how messed up that sounds? What is wrong with the simple truth, telling people that he’s alive?
Jane: “I told a jury that I shot him dead. Where does that leave me?”
-I’m not sure if this concern is valid. Jane was acquitted of killing Carter, not Red John. But seeing as Jane’s defense was that he killed Carter in self defense; that Carter was RJ…. I guess if it turns out that RJ is still alive then zealous ADA Ardiles could accuse Jane of perjury, of lying that Carter was RJ to free himself. If any lawyers are reading this please feel free to comment.
There was just one question I wished Lisbon could have asked Jane:
Why not let think Darcy think Panzer’s killer was an RJ fan/copycat? It’s more feasible and closer to the truth. Why did Jane insist on the fact that Panzer was killed by someone who knew he was the killer, despite the probability that no such person existed? At this point in the episode Jane had no way of knowing that Tom Maier, the father of Panzer’s first victim would kill himself and thus provide a convenient scapegoat for Jane (that Jane would blame him for Panzer’s death).
In searching for the answer I recalled what commenter Zee said on the Red Shirt review in relation to Jane’s views on being remembered after death.
Maybe, Jane considered being remembered after death as “childish vanity” was probably because if the real Red John’s died, people will still remember him.
I suppose the same principle could apply here. Jane doesn’t like the idea that RJ has followers, people willing to work for him probably even after his death. So he adamantly brushes away the possibility that Panzer was killed out of revenge despite it being convenient to him
Note: Convenient, because should RJ kill again Jane can chalk it up to being the work of a copycat and keep people from thinking that he killed the wrong man.
There are other possibilities as well…I listed all the ones I could think of in the following poll. Please choose the one you think most likely…
If the last possibility is true, then Jane’s attempts didn’t work because RJ later does become interested in the case. He sends Jane a video showing someone stalking Darcy…
VIS#2 Jane warns Darcy in her Hotel Room.
Jane shows Darcy the video and tells her that Panzer’s killer has taken an interest in her. He adds that she’s in danger and should drop the case. Susan tells Jane the video just makes her more determined to find the killer. She thanks him for trying to save her and politely kicks him out of her hotel room.
-Seeing Darcy shut the door in Jane’s face, it occurred to me that Jane may not realize how suspicious he might seem. First he tells Darcy that finding Panzers killer isn’t important as Panzer himself was a killer. Then he tries to set Susan on a wild goose chase looking for who else might have known Panzer was guilty; other than Jane that is. Then he shows her a video of someone stalking her and asks her to drop the case, warning her that it’s dangerous. If I was Darcy, Jane would be my number one suspect at this point. Like she said, either Panzer’s killer is Red John, or someone who studied Red John obsessively (i.e. Jane). Since Jane testified that he killed Red John, it wouldn’t be strange for Darcy to think that he’d once again gone vigilante on another serial killer. By the end of the episode Darcy’s suspicions towards Jane (if she had any) were probably laid to rest. But more on that later…
VIS #3: Lisbon/Jane discuss RJ’s threat to Darcy-attic scene
Remember how I stated that it wasn’t clear if Lisbon believed Jane when he said he only manipulated RJ to stop Panzer, thus implying that he hadn’t wanted to restart the game with RJ? We get a hint here that maybe Lisbon didn’t believe him…
When Lisbon asks Jane if he’s crazy for not telling Darcy that RJ is stalking her, Jane defends himself saying that she would have just pursued him more earnestly if she knew. Lisbon then demands:
“Is this about helping Darcy or keeping Red John to yourself?
Lisbon’s statement shows she doesn’t believe Jane’s motives are entirely selfless.
Jane is outraged at the implication: “This is not about me of course I’m worried about her!”
-Jane, I love you to bits, but you can’t really blame Lisbon her suspicions. I suspect this is her “not %100 percent” trust of Jane at work here.
Lisbon and Jane agree that Red John’s text “She is cute. This is going to be fun” was a message meant for Jane. She adds “Red John is trying to form a closer relationship” with Jane. Jane is quick to deny “There’s no relationship” to which Lisbon points out: “What if RJ took murdering Panzer as some kind of invitation? You manipulated a serial killer there’s gonna be consequences”. Jane is defensive: “I didn’t have a choice. I had to stop Panzer.”
