Mentalist Orange Blossom Ice Cream – Black Market Joint Review: A Study in Relationships


This is an experiment of sorts: we’ve decided to write a joint review for ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’ (which got delayed) and ‘Black Market’ since both episodes address the same themes: relationships and how they might evolve in the future.

 

Orange Blossom Ice Cream:
Following the events from ‘The Greybar Hotel’, Jane is called by the CIA to investigate the foreign part of the ring they’d uncovered. Problem is, their contact is in Beirut and she happens to be no other than the infamous Erica Flynn who tried to seduce Jane into submission in ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorns’ and in ‘War of the Roses’. Lisbon is pretty unsecure about the situation and as expected trouble arises and questions are asked…
Erica, the ghost from the past brings doubts to the light

The main problem posed by Erica getting near Jane is that it forces him and Lisbon to confront things and relations from his past that he kept secret (Erica, Lorelei). Lisbon has been pondering about them and Jane has flatly refused to discuss any of them at the time, either in Lorelei’s case by denying there was any feeling involved because she was just a tool, or by playing with Lisbon’s unacknowledged jealousy over Erica by letting her doubt his participation in the seductress’ escape plan. Getting to Beirut is thus a matter of dealing with trust and self-confidence issues.

Indeed, Jane didn’t tell Lisbon about the new mission beforehand. While the CIA agent starts explaining the situation, he is silent and looks down. He’s been secretive and he evades every question about his relation with Erica with a rather lame “me? Why?” When the agent reveals that Flynn insisted on working with him, Abbott looks at him and Lisbon starts muttering, but he doesn’t clarify. On the other hand, Lisbon wants an explanation on why she’s part of the operation but gets orders and Jane states that there’s “no problem”… He’s careful about his reactions and tries to play it cool.

Self-confidence is also part of the problem for Lisbon, because there’s a big difference between the two flowers blooming in Jane’s current life. She is honest and straightforward while Erica is devious and cunning. The latter has been depicted as a rose with thorns, all passion, danger and hurt, whereas Lisbon is the ‘Orange Blossom’ which gets this time to be mentioned in the title: like the flower, she represents innocence, purity, eternal love for Jane and may be linked in his mind to the idea of a possible fruitful marriage. No surprise then if this time both women’s aspirations collide more forcefully and directly than they had in the past: like it was hinted in the Limo scene in ‘War of the Roses’, Jane is still literally sitting in the middle of them both, only this time he made it clear beforehand who his heart belonged to. This is probably why the women outfits offer such a great contrast: Lisbon’s simple white blouse clashes with Erica’s sexy, form-fitting sophisticated black and gold dress. Even later, when Lisbon dresses up for dinner, her white stripped dress is more conservative than her rival’s gleaming little number.

There’s no doubt it’s a power play for Erica: when they first arrive, she’s waiting for them in their hotel room – a display for Lisbon that she’s been intimate enough with Jane to do so- and she already took the liberty to order tea. Her apparently “thoughtful” gesture of offering him his favorite drink actually hints that she’s in control of the situation as she proves later by telling her boyfriend that Lisbon is here too, admittedly to gain his trust. The same trick of flaunting power by offering a drink is later used by the criminal boyfriend after he tested Jane’s memory by making him learn a list of random words while half-drowning him in a bathtub… and a third time when Erica gauges Lisbon’s feelings by laying on the charm on her, again in her hotel room, and she orders lemonade. And after Jane and Lisbon talk more openly about the other woman, Jane gives Lisbon a glass of tea, as a sign of recovered trust and familiarity…

Erica has obviously set her eyes on Jane and every talk from her involves trying to get on his good graces or trying to determine how far Teresa has settled herself into his heart. When she explained that her current boyfriend whom she’s planning to sell info about to the CIA in order to get a deal is “very secretive over his work” and she suspected “it was unsavory”, she also reminds Lisbon of Jane’s past schemes to get revenge behind her back… Lisbon is not fooled and asks sarcastically “and that’s why you’re turning him in because he horrifies you?” Erica denies and just tells that she wants to go home. Her looking at Patrick gives a deeper meaning to her words as she tells him that when he was away, he would have given anything to get back, a notion Jane can only agree with… Meaning that they share an experience Lisbon is not privy to: in a certain way, she understands him on a level that Lisbon can’t. And that’s proof enough that she has kept tabs on him: at the end of ‘War of the Roses’, she called him to taunt him and let him know that she was looking forward to seeing him again and obviously she’s well-informed enough to have learnt about his return from Venezuela and that he was working with the FBI. Jane’s reaction to her statement is nonetheless interesting because he’s looking at Lisbon when he agrees that he wanted to come back home, hinting that he wanted to come back to her more than anything… Erica is analyzing the situation and evaluating how well her would-be marks get along.

Well-matched couple vs. happiness

Indeed, after assessing the past (i.e. that Jane was in love enough to come back to Lisbon), Erica asks about the present in order to instill doubt in both of their minds. Lisbon was implicitly his primary goal when he was on the run and he was the one who came back, yet Erica pretends that she knows they’re together because she “can tell by the way [Lisbon] looks at” him, hinting that Lisbon is the emotionally needy one in their couple. When that doesn’t work and he doesn’t take the bait, she pretends to be very happy that he found love and she brushes off his reservations by joking “thank you for suspecting me, it makes me feel very interesting”… She’s trying again to fool him by feigning human feelings, like she did to convince him to get her out of jail by pretending to be sad for her former client-turned-friend’s death, when it was in fact a cold calculation…

On the other hand, Erica tries a similar maneuver on Teresa: again she’s very happy that they found each other and, as a former matchmaker, she assures Lisbon that there’s nothing to worry about. But, unlike Jane who refused to give her more ammunition, Lisbon takes the bait and asks “why would I worry?” Erica jumps on the occasion and hits where it hurts most, in their still not completely overcome trust issues… She’s sensed that part of Lisbon’s nervousness was caused by the fact that Jane kept his kiss with her under wraps… She’s playing on her jealousy: “Patrick didn’t say anything?” “so typical, men like to pretend that the past never happened”… Meaning that something happened, big and meaningful enough for him to keep silent about in order not to upset Lisbon…

And she’s right: cracks are showing in the foundation of their relationship. It’s hinted at by the bathroom pattern they got going since ‘The Greybar Hotel’ where showers were mentioned three time as an indicator of the level of intimacy in the different characters’ couples: here, Jane is tortured in a bathtub and his first personal moment with Lisbon features her coming out of the shower in a bathrobe… and not talking to him, when he’s still fully dressed. There’s a communication crisis, while Jane is in the same wavelengths as Erica, since he was able to explain why she used Lisbon’s presence to gain her boyfriend’s trust, while Lisbon was still in the dark and seething about the betrayal. But Jane cares about Teresa: it’s her hand that he holds to seek comfort after the ordeal because he would not find any in Erica’s scheming presence.

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.

In order to make things easier for Lisbon, Jane starts a conversation over dinner. Given how good he is with people, he must guess what his simple “what’s up” will get her out of her silence. After relenting a bit, she bluntly asks him if something did happen between him and Flynn, because she made a point of letting her know that something happened. And Jane decides to drop his avoidance tactics as he finally admits that they kissed once in her hotel room when they were working together. Like he did with his fling with Lorelei, he tries to brush it off as unimportant, but Lisbon doesn’t buy it. As she pushes on, he finally confesses that it was not nothing, but it was a long time ago and it could have led to anything because “it couldn’t”… At the time, the kiss was meaningful, because Erica was the very first to melt the cold wall of indifference he had built up between him and the fair sex as after Angela’s death, he had only one date with a woman (Kristina) and even then he was obviously not ready and freaked out. Erica represented the first meaningful step he took in his rebound process to start living again… yet he’s right, it was rather safe from an emotional point of view because he didn’t trust Erica who was a black widow. He can’t really explain to Lisbon that he was not ready or willing to open up to her on this vulnerable side of his personality back then. He just tells her that upon learning about the mission, he decided not to tell her because he was worried that “it could come between them”. He was afraid she got jealous, hurt or maybe disgusted with him because he accepted the overtures of a woman he knows she despises. But Lisbon is only after honesty and transparency in her couple: she says she just wishes he’d told her first, to which he apologizes for, in the same way he did in ‘Nothing But Blue Skies’ after she told him he didn’t need to hide things to her, “not anymore”. It looks like sweet sincere Teresa will always be the truth seeker in their relationship.

