Tag Archives: Amanda Righetti

Mentalist Finale Brown Shag Carpet-White Orchids Review


‘Brown Shag Carpet’

Synopsis

Following the events of ‘Byzantium’, the team is chasing a serial killer who’s obsessed with the after-life. That leads Jane (Baker) to pull his psychic act as a bait to lure their prey in. Meanwhile, this step in the limelight leads Jane to come to terms with life-changing decisions regarding his relation with his girlfriend Lisbon (Tunney).

Concise Verdict

This ending for Season 7 comes as a two-parter, like it was for S3 (‘Strawberry and Cream’) and S4 (with the diptych ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’/‘The Crimson Hat’). It doubles as the series finale and rivals ‘Blue Bird’, the other potential ending intended for the story, for the closure and the fulfilling emotional commitment both provide. A new door opens for Jane and he accepts at long last to grab a new chance at happiness. The storyline concludes on a cheerful and moving goodbye to faithful viewers from the home-coming wayward consultant and his extended family.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)

Right from the start, the episode is one for tests. After finding Gabriel’s body, when Lisbon asks Jane why the killer would care if he was a real psychic, Jane answers that “he wants one for some reason and Gabriel didn’t pass the test”. It echoes Jane’s own wanderings in the emotional turmoil represented by the wilderness, since it was a nod to Jesus being tested and tempted by the devil. This double episode is the final test for Jane: after crossing path with death in a way reminding of his previous failings, fate will determine the new path he’ll take from now on.

VIS#1: Jane shows his love nest cabin to Lisbon

The storyline opens with a random couple half-arguing about the possibility that the rumored serial killer –whose killings have been made public- may be sitting outside their house. They state that “serial killers don’t sit in cars, they lurk in the shadows”…. which is ironical, since the actual killer strikes when the husband goes out to check on the suspicious yet innocent bystander. The husband has put himself in danger by getting out, but it is his wife who is taken from inside the house. It draws a troubling parallel with Jane’s family, targeted in the security of their home… and the man finds the front door alarmingly open, just like Jane met his fate under the guise of a closed door. How not to be reminded that Jane fears for a repeat by having Lisbon taken from him too?

This frightening opening is in dire contrast with the cheerful serenity surrounding the isolated cabin that Jane bought and that he is eager to show to Lisbon… In response to the way he’d been drifting apart after the shock of Vega’s death, he tells his beloved: “it’s a little shack that I’m gonna renovate. Make some additions… We both knew things had to change: I couldn’t make you quit and I need something to do”. Lisbon is surprised and a little bit skeptical (“so you’re gonna build us a house…”), but the sudden decision has been building up for some time. Their increased intimacy is expressed by the endearing way he closes her eyes to surprise her and her playful question “did you buy me another horse?”, which is of course a cute reminder of the pony he gave her for her birthday when she was still his boss. Plus the fresh air he wants her to “breath in” to try and make her impressions as good as possible is a nod to his familiar love for nature (and her wariness in front of it): having a house in the middle of this kind of environment is implicitly his way to meet her in the middle, instead of making her leave in a long boat trip like he alluded to in the beginning of the season…

Yet, Lisbon’s lack of enthusiasm propels him to explain: “when I’m done, if nothing else, we have a place to live. It’s a start”. Indeed, it’s a start in more ways than one: it’s the first hint he’s given her that he’s ready to stay in a long-term commitment after freaking out, but it’s also a new start for him, given that it would be the first real home he’ll be allowing himself after the debacle at the Malibu house… He’s willing to prove himself to her again, not by talking about what’s in his head, but by showing her that he’s trying to progress and make amends… The fastest way to hint at his will to share her life and start anew is to build a house: like the teacup, the “shack” will be renovated as the visible sign of his mended self. And again, this action echoes the progress of their relationship as they’ve been playing with the idea of moving in together for a few episodes, like when they visited the killer’s house as potential buyers in ‘The Silver Briefcase’ or as hinted by Jane’s fascination with her childhood ‘Little Yellow House’…

An interesting point is that, if Jane’s ready to prove his commitment to Lisbon, it doesn’t involve staying where she wants him to be, though. When she asks him if he wants to quit the FBI, he answers “maybe, I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet”. In a way, it shows that he’s having a more adult reaction than the flying reflex that leaded him to take a break when he was emotionally distraught: he doesn’t have to have all the answers yet. He’s just showing that he’s willing to make the effort and to start thinking about what he wants from life instead of just conning his way out of difficulties or hiding behind his fears. And given the trouble he always had to let her know of his thinking process when it got too touchy, the fact that he’s understood how important it is to share this with the woman he chose as his companion is an indication that he’s grown as a person.

Lisbon is able to sense the progress, yet she’s also afraid that he might take off again without as much as a warning. She tells him that she’s “glad”, albeit understandably shocked by his new acquisition, but that she needs to make sure that he’s “committed to this, to us”, probably because she’s dealt with enough of his lies to know that his word may not be enough. In that line of logic, she dares to broach a subject she never mentioned before: “are you gonna take off your wedding ring? It just, it seems like you don’t want to let go of it…” When she sees his stress over the question, she backpedals “I understand why it’s difficult for you”, leading Jane to answer rather lamely “it’s just that I’m used to it”.

It’s interesting that Lisbon basically asked for that as a sign of commitment for him, whereas she never seemed to mind much the offending object binding him to another woman and another life. She’s been extremely understanding on this point, certainly due to her own history with this dark part of Jane’s life: as the leading officer on the investigation on his family’s murder for more than a decade, she’s also part of this past, even more so considering her nurturing nature and the concern that she felt towards the revengeful widower that she took under her wing. But it looks like having Jane give her the cold shoulder made her greedier, as it happened when Pike entered her life and Jane started hiding his jealousy. As soon as she could, she turned tables on him: before Michelle’s death, it’s been Jane pressuring her to change her life in order to protect her, while now she’s the one pressuring him into giving her more than he thinks he’s ready for… Like it was after his escapade in Vegas and the surge of feelings his two-year long hiatus provided, this last break was probably an eye opener for her. She wants something more instead of risking him not answering her calls again and she no longer feels afraid to demand it. In a way, it shows how much more secure she feels about herself and her relationship with her stubborn lover: after the debacle with Lorelei, she couldn’t bring herself to be straightforward with her feelings for him, just like she blew cold (the plane argument) and hot (the socks) on him when he got back from Venezuela, which lead to a misunderstanding on what she really wanted and Jane clinging to status quo. Now, after having admitted out loud that she loved him (‘Little Yellow House’) and what they had was good (‘Copper Bullet’), she has no claims in asking him to give her more too, in making their relationship progress. By asking him a token of his faith in them, she’s thus willing to back give her trust.

VIS#2: the plan to catch the serial killer

But Lisbon is not the only one getting bolder: the villain is too. Things get ugly when they’re called at a new crime scene: the serial killer they are after since the previous episode has made another victim, whose body he didn’t bother hiding this time. His “playful” display for the FBI to find is briefly enhanced by how the scene is shot from the dark tunnel towards the light; even though it gives the impression that the killer is creepily watching them, it also hints at Jane’s willingness to step out of the darkness and into the light. Plus, the association with the well known “light at the end of the tunnel” that some people have seen after near-death experiences brings forward the notion of death and resurrection, an important theme in the series (cf. the questions of psychics and the afterlife and the reference to Jesus Christ in ‘Byzantium’ for instance). In that same perspective, the difference in the killer’s ways gives them another clue. His pattern is roughly the same, yet since the body is not decayed, they can spot a puncture wound along with the usual missing fingernail: he’s been taking “a cup of blood” from his victim… This choice of words immediately links the murderer to a vampire. Wylie later presents the vampire theory as the most popular online, leading them to investigate a potential link with the occult; this connection is based on the murderer’s interest in Gabriel as a psychic and the fact that “he is stealing blood from a corpse; he’s got to be doing something weird with it”. Interestingly, the “vampire” aspect might also be a nod to Bret Stiles’ golden chalice filled with blood during the Visualize ceremony in ‘Fire and Brimstone’. Indeed, both the cult leader and the vampire use blood as a mean to gain immortality and/or resurrection: Bret promised “I will return” to his followers, while the vampire is an undead/immortal creature. Therefore, they hint at Jane’s fear of Lisbon dying and the Christian references involved with Jane’s wanderings in the wilderness, as well as the psychic angle used in the previous episode.

Back in the bullpen, they get another surprise in the person of Rick Tork, from the Santa Fe office. He’s going to help them on the case because they’re short-handed. Said Tork worked briefly with Jane and Cho in the SCU under the supervision of Ray Haffner in ‘Little Red Notebook’, when Lisbon was almost fired by Bertram. Tork’s memories from that time are far from good. Jane’s used his complex over his short stature to get him into a fight with a coworker in order to undermine Haffner’s new team: “he’ll never tell you what he’s up to; whatever he does, you’ll look like an idiot. And always keep your hand on your wallet”… It’s noteworthy that Tork is one of the rare secondary characters from the CBI era that doesn’t get killed off after crossing paths with the new team –unlike Ardiles, LaRoche and creepy Haibach. As such, he shows indirectly how Jane’s gotten more at peace with his past, because when he first met Tork he was trying to make up with Lisbon for the consequences of his restless actions, like he’s doing here… Both Tork and Jane get therefore an occasion to evaluate how much the consultant has changed, which is bound to give them closure. Before that, though, Jane gets his comeuppance when Tork suggests that they need to set a decoy psychic to lure their killer out. And that Jane should be the bait, of course. Jane is miffed by the idea and leaves the room (“Uh, not a psychic, dude”) and his team members get very protective of him because “the last time Jane tried something like that, it didn’t go well”. Tork only then remembers about “the wife and kid”.

Meanwhile, Lisbon follows Jane to offer some comfort. She doesn’t pry, because she knows it’s still a very sensitive topic, which hints that their couple is not yet over that part of Jane’s history. So, she only informs him that they got Gabriel’s autopsy report back: he had tiny tumors in the brain that caused seizures and delusions, which explains why he was so convinced that his gift was real. By satisfying Jane’s curiosity over the kid’s unexplainable sincerity when he tried to cold read him, Lisbon tries to reassure him by showing him that he was right again: “there’s no such thing as psychics”… It was his mantra to justify his conman ways that got his family killed, so it’s no wonder Lisbon chose this angle to offer support. When she broaches the hurtful topic again, she doesn’t mention Tork’s suggestion or which memories it brought to mind. Instead, she sidesteps by apologizing for having brought the ring up earlier at the cabin: she feels bad for pressuring him into moving on and Tork’s lack of sensibility has awakened this feeling of guilt. Jane simply tells her that he’s okay. Obviously, talking about his way of (not) dealing with the loss of family is not something Lisbon has dared to do sooner in their relationship; this makes one wonder about the status each of them gives to their love story, compared with his idealized married life with Angela.

On the other hand, this disagreement with Tork is also subtly oriented towards Jane’s future: the mention of how he provoked the demise of his loved ones echoes his fears of getting Lisbon killed on the job. Plus, when Tork was told about the investigation, a detail suggests something for Jane’s relationship with her: the buried first victims were killed “between two and nine months ago”. Nine months is the standard duration for a pregnancy. Again, life/birth and death are linked as it has been with the underlying concept of resurrection.

VIS#3: Jane’s psychic act

In spite of his reluctance, when a man is mistakenly killed by a frightened citizen, Jane is convinced that he should follow Tork’s plan to avoid more collateral victims of the panic over the serial killer. While Lisbon argues over his dangerous decision to risk the same fate as Gabriel in the hands of the murderer, Jane tells her: “I appreciate your spirited defense, but it’s not necessary”. The tables have turned, since he was before the one trying to stop his brave Teresa from playing the target… Plus the word “spirited” alludes indirectly to the psychic world Jane’s once again about to enter, another nod to the death/life theme coursing through the episode.

This aspect is discreetly hinted at when Jane is preparing to take part in a TV show. One of the news announced is that “according to state forestry officials, once the bear was tranquillized, he was relocated to a wilderness area”… The wildlife might be a nod to the RJ-related tiger, but it’s interesting that the anecdotic fate of that bear matches Jane’s: he too is more tranquil after coming to terms with his fears and he’s “relocated” himself to a “wilderness area” by buying his large cabin.

The TV show itself –with its dark red setting- is reminiscent of the act Jane pulled in the flashback from the pilot and which got his family killed. The anchorman alludes to it by mentioning Jane’s experience with shows (“oh, you’ve done this before? –Yep”) as well as the long-standing game metaphor, which was used to symbolize RJ’s interactions with the consultant: “all right, I’m gonna throw you a couple easy questions, we’ll have some fun, just keep the ball in the air”… The progression of the scene is in direct opposition with the pilot: back then, Jane showed his skills, then answered to the interview about his work with the police on RJ. Here, he’s first introduced as “a psychic who works with the FBI” –enhancing that he’s no longer a conman seeking glory and money, but part of law enforcement- then he’s asked to explain how he works: “what is a psychic? What is it you do?”

For a fleeting moment, Jane is throw back in the decisive moment of his past, looking straight at the camera with an anguished music playing. This moment reminds of his tormented performances in Karen Cross’ shows, both in ‘Red Carpet Treatment’ (another “carpet” episode where his forced to live again that fateful first interview about RJ) and ‘Blinking Red Light’ (where his drastic choice concerning Panzer lead him to his first serious occasion to approach the man… and where his staring at the camera was equally, if more sinisterly, significant). Then he comes back to the far brighter-present and starts cold-reading the host, telling Dan “your wife… just had a baby… a girl, I believe”. The choice of this particular point regarding Dan is interesting: of course, a personal and emotionally charged detail has more impact on the mark and the audience, but this description of Dan’s family situation, being the happy father of a daughter, matches the one Jane lost when he did the same interview years before. Moreover, it also hints for the second time at the presence of a baby… Jane adds about the baby girl “her name begins with a vowel, “a”…, “Alexan” “A… Alexa” right?” It echoes the encounter he had before entering the wilderness: when he was away from Lisbon in the previous episode, he guessed that the kind bartender’s name started with an “a” too. His first guess was “Angela”, his late wife’s first name, while, now, he’s got enough distance to choose another one. The fact that he accepted to start facing his fears and his grief at long last shows that he’s really moving on instead on hiding emotionally like he’s been doing for years. It’s the last step of letting go: he’s finally able to give his “congratulations” to a happy father instead of chasing guilty parents as he’s been doing since the very first case in the pilot with the abusive father.

Jane’s credibility as a psychic is further set up with another interview, in the afternoon this time. He’s facing two women who are hanging on his lips. He tells to one of them “your aunt passed away about a year ago”. It echoes his performance with a member of the audience with a deceased loved one in the interview from the flashback. Yet, back then, he told the woman that her father asked her “to forgive him”, that he was “deeply sorry”, whereas now this soul he’s supposed to be talking to doesn’t seek redemption: “she used to help people” and “she really wants you to be happy because she loves you very much”. Basically, he’s telling her what he feels like his own family would be hoping for him: that’s what his hallucinated ghost Charlotte meant to tell him and what his carnie friends/family insisted on in ‘Copper Bullet’. That also represents that he’s made peace and finally mourned them in the process of moving on.

Those TV appearances therefore contrast with the badmouthing he did against RJ in the past. Now, he’s not seen “slaughtering” another killer “in the media”, but he’s showing his skills peacefully, he’s accepted this part of him and the past it entails. Before, it just caused death –his family’s, Panzer’s, even Kristina Fry ended up in a half-death after following the same path-, yet now he does it in order to save lives. He’s putting himself at risk to protect others instead of acting in the name of greed or of a vengeful and somewhat selfish hidden agenda. That’s why the interviews follow the course of a day: he starts with Dan in ‘Austin Today’, probably in the morning; he’s in the afternoon edition later and finishes in a “Night Talk” on the radio: these interviews follow the steps of his career at the CBI. ‘Austin Today’ reminds of the pilot and a little bit of his performance to catch a shady anchorman in ‘If It Bleeds, It Leads’ in the Volker arc. The two female journalists remind of Karen Cross and the radio show is a nod to ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’. All in all, in the course of a day, he’s experiencing again the same situations, but with a new goal and a new peace of mind which symbolizes again that he’s finished his grieving process.

The radio interview is undoubtedly the most telling. First, Jane states his position as part of a team: like he’s been doing for years, he explains that he’s not a cop. Still, unlike his previous insistence about not being “above or below” of Lisbon or the other agents, but “on the side”, now he just tells much more humbly “I’m not a detective, I don’t do police work. I’m just trying to help my colleagues understand this man”. The contrast is great with his attention-seeking behavior in the TV show from the pilot… The difference is made even more blatant when Jane describes “cautiously” the serial killer –instead of pretending to force himself to look into the “terrible cold, dark flame” of “true demonic evil” like he did back then when he used to lay it on thick with the mystical aspect of his persona… He says “I would say that he’s obviously angry, probably in a lot of pain, but I think he’s trying to get in touch with someone from the other side”, because “who isn’t?” He doesn’t insult his prey this time, there’s no “ugly, tormented little man”. He only describes the emotional state of the man, who’s “angry”, “in pain” and seeking comfort from a dead loved one: it’s a far more understanding point of view than the “lonely soul, sad, very sad” that he used for RJ. Of course, it’s intended as a bait to lure the psychic seeking murderer to him, so it makes sense Jane is subtler and kinder in his reading, even more so when his past arrogance cost him so much. Yet at the same time, it shows that Jane himself has become less angry and thus less confronting: he’s more mature than he used to be.

When Jane begins taking calls, the first woman to talk to him is an “Anna Marie” whose names come from the Bible: Mary/Marie is Jesus’ mother while Ann is her own mother, which entwines the baby/family aspect with the story of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Anna in the Old Testament is also the name of a prophetess who spoke as the redemption brought by the child to come. But of course, the caller who’s most interesting and loaded with Biblical meaning is Lazarus who “rose from the dead” as one of Jesus’ performed miracles: his name can be linked to the notion of avoiding death, just like the vampire, which already hints at the secret motives behind the killings… The mysterious man dives straight into questioning Jane’s knowledge about “the man the FBI is hunting”, in complete contrast with the previous callers’ more personal worries. When Jane starts asking questions himself about what the man might know, the other simply remarks “you’re the one who knows everything”, because “you claim to be in contact with his spirit”… Underneath the slightly ironic phrasing –given that Jane has already guessed that he’s talking with the killer-, the man can’t mask his very real interest in Jane’s supposed gift. That is meaningful, because it reminds of how Jane’s comments on RJ lead the late serial killer to make contact too, in a most gruesome way. Plus RJ’s first direct contact with vengeful Jane was also by phone: he called after killing off Renfrew/Jane’s first real lead to taunt him with his laugh in ‘Red John’s Friends’.

Jane further tests the waters by making Lazarus admit that he spoke to another psychic before: “he was a complete fake. You could practically see it written on him”. This comment is obviously dark humor: it’s a way to hint that he was the one who killed Gabriel and who “wrote” the word “fake” on his corpse… In a way, Gabriel thus reaped the same consequences than Jane did when he provoked RJ: he was labeled as fake (echoing the sarcastic letter RJ left pinned on the bedroom door) and his career ended in bloodshed… which in turn means that Jane might avoid following the same path since Lazarus wants to believe in his abilities. Unlike RJ who wanted to set himself as god or at least who presented himself as sent by him, playing on Blake references, Lazarus believes “in spirits very much, just not everybody who claims to be in touch with them”. Jane’s therefore been given a chance to put things to right. He’s rewriting his past with RJ, this time avoiding making the same mistakes, in order to gain a different ending. He’s literally facing the past that been plaguing him for years and he’s finally fully ready to deal with it, hence his statement that nobody haunts him when Lazarus asks him: even though the man remarks “there must be spirits in your life”, Jane answers “fortunately, they leave me alone”. He’s spelling out that he’s finished mourning, in case the many hints were not clear enough.

However, Jane’s strength of mind is tested when the new woman in his life is in danger, just like Angela was: Lisbon is coming back at his place and asks over the phone “did you leave the door of the Airstream open this morning?” This moment ends the long string of phone calls between them when he was afraid to have her get killed ever since S1 ‘Redwood’ (‘Strawberry and Cream’, ‘Red All Over’, ‘The Desert Rose’ for instance). It also happens to be the first phone conversation they have since he stopped ignoring her calls: he had felt the need to get away from the FBI for fear of what danger might befall her, while now he’s presented with the very same possibility that he did try to run away from. Unlike with Angela, here he can stand by Lisbon instead of letting her face danger alone; when she opens the door in the same way that he was about to open that fateful bedroom door years ago, he tells her “okay, stop, don’t go anywhere near it, don’t do anything until someone gets there”. He insists “you’re not hanging up”. Yet, like it was with the couple in the opening of the episode, it’s the apparently safest one who’s actually in danger: the killer has set his eyes on Jane. Lazarus crashes his car against the one the consultant is in. It’s what Michelle did with their suspect in ‘Copper Bullet’: the scent of death is looming closer over him. Jane’s kidnapped like he was during his ordeal with Kirkland (‘Red Listed’) and the scene has also shades of his risky encounter with Lorelei in the limo in ‘The Crimson Hat’.

Later, the team makes plans to get him back and orders are given. Interestingly, one of the agents who’s given a specific task is called Elias. This is another version of prophet Elijah’s name, whom John the Baptist –who used to preach in that wilderness that brought peace to Jane- was compared to when he announced the Day of Judgment and that the Messiah was coming… It also symbolizes how Jane is getting over his fears about death by getting committed to a new life. Nonetheless, Elias has a different attitude towards sin than Jesus: while the latter forgives the sinner, Elias is more willing to call the fire of a vengeful justice on the Samaritan who doesn’t respect him enough to be a good host (Luke, 9, 51-56). It foreshadows Jane’s own behavior towards the bad “host” that made him captive and threatens to kill him… Last amusing point: Elias is also known for having resurrected people as a miracle (King 4, 35; 17, 17-24), which again hints at the thing Lazarus is after…

The second agent mentioned by name is trickier: Merrick might or might not allude to Joseph Merrick, better known as the ‘Elephant Man’, a man whose physical deformities lead him to be exhibited in 19th century fairs. If this name is more than a simple coincidence, it might allude both to Jane’s past carny life and to his efforts to become human again –an important theme of the 1980 movie based on Merrick and directed by David Lynch: indeed, in ‘Blue Bird’, he admitted to a scornful Lisbon that he’d “forgotten how to act like a normal human being”. Now, he’s trying to go further into this form of redemption by accepting both his past and future. By forgiving himself, he’s willing to commit himself to her fully.

