Tag Archives: Blake Neely

Mentalist Nothing Gold Can Stay Review


While investigating the case of a brutal armored car robbery and generally getting on happily with their respective projects, the team is shaken by an unexpected event: Michelle Vega (Josie Loren) is killed by one of the criminals they were trying to arrest.

Concise Verdict

The ‘Bullet’ mentioned in the vague threats of the more recent episodes has finally found a target: Vega is the very first team member killed in the show and no need to say it makes this episode very emotional… Even more so since writer Alex Berger also signed her first scene at character development in ‘Green Light’ when she started stopping seeking her father’s shadow behind rules and approval… After tragedy stoke, bonds are strained and boundaries change: all in all, ‘‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ presents a sinister echo to ‘Nothing But Blues Skies’: it’s a reset button for the team, with altered dynamics and Jane threatening to fly the now painful premises.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers galore)

The violence displayed on the robbery contrasts with Jane and Lisbon cheerfully discussing their plans for a romantic weekend. This jarring note hints at unsettling events right from the star. Interestingly, their plans are a consequence of their talk at the end of the previous episode: Lisbon told him to focus on “what’s going on right now” because what they had was “very, very good”. Jane is therefore trying to work their disagreement out spending some nice time alone, out of work. Unsurprisingly, his choice for a dreamy getaway is getting them isolated from the world in a “rustic, charming, very romantic” little cabin. As usual, Lisbon is not depicted as a nature-loving girl, so she immediately picks up on the description: “rustic as in no running water?”… This detail reminds of her prison girl talk with Marie in ‘The Greybar Hotel’: back then, she commented about the life the girl was sharing with her outlaw of a boyfriend that “wild is one thing, no shower is another”. More than some demand for comfort in the choice of their lovers’ nest, with “the kind of place that leaves a mint on the pillow”, it’s implicitly their whole relationship and the dangers inherent to it that are about to be called into question, even more since ‘The Greybar Hotel’ started Jane’s round of worries about his sweetheart’s safety…

When the consultant starts interrogating witnesses under Cho’s supervision, viewers get treated to a classic cheeky Jane moment … In a few sentences, Jane manages to rub the whole bunch of witnesses off by asking right away “which one of you was the accomplice to the robbery this morning” and reading their reactions… The moment features that impertinent side that he used to display in the CBI era. It also shows Cho’s announced new charge of leader since Abbott is planning to leave because the stoic agent funnily defends Jane’s way of doing things by remarking that it’s not outrageous “not really, not yet” . On the other hand, Jane’s rapid and callous solving of the point is quite reminiscent of the case he cracked in record time at the beginning of ‘Blue Bird’, that is when he was about to lose Lisbon because she was walking out his life, which is quite telling of fears and foreshadowing of future events…

The second layer of subtext in that moment is Jane’s speech regarding guilt: he tells his marks that guilt is “physical, increased perspiration, racing heart”. Guilt has been his trademark emotion for years and is probably part of his current issue with Lisbon since he’s worried that she’ll get hurt like Angela and Charlotte were. Maybe he’s even terrified that one of his plans might be responsible for it because he’s the brain behind the team, just like his conman acted caused his family’s death… that much is hinted at when notes that “when I just shook your hands, most of you were relatively calm”, given that hands have been linked to guilt during his quest for revenge (Lady Macbeth, the handshake clue to RJ’s identity). One way of another, the menace he’s been afraid of is getting closer…

Meanwhile, the continuity with the happy party at the ending of ‘Copper Bullet’ is guaranteed by many changes, such as Abbott being content to let Cho direct the investigation because he’ll be in charge soon enough and Wylie finally gathering the courage to ask Michelle out. And she accepts, which shows how she has warmed up to the idea of getting closer after asking him to dance. A detail also brings attention to the connection with the previous events: Abbott is told that Jane “just said he was running an errand”. It was the same excuse Vega used for leaving the bullpen when she started tailing Peterson after convincing Cho to let her in the plan. It indicated that the focus is on her and her assumed choice to be a part of the team.


The young agent’s interaction with Michelle leads him to go to Abbott for advice. Dennis is a sound expert on love matters since he’s been happily married to his college sweetheart for 17 years old. Although Jason might not be aware of it, he was also Jane’s official Cupid into earning Lisbon’s favors… He willingly takes the same part for Wylie and states right away that he knows the young man asked her out: his explanation for this knowledge is an amused “this isn’t my first rodeo”. This line hints again at cowboys and, through them, at the danger idea brought by the allusions to Western movies in the previous episodes… Same with Wylie’s comment that he doesn’t really know what kind of restaurant he should choose, arguing “I don’t want to tip my hand”: this reference to poker is a nod to the game metaphor from the RJ era and a way to convey an unsettling impression in the middle that joyful occasion… However, Dennis advice echoes Lisbon’s consideration for details and mints on pillows: “keep it casual. Not a hole in a wall, you know? Tablecloths, not necessarily white…” Is it reading too much into that line to see it as a subtle reminder of Lisbon’s description of her date with Pike in ‘Silver Wings of Time” with “cloth napkins and everything” after Jane asked her if his rival was taking her someplace nice? If that’s the case, it’s a clever way to foreshadow how this first date with Michelle is doomed from the start… The talk anyway ends up with Abbott reassuring the hopeful young man: “she already said yes, that was the hard part. Just try to have fun”.


Cho too has a meaningful moment in relation with Vega: without being as personal as Wylie’s progress with the brunette, his talk with her in the car shows how much their relation has been veering towards genuine friendship. Indeed, when Vega starts commenting about his new leadership position, she asks him “are you excited?” As he retorts that he doesn’t “really think about it that way”, she presses on “isn’t this something you’ve wanted your entire career?”, “so be excited about it”. Her gentle prodding turns to teasing when he tells her that the main change he’s going to make is “a new rule: rookie agents are seen and not heard”, which she brushes off (“good luck with that”). Cho turns his head to hide his half-smile from her: their wit makes them equals in a way. Since she faced him and his protectiveness of feeling “responsible” for her, she turned the tables and made their bond evolve from seeking him out for approbation and guidance to something more akin to a partnership. Plus, she’s happy for him and Cho likes her as a person obviously for he’s taken her under his wing and is amused by her eagerness.

Jane and Lisbon

Meanwhile, in the “fishbowl”, Jane meets Lisbon. He’s prepared a surprise to please her. As he offers her a gift box full of those mints she wanted, he tells her he made reservations for their weekend “at the Alhambra: resortish style place, room service, high-thread-count sheets… I think you’re gonna like it”. He wanted to indulge in her wish to have a high-end weekend –like he planned to at the ‘Blue Bird’- in order to spend time alone with her. He’s eager to make her happy, even though she’s aware that he would have preferred something more “rustic” (“yeah, I’ll find a tree”). His dismissal of his own desires is probably a way to make up with what he’d done to anger her in the first place: he’s willing to prove to her that she’s important and that, in spite of his fears and manipulations, he’s attuned to her needs… And one may wonder if both their insistence with bed-related details (“pillow” and “sheets”) is not a way to imply how they want to spend this time alone, given how little cuddling time those two get onscreen. Too bad this luxurious hotel as an ominous name in context: the original “Alhambra” is an ancient Moorish palace in Granada (Spain), whose name means “red house/castle”, tying it up with the red thread and threat from Jane’s history… Once again, danger, fear and the ghost of revenge are lurking.

The notion of partnership is also mentioned in that brief moment between the lovers: as Lisbon can follow Jane’s steps in cold-reading the criminals’ non-verbal clues in the video of the robbery, he acknowledges her “good eye” as a sign that her own set of skills is getting is par with his. She’s his equal. On the other hand, the gang is not as well equipped: both Jane and Lisbon manage to define a flaw in their team. The one in charge –the “Alpha”- doesn’t trust the new crew member whose “big gun stands out” during the violent assault… Plus the Alpha apparently works with his brother, who’s the third member of their organization: trust, bond and defiance are closely woven together in the dangerous trio. Plus, it’s probably only a meaningless detail but it’s still intriguing that Jane’s eye caught onto the fact that they were brothers because of a similar walk due to a lift on the left shoe –even more since it’s that clue that later tips Vega onto identifying the group. Indeed, Jane’s shoes are a long-standing symbol for his journey through tragedy and received special attention in ‘Blue Bird’: it might be a way to hint that his life is about to make a new leap in an unexpected direction as well as attracting viewers’ attention on the important theme of family…

VIS#1 The turning point: Vega is killed

Things take a sudden turn for the worst when Vega and Cho check a dinner in the hopes of spotting their men. Some red elements like walls and booths and the redhead waitress hint at the looming threat as well as the poster “eat, sleep, fish” behind their suspects alludes to the old fishing/sea theme mentioned in ‘Little Yellow House’. Indeed, the menace gets very pressing when the two agents recognize the three gang members and confront them: a violent gunfire ensues, very much like it would happen in a saloon in a Western movie. Interestingly, Vega recognizes the Alpha because of his shoe: in the movie ‘Rio Bravo’ (already referenced in the season), Wayne’s sheriff character and his deputy also plan to recognize their suspect because his boots are covered in mud when he managed to hide in the saloon. The two men enter separately, the sheriff from the back door while the deputy takes the main entrance (just like Vega stays in the dinning room while Cho pursues two of their suspects through the back storage room). The difference is that the deputy is able to spot and kill the hidden man who was planning to shoot at them from above… Vega isn’t not as lucky and when Cho comes back after the men had managed to escape, he finds her injured on the floor with the patrons gathered around her. He wasn’t here to protect here, which will probably weigh on his conscience later.

Cho takes her in his arms and presses her injury –which has probably pierced a lung- in an attempt to stop the bleeding. He tries to calm her by talking and ends up repeating endlessly the same lines like a distraught mantra “come here”, “keep breathing”, “I know”, “you’re okay”, “good”… he’s almost fatherly, using with her the same words one would with a frightened child, calling her “Michelle” to put emphasis on how personal the moment is. Vega doesn’t seem to fully realize her state as she first wants to take her phone to call for an ambulance, but she soon asks a heart-breaking question: “did I mess up?” Cho tells her “no, you did good, okay? You did good”. Her last words end up being “I did?” It shows to viewers the reason why she felt drawn to Cho in the first place: his stern but reassuring presence reminded her of her father; the “mess up” also reminds of their first contact when her recklessness and lies made him angry at her. Things are coming full circle in a poignant few words when she’s starting to lose consciousness in his embrace and his “you did good” line referring to the job morph into “you’re doing good” when he gets her to focus on staying with him (“just keep breathing for me”), then to “look at me” when he feels that she’s slipping away…

The outcome is shown at the hospital in a completely silent scene except for Blake Neely’s very slow tune: Lisbon is running in slow motion in the hallway (like she did in ‘Bloodstream’, when Cho was too appointed new team leader after she unknowingly insulted their new boss LaRoche), Jane close behind her. Abbott standing motionless in front of the door then Cho waiting for them already indicate that they have bad news: Michelle has passed away. Their expressions show their different way to deal with the tragedy: Lisbon’s face expresses shock and grief. Jane lowers his head, centered on his emotions, while a sad Abbott looks at Cho, who’s completely focused on Vega’s pale dead face.

Wylie’s tears

Wylie’s reaction is shown immediately afterwards: he’s sitting alone in the bullpen and doesn’t move or react when other agents walk by. He ten looks at her desk when the phone starts ringing: there’s on one to answer it anymore. The Austin homicide agent who’s now in charge of the investigation tells him “I’m very sorry for your loss” and later Lisbon hugs him, acknowledging that he’s most affected by the tragedy since he’d been creating personal ties with the young woman.

His grief stricken lack of activity contrasts with Abbott’s attitude in front on the man who wants to take the case from them: even though he’s polite and cooperative, Dennis outright tells him “but this case is ours and these men, they belong to us”. He’s even more eager to keep the case that he didn’t even get the chance to talk to Vega that day…

Cho’s guilt

As Cho is waiting to be interrogated, he’s displaying another emotion: the blood on his shirt and on his hands hint that he’s feeling guilty for not protecting the rookie. He’s already told her once that he felt responsible for her and he was moreover in charge of the case; his bloodied hands are thus reminiscent of Lady Macbeth’s guilty conscience, even though he’s not really at fault. Plus, his appearance is a distant echo to Lisbon’s own bloodied shirt after discovering that Bosco and his men were shot by a RJ minion in ‘His Red Right Hand’.

Just as Lisbon acknowledged Wylie’s pain as somewhat leading the mourning given that he’d been her love interest, Abbott refers to Kimball to know more about Vega’s family: he’s the one able to tell that the next-of-kin in her file, “an aunt in Tampa”, is her only living relative and that she’s her father’s sister. Cho even furthers take side as surrogate family by telling that he’ll call the woman: he considers it his responsibility. When alone on Abbott’s office, he starts crying when he sees her file on the screen. The image of him finally making the call in a composed voice, shot through the window and framed by two littler glass panels give even more solemnity to the moment.

Jane and Lisbon are falling apart

Vega’s demise has unexpected consequences on the other coworkers: Jane is drinking his tea alone in the kitchen instead of seeking comfort close to his sweetheart. When she comes into the room asking for coffee, he tells her they’re out of it, yet she refuses his offer to have a cup of tea… Before Jane had been seen many times preparing a mug of coffee for her, but now he’s again centered on the pain and fear plaguing his thoughts and he’s closing himself off.

On the other hand, Lisbon broaches immediately the subject on her mind: “you don’t believe in the afterlife at all, do you?” Given that the theme was an important part of Jane’s grief after losing his family, Lisbon’s question ties the current situation to his past tragedy. When he confirms that he does not, she pushes further “I do. Do you think that’s foolish?” Again, he denies and she explains “I just need to believe that she’s someplace”. She’s in need of comfort and the only form of soothing he can provide her is by touching her arm –not even hugging her like she did with Wylie… Both are in need of the other’s presence, but a certain distance is growing between them… which is why Jane stays in the kitchen drinking his tea and watches her go with Abbott as she’s called for the investigation. When he finally joins the remaining team members and the homicide detective in their talk about the criminals’ whereabouts, he tells them “maybe we should all just take a breath”, echoing Cho’s words to the dying Vega. He explains to the agents who are eager for action “when you’re hunting a wounded animal, you just don’t start chasing it immediately. You’ll drive it to the ground”. Two more old themes are alluded to in that conversation: the hunting theme –linked to revenge- and the theme of birds (the possibility to send helicopters is mentioned with the line “a couple of birds in the air”); the latter is altogether associated with the hunt, with RJ’s ultimate demise and Jane’s hope for a new life by Lisbon’s side (‘Blue Bird’).

VIS#2 Jane’s methods are questioned again: are they enough to keep everyone safe?

1) Jane’s plan

While Wylie had been listening to the operation, a female dark-haired agent with a ponytail can be seen behind him: it’s an allusion to the missing Vega, just like both Abbott and Cho sitting in cars with the seat at their side remaining empty is a nod to Cho and Vega’s last friendly conversation before the catastrophe. Her loss is at the heart of the operation, because the whole team is trying to avenge her.

Yet the level of grief only increases as the criminals are cornered, for they take a woman then a man hostages. Plus Tommy, the Alpha’s brother, is injured: the blood on his torso and his brother’s comforting words “okay, it’s gonna be okay” while taking his hand draw a parallel with Vega’s last moments.

Jane understands the situation and remarks that “they’re in there because he was trying to get medicine for his brother, that’s compassion”. Nevertheless, instead of demanding a trade for a hostage, Jane plans to manipulate their feelings. He wants to use the Ace’s desperation to save his brother against the new member’s eagerness for money: “we drive an edge between them. Divide to conquer”. In order to do so, he plants a listening device in the pizza that Cho delivers to the bad guys trapped in one of their hostage’s house.

2) Cho’s counteroffensive

Yet, while Jane is busy playing mastermind, Cho took this opportunity to take a look inside. He asks for a word in private with Abbott and tells him that he wants to take them out. He’s aware that Jane doesn’t really have a plan: “he’s improvising”. He states “Now, I’ve followed Jane down a lot of paths, but I’m not sure he’s right this time.”

Abbott correctly surmises that it’s “about payback for Vega” and Cho simply answers “maybe. What if it is?” The older man prudently decides to let “Jane’s plan play out for a little bit”, but orders Cho to “talk to SWAT, let them know we might go in.” He realizes that, as much as Cho is right about Jane and about the urgency of the situation, he’s also recklessly out for revenge, like he was in ‘Blood In, Blood Out’: when one of his friends is targeted, Cho lets free rein to his wild streak… He’s briefly following into Jane’s footsteps, like Rigsby had been with his father’s killer; only now Jane is not as eager to avenge their lost friend as he is to protect his beloved…

3) Jane talks with the TV reporter

Blissfully unaware that he’s being passed over by his friends, the consultant pulls all the stops to mess with the mind of the criminals. To mislead them, he’s willing to use the TV crew in front of the house, in the same way he used Karen Cross’ show in the CBI. He tells the woman that he’s a “well-placed source” and that they’re secretly negotiating with one of the hostage takers, a fake news she relays on air for the benefit of the distrusting Sellers, the dangerous new gang member who killed Vega. He doesn’t care about hurting the hostages or about his accomplice’s endangered life: Seller’s only in for the money and his own greed leads him to believe that Ace may have been making a deal and selling him out…

The names of the news reporters might also prove remarkable: it may be a coincidence, but the leading man is called “George”, as the Christian Saint who fought the dragon that represented Evil. It used to be Jane’s position, but now it’s Lisbon’s, since she wants to keep stopping bad guys (hence Jane marveling at one of her clever remarks on Peterson’s skimming in ‘Copper Bullet’ by saying “by George, I think she got it”). And the news lady’s called “Elizabeth”, who’s Aaron’s wife in the Bible. Her name is associated with “seven” in Hebrew, making it another nod to the last season, but more interestingly she’s part of the Exodus history. Indeed, Aaron was alluded to in ‘The Silver Briefcase’ for it was the colonel’s first name. As explained in the review for that episode, Aaron was Moses’ older brother and helped him to lead their people out of Egypt, but they had a disagreement over how to worship God (Exodus, 32, 1-5). This divergence was a symbol for the different positions held by Jane, who wants to quit and make his own ‘Exodus’ real, and Lisbon, who wants to stay in the FBI. The Exodus was also hinted at by another character’s name in ‘The White of His Eyes’, when Jane decided to take measures to force Lisbon into safety: one of the Bittakers was called Caleb. Caleb was in the Old Testament one of Moses’ men who first saw the Promised Land after he was sent to explore Canaan; he was also the one who praised it with Joshua (Numbers 14, 6-9). In a nutshell, the journalists’ names sum up both Jane’s and Lisbon’s respective opinion on the matter of quitting law enforcement…

Moreover, the whole setting with Jane using the reporters to curb the situation to his advantage is reminiscent of Lisbon doing the same thing in ‘Red Alert’ to force Bertram to give her control of the operation. Back there too, a hot-headed cop with guilt issues wanted to take the hostage taker out by shooting him… and shades of the not so bad guy’s personality can be glimpsed into the altercation between the two angered accomplices here as Jane succeeds in driving an edge between them: the violent one who takes his rage on the male hostage is in direct contrast with the other one who simply asks the excited female captive to “sit down”…

4) Jane’s suicidal initiative

As things progress, the similarities with ‘Red Alert’ get more obvious. Indeed, Jane quickly realizes that he’s losing control of thesituation. Even when he pleads that he only needs a little more time, Abbott answers him “I’m sorry, Jane, I’ve tried”… Problem is that Jane wanted to avoid Lisbon getting into the dangerous house… So, when his smarts aren’t enough to keep her out of trouble, he resorts to more direct methods, telling her “don’t go with them” and taking her by the arm before adding “you don’t have to”. Lisbon disagrees but her usual reassurances don’t work on him: he knows that she can’t foretell if anyone will be hurt and Vega’s fate is too fresh in his mind for him to react rationally… Out of anger and fear, he takes a spur-of-the-moment decision as soon as she leaves at Cho’s order: he walks himself straight to the house, ignoring the others’ call to stop. If he can’t convince her to stay put, he’d force her to by taking the risks instead of her… Since he doesn’t have much time for finessing this out, he goes straight to the point with the surprised Ace when the man opens the door: he can help him and his brother, but he has to release a hostage first. His determining argument is “I am FBI, take me instead”, given that he’s “more valuable, better leverage”… he goes as far as pleading to the man to take him in: “come on, it’s a good deal”. Like in ‘Red Alert’, the criminal is not entirely cold-blooded and accepts to release the male hostage instead of keeping the three of them: he knows he doesn’t have much time because someone inside is bleeding to death, like it was back then. Again, the moment echoes a bit the movie ‘Rio Bravo’ ending with the criminal gang being out powered during a trading of hostages…

Outside, Lisbon tries to pacify the other infuriated cops: “I am just as angry as you are, but he’s just going in there, let him have some time”. She understands Jane’s plan and wants to avoid getting him in further danger in a potential gunfight. She explains that he’s trying to drive an edge between these two guys, giving him a vote of confidence (“if anybody can do that, it’s Jane”).

