CBI Agent Grace Van Pelt (Righetti) arrives at work where her boss Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) tells her an FBI Agent called Wexler had been trying to get in touch with her. The FBI had been keeping Grace’s necklace as evidence during their investigation into the death of FBI Agent Craig O’Laughlin (Eric Winter). Now that they have filed their report, they have returned it. Van Pelt’s first instinct is that she wants nothing to do with the reminder of her traitorous, murderous fiancée. But her decision is delayed when she and Agent Cho (Kang) are sent on a case.
The eldest son and heir of big time mobster Gabriel Prochetto (Joaquim de Almeida) was shot dead at a party he and his younger brother were throwing at their family’s vacation home in El Oro State Forest, California. The last person with him when he was killed was prostitute Janpen (Kristy Wu). While taking her in for questioning, Van Pelt is waylaid by a man shooting at her. Van Pelt crashes, leaving her and Janpen stranded in the woods with no cell phone signal.
Viewers have seen Van Pelt struggle to overcome the trauma the events of Strawberries and Cream left on her. With My Bloody Valentine, it seems that she is finally able to achieve some sort of closure. The sensitivity of the writing and the excellent direction makes this a special episode, as do some lovely character moments, poignant acting, and the star power of Joaquim de Almeida: 8.5/10.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)
One of my major peeves with this show is the as of yet untapped huge potential for interaction between Jane and the rest of the members of the Serious Crimes Unit. Yes there have been a lot of nice moments, but very few actual conversations. For example, the only memory I have of Jane/Cho talking is in episodes ‘Shooting Fire’ (on parents) and in ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ (when Jane helps Cho find his friend’s killer). As to Rigsby, he’s got plenty of moments with Jane which are nicely distributed throughout the entire show, but these are used mostly for comic relief.
Even Lisbon has only started engaging in Jane’s attempts at meaningful conversation this season due to their recent closeness. But Grace, bless her, had always been the only gifted (or plagued, depending on your view) with equal amounts of passion and strength to to ever have honest to God discussions with Jane relating topics they don’t see eye to eye to. This is a quality I have always respected in her character played gracefully by Amanda Righetti which kept her from falling into the background like so many other secondary lead females. Yet even Grace/Jane moments have practically ceased to exist. The restaurant scene in the pilot, the Séance argument in ‘Seeing Red’, the relationship advice in ‘Bloodshot’ had all taken place in season one (while Cho’s scenes with Jane were limited to Season two). Jane did help Grace out a bit in ‘Where in the World is Carmine O’Brian’ but that episode was so busy with multiple events and the scene was so brief it barely registered on my radar.
Hopefully we’ll get more Jane/team scenes as the show progresses. The stage has certainly been set for them. All the characters have their own personal arcs this season, providing a wonderful opportunity for Jane’s nosiness and/or help. In this episode, for the first time in a long time, Grace and Jane have a frank discussion. And for the first time, it ends amicably.
The winner: Grace asks Jane for advice
After having Craig’s ghost haunt her, then save her life, Grace approaches Jane and gently asks him if he talks to his wife. He concurs that he does, sometimes.
-In episode Scarlett Fever Jane encourages the victim’s son to talk to his dead mothering, saying that it helps to pretend she’ll here him and that he talks to his wife all the time. Here, he uses the word sometimes. I wonder if Jane had exaggerated to the boy to make him feel better, normal about talking to his mom. Or he really did talk all the time to his wife, whereas now, it’s only sometimes, indicating he’s slowly not needing to do so as much. Or perhaps he simply doesn’t want to reveal to Grace how much he does talk to his wife, hence the ambiguous sometimes.
Grace then asks Jane if he ever sees his wife, to which he responds never. Grace then asks Jane if he’d think he was crazy if he ever saw his wife. Jane hems and haws before realizing what Grace is saying, that Craig came to see her. He then asks her what Craig wanted.
Grace: “I don’t know. This will sound really weird. But he kinda saved my life.”
Jane: “Figuratively speaking, I hope.”
-I adored Jane’s benignly concerned tone here.
Jane, seeing the necklace in Grace’s hands realizes she is conflicted: “Now you can’t decide what to do with the necklace he gave you because it reminds you of your past.” He tells her she can either forget it (her past) or learn to live with it.
-Seriously, Jane’s statement couldn’t have been a greater reference to his wedding band, to his past, if the director had zoomed in on his ring just then; so powerful was the allusion.
Grace asks Jane what he thinks she should do. He states that that should be her decision before bidding her good night. Grace first throws the necklaceinto the garbage. But then she fishes it out and hangs it on a plant on her desk.