VIS#4: Jane and Lazarus

While Abbott is telling Lisbon how sorry he is not to have listened to her misgivings concerning this dangerous plan, Jane is held captive in Lazarus’ den. His position, tied up on a chair, reminds of all the other occurrences when he’s been kidnapped and at the mercy of a dangerous criminal (with Kirkland; when he was saved by RJ in S2 ‘Red Sky in the Morning’; in S2 ‘Bleeding Heart’). He’s forced to buy some time, study his abductor and use his wits to get out of the situation, in the vein of S3 ‘Ball of Fire’. Thus, he’s observing intensely his surroundings. He remarks “interesting place. Could do with a little update”: the decoration of the room, including the brown shag carpet, is indeed pretty old fashioned. It’s like it’s been frozen in time, without Lazarus making any change, like an echo of Jane’s empty house in Malibu used to be, with the bedroom containing only a mattress and the dreadful smiley face: Lazarus too is too caught up in his history to move on. The situation enlightens his character and way of life, because it reminds of RJ’s career in crime – a parallel enhanced by him asking Jane if he’s a liar like Gabriel was, then telling him to prove that he isn’t. It also makes him a bit similar to Jane who used to reach for darkness out of distress. Plus, the consultant stays intriguingly true to his word with the man during their talk; he said “I’m not lying” and he keeps indeed telling the truth, explaining that he doesn’t know that Lazarus has kept the room unchanged since his father’s days because of a spirit but because of the outdated furniture…

The similarities are developed when Jane cold reads Lazarus. His mother died when he was very young and he was raised by his father. As far as viewers know, that probably matches Jane’s own carny childhood even as he adds that Lazarus’ father was “strict”, mirroring how Jane’s abusive father tried to make him a conman… This detail is even more interesting since it also corresponds with what Jane deduced from Vega’s father: fatherhood has been particularly stressed on recently and those three examples give a different perspective on what those dads taught to their children. Vega’s father used to be loyal and tried to raise Vega in the respect of rules; as an adult, she had to learn how to bend them in order to become her own woman… On the other hand, Jane’s dad had taught his son how to live in the margin of society, but the consequences that befell him lead Jane to change and become less selfish and more moral, even if he doesn’t always follow the letter of the law. On the contrary, Lazarus has apparently not reached the point where he chose to make his own choices: he’s still completely under the influence of what he’s been raised to be, which proves to be very dark in his case… As such, Lazarus is the inverted reflection of what Jane could have become had he not decided to use his free will for the better. Indeed, Jane insists that Lazarus now feels that he “deserved it”: “he was right to punish you”. Again, Jane’s telling the truth: he doesn’t play the psychic yet, he just says “It’s what I’m getting from you”. This odd honesty hints that Jane’s no longer a conman: he’s seeking justice instead.

But the consultant keeps talking and progressively puts up his best performance in getting in someone’s head: “you didn’t have any friends when you were a kid. You usually ate alone, not because people wouldn’t sit with you, but because you were disgusted by the sounds they made when they ate. Sometimes, other people don’t feel real to you: they’re like robots wearing human skin.” He adds “you’re an exterminator. Yet, again, it doesn’t feel real. It’s like a movie being projected on a screen”. This “impressive” and eerily intimate description of Lazarus’ misophonia and more especially his generally distanced state of mind might be based on something that Jane could spot in the room. Even though the titles on the shelves are too small to read, one can wonder if there could be some classic science fictions novels featuring human-looking robots like ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philipp K. Dick, some of Isaac Asimov’s works or even an old copy of the 1984 movie ‘The Terminator’ (the man’s work as an “ex-terminator” might be a nod). It would fit since this movie’s storyline involves an (still unborn) character who’s destined to be the savior of humanity; two possible futures await this futuristic Messiah: either his mother is killed by an human-skinned android before he’s born, or he’s saved by his father, two options that respectively hint at Lazarus’ disgust with humans and his motivations. Anyway, Jane is perceptive enough to understand the man’s detachment and loneliness; in a way, it matches Jane’s own isolation in middle of the mind games he used to play on others, before he decided to open up and let Lisbon in. Then he too probably used to see other people as somewhat different from him, given that he was the smartest in the room and others were just marks… The way he also used someone else’s story- instead of a science-fiction based metaphor- to avoid telling the truth to Dr Wagner in the pilot might have hinted at the same avoidance of reality he was tempted to hide behind.

In spite of being already half-convinced that Jane has a gift, Lazarus isn’t much into introspection and he doesn’t lose sight of his real goal for targeting him: “I don’t need to know about me: I want contact with another”. He insists to a skeptic Jane that “the spirit is here, if you don’t know that, then you’re a fraud”, “just like the other one”, “a liar and a cheat”. His obsessive eagerness is of course Jane’s clue fort snooping some more: the resourceful consultant understands that the answer to his plight is “here”, inside the place instead of inside the man’s head… Therefore, when Lazarus goes out, Jane accepts the water bottle that he was offered earlier. In addition of earning a tiny little bit of the man’s trust by asking for a small favor, like he advised Lisbon to do in ‘The Greybar Hotel’, the bottle cap can be used as a tool to pull a nail off the table. This clever way to get his freedom of movement ties back to two aspects previously hinted at in the earlier seasons. First, there’s the idea that he’s been locked down in his self-imposed obsession for years, just like he’s about to discover that Lazarus is too. Then the hammer concept was linked to his relationship with Lisbon. Back in the previous season, that tool suggested that his tendency to take her for granted by simply keeping her occupied with “nailing” bad guys, for instance in ‘The Golden Hammer’, was about to smash his chance at happiness to bits; now, the fact that he can take the nail off without an actual tool might symbolize that he has managed to get over this propensity, by listening to her wishes and trying to play more by her rules. Again, it may be an indirect sign that he’s made progress in many (if not every) aspects of his personality.

It enlightens even more clearly how Lazarus mirrors Jane’s past attitude, like RJ tended to do, only this time the emphasis is on the differences rather than the similarities. Lazarus has obviously lost someone dear and is at a different point in his mourning process (in addition to living in isolation, he shows signs of anger, denial and a willingness to bargain to bring the spirit back), whereas Jane has reached acceptance and he’s thus freed from the nastier and more destructive parts of his grieving. This is why the book he looks at in the shelf is accurately titled “Full Circle”: seeing the state Lazarus has put himself in by refusing to accept death, Jane can fully distance himself from his part of his life. By facing a situation rather comparable to the one he lived through, involving the danger of becoming a monster himself that was always lingering at the corner of his long-standing fight against RJ, he can let go of the last shreds of this phase: he’s able to gain more objectivity and detachment towards himself by studying Lazarus. Especially when he sees the length of Lazarus’ insanity: the man is keeping the two years old desiccated body of his father in a little storage area on the side of the room Jane is locked in, just like the serial killer in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. That was what the man hinted at when he said that “the spirit is here”. It’s also the hidden reason for the choice of “Lazarus” as his own nickname since he wants to bring the dead man back to life and he identifies with him, albeit in a smaller scale than ‘Psycho’ character Norman Bates. This is further hinted by the name “Joe” that he shares with his father “big Joe”, not to mention that it starts with the same letter as (Red) John…
When the younger Joe comes back, Jane ups his psychic act, prompted by the various bits of new knowledge he collected. He tells him that his father “says thank you for keeping him, for taking care of him. The passing over was hard, but now he’s good. His back doesn’t hurt anymore, he feels better now than he ever did when Dr Hannigan was feeding him his meds”. The words echo what Gabriel told Wylie about Vega’s spirit which wanted him to stop feeling sad over her death. Also, interestingly, big Joe’s doctor shares his name with the rough agent who first told Jane to move on by starting a new family when he met Lisbon in ‘Red Dawn’: past and future are again connected. The time she took him in is thus linked to the new start he’s willing to take now. To put Lazarus’s alleged “doubts” to rest, Jane also tells him about “a lake” called “Pickasee” and that “he didn’t catch a fish that day”, but “you caught a fish, a small one”. This reminds of course of the recurring fishing theme representing the struggle with RJ.
Lazarus then explains why he’s keeping the mummified corpse: “there’s something in me… A voice… And when it starts, I can’t ignore it… I can’t think about anything else until I go out, find someone… And then it goes away again. For a while. Is that your voice, Daddy? Is that you in me? Are you sending me out? Am I doing this for you?” Like Bates in ‘Psycho’, Joe is convinced that the serial killer part of himself is actually his dad, like he lacks so much substance himself that he’s only a receptacle to the older man’s will, because as Jane put it earlier he thinks that he deserves it. He’s again distancing himself from the world around him: himself, the “robots” that he kills and those disturbing and obsessive impulses that plague his mind. He still lives in a nightmarish dream world focused on his father.

Plus, that idea that he’s sent out to kill for his father reminds of how Jane’s been implicitly compared to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Joe’s killing rampage is brought by a “voice” that he believes to be his dad, just like the prince of Denmark was convinced to set up a murderous revenge plan by his father’s ghost, a notion used for Jane’s quest in ‘Something Rotten in Redmund’. Again, it’s a situation that Jane has gotten over with and that he managed to turn into a happy ending instead of the tragedy Joe is heading to. Lazarus then appears as a counter-model: by looking into the abyss, or rather here by listening to its darkest advices, he has been tainted. His nickname instead of being linked to the biblical idea of light and resurrection as it should, only indicates that he’s already dead inside, because evil has made him a monster too by staring for too long into the Death’s eyes. Hence the concept of haunting spirits, of undead vampires-like creatures attached to his acts. It makes him in complete opposition with Jane, whose introspective wanderings have been conductive to embrace his own mortality in order to start living again. Ironically, Jane’s taken the better part of his close encounter with death and murder: instead of following RJ’s steps through hell, he’s chosen to listen to Carter’s sarcastic and hurtful words of letting go of his pain and start anew, at the very end of ‘Strawberry and Cream’.

This contrast is also intriguing in the way both grieving men managed to handle their fate. Joe doesn’t really have answers to explain his killings, he’s full of questions, which reminds of Jane’s refusal to ask anything of RJ. Yet Jane asks him his reasons and even though he only gets an enigmatic answer from Joe and even if he doesn’t press any further (it doesn’t really matter if he’s suffering from a really bad case of undiagnosed schizophrenia or some other mental disorder), the fact remains that this time Patrick’s mind is clear and devoid of passion enough to act as an investigator instead of out of revenge like he did before. This could explain why Jane chose not to lie to him outright, but to just give an artfully presented version of the truth.

That doesn’t stop him though for trying to put an abrupt stop to Lazarus’ career by setting a mortal trap of gum on the unscrewed light bulb once he’s left alone for an hour. Jane still believes that he’s got the right to play vigilante and the fact that the guy took him as a prisoner doesn’t make him question his desire to bring justice onto his head. When his kidnapper comes back, Jane tells him “if you want answers, they’re in that room. You can go in or not. It’s up to you” This time, it’s Joe’s turn to be standing in front of a door with a dead body behind: the step he’ll choose to take will decide on his fate. And, again, true to his word, Jane is not really lying per se: ironically, by getting himself killed, Jane would have Joe reunited with his father… It is probably noteworthy too that Jane is not the one in front of the crucial door this time –given that he was not aware that it was meaningful when he opened it while snooping for information. His own significant door was opened in ‘Blue Bird’ when he decided to step in the plane to grab at his chance to happiness. Now, it’s up to Lisbon to be left to decide to open the potentially threatening door of the Airstream, or to Lazarus who’s reenacting Jane’s past actions. Jane is past that point in his life: he’s come to forgive himself. In the same manner, he’s no longer the one who’s plagued with guilt in this episode; instead, it’s Tork who’s been feeling a sense of responsibility for having hatched the plan and having failed to protect their consultant, which leads Abbott to tell him to go home and that it wasn’t his fault.

The storage room explodes just as Lisbon comes running into the scene after having tracked the address down through Joseph Keller Sr.’s file. Lazarus’ father had been indeed suspected of being a serial killer too before suddenly falling “off the map”. The last name “Keller” might be playing with that notion in association with the “J” reminding of RJ: both father and son bear their wrong-doings in their real name, whereas it was Red John’s nickname that was meaningful… The scene obviously reminds of her desperate attempt to rescue him in ‘Fire and Brimstone’ –before the explosion, which wasn’t orchestrated by Jane back then. Things come full circle here too as Lisbon concludes their adventure with the words “don’t ever do that to me again, ever”.

This ‘Brown Shag Carpet’ also brings to a close the list of episodes involving floor covering. The previous instances were ‘Red Carpet Treatment’ (in which Jane was offered a gun to achieve revenge), ‘Pink Chanel Suit’ (Jane carrying a rolled carpet in lieu of a corpse out of the judge’s house and generally messing the investigation up) and ‘Redacted’ (in which Jane asserted that the hidden treasure was actually a precious rug, but only after hiring a burglar to break into LaRoche’s home…). All of those occurrences have taken place in Season 3 and showed how far Jane’s obsessive streak had leaden him. As such, the carpets might represent Jane’s immobility, his inability to move on. Yet, here, it’s the killer who’s trapped in a fanatical quest: his father’s brown shag carpet in the room where he keeps Jane, near the mummy, symbolizes this binding and debilitating past, while the ‘White Orchids’ coming up afterwards bring a reminder of Jane’s past, but also the long-standing barely acknowledged hope for something more. Jane leaving the mortiferous carpet behind along with his despair ends the shows on a happier note than he may have had hoped for.

At the same time that Jane’s been playing mind games and getting closure, his coworkers were busy looking for him while displaying how much they’ve learnt from him. Cho and Wylie teamed up to investigate the lead involving local black magic and occult. Both were the most emotionally involved in Vega’s death, it thus stands to reason they were very eager to try something, even as weird as that something might look. And here too, the nods to the past are visible: Cho explained to his young agent what a “Grimoire” is, which both reminds viewers of his uncomfortable encounter with a witch in S1 ‘Red Rum’ as well as it is a discreet allusion to Jane’s various books and notebooks through the series. Like the letter pinned by RJ on the bedroom door in the pilot, this last “magical textbook” opens new (and happier) possibilities…

Later, Wylie showed how much their charismatic consultant has influenced him: he was able to get the reluctant shopkeeper to trust him by bargaining his protection. She accepted to give them precious information on who would look for human blood and why. Even though he had seemed so uncertain on the field in the previous episode, Wylie was able to become a better, more confident member of law enforcement due to Jane’s teaching.

But the most startling example is provided by Lisbon. Earlier episodes showed how well groomed she’s been in the art of using manipulation in order to close a case (‘The Greybar Hotel’, ‘Black Market’, ‘The Silver Briefcase’). Here, after Wylie and Cho had found a man involved in the black magic aspect of buying human blood, she dismissed Abbott’s claims that the man already requested an attorney: she insisted ruthlessly “I don’t care”, “we don’t have time for this”, “let me talk to him”. Then, she cold read him: “you’re hiding something”, “I never would have noticed something like this before, but I’ve been working for a very long time with somebody who’s good at seeing into people what they’re thinking, feeling”. She was able to guess what he was hiding, “something violent or sexual, maybe both. But judging by how freaked out you are, I’d say it’s something really bad”. She was not above threatening the man, like Jane did so many times, to her chagrin: “I don’t think you understand how important this is to me. You give me a name, you can walk out of that door right now; you don’t and I will dig up every dirty secret you have”, “I will tell everybody you know: your coworkers, your friends, your family”, “you’re not gonna be able to hide”. She even added to show her cold determination “it’s not a threat, it’s a promise” and “my boss is right back there. Tell him, get me fired, ruin my career, I don’t care. I want those names”. Her worry-induced restless lack of regard for rule contrasts with her way of handling Jane’s disappearances in their CBI days. For instance in ‘Ball of Fire’, she was careful to hide her very real worry under professionalism, whereas here, she didn’t care about façades and even used her fear and anger to frighten her prey. She’s become much more open with her emotions.

Plus, by chasing after her lover’s trail, Lisbon was already proving that she doesn’t need him anymore in her professional life: what Jane has been trying to teach her for years (more notably since ‘Blinking Red Light’) has come to fruition and, surprisingly, this implicitly gives Jane space to invest more deeply the personal side of their relation. Indeed, for years, the main thing that bounded them together was their job, to the point that Lorelei commented that he was reduced to working cases with the CBI because he was “a little bit in love” with Teresa… Now that this need for his enlightening knowledge of the human mind is no longer as needed as it used to, they are to develop a union centered on their affection alone, instead of hiding behind the long-standing half-lie of getting along because “he closes cases”. In a way, Lisbon is therefore also tacitly committing herself more completely to him as a man she loves, instead of as a coworker she happens to date…

Once again, this ties back to their shared past of darkness, since he only started grooming her in order to manipulate her more easily to his views and to prepare her for his leaving the team at the end of his quest. The expression used earlier in the investigation to describe one way of getting blood is telling: “cutting yourself open” reminds of what Jane told Lisbon that he planned to do to RJ in ‘Red Flame’ (“when I catch Red John, I’m going to cut him open and then watch him die slowly, like he did with my wife and child”). It might also be a nod to Jane’s suicidal tendencies that have been more or less hinted at in the series (‘Red John’). Yet, as it systematically happens in this finale, this painful reminder is turned into a more positive one: this time, Lisbon’s grooming no longer implies sinister purposes, but it means getting Jane back for getting their happily ever after. Plus a detail is amusing: Lisbon managed to get “eight names” out of their unwilling witness. Given how often the “seven” number was used to refer to the last season (or to the seven suspects on Jane’s list of RJ candidates), the number eight here implies that they keep going with their happier life even after the closing episode.

‘White Orchids’

The conclusion to the fright caused by the kidnapping and the detonation is shown 24 hours later, when Jane is signing the lease for the house, the very first real home he’s acquired since his Malibu residence, after the shabby string of motel rooms/attic/Airstream. It’s a house that needs repair, just like the Lisbon old family home that he had been looking at in ‘Yellow Little House’.
It’s a sign of freedom and it’s stressed out by the real estate agent joking “now usually this is where I hand over the keys, but there aren’t any”. It obviously refers to the bad state the cabin is in, but it may also be a nod to the many keys that appeared through the series to show how Jane had been locked up by his obsession with revenge: there is no need for that kind of “keys” for him now that he has learnt to get free from his pain…

VIS#5: Jane’s proposal

Once he’s secured this haven in dire need of remodeling, Jane takes another big step into moving forward. Lisbon has been dropping not so subtle hints that she wants him to prove his commitment so he kills two birds with one stone by talking her about his wedding ring, the taboo topic that Lisbon is feeling sorry for bring up.

When they’re admiring the antic house and bantering about how the slanting to the left might be due to an optical illusion, Teresa notices suddenly that he’s not wearing his ring. Jane answers in a deceptively easy fashion: “I’m not married”, then keeps talking about the slanting of the house (“the ground is slanty, so it makes the structure look like it’s leaning, but it is, in fact, not”). When he gathers his wits, he broaches the real matter at hand: “this ring has been with me for a very long time and it has obvious significance with my past”. The ring has been indeed a token of his lost family and a symbol of his quest for revenge: Jane’s been using it for years to fence off women willing to distract him for his self-imposed reclusion and it was precisely the object that Lisbon mentioned to try and awaken memories of his past during his fugue state. Staying symbolically “married” instead of accepting that he was a widower was Jane’s way to avoid getting emotionally involved in normal human interactions during his CBI years. He explained to Kim in ‘My Blue Heaven’ that he was still wearing it because he didn’t know how to talk about his grief and the things he did after losing his wife. Jane being a creature of habit, it stands to reason that he would be reluctant to step forward without this comforting, familiar security blanket… Like the broken teacup, that has been lovingly mended, those items no longer show the narrowed life he had in the CBI, but the stability he longs for and finally achieves by incorporating to a new life those past emotions he used to avoid.

Yet Jane takes the plunge by adding swiftly “it also represents meeting you: if I didn’t have this ring, I would never have met you. So in a sense, it has the potential to represent my future as well”. Like he did with the vest in his three-piece suit, which used to be an emotional armor, a part of the façade he put between him and the world to keep his distance, Jane has managed to turn this emblem of his inability to reach for others into something much more emotionally charged. Indeed, he got his vests back after Lisbon told him she liked them (‘The Greybar Hotel’), so they’ve become a mean to please his lover. In the same manner the ring serves now to build something that would bind them closely together: “I’m not expecting you would ever wear it, but I want to share it with you and I want it to represent our future together. I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?” the meaning of this powerful moment can be summed up by the title: ‘White Orchids’ are flowers used for marriage decoration but in the course of the series they’ve echoed Jane’s hope for a new beginning, most particularly since the Lorelei arc (see among others the post about ‘TM Major Themes, Symbols and Arcs: Part 2 –Seasons 3, 4 and 5’ for further reference as well as the reviews for the corresponding episodes).

Interestingly, the ring, along with the vest and the teacup, are quite similar to the magic items given to the characters of some fairy tales. In the perspective of initiation, these objects become filled with the meaningful wisdom that the protagonists acquired on their way. Jane has learnt to live again and the talisman guiding him in his destructive mission has turned into a symbol of the love he’s earned during his progression. Just like Dorothy and her ‘Ruby Slipper’ in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, he happened to have carried all along with him the means to going back home: his golden ring represents the capacity of loving again he’s been denying himself for too long… But here, Jane’s progress on a path of hardship is therefore no longer represented by his worn-out brown shoes, as it had been until ‘Blue Bird’; he’s no longer walking away from his deepest wishes, but instead he’s risen above his doubts by a more introspective reflection. He’s gained the power to use gold instead of shoes. Like Frost’s poem told viewers, ‘Nothing Gold Can’t Stay’ and his new-found happiness is bound to disappear at some point, but for Jane embracing its fragility also means understanding how valuable it still is to get it back.

Lisbon’s reaction is very different to her hesitation after Pike asked her the same question. She’s moved and agrees at once with enthusiasm. When Jane admits that he’s “glad” because he was “a little nervous”, she’s surprised: “oh, come on, you knew I was gonna say yes”. Jane’s next words are a confession that she’s probably been waiting for years to hear: “no, even after all these years, you’re still a mystery to me”. That closes the chapter of Jane’s attempts at “reading her like a book” as he once said he could: ever since ‘Red Flame’ in Season 1, he’s been trying to prove to her (and to himself) that he could handle her as a predictable creature, causing her alternatively to be on her guard or angered by it (she enjoyed the shock on his face when she showed him the hammer in her desk drawer in S5 ‘Panama Red’)… His truthful admission that she’s indeed the most mysterious character of them both should have felt gratifying had she not been already overwhelmed with joy, laugher and kisses.

The wedding planning: light and darkness mingled

As a consequence, whereas Joe Keller was heading towards a tragedy à la ‘Hamlet’, the end of Jane’s journey looks more like a Shakespearian comedy that parallels the romantic comedy vibe of ‘Blue Bird’. Indeed, in addition of the typical underlying threat of death intricately woven in a plot that takes place in a scenery featuring nature (the cabin), there’s a mixing of different atmospheres characteristic of the Bard’s plays. This latter point reminds of the series’ usual tone of a dark storyline interlaced with humor, while insisting for once on the more positive aspect. While Jane and Lisbon are inundated with the cheerful and funny aspect of their romance, they’re under the illusion that their latest enemy is dead. On the other hand, evil Lazarus is following their love story step by step with the prospect of ruining it: if we were for instance to compare the episode with one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s comedies, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, Lazarus would be the ill-intentioned Don Pedro planning to crash their wedding and crush their happy ending… Meanwhile, here too the main couple is be too occupied by their friends’ more benevolent yet slightly annoying projects for them to notice that something is amiss.

From there, the plot follows then two directions, one laced with deadly plans, the other merrier.

