Mentalist Blood For Blood Review


Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) arrives at Justin DeGeorge’s (John Mese) home to bodyguard him. He is a vital witness for the State’s case against major drug trafficker Adrian Essex (Gabriel Salvador) accused of shooting a woman. She takes over the night shift for US Marshall Gorman (Daniel Travis) who gives her the key to the house and reminds her to sweep the perimeter after one hour before he leaves. When the time comes, Grace leaves the house to check the perimeter, stopping to lock the door of the house behind her. As she is doing so, a noise distracts her and she follows it looking for the source. She is subsequently attacked and falls unconscious. When Van Pelt comes to, she rushes back to the house to find the door unlocked, Justin dead, and his daughter Trina (Kaitlyn Dever) missing. As Grace cannot remember if she ever did lock the door behind her, the head of the professional standards unit J.J. Laroche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) conducts an investigation into her actions.

Concise Verdict

This was an entertaining episode. However, “Mentalist” is a show that is supposed to be fun and smart. Until now, I have not had to make a conscious effort to suspend belief while watching it; one of the main reasons why I enjoy this series so much. Unfortunately that was not the case in this episode. As I am loathe to start now ( I refuse to lower my expectations when I know that the show can do better) I’m afraid I must give the one: 7.5/10. (The rating was actually lower, but I decided to raise it for the continuity it provided (I’m a continuity sucker) and its great character interaction; (for whatever that’s worth here).

Detailed  AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

In my Mentalist overview, I stressed that one of the main reasons I love the show was that it didn’t go for “cheap thrills” and that it was subtly entertaining”. Now season three has been consistently raising the excitement factor (and quality) of the episodes. I’ve repeatedly wished for mellower, more profound episodes in the vein of the first two seasons. Just to be clear, I have no problem with exciting plots when they are done right like in “Red Alert” and “Red Moon”. “Blood for Blood” is another exciting episode. Unfortunately some aspects of the script were weak making the episode itself weak despite its excellent potential.

Problem #1: Grace’s Plotline

First of all, the whole plot is built on the unrealistic fact that Grace is guarding an important state witness alone. It would have been more believable if she was overseeing some of the local cops (even one would have been better than none), then she gets attacked at as she’s canvassing and the cop and the witness  inside are shot. That would have made the premise more feasible while at the same time raising the stakes.

Later when Grace is being investigated by the head of the professional standards unit’s head, J.J. Laroche, she is given a disturbing choice. He basically tells her that if she is willing to help him in his investigation of Todd Johnson’s murder (‘Red Moon”, “Jolly Red Elf”) he will be lenient in his investigation of her. By help, Laroche means he wants her to spy on her unit because he suspects someone in it is the culprit. This scene between the two was quite good. Righetti does well with the material. Grace holds her ground despite Laroche’s disturbing proposition, asking him outright if he is threatening her.

Unfortunately Grace falls for Laroche’s mind games when he tells her that: “a good cop wouldn’t have left that door open.” Being a good cop doesn’t make a person infallible.

Another problem with how her plot was handled is that Grace only tells Laroche that she won’t spy on her team  after she finds evidence which clears her from any wrongdoing. Meaning, there was no choice to make at that point, which unfortunately doesn’t tells as much about her character. Why have an episode revolving around a side character if we are not going to learn anything new? When the spoilers promised us a change in the team dynamic, I hoped we’d get insight into the side characters, even as I stressed over it meaning that one would turn out to be Red John’s accomplice and/or getting killed or getting booted off the show.

Thankfully, none of that looks like it will happen. But there were many directions this episode could have taken that would have still produced a far more interesting result than the one we got. For example, when Grace shot Gorman, who turned out to be a crooked cop, I thought we would see an effect on her. Like, it might make her agree to Laroche’s proposal because she realizes that even those she thinks she trusts  may not be whom they say they are, (and this is the second time she’s been deceived, Season One “Bloodshot” was the first) so it would have been understandable for the event to affect her. Or, the incident might have served to reaffirm her trust in her teammates as they’ve always stood by her.

As it is, it just looks like she got off making a hard choice. We needed just a bit more from her, like maybe telling her boyfriend that Gorman’s actions made her realize that she has to believe in the people she already knows; something like that. Or her denying Laroche’s offer before knowing she’d survive the investigation. I was disappointed in the wasted opportunity here.

Speaking of Grace’s boyfriend…

FBI agent Craig O’Laughlin (Eric Winter) and Grace are having dinner when she tells him about Laroche’s threat, and how uncomfortable she’d be spying on her friends. His response:

“They’re your colleagues they’re not your friends. I’m your friend. I’m the one who’ll be there for you no matter what.”

I’m going to pull a Jane here and say: he’s either jealous, or insecure, or a jerk, or possessive, or Red John’s operative.

I added the RJ operative thing because Craig just seemed way too creepy when he said that. What kind of man would tell his girlfriend that her colleagues, whom she spends most of her day with, are not her friends, when they clearly are? Plus, if she had taken up LaRoche’s offer, it would have made her working environment absolutely terrible (another reason why that would have been a good plot line). O’Laughlin telling her it’s ok to spy on them makes him really despicable in my view.  This is why I conclude that Craig’s advice comes from an ulterior motive; maybe even a sinister one.

