Mentalist Ruby Slippers Review


Guest reviewed once again by Violet the life-saver. Don’t forget to vote to tell her how wonderful she is🙂

Synopsis

CBI Agents Lisbon (Tunney), Cho (Kang) and consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) investigate the death of a man handcuffed into a car and burnt to death in a dark alley. Jane immediately links the crime to the nearby cabaret where drag queens run a show. Meanwhile, the victim’s identity is confirmed as a very young man who happened to be gay and used to be bullied in parallel by his abusive father, a homophobic coworker and a sadistic lover.

Concise Verdict

Writer Daniel Cerone keeps throwing our way excellent storylines. ‘Ruby Slippers’ offered some enjoyable funny moments, enlivening a very intense and emotional story, written with great sensibility. All in all, a highly recommendable episode.  9.5

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

‘Ruby Slippers’ shows someone who couldn’t help but stay locked in a victim status, yet manages to get help and to become someone else, someone happier and more self-assuming. There were again plenty of nice references to previous eps: Jane is seemingly thrown off his game, just like he was after the failed attempt at robbing LaRoche near the end of S3 (‘Redacted’). That discreetly underlines that the show is approaching the end of another season. Moreover, for the third time in a row, we get an episode based on spectacle; after the low run casino where we get a glimpse on Jane’s youth, the theatre enlightening his potential for tragedy, here we have a drag queen show with a very emotional aspect. Three different stages for a growing distancing with Jane’s problems that becomes almost cathartic.

Dorothy’s ‘Ruby Slippers’

VIS #1 Jane and Van Pelt visit Archie’s father

Lisbon sends Jane and Grace inform the victim’s father of his death. Archie’s father is sad, but insists that his son was nothing like him and used to be a victim. Jane senses that something is off and begins poking at the man about him not being close to his son because the boy was gay. The man then asks if they are going to write “on their files” that Archie was gay.

-I really liked Grace’s reaction to the father’s question. She simply answered that they didn’t keep tabs on people. That calm demeanour shows once again that she has mostly recovered from her trip into anger and darkness: she’s not anymore the vindictive woman who knocked over a social worker’s coffee cup because she was irritated (‘Blood and Sand’). She can stay calm in front of a man’s latent homophobia even though she’s displeased. Moreover, there’s been some time since we got to see her investigate with the consultant. She was sitting with him on his couch in last episode, but here they are on the field, where Jane has been mostly alone or with Lisbon until recently. That detail alone hints that there is more collaboration with the team.

Both Jane and Grace soon leave the father to see the boy’s room. Jane immediately points out that it’s not a normal teenager room, since the decor was obviously done by the father; the room is not personalized, not even with posters. Van Pelt comments that hers was full of them, a personal comment that also indicates that things are alright with her. Nevertheless this room serves a greater purpose than just enlightening Grace’s teen years: the lack of homey feeling is the first glimpse we have in Archie’s life, and its sobriety bordering on austerity contrasts with the glimmer of the dressing room at the cabaret. In fact, later on, the other room (or rather bed) at the shelter where the boy slept after leaving home conveys the same painful lack of comfort and privacy.

That scene indeed presents and explicates Archie’s emotional situation before dying, the same he encountered in the other aspects of his life, at work and in his love life. He had no room for his real personality, and used to be mistreated because of his weakness and/or his sexual orientation.

VIS # 2: Jane returns to the cabaret

During the investigation, Jane learns that Glenda has seen the murderer but refuses to tell anything. He then comes back to the cabaret to convince her and gets to know better the rest of the drag queens troupe. That scene is a key moment, first, investigation wise, because Glenda finally accepts to try and identify the killer because she can relate to Archie. Indeed, she had admitted before to Jane that she’s also been a target, balancing her life as a drag and a day job as Glen, a “normal” man who became cosmetologist. We also learn more about the female impersonators and Glenda’s role among them: she’s the drag mom, that’s to say a protector and a confident for each of them, as she has taught them how to dress but above all how to accept who they are. That acceptation is made even deeper since she suffered herself because of intolerance.

Jane seems very at ease with his new friends, in a way that reminds the immediate complicity he had with the nurses at the hospital in ‘Bloodstream’. He’s so comfortable in fact that he mentions in passing that he would also like to learn how to accept who he is. And for a showman as Jane, being able to confess his insecurities is something huge and this line illustrates a change of mind in our usually iron-willed consultant.

VIS # 3: Jane’s First Revelation

The truth is progressively exposed: first Glenda is unable to choose one suspect from the pick up line. When pressed by Jane, she tells that the man was slender, eliminating all three men from the suspect list. Jane really stages every step of this scene and ends up accusing the three suspects of being responsible for Archie’s despair and suicide, from the thief of a co-worker who kept bullying him, the abusive lover who hurt and threatened him, to the father who rejected him.

-That theory is credible because it explains the lack of useful information from Jane during the investigation. If he had a hunch but no proof to assert such an audacious hypothesis, he would have indeed remained silent about it in case that he were wrong. That fits his character. Moreover, this kind of downer ending is what we’re been used to in the darker episodes of the show: usually, we get a somewhat bittersweet ending in most murder cases. Besides, that also fits the criteria of classic detective stories. Desperate characters killing themselves in a way that incriminates an enemy appear in many stories, including in Sherlock Holmes’, the literary model for Jane (‘The Problem of Thor Bridge’).

VIS #4: Jane’s Second Revelation

After the case has been officially closed, Lisbon, frustrated that she can’t arrest the suspects for Archie’s murder makes do with charging them for their other crimes. Lisbon then meets Jane in the kitchen and the intimate setting makes her speak her heart. She’s saddened by Archie’s suicide. Jane then takes her to the cabaret. He has a surprise for her: Archie is alive and has become a drag queen under the name of Fifi. He’s faked his suicide and his friends helped him with his elaborate plan. Lisbon accepts to keep the secret and both investigators end up watching Fifi on stage.

-The final scene full of optimism contrasts deeply with the heart-breaking ending of the previous episode. Back then, Jane was depressed by the birth of Rigsby’s son, while now he’s pleased by Fifi’s revival. The conflict is still here, but there is healing. Besides, those two characters coming to life in two episodes in a row hint at a possible new turn of things in the show, hopefully for the better.

Furthermore, Archie’s revival is developed by the many elements that refer in a significant way to Victor Fleming’s movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939).

