CBI Serious Crimes unit is called in when chief of police Marnie Green is found shot dead in Fairmont. While checking the Chief’s home Senior agent Teresa Lisbon finds her own brother Tommy Lisbon (Henry Thomas) there with his daughter, Annabeth (Madison McLaughlin). Tommy, a bail enforcement agent, tells Lisbon he had asked the Chief to keep an eye out for a white collar fugitive named Carmine O Brian. that he was tracking. Teresa is aghast that her brother is working as a bounty hunter. As the two siblings compete on who will capture O Brian first, CBI Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) discovers who the real killer is.
Considering how phenomenal ‘Blood and Sand’ was I felt sorry for whoever would write the next episode. I felt even sorrier when I learned that the episode would center around Lisbon as this was something fans have been waiting for for so long that expectations were bound to be high. But despite all this, ‘Where in the World Is Carmine O Brian’ was a satisfying episode on most fronts and an enjoyable one too. 8.5.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review
It seems the task of making Lisbon do questionable and out of character actions must always fall on writer Appelbaum. But while the motivation was not clear at the time of Blood for Blood (although I’d considered many possibilities at the time which since then were proven true) it is a bit more understandable in this episode thanks to a few well placed hints. While I’m still not positive on how a few things went down in the episode (behind the scenes), I understand that this ambiguity was most likely intentional; very sly indeed. I’m mostly referring the plan which ultimately got Chief Green’s killer, Chad, but more on that later.
Once again the episode can be divided again into an A and B plot. The former is Lisbon’s, while Amanda Righetti ones again takes the spotlight in the latter to deal with her character’s running themes this season.
B Plot: Grace’s problem with Wayne’s new relationship/ her post traumatic stress.
In ‘Blood and Sand’ Van Pelt exhibited obvious jealously and bitterness over her ex-boyfriend’s new relationship. In this episode, she gets a chance to ask Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) about Sarah Harrigan after he answers yes to Annabeth’s question on whether he has a girlfriend. Grace wonders if Wayne is in love and when he states that it doesn’t matter Grace tells him it certainly matters to Sarah. Rigsby points out that taking relationships too seriously gets people hurt (implying how he was hurt by Grace). Softening the blow he asks her what love even means to which she responds that she’s not the best person to ask as her last relationship didn’t end well.
-I think after being wooed by a criminal (for the second time) we’re starting to see some regret from Grace over letting Rigsby go. Future episodes will no doubt show whether this is true.
As to Grace’s PTSD, a lot of fans had wondered (and some had hoped) if Jane will be able to help her cope. They were no doubt happy to see Jane make Grace feel better by helping her entrap a lecher the team found while searching for Chief Green’s killer. While this made Grace feel a lot better at the time I don’t know if it will be enough to help her heal completely.
A Plot: Lisbon’s Relationship with Tommy
Lisbon’s brother Tommy was first mentioned in episode ‘Code Red’. Lisbon, thinking she was dying, asks Cho to look up her Tommy’s phone number in her planner, and to call him and tell him that she forgives him for “whatever” and to tell him that “He needs to make peace with his brothers”
-The dialogue suggests that Tommy is the black sheep in the family and makes the strained relationship between the siblings obvious. As does the fact that Lisbon (at the time anyway) didn’t even have Tommy’s number saved on her cell phone.
We get more hints in this episode. Tommy asks Lisbon to not “bust his chops” like she always does, meaning Lisbon has disapproved of his behavior in the past. Later, when Lisbon vents to Jane, viewers get a clearer picture on what the sibling’s dilemma is. Lisbon is like a concerned, slightly overbearing parent who wants the best for her kids. Tommy knew she wouldn’t approve of his new job and so didn’t tell her about it. Lisbon on the other hand feels betrayed, resentful and left out at not having her opinion count in her brothers’ lives after she’d raised them.
Viewers are able to sympathize with both Lisbon and her brother here. She has obviously been burned by Tommy in the past and it becomes clear that her brother is used to manipulating her to get what he wants. First, he gets her to take care of his daughter while he searches for Carmine. Later, he lies to her about going back home, spies on her (via spyware on her phone) to get Carmine, and only reveals that he’s in trouble, asking her help, when he’s desperate.
Tommy’s behavior here is so like Jane’s (viewers need go no further than episode ‘Redacted’) that it goes a long way in explaining why up to this season Lisbon has been so wary of her consultant’s efforts of an intimate friendship in the past. It also explains how until now she’d chosen to deal with Jane and why she’s so suspicious of him (other than the obvious reasons, of course). She’s known someone like him in the past; her brother and doesn’t trust his personality type.
But Tommy is sympathetic as well. He’s broke and is trying to raise his child the best he can. Bounty hunting is the job he found that pays well and that he’s good at. The scene where Lisbon and Tommy have it out in her office is heartbreaking because both Lisbons are full of such righteous anger that reconciliation seems impossible…until Jane steps in.
