When CBI Agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) is arrested, he has to explain himself to Professional Standard’s head Special Agent J.J. LaRoche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) to prove he is innocent of a crime viewers gradually become privy to through flashbacks. It all starts when Rigsby’s convicted dad, Steven Rigsby (William Forsythe) was found injured at a crime scene in Carson springs, where a young man with ties to the town’s major drug family was killed.
Pruitt Taylor Vince is back! PTV is back!!! CREEPY BUT FLUFFY LAROCHE IS BACK!!! Woohoo! My undying love for the character (and the actor) has been well documented, (time and time again) so I know viewers will forgive my flailing here. This was a fabulous episode made even more so by bringing back a couple of this show’s fabulous guest stars. By the way, I think it’s safe to say that writer Jordan Harper has become the new Ashley Gable of this show. He tends to focus on Lisbon and Rigsby. He knows them inside out. He puts them in challenging situations. And he enjoys making viewers cry. Also, continuity, people! Continuity and foreshadowing! Top it off with great acting, beautiful music, and a clever script, and you’ve got a winner. 10/10.
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)
Before I get into the review, I’d like to recap some very important observations Violet made about Rigsby Sr. in her guest review of “Like a Red-Headed Stepchild”:
Is that me or Steve also reminds a little of Jane himself? A few hints seem to draw an analogy between them: in VIS #1, he affirms he can get the killer in ten minutes (that’s so Jane-ish!) and he’s sprawled on a couch. He’s a cold manipulative jerk. He slyly plays on Rigsby’s feelings, calling him “son”, never by his given name, even when he insults or threatens him. And what is more revealing, Wayne’s attitude towards them is comparable: he never tried to set the record with Jane’s sometimes mean tricks, nor does he with his father. He lied for them and let them get away with it even when he knows that he’s been had. And that’s where we can see Grace’s influence, because he decides to react after this last manipulation.
Fans will remember that Rigsby’s reaction was to finally face his father. The two come to blows, and Rigsby took his father down, but never delivered the final punch. The fight allowed the two to part on better terms then they had met. Steven’s parting words, “See you around, son” were perhaps the one time he used the familial term without an ulterior motive; he used the term sincerely. Genuinely.
Now in this review, I’ll be elaborating on Violet’s insightful comparison of Jane to Steven, as well as her contrasting of Rigsby to both his father, and to Jane. This will be done where relevant and as the topic presents itself.
VIS #1 Teaser
I knew I would love this episode before the opening credits. The set-up was brilliant. First we see, for the first time, Rigsby’s baby (who incidentally, looks very much like his dad). The baby sitter tells Rigsby that his son is “a good boy, like his father.”
-This statement alludes to themes addressed in previous episodes (Bloodsport, Like a Red-Headed Stepchild). Mainly, it recalls Rigsby’s fear that criminal behavior is hereditary and therefore hints that once again he’ll face his criminal father.
Two agents come to arrest Rigsby from his apartment, practically in front of his son. And just in case that wasn’t enough to keep viewers interested, the next scene which takes place at the CBI has J.J. LaRoche in it, greeting a sober Lisbon and Jane, before going in to question Rigsby. J.J. tells Rigsby that “If I don’t like what you have to say, you could walk out of this room charged with murder.” Rigsby then begins his tale, starting with how he got called to a crime scene in Carson sprints, and how his father was found there.
– Talk about a powerful hook! No way anyone changed the channel after that.
VIS #2 Wayne and Lisbon visit Steven in the Hospital
As LaRoche questions Rigsby on the last time he saw his father, we see a montage of Steven being rushed into surgery at a hospital, with Rigsby running alongside of him and sitting down to wait with Lisbon.
-When the team found Steven, his son’s first statement to him was “What did you do, dad?” establishing that he knows his father enough to recognize his propensity to make trouble. But Rigsby’s main concern is still his father’s health. This was nice to see and very in character for the sensitive agent.
Lisbon stands by Rigsby and joins him in asking the doctor about Rigsby senior’s health, before asking if she can ask him some questions. Rigsby then adds “both of us”.
