Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and her Serious Crimes Unit investigate the murder of Gabe Meadows (Jake Olson), a journalist who had been on a crusade to expose the cult Visualize. When incriminating evidence appears against the cult’s enigmatic leader Brett Stiles (special guest star Malcolm McDowell), consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) is intrigued by Brett’s lack of concern at being the prime suspect of a murder investigation.
I was a bit worried when I learned that McDowell was guest starring again. The actor is a legend but his last appearance had grated on me. In this episode, however, Brett Stiles was written exceptionally well and as always played charismatically by Malcolm McDowell. I was overjoyed and found myself holding my breath hoping the episode would have as perfect and ending as it did a set up. It did and once again I found myself at a loss trying to describe just how awesome an episode is. All I can say is this one was on par with some of the best of earlier seasons (my bar for grading newer eps). The music by Blake Neely was perfection; a nostalgic mixture of season one tunes fans know and love and thrilling new ones too. The direction by Charles Beeson was exquisite and the casting was exceptionally good including the ethereally talented and beautiful Louise Lombard. Did I mention the writing was perfect? A truly enjoyable, well thought out addition to this season. 10/10
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)
It was so much fun watching Brett and Jane spar verbally and mentally. But more than that, Brett’s appearance allowed for some very important questions to be raised and issue to be addressed. Mainly, regarding Jane, Lisbon and Grace (Amanda Righetti).
Brett comes over to CBI to get a Visualize member guilty of messing with the crime scene to cooperate with the CBI. Jane notices Brett has professional bodyguards with him and asks him what happened that he no longer trusts his own people to protect him.
Brett replies, “Well I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.”
-I think this was my favorite line of the episode. Even the mention of RJ serves as continuity that events of ‘Red is the New Black’ will be dealt with. Also, not only was the line very funny, it was very in character. Brett here is letting Jane know that he knows RJ’s alive, while simultaneously giving Jane a jab about mistaking Carter for RJ. This knowledge lets Brett come off as superior to Jane. He’s a powerful man who knows Jane’s big dark secret. Brett was deflecting, pointing out Jane’s problems to keep him from guessing Brett’s true motive, his own problems at Visualize.
Brett does this again when Jane asks him why he’d help a “lowly drone”. Stiles first says that every member of his church is like his own child, then ask Jane about he is still being chased by his demons, once again to distract Jane form his motive in getting involved in the case. Jane can’t help but rise to the bait and answers firmly (defensively?) “I’m chasing them.”
But just because Stiles got to Jane doesn’t mean Patrick isn’t aware of what Brett is doing. He quickly puts together the puzzle and realizes that Stiles is using the murder to incriminate himself and to flush out possible traitors in his organization. There were some pretty great moments to be had while Jane figures out Brett’s game.
1- First he visits Brett at his headquarters and observes him amongst his posse. Brett introduces Karl Leban (John Newton) and Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo) as “Two of my most loyal lieutenants.”
-I love Jane’s reaction to Brett’s emphasis on the word loyal and Jane’s reaction to it, you can practically see the wheels turning in his head. I suspect Brett did it to get a read out of his lieutenants, see how they’d react to his outward abject trust of them. Jane on the other hand stored the information as a piece of the puzzle to be assembled later.
2- When Lisbon tells Brett that he’s under arrest for murder, Brett’s followers all rise in his defense. It was a very tense moment which further highlighted the leader’s powerfulness. The message was very clear here, Brett is in complete control of his decisions and all of his followers as well, and can make things very ugly if he wanted to.
3-Later at CBI Jane tells Brett that Gabe’s research states Stiles always has someone else do his dirty work. Stiles replies that “That’s something you’d know a little bit about. Getting Red John to kill the San Joaquin killer that was very nice. Almost elegant I’d say.”
-Based on Brett’s reaction, I wonder if Jane’s comment that Stiles uses people was him baiting Stiles, wanting to see how much Stiles knows about Red John and Jane’s role in getting him to kill Panzer. Jane had to have known that Stiles wouldn’t let a comment like that go. At least, he should have. I guess that depends on who one believes to be the better mentalist, Jane or Stiles.