But her insecurities are showing when she asks if there are “any others” she should know about, “like people we worked with”… It makes one wonder how many times Lisbon was unsure of Jane’s private life during the CBI era, given the women who kept coming on to him: except for Erica and Lorelei, the only rare and slight reaction to his success with the ladies we got from her was in ‘Blood for Blood’ when two nurses started looking at him and giggling. But, even if she wasn’t here when Dr. Montague or that scientist in ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’ tried to ask him out, she must have known he went on a date with Kristina and she heard him tell her that agent Darcy had great legs. So she’s making an effort in letting him get a glimpse into her insecurity too. In a subtle way, she’s also opening up more fully to him, for instance in bringing herself to touch the dangerous subject of Lorelei. Since the woman was both a murderer and a victim and either Jane’s coldness (like when he stated “she had it coming” in front of her corpse) or his admission to feelings could hurt and shock the whole-hearted Lisbon. Yet she admits that she always thought that something happened with them both: she probably isn’t referring to his night with her in Vegas, because she knew for sure that they were lovers. So she must be alluding to the events from “Red Sails in the Sunset’, when they run away together and further intimacies with the other woman would have meant an emotional bond. Back then, it was the lack of knowledge of what Jane was seeking in the brunette that caused Lisbon’s wrath (‘There Will Be Blood’) and Bertram had tried to take advantage of that uncertainty when he later implied that they had been involved when they spent those few days alone. But Jane finds a way to lighten the mood by offering to tell her about Lorelei if she tells him about “one Walter Mashburn” –along with the lilting tune that is associated with their banter- which makes her immediately switch topics to food. It’s okay if they do not open every can of worms right now: Jane managed to make her understand they’re allowed to keep some things private and that he might have been feeling a bit threatened by her love life too.

Nevertheless, Erica was not privy to their attempt at clearing the air and she keeps putting herself forward, both as a possible work partner and as a woman. She tries to stress out how similar they are (“I always think of you as having a plan but never admitting to it. – That’s funny, that’s how I think of you”). In her eyes, character flaws like being cunning, unscrupulous and dishonest are skills and they become assets if they are shared with the right person: that’s why she flirts with him when they run away from her boyfriend’s apartment after almost getting caught. She presses her body against his when they hide behind the door; she holds his hand when she runs after him on her shaky high heels; she embraces him while laughing, ignoring his discomfort: they make a good team and she does her best to make him see that, like she did in ‘War of the Roses’.

Jane’s reactions to her attentions are a bit ambiguous: he lets her do as she pleases and later he touches her shoulder when talking with her alone. It makes Lisbon burst in a fit of jealousy, which is probably part of a plan: Erica is eavesdropping when she states angrily that he’s looking for excuses to spend time with her rival and that whatever happened between them is not over. After Lisbon leaves in a huff, Jane reveals that he knew about Erica’s plan all along. He can guess that the boyfriend had money hiding in the room, that she was planning to get her hands on it once the CIA got the man out of the way and that the supposed cop left behind is a fake who won’t drive her to jail (just like in ‘War of the Roses’). The greedy woman then chooses to make a move on Jane, because she wants him too. It might be a matter of ego since he was one of the few men to not be fooled by her, or because she really is interested, either way she explains that in her professional opinion as a former matchmaker, he and Lisbon will not last as a couple because they’re together for all the wrong reasons: he’s attracted to her for her virtue, her honesty and her goodness, things he thinks he lacks, while “she’s interested in you for your danger, your unpredictability and your transgressions”. An attraction based on opposed personalities doesn’t make a lasting relationship, unlike “finding your soulmate, a person who sees the world the way you do, laughs at the things you laugh at, wants the things you want”… Obviously, she’s referring to herself here because she’s more like him than Lisbon. He was a former conman, he’s ruthless enough to sacrifice more than ten years of his life to get revenge, without caring about collateral damage and his best skills are based lying and reading people to deceive and manipulate them. Her words come too close to the truth for comfort since he always considered Lisbon as more honest and a better person than him. That was a clever move from Erica, who knows exactly what Jane was looking for in a woman when he did the matchmaking video in the first case they were adversaries in… Jane doesn’t have an answer ready, so he just replies that he loves Lisbon and that he’s taking her to the real police. Erica tasers him as a result and Lisbon barges in to save the day, foiling the grand escape plans and bringing literally the cold-blooded criminal to her knees.
Neither now nor in the past Jane had never really thought of falling for Erica’s venous charms and he may have sacrificed her to gain Lisbon’s trust back… that is, if really Lisbon’s move was really part of a scheme and not a last minute decision. But the fact remains that he hesitated to let Lisbon know what she was getting into at first: was he just unsure of her reaction and afraid to endanger their love? Or was he ashamed and maybe frightened to get in the same situation Erica cornered him into when she got him alone the previous time in her hotel room? More probably, the fear he is harboring might involve Lisbon realizing that what Erica said was true and thatshe had no future with him and deciding to dump him for a more stable guy like she almost did with Pike.

One way or the other, Erica raised questions about whether Jane and Lisbon are really matched, about what Jane wants in a relationship and how his personality might affect their relationship. Those are bound to make him think, especially given how taken aback he had been by Marcus’s doubts about the future he would be able to offer her.

Jane wants to make it work in spite of all: sharing a life and some orange blossom ice cream

As a reaction to get back in more comfortable grounds, Jane surprises Lisbon by inviting her to a romantic moment on the roof of the hotel, with fireworks and that orange blossom ice cream he promised her when arriving in town. Part of it is certainly a consequence of the encounter with Erica, since Lisbon is wearing a long dress similar to the one the seductress was wearing, only hers is pure white whereas Erica’s had big black flowers.
The detail of the ice cream shared reminds of the Sunday they ate together at the end of ‘The Red Shirt’ back in season 4. It’s a loving intimate action what shows how their bond has been built through years of learning to know each other, in direct opposition of what Erica claimed about their supposed short-termed attraction. Plus, as they start bantering about Lisbon’s reaction to the fireworks celebrating the end of Ramadan (her cop instincts made her believe it was a bomb) and her lack of appreciation for the taste of ice cream (“as they say, you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take the Chicago out of the girl”), they once again challenge Erica’s definition of a soulmate. Jane tries very hard to show her that he’s pleased to be with her as well as he’s eager to prove to himself that Erica was wrong: he and Lisbon might not always see the world with the same eyes but they can make laugh of their differences… Love is more than mere attraction; things such as affection and mutual support are as big a part of the deal.

Yet, back in Austen, Cho chides Vega for lying to him when they were investigating the American part of the case: she pretended that Abbott gave her clearance to go in the field because she was willing to prove her competence to Cho, whom she admires. Unfortunately she tried too hard. Cho resents that Vega betrayed his trust by telling a lie, which reinforce the ambivalence of Jane’s attitude in Beirut. Lies and trust are still a central component of his relationship with Teresa.

Conclusion:
The episode addresses some important questions from the past such as trust in the other, as a partner and as a love interest, what each of them has been attracted to in the other and implicitly what they’re expecting now from the relationship… It’s no wonder then that those thoughts influence the plot of the next episode.

 

Black Market:

As the team is investigating a diamond robbery that caused the death of two security guards, consultant Jane is forced by a bad cold to stay on the sidelines to give instructions. The resulting isolation insists again on the same questions brought by the meeting with Erica Flynn because this special situation puts under the spotlight three major interactions which might have severe repercussions in the characters’ private and professional life.