1) The characters:

-the most anecdotic of them is the puppy that Summer choose for Cho. In a way, it impersonates Dorothy’s little dog Toto. Not an important hint, but a cute one!

– Glenda is obviously Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the godmother-like character who helps Dorothy in her quest. Here, she gives Archie counselling about his new image, she helps him to accept himself and to act accordingly.

– Archie/Fifi explicitly refers to Dorothy at the very end, when she sings the song ‘Over the Rainbow’ with glistering red stilettos (the red slippers) and the same hairstyle as Judy Garland in the movie.

2) The storyline is cleverly transposed:

– there is an enemy to kill; back then it was the Wicked Witch of the West, whereas for Archie, the enemy is that disliked weak image of himself that attracts hate from others. Hence the fake suicide: he symbolically killed this part of him using fire, like Dorothy used water.

-The movie storyline was built as a path towards home, since “there is no place like home”. Archie had no real home to return to: his ordeal takes him to a new kind of family, and above all to tolerance, freedom and peace of mind.

-The ruby slippers are first present under the form of the broken high heel of a red shoe, glistering like the precious stone. It’s the symbol used for drags in the episode (Fifi wears another pair of them on stage and we get a glimpse of Glenda’s black stilettos before following her legs and skirt clad figure when she comes to see Lisbon in the bullpen). In the movie they were the means used to be get away from the land of Oz. Dorothy had to tap her heels together three times. Here, as a wink, it seems that the heel was found after our travestied Dorothy has symbolically tapped her shoes and the heel has broken. Indeed, she’s already returned home when the episode begins: she found a way to both hide herself and get a new life. Like her fictional model, Fifi has understood that she doesn’t need to run away from herself anymore.

Moreover, those slippers were also the first clue for the CBI team to found the guy that the bully at work kept referring to as a “princess”. There’s also a bit of a Cinderella reference, Given that the episode reunites a lost shoe (or part of it at least) and a situation where a good godmother helps her protégé to achieve happiness. The difference is that happiness here doesn’t mean for Archie only finding a love interest, but more learning to love who he is. And in this fairy tale, the main character has worked and earned his success, he’s taken an active part in his achievement.

Jane’s path on the yellow brick road

There is a parallel between Archie’s story and Jane’s. Like him, Jane needs to confront three adversaries. First, the father: Archie’s dad used violence and certainly psychological abuse on him, he restrained him to force him to become someone he wasn’t, someone like him. Jane’s father did the same thing, he forced his son to manipulate, lie and cheat. Hence Jane’s hate for whom he’s become. Second point, unease at work: Jane’s past career is also a problem, since he feels guilty for what he’s done to people who believed him. Last, Archie knew an abusive relationship with someone he loved. For Jane, Red John represents the failure of his private life, he stole what could have been the most positive thing for him. He’s ridden with guilt and regret. For Archie, these three threats are related to aggression from someone else, that’s what makes him a victim, while for Jane they are more different sides of his own conscience. Still, Archie’s rebirth, strategically aired after an episode where the consultant was surrounded by tragedy, is full of hope for Jane too.

The similarities go even further. In season 2, when the Red John case was given to Bosco, Minelli called out Jane’s lack of realism by telling him « you’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy». And another analogy with “The Wizard of Oz” is developed, starring Jane as a new Dorothy on his path towards revenge, Red John as the Wicked Witch he needed to kill before getting peace, and Glinda/Lisbon as a tutelary figure who protected and helped him out. It’s interesting to note that ‘Ruby Slippers’ showed a kind of complicity between Glenda and Lisbon. They talk together with ease and Lisbon is even dragged on stage by Glenda the drag queen.

The episode resumes a dynamic that we haven’t seen in some time but that was characteristic for past seasons: Jane investigates alone, manages to hide the truth until the end. The team gets to do the leg work, while Lisbon is relegated to her boss function, she deals with angry attorneys, demands results and chastises Jane for his lack of efficiency.

Nevertheless, the analogy now is in fact more nuanced than it was in season 2. There has been a shift in Jane’s goal meanwhile, so the conflict is more interiorized.

– He helps his Glinda in this ep, he shows her what really happened backstage. Somehow he’s become a kind of tutelary figure for her too, meaning that he’s grown up.

– He’s closer to accept who he is. There’s been an insistence in showing since S2 that he has the capacity to heal. When we compare with the shameful and self-deprecating image he probably has of himself, we can notice that he’s proven he has the same three qualities looked-for in the movie. He is a coward, who flies away from danger, yet he confronted it more than once. The brain he used to manipulate as a psychic is now a tool to serve justice. His cold heart that needed « someone better than (him) » has been proven capable of empathy. All that contrasts with Paddy from ‘Fugue in Red’, who is certainly close to the representation he has of himself (except maybe for the womanizing part): manipulative, selfish and ready to play with emotions, afraid to face the truth of his own life.

– Unlike in season 2, the coming back home part is more related to the craving for a new life than to Red John’s death. Like Fifi, he wants to live, not to die. Therefore, between he lines, this episode synthesizes that longing to live again that has been fermenting this whole season. Things are crystallized before the finale.

As a conclusion, the comparison with the old movie shows at the same time that Jane’s character has evolved and how a door has been opened. There is a possibility for him to come to reconciliation with himself and to repair the deep insecurity he still feels.

Cho and Summer

Yet, hope isn’t everywhere and Cho’s love life isn’t as sunny as it could be. Is his summertime coming to an end? Either way, the usually impassive Cho begins to have problems with his bubbly girlfriend.

Troubles begin when Summer calls him to ask his advice on a cute but irrelevant question since he’s out investigating. She wants to give him a puppy that reminds her of him. This reason for disturbing him is absolutely endearing but the woman seems not to take his job very seriously, while he does. That was already hinted with the alarm clock incident in ‘Ruddy Cheeks’, when she turned it off and he got to work late. She’s thoughtful and eager to please him, but she risks also appearing a bit clingy and immature.

