Mentalist Nothing But Blue Skies Review


Synopsis

Two weeks after confessing their love, Lisbon and Jane decide to hide their liaison from their coworkers. When they’re called for a new case, they have to deal with the new pace in their partnership, a young agent added to their team and a surprise visit from Lisbon’s former fiancé.

Concise Verdict

This episode is pretty enjoyable because, even though the case itself is not as stimulating as it could have been, the focus is on Jane and Lisbon trying to develop their new found relationship while at the same time trying to keep it under wraps, with more or less success… The lightness brought by this new angle in Jane’s life is a nice change from the angst and drama that plagued many moments in his past. All in all, writer Tom Szentgyorgyi probably gave us what constitutes a fitting opening for the more light-hearted new season (8/10)

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers galore)

1: Lovebirds chirping on the porch

The episode starts with Jane arriving at Lisbon’s doorstep with fresh coffee (and presumably tea for him). Since the day is beautiful, they decide to drink it on the porch. Many boxes in the back suggest that she’s moving back in her house after cancelling her departure to D.C. Indeed, the title hints that this episode bears the lovely consequences of the finale, as both “Blue Bird” and “Nothing But Blue Skies” are taken from the lyrics of Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Blue Skies’

(“Blue skies/ Smiling at me/ Nothing but blue skies/ Do I see/ Bluebirds/ Singing a song/ Nothing but bluebirds/ All day long/ Never saw the sun shining so bright/ Never saw things going so right/ Noticing the days hurrying by/ When you’re in love, my how they fly”). They’re very much in love and everything is bright and shiny in that new light.

Yet, the way the scene is played seems to indicate that each of them is still a little bit cautious around the other: when Lisbon offers to get him a key, he hesitates slightly before admitting that “it will make things easier”. It has her making a face for a brief moment. Obviously, even though they’ve taken the step of physical intimacy, she’s afraid of being too pushy and scaring him off.

Reviewbrain: It’s interesting that you say that, Violet as I had an opposite reaction. Lisbon’s tone when she offered Jane a key felt a tad too nonchalant; almost feigned. And Jane’s acceptance of her suggestion, coupled with the low tone *he* uses when he emphasis that it would make things easier, made me read the scene as *him* not wanting to scare *her* away as opposed to the other way around. We know Lisbon is fiercely private and protective of her personal space and I think he was gently acknowledging her desire to share that space with him, in a way that wouldn’t discomfit her; hence her subsequent happy, yet slightly embarrassed smile.

Violet: Their happiness is visible in her giddiness and the low tone he uses to brush off her thanks with a husky “it’s my pleasure” with regards to helping her unpack her things. The bright smiles too leave no doubt about how well they get along and Lisbon sharing memories about her youth and opening up about a model car her grandfather gave her for her graduation shows that they’re eager to be more familiar on an emotional level too. The wavering between that new found trust and the lingering doubts about going too fast and about the other’s thoughts on the matter is hinted at by the setting: the porch was the location of one of their failed attempts at communication during her association with Pike. In ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’, Jane brought her cannoli to create an opportunity to talk to her, but his plans were thwarted by Pike’s presence in Lisbon’s home. He ended up staying on the porch and telling a teary-eyed Teresa that she should do whatever made her happy… Now, they’re trying to overcome that lack of transparency, but it needs work.

The main point of this discussion appears when Abbott –Jane’s personal matchmaker in the previous finale- calls Teresa to a crime scene. When the man asks if she knows where her new lover is, she answers “no idea where he is”. Jane is surprised and assumes she’s “embarrassed”. Even as she denies it, he tries to reassure her by telling her that “it’s okay”. Problem is: what should she be embarrassed about, from his point of view? About sharing intimate details on her workplace (something she had no qualms to do when Pike used to join her in the office)? Or to be with an uncontrollable man with a criminal past and who used to be her subordinate? Lisbon tries to explain that she wants to stay a little while more in their secret bubble: after the debacle with Marcus that everyone was privy to, thanks to her failed transfer, she just wants to keep her private life private, “just for the moment”. Jane’s reaction to her uncertain “is that okay?” is one of reassurance: “yes, sure”, “I understand”. He wants to keep her happy, albeit he might not be very satisfied with keeping the lie in front of his coworkers.

RB: Very true. Jane wouldn’t need to keep the relationship a secret, especially from Abbott. And he might be wary of Lisbon’s wish to do so, for all the possible reason’s you pointed out. I do hope that he understands what I personally feel are her actual reasons: like she said she’s a private person, always has been. And yes, it’s normal to be embarrassed, not from Jane, but of what people will think since she had been planning to move to a different state with Pike (a huge step) but two weeks later she’s in a relationship with her longtime consultant Jane.

Violet: Another aspect that has without any doubt caught many viewers’ attention is the lack of touching, hugging or kissing. Their intimacy is implicit as it is only expressed by meaningful glances and beaming faces. As usual, a great part of their bond stays off screen. This time, it may be because the characters are rather private people who would not want to get all lovey dovey outside of the house. Or more simply, it could be explained by the actors’ friendship and their admitted lack of comfort with love scenes… One way or another, the scenes featuring the couple focus more on the progress they made (and have yet to make) and on the tenderness they feel towards the other than on a newly explored physicality.

RB: This was a very clever move on part of the show, I think. Last season’s ending was perfect enough that you wouldn’t want to ruin the relationship, or what the fans’ expectations are of it, by having it shoved in their faces. It’s not like when Rigsby and Grace were on the show and they served as the canon hot couple (to be fair they ended up being so much more thanks to the clever writing and great acting). But the physical aspect was never what Jane and Lisbon are about. Yes they are both incredibly attractive (ahem *hot*) people. But that’s not *the only*) reason viewers like them. Their relationship is infinitely more profound and captivating; their intimacy goes beyond the physical and I love how the show kept that.

Violet: Anyway, that cloudless happiness doesn’t mask the fragility of the situation: those two are still quite unsure about the other’s commitment as they’re about to get back “in the real world”. They need to talk because that honeymoon stage they’re still on won’t last and they have to decide at some point what path they’ll be waking on together from now on.

