Mentalist Bloodhounds Review


Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and her team are checking out a body dumped at a salvage yard. When consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) frees the keepers dog, he uncovers a second body. FBI decision science consultant Dr. Montague (Linda Park) is brought on to help with the case. Using her statistical analysis program, she concludes that the perpetrator is serial killer called Caveman. He bludgeons his victims who are females, brunettes and are strangers to each other, always one week apart. This matches the current case. Lisbon points out that the caveman also sends the police messages in rhyme, which hasn’t happened yet. Montague states that he will. Jane  disagrees that it’s the work of the caveman, saying that the two women knew each other. His evidence is the fact that they’re wearing similar knitted acessories. Montague sticks to her theory and she and Jane make a wager on who’ll end up being right. When a message does arrive at CBI from the caveman, it seems that Jane has lost.

Concise verdict

This episode was like a breath of fresh air. It was light,  interesting, fun, and had continuity. There’s also playful Jane/Lisbon banter; a vital ingredient to any episode. But it missed a couple opportunities (discussed further below) so I’m giving it 9/10.

Detailed (aka humongous) Review (spoilers galore):

Writer Erika Green Swafford seems to have succeeded in reclaiming the balance I have been pining for that was in the first two seasons and sorely missed in season three.

In this episode, Jane comes up with a clever ruse that isn’t obvious to the viewers until he explains it to Lisbon. I’m starting to really appreciate what a difficult feat this is for writers to accomplish. Like Lisbon, viewers know Jane quite well now, so it’s not as easy to pull one off on them. It’s harder still to do so as smoothly as was done in this episode: Jane sent the letters pretending to be the Caveman so that a public announcement will be made misleading the real killers. He then plays on their fear of the killer to get them to confess.

Cho pretending to be the caveman is the icing on the cake. It was a beautifully executed plan.

Jane even takes it upon himself to minimize the damage his ruse caused; he apologizes to Montague for misleading her. The doctor is more than gracious: “it was bracing to have ones operating principles challenged so robustly.”

It was fun seeing Montague interact with Jane; each found the other’s approach to crime solving to be alien. Linda Park did a great job with the character. Montague comes off as amusingly quirky rather than a boring scientist. She justifies both Jane and Rigsby’s liking her character, though Rigsby’s interest is more romantically inclined. Which brings me to the first missed opportunity.

Why, oh why, couldn’t Ms. Swafford have let Rigsby move on from his break up with Van Pelt?

Jane sets up the agent on a date with Montague, which both clearly enjoyed. But when Rigsby asks her for another, she declines saying that statistically, they only have a 20% shot at succeeding as a couple because he’s clearly in love with someone else.

Now, it’s been established in the episode that Jane is the people person and Montague is the one who works with numbers. So how could she have known that Rigsby is in love with someone else? I doubt it would have come up in conversation on their date; although Wayne does seem like the kind who wears his heart on his sleeve. I guess he could have told her. But honestly,  unless writers are planning on getting Rigsby and Van Pelt back together (which so far seems unlikely)  then this was such a wasted opportunity. Rigsby clearly liked Montague. She could have just as easily liked him.

Alas, it was not to be. Montague seems to have gotten a little crush on Jane; almost asks him out too but stops herself. One can only imagine she did the math in her head and realized that a man who wore his wedding ring 7+ years after his family was brutally murdered is even worse boyfriend material than one whose hung up on a recent relationship.

I do hope the writers consider bringing her back. Grace is with O’Laughlin now. Rigsby deserves some love too. And unlike his past dates which obviously haven’t worked out, this pairing might actually have a future.

More in the continuity department, when Lisbon asks Cho to help Rigsby the two friends share an uncomfortable silence. They dismiss anything as being wrong when Lisbon asks, but Rigsby later apologizes to Cho for putting him in a position of having to lie for him (previous episode, Bloodsport) and asks if they can move on. Cho agrees tersely leaving Rigsby and viewers unsure as to his sincerity.
Later however, as a disappointed Rigsby watches Montague leave, Cho brings him a soda and they drink together (I’m going to say to Rigsby’s broken heart because that’s what it looked like to me.)

Onto the second wasted opportunity. Jane buys Lisbon a new couch for her office, much to her dismay. When he tries to convince her the new one is better, she says they’ll discuss it later. They never do; at least not on screen.

Personally, I take the CBI couches as a telling symbol of Jane’s psyche, and/or the status of his friendship with Lisbon. When he’s good he’s on her couch. When he’s normal, he’s on his couch. When things are bad and he’s being furtive and distant, he’s in the attic.

Now I’m going with the obvious (and fun) conclusion that Jane got the couch for himself. He’s been spending more time on Lisbon’s couch, but it’s much smaller than his couch in the bullpen and he never looked as comfortable in it.  So naturally he buys a new one that can accommodate him better. And this one’s ridiculously huge, it looks like it barely fit in her office. I can only imagine that he’ll be spending more time there. Hopefully this means Jane is over trying to pull away from Lisbon and the team.

