CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) arrive at Mount Stantz Golf and Country Club, California where a man’s body was found in one of the golf stalls. The victim is Micah Newton, a doctor who was also the head of Blessed Sacrament’s Hospital’s Organ Transplant committee. Jane is explaining to Lisbon how he thinks that Newton was under stress based on marks on his gold club when Professional Standards Unit Head Agent J. J. LaRoche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) joins them at the scene and asks to speak with Lisbon. It turns out LaRoche wants to interview Lisbon regarding her boss Madeline Hightower, former CBI Head turned fugitive from the law after evidence was found that indicts her as the culprit in Todd Johnson’s murder. Annoyed, Lisbon excuses herself. When LaRoche attempts to continue his line of questioning Lisbon loses her patience. She demands to know why he’s hassling her after he’s already named his suspect, but doesn’t give him a chance to respond. She continues her tirade and states that as soon as a new head is announced she’ll ask that LaRoche be kept away from her. LaRoche then informs her, that he, in fact, has been made the new head of CBI. He adds that he’ll honor her request to be kept away from him and demotes her, putting her right hand man Agent Cho (Tim Kang) in charge of the team.
Ms Swafford brings us another delightfully light episode. Bloodstream has a fun tidy plot, contains a lot of good lines, some continuity, and (gasp!) a somewhat optimistic ending. There is also plenty of character interaction; it was done quite subtly too which I personally find more interesting. But perhaps the best part of the episode is that Jane was completely innocent of any wrongdoing with regards to Lisbon’s situation. That was so weird to write. 9.5/10.
Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)
The premise of Bloodstream in which Lisbon is demoted provides a great opportunity to learn about the characters. I’m happy to say the opportunity was not wasted. Specifically, we get insight into Lisbon, Cho, and LaRoche’s characters.
Very Important Scene (VIS) #1 Opening scene
LaRoche’s presence at the Country Club where the SCU was investigating a crime scene is intriguing. He could have waited until Lisbon returned to CBI from her crime scene to interview her. Either he likes to take walks or he simply overly vigilant and didn’t want to wait to ask his questions. But if LaRoche was in a hurry, as the new CBI head, he probably could have requested Lisbon return to the office. He either didn’t want to inconvenience Lisbon by making her leave her crime scene, or he wanted to see her and her team in action (i.e. spy on them). Or it could have been both. I do think the former is not an unlikely possibility. Despite his terse demeanor, LaRoche has always been civil to Lisbon. In fact, he was downright polite to her in the previous episode. He even expressed sympathy towards her after evidence points to Hightower as being a killer, saying that he was sorry about her boss.
This makes Lisbon’s short temper with the man more surprising; especially since her calm demeanor is well established (‘Red Badge’)
To be fair, LaRoche’s querying her of Hightower (whom we know Lisbon likes) broke her last thread of patience with the man. Lisbon is very protective of those she cares about, and during his investigation of Todd Johnson’s murder, LaRoche had several run-ins with her. The first time he annoys her is when he suspected Jane (who was avoiding him) as the culprit in the murder (‘Jolly Red Elf’). Laroche ends up questioning a drunk Jane; much to Lisbon’s dismay. She was also very upset with J.J when he questions Rigsby (whom he also suspected) without her knowledge (‘Bloodsport’).
Yes Lisbon is usually very calm and polite, but I think her behavior here is understandable considering the circumstances. It also provides nice continuity as it shows (and is in fact the only sign we have) that Lisbon is still upset over Hightower’s fate.
The semantics Lisbon uses in her rant might be another hint. When she goes off on LaRoche she says: “you named your suspect, she’s on the run, why do you keep showing up on my crime scenes.” She doesn’t say “you named the killer”. This could entail that despite the staggering evidence, Lisbon doesn’t believe Hightower is guilty.
LaRoche probably suspects as much which is why he felt the need to question Lisbon. He knows Lisbon admires Hightower (‘Red Queen’) and mentions that she spent time with her kids (‘Red Gold’). It could be LaRoche wants to make sure her emotions are not leading her astray; i.e.: making her help Hightower escape the law.
This is another reason why Lisbon got so angry with him; she resented the implication. She says as much when he asks her if she was in contact with Hightower : “You mean have I been in contact with a wanted felon without notifying my superiors? No I have not.”
Jane’s reaction in this scene was also quite telling. In the promo it seemed that he looked guilty and/or that he had prior knowledge that Lisbon was going to be suspended. Since it turns out that Lisbon got herself suspended, Jane is obviously only guilty of being a good guesser, and/or not telling Lisbon about LaRoche’s promotion. Jane obviously knew about it; hence his becoming increasingly nervous throughout Lisbon’s rant; he knew she was putting her foot in her mouth and was worried about the consequence she’d have to pay.
