Category Archives: The Mentalist

Mentalist The Silver Briefcase Review


A murder is committed in cold-blood in an unknown house by an equally unknown man. He turns out to be a professional acquaintance of the FBI agents. Upon meeting the man, Jane’s curiosity is aroused and the team is soon on his tail.

Concise Verdict

‘The Silver Briefcase’ is a bit different from the usual structure of more classic episodes, since we know beforehand who the killer is and therefore we’re able to follow more closely the logic of the investigation. This time, the mystery is elsewhere: indeed, at the end Jane doesn’t know who the actual killer is between the two accomplices, plus the main focus of the plotline lays of the big question raised by him in the previous episode. Will Lisbon agree to quit law enforcement or will she convince her lover to stay to keep catching bad guys? All in all, the change of pace is intriguing, many scenes amusingly endearing and Baker’s director skills only enhance the quality of the episode.

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS# 1: double introduction of the killer

The very first character viewers get a glimpse of in the opening may be a murderer: that much is implied he’s seen washing his hands. This detail reminds of Lady Macbeth’s obsession with bloodied hands and consequently the recurring focus on hands going through the series (Jane washing his hands when dating Erica, Lisbon washing her bloodied shirt while lamenting Bosco’s death because of her case, Jane shaking hands with RJ, McAllister giving him a hand when he’s falling from a roof, his bloodied hands when running away in the cemetery and so on). From the start, the unknown man is therefore linked to guilt; nevertheless he seems remorseless as he calmly puts things into place before leaving the room. On the floor, the only sign of violence is a bloodied foot and it greatly contrasts with the man’s composed demeanor. The image is shocking since showing only feet had been used in some classic movies as a euphemism to show that there’s a corpse: here, the dripping blood makes the brutality even more blatant.

On the other end, violence is shown in the FBI immediately afterwards as Cho and Lisbon are teaming up in a rapid response like intervention. Jane is playing the hostage and the whole thing ends up being actually a training session perceived as a game: Jane asks “we son?” and Abbott has been making a friendly bet with a colonel Raymond… who happens to be that same calm killer. From the start, thus, the man is dimmed as something special: not only are viewers privy to his identity from the get go, à la Columbo, meaning that the plotline will focus more on the method and teamwork to catch him than in the mystery, but some details hint at an implied similarity with good ol’RJ. Like him, he’s somewhat part of law enforcement, since he’s training with FBI agents, he’s friendly and he’s probably killed a woman. More than introducing a new serial killer, though, the parallel probably allude of Jane’s past and his consequent fear of losing Lisbon, which is one of his primary reasons for wanting to quit. Even more since the man’s first name is Aaron: in the Bible (the Book of Exodus), Aaron was Moses’ older brother and helped him to lead their people out of Egypt (like Jane wants to get out of law enforcement); but they had a disagreement after Moses received God’s laws at Mount Sinai, because Aaron had meanwhile built an idol, the Golden Calf, which made God and Moses angry even though the latter forgave his brother (Exodus 32, 1-35). It may be a hint about Jane and Lisbon disagreeing about “what feels right” concerning their actual professional status, to quote Jane’s words after Pike asking him about future plans.

Indeed, soon Lisbon and Jane are unwinding and talking about his offer to run away in the sunset. Jane stresses that the world is infinite in its possibilities but he’s careful not to press her: like in the airstream he amended that his words were “just thoughts”, now he’s half joking to take the edge off what he knows is an issue with Lisbon. He even indirectly remind her of their little discussion about her mysterious musical skills in ‘Red-Colored Glasses’ with the possibility that she “might enjoy Paris or learning pedal steel guitar” as much as her work now… given that his suggestions involve leaving on a trip or finding a hobby (like he mentioned in the island in ‘Blood and Sand’), one might wonder how much money he still have staked to finance them or what he’d be planning to do for a living. But down-to-earth Lisbon also has some tricks up her sleeve and whereas he tries to make her dream, she mentions “it’s not gonna be as easy to walk away as you think” because “you enjoy the mental stimulation far more than you let on”. She’s playfully attacking him under the same angle that he tried to use in ‘Blue Bird’ to get her to stay: they make a good team and have fun investigating.

That’s when shady colonel Raymond comes into the scene… he greets Lisbon whom he already met and immediately something about the man sets up red flags in Jane’s mind. While the colonel congratulates Lisbon and tells her that if she gets tired of the FBI, he’d “have space” for her –another allusion to leaving her job-, Jane observes him and is obviously unsettled. His first explanation for his unease involve his primary focus at the moment, Lisbon: he wonders if she was ever involved with the other man but she denies it. She brushes off his “strange” impression by telling him that his wife was murdered eight months ago… meaning that the coldness and maybe guilt he felt emanating from the colonel might be compared to grief. Interesting implied comparison, given Jane’s past.
The openness between the still secret and bantering couple contrasts with the chillingly quiet murder at the beginning, since viewers understand that the victim was the colonel’s wife. Their happiness is put forward, which is reassuring after the uncertainties left by Jane’s question, but the comparison also brings a measure of shadow above their lightness, because the talk might end up leading to a serious disagreement. The darker tone of this beginning is cleverly stressed out by Blake’s Neely’s more dramatic music for the opening.

VIS# 2: talking to Abbott

The next step of Jane’s growing suspicions towards the colonel is to get Abbott’s help and authorization. Under Lisbon’s influence, the unruly consultant’s more by the book than he ever was… When their boss gently chides them, Jane’s a bit hurt (“so you are not interested in my theory?” even though he admits that he doesn’t have one). This emotional reaction is even hinted further when he gets from Vega an ironic “curiosity killed the cat’: Jane is taken aback and it takes a beat before he mutters “also cured polio”. Whatever are his reasons for wanting to solve crimes now, it doesn’t revolves around wanting to show off his great mind and manipulating people like it had once. Once again, Lisbon has taught him to become a part of a team and as such, he expects the others to take him seriously.

This whole scene reminds of their first investigation under Luther Wainwright’s supervision in ‘Ring around the Rosie’ and the differences between those two episodes get an even deeper meaning. Back then, Jane’s intuitive theory was in direct opposition of what was visible, but Luther had no qualms letting Jane have free rein in his apparently non-existent case, while he frowned at Lisbon’s parallel investigation. Now, Abbott trusts both; he asks for Lisbon’s opinion and follows her lead when she replies that she trusts Jane. His instructions for discretion are directed at both: “no interrogation, so searches, if you want to talk with anyone use a cover story”. As a result, Jane is not trying to get Dennis into mind games and troubles, like he did with young inexperienced Luther; on the contrary, he’s pleased, shakes Abbott’s hand exchange smiles with Lisbon, then bumps fists with Abbott. The progression between those two moments in Jane’s career in law enforcement subtly brings on the underlying question about what he really finds in this job he’s willing to quit. ‘Ring around the Rosie’ is later also reminded of with a detail: the man who had arrested for the murder was homeless, just like back then. Later, the main evidence was found in a homeless encampment, which is how Lisbon’s personal investigation had ended in the other episode.

When the investigation takes its first steps, Cho finds himself asking questions about the killed Mrs. Raymond and this old case is not the only one inconspicuously hinted at: the cop who investigated the murder explains that things were wrapped up fast, “slam dunk”… an allusion at a game that would have been fitted for the symbol-filled RJ era. Plus, the particular status given to the murderer this time reminds of Jane’s spontaneous suspicions when meeting Panzer (and the now defeated Erica Flynn too) as well of Volker’s struggle with Lisbon –especially since he too was shown committing a murder in the opening of ‘Little Red Corvette’, a quite unusual fact in the show. The main suspect nailed by the police is in jail and his lawyer states that “it looks bad” but he “didn’t do this. He’s probably gonna get the needle’, just like the framed innocent convict in ‘Silver Wings of Time’, which setting also involved a “Silver” title,  an adulterous husband and a murdered wife, not to mention the countdown at the end of both episodes. African art as a clue in an office is a nod at Dr. Wagner’s in the pilot. In all those past cases, Jane had been mostly working on his own, clueing Lisbon on what he needed from her when he deemed it necessary, while this time they’re investigating together from the very first tinges of doubt in his mind. They’ve made huge progress and they’re leading a far more balanced life/partnership that way…

We also have to thank Simon Baker’s always intriguing directing for the subtle impression of secrecy brought by the shots in many scenes: when Cho talks to the police, everything is in dull colors (such grayish or unobtrusive black and whites) except for a bright pencil holder flashing spots of blue, yellow and red. Same with the cop in front of him: when the camera focuses on him, a partial view of the same object along with a poster in the background bring a startling dichotomy. The trick is used again later: when Wylie is scurrying through corridors to spot African art in an office in order to identify the lover who might have helped the colonel, there are a bright fuchsia blouse, a neon green exit sign, the red from the American flag or just a green potted plant in the background to lighten up the tedious grayish environment. Even when the young agent finds his suspect, a lively colored “Candy Pilot” came played on the woman’s screen adds a cheerful touch in the serious office. Later again, when Jane teases Vega about Wylie’s transparent interest in her; the young woman’s red blouse and the bright green apple on her admirer’s desk make two bright spots in the dry FBI.

Jane and Lisbon Partners

VIS# 3: Lisbon and Jane go house shopping

Lisbon and Jane finally decide to visit the crime scene, which is how the episode should have started had Jane not been sticking his nose in yet another cold case. That’s the opportunity to get the usual undercover show on the road since Jane calls the real estate agent in charge of selling the house and makes her believe his “girlfriend” and he might be interested in buying it. The same ruse was used in ‘Black Cherry’, but now it involves them as a couple instead of him going alone then pulling her in. Lisbon is unaccountably pleased by the mention of house shopping; in spite of the hesitations about where the future will lead them, their relationship is moving forward rather smoothly and speedily…

And their little prospecting couple act looks effortless: they pull the con seamlessly, playing their part and rotating questions about that shocking murder that they are not supposed to know about. When they’ve managed to make their mark leave them alone, they work on deducing the killing method together and come to the mutual conclusion that the murderer messed up temperatures to make it look like the murder took place earlier than it did. When real estate agent Judy is on the phone, they keep talking low about the case. Their domestic life is mostly about investigating, after all… which leads Lisbon to bring up her main argument against leaving the FBI: “you have too much fun”… Again, private and professional lives are amusingly intertwined when Lisbon’s excuse for leaving is that the house has “not enough closet space”.

But Jane shields Lisbon from a direct confrontation with the colonel: it’s him who goes into his office to chitchat with the man in a power play reminiscent of his little incursions in Bertram’s office back in the CBI… Their talk about plans, adversaries, war and Napoleonic strategy comes to an abrupt end when the consultant blurts out “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”. His adversary correctly surmises that he’s trying to provoke him to get a reaction out of him. Eyeing the man’s detached demeanor, Jane simply thanks him for his time and leaves. When he gets back at headquarters, he’s debriefed on what he found out by Vega and Cho: there was a Masai object in the office, which doesn’t match the decoration of the house. They quickly deduce that it must be from another woman in his life whom he must have met at work because most affairs start there. That little off-handed remark, added to his cheeky comment later in front of Lisbon that “love springs up in the unlikeliest of places” hints that both secret couples are implicitly compared, giving that he and Lisbon are also having a love affair in a workplace and that their feelings were unlikely to develop considering his grief and obsessive thirst for revenge when they met.

After Wylie has spotted lover Denise Sparks during yet another undercover job, Jane and Lisbon drink a coffee and talk about what Lisbon has observed when buying it at the same time as Denise. Jane encourages Lisbon to draw her conclusions, cold-reading her prey. She concludes that she may be the killer, because “everything about her, it just seemed like she was wearing a mask”, which gets her an approving “very nice, agent Lisbon”. It looks like Jane is still playing her mentor, which is in hindsight a rather futile task if he wants her to leave law enforcement…

VIS# 4: the trap

Meanwhile, the colonel must have understood that Jane’s maneuver to get on his nerves was fishy when the cop called him about the investigation, because he comes to the bullpen to talk with Lisbon. He’s a threat (that much is emphasized by his reflection on the window when he looks at her darkly before entering). Jane is immediately protective of her: as soon as he spots the other man, he leaves his tea on a desk and comes to her rescue. Raymond’s bold move reminds a lot of Volker walking into the office to threaten her in a falsely sweet voice: his intent is the same, stating that if they think he’s murdered his wife, then they just arrest him. When Abbott intervenes, the colonel expresses his disappointment in him in an oddly detached and emotionless tone (“well, that’s a damn shame, I liked you”). His parting shot is directed at Jane: “you seem like a smart person. Know when you’re overplayed your hand”… The man knows who’s really after him and he uses a poker-related metaphor which brings us back to the deadly game Jane used to play with his nemesis.

