CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and her consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) are called to Agua Blanca, California after a tiger digs up a dead buried body. When it is revealed the victim was already dying of bone cancer, suspicion falls on his estranged son Aden (August Emerson), his attending physician Dr. Scheck (Andy Milder) and spiritual adviser Brother Joseph (Richard Cox).
Some pretty important issues were discussed in this episode: addiction, family, responsibility, fraud, ethics of drug trials, and hope. In some cases, these issues where obvious (Cho’s) while in others the references were more subtle. But the delivery always painless in this wonderfully humorous episode. An extra bonus: In Ruddy Cheeks, writer Erica achieves the feat of giving all main character’s quality screen time as well as nice *team* moments. Finally, as Jane says in this episode, “devil’s in the details”. Yes it is. 9.5/10.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)
I don’t know what is about these last few episodes. They have such a strong season one vibe it makes me want to cry with happiness. Jane, hiding behind Lisbon, her telling him to stay back at the possibility of danger, him being shy around grateful family members… While it’s nice to see how much the characters have evolved since the beginning, its even nicer to see that some things, (beloved character traits) never change.
But the feel-good Season one trend the show has been sporting recently can only mean that we’ll probably be thrilled senseless by the end of the season. We might as well enjoy the calm before the storm.
Onto the character scenes…
Agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman)
Rigsby had some great continuity in this episode both regarding his impending parenthood with as his girlfriend Sarah (My Bloody Valentine, War of the Roses) and his troubled relationship with his father.
First we get a scene of him and ex-flame and co-worker Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) arriving at work together, riding the elevator along with a mother carrying a crying baby. At Wayne’s obvious discomfort, Grace asks him if he’s ready to be a father. Wayne replies “I can cry louder than that.”
Then there is the scene where the victim’s son Aden tells Rigsby that he hated his father because he cut him off, because he left him. You can see the effect of his words on Rigsby, remembering his own father who had disowned him as well before they had it out (Like a Red-Headed Stepchild).
But Rigsby is far less sympathetic when Aden’s lies make him suspicious of killing his father. When Aden explains that his father was the reason he needed drugs saying “He had this way of making me feel so small”, Rigsby replies tersely “Not anymore.”
This is really in character as we know that, despite all their problems, Rigsby never stopped loving his dad.
Later, when approaching a possible dangerous suspect, Rigsby almost gets killed because, unbeknownst to him, a sleeping Cho arrived late to provide him back up. Cho takes out the perp but both are left shaken by the experience, albeit for entirely different reason’s.
VIS #1 Cho/Rigsby
Rigsby wants to show Cho a picture of his baby’s sonogram, but Cho abruptly tells him that they need to talk about what happened, that he is sorry he didn’t have Rigsby’s back and almost got him killed. At his friend’s distress Wayne puts the sonogram away and tells Cho that he saved his life, that Rigsby owes him. Cho denies this firmly. A confused (hurt?) Wayne says okay then leaves, unaware of the turmoil and guilt behind Cho’s brusque manner.
VIS # 2 Rigsby/Van Pelt
Rigsby does get to share his kid’s photo later when Grace sees the sonogram in his hand and he tells her he’s got a couple of weeks before his son (it’s a boy!!) arrives. Rigsby muses that if he had died a year ago, before the baby, it wouldn’t have mattered. Grace points out it would to her, but Wayne points out it would have been much more important to his baby, that “He’s a game changer.” Grace states that the baby is lucky to have Rigsby as a father and kisses him on the cheek.
-This was a very sweet moment. It’s nice to see how supportive a friend Grace is being (dare I hope that’s all it is?). Also nice is seeing Rigsby feel something other than fear towards his new role. Now he has already tried to assume responsibility for the situation by asking his girlfriend to marry him. It’s only natural those emotions would eventually be extended towards his unborn son as well. I do wonder if the look Rigsby gives Grace at the end was him pining for her, or if he’s wondering if she’s pining for him, or nothing…
I like the thought the Rigsby has come to terms with the idea of being a father. More than that, it seems that, perhaps for the first time, he’s actually looking forward to it.
Lisbon’s Character Development
So a couple of weeks ago I wondered if we were being given a hint about a possible fall out between Lisbon and Jane via murderous female perps. In this episode, there’s another possible clue that hints that all may not remain well in Jane/Lisbon land…
VIS # 3 Lisbon/Betsy: the Confession
When Lisbon figures out that nurse Betsy was taking bribes from people to get them cleared for the experimental drug trial, Lisbon accuses her: “You were selling hope.”
Betsy replies: “It’s cheap at the price.”
In Pretty Red Balloon, after Jane’s ex client forgives him for lying to her, Lisbon and Jane have the following conversation.