Stiles then adds “Yes, you’re coming along,” to which Jane quickly (defensively?) replies “I’m doing nothing of the sort.”
Any ideas on what Stiles meant here? Perhaps, based on Jane’s quick retort, Stiles was hinting to Jane that he is turning into the very person he’s set out to catch. It’s possible, especially based on Brett’s subsequent statements:
“You’re not very happy, are you Patrick. Perhaps you feel a bit like the sorceress apprentice, you’ve woken up a power that you can’t quite control. Tell me, how is Rosalind Harker enjoying life under FBI protection. Is she glad that you brought Red John back into her life?”
-I love the continuity here and how Brett pointed out that despite Jane’s larger than life personality and his successful manipulation of Red John, he is far from satisfied in his life. It would be great to know if Jane ever thinks about his purpose, what it is he wants from his life other than revenge. We got some hints earlier in the season, but none after the Panzer incident. Though Jane’s contention that he needed RJ to get rid of Panzer, his covering up RJ’s involvement, and Brett’s comparing Jane to the sorcerer’s apprentice hints that Jane, at one point, might have wanted to move on from hunting RJ. At least overtly. His kissing Erica a few episodes ago could also mean that he’s trying to move on from his wife’s death. It would be nice to have more evidence either to support or refute this.
What we do know is that Brett’s jabs had Jane decide that having Stiles as his ally can only be beneficial to him, especially since Jane knows Brett has information on Red John (Blood on His Hands). So Patrick plays along with Brett’s act of being a murder suspect and helps him ferret out his competition. Brett accurately figures out that Jane did this so that Stiles would owe him. Both men acknowledge the debt.
When Lisbon interrogates Brett Stiles, he unleashes his mind games onto her.
“Tell me Agent Lisbon. Do you enjoy watching Patrick Jane take over the team and your life?”
-VIEWERS REJOICE! OUR CONCERNS HAVE BEEN VOICED!
Ahem. Thank you Mr. Harper for using Brett to ask the question most Lisbon fan has been wondering this season.While Teresa’s no-nonsense attitude is a very enjoyable aspect of her character, it has been in hiding for a while now.
A few episodes ago, I wondered:
Is it me or has Lisbon become a pushover? It’s not just Jane anymore. When she asks to see Duvall and the model is all “he’s not available” she resignedly tells her to have him call her back without even trying to exert her authority (or flash her badge) as she usually does. I’m starting to think Windsparrow is right, Lisbon is exhibiting signs of being burned out by the job (or perhaps by Jane might be a more accurate statement). She’s just lacking her usual spark, spunk, and bite.
In a season where her strength of character has been questioned by so many viewers, it is particularly important to reinforce her motives on why she tolerates Jane’s increasing control especially when she still disagrees with him sometimes.
So why does she? Lisbon answer to Brett: “We close cases. That’s all that matters to me.”
– Teresa’s mantra for letting Jane get away with murder is as steadfast as it always was. It’s interesting that the reason she gives Brett is the same she gave Sam Bosco two seasons ago. But Stiles doesn’t buy into it any more than Bosco did.
“You’re telling me you love justice more than yourself. Come on justice, what is that it’s just an idea. You are flesh and blood. Why sacrifice the real for the imaginary?”
“I’m not looking for a guru I’m looking for a murderer.”
-Jordan Harper shows that Teresa Lisbon is as awesome and as subtly badass as she’s always been. Seeing her face up to a powerful and manipulative man like Stiles is very reassuring and soothing. But it remains to be seen if she can do the same to Jane.
So many fans have asked me why Lisbon continues to go easy on Jane despite his continuous errors in judgment. With regards to Red John, I figure she’s able to forgive Jane because he had always told her what he would do; he never lied about it so she had time to steel herself for the occasion.