This convinces Abbott to drop the case, even though he thinks that they did some nice work, but they still don’t have solid evidence to make an arrest. For Jane, that means that they need to wriggle a confession out of the suspects.
This is when the comparison between the two couples becomes even more blatant: as the colonel and his lover are seen walking towards the same place but separately, in different shots, Jane and Lisbon walk together, smiling. Jane even waits for her to catch up to him and they hold hands for a brief moment. They’re all heading towards the place the FBI pair chose to set their trap: they’ve cornered their two opponents by using a fake message and from the first sentences the partners are aiming to drive an edge between the others, planting the seeds of mistrust (« he didn’t tell you we were investigating you?»), manipulating and using mind tricks. As they don’t have solid evidence, they faked some in a silver briefcase identical to the colonel’s and try to pressure them into confessing under the threat of revealing what’s inside, assuming that it contains something incriminating. To stress them more and keep them from thinking clearly, Lisbon sets a countdown on her phone. That’s pretty much the same trick that they used to force a confession out of the murderer in ‘Not One Red Cent’.

The growing edge between the co-conspirators is skillfully widened by the doubts Jane and Lisbon instill in their minds (“you should stay. I don’t think you understand how much he hasn’t told you”), while themselves present an united front, with almost identical positions side by side, in quite similar suits (minus the vest for Lisbon who was earlier wearing a white blazer and a red blouse), him taking the man (daring him to “go”) and Lisbon the woman. While the others try to desperately reassure themselves (“I love you”/ “you know I would never-“), Lisbon and her partner finish each other’s sentences. The power balance in completely reversed compared to the colonel’s outburst in the bullpen and Jane can’t resist turning the man’s parting words against him: “if either of you was smart, this game would be over by now”, alluding once again to the game theme. They conclude: “time waits for no man… or woman”, but what really makes the woman willing to talk is Raymond’s harshness when he snaps “stop talking. Woman, I tell you” then ““don’t be stupid”, which gets Jane humming in disapprobation. They managed to enlighten the power play behind the illicit affair: this brings viewers back to the notion of taking decisions in place of the other, which has been introduced by Abbott’s domestic problems and Jane’s fateful question.

Problem is, once the two criminals decide to talk, confessions are flowing a bit too freely and each starts charging the other in such a way that it makes it very difficult to ascertain which one is telling the truth. They wave roughly the same tale with the other playing the worst part: Denise tells that he promised her a “bad day” for a “lifetime of happiness”, convincing her that they’d be dragged through the mud otherwise, threatening her with the discreditable label of home wrecker. Aaron claims “she said it’d be quick. She was a different person”, while in her tale, he let her in “it was so hot. He took a knife off the rack. He… smiled.” Both versions are shown on screen with the man or the woman alternating in stabbing the victim, either in a sudden attack or a deadly embrace and the common detail of blood dripping on the beige shoe. The horror is emphasized by her adding that he said something under his breath when he killed her, “I don’t know why”, whereas the colonel repeats that she was a “different person”. As if whoever was the real murderer, their lover couldn’t recognize their hunger for violence at the fatal moment. Which maybe be why the outside part of the door is bloody red, a blatant color in the discreetly colored interior when they both exited the crime scene: whoever did it had become a monster, hiding under either the detachment that Aaron presented to the world (even in the opening of the episode after he came back alone to put the finishing touches to the crime scene) or under the “mask” Lisbon was able to perceive on Denise’s true nature.

Again, this contrasts with the way Jane and Lisbon banter once the case it out of their hands. She tells him that he enjoyed himself and that he loves this job as much as she does, which he does denies. He counterattacks by remarking that he loves eggs too, but that doesn’t mean that he “wanna eat nothing but omelets for the rest of [his] life”. They’re able to discuss pleasantly serious topics with respect, understanding and humor. For once, they talk about his worry about her getting killed in the job, like his family was taken away from him (“Well, I am happy for the first time in you know how long, but I’m scared. –Jane, one of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow… -Not if we’re on a beach in Polynesia, buses can’t go on sand. –You could get eaten by a shark… -Not if you don’t go in the water!”). Amusingly, the “sunsets” he mentions among “palm trees and hammocks and cocktails” in his little dream island might refer to the half-confession he offered her as a goodbye before leaving her hanging in ‘Fire and Brimstone’ and her responding litany about “endless boredom, sunburn, bugs the size helicopters” might be a veiled reminder of her uneasiness in nature (in front of a deer in ‘Red Moon’) or of her fainting in front of flesh-eating bugs in ‘Red in Teeth and Claw’…

They also talk about what they could do afterwards if they really decide to quit: after Jane admits once again that he doesn’t have a plan “as yet” but that he’s willing to quit, sit and wait until “a plan takes seed”, they go over some – pretty amusing- options that somehow are also laced with meaningful subtext: they could buy a boat and sail around the world, because he “always wanted to do that”, alas she’s seasick (which reminds of their similar disagreement about boats in ‘Red Lacquer Nail Polish”) and she doesn’t look forward to “whales and storms and pirates” (whale Moby Dick, someone?). She goes as far as to mention “scurvy” which is a cute echo to Jane’s curiosity which killed the cat “but also cured polio”, another nowadays much rarer illness… In spite of their divergences, both are trading ideas through the same wavelengths and share a deep bond forged through a rough common history, hence the plethora of references to past cases.

Still, the funnier reference is Jane’s offer to start “beekeeping”, insisting that she’d look very cute in one of those suits when she mocks him about coming up with the best ideas. Beekeeping is Sherlock Holmes’ primary activity after he retired (‘His Last Bow’), which makes Jane a crime solver even in his plans for quitting… As she asks him in disbelief how beekeeping might be romantic, he puts one arm around her shoulders and his answer becomes indistinct, making their getting home together a sweet and intimate moment, matching the ending of the season premiere when they sped away in a classy old car.

Vega’s love life

A happy Jane amounts to a matchmaker Jane, as it is. Just like romantic Abbott tried to talk him into finding love again during the Pike debacle and like Jane himself used to tease Rigsby for his hopeless admiration for Grace when he started caring for his new team, he now has his eyes set on the budding feelings between his youngest coworkers.
The previous episodes focused on Vega’s hardships in dealing with Cho with Wylie coming forward as an eager support. Now that part of her work life seems to be settling nicely so far. As promised, Cho took her to the firing range; as they put together their guns, side by side, they get along well and he assumes a mentor role in teaching her to go faster.

Jane has not interfered with this problem, but he starts taunting her with Wylie’s interest after they talk about how most affairs bloom in the workplace… He tells the unsuspecting young woman « can you do me a favor ? Next time Wylie steals a glance at you, can you wave him in?” The poor young man is busted in front of his sweetheart, like Wayne was in the pilot, and like him he’s only watching her from afar without yet daring to make a move… which of course makes him even more of a target for the cunning consultant. When they reenact the killers’ performance at a red light to get a photograph of the lover posing as the already dead wife, it’s up to the teased pair to check the timing of the trick. And it gets awkward, particularly when the young male agent steals a glance when his female colleague is undressing and when he’s gulping as he sees her in a bra.

Later, Jane needles the second potential couple in line into looking into the briefcase by telling them he doesn’t know who the killer is and by letting the object right next to them. They’re like children, encouraging each other to take a look (“aren’t you at all curious about all about what’s in that briefcase?”). They’re as eager to know as the old team was when holding LaRoche’s mysterious Tupperware… some things just don’t change. Of course, as soon as they do open the case, Jane blurts out a loud “meow!”. He’s been watching with Lisbon, hidden behind the door with their heads only visible comically. He got at Vega twice for mocking him with her meddling “curiosity killed the cat”, once by starting his mockery about Wylie, the second time by making her and her friend/admirer team up into falling for his trick in order to prove her own curiosity. And coincidentally, that proverb is an adaptation from a quote from Shakespeare (“care killed the cat” in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’), an all time favorite of the cheeky Jane. In that respect too, some things don’t change…


The Plot Mystery: An Adventure of The Amazing Patrick Jane (AKA Plots inspired by Murder Mysteries in TM)

As usual, this is a work in progress, so feel free to complete it in the comments! Many of those mystery books have been mentioned before, but I’ve been trying to compose a more formal (and hopefully accurate) list of the episodes which may have been based on them.
Have a very happy New Year, everyone! 🙂

As it’s been said many times, there are a lot of literary set-ups used in TM.

A particularly subtle example involves fairy tales, since some elements have been used as inspiration.
As it is, the woods appear often in the show and they may be related to meeting a supernatural being, for instance Grace seeing O’Laughlin’s ghost in ‘My Bloody Valentine’.

Some other times, the character who entered in the woods meets someone dangerous in a pattern reminding of certain well-known tales. In ‘White as The Driven Snow’, Grace escapes from a certain death by running into the snowy woods and meets a seemingly helpful woman who drives her into a cabin, before revealing herself as the kidnapper who wanted her dead. Similarly, Snow White (whose skin is “as white as snow”) escapes the queen’s death order to run into the dwarves’ cabin but falls finally into one of her traps…

Same with ‘Redwoods’: the two victims met the ill-intentioned psychopathic cop in the woods, like Little Red Riding Hood met the wolf. Afterwards he tried to get into the investigation but was unmasked in the cabin he had been planning to use to rape/kill his victim. It sounds like the wolf’s plan which included impersonating a benevolent character, the grandmother, to get the little girl into the house. Amusingly, there are two ends to this tale: in Perrault’s version, the foolish girl was eaten (like the first victim who was killed), but in a kinder adaptation, a huntsman saved her and her grandmother and the wolf was tricked (Jane made the surviving girl remember what happened and therefore saved her, while Lisbon tricked the man and killed him).

The episode ‘Redemption’ is also clearly based on ‘Hansel and Gretel’: the victim’s daughter and son (called “Ansel”) suffer from parental abandonment; later Jane uses a mysterious house to lure his mark in (his own gingerbread house) and a wicked witch ends up inside, in the person of the greedy killer.
The idea of a lost shoe is a nod to ‘Cinderella’ in ‘Ruby Slipper’ (an allusion to the glass slipper), because once Jane finds Archie whom it truly belonged to, the younger man got the opportunity to have a better, more fulfilling life, instead of being bullied.

Last, not least, more recently Jane played Hop-o’-My-Thumb with soda bottles to help the team follow him in order to rescue Lisbon; when he tried to save her, he used the reflection from a rearview mirror, making him a knight in shinning armor…

But probably the most fruitful source of inspiration for TM can be found in classic murder mysteries: it’s rather normal since the show is a procedural, in addition of Jane being rather old-fashioned. Not to mention that some of his primary influences are Columbo and Sherlock Holmes…


The pilot: Conan Doyle’s ‘A Study in Scarlet’ (1887), Sherlock Holmes’s first adventure. The great detective is introduced as a strange man with mysterious motives and methods (like Jane’s reckless behavior is first introduced to viewers during the Tolliver’s case). Later, during the fake RJ case, Jane deduces that the blood smiley on the wall has been left by the real murderer as a red herring, in the same way Holmes infers that the writing in blood on the wall is a distraction.

Red Tide: all the young suspects are guilty and they made a pact to cover the murder, like in Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient-Express’ (1934). The reference is twisted, since the victim here is innocent, whereas Ratchett was a nasty former kidnapper in the book… the vicious building contractor who seduced the underage victim into a statutory rape-based relationship would fit the bill better for a villain.

Ladies in Red: Holmes’s ‘The Adventure of the Two Women’ (1954), a pastiche by Adrian Conan Doyle and J.D Carr. Two women represent either the bad or the innocent side of femininity: on one hand, a wicked blackmailer; on the other, her victim, a Duchess. Here, the notion is played with as the seemingly grieving and attractive widow is the killer, whereas the victim’s caustic lover is the one who is actually caring and warm-hearted. Plus, in both cases, the bad woman is caught because of a tiny error: the wrong color of ink in the book or the wrong instrument playing in ‘Peter and the Wolf’ in the show.

Flame Red: ‘The League of Frightened Men’ (1935) by Rex Stout, a story of revenge on a group of men for a crime from their past.

