NOTE: The following analysis in its entirety was written by Violet, an avid reader and commenter to this blog. Only the grade was decided by myself; it was assigned after reading her review, based on her comments. I would like to thank her for her wonderfully generous contribution and unique perspective. I can honestly say I could not have done better. -Reviewbrain
Patrick Jane (Baker) and Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) meet Agent Wayne Rigsby (Yeoman) at a crime scene in Hangtree California where a prison guard was stabbed to death. After closer inspection, Jane deduces that the victim aspired to become a detective and states that the killer is an ex-convict. Back to headquarter, Rigsby, who has seemed uneasy since Lisbon decided to check the ex-inmates in the area, notices that his father is on their list and leaves quite abruptly to visit him alone. Their meeting is rather fiery, as Steven Rigsby (William Forsythe) hates cops with a passion and considers his son’s choice of career as a failure and a betrayal; on the other hand, Rigsby is less harsh but it’s obvious he still resents his father for his difficult childhood. Rigsby Senior refuses to help his son, but he affirms that he is able to learn who killed the man… While Rigsby deals with his problematic father, Lisbon and Jane investigate the victim’s personal life, which lead them finally to Carson jail. They interrogate an inmate, Marcus Lansdale (Jamie Harris), whose sister appears to be the victim’s girlfriend. In the meantime after talking to Lisbon and having her approbation, Wayne rises to the bait and comes back to get his father’s help with Grace Van Pelt.
All in all, “Like a Redheaded Stepchild” was a quite unsatisfactory episode. It finally gave us some more personal information on Rigsby, a welcome addition as we are still in dire need of more background on the team, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that those new elements only confirm what we already guessed about his past. No great revelation here. The structure was nevertheless rather well-thought, as it tried to make his character progress in a rather realistic manner. And, although the whole ordeal was apparently reduced to a way to explain a change of attitude towards Grace and her wedding, it seems relatively justifiable in Rigsby’s character development. If the result was not stellar, it remained fairly acceptable.
The episode was a kind of breather in a very Jane-centric season. Tension of a different nature coupled with some amusing scenes managed to somewhat (finally) distract us from the omnipresent RJ plot, another good point in its favour. Now if only we could have had the impatiently awaited serious discussion between Jane and Lisbon… Its absence and the lake of concrete mention about it was without any doubt the most frustrating point in this otherwise not so badly done episode.8.0
Detailed AKA Humongous Analysis (spoilers galore)
In spite of the writer still managing to dedicate an important but discreet subplot to Jane and Lisbon -that will be discussed later- this principal storyline this week follows for a change the growth of a less essential character of the show, Wayne Rigsby.
After a sequence of episodes showing us Jane’s actions and reactions (“Bloodstream” being the only recent episode more centred on Lisbon), “Like a Redheaded Stepchild” restores a balance by giving us more insight on the team. I purposely use “team” here, instead of just “Rigsby”, as I have the feeling this episode tried to break the almost exclusive focus on the two heads of the SCU : our younger male agent is, by essence, the most representative of the three remaining co-workers.
Indeed, Wayne is the most endearing member of the team, with his awkwardness and his funny moments, and is usually in charge with Jane of the comic relief. He was moreover since the start and for a long time the official “lover” of the show and the romance has been centred on his point of view. In fact, he has until now the largest number of personal and introspective parts with the exception of the duo Lisbon/Jane. On the other hand, Cho, always the stoic, only had an episode for him in season 2 and gets at best a few moments recently: the brief mention of a potential alien abduction, his mixed uneasiness and harshness towards Lisbon when he was briefly promoted… the most significant of them is his reaction to Rigsby’s lie about his father. He’s harder to guess and has generally more of an external and rather distant point of view on people. The same goes for Grace: she’s a nice girl but there is still a kind of distance with her. Now I can’t figure if it is something emanating from her (she ditched Rigsby quite easily to protect her career, she hesitated before refusing to become a spy for LaRoche, the little scene when she quickly silenced the barking dog in “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” could also show there’s a colder side to her) or if that impression is falsely induced because viewers can’t help but compare her with Rigsby, who is a much warmer character.