The relationship notion is stressed since the very beginning of the episode with the opening scene: Lisbon is seen gleefully buying an engagement ring with a man… who turns out to be Cho instead of her lover Jane. In addition of the funny side of the moment (Cho is smiling and kisses “Mrs. Cho”, his former boss) “Honey” and “Sweetie” are actually investigating the jeweler because the unusually colored gem he’s been selling them is part of the stolen shipment and obviously Jane couldn’t be part of the operation since he’s waiting in the car suffering from “a little tickle” in his throat. All is well between the two lovers though, as Lisbon openly shows her worry, even inviting him to go back to her place and “jump into bed” promising to come and tuck him in later, teases him a bit when he tells that doctors are “frauds in white coats” (“whatever, just don’t sneeze near me. The last thing I need is a cold”)… Yet they’re not the only “illicit couple” “easy to spot” to quote Lisbon when she gets back to the suspect at hand: indeed she colds read the jeweler, seeing that he is going through a mid-life crisis and impending divorce, plus he’s sleeping with his assistant who’s outraged at his denial… It already hints that success/failure in love are at the heart of the storyline: the characters are oscillating in the span of a few moments between engagement and divorce.

Cho has trouble adjusting to Vega

However, the first problematic interaction is professional: Cho is still sore from the stunt Vega pulled at the end of ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’ by pretending that Abbott gave her clearance to go to the field when he didn’t. All through the episode, Vega is trying to redeem her error: she apologizes to Cho, who answers curtly to her questions about the case. Clearly the man is pissed: his budding trust in Vega was shattered. When Abbott later pairs him with her to investigate, Kimball outright tells him that he’s rather take Lisbon, but relents when Abbott insists that he knows what she did was wrong, but Vega is still young. In the field, though, they do a rather good team: when interrogating a witness, Cho uses caustic remarks (when the other asks “you think I’m stupid?”, he answers “maybe. I don’t know you yet”) in contrast with Vega who switches to Spanish to calm the man down.

Back at headquarter, the two of them start talking. Vega is still trying to mend bridges and thanks him for taking her on the case, but Cho cuts her off by bluntly letting her know that it was Abbott’s doing. He explains that “an apology is easy. Trust is earned”: if he works with her, he needs to trust her with his life. Even later, after she’s taken down a suspect and gotten hurt, she and Cho are congratulated by Abbott and her stance copies Cho’s. Yet he doesn’t relent and briskly walks away when Wylie is talking to her fondly. Wylie notices her dejected expression and assures her that he’d come around… which he starts doing when he gets the murderer in the elevator at the same time Vega gets her own suspect out and he looks at her thoughtfully. He accepts her next overture and, while he doesn’t accept the trust fall she insists on, he offers to take her to the firing range the next day.

Their slowly growing partnership can lead to two conclusions:

1) Vega is eager to show her skills, which is why she tends to overdo it after Cho approved of her first transgression of his orders in the season premiere. The mention of the “red badge of courage” (or “tan badge” when referring to Vega’s strained forearm) might allude to the novel of the same name by Stephen Crane about a soldier who wants to get a wound in the battlefield in order to prove to himself that he’s not a coward. Her reactions to Cho’s rebuttals are emotional (she’s happy, depressed), while Cho tries to rein his anger in to follow orders… She looks up to him and wants his approval more than Wylie’s or maybe even Abbott’s. Whether she’s looking for a fatherly figure in him or a budding possible love interest is still unclear, but either way they need to get to know each other more as his initial implicit refusal to tutor her into becoming a FBI agent was probably what drove her to seek more drastic ways to try and convince him. His experience will get her to have better reflexes in the field: trust is to be built, but it works both ways.

2) She wants to prove herself to non-nonsense Cho, in pretty much the same way Jane wanted to impress Lisbon in the first seasons: she’s impulsive, reckless, she apologizes after the fact and proves untrustworthy so far. She’s showing the same behavior that Cho labeled as “crazy” to Jane in ‘The Golden Hammer’. There’s a subtle parallel with Jane and Lisbon who worked through trust issues too: the “red badge of courage” also refers to ‘Red Badge’ in season 2, which was the first time Jane started to prove his trustworthiness when she refused to trust him, while the trust fall trick was used by Jane in the early episodes. On the other hand, Cho has refused to open up to her when she outright asked for his guidance, therefore he’s keeping her at arm’s length like Lisbon used to do by putting barriers and walls between her and her team and consultant. It takes time for him to start trusting someone and caring for them; that much was hinted at when he admitted to Lisbon that he had almost quit when first joining the CBI team because of Rigsby’s antics and stayed for her steady authority.

Abbott and Lena: trouble in paradise

But Cho is not the only male agent who has to straighten up his act: when Abbott’s wife gets a prestigious job opportunity as the undersecretary for the Department of Commerce, viewers get to see the woman and how they interact.

Lenna and Dennis are happily married and after 17 years are still very romantic with the other. They call each other “baby” and Abbott is proud of his “Wonder Woman” of a wife. It explains why Abbott was so supportive of Jane finding true love again –he’s a romantic at heart and knows what it’s like to be in love. On the other hand, his skills as a leader as shown extensively as in the bullpen he gives orders to everyone and ushers Jane home.
Interestingly, his job comes into question when he later has dinner with Lenna and her contact from D.C. who’s scouting her: their private life is squeaky clean, his current record impeccable but there’s a shadow in his past, some mysterious events when he worked at Rio Bravo station in a joined task force to take down the cartels near the border and obviously something bad happened there… Later, Ackerman talks to Abbot and makes him understand that his possibly shady past might put a stop to her career: the only way is to put him out of the picture and starting a rumor about her getting through a trial separation…

This development is pretty interesting because it mirrors what Jane went through to some extent: he too had to fight a “dirty war” where it was “hard to tell the criminal from the cops sometimes”… While this might enlighten why Abbott was so harsh when he dismantled the corrupted CBI and unleashed a manhunt on Jane, it also explains why his attitude towards them changed when they started working for him and he realized they were honest cops and good people, albeit with unconventional methods. The situation also reminds that the idea that Jane’s illegal actions endangered Lisbon’s career. It’s only because he made a deal that she got out of her boring little sheriff office in Washington and had new career perspectives… Plus, the idea of a separation that Ackerman insisted on can find a parallel in the victim’s life: he was divorced, just like the jeweler at the beginning of the episode was planning to get a divorce. Implicitly, there’s a possibility that keeping his distance with his wife might end up endangering Abbott’s couple too…

Nevertheless, Dennis only thinks of Lenna’s happiness and there’s no doubt in his mind that it can only be achieved by getting the job of her dreams, which is why he outright tells her that he doesn’t want to go to D.C. because he has “a good unit here, seniority” and he doesn’t want to sacrifice his career… He’s trying to protect her by hiding his true intentions, in a similar way than Jane had been doing when Lisbon planned her own move to D.C…. Lenna doesn’t want to have a long-distance marriage and she understands immediately what it is really about: the Rio Bravo case that Dennis has kept a secret from her. Again, the situation reminds of Lisbon’s issues with Jane, including the secret, the “you can tell me anything” line (cf. Lisbon stating “You don’t need to wait until I need to know to tell me things, okay? Not anymore. » in ‘Nothing But Blue Skies’) and the talk about trust (“trust me, it needs to be this way”) and giving Lena deniability about his past (“you’re going to be asked questions and if any of those questions involve Rio Bravo, then you need to be able to say that you don’t know anything about it”… It sends up with Dennis insisting that they’ll see each other on weekend and holidays, to Lenna’s despair… In a way, Dennis is acting like Jane used to do until very recently: he’s taking decisions on her behalf, without caring about what she really wants. He doesn’t discuss the matter with her in order to get to an agreement about whether the job is more important than their love. He thinks it is okay to choose for her and step back, which might end up having repercussions.

Jane and Lisbon: is the sneezing bubble bursting?