Carnelian Inc.: ‘A Murder is Announced’ by Christie (1950). The murder is forewarned either by letter (in the show) or on the newspaper (in the novel) and the killer who’s plotted the whole charade is actually the host, the owner of the company the group is working for/ the owner of the house the murder has been committed. There’s also an allusion to Christie as Jane talks about throwing “a cat among pigeons”, which is the title of another of her novels (1959).

Russet Potatoes: the idea of using hypnosis to commit or rather to cover for a murder has been used several times, for instance in ‘Seeing is Believing’ by J.DE. Carr (under the pseudonym of Carter Dickson) and in a Columbo episode titled ‘A Deadly State of Mind’. In the latter, the unwilling accomplice is hypnotized in “going swimming” when hearing a codeword, which leads her to jump from a balcony to “go swim” in the pool several floors below… that is pretty much the same trick the killer tried to use to convince Rigsby to push Jane from the rooftop at the end of the episode.

A Dozen Red Roses: to some extent, episode ‘Forgotten Lady’ of Columbo (first aired in 1975). In both, murder committed by a movie star when her rich husband suddenly refuses to finance a movie project supposed to rekindle her career; same kind of character too in Christie’s ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ with a very different victim and motive, since she killed because her successful career broke her family apart, whereas the other acted because of the opposite reason.

Miss Red: Hitchcock’s ‘Marnie’ (see ‘References to Hitchcock in TM’ for more details)


Red Scare: the notion of a family secret treasure hidden by a riddle can be found in Conan Doyle’s ‘The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual’. The curse cast upon a family or a house to explain similar deaths (an idea played with at the very beginning of the episode) reminds of ‘Hag’s Nook’ by J.D. Carr (1933). The book features a hidden treasure and family cursed to have their neck broken under very precise circumstances and the victim breaks his in falling from a tower, like in the episode the victim is pushed through the window. Also, the treasure hunt is present in ‘The Case of the Missing Will’ by Christie (in ‘Poirot Investigates’, 1924), by instance.

A Price above Rubies: “The Adventure of the Abbas Ruby” (1954), another pastiche by Adrian Conan Doyle (many thanks to Anomaly for spotting it!). In addition to the reference of the gem in the title, an employee who had a questionable past is framed for the robbery, when the culprit is really a family member.

Red Badge: ‘Third Girl’ (1956) by Christie also features a young woman who believe she may have committed a murder but cannot remember; actually she had been drugged by someone she trusted, in order to setting her up by altering her sense of time and keeping her in a nebulous state. She’s helped by Poirot who guesses what happened and a young doctor who keeps her in his home to protect her: both those parts have been played by Jane, when he went to her apartment in order to hypnotize her and determine the cause of her partial amnesia. In another Poirot story, ‘The Cretan Bull’(from ‘The Labours of Hercules’, 1947), we can find the same trick: a young man is led to believe he’s becoming insane and dangerous to his fiancée since it appears he may have been killing animals in crisis he cannot remember. He was set up to commit suicide by a family member who was giving him daily doses of a hallucination-inducing poison. Same idea of black-outs used to set up someone to cover for a murder in Ellery Queen’s ‘Ten Days’ Wonder’.

Red Herring: in Nero Wolfe’s story ‘Too Many Cooks’ (1938), by Rex Stout, a famous chef is killed during a meeting of cooks. The victim had been accused of seducing wives and sabotaging the other cooks’ dishes. The identity of the killer was disclosed during a meal organized by Wolfe. All those elements were used in the episode. Also a similar setting has been used in a ‘Murder, She Wrote’ episode (titled ‘Proof in the Pudding’, first aired in 1994), even though the plot story is somewhat different.

The Red Box: another Rex Stout’s novel, ‘The Red Box’ (1937). In the novel, the victim came from Scotland (the detective in the episode was from United Kingdom and worked for Scotland Yard) and had hidden some proof in the aforementioned box about a shameful secret from his past, about selling his daughter to impersonate a dead heiress; he was killed because he wanted to talk… like the detective wanted to fix an error from his past involving the victim, who was secretly his son and whom he wanted to protect after he committed a robbery. In both cases, the motive for the murder was kept in the red box.


Cackle-Bladder Blood: ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (novel by Dashiell Hammett from 1929 featuring Sam Spade and movie from 1941, starring Humphrey Bogart. He also played in ‘Casablanca’, which is referred to in S6 ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’). Just like Spade, Jane is called late at night to come to a crime scene (by his brother-in-law Danny, while Spade was by his client Wonderly/O’Shaughnessy) and is suspected by the police. Danny, like femme fatale O’Shaughnessy, wavers through the episode in relation to Jane between getting help from him and incriminating him. In both stories, the treasure which motivated the murder(s) was a golden/jeweled statuette.

The Red Ponies: the twin/identical horses switcheroo can be found in ‘A Girl in Every Port’ (1952), starring Groucho Marx, as well as in the other movie ‘Crazy Over Horses’ (1951).

Pink Channel Suit: the two corpses in one coffin idea has been used in the Sherlock
Holmes’ short story ‘The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax’ (1911) and in Ellery Queen’s novel ‘The Greek Coffin Mystery’ (1932). In the latter, Queen comes to the conclusion that the missing will he’s looking for must be hidden in the recently deceased man’s coffin, but finds a second corpse instead: similarly, Jane’s decision to open the coffin is based on a erroneous deduction.

Red Hot: even though it can be a simple coincidence, there are some similarities with Dick Francis’ novel ‘Hot Money’ (1987). A tycoon who has no less than five ex-wives (reminding of Walter’s complicated love life) asks for help from his estranged son as the police suspects him after an attack resulted in the death of one of them. This comes pretty close to Mashburn asking help to Jane and Lisbon (whom he hopes to get reacquainted with) after receiving death threats.

Jolly Red Elf: no real precise reference here, but the plot plays with the idea of a nurse killing people out of mercy (from her point of view at least). It might be based on real life cases, as they are many, but it also reminds from afar of Agatha Christie’s disturbing serial killer in ‘By the Pricking of My Thumbs’.

Red Gold: just a detail is taken from a Columbo episode (‘Blueprint for Murder’, first aired in 1972), Jane deduces that the killer has taken his victim’s car because he switched the music to something more of his taste.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn: Columbo again; in episode ‘Double Exposure’ (first aired in 1973), the culprit tries to forge an alibi for himself by using a recorded tape with his voice, like Erica did in her matchmaking video with Sarah. The trick might have been inspired by the famous ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ by Christie, albeit the way it’s used is a bit different. Anyway, the whole episode has a definite Columbo vibe, since viewers know from the start who is Jane’s main suspect and both play mind games with the other.

Bloodhounds: in Sherlock Holmes’s ‘The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle’, a man and his son murder their blackmailer coachman who discovered them committing a burglary, like the aunt and cousin of one of the episode victims killed her because she discovered they had a mishap with some contaminated drinks they produced. The two women tried to frame a retired serial killer, the Caveman, like the men tried to cover it up with burglaries committed in the area.

Redacted: the setting reminds a tiny little bit of Holmes’s ‘The Adventure of the Three Gables’ (1926). In this short story, Holmes deduces that some shady characters were hired to find a mysterious object in an old woman’s house- legally or otherwise. The surprising part of the case is that they first offered to buy the house from her, with everything inside, all the furniture included. The treasure they were after was a scandalous manuscript written by the deceased son of the woman and narrating the sordid details of his liaison with a femme fatale, who was determine to retrieve it at all costs. We find roughly the same ingredients in the episode: the object from a questionable past that everybody is after, along with the curious interest for furniture. Nevertheless the idea of hiding an object in plain sight, like the victim did with the costly carpet in his workshop, comes from the famous ‘The Purloined Letter’ by Edgar Allan Poe (1844).


Pretty Red Balloon: in ‘The Adventure of the Priory School’ (1904), a young boy has been abducted and Holmes deduces that the culprit is a family member (the child’s older half brother who was born out of wedlock and was after money and petty revenge against his father). Same with Christie’s short story ‘The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly’ (in ‘Poirot’s Early Cases’, 1974): a wealthy child is kidnapped by a family member with an ulterior motive (the father wanted to get money from his rich but cautious wife).

Red is The New Black: no precise reference, but it may be interesting to note that crimes set in the fashion world has been used many times before, for instance in Margery Allingham ‘The Fashion in Shrouds and in Stout’s ‘The Red Box’ again since the characters work in a high end fashion boutique.

At First Blush: the concept of someone committing a murder because of a vineyard that might be sold by a co-owner is used in Columbo ‘Any Old Port in a Storm’ (first aired in 1973).

My Bloody Valentine: the title may be have been inspired by real life events, since the “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” refers to Al Capone’s gang murdering mob associates in order to take control over organized crime in Chicago in 1929. Here, the murder victim is a mob boss’s son and the motive is also to take control of the gang.

Blinking Red Light: arguably ‘The Speckled Band’ published in 1892 (pointed out by commenter Stephanie). In this short story, Holmes has made out the criminal’s horrendous actions but let him carry out his plans, which results in his own death. Holmes admits that he’s morally responsible for this death, but that it won’t weight much on his conscience. It reminds of Jane’s decision to lead Panzer to badmouth RJ in order to get him killed, making him an indirect accomplice of his nemesis, even though as Holmes did not set a trap to get his prey killed.

Ruby Slippers: the notion of setting a fake suicide to get an enemy convicted for murder in used in Holmes’ ‘The Problem of Thor Bridge’ (1922)

So Long and Thanks For All the Red Snappers: the setting involving a sunken ship carrying gold is pretty common, for instance it’s played with in ‘Ingots of Gold’, a short story by Agatha Christie (in ‘The Thirteen Problems’, 1932).


Devil’s Cherry: Holmes’ short story ‘The Devil’s Foot’ (1910) features a similar situation. The title designates a poison that causes madness and consequently death and was administered by a familiar. The twist here is that the victim in the show killed himself when hallucinating, whereas in the book, the victims either ended up insane or were too weak to survive the poison.

Not One Red Cent: similar setting in ‘The Adventure of the Clapham Cook’ (‘Poirot’s Early Cases’, 1974) featuring a bank robbery committed by a clerk. The plot is nevertheless fairly different.

Red Sails in the Sunset: Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’ (see ‘References to Hitchcock in TM’ for more details)
Red Lacquer Nail Polish: ‘The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.” (by Conan Doyle in 1903) gives part of the plot (see the review for this episode for more details). Also the substation of bodies to fake one’s death is used in Dorothy Sayers’s ‘Whose Body?’ (1923).

Red Letter Day: the western show setting reminds of Ellery Queen’s classic ‘The American Gun’ (1933), albeit the rest of the story is quite different.

Red Velvet: the Holmesian quote ‘The game is afoot’ appears in ‘The Adventure of the Abbey Grange’ (1904), featuring an adulterous couple. The story is treated differently, even though both times the wife has been part of the murder.

Red and Itchy: Hitchcock’s ‘’Psycho’ (see ‘References to Hitchcock in TM’ for more details)

The notion of a secret criminal association is quite common in fiction: from Moriarty’s organization in Sherlock Holmes’s stories to Wallace’s works (‘The Crimson Circle’, 1922) and Agatha Christie’s books such as ‘The Secret Adversary’, (1922), ‘The Man in the Brown Suit’ (1924), ‘The Seven Dials Mystery’–with a twist- in 1929, plus the nod to ‘At Bertram’s Hotel’ (1965) with the CBI boss’s name. Same with the codeword ‘Tyger, Tyger’ and three-dots tattoo as a recognizing signals in season 6.


The Red Tattoo: ‘The Three Coffins’ (also called ‘The Hollow Man’, 1935) by John Dickson Carr features an impossible murder, with the detail of exertion causing the killer to bleed to death making his own murder equally impractical to explain. Plus the idea of a subterfuge used to conceal the weapon comes again from Doyle’s ‘The Problem of Thor Bridge’.

Red John: ‘The Final Problem’ (1893) showed the final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty. Holmes was threatened by the man and had to leave his old life and flat behind to go in hiding with Watson, before ditching his friend to be present at tacit secret meeting. The two adversaries then fight and Holmes killed his nemesis before disappearing… which is pretty much an exact account of what Jane did during the episode.

My Blue Heaven: there are some intriguing reminiscences of ‘The Adventure of the Empty House’ (1903). Holmes/Jane comes back from a years long hiatus. Jane meets Kim because of a book (‘The Daughter of Time’ written in 1951, featuring an injured detective who solves an historical murder from his room out of boredom, a situation Jane may relate too. The book also opens the truth theme threaded through the season). On the other hand, Holmes made contact with Watson under the guise of an elderly book collector.