Hmm. What if Craig and LaRoche are both working for Red John? LaRoche didn’t pay any attention to Craig when he met him at CBI, but that could have been intentional. Craig certainly was pushing Grace towards working with the man.

I have finally made my decision regarding Craig O’Laughlin: I hate the guy. The marriage proposal was the final straw. The whole situation just doesn’t seem to bode well for Grace, despite how happy she looks. I must say I’m disappointed in her lack of reaction to her boyfriend’s statement that her colleagues are not her friends. She may not have liked it, but she didn’t argue it either. If she found Craig’s statement romantic in any way then she’s just as gullible as Jane says. Or maybe she just doesn’t care that much about her team. Either way, it doesn’t portray her in a particularly positive light.

Now, If Grace really is getting married and living happily ever after, then that just makes the decision to keep Rigsby single all the more inexcusable tome. Rigsby would be devastated by the news even if he was seeing someone. But at least if he was, then he’d have started to move on. And Montague (Linda Park, episode “Bloodhounds”), for all her seemingly robotic demeanor, seemed warm enough that she might actually have been able to help Rigsby get over Grace.

Problem #2 Jane’s Manipulation: AKA Jane’s annoyance with Lisbon, Part 2

When Trina’s aunt calls Jane to help her because her niece is having some sort of implosion, he brings Lisbon along, knowing that the girl will end up confessing that she killed her father in self defense. Lisbon is rightly outraged with him, and starts to call juvenile services, saying that she doesn’t Trina to be taken to county for booking. Jane snatches the phone from Lisbon’s hand, saying that the girl doesn’t deserve to go to jail; that her father was an abuser. To which Lisbon responds: “So was mine, I didn’t shoot him!”

I was blown away by this statement and mentally prepared myself for the awesomeness that was sure to follow. This was the first time Lisbon EVER talked about her dad (a comment to a grieving father and her shrink don’t count). The revelation came out in the heat of the argument. But Jane quickly recovers to point out that Trina had been acting in self defense, and Lisbon pulls it together to forge ahead, obviously wanting to forget she said something so private. She points out that Trina will get acquitted, and Jane counter argues that the courts make mistakes. To which she responds that they get it right most of the time.

And here is where the scene takes a dive into the surreal.

Jane: “Ok, so she’s proven innocent. How much time do you think she’ll spend in foster care? Six months? A year?”

Jane’s contention that the girl would have to spend time in foster care seems completely absurd. She has a loving aunt with a seemingly stellar reputation (army nurse) to take care of her. She’s already in her custody after her father was killed. Why would any of that change if she’s accused of murder?

And the fact that Lisbon answers “I don’t know,” instead of pointing this out to Jane is even more absurd. By now Lisbon is a pro at cleaning up messes; she’s had a lot of practice. I find it very hard to believe she wouldn’t have been able to do so to get a girl out of spending any time in jail, or foster care (again, makes no sense) for killing her abusive father in self defense. Especially as the girl had no recollection of it whatsoever, was taken to the hospital where her memory loss was documented by doctors, and she confessed to the cops as soon as she regained her memory. One call from Hightower to the nice deputy AG Nicky Weymouth (Mozhan Marnò ) and Trina would have been released into her aunt’s custody, pending her trial, where any rational judge would have acquitted her.

Cool, calm, Senior Special Agent Lisbon should know this.

Hence, a beautiful, beautiful scene was completely destroyed by a small but important detail.

Not only that, Lisbon comes off looking like a mark, which we know she isn’t. I find that unforgivable.

Now, there is one explanation that prevents me from saying that the writer made a mistake: Jane might have intentionally used the foster care argument, knowing that it would distract Lisbon.

We know that Lisbon’s father was abusive, but we also know that there is no official record of that abuse (Season 2, “Red Badge”). Lisbon probably never reported her father out of fear of the system and that she and her brothers would be separated.

If, and this is a very big if, if Jane guessed that Lisbon has a lingering fear of foster care from when she was a child, and that is why he used foster care in his argument; preying on her fear to distract her into agreeing with him, then the scene might make sense.

Personally, it’s too much of a reach for me. But there you go. We viewers are left to decide whether the writer botched up the scene, or Jane is a cold manipulative bastard and Lisbon fell for his trick.

Admittedly, we already know the latter for a fact.

So now we are left to ponder Jane’s reasons for manipulating Lisbon into compromising her integrity in a situation where she had no need to do so whatsoever.

In my Red Alert Review, I stated that:

Jane could just want to corrupt Lisbon so she’ll be more likely to cut him slack. But I don’t think so. There just seems to be something more personal about it. It’s almost like he’s willing to forgive her following the law because she’s a cop and therefore is obliged to (as opposed to citizen consultants who don’t *sarcasm*). But more often he seems disappointed in her for not going by her own instincts when he knows she’s smart enough to make her own choices.

And that:

Jane recognizes Lisbon is an intelligent woman and therefore considers the law beneath her and that, like himself, she shouldn’t have to follow rules

And finally:

Jane wants to feel that there is someone he can depend on; someone he cares about who also cares about him, someone who knows him…

I also wondered:

Is he (Jane) starting to actually see a life after the capture of Red John? Or does Jane only want revenge provided he gets away with it (like Max Winter in Red Carpet Treatment?)