1) Lazarus

The killer is lurking, quite like RJ had been for years. Like McAllister in ‘Red John’, he’s survived the explosion and he’s chasing after Jane, not stopping at killing collateral victims ruthlessly in his obsessive hunting. It might be worth remarking that, like RJ pretended to have given “purpose and meaning” to Jane’s life by killing his family (inferred by Rebecca’s words in ‘His Red Right Hand’), Jane has given its real meaning to the name “Lazarus”: what was only an impossible project involving his father has become reality for the serial killer, who’s really come back from the dead, at least from the agents’ point of view… Joe represents more clearly than ever the past that Jane has put behind. He’s linked to fire (cf. ‘Tyger, tyger burning bright”) and wears the mark of the beast under the form of fresh burnt marks instead of the three-dots Blake tattoo. As he says himself, his careful surveillance of what Jane’s up to is a “bad omen” since he threatens to force Jane back on the same tragic path he used to tread through. By playing with fire and taunting a serial killer for the second time, Jane is in danger of having again his new family ripped off from him.

2) Lisbon and Jane

The happy couple follows hastily and in quite a messy way the main points of a traditional wedding checklist. Those follow a bit more closely the bride’s steps (whereas the focus has been more on Jane so far) are presented with a humorous twist due to Lisbon’s wariness of how grand the event is getting.

The first official step is informing the team of their engagement. It also means announcing formally that they’ve been a couple for months… That doesn’t come as a great surprise for Abbott, matchmaker extraordinaire between two jobs, or for Cho who’s been more aware of his coworkers’ feelings this time (“I told you” he says, even though Abbott corrects “no you didn’t”). That leaves the role of the clueless colleague to Wylie, who later confesses to Cho that he didn’t see it coming. The couple hurries to insist that they don’t want “any wedding fuss”: “we’re just gonna slip away quietly in the next couple of days”.

The happy mood is dampened in the next scene when a determined and badly burnt Keller shows up in a shop. A song can be heard faintly as he limps his way around the store: it’s Tom Jone’s ‘It’s Not Unusual’, a 1965 hit that matches the old-fashioned setting of his dad’s house. The upbeat lyrics hint at the danger of heartbreak that might befall the lovebirds (“It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone/ It’s not unusual to have fun with anyone/ But when I see you hanging around with anyone/ It’s not unusual to see me cry, I want to die”).

Yet, oblivious to the threat, Lisbon keeps announcing the great news, this time to a more personal audience. As she contacts her brothers, they’re enthusiastic. Their first question is about their long-time estranged brother Tommy; Lisbon tells them that she left him a message but “he’s chasing a bail jumper in Alaska”. They comment simply “well, you snooze, you lose. We’re gonna miss him at the bachelor party, though”. As heartwarming as this effort to act like a family again may be, it leads to the prickly announcement: “there is no bachelor party”, “we’re getting married the day after tomorrow, just me and Jane and the Justice of the Peace: no big wedding, no guests”, “we want to get married quietly”… Stan and Jimmy are bewildered: “we’ll be quiet, but we’re gonna be there, T.” When they understand that they can’t argue with their stubborn big sister, family man Stan (sporting a cross matching Lisbon’s necklace) decides to make her feel guilty as she’s probably still feeling bad for avoiding family events for years: “if we’re not there, Mom’s gonna spin in her grave like a freaking crankshaft”, “she’ll be crying for shame”… Jimmy tries to reason him, but it only results in making Lisbon feel worse: “why would you want to be there if she doesn’t want us there?” The two overgrown kids start mock fighting: “you’re a sad, bitter man, Jimmy Lisbon”. This might or not be a moving echo to Jane’s reading of RJ as an “ugly, tormented little man, a lonely soul, sad, very sad”. Jimmy keeps fighting his bro and laughing “I smile through it”, “I smile through the sadness” (which is maybe a distant nod to the blood smiley that plagued Jane’s memories).

Jane spots immediately that Lisbon is worried because she ended up inviting them to the wedding. He just agrees that they’re family and eases the mood up by teasing her about asking how he did know what she had on her mind (“when we’re married, do you think you might stop asking that question?”). Lisbon nevertheless comments that, since her brothers are coming, “it feels funny not to invite just a couple of members from the team”. She’s torn between what feels right and their wish to “keep it small”… Jane tells her kindly “invite away, we’re gonna need a few more guests just to dilute the alcohol content”. They decide to settle on “just three or four” more guests, that promptly escalade to “just 8 or 9 close friends at the courthouse”. It is the official start of Teresa Lisbon’s ‘Doomsday of the Uncontrollable Guest List’… In spite of Jane’s misgivings, they are not fully aware that they’re tempting fate (“it’s not like we’re hiring a caterer, we don’t have a gift registry of anything…”) and they decide to head “to O’Malley’s bar afterwards. Or we could go to a restaurant”. O’Malley was the bar the team gathered at in ‘Strawberry and Cream’ to discuss their secret plan. Since this particular bar was located in Sacramento, it might be a pet peeve or a discreet allusion to their CBI days.

Then Jane takes upon himself to get her a ring. He explains that the old wedding band that served for his unusual proposal is “for us: you need one for you”. He wants to choose it alone as to not “waste time bickering” since he has “better taste”, but takes into consideration Lisbon’s plea for it not to be “too gauche”. Of course, Jane’s resourceful conman ways are a great help when he spots at the store the jeweler trying to trick the young couple before him by giving them a cheap replica instead of the genuine diamond they came with. The family theme is again explored by the lovebirds’ claim that the diamond they want to put in a necklace is a family heirloom (from a grandmother) and the maternity idea is subtly played with the second occurrence of the name “Anne”, which belongs to the Virgin’s mother in the New Testament. Jane steps in jovially, saves the day by uncovering the sleight-of-hand move called “French drop” that he witnessed and blackmails the dishonest jeweler into showing him his “very best selection, please” adding as an afterthought “nothing too gauche”.

His secrecy only heightens Lisbon’s curiosity over the ring. So, when they are busy with tedious bureaucracy at the County Clerk Office, he jokes “I could just give you the ring and we could elope” while making a show of touching the hidden box through his pocket. She playfully asks “you got a ring?”, then proceeds to poke his pocket while insisting “you gonna show it to me?” (Warning to Jane: physical teasing and poking tendencies appear to run deep in the Lisbon family. Judging by her brothers it can only get worse the more familiar she grows after marriage… Please refrain from starting any tickle fight and watch your ribs!)

Of course, Teresa can’t get over her shock when seeing his gift and readily believes that it’s too big to be real. Then when he assures her that it is real, she freaks out “oh my, are you out of your mind?”, “well, it’s gorgeous, but it’s too much, I can’t accept it”. Even though she managed before to give back the pricey emeralds that he offered her in ‘Red Handed’, this time he insists “you can accept it and you will. It’s yours, I want you to have it.” Those heartfelt words contrast with the clerk’s matter of fact statement that “we’ll need confirmation that the ceremony’s been performed within 72 hours or you will need to refile” and Jane delights sarcastically “who said romance is dead?”… The moment is laced with another allusion to their shared past: Jane’s wish for a romantic elopement followed by an honeymoon in Fiji is a nod to his island days and to his plans for running away on a boat to a no less exotic beach in Polynesia in ‘The Silver Briefcase’, only this time it’s not the temptation to escape the risks of reality that motivate him, but the eagerness to spend quality time with his beloved bride.

The rest of the planning takes place from Lisbon’s point of view and it displays how deep her relations with the people in her life have become. It’s thus easy to notice how much character development she underwent, from the workaholic loner from the pilot to the “popular” girl whose wedding everyone comments and wants to attend. The amusing part is of course her aggravated look at the orgy of wedding vocabulary and the way things are going out of hand.

1- With Abbott

Her former boss is happy to offer his house to stage the ceremony, which contrasts greatly with how harsh he’s been with Lisbon on their very first encounter in the CBI. Back then, he mistrusted Lisbon because of her supposed relation with Jane. It’s this very same involvement with a man whom he’s come to respect that he’s giving his blessing to now, putting emphasis on how a new leaf in their life has been turned. Both have earned his consideration; even though his suspicions about their mutual feelings at the CBI were well-founded, his own indulgence in Jane’s schemes has implicitly shown that he understands now how love was probably not the only reason why Lisbon followed her consultant’s lead.

Dennis has since then become protective of them. He’s pushed Jane into following his heart in the end of Season 6; he’s now offering to host the “casual wedding” and later he’s “covering the rental [of the tables] and the bartender and the caterer” as a wedding gift. All in all, Abbott is the closest they have to a nurturing parental figure who’s welcoming them into their new condition. Even if his rather fatherly role is not to guide the bride to Jane directly, his hand in sponsoring the event’s preparations financially goes far enough to both show his thankfulness for their help in ‘Copper Bullet’ and to place him as the godfather of their union.

2- With Cho

If Dennis plays the doting father, Cho acts as the friend/family member/bridesmaid/fashion consultant helping her choose her wedding dress, for Lisbon doesn’t have any real female friends in the FBI after Kim left. After all, Cho was already her fake-fiancé when they went undercover as a couple in a jewel store in ‘Black Market’. It foreboded Jane choosing the actual ring in an earlier scene. Cho is her oldest friend in the FBI team and the only available member of the SCU at hand at such short notice, but it’s nonetheless very telling that she felt comfortable enough to ask for his help in such a personal matter even more since he’s now technically her supervising agent. Her relaxed clothing when she asked him, only clad in her dark green form-fitting top with no jacket, speaks enough of how natural the question feels. In ‘Bloodstream’, when he was placed in a position of authority above her for the first time, he told her that, unlike her, he didn’t want walls between his team and him; isn’t that heartwarmingly ironic that now the only thing standing between her and this close stoic friend at a decisive moment in her womanly life is the door of a dressing room?

Of course, the fact that loafer-lover Lisbon has upgraded her wardrobe in the recent months to more feminine or even sexier outfits than her old reliable pantsuits doesn’t mean that she has any idea of what kind of gown she wants. Cho’s opinions on the different styles she tries on are as laconic as funny: “makes you look short”, “snow cone”, “slutty elf” sum up how difficult it is for petite Teresa to find her dream dress. At the end, the man decides to save time and he chooses for her, probably thinking that he has better taste just like did Jane about the ring: “you want a simple piece with clean lines, maybe something vintage and off-white”. Lisbon is relieved and simply agrees to ask the attendant for “what he said”.

Very pleased with her former second-in-command-turned-boss’s sage advice, Lisbon thanks him and tells him “I asked you along because I thought you’d be honest. I had no idea you were such a fashion expert”. This may be a nod to his seductive countenance when he rocked stylish clothes in ‘Crimson Casanova’. Kimball explains: “not me. My mom could run up a designer shop before breakfast, she cut her cloth by eye.” Emboldened and touched by this rare confidence, Lisbon discloses some personal information on her own: “my mom had a sewing machine, but it was always in hock…” Cho tells her then something very sweet: “she’d be proud of you”, even dressed in a far too revealing wedding gown. This allusion to her family ties back to her yielding to her brothers’ pressure for fear of what her mom would have wanted: like Jane, Lisbon has overcome the bad memories of her own tragedy and she’s now able to think about it with more serenity than she had showed in the pilot.

3- With Wylie

Wylie too achieved some peace of mind with his own tragedy. There’s some progress concerning how difficult he finds to accept Vega’s death. When he announced to Cho his decision to request a transfer in the Salt Lake City office, Cho familiarly smacked him over his head and told him to stop feeling sorry for himself and that making some mistakes is normal. As for his sadness about Michelle, he insists “you miss Vega. Now remember who she was: she’d never run away from a challenge like this and neither should you.” He concludes “I have to rebuild the team and I want to start with people that I know and trust, so stick around”, before adding almost fatherly “I’m asking you to stay, Wylie”. Cho already proves that he will be a stern but protective leader, just like he did with Michelle. Abbott who’s just “spinning” his “wheels here”, waiting for his new job to begin, can rest assured that the future of team looks encouraging, with or without Jane and even with the new dynamic brought by Lisbon putting more energy in her home.

Now that Wylie feels better about himself and his place in the team, his liveliness can be directed to more pressing matters… which is to say stressing Lisbon out by becoming her unofficial wedding planner. When she demands that he must keep the news to himself as to not hurt anyone’s feelings, for they want to keep is small, he starts his eager yet demoralizing mission by asking her if there is a “gift registry” or a “trousseau” (which leaves her puzzled). Later, at Abbott’s place, he’s already making arrangements: “you’d probably prefer to hold the ceremony outside and there isn’t really a room inside big enough”. Indeed, “a lot of people are talking about it” and the list has grown exponentially: from the “15 people” that Lisbon remembers inviting, they’ve reached the nerve-racking number of “mhm, more like 25, or…” He’s quick to try to reassure her: “I don’t think people are waiting for, like, a printed invitation seeing as there isn’t one. But, hey! On the plus side, you’re popular, girl!” There also a “menu” and the corresponding caterer that she didn’t ask for, of course…

4- With the most prominent members of the ever growing list of guests AKA her family

Lisbon’s wariness at being unable to stop more and more people from attending her wedding reaches a depressing peak when her brothers arrive with their whole family. Lisbon expresses her lack of gusto by those heartfelt words: “wow! You all came! So many people…” Jimmy even found himself a very giddy and annoying fiancée, who immediately launches on a distressed Lisbon exclaiming “I am so freaked out to meet you at last! We’re gonna be sisters! Yay! Yay!” Lisbon explains to her energetic relatives: “sorry, I’m freaking out right now”. Yet, despite her misgiving about what is now shaping to be a bigger wedding than she wished for, their enthusiasm at being with her shows that they’ve come a long way to become a close-knit family again.

The second family eager to share the happy event is her old team. When she announced them the good news to Grace and Wayne, they comment that “the news is spreading fast through the CBI grapevine” so they “had to call and say congratulations”. Wayne, who’s been teasing Jane about how they had always thought he and the fair agent Lisbon would end up together in ‘White as the Driven Snow’, says “so you and Jane, huh? We always knew”. Grace corrects “We always knew? I always knew!” Obviously, romantic Grace is the reason why oblivious Rigsby could have guessed a potential love story that had escaped Cho’s notice at the time…They accept gleefully the invitation (“we wouldn’t miss it for anything”) and think about how they’ll manage to get rid of their kids with “a little child-care juggling”. Rigsby even jokes “you know, worst comes to worst, we’ll just bring the little monkeys with us and keep them locked in the rental car”. It shows both how happy they are with their new life and how attached they still feel to Teresa, who remained a close friend through the years (cf. ‘My Blue Heaven’).

Their interaction implies that Lisbon is now at peace with that part of her past too. Even thought she lost her job at the CBI and had to face discredit to the point of being relegated in a small town Sheriff office, she’s gotten closure over her broken career. The professional image she worked so hard to project is somewhat restored as the “CBI grapevine” readily shares the news: people find the information interesting, which hints that she’s “popular” there too. Moreover, the fact that she’s the one who reaches for others might hint that people could be more taken in by her, because she was genuinely liked. After all, she always had good relations with others agents onscreen, even ones who had taken over her team like late Haffner (before he started getting creepy) and now Tork. In a way, one can wonder if in hindsight her care for duty and her genuine kindness may not be more fondly remembered by people who enjoyed celebrating her ten-year anniversary with the CBI (‘The Red Barn’) than her unruly and whimsical consultant who had a hand in the loss of their jobs… Anyway, the leaf is turned for the better since Teresa has been achieved her happy ending, like Grace and Wayne before her. More than the Lisbon brothers, these two represent what she wants from married life: to be able to get along merrily with her loved one and their family. This comforting domestic sight matches what she used not to want to acknowledge that she wished for in her younger years, from the horrendous pink bridesmaid dress Jane forced on her, because he guessed it was a secret desire of hers, to her discreet envy when Rigsby started being a doting dad.

Family has been a main theme of the last season. Family may often be a bad influence that holds you back (the Bittakers in ‘The White of His Eyes’; Lazarus); it may keep you stuck in neutral, overwhelmed by doubts about doing what they would approve of (Jane; Vega wondering about her actions under Jane’s guidance, until she took a decision, unlike Lazarus). But it can also be the very people who will support you (Lisbon and the team) and for whom you want to be a better person (the Stopparts in ‘The White of His Eyes’; Jane becoming again a normal human being for Lisbon). All in all, family is a way to build future with one’s past, like the young couple in the jeweler store who wants to make a necklace from a grandmother’s ring: it’s exactly what Lisbon and Jane are trying to do.

Finally the two plots of the episodes, featuring respectively evil Lazarus and the happy couple, meet when Lazarus tries to pinpoint where Jane is. As he calls Tork, pretending to be the TV show host that he just murdered, he’s been told that Jane “is pretty unfindable these days, he’s getting married in a few days”. This line contrasts with Jane’s words to Lisbon that he tries “to be more findable these days” at the end of ‘Byzantium’ after his Airstream escapade. Indeed, there’s a role reversal, for Jane is no longer the one chasing restlessly after his nemesis: this time, Lazarus is the one searching for him.

The role reversal continues when the team is alerted that Lazarus is alive and kicking his way onto warpath: in pure Jane’s fashion, they decide to keep the lovebirds in the dark because they can handle it without worrying them. They agree to lure the killer in by using their friends’ wedding as bait, just like Jane would do:”postpone the wedding? We’re the FBI!” In a way, that’s payback for all the times Jane (and Lisbon) didn’t let the team in their discoveries, especially about RJ being alive too, for example after the debacle with Carter or after Jane realized that Bertram was just a decoy for McAllister in ‘Red John’. Their main reason is not as selfish as Jane’s used to be though: they know that he and Teresa are “in a good space right now. If Lisbon found out that this case isn’t closed, it’s likely that she’ll cancel the wedding and join the hunt”. They decide therefore that “there’s plenty of time to tell them after”… which means that Abbott will probably add the names of more agents to the guest list in order be inconspicuous: “four, but now I think we should probably have more… at least ten” armed agents watching “the front and backyards and the surrounding neighborhoods”. Amusingly, Dennis’ listing for the party keeps growing, in parallel with the real guest list…

Of course, Jane is quickly able to spot that he’s been lying to when Abbott tells him that he was talking with Cho and Tork about “nothing special”. The perceptive consultant only says “I won’t pursue the point because you would tell me if it was something important”. He then lets Abbott wheedle him on a safer topic: “you know, I’ve been getting some calls about you and my bosses want to know if you’re sticking around”. There’s “no pressure” from his part (a dig at Pike’s favorite expression for planning his future…), yet he explains “if you’re going, there is some legal stuff that we need to handle to expunge that deal that we made.” Jane understands the need for talking about the deal written on “the napkin” when he left his island, but he reflects “I’m getting married tomorrow. Then I’m building a house and, beyond that, I genuinely have no idea. And I can’t do this job forever, but it’s gonna be tough to give up.” Abbott comments that “it’s hard giving up making a difference, huh?”, though Jane amends “no, everyone makes a difference. Hard to give up the chase.” Jane’s aware that the team doesn’t really need him: he’s past the need to prove that he’s the smartest in the room. Instead, he’s aware that what drives him is his tendency to focus on the man hunt provided by cornering bad guys as well as the intellectual stimulation offered by investigating a case. Lisbon remarked this very accurately when he first mentioned quitting ‘The Silver Briefcase’: “it’s not gonna be as easy to walk away as you think”, because “you enjoy the mental simulation far more than you let on”. It’s probably the secret reason why he was capable to devote himself so completely and for so many years to the pursuit of his goal in the RJ era: concentrating his clever mind on chasing down a shadow was a way to distract himself for the pain. On this point too it’s then a new beginning for him, for he should try to find some interests in life other than playing mind games on marks, may they be criminals or credulous people.

Yet, Jane is not quite over that peculiarity of him because he has no qualms in manipulating his friend into telling him what he’s trying to hide. He agrees with Dennis that “it has been very good working” with him. It’s in way as to make the other man feel guilty. He insists “I really appreciate your honesty. I love you for that” until Dennis relents and acquiesces “okay you got me: I was lying, there is something I need to talk to you about”.

Once he knows that he’s about to be targeted at the wedding, he goes to try and convince Lisbon to really avoid the risky situation by eloping. With her too, his old treacherous habits insensibly lead him to hide the ugly truth at first in order not to frighten her. He finds his grumpy dulcinea in Abbott’s garden moping in the middle of several elaborated bouquets of white roses and orchids mingled with pastel colored flowers. Jane tries to gauge the situation and tries to distract his tear-stricken fiancée by commenting cautiously: “nice flowers”. Lisbon recites “they’re centerpieces. It’s a Sylvan theme”. Seeing that she’s even more distraught by this statement, he senses that the problem is that the wedding preparations have gotten out of hand: “how many people are actually coming to this thing? –Nobody knows exactly”. Lisbon exclaims “how did this happen? This is not what I wanted. Well, I like the Sylvan theme… We should have eloped like you said”. All the while, he’s stroking her arm in a soothing motion. After she affirms that her family wouldn’t care (“I just talked to them at the hotel. They found a minibar, they’re like cavemen arguing over a dead antelope”), Jane seizes this golden opportunity to make her get her out of the killer’s way without alarming her: “let’s run, huh? We’ll tell nobody, just the judge. I’ll have her meet us at our little cabin tomorrow morning”, already planning to “get someone, a park ranger” as a witness. Lisbon is overjoyed by the perspective of giving the slip to their not-so-wanted guests, which fits the old habit for secrecy and plotting that has cemented their couple over the years: “you know what? Let’s do it!”, “it’s our life, damnit!”, “I’m gonna go get my dress and I’m gonna go to the Airstream, I’ll meet you here”. She even tells him that she loves him and kisses him by way of thanks, convinced that she is that her comforting and seemingly perfect fiancé is only trying to make her happy.

Lisbon’s candidness leads him then to spill the beans. The hastiness of his explanation makes the scene even funnier “well, there’s another very good reason why she should elope, all right? Keller is apparently still alive and he’s mad at me for some reason…” Lisbon is floored, so he keeps taking “yeah, so Cho and his people are gonna stake out of this house. When Keller shows up, they’ll nab him”. Even though Lisbon is at once assured that married life with Jane will never get dull, one may understand that this revelation fails to make her very satisfied with her groom. Yet the amusing part is that she’s not as much scared for their life as annoyed by his almost-lie: “you were gonna withhold this information from me?” She even lets slip that her main fear is still about attending to the too many guests by saying “you were gonna deprive me of a guilt-free elopement?” Jane protests “I just told you!” but that doesn’t cut it: “you almost didn’t! From now on, we need to be 100% honest with each other”, mirroring an old worry that has plagued her since the very start of the show. This claim might echoes her statement that she didn’t trust him 100% in ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ when he started being more open to her about his plans after killing Carter. Nonetheless, here he only agrees and seals this promise with a series of heartfelt sweet kisses. They decide to hurry away (“I’m gonna go get my dress, fire up the Airstream”).

This cute and comical discussion enlightens that the focus has shifted. Keller’s predatory and murderous intends are emphasized by the stone eagle at the gate when he slips into the judge’s trunk to get to the place where’s the marriage will be held, nevertheless, they’re less worried about the danger than they’re eager to enjoy their important day peacefully. They’re trying to get the wedding they want and to start their married life on the best, most thoughtful way possible; they’re already past the excitement of the chase. In that perspective, Keller is already bound to fail, all the more since the burnt mark he’s wearing makes him easy to spot. It gives the team time to prepare for his arrival.

VIS#6: the big day/ the ending

The tension is increasing as Jane is deep breathing in front of the pound in his new property. He’s contemplative, clad in his usual suit, with a satiny tie. A delicately veiled Lisbon gets out of the Airstream with her dress on, looking wonderful if slightly out of place. They promise each other “no matter what happens, from this point on”, “we will always look on the bright side”. It’s Jane’s commitment not to fall into despair again. Interestingly, the bouquet Lisbon is sporting is an arrangement of wild-looking flowers with white anemones. Anemones are traditionally associated with fading hope. This pretty dark meaning derivates from Greek mythology, because these usually dark red flowers were supposed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis, whose death had left Aphrodite inconsolable, just like Jane had once been. Yet, following Jane’s example, the flower can turn to a brighter meaning of anticipation and good luck for the couple’s plans.