Her scenes with Craig are generally seen from her ex’s perspective. The moments where the engaged couple is alone are quite rare: they mostly occurred when she was suspected of being negligent on her duty during Trina’s father’s murder (Blood For Blood). What’s more, we are used to seeing her through Wayne’s admiration, like an inaccessible girl and, even now, there is always a notion of unrequited love attached to her character.
So viewers identify more easily with Rigsby than with Cho or Grace and he’s the most natural choice if writers want to give the spotlight on somebody in the team.
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that he’s a protagonist in a major plot of the show beside RJ’s: the only official and certified romance. It is certainly not a coincidence if that aspect is refreshed on the threshold of the season finale. A double balance is achieved then: the team versus Jane and Lisbon, and the romance versus Red John’s plot.
It is also not difficult to notice that Wayne’s character development has been carefully prepared for some time as it offers a total continuity with the elements we already had about his past (‘Red Menace’). Earlier in the season (‘Bloodsport’) his problematic relation with his criminal of a father has already almost jeopardized his career and his friendship with Cho, when it was discovered he lied to provide his father with an alibi. That would explain, by the way, Cho’s absence by his friend’s side this time: Wayne wouldn’t risk the friendship again by asking him for support or advice on this particular topic.
I must say I’m rather fond of the way things were handled with our arson specialist here. During the whole episode, he is indeed forced to deal with his father and his feelings in a series of confrontations, almost step by step. He comes to term with his childhood, but progressively. I’m quite glad that it didn’t seem too rushed, like it sometimes feels in this kind of scenarios in TV. There is often that same old pattern:
1) Ambivalent meeting – sometimes the situation seems to get better
3) Resolution: he/she still loves the character because family is important or he/she is a bad person and the character is sad, so the episode ends in a depressing note.
Here, the plan, although similar, still tries to be more gradual. Although the usual moment where a close friend gives the protagonist some advice is mostly reduced to some sentences hurriedly uttered before an action scene which he seems almost not to pay attention or to brush them off. The same went for “Cackle-Bladder Blood”: Jane’s meeting with Danny followed the same conventional steps, but the traditional rhythm was altered from the start, since the first meeting was a pretext to lure Jane to a crime scene…
So, even if the result may end up somewhat mildly convincing (honestly, the whole thing isn’t entirely unexpected), I still enjoyed the effort to wander a little off the beaten clichéd path…
And I’m almost ashamed to say I liked how the ordeal ends relating with one of the recurrent sub-plots of the season, the remaining feelings for Grace. Although I’m not particularly a shipper for their couple, I found that a little too easy for the writers to resolve the problem by simply putting Rigsby in a new relationship. Reviewbrain has certainly another opinion on this as she’s been openly hoping he could get a love life of his own, but I still quite agree with Dr Montague: before starting a new love story, I think it’s necessary to properly end the previous one, or the other has a lot of chances to fail. The balance has to be settled, things cleared out.
That’s why I’m going to include in the Very important Scene’s every moment between Rigsby and his father as well as the ending as they form a chain, a progression, leading to a conclusion between them and a sort of closure for Rigsby.
– 1st Very Important Scene (VIS): Rigsby and his father meeting
The first meeting between both of them tries to deal with what could be considered a great incoherence of the episode: would it be acceptable for an officer of the law to investigate a family member? In a more realistic world, Rigsby would have been removed off the case at least until his father was proven innocent. Writer Jordan Harper tries to remedy the problem by making Rigsby leave the bullpen with the list of the ex-convicted in the area, alone and quite abruptly: in theory, nobody could have eyed it and picked up Steve Rigsby’s name. Then, after that first talk and Steve having properly mentioned an alibi, we understand that Wayne is more willing to use him as an informant than to really suspect him of murder. Mother Teresa also seems eager to cover up for him. And after all, it isn’t the first time Rigsby has taken liberties with the rules to protect him.