Green Thumb: Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ (see ‘References to Hitchcock in TM’ for more details)
The Golden Hammer: in ‘The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans’ (1912), a clerk in a government office unravels a spy’s schemes and tries to deal with it which gets him killed. Plus Holmes deduces that the spy made contact with his accomplice by messages in a newspaper. He tricks the second man with a fake massage and using him to pin the murderer. The idea was recycled in the episode.


The Greybar Hotel: the criminal couple that Lisbon was trying to get close to is based on real life Bonnie and Clyde in the same era as Al Capone.

Orange Blossom Ice Cream: the deciphering code as hidden in a Paris guidebook, which reminds of Holmes deciphering a letter using a commonly used almanac in ‘The Valley of Fear’(1914). Also used with a New York guidebook in Ellery Queen’s ‘The Scarlet Letters’(1953).

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.

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…


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.

Mentalist Nothing But Blue Skies Review


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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers galore)

1: Lovebirds chirping on the porch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2: At the crime scene

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3: In Abbot’s office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

4: Lisbon sneaks out to find Jane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RB: I like that possibility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5: Pike’s question

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

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

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

RB: Ouch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.

Mentalist Themes in Season 6

This is dedicated to the commenters neither Reviewbrain nor I have been able to reply to in the course of the last few months (sorry guys, this summer has been hell!): Lou Ann, Tringo, Rose, Windsparrow, KM, Mosquitoinuk, Phoenixx, Mentalista, OrangeChill, Carla Oliveira, Jean-Noël, Valentine0214, Moliere, Agnes, Little Үүрцайх, Patricia Korth, Kilgore Trout, Sara C, Ezza Belle, Chokulit and Eff in To! A belated but warm welcome to the blog to the newcomers! (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone!)
(As S7 is aired earlier than expected, I had to wrote this post in a rush, sorry for the mistakes and horrible grammar! ;P)



The flowers aren’t overflowing this season, but there are still some intriguing occurrences. The season opened with ‘The Desert Rose’ and the flowers growing among the victim’s bones painted a “kinda beautiful and weird” picture, to quote the goulish Brett Partridge. Interestingly, those creepy flowers were one of the major clues Jane bases his investigation on, plus they were associated with the desert, a location closely related to the Lorelei arc where flowers made their major appearance, as the desert was the setting for the ‘Crimson Hat’. In hindsight, those might have somewhat hinted both at the end of Jane’s crusade against RJ (given how close he came to him when he met his girl) and at getting closer emotionally to Lisbon (they were holding hands in the desert after he’s been rescued from Lorelei). Plus, in the same episode, among other red object in the background, red flowers could be seen behind a window during the second case they’re investigating, suggesting danger. And commenter Taissa remarked that there were a lot of references to gardening too (“the victim’s last name and the flowers, one of the suspect’s last name was Green, the bartender wore a green tank top, the widow’s home had a lot of green decor”), a notion also developed after RJ got his comeuppance.
In ‘Black-Winged Red-Bird’ and in ‘Red Listed’, flowers served not really as a symbol, but rather as prop: as Reviewbrain pointed out in the review for the former , the flower on the bedside table in Lisbon’s hospital room suggested that the team has been visiting her while she had been unconscious, whereas the white and purple bouquet of lilies and hydrangeas that Jane brings to Hightower’s aunt Ruby hinted subtly that he might have been more than a simple coworker to Madeleine, possibly even a lover, which would help him win the lady’s goodwill…Later, in ‘Fire and Brimstone’, Stiles hided in a truck in the middle of some white orchids and red roses, a mortuary reminder of past seasons before the most stimulating and ambiguous of the remaining suspects met his end… And maybe also a hint that Jane is at a crossroad in this episode: either he ends up alive and successful in his quest (the orchids, which were a symbol of hope) or he’s about to be overwhelmed by the red color (the roses). In the second part of the season, in ‘My Blue Heaven’, Reviewbrain also remarked that Lisbon was gazing pensively at a bouquet of white flowers in the corner of her office. Whether or not they were sent by Jane (who admitted seconds before that he would miss her in a flashback from his last phone talk with her after he killed McAllister), that moment obviously hinted at her quiet dissatisfaction with her new life. Later, flowers are again used to draw attention to a situation: in ‘White Lines’, Jane was trying to emphasize his supposed interest in dating Krystal by buying her flowers whose colors happened to match the titles of the previous episodes (red, blue, a green-themed one and white), at the moment when she was shooting someone. And, later again, Kim brought flowers to Grace and Wayne at the hospital in ‘White As The Driven Snow’, a nice way to bit them goodbye from the show… All these cases don’t focus on the flowers themselves, yet they give a clue about a character’s state of mind or their circumstances.
But, while these occurrences are rather anecdotic, flowers make another more instructive appearance in the turning point of Jane’s new FBI career. In ‘Violets’, they represent modesty and faithfulness (a perfect description of Teresa) and tender love from someone who dare not confess (which is what Jane is feeling towards her). Plus, as a painting, those Violets find an echo in another portrait: as Jane hands back the painting the victim made to his widow, he makes peace with his past with Angela, since both loving marriages ended in a violent death. In contrast, the Violets hint at Jane’s feelings for Lisbon and the fact that he’s in danger to lose her to another man, like Monet lost his model… From that perspective, violets are coming close to one possible meaning for the orchids from the Lorelei arc: the underlying hope for being set free from his self-imposed limitations while still feeling unable to leave them behind. Even more since orchids sometimes mean “new beginnings” in the language of flowers.


2) TWINS :

Another long running, albeit more recent theme involves twins as a new aspect of duality. It starts a bit oddly in the first case of the premiere since the murdering widower’s portrait is placed just behind Jane and looks like him. It’s underlined when Jane remarks bluntly to the tech looking at him that he doesn’t have “two heads”… Like the widower from the case, he is a prideful man, whose thirst for fame caused his wife’s death… and it’s the same arrogance and recklessness that will drive him to argue later with Lisbon, resulting in RJ getting his clutches on her. Not to mention that the two faces aspect reminds of two interesting parallel pointed out respectively by commenters Rose UK and Alutran. On one hand, they might refer to the two sides of the same coin, an allusion to Jane and RJ being quite alike. On the other, the Roman god Janus, whose name sounds similar to the consultant, has two faces on his head, one looking forward, the other behind, since he’s the god of opening and closure, of thresholds and doors –some major points of Jane’s story.

The whole twin theme has been brought in the previous season by the reference to ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ by Dickens, that Jane and Cho had been reading. It culminates in ‘Red Listed’ as it’s revealed that Kirkland, a suspect in Jane’s list of possible candidates for RJ, is also in a revenge rampage set off by the murder of his twin brother by the serial killer. This time, Jane and Bob are also entwined in their common quest: “only one will get his revenge” as the agent tells him. As he does with RJ, Jane represents the light, while Bob is his cruelest sadistic darker counterpart.

This continued and nuanced duality forebodes the trick the serial killer uses in ‘Red John’ by making Bertram pose as the villain. It is hinted at by Bertram using the name of ‘Thomas’ as a fake identify in ‘The Red Dragon’, since Thomas The Apostle is called “Didymus”, meaning “twin” (thanks to Shady007 for the reference). This name also happens to be McAllister’s first name –indeed, Bertram is actually posing as a smoke screen for him- and coincidentally, two “Tommy” had managed to get under Lisbon’s skin at some point (her little brother and her own nemesis Volker).

Last, not least, Jane, as an agent of justice fighting the evil “Tyger”, is called a “lamb” by Hightower’s aunt. In Blake’s poetry, this animal is the counterpart of the tiger, as well as in the Bible, it’s an image of the Savior, who will cause the Beast’s demise.



Tiger and beast also fit in another theme as these animals are predators, just like RJ is. Both he and Jane are chasing each other and in this season it became even more apparent that each planned to kill. Hence the hunting metaphor: both Jane and Red John are simultaneously the other’s hunter and prey, with the latter targeting Lisbon while goading Jane into trying to “catch” him first.

This tension is swimming right under the surface in the talk that Jane has with McAllister, who at this point is only a suspect among others, about hunting in ‘Wedding in Red’. The friendly sheriff asks him if he’s taken hunting as a hobby, like him, and Jane answer that he doesn’t like “the skinning and gutting”, which could be seen as a description of RJ’s gruesome murders. McAllister good-naturally answers that it “takes a certain stomach for that”, accentuating that he doesn’t mind getting his hands bloodied. Same thing happens in ‘Fire and Brimstone’: an innocent deer is targeted by Sheriff McAllister’s shotgun while he’s sitting in his patrol car just like the episode ‘Red Moon’ back in season 3started with a deer standing in the wildlife as Jane and Lisbon were passing by. The detail enlightens McAllister’s creepiness, his lack of scruples both in using his work to practice a pastime of his and in exploiting the unfair advantage being hidden in a car gives him over the defenseless animal…

Meanwhile, Jane is exploiting his knowledge about a potential phobia from the serial killer. He’s following his tracks and it ends with him hounding his running prey in the cemetery where he managed to corner him. And while the squeamishness he admitted about “gutting” seemed in opposition with the talk he had with Lisbon in Season 1 ‘Red Flame’ (“I’m gonna cut him open and watch him die slowly like he did with my wife and child”), it finds an echo in the way he finally killed McAllister. After shooting him, he strangled him to death, while the other had been running away with bloodied hands that frightened bystanders… It alludes to the handshake mentioned by Lorelei (and to McAllister hauling him up from the roof he was falling from in ‘Wedding in Red’), plus this detail is once again reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and her fixation with the incriminating blood on her hands, in the exact moment Jane’s Hamlet-like quest for revenge comes to an end. Yet, even after things have settled down and Jane started working with the FBI, the guilt hinted at by this reference has not completely disappeared which is why the Bard is again quoted in ‘Silver Wings of Time’ (“the lady doth protest too much” from ‘Hamlet’).



The hunting theme is closely related to the various games alluded to in the course of the series. Indeed, that’s how RJ sees his relation with Jane, whose brilliant mind poses him as a worthy adversary: “Red John’s Rules” has made it clear and the premiere follows in this direction. He’s playing a deadly game with Jane, baiting him with Lisbon’s phone after he’s attacked her, leaving him a macabre post-it in a horrible mini-treasure hunt to find Sophie Miller’s butchered head in her oven… Even the “tyger tyger” password has a childish play vibe to it.
When the consultant gets closer to the truth, RJ uses a daring bluff by faking his own death and using Bertram (a poker player) to cover his tracks. And, whereas the sheriff stated that “game’s game, right” while talking about hunting in ‘Wedding in Red’, it takes Jane’s willpower in ‘Red John’ to tell the other man that “it’s not a game” when they finally meet face to face without any mask in between.

Yet, the game is still on after Jane’s made his grand escape. The stakes are different, he’s trying to win back a real fulfilling life from the clutches of the dead man who has taken his past, but he’s still playing, in many senses than one: he’s trying to cheat in a game against despair, starring in the ever-present part of the charming unruly consultant, or maybe just tricking his new playmates when he showers them with childish toys.

The impression is subtly deepened by some killers who lost to Jane’s winning hand: in ‘The Golden Hammer’, the murderer stated that it was a game, just like Haibach pretended that there was “no game” on his part, while he was enjoying playing them as fools in ‘White as the Driven Snow’. This may have ended in the season finale when Jane invented a last treasure hunt to convince Lisbon to stay by his side and he was forced to reveal the truth. Is there any use now for the grand game of lies between them?