So how did Jane find out about LaRoche’s promotion before Lisbon? J.J probably told him. Jane has been making a conscious effort to get close to LaRoche ever since the PSU Head (as he was at the time) started his investigation into Todd Johnson’s murder. Jane asked J.J to keep him apprised of the case (‘Jolly Red Elf’), saying that he likes the mystery. Then, we are told that the two men discussed whether Hightower could commit murder (‘Red Queen’). Jane also tries to befriend Laroche by giving him a bottle of scotch (‘Red Queen’).
Now there are several possibilities regarding why Jane is spending so much time with LaRoche.
The saying goes “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” We know that Jane suspects someone at CBI of being Red John’s mole. It could be that Jane’s befriending Laroch because he suspects him.
But that’s unlikely. If Jane suspected J.J in any way then he wouldn’t have gone along with LaRoche’s suspicions that Hightower was guilty of Todd’s murder.
Jane’s proximity to J.J is probably part of a conscious strategic decision. If the man is guilty, then Jane has a better opportunity to find out. And if he is innocent, then it can only be beneficial for Jane to be close to someone as smart (and now, as powerful) as LaRoche. Especially if Jane intends to eventually expose Todd’s real killer and vindicate Hightower.
Finally, perhaps Jane is spends time with LaRoche because he sees him as an actual friend. I liked when in the previous episode Jane told him “are we kids or what?” Obviously, he just said it to get the man’s guard down, but you also get a feeling of mutual respect there.
VIS#2 Cho and Lisbon scene.
I’ve been waiting for this scene ever since I saw the promo and it does not disappoint. Cho goes to Lisbon’s office and tells her that what happened to her isn’t right and that he and the team came up with a plan: they’ll continue working as usual, taking orders from her, but that he’ll report to LaRoche for her. Lisbon declines. She states that she’s fine with what happened, and encourages Cho in his new position, reminding him that he’s a senior agent. Cho responds that if he’s going to be boss it has to be “for real”. Lisbon answers that she’ll back him up %100 and that she’ll empty out her office in the afternoon. Cho declines, saying that he doesn’t want her office, when Lisbon starts to argue he adds: “I prefer no walls between me and my team.”
Snap! Also, genius. Pure genius.
The above quote is officially my favorite in the entire season because it addresses an issue that’s been bothering me for a while now: Lisbon seems to have an infinite amount of tolerance when it comes to Jane as well as a general cool detached demeanor. We know she’s a relatively calm person but lately her patience is starting to seem almost supernatural. This scene made me realize that the reason Lisbon can put up with Jane is because of how she seems to detach herself from the people (and events) around her. It’s almost like she censors things for herself to be able to deal with them better. What other explanation could there be for how composed she is at losing her undoubtedly hard earned position as unit head? I would have thought she’d be freaking out, especially with how upset she was when Jane got her suspended in Season 2 (Blood Money).
Perhaps therein lays the difference. In ‘Blood Money’, Lisbon’s suspension was through no fault of her own. But here, her impatience is what got her demoted. And as someone who advocates the idea that a person has to sleep in the bed they make (she’s used the idiom at least twice in season one) her pride (never thought I’d use this to refer to Lisbon) won’t let her fight LaRoche’s decision. So she takes the punishment lying down (or, perhaps a better phrase would be ‘like a man’) and keeps up a strong front.
Cho however does not take her act at face value. His one single statement seems to hint that he knows she is not okay with the matter, and he wishes she’d open up to him about it instead of pretending that she is.
What happens after Cho leaves Lisbon’s office only supports this argument. He joins the team in the bullpen and tells them that he really is the boss, not just pretending for LaRoche’s benefit; that “Lisbon didn’t go for it,” almost like he was expecting her stubbornness and is disappointed in her.
So much expressed using so little words…good stuff.
Cho’s subsequent behavior towards Lisbon as the case progresses only further displays his umbrage with her. He is by no means disrespectful; but he has no problem asserting his opinion over Lisbon’s now that she told him to act like her boss. It’s almost like he’s making a point. And yet, gentleman that he is, Cho attempts to talk to Lisbon about the situation (maybe to apologize); but that’s in another scene in (VIS#3) and will be discussed later.