As to his season four messes, Lisbon learned about most of them after the fact so there was very little for her to do to prevent them. I also suspect Lisbon is pragmatic enough to pick her battles with her consultant. She has to be to be able to work with him so well and for so long. She’s probably just saving her energy for when things get really bad. But I understand the concern and I myself wish that her tolerance bar wasn’t quite as high…or as low as might be the case
Another possible reason is the fact that Lisbon’s own sense of justice seems to be getting closer to Jane’s (a major theme in season three). In a comment to the Red is the New Black Windsparrow elaborated:
There are layers and layers here. Yes, she is tired of fighting the grinding gears of bureaucracy, and Jane’s machinations, and the unimaginable stress of the Gordian Knot that is the Red John case. Another factor is her shifting loyalties. When the show first started, Lisbon was married to her job. Her primary allegiance was to The Law (as the surest way to Justice) and to the CBI as a manifestation of The Law. It was easy to see that she trusted her place in the agency in general. And she relied on her relationship with her boss, Minelli, as an anchor. Over time, her shifting relationships to higher-ups eroded that reliance. While Hightower was not the personal anchor that Minelli was, in the end Lisbon’s bond with Hightower was still of primary importance as a conduit for her relationship with the agency. Then the agency betrayed Hightower in a way that would leave Lisbon feeling more than a little adrift. Then being cut loose by the agency, that would have been an even more personal betrayal. Her loyalty to the agency was punished. Jane stepped in, saving her job (and saving the jobs of her team which might inspire even more gratitude). It seems plain to me that her primary loyalty now is to her ersatz marriage to Jane and the version of Justice that he can help her to achieve.
I’m going to agree here. I’d also like to add that more and more I’m starting to believe that the joy Lisbon gets working with Jane exceeds the grief he causes her. She seems to genuinely enjoy his company now as opposed to her MO the first three seasons of avoiding him. They are friends. Good friends whom it seems spend time together outside of work. They’ve shared at least a couple of meals and she’s been to his house and even knows about the bloody smiley he still has there (Fugue in Red).
But this new closeness, as nice as it has been, doesn’t necessarily put Lisbon in a better situation to control Jane’s wilder schemes. Indeed, Lisbon is increasingly content to simply look the other way and has adopted Jane’s “no harm, no foul” doctrine. Another, which I’m actually grateful for is the “deniability” rule. I like this one because as long as Lisbon doesn’t know what Jane is up to, then her integrity (and character) remains preserved. Even if she learns it after the fact, it would be too late to stop him.
I do wonder if the poop will ever hit the fan and Lisbon realizes that, perhaps more than her friendship, Jane needs her guidance. Or perhaps that’s not true. Perhaps we’ll learn that Lisbon enjoys conceding control to Jane as it lessens the pressure on her as a boss.
Hmm. Wanna bet on it?
I do think (hope) the last option is true. Time will tell. But perhaps the perp in this episode was being used as foreshadowing to a shift in the role Lisbon plays in Jane’s life….and vice versa. But more on that later…
2nd runner up: Jane reveals Brett’s Game
The scene starts when Stiles beckons to Jane with his finger from behind the two way glass after Lisbon shows him a (doctored) photo of him leaving the crime scene in a blood spattered shirt. After that, every single word out of both of their mouths was fun, fun, fun. Really great scene.
1st Runner up: Brett’s tries to manipulate Grace
All of Grace and Brett’s scenes together were amazing, starting with how she tries to pull off the helpless maiden routine to get him to reveal if he has any property. Stiles then cold reads that Grace has a problem with her landlord and teaches her to get rid of her anger by visualizing it as smoke she exhales from her body. Grace is skeptical but tries the technique later in private. Grace later volunteers to question Stiles on who was giving Meadows information on Visualize. She is derailed when Stiles once again turns the matter on her, guessing that she has killed and asking if she found perspective from it. Grace tells him it changed her and he asks if her friends noticed. She states that they did a little and that “I think it freaks them out.” Brett replies “Of course. They don’t have the imagination or the vocabulary to converse with you about it. You know you are like a little bird that fell out of the nest. But you don’t need the nest you need to fly. And that I can teach you.”
