Lisbon and company are called to a crime scene where a young woman’s body had washed up on the Sacramento River shore. While at the scene, Jane gets a call from Agent Vint Molinari (guest star Eric Pierpoint) from CBI‘s Missing Person’s department saying that he got a new lead on Kristina Frye’s case. Jane joins Molinari at an empty house where they find a small Red John smiley drawn in Kristina’s blood over a cot and a rag doll in a room with multiple locks on the door. Lisbon suggests taking the case from Missing Person’s but Molinari declines saying he suspects Kristina faked her own disappearance. Jane agrees that the case shouldn’t change hands without elaborating on his reasons. Meanwhile, the river victim is identified as Celia Jovanovich who was a member of the religious cult Visualize. Once more Jane crosses paths with their enigmatic leader Brett Stiles (Malcolm McDowell). This time, Stiles informs Jane he has information regarding Frye and Red John.
With “The Blood on His Hands” Executive producer Tom Szentgyorgyi brings us mystery, intrigue, a car crash, and a shooting. Most importantly, the fate of Kristina Frye, Jane’s short lived romantic interest is finally shown. On the other hand, it left many questions unanswered and was quite a downer. But for what it lays to rest I’m giving it an 9/10.
Detailed, AKA humungous review (spoilers galore)
First I’d like to discuss the fact that ex-lovers Rigsby and Van Pelt’s feelings were addressed in this episode.
This wasn’t the first time. In season two’s “Blood Money” Wayne asks Grace if they’re ok; he had started dating immediately after the break-up. She answers (with some surprise) that he’s moved on then states that she has too.
They may have had each other fooled, but I doubt viewers were. Rigsby’s pined for Grace for so long before they got together. And if the devastated look on his face when she broke off the relationship (season two “Aangivite Baa”) was anything to go by, then we can assume that he was dating on the rebound, trying to ease his pain. As to Grace, her statement that she’d moved on as well was hardly convincing. So I am happy that the issue was revisited in this episode’s first Very Important Scene (VIS). And it was set up so nicely too.
First VIS: At the start of the episode Rigsby comes in late to work and Grace notes that he has lipstick on his cheek. She later overhears him making dinner plans and makes some snarky remarks about his love life, warning him to not let it affect his job. Finally, Grace admits to Rigsby that she isn’t quite over him, that seeing him with someone else hurts her. But she adds that she’ll get over it and that she wants them to be friends.
This was such a nice, well written and well acted scene. It’s nice to see television characters actually act like mature adults. It’s one of the show’s strong points (notwithstanding Baker’s character of course J)
As it is, Grace will have the opportunity to get over Rigsby sooner rather than later. “The Blood on His Hands” introduces FBI Agent Craig O’Loughlin played by Eric Winters whom most know has been brought in to play the role of a romantic interest for Grace. He hasn’t made much of an impression here yet but it’s still early days.
The second VIP has to do with the more serious aspects of the episode. During the course of their investigation in Celia Jovanovich’s death, Jane interviews Brett Stiles. The latter reveals that he has information regarding Red John and Kristina Frye, but in fact shares nothing significant. Instead he seems to relish pointing out Red John’s obsession with Jane and determination to take away those close to him. He adds that it’s a form of love. Later on, Stiles does help Jane. He gives him the address of where Kristina is being held. I’m assuming it’s his extending the proverbial olive branch; both CBI and FBI had been gunning for Stiles but failed to charge him. However, despite Stiles saying that he likes Jane; his motives remain unclear. So how does Stiles know so much about Red John? Is Red John (or one of his accomplices) a member of visualize? Was he in fact, a creation of Stiles that went rogue? I’m not sure we’ll ever find out.
The third VIP occurs after Kristina is found. Viewers are told earlier in the episode that it’s been 4 months since Frye’s disappearance. Kristina is found physically safe; albeit in a catatonic state, and viewers are no doubt just as off put by her demeanor as Jane is. Her silence does, however, make for a rather chilling conclusion; the scene when does speak is that much more effective.
Lisbon, unable to draw Kristina out of her stupor, leaves Jane to take over the interview. He is at first gentle with the woman. “Kristina listen it’s Jane. You remember me. I know you do,” he says, his voice as tender as could be. He then attempts light humor, by asking her what was the worst date she ever had, referring to their dinner together shortly before her disappearance. When she remains unresponsive his coaxing turns desperate: “Krisitina, please. Please stop this just speak to me,” Jane pleads, placing his hands on hers.
It is a heartbreaking moment and to further underline the emotions involved, Director David M. Barret shifts the camera to Lisbon and the team looking on from the two way mirror; their faces clearly concerned at Jane’s distress.
In a bittersweet gesture, Jane leaves the room to make Kristina and himself some tea. Jane’s love for tea is well established and he’s obviously hoping it will make the woman feel better. As it is, Rigsby’s kind comment “I guess tea is always worth a try,” gives Jane a better idea.
