Leaving the courthouse after testifying on a case Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and her consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) see Eve Mulberry (Bonnie Somerville) before she walks inside for her own trial’s closing arguments. Lisbon tells Jane that Eve, a renowned winemaker, is being prosecuted for killing her dance teacher. Afterward observing Eve in court, Jane tells Assistant District Attorney Osvaldo Ardiles (David Norona) that she is innocent. Ardiles is unimpressed with Jane’s clues, Eve’s body language and responses, and points out the case has already been tried. Jane decides to investigate and prove Eve’s innocence before the jury comes back with what will most likely be a guilty verdict.
I should probably explain that this is a happy, extremely satisfied sigh. Like one let out after eating a particularly delicious meal. At First Blush was a well written, well executed episode. It had a unique new premise with lovely scenery shown generously by director Roxann Dawson. The casting was impeccable and the episode also brought back a couple of enjoyable guest stars. With continuity and an attention to detail, I was riveted from beginning till end. I even momentarily forgot the events of the episode prior. Forget dessert I’ll take seconds please. 10/10.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)
Sorry. Had to let another one out. I think I’m done now. But be forewarned, I’m high on happiness now. Which means I’ll be prone to giving a lots of virtual hugs. Seriously, though, how much did I love this episode? Let me count the ways. This could take a while…
First, I just want to point out that as the episode’s main strength was its format and excellent characterization for both the main and recurring players. So I’ll be focusing on those for this review.
-The plot set up was very clever; having Jane and Lisbon catch sight of Eve at the courthouse after which Jane bets Ardiles that Eve is innocent. Having the episode end at the same place, again with Jane watching Eve then Ardiles giving him his nickel for winning the bet also gave the episode a nice bookend ending.
-Having the judge at the end refuse to let Jane into her chambers allowed Lisbon to explain how Jane found out that Amy was the killer, vindicating her trust in him. It simultaneously gave her and Ardiles a chance to clear the air between them after he dropped a bomb on her in her office earlier in the episode. On the plus side, it also established continuity on Jane’s courtroom antics as set forth in episode “Blood Money” and mentioned in the beginning of this episode.
-Instead of having an A plot and a B plot, we have Cho’s subplot woven masterfully within. But it was also kept separate enough from the case (Cho and Rigsby run down a lead) in a way that allowed Cho to be a main protagonist in the episode (despite the case being Jane’s) as he dealt with his own issues.
Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman)
Yeoman’s character was wonderfully utilized in this episode, for (*gasp*) something other than comic relief. Rigsby runs interference for all his colleagues here. First he settles an argument between Jane and Lisbon by bringing them a lead. He also advises Cho to let up his pain pills. Then he apologizes to a cop Grace angers. Then he points out to Cho that they should use Summer’s help to get suspect Murphy to talk. And when Cho wants to impatiently put a stop to the operation Rigsby tells him to let it play out, allowing Summer to get more information (leverage for them) from the perp.
But what was ironically satisfying is that after being delegated the task of being the only canon lovesick agent for most of this show, Rigsby’s character is now surrounded by people with all kinds of emotional undercurrents. Thankfully, Director Dawson doesn’t waste the opportunity presented here and utilized Yeoman’s great reaction shots.
Note: It’s the details, people!! Not only do we care about the people saying the lines, we also care about how the other characters feel about them. It keeps things interesting by giving us tacit information on their personalities. Jesse Spencer spent most of his career over at House making such reactions; sometimes stealing a scene even when he didn’t have any lines.
Similarly here Yeoman also makes the most of his screen time treating us to some pretty funny and very telling facial expressions. In his scene with Jane and Lisbon, he was the innocent messenger witnessing a fight between his boss and “the missus” (i.e. Jane) where he proves Jane right. The look he gives Jane after an irate Lisbon leaves can have so many meanings, from a rueful “Women” to “Please go put out that fire” to, “Dude, you’re in the doghouse”. I loved it.
Then there was him watching Cho and Summer together. When Cho tells Summer “I’ll wire you up” you can see practically see Yeoman biting tongue to keep himself from saying anything. Awesome.
