Tag Archives: Jordan Harper

Mentalist Byzantium Review


After a young couple is murdered by a mysterious killer, an even more puzzling psychic claims to have information on the case. Meanwhile, Jane is still dealing with his demons and has to make a choice regarding his life with Lisbon in the FBI.

Concise Verdict

Jordan Harper and Marisa Wegrzyn have managed to mix an interesting measure of continuity in the new challenge presented to Jane: it looks like the beginning of the conclusion of the show, with Jane starting to heal in a deeper level, not because of external actions, revenge or Lisbon’s love, but through introspection, while staying faithful to the logic behind a character prone to flying and to being selfish. At the same time, his progress as an individual gets more attention, especially in relation to his past as a phony psychic. All in all, it’s an intriguing episode, full of meaningful symbolism that paves the way for the finale.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoiler Galore)

VIS#1: The opening

A young couple is on a date: they’re sitting alone in a car, talking about the possibility of one of them leaving to study abroad in Greece (“okay, so where should I go? –You, you should stay. Study abroad is overrated…”). It obviously echoes the last conversation between Jane and Lisbon since, in both cases, leaving is a danger to the relationship. The parallel is even more visible when, as a repeat of Jane’s fears regarding Lisbon’s safety, the couple is suddenly attacked by a mysterious killer. They try to escape but they’re finally both murdered as a tragic example in the series of failed relationships developed in the most recent episodes… Interestingly, this double murder is probably inspired by the first killings attributed to the Zodiac killer in the 60’s: two high school students were parked in a well known lovers’ lane (Lake Herman Road) when the killer exited a second car and attacked them. Both students ended up dead in spite of an attempt to escape, just like the college students of the episode tried to drive away from danger. It already hints that the unknown murderer is a serial killer… Later, after the FBI has been called by the rangers to investigate, they’re told the killer moved one of the victims, maybe because he “tried to take the body up the hill and got to that steep part and realized it wasn’t gonna happen”. This chilling possibility is also a clue that the murderer might be a body collector in some way, which is confirmed by the fingernail that the killer took with him.

The lack of traces and the horrendous nature of the murders make Cho comment that they could “use Jane’s read on this” but Lisbon hasn’t heard from him “since the funeral”… Viewers also learn that Abbott is still leaving soon and as a consequence the team is shorthanded: “now’s not the time for one of his disappearing acts”. Apparently, Cho is not really worried about Jane, because the consultant has disappeared on them many times already, shortly during cases, or for longer periods of time when he spent six months in Vegas and two years in his island. Lisbon’s lack of comment in Jane’s reasons both for leaving and for not contacting her are more intriguing: she probably doesn’t want to display her romantic connection to the man of course, but she’s also worried and angry like she was in ‘The Crimson Hat’. Jane’s actions are interwoven with past cases through the setting of the double murder: the lovers’ lane location reminds of the murders in ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ and the comment that “sometimes national parks are used by drug cultivators. Now maybe these kids were at the wrong place at the wrong time” is a nod to the investigation in ‘Aingavite Baa’, both episodes taking place in S2 after the traumatic death of Bosco’s team, just like this one deals with the aftermath of Vega’s death.

Indeed, Jane’s silence is a way to put distance between him and his lover, like Lisbon attempted to silence her pain back then. Plus, his isolation in the Grand Canyon, drinking tea from a mug at the entrance of the Airstream hints that he’s trying to find solace but he’s stuck in unfamiliar territory –hence the mug-, like he was in Vegas when trying to drink himself to oblivion in a shabby motel room. Yet, unlike in Vegas when Lisbon wanted him to contact her first, here she decides at Abbott’s insistence to force him to come back. Her bossy side and her underlying anger shows in the way she handles it: she just issues a fake warrant for his arrest in Texas, the charge being “failure to appear”. Jane finds the ironic barb funny when he’s actually arrested and sent back to her but when his identity is confirmed his regret at being Patrick Jane “all day, every day, unfortunately” already indicates that he’s not ready to man up and assume his role by her side.