RB: You can especially see Jane’s reluctance to get back to the real world. He readily agrees to “talk” but you get the feeling he’s going along with whatever Lisbon wants. It’s touching and somehow heartbreaking as well to see him fearful that this, to borrow Violet’s word, bubble will burst. It’s like he’s in awe of how happy he is.

2: At the crime scene

When they get to the crime scene, separately, Jane gently mocks Lisbon’s request for secrecy by being rather cold to her, in contrast to the exuberant affection he demonstrates towards Cho. The impassive agent –or is it actor Tim Kang?- has trouble hiding a smile when Jane hugs him cheerfully, adding “Hey Cho! Give me some sugar baby! There we are… You’re looking good!” His calm and flat voice when telling “Hey Lisbon” and “you look good too” is in direct opposition to that outburst. It gets even funnier when he almost tries to hand feed Cho some pecan nuts he’s munching on, before turning to his partner with a subdued voice and concluding “Ok, more for me!” when she declines. He’s so outrageously imitating some false indifference that Lisbon is amused. She knows he’s once again teasing her by making fun of her instructions: he’s a professional liar, yet he’s trying to make Cho realize that something is not natural in his attitude towards Lisbon. He keeps his game on when Abbott arrives, bouncing towards his boss and offering him food too. Obviously, Jane is happy and doesn’t want to hide it, even though he knows Teresa doesn’t want the others to guess the reason for his great mood.

RB: This was an incredibly sweet scene. Along with the teasing, I thought it was also Jane being unable to contain his happiness and wanting the others to be happy for him, even if it was subconsciously done. Cho’s smile, I thought, was a recognition of a change in Jane’s status quo. Despite being in denial of the couple in last season’s finale, he knew Jane would be most affected by Lisbon leaving, hence waning Jane that it was going to happen. Whether he knows that they’re a couple now after Abbott clued him in (most likely) or he thinks Jane’s happiness is just a result if Lisbon staying isn’t crystal clear. But the smile shows he’s happy Jane is happy.  I think he even hugged him back (or was it a just a pat on the back?) Cho’s probably happy also glad that Lisbon is staying. We know he likes her.

Violet: If Jane was teasing, however, it is not mean-spirited: when the two male agents leave them alone, the consultant gets closer to her, supposedly to examine the body. He then leaves while asking her what’s in her pocket. She finds out that he’s put an origami swan in it. His thoughtfulness and light joking make her beam at him. The paper animal is a secret love message between them, as well as it obviously reminds of the origami jumping frog he gave her at the end of the pilot as an apology for basically lying to everybody.

RB: It was an ode to a fantastic moment that probably set the stage for the entire relationship. I always felt the way Baker played that pilot scene was quite telling: looking back at Lisbon without her knowledge, smiling at her surprised gasp, then getting serious all of a sudden and leaving, showed that the consultant was developing feelings for her, perhaps despite himself. And for six seasons the writers had such a great time making us guess what exactly those feelings were. So it was nice to see them play back to that moment.

Violet: This swan doesn’t leap at her like the frog did: it swims smoothly and therefore hints at a new beginning, expressed once again by a bird –this time white and not blue. And while in the pilot they didn’t share a glance, now he’s waiting for her to look at him, showing how they’ve come to an understanding.

All in all, this scene let viewers know that Jane is still the unruly consultant, but he’s gotten some peace. He’s happy, eager to let the world know, but respects Lisbon’s wishes enough not to go too far. His way of playing with the rules is now less a disregard for authority than an affectionate inside joke with the woman in his life.

RB: Jane continues to grow as a person. I always said his showman personality stemmed at least partly from his closeted insecurity and need for recognition. Now that he has Lisbon’s full attention I think her reciprocated love for him will reign him in somewhat. The more confidence he has in the relationship the less he’ll need to show off for her. Don’t think it will ever truly disappear, though or he wouldn’t be Jane🙂 But, like Violet said, his respect and love for Lisbon seems to have tempered his ego somewhat. At least for now. It might end up being the opposite: his growing confidence in the relationship might have him start taking her for granted. We’ll have to wait and see.

Violet: Later, when they get back at the office, Lisbon is again confronted with how thinly-veiled their lie may look when Wylie cheerfully welcomes her back after those few days she took and probably spent with her lover. Indeed, the youthful agent gives her a letter left by Kim Fischer before she transferred to Seattle to get closer to her mother who just had a stroke. The woman was grateful for Lisbon’s friendship and she wrote “Lisbon, you’re the best! Thank you for everything. Good luck with Jane! Kim”. Lisbon comments “oh, that’s sweet”. Is ittoo far stretched to guess that Kim knew what the couple has been up to and that it might be why she didn’t say goodbye in person or by phone, for fear of disturbing with bad news a coming together that she’s suspected from the start?

RB: I love this. I wish that is the case. In fact I wish we saw Jane make such a deduction on screen to explain to Lisbon why Fischer left without saying goodbye in person or even via phone. The explanation for the move, while convincing, felt too short for a character that spent a good deal of time with these two and who the audience had gotten to know. I’m not sure why Emily Swallow is no longer on the show but I resent having to get used to a new character when there is just half a season left on the show. Any time left should not be wasted trying to get us to care about a new character.

Violet: Later we find out the victim’s secret identity: Geist was a FBI agent working undercover. As such, he carries on with the notion of false appearances expressed in the previous season by the string of undercover jobs scattered through the last episodes. Again, is that a hint that Jane and Lisbon are still struggling with truth and lies by trying to keep a low profile?