Best scenes

The winner: Lisbon and Jane in her office talking about the case. At first, Lisbon is complaining about the case to Jane, “Dammit it to hell!” To which he replies, “Oh, language, please,” pretending to be scandalized at her outburst.

This was so funny, considering sweet Lisbon normally uses “sheepdip” and “bite me” as cuss words. It’s adorable that she’s so frustrated here she actually uses normal (yet still reletively clean) expletives.

Then when Jane admits that he faked evidence to make it look like a serial killer is the perpetrator:

Lisbon: “What did you just say?”
Jane: ” I wrote the letters from the Caveman.”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time!”
“Then why did you ask me to say it again?”
“It was a rhetorical question!”

Oh the irony. Jane made fun of Montague for not understanding sarcasm but he still can’t tell when Lisbon’s asking an honest question or when she’s just freaking out over something he did.

1st runner up: Cho giving Rigsby the soda. So happy their back to normal. Their friendship is one of the best things about the show.

2nd runner up: Lisbon secretly trying out her new couch, then getting up  quickly, embarrassed,  when Van Pelt walks in. Tunney, you are an adorable riot.

Best lines:

Jane: “Yes I confess I ditched you, but look on the bright side. I left you the car this time.”

Pet Peeves

Rigsby’s love dilemma got me thinking: what I would give to know if Cho and his girlfriend (Elise Chay introduced in season two’s ‘Blood In, Blood Out’) are still together. I hope so. And kudos to Mr.Heller if they eventually get married. It’s a natural progression, and then we’d have at least one member of the team in a happy, (hopefully permanent relationship). I just think it would be a nice touch of realism that would enhance the show.

Feel free to post a comment if you have an opinion not included in the poll.


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 Bloodhounds Review

  • All-I-need

    I completely agree with you on the couch-thing. It was such a cute scene. And maybe you`ll get your continuity and Jane and Lisbon will argue about the couch in the next episode. That would be great – and probably hilarious.

    I`d like to know about Cho`s girlfriend, too, but it appears they are still together. After all the things he did for her, I doubt he`d just break up with her – at least not without it being mentioned at least once.

    Montague may be a numbers person, but I guess everyone can see that Rigsby is still helplessly in love with Grace. All she`d need is to take one look at the two of them in the same room.

    I think it is pretty interesting that you did not mention the scene where Montague gave Jane a whole file with data about Red John and how the THREW IT AWAY only to fish it out of the bin seconds later. That was a REALLY interesting (and shocking) scene to me and I just can`t understand his reasoning.

  • reviewbrain

    Ah, I knew I’d forgotten something. Here’s my take on the scene: Jane’s ego won’t let him accept any methods other than his as being useful. And Jane is a prideful person. In the first scene when Montague shows up he practically bristles; “Lisbon, you said you wanted to talk”, wanting her to explain this new person’s presence. It’s like he’s so territorial of his position as consultant. He makes fun of Montague the instant she’s out of earshot, mocking her specialty. We’ve seen him behave similarly towards Kristina in her debut episode ‘Seeing Red’ and the season two finale when he tells Hightower that he’ll quit if she allows Kristina Frye to consult on the Red John case. At the time, I thought he was just being territorial because it’s Red John, but I’m now positive it has more to do with his need to be the smartest person in the room. In this episode, only when Montague and he start arriving at the same conclusions does he ease up a little. “So you’re agreeing with me?” The smile that lights up his face when she concurs says it all. Jane comes across as a very flamboyant personality, but I suspect he’s in fact a very insecure person; always wanting to prove himself, always needing to be in the spotlight. Which is why he throws Montague’s file in the trash; he doesn’t want to admit someone else’s perspective on the Red John case (his case) might be useful. So why does he take it out immediately after? Our man is growing up 🙂 He recognizes that there is nothing to lose by looking into someone else’s point of view. Plus, he’s probably getting more and more desperate to catch Red John and recognizes that pride isn’t conductive to that goal.

  • All-I-need

    That seems to be quite a good reason. I think there`s more to it, though.
    My guess is that Jane is also kind of scared that Lisbon (and especially Hightower) will realize that they don`t actually need HIM to close the cases but can get any other special investigator with the added bonus of less paperwork guaranteed. I think Jane actually depends on his work with the CBI not only because it`s as close to the RJ-investigation as he can get, but also because it actually keeps him occupied when he`d otherwise spend his time drowning in his grief and pain.
    It´s almost like he`s trying to prove that the team needs HIM and not someone else who could do the same job with less trouble involved.
    But his huge ego also has something to do with it, that`s for sure.

  • reviewbrain

    I totally agree. It’s actually what I was trying to say when I mentioned his being a very territorial and insecure person; you’re explanation is much clearer. Jane, despite his seemingly big ego, is like a scared little boy on the inside. I think it comes from him having to survive by being a showman ever since he was little. Love the point about CBI occupying him from his grief. It matches what he said in the Season two premiere when he asked to stay on the team because “I have nothing else to do.” Poor guy.