Jane’s improvised plan is to do the reverse of what he did to calm the panicky hostage in ‘Red Alert’: he’s driving the bad guys into a corner by causing their only remaining civil captive to have a panic attack. By messing with their mind, he manages to convince the men to free her in order to avoid the cops -who are listening on them- to barge in to save her from a supposed diabetic coma… While Ace is leading her outside, Jane manipulates the other by talking about how much money they took, causing his two marks to get into a violent argument. In the end, in the two criminals are killed another silent scene, except for the sound of the bullets: Ace is taken out by his ruthless accomplice, while the latter is shot by Cho. Ironically, the only one who makes it out of it alive is the injured brother, unlike Vega.

VIS#3 The funeral: saying goodbye

One last silent scene takes place in the cemetery when the team along with a number of other law enforcers gives Vega the last tributes: the music is drowning out the words. The official and well-attended funeral contrasts with the deserted graveyard in the opening of ‘Copper Bullet’ in the same way that this sad ending is in direct opposition with the joyous gathering to celebrate their victory.

Abbott and Cho are carrying the coffin as the higher ranked people in the team, whereas Jane’s walking alone, Lisbon preferring to stay by Wylie’s side… The distance between them fades a little as they’re sitting as a group to listen to the priest and when each of them –except Jane, at least onscreen- shovels some dirt onto the coffin as Michelle’s professional family. Abbott is comforting Wylie when they leave, Cho walking alone nearby.

Lisbon finds her lover crouched near a tree and she tells him that she’d like to postpone their plans for the weekend because “it just doesn’t feel right”. She’s aware that “places like this must be hard for” him, given the loss of his whole family, but she’s still taken aback when Jane tells her “I can’t do this anymore”. He pours his heart out, helped by the emotion from burying their friend: “I can’t watch you do this work. I mean it, it could have been you in that coffin. I don’t, I can’t go through that again”. Lisbon is right: the funeral has awakened painful memories for Jane, but what she didn’t expect is that he would take out his fear on their relationship. Even more since she’s probably still smarting from his latest stunt after all: “Jane, you were the one who walked in that house”. He was the one who was more in danger to catch a bullet than her. But Jane’s peculiar logic comes into play: “yes, so that you wouldn’t”. The difference is that in Jane’s mind, his life is not worth much: “me dying, it’s, it doesn’t hurt me”, a self-deprecating point of view illustrated many times by the risks he was willing to take to kill his nemesis –and by the temptation of suicide lurking after the deed was done… Lisbon tries to state reasonably “you can’t keep pulling me from the path of oncoming trains”, “because there’s always new train coming every day”… Jane’s solution is more drastic than simply accepting the dangers inherent to her job –and to life itself-: “I’m leaving. You can come with me or stay here, but I have to go”. He’s taking himself out of the situation before getting even more hurt, since he cannot bend her to his will… As she asks him where he’s going, he simply answers “someplace nice” before kissing her on the cheek. Lisbon keeps watching him go with tears on her eyes… Each of their most deep-seated fears has become real: Jane lost her to danger (since she didn’t follow him), which was his main motive for not confessing his feelings in the previous season, and Lisbon couldn’t keep him from leaving her, the very reason why she didn’t want to get close to him before he made his love clear. Yet neither wants to understand the other’s point of view… They’re both centered on not losing the other and are blinded by that.

Conclusion: a ray of hope in the darkness

Two texts are referred to during that episode. The first one is quoted in the title; it’s a poem written by Robert Frost in 1923:

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

In that poem, nature (with the metaphor of the Fall), and religion (the lost Eden) are combined to draw an history of humankind doomed to suffer and fail since everything is only ephemeral: “nothing gold can stay” means that every ounce of beauty and happiness is condemned from the start to end. It reflects both Vega’s demise when she was starting to become a valuable part of the team (hence the falling leaves when they were carrying her coffin) as well as Jane’s fears concerning Lisbon’s possible death which keep him from focusing on what they have right now. That piece of poetry is reminiscent of Blake’s ‘Tyger, Tyger’, given that the divine creation brings in itself its own demise, just like for Blake good and evil were tied together as a guarantee of balance: in their own different ways, both poets build a picture of the world defined by religion, in a rather dark perspective since the all things good are bound to have drastic limitations. There’s nothing absolute.

Eden for Jane is thus no longer that past he shared with his family and which met an end because of his own original sin: it’s the new life he managed to craft for himself, with his new team and Lisbon’s love. This life full of hope was crystallized in ‘Blue Bird’ and ‘Nothing But Blue Skies’, but in Jane’s mind it is somehow destined to end in death and violence too… Vega’s fate only confirmed this fear: time ineluctably takes people from him and it gets even faster in their line of job. On the other hand, it’s interesting that Death chose the rookie as its victim, since her name is telling: Michelle is the French feminine for Michel/Michael, the name used for Kirkland’s twin for it referred to the Archangel who fought Satan in the Book of Revelation. Yet, it may be another of the angel’s role that’s called into action here, since Michael is also the one in charge of saving innocent souls from the Devil and carrying them to heaven. This, associated with the fact that “Vega” is actually a star, makes for a positive symbol: Michelle is linked to the sky and to heaven (hence maybe her cheeky remark to Cho in the car “we’re wearing jetpacks”). The poem is also related to the religious concept of felix culpa (from Saint Augustine’s texts and in the “Exultet” in Catholic Easter liturgy): it’s the original fault that convinced God to send the Messiah on Earth, so paradoxically that sin is somewhat blessed. Meaning that something good can come of an unfortunate event. The notion of felix culpa is also linked to the Exodus: without exile, there would be no promised land after all… Even more since “gold” for Jane has not so happy connotations of leaving Lisbon on a cliff at sunset and of clinking to his wedding band… Maybe once the conflicting emotions have settled down he would be ready for a more permanent emotional commitment instead of living in fear and regret.

The other meaningful text is the song playing at the funeral, “Letters From The Sky”, by Civil Twilight:

“One of these days the sky’s gonna break
And everything will escape and I’ll know
One of these days the mountains
Are gonna fall into the sea and they’ll know

That you and I were made for this
I was made to taste your kiss
We were made to never fall away
Never fall away

One of these days letters are gonna fall
From the sky telling us all to go free
But until that day I’ll find a way
To let everybody know that you’re coming back
You’re coming back for me

‘Cause even though you left me here
I have nothing left to fear
These are only walls that hold me here
Hold me here, hold me here, hold me here
Only walls that hold me here

One day soon I’ll hold you like the sun holds the moon
And we will hear those planes overhead
And we won’t have to be scared
‘Cause we won’t have to be scared
We won’t have to be, yeah, scared, no

You’re coming back for me”

The idea of Eden and happiness coming to an end (“One of these days the sky’s gonna break/And everything will escape”) is associated with departure and return: Vega’s, in Lisbon’s conception of a rewarding afterlife, or Jane’s, given that he probably took the decision to leave during the funeral. The lyrics therefore tell viewers that he’ll come back to her (“I’ll find a way/To let everybody know that you’re coming back/ You’re coming back for me”) and that he’ll have no more reason to be afraid of losing her, nor Lisbon of him leaving her (“we won’t have to be scared”). The song foreshadows Jane’s heart-wrenching decision to go away, while also hinting that it won’t last. Interestingly, his leaving out of fear was also hinted by the location of Vega’s demise since she was shot at the “Tastee Pancake House”. Pancakes were the food Pike used to seduce Lisbon into going on a date with him: back then too, Jane had been on the verge of losing her because he couldn’t face his fears, until he found the courage to accept the risk of living fully again.


Mentalist The White of His Eyes Review


A hitman commits a quadruple homicide and Jane and Lisbon are called on the case along with the team. Problem is that as danger looms closer, Jane’s fierce protectiveness towards Lisbon, in spite of her independence and her sense of duty, may put a damper on their growing attachment.

Concise Verdict

With this episode, writer Erin Donovan offers an interesting addition to the season, as it nuances the very sweet domestic atmosphere between the two main characters. This is their first meaningful disagreement and it’s certainly more pivotal than a mere bump on the road to happiness… In fact, it was a welcome –if jarring for Lisbon- surprise to get back a shadow of the Jane we used to know from the early season… someone more manipulative and serving his own idea of right or wrong, someone who doesn’t really stop at not playing nice to get the result he desires, instead of the tamed wild beast he has seemed to become under Lisbon’s vigilance. Especially since his scheming nature is precisely focused now in keeping her safe.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS#1 the opening

The difference of mood with the hopeful ‘Little Yellow House’ is perceptible from the get go since Lisbon’s heart-to-heart with Jane is replaced on the screen by another less sweet pair. Indeed, a realtor is presenting an empty place to a potential buyer; said client happens to be actually a hitman who murders the other man in order to use the “killer view” the apartment affords on his planned victims’ location.

The impression of danger is suggested by the grey colors of the setting, without any bright spot unlike in the others episodes. Blake Neely’s unsettling music puts emphasis on the eerie calm of the cold-blooded killer, comparable to the composed attitude displayed by the colonel at the very beginning of ‘The Silver Briefcase’: here, the man is as silent as the collected colonel was when putting the crime scene in order. The careful directing by Rod Holcomb dramatizes the shooting, with the sun reflecting on the edge of the circle-cut glass when hitman “Lydon” aims through the window. The staccato-like drumming of the music gets underlined by the increased focus of the camera on the three fallen victims. It carries on as the killer is no longer at the window in the next frame: his retreating back is calmly going away, disappearing like a ghost and as detached as a businessman. The hit was fast and coldly done.

The shooting obviously refers to the title, ‘The White of His Eyes’, an almost-quote coming from the recounting of the historical battle of Bunker Hill during the siege of Boston in the American Revolutionary War. One of the most famous orders in war history was uttered there: “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes”, meaning that soldiers should wait until they were close enough to the enemy to shot, the exact contrary of what the hit man did here. His aiming skills and equipment allowed him to attain his target from a far distance, a fact the team comment upon later. Plus, the allusion to the historical battle which ended being a colonial defeat again the British troops reminds of the Alamo battle (‘Green Light’). Those war backgrounds coupled with the diffuse yet insistent Western movies references scattered through the season hint that a major and dangerous confrontation is about to take place.

The focal point of this growing peril is obviously Jane’s team and more explicitly Lisbon –hence the FBI agents killed along with Edward Hu, the primary target. That much is suggested by Lydon pretending to be interested in a real estate purchase because it was actually a strategic place to carry the hit. It reminds of the fake house hunting Lisbon and Jane did in ‘The Silver Briefcase’ to get to the crime scene without drawing attention.

VIS#2: Lisbon and Jane share some free time

Meanwhile, in complete contrast with the chilling opening, Patrick and Teresa are enjoying some down time at a bar. A lot of red elements bring to viewers’ mind that danger is looming closer, though: Lisbon’s red blouse, the walls, the red and white little Foosball players, the waitress’s checkered shirt, the neon red signs reading “Eat” and “Texas”… As Lisbon and Jane keep playing Foosball, some other hints raise red flags, just like Lisbon shooting enthusiastically “you are going down!”, reminding of the three corpses falling in a heap. The whole game and winning discussion is basically a distant echo to one of the main themes of Jane’s interactions with his former nemesis…

Nevertheless, the moment is cheerful and carefree for the two lovers: as the friendly game progresses, Lisbon is showing more and more her feisty side (“I’m not competitive, I just like to win”), accusing him of cheating when things don’t go his way, which he denies, telling her “that was spinning, just spinning”. Her gleeful cheering at beating him (“did that hurt? What? did that hurt?”) emphasizes the amusing youthful competition between them, with cheating, showing off and humiliation, since “everybody here [is] watching the man get beat by the girl”. This new side of Lisbon, which was only hinted at in such occasions as the ending of ‘Red in Tooth and Claw’ when they played poker and she accused him of cheating too, shows how comfortable they are with each other: it’s not quite a role reversal, but almost, since she’s not afraid of displaying her playful and childish side, while he’s not hell bent on showing off his skills. That new level of ease is without any doubt a consequence of her confession at the end of the previous episode and two lines allude to their stay in Chicago (“there’s spinning in Chicago” and “never never play Foosball with a woman who raised three brothers”). The domestic moment is further developed when Jane leaves to pay for their check and orders chicken wings to go. They’re planning to eat them together at his or her place and it’s obviously a very usual occurrence.

Yet, the moment is shattered when they’re called on the hitman case that they’re precisely watching on the news. Furthermore, the details viewers get on the quadruple homicide match a bit their current situation. The main target was a witness in the murder of a man beaten to death by a Kelvin Bittaker “after a dispute in a bar”, just like the couple had been playfully bantering in a bar. Even before they’re truly involved in the investigation, they’re already stepping into the danger zone…

Moreover, the cheerful moment between the partners offers a startling contrast with the new scene. The still very detached professional assassin is destroying a photography of Hu, who he’s killed, whereas a second picture stays in the folder. Viewers are thus privy to the fact that the murder spree is not done, there’s another witness to get rid of. That knowledge is reminiscent of the Columbo-like progression of the plot in ‘The Silver Briefcase’ and it only increases the anxiety regarding the man.

Jane’s worries come into play

1) at the crime scene

But viewers are not the only ones who may suspect that something might go very wrong in this case. Slowly, Jane’s mind starts taking in the odds of things getting out of hand…

It starts at the crime scene, when he meets Ken Spackman, the Dallas FBI agent he teased in ‘Nothing But Blue Skies’, at the very start of his love affair with Lisbon (which makes the man’s presence an indication that this new investigation may become pivotal in the secret relationship). Jane keeps being cheeky, telling that he “missed that face” when he greets Ken. However, the lightness brought by his mischievous personality is tempered by the description of the crime, “four murders in under three minutes”, including two FBI agents, like them, who were “good men, good family men with young kids”… The killer left no clues behind him and vanished “like a ghost” too, which brings to mind RJ’s crimes: in Jane’s case, the serial killer murdered his family –making him the FBI agent who had a young kid- and left no trace to work on for years. Like RJ too, Kelvin Bittaker’s wrongdoings, that Edward Hu had been a witness of, was a disproportioned retribution to an offense from the first victim: Bittaker beat him to death over a simple spilled drink…

The other witness to the first murder, that woman whose photography “Lydon” kept in a folder, is a young mother, which insists on the family element of the case as well as it reminds of Angela. The fact that she’s a threat to Bittaker is interesting, for the sonority of the man’s name can be associated with the “bitter” feelings that plagued Jane for years as well as with the notion of “taking” someone from him… Indeed, the woman’s is Lily Stoppard and she shares her first name with Lily Barlow who was killed in ‘Red John’s Rules’ as a message to the consultant. If the analogy wasn’t clear enough, Jane deduces from “powered sugar” from beignets that hitman “Lydon” and the realtor “shook hands”, a major clue in Jane’s investigation on his nemesis…

Meanwhile, Spackman acknowledges Jane’s abilities and the two men banter back and forth… leading Ken to explain that he wants Jane to convince the woman to testify, in spite of the risks on her life, because “we could use a little charm”. Jane retorts that he doesn’t know if he “should be insulted or flattered”, to which Spackman’s answers “whatever works”… Jane feels “a little bit of both”: despite the darkening clouds gathering above his head, he’s still unaware enough to be his normal mocking self. Interesting still that after their first investigation, Spackman is more sensible to Jane’s endearing qualities than his cunning streak. The agent from Dallas gets more sympathetic with that remark than he was after almost insulting Lisbon the other time they got a case together.

2) the talk with the Stoppards

As Jane accepts to turn on the charm on their doubtful witness, he realizes that things are decidedly getting too close to home for comfort. The Stoppards deserve their name, as Lily is hell bent in stopping Bittaker, whereas her husband Matthew just wants to put a stop to the dangerous case. Spackman reassures them that it’s their choice and that the “door’s open”, an expression that probably takes Jane back to that awful moment when he discovered his family butchered behind his bedroom door. Indeed, Lily is feeling guilty for not saving the victim she saw getting murdered before her own eyes, like Jane had been for years for not saving his family. On the other hand, Matthew is worried sick about his wife because they’ve “got a baby at home and he’s only six months old”: Jane is clearly torn between feeling emotionally closer to the man –given that he’s been in the same place and understands his feelings, a similarity hinted at with the baby Jane was holding at the end of ‘Little Yellow House’- and his sense of justice and professional duty that consists on catching the bad guys with Lily’s help.

This is why he chooses that angle to talk the couple into giving in to Ken’s pleas: he asks what their baby name is and compliments that “Henry” is a “good, strong name”, thus attracting their confidence as a family, just like before his comment about how Matthew’s fears are “pretty darn reasonable” put little by little the man’s hostility and distrust to rest. He then proceeds to explain “I hate to talk to you about doing the right thing. Doing is the easy part, knowing what it is is tough”… he adds that he doesn’t “know what the right thing to do is”, but he ask them “in years from now, when you tell Henry this story, how will it go? Did the three of you take an evil killer off the street or did you play it safe? Is Henry’s birthright gonna be one of proud bravery or sensible caution? Tough call…”This question is very intriguing, because the smoothness of Jane’s reasoning makes one wonders whether Jane might have thought about the same dilemma, directed to his own past. Were he to have children with Lisbon, what will their “birthright” be? That of a thirst for revenge upon the other family that Jane loved? The justified action of taking another “evil killer off the street”? Or the law-abiding heritage that comes from Teresa? Either way, it looks like Jane may have taken Pike’s bitter remark to heart and started envisioning that “what feels like the right thing” might entail building something more fruitful with her. Unfortunately, the same tough choice about caution and doing the right thing no matter the risks also comes into play later, when he’s faced with the possibility of his worst fear happening as Lisbon might be killed on the job: like Matthew, Jane is terrified of his newfound lover being hurt at the hands of a ruthless killer… Even more since both women are selfless people who want to protect others.