They walk together through the shrubbery to the fateful door of the shack. This time, it’s not death by a serial killer that awaits them inside: when Lazarus sneaks behind them, he’s surprised (along with viewers) to see a trap set for him. The team and reinforcement are ready to arrest him. Unlike in ‘Strawberry and Cream’ with O’Laughlin’s shocking attack, they didn’t get caught unaware by the killer in the cabin… Some things will never change: Teresa looks badass as an armed bride who mutters “and see how much better things turn out when you’re honest with me?”, while Jane is hiding behind her. They’re comfortable enough in their unconventional respective roles for Jane to swiftly replace her gun by her bouquet in order to get on with the main event… There’s no place for bitterness in Jane’s heart: he tells “no hard feelings” to a shocked Keller and ushers Lisbon hastily towards the exit; even though did play vigilante by trying to kill him, he didn’t do it out of revenge or anguish, like he did with Carter, McAllister or even Panzer. The marriage takes place without a hitch, the guests gathered in front of the cabin. Grace holds the bouquet as the bridesmaid, like she once asked Lisbon to be hers. The couple kisses, they cheer and there’s much hugging.

By nightfall, the guests all dance cheerfully on a makeshift platform in the middle of the woods. The touching party shows the characters of the old team, the FBI coworkers and Lisbon’s family enjoying themselves together, which draws a tinge of nostalgia given that it’s also goodbye to viewers. Grace and Wayne are wildly dancing as the very much in love couple they are, then they take a selfie with Cho to commemorate the event. Abbott and Wylie are happily dancing alone, the latter probably trying to forget that he was reluctant to show his skills on the dance floor to Michelle not so long ago. The Lisbon brothers entertain their respective ladies.

All the while the upbeat song ‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire plays, its lyrics giving a glimpse of the happily ever after Patrick and Teresa are about to experience: “do you remember the 21st night of September?/ Love was changing the minds of pretenders/While chasing the clouds away”… For them too, viewers hope there won’t ever be “a cloudy day” anymore and that their future will make come true the lines “my thoughts are with you/ Holding hands with your heart to see you/ Only blue talk and love/ Remember how we knew love was here to stay?/Now December found the love that we shared in September”.

A bright and long-lasting future is indeed on its way, given that Lisbon takes the opportunity of being cuddled alone near the pond, more or less where he proposed to her, to give him her own share of good news. She places her now ring-laden hand on her belly, telling him without words that she’s pregnant. After a moment of surprise, he beams and kisses her. It’s his answers to Pike’s question about what future he could give to Teresa in the season premiere and it comes full circle with the pilot full of broken families –the victims’ ones and Jane’s- and empty houses. The soon-to-be-remodeled cabin and the baby to come are both a promise for hope, in complete opposition with the broken homes in the very first scene of the show with the deserted kitchen where Jane was wandering alone and in the end of the episode with the Malibu residence. The very last shot of the series shows their long, tight hug and his smiling face: the lengthy path leading back to home ends on this hopeful note.

Conclusion: Biblical references

Three implicit allusions to Jesus Christ can be associated with Jane and the rebirth of his happiness and hope.

1) Jane performs miracles: achieving redemption

Like Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah to the world through seven miracles, Jane proves that he’s earned his forgiveness for his past sins by achieving as many meaningful actions:

1-Jesus changed water into wine (John 2, 1-11); Jane used a water bottle to free himself when he was prisoner.

2- Jesus healed a royal official’s sick son (John, 4, 46-53); Jane started his psychic act by talking about family members on TV, healing part of the host’s grief over the loss of a loved one.

3- While Jesus healed a paralytic at Bethesda on the Sabbath (John 5, 1-29), it’s through Jane’s teachings that his team has been able to “stand” on their own two legs when he’s missing, even when they are blocked by a lack of plausible leads (Wylie insisting to follow a weird flimsy black magic connection, Lisbon threatening their only witness to get names). They’ve learnt to “walk” unorthodox paths to get results.

4- Jesus fed the multitude (John 6, 1-14), Jane manages to assuage Lisbon’s worries about the extended guest lists and finally holds a marriage with their close friends.

5- Jane was not able to walk on water like Jesus (John 6, 16-24), yet he convinces Lisbon that the house doesn’t slant when they look at it from the other side of the pond: it’s just an optical illusion that gives him the opportunity to display his ring-less finger and helps him not to fret about his proposal.

6- Jesus healed the blind (John 9, 1-17); Jane’s observation skills were a great help for the young couple who didn’t see the sleigh-of-hand of the unscrupulous jeweler.

7- Last, not least: Jesus resurrects Lazarus (John, 11, 1-45). This is part of Jane’s healing process: facing Lazarus and making him enter what he hoped will be his tomb makes Jane move forward. Plus, by surviving the explosion, Lazarus has symbolically raised from the dead, making Jane’s last miracle complete in calmly causing the man’s downfall without anymore disturbance on his own private life.

2) Back in the Garden of Eden: his past sins as a conman are forgiven and he can start anew

As Lisbon has remarked, this wedding has been graced with a Sylvan theme, may it be at Abbott’s place or as where has actually taken place at the cabin. Indeed, instead of the white centerpieces, they’re surrounded by woods and nature. In the same manner, the white roses representing purity and spirituality, the white orchids symbolizing a new beginning and the gentle colored roses, which convey an impression of joy and loveliness, are replaced with more brightly colored flowers giving a wilder aura and equally evocative anemones: they’ve manage to make their own “Sylvan theme” by including the meaning of their history to the moment.
It’s no surprise then to find some deep symbolism behind the wild setting. In ‘Byzantium’, Jane fist saw it as the Christian wilderness that tested him and helped him into starting to find answers to the doubts he was plagued with. Now, it’s the place where he’s willing to reach for happiness again, his own locus amoenus, a place where he can get joy, peace and love in the middle of nature. The trees are traditionally associated with personal growth (letting go of his pain in his case) and roots (getting married again and having a family): they bind the past and the future together.

Interestingly, Jane’s original sin was to taunt RJ and, in a deleted scene from the pilot, he added the detail to his description of the serial killer that he had a lemon tree growing near his house. This was alluded to by the many lemons associated with Jane’s quest in the first seasons: that fruit tree was the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis, 2-3) and it caused Jane to be banished from his family life, his own Garden of Eden and to suffer: “the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (all translations are from the New International Version). In the show, RJ plays God by manipulating Jane like a puppet in a game of death, then after Jane has proven to be a valuable adversary, RJ assumed the role of the serpent who was trying to tempt Jane into joining him by listening to his conception of the world, devoid of good and evil (‘The Crimson Hat’).

Now, Eden has been restored and the promise for redemption has been fulfilled. Jane follows the steps of what has been announced by an angel in the Book of Revelation (22): “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. […]. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever ». The river finds an echo in the pond: it’s really associated to life since Jane chose its bank to propose and he received the news of his paternity here too.

As such, Jane has earned the right to get back into his Garden of Eden, in his case a family life. Even though no tree is singled out during the episode, Jane’s symbolically gained access to the other tree in the garden, the Tree of Life guarded by angels (Genesis 3, 24: “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life”). It concludes Jane’s wandering through biblical trees, from the oaks and cedars from the Lorelei arc to the now reclaimed wilderness: like the orchids, they started as a sign of his struggle between hope and obsession, until they fully became an emblem of his newfound happiness. In that perspective, they are following faithfully the general shift of meaning of the reminders of his past during this episode. Jane may not have gained faith in God and the afterlife, but he’s found hope in the future by getting into his forest of life. He’s gotten back his innocence and those plants now carry and support his world, like many primordial trees do in different mythologies.

For him, those wild woods have been a place for choosing the path he wants to follow and get to grow as a person: all in all, it’s once again very close to the symbolism of fairy tales. In a way, that kiss Jane and Lisbon exchanged as a promise of happiness definitely frees Jane from his demons: he has been like a Sleeping Beauty waiting in wilderness (as he actually did sleep there in ‘Byzantium’) for someone who will love him enough to reach for him and awaken him. And, last, not least, tree is also associated with genealogy and hints at Jane being a father again.

3) The child to be born: hope for a better future

The baby that Lisbon carries also fits the intricate net of references to the Bible, because it reminds of the birth of Jesus. Like the holy child, the baby’s presence may have been announced by Gabriel. In Luke, 1, 19-26, the archangel first visits Zechariah to let him know that God had sent a son who would be John the Baptist to his wife Elizabeth -who shares her name with a reporter in ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’. Then, he foretells the same event to Mary (whose name is mentioned twice in this episode and who’s a character in ‘The Greybar Hotel’), wife of Joseph whom the Kellers, father and son are named after.

In the show, the same happens in hindsight: self-proclaimed psychic Gabriel told Jane “your cure will come with the number three”. Three is the number of the members of his new family after Lisbon told him: it’s the hope for this new life they’ve created that certainly definitely dissipates the remaining shadows. Plus, the idea of fatherhood has been played with for some time now. For instance, Jane wondered on which model parents should be in ‘The White of His Eyes’, whereas watching her boyfriend play with a kid triggered Lisbon’s first “I love you”.

A last parallel can thus be found in what the holy child represents, for it matches the meaning baby Jane holds for its parents. In Matthew, 1, 18, Jesus is to be called “Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’”, whereas in John, 3, 16, the child is a promise of redemption and salvation:”for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

With so great expectations and so high a mission, we can only hope that the Jane heir/heiress won’t be as prone to get into mischief as Daddy… 😉

Here endth the final review for TM. There will be soon a last post about the themes of the 7th season, which shall serve as conclusion for the series. 🙂 Thank you for reading and for supporting the blog!

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The Mentalist Fire and Brimstone Review


Synopsis

Armed with the new clue that RJ has a tattoo on his left shoulder, Jane (Baker) tells his plan to Lisbon (Tunney) and the team: he wants to get his five remaining suspects to come to a big trap to identify who is the serial killer.

Concise Verdict

Ken Woodruff, writer of ‘Blinking Red Light’, presented us with another dramatically intense and emotionally charged episode. In spite of some easy options, the plot and suspenseful writing keep viewers on their toes and make for a good introduction for the long-awaited building climax.

Detailed AKA Humungous Analysis (spoilers galore)

VIS #1: the opening/flash forward

In the best tradition of films noirs and thrillers, the episode starts dramatically in medias res with Jane setting everything for another of his big plans to catch RJ. First, Patrick is coming in the night to his Malibu house, presented as the “Jane family residence”. Right away, there is then a reminder of the past, since technically the house hasn’t been occupied by his family for years now. Upon entering, Jane is seen taking out a shotgun in a room filled with furniture covered in linen, which hints that he isn’t in the main house (it was empty in the pilot). The tension kicks up a notch when Lisbon calls him on his phone and asks “don’t do this, not without me.” She adds that he’s in danger, that she’s begging him: « you do this and you’re throwing your life away ».
But, whereas Lisbon is worried about his safety and the consequences of what he has in mind, Jane is dismissive and tells her goodbye before hanging up on her. The gun he pulls out confirms both that what he plans is very dangerous, since he feels the need to have a second gun, and that he’s decided to commit a murder. Besides, Jane handles the weapon like a pro, like in ‘The Desert Rose’. He prepares the setting by hiding his firearms and waits, like a hunter laying in wait for his prey. When a shadow appears behind the glass and starts opening the door, the situation seems suddenly like the opposite of what he lived in the pilot: this time, he’s the one waiting behind a closed door, instead of his murdered family and it’s the other –presumably RJ or one of the other  suspects – who is about to get a nasty surprise. This role reversal enlightens that here begins really the conclusion of this story arc. Things are coming full circle…

The suspects; five ducks in a row:

Two days earlier, we can see how he explained the situation with the help of Lisbon to the team in his CBI attic. In this council of war, he reveals the existence of the three dots tattoo and that RJ doesn’t know that he knows about it… He needs their help to gather all the suspects in one place to confront them. When the agents express their doubts about the suspects coming to him, he adds that he doesn’t plan of giving the men a choice (putting emphasis on the fact that he has no claim in premeditating violence…).

Truth be told, this master plan is very similar to Kirkland’s way of handling the list: to force them to come with him, getting them isolated and confronting them. To some point, this path Jane is willing to follow after Bob has been hinted in the previous episode: in ‘The Red Tattoo’, Jane was biting into the apple that in his reconstitution symbolized the weapon used in the murder. It looked like an inoffensive act, but might have had a deeper meaning. First, it could indicate that Jane was about to bit into the proverbial apple of knowledge: he’s about to discover who is RJ and is tempted to use violence to do so (cf. Genesis 2, 15, God said to Adam: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”)… And that apple had been alluded to by Jane when Kirkland was threatening him: as Rose UK pointed out in the comments for the previous review, the consultant commented that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, huh?”, giving the expression a new meaning in retrospective…

The difference between the two men is that Jane plans to get them all in one go and that he prefers not to use violence to lure them in…. which can be explained by the fact that, unlike Bob, he has allies who can work with him. Still, it shows that he’s in a comparable state of mind: he may not want to torture them or to kill them all if he can help it, but he’s driven by the same cold determination. And it’s obvious for who knows him, even without watching the opening, that he cannot involve the team in an intended murder. He’s planning to act à la ‘Strawberry and Cream’: to use them to clear the ground before leaving them behind to get to the suspect alone.

The problem is brought up by Lisbon: she states that she’s willing to get along with his scheme on one condition, she wants to be here. Jane agrees easily, but Lisbon is not fooled: she remarks that he doesn’t mean it and that this is non negotiable. Jane agrees on this point; unfortunately, it’s patent that the meaning he puts on this non negotiable condition is very different: he resolutely doesn’t plan to bring her along.

One by one, the five suspects are talked into joining Jane at an undisclosed meeting place.

1) Smith: he’s approached by Jane at a crime scene, which puts emphasis on his status as an investigator. The corpse is rather gory: there is blood and the man was hanged which may or not hint at a form of punishment –like what Jane is planning… The concrete urban setting reminds of the crime scene where they met at the beginning of ‘Red Listed’: in that episode, he accused Jane of being the murderer of one of the man on the fake list (kind of foreshadowing) and killed Kirkland himself as a member of that secret criminal organization Bob talked about…
And, almost exactly like Kirkland, Jane meets him alone and asks for his help, using almost the same words: « I’m not sure who I can trust so I’m trusting you». He truthfully dangles the bait of significant information on RJ. Reede is eager to be privy to that juicy tidbit and both play on the false truce they’d feigned coming to when Kirkland was arrested (no hard feelings and shaking hands). Jane finally gets him to agree to meet him two days later to give him some time to find a safe place to talk.

2) McAllistair: at night, it’s the good ol’ sheriff that Jane is calling. The man is hunting and the moment gives him a very creepy and dangerous vibe as he is holding a shotgun while still wearing his uniform and sitting in his car. In addition of foreshadowing Jane’s own lying in wait moment, that reminds of his remark about hunting anything with a face and it means that he doesn’t really makes a difference between his job and his hobby… Jane interrupts him when he’s spotted a deer (like the one Jane and Lisbon came across in ‘Red Moon’, in which RJ tried to set a trap for the consultant).
Like he did with Smith, “Patrick” plays the trust card: he pretends that he’s calling for help (« when we were in Napa, you said you were at my disposal »). He’s offering Tom the opportunity of getting closer to him and to get involved in the chase, instead of luring him with information like he did with Smith: he adapts the bait to each of them. And when the sheriff asks if it involves the case RJ, Jane hangs up, leaving the man even more intrigued.

3) Haffner: Lisbon meets him at a dinner; again, she pretends to need his help. The setting is cleverly casual, if not slightly secretive or friendly… yet Haffner promptly guesses that she has a hidden agenda. The anger Jane accused him of feeling in the previous episode flares at her: “you question me or you arrest me”. This underlines implicitly how tricky what they’re doing is: they don’t have legal reasons to gather them and Lisbon actually cannot do either of those things…
Lisbon then threatens him with the notion that Jane will come after him either way: what is the problem showing up then? Poor Lisbon, for her this is an empty threat, but Jane doesn’t share this point of view.
Moreover, it’s interesting that Lisbon tries to play both on the personal aspect (meeting him alone for a coffee, which might make him think it’s an almost date) and on the professional one (telling him that she will own him if he tells her where Stiles is hiding out). And, another telling point is that she cannot lie: Haffner understands what she’s after almost right away.

4) Bertram: Next on the list is their boss and Lisbon cannot hide her nervousness in front of Jane as they make their way towards his office. Indeed, in addition to the fact that she’s afraid of him –as her nightmare suggested-, there’s the problem that his position will cause major difficulties: there would be consequences if he happens to be RJ and even if he isn’t, this little stunt won’t be good for her career (cf. the way he was trying to get rid of them in ‘Little Red Book’). Hence her apprehension and their silence afterwards.
Again, they use the (true) pretext of a break in the RJ case, which has a double advantage: implicitly their next move will need his approval – he asked them to warn him beforehand unlike they did in the mess that took place in the desert with the FBI. And Gale has insistently stated in the premiere and repeats again that he wants to be here. Still, despite his enthusiasm at those « fantastic news », there is something speculative in his attitude. This is developed when Jane and Lisbon are gone, as Bertram closes the door (made of something that looks like red wood). He starts whistling an air that reminds a bit of the one Haffner was whistling after exiting Teresa’s hospital room, then calls someone to tell them about the talk he just had. In ‘Strawberry and Cream’, he did call someone too, after being told where Hightower was presumably hiding: he seemed to have been changing the date of a meeting, but who knows what else he said afterwards? More and more, the man seems to be part of something bigger like the ‘Tyger, Tyger” conspiracy. It was hinted by that secret reunion he had with Smith and McAllister and, like then, he seems to be taking orders or at the very least advice from someone else, may it be Smith again or someone else.

5) Stiles: the cult leader gets special treatment, probably because he hasn’t showed up during Jane’s investigation on the seven primary suspects and is the only one who didn’t get focused on during an episode. Therefore, his circumstances are explained in small parts in between the meetings with the others suspects

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– First, as he was said to have vanished in ‘The Red Tattoo’, Cooper reveals that his master is actually dying, or, like the man put it, he’s elevating himself to another plan. Since Bret is associated with spirituality, the expression makes sense…

– … except that the reality behind those words is much more troubling. Usually, Bret is presented as a powerful cult leader, yet his power is expressed by his influence on his followers and the pressure he puts on them. Even though he’s a spiritual counsellor, his image reminds a bit of a calculating businessman eager to prey on more vulnerable souls. Therefore this episode is the first time we really get to see another side of his power: he’s not wearing his usual black suit and white dress shirt, but a floating white robe with a round medallion. This attire gives him a high priest look, while the robe alone reminds a bit of a Christian alb… When he enters a room behind closed doors, two young women walk next to him, both wearing white robes too and their hair in a bun; they remind a little of the idea people would have of Vestal Virgins of some kind… the candlelight adds to the mystical atmosphere of a secret sacred ceremony. In front of his many followers, Bret then takes a golden stylized chalice and pours what looks like blood on the naked skin of one of the two women, who has taken off her cloth. The whole act looks like a disturbing twisted version of a part of the Christian liturgy for Eucharist, when the priest drinks wine as a substitute for Christ’s blood, following the words Jesus said during the Last Supper while holding wine: “this is my blood”. Bret presents himself as a Savior too, before his death and his promised resurrection. Yet, the blood reminds of a satanic ceremony, at least like they are depicted in movies (naked women and blood); that aspect of Visualize was hinted at in ‘The Red Barn’, when the farmers were accused of using animals in satanic-like rituals… And this interpretation is reinforced when Stiles uses the blood to put a mark on the forehead and cheeks, in a twisted christening reminding again of the mark of the Beast in the Bible and the smiley drawn by RJ on Lisbon’s face. It may give a whole new dimension to the ending of ‘The Desert Rose’, as Brett Partridge might have been killed only to provide blood. Either way, blood seems to have a spiritual meaning for Visualize members, maybe linked to the notion of regeneration, as hinted by Stiles’ words « witness my ascension to a word beyond » and « I will return ». It’s become obvious that Visualize is not only an organization centred on self-development and spirituality, but a full on sect, with its beliefs and dogmas. It’s even more troubling since some of RJ’s followers expressed their attachment to the serial killer as a form of religion, like Gupta for instance who defined himself as a deeply religious person.

– Later, Lisbon decides to send Grace to the consulate where he’s hiding. The younger agent is afraid as is her husband: she tries to reassure him telling him « I’ll be fine, it’s my job »… which may be foreshadowing of something terrible happening to them. She meets Stiles, who obviously likes her since ‘His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts’ and has been keeping tabs on her since he knows she’s married. Yet, in spite of his nice greeting, he refuses to follow her even as she tries to convince him that she’d be acting behind the FBI back. He puts emphasis on the fact that he’s in a consulate, which protects him from any law enforcement agency.
– As a consequence; Jane decides to meet him behind the graceful appearance, soon starts threatening the cult leader. Bret’s response is brief: “a dying man doesn’t fear death” explaining that he has close to two weeks, a month left. He amends that “it’s nothing personal, it’s just that my time now is very precious”, which indirectly the urgency of the situation enlightens for Jane too). He adds: “it’s more to this than you know, more keeping me there”, as he is trapped because of the FBI; yet it might also hint at the idea that there is more to RJ than Jane knows. As a result of their talk, Jane helps him escape, like he did with Hightower (making the FBI think the other is in the car when it’s only him).

6x07

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain December, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Also, taking Bret’s place in the limo reminds of the conclusion of the confrontation in ‘The Crimson Hat’- which puts discreetly emphasis on Jane’s plan to execute the serial killer, since both times he bought a gun to the meeting as indicated at the beginning of the episode.

VIS #2: Jane and Lisbon in the attic

After talking to Bertram, Jane and Lisbon go to the attic, where he decides to show her his shotgun and he says he would be “persuasive” if he is allowed to talk to Stiles, both things reinforcing the idea of violence.
Lisbon tells him then that he doesn’t want her here because he thinks she will stop him. She explains that she won’t because “some men, men like RJ”, don’t deserve a trial in front of a jury, but deserve what is coming to them and should face their comeuppance. Jane is skeptical: “let me get it straight. After close to twenty years working in law enforcement, you’re changing your mind?
– About RJ, yes.
– I’m surprised, Lisbon…
– Well, you don’t believe me?”
Jane answers: “I know you’d never lie about something like this, right?” Lisbon replies “right”, but there’s something of a hesitation in her voice. Jane concludes then “tomorrow night, then?
He knows she is lying which may explain why he act like he does afterwards… It’s probable Jane has been having his doubts about her reaction to the final act even after they’ve become closer: after all, he hesitated slightly before telling her about Kira’s clue.

