I’ve recently signed on to a new production and will therefore be unable to write reviews as regularly as I have been. Thankfully, Violet has once again generously agreed to help out. I’ll put it in my two cents whenever possible, as in this review, but until further notice, when it comes to The Mentalist, she will be taking the lead. The show and the blog are precious to me and I am absolutely grateful to leave it in hands I trust as much as, if not more, than my own. Violet, I thank you for your continuous and invaluable support and insight.-RB
Consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) is busy interrogating a prison guard about Lorelei Martins’ disappearance when Lisbon (Tunney) calls him at a crime scene, a security guard has been killed. Jane soon discovers that the case is more complicated than they first thought: a couple in the neighborhood has been kidnapped and a ransom is 3demanded to the husband’s brother, Isaac Goodwin (Neil Hopkins). Jane starts then to tease the truth out of him until he realizes that the kidnapper may have made taken the wrong couple, his brother’s best friends who were house sitting, Gary (Michael Petrone) and Sloan (Anne Dudek) Dietz.
‘Cherry Picked’ is a funny and entertaining episode, with an original type of case and Jane in top form. Without being a flat filler episode, it serves more as a stage for more crucial developments. It has the advantage of giving us some answers that we were expecting since the beginning of the season. Nevertheless, it ends on a rather frustrating note, since it opens more questions than it actually resolves and seems to take a step back in the trust department. Still, it’s a great addition to a thus far stellar season. 9/10
Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)
VIS #1: Jane Interviews a Prisoner Guard About Lorelei
The episode begins with a timeline; we’re told Lorelei has been missing for nineteen days, and this rare precision certainly means that the episode marks a milestone. Jane is showing a picture of Lorelei to an officer and asking if she knows her. Indeed, he has deduced that someone must have driven their prisoner out of jail; therefore a cop must be involved. That’s confirmation for distrustful viewers that he had nothing to do with her disappearance and is actively searching for her. The whole scene is packed with meaning: the monotone tone that he uses indicates immediately that it’s not the first time he’s doing such an interrogation; he’s got a notebook with picture of his suspects and meticulously written annotations. He’s doing boring police work, the type he normally leaves to others. This is actually the first time that we see Jane operate in his personal investigation: even when he was trying to get his hands on La Roche’s list, we did see him take the big steps (talk to Minelli and to Culpepper), but not check the possibilities in a systematic fashion. That fact alone proves his dedication. When compared to how he acted when another woman involved to RJ has vanished, the difference is even more striking: with the Kristina Frye case, he was concerned but passive, he was letting the cops do their job, while here, he’s taking matters in his own hands.
Reviewbrain: I think this is continuity with regards to Jane’s increased lack of trust when it comes to RJ matters. He’s already lost Brenda and Todd so it makes sense he doesn’t want to lose Lorelie the same way.
Another detail later shows how he’s focused in finding Lorelei: in the Goodwin’s house, he enjoys listening to opera until Lisbon complains and make him stop the music. Jane’s partiality for classic has already been stated, but he’s listening to « La donna è mobile » from « Rigoletto » by Verdi is pretty interesting. In this song, the Duke of Mantua states how much women are untrustworthy, deceptive and are “flighty like a feather in the wind” (“La donna è mobile/ Qual piuma al vento”). In the opera, ironically, he’s singing this while the girl he’s waiting for is plotting his death with her accomplice. That’s obviously an allusion to Lorelei and the reference to her as another “donna” makes a perfect counterpoint to Jane calling Lisbon “bella donna” in the other “Cherry” episode.
Moreover, he seems to be investigating officially since the interrogation takes place at the CBI headquarters. He has access to the officer’s personal files and Lisbon is aware of what he’s doing, at least to a point. Does that thus mean that he has finally decided to come clean and tell her everything about his plans? That’s still very dubious…
VIS #2 : Consultant vs Kidnapper, Rounds One and Two
When Jane gets to the crime scene and starts dealing with Isaac Goodwin, it soon becomes very clear that he is being quite confrontational, first with Isaac by playing a phone prank on the man to force him to confess that his brother and sister-in-law have been kidnapped, then with the kidnapper himself. Indeed, when the bad guy calls Isaac, Jane uses the opportunity to reveal that he premeditated to take the Dietz instead of the Goodwin in order to use their guilt. Then, in one of the funniest moments of the episode, he process to negotiate a lower ransom for the hostages in almost the same way he would bargain before buying something. Curt, peremptory and to the point. And he doesn’t stop here. The next call from the kidnapper is even worse: after the guy insults Lisbon, Jane snaps and shouts at him, ordering him to release one of the hostages or the deal is off; he goes to the extent of ending the communication himself. His instinct to defend his friend is touching and the scene is really amusing, still the truth is that it was the worst thing to do as a negotiator, even more since he knew the perpetrator had already killed someone.
The logical explanation is that Jane’s eager to close the case and go back to serious business, the investigation on Lorelei’s whereabouts. He’s not rushing it as much as he was when Culpepper was in custody in season 3, but he tries to speed things up in a cavalier manner and is taking a huge risk with Dietz’ life. If it had been a real kidnapping and not just a way to try and cover Gary Dietz’ murder and fly with the Goodwin’s money, the most probable outcome would have been that one of the hostages would have ended wounded or dead, just to prove that the bad guy was serious about it. Indeed some details tended to indicate that there was a mastermind behind the guy and that it was a close friend to the Goodwin, but it could have been someone else. Or Sloan and her lover could have chosen to execute Gary and keep pretending that she was his prisoner. It was an awful risk to take, even if he was right… He has become more and more reckless with his cases: he goes farther every time in taking risks that he estimates worth of a try. It’s not the first time he knowingly puts someone in danger (Grace in ‘The Red Ponies’ for instance), but there is a definite progression in his carelessness.
Reviewbrain: While I agree with everything you said, I just want to say that I was actually impressed with Jane’s efforts to solve the case here. He didn’t seem as hasty as he was in season two’s premiere Redemption (in which he caused a shoot out in his hurry to solve a case). In fact, when the victim’s brother told Lisbon he wouldn’t let her talk to the kidnappers, because he didn’t want his brother’s blood on their hands, Jane had actually agreed saying: Hard to argue with that. He only got involved after he was positive that one of the victim’s was actually an accomplice. And while that doesn’t excuse his methods…well, it’s not the worst thing he’s ever done
VIS # 3: Jane and Lisbon in Front of the Elevator
When Jane gets eventually a promising lead about one of the jail driver on the Lorelei’s case, he omits to mention it to Lisbon. She follows him to the elevator and asks him about it. He deflects her questions and she insists by blocking the doors with her hand. And we have almost a exact repeat of the final scene in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’: Lisbon tells him “let me help you” and he rejects her offer with a somewhat semi-apologetic “thank you” (for letting go of the doors) – instead of the nicer “you’re sweet” from last season. The whole exchange is completed by a good serving of meaningful glances, this time more along the lines of a warning than a supplication. And, like that time unruly Jane embarks for a dangerous scheme (breaking in the deputy’s house). But, in spite of the similarities, it’s obvious that Jane doesn’t hide anymore the fact that he don’t want to tell her the entire truth: he trusts her enough to keep her in the loop about the general direction he’s taking, but he doesn’t want to share the most important elements. It seems that he still hasn’t learned his lesson…
Reviewbrain: I know this scene annoyed a lot of people but I actually had a positive reaction to it. I felt the “Thank you” much more meaningful, and less patronizing (if not as nice) as the “You’re sweet” in Red Rover, Red Rover. The “you’re sweet” had felt like a clandestine rejection, while the “thank you” here seemed to denote genuine gratitude. We’ve seen Lisbon (finally) hold her own when it comes to Jane’s investigations into Red John. In episode The Crimson Ticket, she’d threatened to put a stop to Jane’s actions by going to Bertram, and only gave in after Jane pleaded with her to not to. Here, her hand stopping the elevator, coupled with her “Let me help you” seemed a quiet assertion of her authority. So I think Jane’s thanks here him expressing gratitude and acknowledgment for the leeway she’s giving him. There might have been another meaning to his thanks. His non-reply to Lisbon’s offer to help him seemed to speak pretty loud: “I don’t want your help because I’ll probably do something which might get you in trouble so can you let me go please.” Jane’s (canon) reason for not including in on his plans is always the same; either protecting her from Red John or from getting her in trouble. I think that, for once, Lisbon got that and decided she was better off having Jane fill her in later. I’m not sure I blame her. And while I don’t think its the best choice it didn’t send me into a fit of rage, either. Considering the fact that Jane was going to break into the officer’s house, I’m very grateful she didn’t go along. Her character wasn’t ruined as a result and I was subsequently saved from going into a fit of rage.
Violet: This moment between them also constitutes another occurrence in a growing string of intriguingly similar scenes. Indeed, there seems to be plenty of more or less decisive moments in front of our CBI elevator recently: Jane interrogating the bank robber in ‘Not One Red Cent’, meeting a vengeful Rigsby in ‘Blood Feud’; Jane’s very first steps in headquarters in ‘Red Dawn’ and being punched in the nose in front of said elevator minutes later… In almost every episode, there seems to be a reminder of the first and more powerful of those examples: the one where Lorelei was taken by the FBI in ‘The Crimson Ticket’, as if the elevator scenes were a symbolical thread running through the beginning of this season and representing Jane’s fixation on the problem caused by Lorelei’s vanishing.
Reviewbrain: Thank you so much for pointing this out. I never would have thought of it but now that you brought it up I can’t help but wonder if might not be an indicator of how easily people can disappear from each others lives. Jane himself had disappeared via the elevator after his (fake) breakdown and went missing for six months. More foreshadowing of someone else leaving?
Jane isn’t the only one in a belligerent mood. It looks like our usually sweet Lisbon has been contaminated too. First, she’s amused by Jane’s funny prank on Isaac, even though it’s rather cruel; she also snaps at Jane twice for listening to very loud opera. Later, when Isaac eventually locks himself up with the phone, she starts banging on the door and threatens to break it down. Isaac is characterized by Jane as « arrogant », « insensitive » and he’s indeed very reluctant and difficult to deal with, but he also comes across as scared to make a bad move and to cause his family’s death (and we discover afterwards that he’s even more afraid because he doesn’t have the money to pay the ransom). How come our usually very empathic Lisbon isn’t more understanding with him? Then it’s Brenda’s turn. The woman from Public Relations warns Lisbon that the case is highly sensitive because Marcus Goodwin has connections in the Pentagon, to what Lisbon answers dryly: “you’ve got your problems, I’ve got mines.” Brenda finally wins when she pressures the agent by threatening to call director Bertram. Both women make up in the end, but where is the Lisbon who accepted to drag along a TV reporter and cameraman in the field for the sake of good publicity?
Reviewbrain: Thanks for bringing this up. This out of character Lisbon, while amusing, felt a bit annoying considering her usual kind and patient way of dealing with members of victim’s families. The scene here was almost a complete role reversal with Lisbon behaving childishly and Jane being the cooler head.
Violent: Many explanations are plausible: she couldn’t afford to lose time if she wanted to save the hostages and she didn’t want to be bothered by trivial things, for one. She may also be suffering from burn-down, as Reviewbrain has been pointing out for some time, have lost her last ounce of trust in authority and thus wouldn’t care anymore about good appearance and the annoying politics inherent to her charge as long as she keeps doing her job well. Or Jane’s influence may have become so overwhelming that she begins to truly act like him, doing things her way without caring about consequence: after all, she went as far as trying to play with Isaac’s emotions, lying about feeling “bad that (he’s) in here”, just like she would if she was dealing with a kid. Jane has taught her well. And that’s a scary thought.
Reviewbrain: The loss of trust in authority was actually first brought up by Windsparrow, just to be clear 😉 As to her impatient reactions, I think it’s more of a case of after being together for so long Lisbon has picked up on some aspects of Jane’s character. And while I agree Lisbon was cajoling Isaac like a mother would a child, I wouldn’t go as far as she was playing with his emotions. She just needed to get him out. And I think, rather than it being anything Jane had taught her, it was something she was used to dealing with considering she’d raised three “nearly feral” brothers, as she’d once said (Red Gold).
The usual suspects
VIS #4: The Ending, aka Jane Faces the Guilty Officer Walter DeMunn (Michael Shamus Wiles)
When the case is closed, Jane breaks again in deputy DeMunn’s house and confronts him about helping get Lorelei out of jail. After resisting a while, DeMunn finally admits that he’s been blackmailed by an “Agent Nemo” from FBI, who knew the deputy had raped an inmate. He agrees to give Jane the address where he took Lorelei. Jane knows his classics and remarks that “Nemo” means “Nobody”. This is actually a double allusion that’s quite interesting. Ulysses in Homer’s “Odyssey’” used the Greek word for nobody as a name to trick the Cyclops Polyphemus who took him and his companions prisoners. Ulysses blinded him and escaped, therefore the monster kept telling that “Nobody” has attacked him. That’s exactly what our unknown agent did here. Also, Jules Verne made a reference to this incident in “20.000 Leagues under the Sea” by naming one of his most important characters Captain Nemo (“nobody” in Latin): he’s a very smart and dark man who chose to exclude himself from society by living with his crew in the submarine Nautilus, sinking ships. So, while Ulysses gave us the storyline, Captain Nemo represents the instigator of an invisible power, the master of a crew that stays unknown to the population, always simmering under the sea like a dangerous force, just like good old RJ. Nevertheless, both references also indicate the ambiguity of Jane’s new enemy. Indeed, neither Ulysses nor Nemo are really bad guys per se: Ulysses is cunning and Nemo is dark and mysterious, but they aren’t cruel cold-blooded killers like Red John. Does that mean that the mole isn’t behind this, that the genuine FBI chose an intricate and illegal way to keep Lorelei for themselves, without involving RJ?
In addition, DeMunn’s home also points subtly to another character, Bertram: we got a glance of a framed picture of the deputy and Bertram, just like we saw one of La Roche holding his dog when Culpepper broke in his house. Symbolically we’re reminded that Bertram is a plausible suspect, he’s not “out of the picture” yet. Speaking of Bertram, I’ve been wondering recently if his name wasn’t inspired by Agatha Christie’s “At Bertram’s Hotel”. In this novel, Miss (Jane) Marple discovers that a cosy old-fashioned hotel where she likes to stay has been used as a façade for a well organized criminal ring, orchestrated by a well-known and connected lady mastermind. Maybe it hints that Bertram is also orchestrating a law enforcement smokescreen to cover up sinister activities… Or, since there is no actual “Bertram” in the novel, his name only serves for pointing out that there is a façade, without implying that he’s involved… And, just to confuse us a little more, Christie’s lady mastermind (Bess Segdwick) has been played in 2007 in the British TV show “Miss Marple” by no other than… Polly Walker, aka our FBI agent Alexa Schultz. Mentalist recipe for Ambiguity cocktail: stir a bit of every possible suspect together, add a dash of confusion and shake before serving.
The winner: The ending. A creepy guy, a mysterious blackmailer, a new lead and Jane on top of his game, what more could we ask for?
First runner up: Cho and Rigsby playing the sea lion in the middle of the bullpen. It was both a hilarious and cute scene and probably a sign that the guy doesn’t suffer from PTSD after the events in ‘Blood Feud’. Cho even cracked a smile!
Second Runner up: Every scene with Jane playing negotiator. Outrageous as they were, they were also very funny and the shocked looks on everyone’s face afterwards was priceless.
“Tell me, what are you wearing?” Jane to Isaac on the phone. Cruel but still hilarious.
Reviewbrain: this moment was so classic Jane I didn’t care how cruel it was. I’m a hypocrite like that :p
“You’re selling beer here, not Champagne” Jane again, to the kidnapper who demands too high a price for Marcus’ friends. Talk about negotiation skills…
“Then why do you look worried?” Lisbon, answering to Jane assuring her that the kidnapper would call back. Seeing her reading his impassive expression is always enjoyable. Even more when the man tries to deny it.
“You don’t criticize his performance? Just mine?” Lisbon, to Jane about Rigsby.
“He was good. You? *gestures so-so with his hands*” Aw, Lisbon! I think she tries too hard when she acts in front of Jane (see the “Bite me!” in episode Red Scare) as opposed to her flawless performance in front of Brenda in Season three’s finale Strawberries and Cream.
Icings on the Cake
Even though a overly snappy and insensitive Lisbon is somewhat worrying, it was still nice to see her at last angered with Jane about something… even if that something is him listening to opera too loudly… A Lisbon giving her misbehaving consultant a piece of her mind is always a good thing!
Lisbon (whom we’ve never seen seeking the spotlight before) offering to do interviews with reporters instead of Jane whom wase nowhere to be found, only to get shot down by Brenda was very cute. She looked like a hurt puppy!
Reviewbrain: The case touched on two of this season’s possible continuous themes:
-Gary Dietz (Michael Petrone) was closer to Isaac Goodwin than his own brother, Marcus. When Isaac and his wife Pella went out of town, they asked Gary and Sloan to take care of their dog rather than Isaac. The couple were also willing to fork over all their money to save their friends life. And at the end of episode, the hug they gave him when he returned to them safely shows they don’t just consider him their friend. He’s family. I’d stated in an earlier review that there’s the family you are born with (Rigsby and his father) and the family you choose (Lisbon and her team). I like to think that this is a throwback to this theme.
-Sloan’s character seemed to allude to another of this season’s themes: love. Specifically, the unconditional (though not necessarily romantic) love Lisbon has for Jane. They have gone through so much together. She has taken so much grief in her professional (and probably personal) life too due to his larger than life personality and general disregard for everything non-RJ related. But we’ve rarely seen her complain. Despite all, she enjoys his company and presence and is unwavering loyal. Contrast this with Sloan who is a complete opposite. As far as we can tell the only thing her poor husband Gary is guilty of is not being rich. When he begs her to spare him, asking what he ever did to her, she responds that he wasted ten years of her life; brought her down with him. I found the contrast too polar to be a coincidence. I think it is either further evidence to indicate how strong Lisbon and Jane’s (and by proximity the team’s) bond is, as All-I-Need suggested, or dark foreshadowing that Lisbon’s patience might also come to an end.
It was quite intriguing to see Anne Dudek as the traitorous Sloan Dietz. I wonder if, given her ambivalent part in “House” some years ago, seeing her as one of the hostages has tipped off some viewers about Sloan…
Blake Neely’s tunes at the end scene was fantastic. Quietly moody during the interrogation, then swelling into Jane’s familiar theme, only more bad-ass with the addition of I think a new instrument (I think) as Jane swaggered out of the house and told the awaiting police “He’s all yours”?
Michael Shamus Wiles was fantastic, offering a multitude of depth to a man we’ve never met before and managing to humanize a man we’re told is a rapist.
The direction by John F. Showalter was quite superb, holding together a pretty complicated story.
– Jane did the right thing by calling the police to arrest the rapist deputy at the end. But won’t that warn whoever took Lorelei that Jane is getting closer? That seemed awfully imprudent for someone as cautious as Jane.
Reviewbrain: I know! I was shocked! And happy! Could it be our man is starting to respect the law? I can almost imagine Lisbon’s reaction:
Lisbon: So I heard you turned in Walter for rape.
Jane: I did. He also told me where he took Lorelie.
Lisbon: Wow. All this without breaking the law. So how’d you get him to confess?
Jane: I broke into his house, snooped until I learned enough to cold read him into confessing.
Lisbon: ……Of course you did. Silly me.
Sorry. I couldn’t help it XD
Conclusion: The primary goal of this episode was certainly to announce grand and dark things to come from Jane. It made me wonder about its title: what is this “Cherry Picked” referring to? One of the meanings of the expression “cherry picking” is to select data in order confirm a particular theory or position, while putting aside any other evidence that might infirm it. So is Jane cherry picking? Selecting evidence that confirms his opinion, while ignoring the other evidence that doesn’t fit with his theory? He actually did just that with the case, he’s taken the risk to put a couple in mortal danger because he didn’t take the situation seriously: he’s been focusing on the indications that one of the hostage may be involved, but neglecting that a man had already been killed. And there were no consequences for him, therefore we can be sure he will do it again. Does that also mean he’s doing the same thing about Lorelei’s disappearance, by focusing on the FBI? Will he endanger someone else because he’ll be underestimating the risks once more? On another hand, the second “cherry” that appears in a title may also allude to the questions that were dropped by Charlotte in ‘Devil’s Cherry’, about his motivations and the infutility of chasing RJ. Here, Jane metaphorically picks the cherry up by choosing his answer to his imaginary daughter’s query: he picks up the game and chooses to continue hunting RJ.
Reviewbrain: I think the title refers to how the victim was chosen to compel the ransom, as well as Jane picking the right man out of the many who transported inmates from the prison. But your theory that the title might refer to information Jane is choosing to believe fits something I thought of the other day upon reading comments to my Red Dawn Review. I had shared my crazy, crazy, theory that Minelli might be Red John. Thankfully most of you (mock glares at Windsparrow) disagreed but another thought then crossed my mind. Red John told Jane he had a friend in the FBI. Jane saw it as a double bluff, not that RJ was lying to mislead him as Lisbon thought. Now RJ probably does have a friend in the FBI but why would he share that with Jane? Jane had said because he would have found out eventually. I agree, but I don’t think that’s why RJ told Jane. Rather, I think RJ shared this information as a mislead; to hide the fact that he has a friend in the CBI. Now both CBI Ron and CBI Karl have been making more regular appearances. Is it really just for the sake of realism (which I appreciate very much) or could it simply be a coincidence? We’ll see.
Once again thank you so much Violet for your help! Please don’t forget to rate the review to show your appreciation of her 🙂
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