This one theme has taken a very particular meaning since the previous season. Indeed, after Lorelei had sung like a bird both for Jane (giving him an hint which started his list of suspects) and for RJ who used her to make his threatening video, references to winged animals have been spiraling from different ideas. First, those allude to hunting, mixing preys and more aggressive ones. There are the pigeons and ducks that the characters feed (Lisbon’s childhood memory is feeding pigeons with her mother as she told in the S5 finale; Jane feeds ducks then pigeons later), plus the partridge and the drone in ‘Black-Winged Redbird’. Then, as the pace picks up and Jane comes to know some of RJ’s particularities, like whistling like a bird, the animals tend to hint at the phobia RJ suffers of. Coincidentally, doves are a symbol of innocence and they’re messengers from God in the Bible, just like angels are… Jane comments in ‘Wedding in Red’ that he has no wings, comparing himself to an angel precisely, not to mention that there’s one on the stained-glass window inside the church. In a biblical perspective, pigeons are thus in direct opposition with the winged ‘Great Red Dragon’ (painted by Blake and briefly alluded to by the Chinese dragon seen in the restaurant where Jane meets Hightower in ‘Red Listed’)

Birds appear again in ‘Silver Wings of Time’ and in ‘Blue Bird’, hinting at Jane’s desire for freedom and living again. In that aspect, this theme slowly takes a similar meaning than the butterfly one, which indicated his hope for putting his past at peace, for metamorphosing his dark thoughts into a sparkling lightness. No wonder then if many serious talks between him and Lisbon take place in flying planes or involve helicopters, like the dressing down in ‘Green Thumb’; Lisbon uncharacteristically refusing to go on a road trip with him in ‘Black Helicopters’; his fake enthusiastic proposition of getting to the crime scene by helicopter to help Lisbon go to her date with Pike in ‘Forest Green’; finally his confession about loving her in ‘Blue Bird’… They are symptoms of his passivity until he decides to take action.



While religion and faith were hinted at in the previous seasons (“Saint Teresa” and her cross necklace; the medallion given to Jane in S3; the meeting in a church in ‘The Crimson Hat’; RJ’s minions’ faith in him and his tastes in religion-oriented art, like Blake’s poetry and Bach’s music; the talks about good and evil and about afterlife and so on) it has always been quite a background theme compared to others, mostly underlining the cult-like influence of the serial killer and Jane’s craving for redemption. Those two opposite drives went repeatedly through Jane’s psyche, making him go all the way from violence, revenge, wanting to be at the center of the world’s attention, like his nemesis, to a pull towards salvation and wanting to believe that beyond the grave his family may have forgiven him and may wish for him to move on. Nevertheless, this theme is strikingly deepened in season 6, making it one of the most visible features of the final battle between the two enemies.

Indeed, the deadly encounter between the light of Jane’s justice and the darkness provided by RJ is the main event of the first half of the season. Thus, it’s logical that many things foreshadow it to that one way of another. For instance, Bob Kirkland’s twin brother was called Michael and therefore shared his name with God’s Archangel who fought the demon during the Apocalypse. Both Michael and Bob prefigure Jane’s actions then.

Moreover, as commenter Anomaly very accurately and comprehensively noticed, flowers found a parallel in trees: the “woods” were mentioned in various occasions in relation with Jane’s suspects for RJ (McAllister refers to his “neck in the woods” in ‘Black-Winged Redbird’ and in ‘Red Listed’, the investigation concludes that Benjamin Marx, kidnapped by Kirkland, was kept “in the woods”). Three kinds of trees were more precisely referred to: pine (Rosalind described RJ as smelling of “pine and nails and earth”; pine sap and pine needle found in Marx’ body led to Kirkland’s location), oak (in ‘The Red Tattoo’, Kira Tinsley is located at “1065 Oak Terrace” and later a sign reads “Napa Valley Sheriff Blue Oak Substation” on a building McAllister exits from in ‘Fire and Brimstone”) and cedar: Jane has a propriety in 1309 Cedar Street, Malibu. Those trees have probably been chosen carefully, as they are all biblical trees (for instance pines are mentioned in Nehemiah 8:15 ; Isaiah 60:13 and in 41:19 in association with the cedar ; oaks in Genesis 35:4 and 35:8 ; Isaiah 2:13 and 44:14 in association with cedars again, among many other occurrences…) Cedar is rot-proof and as thus the temple of Jerusalem was built using it (2 Samuel 7:1-16;1 Kings 6). The fact that the guest house depending from his Malibu home is located in Cedar Street therefore hints that’s the place where his family was sacrificed in the name of pride is sacred for him, like it shows that he’s standing on the side of divine justice. Moreover, this address where Jane sets his trap echoes 1309 Orchid Lane in ‘There Will Be Blood’. The parallel is intriguing because Jane’s decisive step towards identifying RJ was taken because of Lorelei in that arc. Lastly, Haibach brings down the last consequences of Jane’s ruthless and obsessive investigation on the old team by taking Grace to the woods too (‘White as the Driven Snow”). It becomes therefore obvious that he’s reaching out to the conclusion of his quest, which started years before with that fateful TV show –where coincidentally in a deleted scene he mentioned a citrus tree too in the lawn of the sad little man’s house, opening up a citrus theme that had been running for many seasons.

The allusions to the Bible culminate in the three episodes ending the RJ storyline: « Fire and Brimstone” and “The Great Red Dragon” are direct references to the Book of Revelation, respectively to the wrath of God/the villains’ punishment and to the personification of Evil itself. It’s been building up for the start of the season, with McAllister saving Jane in a church, with the hints at angels and pigeons, with the lambs (Jane and Bertram’s accomplice “Cordero”), the religious/satanistic ceremony at Visualize, the red tattoos appearing as an interpretation of the “mark of the beast”-the “666” in the abandoned house where RJ attacks Partridge and Lisbon in the premiere…

These hints lead viewers to understand that beneath Jane’s quest for revenge, the age old epic battle between Good and Evil is once again in play, tying up both the RJ arc (the Book of Revelation is supposedly written by John, which may or not be an allusion to RJ pulling the strings in the shadows for what he had planned to be his grand escape) and the long standing reference to Blake, whose illustrations for this part of the Bible are very famous. Hence Jane, the improbable angel who defeated the beast, ended up in a “Heaven” afterwards: he avenged his family, gotten some peace of mind, and got rid of the evil… Last, not least, ‘Silver Wings of Time’ later serves as a illustration of Jane’s dilemma in relation to his feelings towards Lisbon and his late wife, because the widower cheated on his spouse and was indirectly responsible for her death: coincidently, in this episode, Jane brought the real murderer to justice and thus saved an innocent named “Cruz” (“cross” in Spanish).



“My Blue Heaven” is precisely linked to another long standing theme: Jane’s pull towards everything ocean-related. Him preparing his goodbye to Lisbon on a cliff facing a sunset in ‘Fire and Brimstone’ -as an echo to his escapade with Lorelei in ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’- ; him sending her seashells and letters about dolphins from his island; the walk on a beach leading to his failed plan to get her to dump Pike in Islamorada and the ‘Conch Republic” airport: all those steps show that he’s been reaching out for her. Indeed, his stay in the island represented his isolation from his everyday world and how he was stuck in neutral, but his attempts at sending her sea-themed signals also echo the first hope he glimpsed in ‘Blood and Sand’.

His hesitation between two impulses is hinted at in the FBI: he’s jumping in the water from Krystal’s yacht while waiting for Lisbon to rescue him and the killer in ‘The Golden Hammer’ ends up trying to escape too by running through a fountain… All in all, as Rose UK pointed out, this travels through the world -and through the contradictory desires of his souls- mimic somehow Odysseus’ s journey on contrary waves, as it’s indirectly hinted at by the mosaic featuring the Medusa in the finale, another mythological character… He’s been waiting and longing on the beaches of the mysterious island owned by Calypso, rescued by his own Nausicaa, the aptly named Fischer, and led to Abbott/Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians-like FBI, who helped him come home. Unsurprisingly, Lisbon has been waiting for him as a very reluctant and grumpy new Penelope, in anticipation of her Odysseus finding a sneaky way to try and get rid of the pushy suitor (coincidentally named “Pike”) who tries to convince her to get into a rushed marriage… The notion of travelling and walking forward on a path is further emphasized by Jane’s shoes –which he only takes off at the very end, when he decided to take action and stop procrastinating- and by the socks she’s given him as a welcome back gift.



As new possibilities present themselves to Jane, more and more doors are slowly opened. In ‘The Desert Rose’, great emphasis is put on Lisbon opening the door which hided a mortally wounded Partridge and the suddenly opened door at her back distracted her enough for the killer to attack. Later, in ‘The Red Tattoo’, RJ’s fatal mistake was to assault Kira Tinsley in her home: we could see her opening her door to let him enter, before he killed her. ‘Fire and Brimstone’ then begins with Jane making preparations for ambushing his remaining suspects in his property in Malibu and things come full circle as he watches the shadow of a man (presumably RJ or one of the suspects) behind the glass of the door of his guest house; he’s waiting for him, having set things up to get his enemy a nasty surprise, just like RJ did in the pilot by hiding the corpses of his wife and daughter behind a closed bedroom door.

Yet, even after he got rid of the monster, Jane couldn’t really bring himself to trust life enough to open doors and step into new potential fulfilling situations again. He’s just trying to recreate his CBI cocoon in another place, because he cannot manage to open himself to dangerous new promises… Hence him talking to Lisbon through the door of her room at the ‘Blue Bird Inn’, underlining his incapacity to fully open up and tell her the truth at the critical moment when he realized how badly he messed things up. Fortunately, he manages to take the step and runs to the plane she is leaving in, banging on the ultimate door –with a red circular security sign painted on, like a smiley face- and finally opening it: he opens the lid he put on his feels in front of Lisbon, telling her the truth of his heart and accepting to have a new life with her that he wasn’t sure that he deserved so far.
It therefore concludes one of the major aspects of the freedom notion Jane has been struggling with from the start, hinted at with those closed doors, safes, locks and keys, cages, bounds, lifts which doors, as Rose pointed out, often were shown closing on him as he stepped in.

9) PATTERNS reflecting Jane’s state of mind: obsession, painful grieving/punishment, worry and thirst for affection


Lists and notebooks have been scattered through the seasons to show Jane’s obsession with investigating the serial killer and season 6 is no exception: there is the list of suspects he finished in the season 5 finale which plays a major role in unmasking RJ and which is used by Kirkland too. After he gets to kill his nemesis, lists keep appearing, showing the influence his past still has on him: the demands he writes on a napkin –which mean he’s coming back to the more familiar grounds of investigation-, then the fake list of Blake association members he threatens Abbott with…

It’s also interesting that those lists are basically Jane still processing obsessively the dreadful letter RJ had left for him on that fateful bedroom door: hence the many writing made on the show, especially on walls (“666” in the premiere). Here, Jane writes letters to Lisbon after leaving her then tries to get her to stay with a fake letter supposed to have been sent by a serial killer in the making. Again, it looks like that things are coming full circle.


But obsession with his past isn’t the only thing threatening Jane’s calm: severed body parts were already present in the previous season (in ‘Red Handed’ and in the case of LaRoche and the tongue) and here RJ decapitated Sophie Miller, but there’s a curious insistence on trying to cut fingers off. Back in the Lorelei arc, that act showed a level of cold-blooded violence that aimed to punish Jane for misbehaving by refusing RJ’s friendship. Here, it seems to snowball from another of Jane’s grand plans: Kirkland tortures the other suspects on Jane’s list by cutting their thumbs off to get them to reveal who is RJ before killing them. Later, Haibach got his revenge for his lost finger by trying to do the same to Jane again… Violence breeds violence and hurt people tend to act out by hurting others they deem responsible for their suffering, like Jane has been doing for years.

The same kind of brutality pops up in the middle of his more peaceful FBI life, with the victim’s body parts found in ‘Green Thumb’, hinting that Jane’s still under the repercussion of his previous choices and feels helpless to regain a fulfilling life. Like those thumb-less men, he’s also incapacitated to some extent.

– PHONE CALLS (at critical moments)

Another intriguing pattern is the number of phone calls between Jane and Lisbon at meaningful moments. Not that they say anything particularly long or enlightening, actually: it’s mostly the silences and unacknowledged truths between them that make sense.

In the previous seasons, it happened many times, when Lisbon was in danger and calling Jane for help or to reassure him (‘Redwood’, ‘Red All Over’, ‘Strawberry and Cream’ I and II). Here, their miscommunication issues start in the premiere: after arguing with Jane about his controlling ways, Lisbon falls in the trap set by RJ, leading Jane to desperately try to call her, only to hear finally the serial killer answer her phone telling him ironically that she couldn’t answer right now but he could always take a message…

Later, after he left her stranded on the road to set his own trap, Jane says his farewell to her in a rather cold voice… Which contrasts with his breathless, emotional voice telling her in a low tone “I’ll miss you” after killing his nemesis, when he called her to tell her he made it and was safe.