VIS #3: sunset watching…

When everything is set up, Jane contacts the five suspects by texting them his Malibu address. Again, the phones have an important role, like when Lisbon was attacked by RJ (see the review for ‘The Desert Rose’). Besides, as a wink to last season, there are some white orchids and red roses in the truck Stiles is hiding into… is that a hint that there are two possible outcomes for Jane –to get out of it alive and victorious hence the hopeful orchids, or to die in a bloodbath? Either way, the huge bouquet has a solemn or even kinda mortuary vibe to it…

While Jane’s driving with Lisbon to his Malibu house, he abruptly stops by the roadside bathed in the sweet golden light coming from the sunset. His only explanation is “I want to see the sunset”, before getting off the car and walking towards the ridge. It’s interesting that he walks by her side of the car without opening her door: he indirectly makes her follow his lead instead of inviting her to come with him, just like he is doing with his plan as a matter of fact. He’s setting the rules and she isn’t aware of it.
Jane has obviously decided to have a heart to heart with his partner, in case he doesn‘t make it out alive, in the same way Van Pelt and Rigsby exchanged love words before she went to Stiles. He states that there’s something he wanted to tell her for a long time, like he did in ‘Strawberry and Cream’ in front of Gupta’s door. On both occasions, he wanted to express his attachment to her before getting himself in danger, but also that time, he also used his words as a distraction to trick Gupta… Patrick then says that he wants to thank her for everything she has done, adding “you have no idea what you’ve meant to me… What you mean to me.” And he hugs her tightly… tender words and a poignant moment: those are the ingredients he used in ‘The Crimson Hat’ to express what he felt… but the difference is that now Lisbon hugs him back. She’s moved, happy and embarrassed: it’s obviously a meaningful moment and the beautiful sunset and romantic setting only add to the emotional atmosphere…. And then, things go down and Jane officially wins the medal of the lamest ending for a confession ever: he pretends to have a surprise for her in the car and lets her stranded in the middle of nowhere without her phone… Poor Teresa’s incredulous eyes are heartbreaking… Ouch!

This scene is laced with references to previous episodes. In a way, it reminds of the night he spent with Lorelei on the beach when the sun was setting in ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’: the confrontation with RJ is the conclusion of his escapade with RJ’s girl, as she gave him then the clue of having shaken hands with the murderer. Also, it implicitly draws a comparison between Lisbon and Lorelei, as his confession to Lisbon is certainly more sincere (he confessed to loving her before, in ‘The Crimson Hat’, so it’s not a spur of the moment), nevertheless he plans to use her too. Besides, he’d been stranding her too in ‘Cackle-Bladder Blood’ (S3E2), when she was distracted with Daisy the elephant… and she paid him back in ‘Bloodhounds’ (S3E12): that’s part of their history, but they were supposed to have gotten past those tricks when he decided to trust her as his partner… Which brings the question: is he only tricking her in order not to be stopped from killing RJ? Or does he also want to protect her from the danger? He was frantic when the serial killer smeared her face with blood and he lied to Kirkland by telling him he never told anyone about the list… He’s probably as worried for her life as she is for his. The fact that he wants to kill RJ and make peace with his past doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about her: in the past seasons, his personal quest as been in par with protecting her, considering that when they were stranded in the middle of nowhere, he told her that he was always going to save her, may she want it or not. Here, she obviously doesn’t, but that doesn’t deter him… All in all, there were therefore an almost confession, a goodbye, an attempt at protecting her and a trick all wrapped into one golden moment…

VIS #4: in the guest house

His trip ends with the scene at the very beginning of the episode: Jane is driving to his house, his face hardened and determined. We follow his steps as more details are added to the first version of the scene: he goes to the bedroom where his family died, armed with his shotgun in a very symbolical gesture. He looks at the faded smiley in the cold moonlight (contrasting with the light of the sunset he left Lisbon in) and the moment has a poignant solemnity, almost like a silent prayer. Then, he climbs down the stairs, just like he climbed them up in the pilot: every step that takes him to concluding this part of his life is loaded with reminders of the past. He goes to what looks like a guest house in the garden and, upon entering, viewers realize that’s the place he was seen in the beginning; his two firearms were of the same kind he used previously in his quest to get to the serial killer. He used a shotgun to threaten Hightower when he thought she was the mole in ‘Red Queen’; he shot Carter with a handgun in ‘Strawberry and Cream’, after establishing a first list of potential suspects of RJ’s mole: everything is coming together. Still, there’s a big difference with his previous schemes to catch the elusive killer: before, his ideas were much more elaborated. Here, he builds everything based on one clue alone; no interrogation, no reading of human behaviour, only one visual proof. Like Lisbon pointed out in the premiere, he doesn’t know he is doing and bounces in the first opportunity that seems concrete enough… and that’s pretty risky.

After taking the gun from the safe (another locked door opening), Jane tries to calm himself: his stress is visible as he briefly alleviates the tension in his neck. Someone is coming at the door and the whistling makes viewer think it’s Bertram because the air sounds like the one heard in the office. But it’s Stiles. This detail is pretty unsettling, because it means that Bret, Bertram, Haffner and McAllister have in common this particularity discovered by Sophie Miller. It hints that Jane could be making a terrible mistake in placing all his hopes in another clue that may be as ambiguous as this one. Plus the whole thing may very well end up a trap to get to Jane, if the suspects share a common objective, since Jane is all alone with them…

Soon, the five suspects are sitting in front of him and he exposes the situation. When they start protesting and trying to grab their weapons, he coldly points his shotgun at them while stating « don’t. I will shoot you »… He forces them to pull out their guns and throw them on the floor; which enlightens that another problem might arise for Jane: he seems to assume each one has only one firearm, yet himself has two…
Jane keeps talking: RJ is one of them and this time, he made a mistake. He asks them to take off their shirt in order to see the tattoo. MacAllister has it. Seeing the obsessive look Jane casts his way, the sheriff is afraid and utters « you’ve got the wrong man, I’m not RJ »… Truth be told, the man is the suspects gathering the more leads – he whistles, hunts because “game’s game”, a vocabulary typically linked with RJ and has apparently a phobia of pigeons; not to mention that he appeared right after the pilot. Yet, Stiles diverts Jane’s attention by stressing “don’t, Patrick! Look, look!”, pointing that Bertram and Smith have one too… only the two Visualize members don’t have one in fact. Therefore, the trio meeting in Bertram’s office are the three main suspects, even more for viewers who knows that at least one of them is a murderer who is part of the “Tyger, Tyger” organization.

Jane recovers quickly and says “you three, all against the wall now” in a classic posture for an execution. The next shot shows the house from outside: we can hear shooting once… Now, who shot whom? There were three men and only one gunshot… and Jane was turning his back from the other two –among whom there’s a former cop. And anyone may have been carrying a second weapon. Has Jane made the very same mistake he did in the first case in the season premiere, not counting on the killer carrying the second gun in his waistband? Indeed, the possibility that they’re not RJ, according to Kira’s clue, doesn’t mean that they aren’t involved somehow… Like Visualize has been working to plant seeds years beforehand to get members in influential positions (like that politician who sheltered Stiles), it may have worked hand in hand with another organization using the same methods among cops… If that’s the case, the three tattooed men might work as a triumvirate at the head of the cop organization, like hinted by the interpretation of Renfrew’s last written words as « he is man(y) ». After all, there’s a literary precedent in the classic novel ‘The Murderer Lives at Number 21’ by Steeman. That could be the meaning behind the three dots: each of them works in a branch of law enforcement –local police, state agency and federal agency. And, on a side note, it might be a coincidence or me reading too much into details, but McAllister more or less matches Rosalind’s description: “just under 6 feet tall” (he’s 6’0’’, so he comes the closest), “not muscular, but not soft either; short, straight hair; a gentle voice; rough, strong hands; he smelled of pine and nails and earth” and he showed a similar sense of humor and disposition than Jane. And, as Anomalycommenter pointed out in the comments for the ‘Red Listed’ review, both Bertram and Smith were under thirty when the murders took place at the Ellis farm… Even if none of them fits on his own all the different criteria, together they do, or so it seems.

Meanwhile, Lisbon is coming to the rescue. After walking in the dark for hours, she has forcefully taken a car using her badge. Her façade is crumbling progressively: she introduced herself formally when she stopped this car, then she dismissively grabs the phone from the helpless diver’s hand while saying « good idea », before speeding up in the night and nearly causing an accident. When she arrives, she loses precious moments going inside the main house (has she the key or was the door open?) then runs towards the guest house calling Jane’s name. And there’s an explosion which blows her away from the building. Again, who placed the bomb? Is that one of the suspects or Jane himself to cover his tracks? In the second screening of his arrival, we got a lot more details. There can be more things he did that we were not privy to… Either way, Lisbon finds herself in the same situation Jane was at the end of the season premiere: he went alone into a vacant house and she doesn’t know if he’s alive.

Pet Peeves

– Truth be told, it’s frustrating to say the least that after every single clue Jane got, they made the last one the only effective of the series. It cheapens the trick a bit. Moreover, which proof has Jane that RJ killed Kira himself indeed, instead of sending a minion? If he had a gut feeling, they should have made it explicit. Same thing if they wanted to play with the ambiguity of the situation. And, honestly, those clues don’t add up or at least don’t explain Jane’s behavior: he could have discarded Rosalind’s description as a lie given that she was still very much in love with him, but what about the age range given by the farm? Normally, this clue should have excluded Stiles, for instance –unless the “kid” was a follower he groomed to help him commit his crimes and clean his sect of the druggies living here. A kid like Bertram, Reede , like I said, or even Sheriff Hardy for example… The other clues, like the whistling and the phobia, were obviously meant to plant some red herrings, but it remains that until further explanation, it seems to be a big problem of conception here. It feels like the end of the Volker arc, when they needed him to make some huge mistakes and put everything happening at the end under the cover explanation that he panicked and acted crazy. Here, the tattoo is mostly a pretext meant to explain why Jane didn’t decide to gather them before.

– Also, they should have shown a bit more of their arrival at the house: for instance, Bret claimed to be in trouble with the FBI and FBI agent Smith was here so it should have made an interesting situation…

Conclusion

Tyger, tyger, burning bright/ In the forests of the night”… Has the Tyger burnt during this night or is that a trick? Either way, the explosion explains the “Fire” in the title and also refers to the Bible once again, reinforced by the religious context brought by Stile’s ritual.
Indeed, the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ is the way God chose to punish Sodom and Gomorrah (“Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire”, Genesis, 19, 23). But, more importantly, those things represent the wrath of God against the devil. In Revelation, 21, 8 (the following quotes are taken from the New American Standard translation), we have:

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral person and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Among the suspects, we have at least one unbelieving and idolater (Haffner is member of Visualize), one sorcerer (Stiles), a certain murderer (Smith) and one abominable (RJ is among them). And they’re all liars to some extent.

Before that, in Revelation, 14, 10, there’s also:

“He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”

The anger has been mentioned in reference to Haffner whom Jane noticed was angry for an unknown reason. And the torment imagined by Jane for his nemesis was to happen in his house “in the presence of the Lamb”, that is, of himself.

And, in Revelation, 20:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years […] And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. […] When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the ooks, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

There are some details common to the text and the last scene: the angel is bounding the dragon like Jane is trying to stop the serial killer. In ‘Wedding in Red’, he commented on not having wings, which compared him to an angel (there were one in front of the church and one on a stained-glass window inside). The mark on the forehead or on the hand indicate those who had worshipped the beast: the three-dot tattoo on the shoulder is a more discreet version of that mark and it also indicates who is working for this new kind of evil. The fire coming down from heaven to devour the devil’s warriors might or not remind of the explosion; either way, both “the beast and the false prophet” are thrown in the “lake of fire of brimstone”: the beast being RJ and the false prophet Stiles, since in theory both of them were caught in the fire….
The last part about the judgement of the souls, the corrupted ones being also thrown into the lake of fire, might refer to the last part of the investigation which might occur afterwards, if Jane goes after the rest of the organization: the minions ought to be identified and stopped altogether. That might be the meaning being the sheet-covered furniture in the house: Jane might be the one judging them from his “great white throne”, which might prove dangerous. That would mean is deeming himself the right to play God, to judge who is guilty and who is worthy. The problem is that he can make mistakes: that have been shown when he found himself with three possible RJ instead of one…

Anyway, the title indicates that the downfall of RJ is coming closer: the wrath of Jane is becoming a serious threat and the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ -symbols of the torment inflicted to the wicked in Hell for eternity- represents the comeuppance the serial killer will be getting for his murders.

Please, share your favorites scenes and lines! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Mentalist The Red Tattoo Mini-Review


Synopsis

The CBI takes on the case of a gymnast trainer who, before he died, claimed he was stabbed in his empty, locked hotel room. The case is complicated even further when it turns out the victim had strong ties with the Visualize. The cult sends ex-CBI Agent (and Red Jane suspect) and current Visualize employee Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond) to work with CBI Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon and her team on the case, much to consultant Patrick Jane’s dismay.

Concise Verdict

This was another entertaining episode in this strong season with plenty of twists and more continuity on the Red John plot. Unfortunately, some major time consuming crap hit my fan in real life so I was only able to watch it once; and even then not as closely as I wanted to. I am not even going to pretend I can write the review I wanted so I’ll resort to naming some topics for discussion. Sorry to disappoint readers but I know I can count on fellow fans to this episode justice.

Jane/ Lisbon / Haffner

I found it interesting how Jane avoided Haffner for most of the episode. I only assume he was so annoyed by the man’s obvious (and disturbing) interest in Lisbon and had no patience for him or his ego. Lisbon’s conduct was nonetheless intriguing. She puts on a pretty sleeveless blouse to charm Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo) into revealing information about the victim’s ties to Visualize, but sends Grace to touch base with Haffner, who has admitted he is interested in her, telling Grace “he likes you”. I can only imagine she finds him creepier than she did Haibach.

Rigsby the Matchmaker

More allusions to the happiness of Rigsby’s marriage are made, this time by his talking about his bliss to an extremely uncomfortable Cho. I hope all these warm and fuzzies aren’t just being thrown around the better to break our hearts should something devastating happen to the newlyweds. It could be, like what we saw on screen, just a way for Rigsby to offer to find someone for Cho. What with Cho being the only unmarried member of the unit (we all know who the other couple is) it certainly is nice of Rigsby.

Red John/ Visualize

I’ve always thought that Red John might have been a Visualize member gone rogue as it seemed like a reasonable explanation for how Brett Stiles knows so much about him. All-i-Need had also mentioned ( at least a year ago) that one of the reason’s Stiles’ wont’ give up Red John is because RJ might have copies of the confession tapes (in which Visualize members talk about every bad thing they ever did) as leverage on Visualize.

Now in this episode, Haffner disappears from the scene around the same time Kira (Beth Riesgraf) a freelance investigator RJ used, is being silenced. Her attacker is interrupted and she reveals he has a tattoo of three red dots on his left shoulder. Jane thinks this attacker is Red John. One could be led to believe that Haffner was the attacker and is therefore Red John. But I have a few qualms with the latter idea.

1-      I am not entirely convinced this perp was RJ. RJ (or his minion) was able to take down Lisbon, a trained CBI agent in a second but has trouble dealing with Kira?

2-      Why would RJ use a private investigator? Doesn’t he have a whole cult of followers willing to do his dirty work for him? Or did he, in “cleaning house” (as Hightower called it) kill them all?

3-      Speaking of cleaning house, will we ever find out why Todd (Red Moon) killed so many cops? Were they also part of the house cleaning RJ was doing (paving the way for his retirement, as was later revealed by Timothy Carter in Strawberries and Cream)?

4-      I wish Jane would have talked more about how he came to the conclusion that Kira was hired by RJ. Isn’t there a chance Visualize would have hired her, considering the fact that the case of the week involved Visualize? Perhaps Haffner didn’t feel Lisbon and her team were being forthright with all the information they had.

Icings on the Cake

Absolutely love all the screen time CBI Ron and CBI Karl are getting. One can’t help but wonder if one of them (Ron, especially) might be revealed to be Red John. Either way, really enjoying their on screen presence.

Pet Peeves

Really, Rigsby? You talk about Haffner being an RJ suspect in the middle of the bullpen as if it is daily conversation completely unaware of the risks. REALLY?!

The resolution of the case was fantastic and made total sense, but I wish we got more insight into how Jane figured it out- the mechanism used, I mean, not the relationship of between the victim and the gymnast which was nicely explained via flashback.

Kira was such a dead ringer for Summer Edgecombe that I could hardly concentrate on the words coming from her mouth. I kept wondering if she had a long-lost sister or something.

Haffner’s threats to Lisbon disguised as warnings are getting really tiresome. Actually, his entire presence is. So glad Grace called him on his sucky job of protecting the victim.

Conclusion

I do believe that the writers want us to believe RJ has a tattoo on his shoulder. I’m just a little iffy at this point because it seems like you can’t be a Mentalist fan without doubting everything you see on screen. But one thing is for sure, we won’t have long to wait. Every episode this season is revealing a new piece of the puzzle. I can’t wait till we see it all put together.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, November, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, November, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

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The Mentalist Red Velvet Cupcakes Review


Synopsis

After nagging at his colleague and former lover Grace Van Pelt (Righetti) who was late at the crime scene, Wayne Rigsby (Yeoman) joins Cho (Kang) near the body. Since Jane (Baker) isn’t present, Rigsby proceeds to describe to him the specifics of the crime over the phone. They soon realize that the victim and her absent husband had been participating in a radio talk show for couples having problems.

Concise Verdict
Rebecca Perry Cutler gave us here a very well-written and well-though episode. When so many commenters have been complaining about the lack of progress in the relationship between the two lead characters, she answered to their pleas and even added an unexpected and audacious new turn of events in the Van Pelt/Rigsby storyline. It gives an interesting and much needed recap on personal questions before the season finale. Some deliciously sweet and addictive “Cupcakes” we got!

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)
Two major arcs are entwined through the episode. They concern the two potential couples in the team: Rigsby and Van Pelt, whose relationship has been on and off in the history of the show and Jane and Lisbon, whose interaction gives off particularly ambiguous vibes here.

Lisbon and Jane: complicity/ intimacy…
VIS # 1: Jane in the attic, part I
For once, the episode doesn’t open up with the protagonist arriving at the crime scene, it’s a glimpse of Wayne and Grace’s tense relation that introduces the murder of the week. The male agent is bothered by his ex-lover’s new supposed new relationship and snaps at her for being late. As there is no sign of their consultant, Risgby calls him on the phone and discovers that the older man is –unsurprisingly- still holed up in his attic at the CBI building… In fact, Jane is studying the board and that right away reminds the viewers of the fact that Kirkland has a copy of it now.
While pacing his dusty very own headquarter, Jane accepts to help them out with the case, without leaving the room: Rigsby will be his ears and eyes. Variants of this scene have occurred thorough the seasons. For instance Jane has been blinded once and relied on the others’ eyes to unravel a mystery and even to drive a car (twice); he has also helped out Lisbon once to find a bomb on the phone, relying on her description and his prodigious memory… so this new form of investigating from afar is not completely unheard of from Jane, still it illustrates further his extensive skills and presents him again as an expert in his area, like in ‘Red in Teeth and Claws’ and in ‘Red, White and Blue’. Like fictional detective Nero Wolfe, whose books were seen in ‘Red Lacquer Nail Polish’, he acts as an “armchair detective” who lets the others do the legwork and collect the information while he takes over the task of analysing it and synthesizing it into a valid theory… Thus he’s able to deduce that the victim had couple problems; he’s focused from the start on the relationship the late Missy Roberts had with her husband. That’s why he guides Rigsby through the rooms susceptible of enlightening him: “I want to understand their relationship. Bedrooms say a lot”.
In the kitchen, Rigsby finds the ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’ which gave its name to the episode. They are another example of Jane’s skills since he knows that Wayne has discreetly taken one of those « awesome looking cupcakes » and asks him to « put that cupcake back ». At the same time, they’re also the symbol of Missy’s unhappy marriage, since she disagreed with her husband about food as she loved to bake, whereas he was on a diet.

Right from the start, the plot seems centred on relationships. The red gerberas daisies -that are showed on the kitchen counter with insistence- confirm that impression. The red flowers link the scene to the general RJ arc; the daisies are also flowers generally connected to love. Plucking a daisy is indeed a well-known game to know if someone loves you or not and, amusingly, it matches the one Wayne will be later playing with Grace…
VIS # 2: Jane in the attic, part II
But the major goal of the scene is to present a stark contrast with the second time Jane’s called on the case. Indeed, later Lisbon comes to the attic door after the lead about the husband has been mostly discarded.
Like the first time, Jane is reluctant and tries to chalk off the clues which tend to innocent Kip Roberts as forged ones. He seems pretty eager to dismiss the case in order to concentrate in his main activity: catching RJ. Indeed, his apparent nonchalance is refuted by his awareness of his surrounding: like he did with Cho in the previous episode, he recognizes Lisbon before even hearing her voice. Same with his lake of activity: Lisbon assumes he’s working on his list, but actually he’s lounging on his makeshift bed and reading. He almost looks like a lazy and unenthusiastic teenager whose mother is knocking on his bedroom door because dinner is ready… still, that’s again an appearance because it seems that Jane just doesn’t want to leave the attic, either because he waits for Kirkland to make a move, or because he had falsified the board in order to trick him in the last episode and is now guarding the real one… Either way, the shot from above him while he’s reading reminds of the view we’d have from a camera surveillance. As commenters C Hill, Old Man and Zee pointed out for ‘Behind the Red Curtain, the filming tends to suggest that he’s being watched.
Since Jane has decided to ignore her attempts at convincing him, Lisbon then plays her last card: she tells him the magic words “I need you”… Jane pauses and abruptly comes with her, to her great surprise. He answers her plea with a heartfelt: « it’s nice to be needed. Anything for you, Lisbon »… So he refused to come for professional reasons like solving the case, yet he doesn’t hesitate when she makes the matter personal and reach out for his help. It’s the same pattern than when she asked him to help her get Volker: she told him “I need your help” and in the next episode he was all over the place trying to get the bad guy and subtly threatening him. Now, things go a notch further: Lisbon is not threatened by anyone like was by Volker and the case doesn’t involve a mass murderer. Plus, it isn’t his “help” that he requests because she has no other mean to get to the truth: it’s just him. Things are indeed getting pretty personal and they are aware of the change: they briefly look at each other and a myriad of emotions are expressed in Lisbon’s face, before settling with a mix of smugness and surprise. It’s a meaningful moment.
In fact, their complicity is in dire contrast with Rigsby’s jealousy and the couple problems the victim faced. Their closeness shines even through a later scene, when, after following her o the field and interrogating the Missy’s sister, he discovers another titbit of information about Lisbon: she knows the radio talk show the victim and her husband attended to, « Prescription for Love »… When Lisbon caught her consultant staring meaningfully at her, she tries to plays it off as something she “listened to in [her] car a few times”. Jane tells her he would go to the radio station and he’d leave her the “shady baker” Missy worked for. And then Lisbon betrays her interest in coming too, to Jane’s great delight («Ahaha, that’s ‘cause you’re a fan”). He proceeds to tease her merciless, adding “it’s fine Lisbon, we all have our guilty pleasures”. He’s very gleeful to learn something new about her…

VIS # 3: Jane and Lisbon at the radio studio
At the radio studio, Jane and Lisbon are mistaken for a couple auditioning for a session… Lisbon answers bluntly with a awkward “we’re not a couple, please” and, faced with the receptionist’s expressionless stare, Jane remarks helpfully “what she means is that our is more of a platonic love”. He’s obviously teasing her and annoying the woman at her desk since he keeps stuffing his pockets with sweets.
Still, his matter-of-fact tone might remind us viewers that he may be a bit serious: after all, he has confessed in the previous season finale that he loves her (in whatever sense that “love” has to be taken); and indeed, whatever they have is “platonic”, they haven’t been and are not sleeping together. So he’s announcing to the world that they have feelings for each other, but that they’re not acting on them (no sex, no actual relationship)… He’s acknowledging for the first time with words that there may be something going on between them, and does it as a joke… like he did somehow when he pretended not to remember what he said in ‘The Crimson Hat’, he’s making progress but still takes care of staying in the grey zone… And he deepens the impression that he’s teasing her when, after she has flashed her badge as a response, he adds for the receptionist that “she’s very excited” to see the love doctor she listens to on the radio.
Jane is very jovial in this episode, may it be because he knows he’s making progress on the RJ investigation and it cheers him up, or because Lisbon took a step towards him. Anyway, his attentions are concentrated of her.