Vega’s death is still too fresh in everyone’s memory and it keeps affecting their actions: like Jane is fleeing in fear and Lisbon refuses to deal with her feelings, Cho turns to violence to vent his pain. When the stoic new team leader accompany the ranger in the forest to arrest two suspicious brothers who dab in poaching, he becomes a bit brutal when arresting one of the suspects, to the point that the ranger calls him on it. This violence has traces of the post-traumatic stress disorder that plagued Grace after the debacle with her fiancé and it also reminds of his brutality in ‘Blood In, Blood Out’, after one of his former friends was killed -also after Bosco’s demise. The incident also ties the episode with two important themes. The brothers are a family, which is an important notion introduced both in criminals (the Bittakers in ‘The White of His Eyes’) and from the protagonists’ perspective (Lisbon’s brothers; Jane’s carny friends; the team acting as Michelle’s family at the funeral). Also, the hunting metaphor used in the RJ era is alluded to by the poacher cutting one of his preys open: it’s a nod to Jane’s conversation with McAllister about gutting and skinning in ‘Wedding in Red’ and it too hints again at the current murderer being a serial killer.

VIS#2: The Psychic

While the team is busy dealing with their repressed emotions, an unexpected witness steps in the bullpen in front of a baffled Wylie: Gabriel, a supposed psychic, is introduced by his sister as having “seen” the crime. He’s “shy” so his sister had to “drag him over here” because “doesn’t like talking”: his subdued appearance contrasts with the boasting presence of the other psychics of the show, Jane in his younger days, Kristina Frye, Ellis Mars in ‘Red Moon’ and the spiritual advisor in ‘Pretty Red Balloon’. Yet, he’s as eager as them to prove his gift by telling a skeptical Wylie “the crying is loud. I hear you crying inside”… When brought to Abbott and Lisbon, he tells the boss that he’s leaving: “you’re moving on. You’re going to a new place” but “you have doubts inside you haven’t told anybody” to which Lisbon retorts “everybody has doubts when they’re going through a change in their life”. Interestingly, Gabriel doesn’t try to cold-read Lisbon, either because he realized she wouldn’t believe him anyway or because she’s learnt to be much more guarded and less translucent after learning from Jane how to play the same trick… Yet, it’s obvious that the young man knows something about the murderer, since he’s able to tell them that the man wanted to take his victims with him. Because he couldn’t, he “took a piece of them instead: fingertips”. His explanation is that six months ago, he spoke to a man: “he had so much wrongness in him, I could hardly look at him. It was like staring at the sun. I’ve been waiting ever since for something like this to happen.” Gabriel is unable to give a description (“he was a man, he was white. Sorry, I’m not good with faces, I only see what’s inside”) but what he says reminds of Jane’s psychic act in the pilot: ‘true demonic evil burns like fire. It burns with a terrible cold, dark flame. I force myself to look into that flame and I see an image of the evildoer, in this case Red John… He’s an ugly, tormented little man, a lonely soul. Sad, very sad”.

Anyway, Lisbon is not fooled by his act and she and Abbott try to rationalize it (“maybe he’s friends with the crime tech, or maybe he’s the killer”): they realize Gabriel is probably using this case as a career-making opportunity, like Mars tried to. Lisbon is particularly reticent to see him as “an actual honest-to-god psychic”, because of “years of experience” dealing with Jane –who is precisely exiting the elevator in front of her- have taught her better.

The talk between the two lovers consists mainly at first in avoiding the issue: they talk about the Grand Canyon and how Jane’s tea is until Lisbon ironically adds “I would have mailed you your cup, but I didn’t know where you were”. It’s a nod to him drinking from a mug in his Airstream and to the fact that the teacup is a symbol of their glued back together relationship. As such, Lisbon wouldn’t have kept it this time had he left for good: when he protests “well, you knew I’d be back”, she retorts “no, I didn’t: I can’t read minds”. It’s a barb at his psychic days reawaken by meeting Gabriel as well as a reproach at his lack of communication, both when he left her at the cemetery and during his one week vanishing. Soon, she makes her anger and her worries known: “the first time I called you, I though “he missed my call”. The second time, I though “he’s busy. Okay, he’ll call me back”. The third time, I thought “he’s dead, he is dead in a ditch on the side of the road”. This dreadful possibility reflects the fate of the two victims as well as it reminds of their talk in the church after he left for Vegas: she was worried sick back then and she told him “I tried calling you hundreds of times, begging you to talk to me, begging you to get help. Not a reply, not a word, not a text”. Like in that occasion, his “sorry” seems a rather lame reply, just like his “I didn’t mean to scare you”, because he couldn’t ignore that she would be scared after the dramatic funeral. Like in ‘The Crimson Hat’, his silence is a form of “betrayal”, because he inflicted on her the same fear he was reproaching her to force on him by wanting to be a cop: she’s in danger in her line of job, but by leaving and not contacting her, he’s made her live again the sleepless period of worried emptiness she experienced when she thought he was going through the darkest of depressions. He’s also made her face her fear of him leaving her again: in her speech, she’s using against him his very reason for leaving.

