N.B.: Reviewbrain and I have been on a tight schedule this week, so we’re presenting you with another unedited review. Sorry for the inconvenience. I also wanted to sincerely apologize for not replying to the comments recently: what little free time and attention that work and struggling with huge computer issues leave me is mostly used for writing the next review… Rest assured that I read every comment, am deeply thankful for them and even want to comment back on many, many points… Unfortunately time is the issue here! ;)
After Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) spent the night with her shinning new boyfriend Marcus Pike (Pedro Pascal), she’s sent in Sam Houston National Forrest to investigate a murder with no other than her consultant Patrick Jane (Baker). Before the mood gets awkward, they’re led to force their way into a nearby and very private men-only club.
For his first time writing for TM, Jeffrey Hatcher did a great job of rendering the usual mixing of light humor and subtle subtext which characterizes the show. Plus, there are a lot of information packed in very short scenes: it mistakenly conveys the impression that ‘Forest Green’ is a rather classic episode, while in fact it progressives steadily toward a surprise ending. All in all, Mr Hatcher proves to be a great addition to the writing team and makes Jane and Lisbon take a decisive step further in the emotional maze they’ve entered since Pike’s arrival.
Detailed AKA Humungous Analysis (spoilers galore)
VIS #1: Lisbon and Pike, the morning after
The episode starts with a pretty domestic moment between Lisbon and her new boyfriend: he’s sitting on his living room while she finishes showering. When she joins him, he hands her a coffee-filled mug and a granola bar. They’re at ease and when he apologizes for making a fuss, Lisbon says tenderly “I like the fuss you make”. Indeed, Marcus seems very eager to please her: he’s waiting for her on her couch, wants to feed her and asks her out on another date, before wondering if she wouldn’t find freak out at having two date nights in a row… Implicitly, it means two things: Pike is not sure of Lisbon’s feelings and her moving in is not on the table yet. Their relationship is still fresh, even thought it contrasts with her dismissal of Mashburn after their night together years ago: like she did in Washington, she’s been trying to create a comfortable nest for herself and Marcus’s humor and caring attitude definitely fit in.
Yet, the impression that their romance is still squishing new is deepened by the fact that Pike on the sofa reminds of Jane at the ending of the previous episode: he was lying on his couch while Lisbon was leaving for her date. Time seems to fly and each date gives the appearance of following directly the other, a feeling further stressed by Lisbon’s never-ending stream of white blouses. In spite of them being different and even though there’s probably a time gap between episodes, it’s like she’s always wearing the same clothes than she did the evening before…
VIS #2: Jane plays fairy godmother to get Lisbon to her date in time
Speaking of Jane, one might think he may be hovering over her since he’s the first person he meets when getting off the elevator at work. He’s again holding (on) his comforting cup of tea and his greetings is far more relaxed than in ‘Silver Wings of Time’. He too is eager to make her happy: when she makes a face because Fischer is sending them out of town to solve a murder, he steps in, claims that she’s worried she won’t make it to her date and suggests they take one of the FBI helicopters. He’s reading her and, again, making decisions for her. Still, this well-intentioned meddling after his concealed anger in the previous episode hints that he’s trying too hard to be supportive: he’s not completely sincere… And his ability to read her implies how much of a nightmare Lisbon’s affair must be for her observant friend. He can guess everything without even meaning to pry… Plus, it’s interesting that he tells her that Pike owns him a favor, not Lisbon herself: Jane tacitly acknowledges that he’s doing Pike a favor by allowing him to spend time with Lisbon, not the other way around. She’s the valued part of the equation in his mind.
Lisbon is very moderately happy with this invasion of her privacy: she can’t get a word in during the whole exchange and her expression when he leaves shows irritation, uneasiness and maybe, just maybe a hint of regret. Is she aware that he’s putting up a front by making this unwanted grand gesture in front of Kim? Either way, Fischer, who’s already shown curiosity by interrogating Cho about them, is once again attributed the role of audience to their unfolding drama.
The dynamic duo investigates
One may wonder if that request for an helicopter is a mere coincidence or if it has a deeper meaning: indeed, in ‘Black Helicopters’, Jane asked one from Lisbon when he shared his plan with her openly for the first time in ages. One of those also came to rescue him and the Rigsbys after the debacle with Haibach… Is that a way to subtly imply that he’s still trying to reach for her, but by catering to what he thinks are her desires this time, instead of asking her to adapt to his needs?
Anyway, the crime scene is full of half-hearted winks: Jane deduces that the victim wasn’t hiking nor that she fell off the cliff to her death, because she has no socks and no blisters. Coincidentally or not, socks were the make-up gift Lisbon used to welcome him back into her life… Plus, he smells the victim’s expensive “ginger and citrus” shampoo: citrus was used as a symbol for RJ’s interferences with his life for a long time. He deduces that the victim wanted to look good for someone and spent the night with them… again, an allusion to Lisbon, who was all dolled up for her date last time.