VIS # 4: Jane and the love doctor
After provoking a bit the control freak producer, Jane becomes serious again when they interrogate Buddy Hennings, the lover doctor who had been counselling the Missy and Kip. He’s actually the second love specialist Jane has met, the first being Erica Flynn, and the atmosphere of the scene and in the studio is pretty different: there is not some much seduction there as questions being asked and answered…
Interestingly, there is a red poster behind them and there are various elements in the same color in the studio (as there ware in the reception area), therefore almost every shot features a glimpse of a reddish object behind them during the talk. Which is pretty fruitful, but not on the murder aspect.
After Lisbon leaves to answer her phone, Jane asks Buddy if it was Missy who wanted help with her marriage, not Kip. Hennings answers that “in the beginning, he was going along to get along, but he turned the corner”, explaining: “in the first few sessions he was very distant, very uncooperative, to anyone but Missy… But after a couple of sessions, he developed an attentiveness for the work I hadn’t seen before. He really changed.” Jane is sceptic and remarks: “well, you know, maybe he was covering that he felt guilty for something, like having an affair.” Henning disagrees and maintains good-naturedly that he thinks the therapy was working.
Ok, so, are they talking of the victim’s marriage or about Jane’s reaction concerning his work spouse during the events involving Lorelei? Because that’s an almost exact description of Jane’s behavior in the few lasts episodes: he’s been trying to shut Lisbon out of his interrogations of Lorelei, and very “uncooperatively” organised the woman’s escape behind his partner’s back. Then, he “turned the corner” too when Lisbon confronted him in ‘There Will Be Blood’ about the mess he created and his feelings for the other woman: since then, his “attentiveness” for keeping her on his side has increased, and there is a kind of paroxysm in this episode. Therefore, it’s rather intriguing that Jane himself pointed out that he may have acted that way because he was feeling “guilty for […] having an affair” since it was Lorelei who endangered his working/personal relation with his partner… It’s almost as if he was admitting too that he may be feeling guilty for keeping his agenda while being so close to Lisbon.
That angle is developed a bit more later, when they find at last the missing husband in a hotel room. The red corridor leads them to a jungle-themed room where Kip is restrained on the bed with a black-leather-clap dominatrix entertaining him… Jane is thrilled and comments: “jungle theme. It’s classy.” In some twisted way, Kip endangering his marriage with a SM affair in a pseudo-jungle décor and trying to cover up for it reminds a bit of Jane: he’s putting his closeness with Lisbon at risk by obsessing with his hurtful masochist struggle with RJ the tiger. The similarity also is deepened by the detail of Missy being like a second mother for her sister, a role Lisbon has assumed for her brothers during her teenage years…

VIS # 5: Jane watches the video
Back at the studio, Jane finds himself again in a room decorated with reddish elements: this time, it’s a brick wall in Buddy’s office. The wheels in his mind are already working when he sees the poster on the wall featuring two feet with different woman shoes… several details already pointed out toward the feet angle and the connection seems even more visible in his mind when he watches the video of the session Kid and Missy had with Hennings: Jane freezes the frame where it’s obvious that Hennings has been staring at the golden stilettos on Missy’s feet…
Again, that moment reminds us of the episode with Erica: Jane had been watching the video of Sarah, whose love life the pretty widow was helping to improve… And the same thing occurs here: Jane finds a clue in the manner the interview has been progressing and discovers that the so-called love specialist is flawed. In Erica’s case, she was helping people find true love, while she kept seducing men she didn’t care about and she killed her husband because he was planning to stop her business… Buddy, on the other hand, helps couple overcome their problems, whereas he compulsively loves feet and keeps staring at a “patient” in front of her husband. Worst, he was also having an affair with her, endangering his own couple. That’s a rather cynic vision of love therapy. Moreover, the episode isn’t focused on seduction like it was with Erica, but more on problematic and complicated relationships and as so it matches the evolution of his friendship with Lisbon… probably even with the sexual undertones. One may wonder if the progression from a seduction episode to a couple therapy one is a way to subtly indicate that, because of the hardships they’ve been encountering, their bond has matured into something deeper and more significant…
Anyway, Jane’s plan is motion: he offers Van Pelt an unexpected gift in a red/dark pink box (like the pink donuts box in the previous episode). Jane seems eager to give gifts to his team, may they be useful or just for fun: he bought them all something from the museum gift shop not so long ago; since we didn’t get Grace’s reaction back then, we can infer that she liked her fossil because she considers her unexpected present as a nice surprise. Jane might also have spoiled them a bit because Lisbon endearingly asks “nothing for me?” He answers: “Trust me, you won’t like it” while Van Pelt uncovers a pair of black stilettos… Like she has been in the past seasons, the gorgeous red-headed is used by her consultant as distracting candy-eye in one of his schemes… and, even though it isn’t the most appropriate of gifts from a coworker, Grace tries them on good-naturedly. To reassure her boss who is a little wary of his action, Jane then quotes Sherlock Holmes and announces to his own Watson that “the game is afoot” before comically correcting “two feet” in reference to the shoes… Again, his relation with Lisbon is indirectly put under the spotlight: she’s his Watson, his partner, she expects a gift too and he knows her well enough to infer what her tastes are in shoes. She, on the other hand, wants to know what he’s doing: she’s back to being a bit wary of him.
Later, Jane talks with the couple who was interviewed when he was at the studio. He gives advices to the boyfriend, once again next to a red wall: the young man is dominated by his girlfriend (he’s even holding her bag while talking to Jane). The consultant asks « when was the last time you were completely honest with her, the last time you disagreed with her? », adds that « she will respect » him if he holds his ground and that « women love a strong man »… are those the beliefs behind his relation with Lisbon? Is he antagonising her to earn her respect, misbehaving to prove her he’s strong? Maybe those words aren’t mean to be compared to his own attitude, but they are nonetheless a bit intriguing… Either way, we didn’t get to see if his counselling worked: either because the young man convinced his girlfriend or because they broke off, the couple cancelled the session, thus giving “Dwayne and Stace” the opportunity to pose as a couple.

Wayne and Grace: it is love
A major discussion has been building up between Van Pelt and Rigsby since the very beginning of ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’: he was jealous when she was late because of her supposed “hot date” with Duncan the night before. During a stake-out, Grace attempted to talk it out in the car but he was reluctant to go to the bottom of things and he only said “I’ve been feeling kinda weird since you’ve been back” and explains that he’s been thinking about her before asking her if she has been thinking about him too. That Grace wanted to discuss the matter was a sign of her increased maturity since the beginning of their story: in the early stage of their relationship, she simply avoided the subject of his interest in her… Also, Van Pelt is the more prone at calmly discussing a situation with her former lover: the car conversation reminded that she was the one who instigated the talk about him moving on after their break-up just before having an accident with O’Laughlin; it was her who tried to put him at ease in the car outside a bar when he was dealing with his troublesome father in ‘Like A Red-Headed Stepchild’. On the contrary, Wayne tends to tell her what he thinks during rather abrupt outbursts: telling her he loved her when she was about to get married, asking her to have a talk with him when she’s about to leave the office in ‘Red Letter Day’…
Still, both share a past and obviously care for the other: Grace has kept on her desk the orchid he gave her in the previous episode while he still remembers her size in shoes.

VIS # 6: Grace and Wayne have their long overdue talk… on air
That may explain how things got out of end during their fake session with Buddy Hennings. First, the couple follows the plan and simply states that they have “communication problems”. When Buddy asks them to elaborate, Rigsby helpfully and comically explains that they have “problems talking to each other”. But half-truths don’t do the trick and they are soon forced to share a bit more of their real history… Making Lisbon quite uncomfortable when Buddy asks them how the sex was. Indeed, the scene is laced with snippets of Jane and Lisbon listening to the talk show in the car: at first, they shared an amused glance at their friend’s situation. But after the sex question, Lisbon is obviously embarrassed and remarks “we shouldn’t be listening to this, really.” But Jane doesn’t share her scruples about listening on colleagues (“Oh, come on, Lisbon, don’t be such a prude!,”). Their opposed views on the question of privacy show there and it reflect a sensible tension in the car.
Wayne and Grace resume their “rocky history”: Rigsby attacks first and lets his anger surface when he evoked their break up because she thought the job was more important. He then adds that she “got engaged to a maniac”. It’s obvious that Rigsby has absolutely not moved on about those parts of their past that he resented as betrayals, given how eager he is to confront his former lover about them. But soon, tables are turned and he has to give explanations about the baby he had with Sarah, when he and Grace were “totally off”. That’s the pivotal moment when Van Pelt shows how much more mature she has become over the years and after the tragedies brought in her life. She calmly explains: “For the record, I’m not angry about the baby. I just found weird that you had a baby with someone you barely knew”. She tells him that she loved him and we get that wonderful insight in her mind: “when we were together, we were kids. I was a young naïve girl. I wasn’t ready to commit to you. It wasn’t about the job, it was an outlet […] We’re not the same, but that’s ok. I like who I am now. I like who you are. You’re a man.” Rigsby only answers that his feelings for her haven’t changed.
It’s really amusing that all the drama between those two could be summed up in one scene; it makes a great show indeed as Buddy and Jane pointed out… Beside, that incredibly straightforward and thorough talk enlightens how different those two are: even though he tried to built a life without her with Sarah and Ben, Wayne hasn’t moved on. It seems Sarah was right in refusing his proposal: he’s not in touch with his feelings, pines after a past he hasn’t been able to renounce to. Meanwhile, Grace has learnt to distance herself from her mistakes and has grown up: contrary to Rigsby, she’s aware of his progress as well as her own and respects him and herself for that. What a character development since her difficult grief in the past season!
All the while, Jane and Lisbon are in the car, listening. Jane is amused and Lisbon embarrassedly looks through the window, but she’s interested in what is happening. Both share an occasional glance which betrays their complicity, but the fact that they’re looking at the other quite often when he/she isn’t looking and their lack of verbal comments also indicate that they’re pretty tense. The question is why: are they overwhelmed by those details about their co-workers? Or, given how close Jane’s actions appeared to be to Kip’s in the recap Buddy gave him of his session, is that very personal talk making them think about their own past and the mistakes they have done?
VIS # 7: both arcs get a conclusion
After the real killer is arrested, she is interrogated back in the CBI building. She fits under the category of the unrepentant murderers we have been acquainted to recently: her words that « it felt good » remind of those the killer in ‘Red Letter Day’ uttered to Jane. Same with the creepy murderers in ‘Red, White and Blue’ and in ‘Red Lacquer Polish’: they were all unremorseful and blamed others for their acts. Is that a way to suggest that Jane’s revenge is getting close and that it will “feel good” too? That may explain the cheerfulness he showed in this episode and maybe, maybe his willingness to get even closer to Lisbon, since he might be hoping that his quest will be over soon…
Either way, after the case is closed, Lisbon is lingering in the kitchen and seems to be seeking Jane’s company. The woman seems pretty dejected –she was probably more a fan of Buddy than she was willing to let on. Jane picks up on her thoughtfulness right away and understands it has something to do with the foot fetish that was bothering her in the car. Since he’s not prone to let her get away such a titillating subject, he tells her: “your brows are furrowed and you have that squinty look in your eye. You want to talk to me about that foot fetish, but the Catholic schoolgirl in you tells you it’s not appropriate.” Her answer is honest and things get oddly personal: “you’re right. I don’t get it. I can’t wrap my mind around it”. Jane only answers that “everyone has that thing, that’s just…that’s human nature.” Alas, poor Lisbon didn’t realize where this conversation was heading and that her nosy consultant is eager to know more about her than just her preferences in radio stations; she fells right in the trap and lets slip “I don’t”. Jane begins to prod her: “oh, come on, Lisbon, don’t deny yourself that freedom. There is definitely something out there that works for you, that flukes your switch… Like turtlenecks” That makes Lisbon clamp up at once: “you’re right: it isn’t appropriate.” As she exits the room, Jane gleefully repeats that it’s turtlenecks, very happy to have made her angry after needling his very professional team leader into a sex talk.
That “turtleneck” thing is pretty ambiguous: is Jane just fishing for information? Or is he alluding to the man Lisbon has been most interested in so far in the show, Walter Mashburn, who coincidently was wearing a red turtleneck in ‘Red Hot’ when he managed to seduce her? If the comment was indeed referring to good old Mash, one may wonder if Jane was purposely trying to provoke Lisbon… or, if he was evoking the past of his relationship with Teresa too: given how both Grace and Rigsby have expressed repressed jealousy about the other’s affairs, are we to consider that Jane is slyly doing the same in bringing on her fling with Mashburn? Or is that talk only yet another way to tease the shippers by linking Lisbon’s sexual preferences with another man? It’s not the first time that Jane would have been interested in her love life and her relations with other men (Mashburn, Bosco, her former fiancé…), but here things seem to get more personal: he’s asking her something very private about her, not trying to grasp how her past love stories worked… And, whatever the reason, that scene hints once more that Jane is the one willing to make them make progress towards a still unexplored “something more”: he is the once who keeps trying to get her to loosen up with him, calling her “prude” and “Catholic schoolgirl”, like he was the one who used the love word, who asked her to call him Patrick (‘Devil’s Cherry’). In this episode, he admitted that he would do anything for her; while she’s the one who keep being hesitant and wary, of this plans, but probably of his true intentions too. She never asks him to elaborate: she didn’t push the matter further when he said he didn’t remember what he had told her in ‘The Crimson Hat’; she didn’t comment either on Lorelei’s words that he was “a little bit in love with her’ (except for yelling that she was not his girlfriend, that is…). Here, she doesn’t verbally react to anything he’s blurting: neither to the “anything for you” nor to the “platonic love” part. She also lets slide the “prude” comment and his interest for her possible fetish… She only stops talking to him and gives their interaction in this episode an interesting conclusion: she leaves the room angry, unlike in the beginning when he came to her. There is metaphorically as well as visually a push and pull movement between them… and that is a way to sum up their level of intimacy for the season finale…
Also, it’s pretty funny that the episode enlightens various sorts of sexual quirks/ “guilty pleasures”… A physical one (the foot fetish), a reaction to a particular touch (“when she hits me, it turns me on”), a cloth that turns on (turtlenecks)… That may makes one wonder what Jane’s “switch” is as other categories are left without explicit examples… Indeed, since the beginning of the season, Jane has been hinting that he likes commanding women: he told Lisbon “I like it when you get all authoritarian on me” (‘Not One Red Cent’); he commented that Lisbon’s determination to get Volker was giving him goosebumps; he even told Lorelei that he admired strong women (‘Red Sails in the Sunset’). Still, it seems that the real thing that works as a switch and makes him change his course of actions are three magic words: “I need you”…
Meanwhile, Grace decided to take the matter with Wayne in her own hands: after putting on some other sexy shoes, she goes to Rigsby’s home and kisses him. Both enter the house in a passionate embrace… Therefore, it seems that the scenes between both potential couples are responding to the other, like they did when the former lovers were in a session and their colleagues were listening to them in the car. When Rigsby and Grace are tensed around each other and need to talk it out, Jane comes as Lisbon calls him and teases her merciless. Then, when Lisbon is aggravated and walks away from her irreverent consultant, Grace joins her lover and kisses him senseless. Both couples complete each other.

Honorable Mentions: Everyone was awesome, from the cast to the wonderful writer. Director David Barrett did a remarkable job, especially with that striking shot from bellow when the killer put on bullet in Missy’s foot. And not to mention Blake Neely’s inspiring music: his melody in the kitchen at the end when Jane starts getting more personal does a lot to give its atmosphere to the scene.
Best Lines:
-« it’s nice to be needed. Anything for you, Lisbon » Jane to Lisbon. Seriously, how sweeter can the man get?
– “What she means is that ours is more of a platonic love”. Jane, to the receptionist was had mistaken him and Lisbon for a couple seeking help. Again, seriously? How much more of a tease for Lisbon (and for shippers) can the man get?
– “Yes, that is something that does exist…” Jane on the radio, when citing the California Bureau of Investigation.
– “First person to call will receive 10 000$ cash money. Yes, folks, we’re talking… Ah, I just got word from my producer that this is *not* the amount of the prize. It’s actually 20$. And the chance to guest DJ for the radio station for a day. A day of your choosing, that’s right, folks. DJ spot during drive time.” Jane asking for a witness on air. Completed with a velvety voice (‘Red Velvet’ too…) and some pretty hilarious reactions in the background, particularly the producer freaking out and frenetically taping on the glass, which of course doesn’t faze one bit Smooth Talking Jane…
– “It’s a webcast, not Steven Spielperg”, the irritated producer to Jane, upon hearing his complains about the video of the victim’s session.
– “They’re not sexy and they’re beige” blunt Cho to Rigsby who is helplessly searching for a sexy pair of golden shoes in the victim’s wardrobe.
– “It didn’t work out” Grace to Buddy, about her engagement to O’Laughlin. Understatement of the year…
– “Yes, because he was a homicidal maniac”, Rigsby to Grace, in response to the above.
– “Amazing foot. And an amazing shoe” Buddy to Grace, while massaging her foot. Creepy compliment.
– “It’s kind of an obvious thing.” Jane to Lisbon asking him how he knew about Buddy’s foot fetish.
-“I wouldn’t be asking if it was” Lisbon to the above. I love when Lisbon doesn’t like that Jane is feeling patronizing…
-“It was an unexpected act” Jane, upon realising that the real killer was threatening to shoot Buddy and Grace. Because he hadn’t planned to let his colleague be alone with a dangerous murderer in the first place, of course…
Best Scenes:
The Winner: the talk between Van Pelt and Rigbsy. Really powerful. Kinda reconciles you with on and off couples and drama…
First Runner Up: Jane trying to get Lisbon to open up about her fetish of all things. The idea is too hilarious and titillating to pass up.
Second Runner Up: Jane trying to gather witnesses by talking on the radio. I admit that scene is one of my all times favorites, it really cracked me up! The mixing between Jane’s playful fake seriousness and the producer freaking out behind his window is typically what makes Jane such a great and endearing character.

Conclusion: in the comments for the previous episode, Estatica pointed out that the book that Jane was reading in VIS#2 was “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens. I chose to include a part about in the review in guise of a side-note/conclusion, since it doesn’t entirely belong with the plot… Thanks to Estatica, Rose UK and Suzjazz for their precious input!

1) The book storyline takes place during the troubled times of the French Revolution and we can determine a similarity with the current season in TM, since the characters met a paroxysm in the quest for RJ and in terms of personal relationships. The intervention of Kirkland, the FBI team, Lorelei as well as the ambiguous actions of Bertram create an atmosphere of general suspicion which finds some intriguing echoes in the book: “The Dover mail was in its usual genial position that the guard suspected the passengers, the passengers suspected one another and the guard, they all suspected everybody else, and the coachman was sure of nothing but the horses”… almost everyone is potentially a suspect with Jane’s list and the viewers are forced to consider how little they know about the show characters: “ a wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other”, to borrow Dickens’ words…

2) Various details from the “Tale” make a curious appearance during season 5. For instance, to continue the theme of troubled times, Dickens mentions to two personifications: the “Woodman” (who is Fate) and the “Farmer” (an image of Death)… death and farm, that reminds of ‘The Red Barn’ where RJ made his debuts… Another detail is that a major part of the storyline of the English book takes place in France; Jane is known to fancy French expressions, but recently he has used two which weren’t part of his repertory so far: “bon voyage” in ‘Red Lacquer Nail Polish’ (an episode which included various references to this country, from the Impressionist art gallery to the mention of Monaco), and “bon point” to Buddy Hennings in ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’ where the book is seen.

In the previous episode, Jane had a toothpick in his mouth and used it to set a trap for Kirkland’s men; Mme Defarge, the antagonist, who was seeking revenge for the death of her family, was using a toothpick for her very first appearance in the book.
Same with a detail concerning Lisbon: her fainting in ‘Red in Teeth and Claws’ in front of flesh-eating bugs is reminiscent of Lucie Manette fainting during the trial of Charles Darnay (whom she would marry afterwards), while the audience at the Old Bailey made sounds which made the author compare them to flies.
On the other hand, Dr Manette, who had been put in jail for many years because he had refused to caution the rape and murder of a young girl, suffered from PTS disorder and freaked out when he wasn’t locked up in the garret where he spent his days afterwards… like Jane took recently the habit to lock himself in his dusty attic with a padlock (we can see that he has to remove the padlock in order to exit the attic in VIS#2)… Manette’s making shoes obsessively; we saw Jane pretty upset about losing temporarily his old brown shoes and visited a cobbler who was pretty distraught by the bank robbery in the neighborhood (there was also a bank which makes a brief appearance in the book). And of course, the love doctor in here is obsessed with shoes.

3) That’s why similar plots are discernible too. About the Dr Manette, for example, Rose UK pointed out there was elements of comparison. At the beginning of the book, Lucie meets her damaged long lost father: her words when learning that he’s alive are “I’m going to see his ghost! It will be his ghost… not him!” and, when they meet, the old man progressively recognize his now grown up daughter while asking her “who are you”… Those aspects (the ghost-hallucination, of the daughter this time, the increasing doubts about her identity) are present too in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ when “Charlotte” meets Jane again. Again, Miss Manette tries to bring him back from his obsession: he’s “recalled to life”, a bit like Charlotte tried to shake her father out of his obsession by opening him to the possibility of a new life. As Rose UK remarked there is a major theme common to both stories: “the idea of imprisonment, or being trapped by yourself, your past, your circumstances, your superiors or authorities, and by things beyond your control, etc. And ultimately breaking free, of course. Bringing down the old order to usher in a new one.”