Later on she barges in the bullpen to bring him lunch and collect her pay check as an informant, even though he explicitly asked her to wait until the evening. He’s not very pleased by her display of affection but his mild irritation goes further when his informant/secret girlfriend casually greets his boss, with who she’s on first name basis (the girl seems very familiar with the team indeed…). He’s afraid to be discovered and takes her into an interrogation room to have a little privacy and discuss the problem at hand: they need to be discreet or she needs to quit being his informant. That only highlights how ambiguous and uncomfortable Cho’s status is in this situation. He doesn’t want Lisbon to find out, because his career or Summer’s job are somewhat at stake, but above all because he is certainly afraid to lose her respect. He’s proven so with the painkillers incident. After all, he already told Rigsby that he was seeing the former hooker, so the problem really seems related to Lisbon. Except for Jane, she’s always the person people want to hide from. She has been given this role too at first during the romance between Wayne and Grace, only for slightly different reasons. Still, both couples wanted to stay under Lisbon’s radar not to lose the chance to keep working together.

There seems to be a problem of communication in our contrasted couple. Cho needs a bit of distance and tries to be professional and thus, keeps their relationship a secret. On the other hand, Summer doesn’t respect enough his boundaries, maybe because she’s feeling insecure, since she asked him in this episode if he was ashamed of her and she has already admitted before that it unsettled her not to know what he thinks. It’s becoming obvious that they will soon need to find a solution about the mixing of their professional and personal status.

Best Scenes

The winner: the ending. That soft and delicate singing was one of the most uplifting moments of the show. Lisbon’s emotion and the gentle teasing about it were an added bonus.

1st Runner up: Jane and Lisbon in the kitchen- going backstage at the cabaret. That scene showed how the friendship between those two has progressed. First, Jane genuinely tried to keep her out of his scheme, so we can guess he decided to tell her when she admitted to being upset with Archie’s fate. He didn’t refuse her a choice in the matter like he used to do, he didn’t hide the truth to manipulate her or to test her reactions like he did in S3 ‘Blood for Blood’. And the big difference in Jane’s motive opens the possibility of redemption and a new hope. The trust between them was also quite touching: she was not afraid to tell him her inner turmoil, he trusted her to keep his secret and probably did it out of affection for her.

2nd Runner up: Lisbon and Glenda in the bullpen. The interaction between those two were very natural and non judgmental. That was very refreshing and nice.

Best Lines

– “In this dress, darling?” Glennda, clad in a form-fitting sparkly blue gown, to Lisbon asking her why she didn’t pick up her broken heel. Female bonding all the way…

– “Whenever I get dressed, I try to conceal where I’m going, who I’m going to see and who I’m going to blow on my way.” Glenda responding to Lisbon about her drag day outfit. Seductive? Yes. Witty? Definitely.

– « Ouh ! Don’t let them know that you said that » Jane to Lisbon after she states that that nothing stood out with the drag queens… when she searched their background.

– “He’s just like you Kimball. He’s so fierce on the outside and a softie on the inside. And he’s got this squished up face” Summer to Cho. About the puppy. Yes, that’s the lamest attempt ever at convincing a hardcore cop to adopt a dog.

– “Oh my. He stops my heart every time.” Glennda when Jane pops up at the rehearsal. Ooooh, seems like someone has a soft spot for Patrick…

– “Fifi Nex… Phoenix. Risen from the ashes.” Jane to Lisbon, when he explains her that Archie has become Fifi. Pay attention, people, clues may be everywhere!

– “Is that a tear I see?” Jane to a moved Lisbon while listening to Fifi’s song. The man can’t help but tease her at any time…

– “Yeah, keep watching” Lisbon to the above. Always so human and self conscious; that’s one of her most winning traits.

Honorable Mentions

– Daniel Cerone managed to give us a hopeful episode and that alone is quite rare in the show. And the fact that the storyline was also very well built was the cherry on top.

– Carlon Wilborn did a great job in impersonating Glenda as an eccentric, charming and rather admirable character. I’d also like to point out that writer, stylists and actors managed to give a real personality to each one of the drags, from the chubby and endearing dentist to the gorgeous slender brunette in that stunning green dress. That’s rather impressive, given that we get to see them a few seconds at best.

– They also managed to personalize the team’s reactions to Glenda’s appearance. Rigsby is very amusing in his awkward but polite way; he clearly doesn’t really know how to deal with her: he calls her a “nice guy” but acts gentlemanly as if she was a woman (in front of the men bathroom of all places!). Jane is very at ease and Grace simply accepts the situation in her open-minded way, while Saint Teresa shows empathy.

Pet Peeves

– As much as I enjoyed this episode, I can’t help but think the representation of the gay community is maybe a bit reductive. The characters were either targets or drag queens when they assumed their sexual orientation. That lack of perspective is explained by the fact that the episode dealt with one specific destiny. Still, the general effect would have been better balanced if they introduced another gay character from outside that glittering world. A witness or an investigator; someone who would have showed a different take on things; who had maybe a supporting family or friends (other than just two saddened female acquaintances) or who had at least encountered more than violence or a rather awkward tolerance.

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain May, 2012. Not to be used without permission.

 

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48 responses to “Mentalist Ruby Slippers Review

  • All-I-need

    I don`t have anything to add to this review, except maybe that I really thought “Something`s Rotten in Redmund” might be my favorite episode … and then this one aired and I was promptly proven otherwhise.

    Most hilarious scene goes to Summer and Cho and “the little squishy face”. I`ve never seen Cho`s jaw drop like that! Summer deserves an award for that. Too bad no one was around to watch him develop a facial expression…

    I squealed like a little girl at the end. It was such a great Jane/Lisbon moment and I absolutely LOVED how the case turned out. Also, Glenda was hilarious and I absolutely loved her interactions with the team – especially Lisbon.

    And that is really all I have to say. I´m going to re-watch this episode at least a dozen times, that much is for sure.

    Oh, and has anyone seen the promo-pictures for the Season Finale?! Simon Baker looks 10 years younger in some of them …and that`s all I`m gonna say before I spoil anything.

  • windsparrow

    Violet – your review of this episode is championship, top-notch work. You teased out layers of meaning that I had not even begun to dig through. Considering the angst that we can expect from the next few episodes, it seems like this one is meant to be an inoculation of hope – both for Jane himself as well as for the team as a whole. Because the team is better when it is whole.

    While it has been adorable to see Jane and Lisbon working so in sync this season, it has also been worrying that they have isolated themselves from the rest of the team. With Cho’s pain killer addiction issues, and Van Pelt’s grief and anger, as well as the intrusion of normal life (becoming a father, developing a healthier than expected relationship with the mother of his child) for Rigsby – the rest of the team seemed to be pulling apart. In order for them to weather whatever storms come in the run up to the end of the season, this reunification is necessary. I truly hope that it is necessary because it gives the team the strength to hold together (or come back together) rather than setting them up for an irreparable falling apart.

