Mentalist Blood on His Hands (overdue) Review


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.

Concise Verdict

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 🙂

Honorable mentions:

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.

Best Scenes

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.

Best Lines

“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.

Pet Peeves

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.


About reviewbrain

Screenwriter, independent producer, compulsive critic, editor, artist, language lover, student of life, pacifist, parent. View all posts by reviewbrain

7 responses to “Mentalist Blood on His Hands (overdue) Review

  • Jeremy Thomlinson

    Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thanks Nonetheless I am experiencing situation with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting an identical rss downside? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  • reviewbrain

    Sorry for the delayed reply. For some reason your comment went into the spam inbox. Please try subscribing again and I’ll let you know if what happens

  • All-I-need

    I know this review has been online for quite some time, but they aired this episode for the first time over here and while watching I had a sudden idea that I really need to share. Nevermind that it´s 0:30 in the middle of the night.
    New theory concerning Brett Stiles:
    1. He seems to know an aweful lot about RJ.
    2. Members of Visualize are forced to admit to all their wrongdoings in front of a camera once a week.
    3. Brett Stiles is certainly in the perfect position to watch those videos.
    4. There are cops who are members of visualize.
    5. A member of CBI is a RJ operative.

    Well, you can probably guess what I`m getting at. What if the RJ operative is also a member of Visualize, therefore forced to spill all his wrongdoings to Stiles who then uses his knowledge to help Jane find Kristina?
    Maybe RJ told his operative to give away the address, knowing exactly that Stiles would use his knowledge in some way, which would make Jane find Kristina and really shake him up. And her state DID shake him up badly, as can clearly be seen.
    Just wanted to get this out of my head, hope you don´t mind.
    I also think that Stiles didn`t really want to come across as some all-knowing super-villain but rather state that he does have information and might be inclined to share what he knows if given an incentive to do so (for example: dropping all investigations against him and Visualize).
    And one last thought: I just noticed that Brett Stiles and Brett Partridge share the same first name, which is quite surprising. There are so many first names out there and they chose the same one for two characters? Interesting. That could lead to some interesting mix-ups if someone only referes to one of them as “Brett”.

  • reviewbrain

    I never mind getting comments, especially such nice ones. You bring up some very good points. Although I had considered that either RJ or one of his henchman was a member of visualize, I never thought of those videos as the source of stiles information on rj. That would explain how he knew where Kristina was. Of course, RJ wwanted her to be found to demonstrate his ‘powers’ to
    Jane. As to an rj operative being a member of Cbi, I’ll save my
    theory for the Red Queen review cause it has spoilers for thy ep and I don’t want to ruin it here for those who haven’t seen it yet 😉 great points as usual.
    About stiles, I would say that you are right about him wanting to show what he knows, my problem was with the dialogue used in the script, not its intent. In fact, he didn’t need to say anything. It would have been much more enigmatic of him and mysterious if half those lines were deleted and he’d just given Jane the paper with a sly smile.

  • All-I-need

    Well, if he had done that, Jane would`ve found a way to get the information out of him. And I`m sure he wouldn`t hesitate to use a knife to literally cut said information out of Stiles. This way, Stiles just came across as a really arrogant, self-loving bastard and making him less of a threat. It also made JANE less of a threat to Stiles, I guess.
    I sincerely doubt that RJ would ever join something like Visualize. He`d either be the leader or not a member at all because he won`t let himself be brainwashed – the brainwashing is HIS job – and he certainly won`t obey to any other authority. In fact, I guess he`d put a knife through said authority. He`s not one to be controlled by anyone, let alone someone like Stiles.
    And I`m sorry if any of this sounds confusing, I`ve been awake for 27 hours and I think it`s getting to me 😉 Consider it an experiment on “What does Jane feel like when suffering from insomnia?”. Okay, now I really sound deranged…

  • reviewbrain

    Jane already tried, and failed, to get information out of stiles. He asked him how he knew about red John and stiles refused to answer him. In that sense, I guess you’re right about Jane coming off as if he’s not a threat to stiles. But there really was no need for that. In Stiles first episode (red all over) the two men were established as equals (more or less). Here, stiles comes off as all knowing. He’s probably just showing off, but again, my problem is with the discourse, not the semantics.

    About RJ as a member, we know so little about him so im keeping an open mind whether he is, or ever was, a member. But like i said, if he ever was a member i highly doubt that he still is. Rather, he went rogue on them and took with him all their secrets, probably why Stiles dislikes him. Again, it’s not necessarily RJ whose a member, rather, one of his men is. But whose to say he wasn’t before he turned serial killer? There’s just not enough evidence to come up with a single ‘correct’ conclusion. At least, not at the time of this episode 😉

  • Tonight in HD: August 8 | ScreenScribe

    […] When Patrick Jane takes on cult leader Bret Stiles, Stiles offers Jane information regarding Red John and the missing psychic, Kristina Frye. Malcolm McDowell guest stars. Reviews: Examiner, Review Brain. […]

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