-I’m glad Lisbon has thought enough about the situation to point out to Jane (albeit indirectly) that he’d gone from hunting Red John to working with him. As to Jane’s repeated statement that he didn’t have a choice…again, I’m sure in his mind, at the time, Jane thought he didn’t. But then, Jane isn’t good at thinking though the consequences of his actions, this isn’t anything new. That’s where Lisbon’s “moderating influence” is needed. Unfortunately Jane’s split second decision when he set up Panzer during the interview left no room for discussion, for thought. But the situation now is different. Lisbon is discussing the matter with him but Jane won’t listen to her.
Note: I can’t help but wonder if seeing how doggedly Susan Darcy is chasing Panzer’s killer, Jane might now think that, with his help, Susan might have been able to catch Panzer before he killed again…that him taking the law into his own hands might not have been necessary.
Jane tells Lisbon that he’ll try to get Darcy off the Panzer case before RJ hurts her. As it turns out, he is given a very convenient opportunity to do so when Tom Maier (father of Panzer’s first victim) kills himself. Jane fabricates evidence and a suicide note to set up Tom as having killed Panzer as revenge for his daughter. Case closed.
VIS #4: Tom Maier’s funeral
Terry, Tom’s wife tells the funeral attendees that the FBI found a suicide note written by her husband.
-I loved Jane and Lisbon’s body language here as Terry spoke. Lisbon’s has a resigned slightly sour look on her face, arms crossed while Jane holds his hands clasped in front of him in an almost repentant gesture. Meanwhile, their eyes continuously drift towards each other’s general vicinity, without ever landing; always pulling away just in time. That is, until Terry breaks down, unable to continue reading Tom (fake) note confessing that he killed his daughter’s killer. She asks Jane to finish reading it for her:
Jane: “Killing the man who murdered our daughter is the best thing I will ever do.”
Here, Lisbon finally looks at Jane. Similarly, his eyes rest on where she is standing when he says the following words: “I hope you will forgive me”.
This show needs a disclaimer. Baker, Tunney, Heller and company are bound to break something if they keep tugging on my heartstrings like this… ;_;
Jane and Lisbon catch up with Darcy at the funeral. She tells them that the case was a slam dunk. They found the evidence Jane fabricated; Tom Maier’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, Panzer’s blood on one of Maier’s shirts hidden with the murder weapon in a bag. But Darcy wonders why he was stalking her “Why the video?” Jane answers “Hunting monsters changes you.” When Susan asks if this applies to him as well, Jane concurs.
-Susan’s question to Jane, if hunting monsters changed him, may or may not convey that she suspects (or suspected) Jane of killing Panzer (that is, again, if she ever did). Until now, there is nothing to suggest she ever did. But it might be something the writers are working towards..
As they leave, Lisbon tells Jane that he has changed Jane and the subtext implies that it hasn’t been for the better.
-This statement really vindicated me. I’ve been saying all along that I miss season one’s Jane and a lot of people have told me that he’s better now that he used to be. I agree on some levels, but not all. Yes, Jane is now closer to Lisbon, he’s more open. But he’s more ruthless than he ever was and not as compassionate. Although we’ve gotten glimpses of season one Jane this year, but it seems like one step forward, two steps back. The guy just can’t catch a break and is being bombarded with angst and drama, most, sadly, of his own creation.
Jane doesn’t respond to Lisbon’s contention that he’s changed. Instead, he tells her: “Darcy is off the case Lisbon, she’s safe.”