-I love the message here. Hopefully Grace keeping the necklace means she won’t let what happened embitter her. Whether she really meant anything at all to Craig or not, she wants to believe that he did love her, even if not more than Red John.
As to Jane, I found it telling that he didn’t make fun of Grace (as he is wont to do regarding her spirituality) nor did he interfere with her decision (another rarity as Jane can be pretty pushy). Instead, he listened kindly and told Grace that she has to be the one to decide what she wants. Another thing I found telling is him not bothering to venture a “reasonable” explanation for Grace’s vision.
Considering Jane’s skepticism towards the spiritual, I wonder what respective reason Jane will conjure up for Grace seeing Craig. While Craig (i.e. Grace’s subconscious) mentioned that Grace was hallucinating him possibly out of dehydration, Jane had no way of knowing that. It’s really strange that Jane let the matter go so easily when in the past he was always happy to argue with Grace.
I wonder if the reason is due to a past conversation these two had…
In episode ‘Seeing Red’ Jane makes fun of Grace for worrying over a séance they were faking, to which she tells him:
“What if your family is looking down on you, hoping to talk to you but they can’t, because you won’t believe?”
At the time Jane seemed quietly stricken by the thought: “Well that would be very sad.”
Might Jane have remembered their past conversation, and think that the reason Grace saw Craig is because she believes, she was able to? Or is his point of view more skeptic, like the self fulfilling prophecy; Grace wanted to see Craig so her mind fulfilled that need.
As much as I’m unsure of Jane’s perception here, I am equally unsure of the conclusion we as viewers are supposed to arrive at either. Was Craig really a ghost or a figment of an emotionally and physically drained Grace’s imagination? Is it indicative of a mental/physical condition as has been used often by other shows to indicate the person is suffering from a health issue (God I hope not; been there, seen that).
I don’t know. But sometimes ambiguity is nice. It’s leaves viewers to come to their own conclusion and respects whatever they believe, or want to believe happened.
As to Jane, Grace’s strong beliefs have always annoyed him and are a cause of heated discussion between them. But he’s usually more than happy to argue with Grace over it. That is not the case here.
As to Jane telling Grace she needs to make her own decision, I can only imagine it is due to the fact that he doesn’t think he’s in the best position to give Grace advice on this particular matter. Wearing his wedding ring over eight years after his wife died, he isn’t able to let go of his past. And while he might deem it as right for him I doubt he’d wish this purgatory on anyone else.
1st runner up: Jane comforts Lisbon
Jane reassuring Lisbon that there is nothing she can do for Grace was such a profoundly sweet moment. For once, he is the one keeping her on track as to the investigation; pointing out that solving the case would be the best think she could do to help Grace.
2nd runner up: Grace’s first heart to heart with Craig
Leaning against a tree in the woods, Grace first states that she’s not talking to Craig, that he’s just a figment of her imagination. But then she asks him “Did you love me?” Craig states that of course he did, but that he had to make a choice between her and Red John. “We all have to make hard choices Grace, it doesn’t make me evil.”
Grace responds with a hint of a smile “It kinda does.”
-Craig’s statement here continues this season’s trend of making perps appear sympathetic (Ring Around the Rosie, Blood and Sand). I stated before that this could be the writers’ way of “mentalizing” us, so that we don’t hate Jane in the event of him doing something terrible (i.e. Blinking Red Light, Always Bet on Red). But there might be an even more important reason for Craig’s conversation with Grace here.
Grace says she was too stupid to see that Craig was evil. He states she did, that she knew there was something little dangerous under the nice guy stuff. That she even liked it. Then he states: “You can’t open your eyes a little bit Grace. You gotta open them all the way if you want to see the truth of things.”
Grace wonders what Craig is talking about. “Why are you doing this to me?”
Craig: “How should I know. I’m just a figment of your imagination.”
-I know! I know! But first let me just say that I love the quietness of this scene, the wind in the background, and the matter of fact tone of the conversation between these two.
As to why Craig showed up, I think there is a more long term reason than him simply humanizing him, or even saving Grace’s life in this episode; him warning her against JanPen. Read below to find out more. It’ll be the line with all the caps…
VIS: Grace and Craig talk, part two.
When Grace loses JanPen, Craig tells her that not everything is her fault. Grace goes on to blame herself for letting Craig kill two cops and shooting Lisbon.
Grace: “I was too late. I should have seen it sooner, I should have done something.”
Craig: “How? You were in love with me, don’t you remember?”