There’s a shifting in Jane’s attitude: he’s trying very hard to hide his real feelings. First he insists they fly to the crime scene, then he’s full of (fake) cheerfulness, saluting the pilot when leaving, complimenting officer Green (whose name is a nice touch) on her hunch… Everything contrasts with his grumpiness during the last case. It’s almost as if he realized he was lucky to get to in the field with Lisbon again and he didn’t want to waste it…
Yet, when they decide to further investigate the girl’s whereabouts by entering the very exclusive men-only Foragers’ Club, Jane’s exuberance starts rearing his embarrassing head again as he introduces them with a smile and “one of your members murdered somebody: we’d like to talk about that”… We can guess he finds the snotty old-fashioned secluded gentlemen club pretty amusing, just like the place obviously grates on Lisbon’s nerves. Firstly, neither of them puts on the “Guest” tag director Russell has handled them –after the man greets “Mister Jane” before the lady and agent in charge, that is… Then, when he explains to them that it’s a brotherhood whose goal it to help rich gentlemen relax with no internet, no phones, no “distractions”, she perks up: “women are distractions?” The poor man back-pedals fast “no, of course not”, sensing the growing menace emanating from the petite agent. Jane is nonchalantly standing behind her and is enjoying himself: “I can’t promise you that she won’t hurt anyone. I’m trying to restrain her, but I cannot promise.”
Take charge Lisbon is back and Russell’s advice is this time directed to her and her authoritative ways: “exercise discretion, for your own sake. Our members are powerful people”. Her stance as the agent leading the investigation echoes her former position at the CBI, when Jane used to introduce her as the agent in charge, while he played the amusing “insulting/consulting” clown she had to “restrain” too… Plus, Lisbon being nearly the only woman in the club pretty much sums up her current life between Jane and Pike. This is emphasized when her beauty grabs the attention of one of the newer members, Marvin Griska, who was scowled because he used a cell phone in complete contradiction with the club rules… Jane then leave her to take a walk to do “men stuff”. Good to see the teasing back after the awkwardness of ‘Silver Wings of Time’…
Of course, the grinning consultant rushes to Griska… who is again using his phone to call his lawyer. Clearly, he’s a rule-breaker too who isn’t afraid of being “spanked” by the authority figure… The cause of his frenzy is that the FBI are threatening him with a handful of fraud charges: hence the grudge he’s holding against those badge-wielding “vultures”. Fortunately, Jane sees that as a chance to pass for a kindred spirit: after all, he’s “with the FBI, not of” them. And the FBI had him too, but he beat them… which catches Griska’s interest: “which charges?” Jane wields his most winning smile to answer “murder” but he refuses to explain how he did that. Again, there’s a visible insistence of his criminal past, just like there was in the previous episode with the implicit comparison with the man in death row.
VIS #3: Jane and Lisbon have lunch at the club
Later, as both partners are having lunch together in the dinning room, Jane is again hell bent on making her relax with him. It’s a rare enough occurrence that he may want to enjoy it fully, after all. He asks a passing waitress “could you pour my friend some coffee please?” Apparently, the men in her life know that the way of her heart is through coffee… This caring friend front echoes the doting boyfriend in Pike and it contrasts hugely with his previous annoyance with her love life: he goes as far as asking her to tell Pike he says hi. When Lisbon asks how he knows it’s Pike, he only elaborates that the dark-haired agent seems like a good person and that she deserves to be with a good man…
Obviously, Jane wants Lisbon to be happy and while he’s been passively supportive but hurt since she started dating Marcus, he has now decided to up his game and take a more active part in her life again. He’s trying very hard to be a good friend to her again, to gain back her trust in him. Has he been slowly easing himself into accepting that she’s been snatched away? Or more probably did he understand that she was expecting mockery when he told her she was beautiful in the bullpen at the end of ‘Silver Wings of Time’ and decided to show her he’s still by her side? Either way, he’s openly supporting her happiness: not Pike personally mind you just her, because she the one deserving of a rewarding love life and Marcus is only lucky to be the one who provides it. He tries his best to look joyful around her. He’s been trying to get closer physically too: while he couldn’t bring himself to stay with her on the couch while interrogating a suspect in the previous episode, he’s now leaning in when he talks to her, in the bullpen or when he’s teasing her about “men stuff”… He’s trying to react in a mature way and be a good person too.