Lisbon: You heard her. You gave her hope.
Jane: False hope.
Lisbon: I think hope is worth it at any price.
Can we just compare Lisbon’s going out of her way to make Jane feel better about his actions then with the hard stance she took with Betsy in this episode? Good. Now that we have, it gets even better…
Lisbon figures out that Betsy killed Archer and hid his body to hide her accepting him into the drug trial despite his liver making it dangerous for him.
Betsy tells her: “He was gonna die anyway. Of bone cancer. Do you know how agonizing that is? Excruciatingly slow and painful. I made his passing easy. He never felt a thing. I ended his suffering. It was an act of kindness really.”
Lisbon replies: “I think Mrs. Braddock and his children would thinking differently.”
Ahem. As Lisbon was completely unaffected by Betsy’s statements here, I’m guessing she has no idea that Jane was present when Steiner euthanized himself in episode The Red Mile.
Or maybe she was. After all, there’s a difference between Steiner, who had no one, wanting to kill himself and Braddock who obviously wanted to spend every spare moment he had with his children.
But I’m inclined to think that Lisbon, being raised Catholic, might have issues with suicide, especially considering how she stated that when her father killed himself, he “damn near killed us too” (episode Red Tide). I always understood this to mean that the pain his death caused was what nearly killed her and her brothers. Otherwise, she would have said “he almost killed us, before he killed himself”.
But I digress. The point I’m trying to in-eloquently make is that Lisbon’s stance with Betsy here might indicate that perhaps she and Jane still have different stances when it comes to their fundamental beliefs; ones they might not even be aware of given how in-sync they have been this season. And this sets the stage for potential conflict.
After months of addiction Cho finally decides to quit cold turkey in this episode seeing as how Rigsby almost got killed because Cho over medicated and fell asleep on the job.
VIS # 5 Cho Attempts Talking to Lisbon
After the case is over, Cho enters Lisbon’s office. First she commends him on a job well done taking out the drug dealer with Rigsby. Then when she senses something is up she asks him if everything is okay. Cho tells her no, to which she seriously, kindly, responds:
“This is a safe room. You can talk about whatever you’d like here.”
Cho says okay and steels himself to speak, but seeing Lisbon’s concern can’t bring himself to admit his drug problem. Instead, he apologizes for being late that morning (his girlfriend had turned off his alarm) and promises to never let it happen again. Lisbon says “okay”, knowing something else is up but before she can ask him about it Cho bids her goodnight and leaves.
-Can I just say how much I love Ms. Swafford’s writing of Cho and Lisbon? She made me shout with glee in season three’s Bloodstream when he called Lisbon out on putting walls between herself and her team. In this episode, Lisbon’s attempt to eradicate that wall between herself and her coworkers, so that he’ll feel like he’s able to confide in her, made me just as happy.
But despite Lisbon reaching out to him, Cho can’t admit his problem. Perhaps he feared losing her respect, or maybe he didn’t want her to be disappointed in him. Whatever the reason, the regard and respect Cho holds for Lisbon is obvious. That is truly wonderful to see as it has not always been the case (Blood In, Blood Out).
Cho ultimately decides to fix his problem on his own, throwing out all his pain pills. I wonder if he’ll be able to pull it off. I also wonder if Summer will be a hindrance to his attempts seeing as how she downed one of his pills at the beginning of the episode. Not sure that bodes well for the happy couple. And Cho *is* obviously smitten; spending the night at his girlfriend’s place (I assume it’s her place) then taking her call at work. He’s not even angry at her when she makes him late for work.
The winner: VIS # 5 Cho Attempts Talking to Lisbon
Tim Kang and Robin Tunney were amazing here. I wish more writers would give them such great scenes together.
1st Runner up: VIS #1 Cho/Rigsby
Yeoman and Kang were fantastic together as well. Their characters’ friendship will always be an asset to this show.
2nd Runner up: VIS # 3 Lisbon/Betsy: the Confession
This was such a quiet moody confession. The music was lovely too.
Then there were all the delightful little Jane/Lisbon moments spread throughout the episode. One of which inspired this…
So which was your favorite moment?
“Hard to believe it’s killer.” -Jane to Lisbon about tiger. Foreshadowing anyone?
“I mean, who wears hemp other than rich men, and medieval peasants.” Jane to Lisbon on victim’s clothes.
“The smell of desperation.”- Jane to Lisbon on what the victim smells of.
“Killing a man that’s already dying, that’s a little redundant don’t you think?” -Jane.
““You’re a cool customer, you think you can outrun a tiger?” Lisbon to Jane when they find out there’s still a tiger on the loose.
“I don’t have to, I just have to run faster than you.” -Jane to Lisbon in response to the above.
