The CBI Serious Crimes unit is called in when a van explodes presumably killing football legend Doc Dugan (guest star Craig Bierko). When CBI Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) discovers that Doc is in fact alive, it is revealed that his assistant Jake (Russ Hunt) had subbed for him and was therefore killed in his stead. Jane then convinces Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) that they should allow the public to think that Dugan died as they try and solve the case. Meanwhile, Agent Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and his girlfriend Sarah (Jillian Bach) are in San Francisco for work and the trip results in a lover’s quarrel.
In the last episode’s review I’d stated:
“The one-shot episode’s need to be evermore perfect now that he (Red John) is sticking around.”
“In a show that’s almost entirely devoted to Simon Baker’s character, the spotlight needs to passed around as much as possible. And I don’t mean have episodes devoted solely to individual characters…rather give characters as equal share as possible within the episode.”
Hallelujah, my prayers have been answered!
Every single actor was in top form here, perhaps because they were given such great material to work with. Aside from great moments for the series regulars (Yeoman especially shone in his character’s subplot), The Red Shirt also introduces guest characters viewers can become vested in; a vital element of this show. The direction was also superb with great location shots and while the case isn’t exactly complicated, a lot of interesting methods were used to solve it including the mandatory clever ruse at the end. Also, CONTINUITY! The result was an extremely satisfying one-shot (these are the heart of the Mentalist, in my humble opinion). Thank you Jordan Harper for restoring my faith in this show. Now if we can only have more episodes like these… 9.5/10.
Detailed (aka humungous) Review (spoilers galore)
There were several important scenes in this episode. As some dealt with recurring plots (both in the episode and in the season) I combined their discussion.
Rigsby/Grace/Sarah Love Triangle
In episode Blood and Sand Grace was shown to be bitter towards Wayne’s new relationship, telling him “Good luck” but “Be careful” because Sarah (Jillian Bach) was a public defender.
In this episode, Grace is more graceful towards the situation. Rigsby is in San Francisco to testify in court. When he tells Grace that his girlfriend Sarah is with him as well, Grace artfully changes the subject back to the case; she’d asked Rigsby to comment on how the bomb was built.
-While Grace seemed disturbed at the fact that Sarah and Rigsby were traveling together, even if they both had work, it was nice to see her handling it better than she had in the past.
Sarah tries to prepare Rigsby to testify in a trial by acting as the perp’s lawyer. When she asks him questions regarding his criminal father Rigsby bristles and leaves her.
-While I wish Sarah had given Rigsby warning first that she was going hardline with her questions, I think she was sincerely trying to help him and didn’t mean to hurt him. I also love that she called him “babe”. It shows a certain level of intimacy and genuine affection.
Later, Rigsby tells Cho (in one of the best scenes of the episode) about how his trip sucked. As Rigsby recalls what happened, he realizes how Sarah had been just trying to help him and states that he got mad because she was doing her job very well. He later adds that her ruthlessness is actually “pretty awesome”. At the end of the episode, when as he tries to make up with her Rigsby inadvertently riles Sarah up even more by telling her that she’s a public defender, she can’t help but be the way she is. Sarah passionately defends her job, and hardly gives Rigsby a chance to get a word in before demanding to know if he has a problem. Rigsby says no and proceeds to make out with Sarah.
-I think a lot of women fell in love with Rigsby here. The fact that he finds Sarah’s strength of character a turn on is a very attractive quality; it takes a big man to handle a spitfire. Can this couple be any cuter?
Cho has been taking a lot of pain pills in recent episodes and continues to do so here. I’m starting to wonder if this is the start of an addiction story line rather than simply being continuity to the injury he suffered to his back when he got hit by a car in episode “Where on Earth is Carmine O’Brian”. Cho even goes as far as to lie on Jane’s couch when he’s in pain after tackling a suspect.
We got a couple of scenes with the CBI’s new boss Luther Wainwright (Micheal Rady) in this episode. Although Wainwright had told Jane that he’ll adjust his actions according to his belief that Jane is a clinical psychopath (Ring Around the Rosie), we have yet to see any evidence of that. To be fair, since Red John’s re-emergence is an issue yet to be handled this season, perhaps the situation simply has yet to present itself. One could argue that Luther had a chance to assert his claim during the SJK (Blinking Red Light) killer case but instead he allowed Jane to handle the matter his own way.
