N.B.: Unedited stuff! Procede with caution!
After an art gallery owner is shot by thieves, Jane (Baker) is intrigued by one of his paintings brought to the FBI building. His willingness to take over the case leads him to meet Agent Marcus Pike (Pedro Pascal), who quickly becomes smitten with Lisbon (Tunney)…
At long last Lisbon gets a serious admirer! At long last viewers get an emotional reaction out of Jane regarding his partner’s love life! And, cherry on top, the episode features an undercover operation full of funny moments, eye-catching clothes and harmonious teamwork! Great job, mister Jordan Harper!
Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)
VIS#1: Jane wants the case
Jane’s interest is picked when he sees a painting being brought into the FBI building to another team, so he finds a way to sneak his way into the investigation… mainly by barging in the interrogation room and addressing the widow…
From his first appearance, it’s perceptible that Jane is feeling good. His eagerness to take over the case in front of Abbott even though it doesn’t belong to his team contrasts with his resigned comment that there’s “no rest for the wicked” in ‘Grey Water”… Viewers can infer that he’s come to a form of reconciliation towards his past through the events of ‘White as The Driven Snow’. He’s feeling more confident in relation to the new team (planning an undercover job later) and overall he’s more joyful… Plus, another aspect of Jane’s inner peace concerns grief: it seems that giving an hand to his friends and Rigsby’s successful attempt at saving his wife might have helped to alleviate Jane’s pain regarding his past. He points out to the victim’s widow that her husband is not gone: “he’s alive as long as you remember him”. It’s probably the first time Jane is able to stay positive regarding afterlife, even in this rationalized form… and a rather intriguing detail is that it’s not the widow, AKA the distressed woman who catch Jane’s eye, like in ‘At First Blush’, but only the painting. It means that this progress doesn’t stem from the confrontation with someone whom he finds touching, but from a personal evolution which has freed him. He obviously started to achieve a form of closure: it has given him the capacity to find comforting words.
There are similarities between the case and Jane’s situation: like Angela, John Hennigan died because of his loved one, even if it’s obviously not Sylvia’s fault. Her image only attracted the killer’s attention, just like Jane’s show attracted RJ’s ire. Only the situation is reversed: the wife survived, the husband was killed here… And there’s no guilt involved, only a love memory and regrets. Plus, it may seem farfetched, but “John Hennigan” might indirectly refer both to Red John and to agent Hannigan from ‘Red Dawn’. It enlightens that it’s a new beginning, since Hennigan –and later Lisbon- had given him advice about moving on with his life: “you wanna find the son of a bitch and kill him, right? Yeah, well, what happens, it’ll drive you crazy. My advice you move away, far away, far away somewhere. Forget it, start another family. I know that’s tough, but it’s the best way”.
The interrogation also introduces the character of Marcus Pike, the long awaited potential love interest destined to shake Lisbon’s world. Pike is the peak in the ever growing list of Lisbon’s admirers. His first contact is through Jane, still: he knows Jane’s reputation and rather admires the talented consultant. Jane is very well known in his new workplace and Pike is not territorial with his cases: he tells the widow that “this guy is really good”. He’s open and secure while Jane feels obligated to reassure the woman: “I hate to seem immodest but I rarely fail”… When a zest of Lisbon is added to the mix, insecurity starts to surface, only it’s on Jane’s part. Indeed, when Lisbon and Marcus start to interact, it gets obvious they get along very well and Jane tries to interfere. Firstly, when Pike is briefing the other agents, Jane begins to tell he has a plan (« you can lead a man anywhere as long as he thinks he’s driving »); but when those two are alone and interacting nicely over the stolen paintings Pike is showing them, he interrupts them rather brusquely with “impressive, gorgeous, I love you agent Pike”. He’s acting like a child, wanting to have all of Lisbon’s attention focused on him: when he notices Lisbon is interested by Pike’s briefing, he kept the spotlight on him by mentioning a plan, then he refocuses her on it when she’s straying with the charming agent. It’s almost as if he wanted to prove he’s smarter than the other man (telling “yes, that’s the plan” when Pike remarks that high standard art thieves would know the paintings Jane has chosen had been stolen). By showing off his skills, Jane is betraying his insecurities toward the interest he’s detected in Lisbon, while Marcus who is more able to share, seems more quietly assured by comparison.