And hoped that:

The fact that the episode ends on Jane, going to Lisbon’s office, for the sole purpose of bantering with her about not paying the ticket, obviously enjoying himself, suggests that Jane realized that maybe, despite himself, he actually has something to lose now if he pursues unlawful vengeance.

The final scenes of this episode makes any one of the above speculations possible.

Jane’s tells Lisbon:

“We don’t have to do this. We can let her go just this once. Just once.”

Jane’s use of “we” here seems incredibly telling; like he desperately wants Lisbon to see eye to eye with him; wants her to agree with him. His fear that he misread her when she glares at him and leaves the room is real; as is his disappointment. Later, when he and Lisbon are escorting Trina to the juvenile detention facility, Jane watches Lisbon the whole time, like he’s hoping against hope she’ll change her mind. At the gate, Lisbon pauses. Trina sweetly tells her it’s okay. Lisbon glances at Jane, who looks away from her, like he  doesn’t want to influence her final decision. Finally, Lisbon tells Trina she’s taking her home and leaves. Jane tells the officer that he just witnessed a beautiful thing then follows them.

The look of pure delight on Jane’s face is undeniable. He looks like he won the lottery; and the prize was Lisbon eventually letting him get away with killing Red John; maybe even his having something to blackmail her with. But there is another interpretation. LittleMender over at got me thinking more about Jane’s smile. I started wondering if maybe the delight on Jane’s face was due to a less sinister reason; if it was pure. That maybe the prize he feels he won is Lisbon’s understanding; that her letting Trina go somehow brought them closer together; and that all the tension that had build up since their revenge argument in the episode “Red Moon” was lifted off his shoulders.

The problem is that this assumption seems like pure conjecture. It is understandable that a certain amount of mystery will always prevail with regards to Patrick Jane’s intentions. However, I think viewers deserve some clarity third season into the series. I’m not asking for romance, or even a heart to heart. Just for episodes which address such vital issues to have a solid basis, and with very little mistakes so that we can actually take what little evidence we are given seriously. Mentalist is ambiguous enough as it is without adding the problem of unlikely scenarios into the script.

Scenes as important as the last two of this episode have to be perfectly scripted. Contrary to what Jane says, details are important. Details like:

1-      Why did Lisbon end up taking the girl to Juvie? Didn’t she say she was going to call and have them come over? That she didn’t want Trina to have to go to booking?

2-      Where the heck was super protective Aunt Jodi in that final scene? I find it hard to believe she wouldn’t accompany her fragile niece.

To be fair, I have to point out the good aspects of the episode: the case itself was interesting and well spun with plenty of mentalism. Also, the familiarity between the Jane and Lisbon that hadn’t been there for a long time has been rekindled. Jane actually grabs Lisbon’s hand at one point in the episode, directing her flashlight to where he wants it. He hasn’t been this comfortable around her since season two’s finale.

Continuity wise, writer David Appelbaum also establishes how close Jane and Lisbon have become. This perhaps is the only realistic reason for why Jane brought Lisbon along with him to listen to Trina’s confession: he wanted to test her: see if he could trust her.

Now we’ve known since season one that Jane trusts Lisbon (Carnelian Inc.) But here, I mean that he wants to see if he can trust her with his ultimate baby: Red John.

Perhaps Jane realizes he can’t catch Red John without Lisbon, at least not do so and get out alive and not end up in jail. Maybe he wants to share whatever information he has on Red John with her, but doesn’t want to do so unless he’s sure she’ll follow his lead; his plan; his rules.

Which raises the issue of trust vs. control; both Jane and Lisbon are serious control freaks; both try to get each other to see things their own view. Usually, Jane has the upper hand, and he knows it.

When earlier on in the episode Jodi asks Lisbon to control her man, Jane tells her with a huge grin “Oh believe me, she’s tried.” For her part, Lisbon seemed resigned at this statement. I guess she thought it wasn’t worth arguing over, especially after how nuts Jane went over Lisbon forcing him to pay a speeding ticket just last episode. And while she may have initially been able to coerce him into doing so, (he never did do it), the odds have definitely been tipped in his favor here: Jane succeeding in convincing Lisbon to let Trina off goes far beyond anything Lisbon ever got Jane to do.

It seems that while Lisbon is prepared to accept Jane as he is and only really gets into it with him to keep him out of trouble, Jane is hell bent on changing her; doesn’t seem to want to respect her unless she starts seeing things his way.

I hate how weak Lisbon seems here in comparison to the previous episode. I guess it could just be that she’s starting to trust Jane more; as evidenced by her is going along with Jane’s schemes more willingly this season even when she doesn’t know what he’s up to. In this episode, she runs interference for Jane at the hospital so that he can go and question Trina, and helps him get Jodi out of a room even when she doesn’t know what he has planned. She’s taking more chances with him, trusting him more. But now that she has, we need something to show us that Jane is actually deserving of that trust. Something seriously needs to happen this season to remind us that Jane sincerely cares about Lisbon; not just for what she can do for him.