OH MY GOD!!!
Craig’s statement here had me nearly hyperventilating the second time I saw the episode.
Why? Because of the many possibilities it presents!
Could this be the writers’ way of explaining why Lisbon is doing nothing to stop Jane, because she is in love with him and therefore can’t see that she needs to? Or is it foreshadowing? Could Craig’s statement that Grace should open her eyes all the way be a hint that she will be the one to figure out Jane’s indiscretions? That she’ll be the one to give Lisbon the wake-up call she needs?
It might be possible seeing that Grace was the one who opened up RJ’s video. She might the style is similar to RJ’s. I certainly hope so. That would be so cool.
Help me out guys. Am I onto something or going crazy over nothing here?
Note: Speaking of the RJ video that Grace saw in Always Bet on Red, Commenter T has a very unique theory I thought I’d share here:
“I thought Darcy set the whole thing up with the video of herself to get Jane to confess Red John was still alive and she’s already onto Jane.”
Interesting, right? Might be Grace uncovers this about Darcy as opposed to something regarding her team mates. I wouldn’t mind being wrong if the truth were that good.
Eric Winter and Amanda Righetti. Craig may have hated Grace, might have only pretended he loved her to get close to CBI for RJ, but it makes sense that Grace would rather believe whatever they had was real. And it may very well be true that Craig did love her, just not enough. Righetti and Winter conveyed the regard that existed between these two very well, showing Winter in the light that Grace saw him in: a handsome “good” bad boy. They had great chemistry in this episode, maybe even more so than when he was alive, and I was glad for the closure we got here. Perhaps their greatest feat is being the focus of the A plot and hitting a home run with it. With such talents as on this show, that is not easy to pull off.
Icings on the Cake
-Jane distracting the Mexican drug dealer with a card game as he questions him. I was so happy he didn’t resort to hypnotism, or worse, have Lisbon allow him to use hypnotism.
-Rigsby is going to be a daddy! Seriously, how cool is that? I did not see it coming and hope to God the writers see this plot line through. I really like Sarah and Jillian Bach, the actress playing her. Sarah is blunt, but not cruel. She’s also cute, strong, and very mature. Seeing how wonderful and understanding she was when Van Pelt was missing really underlines how much of better fit she is for Rigsby; figuratively, of course, not literally 😉 Much as I love Van Pelt she was always a bit detached and impatient with Wayne. They were a cute couple, but Sarah is more obviously enamored with Wayne than Grace ever was and he needs that, awkward, self conscious man that he is.
Religious themes: For a self-proclaimed non-believer, Jane sure does use a lot of religious references: “You’re a saint.” “It’s like an angel an angel crying on your tongue.”, and in previous episodes, Cain and Abel. I find his knowledge interesting. It makes me think that his anti-spirituality happened post his family’s death.
“Beautiful out here. although they could use a little more sign-age.” –not just funny, this quote sets the stage for Grace getting lost.
“She speaks English, she’s just a little shy.”-Jane, on Janpen
“Ah, the fresh air, my first mob hit. I’m thrilled.” Jane to Cho.
“I hope not. If I’m lost, I want a search and rescue team that knows the landscape and can cover the ground fast.” -Luther Wayneright in reply to Cho’s statement that they’d look for him if he was lost. What little we’ve seen of Luther so far had me ambivalent to his character. It’s nice to get more insight into his character here: he is logical and assertive.
“This is who they send to find my boy’s killer. A girl and a guy in a vest.”-Prochetto Sr. about Jane and Lisbon. I love how vain Jane is. He’s equally funny when he’s pleased on getting complimented on his sense of style as he is when peeved at having it disparaged. Here, Jane looks down at his vest, as if wondering what’s wrong with it. And it’s nice to have Lisbon’s youthful appearance in canon. So true.
“Maybe just a little true.” -Jane, in reply to Porchetto’s wife, saying that it’s not true she wants her husband dead.
“Like a big murderous baby.”-Jane, in reply to Porchetto when he asked if the trick he taught him will help him sleep.
“Oh, you’re very good grasshopper.”-Jane to Lisbon.
“You’re gonna get a Mexican drug dealer to talk?”-Jane to Lisbon
“I’ll think of something.”-What Lisbon does is have Jane talk to the man. Love.
“You can swindle people before you behead them or whatever it is you do to them.”-Jane after teaching drug dealer Ozario (Luis Moncada) a card trick.
“I never beheaded nobody. Slit a few throats, maybe.”- Moncada’s reading of this line was fabulous. So serious it was funny.