When he and Spackman leave the room, the agent congratulates him on his “nice work”. He’s not aware that the case is pulling at Jane’s heartstrings and that he’s feeling a distressing similarity with the fearful husband; he just shrugs it off as one of Jane’s clever manipulations. Jane sets things straight by telling that he doesn’t want his word about protecting Lily, he only wants her safe.

2) the talk with the Bittakers

Mirroring that family love on the witness’s side, the interrogation of the Bittaker gang also focuses on family unity. When Abbott visits the violent Kelvin in jail, the younger man preens “my mama taught me never talk to strangers”, hinting at who the brain of the family really is. His indifference, then exuberant joy at hearing about the murders contrasts with Lily’s regrets and her determination to do what’s best for others. Again, his ironic “Hallelujah” might be reminiscent of RJ’s interest for religion…

Later, when Jane and Cho interrogate Mrs. Bittaker and her other equally unfriendly sons, Jane is delighted to find in her “a fabulous liar” and comments that talking to her is “like a master class in dishonesty”, which introduces in this episode the old theme of lies/truth and trust… Plus, the luxury cars in the garage are “Ferraris and Phantoms”, the latter reminding of the “ghost”-like hitman: through them, it’s the ghost of his broken past that is haunting Jane, made more perceptible by the red furniture in the grey room at the back.

The other preeminent theme of the episode being family, Jane sees with amusement how Belinda Bittaker tells her ill and rude son Ethan that she loves him and he picks on him as the weakest link of the gang. He tells him: “being a Bittaker middle child can’t be easy, and I sympathize. But you really do have to take control of these attention issues”… Is that a coincidence that the Bittaker brothers are three, just like the Lisbons? In a twisted way, that would make Belinda a less honest and kind-hearted Teresa, equally intent on getting her protégés out of trouble, but with completely different means. Hence Jane’s sarcastic comment that, in that morally reversed version of the Lisbons, Belinda has “wonderful family” and she “must be very proud”, something the woman correctly interprets as a sneer.

Nevertheless, Jane has gotten more positive results from his little chat with the less than tasteful family: he’s seen that the younger –and admittedly smarter- of the brothers is playing a “War Lord III” online video game. His shout of “head shot!” and his insulting comments to other players have grabbed his attention: indeed the shooting war game reminds of the violent murders and Jane suspects right away that the online connection might be a discreet way to make contact with the hit man. Plus, the game and its jungle setting are once again a reminder of notions associated with his pursuit of RJ the “tyger”, a deepened continual allusion that shows Jane’s obsession with losing his family. It therefore suggests that there might be a threat for the new couple.

VIS#3: in Louisiana

That menace is getting more precise when that new lead directs them to a woman in Louisiana. As Lisbon and Jane arrive there with Spackman, the latter orders to Patrick to stay by the car, to the consultant’s great displeasure. However, Jane progressively inches closer to his lover as the two armed agents separate: he’s noticed that the house isn’t as empty as it seems. He’s reluctant to leave Lisbon alone since Spackman covers the back of the frail bungalow. His presence thus prevents Lisbon from facing Lydon alone when the man opens the door and pretends to be the wanted woman’s cousin (even though her bloodied corpse is lying on the other room…). This moment is crucial, because that’s when Lisbon is directly in the line of fire and that much is expressed by two very telling elements: the fact that she knocks on the closed door (like Jane opened the bedroom one in the pilot) and Lydon’s lie about being part of his victim’s family.

Fortunately, Jane manages to cold read the man’s murderous intentions and puts Lisbon down with him, effectively saving her life. It’s Ken who is shot in the chest after discovering the body and trying to sneak from behind; he falls near the dead woman with the cut throat. Lisbon orders once again to Jane to stay behind with Spackman, and rushes after the murderer, ending lost in a jungle-like forest resembling the one in the game Caleb Bittaker had been playing. Jane’s presence by Ken’s side saves the man because he managed to calm the man enough to keep his heart rate down, preventing him from bleeding to death. Yet, Jane’s worries and guilt flare up when he notices a bullet hole visible on Lisbon’s sleeve: she’s almost gotten shot too.

The “arrogance” and fast and brutal reactions of the Bittaker make Abbott angry and he makes it his personal mission to “crush these people”. As a result, he decides to visit himself the criminal family with Cho in order to put stress on them by arresting Ethan, the sickly middle son, for supposedly violating his parole by consorting with his felon of a brother. It ends up in a power play with the mother who keeps denying knowing what he’s talking about. She states that whatever he may do, her son is “a citizen” who needs his dialyzes and Abbott’s “a lawman, a supervising agent” who is “too dam ethical” to let him die… As Abbott comments to Cho that they don’t know him (and his sometimes gray morality, for that matter), the woman insists that she will “bet her son on it”. This last uncaring remark added to Abbott’s “bluff” brings again the game metaphor to the forefront.

All in all, the only bright point of the day -and a continuation of the theme- is that Wily got himself a game date with his dream girl after Vega teased him on his tastes on online games. She promises to show him the “big boy game”, even if “some people just can’t handle that kind of pressure”: talking about “hot keys”, triggers and “a little one versus one [that] might clear this whole thing up”, with “pistols only”, brings them closer and all fired up to see to it “any day, any time”… Unconscious innuendo, someone?

Meanwhile, both sides of the crime in preparation are getting ready to take action: like in ‘The Silver Briefcase’ again, Lydon is coldly and methodically training in order to define the final details of his plan. On the other hand, the FBI team has understood that the attack will take place between the room and the car leading Lily to the court to testify. They therefore rehearse the moment when they’ll be taking that route to recognize the spots where Lydon might take a shoot at her. Lisbon takes the target’s place in the rehearsal, symbolizing Jane’s fear for her safety and she’s fake-shot at seven times: in Jane’s mind she’s in danger, as hinted at by the fearful face of Lily’s husband during the dummy run. An interesting detail here is how much Abbott and his men trust Jane: he’s the one elaborating the plan, directing the rehearsal and making tactical decisions. Sprawled on his couch like he used to in the old CBI days, he explains that “the general who chooses the field of battle wisely wins before the fighting starts”. In that “battle”, alluded to in the title, he’s the “general” who is able to define where Lydon is bound to attack, hence Jane’s also able preparing a trick beforehand to fool him. If the constant if implied analogy with ‘The Silver Briefcase’ was to be followed until its logical conclusion, then Lydon would be another colonel, while Jane’s superior skills rank him higher. Yet, Jane’s (only apparent) confidence and enigmatic remark are also a bit disturbing, because they remind of a time where he was far more reckless and inclined to play puppeteer with his coworkers…

VIS#3: in the airstream

A few hours later, in dire contrast with Jane’s worry, the night is starry and peaceful over the Silver Bucket. Jane’s still sleepless though. He’s staring outside the window of the Airstream in pretty much the same fashion he used to spend his night brooding his obsession away in his dusty attic. Only now, he’s not thinking of what he’s lost anymore, but he’s worried sick about what he might lose, which might lead him to the same secrecy and recklessness that used to characterize his behavior…

As Lisbon used to do when she was witnessing his insomnia and unhealthy habits back then, she tries to shake his sadness off. She’s sleeping in his little bed and she calls him back to her, reassuring him that “everything’s gonna be okay tomorrow” and it’s a “really good plan” and that they’re “gonna be safe” and “everybody will be fine, I promise”. She correctly surmises that his insomnia is about his fear of someone getting hurt and her motherly comfort apparently calms him enough to get him back to bed.

The comforting quality of the moment is nonetheless laced with humor when she offers to sing him the lullaby she used to sing to her little brothers when they couldn’t sing. Jane inexplicably freezes and utters with hesitation “I really… don’t want to hear that”… Lisbon still carries through when he’s settled by her side and she sings very badly Bon Jovi’s pop rock song ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ while Jane moans at her cringe-worthy voice. This mixing between her caring maternal concern and the underlying teasing of lovers is very sweet.

The lyrics of the song are pretty telling: “oh, oh, we’re halfway there. /Oh, oh, livin’ on a prayer,/ Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear”. Indeed, they’re “halfway” through both the season and the development of their relationship, as they’re already past the honeymoon stage and the lingering doubts about their commitment and compatibility and past jealousy –courtesy to Pike and Erica. They’ve taken their first step into becoming an official couple by introducing Jane to Lisbon’s family as her boyfriend. It’s probably not a coincidence that Jane’s fears –the same he admitted had been keeping him from getting closer to her when he confessed his feelings for her in ‘Blue Bird’- resurface more visibly just after she told him she loved him too… As they did at the bar when they interrupted their Foosball playing, they might be reaching a half-time in their relationship. Another interesting aspect is that Lisbon’s kept faith in that nighttime hopeful “prayer”, even though the unusual choice of the rock song as a lullaby indicates how much she had to improvise as a teenage surrogate parent. As she used to be with her brothers, she’s the responsible adult, the fixer of people, the independent, strong one who knows how to bring comfort even in the dark world she grew up in… On the contrary, Jane has lived in fear for years: he refuses to sing along with her and when he joins her he’s talking about “the pain”… He hasn’t let go of his demons.

Yet, this humorous and intimate moment is endearing and funny, because it speaks of living together: it’s the very first time both are shown sleeping together –even if viewers could see her lay on his bed when he was ill. Their sleepwear also hints at how familiar they’ve become: he’s wearing old-fashioned pajamas, like he did once in the first season-, while she’s ditched the jersey for a more seductive satin babydoll that makes her alluring if not overly sexy. They’re completely acting as a couple at home even though they’re not in a real house.

The notion of house is meaningful here: Lisbon has given Jane a set of keys to her own house, but they’re still spending the night in his trailer. It’s certainly not the first time: after all they’ve spent only one morning after at Lisbon’s, at least onscreen (‘Nothing But Blue Skies’). This echoes with the office/apartment fake purchase in the beginning of the episode, with their undercover house hunting and with Jane being “a little envious” at Lisbon’s childhood house. Houses are a permanence fixture and, for them, are symbolic of a more stable life (just as Lisbon got a house when she decided to invest more time and attention in her private life during the hiatus). It contrasts with the homey but shabby ‘Silver Bucket’ which fragility is emphasized by the starry night sky above. Emotionally and relation-wise, they’re not yet to the point of having a house together: the provisory aspect of the trailer is symptomatic of their disagreement over the future, as they’ve yet to decide what to do of their lives. It’s a memento of Jane’s less than stellar childhood, in stark opposition with the yellow house and linked to running away with Angela: this attachment to something that is associated with fleeing (and which may even allow him to do just that) shows that he has not let go of his insecurities. He’s still clutching at a familiar emotional blanket, hence his deep fear of the darker parts of his past coming to life again when he realizes that he might lose another woman he loves. As long as he’s not faced those ghosts and that part of his that still lives in the past, he probably won’t manage to communicate fully with Teresa and they won’t make any further decisive progress.

While Jane is both metaphorically and literally in a dark place of worry, Lydon’s own “good plan” is unfolding: the man is changing his appearance as Jane knew he would. He’s shaving his head in a twisted and threatening parody of a morning routine, which is a continuation of the couple’s falling asleep in the previous scene. Both his and Jane’s plan are linked and respond to one another, in a very familiar dual pattern reminiscent of RJ’s pas de deux with the consultant.

VIS#4: the operation

As the team gets ready to take Lily safely out of the hotel room, the impression of danger gets more specific: she’s the target and like in her first apparition, she’s wearing a pink-reddish jack that makes her very noticeable among the gray and black outfits in the room.

Lily rather trusts the team’s abilities to protect her, but her husband is as reticent as ever. He demands guarantees that the plan will work and that they’re prepared enough and, when she left the room, he finally blurts: “if anything happens to her today, you know, and I could have stopped it…” Abbott is quick to reply that his wife wants to do this and they’ll do everything to keep her safe: “It was a good decision; you need to trust her on it, okay?” Jane’s worried face is visible in the foreground while Abbott is talking and it show how much of an impact his words have on him: like Matthew, he’s been feeling guilty for years for getting his family killed and now he’s faced with the same kind of situation. He’s afraid that Lisbon will get hurt, more badly than just a bullet grazing her arm, and he knows he’s the brain behind the scheme. He can prevent her from getting in the heat of the action… but that also means that he doesn’t “trust” her decision to do her job of protecting Lily.

This is why, after Lydon’s plan gets going with a smoke bomb used as a decoy, Jane sets his own smoke screen in place. The hitman is disguised as an EMT –with a dark blue uniform and an bright orange bag, which would have screamed danger in the RJ era- and he enters the building almost at the same time as Jane is leaving while glancing around to spot him. The consultant enters a surveillance van where Wylie is working his magic with screens and cameras. Jane has already warned his coworkers that Lydon must be wearing some kind of uniform and, soon he pretends to identify the man as an EMT on the 7th floor (an echo to the 7th season, maybe). The team and Lily are on the 6th and Lisbon volunteers to go get their suspect. It’s a false alert, but in the meantime Lydon has taken action and faked being shot in order to split the team. He takes one agent down and go for it in front of the elevator under a frightening red light. That’s when the subtlety of Jane’s plan is revealed: he too used a feint to get the man to reveal himself. They’ve substituted Lily for Vega, who’s wearing a wig and the eye-catching clothes. After the man is shot and the situation is under control, Lisbon comes back to find out that she missed the action… Her distressed expression when Jane asks where she is over the radio and her simple reply “I’m here, I’m just getting back with the team” indicate that she just realized that her absence was no coincidence…

Like many times before, Jane’s plan is based on a magic trick: a quick substitution, right under his audience/adversary’s eyes. It’s basically the same ruse used on the scene in ‘Pink Champagne on Ice” and the show aspect is stressed out by Abbott when he gloats in front of the arrested Mrs. Bittaker: “sometimes, people just see what they want to see”. Belinda applauses… But a major difference is that Lisbon is no longer his lovely assistant or the partner embodying the psychic of their little act: whereas in ‘Pink Champagne on Ice’ she was the secret weapon hidden in the magic box, now she’s been excluded from the action. She’s no longer the one who saves the day, but she’s been arbitrary lured behind the scene for her own sake. Jane’s played at the same time the director for his team and the conman with his own partner; he’s taken her cop identity from her.

Interestingly, the whole plot of the episode is closely based on the events of ‘Blood Money’ in Season 2. Back then, the episode opened on Van Pelt ordering a hit on her former boyfriend Rigsby as a cover for identifying a hit man/serial killer –whose moustache and tools were alluded to by Lydon’s disguise. Jane’s recklessness in front of the judge after he’d broken in the suspect’s home resulted in Lisbon being suspended (the trial setting is hinted at by Lily and Hu being major witnesses for the prosecution). In order to help her to get back in Hightower’s good graces Jane called her near a warehouse to bust a gang whose boss happened to be a seemingly inoffensive and confused old lady, who used her son as a decoy: here, equally deceptive Belinda directs her sons and her unsavory business from a garage. But the most interesting point is that, after Lisbon took the brunt of his actions and both ended up stranded in the Mexican desert, she suddenly realized that he was trying to help her. Jane’s response to her surprise was “you know I’m always gonna save you, Lisbon. Whether you like it or not”. Lisbon retorted that she didn’t need to be saved and that she’d always known that working with him would end in disaster and that one day she’d be fired because of him; she nonetheless accepted it because they were catching a lot of bad guys… It was one of their very first fight and at the same time real discussion on screen and it was in hindsight a major step in their relation. Now, Lisbon’s job is no longer Jane’s priority: he no longer needs to protect her career to stay close to her, because he knows he has her love and devotion. Yet, Lisbon’s position is still valid: her career is still at stake; Jane wants her to stop being a cop, because his fears make him consider that “saving” her involves keeping her safe from any danger, even those she’s always accepted to face on the job. The similarity between the episodes at two very different moments of his life indicate that he’s still stuck in the terror that plagued him then: to protect her, he’s also still willing to manipulate her, because he considers he knows better and because deep down he doesn’t want to feel guilty and suffer in case things turn ugly again.

VIS#5: the ending

The moral conflict at the heart of the episode is summed up y Belinda’s remark to Abbott that he doesn’t have “the faintest idea about the love a parent has for a child”: love is her sovereign justification for the deaths she caused and her reasoning for not wanting to “throw” Kelvin “under a bus” to save her own skin. It was also Matthew’s reason for worrying about his family and Lily’s one for wanting to put Kelvin in jail. At the same time, love and protective instincts also pushed Jane into the path of lying again to his girlfriend.

Love and its failures at been represented by many pairs in the few last episodes… Yet, this time, Wylie’s discouraged admiration for Vega is not part of those examples. Taking Michelle at her words, he organizes a surprise gaming competition for the two of them. They share a pleasant and cheerful moment which comes as an echo of the main couple playing Foosball at the beginning: like Jane then, Wylie is playfully cheating and a Texas flag is visible behind them, just like the neon sign “Texas” decorated the bar.

In contrast, Jane and Lisbon aren’t doing so well. Abbott has been telling Belinda that she and her precious family are “all gonna go down together” and Wylie and Michelle too have been yelling to one another “you are going down” as Lisbon did when defeating Jane: is that a way to imply that the main characters’ relationship is going downhill too? One way or another, the jolly moment between the youngsters is in direct opposition with Lisbon’s gloomy isolation in the nearly empty bullpen. Her tensed expression when looking outside the window is emphasized by the darkened room and the anxious atmosphere is quite similar to Jane’s worried insomnia in the airstream: in one day, Jane’s actions have reversed the dynamics between them. The night before, Lisbon was eager to reassure him; now, she’s suffering the consequences of what he planned when she was sleeping… The connection between the scheme and this moment is underlined by the similar lines: he asked “where are you?” after Lydon’s downfall, whereas now they’re commenting “there you are. –Here I am”.

Jane detects immediately that something is wrong, just like she did when waking up. Lisbon is straight to the point and tells him that he must already know: the sore point is that he took her off on purpose. He explains that he wanted to protect her, which makes her angry: “Protect me? I’m an FBI agent”, “it’s my job”. He tries to placate her by repeating “I know” to whatever she says and concludes with a half-hearted “I’m sorry”. But Lisbon sees through what he doesn’t say and she asks him directly whether he’d do it again. He answers sincerely that he probably would, which Lisbon sees as a problem. Jane tries again to throw in a conciliatory line but Lisbon won’t have it: if he amends “its not a problem”, she corrects bluntly “a really big one”, because he can’t “do that”, he has to let her do her job. Lisbon is at a loss about how they would work together if he doesn’t understand her point. Jane’s final tentative line is “we’ll work it out”…

The parallel between the “work” issue and the necessity to “work it out” makes this talk a harsher version of the cheeky discussion that had a few time ago about quitting law enforcement to build a dream life elsewhere. Whereas making plans was a way to open up to the other then, it masked Jane’s insecurities and Lisbon’s worries about their first disagreement concerning the way each of them envisions their life together. It’s why work is now more than ever at the core of the problem that leaves them no longer cuddling under a blanket, but coldly separated in front of the elevator. In a way it reminds of their many separations in front of the CBI elevator too: in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’, for instance, it was also Jane’s obsession to hide his true intentions and feelings behind lies and manipulation that kept them to get closer.