Yet, this protection is not well accepted by Steve and is rather reluctantly offered by Wayne if we can judge by their discussion. Both of them have obviously very little contact and Daddy Rigsby accuses him of “keeping tabs” on him, adding with irony “ain’t that sweet”. Their antagonism seems to have more than one layer. Steve is angered by his son’s choice of career. Although he affirms he could find the killer “in ten minutes”, but states that it’s not to be so, that cops have “procedures”. Similarly, Rigsby can’t approve of his living on “smuggling cigarettes, dealing meth again” and has clearly not gotten over his resentment over his difficult childhood and the repercussion it seemed to have had on his mother.
Reviewbrain has stated for “Bloodsport”:
“His father was part of the “Iron Gods” motorcycle gang and was convicted of manslaughter; among other things. LaRoche’s asks if Rigsby is in contact with his father; he denies it. LaRoche’s then confronts him with evidence that his father contacted him a couple of years ago. Rigsby admits that his father needed his help to sort out a misunderstanding with his parole officer….. He confesses to Cho that he used him to create an alibi for his father; that he lied to his father’s parole officer, telling him that the three of them were together.
It is interesting that ‘straight edge’ Rigsby lied to protect his father. On the other hand, it is not that surprising. Rigsby comes across as a fiercely loyal (and decent) person. Even if his father abused him as a child (if we are to believe Jane’s claim, then it’s not unreasonable to assume that Rigsby’s criminal father was the one that hurt him), it is easy to believe that he’d help him.
Now, we know all of this was quite accurate: that Rigsby and his father only see each other when a law-related problem rises, when they can’t help it. Steve has already used his son for getting out of trouble and isn’t the least bit thankful about it. Moreover, the scene responds to Jane’s allusion that he has been hurt: Steve really was an abuser to his son. He calls him a “self-righteous bastard” and rhetorically asks “how many times I’ve straighten you out?” which considering the ending of the episode can only mean that he’s beaten him up to make him do his will.
Also, this point explains from the start the title “Like a Redheaded Stepchild”, a reference to bad treatments towards a child, which also implies the expression “beating someone like a red-headed stepchild”, meaning beating somebody up with great violence. The “Stepchild” here is Rigsby of course, but only figuratively speaking since Steve tells it’s his “own flesh and blood” that has become “a lousy cop” and that it “makes (him) want to puke”.
To conclude, this scene has two purposes: making Steve into a potential informer for the case in a preparation for the next events and exposing the situation and the difference of attitude between father and son.
Following his boss’ order to take somebody with him to go and talk to his father, Rigsby visits him a second visit with Van Pelt. After a short discussion, the son asks the father to show him than he isn’t “just a big talk”. When his father tells him to ask nicely Rigsby painfully admits that he needs his help. Rigsby Sr. then takes the agents to meet a woman; Rocket whom he states can provide them information.
In this context takes place our second VIS: as they wait in the car outside a bar for Steve to get the woman, Van Pelt and Rigsby casually talk about him. Rigsby is comfortable enough to open up about his untrustworthy father and Grace, always the optimist, states delicately that “he’s a character” and that this is may be an occasion to the two becoming closer. They are interrupted by a ruckus coming from the bar and watch as their supposed informant is running out. Van Pelt gets her, while Rigsby barges inside. He finds his father threatening a man with a knife, who apparently tried to attack him over “last time” while the bartender is aiming a gun at him. Steve is dead serious and states to his concurrent that he doesn’t do fist fights: he has his blade. Wayne has a hard time convincing his dad to put his knife down and, when they are outside, Steve has some harsh words again: “you trying to embarrass me? Never get between me and my business again”…
The exchange enlightens even more their respective personalities. Steve considers his shadowy business as his exclusive priority: he obviously doesn’t give much about his son’s case and has indeed a very violent streak. He also doesn’t seem to mind that Wayne, a cop, has seen him putting a knife against a man’s throat, whereas Wayne seems more troubled by his father’s unconcern about danger than by the fact that he has obviously used the occasion for his illegal business.