Summer (Samaire Armstrong)
Samaire Armstrong has really grown on me. I found her character (and her portrayal) a bit too dramatic at first. Now that Summer is no longer a working girl, not only has her style become less loud but so has the way she carries herself. It seems more quietly confident as opposed to the overdone sexy vibe she had been sporting. I’m now thinking it had been intentional to show how her career change has affected her. I really like how much she obviously enjoys and takes pride in her job. And if it’s not obvious in how zealously she carries out her surveillance tasks or boasts about being good, it was in how gutted she looked when Cho told her he wouldn’t be using her anymore, and how much she fought Cho to get her job back. Incidentally, she was fighting for more than just her job, she was also fighting for Cho.
I’m not sure if Cho’s assumption that Summer “gets off on danger” is accurate, I actually think that was a bit harsh. But it’s clear that one of the reasons Summer loves her job is the proximity it gives her to Cho, whom she’d flat out said she likes in Pink Tops. Being his confidential informant she gets to hang out with him and impress him, and yes, forget her sad life. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s why Jane continued on at CBI even after the RJ case was taken away from him in Redemption: “I have nothing else to do.”
As to Armstrong’s performance when she went off on Cho, all I can say is wow. That slap had me literally picking my jaw off the floor. But just as affective was Summer’s palpable relief when she realized that Cho actually admitted that he did in fact, like her. It was as if she couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing, like it was too good to be true. Good stuff. Her utter happiness was shown in the fierceness of her kiss to Cho.
Kimball Cho (Tim Kang)
Speaking of the reluctant lover, having Cho’s interest in Summer increase subtly over the course of the season, only to have it virtually explode on screen was a clever move. While an elevator make out session isn’t something new to TV (in fact, one could argue it’s highly overused) it was very surprising to see in this show, done by its most stoic character. It was so unbelievable, that it is believable (if that makes any sense). Mostly though, it makes sense because something had to give. Cho has been so tightly wound this season, by his growing attraction to Summer, no doubt, but also by the lingering back pain from his accident. Despite Rigsby’s gentle hint that Cho should let up on the pain pills, it may be that Cho still doesn’t realize he’s becoming addicted to them. Now with regards to Summer, no offense to Cho but he’s not exactly by the book himself; he’s gone rogue a few times (Blood in Blood Out, Rhapsody in Red”. The fact he made such a big deal out of Summer doing so just shows how much he was worried about her. Now that his attraction has been consummated I’m interested to see how he deals with his other problem.
Kang gets to bring out his characters deep intensity out for the world to see. First he raises his voice at Summer when he justifies his reasons for firing her. But when she calls him out on liking her, demanding he own up to liking her, Cho reverts back to his stoic self. He admits that he does so quietly Summer only realizes it after she slaps him. He then asks “Can I go now?” Awesome.
If the effect of Summer’s violence on Cho is anything to by, then it’s pretty safe to assume that Summer’s not the only one who gets high on excitement. It may not be the worst thing for Cho if he replaces one addiction for another. Drugs, for love…
Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Rightetti)
Grace didn’t have a lot of scenes but I really liked the one she did have. She and Rigsby go to ask a detective Silva who had worked Mulberry’s case on if he had run down a particular lead. First, he tries to sneak his way out of admitting he hadn’t. She calls him out on the oversight and he does the same on why they’re interested in the case; that it is because of their psychic “Janet, Jane” before adding that Jane is showboating “again” and that “I feel sorry for you guys you’re like stooges in a comedy act.”
Rigsby is quick to utter Jane’s mantra in his stead, that he is not a psychic while Grace sticks to asking about the case. Silva is unhelpful and as they leave Grace trips him, showing that she was upset by Silva’s demeaning demeanor of their team.
Not only does this scene show how protective she is of her friends but it also shows how others in law enforcement may view CBI and Lisbon’s team in particular. Which brings me to…
Osvaldo Ardiles (David Norona), Jane, and Lisbon
We first met this character in episode Rhapsody in Red when he butted heads with Agent Cho for getting involved in one of his cases. At the time guest commenter Violet stated:
Ardiles asks Lisbon if he needs to “take this upstairs” to which she answers no. In a rare occurrence, she stands against her team member and tells Cho that they shouldn’t get involved since it’s not their case. The scene hints that they know Ardiles quite well. They probably are used to such meetings about Jane. That’s suggested by how hastily the consultant left when the ADA came. It’s also shown by how Lisbon called the him by his first name.