These instances showed his worry for her and how much he cared, yet they don’t stop after his successful return. In ‘White Lines’, he pretended to hang up on Lisbon while on his date with Krystal, while he actually was actually letting her hear what was going on in order for her to send him some help. Cho commented on his poor communications skills then, which didn’t stop the consultant from trying to call her after she left in a fit of rage in ‘Blue Bird’, only to go to voicemail… But more on this later.

Like it did in season 2, food seems to have taken a discreet added meaning. The first half of season 6 involves a number of occurrences in which food is left half-eaten: Lisbon leaves her muffin untouched in ‘The Desert Rose’, while Jane feeds his to the ducks in ‘Wedding in Red’ and PI Kira Tinsley can’t eat hers in ‘The Red Tattoo’. Plus the uncharacteristic act of Jane biting into an apple and sending it crashing into a wall might remind viewers of the biblical fruit of knowledge, since he’s about to learn RJ’s secret identity… which might or not have been a reply of the “original sin” he committed by badmouthing RJ years before (and mentioning a tree bearing another kind of fruit in the aforementioned deleted scene from the pilot).

But once the RJ case is closed, food is eaten onscreen when affection is most needed: Jane fights loneliness in his sea-side haven by having dinner with a stranger, while Lisbon denies her regrets in front of her dinner guests Grace and Wayne. Both end the evening drinking, making even more transparent their sadness at being separated. When Pikes makes his grand entrance, he starts his seduction by flirting over the phone, offering her the comfort of “pancakes”, when she’s been left “hungry” by a sleeping Jane in an empty house –a symbol of her relation with the man: she’s yearning for more, but he doesn’t give her what she’s craving. Yet her later dates with the dark-haired agent are nice but hardly emotionally fulfilling obviously, since she cannot get over Jane, just like the food Pikes offers her: popcorn, a granola bar… Same thing when Jane slowly starts his seductive counter-attack: he has dinner with her at ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’ on Abbott’s insistence and he brings her cannoli before getting cold feet… And his last devious scheme involved a meal in a romantic restaurant he never got to share with her.

In season 2, those allusions hinted at (a lack of) communication; here, those are answers to new expectations: Jane wants to fit in with his new team and brings Cho and Kim lunch in ‘Black Helicopters’, whereas Lisbon feels a deep new need for affection she’s decided to fill. Pike is hell bent in taking care of it, thus the idea of him offering her food, and Jane fails to do it twice, before realizing that what she really wants is not the same fake appearances and lies he’s been feeding her so far but only truth and love.


But those struggles don’t stop the characters from playing a game of manipulations, half-lies and prodding by dating other people: ever since Abbott started referring to Jane and Lisbon as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”, both have been seeking attention by flooding their conquests. In the island, Jane chooses Kim as a closest substitute for Teresa: he obviously isn’t eager to let Lisbon know about this detail, but he’s willing to rub his date with the gorgeous Krystal to her face… Lisbon does the same by mentioning her ill-fated dinner with Osvaldo to him, then by trying to goad him into reacting to her relationship with Pike… A relationship that doesn’t deter her from accepting two work-related yet date-like outings with her consultant in ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’ and in Islamorada (“it’s a date”).

Of course, what makes this little game deeper is the underlying idea that both want to move on and recreate a home, but they’re unsure of the other’s wishes… Hence the notion of guilt brought by spouses who acted badly towards their companion–particularly in ‘Silver Wings of Time’, but also in ‘Green Thumb’ and in ‘Blue Bird’ for instance. It resumes a long-standing pattern developed in season 1, but here, it focuses more on new possibilities. In retrospect, guilt becomes a normal step of moving on, a step Jane manages to take to move forward. It gets obvious in the decisive ‘White as The Driven Snow’: fighting the ghastly worry of not being able to protect his family guilt (something Haibach’s sister had been blaming herself for, leading her to land him an hand in his criminal career), Rigsby managed out of pure will-power to save his baby and wife. This feat undoubtedly led Jane to come to terms with his own failure as he helped the man in trying to find the lost member of his makeshift family.


As Reviewbrain pointed out very early on, there always has been a tension between Jane and Lisbon regarding trust and their tendency to want control over the other. The shadow over their growing affecting has been declined in many shades like Jane telling the truth or lying; their status as coworkers varying from being boss/subaltern to getting to rely on the other as a partner… More often than not, the quarrel is centered on Jane not letting Lisbon in on when he’s setting his most daring schemes…

It comes as pretty harsh in the season premiere: she’s rebelling against Jane giving her orders and acting as her boss and a two years absence hasn’t quelled that fear since she’s still telling him off for it in the plane in ‘Green Thumb’ and alluding to this penchant of his in the fish bowl scene at the beginning of ‘The Golden Hammer’. Jane’s clumsy communication skills regarding everything Lisbon keeps him from reassuring her, since his attempts at getting her to see him as her partner often end up in her playing the magician’s assistant (‘Forrest Green’), or the mad surgeon’s nurse (‘Black Heart’), ultimately forcing Lisbon to lie for him in front of Abbott… Even their usual bantering at the end of ‘White as the Driven Snow’ (which returns after Jane somehow redeems himself by rescuing their old team) involves her pretending to sulk about his lack of transparency during the ordeal.

In addition to the failed phone calls, the miscommunication hits a dead end when Jane tells her to be happy and she doesn’t tell him that she’s leaving. An interesting detail places communication at the heart of the matter: she’s started really flirting with Marcus on the phone and it’s over a phone talk too that she accepts his proposal on a whim. Indeed, while Lisbon and Jane refuse to tell the whole truth, Pike is rather fine with only hinting at the threat that is Jane in his love life; this is probably why he shows Casablanca to his unsure girlfriend, particularly his final scene with the female lead choosing her stable husband over her adventurous lover and telling him goodbye before taking off on a plane… which ironically foreshadows Jane running off after her plane a few episodes later.

Truth is “The Daughter of Time” –title of the murder mystery Fischer was reading when she met Jane- and it is really at the heart of this new chapter of his life. The continuous undercover jobs the new team is taking suggest his reluctance to yield to Lisbon’s yearning for honesty: Kim playing a tourist in ‘My Blue Heaven’; Jane and his fake dates in ‘White Lines’ or being asked to play a psychic in ‘Green Thumb’; Lisbon disguising as a cliché spy in ‘The Golden Hammer’; Jane going to the citizen farm in ‘Black Helicopter’ along with the disguised victim and the murderer hiding under a false name, or him again sporting a chauffeur hat in ‘White as the Driven Snow’ ; the whole team setting a undercover sting in ‘Violets’… Every episode shows how creative Jane is to cover up his feelings. The interest in lawyers has probably a similar meaning (‘Silver Wings of Time’, the Haibach arc): Jane is trying to defend his con, he’s stuck in his make-believe comforting world of a consultant and desperately tries to get Lisbon to accept it as true. Objectively, it’s the main difference between Pike and him: viewers are told repeatedly that Marcus is honest, which means that Lisbon can put her trust in him, the same trust that Jane has trampled time and over. It’s Abbott, who comments to Fischer how this job makes people start losing trust in ‘Green Thumb’, who places Jane in front of his failure: he’s started to believe his own con and it’s only by freeing himself from this façade (of an half-life, of only being friends with Lisbon because he’s too afraid to claim more from her) and by finally telling her the truth that he can achieve that loving one hundred percent trust from her that he’s been aiming for over the seasons.


Colors are not really a theme, but the drastic dropping of everything red in the titles is still worth dwelling on for a bit, as commenter Ioana remarked, if only to raise a few questions.

Firstly, there are relatively few colors after the end of the all-red era. No bright colors (like orange or yellow) nor many nuances, just plain simple colors mostly: black, blue, white, but no turquoise or beige… even the “Forest Green” is more used as a word play here than a really different shade. Yet, some patterns are slightly discernible such as blond women replacing the trademark redheads as murderers, victims or witnesses.

Given the rather limited choice of colors used, some are repeated, which might help draw some parallels. The most obvious relates to the ‘Blue’ episodes –namely ‘My Blue Heaven’ and ‘Blue Bird’, involving Jane getting a new start and opening up. It’s taken as a calm and marine-oriented opposite to the burning red and shows Jane’s hope for freedom, peace and happiness.

Green is also used twice: in ‘Green Thumb’ and ‘Forrest Green’, Jane’s inability to convey what he feels to Lisbon involve him giving her some space that she clearly doesn’t want (after the plane talk, then when he asks in a falsely cheerful tone for an helicopter to get her in time to her date with another man).

Three occurrences so far for the color ‘White’: ‘White Lines’, ‘White as the Driven Snow’ and a variation in Italian with ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’ and three episodes when Jane tries to get closer by using dates, either by taunting her with him dating Krystal or by having dinner with Teresa on Abbott’s demand… Still, he only succeeds to really get on her good side and to win back some of their old banter after saving the team in the third occurrence. Those are somewhat in opposition with ‘Black Helicopter’ and ‘Black Hearts’ where she distances herself physically from him, by refusing to get on a road trip with him in the Silver Bucket and by accepting Marcus’s offer to move with him to D.C.

Among the one-episode-only colors, ‘Violets’ (a shade that is basically made by mixing blue and red) is a pivotal episode, rushing Jane’s progresses by introducing a rival to his love interest. ‘The Golden Hammer’ and ‘Silver Wings of Time’ force him to consider that he’s getting serious competition for winning Teresa’s favors: the former shakes him with the unexpected revelation that Lisbon can start dating, the second makes Pike’s threat more dangerous for his own relation with the petite agent. And it’s amusing that the “Silver Bucket” makes its appearance just after the ‘Golden’ episode too. Everything that shines might distract Lisbon enough to make her drift apart…

Of course, given how few episodes there have been since RJ’s demise, those are very probably only coincidences, but it gives something more to look forward in the new season! 🙂

You can still vote for TM and his amazing actors and make them win the People Choice’s Awards on CBS! Here’s the link:!/home/all/35

Mentalist Black Hearts Review


After Cho (Kang) and Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar) find the corpses of three victims whose organs have been harvested, during their investigation on a human traffic ring, Jane (Baker) and Fischer (Emily Swallow) are called to the disturbing crime scene. Meanwhile, Lisbon (Tunney) is still struggling to make a decision concerning following her boyfriend to DC.

Concise Verdict

With ‘Black Hearts’, star writers Ken Woodruff and David Applebaum close the case of missing girls started in ‘Brown-Eyed Girls’, the second arc in TM 2.0 after the case involving Haibach’s revenge on former CBI members. And, like then, Jane also reaches a new -and this time depressing- stage in his murky emotional situation. Indeed, while the maddening man still couldn’t bring himself to actually do something regarding Lisbon’s possible departure, both she and her boyfriend take the initiative of making decisions. Jane keeps being passive regarding Lisbon, whereas Pike comes across as more straightforward than ever and tries again to rush his relationship in the most frustrating way. On the other hand, the case is pretty predicable, but rather carefully crafted and made deeper by a rather intriguing symbolism and some obvious efforts to give their villain more substance. The pleasure of the two leading characters pulling an amusing con together and the team members getting to fill smoothly their designated roles (boss, supportive coworkers and eager rookie) come together to make this episode, which could have been the last one before the ultimate conclusion of Jane’s story, a rather coherent yet odd combo.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS #1: the opening scene

Right away, the title ‘Back Hearts’ is explained both by the harvested organs of the poor girls and the cruelty of what’s been done to them –both points being emphasised by the black little heart drawn on Daniela’s hand, which served to mark her as a unwilling donor too…

Jane’s attitude is respectful and affected by that turn of events. He even mentions a “cup of tea” in passing, which reveals that he needs comforting in front of the horrifying sight. Plus, the bodies were actually discovered at the end of ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’, meaning that the episode starts during the same night. In other words, Jane is still under the defeated influence of his failed attempt at talking to Lisbon while eating cannoli together. Indeed, Lisbon is not here, just like she was late at the crime scene when she started dating Marcus: it again hints at the growing importance of her personal life. Plus, he’s showing vulnerability while glancing at the young woman’s face, like he did when he witnessed the other one dying in ‘Brown-Eyed Girls’: like then, his deep empathy also reflects his powerlessness and his feeling of abandonment in front of Lisbon’s new life (she had accused him of interrupting her date back then).