He conducts a séance requesting the presence of Kristina’s departed soul. It works. “I can hear you Patrick,” she finally responds. “Well thank you. Thank you for speaking to me,” Jane answers. It is interesting that Jane’s tone here is almost sarcastic. Kristina claims that she is dead, but is happy in the afterlife. Jane tells her she’s alive, to which she responds that he’s in denial. When he asks her about Red John she says she doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.
It is quite the anti-climax and Jane seems equal parts disappointed and disgusted. At least part of his aggravation seems to be directed at Kristina, understandably so. He had to resort to using the very tricks he despises in psychics to communicate with her. And yet, he got nothing to show for his trouble. Also, Kristina’s insistence that she’s dead can only be frustrating to Jane whose family really has passed away. It is no wonder that Jane rather abruptly puts out the candle, ending his séance with Kristina, without trying harder to glean more information from her, or even to hypnotize her.
Thankfully, the episode’s fourth and final VIS makes up for it a bit.
Jane mentioned once (ironically, to Kristina in her debut episode) that he likes the bullpen couch because the noise soothes him. But so far this season; Jane had neglected his beloved couch for the CBI attic. This ties into the theme set in the season three premiere that Jane is distancing himself from Lisbon and the team. In fact at the beginning of this very episode when Jane and Lisbon first hear about the break in Kristina’s case, Jane escapes Lisbon’s worry and questions by going to the attic. For her part, Lisbon seemed both annoyed and disturbed by this. And yet, she makes no move to follow him. I’m assuming it’s because she wants to give him space as well as maintain a professional distance in their relationship.
But Jane, after his upsetting interview with Kristina, opts to sit on his couch rather than go to the attic. I found it a very telling gesture. His presence there could mean that he doesn’t want to be alone. It is probably as far as Jane would actually go to reaching out to someone. And Lisbon coming up to him, asking him if she can sit down, is probably as far as she can go, as his boss, to telling him she’s there for him. He gestures to her, tells her that it’s okay and she joins him on the couch, leaving plenty of space between them. The symbolism is actually quite clever. Both have reasons to pull away but are meeting each other halfway; the bullpen couch is safe territory.
As to why they feel such a distance is necessary; well, I’ll leave that to readers to speculate on in the comments 🙂
It really goes without saying that Baker is an amazing actor. But in this episode; especially in his interview with Kristina, he got to show off his wide range of acting prowess. Viewers will be hard pressed to take their eyes off him.
I enjoyed Eric Pierpont who plays Vint Molinari of the missing person’s division in CBI. Though he had very little screen time he made a serious impression on me and I hope to see him again.
Last but not least, Leslie Hope has made Kristina into a truly compelling, haunting character. I’d be hard pressed to decide if she’s a deluded person, a hoax, a true psychic, or even one of Red John’s minions.
The winner: Jane’s questioning of Kristina. See third VIS above for details.
1st runner up: Jane and Lisbon on the couch. See fourth VIS above for details.
2nd runner up: Cho and Lisbon’s questioning of the Visualize staff. Hilarious.
“Why don’t we just skip the part where you lie to me and get right to the part where you tell me what you’re going to do?”- Lisbon to Jane.
“It’s been about half an hour. This is outrageous. I’m getting bored.” – Jane
“Mr. Stiles is calling in every important person he knows to try and get us fired. It’s takes time.”- Lisbon
“That’s a neat trick.”- Cho, in response to Lisbon saying that Stiles seems to get to Jane.
“Yeah, I wish he’d teach it to me.”- Lisbon, in response to the above.
“Yeah, it’s creepy.”- Cho in response to Grace’s comment on how truly happy the visualize people look.
I don’t like the idea of Brett Stiles acting like an all-knowing omnipresent presence in the series. He was a character I used to love to hate, someone I enjoyed watching spar verbally with Jane. But here, well, I just plain hate him. It doesn’t help that he seems to have undergone a personality change since we’ve last seen him:
“Patrick. I like you. I like your vim.”
Huh? Since when? His condescending words don’t make him very likable either.
“And Red John, he seems to be a perfectly unpleasant sort of fellow. If I knew how to get you even half a step closer to him, I would cross desert waste to tell you. But I don’t know.”
Now, Malcolm McDowell read the above line perfectly. The obvious lie to Jane was utterly despicable, as was intended I’m sure. But even McDowell couldn’t save this next line:
“My dear chap, I know so much more than you or Red John could ever imagine.”
Please. How banal. Are the viewers supposed to be impressed? This is character assassination. Brett Stiles went from being an intriguing, worthy antagonist I enjoyed to a 2-dimensional clichéd super villain. We already have Red John for that, thank you very much.
I wonder what readers think.