  • PJaneLoke

    I just came across your blog and I enjoy your review very much and looking forward to read more in the future. One thing I beg to be different though:

    Lisbon: “What did you just say?”
    Jane: ” I wrote the letters from the Caveman.”
    “Yeah, I heard you the first time!”
    “Then why did you ask me to say it again?”
    “It was a rhetorical question!”

    Oh the irony. Jane made fun of Montague for not understanding sarcasm but he still can’t tell when Lisbon’s asking an honest question or when she’s just freaking out over something he did.

    I think Jane is purposely being “cute” or playing dumb instead of not understanding what Lisbon said. He did that a lot in the show. Like the “How dare you?” and he replied, “Did I do something daring?”

  • violet

    Well, that was another great analysis! Quite a nice episode too!

    First of all, I like very much the comments you made with All-I-need about Jane’s vulnerability. Right on the spot!
    About Montague’s folder… The information about Red John collected by Jane never seem to lead anywhere (at least for us): Bosco’s last words (remember he was on a new lead when his team was killed, the « give back the file to Jane » was probably more a way to cover it up for Red John), Stiles’ knowledge about the case, the possible meanings of the poem, who Jane thinks Todd’s murderer could be… the folder given by Montague probably just adds to the list… When will we know how much Jane is progressing in his quest?

    Jane’s couch as a symbol of his psyche? Certainly! But, in the last few episodes, the symbol might be biased: he’s in the couch in the bullpen in the episode following Todd’s murder, although he doesn’t seem too fine (just after the quite emotional AA reunion, when the others ask him if he went undercover) and, afterwards, he’s relaxing on Lisbon’s couch. I can’t remember him being in the attic since the murder… He could be seeking company after this last traumatic event. Or it could be that Jane doesn’t want anyone to know he’s investigating a potential traitor in the CBI (not only on the team, for that matter). He’s feigning normalcy.
    Following the same idea, in the logic he’s been developing in this season, giving Lisbon a new couch, where he’ll be obviously staying, could be very dangerous. It’s pointing out even more their closeness… Is he throwing caution to the wind, because if the responsible for Todd’s death is an insider, he/she already knows that Jane cares for Lisbon, so why bother hiding it? He could also want to be physically closer for watching over her and he’s instinctively trying to protect her…

    Besides, unlike you, I’m not so sure Rigsby and Montague could have worked… him being still attached to Grace and Montague being attracted to Jane, well that doesn’t bode too well… I mean, she hesitated to ask Jane out right after dumping Rigsby, and she wore Jane’s gift on their date, she certainly wasn’t very much sentimental about it…

    And I agree with PJaneLoke about Jane’s playing cute… it’s one of his usual ways to play with others being sarcastic on him! The scene was funny!

    Keep up the good work, I’m waiting forwards to reading you!

  • reviewbrain

    Jane and couch: If you read my (overdue) mentalist blood on his hands review, you’ll find that Jane has actually gone back to spending more time on the couch ever since Kristina has been found. My explanation was that he doesn’t want to be alone, as you said, needing company after a traumatic event. I don’t think he’s feigning normalcy in the sense that he’s deceiving Lisbon, more that he wants to achieve a semblance of normalcy for himself; he can’t always live in the shadows. And I actually think Jane felt better after the AA meeting, venting, while an emotional process, is very cleansing so i dont find it strange his being on his couch afterwards, or lisbons for that matter. So no, I don’t think the couch is biased 😉 Maybe I should have explained that by ‘fine’ I mean that Jane is not so caught up in blackness that he’s hiding from people. By siting on the couches, he’s actually seeking people out. Even pretending to be okay is a step in the right direction for Jane if it means he’s spending time with those who care about him. At least I think so.

    I am utterly ashamed to admit that your theory that maybe Jane’s subconsciously staying close to Lisbon to protect her is not one that had crossed my mind. I love it 🙂 it’s my favorite now and I’m sticking with it as canon unless I’m given direct proof othewise.

    I also agree with what you said about Jane “throwing caution to the wind ” If the suspect is at CBI, then he already knows everything there is to know. I suspect that Jane figures that distancing himself from Lisbon might in itself give away how much he cares about her; undoubtably any change in Jane’s behavior will not go unnoticed by Red John’s operative.

    I think that Lisbon knows Jane is not being entirely honest with her, but she has no idea how much he’s hiding. It’s not going to be pretty when she finds out.

    As to Montague, of course it’s unlikely she and Rigsby will work out if she has a crush on Jane. Thats why I’m frustrated: the writers could have made it work if they hadn’t included that little development.

    As to Jane being cute: Isnt he always 😉 I think Baker intentionally plays him ambiguously so that Lisbon (and viewers) are not sure when he’s being serious. I hadn’t considered the possibility but now that I have I’m still sticking with my first instinct because we usually get a smile or smirk to let us know when he’s teasing.

    Sent from my iPhone

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