The Lisbons Catch Chief Green’s killer
Jane gives Carmine O’Brian to Tommy (whom he’d wanted to collect his bounty) then tells him to pick up his daughter at the inn (where the killer Chad works for his father) where Jane had taken her. Jane then quickly grabs Lisbon to follow Tommy and “explains on the way”.
Next, viewers watch Lisbon call Chad and tells him that she needs the hotel’s security grab a bounty hunter who has with him a potential witness in Green’s homicide. Once Tommy enters the hotel, Chad approaches him and offers him money to take Carmine to Mexico. Tommy asks why and calls Chad out on wanting Carmine away so that he can’t oust Chad as Green’s killer.
-Henry Thomas was so good in this scene. I watched the scene several times to decide whether Lisbon had filled him in on the situation beforehand (via phone call before she called Chad) or not. I *still* can’t tell if Tommy was really a clueless participant or if he was just that good of an actor and was tricking Chad. I hope the latter is true. Lisbon working alongside Tommy to catch her killer puts her in a more favorable light than her using her brother to lure in a dangerous criminal. Especially if we are to believe that the reason she hated his new job in the first place is because she was worried about him; as illustrated by her “Be careful Tommy” at the end of the episode.
I guess it could be possible that Lisbon didn’t tell Tommy about the plan to stick it to him, put him in his place and use him like he used her earlier. But I refuse to believe Lisbon is would willingly put her loved ones in danger. It’s completely out of her character to be that careless or that petty.
On the other hand, it is something Jane would do. I guess the question is how far has Lisbon been affected by Jane?
This is where the “well placed clues” I mentioned earlier come into play:
1- Lisbon’s call to Chad is a tacit indication that she could have just as easily called Tommy to fill him in on the plan.
2-Later when she parks the car, she asks Jane “Where is he?” worried. Jane assures her that Tommy will show up and when he does Lisbon states “If anything happens to him…” This statement and the tone Tunney uses in saying it shows restrained yet resigned concern; like a mother watching her child go to school on the first day. Jane plays the father in this analogy, appeasing Lisbon with, assuring her and asking her to trust that her child will be okay.
3 -Tommy didn’t seem too surprised when Lisbon and Jane showed up (again, it took me several replays to realize this).
4- And finally, Jane’s “well done Lisbon family” seems to cinch the fact that they were all actively, voluntarily cooperating in the bust.
Note: I don’t think Annabeth’s part was planned though, based on Jane’s surprised (yet proud) face when he saw that she had been the one to trip the fire alarm.
I for one am assured that Lisbon filled Tommy in on the plan beforehand. No matter how much she’s been easing up on, she still has her boundaries (just as Jane has slowly been gaining some from her). I’m also positive that her problem with Tommy’s job really does stem out of concern for him (along with whatever past negative experience with him which have her doubting him). His using her had to hurt too. But I think, after their fight, Lisbon felt guilty and recognized the opportunity Jane’s ruse offered her to reconcile things with her brother. Having Tommy participate in Chad’s collar would show him that his older sister trusts his abilities enough to have him help her.
But what really annoys me is that we don’t know! This is like Gable’s episode ‘Red Hot’ where we get a lot of hints on what may be going in the characters’ minds and behind the scenes but we don’t know for sure. For example, was Lisbon in Mashburn’s hotel room or not?
Similarly, it recalls Heller’s episode ‘Red Moon’ where Jane and Lisbon have it out in Hightower’s office; Had Jane told Lisbon that he suspected Todd at that point? I doubt it or she wouldn’t have been so emphatic with her “Vengeance is not legal people need to know that” obviously referring to Jane. I also doubt she would have been so annoyed when Hightower sided with Jane if her and Jane’s argument had just been an act. But again we don’t know.
If it was Appelbaum’s intention was to follow the show’s main writers in keeping the viewers burning with curiosity I dare say he’s very satisfied.
Now one may argue that I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I beg to differ.
2nd runner up: Lisbon and Tommy’s fight
I detailed above the importance of this scene but I didn’t mention how amazing Thomas and Tunney’s acting was. Consider it mentioned.
1st runner up: Lisbon vents to Jane
As stated above in the discussion above, this scene revealed a lot about the problems between Teresa and Tommy. But it also offers continuity to Lisbon’s relationship with Jane and was funny to boot. Lisbon starts talking s to Jane about the case when he tells her: “Fascinating but not what you really want to talk about.” And that was all he needed to say to get Lisbon to start venting.
I think viewers have now gotten more than enough proof that the wall of China between our main protagonists has crumbled down to close to nothing. There was a time when Jane wouldn’t even venture to reach out to Lisbon (Red Tide) and another where he’d had to prod her continuously to talk about what’s bothering her (Redline). Here Lisbon has a practically one sided conversation while Jane lends a friendly ear and utters a few benign yet meaningful comments. When he tries to give Lisbon some good advice “Live and let live, you’ll all be happier” she gets him a terse “Mind your own business” for his trouble. Tunney was hilarious here, and Baker’s expression after his character is effectively told to shut up is funny as heck too.