Jane and Lisbon are therefore the example of a falling apart relationship in the episode: the others pairs are doing better than them, Wylie and Vega are bonding; the almost arguing couple with worry/hope issues ends up in each other’s arms during the exchange with Michelle. But Patrick and Teresa deal with miscommunication and mistrust, because Jane lied and tricked her. He’s truly cheated, just like she accused him of doing when they were enjoying a friendly game and now it “hurts” them both to quote her playful provocations at the bar. He’s making decisions for her in the same way as Abbott has been deciding things on his own for his wife’s sake at the risk of living apart from her. Therefore Jane has committed the same kind breach of trust as some of the other characters who hurt their life partner in the previous episodes: the colonel, who was selfish in murdering his wife and didn’t trust his lover enough, and the jealous poker player from ‘Little Yellow House’ have also failed at communicating. At the same time, Lisbon’s at fault too, because she did not manage to hear what Jane was trying to tell her: her reassuring words were not enough to make him at ease and she should have understood that his pain run deeper than the worry he was displaying on the surface. After all, he did imply that he couldn’t deal with losing her: he said as much in the plane when he confessed to her, it scared him “for obvious reasons”. His willingness to make her quit her job reflects that overwhelming terror and, from his point of view, he had no other means to keep her safe since she wouldn’t listen to the hidden meaning he was trying to convey. Helping him get over or at least face that trauma born from the brutal loss of his family is also part of the fixing mission she has taken on her shoulders: it’s quite unfair to try to heal some scars –like the broken teacup- while expecting him to sweep the darkest pain under the carpet of that little silvery home they’ve been creating in the Airstream… It’s normal that she resents him for breaking her trust (and not trusting her either about the depth of his uneasiness with the situation), but working things out should be a two people’s task in their case… Now, Lisbon is blinded by anger and she gives him a piece of her mind like she did in ‘Green Thumb’: however, back then the argument left him as distressed at the perspective that she may be rejecting him. Her dressing down in the plane thus mostly served to prevent him to try and get closer even when she was hoping he would. Hopefully her resentment won’t have the same consequences now in the long run.

Anyway, it’s interesting that the successive endings of the episodes of the season outline the progress of their love affair: Pike’s question, the rooftop reunion after Erica’s meddling, the glued back together teacup, Lisbon’s “I love you” are important steps in the trust department. But this one shows how stuck up they’re still are in their old issues about mistrust and control. Only this time, Jane’s ulterior motive is to keep her safe, which is another indirect proof of love. He’s eager to make up with her, because he probably realizes that he might be losing her too by his own wrongdoings if they don’t reach an understanding soon.

Mentalist Green Light Review


When Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar) gets in touch with his former boss Bill Peterson (Dylan Baker) because of a raid gone wrong, he gets unexpectedly roped into the murder of a DEA agent, which pushes him closer to the danger caused by his involvement in the sensitive Rio Bravo case years before. Meanwhile, love is in the air in the FBI as Lisbon wants to celebrate Jane’s birthday and Wylie (Joe Adler) decides to ask his coworker Vega (Josie Loren) on a date.

Concise Verdict

That was a very cute and endearing episode, what with the old blue teacup’s return adding a really sweet reference to the past and the tentative romance between young Wylie and Vega opening a door for future progress. Abbott’s gotten also some interesting character development that both fits his personality and relates to the show history. All in all, this is probably one of the best episodes of this new season, because it shows how much putting the past to rest feels less like a conclusion than a new beginning for Jane and Lisbon, whatever it might entail in the upcoming episodes.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS#1: Abbott gets in trouble

In reaction to the trouble his past might bring to his wife’s blooming career, Abbott visits his former’s boss from the Rio Bravo Station. The official reason is that Dennis’s handling the report on the failed operation authorized by Peterson to find drugs in a restaurant which his team suspects was involved in a drug ring.

Upon visiting the man in his own ground in an attempt to make him more comfortable, Abbott explains that he doesn’t “want this to be awkward”. The other’s answering reaction is deceivingly benevolent: he hints that he knows Dennis well (telling him that he lost weight, asking about “Lena”, which is a nod to Dennis’ current predicament to viewers), then he slowly insists on the power he once held over the younger man (“Why? Because when you worked for me, you were barely shaving?”). That past familiarity has a vaguely paternal vibe and he’s trying to use the former influence he had to make Abbott give him access on the file on his own team. The man makes Dennis squirm a little at the mention of the Rio Bravo station –it is bound to make him sore like when this part of his life was brought up by the man from D.C. -, adding that he’s “come up to the world” since then. When his former employee refuses to accede to his demand, Peterson’s strategy changes to a more emotional angle stating that “a lot of people in this agency got their gun sights set for ol’Bill Peterson… I need to know if you’re handing them any bullets”. He’s putting himself in a victim’s position while Dennis becomes a potential traitor siding with the wolves… and when that doesn’t work either, the tone changes to something more threatening: “when I was your boss at Rio Bravo, I had your back. You’re telling me you don’t have mine now? Is that how you want to play this? ” He pretends to be asking for simple “professional courtesy” but the truth is that this dark secret has now because a threat not only to Lena’s job, but to Abbott as well.

Aware of the danger, but still being a professional, Abbott half agrees to let Bill see his final report. He starts his investigation by visiting the hotheaded agent who led the fiasco operation only to find him dead in his house. He’s been tied to a chair and shot twice. His position reminds a bit of Osvaldo’s body found by Rigsby in a creepy warehouse. Even though the latter had been stabbed, both are the victims of two cases somehow linked to a not quite forgotten nasty history that is coming back to menace the main characters.

Jane and Lisbon/ Wylie and Vega: domestic bliss and young love

But, while Dennis is busy being threatened by shady law enforcement officials and tumbling over dead bodies in true hard-boiled detective fashion, Jane and Lisbon are enjoying domestic bliss. They’re stepping out of the airstream -which may have viewers wonder whether she’s spent the night or if she was just coming to drive him to work- and they start talking about a rather hot topic: Jane’s birthday present from Lisbon. He’s not taking the date as a very interesting matter (“by the way, keep tomorrow night open. –Why would it be closed? –Your birthday… -oh, that…”) and has already warned everybody at work that he wants “no songs, no cake, no gifts”. Which hints at two things: for one, it’s his first birthday at the FBI hence the need to explain that he doesn’t celebrate it and two, those demands are probably why they were never seen celebrating it at the CBI, given that they celebrated Lisbon’s (at least once) and gifts and cake were required… The only other celebration shown on screen was the anniversary of his family’s death, in a more tragic perspective: Jane hasn’t been holding his own life in high regard, so rejoicing about a new notch in it obviously doesn’t held much importance. Yet Lisbon is eager to make him happy as she’s planning a private celebration and a gift. As she tells him that it’s a surprise, he’s amused at the idea that she thinks she can keep a secret from him for that long. Her reply is curt: “I don’t think I can. I know I can” to which he retorts “I admire your confidence”…

This snickering argument about her secret keeping skills has been going on for years, with Jane claiming that she’s “translucent” and that he can read her like an open book and her throwing him off balance from time to time, sometimes as a game (keeping a hammer in her desk drawer, playing poker with him), sometimes as a more serious way to keep him off her life (rubbing in his face that she had a “date”, not telling him that she planned to go to D.C. with Marcus). Now, it’s part of their old banter more than anything else. The romantic celebration she’s planning insists on their new status as a couple, even more since her own way of showing that she was glad to have him back after his two-years hiatus had also been to give him a present (those socks he was no longer wearing after coming back from Venezuela). Back then and now, she’s trying to give him what he’s been lacking off, comfort and normalcy. With her by his side, he’s back to a more normal, fulfilling and self-indulgent life.

Later on, she needles him into guessing what the gift is. He’s distracted because he sensed that Abbott was in trouble, but he stepped in her game nonetheless, asking silly questions to mock her secret keeping abilities. Truthfully, he probably doesn’t really care about what the present is, as long as it comes from her: he was gleeful and almost teary-eyed when she gave him something in ‘Green Thumb’, even though it was only a pair of socks… On the other hand, one might wonder if those childish suggestions may not held a deeper meaning: after all, he asks “is it made of Kryptonite?”, a veiled reference to the super-hero costume she offered to make him in S1 ‘Bloosdhot’, whereas the line “is it something that I would wear on a cold winter’s day?” might apply to the woolen socks. Following that logic of the three guesses game being hidden allusions to past presents/promised gifts, the first of his funny questions might be interpreted in a similar way. This dialog: “does it weigh more or less than 3 ½ pounds? -Why 3 ½ pounds? –Because.” might be a nod to Jane’s rebuff in ‘Fugue in Red’ (“because, Lisbon, because”) and if one were to offer a somewhat far stretched idea, the weight could maybe refer to the cowry shell he sent her from South America since he must have had to weight the package at the post office.

Nevertheless, Teresa and Patrick are not the only one in a romantic mood: in reference to Jane’s revelation to Vega about Wylie’s interest in her, the younger man is rehearsing his speech to ask her out at the office. Holed up in the break room, he’s repeating “Michelle/Vega, I’ve got tickets for that blues festival”… he’s obviously nervous, but he’s quicker to take action than Wayne had been (even though Jane’s teasing and Cho’s annoyance might not have helped that much in hindsight…). Plus, there’s apparently no rule against fraternizing given that he’s planning to make his offer in the bullpen… Yet, Vega’s refusal to acknowledge the situation her admirer’s in is on par with Grace’s and he chickens out when she interrupts him with the new case. The poor boy’s nervousness and isolation in the deserted room contrasts with the merriness in front of the Airstream… From the start, there’s a strong possibility that his planned romantic night out might not meet as a joyous success as their special birthday party… And this is further hinted at later when Jane interrupts his flirting by sending Vega on an errand for the investigation.

VIS#2: Jane makes a test and takes control of the situation…

After notifying the murder, Abbott puts his team on the DEA agent’s murder and promises to the visibly shaken Bill to extent “every courtesy” to him. It’s clearly a reminder of the not so friendly talk he had with the man, but Jane catches on the double meaning and suspects that something is going on. He confronts Abbott and asks what the other man has on him. He also suspects that there’s something fishy in the theory that the hit was ordered by the cartel, since the DEA couldn’t find anything during their raid: “the animal that escapes a snare doesn’t necessarily go after the poacher”… Shortly afterwards, the DEA team makes a not so good impression by mocking Vega’s young age.

1) … on the case

It’s may not have been what determined Jane’s interest in the case, yet it’s quite apparent that the victim shared some similar traits with the consultant. He was a dedicated investigator, prone to acts of insubordination given that he attacked their suspect in front of everyone, even though his boss was nearby. According to his coworkers, he used to listen to “the worst music, smooth jazz” (the music Jane used to listen to in his Citroën), he “didn’t talk computer”, “kept a hard copy on everything” like “witness interviews, surveillance photos” (cf. Jane’s endless lists and notebooks) and was “relentless”, going as far as sleeping “here on the couch half of the week”… It looks like the cartel was his own RJ case. Later, upon suspecting that one of the man’s colleagues is involved in the murder, Jane coincidentally stops one of the agents’ ire with the line “easy, tiger”, which might allude to the password “tyger, tyger” used the infiltrated Blake associates.

Indeed, Jane briskly steps in an interrogation and grabs the DEA agents’ attention by authorizing the prime suspect to leave, much to the dismay of the man who was leading the interrogation with Cho. The unorthodox consultant scurries off, but, as the angry man faces him, he plants the seeds of doubt by telling him that they were planning a raid at the restaurant that same afternoon. Something the man hurries to tell to his team members, thus warning the mole.

Afterwards, he goes alone to the Alamo Brewhouse and discovers the trick that allowed the drug dealers not to be caught in the previous raid: one green light bulb around the neon sign advertising for the restaurant is unscrewed. It’s a signal meaning that there’s no drug inside to sell. On the other hand, the shinning “Green Light” means that their business is open for their shady customers. Jane’s perception reminds of his quit-witted deduction about the trick in ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’, another restaurant used by criminals as a cover. Yet, the green color is simultaneously used in reference to Abbott, who admitted to have been “very green” when he was working for Bill Peterson; that confidence is the green light Jane was waiting for to get deeper into that mysterious part of the case at hand.
Thus, when an irate Bill comes to their table after hearing about the supposed raid, Jane tells him ironically that it was “a lie”, “a fib, an untruth. I made it up”. He then invites them to a “spot the difference” game with the victim’s photo of the restaurant, before explaining the trick and coming to the inevitable conclusion that the owner had been warned by an inside source: he finishes Bill off by adding “someone on your team is the killer”.

2) … with Abbott

Even though Bill might present a danger, Abbott is an honest cop and refuses to picture him as a traitor therefore the investigation focuses on his team. But his former boss is not as scrupulous as he calls him to a bar for a word in private. After trying an emotional angle again (“a hell of a thing to know that one of your people betrayed you… Killed a colleague, a friend”), he states that he wants credit for the arrest: he demands that Abbott lies about his supposed vital participation in the investigation in order to save his career.
Abbott is shocked: “you have been asleep at the wheel” ignoring that one of his people “has been in bed” with the cartel. He’s been expecting him to hand over his resignation instead –pretty much like Minnelli did after a mole killed Bosco’s unit. Peterson shows his hand then and threatens him openly to divulge whatever the younger man did at Rio Bravo.

Abbott knows he’s trapped and his worry is perceived by Jane. The consultant makes him talk. When Abbott was still a rookie he worked at the Rio Station: it was a war against the Zeta cartel, even more since the criminals would dress up as soldiers to stop buses and shoot all passengers to keep them to work for another cartel. This traumatic vision of bodies of men, women and children scattered like trash propelled him to take a bold opportunity. Once when he was watching a Zeta safe house alone, he spotted one of the criminals’ commander walk out in a military uniform… Understanding that it meant another massacre was going to happen and knowing that the frightened local police would be no help, he simply shot the man. The dramatic music by Blake Neely enhances the dark narration and the whole situation was somehow prepared by Vega’s overstepping her role by causing a suspect’s death during her stakeout in ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’. It might also explain Dennis’s lenience about her lie and her actions.

The moment is crucial in the relation between the two men because Abbott gives Jane a huge power over him in telling him his secret, especially since he was the one who tracked him in Venezuela and forced him into a deal, and given that Jane is looking for a way out, even if Dennis might not be aware of it yet… Anyway, neither of them seems to be thinking of it: they’ve become real friends and Jane is on his side. The whole secret murder reminds of LaRoche’s dark past when he too trusted Jane and asked for his help. As he did with LaRoche indeed, Jane makes no mystery about where he stands: he tells “you did the right thing” after looking at him intensely. There’s no doubt he sees the parallel with his own vigilantism against RJ and he understands Abbott’s predicament regarding Bill Peterson. He’s already thinking of a plan to keep the older man from talking: even in Abbott’s eyes, they’ve become a “we” fighting a common battle.

Abbott’s isolation both during the cartel commander’s murder and against Bill is a transparent allusion to the ‘Rio Bravo’ western movie (1959), starring John Wayne –whom Rigsby was named after. In the movie, the sheriff only had a handful of people helping him to defeat the boss of a gang whose brother he arrested for murder. Hence Dennis’s order to “saddle up” after the first briefing… Both stories feature indeed the uneven battle between a few people fighting for justice and a powerful and terrifying criminal gang, yet the moral question laying at the heart of the plot receives quite a different answer: in the western movie, the right things consists of abiding strictly to the law, while here Abbott served the greatest cause by committing a cold-blooded murder in order to save lives… It adds an important nuance to the notion of justice: indeed, in the quest against RJ, Lisbon represented the lawful option, while Jane decided to stop the killer no matter how. And Abbott, who was the agent responsible for closing the CBI down and later for arresting Jane, has actually a past pretty similar to the man he was after… That aspect gives a darker yet more human aspect to his character.

At the same time, the Alamo Brewhouse is a reference to Wayne’s western movie ‘Alamo’ (1960) about the battle of the same name. This event was alluded to in ‘Rio Bravo’ by a song played during the battle which meant that there would be no quarter, no pity towards the adversary. It was a fight to death, which is why Abbott acted too: he knew the others were about to slaughter innocents without remorse or hesitation. John Wayne, who played heroic figures in many war contexts serves as a model for Dennis’s decision –like the main song for the movie, ‘The Green Leaves of Summer’ might or not have provided the color for the title of the episode. Yet, even though the setting is also similar (once again a few men battling an almost surely lost battle against a more powerful opponent), the ending is quite different, for where ‘Rio Bravo’ ended successfully, ‘Alamo’ ended in heroic death, defeat and tears. That pressure weighted on both Abbott and Jane as they were fighting their own battles about their enemies –a cartel who terrified the police and an elusive serial at the head of a potent organization and who had infiltrated moles to hurt him. Both chose the lone way of becoming a vigilante which in hindsight gives an even deeper justification to Jane’s action…

3) … and with Vega

Abbott is not the only one who seeks solutions from Jane: after clearing her relation with Cho and now Wylie, Vega decides to talk to Jane, the first team member she opened up to when she started working with them. Once she’s back with the photos that Jane requested (pictures of agents who could be the mole over the past three years), she walks past Wylie into the room where Jane is checking the photos out. When she asks him what he’s looking for, he says “their eyes, window to the soul”, which she doesn’t buy. She’s reluctant to help with the “trick” that she knows he’ll be using and Jane, sensing her discomfort, tells her “speak your mind, soldier.” It’s a direct allusion to the cold reading he did on her when he unearthed her past in the army before her father’s death. Vega answers: “It’s just, I very much appreciate to be part of this team, sir. You get results, I respect that”, but she “the things you ask people to do… it’s not what I thought working for the FBI would be like…” Jane groans when he understands that this is going to be a critic of his unconventional methods and shifts the topic towards what he feels is the real problem: “more importantly, you wonder if your father would approve”. Her father “was strict. Makes you a sticker for rules.” For once, Jane doesn’t manipulate her to his views: he simply states that he was “a good father” and “I can’t tell you what your father would approve of. That’s for you to decide”… That’s one of the most personal pieces of grieving advice he ever gave out, since he too had been looking for his family’s approbation in his heart. That much could be surmised from Charlotte’s jibs in ‘Devil’s Cherry’. Now, the life he leads is closer to what he thinks his family would want for him, he’s found someone who accepts him and who he doesn’t need to lie to. He can be his real self again and that certainly helped him move on.

This insecurity also enlightens Vega’s motivations for reaching out to Cho earlier: she admires him because he’s the more by the book and self-regulating agent in the team –Abbott and Wylie are quite in awe of Jane’s methods and Lisbon is very close to him. As I stated in the review for the season premiere and for ‘Black Market’, she’s looking for a fatherly figure and Cho fits the bill as former military and as a strict character. Through his mentorship and approbation, she seeks both a reassurance and a standard to which evaluate her new job responsibilities. It’s more moral guidance that she’s been asking for than real tips on how to do her job, really.
On the other hand, the fact that Jane helps both Abbott and Vega to come to term with their moral dilemma shows that he cares about their well-being instead of just tricking them into following his schemes. He’s become more openly benevolent and has gained more human depth since Season 1, which is the most telling sign that he’s in peace.

Later, as the plan he’s been orchestrating unfolds, the team gets to work in sync. Vega arrests Bill under a false pretext –it serves a double purpose: to make the real culprit believe he’s safe and to put pressure on the blackmailer- while Jane, Lisbon and Abbott gather the other suspects and slowly determine those who fit the profile, based on their reasons for improving their appearance (based on the assumption that the killer must have had an ego boost and felt important after make much money and lying successfully to his coworkers). Then, after letting their three remaining suspects go with manipulated guns under the excuse that they got Peterson, Abbott, Lisbon and Cho move simultaneously in for the kill. They act completely similar and, in the same way they used in ‘The Silver Briefcase’ to create an analogy between the two possible ways the murder may have gone, the camera shifts from one of the three fake blackmailers to the other… until Cho gets shot at with blank bullets. That’s great team work and it shows the great unity they came to display, which sadly contrast with the last interrogation and the traitor’s malice towards his colleagues.