Now it’s not by chance that the other characters underline certain aspects of the main couple’s relationship. Indeed, Jane’s illness gives a golden opportunity to show new facets of their bond.

Lisbon is caring and worried about her boyfriend; while the other coworkers just try to get him to go home and (amusingly) wipe down everything he touches, she comes to his trailer happily because he wanted to see her and brings him the soup he asked. He on the other hand is eager to reassure her, by pretending that he’s fine. He’s also wearing a vest since she told him she liked them: he’s eager to please her.

Jane is also as proud of Teresa as Abbott is of his wife and it’s together that they fill Abbott in Jane’s new plan –in a pretty unconvincing manner, since he’s wrapped in a blanket and she’s nervous in spite of Jane’s reassuring “she’s gonna be fine’: Psychic Lisbon will make her debut since the former Boy Wonder is too out of shape to get on the scene… As the couch is moved to get Jane to watch the screens and monitor his girlfriend, Lisbon appears anxious but in charge of the operation when she’s walking surrounded by towering male agents, while Jane’s vulnerability is further emphasized by the blanket covering his head when he walked in the bullpen… He guides her into her brand new psychic medium act and grins fondly at her increasingly more self-assured performance, even when he asks her to stall for a minute by asking her audience if they have questions. She gives an eerily similar show than Jane usually does, including the part about a deceased loved one’s soul coming to greet someone from the audience.

Yet, whereas Jane’s conman act involved mentioning people to get more convincing (in the pilot, in ‘Throwing Fire’, in ‘Fugue in Red’), he makes Lisbon more comfortable by choosing a dog instead of a family member, the little Roger who “wants to say hi and that he’s okay” because “all of God’s creatures can talk in the afterlife”… Under Jane’s guidance, she’s giving her own spin of things, a testimony of Jane’s awareness that she’s a better person than him as Erica pointed out in the previous episode. Same when she’s making the victim talk: “even he wants to speak directly to his killer. He says “shame on you”, he thought you were friends”… again, she’s using the moral angle, insisting even further that “he wants the killer’s mother to guess first. He wants the killer to see the shame in her eyes”. Interestingly then, the show Jane’s been preparing Lisbon for proves the huge influence he has on her, by making her able to take up his part flawlessly, thus making her an asset just like him, as way as it hints as their differences in considering people and their job, because Lisbon didn’t manipulate people in the same way Jane did countless times… And he’s proud of her: when agents are gathering behind his couch to watch the show, he tells her that “everybody is at the edge of their seat”.

7x04Is the awareness of how different they still are or how good she’s become that had Jane thinking? Or is it the realization that much of his fun at work is trying to amuse and impress her? Either way, it looks like the question of where they’re headed is brought by many subplots: the past is alluded to by Cho’s and Abbott’s respective struggles as well as lines such as “guilty conscience is a terrible thing to use” , in reference to the last victim, Kirk. The man was left by his woman, who thought he was a “good guy, basically”, but who “could never figure out what he wanted to do”. She got tired of getting “a new scheme every month” and decided she “had to get out of the marriage” because “there’s only so many fresh starts you can take”… This point of view may also hint at what Jane fears Lisbon might come to see in him: a fraud without a goal, whom she’s not getting anywhere with. Again, doubts about not being able to change were present in the opening scene when Lisbon told the young woman the jeweler was having an affair with that “he cheated on her. He’s probably gonna cheat on you. I know that probably seems very difficult to believe right now, but it’s the way of the world”. Those doubts are probably shared both by Patrick and Teresa, as hinted by their encounter with the murderous seductress Erica whom Jane lied about, at least by omission…
Another example of relationship gone very awry is shown by the fling Kirk had with his killer: they both needed money and that was a dangerous combination. As Erica remarked, they had the same goals, wanted the same thing; that didn’t stop their relationship to end up in a blood bath. It was their love affair that primarily caused troubles because it opened a door to temptations they were not able to fight. Similarly, Lena’s relationship with Abbott and their marriage is also what is tying her career down, just like Lisbon’s partnership with Jane has changed her perspective on work for the better and the worst. Yet all three couples made the same mistake: they did not discuss their problems before acting. Like Abbott made a choice in Lena’s behalf, Kirk decided to come clean when he freaked out after the first murder and his lover told him that they needed to discuss it… but “there was no discussing”: she confessed to having sliced him with a blade as “everything I had been holding inside just came out, I couldn’t stop it”…

The same thing happens to Jane when the case is closed: all the talks about future brought upon him by Pike (alluded to by Abbott’s wavering about going to D.C. or not) and by Erica have taken their toll on him and his thoughts must have been building up since then since he asks her a big question. When they’re both in bed together in the airstream bed (fully dressed), as they start congratulating each other on how good they are and how fun it was “talking to all those people with you whispering in my ear”, Jane drops a bomb: “what if we just left? Just took off?” Lisbon doesn’t really understand that he’s not talking about a vacation, but about going away for good, so he develops “just leave. Go someplace different, move on,” “are we really gonna work for the FBI for the rest of our lives? Look at dead people, chase bad guys?” Those are pretty intriguing thoughts since 1) going to someplace different to try and move on was what he did, sans Lisbon, by hiding in his island… and 2) also part of Marcus Pike’s plans for her. Plus 3) as far as viewers know, he’s still tied to the FBI for a few years, so he might be practically offering her to run away from the law with him, which is unsettling, knowing that Jane running away was a possibility that scared her enough in the previous season to get her to keep her distance from him. And 4) it reminds of what Lorelei told him about working cases to stay close to Lisbon and of him telling Kim when meeting her that he wasn’t really interested in murder mysteries (thus in solving cases either). Is Jane selfish in asking that she changes her life for him in order to get both her and the freedom he sought in South America? Or is he being insecure now that he saw that he’s not irreplaceable in the workplace, that his brilliant mind might not be enough to get her to stay with him? Also kudos to commenter Mosquitoinuk for predicting that turn of events! 😉

Lisbon bristles at the mere suggestion of quiting her job and tells him that being a cop is who she is. He answers in a placating voice that he knows and that those were just thoughts… Which once again brings to mind Erica’s question: now that Jane and Lisbon accept that they have to think about their future even one step after the other, are they really planning to head in the same direction? By instinct, he’s a conman, while she’s a cop and both are already bending their personalities to match the other… That huge interrogation mark involves the same notions that have been played with in the course of the episode: influence over the other’s life (and personality), trust, choices for the other… and Lisbon starting to leave and sneezing after getting close to Jane and catching his cold brings them back to the beginning of the episode, when she offered to tuck him in her bed (he’s in his own and she’s leaving instead of coming to him) and asked him not to get her ill as well…

Conclusion

This episode marks a turning point in their relationship, hence the mention of an engagement ring and a divorce in the opening case. This is also probably why every relationship described in the episode is tottering between representing something new (Lena’s job opportunity, the victim’s new conquest and the “new starts” he tried with his ex-wife) or the start of taking distance (Lena goes alone, the conquest killed him and his ex left)… Jane’s wishes for something different with Lisbon might mean either a new start or the beginning of distancing, depending on their capacity to adjust to the other’s dream life.

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17 responses to “Mentalist Orange Blossom Ice Cream – Black Market Joint Review: A Study in Relationships

  • Berny

    Hi there,

    I’ve been a longtime fan of ‘The Mentalist’ but have only just discovered this blog! I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this season especially, and how relatively well-crafted each episode is in service of a new aspect of Jane and Lisbon’s relationship. I’m really glad that there’s someone out there who is taking the time to explore these concepts in depth.

    I found your analysis of these two episodes really enlightening. I thought of this episode’s peripheral narratives (taking Jane/Lisbon as the central narrative) as tackling many aspects of the collective vs. the individual, and how honesty creates a convergence in a team/couple, while secrecy creates divergence. There’s also some ambiguity about whether teamwork or independence is the better option, though the latter is certainly the more painful one. Cho and Vega make a good team, but her thirst for approval can be cloying; Dennis and Lena are a loving couple, but his past might cost her her career; Jane and Lisbon work together for her act and catch a murderer, but it is necessary for them to recognise that they are different people with different inclinations, if not different goals (how can they achieve happiness together, and how much do they each have to compromise?).