I am reminded of how Jane’s psychiatrist Sophie said (Season 1, Red Brick and Ivy) that she was drawn to controlling, emotionally damaged and unavailable men. She had been talking about her ex-husband at the time, but it was clear that she was also alluding to Jane.

This episode certainly proves the controlling aspect of Jane’s character. And we know he’s emotionally damaged. But perhaps not as emotionally unavailable as he used to be…

To conclude…

1. Jane manipulated Lisbon to establish a pattern of her breaking rules (her letting Bosco get away with murder, letting Danny get away, and now Trina)  making her more likely to help him kill and/or get away with killing Red John in the future.


2. He’s gotten so close to her that he wants he wants her to be like him. Drawing from commenter Violet’s observation, I’ll wrap up by saying that gaining Jane’s affection comes with the price (or gift) of him trying to convert you to his religion; that religion being, that he’s always right and Red John is the devil.

Speaking of religion, to me, (and I suspect to Jane, on some level) Lisbon represents Jane’s salvation. I’m guessing that Jane thinks if he can get Lisbon, perfect pure Lisbon to agree with him, then that makes him a good person; makes him feel better about himself. In that sense, she’s like his moral yardstick; his conscience. Because, I suspect that deep down Jane does respect her, her opinion does count, even when he acts like it doesn’t. Jane my not believe in the afterlife, but he does believe in Lisbon.

Let’s just hope that Lisbon believes in herself enough to be able to continue keeping Jane out of trouble.

It remains to be seen if Jane’s actions in this episode will have a visible effect on their relationship. It should. As the series has been very good with continuity so far, I am optimistic that we will get to see it.

Honorable Mentions

Yancy Butler who plays Jodi, Trina’s aunt was fabulous. As was Kaitlyn Dever who plays Trina. I foresee many jobs for her in the future.

Best Scenes

The winner: Jane and Lisbon’s argument over Trina’s fate. Despite my deep qualms over the script, Baker and Tunney were stunning in this scene. The chemistry between their characters (as friends, siblings, lovers, whatever it is) was perfect and their acting was astounding.

1st Runner up: The hospital scene. Lisbon running interference for Jane so that he can question Trina shows just how in sync these two are. Also, Jane’s gentleness to Trina was moving. He initially wanted to hypnotize her but changed his mind (he does have a heart) and even tried to shut her aunt up when she goes off on him for thinking he did so, trying to keep her from inadvertently letting the girl know that something is wrong. When Trina does figure it out, Jane takes it upon himself to tell her that her father’s dead. Lisbon’s distress at the girl’s pain was also very moving, and the two female guest actresses were excellent. Lovely scene.

2nd Runner up: When Grace tells Rigsby about her engagement. Oh Rigsby! Owain Yeoman broke my heart here. The man looked like someone stabbed him in the chest, yet valiantly congratulated Grace, because apparently, he’s an angel.

Best Lines

“Horribly cold night tonight Lisbon.”- Jane’s acknowledgment of the weather made me ridiculously happy. His suits can’t possibly be appropriate for all seasons, even if some of them are winter suits.

“Seems like an excellent facility.”- Jane to Lisbon after two attractive nurses flirt with him at Trina’s hospital. This is the first time Jane responded to female attention. Previously, he’s shown his wedding ring; saying that he’s married, or shaken his head no with an embarrassed smile. Could this be another sign that he’s thinking of moving on? Or did he say that for Lisbon’s benefit?

“Uh, huh.”- Lisbon to Jane, in response to the above. I heart Lisbon.

“I don’t want to talk about your feelings.”- Cho to Rigsby, after seeing him leave Grace with her boyfriend Craig. Cho rocks.

“Good, me neither.”-Rigsby to Cho. Rigsby not wanting to talk shows just how messed up he is over Grace.

“What is he doing, could you please control your man?”-Jodi.

“Oh, believe me, she’s tried.”-Jane, in response to above.

“On the contrary, its so conscionable, we can conscion this very easily.”- Jane to Jodi when she says his actions are unconscionable. I find this statement nicely refers to Jane’s ability to spin any argument to his favor.

“How do you sleep at night?”- Jodi to Jane.

“Most nights I don’t.”- Jane to Jodi, in reply to the above. I love how Baker read this line; very honest and matter of fact.

Pet Peeves

Okay, when I asked for someone on the show to get married I didn’t mean for that someone to be Grace. Cho and Elise,  Cho and Elise! How can they mistake that for Craig and Grace? They are two entirely different couples.( Of course, I know that these episodes were taped long before I ever expressed my views- it’s a joke). Sigh, and I’m not even a Rispelt fan. I don’t want to imagine what they are going through. My condolences.

Because this episode raises pretty much the same issues as the last one, there is no new poll. Readers can go back to Red Alert Review and re-vote based on the new evidence provided here. Better yet, leave a comment and put your opinion in writing.  Also, if you want to get an instant alerts when new material is posted, you can subscribe.

