Lisbon and her team are on standby at a protest rally the mayor is attending when a dead body is found. Lisbon calls Jane to the scene and as he approaches he identifies a man he feels is suspicious. He shares his concerns with Lisbon. She has the man, Henry Tibbs (Christian Camargo) searched and a gun is found on him. As Tibbs is licensed to carry his piece, the new CBI head Luther Wainwright (Michael Rady) thinks he should be released. Jane asks that Tibbs be kept under watch as he suspects he will ultimately be harmful. Later, a viable suspect is identified for the dead body found at the rally. Willie Shubert (Henry G. Sanders), a homeless man who used to be Lisbon’s favorite musician, confesses to the homicide. But Lisbon refuses to believe his guilt and pursues her own investigation despite Luther telling her he’s taking the case to the DA.
Like in ‘Jolly Red Elf’ which introduced J.J. Laroche (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the task of bringing in a new pivotal character to the show once again fell on Daniel Cerone. This time it’s the new CBI boss Luther Wainwright. But more than personifying memorable new players, Cerone excels in making the most of dialogue and giving characters a fair share of screen time. The excellent direction by Chris Long also served to make ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ a well rounded and tight episode even as it differs from the usual format. 10/10
Detailed AKA Humungous Analysis (spoilers galore)
I analyzed Very Important Scenes (VIS) where necessary and combined others where convenient. I apologize in advance if I missed anything.
VIS #1: Jane/ Lisbon at the Rally
When Lisbon calls Jane to the scene, he tells her she needs to speak up (he’s drinking tea a place surrounded by protesters). Lisbon asks if he’s nearby. Jane states that depends on if she and her team are still “crowd-watching”. When she tells him there’s a dead body he affirms his proximity.
-Last season Jane made a habit of arriving late to crime scenes. This season, he’s apparently on standby even during boring police work. Oh joy. It seems we won’t be seeing emotionally/physically distant Jane any time soon. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since we have yet to see him in the blasted CBI attic. But further reassurance is always welcome. Also, the simple exchange between Jane and Lisbon tacitly hints at what may have happened off screen before the episode started. I can just see Lisbon at CBI earlier asking Jane to come along to help, he refuses, but follows the team anyway. For some reason this makes me think that off-screen, following episode ‘Pretty Red Balloon’, Jane attended the mandatory seminar despite his telling Lisbon that he wouldn’t. It just seems like something he’d do now; riling Lisbon up by saying he won’t go (to tease her and assert his control) only to show up anyway.
Jane tells Lisbon that he saw a suspicious looking man with “haunted eyes, nervous energy, and an overcoat on a hot day”. She tells him his deduction is based on particularly thin hunch. He tells her she’s probably right, but when he points out that “It’s only the mayor’s life at stake” Lisbon sends Cho and Van Pelt to check out the suspect. They find the man is armed with a fully loaded gun and lead him off while Jane watches.
-I adored this. There was something just so classic about the ending of the scene, Jane standing with his hands in his pockets watching the agents cart off the suspect. Also nice was how quickly Lisbon acted on Jane’s observation. You just know tension between the two is bound to show up later this season; no doubt when Red John makes his reappearance. And while I’m admittedly looking forward to what will be great material, I plan on fully enjoying their established congeniality while it lasts here.
VIS #2: New Boss Luther Wainwright shows up
I like how no one realized Wainwright was boss when he first enters the bullpen. He looks as old as Van Pelt. Now the opening scene established Rigsby and Cho’s respective feeling regarding Luther. Rigsby is annoyed that “he barely qualifies” while Cho approach is “you get used to it”; a comment which had me wondering what other bosses or people Cho thinks don’t qualify; was he speaking in general or did he mean heads of other teams?
This scene allows viewers to gauge the rest of the team’s reactions. Lisbon, characteristically professional quickly regroups once she realizes who Luther is by introducing herself and welcoming the man. Sweet Grace smiles nicely at him, seeming pleased with his amiability. As to Jane, he observes Luther shake hands with the rest of the members of the team. Now we’ve seen Jane with Hightower and LaRoche and he’s always careful around new bosses. But he seems to have no problem revealing how vaguely unimpressed he (initially) is with Luther. When the boss tells Jane he’s still working his way through his file. Jane remarks: “Do me a favor, don’t tell me how it ends”. Luther gives him a bemused smile. When Wainwright says he prides himself on trust and transparency, Jane interrupts to ask him how old he is adding that Rigsby’s running a pool.
