Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) meets Patrick Jane (Baker) at Bajoran Helicopters. She tells him that they were specifically requested to be there, but doesn’t know why. Head of Bajoran securities Garth Drucker (Nestor Serrano) informs them that a death threat had been made to company owner Yuri Bajoran (Alon Aboutboul). Annoyed, Jane figures someone must have pulled some strings for their premature presence. Turns out it was the man about to purchase Bajoran’s company, Walter Mashburn (Currie Graham). A suspect in a previous case, Mashburn is happy to see Jane and Lisbon again, saying that he wants them to protect Bajoran until he signs the contract. Also, “Teresa, hey, while you’re here maybe you and I can get together sometime soon-” but before he can finish the proposing a date, a bomb explodes, killing both Bajoran and Drucker. To his dismay, Mashburn is once again placed under suspicion. Been there, done that, he’d rather play detective this time. Later, Jane realizes that Mashburn may have been the intended target all along.
I must stress that Ashley Gable has written some of my favorite episodes: ‘Red Tide’, ‘Flame Red’ (season one), ‘Red Badge’ and co-wrote “Blood Money” (season 2). This episode has also joined the ranks of my favorites. It is fun, has great lines, lots of chemistry. But the episode’s timeline was too much like a roller coaster, started abruptly, and was over way too fast, without giving audience a chance to register some the events. It also also leaves viewers with an endless list of questions and loose ends. It was, nevertheless delicious so I give it an 8.5.
Detailed (aka humongous) Review (spoilers galore)
Red Hot continues with the same sense of urgency prevalent in the beginning of this season. As much as I loved every single episode so far, I now wish the writers would tone it down just a bit. I know, November sweeps and all that, and I’m not exactly worried that the storylines will run out of steam. However, I do miss the quiet introspection that existed in some of the earlier episodes.
For example, at the end of this episode, we find out that Lisbon spent the night at Mashburn’s. This seems very out of character for her; Lisbon has been as celibate as Jane since the start of the show. Now, I can find many justifications for the decision, but I’d rather be shown why. And in a show where the main character’s stich is calling out peoples’ intentions, it seems like a cop-out for Jane to hold his peace (as much as Jane can anyway) on the matter. It is also out of character. Jane’s ambivalence here just seems like a far cry from his position in Redline in which he said Lisbon should have accepted Mashburn’s invite. Notwithstanding whether he was being serious or not (and really, with Jane, can you ever be sure?) but outwardly, he at least gave an opinion on the matter.
There isn’t much of that here. Jane states “Oh my God you’re just so obsessed with Mashburn, what is it with you and him?” but then lets the matter go. And even his (fake?) bemusement here seems a bit out-of-place, especially since until that point there was nothing to indicate that Lisbon reciprocated Mashburn’s interest in any way (not even in their first meeting in season two’s episode Redline). Maybe he was just trying to irritate her into giving something away? If so, it didn’t work.
I can’t help but wonder if Jane’s question would have worked better, and been more telling, if it had come after the ‘pupil dilation’ scene. At least then the audience could infer that despite Lisbon seeming indifferent, Jane might have observed her pupils giving her away and was calling her out on it. As it is, viewers are only teased as to what Jane’s double take on both Lisbon and Mashburn’s pupils were showing.
My guess? When Mashburn said “Pupil dilation, huh?” looking at Lisbon Jane thought maybe Lisbon’s pupils were dilated. But she looked away and he couldn’t tell whether they were or weren’t, so he checked Mashburn’s. Of course we don’t need to see his pupils to know that he wants Lisbon.
Later, Jane announces Lisbon as Mashburn’s new girlfriend. While some might argue this is his own way of telling Lisbon to go for it, how much weight can it hold when the announcement was done to serve as a distraction to break up Mashburn’s fight with a suspect? Speaking of which, was there really a need for the announcement to break up the fight? Lisbon and Cho had it covered. Was Jane just being obnoxious and wanted to embarrass Lisbon?
It could be writer Ashley Gable is having Jane push Lisbon and Mashburn together to further establish Jane’s creating distance between himself and Lisbon (as stated in the season three opener ‘Red Sky in the Evening’). If this is the case, it makes his sleeping on the couch in this episode (both his, and the one in Lisbon’s office) all the more interesting. Especially since he’s all but abandoned his couch for the attic so far this season. Could it be that he can either distance himself emotionally or physically, but not both simultaneously? Is this is all part of a plan writer Ashley Gable came up with to keep us viewers guessing?