  • windsparrow

    Oh, and I could add that had I written the last two scenes, Lisbon would have been muttering under her breath about the nightmare of paperwork it would take to straighten everything out officially, no way, can’t deal with it. But this way, more gracious, no excuses, she is aiding this young person in starting a new life. What actions will she have to take, what will she have to let slide, when Jane gets his turn to start a new life?

  • windsparrow

    And I keep forgetting to click on the notify of comments box.

  • Mary_N (@RobinTunneyBlog)

    Great review!

    I Loved this episode so-much.
    It was such a delicate and sweet episode, I can’t even find the words to express my feelings for it.
    I found myself playing the last scene over and over again, just to see how confident, how happy, how at ease Archie/Fifi looked. Finally surrounded by people who don’t judge him, but who just stay by his syde, because they are frieds, and family… mmm… this sounds familiar yes!😉
    And well, Over The Rainbow always makes me emotional, that song is one of the sweetest ever written, how could you blame Lisbon🙂
    And there wasn’t a ‘victim’ on this one! ;D

    How do they say, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and that’s exactly what this episode was about. Archie’s dad, the other people he happened to meet before his new family are all acceptable on the outside, but on the inside they are the worst people you will ever meet.
    The scene of Archie’s father hadncuffing his son to the chair was disgusting. Nice touch to show all the team’s reaction to that scene.

    Glenda was amaizing. Seriously! Funny, witty, and a true mama bear for all the group (sounds familiar again…). I loved her scenes with Rigs and Lisbon. “A police escort how could I refuse…” must be one of my faves!
    In general, it was beautiful and heartbreaking to see how they were all together in helping Archie. They literally gave him a new life.

    I don’t even want to comment Summer/Cho… That scene with the puppy was hilarious! xD You just gotta love Cho, bless him! Funny scenes, and I found myself laughing because as it often happens with babies, people in general just can’t keep a normal tone of voice when in front of a puppy. They are like awwww in that absolutely hilarious tone of voice, it happens to me too lol. It’s something that always makes me laugh. Puppies do that to you xD
    Also I liked the little mention of Rigsby’s baby, a little continuity🙂

    And all the mentions of The Wizard of Oz. I just watched it last Sunday, and I loved watching it thinking about all the mentions during The Mentalist episode!
    Violet covered them all already so well, and I find it interesting how Show keeps on mentioning The Wizard of Oz through different seasons…

    This is one of those episode you just want to watch again and again, and enjoy the happy ending, because we all need a happy ending sometimes🙂

  • julienic73gmail

    Love your review Violet, great job as always. @Windsparrow it’s good to see that I’m not the only one who forgets that darn notification box! My favourite line “He stops my heart every time” and Jane’s reaction to it, almost none existent but not quite. I thought Jane’s reaction to the song was touching especially after his “I wish someone would show me that trick” comment. Loved Summer and the puppy her description was perfect. This has become a strong run up to the end of the season

  • violet

    I love that Jane/ Lisbon moment too. It was very cute. The fact that he gauged her reaction showed how caring he is, but that he even commented on it was really sweet: he wouldn’t have done so a few episodes ago. He didn’t feel the need to comment, at least in front of her, after emotional events like in ‘Red Badge’ or even ‘Blood for Blood’. The familiarity they’ve come to show around each other is so endearing…

  • violet

    You’re very kind, Windsparrow!🙂

    I agree with you about the team: I’m also hoping they won’t fall apart. At the same time, I remember that I feared the same thing for last season finale, given how stupidly secretive the guy had become. And they simply evacuated the problem by making him come clean in one single conversation. I mean, they ought to be highly supportive to accept that easily that he’s been lying to them since months… Same after the trial: they acted as if he was still one of their own even though it was obvious he planned to use them all along, placing them at the mall in far enough positions that they wouldn’t have had the time to interfere with his shooting either way. Can they even pull apart from the family they’ve become now? In a lesser degree, that fells like they’re like Lisbon, ready to forgive him almost anything.

    And about the paperwork nightmare, she couldn’t straighten anything out officially. Either Archie is dead, thus they can charge his tormenters for their acts against him (and stealing/ dealing with drugs), or he’s alive and they might come after him to mess with his new life and take revenge in his little scheme. And that’s not all: Archie and his friends have used fraud and stolen a corpse. They would be in trouble. Therefore, Lisbon needs to take sides: she’s lawful and turns them in, or she’s generous and covers up for them. And yes, you’re right, it makes you wonder what she’s willing to do to ensure that Jane may have a chance at a new life…

  • violet

    The ep was wonderful, indeed!🙂
    Loved the “don’t judge a book by its cover” and the “mama bear” comments! And you’re right “the police escort” line was great too!🙂

  • violet

    Thanks! Loved that line too, it was my favourite! Makes me crack a smile every time!🙂

  • reviewbrain

    🙂 Seeing all the love Violet’s getting makes me insanely happy. She certainly deserves it. And I know that if this blog ever becomes too much I have someone who’s perhaps overqualified to take over.

    Here’s my two cents:

    “Jane seems very at ease with his new friends, in a way that reminds the immediate complicity he had with the nurses at the hospital in ‘Bloodstream’. He’s so comfortable in fact that he mentions in passing that he would also like to learn how to accept who he is. And for a showman as Jane, being able to confess his insecurities is something huge and this line illustrates a change of mind in our usually iron-willed consultant.”

    I’m not sure how seriously we should take this, as Jane could have just been saying that to gain Glenda’s trust. On the other hand, it certainly fits with the strained relationship we’ve seen between him and his father.

    On the *other* hand (yes, that’s three hands now) it doesn’t fit with what Jane thinks of himself as needing someone better than him. Hmm.

    Here’s more food for thought: Jane sharing something about himself to victims, or their loved ones has been his MO since season one. In he tells a child to talk to his dead mother, that he talks to his dead wife all the time. In season two he tells Jeff “self pity will kill you, take it from someone who knows.” I’ve always thought that his selflessness in using painful experiences to help others also stems from an innate need to connect with people, even strangers, because really who else does he have? It’s like when he wore his heart on his sleeve and talked to the AA group in Jolly Red Elf. For some people, its easier, less threatening to talk to strangers than it is people.