-Seriously, does Jane honestly think it is that simple? I’m going to draw from the episode’s title to explain Jane’s reasoning here. I think Jane is betting on the message RJ sent him via Timothy Carter (Strawberries and Cream): that RJ truly had wanted to retire; that he was sick of killing and wanted to move on. But then RJ got Jane’s inadvertent message that he wants to “play” again when Jane manipulated Panzer into angering Red John. Jane tried to diffuse RJ’s excitement (as depicted by him killing Panzer, plus the movie and message he sent to Jane) by using Maier as a scapegoat for Panzer’s murder. Perhaps Red John will take Jane’s fabrication as a message that Jane got cold feet, that he doesn’t want RJ to re-emerge. Jane’s fear and the pains he took to keep the truth of RJ’s existence secret might stroke RJ’s ego enough to make him let things be. After all, as far as RJ knows, only he and Jane know RJ is still alive. After Red John avenged the slight Panzer made on his character, he might give up on Darcy and take the opportunity Jane presented him to keep RJ dead to the world; to move on with his new life.
At least, I think that’s what Jane hopes will happen.
Lisbon however, has another concern:
“What about you? How is Red John going to feel when he finds out you spoiled his fun with Agent Darcy?”
-I doubt Jane is concerned RJ will ever kill him. He had the opportunity before but didn’t. He’s too obsessed with him to kill him. My concern is how both Jane and Lisbon are taking it for granted that RJ will just let Darcy be now… and that Lisbon is taking Jane’s statement that Darcy is safe for granted as well and is more concerned with what RJ might do to Jane. It’s great that she cares about him, but never to the point where she just takes his statements as facts. He’s been wrong before and Lisbon needs to remember that if she’s to keep them both from getting into trouble due to his schemes.
“At least he was dead, you know, when the shark ate him.”-Lisbon. Tunney’s reading of this line, plus Cho and Grace’s reaction to her statement was so funny.
“You’re stranded on an island with Attila the Hun, Joseph Stalin and a lawyer. You got two bullets What do you do?” –Rigsby, attempting to tell Cho a lawyer joke.
“No.”-Cho’s response to Rigsby’s above attempt. Kang rocks.
“Panzer. The gift that keeps on giving.”-Lisbon’s, referring to the newest thorn in her and Jane’s sides.
“No in house dating Larry, rules.” Colette-often, guest characters make significant statements which reflect the main characters as well. This might be one of them.
“Jane. Is there something you want to tell me?”-Lisbon, when Jane has Terry Maier show up at CBI.
“Deniability Lisbon, deniability. Your best friend.” –Jane, in response to the above. For once, I agree. If Jane isn’t going to take Lisbon’s advice, then she’s better off not knowing anything about his schemes.
“I got a lot to do so have a nice day.”-Jane, to Lisbon. Aw!
“I’m not a hooker, bitch!” –Summer to Colette. Armstrong’s reading of this line was funny.
Ashley Gable delivered a strong script in which every word was obviously carefully measured. I doubt it was easy giving so much information in a single episode.
Catherine Dent performance as Susan Darcy. It was hard guessing what the FBI Agent was thinking and I’m still not sure I know.
Simon Baker and Robin Tunney
Tim Kang and Samaire Armstrong: I liked their chemistry in this episode.
Icings on the Cake
-Thank you Simon Baker for running away, for running far far away when the bomb exploded at the beginning of the episode. It’s nice to see that some things never change. Jane’s life preservation instinct (oh the irony) is one of my favorite aspects of his character. UPDATE: @Chiziruchibi seems to agree as to its importance
More Icings on the cake
-I liked how Grace was the one who saw the video and message RJ sent to Jane. First, her presence in the office is a reminder that she’s got her own angst to deal with and is burying it in her work. Second, I wonder if perhaps she will be able to figure out that the video was sent by RJ. It’s an exciting idea. Jane could contend that Maier, fearful of being exposed by Darcy tried to scare her off the case, then decided to just kill himself. But it is still a loose end and I’m interested in how it will be explained.
We never got an explanation on how Collette the lawyer knew how to make a bomb. It’s not exactly something she’d learn at her job is it?
There was something weird with the background behind Jane when he was talking to Darcy in her motel room. Almost as if it the skyline wasn’t real. I have no idea what that was..
I find myself strangely at peace with this episode, despite my entire being protesting over both Jane and Lisbon’s actions. I think it’s because Jane’s motives have finally been explained. He’s not prolonging the game, he doesn’t want to overtly seek Red John. His intentions had been pure however misguided. It’s nice to be clarified as to the former. Continuity on the latter (i.e. Jane’s idiocy) is a nice bonus.