Finally, here’s a treat for fanfic readers: a list of the best fics based on this episode:


Mentalist Blood for Blood 3/14 tag

Just This Once


About reviewbrain

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15 responses to “Mentalist Blood For Blood Review

  • All-I-need

    Woah, you`ve given me a lot to comment, I guess I`ll have to scroll back up all the time to re-read your arguments. So, let´s get on with it:
    Craig: I hate him, hate him, hate him. He looks good, he makes Grace happy, he stole her away from Rigsby and he`s a damn cold-hearted bastard. I guess he`s never been in one and the same team for a very long time, otherwise he`d know they ARE friends. So either he`s an idiot or you`re right and there`s more to it. Be that RJ or LaRoche or anything else. Maybe LaRoche got some dirt on him and forced him to try and manipulate Grace into accpeting LaRoche`s offer.
    Grace the spy: I completely share your thoughts on that one, I would`ve loved to see her answer before she was actually cleared. However, I think I saw some kind of triumph flicker across her face, as if to say: “See, I`m a good cop. I don`t need your methods. And now I`ve got something on you. What you tried to do was basically blackmailing. I won`t forget that.”
    Obviously, that`s just my interpretation.
    Now, on to the most important part:
    Jane manipulating Lisbon.
    When I started reading your review, I was sure he did it for exactly the reason you listed: he mentioned the system because of Lisbon`s fear of the system. Which is understandable, considering her experiences and him so badly wanting Trina to go free. Maybe he just can`t watch a girl`s talent go wasted (my guess is it reminds him of Charlotte, who seems to have been quite the pianist).
    You wondered why she would be put into juvenile services and though I`m not from the USA my guess is that this is just what happens to youths charged with a crime, until they are brought in front of a judge, which can take quite some time (hence the six months, one year question) because the judges have more important cases to attend to and there are many underage criminals.
    Taking her to juvenile services will also make sure that she can`t make a run for it, which would be possible if she stayed with her aunt.
    Now, as I said, I completely agreed with you on that. But then I thought: wait a minute. What if Lisbon wanted to let Trina walk free all along? Considering Lisbon`s past she must`ve had the same thoughts Jane had, must have considered just letting it drop. My guess is that Lisbon needs the law, depends on the law and the firm parameters it sets, so she won´t step out of line. I think she actually WANTED to let Trina go free and all she needed was a tiny little push to overcome her sense of responsibility. Jane, always watching, always reading her, must have picked that up, so he gave her exactly the push she needed.
    Now, Lisbon being Lisbon, she couldn´t just admit she was on his side all along, so she brought Trina to the county, while on the inside she was torn between her responsibility as an officer of the law – and her own knowledge of what is right and fair and what isn`t.
    She said she didn`t shoot her father, she never said she didn´t WANT to shoot him. Maybe she did. Maybe if she´d had the opportunity, she would have. But she didn`t. Trina did and she acted in self-defense and killed her father. Lisbon can see the sense in that, can relate and is now angry with herself for breaking her rules of not bending the law because of personal feelings and opinions.
    I am really looking forward to seeing that issue resolved or adressed again. I`m sure it will happen.
    You also mentioned you wanted Jane to show he actually cares about Lisbon as a person. Now, since we know she´s going to get injured in tonight`s episode, I can only assume that he will go nuts. Probably annoying the crap out of her and all the nurses at the hospital (if it`s so bad that she needs to be hospitalized) until she just throws him out.
    Oh, and by the way: I completely agree with you on this: Lisbon is Jane`s salvation. Deep down, he knows that. I`m driving that point home in the oneshot I wrote (still not finished with translating it).
    And now I`ll stop rambling and let you comment on my comment, if you want to.

  • reviewbrain

    About Trina, like I said, her aunt is an army nurse, a trustworthy person. I’m not from the US either but I imagine she could have been released into her custody; or even placed under house arrest like that big time criminal in the same episode.
    About Jane and Lisbon: very interesting theory which puts Jane in a better light and Lisbon in a darker one. I love the irony. It is very plausable. I can never forget how terrified Lisbon was when she couldn’t remember if she killed Mcteer or her words to Dr. Carmen : coos can become killers, it happens. She was so afraid she might have done it. As an abused child, she’s afraid that she might also turn to violence. Also, if bosco, lisbons mentor whom she admired and respected ended up killing someone, that might make her think that she’s just as likely to do so. But, I don’t hink she wanted to kill her father. I think that she loved him to the end because in red tide when she mentions that he killed himself, she adds “damn near killed me and my brothers too.” I don’t think she meant it literally, more figuratively as in how devastated they were with his death.

    Personally I think that Lisbon knows she’s just as capable of dealing out her own brand of justice as Jane is; probably one of the reasons she holds him at arms length; she know he brings out that side of her. On the other hand there’s a major differnce between the two.
    Lisbon is the quiet genius as opposed to Janes mad genius. She has much more common sense and knows that they are expected to abide by the rules of society; actually embraces them like you said because they keep her in check.

    But the bigger reason is her humbleness and faith. If her cross is anything to go by, then Lisbon believes in a higher power. As such, she doesn’t believe it is her right to act as one which, taking a life might be interpreted as doing such. Jane, obviously, has no such qualms.

    Great comments!