Yet, Lisbon’s reaction is not exactly the one expected for a woman fawning over her new boyfriend: her replies to Jane’s nice lines are rather curt. She only says pointedly “Jane says hi” while texting to Marcus, then a short and slightly annoyed “thanks” while looking away to his compliment about her deserved happiness. It’s in contrast with her surprise at noticing that Jane is constantly finding pretexts to get the waitresses to come close and leaning in them… She asks “okay, what’s going on?” and Jane very openly explains that he’s smelling their hair in order to single out Madison’s mistress who used the same shampoo. The man definitely understands that the safer way to make Lisbon comfortable is to keep working on the case while poking on her private life… Plus, it’s amusing that the smell of shampoo had also been the first clue to tip him about Wayne and Grace sleeping together… which might also remind viewers how he understood immediately what was going on when Lisbon came late to the crime scene recently. The heartbroken waitress soon explains that Madison was an escort and “didn’t take men too seriously”. They weren’t a couple: their relationship wasn’t serious, they « just liked each other ». And Madison was receiving her clients in the fishing camp… a detail that may or not be meant to echo Pike’s name or the symbolism around Jane’s past quest to catch RJ.
VIS #4: the magic show and its outcome
Once again, it’s visible that for his coworkers Jane is the reference in people knowledge: even Cho gets surprised when he discovers that the club director has been lying to him about knowing the victim. He comments that he must be a very good liar, because not many people can pass a lie like that past Jane. This confidence in his skills may explain how willing they are to enter in his schemes without questioning them. After Abbott is approached by Griska who’s every eager to cut a deal with the agent like he presumes that Jane did -another allusion to his dark past- the agent refuses a bribe for unfreezing Griska’s assets. But later, Abbott and Lisbon find the body of one of their suspects (seriously, why even Kilgalen had to ditch his vest? and before dying, really?). The team seems then very eager to follow Jane’s instructions: Cho asks Wylie to help in a DNS hijack “for Jane” and the younger agent accepts cheerfully; back at the fishing camp Abbott uses it to make Griska believe he’s helped with his frozen assets in exchange of 30%… Teamwork is as smooth as in ‘Violets’ and the now expected undercover job is again pulled off by Abbott, who each time seems to love impersonating people. Going back and forth between the bullpen and the club also puts emphasis on the contrast between the cold colors in the FBi building and the deceptively warm tones of the cabins…
When the foundation of his trap is thus set, Jane does his part by convincing Russell to let him set up a magic show. He calls Lisbon, meets her and Abbott -again at the fishing camp- and tells them how he plans to trick the murderer by using Madison’s broken cellphone as a bait during the magic show. Indeed, Jane uses his showman skills to impress the audience, with the help of his trusted assistant, the “irreplaceable special agent Teresa Lisbon”, who joins him while smiling among catcalls… She blindfolds him and helps him stumble his way to his chair, while he mutters encouragements (“you’re doing great, just stay calm, let your beauty show”), which is a far more flattering way of giving her confidence than the teasing acting tips during the art robbery stunt. He is then able to guess various objects a grinning Lisbon is holding. Obviously, this updated Boy Wonder act is based on the nuances Lisbon uses to utter each time the line “what am I holding in my hand?” but the show wouldn’t work so well if they hadn’t been so in synch for years. Also, it’s very probably only a coincidence, but it’s pretty funny that Jane guessed three objects summing up his issues with Lisbon: a watch (time is tickling), a pen (the letters he wrote to her to express how much he missed her when he left) and a broken phone (failed communication now).
Still, the whole magic show, entertaining as it was, was just a double bluff: it’s again Abbott’s turn to shine. he blackmail the killer into turning him in. The man knew not to take the gun in the abandoned box because he had a camera hidden in a clock (again the time theme) in the cabin where they’d been talking. And it’s a rather intriguing detail that the murderer ended up being the attorney of one of Madison’s client: it’s the third time that a lawyer is worthy of attention. First, it was Haibach’s vindicative lawyer, then the cutting attorney in ‘Silver Wings of Time’ and now Dyer.