    I wonder if this continues to be true, given how close he and Lisbon have gotten…

    With regards to Cho, despite my initial fears (mostly stemming from seeing Summer casually take one of Cho’s pain pills) I’m not sure that her behaviour in this episode is quite so threatening to her and Cho’s relationship. She could actually be good for him, that is if he chooses to see things this way. Her obvious attachment to Cho could make him run for the hills, if he were the type of guy to scare easily. He could find her attempts to lighten him up intrusive. Or, he could find them refreshing. I’m not sure we know enough about him to guess which situation would be more likely. The flowers he gave her do seem to suggest he’s serious about the relationship though, that and the fact that he told Rigsby they were for her.

    Speaking of which, does anyone else think it’s incredibly ironic that Cho is dating his CI, a co-worker? This is the person who told Rigsby he should consult a dating service so he’ll stop dating co-workers. On a more serious note, shows the trust between the two guys that Cho told Rigsby about him seeing Summer. That, or he planned on beating Rigsby up if he ever dared bring up the irony😛

    Jane:

    I love Violet’s comparison’s of Jane to Archie to Dorothy and I just have a few more quotes I found that supported this:

    “My son was a victim his whole life.”-Archie’s dad.

    It could be stated that Jane was also a victim his whole life. First, form his self-serving father. Then his father’s teachings leading to Jane’s own unsavory career path, then Red John.

    “It was my deepest fear that he’d get himself into a dangerous situation.”-Archie’s dad.

    This has probably been Lisbon’s fear since Jane first joined CBI. It certainly has been mine since the start of the show; more so post season two…and my danger radar broke itself this season; so hard has it been beeping…

    “It was a teaching moment.” Archie’s dad.

    Archie’s father’s “teaching moment” is probably what finally drove Archie away. And we already know how has Jane reacted to Lisbon’s teaching moments in the past; they don’t work. I wonder if this is more foreshadowing to upcoming events.

    Or it may be like Glenda says “Sometimes a dark alley is a dark alley”.
    Which, in itself could be a message that we shouldn’t over-analyze everything on this show😛

  • violet

    Wow, don’t know what to say. That’s a bunch of touching compliments all wrapped up in a great comment… Thanks!🙂

    So, about Jane’s little admission; you said “on the *other* hand (yes, that’s three hands now) it doesn’t fit with what Jane thinks of himself as needing someone better than him. Hmm.”

    Not so sure that it doesn’t fit. That he’s thinking that he isn’t a good enough person doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to improve. In fact, I think that he deeply wants to be proven wrong about himself. That’s the biggest trick ever indeed: to be able to see himself as others see him, that the charming façade he puts up for the world might held some truth after all. He’s after reconciliation and that’s precisely why he needs a woman who’d prove him that there’s something worth of love in him.

    “Here’s more food for thought: Jane sharing something about himself to victims, or their loved ones has been his MO since season one.”
    Yes it’s been and moreover all what he said has been proven true: he’s admitted to Grace that he talk to his dead wife, therefore he wasn’t lying to this little boy back then. “In season two he tells Jeff “self pity will kill you, take it from someone who knows.” That too is true: he can’t be unaware that all his wallowing in self-pity of his wasn’t “healthy” as Lisbon put it about that attic: the proof? He’s been concocting plans worse and worse to catch RJ. Back then he was chasing him, now not only did he become a murderer, but he had a hand into RJ’s acts. Once again, he has shown after the fact that what he said was true. And it’s even more obvious with the AA reunion. Therefore, his admission to the girls may very well be sincere too. The thing is he didn’t have to gain Glenda’s trust: he already had her sympathy and just had to push a bit more of guilt on her shoulders to convince her, and that’s what he did at the end (or so we though at the time). So I think you’re right: it’s easier for him to spoke his heart to strangers, first because they don’t know the depths of his situation, and also because he won’t have to face their reactions afterward if they were to understand what he really means. Lisbon would know both so it’s far more bounding to tell her those things.

    I share your doubts about the way they’ll handle things with Cho. Summer is definitely endearing, but I guess the track record for couples in this show doesn’t bode very well for her (or for Sarah for that matter). And yeah, the situation is delighting in its irony: no-nonsense and straightforward Cho going out with his employee and a former hooker… He’s lucky Rigsby is a good friend and doesn’t shove it in his face!😉

    On another hand (that’s your fourth!), I didn’t check, but wasn’t Lisbon who told Glennda that “sometimes a dark alley is just a dark alley”? Our dear clueless Lisbon who didn’t know that her dark alley here held many secrets?😉

  • reviewbrain

    I didn’t check either but I think you’re right. And your point that she was proven wrong in this instance might be more foreshadowing in future episodes. In Red Hair and Silver Tape, Lisbon told Jane: “Not every case has a secret within a secret within a secret” (paraphrasing here). And her statement here about dark alleys being just dark alleys shows that she still doesn’t dig too deeply to find possible secrets. I actually think that’s part of what makes her and Jane get along so well. Can you imagine if she’d try to analyze Jane the way we do? Second guess his every move and motive? They’d be at each others throats all the time. On the other hand (fifth now?) this little flaw of hers could be the cause of her downfall. Sorry for the drama; blame all the Shakespeare references this season :p

    Seriously, in Red Hair Silver Tape, Jane almost died because Lisbon didn’t take his hunch seriously and was left trapped in a room with two killers. She’s long since learned to trust his instincts (almost to a fault) but is she as ready to trust hers? This is something Jane actually tried to get her to do early on this season.

    I look forward to see if any of these thoughts will prove relevant…

  • Wallaby UK

    I do hate being 4 episodes behind here in the UK 😦

    I’m so greedy to know what happens with The Mentalist though, despite normally hating spoilers.

    That said after reading the review before watching an episode has made it quite interesting, I’m looking more at every nuance and try to analyse it more, then I think to myself do I agree or disagree with the review.

    All I can say is I’m getting much more out of The Mentalist, so thank you reviewers 🙂

    So to my favourite characters of this season, Cho and Summer. It looks like I’m going to enjoy this episode with seeing the interaction between the two, but it looks like it’s going to be bitter sweet, given your thoughts on where it’s heading, and since next weeks episodes synopsis discusses Cho’s feeling of whether he wants to continue with his relationship with Summer, it looks as if this episode has been setting it up. If they do part, I hope it will be open ended, with a chance to bring Summer back.