“I can cry much louder than that.”- Rigsby to Grace, on baby.
“Lisbon’s going to be soo mad at you, Scary.”- Summer to a tardy Cho.
“I’ll take health any day. Once the game is over the king and the pawn go into the same box.”-Jane to Lisbon, on money. Nice continuity that he’s not interested in materialistic things (other than his suits anyway).
“I’m a consulting consultant.”- Jane on his job.
“Folks are pretty much dead by the time we show up. Best we can hope for is to catch the killer.”
“Thank you, handsome.” -Cancer patient to Jane. The show needs more moments/comments like this considering how attractive Simon Baker. It’s not realistic that Jane isn’t hit on more often.
“He had this air of finality hanging over him like a piano on a wire.” Again, foreshadowing anyone? I’m starting to think I might be wrong about Rosalind Harker…
I’ll be talking to you from now on.” Dr. Scheck, to Lisbon, after Jane asks him if he killed Braddock.
“Oh and I’m not a hugger.” Lisbon, to brother Joseph.
“The stinky red stuff curls the nose hairs.” Jane, on victim’s tea.
“That part of the act?”-Lisbon murmuring to Jane about brother Joseph’s dramatic reaction to hearing about victim’s death.
“Hard to say, it’s all so theatrical.”-Jane to Lisbon in response to the above.
“Maybe at the funeral.”-Lisbon, to Joseph, on wanting to set Archer’s spirit free.
“I’m not gonna like this am I?” -Lisbon to Jane.
“You’re gonna love it.” – Jane, in response to above.
“Oh it’s a miracle. Sister Helen has been healed.” -Jane after Helen, who was pretending to have cancer, runs out of the house thinking there’s a fire.
“Your face is going to be plastered all over the news. Let’s see how many dates you get then.” Lisbon, to Helen, furious she married the victim to inherit him.
“But at least you’ll have your eyebrows.” Jane, to Helen.
“Fascinating.” -Lisbon, to Jane, when he asks her if she knew “facts” brother Joseph was sharing.
“This is too creepy.” -Lisbon to Jane, on waiting for killer in morgue.
“Killers like creepy.” -Jane to Lisbon.
“Cancer studies are like lotteries and you were selling the winning ticket.”
“I did a cancer walk for that bitch.”- Leisl Braddock on her step-mother when she learns she faked having cancer.
-Styling. Righetti and Tunney were absolutely, naturally gorgeous in this episode.
-Whoever is in charge of product placement has been earning their keep lately. It might be that I just haven’t noticed it before but Mustang written clearly on a car’s side (but subtle enough to not be obvious), a reference to black diamond rings, a Danielle Steel novel; I hope the show is making a lot of money as it would be a waste not to capitalize on it’s popularity.
Stephani Erb did a great job as the Nurse Betsy, telling Lisbon (and believing it) that she did Braddock a favor by killing him so peacefully. Interesting perps are always better than stereotypical ones.
Director Eric Laneuville did an excellent job.
Maybe I’m just slow but it took me a while to understand who is was that Betsy taking bribes from. I assume the patients themselves to get them into the program but it could have been stated more clearly.
While Jane and Lisbon have gotten ever more close, Ruddy Cheeks sees Cho unable to confide his problem to her. I wonder if there’s a theme here. We’ve seen no sign that Rigsby had told her that he’s becoming a father. Grace also was unable to share her trauma over shooting Craig with Lisbon.
Now it’s worth mentioning that Jane only got so close to Lisbon after years of effort on his part and even then probably only achieved this due to the distinction she gives him of being a consultant, not an agent.
As to the others, they all obviously care about her. Rigsby is like a surrogate little brother while Cho is her trusted and respected senior agent. And we’ve we’ve gotten some indication that Grace looks up to Lisbon.
Perhaps it is because they hold her in such high regard they cannot seem to confide in her; they want to live up to her expectations. Rigsby might fear being considered irresponsible if he tells her about Sarah’s pregnancy, since it was unplanned. Grace is similarly always worried about appearing competent. Cho might simply be afraid of losing her respect.
I guess this is what Lisbon might call “price of power”…
On the other hand, it might be that they are not as confident that she’ll be as understanding with them as she is with Jane. I for one, don’t think that is true; Lisbon’s a pure mama bear. But maybe her increasing bias for Jane (as shown towards her conflicting views on “giving hope” up) has her team doubting her loyalty towards them.
Note: Apparently spoilers have been leaked for the season finale. I’ll be adding a spoiler post in a day or two where you can discuss it to your heart’s content. Until then, if you want to relate them to this episode, please include a clear warning followed by a few empty lines in your comment so that those who wish to remain spoiler-free (myself included) can still participate in this episode’s discussion. Thanks!
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