The Ending

1) Abbott

After his not so glorious participation in the case as a scapegoat to flush the killer out, Bill feels humiliated because he wanted to have credit. As a result, he threatens Abbott. After a while, Jane, who is in the room, loses his patience: “ok, I’ve been patient, I’ve been polite, not anymore. Take it back”. He insists: “take back your little threat and apologize to my friend here”. He’s very protective of Abbott and, in true Jane’s fashion, finds the chink in Peterson’s armor, the better angle to fend off the blackmailer: “this display, this tantrum, it is not about anger, it’s about fear”. Given Bill’s startled surprise, Jane pushes the cold reading further: “we weren’t too far off about you keeping a stash of dirty money”, adding his own threat that “with enough time, we’ll find it”… Bill leaves with a last not so veiled menace: “give my best to Lena”, an ironic way to remind Abbott of the power he still has to destroy her career and to echo the greetings they exchanged at the very beginning of their first meeting. He’s still dangerous, but Jane is confident in defeating him.

2) Vega

At the other end of Jane’s plan, Vega’s hand in the arrest has helped her come to term with Jane’s methods: they’re not as by the book as she would have wanted but they work and, to her surprise, they’re fun.
While she’s making confidences to Wylie about her reactions, the young man is enthusiastic about her performance and is about to take this relaxed moment to finally make his move… until he’s once again interrupted in his amorous overtures by a text on his dream girl’s phone. Coincidentally, Michelle’s charm has worked on a DEA agent who decided to ask her out too, much to her chagrin. Indeed, she’s not interested… which has Wylie feeling relieved until she explains that her lack of interest is based on her determination to focus on work. Wylie saves face by telling that he understands and that he too wants to focus on work…

Apparently the unlucky young agent is the new example of failed relationship on the growing list that has been going since ‘The Graybar Hotel’. His attempt didn’t even go as far as a confession and one can only wonder to what extent Vega has been aware of his intentions: her attitude in the previous episode was an implicit admission that she knew Wylie had been interested. There’s a strong possibility that she took the opportunity to gently brush him off by telling him that she’s not interested in dating, while showing that she does the same to other men, so he should not take it personally. On the other hand, her reason for refusing coworkers’ attentions is the same used by Van Pelt to break off with her illicit lover in season 2 and Grace confessed in ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’ that she only used it as a pretext because she wasn’t ready for a long-term commitment. Is there a possibility than Vega’s reasons may have less to do with making her career successful and proving her abilities to the FBI than with emotional insecurities? After all, her reaching for Cho as a mentor was a way to express her yearning for fatherly approbation…

Either way, the failed relationship theme is also developed by the expressions used to characterize the two villains of the case: the mole had “been in bed” with the cartel (as told twice) and as Dennis put it “Bill Peterson doesn’t have much of a bedside manner, but he’s not a traitor”. In Wylie’s case as well in teamwork, intimacy has its limits… not to mention Jane’s remark about divorced agents “yes law enforcement… tough on the home life”. Is that worry part of his reasons for wanting to run away in the sunset with his sweetheart?

3) Lisbon’s gift

Those worries are as far from his mind as possible when he gets to his birthday date with sweet Teresa, though. As they are sitting at a little table outside of his trailer, she’s prepared champagne and one cupcake with a lone candle. The cute attention amuses Jane (“the lights are a nice touch”). He’s smiling and follows her instructions to make a wish as he blows the candle out. When he opens the red box adorned with hearts that hides his mystery gift, he discovers what is inside: it’s his old blue teacup. The one that shattered startlingly on the CBI floor when Abbott took his old life from him… He’s very moved and can’t believe that she “kept the pieces”. He’s genuinely surprised, both by the caring thoughtfulness and by the depth of the love she showed by keeping the pieces for more than two years, even though she couldn’t be sure they would ever become more than a nostalgic souvenir of a crushed past. Jane’s “speechless” and “amazed” by the “beautiful gift” and kisses her as a thank you – for the first time onscreen after ‘Blue Bird’. The moving moment of tenderness turns to a cute banter when Lisbon insists “are you sure you’re not pretending you didn’t know what is was to make me feel better? Because you don’t have to make me feel better”, but Jane retorts “Lisbon, just take the compliment”. The scene ends with them kissing again and drinking champagne.

The scenes echoes Jane’s surprise firework on the roof in ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’ as a way to make a statement in regard to Erica’s doubts about their romantic compatibility. But Lisbon’s gesture has a deeper meaning, since like the teacup, she took the fragments of his heart left after his family’s murder and kept them over the years to finally put them back together to give him a new chance to be happy. She put his old life at the CBI to rest by mending a past that was ended by Abbott’s actions –symbolically just when Jane defended the man as a friend.

There’s no longer any doubt about their future together, at least at that moment: the back and forth between past and future, represented by the CBI teacup perfectly glued together like a new one, shows how comfortable each of them is with the other. It’s also a way to reassure Jane about her feelings after the reservations pointed out by Pike and Erica: she loves him for who he is and what they share, has been for a long time and plans to still do so no matter what they’ll be doing. The notion of surprising him was never so complete: she had thought in season 2 that he had forgotten her birthday only to have him stun her with a pony -which was probably a dream from her saddening childhood that he wanted her to finally fulfill. Now she managed to shake him by a simple object that meant both the everyday familiarity that he yearns for and the unconditional love he believes he doesn’t deserve. To put it simply, both are much more than the other had ever expected.


Mentalist The Silver Briefcase Review


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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS# 1: double introduction of the killer

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

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

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

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

VIS# 2: talking to Abbott

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

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

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

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

Jane and Lisbon Partners

VIS# 3: Lisbon and Jane go house shopping

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

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

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

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

VIS# 4: the trap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vega’s love life

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

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

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


The Mentalist Red John’s Rules Review

First of all, sorry for the wait: the marvelous Reviewbrain and I were planning to write a review together to spice things up a bit and try to do justice to the last of the episodes of this tumultuous season, but real life got in the way… So, here is the review, as complete as I could: feel free to comment and don’t forget to grade it! 🙂 Many thanks for our faithful and awesome readers and/or commenters for sticking with us for those exciting months; we hope to read you very soon! (Also, for those who are interested, I’m planning to do a recap of the principal themes running trough the five seasons of the show, but be patient, it takes A LOT of time… 😉 )


After spending one week working alone on his list of suspects for RJ, consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is joined by his partner agent Lisbon (Robin Tunney). While he refuses to tell her the names he came up with, both are soon facing another problem: a new victim has been added to the serial killer very own list, one that obligates Jane to take a painful trip down memory lane.

Concise Verdict

Unexpected, well-written, yet unsatisfactory and slightly frustrating, these are some of the many adjectives that may very well be applied to this episode. As a whole, it gives an eerie impression of being a bit slow and unnerving and doesn’t match the show’s usual atmosphere. Still, at the same time, it is extremely well connected to the storyline and the previous episodes and the more one digs in its writing, the more it becomes apparent that there are many subtleties hidden in its shadows… To put it simply, waiting for the next season after such a finale will be especially hard, no doubt about it! 9.3/10

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS # 1: the opening

The very first moments of the episode are almost deceptively normal: Lisbon goes to get Jane in the attic to join the team. Still, there is a pretty big difference since this is apparently their first encounter after the one week of voluntary confinement then he asked of her in ‘Red and Itchy’: we get a timeline and, more importantly we viewers are as eager as Lisbon to learn what the clever consultant has come up with when he reveals he has managed to narrow his infamous list to a few names.

Interestingly, we are also reminded right away of the previous season ending: Jane is burning his board about RJ on the rooftop, just outside of his attic, like he did with his copy of the RJ file in ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’. Beside, while following Lisbon in the bullpen, he tells her that he’s tired because he hasn’t slept in a week: it reminds how lonely and unkempt Jane was in Vegas. Indeed, both ends of seasons are linked by the fact that Jane has crafted another clever trap to catch his nemesis. And his reluctance to share said plan with Lisbon alludes also to his six months silence. Yet, this time, he told her about his what he’s doing, he just doesn’t want to share the specifics… Those two have make progress in the trust/ reliance department and it shows when Lisbon comes to wake him up to inform him that RJ has stroke again: his sleepiness and disheveled appearance hints to his fragility, while Lisbon’s softness indicates that she fears how he will react to the news.

VIS # 2: Bret Partridge at the crime scene

Again, the crime scene alludes a bit to Jane’s escapade to Vegas as it takes place in a motel room: a woman has been killed in her bed, under the usual bloody smiley. Hard not to think that RJ’s message to Jane in ‘The Crimson Hat’ was sending him Lorelei, who ended up in bed with him… and whose corpse has been found naked under a sheet not so long ago. Again, RJ is trying to tell Jane something, the only difference is that this time Jane will take some time to decipher his terrible message…

One of the most interesting points is that, again, Partridge is the forensic tech in charge of the crime scene. His attitude is pretty similar than in his previous appearances: the man enjoys explaining his theories and his audience is a new tech working with him. It’s visible that Partridge fancies himself an expert on RJ as he discards almost immediately the new case as a genuine murder from the serial killer. He even affirms that RJ hasn’t killed in a while, since Lorelei’s death was a particular case (she worked with him, she was not a normal victim): the new guy doesn’t know it, but it also reminds us viewers that RJ had indeed stopped for a while, hence it hints that this case is particularly important and unexpected.

But Brett becomes far less secure when Jane enters the room. His wariness of Jane and his relative deference towards him are ambiguous: is he simply afraid of the man because of their latest confrontation in ‘Red Lacquer Polish’? Or is he playing the part of the inoffensive and rather incompetent tech who can’t be clever enough to be RJ? Either way, the regular viewers may remember that his name was on the list in ‘Black Cherry’ and Jane’s attitude towards him is even colder than before, which is an indication that Jane has really come to see him in a more sinister light than the infuriating ghoul he’s been dealing with since the pilot… It’s interesting that Jane tells Lisbon that he can feel that it’s a RJ crime scene: it foreshadows the psychic theme that will be running through the episode and gives to the moment an ominous vibe. The victim is still unidentified, she’s a “Jane Doe” whose baby has been taken. That makes her symbolically the second “Jane” woman who has fallen victim of RJ with her child, after Angela Jane, also killed in a bedroom….

Also, another reminder of a previous finale shows up when Jane notices a phone number written on the wall near the phone, which helps them identify the victim. In ‘Strawberry and Cream’, an address had been scribbled on the bathroom wall, leading Lisbon to a building where she’d been strapped to a bomb.

VIS # 3: a new insight in Jane’s past

After identifying the victim, Jane discovers that she was married to someone he knew years ago: it’s visible he’s unsettled by the news, still he accompanies Lisbon to what he defines as his hometown, the Stoney Ridge trailer park where he and his father had spent the winters when they weren’t travelling with their psychic show during his childhood. Here, he meets Sam and Pete, the friends he introduced to Lisbon in ‘Cackle-Bladder Blood’. Step by step, like in a Greek tragedy, Jane is realizing that the case is hitting very close to home, so to speak, and what began has a strange feeling becomes a nagging doubt, before morphing into fear.

An intriguing detail is that there is a yellow orchid-looking flower in a vase on the table while Jane and Lisbon are talking to Sam and Pete: it closes the arc involving Lorelei, since the first orchid appeared in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ when Jane was desperate after losing his precious lead to the serial killer. Here, his efforts have come to fruition and Jane is about to make a serious break thanks to her. Yet, at the same time, back then the flower was associated to the butterfly, a symbol of hope in the show: while hallucinating, Jane was starting to realize that he wanted something more than revenge. He wanted to start a new life, presumably with Lisbon… which leads us to expect another step too in regard to his relationship with his partner.

That also means we are given a few interesting details about Jane’s background. As it has been ironically foreshadowed in the carnie elements in the crime scene of Lorelei’s murder (‘There Will Be Blood’), ‘Red John is deliberately bringing (him) home” to face his childhood memories, like places he lived in (the town he considered like home) and people he was close to (his friends Sam and Pete, Lily…). The position of the Jane family in the carnie world is also clarified: in season 3, Jane told Lisbon that his father had a show with the carnies, but remained a bit vague about his status, while he insisted that Angela’s family had been carnie royalties… Here, he spontaneously admits that his family had been part of the carnie folks for a long time: to convince him to share information, he asks Pete “how long the Janes and the Turners have been travelling together?” Pete answers: “one hundred years now probably”. Jane has been willing to let Lisbon know this tidbit of personal information and he didn’t try to leave her out of the conversation with his old friends like he did back then when he distracted her with the elephant, which alone hints that they have entered news territories in the personal department.

VIS # 4: Jane and Lisbon in the car

Trust is once again under the spotlight in those two’s relationship. Even though this time around Jane has been letting his partner in from the start on his infamous list, he refuses to tell her who the very last names are. But his reasons for not telling her seem more genuine than they might have ever been. He isn’t trying to keep RJ to himself; he only fears that she would inadvertently sell them out. Because, in insight, there has been a precedent: she was responsible for the failure of Jane’s plan in ‘The Crimson Hat’. If she had put a better front when Luther tried to talk her in taking Jane back, Darcy wouldn’t have barged in the middle of their secret operation… Lisbon’s lack of dishonesty was the flaw in Jane’s plan and that may explain his willingness to play poker with her in ‘Red in Tooth and Claws’, as a mean to further evaluate her poker face and to help her get better at lying…

On the other hand, that lack of confidence in her ability to lie seems to really bother Lisbon, to the point that she asks him several times to come clean about his plans. Still, one may wonder to what extent she has proven to Jane that honesty she demands of him: given what Lisbon discovered in the previous episode about LaRoche, wouldn’t Jane’s reaction to her mentioning J.J. as a potential suspect be stronger if he knew what his friend did in the past? Maybe Lisbon has been keeping some things to herself too for good reasons… There has always been a very peculiar strand of trust between them.

It shows further when Jane threatens to tell her three of her secrets as proof that she can’t tell a lie. At first she accepts, then she thinks better of it and tells him that she refuses to play his mind games. He comments “wise call” … He’s been turning things into a game indeed, bantering with her and trying to distract her from the serious question he’s been left unanswered. But one can wonder what he was about to reveal about her: was it another tidbit of personal information like when he revealed her he knew she hadn’t told the truth about her holidays plans back in the early seasons? Or was it something more intimate, like the fetish talk he initiated in ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’?  Interestingly, the following scene features Rigsby telling Cho one of his secrets (his relationship with Van Pelt), while the stoic man already interjects that he already knows they’re having sex… Is that a way to hint that one of those Lisbon secrets that Jane knew about concerns her feelings?

VIS # 5: Lisbon and Jane meet Sean Barlow

After finally convincing Pete to give them a lead, Jane is once again confronted by his past: this time it’s Sean Barlow, a former friend/associate of his father. Even before meeting him, he’s introduced as an ambiguous and shady character by his association with Alex Jane, whom viewers know as a cold-hearted conman (‘Throwing Fire’). Another step in taken both in the investigation and in the realization of the bigger picture RJ has been painting for him: Jane and Lisbon drive to Venice Beach in Los Angeles to meet the psychic. Jane seems more and more unsettled; while he let Lisbon interrogate Pete and Sam with him, he asked her to let him talk to Pete alone when they returned and, now, he asks her to wait outside, which she refuses.

The dialog with the sinister man showed Bruno Heller’s mastery at broaching a character in a few deep lines. Indeed, the older man seems pretty eager to plant the seeds of doubt in their minds, particularly Lisbon’s.

1) First, he showers Lisbon with details about her secretive partner: under the pretext of talking about the rather safe topic of Patrick’s “wicked” great-grandfather who he “loved”, Barlow tries to prepare Lisbon for his little speech about the man himself. Because wickedness and being lovable are two characteristics her Jane owns in spade too… When Lisbon swallows the bait and asks about the “wicked” part, Barlow introduces a less safe topic: the fact that the Janes (including Patrick) are no-believers (which he gets Teresa to agree is “a sad thing”) who use the faith others have to steal from them… It’s pretty interesting that he uses present tense to describe the Janes’ cons since, given that he’s “been following (Jane’s) doings”, he must know that he stopped his psychic act a decade ago… Are there out there other members of the Jane family ? Or is he implying that Patrick, who is presented as intrinsically a conman, is also trying to manipulate Teresa’s faith and affection to get something out of her?

2) That smiling albeit less than friendly little introduction helps him pose as the real psychic, who would give them valuable advice. His second step is to get in the open the very sensitive question of Lisbon’s feelings: to prove to her that him not having an alibi for his niece’s murder isn’t really significant, he swiftly turns the tables by reading where herself was that night: “Laying in bed, think of Patrick”… What was presented as a psychic reading can be explained: he may have deduced it from their obvious closeness. After all, Patrick trusts her enough to accept to let her accompany him here, and if Paddy’s behavior in ‘Fugue in Red’ is any indication of his ways before meeting Angela, Barlow couldn’t think of any reason either for a cop to stick up with him other than wanting to sleep with him… That would make it an educated guess. The last possibility would be that Lisbon has been watched that night, which may have interesting and pretty dark implications about the older man… Those three possibilities match the usual tricks of a fake psychic: observation, educated guesses and inside information via an accomplice. Either way, that line about Lisbon laying in bed thinking of her partner and being “a little bit in love with him” is embarrassingly ambiguous for Lisbon: of course she would be thinking about Jane, who was keeping to himself RJ’s possible identity. Yet the mention of the bed adds a rather suggestive note that hints that Barlow is really able to read her most intimate thoughts.

3) At the same time, Barlow’s remark about Jane being “secretive and controlling” is also a way to make her feel the strain of their relationship: it reminds of Brett Stiles’ words that Jane has been taking over her team and her life. Even more since both men might have implied that their unbalanced relationship was affecting her work, Brett by mentioning her team, Barlow by comparing her nightly thoughts to his alibi (suggesting that somehow that kind of thoughts is kind of prohibited).

4) Since Jane stays impassive and tries to bring up again the crime, Barlow then broaches another subject to destabilize him: RJ is a psychic, that’s why he is always a step ahead of him. That seems the main point he’s been trying to make all along. Following his logic Barlow himself is a real psychic, so he’s able to detect another as RJ., Plus, Jane is not to be trusted: he’s from a family of lying thieves and his judgment is not sound because his all-knowing nemesis has already mastered his mind… That theory is admittedly a way to tell Jane that his niece hasn’t been a victim of the serial killer (it’s probable that he wants to indirectly incriminate Roddy Turner, whom he hates), yet his insistence may hint that the mysterious man has another goal in mind when trying to spook and manipulate Jane and Lisbon…

VIS # 6: Jane and Lisbon in the car after talking with Barlow

Sometime after leaving the older man, Jane and Lisbon are again talking in the car. Instead of calmly addressing the huge elephant in the room (Lisbon’s feelings), they both start talking at the same time. Jane lets her start and when she begins to utter something he might not like (“I can’t work like this”), he interrupts her. He tells her what he wanted to let her know: that Barlow was right, that he’s “secretive and controlling”. That’s a way to apologize to her for what he asks her to do and the things he’s been hiding from her: that’s probably his most sincere apology to her ever, far deeper than the blanket “I’m sorry” he gave her after the Vegas/Lorelei debacle in ‘The Crimson Ticket’… Still, he focuses on the part of Sean’s talk that concerned him: in doing so, he carefully avoids the part that was about her and her love for him…

In a way, that talk which turned in a non-talk echoes the scene where Lisbon asked Jane what he meant when he told her he loved her before shooting at her (‘The Crimson Hat’): he answer was to deflect her question, just like here he puts emphasis in his fault to avoid asking her about her feelings.