VIS#2: Wylie tells the others about Jane’s plans AKA teamwork in action
Again, the contrast between Jane and Pike is blatant when the consultant puts his plan into motion: he urges his team members to attend his briefing, just like the other man did at the beginning of the case. But Jane’s not here: instead he sends Wylie with a bunch of notes handwritten on yellow paper… Where Marcus showed professionalism and straightforwardness, leaving the jokes and charming manners to more private occurrences, Jane is devious, secretive and controlling since he didn’t even tell the whole plan to Wylie: the younger’s man explanation for the detail of the scheme is « and the fun really starts. That’s a direct quote”. Plus, sending the youngest and newest team member to give instructions to their superiors illustrates his irreverence toward Abbott’s and Kim’s authority; Wylie’s schoolboy attitude contrasts with Jan’s showman words… He wants to have fun with his new team and at their expense… and he implicitly may want to impress them too. And as much as he obviously enjoyed Marcus’ respect for his abilities, he took care not to invite him to the meeting…
On the other hand, in spite of his secrets, Jane has never been so open with his new team before. Among the many undercover jobs he took in the reboot, this is the most open he’s been with his coworkers. He wants to have fun and he probably wants the others to enjoy it too. He has Wylie hand Abbott some clothes and give him an assignment based on his knowledge of boxing –which an amused Abbott points out he never told him about. Cho unenthusiastically accepts his role. Wylie then comes to Lisbon, who’ll be playing “the inside man… err woman with Jane”, adding “he wants you to wear this”. Cue to Lisbon to look warily at a sexy short white dress. Kim makes fun of her but she gets a worse leopard-skin dress: she’s “the face” in Jane’s plan, the one who will lead their mark in the bedroom… It’s interesting that Jane probably handpicked those dresses and as sexy as they are, they might reflect something for him: Kim is the temptation who will lure their man to take the bait, just like she had been for him on the island. Giving her a dress which contrast with her usual style is a way to gently mock her… But it’s also somewhat intriguing that he chose such a dress for Lisbon too, as she doesn’t necessarily have to be so sexy to back up his cover… It’s a deliberate choice from Jane, who knows she’d be very uncomfortable, and it shows a mixing of seduction and innocence (the color white): it’s the same combo Krystal used to try to seduce him with her damsel in distress persona. Given that he’s showed that he finds Lisbon attractive, there’s no doubt there was an ulterior and more selfish motive for choosing this short and low-cut dress…
Still, the team follows Jane’s instructions to the letter. Wylie and Pike observe from behind the scenes as the plan unfolds. Jane’s influence is perceptible as Wylie explains to Pike that he tells that “if you wants someone to trust you, you don’t give them something, you get them to give you something”. The young man also decrypts body language based on his mentor’s tips. The plan goes seamlessly and Abbott and Cho show the same acting skills they displayed in ‘Grey Water’ and ‘Ring around the Rosie’: “the mark has been roped”…
VIS#3: the party
Abbott leads Pulaski to “his boss’ ” house. Jane has probably taken a lot of fun in subverting their usual roles: Abbott had to punched his subaltern Cho and is supposed to work for him (“Dennis, you old rascal!”); the composed Cho is the one who initiated a bar brawl; and modest Lisbon is displaying a lot of cleavage and a rather promiscuous attitude –which has her making a face and muttering when she’s alone… Plus, she’s playing his girlfriend and their complicity reluctantly shows when he gives her –again- some acting tips. The whole situation reminds of the past –forcing her in a dress by convincing Grace to choose her as her bridesmaid; putting her gleefully in an uncomfortable situation; bantering and teasing her acting skills… Yet, at the same time, it takes it a step further: they’re playing a couple and it’s so convincing to Pike that he feels like asking Wylie about them: “are they in a relationship? A couple?” Wylie answers: “no. I used to think so, but no. I don’t think…” The fact that Wylie wondered (and still does) suggests that, just like Jane’s abilities have apparently been discussed among the bureau, his relationship with his former boss is also observed by their new colleagues… Obviously, it’s a major question in the reboot: Abbott used to think they were together, Kim too. Grace, Cho and Rigsby know better but think they should give it a try… Everybody noticed that there was more than meet the eye between them. Plus, the detail that Pike asked just after Jane reacted to her fake interest to another man (“down girl”) hints that they’re heading to a love triangle. Pike is aware he has a rival in Jane, like Jane felt threatened enough to interfere with the man’s alone time with her. Only Lisbon seems rather in denial, but her behavior is still pretty ambiguous. But more on this later.