-Lisbon’s support here was lovely to see and builds on the sibling-like relationship her and the younger agent share. But her double take at Wayne when he said “both of us” shows that she doesn’t approve of him being further involved with the case, as becomes clear in a later scene.
Rigsby expresses how worried he is about his father. Steven brushes his son’s concern and questions on what happened with his own inquiry: “So tell me, boy or girl?” Rigsby is surprised that his dad knows he has a child. Senior informs him that his cousin told him Rigsby was expecting a child. Wayne then informs him he has a son named Ben. Steven asks: “Is this little Ben’s momma over here? She purty,” about Lisbon.
-Now if Steven is any sort of criminal, then he knows Lisbon is a cop. Because, apparently, criminals have a sixth sense which helps them identify officers, as stated by this procedural (and other dramas) on numerous occasions. Therefore, despite how gorgeous Lisbon (Tunney) truly is, Steven here was just distracting Rigsby from asking questions. This is supported by his continued flirting.
Steven tells Lisbon “I gotta tell you, I could not work for a beautiful woman like you. It’s way too distracting. You dating anyone honey?” Lisbon, always the professional recognizes the compliments for what they are, a diversion, and continues questioning Steven over who shot him and the victim. Steven proceeds to take the flirtation to a lewd level before Rigsby steps in, trying to make him realize the seriousness of the situation. Steven replies “I don’t need you or any other government bitch fixing my problems.”
-So not only do we get a bunch of Lisbon love, but it’s done in a way that makes sense character-wise. Fans might recall Steven’s hot girlfriend, Rocket from his last episode. So it’s nice to see what he can be like when he decides to make his move via his flirting with Lisbon. It’s even more intriguing to see how that charm can quickly turn ugly, perhaps displaying Steven’s true colors when he calls both Rigsby and Lisbon government bitches. In this respect, like Violet pointed out, he was very reminiscent of Jane Think the team’s seafood dinner in the pilot: first Jane charms Grace and impresses her with his “magic” trick, then when she annoys him, he turns nasty and insults her by telling her to sleep with Rigsby. More on their similarities later…
Lisbon and Rigsby leave the hospital room. Rigsby is ready to continue working the case but Lisbon refuses. When he says he has to do something she starts to tell him that he can stay at the hospital but gets interrupts by Rigsby who tells her he won’t. Lisbon then tells him “I didn’t give you a choice,” before softening her tone and adding “It’s okay. Go home. See your kid.”
-I do love me some Rigsbon. These two are so awesome together and Harper writes them beautifully. The last time I remember their brother/sister relationship being alluded to was, again, in Like a Red Headed Stepchild when Rigsby confessed that his father was a person of interest in a case the team was working. But while in that episode Lisbon kept him on the case (provided another team member accompanied him) she refuses to do so here. It makes sense, since this time Steven’s involvement is much more serious. It was awesome seeing Lisbon wear both the boss and friend hats so effectively, even when Rigsby didn’t want her to watch out for him. Her protectiveness will be revisited before the end of the episode, and more in this review as I suspect it will be a major topic this season…
VIS # 3 Jane and Lisbon question Samantha, the victim’s partner
Samantha (Daisy Eagan) tells Lisbon that she and Andy managed to avoid the allure of the gangs growing up, and that as that put them in the minority, they became friends and hence naturally went into business together.
-I may be overreaching here but the fact that the victim and his friend bonded over their plight reminded me of how Lisbon and Rigsby were both abused children and how it’s a possible explanation for the strength of their bond. Not that I imagine they ever talked about it…
Jane asks why Samantha isn’t surprised that the victim was with a criminal (Steven) at the time of his death. She states “family troubles”, and reveals the fact that the victims biological father was an Overton; a member of the gang family that controls half of Carson valley. She adds that Andy’s mom left his father as soon as she realized what kind of man he was and raised her son completely on her own.
– Because of the many parallels drawn between the victim and Rigsby (good guys with criminal dad’s), I’m guessing this is pretty much how the situation was for Rigsby as well. We know his mother raised him, his dad told him that he gets his law-abiding ways from her.
– Because of the many parallels drawn between the victim and Rigsby (good guys with criminal dad’s), I’m guessing this is pretty much how the situation was for Rigsby as well. We know his mother raised him, his dad told him that he gets his law-abiding ways from her.