Which leads us to another point: what was Lisbon about to tell him? That she couldn’t keep avoiding the matter of their mutual feelings anymore? That she couldn’t keep accepting that he only told her part of the truth at best, like he was doing with his list? Or that she was tired of working with him when it’s becoming apparent that there was not enough trust and too many feelings between them? Like those mysterious secrets Jane threatened to reveal about her earlier, this question will remain unanswered as well. Anyway, it seems that those meaningful talks both  of them keep having in cars since the beginning are shifting towards dangerous territory: before, they concerned quite serious matters, like revenge or RJ (‘Red Moon’) ; about Lorelei in ‘The Crimson Ticket’), still, they’re turning more and more personal. In a way, it reminds of the tension-filled moments in the car when listening to the radio talk-show in ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’.

But purposely and insistently not telling anything about something is also a form of acknowledgement. Jane used the pretext of not remembering what he said, even though he kept using afterwards every occasion to prove her how well his memory palace worked. Lisbon let alone Lorelei’s remark that he was in love with her, yet she yelled that she was not “his girlfriend’. In the same manner, Jane not asking her about her own feelings towards him is an indirect way of letting her know that he knows about them, that Barlow was right about them too, yet he chooses to ignore the pending matter in favour of preserving their status quo… at least for now.

VIS # 7: the ending

1) inside information: Jane doesn’t remember telling anyone about this particular memory, yet he could have let it slip when he had his breakdown after the murders. It’s pretty probable that Sophie Miller has asked him about his past and/or other relatives during therapy. Even if he didn’t specifically told her about the scene with the little Lily, he might have mentioned her at some moment… Given RJ’s interest in Jane, there is a pretty good possibility that he has read her files and/or asked someone from her staff.

2) observation: someone may have known Jane at the time and recalled that he might have been even a bit moved by the little girl. Someone like Barlow himself: a sinister man who only considered his niece as a property and who may fits the profile of RJ’s cold and sociopathic accomplices.

3) educated guess: the Barlows were close friends of his family. Given that Jane had a difficult father who probably wasn’t prone to affection, and that he’s been presented in ‘Throwing Fire’ as a sensitive kid, it would be rather logical that he would identify and focus on Lily’s happy relation with her father, who died shortly afterwards, a relation that he probably didn’t have with his own and that his younger self might have been craving.

The thing in those three possible explanations is that RJ didn’t need to know *that* specific memory: when Jane would recognize the young Lily, he would necessarily have some memories of her, crystallised and idealized by the time that had passed. It was almost automatic that her death would hit very close to home for Jane. And he would hence be more susceptible to believe the second part of RJ’s prediction: that he knew beforehand the seven names on the list… which he could have known either by 1) making more than one video with Lorelei (Kirkland’s stealing information would then confirm which version was to be used) for example, 2) by writing down the names of the men who couldn’t be eliminated as suspects (it would be faster for him, since he’s been keeping tabs on the consultant and since he already knew what characteristics were bound to be more suspicious). Or 3) he knew which men were most suspicious because every one of them is hiding something… like that they are all working for him (see Bertram and Kirkland working closely together).

Anyway, what is certain is that RJ can’t be a real psychic: first because the show hasn’t given any hints that it might favor the supernatural route. Then because what RJ did to Kristina in S3 indicates irony towards her line of work: that he would share it would be a bit illogical; but mostly because he admitted in the video that he knew about the list because “Lorelei told” him. And his way to lead Jane to his minion ensured that Jane found her: even if it was an easy guess given Jane’s cleverness with cases, the red-headed middle-aged woman matched Lennon’s status somehow as a social worker/shelter employee.

That leads us to the song at the ending. It’s “Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart” by Gene Pitney:

“Something`s gotten hold of my heart

Keeping my soul and my senses apart

Something`s gotten into my life

Cutting its way through my dreams like a knife

Turning me up, turning me down

Making me smile and making me frown”.

Those lyrics obviously match what Jane must feel towards the looming threat that represents the video he’s watching while Lisbon is returning the baby girl to her father. Yet, it may also hold other meanings: it was featured in 1967, which corresponds more or less to Jane’s birth, meaning that the song is a way to allude to his childhood too. Moreover, it’s a love song and Lisbon is visible when the lyrics begin playing: she’s also in Jane’s thoughts at the moment. It’s even more convincing when we read the rest of the lyrics which aren’t heard in the show:

“Yeah something has invaded my nights

Painting my sleep with a colour so bright

Changing the grey, changing the blue

Scarlet for me and scarlet for you”…

Jane may be afraid that RJ’s threats may be directed towards Lisbon at some point: there may be some “scarlet” for both of them in the future; they’re both in danger.

Last, the word “knife” (RJ’s favorite MO) is sang when the camera focuses on Barlow brooding alone: is that a way to hint that Barlow has played a sinister part in RJ’s plan, since afterwards the last word sung, “frown” resonates with Jane’s pensive and worried face on screen?

2) Seven usual (or less usual) suspects:

In sync with Lorelei enouncing the seven names predicted by RJ in Jane’s list, Lisbon puts down the seven pictures matching those names, a bit like one would their cards when winning a poker game, enlightening once more the notions of strategy and bluff  simmering in this season. And now, the two partners are facing:

1- Bret Stiles: the leader of Visualize is a bit old for having been at the farm to paint the first smiley in ‘The Red Barn’, yet his past is pretty dark; it’s been alluded to in ‘His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts’ that he might have something to do with the death of the former cult leader. Bret has showed since the beginning a marked interest for Jane; he’s been watching him and his team and has been taunting him with the fact that he has inside information (about Kristina in the beginning of season 3). He’s also known for recruiting law enforcement officers and has even tried to convert Grace when she was still feeling down about Craig’s death/betrayal… Actually, Stiles is probably the more plausible candidate for a charismatic Moriarty Mentalist-like –actor Malcom McDowell even commented about having been thinking that his character was RJ when viewers were convinced that Carter was the serial killer, if I recall correctly.

Beside, him being RJ would put Jane’s character under a very interesting light, since he befriended him to some extent… It would give intriguing shades of an unexpected moral dilemma, reminiscent of the Hitchcockian atmosphere of ‘Red Sails in The Sunset’: what would be more ironic than Jane secretly meeting his nemesis to ask his help in breaking their common mistress out of jail (in order to catch the man himself, no less)? That would be a very interesting situation… It’s also quite remarkable that Stiles gave him pretty much the same advice as Carter: when Jane asked him the favor of getting Lorelei out of jail, he told the younger man: “let this be my favor to you: let it go. The whole idea. It’s just not worth it.” Carter’s advice when he was posing as RJ was to build himself a new life: ““Forget about me. I’m not worth ruining your life over”… is it a coincidence that RJ had indeed stopped killing except for answering to Jane’s manoeuvres (the morgue guy in Rosalind Harker’s closet, Panzer, Lorelei), like Partridge pointed out, and that his announced new set of killings is a response to him changing “the rules”?

Also, Brett commented in ‘Red Sails in The Sunset’ that “any task can be accomplished as long as it’s broken down into manageable pieces”,  foreshadowing Jane’s huge work in reducing the numbers of the people he met in a decade to an handful of possible suspects…

2- Gale Bertram: the director of the CBI has been a prime suspect ever since he quoted Blake in season 3 and his behavior has been increasingly suspicious since the poker game in ‘Red in Tooth And Claws’. Again, if he turned out to be RJ, it would be interesting that Jane helped him in getting better at bluffing and masking his strategy in a poker game… the irony! The man also is a pragmatist who doesn’t bother much with feelings: he tried to let Jane rot in jail after Carter’s murder (which means his goal and RJ’s were the same at the time: to get rid of Jane); he tried to separate him from his best ally, Lisbon, by replacing her by Haffner, a man working for Visualize… And, of course, he collaborates pretty closely with Kirkland. So far, he is the man who has the more connections with the other suspects: Kirkland, Haffner, Reede Smith (who works for Alexa Schultz, which whom Bertram stroke a deal), Partridge (who is a CBI employee)… A fairly intriguing point given that his name may be a reference to Christie’s “At Bertram’s Hotel”, a novel featuring a secret criminal organisation hidden in a seemingly benign environment…

 3- Bob Kirkland is another character who has been suspected for a long time: he’s been watching Jane since he got a job as a consultant for the CBI and he spied on his list of candidates for RJ. And Lisbon herself, who liked the man at first, considers him odd now and is aware that he doesn’t tell anything useful…  It’s becoming pretty obvious that the man is investigating for personal purposes, even though the question of his goal remains unknown: is he trying to get RJ for himself, or is he trying to cover the serial killer tracks?  The murder of Lennon after asking him if he recognized him as well as his weird collaboration with Bertram seem to point to a dark interpretation. Still, things aren’t clear enough: neither he nor Bertram showed any sign of being subordinated to the other; they knew each other enough to make personal commentaries, but so far it’s rather hard to infer a lot of their interaction… Either way, the fact that Kirkland knew about Jane’s board might give an explanation to RJ’s eerie accuracy in guessing which names were on the list.

Still, there is an important flaw in that theory: like it’s been noted many times before, Stiles would be a bit obvious as RJ and Bertram would not seem clever enough to compete with Jane… and the same could be applied to Kirkland. If we are to believe RJ is brilliant enough to stay two steps ahead of Jane, is that plausible that he’d turn out to be someone like Bob, who managed in a few episodes to attract Lisbon’s distrust and to tip his hand to Jane (who was suspicious after Lennon’s sudden death and who is aware that his attic has been visited)?

4- The same applies to Raymond Haffner, who couldn’t even hide his connection to Visualize from Lisbon. His embarrassment when she asked him about having stayed at the farm when he was a “kid” makes him at the same time pretty suspicious and a bit too obvious as a possible RJ… In fact it’s even worse with him, since he has the two flaws described above: he’s too obvious and not clever enough. So, except if he’s very good at hiding his true colors, he would be more credible as a handyman than as a criminal genius. But who knows?

5- Reede Smith, the FBI agent working with Mancini for Alexa Schultz is another example of the writers’ taste for dramatic turns of events… and twisted sense of humor: indeed, the writing team spent last year hiatus leaking spoilers in order to build up some expectations about the new FBI agents introduced –briefly- in the season premiere. Still, the attention was purposely focused on Mancini, who antagonised Jane and showed a (slight) interest in Teresa. But who really paid attention to the more discreet Smith? What do we know about him after all? Only that he woks for Alexa, who in turn works for Kirkland or at least is not opposed to giving him information… It’s possible that RJ had hidden behind the appearance of a subaltern, while actually leading the game. It’s also plausible that he would have tipped Jane off about having a mole in the FBI in order to hide the fact that himself belonged here in fact…

And his first name might be a word play on Red/ Reede, since the sonorities are quite close. Moreover, I may very well be reading too much into this, but “Mr Smith” was the name of the serial killer in Steeman’s masterpiece, the classic murder mystery “The Murderer Lives At Number 21” (the novel, not the movie, whose storyline has been a bit changed): in the book, the elusive murderer manages to escape the police for a long time… because there are actually three of them working as a team and providing the others with alibis when the need arises…

6- Thomas McAllister was another almost forgotten character. He appeared in the second episode of the first season as a sheriff during a case. Like Partridge, he’s been introduced very early in the storyline, in opposition to Kirkland and Smith who are recent characters. That might do for a fairly ironic revelation too: imagine the reaction if viewers were to realize that RJ has been briefly introduced when they were not even familiar with the protagonist himself?

At the time, the guy seemed creepy enough to pass as the killer for Rigsby, who attacked him when he approached Grace (who was used as a bait for the murderer). McAllister taunted Jane when they met, calling him on his supposed “psychic powers”. Jane answered with his own brand of provocation, by winning several rounds of rock paper scissors, effectively proving his observational skills and ridiculing the sheriff at the same time. So, Jane has been playing another kind of game with the man, and has managed to twist the rules as well. Another interesting point is that that episode, ‘Red Hair And Silver Tape’ featured a married couple of killers going after young red-haired women… and that same sort of killers has been represented by Carter and his wife. Moreover, the minion in ‘Red John’s Rules’ has red hair too. Those little details might be overlooked, but since the three episodes have been written by Bruno Heller, it could very well make sense too…

7- Brett Partridge is the last name in the list and the only suspect featured in the episode. Jane despises him because he’s a ghoul and he often comes up with morbid fantasies as theories for the murder cases they are investigating. Still, the change of attitude that the consultant showed at the beginning of the episode indicated that he’s very aware that his inept behavior may be a façade. As the character has been discussed at length before, I’ll only remind that he showed a suspicious interest in RJ, an equally suspicious antagonism to Jane and that his name “Partridge” might be an allusion to Blake’s painting “A Brace Of Partridges”, which may explain the bird theme visible through the season.

As a conclusion, several details tend to hint that there might be an organisation of many men behind the name of “RJ”. On one hand the shadow of sect Visualize looming around at least two suspects –Haffner and Stiles- and the fact that some of them are effectively working together, and, in the other hand, the names of Bertram and Smith, might indicate that there could be more than one RJ in the list. After all, Renfrew wrote on the wall “He is man…” and a possible interpretation is that he wanted to tell Jane there were “many” men under the mask of the elusive killer. That may explain how RJ had come up with his own list: what if there were all RJ, assuming in turn the role of the master to seduce a new minion into submission so that they only knew one of them at the time? The concept isn’t new and it has been used in many classic murder mysteries, from Steeman to Agatha Christie’s “Crime of  the Orient-Express”. And, yes, the idea is fun to toy with, even though it may be proven wrong in a few months…

Food for Thought:

This episode was a peak in Jane’s quest for finding RJ and it was enhanced by street names such as “Stoney Ridge” and “Ashley Ridge Road”.

It also contained many, many reminders of previous episodes interlaced with the main plot.  For instance, ‘Strawberry and Cream’ was indirectly alluded to with the detail of the phone number leading to the minion scribbled on the wall. Back then, Gupta had written an address on the wall too; the contrast is that Jane managed to get in his way, only he did not this time. Miriam Gottlieb, the social worked who was friends with RJ has a similar status than Lennon, the shelter employee in ‘There Will Be Blood’, which consequences are showing in this episode. And Lisbon and Jane waiting for her in her house remind of Jane meeting Lorelei then Lisbon on Orchid Lane… Both in ‘The Crimson Hat’ and now, Lorelei has been delivering to Jane a message from her master.

At the same time, Heller tried to gather the recurring themes that coursed through this season, giving it coherence:

1) the fisherman and fish theme which represents the struggle between Jane an his nemesis is alluded to (the fish tank Jane used to catch Miriam Gottlieb as well as Barlow having a workshop at Venice Beach).

2) There is a yellow orchid-looking flower on the table when Jane and Lisbon are talking to Sam and Pete (see above in VIS#3).

3) The complex family theme is represented by Patrick contacting people from his childhood, talking about the Janes (there were various examples of people meeting again long lost relatives in the recent episodes and every one ended in tragedy). Moreover, the notion of leaving an abusive blood-related family in favor of a more accepting surrogate is illustrated by Eileen, who chose love over the Barlows… like Jane did with Angela when he left the carnies.

4) Last, not least, many kind of spectacles has been present recently (musicals, magic shows, and so on). It may prepare us viewers for the idea that RJ is too putting a clever show for Jane: the whole psychic thing is a smoke screen.

Indeed, the episode seems to woven together the threads coursing through the season, as well as it opens possibilities for the new one: again, the question is left unanswered about who is the fish and who is the fisherman. Who will get the other first, Jane or RJ? The rules have changed and a new bloody and pressing game is beginning… Meanwhile, the orchid reminds of the possibility of a new love for Jane, tainted by the shadow of his nemesis looming over them… Yet, again, there is the surrogate family that is the team offering comfort and help for the duo: even if they choose not to confide in them, the three younger agents have proved they are more than eager to protect their friends… while they’re all faced with another darker “family” of minions helping out their enemy.

Honorable Mentions: again, the cast was as fabulous as ever, particularly Simon Baker and Robin Tunney whose complicity onscreen add much to the characters. Special mention too to Michael Hogan who impersonated the mysterious Sean Barlow with the right amount of unsettling friendliness and creepiness. Also, Blake Neeley’s melodies added much to the atmosphere of the episode, like director Chris Long’s powerful filming (the scene where time speeds up while Jane is sleeping) and Bruno Heller’s very subtle writing… Ok, is there someone on this team I won’t be tempted to mention? Like I said, they were all pretty great…

Pet Peeve… or not?

To be fair, I got the feeling when I first watched the episode that there was something artificial in the way the different themes and new elements were woven together, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what … Upon watching it again, it dawned on me that Jane was unusually passive, towards his past (she lets Lisbon have a good look at his childhood, a thing he was more than reticent to share until then. He even talks about his father), but also in relation to Lisbon’s feelings (by simply not talking about them, he calmly lets her/us guess that he was already aware of them), and towards the new crime. He doesn’t really react to the slow realisation that he’s been lead on and even seems to weight the possibility that RJ has powers at some point, when he uncertainly accepts Lisbon’s assertions that what happens must be a coincidence… Like I said, it reminds of a Greek tragedy where the protagonist slowly discovers that he’s up against something much greater than him (fate/gods/…). Still, Jane is the kind of man who fights his fate, not a passive hero who struggles against destiny like a fish in a net: that passiveness is pretty unsettling. I really hope he will get back his pugnacity in the future: he will undoubtedly need it since if RJ keeps up his new game, I think “blood and tears” would be an accurate name for next season…

Reviewbrain: Or not…

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

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

I’ll be holding out for a happy ending 🙂 Thank you to Mentalist cast/crew for making our favorite show. And thank you readers for being such awesome fans and a member of this fantastic community. Please don’t forget to reward Violet’s lovely efforts by rating her review. And please visit my artist @chizuruchibi on twitter. These two are the best partners a blogger can ever have. Love you both 🙂

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Mentalist Blood Feud Review


When CBI Agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) is arrested, he has to explain himself to Professional Standard’s head Special Agent J.J. LaRoche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) to prove he is innocent of a crime viewers gradually become privy to through flashbacks. It all starts when Rigsby’s convicted dad, Steven Rigsby (William Forsythe) was found injured at a crime scene in Carson springs, where a young man with ties to the town’s major drug family was killed.