One way or another, from here the investigation at the bowling alley the victim was infiltrated in goes pretty much as usual. Lisbon is amused by Jane’s antics – asking for advice on the game instead of about anything related to the investigation- and Cho is still impassive, answering “great” to a long speech from a witness about not recognizing the authority of the FBI but accepting to answer to his questions voluntarily… Still, the entertaining atmosphere doesn’t please Ken Spackman, the supervising agent who worked with Geist. Soon, he tells them off, stating “I thought you guys were some innovative team that was capable of thinking outside the box, so what is it with the whining?” Jane’s “ire” gets up, as he explains later to Abbott and he gets pretty protective of Lisbon; he stresses out: “Don’t talk to her like that”. The discussion threatens to turn into a full-blown argument when Kenneth growls “hey, back off”, but Jane replies with much calm “I will back off but you don’t need to talk to her like that”… After years of bullying and tricking his way through antagonistic coworkers and witnesses, Jane now chooses to make his point in a straightforward way. He asks for respect by showing the same attitude. That’s a pretty interesting change in his way of interacting with opponents as for once he shows no resentment or cruelty. He’s angry, but he doesn’t act up on this anger. It’s only afterwards that he goes with acting childish, mocking Kenneth by mimicking his moves and he finally brushes him off to get everyone’s attention and makes a speech about micro-expressions that has their main suspect blowing her cover… before she starts running away.

RB: I think Jane’s straightforward manner here comes from his new relationship with Lisbon. Before when he would “protect” her it was many times without her knowledge (like when he talked to her new boss Hightower). I think it’s because: a) independent Lisbon could never stand him protecting her, and b) he had no justification for doing so. Even his excuse to Hightower “we work together, when she’s unhappy, I’m less happy” (episode Blood money) was quite flimsy. Madeleine at the time saw right through him even when he added “It’s human nature”. But now that he and Lisbon are a couple, he doesn’t have to hide his protectiveness, not from her nor anyone else.

3: In Abbot’s office

Violet: Jane’s blunder causes an emergency meeting at headquarters. Abbot is not very pleased and Kenneth rants about losing the woman, while having still no proof and no means to get her to talk even if they find her. Jane attempts to play the situation down but Kenneth counterattacks by stating: “no, it’s not okay, this is a disaster”. Coincidentally, things being “okay” or not were the words he and Lisbon used to test the waters when talking about the exchange of keys and then about keeping their relationship a secret…

Jane then launches at the opportunity to shift the attention from himself when a young woman comes in and introduces herself to Abbott as the new agent in the team. Michelle Vega (Josie Loren)has already caught Wylie’s interest when she arrived and Jane quickly let her guess that she’s not getting in a completely ordinary team when he casually tells her “oh, you don’t have to call me sir. In fact, don’t call me sir. Save it for him” while pointing in a rather unceremonious way at their common boss – who’s currently on the verge of berating him obviously …

RB: I loved this moment as Abbott’s reaction was very amusing.

Violet: That respite was enough to get the resourceful consultant at the top of his game again. He tells Kenneth “I’m going to make it up to you. When this is over, it’s gonna be your birthday”, adding in an alliterative cheerful tone “candles on the cake and all, Ken”. Admitting that he’s done wrong and willing to make up for it… is it me or is there a drastic change in his attitude? It looks like he has nothing to prove anymore, he’s not being a smart ass, but instead he seems emotionally fulfilled, which in turn leaves him felling less insecure towards others and more willing to be honest.

RB: Exactly, and when he later falls back on his old habits, he is quickly reminded that he had no reason not to be honest with Lisbon. But more on that later…

Violet: In the meantime, there’s no doubt Jane’s very personal approach on hierarchy unsettled the newbie. When she’s introduced to the rest of the team, she starts asking about him: “the guy in Abbot’s office with the… shirt. Is he an agent?” Like her lover did in front of Ken, Lisbon takes his defense almost automatically: “no, but he’s part of the team” Vega persists, asking “he’s err, different. Anything I should know about him?” to which Wylie timidly answers “there are probably a few things…”

RB: Props to Vega for not google-ing Jane’s name or she’d probably find out more than she wanted to know.

Violet: As the subject of their interest starts investigating new leads, he visits Jeremy’s rented room. Near the door, a copy of Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ can be seen, similar to the one behind Lorelei when she met up with him in ‘There Will Be Blood’. He sits on the mattress lying directly on the floor where Jeremy used to sleep, which reminds painfully of his own mattress under a smiley made of blood in the pilot… This probably makes him understand that there was a terrible and shocking event in the victim’s past that he couldn’t overcome, some secret laced with fear and a bit of guilt he was still punishing himself for. Yet, Jane’s reflex here is not to identify with the guy in a spontaneous attempt at self-pity: instead, he reaches out to someone else whose suffering he could sense.

He calls Vega to get her insight about how to get more information about Jeremy and at the same time interrogates her about her past: unraveling the half-truths she’s spinning to protect herself, he gets to the core of her problem. Vega claimed to have no military past although her father was military, but she actually went at West Point but did not graduate, because her father hat cancer. Like Lisbon, Vega has thus lost her father and because of it had to leave behind part of her life and projects. Plus, while Fisher was wary of Jane’s attempts to pry into her life, Vega is probably in search of a reassuring fatherly figure, hence her confidences to him when he clearly wants to help. Furthermore, her military experience explains why she’s hierarchy oriented (obstinately calling Jane “sir” or “agent”); she maybe also be ashamed of her failure (hence the denial) and ambitious.

RB: Violet, I applaud the depth you have given to analyzing this character. While Vega is nowhere near as annoying as she could have been, I had no interest what so ever in her back story. The upside I see is that they quickly got it out of the way so that we can now hopefully focus on the older characters we already have a vested interest in. But I have to give credit where it is due, Josie Loren does well with her character so I’ll (try) to keep an open mind and ignore the fact that she was probably brought on just to appeal to younger audiences. She seems likable enough and is very cute.

 

Image by @chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain December, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by @chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain December, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Violet: The new character then proceeds to ask about him to Cho while they’re trying to catch their escapee suspect. When she asks is he’s a psychic, the older agent answers like a well-oiled machine the line Jane used to feed them: “there is no such thing”. He explains that Jane’s “as good as he can be” at reading people among other things and how he came to work for law enforcement is “a long story”… This talk reminds of Van Pelt’s first case with the CBI: back then, the redhead rookie couldn’t hide her curiosity either and Jane had no difficulties at reading her like an open book, albeit in a more aggressive manner. Once again, this season premiere feels like a new beginning, filled with allusion to the pilot. There is also little doubt so far that Vega is eager to fit in. After arresting the fugitive, she apologizes to Cho about disobeying his orders. Cho only answers “nice job”.