When Samantha states that Andy wasn’t close to the Overtones, Jane offers “But he couldn’t escape them either.” Samantha responds “Its family. You know how that is.”
– Yes, yes we do. We’ve seen Lisbon having Jane and her teammates’ backs because she considers them family. And we had Rigsby lying to provide an alibi for his abusive dad in episode Blood Sport. Then there’s Jane. I found his use of the word “escape” very interesting. His family has been dead about a decade and he still hasn’t been able to sever the bond he had with them. This conversation gives more support that the theme of family bonds, and what they cost, will be a major theme. Again, it will be revisited before the episode (and review) is over.
VIS # 4 Rigsby Defends the Team
LaRoche assumes that Lisbon invited Rigsby back on the case after Cho and Jane discovered that he’d disappeared from the hospital. Here, Rigsby adamantly says: “No, she didn’t invite me. She was reluctant, but I was insistent and she warned me to be very careful. I want that clear.” When LaRoche asks why Cho didn’t accompany Rigsby to the bar where his father was meeting his girlfriend, Wayne starts to say “We,” but quickly amends his statement to “I thought it was more likely that he would come quietly if I was alone.”
-Love how worried Rigsby was that his friends would get in trouble over his actions. Very in character. Also, I have to say that when the episode switched back to this scene in particular, I had been so into the plot that I completely forgot about Rigsby being arrested. That’s a good thing because, when not done well, viewers tend to zone out waiting for flashbacks to end. Not the case here.
VIS #5 Rigsby Meets his Dad
The episode switches back in time, to Rigsby going to the diner where his father was meeting his girlfriend. Senior refuses to go back to the hospital and tells Wayne he’s not leaving without a fight, to which Rigsby replies that he’s not fighting his father anymore and sits down to have a beer with his dad.
-We got another allusion to the last time the two men met. Also, Rigsby seems to have learned a few tricks from Jane. Him sitting down with his dad was a method to bide his time until he could get Steven to talk. This was illustrated by having this scene switching to Jane and Lisbon at this point, before switching back to the Rigsby’s, allowing for passage of time.
After drinking together for a while Rigsby calls out Steven on how he doesn’t know who shot him, because if he did he’d be hunting him down, as per his “code”. Steven then admits that he didn’t see anything; that he was at the scene to help the victim who told him someone threatened to burn his barber shop if he didn’t show up. Rigsby thanks his dad who then asks to see pictures of his grandson. He laughs at the baby pics and asks who the mom is. Rigsby tells him “We’re split up. Team was working a case, I faked my own death, she got mad, it’s complicated.”
-Am I the only one heartbroken at the news that Rigsby and cute and feisty Sarah have broken up? Worse, I’m now worried that this was done, to get Rigsby and Grace back together, only to have one of them killed leaving the other in agony over the death. It’s not total paranoia when you consider the hint the previous episode gave us that a team member will get killed. Or is it?
Steven tells Rigsby to not go too easy on his son, to which Rigsby replies: “No parenting advice, thanks.” His father tells him “What do you got to complain about. I did my job. You’re still here. You’re a man of respect. You walk around all over the place with a legit weapon. You got a handsome son. I did a good job.” When Rigsby concedes the point his dad tells him, “Damn right,” reaching out to his hand, before adding “I could’ve drowned you at birth.”
-I’m hoping Steven here was just joking to offset his sudden burst of tenderness, rather than a revelation that the thought had actually crossed his mind to kill Wayne when he was born. Most likely, he was tacitly trying to show Rigsby that, despite how bad a father he was, he wasn’t that bad. I think Rigsby got the point. He’s forgiven his dad to the extent of allowing him to see his son, albeit reluctantly. Which makes the fact that he died before he was able to do so only more tragic. Although, Steven’s statement saying that he goes when he decides to go, along with the song lyrics “I’d rather be dead,” hint that Steven simply wasn’t interested in the quiet living that would have kept him alive.