VIS#2 Jane and Lisbon at the hospital
-When Jane asks the victim’s assistant Francine Trent (Holley Fain) if any of Newton’s transplant patients are still alive, Lisbon calls out his name reproachfully, to which he states “you’re not my boss anymore.”
The tone he uses is matter-of-fact, not like he’s rubbing it in her face, but he’s not exactly being gentle about it either. It’s as if Jane knew of Cho’s plan and Lisbon’s refusing to go along with it, and that she should be ready to take whatever he dishes out since she made her choice.
-Later when Jane again says something callous, Lisbon apologizes to Francine to which she replies” “That’s okay, being scared of doctors and hospitals is perfectly normal.” Jane quickly denies being scared and Lisbon just as quickly (and nervously) changes the subject. Later, another doctor calls Jane out on being afraid of doctors.
I appreciate the double reference as an allusion to the time Jane spent in a mental hospital. I do wonder if there’s another point to it though, other than continuity of course.
– Lisbon seems to enjoy her newfound junior status; at least where Jane is concerned. She smiles, rather than frowns, when he annoys Dr. Quick who takes over the victim’s position as head of the transplant committee. When Quick complains, Lisbon tells him that Jane is out of her control, and to send all complaints her boss Agent Cho. Later when Lisbon goes to check on why the victim’s badge was radioactive, Jane passes on joining her saying that he’s going to the cafeteria. Lisbon, who knows him enough to know when he’s lying, states that she won’t ask him where he’s really going because she doesn’t have to, now that she’s not his boss.
Lisbon’s carefree attitude here makes it seem like she’s trying too hard to see her situation in a ‘glass half full’ kind of way. Jane knows this, if the look he gives her as she walks away from him is any indication. It’s a mixture of admiration and true affection. He looks relieved at Lisbon’s positivity in the face of what is undoubtedly a troubling situation for her, and that this aspect of her personality only increases his regard for her.
Actually, this happened once before in episode ‘Code Red’ (season two) when Jane made Lisbon think she was dying (as part of a clever ruse, of course, but also) because he wants her to start appreciating life. Jane was very impressed with how well Lisbon handled the situation. After she calls Cho to say goodbye, Jane tells her:
“It’s a fine farewell. I feared that you’d become tearful and incoherent but no, succinct, noble. Bravo.”
I like the continuity. It’s like Lisbon’s adaptability continues to amaze Jane. While he doesn’t come right out and say it as he did in ‘Code Red’, Jane’s expression in this episode speaks loud and clear.
VIS#3 Cho and Lisbon Kitchen scene
When Lisbon commends Cho on a good call, he responds that he just did what she taught him. She’s about to leave when Cho tries to say something else. But when he starts “Listen, Boss,” Lisbon cuts him off cheerfully: “Don’t call me boss. I’m not your boss, you’re my boss.” Frustrated, Cho abandons his lunch.
There are so many ways this scene could have played out, but here, less is truly more. Lisbon’s chirpiness is just further evidence that she’s only pretending to be okay. The fact that she won’t talk about the situation says otherwise. Again, Cho knows this, which is why he’s so upset he can’t even eat. Seeing the normally unflappable Cho so affected was stirring beyond words. The solemn, silent Cho trying to talk, maybe even apologize, Lisbon avoiding him, says enough about the gravity of the situation as any heart to heart could have.
VIS#3 Lisbon and Suspect Interrogation Scene
– Jane suspects Yegor Golenka (David Meunier) of killing Dr. Newton because he wouldn’t approve his boss (a Russian crime lord) for a kidney donation. Lisbon brings him in for questioning. When he acts disagreeably, Lisbon snaps at him.
“Speak up and look me in the eye when you talk to me. Show some respect.”
Tough Lisbon, I love you. She doesn’t go overboard, but I’m guessing it was easier for her to show up due to current frustrations on the job.
– When Lisbon asks the suspect where he got his gun, he tells her they practically grow on trees in California. She responds that he needs a permit to own one.
Now this is an obvious reference to the gun Jane has which no one knows about. But more than continuity, I think it’s foreshadowing to the inevitable showdown. It will be very interesting to see how Lisbon handles the discovery compared to what she says here. Viewers will get to see how much Jane’s prepping her (as he seemed to be doing this season ) into cutting him slack and disregarding the law has worked.
VIS#4 Lisbon’s scene with new CBI Head J.J. LaRoche.
When Lisbon discovers that the victim’s assistant Francine was selling nuclear pellets on the black market LaRoche commends Lisbon for a job well done. She tells him it was Cho’s call, and that Laroche was right to put him in charge. Laroche responds that he’ll write a commendation in both their files and that she’s back to being head. Confused Lisbon asks why she was taken off in the first place. To which J.J. responds, “maybe I was messing with you,” with a small smile; he then adds that it also taught her that he won’t tolerate disrespect.