RB: It was, even if the scene was identical to the one in which Lindsay aka Montana was introduced in in CSI: NY. But I digress. Here, the scene shows that while Vega is eager to follow the rules, she has the ability to make split second decisions. Good for her.

4: Lisbon sneaks out to find Jane

Violet: Armed with a file on the victim that Vega provided for him, Jane takes a break and goes out to sit on a bench and study Jeremy’s psychological profile, which informs him that the man had been witness to a kidnapping that ended in murder when he was a teen. Still, there might be another reason for him to leave the office.

Indeed, some time before, after their little meeting with “Ken” in Abbott’s office, the boss had a little talk with the unruly consultant in front of the elevator. He started by saying “Look, I don’t know what’s going on between you and Lisbon but…” Jane opted then for a particularly ineffective avoidance tactic, obeying again more or less Lisbon’s wish for secrecy: “nothing’s going on.”

-Really, Jane? After the guy gave you his car keys to chase after her, you feed him the most unconvincing lie ever?-

As expected, Abbott is not fooled and comments that Jane is just uttering the “party line”, indicating even more clearly that he’s convinced that they’re an item and that they just agreed on what to tell others. He then warns him that Marcus Pike is in the building. Instead of telling Lisbon on the spot, Jane shares with her a clandestine glance with the doors of the elevator close. In hindsight, this moment of tacit intimacy contrasts with every other elevator scene when he’s been leaving after arguing with her (in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’ for instance); yet, as willing to communicate with her as he is, he still kept silent about her ex, a sure sign that he’s not as certain as he would like to admit about her reaction when facing the other man. By leaving the office allegedly to study his file in peace, Jane might want to avoid his rival. Obviously, after stealing Lisbon from him, an encounter with the dumped ex-fiancé would be very uncomfortable, even more since Jane admitted he thought the other was a good man… But isn’t he avoiding Lisbon too? He clearly didn’t tell her that he was leaving.

Abbott understands that she sneaked out to look for him after she told the others that she was “going for a walk” (which is a terrible excuse if she’s really trying not to make everyone suspicious,… wouldn’t it have been far less odd for her to just tell them she was going to find Jane before he wreak havoc, as she’s been doing for years?) His stance towards the lovers is therefore amused but quite protective too. He’s keeping the same approach about this particular inter-office romance that he had in S6: obviously, he wants them to stay together, may it be because he’s a romantic at heart, because he likes them, or just because he’s aware that Jane might get even more out of control without Lisbon’s calming influence… He’s still in dire contrast with Cho.

RB: While Abbott seems to fully support the relationship we get a hint that he might be wary of it as well. He’s less than thrilled that Jane is not in the office the same time Lisbon has gone for a walk. Don’t think he had fun imagining what they were up to. His worries should be put to rest though as Lisbon comes back with information she got from her meeting with Jane. Speaking of the meeting…

Violet: When Lisbon finds her lover, she admits that she’s been looking all over for him, while he pretexts that he just needed some fresh air… In other words, it means that, even though he had been spending until then the first working day of their clandestine romance teasing her, as soon as he heard from Pike, he’s spend as much time as he could outside, either investigating Geist’s apartment or sitting on a bench. It might have been a coincidence if he had used this rare opportunity to talk to her privately and tell her about her ex…

RB: I like that possibility.

Violet: …but Jane sticks to the case and resorts to his old habits of withholding information.

RB: Maybe he got cold feet. I found Jane not telling Lisbon here about Pike to be interesting. Perhaps Lisbon not wanting their relationship out in the open affected him more than he is letting on. He’s not secure enough to let her know the man is around.

Violet: Lisbon picks up on it, even if she doesn’t realize that not opening up about the case may only be the emerging part of the iceberg. She tells him “Jane, you don’t need to wait until I need to know to tell me things, ok? Not anymore”. His lack of transparency over work had always been a sore point for her and Jane understands that and insists on apologizing. He’s willing to make an effort to stay on her good side, underlining again that he’s playing this new tune humming between them by ear.

Another detail might hint that Jane realized that he did make a mistake in the past by assuming that Lisbon would stay by his side no matter what. He brings a hammer in order to “nail” their suspect of selling illegal weapons (the case Geist had been investigating) as well as the actual killer. This tool will be used in setting a fake hiding place for Tish’s guns but it also reminds of two times when Teresa surprised Patrick: in S5 ‘Panama Red’ she smashed to pieces a box Jane playfully hid her keys in and S6 ‘The Golden Hammer’….

RB: Yes! And when he incredulously commented “You keep a hammer in your desk?!” she blithely told him that he only “thinks” he knows everything about her, but he doesn’t.

Violet: She also shook him by telling him that she had a date with Osvaldo…

RB: And he was visibly affected, enough that she quickly reassured him that Ardiles asked to talk, not really a date.

Violet: Later, when they crack the case open by tricking the murderer into revealing himself, a nice shot of Jane’s head further emphasizes that he’s moved on, since he’s shown behind a door when he’s stepping in from the other side. He’s pushed the metaphorical door of his past open and that he’s resolute to make amends. Indeed, he’s made huge progress from the pilot, where he also pretended to focus on other suspects to get Dr Wagner to lower his guard. Here, the team work together, he’s let them in the plan. He’s trying to make it up to them for a mistake he’s acknowledged. And albeit he refused to apologize to the men he got arrested under a false pretext in the pilot, here he even apologized to Tish for using her… before getting her to confess of course, by ironically playing a variation of the same trick he faked in the bar when he set her up. And this time, he doesn’t bring donuts as a back-handed apology to his team like he did in S1, but yells good-naturally to Ken “it’s your birthday!” All in all, angst has been replaced by more sincere smiles and a more relaxed stance.

5: Pike’s question

Once the case is wrapped up, Jane goes back at the office to find an unpleasant surprise as Pike is leaving a note on Lisbon’s desk… The meeting is awkward, to say the least. Jane tries to convey how sorry he is for the guy who’s basically in the situation he was two weeks before after learning that Teresa was planning to leave. The balance between the two men is inversed: Pike is now bearded, he’s doing undercover jobs, just like Jane used to. He’s moody and upset, because Jane was the other man in his romance with the petite agent, whereas now, Jane is the one who’s in a legitimate albeit secretive relationship with her.