VIS # 5 Rigsby Kills his Dad’s Killer
I want to preface this section by pointing out how keyed up Rigsby was after his dad’s death, and his brief encounter with Jane and Cho at the elevator. Cho had told Rigsby “I know what you wanna do. You can’t do it. You didn’t like growing up with a dad in jail, Ben wouldn’t like it either.” Jane, by just seeing the two men’s stance knows exactly what they are talking about. Was his statement to Rigsby “Better let us handle this,” a genuine reiteration of Cho’s wise advice? Apparently not.
What I found very interesting was Rigsby’s motive for going after his father’s killer. He’d said to Cho: “If I got shot, he would’ve found the man who pulled the trigger and taken care of it.”
This explains why by the book Rigsby is doing something as out of character as taking the law into his own hands. It might also indicate that Rigsby is not thinking clearly, after all, he is not his father. But grieving people aren’t exactly known for their sound judgment.
Now the way the scene was written, thankfully, needed for Moss to be put down. Rigsby’s use of lethal force was, as LaRoche says later, completely justified. What’s less clear is his presence at the scene in the first place.
VIS #6 Jane, Lisbon, and LaRoche’s Revelation
Jane sits as Lisbon’s desk as she writes up the paperwork on their case, telling her “You’re going to regret this someday,” meaning all the paperwork adding “It’s like cooking a beautiful meal, and then putting it straight in the refrigerator. Forever.”
-A few points here. First, Jane is back to trying to get Lisbon to rebel against the system. Could it be paperwork annoys him cause the more diligent Lisbon is the harder it’ll be to slip stuff through the cracks? Second, Jane’s statement recalls both his own questioning of the reason he’s at his current job, as well as a possibility of Lisbon feeling burned out (as hinted at in the last season). Third, Jane has evolved from keeping Lisbon company while lying on her couch to him being completely in her personal space, sitting on her desk. Not that Lisbon is complaining. I can still hear the J/L shipper’s squealing :). Finally, Jane’s use of the word “regret” reminded me of how Lisbon once called him one of her big regrets (see review for Every Rose Has its Thorn). Alone, this probably means nothing. But together with the theme of family heavily alluded to in this episode, it might be foreshadowing of a possible plot line in which Lisbon starts regretting ever bringing Jane into the fold of those she considers family. Should the writers choose to go there, it’s been very cleverly set up in this scene. How? Read on…
La Roche enters Lisbon’s office. She asks him what his report on Rigsby will say. I’m going to analyze the rest of the scene line by line as the dialogue was very crucial was it. Also, absolutely, utterly, devastatingly, perfect:
LaRoche: It will say that agent Rigsby acted appropriately and with sound judgment when he used lethal force against moss. (to Jane). Good work. You got away with it.
LaRoche: Well I can’t make a case, but you chose a remote location for the meeting, you set up a situation where Moss had to flee. And there, by chance, was Rigsby.
Jane: Well, I’m flattered. You flatter me. But I can’t take credit for that.
I love how Jane’s response to LaRoche’s accusations is always being bashfully flattered (Jolly Red Elf). But while it worked the last time, LaRoche has gotten to know him much better now, even if Lisbon (apparently) still hasn’t…
Lisbon: Moss didn’t have to run. I would’ve brought him in.
Lisbon has a point, but LaRoche’s rebuttal was much more effective:
LaRoche: The plan did require moss to put his own head in the noose. Small gamble, Jane had to make to keep everyone’s hands clean.
Poor Lisbon still refuses to acknowledge Jane’s evil genius:
Lisbon: Moss fired his gun.
It’s true that Moss didn’t have to fire his gun and escape, but it was natural considering that he had the heads of two separate mobs threatening him.
LaRoche: So you all say, course, Moss can’t tell his version. And now, Rigsby has taken perfectly legal revenge against the man who killed his father. Do you think it will affect him?
Now, up until this point Jane had deniability on his side. But LaRoche is smarter than your average bear. His question on whether Jane thinks Rigsby will be affected by revenge finally gets a response. But before we get into it, I just want to mention that by this point, Lisbon is gazing intently with a very hard to read expression at Jane. It seems like she’s either she’s trying to warn him from saying anything, or she’s trying to read his reaction, to see the effect LaRoche’s words are having on him; if his face reveals that they are true. If she had been in the dark about Jane’s actions, then Jane’s answer to LaRoche probably brought her to light:
Jane: Well I think it’s better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do.