Concise Verdict

Pruitt Taylor Vince is back! PTV is back!!! CREEPY BUT FLUFFY LAROCHE IS BACK!!! Woohoo! My undying love for the character (and the actor) has been well documented, (time and time again) so I know viewers will forgive my flailing here. This was a fabulous episode made even more so by bringing back a couple of this show’s fabulous guest stars. By the way, I think it’s safe to say that writer Jordan Harper has become the new Ashley Gable of this show. He tends to focus on Lisbon and Rigsby. He knows them inside out. He puts them in challenging situations. And he enjoys making viewers cry. Also, continuity, people! Continuity and foreshadowing! Top it off with great acting, beautiful music, and a clever script, and you’ve got a winner. 10/10.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)

Before I get into the review, I’d like to recap some very important observations Violet made about Rigsby Sr. in her guest review of “Like a Red-Headed Stepchild”:

Is that me or Steve also reminds a little of Jane himself? A few hints seem to draw an analogy between them: in VIS #1, he affirms he can get the killer in ten minutes (that’s so Jane-ish!) and he’s sprawled on a couch. He’s a cold manipulative jerk. He slyly plays on Rigsby’s feelings, calling him “son”, never by his given name, even when he insults or threatens him. And what is more revealing, Wayne’s attitude towards them is comparable: he never tried to set the record with Jane’s sometimes mean tricks, nor does he with his father. He lied for them and let them get away with it even when he knows that he’s been had. And that’s where we can see Grace’s influence, because he decides to react after this last manipulation.

Fans will remember that Rigsby’s reaction was to finally face his father. The two come to blows, and Rigsby took his father down, but never delivered the final punch. The fight allowed the two to part on better terms then they had met. Steven’s parting words, “See you around, son” were perhaps the one time he used the familial term without an ulterior motive; he used the term sincerely. Genuinely.

Now in this review, I’ll be elaborating on Violet’s insightful comparison of Jane to Steven, as well as her contrasting of Rigsby to both his father, and to Jane. This will be done where relevant and as the topic presents itself.

VIS #1 Teaser

I knew I would love this episode before the opening credits. The set-up was brilliant. First we see, for the first time, Rigsby’s baby (who incidentally, looks very much like his dad). The baby sitter tells Rigsby that his son is “a good boy, like his father.”

-This statement alludes to themes addressed in previous episodes (Bloodsport, Like a Red-Headed Stepchild). Mainly, it recalls Rigsby’s fear that criminal behavior is hereditary and therefore hints that once again he’ll face his criminal father.

Two agents come to arrest Rigsby from his apartment, practically in front of his son. And just in case that wasn’t enough to keep viewers interested, the next scene which takes place at the CBI has J.J. LaRoche in it, greeting a sober Lisbon and Jane, before going in to question Rigsby. J.J. tells Rigsby that “If I don’t like what you have to say, you could walk out of this room charged with murder.” Rigsby then begins his tale, starting with how he got called to a crime scene in Carson sprints, and how his father was found there.

– Talk about a powerful hook! No way anyone changed the channel after that.

VIS #2 Wayne and Lisbon visit Steven in the Hospital

As LaRoche questions Rigsby on the last time he saw his father, we see a montage of Steven being rushed into surgery at a hospital, with Rigsby running alongside of him and sitting down to wait with Lisbon.

-When the team found Steven, his son’s first statement to him was “What did you do, dad?” establishing that he knows his father enough to recognize his propensity to make trouble. But Rigsby’s main concern is still his father’s health. This was nice to see and very in character for the sensitive agent.

Lisbon stands by Rigsby and joins him in asking the doctor about Rigsby senior’s health, before asking if she can ask him some questions. Rigsby then adds “both of us”.

-Lisbon’s support here was lovely to see and builds on the sibling-like relationship her and the younger agent share. But her double take at Wayne when he said “both of us” shows that she doesn’t approve of him being further involved with the case, as becomes clear in a later scene.

Rigsby expresses how worried he is about his father. Steven brushes his son’s concern and questions on what happened with his own inquiry: “So tell me, boy or girl?” Rigsby is surprised that his dad knows he has a child. Senior informs him that his cousin told him Rigsby was expecting a child. Wayne then informs him he has a son named Ben. Steven asks:  “Is this little Ben’s momma over here? She purty,” about Lisbon.

-Now if Steven is any sort of criminal, then he knows Lisbon is a cop. Because, apparently, criminals have a sixth sense which helps them identify officers, as stated by this procedural (and other dramas) on numerous occasions. Therefore, despite how gorgeous Lisbon (Tunney) truly is, Steven here was just distracting Rigsby from asking questions. This is supported by his continued flirting.

Steven tells Lisbon “I gotta tell you, I could not work for a beautiful woman like you. It’s way too distracting. You dating anyone honey?” Lisbon, always the professional recognizes the compliments for what they are, a diversion, and continues questioning Steven over who shot him and the victim. Steven proceeds to take the flirtation to a lewd level before Rigsby steps in, trying to make him realize the seriousness of the situation. Steven replies “I don’t need you or any other government bitch fixing my problems.”

-So not only do we get a bunch of Lisbon love, but it’s done in a way that makes sense character-wise. Fans might recall Steven’s hot girlfriend, Rocket from his last episode. So it’s nice to see what he can be like when he decides to make his move via his flirting with Lisbon. It’s even more intriguing to see how that charm can quickly turn ugly, perhaps displaying Steven’s true colors when he calls both Rigsby and Lisbon government bitches. In this respect, like Violet pointed out, he was very reminiscent of Jane Think the team’s seafood dinner in the pilot: first Jane charms Grace and impresses her with his “magic” trick, then when she annoys him, he turns nasty and insults her by telling her to sleep with Rigsby. More on their similarities later…

Lisbon and Rigsby leave the hospital room. Rigsby is ready to continue working the case but Lisbon refuses. When he says he has to do something she starts to tell him that he can stay at the hospital but gets interrupts by Rigsby who tells her he won’t. Lisbon then tells him “I didn’t give you a choice,” before softening her tone and adding “It’s okay. Go home. See your kid.”

-I do love me some Rigsbon. These two are so awesome together and Harper writes them beautifully.  The last time I remember their brother/sister relationship being alluded to was, again, in Like a Red Headed Stepchild when Rigsby confessed that his father was a person of interest in a case the team was working. But while in that episode Lisbon kept him on the case (provided another team member accompanied him) she refuses to do so here. It makes sense, since this time Steven’s involvement is much more serious. It was awesome seeing Lisbon wear both the boss and friend hats so effectively, even when Rigsby didn’t want her to watch out for him. Her protectiveness will be revisited before the end of the episode, and more in this review as I suspect it will be a major topic this season…

VIS # 3 Jane and Lisbon question Samantha, the victim’s partner

Samantha (Daisy Eagan) tells Lisbon that she and Andy managed to avoid the allure of the gangs growing up, and that as that put them in the minority, they became friends and hence naturally went into business together.

-I may be overreaching here but the fact that the victim and his friend bonded over their plight reminded me of how Lisbon and Rigsby were both abused children and how it’s a possible explanation for the strength of their bond. Not that I imagine they ever talked about it…

Jane asks why Samantha isn’t surprised that the victim was with a criminal (Steven) at the time of his death. She states “family troubles”, and reveals the fact that the victims biological father was an Overton; a member of the gang family that controls half of Carson valley.  She adds that Andy’s mom left his father as soon as she realized what kind of man he was and raised her son completely on her own.

– Because of the many parallels drawn between the victim and Rigsby (good guys with criminal dad’s), I’m guessing this is pretty much how the situation was for Rigsby as well. We know his mother raised him, his dad told him that he gets his law-abiding ways from her.

– Because of the many parallels drawn between the victim and Rigsby (good guys with criminal dad’s), I’m guessing this is pretty much how the situation was for Rigsby as well. We know his mother raised him, his dad told him that he gets his law-abiding ways from her.

When Samantha states that Andy wasn’t close to the Overtones, Jane offers “But he couldn’t escape them either.” Samantha responds “Its family. You know how that is.”

– Yes, yes we do. We’ve seen Lisbon having Jane and her teammates’ backs because she considers them family. And we had Rigsby lying to provide an alibi for his abusive dad in episode Blood Sport. Then there’s Jane. I found his use of the word “escape” very interesting. His family has been dead about a decade and he still hasn’t been able to sever the bond he had with them. This conversation gives more support that the theme of family bonds, and what they cost, will be a major theme. Again, it will be revisited before the episode (and review) is over.

VIS # 4 Rigsby Defends the Team

LaRoche assumes that Lisbon invited Rigsby back on the case after Cho and Jane discovered that he’d disappeared from the hospital. Here, Rigsby adamantly says: “No, she didn’t invite me. She was reluctant, but I was insistent and she warned me to be very careful. I want that clear.” When LaRoche asks why Cho didn’t accompany Rigsby to the bar where his father was meeting his girlfriend, Wayne starts to say “We,” but quickly amends his statement to “I thought it was more likely that he would come quietly if I was alone.”

-Love how worried Rigsby was that his friends would get in trouble over his actions. Very in character. Also, I have to say that when the episode switched back to this scene in particular, I had been so into the plot that I completely forgot about Rigsby being arrested. That’s a good thing because, when not done well, viewers tend to zone out waiting for flashbacks to end. Not the case here.

VIS #5 Rigsby Meets his Dad

The episode switches back in time, to Rigsby going to the diner where his father was meeting his girlfriend. Senior refuses to go back to the hospital and tells Wayne he’s not leaving without a fight, to which Rigsby replies that he’s not fighting his father anymore and sits down to have a beer with his dad.

-We got another allusion to the last time the two men met. Also, Rigsby seems to have learned a few tricks from Jane. Him sitting down with his dad was a method to bide his time until he could get Steven to talk. This was illustrated by having this scene switching to Jane and Lisbon at this point, before switching back to the Rigsby’s, allowing for passage of time.

After drinking together for a while Rigsby calls out Steven on how he doesn’t know who shot him, because if he did he’d be hunting him down, as per his “code”. Steven then admits that he didn’t see anything; that he was at the scene to help the victim who told him someone threatened to burn his barber shop if he didn’t show up. Rigsby thanks his dad who then asks to see pictures of his grandson. He laughs at the baby pics and asks who the mom is. Rigsby tells him “We’re split up. Team was working a case, I faked my own death, she got mad, it’s complicated.”

-Am I the only one heartbroken at the news that Rigsby and cute and feisty Sarah have broken up? Worse, I’m now worried that this was done, to get Rigsby and Grace back together, only to have one of them killed leaving the other in agony over the death. It’s not total paranoia when you consider the hint the previous episode gave us that a team member will get killed. Or is it?

Steven tells Rigsby to not go too easy on his son, to which Rigsby replies: “No parenting advice, thanks.” His father tells him “What do you got to complain about. I did my job. You’re still here. You’re a man of respect. You walk around all over the place with a legit weapon. You got a handsome son. I did a good job.”  When Rigsby concedes the point his dad tells him, “Damn right,” reaching out to his hand, before adding “I could’ve drowned you at birth.”

-I’m hoping Steven here was just joking to offset his sudden burst of tenderness, rather than a revelation that the thought had actually crossed his mind to kill Wayne when he was born. Most likely, he was tacitly trying to show Rigsby that, despite how bad a father he was, he wasn’t that bad. I think Rigsby got the point. He’s forgiven his dad to the extent of allowing him to see his son, albeit reluctantly. Which makes the fact that he died before he was able to do so only more tragic.  Although, Steven’s statement saying that he goes when he decides to go, along with the song lyrics “I’d rather be dead,” hint that Steven simply wasn’t interested in the quiet living that would have kept him alive.

VIS # 5 Rigsby Kills his Dad’s Killer

I want to preface this section by pointing out how keyed up Rigsby was after his dad’s death, and his brief encounter with Jane and Cho at the elevator. Cho had told Rigsby “I know what you wanna do. You can’t do it. You didn’t like growing up with a dad in jail, Ben wouldn’t like it either.” Jane, by just seeing the two men’s stance knows exactly what they are talking about. Was his statement to Rigsby “Better let us handle this,” a genuine reiteration of Cho’s wise advice? Apparently not.

What I found very interesting was Rigsby’s motive for going after his father’s killer. He’d said to Cho:  “If I got shot, he would’ve found the man who pulled the trigger and taken care of it.”

This explains why by the book Rigsby is doing something as out of character as taking the law into his own hands. It might also indicate that Rigsby is not thinking clearly, after all, he is not his father. But grieving people aren’t exactly known for their sound judgment.

Now the way the scene was written, thankfully, needed for Moss to be put down. Rigsby’s use of lethal force was, as LaRoche says later, completely justified. What’s less clear is his presence at the scene in the first place.

VIS #6 Jane, Lisbon, and LaRoche’s Revelation

Jane sits as Lisbon’s desk as she writes up the paperwork on their case, telling her “You’re going to regret this someday,” meaning all the paperwork adding “It’s like cooking a beautiful meal, and then putting it straight in the refrigerator. Forever.”

-A few points here. First, Jane is back to trying to get Lisbon to rebel against the system. Could it be paperwork annoys him cause the more diligent Lisbon is the harder it’ll be to slip stuff through the cracks? Second, Jane’s statement recalls both his own questioning of the reason he’s at his current job, as well as a possibility of Lisbon feeling burned out (as hinted at in the last season). Third, Jane has evolved from keeping Lisbon company while lying on her couch to him being completely in her personal space, sitting on her desk. Not that Lisbon is complaining. I can still hear the J/L shipper’s squealing :). Finally, Jane’s use of the word “regret” reminded me of how Lisbon once called him one of her big regrets (see review for Every Rose Has its Thorn). Alone, this probably means nothing. But together with the theme of family heavily alluded to in this episode, it might be foreshadowing of a possible plot line in which Lisbon starts regretting ever bringing Jane into the fold of those she considers family. Should the writers choose to go there, it’s been very cleverly set up in this scene. How? Read on…

La Roche enters Lisbon’s office. She asks him what his report on Rigsby will say. I’m going to analyze the rest of the scene line by line as the dialogue was very crucial was it. Also, absolutely, utterly, devastatingly, perfect:

LaRoche: It will say that agent Rigsby acted appropriately and with sound judgment when he used lethal force against moss. (to Jane). Good work. You got away with it.

Jane: Me?

LaRoche: Well I can’t make a case, but you chose a remote location for the meeting, you set up a situation where Moss had to flee. And there, by chance, was Rigsby.

Jane: Well, I’m flattered. You flatter me. But I can’t take credit for that.

I love how Jane’s response to LaRoche’s accusations is always being bashfully flattered (Jolly Red Elf). But while it worked the last time, LaRoche has gotten to know him much better now, even if Lisbon (apparently) still hasn’t…

Lisbon: Moss didn’t have to run. I would’ve brought him in.

Lisbon has a point, but LaRoche’s rebuttal was much more effective:

LaRoche: The plan did require moss to put his own head in the noose. Small gamble, Jane had to make to keep everyone’s hands clean.

Poor Lisbon still refuses to acknowledge Jane’s evil genius:

Lisbon: Moss fired his gun.

It’s true that Moss didn’t have to fire his gun and escape, but it was natural considering that he had the heads of two separate mobs threatening him.

LaRoche: So you all say, course, Moss can’t tell his version. And now, Rigsby has taken perfectly legal revenge against the man who killed his father. Do you think it will affect him?

Now, up until this point Jane had deniability on his side. But LaRoche is smarter than your average bear. His question on whether Jane thinks Rigsby will be affected by revenge finally gets a response. But before we get into it, I just want to mention that by this point, Lisbon is gazing intently with a very hard to read expression at Jane. It seems like she’s either she’s trying to warn him from saying anything, or she’s trying to read his reaction, to see the effect LaRoche’s words are having on him; if his face reveals that they are true. If she had been in the dark about Jane’s actions, then Jane’s answer to LaRoche probably brought her to light:

Jane: Well I think it’s better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do.

I found Jane’s response to LaRoche to be very revealing, not only as a tacit admission of guilt. Jane, for all his mentalist abilities constantly forgets that not all people are like him. For example, I concede that he probably did what he did out of a genuine interest to help Rigsby out. But he’s forgetting that he and Rigsby are practically opposites, despite the fact that they were both raised by bad fathers. While revenge might work for Jane it might not necessarily work for Rigsby. Jane’s presumptuous interference, applying his motto, his religion to those around him without considering if it’s a right fit is one of the traits that annoys me the most about him. It’s a clear result of his ego, his belief that he knows best.  But what I’d love to see is for his “help” to backfire one day. Not just because I’m evil, but because the potential for character growth and introspection there is enough to make me drool. Hopefully, LaRoche’s words here are enough to get Jane thinking on his own without another tragedy forcing him to…

LaRoche: Perhaps. I suppose Rigsby will never know.

I love how J.J. here called Jane on his manipulating the situation. The subtext includes Jane’s manipulation of Rigsby’s pain to get the younger Rigsby to do something that he might have not done if he were in a calm state.

LaRoche: Agent Lisbon my report will reflect you made a mistake in calling agent Rigsby to the scene. An error in judgment.

Lisbon: Yes sir, it was.

As her MO, Lisbon is all too happy to take responsibility for Jane’s actions. And just in case I dropped the ball and didn’t realize that Jane was the one who called Rigsby…

Jane: Lisbon didn’t call Rigsby, I did.

…Jane helpfully tells us, following his MO of trying to protect Lisbon.

Lisbon: Jane!

LaRoche: Of course you did.

LaRoche is no dummy. He probably knew perfectly well that Jane called Rigsby and Lisbon is just protecting him by claiming she did. I see his refusal to acknowledge this truth is his way of succumbing to her wishes to protect her team. I’m just not sure why. Perhaps, like Hightower before him, he hopes Jane will behave better if he realizes that Lisbon will be held responsible for his actions.

Unless…unless…it really was *Lisbon* who called Rigsby? She’d told him that she’d let him know if they got a break in the case, so maybe she did? But even if that were true, no way she would have told Rigsby where the meeting was going to be. Jane probably did that, which is why he was so ready to take the blame.

LaRoche: Agent Lisbon, your instincts to protect your team are admirable, and your biggest flaw.

We have it in canon that this guy loves Lisbon (who doesn’t?). He got upset when she insulted him (Bloodstream) and he gave her a hug (Scarlett Ribbons). His statement her truly seemed like he was trying to look after her, protect her from herself. I find his behavior admirable, and not just because it annoyed Jane…

Jane: Yes, well we all have our flaws. Don’t we agent LaRoche?

Jane’s statement here is a not so subtle reminder to LaRoche that he knows a horrible secret LaRoche has (Strawberries and Cream) and his way of telling LaRoche his advice is not wanted. Jane does not want anyone influencing Lisbon and/or his relationship with her. It makes me wonder how he’d react if she ever gets a boyfriend.

Best Scenes

This was so hard to decide. Readers, please let me know what were your fav’s. There were so many good ones!

The winner: Jane, Lisbon, and LaRoche’s Revelation

First runner up: Rigsby and Ben, end scene.

Second Runner up: Rigsby, Steven and Lisbon at the hospital

Best Lines

“I’ll be back here”. Love self preservationist Jane. Always takes off when there’s danger (*cough*, unless Lisbon is involved, *cough*)

“Is this little Ben’s momma over here? She, purty.” What can I say, the guy’s got taste 🙂

“I gotta tell you, I could not work for a beautiful woman like you. It’s way too distracting. You dating anyone honey?” Seriously, I think my heart blew up at all the Lisbon love XD

“I didn’t give you a choice. It’s okay, go home. See your kid.” –Lisbon rocks.

“Yeah, well I ain’t fighting you anymore.”

Icings on the Cake

Jane trying to give Beltran a slap, the man refusing, and Lisbon’s “what the hell are you doing” face. By the way, the moment wasn’t in the script. Writer Jordan Harper on twitter said it was created by Simon Baker .

“Damn, you can never trust a woman.”-Steven, to Rigsby, about Rocket revealing his location.