Now I know I’ve been pushing the fact that Lisbon’s is only pretending to be okay. I guess it could be perfectly reasonable that she is in fact relieved to not be in charge. But Tunney’s reading of her lines in this scene is what ensured me that Lisbon’s behavior all episode was just an act, that she in fact was upset over her demotion.
We know Lisbon isn’t really used to receiving praise, and when she does she literally glows. That is not the case here. Lisbon brushes off Laroche’s compliment. This might be because she wants LaRoche to know that Cho is indeed a good agent. But I think it’s more because it’s hard for her to receive a compliment from the man who demoted her, especially if she’s still hurting over it. I have no proof; this is all in Lisbon’s facial expressions and tone. But what makes it even more obvious is how shocked and confused she is when LaRoche reinstates her. Lisbon’s almost petulant when she asks LaRoche why he pulled her off; rightfully so. She’s been trying to adjust after having the proverbial rug literally pulled out from under her feet, only to be told that nothing in fact has changed. LaRoche’s answer hardly serves to make her feel any better. Her dazed reaction seems to hint that Lisbon knows she’ll have to tread carefully around him from now on.
It’s fascinating to me that Lisbon doesn’t understand LaRoche’s behavior when it seems pretty obvious: his ego was bruised from her rant and he retaliated without thinking. It’s such a mundane reason that I actually find it thrilling because it shows that LaRoche is not as unfeeling as he pretends to be. He’s very human and made a mistake which he rectified given the first opportunity to do so. But as he’s the new boss he can’t very well admit to that. So being the clever manipulator he is, he uses the mistake to his benefit, making Lisbon think that he actually did it to keep her on her toes.
I’ve been wrestling with LaRoche as a viable suspect in the “Who is RJ’’s mole” mystery and more and more I find myself thinking him an unlikely suspect. Even his actions in “Blood for Blood” (when he tried to get Grace to spy on her team) now seems like over vigilance on his part to do his job. He obviously sees things in a very black and white perspective. In that respect, he’s not unlike Jane actually who’s also willing to do whatever it takes to catch killers. But while LaRoche operates within the law, Jane has no problem breaking it.
Okay, at the risk of upsetting my readers, I’m going to say it: I think I like LaRoche. If he does turn out to be Red John or an accomplice, I can always blame Pruitt Taylor Vince’s incredible acting for making me believe him innocent.
Feel free to express your outrage (or sympathy) in the comments.
VIS #5 Lisbon and Team in Her Office
After Lisbon is reinstated, she ensures Cho that it wasn’t because he didn’t do a good job. He replies that he knows, and that seems to be all the talk these two need to get their camaraderie back on track.
Cho then calls in Rigsby and Grace, to Lisbon’s dismay: “If there’s a group hug coming, I am so outta here.”
The team reassures her that they just want her to join them for drinks, to celebrate Cho returning to their ranks. Lisbon declines, saying that she has a lot of paperwork to do, adding “Next time”. They bid her good night; Cho even gives her a smile “Good night, boss,” and they leave.
After they leave, she tells herself, “Price of power.”
Yes it is, but I doubt Lisbon would have it any other way as she’s far from unhappy here. Lisbon isn’t very social so perhaps she actually appreciates that the demands of her job keeps her from having to mingle with people. The way she turned down her team’s offer here is very much like how she turned down Mashburn’s offer for breakfast (episode ‘Red Hot’). In both instances she cites the job as being the reason. It’s nice continuity and I’ll be looking forward to see if Lisbon ever does take up her team’s offer of “next time”.
Also nice: how Lisbon only talks to Cho after she’s boss again; more continuity; this time on how Lisbon’s such a control freak.
Still love her.
VIS #6 Jane and Byron Jordon (Johnny Sneed)
Byron Jordon (husband of woman awaiting a kidney transplant at the hospital) comes to CBI and thanks Jane. He says that his wife is finally getting a kidney and he thinks Jane’s ‘advocacy’ had something to do with it. Jane of course denies this. Byron gives Jane his St. Sebastian medallion; he states that the Saint helps people in pain, and that it gave him a lot of strength. Jane is skeptic of a “magical medallion”. He makes to return it, telling Byron that he isn’t really a believer, but then changes his mind and keeps the gift; thanking Byron. The episode ends on Jane’s pensive face.