    You mentioned pretty much every pairing in the episode, but there’s also the interesting dynamic between the murderer and her mother, who are supposed to be partners of sorts in their appraisal business. The motive swirls around the issue of independence. I don’t think it’s unintentional that in her confession she is emphasising her wanting to live her own life, etc., just before the very important talk at the end of the episode. She was unable to have an honest conversation with her own mother about what she wants out of life, and she spirals in her overreaction.

    Actually, it’s this last point that allows me to be fairly optimistic about Jane and Lisbon. Their mutual honesty is being set up as a counterpoint to the dishonesty in the main case (and indeed the dishonesty in the Abbotts’ marriage). Though they’ve been friends for 10 years, they’ve only been in this relationship for a few weeks, or a couple of months at most, but they’re already starting to talk about what their futures might look like together. Based on that very short sneak peek of Jane and Lisbon’s conversation in ‘Silver Briefcase,’ they don’t seem to be avoiding the issue, although they’re not talking about it that seriously. This is a huge step for two people that have gone years hiding their feelings. Jane isn’t necessarily asking Lisbon to leave her job. He’s testing the waters/planting the seeds. Can they imagine a life together that isn’t built on the core that brought them together in the first place? Now that he knows where she stands, at this point, it won’t necessarily be a matter of persuading her. He too has to reflect on whether he really wants to leave – because they have fun and they’re such a good team.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading your reviews now for the rest of this final season, and participating in the discussion when I can!

  • Kilgore Trout

    I’ve been checking frequently for updates and all of a sudden you’ve covered two episodes! A very welcome late Christmas gift 🙂 I like the conclusions you have drawn on the Jane/Lisbon relationship and agree completely they reached a turning point at the end of Black Market. I will split my comments into two posts, largely because I was thinking about and reviewing the episodes separately. As is my want I have also introduced some more random thoughts and themes on what The Menatalist is about.

    Orange Blossom Ice Cream

    Overall I enjoyed this episode but perhaps not quite as much as I anticipated going in. What rankled in particular was the glaring continuity errors. The timeline for Erica’s escape was one thing but the lapse with Lorelei was unforgivable. Its well and truly in cannon that Lisbon already knew Jane had slept with Lorelei. Its annoying because Lisbon would have had legitimate issues with the relationship, in particular whether the fling was renewed when Jane broke Lorelei out of prison and (especially relevant given Erica Flynn) whether Jane staged the car accident to enable Lorelei to avoid re-capture. A simple re-framing of the question would have made this scene so much better.

    Having said that I was very pleased to see Jane’s clever turning the tables on Lisbon and asking her about Mashburn. I’m all for the new more open and honest Jane but the last thing I want to see is for him to become a pushover. Its great that the balance of power in the relationship is now even but watching a meek Jane falling all over himself to curry favour from Lisbon would be unappealing.

    I noted the same in 7.01 but its great to see a new level of maturity in their relationship. Jane was honest when called on his Erica Flynn omission and Lisbon was great when she wouldn’t allow him to write the kiss off as if it meant nothing. She was clearly treading delicately but at the same time she wasn’t going to just let Jane get away with his usual evasiveness. We are watching two mature adults trying to navigate a difficult romantic terrain at an age where most people have long moved past that stage. Neither has much relevant experience but they are determined to make it work while still being true to themselves. I think its beautifully acted by Banker and Tunney.

    I will also note that this episode very much returned to the theme of confronting the past. Thanks to Erica Flynn Jane and Lisbon have now confronted their past relationships and emerged even stronger for it. This is wonderfully re-enforced in the final show-down with Flynn. The con itself was quite predictable but nevertheless we again see Lisbon being in on it from the start. In fact I think this can be considered a new theme for season 7.

    As to Erica’s true feelings for Jane I’m convinced that while she was clearly attracted to him she was still very much playing him. She is a true sociopath and ultimately all she cares about is herself. She would have indulged in a dalliance with Jane for several reasons (one upping Lisbon, beating Jane again by successfully seducing him, enjoying the sheer pleasure of it) but ultimately she would have taken the money and left without a second thought.

    Its also interesting that while she pretty much pegged Lisbon’s attractive qualities to Jane she was completely off base on what Lisbon sees in him. Above all else Lisbon is drawn to the ‘goodness within Jane’, a quality which he himself can’t even acknowledge. Throughout the run of the show her faith that deep down he was a good person has never wavered. This is particularly clear in Fugue in Red where she is the only person to defend him even when his fugue state has him at his most shallow and manipulative. She has always believed his goodness came from within rather than as a response to the tragedy that befell him. This is also why the Jane/Lisbon relationship is anything but doomed. Their attraction is very much based on their fundamental characteristics rather than surface appeal. Also, while their views might have often differed on any number of topics such as justice and revenge, they always shared a wry sense of humour at the absurdities of the world. They truly get each other even if they don’t necessarily agree.

    The following bit would probably be more appropriate for the commentary on Season 6 themes but I was too late to that party so have included it here.

    The Little Prince and his Rose.

    One theme/analogy of The Mentalist that has been kicking around in my mind for a while now is that of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. This classic of modern literature is the story of a meeting between a pilot who has crashed in the Sahara desert with a child-like traveller from a tiny planet. The story examines the absurdity of modern adult conventions, the loss of innocence (and regaining it) and most importantly the nature of love.

    In terms of appearance, Patrick Jane is clearly like the little prince with his golden curls, outlandish attire and other worldly attitude. He shares other traits as well such not respecting/questioning normal adult social conventions and being a truth speaker (in his observations of others). They also share a love of sunsets (the little prince once watched 44 sunsets in one day).In this analogy petite dark haired Lisbon is the Rose though the resemblance is more superficial though they both have a vulnerable interior that is hidden by tough exterior: the Rose’s four thorns/Lisbon’s professional persona.

    Interestingly in other aspects of personality and behaviour the analogies are neatly reversed. The Rose is manipulative, vain and insecure, all traits that are very much true of Jane. The Rose also takes the Little Prince for granted and only realises what she will lose when his unhappiness with the relationship drives him to leave. Sound familiar?

    Likewise Lisbon’s actions neatly fit with those of the Little Prince. She spends most of her time looking out for Jane, clearing up his messes and generally being a rock for him while getting very little in return. When the relationship hits an impasse it is she who begins on a journey of understanding much like the Little Prince does. While he travels to Earth to come to terms with himself and his relationship with his rose Lisbon makes the decision to move on from her stagnant relationship with Jane and start to actively seek those things she truly wants from life. Both slowly come to an understanding of what love truly means and ultimately return to the one they left. The analogy switches again for the manner of the return. The Little Prince has to embrace death in the form of the serpent’s bite while Jane has to make the ultimate surrender of his emotions in order to convince Lisbon to stay.

    The story of the Little Prince ends tragically and ambiguously, with him dying though the implication is that his soul returns to his little planet where he is reunited with his beloved rose. The joy of Season 7 of The Mentalist is that Jane and Lisbon are very much alive and we can experience the ‘happily ever after’ with them.

  • Kilgore Trout

    Black Market

    I had mixed feelings about this episode. The case itself didn’t interest me that much so I wasn’t fully engaged by the first part of the episode. This wasn’t helped by the fact the show was devoting a lot of time into various other plot strands like Abbots dark secret and the Cho/Vega dynamic. Of the two the Abbot storyline interests me more. Abbott has always had a hint of ambiguity about him and I look forward to seeing this teased out a little more.