RB: And Jane is completely honest with Pike about what’s going on. He feels appropriately bad.

Violet: Marcus’ resentment is thus directed not at Lisbon, since he’s aware that she didn’t mean to hurt him, but at Jane as he asks him directly “so you have a plan?” When Jane is taken aback and says that he doesn’t understand, he explains that he had offered her “a life, a home, a family” and “a future” and asks what the consultant is offering her, “I mean, other than Patrick Jane?”

RB: Ouch.

Violet: It’s a low blow that leaves Jane stunned, because he knows about Jane’s past and can guess that he’s still struggling with his hesitations about moving on. It’s also the truth and the biggest advantage Pike had over his rival in Lisbon’s eyes before she chose Jane over him.

RB: Not only that but it also dredges up all of Jane’s insecurities and further highlights how his flamboyant confidence was all just an act. Patrick Jane, the man who *always* has a plan, at least when it comes to cases has no idea what to do when it comes to his relationship with Lisbon.

Violet: Lisbon comes unknowingly to his rescue by barging in the office. Jane’s evasiveness to Pike about her being “around here someplace” hints that he still hasn’t told her, and further proof is in how she’s quite shocked to see him near her new lover. She asks him: “what are you doing here?”
In the background viewers can recognize the US flag and the FBI motto “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” that was shown in a previous scene in the entrance of the office. More accurately, the red stripes of the flag and the word “Fidelity” can be seen behind her as she appears. Is it a coincidence that what’s keeping Jane from promising her a future too is a red-tinted past and his fidelity to his family’s memory? He brushes against her shoulder to show her that he’s supportive as he walks out and for a brief moment, they’re symbolically facing different directions… But then, he waits for her until she finishes with Marcus, just as the shot expends to a fuller view of the flag including the hopeful blue that characterizes their budding love story. We can also read the beginning of the word “bravery”. It pretty much hints that he’s in the right direction.

Jane doesn’t wait to prove her his goodwill: as soon as she leaves Pike, while she’s still processing how weird it was, he blurts out Pike’s question.

RB: It’s a very touching moment. Simon Baker here unleashed all of Jane’s vulnerability when he answered Lisbon honestly on what they talked about. Perhaps for the first time in their relationship, he is actively and overtly seeking her reassurance.

Violet: Stammering a little, Jane tries to explain “I think I know, that we know what feels right and that that should be our guide”.

RB: Lisbon is visibly touched at his honesty, and to his relief agrees.

Violet: He then lifts up the mood by showing her the surprise he’s been preparing for her: a vintage 1930 Cadillac, the real car instead of the model she got from her grandfather. Instead of thinking of the future like Pike had been doing while pushing Lisbon to accept to fit in his expectations for his life, Jane is still trying to make peace with the past in order to learn how to move forward step by step. In that perspective, the car holds a similar meaning than the toys from their childhood he’s given his team members in the previous season, or than the birthday pony he gotten Lisbon in the early episodes: he’s trying to bring back memories by lacing them with present joy, because he wants to express that he cares. And that old classy car reminds of many others, like the more recent vintage Cadillac he rented to entice her with in ‘Blue Bird’, his old trusty Citroen, the flashy luxury car he borrowed from Mashburn to take her to dinner or like even Ellery Queen’s distinctive Duesenberg from the same era…

RB: And once again, this car, too, is rented. Unlike the couch Jane bought for Lisbon without her approval. It hints that he might include Lisbon on future choices that he makes.

Violet: Pike’s question can also have a more ambiguous meaning instead of only involving Jane’s plans for the future. Jane’s quest for RJ has established that he has no qualms about using his talent for intricate planning in more personal matters. As it is, we can’t know for sure if Pike is aware of the extent of Jane’s planning when he tried to trick Lisbon into staying without revealing his feelings…

RB: although I don’t think Lisbon would have included Jane’s gross manipulation in her attempt to explain to Pike why she’d rather be with him😄

Violet: He’s been scheming and deceiving her for years. And Marcus is right: he actually tried to convince her to stay by playing on his charming and entertaining persona and letting her see how fun working with him was: he’d basically tried to get her a first row seat in the performance the great “Patrick Jane” was always giving. Pike’s slight gibe at his vanity is spot on: as Reviewbrain pointed out Jane is pretty insecure and his tendency to hide behind the mask of the showman is a way to cover up how much he fears he’s lacking in others aspects…

RB: But the fact is Marcus doesn’t know that. He might think he’s hit Jane where it hurts, which is true in a way but…

Violet: …the fact that Jane’s so unsettled by Marcus’s question indicates that he’s sincere.

RB: It’s actually the best proof. Lisbon knows that which is why she was so touched. Unlike Marcus, she knows Jane. And she’s had so much of Jane’s plan’s that this is probably a refreshing change for her.

Violet: He’s really helpless because he doesn’t know what is the best thing to do anymore, which is probably why he was afraid to let Lisbon talk to her ex-fiancé alone. Pike’s spiteful little barb throws him back to the beginning of the episode and to Lisbon wanting to take the next step into a serious relationship. The faint uncertainty brought by the two questions –about the key and about his plans- might be an allusion to the song used for the title:

Skies were gray but they’re not gray anymore”,

the difference being that in the song the clouds were left behind… in the budding romance, whereas the storm ended, getting out of the honeymoon phase might bring on some grey areas they’ve yet to define… some maybe in next episode ‘The Greybar Hotel’?