Perhaps Jane’s slights are his way of testing Wainwright, wanting to see his reactions. Or maybe they are Jane’s way of establishing his being the alpha male of the group. To Wainwright’s credit, he doesn’t react to Jane’s jabs and instead focuses his attention on the case. Luther points out that the victim might have been a photographer based on an observation; Jane’s forte, to which the mentalist replies “Sharp”.
I think Jane maybe initially resented Luther’s presence and couldn’t have been bothered to hide it as he’s going through a rough time (he recently found out that Red John is still alive and that he killed a man in vain). If even respectful Rigsby is smarting from having a kid be his new boss it’s only natural that egomaniac Jane would as well. But after Luther’s keen observation perhaps Jane decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Note: I was ecstatic that Wainwright’s age was mentioned so many times as it was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw him in the promo.
VIS#3: Jane and Lisbon plead their cases to Wainwright
This scene sets the stage for the two major plots of the episode that will be discussed in further detail below: Jane/Tibbs and Lisbon/Willie plots
Jane tells Luther that Tibbs is “a man on autopilot, set to kill”.
I guess it takes one to know one.
Jane adds that Tibbs he adds that he’s about to commit murder , maybe even mass murder, and “Who wouldn’t want to try and stop that kind of nightmare?” When Luther tells Jane that theoretical criminology has no practical value, Jane replies: “No practical value, I guess the same could be said for middle management bureaucrats.”
It’s subtle, but Jane’s passion followed by his annoyance hints at a more personal motivation for wanting to stop Tibbs. I think his zeal here is due to an inner desire for redemption. While this theme is in no way new to the show (it’s been there since the pilot) in season three especially it was personified by Jane’s desire to kill Red John rather than putting his efforts into solving cases/catching other murderers. Not so here. Old Jane is back; the one who completely immerses himself in all his cases and doesn’t treat them as mere distractions from his ultimate goal.
I wonder what brought on this change. Perhaps it’s because now Jane has something new to redeem himself for. Or maybe now that Jane realized that murder isn’t as satisfying as he thought it would be he has a new found reason to prevent it.
Lisbon tells Wainwright that Tibbs might have actually killed their victim as she doesn’t believe that Willie Shubert is the killer, despite his confession. When Luther asks how she can tell, Lisbon states “You kind of have to hear him play the saxophone.”
Tunney’s reading of this line was awesome. It’s like Lisbon knew her argument wasn’t very logical but was giving it her best shot. Jane is charmed by her efforts as he states: “I love it Lisbon, the beautiful soul defense.”
What I love? Lisbon’s response to this. She tilts her head ironically like she’s saying “Worth a shot”.
Unfortunately Luther is unimpressed. He agrees to give Jane time to trap Tibbs, saying that he likes to reward passion, but tells Lisbon he’s taking Willie’s confession to the DA. Lisbon asks “What about my passion?”
I love this line too because for once, it shows Lisbon fighting back the unfairness of having her worth/skill being questioned by the higher ups (Hightower, Bertram) while Jane gets an automatic carte blanche to do what he wants. In fact, is it me or was Minelli the only boss who ever trusted Lisbon’s instincts over Jane’s? And not because he favors her but because he knew both of the them equally well and knew exactly how Jane gets around Red John cases. Can we please please have him back and out of retirement once Luther is out of the picture? It’s not that I don’t like Luther but it as none of the bosses lasted over two years I’m assuming he’ll eventually be gone as well.
A Plot: Jane and Tibbs
It is hinted at that Jane sees Henry Tibbs as a kindred spirit when he instantly recognizes the man’s desire to kill. But just in case it wasn’t clear enough, the final scene where Tibbs is captured makes it obvious. Jane anticipates where Tibbs is going; an event where the mayor is at. Having replaced all the bullets in the man’s house with blanks, the Serious Crimes unit members are in place when Tibbs shows up. Jane attempts to talk the man out of his thirst for blood: “You don’t want to pull that trigger. You think you do you think it will switch off that vacancy sign in your soul but the truth is, taking a life is just going to make things a whole lot more complicated. Believe me. “
-Pretty self explanatory, right? Jane is speaking from his own experience killing someone in cold blood. I love clarity.