Either because Abbott remarked Jane’s subdued behaviour and worries about it or because he thought Jane might have a hunch, he starts asking the consultant about the case. Jane gloomily answers that he thinks there are many more dead girls. It’s interesting that, true to his name, Abbott is once again willing to play the part of Jane’s confessor. He tries to get Jane to talk about the case, just like he approached him about Lisbon’s decision to leave Austin –telling him then that conmen’s downfall often involved them starting to believe their own cons- and about the date-like dinner he set up in the previous episode. May it be about Lisbon or about the gruesome case, he’s the one who helps Jane into shedding a bit more light on his feelings to viewers…

VIS #2: Lisbon on a job interview

Back in the office, Lisbon is brought to attend to a webcam job interview with a potential new boss in DC. Abbott is present as her current leader and Pike is here too. Marcus is actually the contact who hunted the job for her, yet his presence in Abbott’s office makes him look omnipresent in her life. She spends her time off with him, he’s taking her to lunch or to late take-out dinner while she works and now he finds a way to get into her job itself too, even when he’s not directly needed on a case…

Moreover, his proposition seems even more pressing since the silver-winged flying time is again alluded to by the hourglass on Abbott’s desk (filmed under different angles during the whole interview)… Lisbon’s answer to the enthusiastic job offer echoes that notion: “that sounds great. I just need some time to think about it”.

Abbott gives her his professional opinion when the meeting has ended: he remarks that it’s a great deal, but obviously he’s far from happy to have one of his agents leave the team –the dark look he discreetly sends to Marcus during the interview is pretty eloquent. In the most recent episodes, he tried to confront both her and Jane about the situation they’re getting themselves in: he asked her if Jane knew that she might leave when she informed him of her possible departure and he kept pushing Jane to get her to stay. Dennis seems to like Jane as a person, given how well they get along in their many undercover gigs, but he’s also probably fully aware that Jane’s efficiency in the field might suffer from her absence. Jane is an investment of sorts: he too made a great deal with the FBI. Abbott, the man who coldly and calmly closed down the CBI before hunting Jane through South America, might want to keep his “golden boy” as happy and useful as possible. Eons ago Jane remarked to Hightower who had the same kind of logic, that if Lisbon was unhappy, he was less happy: the same goes here, because if his moral compass/anchor fails him, he may very well let his life go downhill. After all, when she wasn’t here to tell him to shred off his homeless vibe, he ended up basically a beach bum…

Unfortunately but as expected, Pike is not as understanding. He bluntly tells her « I’ve been patient » as soon as they exited the office. There’s obviously a shifting in his behavior, since until now he’s been putting off the appearance of the supportive boyfriend who would wait for her to decide whether or not she wanted to follow him, all the while attempting to subtly influence her. Now, he’s trying to pressure her more openly, even though he still wants to make himself look good: as always, only his qualities are brought on, may them be his honestly and inability to lie, his willingness to be here for her, or now his supposed patience. He plays on every aspect of her life: he’s half-forced her to perceive their fresh relationship as something serious, before making her watch movies involving love triangles. On the professional aspect, he’s been finding her a job. He’s methodically trying to eliminate every counter-argument she might have against moving to DC with him. Implicitly, he’s controlling her, telling her “it’s a great decision, but it’s a decision you need to make”, a phrasing that hints that he’s already chosen for her, she only needs to say the words.

That’s the moment Jane chooses to intrude on them and the shifting is also perceptible on his part: while he seemed half-apologetic before when he interrupted them (going even as far as asking her to text “Jane says hi” to the other man), he now curtly announces his presence with a rather cold greeting « Hello Lisbon. Pike». The awkward moment sums up the situation perfectly: a hesitant Lisbon is caught up between her pushy boyfriend and Jane who’s always lurking in the background of their relationship. Is this coldness an indication that Jane has decided to take matters into his own hands after his failed attempt at bringing her dessert late at night? Anyway, every member of their little tangled trio is now openly aware of the antagonism between the two males, as Jane has showed his hand by coming to her house –even if he ended up telling her that he wanted her to be happy.

Afterwards, while Lisbon and Jane investigate their prime suspect Ridley –whom viewers already know to be the ringleader since the end of ‘Brown-Eyed Girls’- Jane’s inner tension is still palpable. He keeps poking the suspect, remarking on the soberness of his office and wondering about every answer the other man gives them “What’s so boring about details,” indeed?

VIS #3: Lisbon asks Cho for advice

Confronted to such a lack of answers from her pushy lover and her slippery friend, Lisbon turns to the most immutable person in her life, her blunt former second-in-command Cho. The stoic agent recalls how he almost quitted in the first day in her team… because of Rigsby. But then he saw the way she worked and that convinced him to stay. While the memories are obviously fond ones –made even funnier since Wayne actually become his inseparable buddy- the fact remains that he stayed for her. Just like Jane, actually, who came back for her and, before, who tried to make it up to her after wanting to quit when Bosco took over the case in S2. It shows the influence she had on the people around her, both as a team leader and as a person. Plus, the allusion to Rigsby hints that she should not make an hasty decision either: it reminds the viewer that Cho’s already lost a close friend to work with and therefore would be pretty unwilling to let her go too, even if he points out that it’s a great job offer. Plus, it implicitly indicates that she’s leaving because of Jane –like Cho almost did because of Wayne-, or rather his inability to make a move, while he should be her reason to stay –since Cho’s partnership with the taller agent actually became one of the highlights of working for the CBI. On the other hand, Cho’s respect also reminds viewers that Lisbon used to be his boss: Jane’s revenge cost her a most promising career. Even now that she’s working for the FBI, she’s only a subordinate. Marcus is offering an opportunity to remedy to that loss.

Talking about Wayne, it’s interesting that Lisbon asks advice from Cho, since Rigsby was eager to give advice to Jane about getting together with Lisbon… As he did at the bar in ‘White As The Driven Snow’, Cho is more reserved. He obviously takes sides with Lisbon as the whole team used to do in the most recent years. He concludes: “whatever decision you make, it’s been an honor” before hugging her. While Lisbon is happy that he holds her in such high regard, she obviously never realized the impact she had on her team members… like she probably doesn’t know how deep Jane’s affection for her runs.

Later, it’s Kim’s turn to chime in. She simply asks where Jane is to Lisbon, adding that they always work together. Lisbon’s reply is a dry “not always”. Like when Abbott tried to poke into her complicated relation with the blond consultant, she closes off… Obviously, this choice of topic is painful for her.

VIS #4: Jane and the ringleader

Interestingly, most of Jane’s investigation quickly revolves around Ridley. He tries to create with the man a friendlier bond. That starts by meeting him again in his house. There’s a startling contrast between the very functional office and the carefully decorated luxury house, which already hints that the man has a double life.

Soon, the team locates a witness: the foul Dr Lark, whom they suspect actually killed the girls and removed their organs. After Cho and Kim saved him from the bomb Ridley ordered his henchman Tremmel to put on his car, he starts singing like the bird he’s named after… He admits to killing the women painlessly because he needed the money and Ridley paid well. When asked about the moral aspect of his actions, he just says that it bothered him to kill, but after a while stopped thinking about it. Still, this amorality is somewhat compensated by the fact that he commits suicide in his cell once Tremmel threatened his daughter.

Indeed, Lark was not strong enough to fight the evil association he was working for. Many details subtly fleshed up its threatening presence through the episode: the words “hunter of the rocky seashore” and “predatory” visible in the background when Cho and Kim went interrogating a suspect at a museum; the reference to Caesar brought in by Tremmel’s tattoo (the famous “veni, vidi, vici”, “I came, I saw, I conquered” that the imperator used to describe one of his military victory. The very brief line puts emphasis on the rapidity of the action, which might be a way to hint again at the flying time theme). This reference to the Roman general is further enlightened by the horses used in decoration, both in Ridley’s house (on a lamp visible when he’s talking on the phone with Tremmel) and on ambassador Moreno’s desk when Cho interrogates him over the phone too (a book end shaped like a horse head). Along with the panther sculpture visible in the same scene, those details reinforce the idea that this new association is very well organized, powerful and predatory. They’re a force to be reckoned with and Lark as a inoffensive bird was bound to die by getting close to them: they only preyed on his weaknesses.

When Jane corners Ridley alone in a parking lot, both men have a very intriguing talk. Ridley remarks that “it’s just business”, adding coldly “personally, I didn’t kill anyone”. He goes as far as explaining to Jane -whom he seems to consider as a kindred spirit- that his traffic serves to “save important leaders”. Jane grudgingly admits “I understand your perspective, very well”. Ridley replies: “come on, it’s just us. If anyone could understand our perspective, it’s you.” Without the shadow of a doubt, the shady businessman is alluding to Jane’s past: he’s aware of Jane’s ambiguity, his determination to achieve his goal no matter what the cost or how many people get hurt or killed in the process… Plus, his assessment sadly echoes Jane’s less than glorious moments, for instance his dismissing of Haibach when Kirkland kidnapped and tortured him because he thought the man’s life wasn’t precious enough. Lisbon disagreed then because she’s a better person than he is: quite disturbingly, Ridley is applying the same careless logic to his criminal activities than Jane has been to his quest for justice and revenge… Still, that was before Jane came to a more peaceful state of mind, because his sympathy in this case lies with the victims; he’s not as cold as he was back then.

Therefore, the whole talk has shades of RJ’s attempts to gain Jane’s attention and friendship: indeed both the serial killer and Ridley are cold-blooded criminals who think they’re superior and that they have the right to choose who is worth living. They’ve been targeting harmless women and Ridley, like McAllister, has been threatening a daughter for her father’s faults. Even the marks they put on their respective victims are quite similar in their innocuous appearance: a smiley face, made gruesome by the fact that it was drawn in blood vs. a little heart-shaped drawing with a horrid meaning… But Jane is no longer like them: he admitted to RJ that he’s “nobody”. He’s gained a humility that the two others lack. That doesn’t stop Jane from replying courteously to Ridley’s wish for him to have a lovely afternoon with a rather pensive “sure, you too”.

Jane and Lisbon (don’t) talk it out

Meanwhile, Jane finds another kind of opponent when the investigation provides Lisbon with a new opportunity to try to clear things out between them, but to not avail. Actually, there are three decisive moments in this silent gentle battle of wills he’s having with his beloved partners.

1) Firstly, when Jane is back in the office, it’s her turn to corner him. She enters the bullpen with a mug of coffee and a cup of tea –Jane is usually the one to bring her her favourite beverage- and her resolve wavers when she realizes that he’s seemingly asleep on the couch. But she calls for him and sits with him. She tries to put him at ease by telling “I always liked this couch”: that brings a touch of familiarity in her action. Also, it might be a coincidence, but that was pretty much what Jane said when he came to the CBI bullpen with his bimbo to bid them goodbye in ‘Fugue in Red’ (something along the lines of “I always wanted a couch like that”). Both times, that old couch has been the symbol of the work they’ve been doing together and the comfort he took in it and both times, reminding of them through it was a way to prepare themselves to depart. But for now, the line only makes Jane smiles, which Lisbon takes as her cue to start interrogating him. He begins hesitantly “Jane… Jane…” when her phone rings. The announcement that Lark committed suicide interrupts their talk.

Obviously, still, Lisbon’s attempt is her answer to Jane’s recent visit at her doorstep. As he couldn’t bring himself to open up to his real feelings, which made her cry, she’s taking upon herself to unlock that dreaded door he wasn’t able to open.

2) The second, more dramatic moment between them happens while the kidnapped girls, along with Daniela’s sister, are shipped to Columbia. That further stresses how time is the issue.

Jane comes up with a plan and tells Lisbon about it over the phone. His description is less than thrilling as it involves breaking “a few laws”… Lisbon is wary and when he presses her, she hopelessly answers “I’m thinking, Jane”. Seriously, what’s with the men in Lisbon’s life asking her to make huge decisions in a snap of a finger?

Of course, Jane plans to use the “understanding” he set up with Ridley. As he fakes a friendly visit in his house, he drugs the other man’s glass and takes him in a dark and worrying secluded place, probably the same Lark used to work on the poor girls’ bodies. While Ridley is still groggy, Jane feeds him a chilling little speech, explaining that so far the man has “been a step ahead” of him -Riddley managed to warn his Nigerian client to fly away before the cops could catch him- but that he finally got him now. Again, the “one step ahead” notion is linked with RJ’s little mind games with Jane, a detail meaning to accredit the thesis of Jane going once more all vigilante on the leader of a criminal organization.