“Okay, so you won’t be headings.” -Jane, in response to the above.
“Why did I think I could stay awake?” Grace’s self-reproach here lessens amount of incredulity viewers might have on an Agent being so careless. Not much, mind you, but the effort is appreciated.
“Great. Lost in the woods with a crazy cop.” –JanPen on Grace.
“Hey I got it worst. I’m lost in the woods with a grumpy hooker.” Grace’s sense of humor here is awesome.
“How long have you two been carrying on this affair? Your protectiveness of Iris is more than legal. And she keeps touching your elbow. Hard to misinterpret.”-Jane? If we are to follow this logic, then you and Lisbon have been carrying out a secret affair since episode Red Tide. Before all the J/L shippers go crazy with excitement, don’t forget that Jane is very touchy feely with everyone…
“Crap!” Jane ‘swearing’ just sounds so wrong it’s funny.
“The silent intimidation act is quite effective. I’ll admit I’m intimidated.” Jane to the Prochetto family’s enforcer.
“It wasn’t personal. Come on. I kinda liked you.” –JanPen to Grace.
-Grace, Grace, I’m not a cop but even I know better than to fall asleep and leave a suspect at large. I can forgive this though as it was a necessary plot device (same thing with the car crash). The one below, however, is inexcusable..
-I wish Jane’s Mentalist abilities were put to better use in this episode. Mainly, instead of getting the mobster drunk and risking, oh I don’t know KILLING AN OLD MAN (his wife mentioned alcohol has a bad interaction with his meds), Jane could have hypnotized him so that he’d look passed out then used the ball to stop his pulse
Note: It’s a sad day when I’m advocating for Jane to hypnotize someone, not to mention hypocritical when I was so glad he didn’t in an earlier scene. What can I say, when it comes to choosing between Jane hypnotizing a man and POSSIBLY KILLING HIM I choose the lesser of two evils.
Better yet, Jane simply could have told Prochetto to play dead (and explained the ball trick) with the promise of finding out who killed his son. This would have been easy to pull off and very believable considering the rapport Jane had already established with Prochetto Sr. It would also have made a lot more sense than RISK KILLING THE MAN. And yes, I know that Jane’s sense of justice means he couldn’t care less about getting an evil mobster killed, but Jane would care if it ruined his plan. Jane needed the man alive to threaten the killer into revealing himself and Grace’s location. By getting Prochetto drunk, Jane took a terrible and unnecessary risk which would have rendered his plan usellss. On the other hand, Prochetto is bound to find out who killed his son sooner or later. It wouldn’t have mattered if Jane uses that knowledge as leverage to earn Prochetto’s cooperation. And by the time he tells Prochetto of the killer (s) identity, they’d be behind bars and relatively safe away from Prochettos murderous rage. So yeah, not so pet, pet peeve and the main reason this episode didn’t get a higher grade.
Craig’s statement that he loved Grace but that Red John mattered more to him gave me a depressing thought that this might be exactly how Jane feels about Lisbon…and they’re not even romantically involved.
Let’s face it. If Jane really believes that when people die, then they cease to exist, to feel, listen or hear then it shouldn’t matter to his family whether Jane catches Red John or not. He’s doing this purely for himself, as Lisbon once stated, to ease his wounded pride. But by doing so, he’s making Red John the most important thing in his life; more than his freedom, friendships, or even sanity.
Or, here’s another possibility: Jane does believe in an afterlife, he just pretends he doesn’t out of fear of what that might mean for him, and so feels that he needs to repent for getting his family killed. And the only way he knows how is to kill the person who killed them.
Either way, the end result is the same; Jane is making Red John the most important entity in his life. Until Jane realizes this, even if he catches/kills Red John, then RJ will always be the winner in their game.
And even more extreme interpretation could be that, Jane, by devoting so much time and energy to Red John, is being as loyal a servant to RJ as any of his other followers. That in a weird and twisted way, Jane might as well be worshipping RJ…
I believe that when RJ disappeared, Jane went through a breather, a time where he felt safe in knowing that RJ thought the game was over. Leaving him free to take the time to decide whether he wants to forget revenge and move on with his life, or if he wants to continue (secretively) hunting RJ. Perhaps this is why Jane was so desperate to keep the truth from resurfacing; because RJ might then be compelled to restart his career.
RJ, as much as he is obsessed with Jane, might allow him to continue with this reprieve. Or, delighted that he and Jane are now in cahoots, Jane revealing that he knows RJ is still alive and using him, the serial killer might want to take their bond to a higher level, whatever that might entail.
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