I found Jane’s response to LaRoche to be very revealing, not only as a tacit admission of guilt. Jane, for all his mentalist abilities constantly forgets that not all people are like him. For example, I concede that he probably did what he did out of a genuine interest to help Rigsby out. But he’s forgetting that he and Rigsby are practically opposites, despite the fact that they were both raised by bad fathers. While revenge might work for Jane it might not necessarily work for Rigsby. Jane’s presumptuous interference, applying his motto, his religion to those around him without considering if it’s a right fit is one of the traits that annoys me the most about him. It’s a clear result of his ego, his belief that he knows best. But what I’d love to see is for his “help” to backfire one day. Not just because I’m evil, but because the potential for character growth and introspection there is enough to make me drool. Hopefully, LaRoche’s words here are enough to get Jane thinking on his own without another tragedy forcing him to…
LaRoche: Perhaps. I suppose Rigsby will never know.
I love how J.J. here called Jane on his manipulating the situation. The subtext includes Jane’s manipulation of Rigsby’s pain to get the younger Rigsby to do something that he might have not done if he were in a calm state.
LaRoche: Agent Lisbon my report will reflect you made a mistake in calling agent Rigsby to the scene. An error in judgment.
Lisbon: Yes sir, it was.
As her MO, Lisbon is all too happy to take responsibility for Jane’s actions. And just in case I dropped the ball and didn’t realize that Jane was the one who called Rigsby…
Jane: Lisbon didn’t call Rigsby, I did.
…Jane helpfully tells us, following his MO of trying to protect Lisbon.
LaRoche: Of course you did.
LaRoche is no dummy. He probably knew perfectly well that Jane called Rigsby and Lisbon is just protecting him by claiming she did. I see his refusal to acknowledge this truth is his way of succumbing to her wishes to protect her team. I’m just not sure why. Perhaps, like Hightower before him, he hopes Jane will behave better if he realizes that Lisbon will be held responsible for his actions.
Unless…unless…it really was *Lisbon* who called Rigsby? She’d told him that she’d let him know if they got a break in the case, so maybe she did? But even if that were true, no way she would have told Rigsby where the meeting was going to be. Jane probably did that, which is why he was so ready to take the blame.
LaRoche: Agent Lisbon, your instincts to protect your team are admirable, and your biggest flaw.
We have it in canon that this guy loves Lisbon (who doesn’t?). He got upset when she insulted him (Bloodstream) and he gave her a hug (Scarlett Ribbons). His statement her truly seemed like he was trying to look after her, protect her from herself. I find his behavior admirable, and not just because it annoyed Jane…
Jane: Yes, well we all have our flaws. Don’t we agent LaRoche?
Jane’s statement here is a not so subtle reminder to LaRoche that he knows a horrible secret LaRoche has (Strawberries and Cream) and his way of telling LaRoche his advice is not wanted. Jane does not want anyone influencing Lisbon and/or his relationship with her. It makes me wonder how he’d react if she ever gets a boyfriend.
This was so hard to decide. Readers, please let me know what were your fav’s. There were so many good ones!
The winner: Jane, Lisbon, and LaRoche’s Revelation
First runner up: Rigsby and Ben, end scene.
Second Runner up: Rigsby, Steven and Lisbon at the hospital
“I’ll be back here”. Love self preservationist Jane. Always takes off when there’s danger (*cough*, unless Lisbon is involved, *cough*)
“Is this little Ben’s momma over here? She, purty.” What can I say, the guy’s got taste 🙂
“I gotta tell you, I could not work for a beautiful woman like you. It’s way too distracting. You dating anyone honey?” Seriously, I think my heart blew up at all the Lisbon love XD
“I didn’t give you a choice. It’s okay, go home. See your kid.” –Lisbon rocks.
“Yeah, well I ain’t fighting you anymore.”
Icings on the Cake
Jane trying to give Beltran a slap, the man refusing, and Lisbon’s “what the hell are you doing” face. By the way, the moment wasn’t in the script. Writer Jordan Harper on twitter said it was created by Simon Baker .
“Damn, you can never trust a woman.”-Steven, to Rigsby, about Rocket revealing his location.