Conclusion

Violet: As a conclusion, I’d say that even though their relation has evolved since the beginning of the show, its romantic aspect is still a work in progress, because for each of them learning to live with to someone who is as secretive as them and with a troubled past too is bound to cause some adjusting. In that perspective, the reference made to Jane Austen in a recent interview (thanks Rose for the information!😉 ), as well as in ‘Days of Wine and Rose,’ is very interesting. The situation between them has been slowly progressing for years from distrust to indulgence, from manipulating to caring. Like many Austenian characters, step by step, they’ve been overcoming trust issues (born from Jane’s lies) and differences (the opposite morals of a by-the-book cop and a conman) to get to the similarities that lay deep within their hearts. But unlike Miss Austen’s protagonists, they can’t distract themselves anymore with false appearances as they did for a decade: sweet, reasonable if a bit prejudiced Lisbon has chosen at the last moment her edgy Jane over a more eligible gentleman, who had the merit of being better-matched both in his outlook on life and character but who couldn’t win her whole affections… Even if they’ve achieved forgiveness and are reaching respect and understanding, neither is foolish enough to take what they have for granted. They’re careful that the real world and its demands don’t shatter their blue-tinted loving bubble.

RB: That’s beautiful Violet. One last point I have is the fact that Jane is still wearing his wedding ring. Sunny_Girl (@_D_o_r_y_a_n_n) asked why that might be on twitter and I saved my reply for here: Jane is a creature of habit and as much of a romantic as I am I somehow don’t think it is strange. I always thought the ring was symbolic for Jane to represent that he is taken. First, it was by his wife then by his quest for Red John, and now by Lisbon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he remains wearing it for the rest of his life and somehow find it fitting. Nor do I think Lisbon would make that much of a deal over it, rather it seems to be something she gets. And if the two end up getting married he’ll need a ring anyway so why waste one he already has? It might seem a weird point of view to some but that’s just how I see it. It’s part of Jane, like Lisbon’s cross, and I think she understands that.

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11 responses to “Mentalist Nothing But Blue Skies Review

  • RoseUK

    Thank you both very much for your meticulous analysis/discussion of the episode! It always really enhances my appreciation of it.

    Firstly, I have to respond to RB’s final comment in that: I couldn’t agree more. I wrote a story in which Jane removes his ring, but in my heart I didn’t truly feel it was even necessary. If I put myself in both his shoes and Lisbon’s, I personally would keep that ring too. (In a similar way that I always wear a necklace given to me by my mother: it is a symbol of a bond that is irreplaceable, no matter who else comes into your life. I couldn’t remove it just because another equally special person bought me another equally special necklace. I’d have to alternate! Or wear two pendants! Lol). I don’t believe that keeping that ring in any way disrespects or invalidates his love for Lisbon – and knowing Lisbon’s generous and sensitive nature, I truly believe she would understand that and not mind. She knows he loved Angela, and she knows he loves her. That’s enough. Why should she feel pushed out or not number one? The heart is vast. (And there’s room on his ring finger for another ring if wished!)

    Which brings me to another point: Pike’s “other than Patrick Jane” remark. Obviously we have yet to see what Heller intends to explore this season (character’s changing ambitions/life wishes, etc.) but up to now, I view Teresa as someone who would be happy with “just Jane”. I see her as a person who long ago accepted that she might never have a traditional family life/partner because of her passion for her job and also her reticent personality, and I think that she’s the sort of person who on the whole is content with ‘less’. The Marcus thing was a very different step for her, and again I think she might have settled for ‘less’ (this time in the sense of not truly loving someone fully, but being ok with that). She probably never thought Jane would ever declare himself/commit to her, so the mere fact that he even did that is sufficient. I don’t know – these are just my instincts!!

    I have more to say (sorry), but I shall do so later!

    PS ‘Geist’ means ‘ghost’ in German, which highlights the “undercover/hidden” theme of the episode.😀

  • Kilgore Trout

    Apologies for this long post but I have come to this show relatively late and have only recently caught up to the final episode.

    I have to say I very much enjoyed how Jane and Lisbon’s relationship was portrayed. Heller has made comparisons to a Jane Austen romance and I think that is spot on. They are two emotionally vulnerable people negotiating a difficult transition in their relationship. Plan or no plan, they both have a tremendous amount to lose if things don’t work out, hence the nervousness, second guessing and awkwardness on display.

    I have read some criticism on the lack of more physical displays of affection but again, I think what we see is more true to the nature of their friendship and love. Make no mistake this is a partnership that is based first and foremost on an attraction of mind and character rather than physical lust (sure they are both attracted to each other but they have spent the better part 10 years suppressing that). On top of that Jane has been consistently portrayed as almost asexual; he almost never reacts to the numerous beautiful women he encounters and even when he allows himself to be seduced by Lorelei he is very passive, literally laying back and letting her do all the work. Likewise with Erica Flynn he was again passive, staying motionless until she made the move on him. Add to that his nearly crippling insecurity when it comes to people he cares about and its no surprise he isn’t overly physically affectionate. The only times we see Jane decisive and commanding with women is when he assumes a role in order to crack a case and when the object of his seduction is a woman he cares nothing about (the ‘grieving’ widow in one of the earlier seasons, the mobsters girlfriend in Il Tavolo Blanco and the cold murderess in White Lines).

    Lisbon on the other hand is a more deeply sexual person (witness her one night stand with Mashburn) but rarely acts on her impulse. She very much tends to bury her personal side in her work (at least until the mid season 6 reboot). She also has major commitment issues and ran away from the only long term relationship she was ever in (Greg Tayback). Pike is very much an anomaly but even that was a very short relationship (less than 2 months) and she again ran away though for very different reasons. So while you would expect Lisbon to be the more dominant one in their physical relationship she is still very much repressed and has a whole host of her own issues to deal with. Jane, in that sense is better equipped. He has a track record of being able to make long term emotional commitments, initially to his wife and then to his quest for revenge.

    Despite them coming across as nervous teenagers there has been some pleasing character development for both of them. It was refreshing to see Jane’s honesty in telling Lisbon what Marcus had asked him, not to mention his maturity in not resorting to insults or distractions when confronted by Marcus. Mind you, there are limits and Jane was not willing to give Lisbon and Marcus any real privacy to discuss what happens, remaining very much in earshot and in Marcus’ line of sight.

    In the scene where Jane was being characteristically evasive about the case Lisbon showed a new maturity in calling out his behaviour. In the past she would have responded with anger and aggression, possibly even threats but instead she gently pointed out how their new relationship re-defined their work paradigm and Jane immediately acquiesced. They are both trying as best they can to make it work. In the next scene we see that its Lisbon who brings the rest of the team up to speed, she finally has the inside track on what is going on in Jane’s mind.

