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.
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.
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.
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”.
Is 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…
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.