Jane’s only justification is “I’m working through something and I just need space to think”, adding a bit bitterly “I can’t soldier on like you, Lisbon”. He resents Lisbon for not following him blindly in his vague quest for peace of mind and for clinking to her work… She answers “we’re all upset. I can’t just run away from my work here. This job is too important to me”. She’s willing to help him “figure things out” but he tells her he just needs “time”. She agrees “okay, time’s good, I can give you time” but demands “one thing” from him: “don’t ignore my phone calls” to which he agrees is only “fair”. All in all, they’ve not solved anything but she accepted his need for solitude and he acknowledged her worry. They’ve proved to the other that their relationship still mattered.

Like commenter Rose remarked some time ago, Jane is prone to give into his flying reflex every time the daily life he’s crafted is threatened. He’s spent so much time fleeing from emotionally difficult situations that he needs to learn how to properly deal with them, because every new one brings back this grief and loneliness he’s been avoiding for more than a decade. As a result, moving on from his demons means that he has to finish his mourning process first: following the five stage of grief, he’s gone through denial and isolation when he was under the care of Sophie Miller; anger was his motivation for entering the CBI and finding RJ and he started a form of bargaining when he started facing his past as a psychic or when he imagined Charlotte forgiving him and urging him to build a new life. He’s still going through it when he made his deal with the FBI and when he started dating Lisbon: if he doesn’t make the same mistakes, Lisbon will be safe and everything will be fine… Now, he’s going through a bout of depression because everything is bound to come to an end at some time and he knows he can’t avoid it: he’s slowly learning to accept the mortality of his world, and acceptance means he’s ready to deal with it and to seek happiness even if that means he’ll lose it one day. In the meanwhile, he’s still running away from his own emotions, telling Abbott that he’s “not back, just stopping by”… Yet, Dennis knows him well enough to catch his interest: he knows that meeting Gabriel, who’s basically a younger version of his previous self will be an intellectual challenge worthy of distracting him from his impasse.

When meeting Gabriel, Jane sees him as mentally stimulating: right away, the psychic is able to say he’s not a FBI agent, because he’s “not stupid” and he’s able to tell because of the way Jane dresses, his posture, the way he cuts his hair, “any number of things”. Jane, as “a student of the form” just wants to shake his hand, which draws an interesting parallel with McAllister: he’s studying the psychic as a possible criminal like RJ used to do with him. Soon, it becomes a subdued battle of wills, with Jane telling him “I don’t think you’re a fraud. You are a fraud” and asking him to make a “prediction” and Gabriel retorting “there’s a thing inside you, it’s eating you. A thing that’s lingered in your mind for many years.” Jane ironically answers “that’s called the human condition.” Gabriel retorts that his “cure will come with the number three”, echoing the number of unanswered phone calls it took to Lisbon to start really worrying for his safety. Jane is not really fazed and he tells Abbott that the young man is “obviously not a real psychic, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s very smart very controlled… Either that or he’s an insane killer. I’d keep an eye on him”. His reaction is therefore interesting, because in the past, he’s always been angered by fake psychics who reminded him of his past self and his greedy manipulations. Plus, like Kristina Frye, Gabriel’s act is pretty convincing, much more than Ellis Mars had been. Now, Jane is much calmer and more intrigued than really irritated: he didn’t even utter his old mantra “there’s no such thing as real psychics”.
Meanwhile, the remaining members of the team also look for a way to deal with the sense of loss: Abbott talks to Cho about the fact that he came a little strong on one of their suspects and advices him to talk to someone, because it helps him. Cho refuses therapy, but is thankful for the talk and Abbott’s understanding nature. On the other hand, Wylie asks Cho if he can come with him to investigate: he knows they’re shorthanded and he wants to be useful. After he accepts, Wylie looks around but there’s nobody to be happy for him: Vega is still missed…