-I loved the music in these scenes. The piano was appropriately titillating; representing the Stiles trying to entice Grace into joining Visualize, getting under her skin and into her mind. The direction was perfect.
As to the analysis, Onan 1st over at twitter asked me if I thought Grace being approached by Stiles was a move orchestrated by Jane to see what Brett knows about Stiles. It’s an intriguing possibility but I think Jane was too busy helping Stiles’ set himself up and solving the murder. We also don’t see Jane approaching or asking Grace about if Stiles tried to talk to her.
But it’s true that Jane does want to use Stiles to get to RJ. He knows Stiles has information on Red John (the Blood on His Hands) which is why he wanted Brett to owe him one. He’ll collect the favor when he needs to.
Now Brett has obviously done his homework on Grace, based on his knowing about her shooting Craig and even that she has a problem with her landlord. He would have known that she was feeling vulnerable and might fall for his tactics. I suspect that Stiles has plenty of followers in law enforcement (like the officer at the beginning of the episode). Having one so close to Jane would have been an extra bonus.
As to Grace, she did seemed intrigued by Stiles. She is, as Onan 1st stated clearly looking for “more” from this world. But thankfully she is wise enough to not fall for Brett’s tactics. Perhaps seeing how affected Nora was by him, she was reminded of his crimes. Or maybe, like she tells Brett, she truly is over bad-boys.
I don’t believe that Brett’s implication that Grace’s friends were unsupportive of her. But perhaps she took Lisbon and Wayne’s telling her to talk to someone about her problem (Scarlett Ribbons, Little Red Book) to mean that they weren’t able/willing to listen to her. Or maybe she’s right, maybe they are freaked out by her change. But I doubt Jane would have any problem if Grace wanted to talk to him. Perhaps she’s the one who is finding it hard to talk to someone who knows her. A lot of people find opening up to strangers easier than to their friends and loved ones. It’s what Jane did in Jolly Red Elf. I think that is what Grace did with Brett and I think that is the reason for her kissing him on the cheek at the end. She was grateful.
The winner: Stiles returns to his throne/murderer revealed
Cooper: “Brett, I thought-
Brett: “What you thought my corpse cold enough to loot. Do you really think I’m weak enough to be pushed aside? Do you think I’m stupid enough to be caught with blood on my hands? Tell me Cooper do I seem weak to you now?”
-McDowell here was so terrifying. If I were Cooper I would have wished I were wearing a diaper at that moment or I would have been truly embarrassed. Seriously, it was like he was channeling Anthony Hopkins from Silence of the Lambs. Speaking of which…
Anyway, Brett’s Hannibal-like terror and menace was tempered by his subsequent astonishment and disappointment that all the members of his inner circle had doubted him and voted him out.
Then Nora Hill states that she stood by him. Jane expresses surprise that she didn’t suck up to the new boss, while Lisbon states the evidence against Stiles was very incriminating. Nora had to know for sure he was innocent. Stiles then realizes that Nora is the killer. Nora then stands up and slaps Stiles, telling him viciously, “Damn you for what you turned me into!”
I just about spontaneously combusted here. What an awesome and fabulous scene!
Malcolm McDowell not only stole every scene he was in, he brought out the best in an already exceptionally fine cast. His scenes with Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Amanda Righetti, and Louise Lombard were so good it hurt. Speaking of which, the aforementioned actors were all spectacular as well.
Speaking of Louise Lombard, I went all sorts of crazy when I saw her name as a guest star. I practically flailed when she appeared on screen. CSI fans will know her as the amazing actress who portrayed beloved CSI-turned cop Sofia Curtis. I absolutely adore her and was stunned when she suddenly disappeared off the show. She is as fantastic here as she was in CSI’s 2-parter classic, A Bullet Runs Through It”. If I may veer off topic for a bit, she and Paul Guilfoyle created quite the waterworks in those episodes (television fans and wannabe screenwriters, that episode is a must-see).