    I shall wait with baited breath on next weeks review…

  • zee

    Hello Reviewbrain & Violet,

    An episode full of excitement and pizzaz. Loved the intertwining ‘Wizard of Oz’ themes and did not overwhelm the case of the day (them girls wouldn’t like that)…

    For a start, Lisbon’s leniency under Jane’s influence can end pretty badly. I have concerns how the dad could be so ashamed of his son, that he’s able to live with him being dead than queer? What if the dad found out that Archie’s still alive? A lot of charges might fall upon Lisbon’s shoulders. Having said that, I think Jane will take responsibility over his actions and protect Lisbon from losing her job (because he will always save her…), setting up for *that* finale.

    Summer and Cho relationship could go either way. But I feel a tad suffocated when I see Cho exasperations (Cho’s never-before-seen face expression) with Summer’s willful tactics. However, she is accomodating when Cho explains his grouses. Hey, maybe Summer makes Cho talk more!🙂

    The show has made references to lots of great literary works, so does the soundtracks used. They have a knack for taking timeless classics for poignant moments. Blinking Red Light’ episode’s “What A Wonderful World” had similar treatment, but with underlying sinister feel. I love the paradigm shift of song choice.

    Lastly, Violet, your in-depth review of character comparison is refreshing and resonates beautifully. The Possum are saying Awesome!

  • Sid

    Wondering why there’s a Kimball Cho tag. The other tags are for real people.

    Thanks for the review. There were a few sentences that didn’t make sense to me, but I enjoy reading detailed recaps after watching shows.

  • Sid

    “I do hate being 4 episodes behind here in the UK ”

    You could always do what I do. Watch online. Lots of sites to choose from. I’d hate to read about an episode before watching it. Defeats the purpose for me.

  • violet

    Glad that you found the review interesting, Wallaby! If you want to drop by after watching the episode, I’d be interested to know if you agree!🙂

    (@ Sid: well, I can understand why someone would prefer to wait a few weeks. Watching online is still considered illegal -at least where I live- and if eps are aired with only four weeks delay, why would she bother indeed?😉 )

  • violet

    Thanks a lot, Zee!🙂
    Indeed, you’re right about the “classic” references! I don’t remember that song in particular in ‘Blinking Red Light’, was it at the end? I need to watch it again I guess…Thanks to add to the list of classics!🙂

  • violet

    Sorry for not being clear enough. English is not my native language (obviously!😉 ) and I keep struggling with that darn verbose style of mine. Tell me what sentences didn’t make sense for you and I’ll explain!
    (Tags are chosen by Reviewbrain, but I guess that’s her way to reunite parts of the same arc around one character (Cho, or Summer for instance since she has some tags too). The actors’ tags wouldn’t be enough for this: they appear in every ep, even those not related to the specific arc).

  • zee

    It was the song the victim was dancing to, and Panzer had it in his Ipod or something, when they played the song “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

  • windsparrow

    “I loved her scenes with Rigs and Lisbon. “A police escort how could I refuse…” must be one of my faves!”

    I loved that Glenda was an equal opportunity flirt – always a fun kind off character to watch. And to hang around in real life.

  • windsparrow

    “I thought Jane’s reaction to the song was touching especially after his “I wish someone would show me that trick” comment. ”

    It was almost as if he was paying more attention to Lisbon’s reaction because he was afraid to face his own feelings on it. In this, as in so many other areas of their partnership, Lisbon stands between him and peril.

  • All-I-need

    I watch online, too. I live in Germany and it takes them six months to a year to dub the episodes and air them over here. Watching online, I can see the episodes the day after they`ve aired in the US AND I don`t have to fight the urge to kill the translators, which is always a bonus. Also, I don`t see how watching them online could possibly be illegal since they`ve already aired on television, for god`s sakes. It can`t possibly get any more public, can it?

  • All-I-need

    I don`t think this case can backfire on Lisbon. Even IF the father found out that Archie is still alive, there is no way to prove that Lisbon (or any other member of the CBI) knew about it and I highly doubt the DragQueens would rat them out – especially since Jane and Lisbon clearly promised to let the matter drop. Archie still being alive is so far-fetched that I can`t see how anyone might think the CBI found out about this – they were investigating a murder, after all, and when investigating a murder, you don`t expect your victim to still be alive and dressed as a woman.

  • violet

    Well, unfortunately, it is *still* considered illegal in many countries because watching online doesn’t give money to the creators and diffusers (TV network, producers, …). People may stop the watch it on TV for example (no more profits with ads), or more frequently they don’t buy the DVDs, since they can watch theirs shows without paying for them. That’s called theft of intellectual property: basically you take something that has been created by someone else, and thus prevent them from earning the money they deserve for their work. That’s why Megavideo was closed some months ago for example. Now, like almost everyone here, I watch them online too (I’d have to wait six months too if I didn’t), but I was just saying that I can understand why someone who has the good luck to have the eps aired with only four weeks delay would choose not to do it and wait. That’s all.

  • reviewbrain

    Thank you Violet for your explanation. Now if I may I would like to end this discussion as this blog in way condones breaking any laws. Thank you all for your understanding.

  • reviewbrain

    Very interesting thought. I wonder if Lisbon does this too..having someone to worry about keeps one from thinking about his/her own problems…

  • violet

    Sorry for that Reviewbrain, didn’t mean to get you or your blog in trouble. (And as it is, dear Jane’s example is enough to convince anyone of the dangers in not respecting rules and laws…😉 )

  • windsparrow

    Oh, no doubt she does. But I think she may have worked through her issues well enough to have a healthier balance.

  • JustMe

    Whatever your first language is Violet, I’m sure you are far more fluent in English than I would ever be in your native tongue.

    I don’t know if its the fact that we have such jarring spoilers for the finale that I feel just this sense of dread at every interaction. I do think that it will all be a good end for the Jane Lisbon dynamic but I sincerely dread the journey but I also look forward to it.

    Anyway, back to the episode.

    I do like the little moments of trust between Lisbon and Jane, love that Jane was getting flirted with from Glenda, love the pug.

    Loved how Archie found acceptance in a world that was far removed from how he was raised, much like Jane has. Growing up in the morally ambiguous world he did and then finding acceptance in the law abiding black and white world of the CBI.