  • Kuhlama

    I don’t want Jane manipulating Lisbon. I want Lisbon manipulating Jane so that RJ can be imprisoned -> Happy end 🙂

  • violet

    Well, well, well… really very interesting review for an intriguing episode…
    First of all, I’m not so sure Jane is as cold-blooded as you see him here. In fact, he did tries to convince her to take the path he thought was the best and places her in a situation where she has to make a choice, but does he really heartlessly use her for it?
    First, she’s the only real cop to hear Trina’s confession. It comes as the final revelation of the episode, since Jane has previously set up a situation where everyone thinks the culprit is already dead. No one would question it, nor would anyone turn Trina in, neither Jane nor the aunt… So, in a totally Jane-like logic, Lisbon is safe: she’s not putting her career at risk, no one will know that she’s become his accomplice…
    About the discussion Jane has with Lisbon, your remarks are very enlightening. All-I-need’s comment about the foster care is probably accurate, it’s most likely part of the procedure before the trial, at least it seems plausible enough (more than Lisbon taking the girl to juvenile service before officially registering her interview in the head-quarter, by the way)… Either way,Jane’s not really insisting on the foster care -it’s only an appropriate setting for the final scene, I think-, he’s more asking Lisbon what’s happening after that. He’s talking about avoiding punishment and letting her aunt, a nurse, help her. He tries to limit psychological damage (which would at the very least be guilt, trust issues… the same feelings Lisbon and him have experienced). Well, that’s at least how I saw the scene, before I read your review…
    At the same time, I’m not as sure as you are that Trina would walk free from a trial: the only evidence that her father had murdered his wife was so minimal and subjective, and there wasn’t any witness that he attacked her; his motive for threatening her and the self-defence are almost impossible to prove.
    And Jane doesn’t explicitly uses Lisbon’s past. I mean, of course he knows that the situation will remind her of her own father, and he hopes that will make her more lenient. But he is shocked when Lisbon bursts about her father being an abuser too, he subtly changes the subject, bringing then in the foster care. If he was so cold-hearted, he would have pressed her, we know he wouldn’t have been above it.
    To conclude, I think Jane really wanted to save Trina, because she’s in danger of being charged and, even after being cleared of charges, there would be consequences in her future. I also think with All-I-need that, just like Trina reminds Lisbon of her younger self (being about the same age she probably was when she had to deal with her violent father), she reminds Jane of his daughter (we saw she would be the same age or only a few years older if she was still alive).

    Obviously, Jane being Jane, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t some other reasons as well, the more evident being to gradually convince her to let him go after he murders Red John. I like your idea that he’s testing her, for telling her eventually his secrets if he senses that she would follow his lead… If you’re right, it would be very positive… 🙂
    At the same time, I interpreted the whole scene as a sign of Jane sincerely respecting Lisbon, because he let her make the final choice. He tries to convince her (and convincing and manipulating can be very close), but doesn’t choose for her. He let her know the truth and she’s deciding. There’s a real shift in his behaviour here, because he’s already chosen for her countless times, letting her deal with the consequences after he lied or, worst, acting without her never realising what he’s done (some time ago, he caused on purpose a biker’s death by making him appear as a traitor in front of his fellows, after being sure he couldn’t charge him for murder and his various criminal activities)… If that is true, there was indeed in this episode a “beautiful thing”…

    I also couldn’t help but think once more about the symbolism of the new couch, when he gave it to her: he forced on her something she didn’t want, because he thought it was useful; she refused it, and then she ended accepting it without saying so. It’s quite revelling of the way their relationship works. At the same time, one of the meanings of Jane’s couches is his influence on people: his couch in the bullpen shows how he can control the team. Now, there is another one of his (not hers anymore) in her office. Since she was the more resistant to his mind games (even if she cares for him), that could represent the growing space he’s occupying in her mind, the way he’s trying to progressively bend her to his will, like them.

    Last side remark on the subject, I wonder if this episode, with the reference to Lisbon’s past, doesn’t enlighten Jane’s instinct to protect her. She was a victim of violence caused by an irresponsible father, while he’s responsible of his daughter’s violent death. Couldn’t he identifying her with Lisbon and the subsequent guilt explain in part his protectiveness (cf. telling her she’s angry not to have received a pony from Daddy for her birthday when she was childishly pouting)? He does that all the time in cases that make him react, when he becomes particularly harsh: telling a father who murdered his son for having an affair with his wife that he didn’t kill the good one, since the lover was his other son; having another father who raped his daughter shot by his wife; here saving a daughter almost killed by her abuser of a father… He’s as vindictive towards men who don’t take seriously their fatherhood as he is towards bad husbands.