Lombard is similarly phenomenal in His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts, especially in the scene where she confesses to Cho that she killed Meadows out of fear that he’ll reveal her as his informant to Visualize. She states that she honestly doesn’t feel remorse “150,000 people die every day, why should I feel anything for one man just cause, cause I was the cause of his death?” The contradicting tears and shaking jaw, proof that she’s just trying to convince herself, were part of an Oscar-worthy performance.
Icings on the cake
-Lisbon bonding with the victim’s sister. It was very in character to see how disturbed Teresa was when Jesse Meadows (Caitlyn Custer) didn’t seem bothered by her brother’s death, saying that he left her when he left visualize. It shows that Lisbon values family over everything and her showing Jesse the video letters the victim left to his sister is continuity that Lisbon tries to give the victims’ families’ closure whenever possible.
-I loved seeing Jane use his intellect to help his cause in a way that doesn’t mandate his breaking the law. Thank you, Mr. Harper for showing that this isn’t an impossible feat.
-It’s nice to see Grace and Cho sharing more scenes together. More of this please.
“Trash duty.”-Grace whispering under her breath at job Lisbon gives her.
“Is there a problem?” -Lisbon, in response to the above. Love Boss Lisbon.
“Alright, when Cho shows up grab him, spread the pain around.”-Lisbon to Grace, in response to the above, after Grace’s statement that there’s no problem.
“Pre-member bigot!” Cop/visualize member to Jane.
“Well I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.” –Brett to Jane. AWESOME
“I gotta get back to running my religion.”-Stiles
“Yes, your flock won’t fleece itself.” –Jane, in response to the above.
“Apparently you major in yourself.” Cho’s reply to Lisbon’s inquiry that Visualize has a college.
“Mind suffers from Junk food as much as the body does.”-Nora to Lisbon on why the Visualize college has no internet. SO TRUE!
“Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after ya.” Randall Parker to Risgsby. A cookie to whomever reminds me of who first said this quote.
“Hope the whole arrest your master thing didn’t ruin your lunch.”-Jane, to Leban.
“No, I can gloat from a distance” in reply to Leban’s question if he came to visualize to gloat.
“Like the Brett Signal.” Jane convincing Leban to gather Brett’s posse
“You’re good. Not as good as Jane, but good.”-Grace to Brett. Love her loyalty here.
“Either one of you framed Brett Stiles for the murder, or you didn’t.” LOL. Jane yanking suspect’s chains.
“You overestimated the courage of your bootlickers.”-Jane to Stiles
“I figured if they wanted to cook your goose a little I’d turn up the heat for them.”-Jane to Stiles.
“Well thank you Patrick, I didn’t think you cared.”-Brett, in response to the above, after Jane helps sets him up further to.
“Great sales pitch. But I’m sort of over bad boys these days.” Grace to Brett’s final attempt to have her join Visualize.
So I mentioned that how Nora was affected by Stiles might be foreshadowing on Lisbon and Jane’s relationship.I felt this way once before this season. In episode Always Bet on Red (see that review’s conclusion) I wondered if the perp’s bitterness at having her love be unrequited was a hint at a possible outcome in the event that Lisbon develops romantic feelings towards Jane.
Similarly here, I can’t help but wonder if Nora’s slapping Brett and her spitting out “Damn you for what you turned me into” is an example of why Lisbon should be more wary of her increasing closeness to Jane. Is it an indication that Jane’s lawlessness might rub off on Lisbon to the point that she herself does something wrong? I find the possibility truly intriguing and not just because, prior to the episode, I done *cough* creative writing which explores the possibility that one of the reasons Jane sometimes holds out on Lisbon is because he wants her to remain steadfast in her own beliefs, even as he ties to convert her to his own. All hopeless optimism I’m sure, but the slightest possibility that the theme might be explores has me all sorts of excited.
Do you think the writers are giving us hints via these female perps?
Last but not least:
Note: I want to apologize for being late on this review. I recently took on a new job in addition to my full time one. I also wanted to comment on this episode’s title which Harper stated comes from a poem written by Saki but I’m just too overwhelmed at the moment to give reviews the detail I’d like. I do hope readers will forgive me and help to pick up the slack 🙂
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