Another important theme is the duality: Darnay was falsely accused of being a traitor (like Jane’s intention were suspected since the RJ investigation was handled to Darcy), by his resemblance with his darker alter ego Carton is what saved him from being sentenced to death and ultimately to being executed since Carton willingly took his place at the end of the book. Many details (like the Bloody Mary in the previous episode or both assuming the role of partner for Lisbon at some point) trace a parallel between Jane and the mysterious Kirkland. Even more since both men have showed an interest in Lisbon (albeit the latter certainly had an hidden intention) like Darnay and Carton were both in love with Lucie. That might open many possibilities, like Estatica pointed out: « I’m tempted to think Jane and Kirkland share many similarities with Darnay and Carton. Is this a way of the writers letting us know that Kirkland may end sacrificing himself to that Jane has a chance to rebuild a new life? Or that Jane will end up sacrificing himself for Lisbon and the team?”
The different themes concerning family matters are also evoked: we have instances in the book of tragedy-causing/murderous families, whom many examples have been shown in recent episodes. Darnay’s father raped a girl and covered up her death by destroying her family, thus imprisoning Dr Manette who was a troublesome witness… years later, that revelation causes the innocent Darnay (who has become the doctor’s beloved son-in-law) to be trialed and sentenced to death.
Darnay is then also an example of a man who has rejected his cold blood-related family to the point of changing his name in order to find solace in a new chosen family, the Manettes. Same with Carton, who is a close family friend. That’s an important theme in the show.
We also have examples of estranged/ long lost family members: Dr Manette and Lucie bonded after not seeing the other for many years, like many characters did in TM (that mother and her daughter in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’) and that ended up in tragedy. The theme is also laced with revenge both for Manette and Madame Defarge, whose family was destroyed by Darnay’s father and who was seeking revenge on him and his family. Both characters show the two possible endings offered to Jane so far: to become a monster by killing the man who murdered his loved ones, at the risk of losing his own life in the process (like Madame Defarge), or as Estatica put it “to forgive” “and find happiness”.
And, of course, last but not least redemption is a major aspect of both stories: Carton redeems himself by sacrificing his life and that’s what Jane has been seeking all along.
On a side note, it is probably nothing more than an amusing detail for classic murder mysteries lovers but Madame Defarge has been alluded to in one of Agatha Christie’s book (“They came to Bahgdad”). Since two other literary works, Blake’s poems and Macbeth were quoted directly in the show and also featured prominently in her books, respectively in “Endless Night” and in “The Pale Horse”, we can guess TM writers share the same tastes in books than The Queen of Crime… 😉

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, April, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, April, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

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The Mentalist Red Letter Day Review


Synopsis

CBI Agent Cho (Kang) comes fetch consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) from his attic as they were called for a new case: Hollis Percy, the owner of the town named after a Wild West town for tourists has been murdered. Before following his stoic coworker, Jane sets a little trap for possible intruders. Meanwhile, Lisbon (Tunney) meets Bob Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) for coffee and a friendly chat.

Concise Verdict

The episode was a good surprise: not only did it deal with the events of ‘Behind the Red Curtain’ -or rather with their consequences-, but it also laced the dramatic moments with funnier ones and gave some well-used screen time to everyone on the team. Writer Michael Weiss managed to produce an intriguing combination between an old-school TM episode and a new step leading to the impatiently awaited season finale: a tragic love story as the murder case, a hint of mischievousness and a good deal of serious matters, those are the ingredients used for this well-written addition to a startling season. 10/10.

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

Kirkland/Jane: the attic mystery battle

VIS #1: Jane in the attic

Jane is scribbling away in his little notebook when Cho comes to get him. From the get go, the consultant appears hyper aware of his surroundings: he recognizes Cho before hearing his voice and is defiant enough not to let him enter his inner sanctum. The attic seems off-limits for everyone except Lisbon and he is getting a step further in transforming it in a safe place: until recently we didn’t see him bother trying to lock the door; then he put a padlock. Now, he adds a way to verify if his privacy has been violated and he does so when no one is watching: he sticks a toothpick between the door and its frame to be able to tell if someone enters …

This opening featuring someone calling Jane in his attic to go to a crime scene is by no way unusual, but the setting puts further emphasis on the fact that the episode has a deeper meaning. More details add to this sentiment. Jane later refuses to shake the medical examiner’s hand because there is blood on her glove. It recalls the raison d’être for Jane’s secrecy: he knows he has shaken RJ’s hand, a hand covered with his family’s blood… And when the consultant states that the victim knew his killer and argued with them, the woman asks him details and Jane elaborates the usual reasons for arguing:  “money, power, love, jealousy…” and she adds “revenge”, the very motivation for Jane’s quest.

VIS #2: Lisbon and Kirkland at the rooftop café

Meanwhile, ffollowing what had been suggested since their very first meeting and in spite (or rather because) of Lorelei’s demise, Lisbon and Kirkland meet up for coffee. The scene shows them settled at a table. Lisbon makes some small talk about her youth, giving some details about herself. It’s particularly intriguing since Lisbon is known not to share willingly any part of her past and the team (read: Jane) had to lure systematically any titbit of information from her. Whereas, Lisbon soon comes to realise that her companion is not as open about himself since when she asks him specifics, he eludes a direct response and avoids telling her where he comes from or what kind of family raised him; he mentions a father and a mother, but doesn’t even mention what kind of job they did: no names, no location, no social status… He concludes by “I like to say I grew up in America” to cover up for his lack of information about his origin.

It’s even weirder since their meeting is pretty date-like: they aren’t here to talk business like they were with Haffner in ‘The Red Barn’. Their meeting up is informal and they’re supposed to share something about them given that they are in a first name basis and they compliment the other (« this is nice, you’re really easy to talk to, Teresa »). Kirkland’s reluctance doesn’t make much sense if he is really here to get to know Lisbon as a woman: instead, it takes a worrying significance if we assume he is following a plan like he was when he killed Lennon in the previous episode. Indeed, Kirkland gives the impression to feign normalcy: he listens, talks, compliments, still everything seems off, as if he was hiding his true colors under a “normal” appearance. It reminds of the nurse’s comment about him wearing a mask in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’. And his real goal is revealed when they part ways: he interrogates her about Jane’s opinion about RJ and asks her to keep him on the loop. Meaning that he wants to confirm how much Jane knows and certainly also if her consultant suspects what really happened in the hospital room. It seems that every guy asking her out this season is more interested in Jane than in her: first Haffner scouting her for a company owned by Visualize, then Bob testing the waters through her…

Anyway, Lisbon is no fool and she realized right away that something is amiss. She doesn’t hesitate to ask him things about himself when he doesn’t tell anything spontaneously, then she cuts things short under the pretence of having a case when her men have already returned from the crime scene.  Another hint is that she is cold when he comes back to the bullpen and even comments on it; even if the guys confirm that it is indeed cold, her dismissive “so I’m not crazy” might indicate that her encountering with Bob had a chilling effect…

Later, she makes a report of the meeting to Jane and states that « everything about Bob Kirkland is odd ». Her bluntness and her refusal to defend Kirkland’s investigation and authority like she did in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’ show that she is aware that something is wrong. Jane must have talked to her about Lennon and Bob’s presence at the hospital: anyway, the Homeland Security agent is no more her “new best friend”, instead it’s Jane who has assumed again his role as a confident. In insight, the coffee break the two of them shared reminds a bit of the dinner Darcy and Jane never had but planned to eat in ‘Cheap Burgundy’: both times, the characters had a hidden agenda and tried to lure the other in a false sense of security before getting information out of them; and both times, they failed.

VIS #3: The Attic is Broken Into

Bob’s true goal is further enlightened when two men pass the CBI building security and secretly break into the attic. The first thing that comes to mind is that they must have been observing him or at least have inside information of some sort since they know where to search, given that they didn’t bother searching Jane’s almost unused desk in the bullpen for instance. They also seem to also know what they would find. They carefully take photos of every note, list and picture on Jane’s suspects board before leaving the place like they found it… well, almost, since Jane’s simple trick worked and they didn’t see the little white stick falling down on the floor.

Later, back at the Homeland Security headquarter, they give the loot to their boss, none other that the mysterious Kirkland who decides to “take it from here”, to his employees’ surprise. So in other words, he uses the resources provided by his position, but doesn’t want to let his men learn more than needed about what he’s looking for. Jane’s research board was too huge and complex to understand without a bit of time to analyse it -the synthetically briefer list is on his notebook-, so there is little that they can gather from it without spending some time to understand the connections Jane made. Kirkland’s reluctance points towards a personal motivation, as indicated by his rapt interest when he looks at the pictures taken in the attic. After his odd question to Lennon about recognizing him, that furthers the impression that he must be personally involved with Jane’s quest.

This manoeuvre enlightens even more the ambiguity of the character: he uses a somewhat official investigation for a personal initiative, like he probably did before when Jane first arrived at the CBI in ‘Red Dawn’. He’s definitely sneaky: listening in on Lisbon’s conversation with Bertram in ‘There Will Be Blood’, killing Jason Lennon in the previous episode before he had a chance to speak to Jane, trying to discreetly obtain insight on Jane’s ideas through Lisbon and know stealing information from him. Bob’s interest is focused on Jane and his investigation and, every time, he’s taking a more active part in wanting to know what he discovered.

VIS #4: Kirkland studies Jane’s notes

To add even more mystery to the man, he’s seen studying his prize late at night. He’s alone in a rather big room containing things like a printer, a desk and a couch: he’s either at home or in a pretty comfy office, but either way the place seems quite private. He’s reconstituting the puzzle of Jane’s clues board and his deep concentration, the loneliness and the dark atmosphere gives a rather spooky vibe.

Besides, the man is drinking a Bloody Mary: this is the cocktail Jane drank at the anniversary of his family’s death in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’ and the red color reminds of the RJ arc. Both details allude to the fact that Kirkland makes a very plausible accomplice for RJ (or even RJ himself, although it’s quite unlikely since they only met after Lorelei was sent to jail) and that he may be trying to decipher how close Jane is getting… On the other hand, the moment is still ambiguous since his fascination with the investigation and the fact that it was Jane’s drink might indicate that he’s hunting down the serial killer too. His dedication, his solitude and the haven provided by a large office-looking room with a huge widow reminds of Jane’s own obsessive musings in the attic at night. Still, a question remains: if Kirkland is a better guy than he seems and if he is chasing after RJ too, how come the serial killer didn’t try to get into the attic himself, given that he must know that there is a possibility that Lorelei had revealed something about him?

VIS #5: the ending

After closing the case, Jane comes back to his attic and finds the stick on the floor. His reaction: a smile and a contented look around when he enters the place… His smile is the only indication that he must have been planning the outcome all along; he had the same (albeit even more gleeful) reaction after his night with Lorelei and back then it also revealed that he in the middle of a scheme. He was tricking Kirkland in showing his true intentions, thus set the trap and waited for a reaction. He was waiting for him to tip his hand; that’s why he didn’t come back to the attic during the whole investigation, he lounged on the couch in the bullpen or stayed at the tourist town: he knew that he was offering a golden opportunity for Kirkland to sneak in. The gloomy look he flowed the man with at the end of last episode showed that he was suspecting him of having a hand in Lennon’s death, and we can guess that he deduced that his antagonist would be willing to evaluate the situation by trying to know what he thinks.  Is it therefore too far-stretched to assume that Jane also kept with him the true conclusions he came to about RJ? After all, he didn’t leave his notepad behind and didn’t seem bothered that someone had a look at his place and had probably taken some pictures given the complex presentation of his work… He may as well have planted false information on the board or, at the very least, he knows that the information it provided is useless and/or incomplete.

The moment is echoed by the very last scene where we see that Kirkland has finished reconstituting Jane’s board on the floor of his office. He looks at it, satisfied; it is night time and the light coming from outside projects shadows of the paper sheets: his big and dark figure is looming over them in a threatening way and the blinds on the window imitate some bars and add to the hostile atmosphere.

That ending emphasis the importance of the event. It’s a pivotal episode, a true ‘Red Letter Day’: a moment which is noted as having a very particular significance. The title may also allude at Jane’s trick to get the murderer to confess with his envelopes (a envelope contains a letter), but above all it underlines that it is the day when Kirkland reveals himself to Jane as being more than simply interested in the official part of the RJ investigation.

Rigsby and Van Pelt: orchids and drama…

The second arc of the episode features the drama-loving and eternally indecisive couple formed by Rigsby and Van Pelt. Indeed, the evolution of their relationship is synthesised in four moments which amusingly reflect the steps they took in the past.

1) Rigsby holds a torch for Grace: he has offered her an orchid that stands proudly on her desk when Lisbon comes back from her coffee-break with Bob. The choice of gift shows that Wayne knows Grace well, since there was a white orchid on her desk in ‘My Bloody Valentine’ (she put Craig’s necklace on it after making peace with his death) and we can see in a later scene that she has another potted flower behind the orchid. He knows what she likes and tries to be rather unobtrusive with his gift, since it can be constructed as a welcome back gift while still having subtly romantic undertones. And, like they did in season 1 and 2, everyone knows who has given the flower, seeing that Lisbon and later Jane immediately assume it’s from him: everyone is aware that he’s still interested.

2) Rigsby needs to take a decision: in the break room, Cho finds Rigsby mooning over a box full of donuts. The man can’t make his mind over which one he should eat. His blunt friend tells him he needs to “make a choice”. He’s talking about the food, of course, but also about Van Pelt. Cho is telling him that he has to stop being a coward and face the situation, like he already stated in ‘Red In Tooth And Claw’. That reminds of the times when he and Jane advised the younger agent when he was longing for his redhead coworker in the beginning of the show.

3) Meanwhile, Grace is also reminded of her past when she interrogated the victim’s wife. The woman was explaining the problems he had with faithfulness and that he was “terrified of change”, before asking Grace if she is married. The agent answers that she is not and adds ironically that married life “sounds like fun”, secretly commenting on her own disastrous engagement with Craig O’Laughlin. It seems that Wayne is not the only one who has been thinking about the past and who is about to make an important step forward on their personal life…

4) Rigsby confronts Grace in front of the elevator when the case is closed. He starts dancing around the matter stating that the week was good and that he’s been “moving with the wind”, before suddenly telling that they need to talk. Van Pelt is understandably surprised so he gets more precise: “about you and me”. She starts saying that there is something she needs to tell him… and, as if on cue, Duncan, Van Pelt’s new boyfriend, barges in. We’re back on the old drama that seems to define their relation: one has regrets/the other has already moved on with someone else. It looks like Van Pelt is decided to write a new page of her life: a few weeks in another city, a new professional experience, a new man on her life; still things might not be as straightforward as they seem, since she already knew what he meant when her former lover asked for a discussion about them and she felt like she ought to tell him about Duncan, meaning that she isn’t oblivious of his feelings. And later, when he awkwardly excused himself, she cast a look at his crestfallen retreating figure instead of focusing of the newcomer. Argh! those two definitely have some overly complicated love lives…

Icings on the Cake

It’s rather rare that we get in a serious episode some glimpses of Jane’s usual mischievous and playful personality. Jane’s funny cowardice, his glee when the cowboys were fighting in the saloon and the scenes with the not very gifted magician added a nice lightness to the plot. In fact, his relative politeness when asking the magician for “a couple of minutes of [his] stage time” in exchange of his help with the tricks was indicative of a progress: even if Jane was awfully offending and patronizing, he didn’t just con him out of stage like he would have usually done (like with the kid in ‘Something Rotten In Redmund’). Is Jane (very) slowly starting to acquire a bit of respect for others? And calling him a “magician and mental mystic” was the cherry on top…

Pet Peeve

Is that really believable that Kirkland’s men didn’t see the stick between the door and the frame? It’s a pretty basic trick and I guess men careful enough to put everything in place afterwards should have noticed it right away…

Conclusion:

The whole episode is filled with reminders of the recurrent themes woven through the entire season. Many elements are concentrated in here and it conveys the impression that things are speeding up for the season finale in subtler ways than meets the eye…

1) As if in an answer to our discussion on whether flowers on this show have significance, the orchid theme makes yet another appearance and is even commented upon by Jane with the rather ironic in insight “well-chosen, Rigsby”. It’s a not so discreet follow up of the other orchids this season, from the ones in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ to the meeting with Lorelei in Orchid Lane: this time, it doesn’t appear directly in associated with the RJ plot, but it seen right after Lisbon’s meeting with the mysterious and murderous Kirkland who is linked to that story-line. Beside, Lisbon connected it playfully to something more sinister when she commented that she knew Rigsby offered the flower because she’s « a homicide detective »… Also, I don’t know if it’s a mere coincidence, but the orchid is related to Wayne’s hope for a love which is meant to encounter obstacles, like it was for Jane in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ when he was talking to “Charlotte”.

2) The fish: as it has been stated in the wonderful comments for ‘Behind the Red Curtain’, the marine theme has been quite present in season 4. There is a big fish as a decorative trophy near the surveillance camera the waitress pointed out at the saloon. That element reminds the viewers that Lorelei, the deadly tempting siren who liked to skin-dip in the sea, may be dead, but the consequences of her revelation have not disappeared with her: Jane is hot on RJ’s trail… And the sea theme might have also a deeper double meaning in this episode: Kirkland has been “fishing” for information and Jane has “baited” him with the attic… Who is the fish and who is the fisherman?

3) The family theme is declined in different aspects:

– the already well-illustrated theme that “family” –blood-related or chosen- is something that can turn into a danger or a threat: the recent episode have showed many killers being part of the victim’s “family” (‘Red Lacquer Nail Polish’), or team-members (‘Red, White and Blue’, ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, …). Here, the father hurt his wife by being unfaithful and his son by not revealing he had a sister; the woman the son fell in love with. As a consequence the son killed the father. This tragedy tangled more inextricably the family relations as both Ian’s chosen family (his lover) and natural one were the same since he was unknowingly in an incestuous relationship. Beside, Ian confides to Jane after confessing that killing his father felt good for one second because “the old bastard finally understood. When he was dying, he finally understood what he’d done to all of us”… a guilt-laden father whose lies and past mistakes caused great grief to his child, no way that would remind us of Jane, of course…

– Still, this aspect of a family’s negative influence is somehow tempered by the recurrence of people bonding with estranged family members. First, Lorelei found her sister, after the girl was sold by their mother; in the previous episode, a mother and the daughter she left met again, here it’s a brother meeting and falling for his unknown sister. In those three cases, the characters feel a very deep love for the long lost family member and have a meaningful relation with them, but things go south and everything ends in disaster… Does this suggest that, after meeting again his daughter in his belladonna induced hallucinations and bonding with her, Jane’s inability to let go is bound to have terrible consequences?

– The incest is an interesting part of the storyline. Many interpretations are possible for the bigger picture it draws: first, the love between siblings might be a teasing for shippers, a wink and a way to acknowledge how the closeness between Jane and Lisbon has evolved. It was labelled as a form of complicity between brother and sister by the writers during the first seasons, while now both characters have shown that what they feel is deeper and more complicated. Second possible meaning, if Ian killed to protect a forbidden relationship, that might be compared to Jane’s unstated but logical new motivation for finding RJ: his closeness to Lisbon has started to become a danger for her. Lorelei asked for her head and many suspicious characters are beginning to approach her for dark reasons (Haffner, Kirkland). Thus, killing RJ is a way to ensure her safety and to protect their bond, which he is seemingly not allowed to discuss in the meantime (forbidden relationship). Last but certainly not least, the lovely Windsparrow had a very intriguing idea: she remarked that this is the second case that involved incest as a plot device, the first one being Renfrew’s liaison in season 1 ‘Red John’s Friends’. It’s interesting that in both episodes RJ’s presence is looming over them: Renfrew was about to spill the beans about the serial killer but he was killed before, whereas in this episode, Jane seems to gain control of the situation by (probably) playing Kirkland and keeping his notebook to himself… It’s almost as if the incest emphasised the contrast between the moment when Jane realized for the first time what force he was up against and the episode where he might be slowly gaining the upper hand.

 4) Spectacles have been pretty present recently, first with the show-conference Jane provided the student with in ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, and more importantly with the musical in ‘Behind the Red Curtain’. Both in the latter and in this episode, the show is a metaphor for a bigger secret hidden behind inoffensive appearances: in the previous episode the killer chose to play a parting real-life in order to hide that the musical had no investor, while here the tourist town faces serious difficulties and the owner hided the secret daughter he had with a former lover. Both secretive men pulled strings around them and that enlightens how the characters are surrounded by false appearances (Kirkland’s secret true goal; RJ hiding behind the mask of a acquaintance), but those appearances are about to crumble down, like both shows were, due to Jane’s progress towards the truth…

5) There is no allusion to poker in this plot, but there are cards in the context of a magic trick and it might be meaningful that Jane takes possession of them. It is a reminder of the poker play with Bertram again in ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, before he was revealed as an ally of Bob… and it suggests the power play between Kirkland and Jane with the usual artifices used in poker, like hiding one’s hand and bluffing.

Reviewbrain: Violet didn’t  have time to add any best scenes or best lines, and I had an hour or two free so I added some of mine. As always, thank you for hard work! Readers, please also feel free to share in the comments your favorites moments in the episodes and best quotes ^_^

Best Scenes

The end

Having Jane return to his attic, seeing that his bait had been taken, then having the scene cleverly transition into Kirkland in his apartment was fantastic. Blake Neely’s powerful tunes helped express the urgency and suspense of the fact that Jane might *gasp*  be making some real progress in the Red John case. Read Violet’s analysis of VIS #5 above for more reasons.

Jane Catches the Killer

A similar sense of urgency prevailed when Jane hooked Ian in his trap and forced him to confess to killing his father. Jane threatens the secret to be revealed to his “assistant” Lily was very effective. Jane’s sympathetic demeanor even as he is threatening Ian to reveal his motive to the unsuspecting girl was quite revealing. It hinted to viewers that unlike the selfish motives we’ve been getting from unrepentant psychos we’ve been getting most of this season, this crime was more tragic than it twas senseless. Jane leaving an empty envelope in her hand was might seem like a cruel act but the deception was actually a kindness.The later scene revealing the sordid and terrible situation of the brother and sister was a great reveal.

Kirkland Examine’s Jane’s Evidence

This choice shouldn’t come as a surprise; Violet already explained how wonderfully riveting it was to see Kirkland in his natural habitat as he went over Jane’s evidence. I’m also sure I wasn’t the only one who went into hysterics when I saw him drinking a Bloody Mary. Who the heck is this guy ?!

Honorable Mentions

Writing : This was truly a classically engaging, perfectly written and balanced episode. Thank you Michael Weiss.

Music : Blake Neely’s music is as perfect as ever. Whimsical, then powerful where necessary.

Production by all (quite a few of the writing staff, I’m happy to see) and the direction by Guy Ferland was flawless. As was the editing.

Hair/Make Up: The men are as strapping as ever but the women have never looked more naturally beautiful.

Acting: There were quite a few talented guest actors and actresses: The Percy family members, Lily, Francisco, Kevin (the Wild West show actors), the Sherriff: they all fit their roles perfectly. Are regulars were also in top form.

Best Quotes

We’re gonna hold here. They’ve got this covered. ” Jane, to the coroner after shots were fired. Continuity on coward Jane = love.

“Very thoughtful, Wayne “. –Lisbon, to Rigsby on Grace’s gift.

“How’d you know it was me ?” Rigsby in answer to the above.

“I’m a homicide detective. ” Lisbon’s reply.

*I loved this entire exchange. Any hint of the sibling-like relationship between Lisbon and Rigsby makes me ridiculously happy. Here, her tone when she called him out on giving Grace the gift, his guilty expression like a caught child, and her knowing reply…sigh. I had hearts in my eyes the entire time.

“Bro! That thing is real!” Kevin, the magician to Jane. LOL !! This kid was an awesome actor. Loved his tone and expression here, dropping his western act after Jane took his gold nugget.

“You’re still in love with her but instead of telling her you bought her a plant.”- Cho to Wayne.

“But that’s pretty zen though, right?” Wayne, in response to the above.

“Not yet. Sounds like fun.” Grace’s deadpan to victim’s wife after she asked if she was married. Lol. Snarky Grace is cool.

“Candy-ass pickpocket trying to bust my chops. Nobody handles me.” Kevin grumbling out loud after he quits. Really loved this guy’s reading of all his line. Hilarious.