VIS #5: Pike’s offer
When Lisbon and Pike are finally getting their date, the atmosphere is very relaxed: Pike jokes about having taken another woman to dinner since she couldn’t make it night before and Lisbon retorts pleasantly
“you’re trying to make me jealous?” and that he’s a terrible liar, adding “I like that in a man”. Obviously, both the “jealous” part and the ‘I-like-guys-who-don’t-lie” allusion are more or less direct references to Jane. in fact, the mention of Marcus’s honesty is the second of the sort and is in contrast with the “very good liar” of a suspect the team got their hands on this time… Jane’s constant lies must have gotten to Lisbon but one would say that the agent “doth protest too much”, to quote the widower in the previous episode. Pike chooses this romantic and light-hearted atmosphere to drop the bomb: he’s been offered a new position as the head of a new taskforce based in D.C. and when Lisbon comments seriously “it’s a great job, you can’t turn it down”, he launches into a proposition she hadn’t expected. He’s been married and divorced and he can feel that what they have is real and has the potential to get serious… “I feel that way about us. Do you feel that way?” There’s a beat as Lisbon hesitates and looks on the left (which according to commenter KM means she’s recalling memories). The music reminds of a pulse, dramatizing the moment. At long least she answers “yes”. She elaborates that she really doesn’t want him to leave, but it’s “not ok to turn it down”. Unfortunately, Marcus has another alternative in mind: he wants the job and the girl, so he asks her to come with him. Lisbon’s answer ends the episode on a note of incertitude: “what?” The poor woman is forcefully pushed out of her honeymoon period which explains the time theme : she and Jane have unknowingly been running out of time regarding their unresolved personal issues…
Plus Lisbon’s probably avoided long-term affairs for years after she broke up with her ex-fiancé Gregg: she may not be ready to jump into “serious” just after an handful of dates. she reminds a bit of the victim of the case -minus the escort thing: she’s content to spend time with someone just because they like each other, without considering herself in a couple. Pike is visibly ahead of her and pushing her on his path… Plus, of course, her hesitation and reluctance when interacting with Jane also indicate that she’s not completely renounced to him yet.
Basically, Lisbon is faced by the same type of man now than she was with Jane when he came back from South America: they’re going away and they need her to come with them because they know she cares. But the situation is slightly different now: Jane used a professional pretext (a new job) to keep her close because she was the reason of his return (he missed her even more after meeting Kim). Meanwhile, Pike is using a personal reason (they’re getting serious) to convince her to follow him because he got a new job. It’s a little selfish: even if she resented Jane’s methods, Lisbon gained something in joining him, while now she’d have to adapt to Pike’s careers plans. Plus, Pike is very straightforward: he asked her directly, while Jane only assumed she was willing, yet, quite ironically, Marcus is the one who’s really pushy. He went straight from asking her if having two dates in a row is weird to affirming they’re on the verge of a ” serious” relationship, whereas Lisbon is still on the phase where she’s trying to impress him, as shown by the fact that she’s once again dressed up. Like when he asked her out, Marcus is cornering her during a post-case meal, when she’s relieved and eager to have fun. He’s obviously good for her, but he seems more atuned to his own desires. On the contrary, Jane made it up to her (getting her a job), he listened to her wishes (backed away after the plane and now with Pike)… Plus, Jane acknowledges her feelings for Pike, while the latter doesn’t mention those for Jane, even though he’s asked Wylie about them. Lisbon is therefore at a crossroad : what she reproached to Jane is happening right now under a more romantic appearance: someone else is making decisions for her, but this time he’s easing her into them by being subtly bossy… Maybe the men in her life aren’t that different after all, as hinted by the similar settings involving them: Pike is on the couch when she showers/ Jane too when she left for her date; she was calling “Patrick” while taking up the stairs in ‘Violets’ when she was posing as a couple with Jane/ her first onscreen interaction in the flesh with her boyfriend involves her coming down the stairs too…
Yet, Jane’s best qualities as a partner shone during the case: he was childish but with a goal. He was resorting to teamwork instead of manipulation and selfishness. He was thus funny and dedicated on the case and on a personal level he made an effort to be a teasing and devoted friend… And last, but not least, their complicity as the dynamic duo made working with him very enjoyable… Implicitly, following Marcus would mean losing such moments painted in the brightest colors. It’s not just the possibility of something more intimate with her dear friend that she’d be mourning, but also the simple and meaningful things that have been already existing between them for years. Those are certainly what both missed most when they were apart. Lisbon is asked to choose between two options: a brand new « serious » love story and a years-long understanding with relatively unacknowledged undertones. One of the two men is ready to let her go for her sake, the other wants her to go with him. Jane is no longer the unavailable closed-off vengeful widower; it’s now Lisbon who’s focused on someone else. Will she leave him metaphorically stranded alone on the roadside too?
On the other hand, it’s quite surprising that Marcus never mentioned feelings, only that they had something real and possibly serious. The man seems more set on relationship status (“married/”divorced”) than in true love. His words remind a bit of the breakfast he offered her: only a granola bar and coffee; then too, the label on the jar seemed more important than the actual content. It looks like he’s offering a dependable, but not life-altering love, yet he’s pushy enough to want to alter her life for it anyway. Marcus should pay more attention and realize that his rival is at the back of her mind even while she’s complimenting him by contrast (“liar”): Jane is still the reference she uses to gauge men and the fact that she “like[s]” Pike’s honesty and the “fuss” he makes instead of ‘loving’ him can’t be a very good sign for planning a future together in the long term…