Season 3 starts out with Patrick Jane (Baker) being called to a crime scene by Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney). The victim is the Peter Russo, chauffeur of state lobbyist Harvey Dublin. Russo was shot and Dublin who was with him at the time is missing. Jane is uninterested in the case and is looking considerably worse for wear after the events of last season’s finale. He refuses the case as not being his “cup of tea.” Unfortunately for Jane, the new director of crimes division Gale Bertram (guest star Michael Gaston) is a friend of Dublin’s and wants Jane to work on the case. So, Agent Hightower orders Lisbon to persuade Jane to cooperate. Here, the viewers are given a chance to see Lisbon use Jane’s own techniques against him. She tricks him into meeting the victim’s daughter knowing he’ll be unable to refuse her. However, it is clear Lisbon’s objectives are not limited to following orders. She is concerned about Jane and wants to keep him busy.
Review (spoilers alert):
The premiere depicts everything that makes this series a joy to watch. This is no surprise considering it was written by the series creator Bruno Heller. 10/10
There is plenty of fun banter between Jane and Lisbon. Lisbon (thanks to the wonderful Robin Tunney and the talented writers) has always maintained an air of authority despite Jane’s indifference to the regulations she is restricted by. But there is a difference between their arguments here and the power play depicted in some of the earlier episodes. In ‘Redwood’ Jane mocks Lisbon when she tells him that she decides when suspects are allowed to leave. Then in ‘Miss Red’, we see both Lisbon and Jane looking for evidence on a ship without saying anything to each other; each knowing what the other is looking for. The non-verbal communication continues in ‘Red Badge’ when Lisbon finds the body of Mcteer and her eye contact with Jane alerts him that she knows the victim. From conflicting colleagues, to cooperative comrades, to familiar friends. Can this be character development? Is this continuity? Yes it is. It is, and it is beautiful to see. House writers, take some free tips here, but that’s for another post.
Anyway, the development of the relationship between the two continues; except now, it’s not just Jane who can read Lisbon. She now knows him well enough to know what he is thinking too. It has been hinted at before (in Rose Colored Glasses) but it is completely out in the open here. Lisbon straight up tells Jane that he is isolating himself from her and the team. He can’t deny it and explains that it’s because he fears for the team’s safety, that he puts them in danger. When Lisbon refuses to accept this he says he’ll stop backing away and offers a hug to prove it. But she retreats telling him that he doesn’t mean it; that she can tell he’s lying. Jane does not take this well; “What do you mean you can tell? I don’t mean it, but you can’t tell!”
Hmm. I’m reminded of the pilot where Jane mentioned “Most wives can tell when their husbands’ are lying.” And I’m thinking, Jane isn’t upset that Lisbon knows he’s lying because now he can’t con her anymore. It’s because he’s afraid of letting anyone get close after his run in with Red John. And the fact that she knows him well enough to know when he’s lying, well; that makes her too close for Jane’s comfort.
What is somewhat disappointing is that the cliffhanger from the season two finale hasn’t been solved. We still do not know what happened to Kristina. But the viewers are told that she is still missing, which leads me to think that we will eventually see a conclusion, and it will be worth the wait.
The episode touches on other fan-favorites. The chemistry between Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and Agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) is still there in a subtle moment between the two. And is it me or is Wayne always the one who gets hurt, despite his intimidating stature? I do hope we learn more about him. There have been subtle hints about his past, and I’m looking forward to see more development to his character.
Last, but certainly not least, Agent Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) is as delightfully blunt and straight-faced as ever. When Giselle Dublin (Leilani Sarelle) the lobbyist’s wife asks him how old he thinks she is, he answers: “48, 49?” to which she bursts into tears. This was the funniest moment of the episode.