    On to some more general observations on the episode: The victim’s name was Geist which means spirit or soul in the German (the German word for ghost is Gespenst). Since the case took a back seat to Lisbon and Jane’s new relationship the poor victim was very much just a distant spirit. His story was that of a lost soul who tried to confront his childhood trauma but came to a tragic end. Perhaps one of the themes of Season 7 will be confronting the past. Jane and Lisbon have already been forced to confront their very recent past with Marcus Pike and surely Jane will have to confront finally letting go of his lost family in order to fully commit to Lisbon. Interestingly one of the first things Jane does when walking up to Pike is to conceal his left hand in his pocket. It shows that perhaps unconsciously he was anticipating the line of Marcus’ questioning, for how can he make any long term plans while he still wears the symbol of commitment to his dead wife?

    I thought Lisbon’s reaction to Jane’s confession of not having a plan was somewhat ambiguous but that wasn’t explored further due to a typical Jane distraction in the form of the vintage car. We know of Jane’s remarkable talents when it comes to making insightful gestures but how soon until Lisbon becomes tired of such overt displays and craves for something of more substance (or at least discussion on where they are headed?) Having said that, I don’t need to see the season end with a wedding as I don’t necessarily see them following the conventional trappings of society. What has me truly excited about this season is watching their new relationship slowly unfold and hopefully blossom.
    On a final note it was good to see a sense of fun in this episode. From Abbot’s crack about following the party line to Jane’s hilarious hugging of Cho (clearly revenge for when Cho backed off from his attempted hug when they were re-united at the FBI) it was all good.

    I’d also like to thank you both for your wonderful and in depth reviews, it really adds a new dimension to watching and discussing this show.

  • windsparrow

    I love the way the two of you play off each other when you co-write a review. You are both so insightful that the reviews you write as solos are excellent, but together your strengths add up to more than the sum of your parts. I liked reading this review at least as much as I liked watching this episode.

    Pike’s comments to Jane about what he offers Lisbon could have been the spark of some contrived conflict, spelling doom for Jane and Lisbon’s relationship. In fact, long time shipper that I am, I have been afraid that an official on-screen relationship would be done in some nasty way that could not be taken back once seen – either poorly written out of laziness on the part of the writers or deliberately unpleasant to punish the shippers for their shrill passion for the ship. In many ways I preferred leaving Jane and Lisbon’s relationship to the imagination of the viewer. Jane’s openness with Lisbon was a pleasant surprise to me. I don’t know whether I am more proud of Jane for his determination to be emotionally honest and present with Lisbon, or of the writers for avoiding the cheap and dirty conflict of Jane hiding insecurity from Lisbon. Too, Jane talking to Lisbon about not having a plan for them was an invitation for them to build their life together as full partners. What a contrast to Pike having a plan and asking Lisbon to fit into it.

    Now about Vega, I think I like her. I can’t tell whether Wiley likes her to the point of maybe being sweet on her, or if he just likes not being the rookie any more. As for Cho – when she stopped the fugitive instead of following the letter of his order to stay put, that “nice job” could be recognizing both the take down and the fact that she did stay within about ten feet of where she was supposed to be. It’s not like she wandered off on her own to pursue some underhanded scheme like some consultants we could mention.

  • KM

    Thank you. Fabulous job guys.
    1) According to CBSExpress it was a crane. They quoted the legend that he who folds 1000 gets his heart’s desire. Whatever it was crane or swan it is a sweet move.
    2) After Jane leaves Abbott at the elevator he went to the victims apartment, then called Vega, then returned to the FBI, and finally went out to the bench to read the file. While I don’t argue that Jane would ponder the fact that Pike was in the building and that Lisbon would run into him. Just that he stated he was going to the victims apartment before he learned of Pike’s presence. Hence, it served a purpose to keep him out, but he didn’t create it for avoidance. His wheels were already turning with the case. And, instead of just doing his disappearance he told Abbott that he was going to check the apartment out. That is a sign that Jane is being more open with Abbott too.

    Anyway, thank you again. Great job!!

  • suzjazz

    Heller has said that the Lisbon/Jane relationship is similar to the good relationships in Jane Austen’s novels; that is, the relationship/marriage is a meeting of the minds more than it is passionate physical attraction. If he’s going to give us modern-day Jane Austen, then we’re not going to see private moments of passion. (I doubt that Knightley would have kissed Emma in public as Jane kissed Lisbon in the finale, but we can’t expect complete consistency.) Presumably, Austen’s couples kissed, hugged, and had sex, but it’s not something considered fit for us to see in early nineteenth century England. Same thing here. I have to admit I’m extremely disappointed. This isn’t 1810, it’s 2014. Sex and passion are openly written about and enacted in movies and TV, including this very TV show with Rigspelt, Lorelei, and Erica. Why, then, are we not allowed to see Jane and Lisbon’s private moments? I really don’t buy the explanation that the two actors are friends in real life and therefore a scene of them waking up together in bed and/or kissing is going to be uncomfortable. Robin Tunney said that SImon’s wife watched The Kiss scene and was very moved by it.

    What I do believe is going on here is Heller’s perversity. He doesn’t want to show us their intimate moments. He never has. I’m still amazed that we got as wonderful a kiss scene as we did in the 6 finale. And until the end of the series, that’s all we’re going to get, folks. Unless something changes in a profound way. I have heard spoilers to the effect that we will not get a kiss for the first 3 episodes. It doesn’t bode well for the remaining 10 episodes.

    There is absolutely no reason why we can’t have Jane Austen in a 21st century world. We’ve known since the beginning that Jane and Lisbon were meant for each other (Heller uses this phrase) and that they are both secretive and private. But now that they have almost certainly had sex (it’s 2 weeks after The Kiss) it’s just ridiculous that we don’t even get to see them kiss again! Not even a peck on the cheek or a hug. It’s just not believable. When no one is watching, there is no need to pretend they aren’t a couple, for God’s sake.