Because until that point there was nothing to suggest that Steve was using the occasion. He states the man was angry over “last time” and wanted to fistfight with him; that he held a grudge, so by business, Rigsby’s father was speaking figuratively.
Making Grace come along with Rigsby adds an emotional intensity to the scene: she’s meeting her ex-lover’s father for the first time; she has the most influence on him and knows him better than anyone else in the team. So, it’s interesting that she’s his partner here and not Cho, who’s investigating in Carson: the man is his usual confident and Rigsby trusts him deeply since he has named him to create his dad’s alibi. Grace’s presence instead hints that the arc is bound to have a different impact on Wayne, because of her place in his life (affection and influence) and her personality. She isn’t just going to tell him blunt truths like Cho (“you’re going to die alone” for example), she will try and support him. Their difference in attitude was perfectly shown in “Every Rose Has its Thorns” when Wayne appeared wearing a shiny suit for an undercover operation. He felt awkward and Grace tried to reassure him by mothering him and telling he looked good, while Cho remained quite indifferent, showing his usual quiet irony and detachment.
In the meantime, Jane and Lisbon’s parallel investigation also put the notion of family under the spotlight: the victim’s girlfriend refuses to make an assessment against her brother Marcus who is in jail at Carson. She’s in fact in a similar situation than Rigsby; she doesn’t approve of her brother’s criminal activities but protects him, because he’s family.
Later, Van Pelt and Wayne are about to arrest a suspect. Just before Rigsby makes a dangerous move, Grace tells him that he is a good person, that he has nothing to prove and that he doesn’t owe his father anything. The exchange is brief and Rigsby seems to brush her words off.
Nevertheless, they answer an underlying uncertainty of his, because, as Reviewbrain pointed out for “Bloodsport” when LaRoche was interrogating him: “he’s afraid he’ll end up a criminal like his father. When LaRoche mentioned that criminal behavior can be hereditary, he definitely hit a nerve with the young agent.” In a few sentences, Grace hits right on the spot….
This moment also reminds of the scene where Craig, Grace and Wayne were about to get a suspect in “The Red Mile”, as Rigsby was beginning to have doubts about O’Laughlin’s eagerness or ability to protect Van Pelt. The setting is really similar. The discreet reference here makes us feel once more the shadow of the storyline about Red John with the suspicions we can have about Craig. At the same time, that time, Wayne saved Grace physically, just like she’s trying to help him here by offering a much needed moral support.
The struggle between the Rigsby’s takes a turn to worse when Wayne finally understands that he’s been manipulated. Just like in VIS #2, Steve has used the case as an opportunity to get rid of a concurrent. When Wayne comes to that conclusion, he confronts his father in the same bar. His Daddy then shows him the same knife he used before and warns him, repeating « I don’t do fist fights ». This affirmation takes a new significance in front of Wayne, who, unlike Steve, is a very loyal man. Steve pointedly places his own son at the same level than his rivals, considering him as a threat because he’s meddling in his activities and represents the law. For the viewer, it’s more apparent than ever that the younger Rigsby is a far better person than his dad.
Steve here offers troubling similarities with Jane’s father: living on illegal (or semi-legal) business, showing the same indifference for their son, having no problem with manipulating them to get more money. They are lousy fatherly figures. Yet, Jane and Rigsby develop two different reactions to them: while Jane followed his father’s steps by conning people, Rigsby has chosen law enforcement. Yet, Jane like Rigsby is a better person than his father. Jane loved his family and Rigsby, well, is Rigsby, but neither of them seems to entirely believe that. It’s quite sad, because part of Jane’s guilt probably comes from the (mistaken) certitude that he’s not a commendable person and Rigsby has, until now, seemingly been held back by similar fears.
What is more, is that me or Steve also reminds a little of Jane himself? A few hints seem to draw an analogy between them: in VIS #1, he affirms he can get the killer in ten minutes (that’s so Jane-ish!) and he’s sprawled on a couch. He’s a cold manipulative jerk. He slyly plays on Rigsby’s feelings, calling him “son”, never by his given name, even when he insults or threatens him. And what is more revealing, Wayne’s attitude towards them is comparable: he never tried to set the record with Jane’s sometimes mean tricks, nor does he with his father. He lied for them and let them get away with it even when he knows that he’s been had. That is, unAnd that’s where we can see Grace’s influence, because he decides to react after this last manipulation.