Wainwright continues to give Lisbon’s team a fair amount of leeway. He tells Cho at the beginning of the episode that he’ll handle the reporters while they solve the case, his voice trailing off when Cho leaves him standing awkwardly. Later when Luther finds out that Lisbon kept the fact that Dugan was still alive from him hidden, he merely points out to the fact that the case should have a positive result or he won’t be happy. After which he wonders if it’s possible to get an autograph from Dugan.
I’m not sure what to think of Luther. He seems bright enough. In another of the episode’s best and funniest scenes he catches up with Lisbon pointing out Dugan’s girlfriend as the prime suspect reading some of her threats. He also notices when Lisbon pretends to head towards the elevator, instead of going upstairs like she had been (to where Dugan was hidden) when Luther caught her in the hall. When Lisbon stammers an excuse that she was wrong to go upstairs, Luther, concerned, advises her to get plenty of rest.
So he’s both smart and kind. But Luther’s kindness here seems at odds with how he bluntly (and perhaps cruelly) told Jane that he’s a clinical psychopath. But that makes him more interesting. Either he has a soft spot for Lisbon (one won’t blame him) or a problem with Jane (again, one can’t blame him), or simply, at the time, Wainwright’s words to Jane, the results of his psychopathy test, was simply his way of getting back at Jane for keeping him out of the loop in episode “Ring Around the Rosie”.
So he’s either vindictive, or he simply felt the need to assert his authority. Perhaps once he did that, he was able to be his amiable self again. At least that’s the theory. I hope we learn more in future episodes. So far, Wainwright is the least defined of all CBI heads; I wonder if it’s intentional…
Lisbon’s Character Development
When it is revealed that Doc Dugan is still alive, Jane cajoles Lisbon into going along with his plan to continue having everyone think Doc was dead.
-I knew she’d end up agreeing and it saddened me as I miss the Lisbon who thought out Jane’s plans before going through with them. For a while now we’ve seen major signs that Lisbon is more tolerant towards Jane, and a few small ones that she still retains her own way of doing things. But the instances of the former exceeded those of the latter both in significance and in occurrence. I’ve been worried that Lisbon had become far too complacent. I should have known better seeing as Jordan Harper wrote this episode; he’s usually generous in depicting Lisbon awesomeness and that was the case here as well.
Lisbon agrees to go along with Jane’s plan, but only after she gets permission from the victim’s mother.
-I’m not sure why Lisbon agreed despite her initial misgivings; perhaps because Jane’s playful goading was irresistible, or maybe, seeing how Jane so excited about solving the case she didn’t want to burst his bubble. Whatever the reason, Lisbon did not lose sight of the bigger issue: a life had been lost and Jake’s family had the right to decide if they would go along with pretending he hadn’t died.
It’s nice to see evidence to support Jane’s statement in episode “Little Red Book” to Bertram that Lisbon is a healthy moderating influence on him. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciated this scene. It reassured me that all I love about Lisbon; her sympathy, strength of character, compassion, and honor has not changed. For that, this was my favorite scene in the entire episode.
Once the case is solved Lisbon takes Dugan with her to see Jake’s mother. She apologizes once more for the woman’s loss then allows Dugan to reconcile with his assistant’s mother and spend time with her.
-I adored this scene as well. Besides bringing the focus of the show back on the people affected by the crimes committed, it recalled many previous situations where Lisbon (like Jane) tries to make the victims’ families feel better about their loss.
Later, Lisbon joins Jane at the CBI’s rooftop café. Their discussion of how Dugan seemed to sincerely want to change for the better, and the opportunity which gave him the perspective to do so leads to Lisbon to asking Jane if he’d want to be remembered after he died. Jane cites this desire as “childish vanity” and says that being dead, he won’t care, and neither would Lisbon when she dies, although he does say that she will be remembered fondly.