Then in the Strawberries and Cream review I had stated:
The fact that Assistant District Attorney Ardiles was introduced at the end of season three makes me wonder if he will be the prosecuting attorney at Jane’s trial. I hope so. For some reason, and despite his telling Cho in Rhapsody in Red (RIR) that the team won’t be getting any more help from him at the DA’s office, I really like this character. I have no concrete explanation for why other than the fact that when he, Lisbon and Cho were talking together in RIR, he didn’t lose his patience with Cho’s attitude as quickly as other people might have. He also seems to be (or at least was) on good terms both with Lisbon and with Jane. When he first came to talk to Lisbon, Jane was in her office and gestured for him to wait. After Jane was finished he tells Ardiles “she’s all yours”…. It all just seems to hint that he’s a good guy. Plus there’s the fact that David Norona manages to makes him likable in spite of going head to head with Cho (a very popular main character).
In this episode I was just as overjoyed to see Ardiles as I was when he appeared in Scarlett Ribbons; perhaps even more so here because my fear that the only reason he’d been created was to have him prosecute Jane’s trial turned out to be wrong.
Ardiles/Jane at the courthouse-teaser
When Jane approaches Osvaldo and asks him if he has a minute, the ADA says, “For you Jane, I got two.”
-Perfectly nice and civil. Like real professional adults in real life would act. I think Jane’s humble demeanor here was him being practical. He knows Osvaldo has no reason to listen to him so he’ll have to be polite and on point. Jane even goes to the trouble of explaining to Osvaldo his methods in an effort to convince him that Eve is innocent. But it still makes no impression on the ADA. When he asks Jane if “that’s it” Jane replies, “Well of course there’s my gut too but I didn’t think you’d take that very seriously.”
-This hints that guest reviewer Violet was right. Jane knew Ardiles, has probably testified on his cases prior to Ardiles’s introduction in episode Rhapsody in Red. But Ardiles does not yet know Jane well enough to trust his instincts. This is proven both by Jane’s above statement and the ADA’s reply of “That’s the first correct statement you’ve made”. Ardiles also adds “Unlike you Eve Mulberry won’t get away with murder” before telling Jane not ruin his case. The psychic cheerfully replies that he’s just going to fix it.
– It seems that while Ardiles has forgiven Jane having gotten away with murder, he hadn’t forgotten. To be honest, I like him even more for this statement. It makes him human. Another thing that makes him human and therefore a more interesting/ likable character was the bomb he dropped on Teresa Lisbon when he visited her office.
Ardiles Complains to Lisbon
Unlike in Rhapsody in Red when Ardiles’s visit had been professionally courteous, like one between two work friends, this one was laced with umbrage. It is not unjustified. Ardiles is not vindictive, he doesn’t have an agenda against Lisbon’s team. He’s just trying to do his job and the SCU has a history of making that difficult for him.
This is clear by the first thing he tells Lisbon when she enters and finds him sitting in her office:
“Do you realize every single time I deal with your people things go to hell?”
Lisbon dryly tells him “Osvaldo. Come in, sit down.”
-Again, the first name basis hints that Lisbon and Ardiles have known each for quite a while. Probably they’ve worked together on many cases. As head of the SCU I expect he’d had more contact with her than he has with any other member of her team, including Jane.
Ardiles asks Lisbon: “Is there something in the water here? I need to know why your team is interfering with a state murder trial.”
When Lisbon defends the SCU’s interest in the case, citing that Eve shouldn’t even be facing a trial if she was innocent the ADA tells her “You know I thought that there was something in the water here but I can see the problem now. It’s you.”
I absolutely adored this line. Simply because sooner or later someone had to call Lisbon out on the way she manages her team (i.e.Jane). It just had to happen because Jane is Jane. He ticks people off and Lisbon is left dealing with that. Usually it’s her boss who calls her to task but as that no longer seems an option the show needed someone else to pick up the slack. In the last review I wondered if Craig’s visit to Grace might have been foreshadowing that Grace will be the one to tell Lisbon that her judgment was getting compromised; that she’d gotten too close to Jane.