Probably. After all, she certainly teased us with Jane and Mashburn’s hotel scene: was Lisbon there or wasn’t she? Mashburn’s body language certainly hints as much, and Jane obviously thinks so. But did Jane go there to find out, or did he go to explain the case to Mashburn and suspect Lisbon’s presence afterwards? And now that he does suspect Lisbon’s presence there, after (obnoxiously/jokingly) pushing her towards the man all episode, how does he feel about it? And if Lisbon really is there, then why did Mashburn ask Jane if he thought Lisbon really believed him to be the killer. To throw off Jane, pulling a double bluff? Was Jane just playing along, letting Mashburn think he succeeded in tricking Jane when he replied “I wouldn’t think anything of it?”
I do hope these issues will be cleared in future episodes. It certainly is possible and not unusual for Jane to revisit the topic. In the past, Jane had been highly interested in Lisbon’s affairs (i.e. digging to the point of dissecting her relationship with Bosco). And while it seems that Lisbon sees no future with Mashburn, he is obviously enamored with her. Who knows, maybe he’ll try to woo her once more when he returns from Europe. I’d be happy to see that. Mashburn is a very intriguing character and Currie Graham did a fantastic job with character, infusing him with such vigorous intensity. He was also able to make the audience sympathize with him despite his wealth and ego. Of course, the credit primarily goes to Ashley Gable for giving him excellent material to work with. Mashburn’s scenes with Lisbon ranged from being funny and hot to deep and effective.
But I must stress that as much as I enjoyed Graham I almost overdosed on Mashburn in this episode. But I highly suspect this is only because he seemed to take center stage, and that’s Jane’s spot. I actually missed Jane here. So if Mashburn does come back, it might be worthwhile to make the episode a two part-er. That way the Mashburn scenes can be spread over a bit more without detracting from Jane-time. Maybe next time we’ll even get to see Jane express his….whatever it is he is feeling towards the would-be couple. But I must beg the writers: please don’t bring him back just to kill him off.
Currie Graham, Simon Baker, Robin Tunney.
Currie Graham as Walter Mashburn is as sinfully charming as is Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane. The above trio gave equally magnetic performances in this episode. The Jane/Mashburn friendship (set up by Jordan Harper in his episode ‘Redline’ (season 2) is in full affect here as well and is one of the best parts of the episode. Tunney and Currie also conveyed the respective attraction between their characters perfectly (Mashburn blatantly, Lisbon subtly). But the best scenes were when all three are together. They just played off each other so well and the chemistry between all three was off the charts.
Amanda Rightetti also deserves a mention here. She doesn’t have a lot of scenes, but she does extremely well with what she is given. It was cute how embarrassed Grace was at admitting she follows the tabloids. I was especially charmed by Righetti’s description of ‘glamping’, her miffed denial that she made up the word, and her disgust when Lisbon threw the toupee on her desk.
The winner: Lisbon and Jane questioning the German supermodel: this was beautiful. Elsa accusing Lisbon of chasing Walter, Lisbon adorably denying she kissed him, Cho’s “none of my business”, the model’s verbal attacks on Lisbon, Jane’s amusement at it all. Then when Esla mocks Lisbon as a “totally wrong” for Walter, that she’s “so little and bony”. Jane defending her, saying that she has an attractive damaged intensity (referring to what Walter told Lisbon in ‘Redline’, and reminding her of her own charm). And finally Jane’s : “you where at valters to vatch over him, to keep him safe from women like Lisbon” – beautiful, beautiful scene. Tunney was perfect here too, depicting how Lisbon’s was out of her element being verbally abused out of jealousy-I’m sure it’s a first for her character. Then we got to see Jane in action, calming the crazy Elsa down, getting pertinent information out of her (this is when I realized how much I missed him in this episode). Perfect Scene.
1st runner up: When Lisbon confronts Walter; her fear that he may have been playing her all along is the first indication we got that she actually cares about him a bit. And Walter’s hurt at her mistrust was quite touching. Graham and Tunney did an excellent job here, conveying their characters’ frustration and pain due to the misunderstanding.