“Not off to the greatest of starts”-Jane to the rivaling gang leaders, when they pull their guns on each other.

The entire end scene.

Honorable Mentions

Composer Blake Neely. There were many great tunes in this one but my favorite was the one which sneaked into LaRoche’s scene with Jane and Lisbon at the end. It provided a lot of subtext to the scene…

Owain Yeoman was truly wonderful in this episode. From the little hitch in his voice when he introduced Lisbon to his dad, to revealing how worried he was about him, then slyly getting him to reveal what happened; he pulled off all the facets of Rigsby’s character effortlessly. Finally, that heartbreaking scene at the end: crying as he held his son, taking comfort from the baby as he told him it was beautifully sad.

Pruitt Taylor Vince. The man is a rock star who rocks all his rocking character’s rocking scenes especially the ones where he’s rocking the truth about Jane in front of Lisbon.

Writer Jordan Harper. The case was very clever, the character interaction great, and the dialogue had many many layers. Truly excellent writing.

Director Anton Cropper did a great job keeping the story coherent. The hospital montage at the beginning and the chase were especially well done.

Pet Peeves

We never did find out how Steven knew the victim. Since Huff was a barber, I assume he was Steven’s barber. But it would’ve been nice if Rigsby’s dad had said something like: “Kid was my barber, asked me to help him out,” just to clarify Steven’s involvement further.

I feel terrible saying this, but Forsythe (whom I have great respect for as an actor) really grates on me as Steven’s dad. I don’t know what it is about his performance but there were a few instances that just made me cringe.


Like LaRoche, I question whether Rigsby will be unaffected by the fact that he killed a person. His “It’s okay” at the end of the episode to his son could have been said to reassure himself that he’ll get over his dad’s death. He could also been telling himself that he’ll be fine after he killed a man. Now Moss was a heartless criminal who killed an innocent man to start a mob war. And Rigsby killed him in pure self-defense. He is (almost) entirely blameless. But Wayne is undoubtedly the most tender-hearted of all the CBI team. The only reason he wanted revenge is because it’s what his dad would have done for him (based on what Rigsby told Cho). But Rigsby is very different from both his father and Jane. If Rigsby only killed Moss because he felt obliged to do so (for his father), as opposed to wanting to, then he might have a harder time dealing with the aftermath. We saw Grace’s PTSD last season after she killed Craig in self-defense. Will this season be about Rigsby getting over his own shoot out?

I don’t know. But if Jane’s actions do cause ramifications for Rigsby, then that raises a heck of a lot of possibilities. Violet elaborated how Rigsby managed to finally face his father when he fought him in Like a Red-Headed Stepchild. If Rigsby ever find out about how far Jane went to set the stage for his revenge, would he be thankful or resentful? Would he have a face-off with him too? I can only see that happening if Jane’s actions got one of the other team members (Grace?) hurt.

A more probable possibility comes to mind. This is where my theory of a possible plot in which Lisbon might regret bringing Jane into her CBI family comes into play. The victim in this episode couldn’t escape from his family any more than Rigsby could his dad. But there’s the family that we choose as opposed to the one we’re born with. The CBI is a family by choice. They look out for each other because they want to, not because they have to. La Roche tells Lisbon that her biggest flaw is protecting her team. I say, so far, the choices she’s had to make were arguably easy: Mother Teresa will always protect her children from outside influences. But until this point, she’d never had to protect them from each other; from Jane. Lisbon’s replies to LaRoche, denying Jane’s manipulation make it seem to me that she might not have known Jane was going to call Rigsby. One could argue it wouldn’t matter to her if he did, so ingrained is her instinct to defend him. But what about now, after LaRoche raised the possible emotional harm Jane’s interference might have on Rigsby?

I had hoped that LaRoche’s statements might serve to give Jane cause for thought. I’m going to hope they affect Lisbon too; that she take the rest of her team in consideration the next time Jane plots one of his schemes.

Realistically, though, I suspect she’ll continue with her “hand’s off” MO until Jane’s actions have real, far-reaching negative consequences. This is why the prospect that Jane might have inadvertently harmed Rigsby, Lisbon’s surrogate baby brother, is one that I find especially delicious. And now that I’ve probably depressed readers, here’s something to cheer you guys up…

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2012. Not to be used without permission.

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Mentalist Season five premiere review (The Crimson Ticket/Red Glass Bead)


The FBI and CBI battle over which organization will get to interrogate Red John ally Lorelie Martins (Emanuelle Chriqui). The former team’s involvement stems from them discovering, interfering, and then helping arrest the woman in an undercover mission staged by CBI consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney). Lisbon is concerned Jane is unable to maintain objectivity with Lorelie because he had been intimate with her, but  Jane is loathe to give the Feds the case especially after Red John had told him he has a friend there. CBI head Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston) tries negotiating with FBI Head Alexa Shultz (Polly Walker) into giving them Lorelie. Meanwhile, for appearances sake, the CBI team has to partner with the FBI in investigating a double homicide.

Concise Verdict

While season four’s finale The Crimson Hat was a fantastic episode, it left viewers with a lot of questions and loose ends. Season five’s premiere answers most of those so neatly and perfectly (CONTINUITY, PEOPLE!) that I was left with remarkably very little to compla-err, say about it. Other than express my relief and delight in how Bruno Heller remains as profoundly talented and capable of bringing us fantastic episodes season after season.  The writing of the Red Glass Bead felt simultaneously familiar and fresh. The same could be said to the acting, direction and music. Mentalist, you are my happy place. I have missed you so much and am so glad to have you back. 9/10.

VIS #1: Teaser: CBI meets FBI

The scene at the beginning of the episode where viewers meet the FBI was fantastically written. The FBI shows up on the crime scene because they were told to take over all Lisbon’s cases until investigation into the Serious Crime’s Unit’s actions is over. Lisbon tells them that “the brass made a deal” and that they are all back at work as normal. Agent Read Smith (Drew Powell) expresses shock that they are going to walk away after they “destroyed the career of a fine FBI Agent, caused the death of your own boss, and this one” pointing at Jane, “this one’s got assault, narcotics and fraud charges on him.”

– Continuity, how I love thee! I love how Heller acknowledged all viewers’ questions off the bat.  I for one was very annoyed when I didn’t hear that the wonderful Catherine Dent would return as a guest star this season and that we were (again) meeting new FBI agents, but this statement reassured me that the reason would be explained as, obviously, she was the agent Smith was referring to.

FBI’s (Ivan Sergei) then proceeds to ask another question viewers undoubtedly had: “How’d you get such a sweet deal?” Jane tells them “It was the FBI that messed up, not the CBI.” Cho and Rigsby are quick to concur with the latter stating that they were able to capture Lorelie in spite of the FBI’s interference.

-Kang and Yeoman’s simple “That’s right” was very funny.  Something about the way they read the line just made me smile. Or maybe I’m just so glad this show is back.

Jane points out that one of the FBI agents is very angry and riles him up before turning to leave. FBI again iterate their disbelief that the team is not in jail. Cho tells them to walk away and Smith tells him to make him. Here, Lisbon intervenes to push the two away from each other but Smith who tells her to get her hands off him. A brawl ensues between the agents.

-I love how despite the fact that Jane being the one to raise tensions; it was Lisbon who inadvertently started the fight.  I like to think that Cho and Rigsby were coming to her defense when they started the fight. After all, their love for Lisbon boss has long been established. This would add extra depth to a later scene interesting when Lisbon reams them for the fight.

VIS #2 Jane and Lisbon talk to Bertram

Jane and Lisbon go to see Gale Bertram telling him “welcome back”. Bertram tells Jane he could not be less happy to be back.

-Welcome back indeed Michael Gaston! So happy to see him. Looks like Bertram was forced back from a vacation or something to fix up Jane’s latest mess.

Jane and Lisbon sincerely thank Bertram for “fixing things”. Bertram then admonishes them for fighting with the FBI and tells Jane he is down to his last chance, which he was only given because “getting rid of you now would be evidence of a scandal we are trying so hard to conceal.”

-Thank you, Heller for explaining why Jane wasn’t just fired after this latest fiasco. Building on Bertram’s pragmatism (which was established way back in season three) it makes perfect sense that the official would rather cover up the mess as he’s always been wary of a media frenzy.

VIS #3 Jane, Lisbon, and Red John’s FBI Friend

Jane and Lisbon argue over RJ was telling the truth that he has a friend in the FBI. Lisbon thinks he was lying and Jane insists RJ was pulling a double bluff, wanting them to think he’s lying when he’s actually telling the truth. When he asks Lisbon why she’s so insistent that RJ is lying Lisbon replies:

“Because I would like to feel solid ground under my feet. I would like to trust somebody or something. You with your wheels within wheels…..”

Lisbon drifts off when she realizes that sometime during her speech Jane took off, then continues on to say “you’re driving me nuts.”

-It’s no surprise Jane took off here. The scene is continuity on how Jane is impatient with and doesn’t bother to tolerate what he perceives as Lisbon’s inconvenient emotions. It makes a later scene, where he acknowledges Lisbon’s frustration that much sweeter…

VIS #4 Lisbon is Boss

When Lisbon returns to the office, Rigsby asks her where the FBI are. When she tells him they are pursuing other inquiries He says “sweet” and fist-bumps Cho. Lisbon then launches into the following tirade:

“Listen to me, the FBI is a fine organization and they are our partners. We need to work with them. They deserve our respect and our trust. Am I clear!”

Tough Teresa how I love thee. How I missedthee. Now I realize her rant her was possibly indirectly venting due to her frustrations (not the least of which are due to Jane) but I’ll take emotional frustration from her any way I can get it. Also, Lisbon was always a bit terse with her colleagues (see season one) so it’s not like her snap her is out of character. And while she takes a moment to rein herself in afterwards, her anger is totally legitimate as is shown by her later statement “You two go canvas the crime scene like you should’ve instead of fighting with the FBI”. Cho and Rigsby, appropriately chastened, follow orders.

VIS #5 Jane and Lisbon talk about Lorelie

After the FBI grants the CBI permission to talk to Lorelie, Jane asks Lisbon not to listen in on his interrogation, saying that he needs to tell her truthfully that they are alone.

-I think Jane’s request stemmed from the fact that he knew Lorelie would be able to tell that he was lying. Also, I think he knew he’d say things which might concern her, and wanted to spare her that.

-Lisbon agrees.

It’s very interesting to me that Lisbon was able to lie to Jane. Reminds me of the season three premiere (which I adored) and reassures me that she’s not just blindly following his instructions (a la season four). Hopefully this keeps up…

Lisbon warns Jane to be careful and not get pulled into Lorelie’s game. Jane feigns ignorance and makes a joke until Lisbon finally tells him: Go ahead, laugh.  But she’s practically the first person since your wife that you’ve, you know. Jane’s response is an exaggerated “Oh”.

-I think Jane here is as impressed as I am that Lisbon actually brought up his relationship with Lorelie. But her next sentence has a decidedly different affect on him.

Lisbon tells Jane “It wouldn’t be surprising if you had feelings for her.”

-I find it interesting that Lisbon’s assumption of Jane’s character, and how seriously he takes intercourse is not all that different than mine. It’s gratifying to say the least. After all, neither us can be blamed for thinking that considering he’s been celibate since he’s wife died. Jane’s response?

“She’s a stepping stone to red John. I knew that from the beginning I don’t have any feelings for her.”

-Lisbon gives Jane a look, like she doesn’t know what to do with that information. Or it could just be I’m projecting. Seriously, Jane’s words make complete sense. After all, he’s sacrificed (almost) everything else to find RJ, why not his body? On the other hand a part of me still went “sure Jane, if you say so” after he his statement. Regardless of whether Jane knew who Lorelie was when he slept with her, I find it very interesting how firmly he stated that he feels nothing for Lorelie.

VIS #6: Jane interrogates Lorelie

When Jane goes to talk to Lorelie she asks him why he works at the CBI: “Why do you bother. You’re trying to hold back the tide with a broom. I think, you do it to be close to Teresa Lisbon. I think you’re a little bit in love with her.”

-The music just swelled at this point, right and left, like a fly, teasing. Titillating. What’s even better was having Lisbon listening in on the conversation, despite telling Jane that she wouldn’t.

Jane chuckles and tells Lorelie that he does it to pass the time, before offering to do anything for Lorelie if she’ll help him with Red John. Lorelie asks him to kiss her. Jane asks what that would prove and when Lorelie calls him out on not doing her bidding he gives her a lingering kiss before telling her that he wants her out of prison, help her start a new life if she lets him get Red John. Lorelie tells him to see her again in the evening after she gets a chance to think.

-I think on some level Jane recognizes that Lorelie is jealous of Lisbon. What I’m wondering if anyone will ever raise the issue of whether that puts her in danger of RJ or not. It could be why Jane conceded and kissed Lorelie. It seemed to be him reassuring her that he feels more for her than he does his boss. Why else would she have requested the gesture? As to Jane’s response that he works at CBI to “pass the time”, that much is true and he’d said as much in season two’s premiere, but I think we can all agree that his affection for his boss, the whole team for that matter, is another reason. Him being in love with Lisbon? Well, lets just say that if Jane thought Lorelie is clever enough to read him lying to her about their talking alone, enough to ask Lisbon not to listen in on them, then that entails she’s clever enough to figure out how much Jane feels for Lisbon.

VIS #7 Lisbon Confronts Jane

On his way to his perch, Jane is stopped by Lisbon who asks him if he’s crazy. Jane is confused until she tells him: “I told you to be careful, I told you not to go over the edge!” Jane, bemused, is quick to rebut: “And I told you not to listen,” to which Lisbon snaps back “Don’t be childish, I am not your girlfriend, I’m an officer of the law. How can I not listen?”

-I just have to say how much I love Lisbon’s response here. It’s nice to see her remember her position within the CBI framework, not just as Jane’s friend. And I love how surprised he was that she didn’t do his bidding. Lisbon has been degraded to practically being Jane’s lackey so it’s nice to see she still has a mind of her own.

Lisbon goes on to tell Jane: “You kissed her, you offered to help her escape.” Jane explains “And I would ask her to marry me if I thought she’d buy it, I was playing her.” Lisbon vehemently replies “She’s playing you. We should’ve given her to the feds.

-I have to point out I was as confused as Jane seems to be here that he needs to explain himself to Lisbon. But Lisbon’s concern hints that she didn’t believe Jane when he told her he doesn’t feel anything for Lorelie. Also, her reaction is downright legitimate if one takes into consideration the last time Jane tangled with with a beautiful woman. Lets not forget that Jane never answered Lisbon’s question that time on if he’d known (i.e. intentionally let) Erica would escape. That could very well account for her fear here.

VIS #8 Jane asks Lisbon to not stand in his way.

When Jane goes to once again talk to Lorelie, Lisbon tells him that they haven’t resolved their issue. That one call to Bertram would put a stop to Jane’s interaction with the woman. Jane asks her “Please don’t do that” and tells that he’s sure he can turn Lorelie. Lisbon nods and Jane thanks her with a pat on the shoulder.

-It’s nice to see Lisbon asserting her authority, and to have it actually mean something again. I mean, I love them at friends but for the sake of realism we need the fact that Lisbon is Jane’s boss to actually be hinted at; for principle’s sake.

VIS #9  Jane apologizes to Lisbon

This was my favorite scene in the episode. Mr. Heller is a very sneaky person. Without having the characters really say anything, he conveys the fact that Jane acknowledges the many emotional undercurrents in their relationship that were strained due to what he had to do to get to Loralie. Also, that Jane values his and Lisbon’s relationship enough to try smooth things over, despite the risk said emotions have of interfering with his investigation. Then there’s Tunney’s fantastically wry delivery…

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2012. Not to be used without permission.

Speaking of which, what do you suppose is Lisbon’s top issue?

Icings on the cake

I like the continuity that FBI boss is a woman.

There were a lot of Season one vibes going on, which I loved: Jane being only a moderate jerk (alas, losing Loralie, I’ll expect he’ll be back to full blown Jerk by next episode, Lisbon’s gorgeously natural styling, her season one bite (which, again I hope lasts, but suspect  Jane’s apology will have her back to her mellower self). Anyway, any reminders of that precious first season always make me happy. They were all fantastic but that was the one which started it all.

About Darcy; the exposition that she had a break down after shooting Luther was nicely done. Very realistic considering how she and Wainwright were on good terms. And her character had been so well developed, her passion for her job, that it’s possible she felt guilty that her zeal, desire to be a good agent is what brought him down.  I just have to say I would love if she were brought back to the show at some point. She really grew on me.

I LOVED the story Bertram came up with for the press as to how the operation had gone down between the CBI and the FBI. Also loved how the CBI agents had to go back to work to add credibility to the story; they can’t very well have been suspended for “good work” on a “joint operation” could they? Really very nicely done bringing back the status quo.

J/L car discussions. After Red Moon, Jane and Lisbon’s car scene discussion have become something I always associate with Heller, although it was Jordan Harper who first used the method back in Season two.

Honorable Mentions

Direction by Randy Zisk: Love how the episode started on Jane’s face looking at Lorelie through the two way mirror. Her small smiles as she was being processed show that she knew Jane was watching her. The scene where Jane interrogated Lorelie with Lisbon listening in was also beautifully staged.

Best Lines

“Woman can strangle people.” – Lisbon. Love the subtext here. Doesn’t take much to imagine who Lisbon pictures herself strangling.

“I know I can.” Grace, in response to the above. Rightetti’s timing and reading of this line was beautifully funny.

“Your temples are pulsing like some weird undersea creature. If that’s not anger you should see a doctor.”

“Don’t be childish, I am not your girlfriend, I’m an officer of the law. How can I not listen?”-Lisbon, to Jane.

“For what? There’s a long list of possibilities.” Lisbon, in reply to Jane’s apology. So true.

Pet Peeves

-I wish someone would have brought up FBI Agent Craig O’Laughlin, and how he was secretly one of RJ’s allies as in relation to why the case should be kept at CBI. Conversely, when Jane says that at FBI Lorelie will either escape or be killed I immediately remembered all of RJ’s people (Todd Johnson, Rebecca) who were killed at CBI and I wished the FBI would have used that argument to counter.

-Another RJ lead is lost in the wind. Is anyone else as unsurprised as I am? I really wish this plot line would have ended with  Strawberries and Cream. It would have been a fantastic send off, and Bradley Whitford was perfect. What a waste. All I can hope is that the real face off will be even better (not a tall order, considering how talented Heller is). But I’m honestly bored with RJ plot, have been for a while now.


I’m waiting on who new CBI head would be. I’d love for any of the previous heads to come back, but it would make most sense if it was Hightower. Enough time has passed for her to have resolved whatever legal issues could have been stopping her from returning. Also, now that Red John’s statement that he has a friend in the FBI seems completely true, it raises some questions:

-Was Loralie’s fear when the FBI took her genuine? It certainly seemed so. Was she in fact ready to talk, like Todd Johnson was, and thought she was going to get killed?

-Gale had said at the press conference that as part of the FBI and CBI’s deal, “One of our operatives had criminal charges fabricated against him to go undercover. We apologize to the public for that deception.”  Since RJ has someone at the FBI, he knows about the deal between the CBI to cover up the botched operation. But what will RJ make of Gale’s words that Jane charges were fabricated? Will he realize that Jane’s breakdown had been the start of a ruse on Jane’s part, or will he assume that Jane came up with the plot after RJ contacted him?

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