    The Cho/Vega relationship frustrates me a little because its so heavy handed. We continue to see a pattern where Cho is indifferent / unhappy with Vega and she pulls a bad-arse move to gain his esteem. I get there is limited time to make an audience bond with a new character but yeah, I think Vega could have been treated with more subtlety and that is a pity because I actually like her character. I just find her almost slavish attempts to win Cho’s esteem a little over the top. I also think it’s a lost opportunity that Vega has barely interacted with Jane or Lisbon thus far. Both would help bring out other aspects to Vega’s character.

    Fortunately the episode really picked up for me when Jane convinced Lisbon to perform the psychic reading. This was so beautifully played by the two leads with Jane encouraging Lisbon ever step along the way and Teresa starting out nervous but really nailing it towards the end of the performance. It made me realise the Pygmalion theme that has been subtly in the background of the show from the very start. Jane has always made an effort to broaden Lisbon’s horizons, to introduce other points of view and experiences. Initially his attitude was almost avuncular and then later changed to include a concerted effort in chipping away at, even trying to mold some of her attitudes in order to strengthen their bond and make her more like him in order to ensure he got the outcome he wanted with his personal revenge saga. This is something Review Brain and Blooming Violet were all over in Season 4.

    Lisbon has always been smart and competent but her focus has also been quite narrow; Jane has always tried to broaden her world view and I think this is a quality in Jane she has always secretly liked for all that she has often at least superficially resisted his attempts. With the ‘psychic performance’ Jane would have viewed Lisbon’s journey/transformation as complete. She has embraced his skills and put them to use to crack a case.

    Later in the caravan the couple share the bond of having pulled off a successful con together with Lisbon having been the lead. It gives Jane the courage to broach the idea of fleeing together and leaving the world of law enforcement behind. For me this was a really telling scene. Jane is completely unguarded and open as he talks of what is on his mind, he isn’t at all concerned about Lisbon’s reaction. He doesn’t make eye contact and he isn’t making any effort of trying to read her reaction, he has completely let her into his world. If he does run away it will only be if she comes with him.

    Sadly this new level of openness is lost on Lisbon as she is more focused on the specifics of what he is saying. It is incomprehensible to Lisbon to abandon a career in law enforcement; it does define a huge part of who she is. I feel sorry for Lisbon because just as she gains an even higher intimacy with Jane and how he operates (she was an equal/lead partner in this con for perhaps the first time) he threw a major spanner her way.

    I agree completely with RB and BV that we have seen the introduction of a major theme to their ongoing relationship; the struggle to reconcile quite divergent life goals. It will be interesting to see how this plays out because in this one area I don’t think that Lisbon will be able to compromise. Hopefully we see this theme developed in tomorrow’s episode.

    Thanks again for your hard work reviewing these episodes, I was literally on the edge of my seat for days. Thanks again! 

  • windsparrow

    Excellent reviews, Violet!

    The thing about the difference between Erica and Teresa – my mother used to say “Water seeks its own level” – her way of saying “birds of a feather flock together”. In “Fugue In Red” Lisbon maintained that Jane was a good man underneath the conman fascade. In addition to the long intimacy of their partnership, they belong together because they are both essentially good people who have done some not so good things in the past (Jane’s big ones we know – Lisbon, whatever it was she threatened to expose Bosco over). I have observed before that while Patrick Jane may not be the bastion of ethics and morals that Lisbon represents – considering how he was raised, he has come a long way in path of virtue. As far as we can see, his father was only out for himself, and had no morality to speak of. Patrick, on the other hand, possessed that rudimentary morality of “Patrick Jane takes care of his own”. Hence using his skills to provide a wealthy life for his family, and then seeking vengeance for their murder. And then after losing his family, his association with Lisbon and the rest of the team in Sacramento aids him in – if not expanding his morality, at least expanding how he defines “his own”. He begins taking care of people outside his natural circle – his team at the CBI, and then taking care of people outside that wider circle – the people he finds justice for.

    Erica is just too blind to see that. It’s funny – I adore Morena Baccarin from her days as Inara on “Firefly”. There was a character who was a foil for Inara played by Christina Hendricks – first appearance, used the name Saffron, then Bridget and Yolanda in her second appearance. Having similar training and abilities in seduction as the principled and spiritual Inara, “YoSafBridge” (as some Firefly fans call the character) used those abilities to pull off various heists, not caring if people died while she took what she wanted. Whenever I see Baccarin as Erica I say to The Man, “Oh look, Inara is playing YoSafBridge!”

  • windsparrow

    Forgot to click on “notify me of new comments”.

  • Rose

    Hi everyone, wonderful reviews/comments! 🙂

    I really enjoyed OBIC because it managed to use the tying up of a loose end to explore important new developments in the J/L relationship. I always quite liked Erica as a character, mainly because she’s been either something of a catalyst, or a way to delve a little deeper into J or L’s emotions/heart (i.e. Lisbon’s jealousy, Jane’s video). Plus she’s fairly entertaining (in a love-to-hate sort of way)! (And like Windsparrow, I also know her as Inara, which naturally softens me a bit…) 😉

    Anyway, Erica really overshot her mark this time round, didn’t she? To me that smacked just a little bit of desperation. She was patently touchy-feely around Jane, compared to her previous appearance when her physical movements were far more subtle. Back then she was probably pretty sure she had him on her hook, so she didn’t need to be tooo forward. This time, with this interesting new Lisbon challenge, she felt she had to pull out all the stops. So for all her outward confidence, inside I think she felt on the back foot and was overcompensating. Perhaps that made her a little easier to fool: the “fight” she heard must have come as a relief (“Oh, I DO have him after all”) and her ego/vanity came flooding back, giving her a false sense of security. Her remarks about wanting the same things/having the same world view in a relationship, rather than emphasising her own similarities to him, probably just hit a nerve in relation to Lisbon.

    And wasn’t Lisbon wearing the same green shirt at the start of this episode as she was in the last Erica episode??! I’m sure I’ve seen it before!

  • Eff To

    I am so impressed by all your insights and analyses of relationships/characters/lies and truths. I now see so much more in these two episodes – thank you. I love these reviews and comments.
    I also wonder in the Jane and Lisbon relationship, whether the element of fear is creeping in. Forgive me if this has already been mentioned. In The Graybar Hotel, it was Jane’s idea of breaking Lisbon out of jail that botched and almost got her killed. Again in Beirut, Lisbon was in a very dangerous situation, Jane knew Erica was not to be trusted. On a couple of occasions, Lisbon was not happy about Jane going alone with Erica but he pushed it. Something serious could have happened. In Black Market, again, the con was Jane’s idea. Although he could see Lisbon and control the process from his couch, anything could have happened in a split second. Perhaps Jane is starting to worry that one of his schemes will get Lisbon killed. He couldn’t survive that. Plus, those lingering thoughts that it was his vanity and showmanship that got his wife and daughter killed. Hence, in part, the desire to move away from this dangerous line of work to something safer. For Lisbon, the fear that he will leave is ever present. She voiced it to Marie in The Graybar Hotel. She was very insecure about him in Orange Blossom Ice Cream and finally in Black Market where she’s definitely really shaken by his thoughts of leaving. I feel that allaying those fears, or at least working out some kind of compromise will be a topic in the next few episodes.

  • RoseUK

    Perhaps a related theme for season 7 is “escape”, which encompasses a lot of what reviewers are talking about (getting out of the job/Lisbon’s fears of Jane leaving). It’s been touched on numerous times before (pretty sure Violet has discussed this in terms of the symbolism of the ocean in previous seasons, etc.), but maybe it’s coming back to the fore…

    There is something about Jane that just screams ‘dreamer’ to me. The last scene in Black Market is basically how I imagine Jane and Angela first hatched their plans to get out of the carnie circuit. Starting out as an idle dream of how life could be better, which eventually became reality. I feel like escape is in his blood. Whether it’s physical or mental, I just always sense with Jane that he’s straining at the leash somehow, that you can’t keep him down (controlled). He appeared to be settled with Angela and Charlotte, but it’s interesting to speculate how long that would have lasted had they lived. Would he have dreamed of even bigger, better? (I don’t for a minute think he would have left them, but I suspect he might have dragged them off somewhere.) His mind is so agile and fast-moving that he’s the sort to need constant stimulation. All those scenes of him just lying awake on his couch: reading, thinking, dreaming, picturing, analysing, memorising… His body is still, but his mind runs on and on. Who knows what’s going on in there! Plus he experienced an itinerant childhood: he may have craved and relished stability because of that, but… I dunno, some roots run deep. In a very macabre sort of way, his quest for RJ gave him another thread of constancy. It’s no wonder that Lisbon is fearful: he’s got a history of running away – and not only to get out of trouble.