“Not off to the greatest of starts”-Jane to the rivaling gang leaders, when they pull their guns on each other.
The entire end scene.
Composer Blake Neely. There were many great tunes in this one but my favorite was the one which sneaked into LaRoche’s scene with Jane and Lisbon at the end. It provided a lot of subtext to the scene…
Owain Yeoman was truly wonderful in this episode. From the little hitch in his voice when he introduced Lisbon to his dad, to revealing how worried he was about him, then slyly getting him to reveal what happened; he pulled off all the facets of Rigsby’s character effortlessly. Finally, that heartbreaking scene at the end: crying as he held his son, taking comfort from the baby as he told him it was beautifully sad.
Pruitt Taylor Vince. The man is a rock star who rocks all his rocking character’s rocking scenes especially the ones where he’s rocking the truth about Jane in front of Lisbon.
Writer Jordan Harper. The case was very clever, the character interaction great, and the dialogue had many many layers. Truly excellent writing.
Director Anton Cropper did a great job keeping the story coherent. The hospital montage at the beginning and the chase were especially well done.
We never did find out how Steven knew the victim. Since Huff was a barber, I assume he was Steven’s barber. But it would’ve been nice if Rigsby’s dad had said something like: “Kid was my barber, asked me to help him out,” just to clarify Steven’s involvement further.
I feel terrible saying this, but Forsythe (whom I have great respect for as an actor) really grates on me as Steven’s dad. I don’t know what it is about his performance but there were a few instances that just made me cringe.
Like LaRoche, I question whether Rigsby will be unaffected by the fact that he killed a person. His “It’s okay” at the end of the episode to his son could have been said to reassure himself that he’ll get over his dad’s death. He could also been telling himself that he’ll be fine after he killed a man. Now Moss was a heartless criminal who killed an innocent man to start a mob war. And Rigsby killed him in pure self-defense. He is (almost) entirely blameless. But Wayne is undoubtedly the most tender-hearted of all the CBI team. The only reason he wanted revenge is because it’s what his dad would have done for him (based on what Rigsby told Cho). But Rigsby is very different from both his father and Jane. If Rigsby only killed Moss because he felt obliged to do so (for his father), as opposed to wanting to, then he might have a harder time dealing with the aftermath. We saw Grace’s PTSD last season after she killed Craig in self-defense. Will this season be about Rigsby getting over his own shoot out?
I don’t know. But if Jane’s actions do cause ramifications for Rigsby, then that raises a heck of a lot of possibilities. Violet elaborated how Rigsby managed to finally face his father when he fought him in Like a Red-Headed Stepchild. If Rigsby ever find out about how far Jane went to set the stage for his revenge, would he be thankful or resentful? Would he have a face-off with him too? I can only see that happening if Jane’s actions got one of the other team members (Grace?) hurt.
A more probable possibility comes to mind. This is where my theory of a possible plot in which Lisbon might regret bringing Jane into her CBI family comes into play. The victim in this episode couldn’t escape from his family any more than Rigsby could his dad. But there’s the family that we choose as opposed to the one we’re born with. The CBI is a family by choice. They look out for each other because they want to, not because they have to. La Roche tells Lisbon that her biggest flaw is protecting her team. I say, so far, the choices she’s had to make were arguably easy: Mother Teresa will always protect her children from outside influences. But until this point, she’d never had to protect them from each other; from Jane. Lisbon’s replies to LaRoche, denying Jane’s manipulation make it seem to me that she might not have known Jane was going to call Rigsby. One could argue it wouldn’t matter to her if he did, so ingrained is her instinct to defend him. But what about now, after LaRoche raised the possible emotional harm Jane’s interference might have on Rigsby?
I had hoped that LaRoche’s statements might serve to give Jane cause for thought. I’m going to hope they affect Lisbon too; that she take the rest of her team in consideration the next time Jane plots one of his schemes.
Realistically, though, I suspect she’ll continue with her “hand’s off” MO until Jane’s actions have real, far-reaching negative consequences. This is why the prospect that Jane might have inadvertently harmed Rigsby, Lisbon’s surrogate baby brother, is one that I find especially delicious. And now that I’ve probably depressed readers, here’s something to cheer you guys up…
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