Tibbs replies: “I don’t expect to live past today.”
-Another similarity between the two men. Previously, Jane didn’t care if he lived after Red John is caught (Season one ‘Red John’s Footsteps’). Thankfully, that is not the case anymore as he told Timothy Carter (whom he thought was RJ) that he’d move on (get married, have a family) once he’s dead.
And like how Lisbon tried to get Jane to see past his desire for revenge in the season one finale, Jane tries to get Tibbs to see past his desire to kill. He tells him “But you haven’t hurt anyone yet. You put that gun away now and we will get you the help that you need.” But to no avail. Tibbs is already over the edge. But at least the team was able to stop him from hurting anyone.
What I’m wondering now is whether Jane would appreciate if someone did the same for him next time he’s trigger-happy.
B Plot: Lisbon and Willie Shubert
Lisbon tells Willie she checked into his history and found out that he lost his wife in a car accident; that he was driving and that’s why he stopped playing. She then asks him to explain his false confession and finds out he wants to stay in jail to stave off the winter cold.
I loved Lisbon’s plot. Her interference on Willie’s behalf makes sense considering her vested interest; Willie was her favorite musician in college. I’m not saying Lisbon is not compassionate, it’s just a side of her we don’t often see. Also, Lisbon is usually by the book (unless circumstance mandate she be otherwise). She probably wouldn’t have looked into Willie’s history if she hadn’t known him, if she wasn’t grateful for the comfort she found in his music when she moved away from her family. I think that along with his downfall being caused by his guilt and grief over his wife’s death was her impetus to help him. Maybe, on some level, Willie is serving as a surrogate for Jane. Personally, seeing Lisbon interact with this man, I felt like I finally understood the depths of Lisbon’s compassion for Jane’s tragedy, even if she rarely ever shows it. If she’s this kind towards I complete stranger, you can only imagine how much she cares for Jane.
After Lisbon tells Willie about the deal she cut with the DA on his behalf, she gives him a saxophone, encouraging him to play again when he gets out of jail. After she leaves the room, Willie start to play and Lisbon stops to listen for a while in obvious pleasure.
Lisbon is so sweet.
VIS #4: Jane/Luther, Jane/Lisbon end Scene
Jane enters the bullpen with tea to find Luther on his couch. He tells Luther (not disrespectfully) “that’s kind of my spot” and thanks Luther when he gets up. Luther then calls Jane out on setting him up; that he knew Luther would stress Tibbs into committing murder. Jane tells Luther that there’s no way of ever really knowing and adds: “To be honest I was rooting for you. I find your brand of youthful earnestness quite refreshing.”
While Jane was being sarcastic to Lisbon when he told her that Luther might be able to save Tibbs, I don’t think he was being sarcastic here. In fact I think the above statement, while a bit patronizing, was the nicest thing Jane said to Luther throughout the entire case. Perhaps Jane being right about Tibbs and effectively putting Luther in his place; showing him what little experience he ha, put Jane in a magnanimous mood. Or maybe Jane was too preoccupied with brooding over the case to give Luther more thinly (and not so thinly) veiled insults. Or maybe, Jane decided against further mocking his new boss after he’d just used him in a scheme.
Whatever the reason, at this point, I think Jane was trying to smooth things over with Luther, even if he hadn’t really been rooting for him.
Unfortunately, Luther does not realize or does not appreciate Jane’s sentiment. He tells Jane he did a psychopathy test on him. Jane, amused, states, “Oh, you haven’t.” Luther starts reading off some of the criteria: “Glibness and superficial charm, check.” Jane tells Luther: “You flatter me.”