    However, love conquers all. 😉 I’m pretty sure that Heller has a happy ending in store. 🙂 As some of you have already said, each character has started a process of adjustment to mould themselves to the other. There might still be a way to go, but those two crazy kids will figure it out somehow. 😀

  • RoseUK

    PS Symbols/ideas that are possibly relevant to the ‘escape’ theme:

    – Graybar Hotel prison (for obvious reasons)
    – Blue Skies (wide open sky where you can be free as a bird; no clouds or storms to hinder your flight – sky’s literally the limit)
    – Orange Blossom Ice Cream (Erica on the run, reminding us that Jane was also on the run, as Violet points out)
    – Black Market (the daughter struggling to break free from her pushy mother, as Berny remarked! (I hadn’t noticed that before!) Perhaps you could also say that Vega is trying to escape her label as the rookie by being over-eager.)

    I also looked into the episode titles and/or names mentioned, and thought the following might be of interest (if tenuous!):

    Orange blossom: as well as being linked to marriage/weddings as Violet says, it’s the state flower of Florida (Miami’s Blue Bird, anyone?!) and is used in perfume (Jane’s olfactory skills, lol) and Middle Eastern cuisine. If nothing else, I thought those were very tidy little connections. 😉

    Rio Bravo: do you think that this location for Abbot’s possible misdemeanor is significant in any way? Or do you think it’s just the most obvious choice, given the Texas location? The river marks part of the border between Mexico and Texas (historical issues of independence, etc.) and “Rio Bravo” is also a film, although I’m not familiar with it (a sheriff defending his prison from a lawless gang attempting a jail-break, with the aid of a bunch of misfits, one of whom is on the run herself).

    Merely thoughts!

    Finally, I am not sure what’s motivating Cho at the moment. I felt he was actually quite hard on Vega, considering. He’s always been tough and stern, but scrupulously fair. Someone who is able to make his point and then move on. I understand that trust means everything to him and he was justifiably annoyed with Vega for breaking that, but he just seemed to punish her for a bit too long.

    (Sorry for rabbiting on!!)

  • Kilgore Trout

    @RoseUK

    I agree completely that Cho’s attitude to Vega is odd. Cho himself has never been 100% by the book and he has never shown signs of regretting this. He has always followed his personal code even when it lead him to break a direct order of Lisbon’s. So why is he riding Vega so hard?

    I can only think that it’s either a tough military initiation type thing he’s putting her through OR he is deeply attracted to Vega so the tough act is him over compensating. Or maybe it wasn’t so much that Vega lied as much as she lied to HIM and he feels he lost face. Time will tell…

  • thebeatboy

    Hi!!! Happy new Year!!! Loved ep Orange Blossom Ice Cream. It was great reading both reviews!!
    😀😀

  • thebeatboy

    Hi!!! I have a question. Im wondering why the writers have brought up this notion of Jane possibly leaving law enforcement? Abbott mentioned that Jane has to work for the FBI for at least 5 years in order to have the charges dropped and to avoid possibly going to prison. I would think that Jane still owes the FBI another 4 years?

  • bloomingviolet2013

    First of all, a belated happy New Year to everybody, especially to the ones I couldn’t get a hold of yet! 🙂
    Thank you for your amazing comments! I’m sorry I’m so late in replying (again): I read every one of your comments, but there were a couple things I needed to get out of the way pretty fast… Well, I’m doing an awful job in contributing to the discussion…

    @ Berny : I can’t stress enough how much I liked your comment. Very interesting. I completely agree, both with the parallel with the dynamic between the murderer and her overbearing mother and the honesty that Jane and Lisbon try hard to share. I think these episodes emphasized that effort: they’re trying to be more open. Even if it doesn’t always come immediately, they’re working at it and talk about their doubts and wonderings.

    @ Kilgore Trout :Very, very intriguing ideas! Thanks for sharing! 😀
    The Pygmalion theme is interesting… The main difference would be that in the mythological version, Pygmalion only fell for his creature once he had made her, because she represented his ideal of beauty. Here, Jane’s motivations are more ambiguous, because part of his goal was to get her to be more lenient to his revenge, to make her share the same point of view and gray morality, in order for her not to intervene when he did get his hands on RJ. Which worked in the end… At the same time, it’s stemmed from a natural progression since he was seeking her approval (a bit like Vega) : they had been getting along and they had often partnered on cases, it was only a matter of time before he started coaching her. Everybody tends to do that to the people close to them, they mold them to their views by talking/sharing. Our curly-haired Pygmalion here did reverse the mythological pattern: he crafted her view of the world and work methods because he was learning to love her… in that respect, it was a testament to their growing affection. As you said, from coworker to assistant, then to a partner who’s ready to take her own show on the road.

    On the other hand, this aspect always struck me as being particularly ambivalent because Jane started teaching her as a parting gift: he started really working on training her in ‘Blinking Red Light’ if I’m not mistaken, when he encouraged her to choose a suspect… At the time, he was coming to terms with his feelings concerning the whole RJ debacle from ‘Strawberry and Cream’ and was about to take a major and very dangerous step. Whether he knew then that he might not make it or not, the fact that he was willing to share his experience to change her was telling, because it was his skills that made him a precious asset in the CBI. Hence the whole “you can do it on your own”/”it’s nice to be needed” in Season 5 (I’m paraphrasing here): on one hand he had taught her, so she didn’t need him anymore and he could focus on his personal investigation, on the other, he still wanted her to need him. That’s why I find the notion here intriguing: he’s deeply insecure and seeing Lisbon basically do the job he was wanted for might have struck a sensible cord in him. She does not “need” him anymore professionally speaking and Erica hinted that it was his behavior on the job that drawn her to him (“she’s interested in you for your danger, your unpredictability and your transgressions”). Thus, in addition of the very real fear of her getting killed on the job that he feels, I’m not certain whether this whole “let’s elope together my lovely” notion might also be more based on him wanting the freedom or of him seeking refuge in escaping the real world before the consequences of his acts reach him, like he did by running away to Venezuela: from his point of view, how long is there before she realizes that she doesn’t need him anymore, either professionally or personally?

    Lastly, the Little Prince and his Rose reference is very intriguing, because they love each other for their qualities, the beauty they perceive in the other… unlike the bad boy act that Erica suggested attracted Lisbon in Jane or the charisma that Pike implied was Jane’s only attractive quality (asking him what he was offering her, “I mean, other than Patrick Jane? ”). Similarly, Lisbon is able to see the goodness in him indeed and it contrasts with the criminal couple in ‘The Greybar Hotel’, because Lisbon is not after the thrill and I guess part of the goal of this season is getting Jane to realize it: the fact that she loves him for who he really is deep down and not for the showman/rebel act he’s been giving to the world for years is finally sinking him. He’s letting go of the last shreds of insecurity and coming to term with his guilt and low esteem.