Ridley tries again to justify his choices by the same reasoning: “some lives are more valuable than others” but, whereas Jane “couldn’t agree more”, it becomes obvious that it’s Riddley’s life and his accomplice’s that he finds unworthy. Indeed, he and Lisbon as wearing scrubs as if they were about to perform surgery. The woman protests that she’s not convinced that Jane’s doing the right thing, but she nonetheless goes along with his actions. Again, she’s playing the assistant to Jane’s magic show: they turn their back to Riddley and start presumably removing Tremmel’s organs while he’s still alive and kicking –and the tattoo on his arm makes Riddley sure that it’s his henchman lying there. Yet their concentrated albeit grimacing faces contrast funnily with the dramatics they’re pulling off for Riddley’s benefit. Lisbon reluctantly following Jane’s silent request to splatter more of that fake blood she’s so obviously disgusted with on his scrubs makes it all the more amusing. Riddley is not aware that he’s played and he starts panicking once he realized that he’s the next target… even more since he’s just witnessed them murdering someone… His only hope is Lisbon’s scruples: “you’re a cop. You cannot do that. This is wrong.” But her answer is even more distressing than Jane’s ‘crazy scientist’ act: “not after what you’ve done. This is poetic justice”. Again, the “justice” killing is a reminder of RJ’s fate, which makes the whole ordeal even more convincing to Riddley. The only difference is that Lisbon is supposed to be Jane’s willing and active accomplice this time…


3) That fact isn’t without consequences. After a terrified Riddley gives them all the information they want, they bring him back to more lawful grounds. When he’s in the bullpen, he starts accusing Jane and Lisbon of murder and they defend themselves by showing that Tremmel is actually in a cell. He wasn’t killed (it was Wiley playing his part with a fake tattoo on his arm. The undercover job of the week…).

Still, even though Riddley has been neatly trapped, his accusations don’t settle well with Abbott. Even more since Jane’s reply to Riddley’s lawyer that he’s been using psychological torture on him is “your client is a monster”. He’s not pleased either that Lisbon takes Jane’s side, just like she did in front of the jury when she pleaded the fifth to protect him… Abbott convokes them in his office and scolds them, adding that those are serious claims against them both. They keep denying that they did anything Riddley affirms they did to him. After dismissing Jane, Abbott focuses on Lisbon: “Jane is a liar… but you’re an honest, good person with a long career ahead of you”. The moment eerily reminds of his assumption when they met at the CBI: back then, he told her that she had been a good cop… before getting under Jane’s spell.

That doesn’t deter Lisbon who keeps standing for her partner: she lies through her teeth to her boss, stating firmly that “everything Jane said was true”. If it does come to it, between a career opportunity and her loyalty to Jane, she’s made a choice. On a professional level, she thus knows where she stands and her determination to have Jane’s back contrasts with her overall recent wavering… Too bad that doesn’t help with the personal problem at hand, right?

VIS #5: Pike’s proposal

Paralleling the touching reunion between Daniela and her sister saved in extremis from her captors, Lisbon meets with much relief her ever-present boyfriend. She’s happy and relieved to see him as the day as been emotionally draining, between the revolting case, Jane’s dreadful plan and Abbott’s threats. Yet, Pike uses her vulnerability to once again pressure her into making a decision, arguing as the devoted boyfriend he pretends to be that “it’s your life and like to be part of it”. Still, the care he displays tips the balance on his side: he’s here for her and he values her. With Jane, she’s come to the realisation that, in spite of their shared affection and connivance, he ought to always demand that she always protect him. He’ll always decide to take justice into his own hands when the law won’t reach the monsters they’re chasing. Her career will always take a backseat to their partnership, whereas he’s still unable to take a step in her direction on a personal level. Hence the decision she suddenly makes: she accepts Pike’s offer.

Unfortunately, Marcus considers this as an opening to push his luck further. He knows that it’s not “romantic, but the hell with that”: he asks out of the blue “will you marry me” to a flabbergasted Lisbon. Poor Lisbon who’s already made a huge effort to fight her doubts sees her commitment issues rattled again. Distraught, she only manages to answer “it’s a big decision. It’s huge”… Pushy Marcus generously gives her a “no pressure”, even though he cannot be unaware that he’s kept pressuring her. He’s been pushing her along with every decision he makes for them, starting by labelling their liaison as serious, to finding her a new job, until that overkill proposal. Just like she accused Jane of, Pike is making decisions for her and he subtly blames her when she’s unsure of them by making her feel guilty when compared with his qualities as the self-proclaimed man of her dreams. That’s how he went from a heartfelt « I’ll be here » to an edgy« I’ve been patient » in a matter of hours, after all…

His admitted lack of romantic skills is also pretty telling. Since he started dating Teresa, he’s shown a rather unsettling interest in labels more than in the essence of things between Lisbon and him: that what the granola bar “breakfast” hinted at. All the while, he’s been imposing his tastes and decisions, choosing movies with a hidden meaning, planning life decisions way ahead of her. It’s becoming more and more visible that there’s a discreetly controlling and manipulative streak in his apparently harmless and open personality. Why would he have asked her to marry him when she was showing vulnerability, otherwise? A marriage would bind her to him more effectively… In a sense, he’s looking forward to make Lisbon a trophy wife of sorts, gently controlling her life in a rather perverse fashion…

Pike gives her the coup de grâce by asking her “have you told Jane?”, adding “he’ll understand…” The man wants to push his advantage to the bitter end.

Lisbon obediently goes to meet Jane in the bullpen, only a few steps from where Pike’s unromantic romancing took place. Here, the lack of communication culminates in a painful moment as Jane seems peacefully engrossed in a book, sitting alone on his couch in a deserted bullpen, just like he was at the end of ‘Violets’ after Pike took Lisbon on their first date and afterwards in ‘Silver Wings of Time’… Plus it echoes Lisbon’s tentative talk earlier. Before Lisbon could explain the new situation to him, he interjects “we make a good team sometimes”. It’s an affectionate and wilful thing to say, yet ironically it’s exactly this conception of their partnership that pushed her into Marcus’ waiting arms. Lisbon cannot bring herself to tell him what she planned to. She simply says “I’ll see you tomorrow” –a loaded sentence, since she plans on leaving soon… He replies calmly “I’ll be here. Goodnight.”

Has Jane heard what they were saying? Did he avoid the painful talk just like he feigned ignorance when she first came to talk to him? Is he blissfully unaware of what happened or is he protecting himself by evading the truth? Or is he keeping things close to his vest because he’s looking for a way to finally fight for his happiness? So many questions, so little time left…

This review was written in a hurry, so feel free to comment on any pet peeves you may have on the episode. Also could someone make out the title of the white book Jane’s reading in the finale scene? I’ve been asked about it but I couldn’t see it clearly… And, of course, thanks for reading! 🙂

Mentalist Il Tavolo Bianco Ramblings

Note: Not a traditional review so there are spoilers for the episode everywhere. Unfortunately, unedited. Read at your own risk!

Unorganized thoughts start here….

This was the best episode of the season. I can’t remember the last episode I saw that had so many quotable lines.  If I could’ve have written the review I wanted it would have contained the longest “Best lines” section ever.

A good deal of those lines were part of some of the most meaningful conversations we’ve been privileged to see, ever between Lisbon and Jane.

And what made those scenes so intense, besides the fantastic writing was the acting. Baker and Tunney were fantastic. From his “What did I do” to Tunney’s understated yet scathing “Yes Jane has all our sympathies”, everything out of their mouths was perfectly delivered.

But best of all was the honesty in those lines. Jane flat out tells Lisbon “I love that you’re predictable.”

Of course he does. To control freak Jane, predictable means safe. but the two years they spent apart, and Marcus Pike,  has him feeling like a fish out of the water. He isn’t sure where he stands with Lisbon anymore.

Hence his bringing her coffee at beginning o the episode.  It’s such a classic (i.e. early season) Jane thing to do. He’s like a partner trying to rekindle the flame after a its gone out of a marriage. Or a guy trying to endear himself after a lover’s quarrel.

Ironically Jane’s love of control should make it easier for him to understand how Lisbon, a control freak herself feels insecure about their relationship due to his unpredictability.Alas, show off Jane can’t help but try to surprise (i.e. impress) people. Especially those he cares about. The showman in him is such a deeply ingrained facet of his character I doubt it will ever go away completely.

But is that the only reason he didn’t let Lisbon in on the fake grand jury? Jane’s insistence that the plan was a “sting” and not a con implies he’s trying to change into a more serious law abiding person. As does his stating he was following Abbot’s order not to tell Lisbon about the plan. It’s continuity to his conversation with Cho earlier in the season when the latter seemed surprised at his more mellow personality.

The honesty theme comes again with Lisbon and Marcus. He knows Jane is what is taking up Lisbon’s thoughts and holding up her decision to move with him to DC. It was implied when he states that she doesn’t need to go into her history with him if she doesn’t want to, and it is strongly alluded to when, after he explains the story of a film they were going to watch,  Casablanca to her (a woman choosing between two men) he quickly adds that there is also a baseball game on and on her request switches to that channel.

But the final bit of honesty was Jane coming to see Lisbon in her home. At the beginning of the episode he had seriously told her that he wants her to stay, then undermined that honesty by saying his reason was that DC is boring. But he more than makes up for it at the end of the episode.

Jane shows up at Lisbon’s doorstep with Italian food a grin on his face which disappears when Marcus Pike opens the door. When Lisbon appears he hands her the bag of take out and makes to leave. But she calls him back, saying he had another reason for coming. Jane then tells her that he was thinking about her leaving but that he wants her to be happy. That that’s the most important thing. What’s heartbreaking about this speech is that Jane is being completely honest. He obviously wants Lisbon to stay with him. But more importantly he wants her to be happy. For a somewhat selfish man like Jane, its the ultimate sacrifice.

Thankfully, Lisbon has learned enough from Jane to realize all this. Hence her brushing back tears after he leaves.

Ill bet most viewers brushed theirs back as well.

What I especially liked was the role reversal. Jane is practically wearing his heart on his sleeve while Lisbon is being as reserved as she ever was. From the very beginning when Jane asks her if she decided, she asks, “decided what?” pretending she doesn’t know what he is talking about. Then when Jane flat out asks her “what does a girl want to hear?” obviously referring to her, she replies “I have no idea”.

Perhaps it’s unfair to attribute that particular answer as her being dishonest. Lisbon genuinely seems at a loss on which man to pick. The dependable safe bet who seems to worship the ground she walks on (who wouldn’t?). Or the consultant with a mountain of baggage who enjoys driving her up the wall?

But I think Jane’s expression at the end of the episode will make the choice easier for her. Even modest Lisbon can’t deny the love in his eyes then. If the difficulty in the decision was that she wasn’t aware of the extent of Jane’s affection, then that is definitely no longer an issue. He can say he wants her to be happy, and mean it, even if it means being with Marcus, away from him. But like she told Abbott, she spent enough time with Jane to learn from him. She can read clearly that he wants her to be happy in Texas.

The only question is can she be?

I’ll be honest. There were times this season when I wondered if it wouldn’t be better for the show to get axed. I loved the reboot (new actors/characters are wonderful). But some of the cases were getting stale and it hadn’t felt like the show I fell in love with in a while; their was just something lacking, sorry to be blunt, in the writing. Then this episode happened and changed all of that. I had to watch the opening scene twice to read who wrote it: it felt like one of the best Heller scripted episodes ever. If the writers are going to churn out episodes like these then I’m going to enjoy season seven immensely. And I’m not just talking about the J/L angst. The fake grand jury was cool. The fact that the sex trafficking ring turned out to be a cover for live organ donors was also a nice surprise. In fact, the only thing I disliked about the episode was the character Daniella, and I think that’s mostly because I didn’t enjoy the actress who played her: she came off more bratty than sympathetic, unfortunately.

Finally, I apologize for the tardiness of the review. It almost didn’t get written since the new episode had already aired before I got a chance to even start. But then I remembered fans outside of the US still haven’t seen it (and they make up a good number of my readers) so here it is for better or worse for whoever is interested.

Also, I loved this episode too much to not dedicate even a meager review for it. Writing, acting, music (the end ;_;) , direction, editing (court scene, especially)- everything was absolutely perfect. Here’s to more episodes like this.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain May, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain May, 2014. Not to be used without permission.




1- If this episode had a theme song it would be Passenger’s “Let her Go”:

2- My roller coaster week led me to the following articles which I thought I’d share for humanity’s sake.

3- Anyone know if the title of the episode has significance besides the name of the restaurant and perhaps the table Jane and Lisbon sat at and reconciled their differences?

That’s it for now. I’m off to watch the new episode now. See you in the next review!

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.