Such as it is, there are many hints that Jane and Lisbon are at a crossroad. It looks like Jane is not wearing his ring –it’s the first time in front of Lisbon- and she calls him “Patrick”. Plus, Jane remarks “that’s my bed” when Kim and Pulaski are about to kiss in the master bedroom –the same bed Lisbon will sleep on later- and, when they find Pulaski’s boss McKaye looking at the stolen painting, he adds “I keep finding strangers in my bedroom”… is that a way to foreshadow that a third party is about to barge in his ambivalent relationship with his partner? Anyway, possessiveness in again alluded to when McKaye tells Jane that he doesn’t want “competition” on his “territory”. Jane mocks him “are you telling me that town is not big enough for both of us?” The western reference echoes Kim calling Pulaski “cowboy”: like the boxing on TV when Abbott baited him, there’s the implicit idea of a fight between two men running through the episode: Jane is the one who has shown tendencies to be territorial with Lisbon and both he and Pike might end up fighting over her one way or another. Moreover, the same metaphor was used with Bertram in ‘Red John’: there was a western playing when he called Jane in order to meet up: back then too, the confrontation was the last step to a new stage of his life…
Indeed, Jane introduced himself to Pulaski by asking him if he’s “Pisces” (the other answers (“no Sagittarius”), which echoes the coincidence that a “pike” is also a fish. It’s probably only pure chance, but it’s amusing that the same symbolism used with Lorelei: now that there’s a new quest for Jane, to build a new life for himself, and Pike may pose a threat to this new goal… still, just like murderous brunette was the key to finding RJ, Pike’s interference might provoke them to clear the air. Same with the line “never take your work home with you. It’s the key to an happy life”: given what happened to his family when he took his “work home”, one can only infer from this casual remark once again that Jane’s taken a new step in the grieving process… Between the lines, he may have started to contemplate leading a happy life.
VIS#4: Lisbon’s night… busy or not enough?
When they’re alone in the house, supposedly late at night, Lisbon is going down to the living area, clad only in a rather short satin red nightie… only to find Jane sound asleep on the couch. Her outfit is oddly intimate to visit a coworker and we can also deduce that Jane may have handpicked her bedclothes too (it’s short like the jerseys in ‘Red Badge’ and in ‘Red Moon’, both seen by him). On the contrary, Jane is completely dressed, scarf included. Lisbon tenderly looks at him and lays a cover over his body.
When she’s back in bed, she calls Pike. She’s completely surrounded by the color red: her nightie, the linens, the painting over her head… which might or not mean that the moment is a threat to Jane. Either way, she starts flirting with Marcus under the pretence of talking about the case and they play with the idea of a date to eat pancakes, since she’s hungry. There’s an implicit comparison with Jane here: firstly, she called him because Jane was asleep when she went to him; symbolically, he takes his place. Plus, he tells her McKaye’s men are close, but adds: “you’re safe. I wouldn’t lie to you.” She answers “that’s a nice change of pace. It’s like everything I’ve done today is a lie”. That’s a very loaded thing to say: obviously, Jane’s lies to her are still a sore point. It goes further yet when she explains that she’s starving and there’s nothing to eat in the house: she’s been playing pretend with Jane, posing as his girlfriend but it left her emotionally empty and “starving”. Since the beginning of the reboot, Lisbon’s intentions to cater to her love life have been more pronounced: she was getting a drink at a bar alone when she met Kim in ‘White Lines’; she checked with Ardiles if their date was personal… Her previous attempts at getting Jane’s attention (mentioning the “date” with Osvaldo) failed: she’s feeling lonely deep down and Pike is offering to feed her feelings and acknowledgement.
Still, a very intriguing point is in which order the two moments are shown: she went to Jane, then called Pike. But what if it was the other way around? Writer Jordan Harper has hinted on Twitter that the order was changed… whatever the reason, Lisbon’s intentions regarding Jane could be easier to read then, if she was aware that there were no “prying eyes” –as Marcus put it- to witness her encounter with Jane. Being alone with him and half-naked suggest seduction plans… The final version plays more on ambiguity and wistfulness.