Indeed, Rigsby finally waits for his father in front of his house, drinking beer and burning his stock of illegal cigarettes. That was quite clever, because the beer has a double meaning:
1) The meeting is this time informal, he’s gotten in the house and helped himself with a beer. He is a son in his father’s house.
2) He’s off duty, hence the drinking. He refused twice before when Steve offered him a drink.
Burning the cigarettes also held the same ambivalence. As a cop, he doesn’t expose his father, but impedes his illegal selling; meanwhile Steve only interprets it as he would with a delinquent in one of his usual deals: “I do you, you do me, that’s the way it should be. So that makes us even?” Rigsby denies the contention. He wants a physical confrontation and so they fight.
Wayne removes the bullets from his gun and put it on the side, while his dad also takes out his knife to set aside. Neither has a weapon, the fight is fair this time because, as Steve puts it “Just this once, I’ll give you a fair chance”. At the same time, since every object in this scene seems loaded with symbolism, by removing their weapons, they have both also taken off the emblem of what they have chosen to become: the duty gun for the cop, the blade for the criminal. The fight is indeed very personal, between father and son.
And, once again, we can see the difference between them: Steve hits first, in a traitorous move. A few seconds after, Rigbsy has almost the same movement, abruptly directing a punch from a crouched position, but unlike the other, he warns his adversary just before hitting. They end up struggling on the floor and Wayne has the advantage but he hesitates and finally refuses to hit Steve. He even offers him his hand to stand up. Wayne has grown up: he has symbolically killed his father’s influence by getting over his anger towards him. They have the same reflexes towards violence, but Rigsby manages to sublimate them for becoming a better person. And that he has understood.
VIS #6: the conversation between ex-lovers
Made stronger-willed by his altercation, Wayne apparently decides to settle things with everything frustrating in his life and goes and talk to Grace. He tells her that he won’t go to her wedding, because he still loves her but he understands she’s marrying a good man.
Now, there is very probably the main point where my opinion and others may differ tremendously, because, for me, this type of scene was necessary in their story.
Indeed, there was a straight line of related moments during the whole season showing us that Rigsby, despite his best efforts, hasn’t yet gotten over his break-up. He’s been continuously trying to find a new girlfriend and has, apparently, always failed: his creepy date in “Bloodsport”, Dr Montague who ditched him after one dinner, and more recently Sarah, the bubbling and nice girl he met in an investigation on a matchmaking service, when Cho insensitively told him he should give it a try to stop “dating (his) coworkers”.
But, in spite of the huge number of scenes where he’s depressed or searching a new love interest, we never really knew what Wayne wanted with Grace. He was obviously having regrets and difficulties to accept her new relationship with O’Laughlin… but he never told if he was still suffering but truly wanted to move on, like she did in “The Blood on His Hands”, or if he was still hoping to get her back…
In fact there is a word to characterize Rigsby until now: passive. Just like he accepted his father using him, he has allowed Jane to do so. He never tried to seduce Grace, although he was attracted to her, and in spite of the pushes Jane was giving him. The first time he confessed, he was under medication and, later, she was the one who really made the decisive move. In the same way, he has shown a passive acceptation for women who had been interested in him: that charming cougar in S1 “Scarlett Fever”, his date in “Bloodsport” who fantasized about his supposed violent tendencies, Sarah shyly hitting on him. He didn’t really insist, protest or try to change Montague’s point of view when she stated that they had no future since he was still in love with someone else.
We can go even further in this analysis. Reviewbrain previously stated that:
“Now we know that Rigsby is a man who respects rules. This is evidenced by how long it took him to act on his feelings for Grace (because inter-office dating was against protocol) and the fact that he is always the most reluctant (aside from Lisbon) to play along Jane’s unorthodox schemes. Jane even called him a ‘wuss’ in the season two premiere. “Bloodsport” gives us a possible explanation for Rigsby’s attitude; he’s afraid he’ll end up a criminal like his father.”