“That you two were in love ? That was easy.” -Jane, to Ian, on how he knew about his secret relationship with Lily Soto. It could be wishful thinking but might the writers be reassuring (teasing ?) us to trust the (obvious ?) hints that Jane and Lisbon are in love?

“Sometimes it’s best just to be relaxed about this stuff. ” Lisbon to Rigsby about not knowing what Jane’s performance is about.

Image by Chixuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chixuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain 2013. Not to be used without permission.

 

Now, Suzjazz suggested a poll to see what percentage of fans want J/L to live happily ever after as a couple. I’m feeling indulgent (i.e. have some time one my hands) so here it is :)

Note:  Tunney fans head over to affiliate website Robin’s Green Shades to see what the fantastic actress did. Congratulations to webmistress Novella and everyone else. You deserve it!

*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 Red in Tooth and Claw Review


Synopsis

Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) is playing poker with Director Bertram (Michael Gaston) and two others high-ups. To his dismay, Bertram is losing big time when Lisbon is called for a crime committed at the Museum of Natural History. Here she meets with CBI Consultant Patrick Jane (Baker): a young professor at NorCal State University has been killed and her body hidden in a case with flesh-eating bugs. Both agent and consultant start investigating, while Van Pelt (Righetti) announces to Lisbon that she’s been accepted in a computer training program in L.A..

Concise Verdict

Set after ‘The Red Barn’, an episode heavily centered on RJ, ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’ provides us with a pause from this tension-filled arc. While the questions left hanging at the end of the previous episode are still frustratingly unanswered, it gives us a handful of very enjoyable moments and focuses on the relationships between the main characters. Almost every element that made the show so endearing is present, accompanied with an appreciable serving of continuity: solid and funny team-work, some well-used time screen for every team member, amusing and heart warming moments from Jane who shows off his sense of spectacle for once in a non problematic way. And writer Jordan Harper even skilfully managed to introduce more serious topics under the sweet trivialities. 10/10

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS #1: Lisbon and Jane interview Dr Kidd

At the university, Lisbon and Jane try to get a feeling of the victim’s work environment by asking some questions to Dr Kidd. First, Jane asks about Linda’s subject study, arguing that there is an analogy between what she was interested in and her personality: the woodpecker she was studying indicates that she was tenacious and used to bang her head against a problem until she solved it… So, if we are to follow that logic, that also implies once again that Jane resembles who he chases: Red John. Jane and his nemesis are quite alike, as Lorelei claimed: same qualities (intelligence, cleverness), same flaws (a certain cruelty and ferocity), and same way to solve problems by manipulating people and situations.

The second interesting point in this scene concerns family: Kidd asserts that “the success of one of us helps all of us. We’re a family.” Jane answers: “People murder family members everyday, it’s natural”. As Reviewbrain pointed out various times, family is an important theme this season, opposing biological family (often with rather bad relations) to a more supportive substitute: the team is a great example of this, as they care and protect each other. But later, the reality is revealed to be in sharp contrast with Dr Hill’s words. Ironically, as Jane said it was a member of that “family” of scientists who killed the victim, because her success was a danger to his own career. Plus, there were jealousies and rivalries with other coworkers (a fake dating profile was made up to break her up with her boyfriend), enhancing the gap with the SCU. That matches how that ideal of a chosen family has been slipping towards a darker version recently, first with the revelations about Lorelei’s past, then with the events in ‘The Red Barn’: RJ’s influence seems to have replaced the bond Lorelei couldn’t form with her mother as well as it has helped her overcome her sister’s death. So far, RJ’s network had been presented as a religion -hence Gupta’s faith-, but it seems more and more implied that they also form a kind of unconventional and loose family around their master; the farm members from Visualise were asked to cut ties with their biological family to reveal their real identity, the group serving as a new family, a concept that RJ seems to have taken up to new extremities… And the “people murder family members everyday” has illustrated been among RJ followers with Rebecca’s and Todd’s execution.

Also, continuing the animal theme brought on by the title ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’, one of the scientists comments that “you don’t even know what it’s like in the program. Dr Hill likes us to play like one happy family, but we’re like a pack of hyenas tearing each others apart”. It illustrates the meaning of the title expression (predators soiling those “teeth and claws” in their preys’ blood in the wild world) and the killer’s motive for murdering Linda, a survival of the fittest logic career wise. Still, the predator referenced in the title may encompass many more people: RJ the tiger, Bertram and his obsession for besting the other poker players and in a comic way Rigsby’s dinosaur toy. So the main arcs in this episode fit under that characterization.

VIS #2 Lisbon talks to Bertram

After Grace told her she was accepted in the Advanced Computer Investigation Training Program in L.A., Lisbon asks Director Bertram –who seems to have become their boss since Luther hasn’t been replaced- for his authorization. But Bertram is still offended by loosing earlier to Judge Manchester at poker and hardly listens to her: he complains that Manchester acted all smug towards him and asks Lisbon if she believes he cheated. When Lisbon tries to play it down saying “it’s just a game”, Bertram tells her incredulously “you don’t believe that”, before refusing Van Pelt’s training because of budget cuts. The scene gives further explanation for Grace’s training program, an excuse to send pregnant Amanda Righetti on maternity leave, as well as giving a raison d’être to Jane’s scene with Bertram (VIS #3). But it also discreetly raises an important question: Bertram implies that he doesn’t attend poker nights just to play cards, so what is his true goal in gathering with other high ups? Is he just trying to promote his career by mangling with judges and senators, or has he an ulterior motive?

VIS #3 Jane plays poker with Bertram

Since Lisbon couldn’t convince Bertram to let Grace follow her program, Jane barges in Bertram’s office, armed with a deck of cards and his charm, and claims that he’s heard that losing at poker has been affecting his work… He then proceeds to train Gale at playing cards, analyzing his tells and his bluff technique: Bertram usually fakes some tell to lead his adversary to think he’s bluffing.

This cordial moment between two men who are generally opposed is interesting on many levels and enlightens Bertram’s character. First, his personality: given his anger at losing and his elaborated technique, we can deduce that he likes to dominate others and considers himself as smarter than them. That’s why he’s surprised and a bit vexed that first Manchester then Jane see trough him and spot the tell inside his fake tell: he likes to deceive his adversaries. We can also notice that, if you are to believe what Jane pointed out in the VIS#1 concerning the similarities between someone and the object of his observations, since Bertram enjoys to observe the people he plays poker with and whom he accuses of being smug (and maybe cheating), it might refer to him as well, in addition to being a sore looser… Bertram lets personal favors influence his decisions at work: he later gleefully tells Lisbon that he accepts to let Grace go to L.A.; so, while before he gave in to pressure (media, FBI…), to maintain a good public image for the CBI and himself, now he’s not above giving special treatment to people who please him. He’s hardly incorruptible… Wanting to be the smartest of the room, playing tricks on people, letting his personal opinion bend his rules: Bertram shares those traits with Jane too.

Second point, as implied in the scene with Lisbon, poker nights seem to be a good way to promote those office politics Bertram is fond of. It gives a golden opportunity to gain influence and contacts, hence Lisbon using Judge Manchester in ‘Days of Wine and Roses’. That’s something Bertram is bound to value if one remembers his “well played” to Lisbon when she used the media to force him to change his mind in ‘Red Alert’. But his reaction now raises a question: it seems that what vexed him most, more than losing big money, was Manchester’s “smug” and patronizing attitude. So, if his goal was really to benefice office politics, then why was his reaction so strong? He didn’t really lose Manchester’s respect by being outsmarted, except for being mocked a bit (the older man claimed he could read him like a kid book), but it’s unlikely that the judge wouldn’t help him if need arose: in other words, poker nights are an occasion to get to know and befriend people who can prove useful, who win or who lose shouldn’t really matter in this perspective. Jane explained Bertram’s bad mood to Lisbon as being part of who he is: his domineering position in life would encourage him to want to win… Nevertheless, it hadn’t bothered him to be servile with Alexa Schultz at the beginning of the season, paying her compliments and being charming. He was his usual opportunistic, pragmatic self. Thus are Manchester and the poker nights different from her for Bertram?

Those poker nights were presented under a suspicious light from the start and various details reinforce that impression. First, the first took place when there was some effervescence about that potential mole hidden in the FBI, therefore a discreet gathering of influential people was bound to raise a few questions among viewers. As commenter Hallie pointed out in response to the ‘Not One Red Cent’ review, the tablecloth is red instead of the usual green. And Judge Manchester’s name might remind us of the famous soccer team Manchester United… also called the Red Devils. Also, it was hot-headed Mancini who introduced Lisbon to them: he appears in the recap, but hasn’t been seen in the actual show for a while. Since he was familiar enough with the players to bring someone, why hasn’t he been here for the last two games? Was he too busy and was it just a coincidence, or did he bring Lisbon in contact with the others because he was asked to? One the game interest is to make useful acquaintances, but apart from the favor Lisbon asked from Manchester a few eps ago, it seems that the one who is really trying to become closer with another player is Bertam with Lisbon: he’s making overtures, commenting the game, asking for her opinion. As discreet Lisbon wouldn’t have spontaneously mentioned that her wayward consultant is “pretty good” on her own, he has certainly been asking about Jane’s skills off screen. He is trying to build up some kind of complicity with her, bumping fists for instance. It’s quite a paradox given how eager he was to let Jane rot in jail and to fire Lisbon in the previous season… Hard not to wonder what brought on such a drastic change of heart, even Hightower’s warming up was more gradual. Again, has Bertram an ulterior motive by playing nice, like winning Lisbon’s trust and, through her, Jane’s?

Jane and Lisbon

Jane’s revelations at the end of the previous episode have been having positive consequences. Both Jane and Lisbon are very comfortable around each other during this episode and she has let him in enough to lie down on her couch in front of him, unprofessionalism be damned. There is no arguing, every interaction between them shows that they get along and it looks like this is a given for both. Jane also tries to get her to spend time with him, asking her to visit the museum with him another time (telling her that “we” should come back when there is not a corpse involved), getting her to play his assistant during his brilliant conference about his memory palace. That’s probably the reason why he bough dinosaur gums at the museum gift shop and pretended that they were for himself for later in front of Cho: given that he was aware that she had been playing poker the previous night and that he had a deck of cards in his pocket just after giving Cho his gift – he used said cards to trick the thief- he was planning to play poker with her all along. The resulting ending scene was very in character: it involved scheming, seeking Lisbon’s company, sharing food and feeding her, all things that are becoming increasingly regular.

Besides, both seem to be eager to make the other look good: Bertram revealed that she stated that he is “pretty good” at poker, while Jane takes upon himself to train her to improve her poker skills. It remains unsaid still if he does it because he thinks she should be the best, because he wants her to be as good as him (as part of his modelling her as a fellow mentalist), or just as an excuse to get to enjoy her company. His adamant willingness to assert himself as a poker specialist both with Bertram and with her might also suggest that he may be a little bit jealous that she spends time playing with other people a game he’s admittedly so good at… By training both of them –and particularly with Lisbon-, he gets back his status as the smartest of them and the one she goes to for help. Even when she didn’t ask for it.

The closer bond they have formed is also enlightened by the blatant efforts writers have made to feminise Lisbon in the course of the most recent seasons. At first, she was quite simply a tomboy, with awkward reactions to Mashburn’s attentions and pink bridesmaid dresses… But lately, things have begun to change in the portrayal of the character: no doubt she would still be wary of frilly girlish outfits, but her appearance is more feminine (her make-up has changed); she’s started gathering a lot more of male attention (Mancini, Kirkland, the stripper and Haffner, only since the beginning of the season), and acts more secure of her charms (flipping her hair before meeting Kirkland, and telling Jane she would be having lunch with Haffner as if it was a date). Even the stripper was a hint that she’s seen more as a woman, after all the previous celebration celebrated in her honor was a birthday party involving a pony… And here, tough-as-nail Agent Lisbon is fainting in front of bugs eating a decaying corpse and her usually coward consultant has to try and catch her. And she’s disgusted by the dead animals she has to touch when Jane works his magic during the conference he accepted to give. Her image is progressively changing. At the same time, it may nor not be related to that progression, but we get a scene where Jane is being hit on by a woman who for once is a suitable date and not a criminal setting her eyes on him… That moment with Dr Hill reminds of the ending of ‘Bloodhounds’ with Dr Montague. Both women are scientific interested in him personally as well as intellectually, by professing curiosity and admiration either towards his extensive memory or towards his capacities of deduction and his intuition. And both were rejected in a similar way, except for a detail: Jane only acknowledged Dr Hill’s attraction, there is therefore a progress between those two scenes. Also, that has been a long time since Jane used his marital status as a pretext to deflect unwanted feminine attention: so the goal here could be to highlight this status as a “taken” man (as Dr Hill puts it), or to emphasis that he is attractive too.

Either way, the consequences of Jane’s confidences at the end of ‘The Red Barn’ are discernible also in the way he acts with others than Lisbon. He is well-behaved, he doesn’t anger anyone and doesn’t come up with messy plans. He’s willing to help the team investigate and to help Van Pelt to get her training trip: he’s trying to make himself useful. He showers his teammates with affection, bearing gifts, playing “bingo” with them to fid out a suspect… The whole ep is a breather and illustrates implicitly how satisfied he is to have come clean with Lisbon. A pleasant feeling albeit it’s certainly only the calm before the storm…

The team: many sides of the friendship between Cho and Rigsby

Cho and Rigsby have been acting as representing the team since Grace shows up less in the past months and as such their general acceptance of Jane indicates how fully they took him back after his Vegas adventure. They enjoy his gifts, they play along with his schemes… In fact, Cho isn’t even surprised when Jane gives him a dinosaur toy, leading to this telling exchange: “I’m guessing you’re the triceratops, yeah? –Yeah”. Simple as that. And the doting consultant even looks a bit crestfallen that his stoic coworker wouldn’t take it with him on the field, a thing that Rigsby spontaneously does… Each dinosaur indeed fits its owner: Cho’s an herbivore, reflecting his usually calmer nature, but has horns, meaning that it can defend himself and attack as efficiently as impassive Cho. On the other hand, Rigsby’s T-Rex is the most famous dinosaur and indicates his more childish and flashy personality. It’s a carnivore, enlightening its owner’s violent streak and big appetite, and its imposing size reminds that he’s the tallest of the team… and often also the less subtle. Same goes with Van Pelt’s fossil, albeit it doesn’t garner much attention: rectangular like the computer screen it is put close to, it makes clear that she’s used to chase tracks at her desk, while being more feminine than a dinosaur toy. And it’s more static than the toys too unfortunately, since the poor woman hasn’t been a lot of field time recently… However emphasis is put on the complicity between the men of the team and they have the same dynamic than in the first seasons: Cho silently assessing the situation, Jane coming up with brilliant/crazy ideas and Rigsby taking care of the most ridiculous and dangerous parts (holding a tarantula before warning children not to do it). Have those three had their boys’ night?

Nevertheless, what is even more heartwarming is the closeness between Cho and Rigbsy: they compare their dinosaurs in mock rivalry and tease the other about it, and the toys show the contrast between their personalities and how well they complete each other. But that amusing argument also leads to more serious subjects which Cho tackles with his usual bluntness: that Rigsby has no real personal life and harbour one again (or is that still?) romantic feelings for Grace. Cho is actually reaching out for his friend and trying to make him confide in him. But, while the tall agent used to be pretty open about his attraction in the past, he now tries to play it down and even avoids the matter.

That alone shows how Wayne’s been making progress: when he met Van Pelt, he didn’t hide his puppy love and thus the relationship was traversed with drama (longing glances, failed confessions, a not so secret forbidden love story, break-up, confession and jealousy at almost every stage…). Here, his reaction is more adult in spite of his sputtering and awkwardness: basically, he doesn’t pour his heart this time. It’s rather nice that, since they chose to give that arc another go, they seem to try to infuse a bit more of maturity in it instead of just replaying the same situation. Another point: while the training program would undoubtedly be useful for the SCU, opening new possibilities while simultaneously making a clever way to integrate Amanda Righetti’s maternity leave in the story, it also reminds us that Van Pelt is rather career oriented. It’s then a manner to point to her probable willingness to go forward in her work, which was the reason for her break up with Rigsby. That might make us viewers wonder if there is a chance that Grace would think of moving out of the team one day.

Icings on the cake

The continuity with ‘Red Queen’ where the Museum of Natural History first appeared was very nice. It’s rather rare that previous episodes or minor characters are referenced and when it happens, it conveys an impression of coherence. Same goes for Jane’s interest for the museum and its gift shop, as he bought a gift for a friendly guard’s son back then: at the time, he was hiding information from his friends, while now he’s sharing his suspicions with Lisbon, a fact enhanced by him getting gifts for the team. Also, it was a pleasant surprise to make Rigsby interact again in a quite funny manner with Papadakis.

Honorable Mentions

Jordan Harper, beautiful pace and flawless writing, enough said. Also, the whole cast and the guest stars were as talented as they have accustomed the viewers to be, especially humorous Wayne Yeoman.

Best Lines

– “It’s Advanced Computer Investigation Training Program, taught by actual hackers. It’s so advanced I don’t know what she’s saying when she talk about it.” Lisbon to Bertram about Grace’s training program, or when the best argument is that you can’t even understand enough to find an argument at all. I heart Lisbon.

– “It’s time to play bingo”… completed with scheming faraway look. That’s Jane’s investigation techniques at their best for you.

– “It’s easy to remember when you never forget” modest Jane to Dr Hill who asked him what was the secret of his impressive memory.

– “T-Rex are losers” Cho to Rigsby when he asks him how come he likes triceratops better. Blunt and to the point.

– “Goodnight moon. Goodnight stars. Goodnight judge” Bertram to Manchester, after whipping him out at poker. The line, inspired by a very famous bedtime book, references the judge’s earlier statement that he could read Bertram like a kid book.

– “Your dinosaur eats grass!” Rigsby to Cho. No, it’s not a description, it’s an insult.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, March, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, March, 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Pet Peeves

– Why the killer didn’t take the corpse away before it had a chance to be discovered? It may have seem too dangerous, but it should have been stated, because that way we get the feeling he just stuffed it in the case, poured the worms and forgot about it completely. Or at least, he should have mentioned he was waiting for the bugs to leave clean bones to take it out more discreetly, even though it would have taken a while…

– The decaying corpse was also showed with an insistence that didn’t match the usual atmosphere of the show. The scene had almost a Bones’ vibe: usually, skeletons get no more than a snapshot here. It’s a bit disconcerting given that the corpse itself didn’t hold them any information, nor the murder scene (no searching for blood in the laboratories or offices). That horrible picture justifies a little Lisbon’s fainting, but, as amusing as her being grossed out was, it still was a bit out of character for her.

– Same goes for the “bingo’ scene: while enjoyable, it’s still rather far stretched to assume that the culprit would use the same words as in the fake dating profile during a simple brief chat under the sun.

Conclusion

Since we know that Jane’s been making significant progress in isolating RJ’s name in that new list of his, I guess we’ll be playing for some episodes a little game called “May This Guy Be RJ?”, beginning with Gale Bertram.

There are quite a few pro arguments:

– he quoted Blake (it could have been a test to figure out if Jane had kept her in the loop concerning his encounter with the serial killer in season 2 finale). Moreover it did it in ‘Red Queen’, the episode that took place in the museum too and that Papadakis alluded to… But let’s not forget that at the time, the writers were instilling suspicions towards almost everyone.

– In ‘Strawberry and Cream’, he mentioned the rope, and so implanted in Jane’s mind the idea that it was a set up and that Craig was the real mole. It was played as a coincidence back then, but he could have been playing with him. After all, it was plausible that O’Laughlin had already held a killing party at the cabin, and it would have been supremely ironic if Lisbon, along with Grace and Hightower, had been already dead when Jane had called her. Instead Bertram, voluntarily or not, provoked a confrontation with Carter and as a result, managed to get rid of Jane. RJ almost managed at the time to completely crush him: if Jane really believed he was spending his life in jail for murdering his nemesis, RJ could have either retired at his depends, or kept killing and gloating while Jane wasted away. Or, if Jane had realised his mistake, his regrets and horror would have been even more enjoyable. And, may it be for the sake of the CBI public image, but Bertram was very eager to let Jane in jail for the longest time possible.

– Bertram was the one putting Haffner in Lisbon’s position as Jane’s team leader. Given the man’s connection with Visualize and his speciality in surveillance, the possibilities are pretty intriguing.

– Bertram’s age roughly fits RJ’s. He would have been in less than his mid-twenties at the time RJ was at the farm. If he seemed inexperienced and juvenile enough, he might have been called “a kid” by older men.
– Bertram’s attitude while playing poker indicates that he shares some of Jane’s personality traits (manipulative and over-confident in his intelligence). So, he resembles Jane, who resembles RJ. Huh huh.

In the Cons Department:

– Truth be told, Bertram always seemed pretty defiant towards Jane and his antics. Was that attitude an act? Would RJ have tried to befriend Jane instead?
– Bertram is definitely less clever and smart than Jane, since the latter could spot the flaw in his bluffing and Manchester had no difficulty doing so either. One might argue that it could have been a manoeuvre from Bertram to get closer to Jane and make him lower his defiance (he would be prone to do it if he though Bertram wasn’t a threat). Or, in the reverse way, Jane could be suspecting Bertram and his eagerness to help him improve along with Lisbon’s affability might be an act to observe their director… Who knows?

*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 The Red Barn Fan-Review


Hello everyone!

Yes, you read that right. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Real life came out full force this month and doesn’t show any sign of letting up soon. As I’ll be very busy the upcoming months I’ll be relying on you, dear readers, to review this episode by offering your fantastic comments as usual. I’ve been staggered with your responses over the years, so much that I don’t think my presence is even needed much anymore (though it would be nice to be missed ^_^)

I still love this show to pieces but reviews can’t take precedence over my career. Maybe I’ll be able to free my schedule to write some more in the future. But if not, please do come here for the discussion. I know I will; your opinions on our favorite show always make me think, smile, and laugh.

Mini-verdict: With regards to this episode,all I can say now is wow. Tom S. wrote an equally funny and important episode. Oh, and I loved the direction by Allison Anders. Baker and Tunney are as talented and delightful and in tune and perfect as always, etc. etc. But so was everyone and everything else.

    Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, February 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain, February 2013. Not to be used without permission.

Sweet episode. I was only able to watch it once though, so I’ll grade it after that second viewing. For now, here are some possible topics for discussion:

Visualize

I’m just going to point out that All-I-Need pointed out way back in Season three that he’s probably a member of Visualize, to which I replied that he might have been one who went rogue on them after learning all their secrets; a possible reason why Stiles knows so much about him but doesn’t like him (besides the fact that he killed all those women, I mean).

(not) Jealous Jane?

First the stripper, then Haffner. I thought Jane took the attention Lisbon was getting very well. In fact, he was downright sweet about it, going to catch the case with Cho and leaving her to enjoy her spotlight.

Ray Haffner

I don’t think Lisbon suspected he had anything to do with the crime; just wanted to ask him if he happened to notice anything. But his reaction “we’re still friends, why would you ask me that” raised a big red flag. Hence her going to talk to Jane.

Are We Partners, or What?

One word: Finally. Now excuse me while I get another box of tissues…

Bonus:

Robin Tunney got engaged! Woohoo! Read all about it at: Robin’s Green Shades.

Chizuruchibi is selling a calender featuring her art! Check it out here.

*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.