2nd runner up: The ending. I’m actually surprised I chose this one because I firmly believe that Teresa’s decision to spend the night with Walter was out of character, especially since there was nothing to lead up to it. But I then realized that their heated interaction (see 1st runner up) could be enough to set the ground for it. Lisbon wouldn’t have been hurt if she didn’t like him. Relief that Walter was innocent (and guilt for suspecting him) could have been enough impetus to send Lisbon into his arms. But the reason I love the scene is because how happy she looked with him: “It was nice seeing you Walter”. She meant it too.
Icing on the cake
When Jane and Lisbon were questioning Marie, Jane was setting Marie up by making her think he suspected Mashburn. Lisbon also bought into the act despite Jane telling her earlier that he didn’t think Walter was the killer. Afterwards when Lisbon takes off saying “I’m going to talk to him first” Jane looks so surprised; like he’s not sure why Lisbon took matters into her own hands. I’m convinced that at this point Jane had no idea Lisbon seriously suspected Mashburn. Any scene in which Jane misreads or misses something is instantly a favorite of mine simply because its impossible for the man to know everything.
“I take this nap for freedom Lisbon, for every little guy who has a dream.”-Jane
“Bad taste.”- Jane explaining what Bajoran’s toupee (which Jane stole from his house) is evidence of.
“Let me explain something. You do not mess with super-rich people they’re like kids with machine guns.”-Lisbon to Jane.
“Yeah, see where he parks his boat or his plane or whatever.”-Lisbon to Rigsby; about a ‘super rich’ suspect.
“I have lots of enemies Teresa. You’d be surprised to hear this, but some people find me annoying.”-Mashburn.
“Usually I can buy my way out of trouble. Ask my ex-wives.” Mashburn.
“If I were to kill him I’d do the civilized thing and hire a professional.”-Markham Shankar about Mashburn.
“Can’t believe I’m a one night stand for Dirty Harry.”-Walter to Lisbon.
Pet Peeves (yes, other than the ones I mentioned):
1- Not only are Jane’s revealing musings infrequent here, but so is his physical presence. After questioning Shankar at Mashburn’s party, he took off “for the oyster bar”. But we don’t see him next until the next day when Mashburn’s ex is being questioned. Where was he all this time? I get that indirect (off screen) action is a natural part of this show so that an element of surprise is maintained when Jane reveals all, but his absence here was oddly unaccounted for.
2- The German model’s name is Elsa. The victim’s wife in season 2 episode 22 was named Ilsa. They are both memorable foreign characters with blond hair. Couldn’t a more unique name have been given to the model here?
3- Why wasn’t Lisbon shown chewing Jane out after he announced her as Mashburn’s girlfriend, preferably with Walter present smiling happily at her embarrassment and at Jane’s compulsory comments on their attraction? What I wouldn’t give to have seen that.
4- Why did Mashburn punch Jane? Sure Jane gets punched all the time, but never willingly. He doesn’t enjoy it. In fact, Jane is downright fearful of violence. This is why I find it hard to believe that it was his idea to have Mashburn punch him as stated in the episode. Now, if Jane had told Mashburn to make a scene, and Mashburn became overzealous in following Jane’s directions because he was upset with Jane for framing him (and making Lisbon suspect him), that would’ve made more sense. It would also have accounted for Jane’s honest surprise at the punch. All that was needed was to replace: Mashburn’s “Sorry, it was your idea”, with “Sorry, I was upset and you did say to make a scene,” Then Jane says something like: “I understand, it was partly my fault.”, then we not only get a more detailed explanation, we also get male bonding.
5- There was a distinct time gap in the timeline at the party. Jane and Lisbon are supposed to question Shankar and Mashburn respectively. Mashburn and Shankar fight, Jane distracts them by his “Mashburn’s new girlfriend, Teresa Lisbon” announcement. Then he takes off to question Shankar-all of this happened in daylight. But it’s nighttime when Lisbon finally gets around to talking to Mashburn. So what was she doing all this time? Are we to assume that she had been politely fending off Mashburn’s friends? Wouldn’t it have been more likely that while Cho and Jane were questioning Shankar, she was excusing herself from the guests’ company and asking for a word with her ‘boyfriend’? I suppose the decision to delay Lisbon’s questioning of Mashburn till evening was done for the sake of the lovely candle-lit ambiance. It certainly was romantic (until Elsa came in of course), but couldn’t the earlier scenes have taken place in the late afternoon or around sunset for the sake of a more believable timeline?
6- Is it really possible for a bullet hole to have gone through Lisbon’s collar?
Thoughts anyone? Feel free to leave a comment either on the episode or the review itself. I’d love to get your input. Also: