Mentalist Panama Red


Synopsis

The California Bureau of Investigations new case is the murder of Jeremy Reese, a botanist, in Clearlake. Suspicion first falls on his boss, whom CBI consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) and Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) learn he’d had an argument with. But the case is complicated by the fact that Reese was working two jobs: one at an organic marijuana farm owned by Matthew Gold (Troy Ruptash), and another coming up with a new strain of marijuana at a high tech lab. Meanwhile, Cho’s first time helping out Agent Tamsin Wade (Monique Gabriela Curnen) in the newly established Rapid Response Team at CBI has him running into an old flame.

Concise Verdict

Panama Red is one of my new favorite episodes this season. The case was interesting and had lots of good old fashioned Mentalist humor. The guest stars are great, including not one, but *three* recurring characters. The direction is perfection and there is plenty of continuity. The music is sublime at times, playfully flirty at others.  And the performances…well, let’s just say the actors gave us a subtext party in this one. And it is all thanks to the script. Like Grossenbacher before him (who sadly has criminally only given one entry to this show so far) Michael Weiss’s foray into the Mentalist world was such that, by the time it was over, I was literally breathless with happiness. Welcome, Mr. Weiss. You’ve officially been brained. Which hopefully isn’t as painful as it sounds. At least, not this time: 9.5/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

Some pretty heavy flailing is about to commence. You’ve been warned.

Jane SMILES!

LISBON IS BADASS!

Both Cho AND Rigsby get a prominent role in this episode!

It’s back. My favorite show is back!!!

;_;

This has been a stellar season thus far, but also, an increasingly dark one. Just to be clear, I love the RJ plot as much as any other fan (or at least, I used to) but I completely and humbly disagree that the show should end with him getting caught (as seems to be where the show is headed). Episodes like this flaunt one of the show’s greatest assets: it’s freaking fun! Sure, it’s nice to have a run in with the Big Red every once in a while but Jane’s obsession doesn’t exactly make for easy viewing. And The Mentalist has always been a humorous show despite its dark premise. I’ve really missed it. Too much Red made me blue and I actually felt my heart break a little one episode at a time. Even Lisbon’s new plot with Vokler, while exciting, is depressing. An all powerful billionaire who wiped out an entire village and mercilessly watched as the only lead against him was choked to death? Ugh. Not even Black Cherry written by the comic genius Erica Green Swafford could bring me out of my funk. But getting two subsequent stand alone episodes seems to have done the trick. That, and the fact that Lisbon’s character remains successful not only in getting Jane more involved in the cases, but in regaining some of her long abandoned authority.

Teaser

Take the beginning of this episode. Jane doesn’t show up for work. And when Lisbon calls him telling him he shouldn’t obsess like this, Jane tells her “I know I met Red John now, shook his hand.”

-Now I know the moment was graciously included to recap for viewers who may have missed an episode and subsequently where Jane’s at with his hunt for his family’s killer. But for us regulars, I found myself taking a page out of Charlotte’s book and thinking “I’m so over Red John”. Seriously, it’s more than I can handle not going back and re-watching all the episodes from the beginning to see which characters Jane shook hands with without being constantly tortured with this new clue. Thank god for the fact that the act didn’t necessarily have to have happened on screen, or us viewers would all probably become as obsessed as Jane is.

Lisbon tells Jane that they have a new case. And when he tries to distract her saying that she’s the one obsessing, she says she’ll text him the address and hangs up.

-Lisbon, acting like Jane’s boss, which she is, might be the best way to help him. If not for his sake, then for hers. It’s not like the Serious Crimes Unit can focus only on one case. And getting Jane out of his black perch can only be healthy.

Jane and the Victim Jeremy

We get to see the victim Jeremy through the eyes of his college professor Alice Burns (Susan Gibney) and very quickly a parallel is drawn between the two, the least of which being that both their names (that people called them with anyway) start with a J. Some were obviously intentional, others not so much, but I included all for fun.

First, Alice tells Jane and Lisbon that while Jeremy worked in a pot farm, he didn’t smoke. It was simply an exciting research opportunity and a “good use for his skills”.

-This is kind of like Jane, who doesn’t always (if ever) believe in the law, but working at the CBI is a good way to apply his own talents.

We then learn that Jeremy had an argument with his boss but that he didn’t tell Alice what it was about, which she explains by saying “Jeremy could be secretive.”

-Baker is in top form here and makes interesting choices with his character which we’re able to witness due to director Guy Ferland’s generous direction. You see Jane’s eyes dart to Lisbon whom we are shown in the next shot. I guess it could be possible that Jane couldn’t help staring at Lisbon’s beautiful profile, but it’s more likely that Jane wanted to see her reaction at Alice’s words since secretive is (used to be?) such a perfect description of his own personality. But there’s nothing to see there. Lisbon doesn’t react to the statement.

When Lisbon asks if Jeremy had any enemies Alice says no adding “He was kind and generous to a fault.”

-Again, these words are perfect descriptions of Jane as well, although sadly it’s been a while since we’ve been treated to those traits; they’ve either been too fleeting or he’s been too busy chasing RJ.

Alice then explains her relationship with Jeremy to Jane saying that they were “pretend family” since his mother died a few years ago and her son lives in Texas.

-Here, the comparison goes further to encompass Jane’s relationships as well: His family is dead while Lisbon’s lives in another state. It’s been established since season three that she considers him family and the theme was also alluded to several times this season.

Rigsby the Green-Eyed Monster

Looks like we have a new love triangle on the show to replace the Grace-Craig -Rigsby one. And once again, poor Rigsby is the victim.

When Agent Tamsin Wade (Monique Gabriela Curnen) comes into the Serious Crimes to tell Cho (newest member of her Rapid Response team) that they’re up to bust a counterfeiting operation, Rigsby chimes in to tell her that they have work to do. The woman snarks “I’ll have him back in a few hours, dad” to which Rigsby responds: “If you’re the rapid response team, shouldn’t you be sliding down fire poles not hanging around here for thirty minutes?”

Snap!

Someone doesn’t like Wade very much. The question is why?

It could be her general playful demeanor, which by some might be taken as haughty. When she walks in she calls them “Ladies”. But we know that it was a joke and Cho didn’t seem upset, so why should Rigsby be?

I think that, as close as the CBI team is, Rigsby resents the fact that Tamsin insinuated herself so easily within them. Especially considering how reserved Cho usually is. Or it could be Rigsby fears she’s angling to have Cho join her team. Or maybe he’s just jealous she didn’t ask him to join the team. Whatever it is, as much as I thought I might like Wade in the previous episode, I don’t blame Rigsby for not being more open to her. Yes, she seems very cool. But she seems to be very aware of the fact too.  Then there’s something about the way she tells Cho “I squared it with your cute boss.”

I’m all for mentioning how adorable Lisbon is. Heck, Jane, too. It’s just not realistic to not have more people point out how attractive they are (although, writers are getting better at pointing this out i.e. If it Bleeds, it Leads). But something about the way Tamsin said that line didn’t sit right with me. I wasn’t sure what until a later scene helped me out…

Cho, Summer and Tamsin Wade

During the bust, Cho runs into his former confidential informant (and secret lover) Summer Edgecombe. Pregnant, and in town for her wedding, she tells Cho she had nothing to do with the operation; was just going on a ride with her friend.

As much as I liked Summer I always questioned if she and Cho were really good together. It’s hard to know what to make of her at times. Like in this episode. I honestly couldn’t tell if she was lying or not when she told Cho that she had no idea what her counterfeiting friend Chuck (James Jordan) was up to when he asked her to come along with him. I mean, seriously? Then there’s the fact that Summer seemed oblivious to Cho’s ambivalence (pain?) at seeing her pregnant and engaged.  Rigsby’s words to Cho, that he dodged a bullet when he let her get away, represent what some viewers might think. Tougher viewers might even agree with Tamsin’s decision to charge Summer, despite Cho insisting that she should let her go and that she’s innocent; not the accomplice of the counterfeiters.

I have to disagree at least with the last. Even if by that point I wasn’t sure that I completely bought Summer’s story (she’s lied before), I felt Wade was being unnecessarily hard on her. Simply put, there was no evidence against Summer. She was standing outside a garage where a crime was being committed? So what?

Wade telling Cho she heard Summer was a lot more than just his CI made my earlier reservation with her comment kick in again. Could it be that Tamsin was jealous? That she arrested Summer to flex her muscles against Cho’s former CI and see what his reaction would be?

Maybe. She’s obviously into Cho for reasons beyond needing him in her new unit. If that’s true then maybe her mentioning Cho’s boss was cute earlier was also meant as a test. She wants to see how available he is.

Cho knows Summer enough to fight for her freedom. When Wade refuses to listen to him, Cho takes matters into his own hands. He finds Chuck, the perpetrator who escaped the bust, and gets him to make a deal with, of all people, ADA Osvaldo Ardiles (David Norona).

Regular viewers will remember the charismatic Osvaldo and Cho’s last run in didn’t go too well. But it seems like the air got cleared completely since then. Chuck agrees to testify for Osvaldo in exchange for immunity and Summer’s freedom.

This doesn’t go over well with the over zealous Agent Wade. She admonishes Cho for going behind her back and when he apologizes and says it won’t happen again, she replies “You got that right”.

I wonder if her statement was referring to Cho’s role in her team (was she dis-inviting his services?), or if it was her way of throwing water on any sparks that might be between them, or both.  At her displeasure, you can’t help but wonder if Cho thinks he did the right thing; if Summer had been worth it.

Thankfully, he doesn’t wonder for long. While the former call-girl had been known to lie in the past, she wasn’t in this episode. Summer drives up in her wedding limousine with her fiance to introduce him to Cho, thank him, and say good bye.

It’s a very, very sweet scene that I think explains a lot of Summer’s character. The way she was able to quickly move on from Cho (So Long and Thanks for all the Red Snapper was only 12 episodes ago, and she’s eight months pregnant) isn’t so much due to lack of feeling as much as it is due to her innocent nature. I’m glad we got to meet her husband (to be) as it shows us what kind of man she needed: stable, patient, grounded. Cho’s own hidden well of passionate emotion (displayed in the altercation which led to their separation) shows that he’s perhaps not as well equipped to handle her. But her husband, whom Summer won’t kiss Cho on account that he gets “crazy-jealous” (hyperbole I believe/hope), seems to have been able to temper her somewhat, in a good way. Seeing her so happy, seeing Cho smile, obviously happy for her, just melted my old cynical heart.

Sigh. What an awesome episode.

But we get one last treat before it ended.

Lisbon Rebels

Lisbon, about to leave her office, is looking for her keys when Jane shows up and tells her they’re on her desk. Lisbon spots the puzzle box which the victim had made and only Jane knows how to open. The man gives her a barely contained grin, obviously looking forward to Lisbon’s inability to open the box and him sweeping in and “rescuing” her by opening the box for her. To Jane’s dismay, Lisbon takes a hammer from inside her desk and smashes the box open. Jane is shocked and disturbed. “You keep a hammer in your desk?!”

Lisbon then utters the best line of the entire episode:

“You only think you know everything about me.”

Seriously, how beautiful was that? You go, girl. And Jane’s reaction was awesome.

Best Scenes

This was so hard to decide this time around. The entire episode was crazy enjoyable, start to finish, but these were my favorites; please share yours in the comments.

The winner: Lisbon and Jane question Alice Burns

I chose this one because of its beautifully moving music, the riveting acting of guest star Susan Gibney (she almost made me cry when she stops to collect herself in one scene) and the reactions to her that Jane was allowed to have. One example is when Jane surmises that Alice is ill and asks her “What are you sick with?”

Simon Baker killed me with his tone here. Remember the Jane that used to care about things besides Red John? He still exists. His gentle, soft, CARING questioning (like in the pilot with Juniper) is what makes him a fantastic mentalist, and (in my humble opinion) an especially likable and special character. Cause otherwise, he’s just House. Who is a total jerk. And while Jane can be an even bigger jerk, it is not the only aspect of his personality.

It could be that Jane’s demeanor with Alice here is due to the fact that she didn’t make the mistake of pushing his buttons. Or that he was behaving himself in an attempt to get back on Lisbon’s good side. Or that Alice was already cooperating so he didn’t need to rile her up. Regardless of the reason, we desperately need more of ‘kind’ Jane as opposed to Jane the jerk. It is just not realistic for all the people Jane questions to be idiots or sleazes who deserve (in his opinion anyway) to be played. It really is okay if some, like Alice here, actually bring out the best side of him. More than okay. It’s gold.

Speaking of gold, I just want to add how much I appreciated the scene ending on Jane’s face as he strokes the trick box. Baker’s face is wonderfully expressive; you can just see him thinking about all the methods he’ll enjoy using trying to open it. Sensitive, inquisitive, amused…I love this Jane. I miss this Jane, dammit.

First Runner Up: Cho and Summer say goodbye…again. 

Again, this was such a sweet, hopeful, scene that I couldn’t help but love it. Summer looks absolutely adorable in her little white wedding dress. And Cho looks very happy for her. His dimple actually shows as he smiles at her and tells her goodbye and good luck. Then, as the couple is driven off, his smile falls, you can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t feels a tiny bit of regret too. The lovely music is wonderfully appropriate to the emotions: simultaneously uplifting and bittersweet.

Second Runner Up: Rigsby Gets High

First of all I loved the continuity of Rigsby being a great sport and going undercover. This scene was reminiscent of one of this shows best episodes, the classic Red Hair and Silver Tape. Once again, Jane and Lisbon sit in a hotel room watching Rigsby on camera. In the aforementioned episode, it was doubly amusing since he was obviously crushing on his acting partner of the time, Grace. In Panama Red, the laughs come from the fact that Rigsby has to smoke some weed to pull off his act. The results are hilarious. Yeoman was fantastic as were Tunney and Baker.

Honorable Mentions

Casting was really great in this one. From Nicole Bilderback and Jack Laufer to Micheal Whaley as Elwood and James Jordan as Chuck. They were all perfect for their roles and helped keep the interest level high in scenes that might have been boring with lesser talent.

I particular enjoyed the delivery of Micheal Whaley. He was impressive as the no-nonsense security guard and had good comedic timing as well.

Susan Gibney stood out the most, however. With an easy, beautiful, ironic smile that lights up her whole face and a wry delivery that made her character exceedingly likable, she was an absolute delight.

Samaire Armstrong (who really is pregnant!) was charming as well. She was very convincing as the misunderstood, free-spirited Summer finally settling down once she found the love of her life.

David Norona’s Osvaldo Ardiles continues to be a welcome presence on this show. I just hope he doesn’t disappear like that other ADA Nicki; Mozhan Marno’s character.

Tim Kang as the strong, mostly silent Cho never fails to impress. But he is equally riveting when he lets his character’s emotions show every once in a while; his smile is especially powerful. It’s like unleashing a secret weapon on viewers; you keep forgetting he has one.

As talented a director as Baker might be, he truly shines as an actor and this episode gave us so much Baker-candy in the form of his acting prowess. It has been so long since we saw him play something other than manipulative and/or obsessed (see….well, entire review for more details) and I was completely riveted to his every expression. It doesn’t hurt that he never looked better too.

Like Baker, Yeoman’s comedic talent has also been in hiding for a while now. I loved seeing it emerge so beautifully in this episode. I literally laughed out loud in the scene he got high.

Guy Ferland’s direction makes the most out of the fantastically talented (and beautiful) cast and catches their best moments. We were given many reaction shots, but deftly so without them being shoved in our faces. At times it almost felt like I was standing right next to team. Grace’s screen time was  understandably limited- the actress’s pregnancy is getting harder to hide but the shots she was in were very well done.

Blake Neely’s beautiful tunes are, as always, the perfect accompaniment to this show. It’s been a while since an episode made me tear up both in sadness (Jane questioning Alice), and happiness (Cho/Summer end scene) and the music had a lot to do with that. As we say on twitter: #gratitude

Last, but certainly not least, is writer Michael Weiss. If I knew his address I’d send him a basket of flowers. His interesting and fun script truly made my day.

Icings on the Cake

–  Rigsby eating is one of my favorite things in the world.

– Jane trying to get Lisbon to eat is another.

– I liked Cho pulling Lisbon from where blood was dripping; mostly cause I heart their friendship but also because it almost felt symbolic.

– Jane is on his couch again. My favorite canon pairing ever.

-Jane asks Matthew Gold how he can get weed. When Gold tells Jane he gets in their co-op if he has a condition they can help with, Lisbon nods at Gold, glancing at Jane, with an “Oh, yeah he does” expression on her face. The moment is priceless. Now I doubt Jane would dull his mind with weed, but the mere thought is hilarious.

-Like guest reviewer P said, I too find the recurring characters fascinating and love seeing them, or just hearing about them from time to time. I won’t even pretend the fact that this episode had so many of didn’t have me flailing.

-It was nice seeing Lisbon in action questioning Elwood. Her “cop to cop” line established common ground between them which allowed the man to share some information. But it’s not enough as as he later tells her she needs a court order “cop to cop”. Michael Whaley’s reading of the line was really great, as was Tunney’s “busted” expression afterwards.

-Rigsby helps Cho find and arrest Chuck, to help Summer, even if he never approved of their relationship. Bro-love anyone? Seriously, who doesn’t love Chigsby.

Best Lines

“I have what you coppers call ‘a lead’.” -Jane, to Lisbon.

“Hanging some buds.” -Lisbon repeating what Gold said, clearly unimpressed with marijuana farming. Tunney’s reading was awesome.

“Well, someone’s gotta do it.” – Jane, in reply to the above. Baker’s little hitch was fantastic too.

“Patrick Jane, a consultant. This isn’t my boss.” Jane, introducing himself and Lisbon.  I’m willing to bet Jane just said this to rile Lisbon up, and/or see if she takes the bait.

“I’m Teresa Lisbon and I am his boss.”-Lisbon, giving her own introduction in response to Jane. She does take his bait, but I’m glad of it. It’s nice to know she remembers her place.

“Wow.” -Rigsby’s repeated response to seeing Summer, pregnant and engaged.

“You said that.” -Cho, in response to the above.

“It’s not yours is it?” Rigsby, to Cho, about Summer’s fetus.

“Police brutality! I’m not resisting!” Chuck when Cho takes him down. Hilarious. Especially since moments before the guy beat up Cho with a heavy wooden stick when he tried to arrest him.

“It’s always something with you guys. I wasn’t looking forward to prosecuting a pregnant woman anyway.” – Osvaldo Ardiles, when he realized why Cho wants Summer freed. Love the continuity on Ardiles’s wariness when it comes to the SCU.

“Could you pass the cheese, this is getting good.”-Jane.

“Say what you will about hippies. They throw a good funeral.” -Alice, to Jane.

“Boss is it okay if I sit down?” Rigsby, on weed, to Lisbon.

“You are sitting down Rigsby.” -Lisbon, in response to the above.

“Thank you Kimball. I promise I won’t bug you anymore. I’m going to be good.” -Summer. Aw! :’-)

“You keep a hammer in your desk?!” Jane, to Lisbon. Baker’s reading of this line was priceless. As are his facial expressions. Seeing Jane look disappointing, flummoxed, maybe even a little scared (of Lisbon) was just such a treat to watch.

Image by Chizuruchib. Copyright Reviewbrain Dec. 2012. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchib. Copyright Reviewbrain Dec. 2012. Not to be used without permission.

Awww!! XD

Pet Peeves

The botany/marijuana lingo was just a wee bit confusing as was the switch in the end. Also, I’d pegged Gold as the killer all along, though, for the life of me, I can’t tell why.

Conclusion

I’ve talked about how enjoyable this episode was ad-infinitum. Now it’s time to talk about how important it was.

Trust continues to prevail as a popular theme in this show. Tamsin Wade says she needs to know that she can trust Cho, which she can’t because he went behind her back to the DA. The thing is, while she trusted him enough to add him to her Rapid Response team, she still wouldn’t to take his word that Summer wasn’t involved.

Meanwhile, Cho trusts Rigsby enough to go with him and find Chuck, the guy that escaped the Rapid Response team’s raid, even though Rigsby isn’t involved in the case.

Summer loves her fiancee Marshall but doesn’t trust the knowledge that she was a call girl won’t ruin their relationship. It’s not unlike Jane who (still?) keeps things he feels might affect his relationship with Lisbon hidden from her. But while Summer changed her life, Jane has been actively trying to change Lisbon. While Jane needing someone to understand him has previously been noted as a possible reason for his “grooming” of Lisbon, we now have more information that might further support this theory

In this episode, at the victim’s service, when Jane tells Alice that he managed to open the victim’s puzzle box, she tells him, “He would have loved that you figured that out. He didn’t have a lot of people that could play at his level.” To which Jane replies, “Yeah, well it’s a curse some people live with.”

I’ve said it about Jane before: genius is a lonely place. But by grooming Lisbon, maybe it won’t be.

Jane also seems to want Lisbon to trust that everything will be all right in the end.

Lest people think this episode was a random stand alone, the writer had Jane say the following:

“You seem very obsessed with evaluating our status. Good, bad. We’re alive. The guy that made this (puzzle box) is dead. By comparison I think we’re doing very well.”

Whoa, mama! What a loaded sentence. Anyone else think that just maybe Jane is talking about more than just the case here? Lisbon sure thinks so, if her withering look to Jane is anything to go by.

Methinks Jane knows how much Lisbon is worrying about his RJ obsession, hence his use of the word, and is annoyed that this worry is manifesting itself in her being more strict with him.

Of course, Lisbon has other reasons for her changed demeanor. Season four saw Lisbon, overjoyed at Jane not being convicted, appreciating him, indulging him, and basically going along with whatever he did. But giving Jane all the leeway he wanted still didn’t get him to share his plans with Lisbon before he did his disappearing act. Nor did he tell her about his “relationship” with Lorelei, so it’s only realistic for her to revert to her no-nonsense boss-lady methods. If this is true, then it establishes a new theme for this season: Lisbon rebelling against Jane’s influence over her. This is symbolized by her breaking open the trick box instead of asking Jane to open it for her, as he obviously wanted her too. Like Jane’s earlier speech to Lisbon, it was a humorous moment but is also laced with some pretty serious subtext which reveals itself when Lisbon tells Jane he only thinks he knows everything about her.

I’ve always said Lisbon is more mysterious than Jane which is a particularly clever move on Heller’s part. If we are to remain suspenseful as to what will happen when RJ is ever found, we, like Jane, have to remain in the dark as to how she’ll act. How both of them will act, really. Either Jane will give in and let Lisbon arrest RJ, or Lisbon will help Jane get his revenge. Either way, having Lisbon, once again, be more than just Jane’s side-kick helps achieve that. The fact that genius Jane is still in the dark about aspects of Lisbon’s character keeps the show fresh and interesting.

Author’s Note: As always, thanks for reading. Please don’t forget to rate the review and share your own opinions in the comments. As we approach the end of another year I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this fantastic community of fans we’ve been blessed with. You are all fantastic and I love you. Be sure to come back on the 25th as Violet has a Christmas present for you all which I’ll post here. Or, simply “follow’ the blog to get an email the moment it is posted. Happy holidays!

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41 responses to “Mentalist Panama Red

  • Agnes

    Another marvellous review. Thank you.

    But (sorry) could you please spell Lorelei’s name correctly? Although pronounced as an untruth, it is lei.

  • rita

    Great review as always, I enjoyed this episode very much for many of the reasons you have stated. But of course you saw so much more than I did, so now I have to go back and watch again…….what a chore!!

    I was glad that Summer came back, she wasn’t one of my favourite characters (she always felt like a premonition of a train wreck to me) but I was glad to see a line drawn under that relationship, I also thought that there was some jealousy from Tamsin wade over Cho’s actions. I’m not sure that I want cho to go there, but we will see what is in store soon I guess.

    I loved Jane with the puzzle box, when he held it to hischest and said ‘it’s mine’…..like Scrooge with his money….or a little boy with his toy train!!….it made me laugh out loud

    I am hoping that as Lisbon pointed out……Jane doesn’t know everythbing about her, and as he seems to be taking her for granted at the moment, he isn’t actively trying to find stuff out….her actions over the puzzle box (her delicate way of opening it!) May make him do a bit more thinking about her.

    Again, great stuff, and a lovely pre christmas treat for me!! Enjoy the festive season, you have made mine more interesting!!

  • reviewbrain

    Lol! Thanks. Will fix it ASAP 😉

  • All-I-need

    That review was brilliant, as always, and I agree with practically everything you said. No surprise there, I guess.

    Some things I’d like to mention:
    “The way she was able to quickly move on from Cho (So Long and Thanks for all the Red Snapper was only 12 episodes ago, and she’s eight months pregnant)” – Remember that in those 12 episodes, two had a six-month-span between them and since then several weeks (or even months) have passed with Jane trying to get information out of Lorelei. I guess that Summer’s pregnancy gives us at least some sort of a timeline to go with.

    Favorite scene:
    Definitely the end. I was crying from laughing so hard. “Where are my keys? *WHACK!* Oh, there they are, silly me!” and Jane’s expression was priceless. I haven’t laughed like that since he tried to steal an ambulance.

    Also, Rigsby was high. I loved the whole “May I sit down, boss?” – “You ARE sitting down, Rigsby.” It was simply brilliant and of course Jane loved it. And did you notice how Jane actually played the servant for Lisbon in that hotel room, guiding her to her chair, handing her a napkin … didn’t the man say he’d never seduce her over a meal? He sure seemed to be trying…^^

    Back to the puzzle box for a moment. I thought the way Jane and Lisbon dealt with that was rather symbolic.
    Though Jane obviously wants to get results, he also cares a lot about how he gets them, the more elaborate the better. Meanwhile, Lisbon is perfectly willing to go along with his elaborate schemes, but if there is a faster way she won’t hesitate to take it, as long as it gets her the results she wants. While Jane is sneaky and choses to experiment even when time-pressed (aka when he has a case to solve), Lisbon is straightforward and comes barging through the door right away.

    Chizuru Chibi’s art is wonderful as ever, by the way!

    I’m looking forward to that special gift on the 25th already. Merry Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate) to you!

  • Arco

    I thought that this episode was OK but wasn’t that excited about it. Well, except for Lisbon smashing Jane’s puzzle box o’ dreams (kudos on the artwork). I suspect that Jane searches Lisbon’s office from time to time–just to keep his breaking & entering skill set up to date, I’m sure, so I wonder when Lisbon brought in the hammer?

    Having been a supervisor myself, if Cho had gone over my head as he did Tamsin Wade’s, I would have given him a memorable chewing out. When Wade let Cho know that it would never happen again, I took her words to mean that Cho was off the rapid response team. Cho is used to a much more flexible team because of Jane & the latitude that Lisbon allows her subordinates. I think that Wade is being characterized so that she contrasts with Lisbon–we don’t need a Lisbon Jr. at the CBI, after all. I thought that maybe Wade called Lisbon “your cute boss,” because Wade mistook Lisbon’s fragile-looking appearance & low-key personality as not being tough, but your explanation makes sense–that Wade was trying to determine how available Cho is.

    I have previously liked Summer’s role, but I didn’t care for the way she was used in this episode & am not sure that I can exactly explain why. I guess that they wanted to wrap up her storyline so that she reappears only to quickly exit the show again.

    I did particularly like Susan Gibney’s role. I was glad, as you say, that some of the characters from previous episodes popped up again in this episode–nice to have some continuity (I’m still wondering about that poker game …).

    I am not looking forward to the return of Volker, which I understand we get for at least two upcoming episodes. If there’s anything that will drag the show down more than Red John (some people are really tired of that plot line, & I can’t say that I blame them), then it’s having basically two Red Johns & Lisbon becoming more like Jane.

    Red John should have been Timothy Carter, & then we could either have another new baddie or RJ disciples could appear from time to time to continue that plot thread. That development would have given the series some room to show Jane’s growth/recovery. Instead, we have gotten more mostly Jerk Jane although, as you observed reviewbrain, he was better in this episode.

    The tension in the show is not really Jane’s search for Red John–Jane, after all, seems to have a lot in common with Red John. The real relationship dynamic in the show is between Jane & Lisbon as I believe that you are pointing out, reviewbrain.

    Thanks for highlighting the parallels between Jeremy & his mentor & Jane & Lisbon. I really hadn’t noticed those points.

    I always enjoy your reviews.

  • julienic73gmailJulie

    Enjoyed your review. I was disappointed with Summer’s return. I didn’t see the point in it at all. They should have waited until after the baby as I think it limited their story lines. She was a great character which I felt deserved better. I would have rather she had been left in Seattle. Otherwise I loved the episode. Jane with the box, Rigsby high, though Jane high would have been a joy to see, but good to see more team involvement. And another fun ending. Simon Baker’s reaction was perfect.

    On another matter I haven’t heard anything about a Wainwright replacement.

  • Arco

    This is a deleted scene from the pilot. I think it reflects where the show is going–revealing of Lisbon’s perspective about Jane:

    The Season One episode scripts are available online, plus one from a later episode (3×11)–& some episodes have more than one version.

    http://www.zen134237.zen.co.uk/Mentalist/

  • Arco

    I didn’t mean to post the actual video so may need help from reviewbrain to just list the link if that’s her policy.

  • P

    That puzzle box is symbolic for many reasons. I agree with Reviewbrain that Lisbon smashing it is symbolic of Lisbon rebelling against Jane’s influence over her (it’s about time!) I also agree with All-I-Need that how the two chose to open it is symbolic of their overall approach to solving problems: elaborate and sneaky vs straight forward and simply. It reminded me of when Jane stressed himself out for days trying (unsuccessfully) to find a way to get Culpepper’s charges dropped after he was caught breaking into LaRoche’s house at Jane’s request. When he finally tells Lisbon about his problem, she immediately walks into the interrogation room, punches Culpepper, and makes Jane’s problem instantly disappear.

    I have thought many times that Jane’s high intelligence is as much a curse as it is a blessing. I think he believes he is just a little bit smarter than he actually is. I think he makes lots of things overly complicated. Most of the time this doesn’t result in any negative consequences (at least for him) because he is so much smarter than most of the criminals they deal with. However, he occasionally gets into trouble when dealing with another smart person. Erica Flynn escaped either because he overestimated his own ability to stay one step ahead of her or because he let her escape because he was attracted to her (we’ll never know what really happened. I hope he didn’t let her escape deliberately, but I have my doubts.) The most obvious example though is Red John. Jane’s crazy plans never work. I truly believe (even though I can’t prove it) that if Lisbon was making the decisions in the Red John investigation instead of Jane they would have caught him years ago. Jane over analyzes and, even worse, gets blinded by emotion. That’s a bad combination.

  • P

    I agree with Arco on Tamsin Wade’s response to Cho going over her head. Wade has no reason to trust Cho’s judgement. Unlike Lisbon, who has worked with him for years and come to trust his judgement over time, Wade barely knows him. Would you trust his judgement in this situation? A man you’ve never worked with before says that the apparent lookout at a crime scene is innocent. All you know is that 1) she was caught at the scene of the crime 2) She is or at least was a prostitute (i.e.,she herself has a criminal past) 3) She had a sexual relationship with Cho.

    Hmmm, an agent sleeping with his informant would be considered an example of poor judgement to most people. Considering all of that, she has zero reason to trust Cho’s opinion on Summer’s guilt or innocence. I would charge her and let the DA decide if there is enough there to prosecute. And Wade did the right thing in chewing Cho out (my impression is she kicked him off the team as well, which I have no problem with.) She needs to maintain her authority, especially with someone brand new to her team. You never go over the boss’s head. If you do, you pay for it.

    Lisbon should take a lesson from Wade. Maybe if Jane had paid a more serious price with Lisbon after some of the stuff he has pulled on her over the years, he would be less difficult to manage now. Lisbon created a bit of a monster by always letting Jane get away with the crap he pulls.

  • reviewbrain

    Glad someone else felt Wade might have been jealous as well, even though with Arco and P’s comments below I’m starting to think I may have overstated that part. I’m starting to think it was a combination of both….
    And thanks for your kind words, your comments have made mine interesting as well 🙂

  • reviewbrain

    All i Need wrote: “Remember that in those 12 episodes, two had a six-month-span between them and since then several weeks (or even months) have passed with Jane trying to get information out of Lorelei. I guess that Summer’s pregnancy gives us at least some sort of a timeline to go with.”
    I get Jane being in Vegas for six months after Red Rover, Red Rover, but what was the other episode? Did you mean the summer break because I got the sense that this season’s premiere took place very soon after last season’s finale; as in a matter of days; or a week maximum as opposed to weeks or months

    And you and P are totally right. Box was symbolic of their different preferred methods of solving problems. One of the things I liked about Season one and two Lisbon is she seemed to go along with Jane’s plans only when they seemed practical. Hopefully this will be how it goes from now on too.

    P, I was reminded of Redacted too!

    “I have thought many times that Jane’s high intelligence is as much a curse as it is a blessing. I think he believes he is just a little bit smarter than he actually is…..Most of the time this doesn’t result in any negative consequences (at least for him) because he is so much smarter than most of the criminals they deal with.”

    I think so too. His ego is his biggest flaw and it annoys me to no end that he doesn’t get into more trouble because of it.

    ” However, he occasionally gets into trouble when dealing with another smart person. Erica Flynn escaped either because he overestimated his own ability to stay one step ahead of her or because he let her escape because he was attracted to her (we’ll never know what really happened. I hope he didn’t let her escape deliberately, but I have my doubts.)”

    I honestly don’t think he let her go intentionally, first, because although he wouldn’t admit to Lisbon that he didn’t intentionally let Erica escape, he later tells Erica that he’ll catch her. But even if I’m right, there were no lasting effects to his mistake here. There never are any consequences, actually.

    I think, after his family’s death (although, ironically, he was quite blameless there) the writers don’t want to give him more to feel guilty about. But why not? I would love to see an episode where Jane’s ego has him make a big mistake he actually feels bad for; one that gives him *real* introspection as opposed to just seclusion and depression. Even his mistake in killing Timothy Carter didn’t work; his stance was the man was a criminal too, so good riddance. Everything that ever happened to him only seems to make him more entitled; not more humble. The experience that he has is invaluable to be sure, but it doesn’t make him all-knowing. And I’m sure Jane knows that; at least subconsciously. He may even say it out loud. But he sure doesn’t *act* like it.

    Hope that makes sense.

  • reviewbrain

    Arco wrote: “I think that Wade is being characterized so that she contrasts with Lisbon–we don’t need a Lisbon Jr. at the CBI, after all. I thought that maybe Wade called Lisbon “your cute boss,” because Wade mistook Lisbon’s fragile-looking appearance & low-key personality as not being tough, but your explanation makes sense–that Wade was trying to determine how available Cho is.”

    I was wondering if I had made too much of it, but then I remembered her looking at Cho for a while after he left her office in the previous episode. It might be a bit of both. Your explanation makes total sense too. Although, we were told agents in one unit aren’t allowed to date, I wonder if that extends to the Rapid Response team.

    P wrote: “Hmmm, an agent sleeping with his informant would be considered an example of poor judgement to most people. Considering all of that, she has zero reason to trust Cho’s opinion on Summer’s guilt or innocence.”

    Very, very true.

    P also said: “You never go over the boss’s head. If you do, you pay for it.

    and

    “Lisbon should take a lesson from Wade. Maybe if Jane had paid a more serious price with Lisbon after some of the stuff he has pulled on her over the years, he would be less difficult to manage now.”

    You are totally right and I think Lisbon knew this. In earlier seasons, she was very skeptical of Jane’s plans and used to shut him down more often. But I think seeing so many of them work has her more open to accepting them. She has also always maintained that Jane is a consultant, not an agent, and therefore isn’t held to the same laws as the agents. That used to work in the past. But Jane has been getting a lot of power in the team, more than his share as a consultant. It seems like she sees that now and is why she’s reigning him in a little more now. I hope.

  • reviewbrain

    I’ve seen the scene before (it’s a goodie on the S1 dvd’s) but thanks for sharing for those who have not. I think it was deleted because, for a pilot, it simply gives too much away and, like you said, it may have been saved for later seasons. I hope this one is it.

    On a side note, I wonder if Cho’s dilemma with Wade was created to help achieve a similar theme. Like, the SCU has been so used to doing things a certain way that they don’t realize how different it is from other agents. Maybe Cho, in this episode, will start realizing it? Could that be what him pulling Lisbon away from the blood be symbolizing?

    I’m probably just fanwanking :p

  • reviewbrain

    Arco, this —>”I am not looking forward to the return of Volker, which I understand we get for at least two upcoming episodes. If there’s anything that will drag the show down more than Red John (some people are really tired of that plot line, & I can’t say that I blame them), then it’s having basically two Red Johns & Lisbon becoming more like Jane.”

    is my worst nightmare for this show 😦

    This —> Red John should have been Timothy Carter, & then we could either have another new baddie or RJ disciples could appear from time to time to continue that plot thread. That development would have given the series some room to show Jane’s growth/recovery. Instead, we have gotten more mostly Jerk Jane although, as you observed reviewbrain, he was better in this episode.”

    In my Scarlett Ribbon’s review, I had stated we’d have to wait and see where the show is head to make that call. But as of now, not knowing where the show is headed, I agree. What a waste of Whitford. It was a real anti-climax and I’m still smarting from being lied to that RJ died. I just hope the writers can console is with an even bigger finale. But that’s a tall order. S & C was superb. But so was The Crimson Hat, so I’m optimistic.

    This –> “The tension in the show is not really Jane’s search for Red John–Jane, after all, seems to have a lot in common with Red John. The real relationship dynamic in the show is between Jane & Lisbon as I believe that you are pointing out, reviewbrain.”

    Yes. This show was advertised as being Jane on a quest for redemption, which implies character growth. If it’s happened, I don’t see it.

  • violet

    Really excellent review! You really did the ep justice and I don’t see much to add as it was all very complete… 🙂 Just two little side remarks then:

    I agree about Wade. Not sure either if she is (was) interested in Cho in a more personal level, but that is definitely a possibility. And, even though she was right about not tolerating him undermining her authority to save a former lover, she could have done it in a better, more comprehensive way. I don’t like her: she seems nice enough but she tends to affirm herself by depreciating others. The “girls” directed towards Rigsby and Cho was humorous, but calling Lisbon “your cute boss” in front of them? Totally not appropriate: Lisbon was doing her a favour in letting her borrow one of her men, it didn’t do to devaluate her authority that way. And all those mentions about “girls/cute” to enhance that she is by comparison a real tough cop? A cowboy cop gorging in action only would do that, not a responsible, professional agent. So, yes, she has probably decided to set Cho as an example: no second chances, not talk, not anything. Lisbon wouldn’t act that way.

    Second point: P is right, the puzzle box is symbolic for many reasons indeed. One of them may be that it’s the second episode in a row where Jane tries to rope Lisbon in a crazy but amusing plan. In ‘Black Cherry’, he convinced her to enter in the real estate agency: he jumped over the fence, assured her that he had (stolen) the keys. She wasn’t happy with him and she reluctantly followed: she opened the fence door and he felt a little foolish… Here? He stole the keys (again) to force her to play with him. She reluctantly follows by taking the wooden box. And smashes it, to his utter shock. Both times he obviously wants to play with her, to spend time with her like they used to do. And both times she’s more than a little reluctant. And it’s highly symbolic that he feels to need to steal keys to try to help her open up again… I know I’m very probably reaching, but I couldn’t help but compare those scenes with the one where Lisbon was trapped to a bomb, and Jane examining the lock to get her out of it: she said “don’t pick up the lock” and he found a way to help her without doing so, leading to a season where they were closer than ever. Now, she’s emotionally locked up herself away from him, and he’s reduced to steal keys to try and get her to play with him… (And I’m very proud of myself for managing to avoid linking Jane’s feelings for her and any Freudian symbolism for keys… Ooops… 😉 )

    By the way, Chizuru Chibi’s drawning totally cracked me up! XD Merry Christmas everyone (and a splendidly great day to those who don’t celebrate it) !

  • leyla23

    Great review! About Jane’s box: I can’t help but add a little something I’ve been thinking about since I saw the episode. I find Jane’s box to be highly reminiscent of Jane’s (and to a certain extent Lisbon’s) perspective this season regarding Jane’s investigation on Red John. The box is a bit like Lorelei: Jane spends an entire episode trying to find a way to open it, stroking it, toying with it, because he’s so desperate to find out what it contains. Just like this box, Jane has so far spent half a season toying around with Lorelei: he slept with her, helped her escape from prison, seduced her, and tried to gain her trust, only to get her to open her mouth and tell him everything she knows about Red John. Lorelei (a bit like this box) is extremely precious to him because it holds the key to finding what he so desperately seeks: an end to the Red John quest and, by extent, self-redemption. Jane is thus, as pertains to his character, extremely cautious and patient with it so as not to break it (exactly the way he tries to win Lorelei’s trust: cautiously, almost tenderly), and all the while secretly using his “great mentalist skills” as a way of manipulating the thing (and Lorelei) into opening up to him.
    Unlike Jane, Lisbon doesn’t spend ages trying to find a way to open the box, and she doesn’t go about it cautiously nor patiently. She just smashes the thing to pieces, and shamelessly grabs what it contains. I think this does not only symbolize Lisbon’s tiredness at seeing Jane obsess over Red John, but also an overall annoyance at the way he is handling Lorelei. Jane’s pursuit of Lorelei is putting a serious strain on their friendship. Not only did he break the law by breaking her out of prison, but he broke her trust and betrayed her once again. I think Lisbon is starting to get tired of this, and clearly wishes Jane would take a simpler, quicker, and more direct approach to making Lorelei talk. Maybe in time Jane will come to realize that going straight for his usual antics and taking a thousand different paths is not always the most effective way to solve a problem. Maybe considering other options once in a while, and perhaps trusting and listening to what Lisbon has to say a little more often (despite her being perhaps “intellectually inferior” to him in his own mind), would save him a great deal of trouble. Granted, Lisbon broke the box, but didn’t she get the exact same result Jane did in the end without taking a thousand different U-turns?
    I keep having this thought in my mind that if you put Lisbon and Lorelei in a same room (without Jane present) she would reveal a lot more information to Lisbon than she would to Jane with all his antics. As we saw at the end of the season 4 finale, Lorelei enjoys taunting Lisbon, provoking her, trying to scare her and to make her jealous at the same time (perhaps because she is jealous of Lisbon herself). I would love to see Lisbon cut through the crap, and use Lorelei’s potential jealousy into revealing her stuff about Red John. While Lorelei is unsure at the moment whether she can trust Jane or not, I believe she perceives Lisbon as the direct enemy, not only because she represents the law, but also because she believes (as she states in the season 5 premiere) Lisbon to be the receiver of Jane’s deepest affection, something Lorelei couldn’t earn even by sleeping with him, or anyone for the matter since Angela Jane (and Lorelei proved in “Red Sails in the Sunset” that all she craves in this world is affection). I think this implies that Lisbon could be the shortcut to making Lorelei talk. Just like Lisbon took a hammer to Jane’s box, I think it would take very little to get Lisbon to piss Lorelei enough into exposing her heart’s content, and singing like a bird about her former lover Red John.

    Oh and someone mentioned that they were not looking forward to seeing the rest of the Volker storyline unfold: I disagree. I think that giving Lisbon her own “Red John” will offer her a whole new perspective on the way Jane conducts himself with regards to Red John. I think that through Volker, Lisbon will come to understand Jane’s motivations a lot more, and it will subsequently bring them a lot closer. I think it would be extremely satisfying to see Lisbon solving the Volker case all on her own, proving that she’s not such a bad cop after all and that she can manage without Jane being around. Who knows? Maybe Jane would come to trust her judgement a lot more after that, especially concerning Red John and the mess he’s in right now with Lorelei.

  • zee

    Hello Reviewbrain,

    Beautiful work on the review, especially the Jane/Jeremy parallels!

    If it’s worth mentioning regarding Jane’s interview with Alice Burns:
    Jane always kinda had poignant sympathy for the ailing. A flashback episode of his childhood “Wonder Boy” days portrayed him being coerced to con a dying girl with lung disease. If I’m not wrong, he cried his eyes out later.

    Then, in Red Mile, after finding out Coroner Steiner’s not gonna be around much longer, Jane behaved better and treated him to cigar & expensive liquor (although these belonged to the owner of the mansion house when they were investigating).

    So, I think the ‘good behaviour’ stems from his guilt of his childhood, some sort of a redemption for conning the ailing sick.

    A laughed at Lisbon’s comeback when Jane was at the victims apartment and proclaimed that someone had searched his place meticulously.
    ” By who? Martha Stewart? ” She’s sassy in this episode 😉

  • windsparrow

    Excellent review, flippin’ glorious artwork!

    Anybody else wondering if the single rose is standard with that hotel’s room service, or if Jane ordered it for both rooms… cuz it would be too overt to only have it in one room, but he was bound and determined that Lisbon would get a flower?

  • Tringo

    Again, great review and comments, and so many interesting points I have to rewatch the episode! (I’m quite certain Lisbon brougt/bought the hammer to open the box if Jane took to long figuring out how to open it the first time. She would let him play with it for a while before taking matters in her own hands… )

  • T

    I thought this was an average episode, nothing important happened and that’s not good enough for a winter finale. However I am thankful that we may have gotten rid of Summer who was teeth grindingly annoying as a character and the equally uninteresting Tamsin Wade. I should mention it is entirely possible Wade is a lesbian hence her remark ‘re Lisbon cute boss. I mention this because the previous ADA was supposed to be a lesbian attracted to Lisbon but they never actually showed that on screen. A touch of cold feet perhaps. I did enjoy the destruction of the puzzle box and Rigsby’s ‘high’ performance, but wacky tabbacky just isn’t that funny to me. TM without RJ is heresy, then it would be just another procedural with some humor thrown in. It is Jane’s search for redemption that makesthe show special. Now let ‘s see if Lisbon’s experience with Volker makes her understand Jane’s obsession or if it disturbs Jane. Sounds like fun to me. As always, a well written and thought provoking review reviewbrain.

  • Arco

    Jane has killed two people–Timothy Carter, who turned out not to be Red John, & Sheriff Hardy (AKA Dumar Tanner). Neither was a good person, but you would still expect to see–not really remorse–but some kind of disturbance/reaction from Jane because he killed two people–especially, in one case, killing the wrong person by mistake. His dislike of firearms doesn’t even seem credible anymore because apparently he can dispatch people (using firearms!), & it doesn’t even faze him.

  • Arco

    I really thought that “Devil’s Cherry” set up the opportunity for Jane to get on with his life. I am disappointed that this thread was introduced & then quickly abandoned. It’s alright for Jane to continue working on the case, but he shouldn’t make it the focus of his existence.

  • windsparrow

    Upon rewatching, I find it more and more ominous for the team that Cho, instead of building bridges for more resources for a potential show-down with RJ, as burnt them instead. This leaves them ever more isolated from their colleagues within the CBI. On the other hand, he does seem to have come to some kind of rapprochement with Ardilles. When it comes to that, Lisbon having the kind of relationship with Sarah that she can owe a favor… welll, who knows what limits Sarah will draw. But the more interconnected they are, the better. I hope.

  • Pharmchick

    I don’t think that Cho burned his bridges within the CBI, I think he was just doing the right thing. He knew that Summer was innocent, and he did approach agent Wade to say this first, but she didn’t want to hear any of it and was going to charge Summer. Although it must have been painful to see Summer engaged and carrying another man’s baby, Cho still did the right thing, and gave her a chance to go on with her life. I don’t know if it will be a good life as she’s still keeping secrets and lying to Marshall, however it is an improvement to her previous way of life, and when she thanked Cho, I felt it wasn’t just about Saving the wedding, but giving her the chance to change her life for the better. Being a CI changed her life for the better, all thanks to Cho. I think ( or hope) that she realizes all that he has done for her. I was disappointed that she was brought back just to leave again, and I don’t know why the writers wanted to “finalize” their relationship again, it seemed pretty final with their 1st goodbye.

  • C Hill

    “Upon rewatching, I find it more and more ominous for the team that Cho, instead of building bridges for more resources for a potential show-down with RJ, as burnt them instead. This leaves them ever more isolated from their colleagues within the CBI. On the other hand, he does seem to have come to some kind of rapprochement with Ardilles. When it comes to that, Lisbon having the kind of relationship with Sarah that she can owe a favor… welll, who knows what limits Sarah will draw. But the more interconnected they are, the better. I hope.”

    interesting. my take is almost the opposite:
    1) like T, i my initial reaction to tamsin’s comment about lisbon being “cute” was, er, well, prurient. 🙂
    2) the ardilles interaction is interesting. rapprochement, though, i don’t know.
    3) sarah? i so love the actress and the character, but i’ve had her pegged as RJ the entire way. the favor return, i think, will be a source of pain.

    also, was this supposed to be the winter finale or a late substitution?

  • Arco

    After rewatching the episode, I think that Wade came over to the SCU specifically to spend time with the “ladies” before the raid–especially with Lady Cho. If all she wanted to do was notify Cho about the raid–well, she could have called him rather than making a personal visit to his office. Then Rigsby sniped at her so that she left instead of flirting with Cho for half an hour. That would be further ammunition for your point that Wade may have been interested in Cho.

  • C Hill

    sorry, i meant to comment here a few weeks ago about dr. freud and the spelling of lore-LIE by certain folks 🙂 [i keeed!]

  • ratsacre

    Normally when I see things on this blog that I don’t agree with, I mentally shrug and think everybody has their opinions, and it’s good to be challenged on cherished perspectives. Also, I love the fact that people can see so much in so these seemingly innocuous happenings.

    But really, some of the comments this time make me wonder whether we’re watching the same show.

    I am a fan of the show as I love mentalism and magicians. I also have an intense dislike of psychics. So, perfect show for me.

    Why this show is different from all the other violent crime show on the television is that it is about a mentalist solving crimes. Not a cop. Not a forensic tech. Not by using forensic technology (and forensic fantasy in a lot of shows). Someone who manipulates wrongdoer, who can ‘see’ what average people cannot.

    Elaborate schemes that seem downright bizarre but actually work is what makes the show. Some of the comments in this thread and past threads, are along the lines of Jane is just an arrogant prick who hasn’t learnt anything and is not as smart as he thinks he is. If that were true, we’d be watching a criminal version of House, who was a brilliant phsyician, but a total suckhole of a human being.

    Fair enough. If you really think that of Jane, that’s fair enough.

    But to tell me that if Lisbon was ‘in charge’ of the Red John case she would have had it solved it years ago? That she would be able to interrogate Lorelei into submission in no time at all? Please.

    She WAS in charge of the Red John case. For some time before Jane even turned up. And guess what? Jane might be a consultant, but she is the head of the team. The team in charge of the Red John case. Which they had for years.

    Moreover, when Jane left the team for redder fields in Las Vegas, gee, their closure rate dropped so much that Wainwright actually wanted Jane back. After the humiliation Jane dished out to him infront of all to see. If he truly is so pedestrian, with his overly elaborate schemes and machinations and Lisbon so brilliant with her straightforward excellent detective skills, why did that happen?

    (BTW, I hated that they made the team look very ordinary in that way. I don’t think it served anybody well. But hey, plot device, we had to get Wainwright to say what he did to the FBI. Uh, I think I answered my own earlier question about low closure rates…)

    I find the Red John pursuit very tiresome, in some ways. I agree with those who have said that they wished Timothy Carter was Red John. I think The Mentalist could survive without RJ. Most of my favourite episodes have nothing to do with RJ. However, it is important to note that RJ has outsmarted not just Jane, Lisbon or the CBI, but the FBI and even Homeland Security if we are to believe that Bob is involved. That to me is the flaw in the show. That RJ now has this impervious network of acolytes and disciples. Yech, I loathe that term when they use it in the show!

    Most serial killers are monsters masquerading as average, normal human beings. I have read many books on serial killers and criminal profiling for many years now. These sick human beings are surrounded by people who are shocked to find out that their husband, father, brother, neighbour, friend murdered wholesale. Look at the Bind, Torture, Kill murderer, Dennis Rader. Ten people murdered. Who’d a thunk? While he was going to Church and being a dutiful husband and father, he butchered people, including children.

    I’m sorry, I am getting off topic.

    I do love these reviews and comments, it’s just that everynow and then I think a bit of a different slant is needed.

    My husband and I talked about the Lisbon smashing the box, and decided that it was done purely for comic effect, especially as Jane had been fondling it all episode. Although I was horrified that she would destroy a dead man’s haniwork (and evidence) in such an off handed manner. But, to misquote Freud, somtimes a box is just a box.

    Please do not be offended by my comments. Everyone is entitled to their takes on things. So many times I have read reviews and comments here and been very pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful content. Pleade keep it up. Happy New Year to everybody.

  • ratsacre

    Gah,

    To clarify my last comment! I just re-read it and it did not say what I wamted to say…

    Pleasantly surprised to see such thoughtful content was to remark on the consistantly high quality if the reviews and comments compared to some of the trainwrecks of review sites I have frequented in the past.

    Please forgive the typos in my post, my cat was bemanding to me put to bed and I hit post before I could finish proofing…

  • violet

    “Some of the comments in this thread and past threads, are along the lines of Jane is just an arrogant prick who hasn’t learnt anything and is not as smart as he thinks he is. If that were true, we’d be watching a criminal version of House, who was a brilliant phsyician, but a total suckhole of a human being.”

    To be fair, both points of view seem equally true in my humble opinion. You are right: Jane is a good person, he can be sweet, considerate and really brilliant. On the other hand still, Jane is indeed “an arrogant prick” and while it may be a bit too much to say he “hasn’t learnt anything”, he hasn’t learnt enough, otherwise he wouldn’t spend his time getting in the exact same fishy (and often hilarious) situations every time… And, unfortunately, he is “not as smart as he thinks he is”: I won’t even go in his half cooked crazy schemes to get RJ (because really, who walks almost alone in the tiger’s dent with just a gun and a melon wrapped in a wig? How did he even think he could get to the gun without Lorelei noticing that the big round thing that didn’t bleed wasn’t exactly Lisbon’s head? Seriously?). Just think back to his dilemma with Culpepper: he wasn’t able to get him out of jail. Lisbon did… This leads me to…

    “But to tell me that if Lisbon was ‘in charge’ of the Red John case she would have had it solved it years ago? That she would be able to interrogate Lorelei into submission in no time at all? Please. She WAS in charge of the Red John case. For some time before Jane even turned up. And guess what? Jane might be a consultant, but she is the head of the team. The team in charge of the Red John case. Which they had for years. Moreover, when Jane left the team for redder fields in Las Vegas, gee, their closure rate dropped so much that Wainwright actually wanted Jane back. After the humiliation Jane dished out to him infront of all to see. If he truly is so pedestrian, with his overly elaborate schemes and machinations and Lisbon so brilliant with her straightforward excellent detective skills, why did that happen? (BTW, I hated that they made the team look very ordinary in that way. I don’t think it served anybody well. But hey, plot device, we had to get Wainwright to say what he did to the FBI. Uh, I think I answered my own earlier question about low closure rates…)”

    Actually, when Lisbon was in charge of the RJ case without Jane, there weren’t by far as many elements to investigate: they couldn’t guess the extent of his network, let alone that he had one. They just pegged him for a basic -if terrible- serial killer. Now it still seems very dubious that she would have solved it on her own anyway, but at the very least, she would have kept a cold head, which Jane obviously can’t (yet)… And I don’t really know about their low closure rate while Jane was in Vegas. It was never clearly stated if it stayed decent enough but Wainwright’s bosses were pressuring him because they no longer had an impressive closure rate to boost their own careers (as that was implicitly the reason why Hightower had him labeled as her golden boy) or if the Serious Crimes closure rate really plummeted after Jane left them. Seemed pretty ambiguous to me. And even more ambiguous would be the reasons if it really did drop: was it because they weren’t good enough without their consultant, or was Lisbon so worried, sleep-deprived and basically heartbroken that she just stopped really caring and the team struggled to cover up for two defections? Hard to say: that’s the problem with subtext, you can read everything and anything in it…
    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not supporting Lisbon while denigrating Jane. It’s just that both characters have layers…

    Happy New Year to you too, Ratsacre! 🙂

  • P

    That’s part of why I like this blog so much…all the different viewpoints, some I agree with and some I don’t, but all of them at least interesting. But I just want to clarify a couple of points.

    I agree with Violet that Lisbon did not have nearly as much information about RJ when she got the case (he had not yet killed as many people or started playing his games). In Red Dawn, when Jane first meets Lisbon, she tells him that they just took over the RJ case a few months ago. So she has not had “years” to solve it without him. It is possible that RJ hadn’t even killed a new victim since she got it, in which case RJ would be one of presumably many open cases they were handed. The priority would most likely be new, live cases they get called to, and they would try to get up to speed on the others during downtime.

    I do agree that Lisbon heads the team and is ultimately responsible. To be fair, I have been critical of her before (see my comments above!) because of how she handles (or doesn’t handle) Jane…giving him too much freedom, putting up with his lies, etc. But while I don’t think she would instantly get Lorelei to tell all, I do believe it is very possible that at some point over the past 8 or 9 years the team has had the case (all but a few months of which Jane the Brilliant was there for) they might have found a lead and solved it using standard detective work. With no emotion clouding the planning, no overly elaborate complicated plan with dozens of things that could go wrong, the team would be more likely to be successful. We’ll never know, but that’s what I believe.

    Regarding the box. Yes, I feel it was done partially for comedic effect. That’s kind of obvious. However, I believe the other interpretations are right as well. They aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, if is was done purely to get a laugh, but was out of character, we (or at least I) would be distracted by the OOC aspect and the comedic impact would be lessened. The entire reason I find it funny is because it is SOOOO Lisbon! Direct, to the point. When she’s in a take no prisoners kind of mood, she is totally bad ass. And smashing that box was bad ass. And a warning to Jane that she is not in the mood for his shit. Actually all of the interpretations various people have written here make sense to me. But I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

  • suzjazz

    I enjoy all of your reviews that I’ve read thus far–I just discovered your blog very late last night and my navigational skills were way down, so I just now found Season 5.

    The scene with Lisbon and the hammer is one of my favorites. The biggest obstacle to a relationship between Lisbon and Jane (besides RJ)
    is Lisbon’s resistance to Jane’s constant attempts to get inside her head. She’s said it before: “I don’t want you in my head!” She knows that she can keep very few things private. Jane is so surprised that she has a hammer in her desk that he didn’t know about, and she just reminds him that he doesn’t know everything about her and she wants to keep it that way.
    I’m not crazy about the term “shipper,” but I guess I fall into that category. Jane and Lisbon belong together for so many reasons. It would be hugely disappointing if they don’t at least get one long romantic kiss at the end of the series. They have already been through so much together. They’ve saved each other’s lives many times. At the risk of repeating what I said in another post, I’d like the series to end with Lisbon shooting and killing RJ after he has kidnapped and tortured her along with Jane. She escapes and manages to kill RJ as he is about to kill Jane. I think Lisbon killing RJ would be a great outcome. It means that Jane and Lisbon each give up their original ideas: Lisbon wanted to take RJ alive and let the justice system deal with him, and Jane wanted the killing of RJ to be his job and his alone. (“Red John is mine!”)
    Keep the reviews coming. It’s refreshing to read intelligent analysis after having slogged through way too much idiotic fan commentary looking for smething interesting and insightful about the show.

  • ratsacre

    Hey P! I just watched that episode through, in gleeful anticipation of fresh Mentalist in a few more days.
    Yes!
    You’re so right about Lisbon being kickarse about the box. As a crafter, I’m still a bit distressed over the box being destroyed, but damn it is funny. She’s channelling Little Miss Fierce from Season One. God, I love the look Jane pulls as he turns away from the door.

    Sorry, I may not have made my point clear enough before. I know that Lisbon had only had the RJ case for a few months before Jane turned up. The years I was referring to was the years they have all worked together. Save for when Bosco got the case and when the FBI got the files. Now there’s a thought, Bosco did get a break through, right before he was shot. So I think RJ was taking the opportunity to guilt Jane out with the crap about killing Bosco’s team purely to make way for Ane again. I think they got too close, end of story.

    I still get driven mad when they make RJ into this Dark Overlord untouchable. I think that’s where it steps into really unbelievable. Particularly when Jane goes off and completely gets in over his head. He is an intelligent guy, he’s the mentalist for God’s sake!

    But I think what I struggle with, is that in some ways, it’s poor writing and plot development. This season has been full of ‘oooh look, so and so is a guest star, so and so has a reoccurring role’ and then nothing seems to happen. OK, so Volker is back this week. But this Agent Wade, Sideshow, I mean Homeland Bob, Mancini, etc? Why? It’s annoying (but that’s just me being easily annoyed). They don’t have to rely on extraneous characters that insert themselves into a plotline with much fanfare, only to bugger off… Ack.

    Thanks for not tearing shreds off me, I was very tired when I wrote my post. Also, typing on an iPad! Typos ahoy! Thank
    you for the food for thought.

    Cheers,

    Annie

  • ratsacre

    Violet! Squee!

    Firstly, can I just say I think your work on this blog is outstanding! I am really enjoying the cultural references posts! Excellent work.

    I think the dialogue Wainwright had with Lisbon was along the lines of “how’s Jane? Been six months, he was a big part of the CBI family (gag, given their history) Do you think we could get him into counselling? He could do community service and then maybe come back and work for us? God knows we need him, what with closure rates being what they are. Low.” Lisbon then says she’s aware of that and will do what she can to rectify the situation, but then says (obviously) she doesn’t think she can work with Jane. So, your point about being ambiguous stands. It’s not clear from that whether the rates have merely gone back to ‘normal’ pre- Jane or really have dropped, or have plummeted. I still hated it. Lisbon and the team deserve more credit. They’re good cops, not idiots.

    Jeez, don’t get me started about how they wasted Wainwrights’s character. He started with such promise, only to turn out to be a junior Bertram. As well as plain annoying.

    Regardless, as you rightly point out, there is a hell of a lot of subtext and everyone will see it just that little bit differently. Layers, just like Shrek The Mentalist is one big glorious ol’ onion!

    I wish they would explore Jane’s torment a little bit more. I think that was what made him so appealing in the first two seasons, as he was this slightly broken flawed genius. Now, eh not at all. If this was real life, Jane could very well have PTSD, or at he very least be a little bit more unhinged. Like with the insomnia and hypervigilance he displayed in Season One.

    One of my all time favourite fanfic writers (of any genre) Kourion, has written the most awesome story called Little Stars. It depicts Jane and Lisbon so beautifully and realistically. I often read it when I am totally p*ssed off with a particularly bad characterisation of Jane in an episode… She’s not updated it for a while but it’s wonderful.

    Anyway, I’m blathering. As I said to P, thank you for the fine and courteous discussion.

  • C Hill

    “3) sarah? i so love the actress and the character, but i’ve had her pegged as RJ the entire way. the favor return, i think, will be a source of pain.”

    meant to be clearer here — sarah as a RJ minion, not RJ proper.

  • bloomingviolet2013

    “The scene with Lisbon and the hammer is one of my favorites. The biggest obstacle to a relationship between Lisbon and Jane (besides RJ) is Lisbon’s resistance to Jane’s constant attempts to get inside her head.”

    Very good point!
    Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet you may want to read Reviewbrain’s great post about “Jane/Lisbon Moments” (just hover over the “Mentalist Reviews” category above), and the review for ‘Every Rose has its Thorns”: Reviewbrain analyzed in depth this aspect of their relation in those… 😉

    (Sorry if this comment appears twice: my computer seems in a rebellious mood… that’s also why I’m not using my usual account…)

  • bloomingviolet2013

    “Jeez, don’t get me started about how they wasted Wainwrights’s character. He started with such promise, only to turn out to be a junior Bertram. As well as plain annoying.”

    I agree with you, I didn’t expect him to turn that way after his introduction in ‘Ring Around the Rosie’. Still, I wonder if Wainwright’s little speech to Lisbon wasn’t meant for redeeming a little his character and giving a nicer image of him before killing him off. He may have truly felt bad for snapping and firing Jane, who was someone Wainwright had admired, when the man was going trough so much. And Luther firing him had been a heat of the moment impulse: Lisbon told Jane she was going to fix it, there is no doubt she must have tried to talk it out with her boss… So, he might have felt at least some remorse when he heard the news that his former consultant was at his lowest and had been arrested for punching a cop and doing drugs: those were pretty shocking news, even their colleague mentioned them at the crime scene. Even more since Luther could witness the impact his absence had on the team. So it might sound a bit naïve, but I’d rather think he was sincere, even though he mostly wanted to gain back their great closure rate. Thus, maybe a bit better than Bertram so far, IMHO. But, yeah, that’s subtext again… 😉
    It makes me wonder what the next boss will be like: they seem to get more antagonistic every time…

    (And thank you so much for your very kind words! 🙂 )

  • C Hill

    one of my thoughts at the time is that it also shows, at a base level, the ways that jane and lisbon attack problems differently. however, certainly, some problems need to be attacked in different ways.

    i think that nice little what seemed to be a throwaway ending is going to carry for a bit.– more on that in the appropriate thread when it is posted later this week.

  • Rose UK

    Love and agree with all the box interpretations. 🙂

    I saw it also as Jane wanting to ‘play’ with Lisbon (in the most innocent sense of the word) – to share something with her, have a little fun, get her to join in the game, make her smile, and possibly most of all, see her reaction… I recall he seemed to like doing that in previous seasons (which I miss!) and this was the latest in a little line of gifts for her – the jewellery, the pony, the frog… All designed for fun or wonder. I agree that there was an element of ‘smartest person in the room’ syndrome here, but I felt that it was secondary to his fondness for being playful. I suppose he was expecting her to be amused/intrigued/indulgent/entertained… Nope!

    Jane telling Lisbon to be patient is a nice little recurring touch, as well (I think I recall one or two eps when he says something like, “patience, woman!”), so I thought it was hilarious that she finally had enough – she wasn’t in the most go-with-it frame of mind this episode, I thought – and went for it with a hammer. The crudeness of the method must’ve really jarred on Jane’s sensibilities!!!

  • Manda

    Ah, lovely review. Oh, and thanks for reminding to rate it, i always forget 🙂

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