    I still remember in the first season when Jane called Lisbon “Glenda the Good Witch” in Minelli’s office when he quit. Maybe he sees her as his saviour much like Archie’s saviuor was Glenda.

    Anyway, on to the angst and destruction of the last episodes. I will be watching between my fingers as I will have my hands firmly over my eyes…

  • Sid

    sorry reviewbrain didn’t mean to condone breaking the law

    violet, which example by Jane?

  • Sid

    I didn’t completely understand this bit.

    “Moreover, for the third time in a row, we get an episode based on spectacle; after the low run casino where we get a glimpse on Jane’s youth, the theatre enlightening his potential for tragedy, here we have a drag queen show with a very emotional aspect. Three different stages for a growing distancing with Jane’s problems that becomes almost cathartic.”

    Low run casino would be cheap casino? Wasn’t sure what that meant. Also, what glimpse of Jane’s youth? All that was there was a reference to a performance he once did. Not sure why the theatre enlightened the potential for tragedy. I assume you’re referring to his role as the ghost.

    Finally, what did you mean by a “growing distancing”? thanks

  • zee

    Yeah, on hindsight, I thought it would be equally far-fetched for Archie’s dad to find out and drag the case once again…thanks for the enlightenment, All-I- Need!

    It just didn’t sit well with me that Jane and Lisbon allowed the Dad to believe his son’s dead. Wouldn’t it bother your conscience? Okay, the Dad was vehemently shameful of his son, but the loss of a son’s death, surely doesn’t equate to that…

  • windsparrow

    “It just didn’t sit well with me that Jane and Lisbon allowed the Dad to believe his son’s dead. Wouldn’t it bother your conscience? Okay, the Dad was vehemently shameful of his son, but the loss of a son’s death, surely doesn’t equate to that…”

    Jane, having firsthand experience at grieving his only child, probably thinks it is a reasonable punishment for that father’s abusive treatment of that young man. The expression on Jane’s face as he watched the video was telling – I had the impression he wanted to drag the man out behind the nearest woodshed, make him select a willow switch (a nice supple stick from a tree, once upon a time a recognized means of disciplining children), and beat some sense into him.

    I am not sure quite what Lisbon was thinking, but I know in her shoes, I would be thinking “My dad may have been a drunk who abused us, but he was a drunk; this guy is supposed to be an expert on educating children and he tortured his son. I’d like to run him feet-first through an industrial-strength meat slicer.” And so be quite content to follow Jane’s lead on this.

  • windsparrow

    “And about the paperwork nightmare, she couldn’t straighten anything out officially.”

    True, but if she had decided to strictly adhere to the law regardless of who got harmed, there would have been a nightmare’s worth of paperwork – and having decided to let things stand as they are for Fifi’s benefit (as well as all the other fabulous ladies involved) it would make a convenient excuse to cover up the sentimentality of that choice.

  • reviewbrain

    Actually I’m inclined to agree with Zee here. Not all people are born with the capacity to be accepting of things they don’t agree with. Archie’s father seemed to genuinely believe what he was doing was best for his son, regardless of whether his methods were right or wrong. I think Lisbon understands this on some level, though I wouldn’t want to presume how that might affect her judgement. But here’s a thought: Lisbon going along with Jane might stem from a more pragmatic place (her new Jane philosophy of alls well that ends well) than iterated by our passionate Windsparrow. Archie Sr. obviously is ill equipped to deal with his son being different, so why put father and son through the trauma of being unable to be in each other’s presence when they can be happier without each other’s existence?
    Just another possible explanation to her silence…

    Case-wise, I don’t think it would have mattered. Bertram showed that the higher ups are hardly concerned with accuracy. I’m guessing she’s decided if he gets to make his calls based on what gives him less beareaucratic headaches then she can do so for the sake of a young victim’s safety and happiness.

    Last point, is it really any more shocking than any of the other stuff she’d let slide this season? We’ve been properly brainwashed to accept anything from her at this point…

  • violet

    This paragraph was referring to the past episodes, since something about Jane happened on stage in each of them. In the casino (yes low run meant “cheap” here), we were given a bit more detail about his youth, because we met a friend who he knew 16 years before. We get to see how they interacted and the way his friend perceived him based on who Jane was before. The theatre enlightening “his potential for tragedy”: there’ve been references to Shakespeare all this season, in particular to ‘Hamlet’, and my interpretation is that they point out that Jane may be in the middle of a tragedy himself, like Shakespeare’s character (see the review for ‘Something’s Rotten in Redmond’ for more detail). That’s somewhat the same metaphor used in here with the ‘Wizard of Oz’: the storyline and the references say something about Jane himself. Therefore, we can say that each of these three stages show a different but equally important element in Jane’s character:
    1) his past as a carefree fake psychic before his family’s murder (the Jane his friend knows)
    2) what is related to the murder (revenge, bad choices in his battle against RJ and their terrible consequences) that may end up in tragedy
    3) the possibility for a rebirth or a new life that might be given to him or at least that he craves, as it was shown this season.
    The fact that each of these aspects was associated with a stage is cathartic: it’s a way to put things in perspective. Representing something on a stage (a problem or a troublesome situation) is often used as a way to distance oneself with it, to be less emotionally involved and to try and get a clearer view on it. And that was what I meant with the “growing distancing”: Jane is probably about to get a clearer view on what is his life and what he wants in it.

    Is that a little better?😉

  • violet

    Thanks for your indulgence, JustMe!🙂
    I really like the parallel you drew about Archie’s two worlds and Jane’s ones. Really spot on: Archie leaving his impersonal rooms to enter the glittering world of the cabaret vs Jane leaving his colourful and shinny past as a rich psychic/former carnie/professional liar to come to the “black and white” world of law enforcement. So true!

    And you had a great idea! I’ll be using the same position as you to watch next episodes… As it is I might even hide my head under a pillow for good measure…

  • violet

    I’m not sure she thought so far ahead in fact: she’s a protector by instinct after all. She felt bad that a good young man had killed himself because he was too unhappy to cope with his life. Then Jane showed her that the sordid story had another, better ending: so she did what she does best, she protected him. The other reasons (punishing the father/ doing what was best for father and son; keeping her head out of a paperwork storm, and so on) might have come to her mind, but after the first primal though Lisbon-Mama bear must have had: “must protect the boy”.