    (Also, just “Violet” is fine. “Blooming Violet” seems a tiny bit redundant, lol ;P)

    @ Windsparrow: I completely agree with everything you said. I truly believe indeed that both Jane and Lisbon are good people who want to serve the greatest good, even though Jane’s morality is more gray than Lisbon’s, due to his amoral upbringing. Many times, he’s been shocked by the culprits’ wrongdoings or lack of remorse (hence his irreverence many times) and tries to protect the victims: for instance, he’s destroyed the dangerous invent that a greedy man wanted to sell (in ‘Red All Over’), he protected the young girl who killed her father in self defense in ‘Blood For Blood’ (even though it also served his own purposes at the time), he kept Archie’s secret about his new life in ‘Ruby Slippers’, he helped May find a new love in Minnelli (‘Jolly Red Elf’), he helped two women to stop smoking without gaining anything by it, and so on. Not only did he expand “how he defines “his own””, the people he feels the need to protect, as you said, but when he was not blinded by his revenge plans, most times he’s been trying to do the right thing. It’s only his way of doing it that it was often questionable…

    Rose wrote: “Anyway, Erica really overshot her mark this time round, didn’t she? To me that smacked just a little bit of desperation. She was patently touchy-feely around Jane, compared to her previous appearance when her physical movements were far more subtle.”

    Yes, indeed! You’re right, Lisbon’s presence might have made her act more “desperate” for his attention. Now that Jane is taken and happier, we can guess that she’d have less impact on him. Part of her appeal back then laid in Jane’s lack of intimacy with the fair gender. That’s why she could shock him with a kiss. With him getting that physical/emotional intimacy with Lisbon, her work must have been harder.

    You wrote: “And wasn’t Lisbon wearing the same green shirt at the start of this episode as she was in the last Erica episode??! I’m sure I’ve seen it before!” I may be mistaken but wasn’t it the shirt that Lisbon was wearing in the plane in ‘Blue Bird’ ? (didn’t check, though)

    Last little things: I *loved* your remarks about Jane being a “dreamer”… I got that exact same feeling when watching the scene. And I very much enjoyed the “escape theme’ references! ;D Also, you’re right about the “Rio Bravo” movie: it also echoes Rigsby’s first name (John Wayne stars in it) and the brief glimpse at a Western film we got a glimpse of when Bertram called Jane in ‘Red John’.

    @ Eff To : I completely agree. Fear is a big component of his feelings for Teresa: fear of getting rejected by her, of losing her by his own shortcoming or by an unexpected violence directed to her in their work. It’s also interesting that that ending in Beirut showed Lisbon startled by the fireworks and Jane reassuring/mocking her: she’s been equally afraid for him for years, of him getting hurt (the kidnappings in ‘Ball of Fire’ for example), of him getting himself killed by his nemesis (her speech about people who “care” about him at the end of the S1 finale) and since Vegas her fear of him disappearing on her, which had been reactivated after his two years long hiatus… By opening up and trying to think about their relationship, they’re trying to assuage those fears and come to terms with them.

    @ Thebeatboy: yes, you’re right, he’s still to work with the FBI for quite a while… but rules have never kept Jane from doing what he wanted, lol! He might try to make a new deal with Abbott (or a higher up), or run away, this time with Lisbon. Or he might just be getting a feel of what she thinks, without really having thought about it. He might even be willing to wait until his contract ends before settling down in a new life with her. Who knows? Anyway, they’re probably trying to find a new angle to get some tension into the relationship, to spice things up for viewers and to get him further into the healing process… In a way, it would be a fitting way to end the storyline: if he’s no longer an investigator, then “The Mentalist” comes to a natural end too. This has been used before to set a conclusion to a detective’s story (by Conan Doyle, for instance, after he failed to “kill” Holmes)…

    (That was a monster comment! Sorry for the mistakes, it’s getting late and it was an emotional day)

  • Kilgore Trout

    @Violet

    I think Jane is very much trying to bring Lisbon into his world and a part of that is taking her ‘behind the curtain’ and honing her skills as a mentalist. He seeks a true partnership in every sense of the word. Yes he is insecure but he is also selfish and I feel that his motivation for trying to take her out of the world of the FBI is partly genunine fear of the danger of the job but also a desire to monopolise her time and/or do something with her that he enjoys more. Jane has always been anti establishment and working for a monolith of bureaucratic power such as the FBI would certainly rankle.

    Of course the reality is that Lisbon has not interest in up-rooting her world again and Jane would certainly know this. I think he’s working towards a long term goal and is just laying the initial ground work with this conversation.

    The next episode give further material for discussion on this score and I can’t wait for your review to go up.

  • latecomer

    As the FBI team approaches the house where the fake passport chips are hidden we get a glimpse of a real estate agent’s sign. Name: Eric Blair (in real life, the writer more famous under his pen-name, George Orwell). It made me think of 1984 and the slogan Big Brother Is Watching You. The Mentalist had its own sinister Big Brother in the form of Red John and his Blake Association, who seemed to have spies everywhere and see everything. But they were defeated back in season six, so why invoke Orwell now? Just an echo of the dark past, to contrast with the cheerfulness of the present and show that much progress has been made? The idea of Big Brother has been turned on its head – now the tools of surveillance are used by the good guys to defeat the bad. There’s probably more to this that I’m not seeing; I’m not very good at unearthing deeper meanings.

  • bloomingviolet2013

    First of all, thank you for reading this review and commenting! It’s very gratifying that people are still interested in it! I’m sincerely grateful.

    Now, about the Orwell cryptic reference (good work spotting it, by the way!), it may have two meanings, from what I can tell from memory:

    1) as you pointed out, it may be an echo of RJ’s era of apparent omniscience based on his horde of spies. Indeed, even though Jane has gotten free from the man and the myth he weaved around him, the fear he inspired in Jane is still somewhat hanging over his head like a dark cloud. It would ultimately cristallize in his obsession with Lisbon’s safety and his terror of losing her.

    2) Closely related to this idea is the notion that, as happy as they are to be together, Jane and Lisbon are starting to experience problems in their couple. Firstly, they’re hiding their relationship from the FBI, like Winston Smith and Julia in 1984 are having an affair they’re trying to keep secret from the Party. Unlike for the protagonist of the novel, the FBI, and particularly matchmaker Abbott, wouldn’t mind that their love story came to fruition, but the need for secrecy is still interesting in the parallel. The second intriguing point is that someone (namely Erica) has tried to observe and manipulate them to drive them apart, like in the novel again. There are some superficial similarities between the book and the episode ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’: people are intruding in their intimacy in their room, like Erica who gets herself in their suite twice and Wylie/the FBI who’s talking with Jane while Lisbon is showering, at least if I’m not mistaken; plus Jane gets tortured in the bathtub scene, just like the main character is in the novel. Yet, I think the most meaningful similarity would be that it hints this early in the season at Jane’s fear of screwing this chance at happiness: at this point, either Erica (and Pike) is right and he’s bound to drive her away by his manipulative tendencies –that he shows again later in the season-, or the FBI, the real Big Brother now in that it controls their lives, will endanger her in another risky operation and rip her from his side too. Hence Jane’s suggestion at the end of Black Market that they just leave (like the characters in 1984 would be tempted by revolution). In a way, 1984 might condense what’s going on in Jane’s head in those two episodes, making him get to a turning point: he’s starting to feel trapped in a situation where he thinks he’s bound to lose Lisbon, one way or another and his attempts to get free of this danger are just met with Lisbon’s defiance or incomprehension… It’s the first real, visible, crack in their relationship.

    Of course, I’m probably just overthinking it and honestly it’s been a while, so I’d need to watch the episodes again to get a better explanation, lol! But this reference is a golden nugget anyway! Thank you again! Your comment put a smile on my face! 🙂

  • latecomer

    I’ve just noticed that Eric Blair a.k.a.George Orwell appeared previously in The Mentalist, all the way back in Season 2 Episode 1 (Redemption), which I watched again a couple of days ago: he’s the agent selling Miles Thorsen’s house. The allusion to Big Brother makes sense at that point in the series: (1) acknowledging that Red John is more than an elusive fugitive, he has corrupt cops to feed him information and do his bidding (Sheriff Hardy aka Dumar in the previous episode) and (2) foreshadowing of worse to come (the murder of Bosco and his team by Red John’s mole Rebecca).

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