But what if his respect of the rules, his sticking to the law because he just believes he should do so? Doing what is right by duty but not by choice could be another form of his passiveness. Deep down Rigsby wanted to act on his feeling for Grace, just like maybe most of the time he’d like to follow Jane, like Cho does without remorse. After all, the two men went together to make Bosco change his mind when Jane was in jail: they were already equally “corrupted” by the charming ways of their consultant…
So, I like to believe that here is the first time we get a real and sincere reaction from Wayne: for the first time he did something that he wanted to do, doing right by himself. He doesn’t seem to think he’ll get anything from it, but he was being true to himself. And I think it’s a far more responsible attitude.
Therefore, I don’t feel Rigsby (and the storyline) is regressing: I think he’s simply seeking closure. The issue was positive for him because he clearly was not managing to move on. He was just trying until now to escape reality with new girls. It doesn’t mean that he needs to keep pining for his lost love: now that he’s made peace with his feelings for Grace as he did for his father, he is probably readier than before to let go. That is, if the writers let him, of course, because the wedding seems surrounded by many dark clouds.
This season, the writers seem to enjoy making the characters confront their past: with Jane, the topic is recurrent, but the visiting of the graves was particularly powerful. Lisbon was also forced to do so in the episode with Trina. Now, it’s Rigsby’s turn. And, every time, it seems to have an effect on them: Rigsby decides to assume his feelings. Lisbon managed to take a difficult decision about Trina (it was certainly positive from Jane’s point of view, even though for us it may be more arguable) and Jane’s actual attitude conveys the impression of finally starting to move on.
Speaking of them, onto the second plot in the episode!
Subplot: Jane and Lisbon or The Mystery Of The Missing Scene
We left the consultant and his boss in the end of episode Redacted with the idea of them being about to have a discussion about his revelations in the attic. And there is none; even worst, there is no statement that they had finally resolved their issues. Once again viewers are forced to play the epic Jane/Lisbon hide-and-seek game: we are reduced to squinting our eyes to find some indication of what has happened and what they are thinking.
So, onward with the suppositions! First of all, there is a faint continuity with last episode: the perpetrator is a thief (like Culpepper), Jane is in jail (investigating, but he could have ended up in a similar environment if he was exposed), he even refers to being a former convict. The killer also manages to find a simple way of escaping, just like Jane has tried get Culpepper to do in “Redacted”. Thus, even though there is no explicit mention of the previous episode, it is kept fresh in our minds since the same elements are mixed differently, like shuffled cards: the ghost of the past ep is discreetly but surely looming over this one…
So now that it’s been (hopefully) established that I’m not pulling imaginary continuity out of thin air, I’ll say that although we actually can’t be assured that they had “the talk” and, if so, that they have -or not, more probably- gone further in the discussion of RJ, there is a subtle shift between them in two revealing aspects:
– their general attitude
They stand in close proximity, particularly when they interrogate for the second time Marcus’ sister. They always act as a pair when investigating, and are often visually associated -almost matching clothes in S1, in style and colours but here, it’s even more flagrant. They look like a duo, even finishing the other’s questions! And physically, they are actually closer in this scene. But I admit that is totally subjective… Still, he tries to give her advice about a new haircut in the beginning of the scene: now, Jane acting as her beauty consultant? Improbable to say the least if they have not cleared things out and he’s expecting a disagreeable talk to come; far more credible if things have already been hashed out and had gone smoothly…
Second point, Lisbon doesn’t hide her amusement at Jane’s antics. When he calls her in front of the class his “lovely assistant”, she just roll her eyes, makes a half crooked smile and immediately joins him in his act. She acts more agreeably than when she got the same treatment during the talk-show in “Red Carpet Treatment”.
She is also less on edge when they are waiting for the murder suspect to show up, especially in comparison to previous episodes (for instance when Steiner was pretending to be a blackmailer, or under the table near the coffin in “Pink Channel Suit”).