Jane said the same to LaRoche when he did his own mini-analysis of him in ‘Jolly Red Elf‘. But while LaRoche’s analysis was flattering, Luther’s is anything but. So I’m inclined to think, more than a reply to Luther’s statement, Jane’s “you flatter me here” is referring to the fact that Luther felt he needed to evaluate Jane’s personality. Wainwright continues naming facets he feels apply to Jane’s character: a grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning, manipulating, poor behavioral control, failure to accept responsibility for own actions. Jane just continues smiling and drinking his tea. While he shakes his head at one point, it’s doesn’t necessarily mean that he disagrees with the traits being ascribed to him.
Luther then tells Jane: “I cross referenced all my observations with your history as a thief and con-artist. And uh, congratulations Jane. According to the score, you are a clinical psychopath.”
Jane’s reaction: “Wow. Well, certainly explains a lot.”
Despite Jane’s flippant demeanor, he was actually waiting to hear Luther’s verdict. And despite his glib remark, Luther’s conclusion seemed to disturb him. I don’t think it’s because Jane cares about what Luther thinks of him; rather because Jane himself seems to be questioning his own character and trying to redeem it (as shown in this season’s premiere, and Pretty Red Balloon). So Luther’s psychoanalysis came while Jane is in a particular vulnerable state; though Luther doesn’t know that.
The new boss then tells Jane that now that he knows what he’s dealing with, he’ll adjust accordingly.” Jane replies: “as you should”.
It’s very in character for Jane to not bother defending himself. He could easily point out that by applying the test now Luther is contradicting himself. Wainwright said it himself: such tests only give accurate results when one has spent enough time with the subject. Wainwright doesn’t know Jane, not the way Lisbon or the audience of the show does. Luther hasn’t seen Jane’s kindness and his empathy, he hasn’t seen Jane purposely shy away from gratitude; no doubt because he feels himself unworthy of it. He hasn’t witnessed Jane’s deep disturbed breaths as he saw Timothy Carter’s body on a slab in the morgue, or his remaining by Lisbon’s side when she had a bomb strapped to her, or heard him tell Lisbon that he’ll take the consequences of shooting Red John.
What Wainwright sees is the Jane that manipulates people (usually Lisbon) into breaking the rules; the pied piper, the puppet master who loves to make people dangle on his strings. But the bitter irony is that this Jane is no longer as predominant as he used to be. In fact, he barely even exists.
I hope Luther’s psychoanalysis does not cause Jane to regress. Jane’s dejected manner seems like he thinks he agrees with Wainwright’s need to “adjust” if his telling Lisbon that he likes the new boss is any indication. It’s almost like Jane is relieved he finally has a boss who sees him for what he once was; like he deserves to be abhorred.
Jane asks Lisbon if she’d like some tea. She tells him she’s tired and is going home. Jane tells her that he made a pot. Lisbon agrees to take one to go. As they walk to the break room Jane asks her if she thinks he’s an antisocial personality. Lisbon answers, “Yeah sure, who isn’t?”
Am I the only one who sees Jane’s earnest desire to connect with Lisbon? It’s been there since season one, and she’s been fighting him every step of the way (see Jane/Lisbon moments). But in spite of that Jane is comfortable enough with Lisbon to ask her opinion on his character. I think it’s very brave and shows the amount of trust he has in Lisbon; especially considering how he knows that she doesn’t approve of many aspects of his personality. It’s like he knows she’ll make him feel better. I was also overjoyed that Lisbon, for once, refrained from giving him a flippant answer or a snappy comeback as was her norm whenever Jane attempts a personal discussion. I don’t know if she understood his need for comfort or if her increased regard towards him prevented her from being her usual aloof self.
Either way I hope her frank reply goes towards making Jane feel better about himself. Whether she knows it or not, her opinion is one of the few which actually matters to Jane. It’s nice that she’s allowing him to vent to her, even if she doesn’t realize that’s what he’s doing.
Finally, now that Luther analyzed Jane, I am very interested to know where he thinks Lisbon fits in all this. He refused to accept her hand up after he falls to the ground when Tibbs fired his rounds. That along with his terse “Lisbon” before he left the bullpen makes it seem that perhaps (like Hightower before him) the obvious friendship between the two irritates him. Or maybe he was just annoyed that she didn’t fill him in on her and Jane’s plan. Maybe he thinks she’s as fooled by Jane as his psychic clients were. Maybe he thinks less of her for working so well with Jane. I have no idea, but I’m dying to find out.