On the other hand, on Jane’s part, while he’s not been actively making a move on her, he’s come closer to it than ever… He doesn’t seem to wear his ring, he chose a couple of revealing dresses for her, he’s playing house with her, posing as her boyfriend and having her call him by his first name –something he deeply wants as it has been indicated in ‘Devil’s Cherry’… This investigation is the more elaborate undercover job he ever set and it revolves around his partner and him pretending to be lovers/accomplices. And as far away of Pike as he could get them.
Plus, later, when they talk with McKaye about stealing Manet’s Violets (the painting ‘Bouquet of violets’), Jane comments that it’s the symbol of a forbidden love: Manet painted it in reference to another painting representing his brother’s wife, ‘Berthe Morisot with a bouquet of violets’. He adds he expressed his feelings “in a different way, by painting”… Somehow, it’s what Jane has been doing with Lisbon: he’s expressed his attachment for her through his job, by getting her hired and doing his own art of solving crimes. In ‘The Golden Hammer’, he admitted that he used to be cheerful when they were together at a stake-out because he enjoyed spending time with her… in that episode, he acted and opened up because Lisbon had dangled the threat of a date with another man over his head.Still, it’s not strictly a “forbidden love”: he’s the main obstacle to his moving on, he’s the one who can’t allow himself to start again. In ‘Violets’, he started accepting the loss of his family, but the actual work of reconstruction is yet to come. At the same time, unbeknown to him, Lisbon is contemplating the possibility of dating Pike: Jane’s interest may thus be truly shunned away and he’ll only care for her from afar then. The whole subtext is deeply related to the undercover theme running through the last episodes: a thin layer of apparent normalcy hides latent tensions between the characters. Also, interesting choice of theme and flower here regarding Jane’s situation: violets are the flowers of modesty and faithfulness, but also of the symbol for tender love from someone too shy to confess.
Plus, it’s not the first time that paintings have been used in the show to convey Jane’s state of mind –the Rubens in ‘Bloodstream’, the symbolic marines and painted flowers in season 5… Here, the Violets and the victim’s red portrait of his wife form a curious diptych: the latter, which Jane takes special care to give back to the widow, represents a love interrupted by a violent death, like the one Jane shared with Angela. The Violets, with their different color, involve Lisbon, who’s at the center of the episode: she’s Jane meaningful relationship now, and the alluded secrecy reflects the lack of acknowledgement between them.
But Jane is slowly opening up, like he opens the safe in the bedroom, a past symbol of his obsession. As everybody around him has been commenting, his feelings are more visible: even McKaye remarks that he has a soft spot for his partner by the way he looks at her… And his mocking “au revoir” to the killer when he revealed everything was a trap, even the marching band playing ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’, took a particular meaning when he mentioned he had “someplace fabulous to go”. It was the word Lisbon used in front of Pulaski, which implies Jane plans to find her and spend some time with her after giving back the portrait. But, as Jane’s teasing McKaye about losing the game because he lost control, the situation Jane insisted he had a firm grip on is about to get out of control for him too…
VIS#5 closed case pizza
It’s official: the new team has definitely taken the place of the SCU, its spirit and its traditions. After working all together seamlessly as the combined elements of the bigger undercover picture, they celebrate together. The limbo Jane has been in with his new friends has come to an end and so has Lisbon when Pike make his move.
Indeed, the agent tells her he likes her and that he’d like to know her better. He invites her to pancakes, just as they talked of over the phone. He seems the perfect match for her: he’s a team leader (or at least an agent in charge of important investigations), just like she used to be. He’s seems honest and secure. He’s a coffee drinker. He’s seductive: his “dinner is the best time for breakfast” might discreetly imply that spending the night between those two meals together may come somewhere along the way. He’s offering a straightforward relationship, while Jane looks unsure of what he wants, is manipulative and wrap everything in lies: things with him are complicated.
Pike’s offer is tempting and Lisbon leaves with him… but stops at her desk to get her things just in time to meet Jane. He doesn’t immediately understand the situation and asks cheerfully “where are we going?”, then he immediately understands his mistake and backpedals, telling them “kids” to have fun. When he’s alone, he sits on his couch, his confident posture deflates and he drops both the act and his scarf while the music gets sadder. It’s a heartbreaking moment because such a depressing episode endings were usually related to his family, for instance at the birth of Ben Rigsby. Now, his sadness and loneliness are caused by Lisbon leaving him and he brought this on himself, he introduced Pike in her life. He screwed up big time. No doubt she’s aware of it given her timid voice when she told him goodbye…