But I think Ardiles is a much better alternative. Notwithstanding whether her judgment is compromised or not (see Red is the New Black for analysis and comments on this topic) I found it interesting that while Lisbon was at least a little upset by Osvaldo’s words, she didn’t let them affect the way she did her job in any way. Perhaps this is because, at this point, Lisbon truly believed Eve might be innocent; that Jane was right. I wonder what her reaction would have been if Ardiles had dished out this abuse on an issue she were less certain about, like Red John. Is it too much to hope for that future episodes answer this question?
Jane/Lisbon-sibling banter, flirting, or competitiveness?
Robin Tunney and Simon Baker owe me a cuteness radar seeing as they broke my old one in this episode. Seriously these two are more adorable than an Anne Geddes photo, especially Tunney. From the “Ooh,” she let out before filling Jane in on Eve’s case, (two of them gossiping like teenage girls) to her “Give it!” sprint when Jane stole her sandwich. Then there was their whole argument over whether to keep working the case and her petulant (always a favorite) behavior after they get a suspect which means Jane might be right about Eve being innocent:
Lisbon: “You’re the boss on this one.”
Jane: “Okay, don’t be like that.”
“Like what?! It’s what you want.”
“What I want is a little smile.”
“Well you can’t have everything!”
No words for how much I love this woman.
Then there was Lisbon asking Jane to fill her in on what’s going on, and her saying “No” ruefully to herself when he doesn’t, eyes wide in disbelief. Absolutely adorable.
It could be that Lisbon’s annoyance is a reaction to Jane’s increasingly obvious need to be in charge (as opposed to Lisbon’s decreasing compulsion to be a control freak). Or she might just have been angry that she was wrong. Then there’s Windsparrow’s interpretation of a similar scene in the last episode’s review when she said that Jane and Lisbon arguments are like the pointless ones old married couples have. For the sake of objectivity I’ll add that it could be interpreted as a fight between competing siblings and/or best friends.
I wonder what readers think…
Icings on the Cake
-I love how nice Jane was in this episode: his gentle questioning of Eve, his courteousness to Ardiles, his asking Lisbon for a smile. I’ve missed this Jane so much. We’ve seen negative aspects of his character plenty of times. We know he’s an arrogant jerk, a control freak, careless with people’s lives, callous, etc. But he also has a lot of good in him and can be very caring and compassionate. More scripts need to focus on his positive attributes. They keep him from turning into Hugh Laurie’s Gregory House and are vital to his intriguing multi-faceted personality; this show’s greatest asset.
-Jane and Lisbon seem to both be quite the wine connoisseurs. It’s nice to learn more about them.
-Seeing how satisfied Jane was at looking at the happy ending for the couple Eve and Peter. It’s nice continuity that Jane is actually quite the romantic and likes bringing people together.
“Think about what you wanna eat.” Lisbon to Jane. How much do I love David Appelbaum for this line? I think it’s pretty self-explanatory why.
“For you Jane, I got two.” Ardiles to Jane. And how much do I love him for this line? I loved Ardiles’s not holding a grudge against losing his prosecution of Jane.
“I’d bet you a million dollars she’s innocent.”-Jane to Ardiles. I know it’s probably just a figure of speech but I I’ll bet that Jane does have a lot of money. He’s got that seaside mansion and a vintage car, he probably has a few millions left over from his psychic days.
“Justice isn’t our problem?” -Jane to Lisbon. It’s nice to be reminded that while Jane has his own views on justice, they don’t necessarily have to be different than the laws. Not all the time anyway.
“Jury has heard arguments for three months they are perfectly equipped to determining the truth.” Lisbon’s initial refusal to get involved in Eve’s case was great. It shows that old habits die hard (her sticking with protocol) and created tension between her and Jane. Also, it’s nice to see her relent on an issue that’s actually comprehensible as opposed to Jane’s more outrageous schemes.
“What if they don’t? An innocent woman gets punished before you were too busy eating.”-Jane to Lisbon on jury being able to determine the truth.
-Nice role reversal here. Since when does Jane push Lisbon to work while she’s the one eating? Also, it makes sense that Jane doesn’t trust the justice system. Notwithstanding how long Red John has eluded it (and him) Patrick himself was able to convince a jury to find him innocent despite knowing full well that he was guilty of murder. He’s seen the evidence against Eve and probably sensed how easily justice can go wrong with her. The scene also recalls one from episode 18-5-4 where Jane insisted he and Lisbon go the extra mile on a case to find a code-breaking device and destroy it to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
“Let’s just say to whom much is given much is expected.” –Jane’s explanation to Eve on why he wants to help her.