End Scene. It was nice to see Jane and Lisbon spend time together at the end of the day, his congratulating her on catching her man and vice versa. Plus future conflict between Jane/Lisbon/Luther was also nicely set up. See VIS #4 for details.
1st runner up: Jane and Lisbon plead their cases to Wainwright
In keeping with the role reversal we’ve been shown of Jane and Lisbon this season, her arguing out of instinct is something rare and more like something Jane would do. But what makes this scene truly great is how Jane and Lisbon were perfectly supportive of each other. Usually in the boss’s office, they are at odds. It’s more continuity to how in tune they are this season. Despite Jane telling Lisbon that his and her minds’ are in sync, I think this is the first season we’ve seen this truly be the case. See VIS #3 for details.
2nd runner up: All Lisbon’s scenes with Willie
Everyone knows Lisbon has a heart of gold. It’s so great to see it from time to time. And Tunney was so warm and empathetic here. I’m so glad her character is starting to get some more focus.
Icings on the Cake
– It’s truly rare when we get an episode where all the characters seem to get a fair amount of screen time. In this episode, Cho gets to be all awesome showing off his perfect shooting skills. Rigsby gets to keep Van Pelt from rashly shooting Tibbs, and Grace gets to bond with Tibbs’s wife. And while the format of the episode was a bit different, it was also perfectly balanced and ended full circle on our favorite crime-fighting duo, Jane and Lisbon.
-Having Jane and Lisbon work separate cases allowed Jane to lead the group (butt heads with Wainwright) without Lisbon being caught in the middle. This is nice as it gives her a break from having to pay for Jane’s decisions. It also made me ridiculously happy as it is a pet peeve of mine when Jane acts as the boss of Lisbon. Her not being around during this case made that unnecessary.
-Lisbon solving her case on her personal time allows her to assert her herself without breaking the rules. I love how, unlike Jane, she is able to do what she wants without ruffling feathers.
-I’m always tickled when we get recurring extras (usually CBI Ron or CBI Karl) on the set. It gives a touch of realism to the show as back-up officers are a necessary requirement. In this episode, Karl (from Strawberries and Cream) helps the team clear a building. Played by the show’s technical advisor Karl Sonnenberg, he certainly has the build and gait of a cop. I look forward to seeing him again.
Whoever is in charge of wardrobe. Everyone was looking sharp in this episode. I especially I like Lisbon’s hair. The serviceable bun hints that she was going for a more professional look now that there’s a new boss. Nice detail. Also, Tunney’s make-up artist deserves kudos as well. I think her freckles were actually visible at one point in the episode. I miss Lisbon’s freckles.
“You two want me to believe that a man who confessed to murder did nothing and a man who did nothing is a murderer. “-Luther Wainwright to Jane and Lisbon.
“You may even be smarter than you look.”-Jane in response to the above.
“You’ll be fine, just don’t be yourself.”-Jane to Rigsby.
“Yeah, my dad liked his westerns”-Rigsby to Tibbs in response to his namesake. It’s great to have some back-story on the characters even if it is just the origin of their names.
“Observe Agent Rigsby, as neurotic as a border collie, he can’t stop touching his face.”-poor Rigsby!
“See, you’re normal. That man has the conscience of a mollusk.” –Jane to Luther on Tibbs.
“Nice”-Lisbon on Tibbs’s home.
“Well, it’s a choice. Lacks a woman’s touch.”-Jane on Tibb’s home.
“Well, at least you didn’t shoot this one.” –Rigsby to Grace. Could this line suggest that Wayne is uncomfortable with Grace’s speedy recovery over shooting Craig? Or was he concerned that she was so quick to draw her weapon in their current situation? Hmm.
“Or he could save Tibbs”-Jane’s sarcastic reply to Lisbon’s musing that the boss might be in over his head, that Tibbs could kill him.
“We are with the government. We’ve been watching you.” LOL!!!!!! Luther couldn’t have added to Tibbs’s anxiety more if he had been trying.
“Hey, how’re you doing. You’re under arrest for the attempted murder of…everybody”-Cho to Tibbs.