-I think Jane’s turning the matter into the familiar “there’s nothing after death” was very telling; he did not answer Lisbon’s question which makes me think that he in fact does want to be remembered. His contention that it’s “childish vanity” only gives it away. Is there anyone on this show more childish or vain than Jane?
As to Lisbon, the woman who constantly refuses to eat with Jane (unless it’s case-closed food) is actually sharing ice-cream with her consultant; and the J/L fans thought her agreeing to drink tea with him was progress towards a more romantic relationship. I can only imagine the swooning. Admittedly, it was a very sweet scene. I may need to brush my teeth now 🙂
I’m leaving it up to you all this time. You can vote more than once 😉
The guest stars were very well picked and familiar enough that viewers would not be able to decide whom was the perp based on that. Bierko is of course always a pleasure to watch, but so was Ashley Williams, Emilio Rivera, Ray Laska, and Chrisopher Gartin. Recurring guest star Jillian Bach was also as adorable as ever while Micheal Rady continues to give a solid portrayal of Luther Wainwright. But mostly, it was nice to see the series’ stars all get a more or less fair share of screen time and share in Baker’s spotlight. Tunney, Yeoman, Kang, and Righetti were all fabulous.
Icings on the Cake
-Location captions are back! The ones telling us where in California we are that were missing in the beginning of the previous episode.
– The case’s premise and case solving techniques were novel and interesting, but what I love most about this episode is that it was classic Mentalist in the best sense. The case occurred in Sacramento and a lot of time is spent at the CBI. But there were plenty of locations within (CBI cafe rooftop, hallway in front of the elevator, room where Dugan was held) amongst others which kept the episode visually pleasant and fresh. And that’s not even counting the sports bar or San Francisco. It’s a huge contrast to the bland locations of the last episode. As to the case, Jane multitasks as detective and matchmaker. He cleverly sets up the perp while allowing Dugan to hear that his ex-wife still loved him. Again, Jane using his powers for good is a classic aspect of the show and is reminiscent of the earlier episodes. The affect is just as delightful here.
-The issue of celebrity idolatry and the disillusionment of fans discussed here via one of the suspects is an interesting topic and an increasingly relevant one.
– Jane’s speech on the 30 yard rule and on why the truth hurts was also interesting and a good fact as we’ve come to expect from this show.
“What do you say, Lisbon, huh what do you say?” –Jane to Lisbon . He’s so eager here, like a little kid. I miss this Jane.
“Really, really dead, wicked witch of the west dead.”-Jane to reporter on Dugan.
“I’m not dead.”- Doc. Craig Bierko’s reading of this line was so great.
“I don’t wanna play dead!” –Doc. See above comment.
“No thanks.” Grace, replying to Doc’s offer on if she’d like to know why his girlfriend worships him. Amanda Righetti is so charming here and funny. I missed this Grace.
“Tempting, really, but I shot and killed my last boyfriend. I’m not ready for a relationship, yet.” Grace to Doc, at his continued propositioning of her. Also, see above comment.
“He had all these holes that he dug in himself and he had to find a way of filling them.” Anne Dugan. Amazing line, delivered wonderfully by Ashley Williams.
“Any nibbles? Let’s dangle another worm shall we.” This line is just so Patrick Jane. 3+ years I imagine it gets harder for writers to come up with new dialogue while keeping it sounding like Jane. This was a great example.
“First punch is free that’s how pathetic I think you are, pathetic! I’m getting worked up.” Jane, dictating tweets to Cho to lure in a suspect over twitter. -Simon Baker was fantastic here. Jane’s version of “getting worked up” is stressing the repeated “pathetic” coupled with a shudder over his zeal. Careful Jane, you don’t want to hurt yourself!
“You told off a mobster, somebody tried to kill you and you don’t even mention it? You’re about as helpful as an actual murder suspect.” Annoyed Lisbon is so funny!
“Maybe we need the other end of the wire, the listening…” Love tacit continuity on how Jane remains unfamiliar with police devices.
“Oh that’s a great looking suit for a policeman. Most of you have no taste. -Arnold Greene to Jane. Love, love, LOVE Jane’s big bashful yet pleased smile here. The ham can’t resist flattery! Again, vanity 😉
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