Instead, in this episode, Lisbon plays along and tries to guess the animal Jane’s shaping with his hands in his improvised shadow puppet show: “Is that a rabbit?” adding that it seems to be dancing (one of the cutest moments ever)… They gave the vibe of acting like friends who are completely comfortable with the other, with no snappy or witty comment.
– professional attitude
As All-I-Need pointed out in her comment for “Redacted”, Jane comes to the crime scene with Lisbon, in her car, which contrasts with his lateness at a crime scene. Now, this could mean that she’s keeping tabs on him. But then Jane doesn’t leave as soon as he gets an opportunity to do so. Assuming he still doesn’t have LaRoche’s precious updated list, why doesn’t he try to find a new, fool-proof subterfuge to get it? During the whole episode, he completely focuses on the case. The only time he sneaks out of Lisbon is when he goes back to Carson prison. This reminds me of “Red Gold”, when he has been also coming in her car and was so eager to behave… admittedly because he was pleased with her about her previous decision about Trina in “Blood For Blood”. He was happy with her and intended to show it. So it is not a stretch to assume the same is happening here, in a more moderate and natural manner?
Second valid argument from All-I-Need, when he calls Lisbon from jail and tells her to join him, he asks her to trust him. He wouldn’t be asking for a trust she knows he doesn’t deserve if he hasn’t previously convinced her that he now merits it…
Moreover, he actually tells her his ideas before putting them in action: she knows that the girlfriend is Marcus’ sister and he probably even told her beforehand about their common tell before lying. He sticks with the law: in Carson, he only makes observations, no foolish games. He set everything in place (observing the inmates’ actions, speaking to robber Nick) but he waits for her, and implicitly her agreement, before putting his plan into motion. In fact, if we pay attention, we can notice that he still can stop everything if she refuses to come.
Besides, Jane didn’t put any innocent person in danger in his alone time: he only tricked an admittedly unpunished assassin (Marcus) and the actual killer (Nick). Even so, Nick would only be in real physical danger if he goes back to Carson. His confession would get him out of that trouble: Jane playing with others’ lives is a means to an end here, a way to ensure the perpetrator will confess his crime.
As for Lisbon, when she learns from Grace that Jane has sneaked out first thing in the morning to return to Carson, she only asks what for, then simply concludes “whatever”. She isn’t annoyed or worried of what he could be cooking. When he calls her, she hangs up on him just after she learned what she wanted to know: he needs her to come for the investigation, she comes. All-I-Need is right again, she seems to trust him and his judgment enough to drop everything else. More importantly, she’s not just putting up with his professional antics here. On the one hand she’s more relaxed, showing her amusement, on the other she doesn’t systematically try to control him, doesn’t ask what he’s been doing. She seems to know perfectly well that he’ll be coming to her when he finds something. And I think that shows her trust for Jane and a renewed confidence in her status with him.
For all these reasons, for this accumulation of little elements, I really believe they had “The Talk”. I even wonder if it hasn’t implicitly already taken place during last episode: after all, Jane was in her office when LaRoche gave her a piece of his mind. Lisbon isn’t the kind of person to wait to make her position clear. The discussion could as well have consisted (once more) on her insisting on the necessity for him to tell her the truth and/or him giving her more detail about Todd Johnson and Hightower.
But, let’s be pragmatic: Lisbon doesn’t suspect anything about the poem and Jane isn’t in direct danger anymore. Why would he need to tell her about it?
To conclude, this episode tends to show that the tension is slowly rising towards a climax. The expectations for the finale always remain in the back of our mind, from Grace giving her wedding invitations and details about the seating arrangements at the beginning to Nick telling Jane that he carries a knife, because when one’s life is in danger, they defend themselves and that he, Jane, can understand that. That’s a new addition on the ever growing list of people who can discern something more in him (the husband in “Bloodstream”, Erica in “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”), as well as a clear allusion for the viewers to a possible encounter with the knife-brandishing Red John. And a question is raised: we’ve been told that the new coming season would be marked by a change in the team dynamic… Now, if something happens to O’Laughlin during the wedding, whereas he’s implicated in RJ’s net or becomes a victim, how could Grace and Wayne keep working together?