The winner: Lisbon and Tommy’s End Scene
After the case is closed Lisbon asks Tommy if he still wants Carmine. When he says yes she tells him she can pick him up from holding, adding that while she’s not happy with what he’s doing she could be wrong; and that since he’s got such a great kid he’s obviously doing something right. She adds that she’s proud of him, maybe even a little jealous. They are words Tommy obviously needed to hear. Floored, he thanks and hugs her.
-Here, Lisbon yielded one motherly instinct (protectiveness) for another (tenderness). I suspect it was very difficult for her as she’s obviously used to dishing out the former. I’m not sure if she was being completely honest with Tommy when she said the above statements or if she just wanted to be encouraging.
But her next sentence is crystal clear: “I love you, and you know I’m here for you right?”
Lisbon clearly wants her brother to feel like he can count on her, as opposed to hiding things from her and manipulating here. But she realizes he can’t do that if he can’t communicate with her. The idea that he feel unable to do so seems painful to her, as her question whether he knows he can count on her is what brings her to tears.
As I expect it will the rest of the viewers. Tunney was phenomenal. She gives Lisbon an air which Jordan Harper dubbed (and nailed) via Mashburn: “damaged intensity”. It makes whoever sees her want to hug her.
Last week I attempted to explain Lisbon’s lack of anger towards Jane’s shooting Timothy Carter; a job a couple of the commentors did much better than I (see previous Mentalist post).
I think this episode also serves to explain why Lisbon is being more understanding towards Jane: she wants to be in on his games the better to control them.
But this raises an important question: is she? Controlling them?
Perhaps control is the wrong word here because it implies that someone is in charge when it seems more obvious than ever that these two are partners, working in tandem.
Let’s just say that knowing about Jane’s ruses beforehand gives Lisbon a chance to choose how/if she wants to participate, even if is after the fact. For example, in this episode, he told Lisbon about his plan after he’d already given Tommy Carmine, but she could have still put it to a stop. It was nowhere near as manipulative or as terrible as putting her on the spot the way he did with Trina in ‘Blood for Blood’ (Yes, I will continue bringing it up; I’m like a elephant that way, I never forget)
It will be interesting to see if Jane will only involve Lisbon in schemes he suspects she will follow willingly, he was very happy with her in this episode when she did; which I like to think meant he wasn’t 100% sure that she would. I do hope that her willingness to listen to him will also work vice-versa. That in the future he will be more open to taking her advice even when she *doesn’t* agree with him.; something I’ve been wishing for since last season when I stated that he needs someone to guide him.
In the event that a situation arises where Jane and Lisbon do not see eye to eye, we will know for sure if Jane’s character has developed as much as Lisbon’s. We’ve gotten some signs, but it might be that Jane’s newfound peace could be a double edged sword; it could make him as incorrigible as ever.
If the latter is true, I doubt anyone will fault Lisbon if she reverts to her old way of dealing with Jane, or at least not be as obliging as she has been so far. In fact, I dare say most fans will be disappointed in her if she doesn’t.
Because while it’s been wonderful to see understanding Lisbon, it’s not fair to the character that her opinion only matter; that she only be included in her loved ones lives provided she always go along with what they want or agree with them.
Icings on the Cake
This is kind of random but I love Canadian actor Carlo Rota J
I though Cho getting hit by a car, forcing him to take it easy and providing a reason for his absence in this episode was quite clever. I wonder if it’s also part of a plot line for him…
Henry Thomas was very good and was able to showcase Tommy’s character traits very well depending on the characters situation: defensive, sheepish, desperate, manipulative, unsure; he was excellent and he and Tunney had great chemistry together.
Robin Tunney: see above.
John-Paul Lavoisier as the perp Chad was very good. Especially in the last scene, his confession and how wired he was while talking; like he was already begging for a coke hit.
Pet peeves: Lisbon’s scene at the mini-arcade with Annabeth.
-At first I thought Annabeth’s part in the conversation with Lisbon (her telling Lisbon that she wanted to be a cop like her) was horribly cliché. Then when Tommy winked at his daughter after he finished downloading the spyware to Lisbon’s phone, I realized that she could have just been buttering her aunt up to keep her busy while her dad does his thing. I don’t know which annoys me more.
– Why oh why couldn’t Tommy have been wearing his “Bail Enforcement Officer” jacket when he went to the hotel in the scene where Chad is captured? It would explain how Chad was able to ID him as the bounty hunter. As it is, it seems that Chad is a mentalist like Jane is, able to identify a man’s profession simply by looking at him; unlikely.
I’m beat. Care to share your favorite quotes? Also, please rate and comment.
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