    Concerning the other important topic, Grace’s attitude is quite troubling indeed. You’re right, she should have refused Laroche’s offer since the start. It’s disturbing that she waits to have her name cleared before telling him no… and Laroche is correct when he states that she seems unfazed to know that he’s suspecting her team-mates and not just someone in the CBI.
    Another thing is that she seems to tell O’Laughin everything: her problems during the mission she failed, her interview with Laroch, his blackmail… It looks like he’s completely informed on what’s going on in the CBI, that’s quite unsettling. Moreover, he tells her that her co-workers aren’t her friends, that he’s her friend (like Red John with his minions, by the way), thus, there is no problem in spying them. Nevertheless, after that she’s rejected Laroche’s plans for her, he waits for her like a supportive boyfriend when she walks off his office, like he thought she took a right but not easy decision. Isn’t that a little contradictory? I don’t know if Grace’s new fiancé is truly suspicious, or if they just want us to suspect him for increasing the tension, but they could be a little more discreet, I mean, the guy just screams he’s not good enough for Van Pelt…

    Sorry for my grammar errors and confused thoughts: I’m in a rush! Can’t wait to read more of you!!!! 🙂

  • reviewbrain

    I think the fact that Jane put her in that situation in the first place is in itself cold-hearted. He blind sighted her, and he knows it. Of course the final choice is Lisbon’s, no way can he force her to do anything. But he’s completely responsible for setting up the circumstances. Now, I do suspect, like you said that in his own twisted way, he did it out of respect for her, that he wants her to “see the light”. But here’s the thing, Jane is so arrogant that he automatically assumes he’s always right and wants the people he loves to think so too. It is understandable, but he’s not being a saint about it. Mostly, he did it out of his own selfish desire (love) for her; to get her to come around to see his objectives. If he really respected her (trusted her), he would have talked to her about it before going over there. But that is not the way Jane does things because that would mean relinquishing control. And my theory that Trina wouldn’t have spent any time in jail comes from the fact that we’ve seen other characters get off in the show. There is a lot of leeway for juvenile cases, especially one like Trina who was clinically depressed as her aunt says.
    Most of my anger in this episode, however, is directed at the writer, not Jane himself. I don’t like ambiguity, especially when it’s obviously unintended.

  • reviewbrain

    I forgot to mention I love your couch reference in relation to Jane insinuating himself in lisbons life. Someone else (I think Littlemender) mentioned the fact that it’s a two seater (the other was three) and is something they can both enjoy practically as opposed to his other gifts, which weren’t very practical at all. Speaking of the pony… Again, very interesting theory that Jane feels he’s a failed father trying to make amends by looking out for Lisbon who was an abused daughter. You are right, he does respond to spouses and parents he thinks are undeserving of their families; let’s go a little of his own self loathing to direct it at them. I don’t think, however, that at the time of the pony, Jane knew the extent that Lisbon suffered at her fathers hands. We assume he overheard her saying to a victims father that her dad was a self pitying drunk, but that doesn’t automatically mean he was an abusive drunk. I also base this theory on how stricken Lisbon looks when Jane tells her “a bit upset that daddy didn’t buy you a pony?” it was an inappropriate comment, but it wasn’t meant to be hurtful, and Lisbon looked like she was hurt but hiding the fact. Which raises the question, when did Jane find out about her fathers abuse? Did she even ever tell him or did he just suspect it (maybe around the episode ‘Red Badge’) and this episode was the first time she mentioned it? About Jane not explicitly using Lisbon’s past… I think the fact that he pulled this stunt on a girl so similar to Lisbon’s situation is enough. Jane is not like other people, he’s very smart, a fact he uses to justify not having to live by the same rules as others. Because he is so smart, I hold him more responsible for his actions than I would other people, but when all is said and done, I don’t believe he intends to act selfishly; Hes actually quite warm and caring. Rather, it’s just a habit, possibly one he’s not even aware of. Which is why writers need to be completely clear about his intentions in situations like these.

  • reviewbrain

    One more thing, whose to say that letting Trina go won’t be worse for her in the long run? The reason people confess to their crimes in the first place is because they want the absolution that comes along with paying for their crimes. Trina is underage, her records would have been sealed and the crime wouldn’t have followed her into adulthood. But now she’s forced to keep the fact that she killed her father and got away with it a dark shameful guilty secret. For such an obviously honest girl, that will be even worse in the long run. Also, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before, wouldn’t forensics have found her prints on the gun? Please tell me the episode mentioned that there were no prints on the gun (presumably erased by Gordon) or the writing of this episode will be even worse than i thought. Okay I’m done. I’m officially putting this episode behind me.

  • Lea

    Just one note from me here: Jane did know that Lisbon was abused as a child since Red Tide in season 1 cause we see him standing there and watching how she talks to the father telling him to seek help cause her own father almost killed her and her brothers. The scene is here if you want to rewatch:
    Very emotional and one of those that really got me.

  • reviewbrain

    That’s one of my favorite all time scenes: just a look between them says so much; unfortunately, blood For Blood makes us question if Jane used this knowledge against her; to manipulate her…

  • Lea

    Oh no doubt. Imho he manipulates her the whole time. At the moment I just can’t see it any other way. I’m furious and both Jane and Lisbon when I watch this ending.
    But I guess if they’d written it any other way people would have called Lisbon a “heartless bitch” so I assume they wanted to make her more “Likeable”: Not that they need to cause to me she’s just awesome but maybe for the mediocre viewer for whom Jane is the god of everything. Show has the tendency to make people side with him.

  • reviewbrain

    I humbly disagree. They could have written it the way I suggested in the review (Lisbon taking measures to ensure Trina stays in her aunts custody; thus making a point to Jane that it’s not necessary to go around the law) and that way, Lisbon not only remains likable, but also the reasonable person we know she is. I reallythink they meant to make a point of Jane making her let go of her principles (or hangups, as he sees them). It just wasn’t done well.

  • Lea

    Well then we just have to agree to disagree. Cause while I for myself see it the way you do I am not sure if that is what the writers intended. There are a lot of people and I would say they are the majority of the viewership who don’t dig that deep and just watch for the fun.
    I don’t think these people think as far as we do.
    Just an example, I was watching this episode with some friends who only watch it from time to time and during that scene they we’re all like “She’s such a heartless woman, how can she turn in that poor girl?” and stuff like that. They didn’t question the motives, they were just on Jane’s side.

  • reviewbrain

    Oh I totally agree with that; in fact NONE of the people I saw the episode with thought Jane did anything wrong, or realized how self serving his actions were. If he really was just watching out for Trina, then why bring Lisbon along at all and risk “the mean woman” arresting the poor girl?

    The writers really need to be more clear about Jane’s intentions. Personally, I would have been more impressed if Lisbon had stood up for her principles. I honestly believe that it could have worked too.
    In my experience, viewers just agree with whatever Jane says so if he would have shown a grudging respect for Lisbon for not bending to his will; if they had spun it so that he would have been impressed with her keeping Trina out of jail AND following the law, that in itself might have earned her points with viewers.

    Oh well. We’ll never know :p

  • greekfate

    I came to this blog while watching season four and am reading these reviews back. It’s been a little while watching this episode and I don’t remember exactly how it ended. I do think there is something you’re forgetting in the debate about Patrick’s motives and Lisbons reacton to Trina’s confession.

    It’s that there was already a man in custody for the murder. A man who, by any standard, was a much better candidate for going to jail than poor Trina. I feel like to Lisbon it doesn’t so much matter if Trina would be aquitted for her dads murderer or not, if you take into consideration they’d have to let Gorman go. The whole case Jane helped make against this man would go out the window and the best they would have against him is assault against a police officer or possibly attempted murder but even that would be a difficult case to try.

    What I found interesting is that Lisbon asked Jane why he brought her along when Trina does her confession. This clearly shows she doesn’t want to involve Trina in this case at all and would’ve happily looked the other way, had she not been there to witness the confession. Where is that deniability Jane is always talking about? Clearly Lisbon could’ve used some here. Trading an innocent young girl for a corrupt cop is not something she would easily do.

    As to Jane’s motives, it’s hard to be sure. I agree the writers could’ve done better with how they had Jane handle things. However here too there are things to consider:

    What if he hadn’t brought Lisbon along, as she so clearly would’ve liked? That would’ve indicated that he didn’t trust Lisbon to make the right call on this case, or with the truth – but I’ll go into that next. It just seemed to me that if he’d come alone when Trina or her aunt called and the confession would’ve been made without any of the team present after Jane handed them Gorman on a silver plate; it would seem like Jane was manipulating cases to fit his own sense of justice. While this is not completely beyond him, I think ending the episode that way would make him appear colder and less trusting of Lisbon than he actually is at this point. Which brings me to the second thing.

    I think that Jane also brings her along because he wants her to know the truth and genuine believes she would prefer that too. And I think he would be right. No matter what the situation, there is something considerate about bringing her alone so she could decide for herself what justice is while having ALL the facts, not just the ones Jane would consider appropriate.

    But once again, it was still handled badly and the writers should’ve done a lot better.

  • Vishal Balali

    Thank you so much for your reviews, reviewbrain. These are the most comprehensive reviews I have found of any tv series I have watched till now, and It is a delight to take part in your enthusiasm for this show. This is the third time I am rewatching the series, and Its been a pleasure to do so alongside your reviews.

    I have a different take on why Jane took Lisbon with him to talk to Trina, and it has to do with Trina’s guilt over killing her father. When Autn Jodi opened the door She said thanks for coming. That means that She called Jane to her home after Trina suddenly changed her behavior, hoping Jane can help Trina. So Jane must have realized the memory must have come back and It was most likely that she had found out about the abuse her father did to her mother. At this point, he understands what kind of person Trina is, good at heart and pure. Him then bringing Lisbon along when talking to Trina is a very good thing because TINA CAN NOW CONFESS TO A POLICE OFFICER, A PERSON WHO UPHOLDS LAW AND JUSTICE. For the guilt of killing her father to not weigh down on Trina, she needs that guilt to be removed by someone else. Its the same reason why people to go confess in the church – it helps them move on from the crime to find out that they have been forgiven or understood.

    1. If she had just confessed to her aunt, she would have covered it up not because what Trina did was alright, but because Trina would go to prison if this information is known. The guilt will never go away.

    2. If she had just spoken to Jodi and Jane, then yes the guilt will go away a little more, but Jane always works in the grey. It could still be seen as a cover up by Trina

    3. Involving Lisbon, and ultimately getting her blessing and forgiveness is CRUCIAL in alleviating her guilt, as that would be a person who upholds justice telling her its allright. That is the greatest source of recovery for her, and it is evident in the final scene when Trina tells Lisbon that it is ok, its because she confessed to people who relally care for her, are looking out for her, and she is able to be at peace with the decisions these people make.

    Other than this point, I love your reviews. Thank you so much once again.

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