    And yes, you’re right Reviewbrain: we’ve been brainwashed. Before, we hoped that Jane would ultimately do what was right and Lisbon would ensure it; now, we hope he’ll get away with whatever he does and we also hope that Lisbon will help him with it…

  • reviewbrain

    Actually, dear Violet, I’m still hoping they both get a wake up call. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again; Jane is only human. He’s been wrong plenty of times and Lisbon needs to know when to step in to keep him safe (that mama bear instinct you’ve mentioned has been dead this season, in this respect). I in no way hope Jane gets away with whatever nor that Lisbon helps him get away with it. It actually ticks me off to no end when that happens (within reason). I’m just saying we’ve been brainwashed to accept the fact that she lets Jane get away with murder. Because, now that she’s done so (literally) nothing else she accepts *can* shock us. It was a gradual change that the writers have laid carefully and as I writer I greatly appreciate that. And I like the fact that, as his friend, she’s stopped trying to control Jane. As his boss, however, they still got a can of worms that I’m very excited about and hoping to see them deal with.

  • violet

    Well, I realize that my words were a bit extreme. When I wrote them I was thinking more about the little things, when Jane provokes suspects, when he does dangerous things to prove that he’s right. For example the time when he convinced Lisbon to wait with him in the morgue in hopes the killer may come steal the corpse. The first time this kind of things occurred, in ‘Red Carpet Treatment’, he had to use this plan because he was sorely mistaken and Lisbon was not pleased at all. But in S4 it was his original idea and Lisbon was skeptical but more curious than angry. And the scene was quite funny! So, now we don’t hope that he’ll just get more reasonable under Lisbon’s influence: we enjoy seeing him play his eccentric tricks and we hope that Lisbon will be playing along. In a way, Jane’s antics have the same influence on us than they had on Lisbon. We’ve been lead to think more like him, to adopt his logic (for instance that’s why we get more insight in what he thinks during an investigating now than we did in the first season).

    Now, I realize that, indeed, that could be applied to murder too… But I think that the case is slightly different for her: did she let him get away with it simply because it was Jane and she cares for him? Or because she could think of a justification for it? Because she believed it was RJ that he killed, then discovered that it wasn’t, but then Carter happened to be a monster and Panzer was one too, and so on… In a way, she reacted similarly in ‘Blood for Blood’: she knew that the girl was in fact a victim who was defending her life, that’s why she decided to help her. I mean, although it’s true that she tends now to follow his logic very easily, she still does what she thinks is right. He may have bent her morality to adjust to his, but he didn’t corrupt her completely. She didn’t approve what he did with Panzer, so there’s a high probability she wouldn’t condone another murder or something like that, I think.

    Nevertheless, you’re still right, the increased tolerance Lisbon is showing certainly sets the stage for a wake up call, because she’s definitely not protecting him from himself. He’ll have to deal with the consequences of his acts.

  • windsparrow

    Reviewbrain wrote, “Archie’s father seemed to genuinely believe what he was doing was best for his son, regardless of whether his methods were right or wrong.”

    I disagree with you on Archie Sr.’s good intentions. When I was in my 20s I read a book called “People of the Lie” by M. Scott Peck. It is a discussion of the psychology of evil. There is a fairly decent summary of it in the author’s Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_Peck#People_of_the_Lie One of the most prominent characteristics of evil people the author describes is (in my own crude words) controlling someone else’s life in a way they have no business doing. The wiki entry lists nine characteristics of evil people; Archie Sr. meets seven of them from what I saw of him (or can reasonably extrapolate about his character). Evil people, as opposed to sociopaths, have consciences; they willfully suppress the conscience (lying to themselves and others about the wrong that they do, hence the title of the book).

    Yes, there are some things that a parent may coerce their child to do, legitimately and appropriately. It is right and good for a parent to force a child to stay out of a busy street full of speeding cars. It is well within reason for a parent to force a child to take medication. It may be necessary for a parent to physically force a teenager not to drive while high. But there are some parts of life where it is better to establish and enforce consequences (reward for desired behavior, punishment for undesirable behavior) and then let the child make his or her own choice. For an older teen, homework is one of those areas.

    Huh. Look at that. I may have issues; I might be projecting onto Jane the strength of my own abhorrence of Archie Sr.’s actions.

    Violet wrote, “The other reasons (punishing the father/ doing what was best for father and son; keeping her head out of a paperwork storm, and so on) ”

    I hope I have managed to make it clear that I do not think the paperwork tangle is an actual motive for Lisbon – just that it would make a cover story for her real reasons, the more sentimental ones of protecting the fledgling phoenix and the cabaret cohort who provided the chance to start that new life. Kind of like a tough guy claiming allergies cause the watery eyes and sniffly nose he has after watching a tear-jerker movie.

    I do not really feel I have a good grasp on what Lisbon thinks of the father and his crimes. She might feel losing his son is not so much a punishment as the unintended consequence of his choices in child rearing.

  • reviewbrain

    I tend to agree with your last paragraph that Lisbon sees Sr. Losing his child as a consequence. It fits with her sympathetic albeit detached character.

    I guess well have to agree to disagree about senior. The man was confident enough about his methods that he didn’t even feel ashamed when he explained them to the CBI. That tells me he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. The guy was writing a book, for God’s sakes, so confident was he in his stance.

    As to evil…it’s a very relative term and while Archies father isn’t going to be winning any parenting trophies anytime soon, he doesn’t fit my definition of evil (unfortunately, there are worse crimes in this life than his).

    I hope to check out your link, thanks for that. I’m very interested to see how Jane ranks. Ironically, when you talked about evil and people controlling other peoples lives, my mind immediately went to him…irony, how I loathe thee..

  • All-I-need

    @ Sid: I think everything Jane does is an example of law-breaking. Shooting someone in a shopping mall comes to mind. As does stealing paintings from a mobster. Breaking into houses. Framing innocent people for murder. I could go on…

    And I`m sorry, too, Reviewbrain.

  • Sid

    Yes. Thank you.

  • Arco

    Regarding the father–

    In this case, I think that you are forgetting that young Archie isn’t dead as is the usual case. If he wants to reestablish a relationship with his father at some point, that’s up to him–not up to Lisbon or Jane.

  • Me

    Nobody seems to notice Cho shutting the pretentious bookseller up with his knowledge of literature.

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