Jane’s statement that he had to use RJ to stop Panzer also suggests that Jane’s previous placing of a flower in the ocean , plus all the other clues we got that he wanted to move on could have been genuine. Jane had wanted to move on. The question is does he still want to? I guess the letter Jane wrote as Tom Maier and the meaningful glances to Lisbon were meant to show that no, he isn’t yet over his revenge, perhaps in spite of himself.
But where does that leave Lisbon?
Now this may or may not have anything to do with the Jane/Lisbon relationship, but I found the Colette the perp’s words, her screaming about how long she waited for the victim, that he had promised to marry her equally stirring and depressing:
“I’ve waited for him for years. I put my career on hold to be with him. I wanted a family and now it is too late. He took away my life!”
The above spiel reminded me of Jane’s speech to Dublin’s secretary (Red Sky at Night): “unrequited love is a terrible thing, you need to find someone who will love you back. You deserve it” and again made me wonder if this is why Jane was pushing Lisbon to go out with Mashburn (Red Hot). Perhaps he worried that Lisbon would waste away her years waiting for him? Not that I think she is, mind you, but Jane probably cares enough about her for it to be a concern for him.
The possibility also made me think that despite how many viewers may be rooting for a Jane/Lisbon romance it may not be the best thing for the characters. We have Jane’s indirect contention that killing the man who killed his family will be the best thing he ever does; and the subtext that that is the only thing that will ever make him happy. But more and more I’m starting to wonder about what makes Lisbon happy. Jane’s friendship seems to have become ever more important to her and that’s nice to see. I’ve always stated that her detachment stood in the way of real intimacy with Jane and her other co-workers (Bloodstream, Every Rose Has its Thorn). Thankfully this issue has been addressed and her character has been wonderfully developed.
But now I’m starting to wonder if it might have been better for her to remain detached.
Lisbon went along with Jane despite not knowing what he was up to. I got the distinct sense that she only truly realized what he’d done (fabricated evidence) at Tom’s funeral; hence her unhappy expression. But then, listening to Jane/Tom’s statement that killing his daughter’s killer brought him peace can only make her more lenient, more understanding, and I honestly can’t blame her.
Basically, Lisbon is in a lose-lose situation. She’s got a co-worker who is also a friend who blames himself for his family’s death. It seems that he can’t live without revenge (at least that’s what he believes) and I fear Lisbon has gotten too close to Jane to be able to stop him. His recent brush with death can only make her more vulnerable to his affections (Fugue in Red). She’s just had another grieving father commit suicide (Tom Maier). I suspect this is something Lisbon subconsciously worries about. Her own father killed himself years after her mother died (presumably out of grief) and she knows Jane once spent time in a mental institution (presumably because he was suicidal)
Can she really stand up to Jane when he needs her to? I truly hope so but I fear she thinks her hands are tied. We see her disapprove of Jane’s actions , and I realize that she wouldn’t want to undercut his innocence. She would also definitely not want to betray Jane’s confidence. But I don’t understand what is keeping Lisbon from disclosing to Darcy that she suspects RJ is still alive. It’s a logical enough conclusion that any reasonable person might come to. After all, it was the first thing Darcy suspected. And Lisbon is her own person, why can’t she agree with Darcy regardless of what she knows? Especially since no one (besides Minelli) ever took her opinions more seriously than they did Jane’s (sad but true).
Disagreeing with Jane may or may not hurt him, but Lisbon’s silence here is bound to come back and haunt her should anything happen to Darcy. Jane attempted to protect Lisbon (i.e. keeping her in her office during Darcy’s questioning to show her innocence. Conversely, trying to get her to leave when he used her office to question Terry Maier; not wanting Lisbon involved in his scheme to fabricate evidence, telling her that deniability was her best friend) but when the truth comes out, her complicity in the cover up will undoubtedly emerge.
I just want to end the review with the priest’s final words before the body was buried, which I found very telling considering all the laws Jane broke, and his and Lisbon’s shared secrets and collusion…
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me so love, and where there is darkness, light. Amen.”
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