“I know you feel guilt and shame. I know what this might do to your marriage. But the way I see it we’re your last hope. You have to trust us. You weren’t hanging out with your sexy dance teacher for the stimulating chit-chat. You were attracted to him. I mean you danced tango with the man for God’s sake.”
-Jane to Eve-I love Baker’s reading of these lines. Again, I’ve so missed seeing “nice” Jane in action that I almost forgot he existed. Is it really so hard to bring out this side of him?
“It’s like a band aid Eve. Best is to tear it off quickly.”-Jane. See above comment.
“I thought you said these people were here to help.” Amy to Gretchen after Jane says he suspects her. I love Dianne Far and her reading here was great.
“What are you still doing here? Besides brooding?” Jane to Eve’s husband.
“I know this isn’t an official case so thank you.”-Lisbon to team.
“No I wasn’t.”Gloria flat out lying to Jane when he asked if she was watching him.
“Step away from the door, blondie.” –Gloria to Jane. This had me in stitches.
“What makes you think I want a consultant in my house?”-Gloria to Jane
“How about a real cop, I got a real cop across the street.”-Jane, in response to the above. Then whistling before calling Lisbon over to Gloria’s home.
“Is it just me or do you look impressed?”-Summer, to Cho.
“No, it’s just you.”-Cho in response to the above.
“Your shoes are wrong, you don’t see me complaining about it.” Gretchen to Amy.
“Oh come on we know you have all sorts of hidden talents.”-Jane trying to cajole Cho into faking an Irish accent.
“My name is Wayne Rigsby. Why I’m talking with an Irish accent I don’t really know.” Rigsby is such a trooper. I love the continuity that he’s usually willing, if not eager, to play along with Jane, provided no law are broken, that is.
“Testing, testing one two. Kimball Cho is a wallaby.”-Summer speaking into her wire.
-Baker, Tunney, Kang, Armstrong, Yeoman. See above for why.
-Director Roxann Dawson did a wonderful job with the direction. The scene where Lisbon and Jane visit Eve’s home was particularly lovely; showing off the land and the grand mansion during the interview and continuing to do so while getting both Gretchen and Amy into the shot. Very smooth work.
-Kathrynn Joosten who plays the nosy neighbor Gloria was absolutely delightful. She had awesome lines and read them all perfectly. Hers was perhaps the funniest scenes in this lighthearted episode.
-I really enjoyed Carrie Wiita performance as Eve’s sister Gretchen.
-David Norona is as likable and believable as ADA Ardiles as ever.
-Special kudos to David Appelbaum. The care he took writing this episode is obvious, from the research to the clever format, and how every single line was vital to this episode.
Teach me please
This is a category I’d recently come up to take care of the interesting facts the show provides us as we are impressed with Jane’s knowledge. This episode gave us a few. When someone is looking to the left they are tapping into their visual memories, to the right means they’re using the creative side of the brain; most likely lying. Now I first learned this fact first from CSI’s Catherine Willows. Seeing as how this shows main character makes his living using such observations it was nice seeing them mentioned here. Another was that truth tellers usually use contractions.
This was so hard. Really the entire episode was fantastic from beginning to end so I’m letting readers choose their favorite scenes. Please share in the comments.
Despite him being at odds with Lisbon and a bit unnecessarily rude to both her and Jane, I still really, really like Ardiles. I think this is simply because how realistically he’s been written and Norona’s great portrayal of him. I definitely hope to see him again.
Now while there was no obvious reference in this episode to the events in the one prior to it, I realized that there might be a very small clue. It seems that Darcy’s suspicions that RJ is still alive have not yet become public. If they have I suspect Ardiles would have had more to say to Jane than just tell him that he’d gotten away with murder.
Perhaps this is why it was important for Ardiles to witness Jane’s talents in this episode? Could it be to set him up as a future ally to Jane should things get hairy with Darcy? Maybe. He and Jane are certainly on better terms now. We’ll see..
*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.