The winner: Rigsby and his father, the final confrontation. I actually loved this scene because there was a lot of subtext. That was not the usual natural conclusion for Rigsby. It’s obvious his previous problems with Steve always ended with his father threatening him, physically or emotionally, and him letting things go: the story should then have ended at VIS#4. This same pattern must have been repeating itself every few years, not quite often but every time his father needed him, to have an alibi for his parole officer or something else. So, I enjoyed the writer was able to give such a vibe to that one debacle between them both. And, yeah, it was nice to see Rigsby break free and man up.
1st runner up: Rigsby telling Grace his feelings… (See above for analysis). It was the conclusion of an important chapter of their love story. Like Jane in the previous episode, Rigsby has finally opened up to his true feelings and we actually have at least one of the serious talks we needed at the end of this season.
2nd runner up: Rigsby and Lisbon almost sibling relation evidenced by the very brief talk in her office. She’s a great boss and a symbolic older sister figure. And Rigsby trusts her enough to want to tell her about a very delicate matter, professionally and personally speaking. She already knew about his past and never mentioned it. Typically Lisbon, she supports him and only asks him to bring someone with him next time, probably for having a potential witness if things go wild as well as for protecting him. And, considering the whole trust issue with Jane, her simple “I trust you, Rigsby” is quite powerful.
I must admit I enjoyed quite a lot Owain Yeoman’s acting in this episode. He’s not as brilliant as Baker, but he managed here to convey complicated emotions with only a few expressions; restrained and credible.
Icing (s) on the Cake
Jane eagerly jumping on the occasion of mimicking a teacher was a very nice and funny touch: it was unexpected and just light enough to counterbalance the tension around the Rigsbys’ plot. Sure, this manner to link the investigation to Marcus was a bit of a stretch, but I liked the scene and particularly that Jane couldn’t help pulling his usual trickster stance. Calling Lisbon “his lovely assistant” was enough to show the blurry line he skates between teacher and magician. No matter what, he’s always the showman!
“Wow, this is great. Reality TV at its finest.” Jane- in front of the multiple surveillance screens at Carson.
“Snitches get stitches.”- Jane subtly trying to convince an inmate to expose one of his fellows.
“That’s a popular misconception. Stitches are for alive people” Nick’s answer to the above.
“Rabbits don’t dance.”- Jane to Lisbon about his shadow puppet … That made me smile…
“My mind is a computer… a steel trap computer… a steel trap…”Jane, in response of the teacher’s assertion “the human mind is not a computer”. His line somewhat ends in babbling and is quickly interrupted by Lisbon but the whole exchange was hilarious.
– First of all, obviously, Rigsby allowed to continue investigating his father… (See above for more details.)
– If Wayne didn’t trust his father, why didn’t he follow him in the bar? Even if he didn’t want to risk frightening Rocket, that was completely naïve from him! Is that me or almost every character on this show really needs to take classes on distrusting people? As if it wasn’t enough with them still following almost blindly Jane in spite of all… And did he need to call Steve “Dad” in front of the bartender when he was brandishing his blade? He could have gotten himself a complaint. The bartender could have argued he was only protecting his clients… So many incoherence’s in so little time…
– The trap with Jane telling Lisbon the “snitch’s” name while surrounded by inmates? Yeah, very subtle, almost credible…
– Rigsby’s “You’re marrying a good man” to Grace about Craig. Couldn’t he add ‘I think he almost let you get killed a while back’? Now, is Rigsby an honest, almost fiery protective person, or is he not?
Reviewbrain: I’d like to thank Violet once more for proving that she really was the perfect choice as guest reviewer. Thank you for your hard work and for keeping the reviews coming while I am otherwise engaged.
I’m just going to add one more poll to get readers’ input on where they think the Rigspelt (Rigsby/Van Pelt relationship) will go from here…
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