I love this scene because it recalls similar ones from seasons one and two where Jane used to connect on some level with people involved in the cases he solved. It’s nice continuity that Jane still has a hard time accepting gratitude for the good he does. It’s also very ironic. Jane is such an attention seeker, but whereas he loves to be recognized for his talent and brains, he shies away from gratitude; perhaps because he thinks he’s undeserving of it.
Now Jane probably only accepted the gift for Byron’s benefit, but it is a pretty optimistic gesture, nonetheless (especially compared with the rest of the season). More important than Jane’s religious beliefs, the gesture might be indicative to Jane’s state of mind. Jane’s an established agnostic but if he’s becoming less rigid in this aspect of his life, it opens up the possibility that Jane could, in the future, be more open minded regarding other established die hard beliefs he has (i.e. his need for revenge).
1- – Tim Kang was incredible in this episode. It’s rare that we get to see an emotional Cho and he plays Cho’s dilemma at being put in charge and his frustration with Lisbon with perfect subtlety. He also had great chemistry with Tunney. Too bad dating within the unit isn’t allowed.
2- The hospital nurses Viola (Amy Hill) Daisy (Jessica Camacho), and Gloria (Emily Nelson), were delightful. Their scenes with Jane provided great comic relief in this episode. I especially liked Nurse Viola being charmed by Jane and Nurse Daisy’s contention that Dr. Watson can’t be the killer because “he’s cute. And nice.” The woman has interesting priorities J. It was nice when, in the end, it turned out that she and Watson were in a relationship because it explains her statement.
“Oh, you may touch the hem of my garment.”-Jane to Lisbon when he’s proven correct about the victim’s vocation.
“We really need to get you a bell.”-Lisbon to LaRoche when he sneaks up on them.
“I don’t want your office. I prefer no walls between me and my team.” Cho to Lisbon.
“You’re gonna make a hell of a boss man, I’m already scared of you.”- Rigsby to Cho
“She does the detecting I do the insulting.”- Jane introducing himself and Lisbon.
“Au contraire this is just the venue. A roomful of professionals who prescribe drugs they know little about to cure diseases they know less about for people they know nothing about and they call me a fraud.”
“I’m not gonna ask where you’re really going, you wanna know why? I don’t have to.” -Lisbon to Jane.
“This man, he has a gun, and he pointed it at me. He’s very rude and that’s not even including the assault.” – Jane tattling to Lisbon about Yegor Golenka. Hilarious.
“What’s the going price for a kidney these days is it an X-ray machine or a new wing on the hospital or does Ivan the terrible have Dr. Quick’s niece tied up somewhere?
“A scream a day keeps the doctor away.” –Jane to nurses.
“Price of power.”-Lisbon.
Some loose ends in the case were wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking.
1- In the end of the episode Lisbon mentions that Dr. Quick was fired for exchanging a kidney for an MRI machine. I would have liked to know how they found that out. Jane stated it, but no proof was actually given.
2- Also, I watched the scene endlessly but still can’t figure out if the Russian crime lord ever got his kidney or not.
3- What did Byron Jordon mean by Jane’s “advocacy”? Did Jane donate a lot of money for the hospital in exchange from Jordon’s wife getting bumped up the list? Or could it be that Jane himself took measures to expose Dr. Quick’s selling of organs?
This was such a tough decision to make this time. The whole episode was fabulous with tons of character interaction.
The winner: Cho and Lisbon in her office, when he offers to only pretend he’s in charge and she refuses. Tim Kang and Tunney Lisbon were fabulous, and more details were given above at VIS #2.
1st runner up: Lisbon’s scene with new CBI Head J.J. LaRoche when he reinstates her. Again, details were given in VIS#4.
2nd runner up: Lisbon and Van Pelt at the Hospital
Lisbon is running the distance from where the victim was giving a lecture to where his badge was used five minutes later. She makes the time in 7 minutes so Grace says either the victim was faster than she was or someone else used his badge. Lisbon states that someone must have stolen his badge, because she’s a fast runner. Grace gives her a look to which Lisbon insists “What! I’m fast!”
I adored this scene. It is so rare that we get to see such nice interaction between the female members of the Serious Crimes Unit. And this was such a lovely one, made possible perhaps by the fact that Lisbon wasn’t the boss at the time. I doubt that Grace would have teased her otherwise. But now the ice is broken, maybe we’ll get more moments like these.
What was your favorite scene? And…
Finally, here’s really interesting fic I found about LaRoche on fanfiction.net: The Truth About Cat’s and Dogs.
*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.