  • suzjazz

    Re Pike’s mean-spirited, sour-grapes remarks to Jane:

    Exactly what did Pike have to offer to Lisbon? We never heard him say he loved her. Granola bars for breakfast. Expecting her to watch and enjoy the movies HE enjoys. Saying “No pressure” as a way of pressuring her. An unromantic marriage proposal with no engagement ring and obviously with no thought behind it. And now he’s saying he’s offering her a home and a family. I don’t know about you, but I would have kicked him to the curb. The only reason Lisbon didn’t is that she was desperate and didn’t realize that a woman like her could have found a MUCH better man than Pike if she needed to get away from Jane.

    Pike’s speech to Jane was an attempt to establish dominance and to play upon Jane’s feelings of insecurity and unworthiness. My impression of Jane’s reaction was this:
    1) Jane didn’t take the bait because he has contempt for Pike
    2) Jane was OK with not having a plan as long as Lisbon was OK with it
    3) Jane didn’t need to get into it with Pike because he’s the one who won Lisbon’s heart and they both know it.

    When Jane stammers a little in admitting he doesn’t have “a plan,” he’s a little nervous because he’s afraid Lisbon may expect him to have one. But she quickly reassures him that she’s on the same page.

    It’s going to take a lot more than Pike and Erica to separate our OTP now.

  • KM

    It is my opinion that this encore season belongs as much to Mr. Heller, the writers, and the actors and crew as it does to the audience. Perhaps more. Seeing as the writers have the right to tell the story they want it told. And, as a producer Simon has a right to decide what they produce, We don’t tell novel authors what to do with their characters. Personally I don’t feel we have the right to demand specific acts of intimacy between Jane & Lisbon. Both the reader and the viewing audience have a right, they have the right to stop reading or viewing if they don’t enjoy the story. Everyone is free to disagree with me.

  • RoseUK

    @ Kilgore: I really enjoyed reading your comment; you beautifully expressed everything that I was thinking and more! Thank you! I’m glad to find at least one other person who does not necessarily need to see the wedding/babies conclusion (I don’t see them as particularly conventional either), but of course I will be happy to see and go along with whatever makes the characters happy.🙂 I also love your idea about the “confronting your past” theme and will be very interested to see this unfold (hopefully).

    @ Windsparrow: Yes! Also relieved that there wasn’t any contrivance to drum up conflict between them; goodness knows we had enough of that last season. I also like Vega, I think she added a touch of freshness and I was pleased to see Jane interacting with her (one of the few people to intrigue him lately). Last season he didn’t really interact with core team members aside from Lisbon, and I thought that was a shame. I would like to see him ‘grow’ from other personal relationships too (Cho, Abbot, everyone!), although of course his relationship with Lisbon is the key one. But like Violet mentioned, I also wondered whether we might see him adopt a kind of father-figure role for Vega (she lost her dad; he lost his daughter), but I think, having seen episode 2, they might head in another direction… (Quickly: I felt a bit sorry for Fischer, being dispatched so summarily. It would have been nice to say goodbye in person, because she did play a certain role in Jane’s emotional/physical return, but there we go.)

    @ Suz: I understand what people are saying in the sense that it’s normal for couples to show physical affection (and therefore why can’t we see it on screen), but I think that – at least for this first episode – it was important to establish the fact on screen that they have transitioned from friends to lovers and that they are still getting used to that idea. I thought it was completely true to character to see them a little shy and tentative around each other, to be a little nervous but delighted. As they get more accustomed to their new status, I believe that’s when we’ll start to see a more public manifestation of their love. I agree with RB and Kilgore in that respect: we are being told, as viewers, that the mental/emotional love comes first, physical second. For me personally (reared on restrained 19th novels!), I saw all the intimacy I needed to in that simple arm-hug on the porch. It told me everything I needed to know and more. But that said, I don’t think they will withhold another kiss for the rest of the season! It’s just that right now we seem to be focussing on their emotional status.🙂

    @ KM: I tend to agree. I’ve complained about elements of the show before, and I think everyone has certain quibbles about stuff (which is also fine – normal), but this season (being the last), I’m going to try to do what you say and simply enjoy what we are given. Maybe that will be hard at times, but as you say, it’s ultimately their story to tell.🙂

    A couple of final thoughts: Somebody on Twitter posted a still of Jane walking down the road, his face upturned to the sky, and captioned it “nothing but blue skies” (or something similar). I thought that was both lovely and interesting (that we actually see him basking happily in the sunlight on a cloudless, azure day, with all the stormclouds of his past gone).

    The ‘encore’ idea seems to be playing out in terms of Jane’s tricks and schemes too: this time we got a repeat of the ‘hold the criminal’s hands as a kind of dowsing-for-clues’ thing and I’m guessing they’re going to return to various proper Mentalism tricks throughout the season as well. Yay!

    And of course Cho: lol. This show just would not be the same without him.

  • thebeatboy

    Hi!!!😀 This was another great review. Thank you for the great insights too. My favourite scene including Jane and Lisbon’s conversation on the porch and outside when Lisbon was looking for Jane.

  • thebeatboy

    Oops -that should have read , one of my favourite scenes “included”

  • Sean Robert Meaney

    I consider red john to be still alive. By not confronting abbott’s plan to prosecute jayne for the murder we are not realizing that jayne thinks he means McAllister and Abbott means Bertram. Despite the ‘abandonment of the red john’ storyline by the producers, the death of McAllister is ambiguous. Jayne strangles McAllister and we are left thinking he is dead.
    That said, McAllister is not red john.
    I think Patrick jayne is. The reason jayne chases McAllister is not to kill red john but because McAllister challenged him for the right to be red john – Red john is some aspect of a multiple personality of jayne – except the Patrick jayne personality reasserts control. The oragami swans are likely folded up confessions…which he has been giving to Lisbon.

    And red john is likely Reid Jan an old German phrase meaning one who prepares you for a journey. Like your parent ensuring your seatbelt is on, a mortuary worker who prepares your body for the afterlife, a household servant/major domo who packs you for travel, a motivational speaker who directs you down a new path in life.

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