VIS#3: Jane at the bar

At night, Jane is still busy avoiding reality in a bar: he’s playing pinball, like he was playing Foosball in ‘The White of His Eyes’ with Lisbon. When the bartender tells him she’s kicking him out, he protests that he has a free game here which she nicely accepts to let him play. He tries to guess her name “Angela? Amy?”, because “a person with the initials A.P.J. has all the high scores on that machine over there.” It’s not a coincidence that the first name on his mind is his late wife’s, since mourning is at the heart of his predicament: he wouldn’t be as terrified of losing Lisbon if he accepted what had happened to Angela in the first place… Without really coming onto him, the woman’s attitude is nice and warm enough to pass for a tiny bit flirty and it distracts him from Lisbon’s call: in that aspect –and even if nothing will come out of this short meeting- the moment reminds a bit of the introduction of Lorelei’s character in ‘The Crimson Hat’. Plus, Jane wins “three free games” which makes him think of Gabriel: “he thinks he’s gonna impress me with a three”, explaining “well, three’s meaningful to you” “because three is meaningful to everyone. I say three and you’re impressed because you have three kids”. Interestingly, three must be meaningful for him too, because it was the number of members in his family: he, Angela and their daughter… The woman is in awe and, noticing that he’s drunk quite a bit, offers him to “sleep it off on the couch in the back. Keys will be there in the morning, coffee and aspirin too.” Jane refuses that “very generous offer” and tells her he needs to clear his head. He also denies being a psychic: “that is the one thing I am very sure I am not”. He ends up looking at the moon outside, in the nature, in contrast with the city lights in the next shot which only makes his self-imposed loneliness clear.

The next day, he awakens in what looks like a field of dry hay because a dog comes to him. It’s a Dalmatian dog, whose black and white skin enlightens the duality theme running through the series. Plus, spending the night in nature was something Jane did with Lorelei too: they slept on a deserted beach when he broke her out of jail in ‘Red Sails in The Sunset’.

Later again, his wanderings with his new friend bring him in the middle of nowhere: he’s standing in front of a pond. There’s an abandoned wooden cabin on the other side and a sign tells that the land is for sale. Some wild birds fish in the pond when Jane is called by Abbott. This peaceful and a bit surreal moment tie together two important themes –maybe for the last time: those birds and the water echo Jane’s long standing obsession and his willingness to overcome it.

Plus, commenter Rose noticed that this scene reminded of how Jesus was tested in the wilderness in the Bible (Matthew 4:1-11). He had been led by the Spirit into wilderness to be tempted and tested by the devil. After fasting forty days, the devil told him to turn some stones to bread, since he was the Son of God. Jesus refused for “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Then the devil tempted him to hump from a pinnacle in the holy city: if he was the Son of God, he was to thrown himself down and to order the angels to break his fall by lifting him with their hands. Jesus declined again because “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test”. The third temptation came when the devil took him to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, promising to give them to him if he bowed down and worshipped him. Jesus answered: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’”, which ended the test of his free will.

In a way, Jane’s steps follow the three questions imposed to Jesus: the test of hunger was alluded to by the free games he won at pinball. It was an opportunity to stay longer out of the reality, but he finally refused them. Then he could have relied on a woman, whom he called “Angela” as an echo to God’s angels, to feel better: there was no mention of turning to her arms to find solace like he did to Lorelei, but accepting her help would have only prolonged his separation to Lisbon, who’s the woman he usually trusts to protect him: in a way, by sleeping on another woman’s couch, it was his loyalty to Lisbon that was tested… Then, the third step is taken when he sees the land for sell, like the kingdoms of the world: he could buy it as the promised land of his Exodus and make his loneliness permanent… Yet he answers Abbott call, tells him he’s ready to come back, even though he has no idea where he is. In that line of reasoning, Gabriel is right and three was the lucky number that brought him his cure under the form of a religious-like test in the wilderness… though on the other hand, that cabin might very well have reminded him of his plans for the failed weekend with Lisbon, since he wanted to go to a rustic cabin with her. His reason for wanting to come back then would have been that seeing himself reach a place like this alone made him realize how much he really missed her, when he had no real necessity to be apart.

Interestingly, this moment in the story of Jesus is also mentioned in William Blake’s poetry. In ‘The Everlasting Gospel’, he asks for instance
[…] Was Jesus gentle, or did He
Give any marks of gentility?
When twelve years old He ran away,
And left His parents in dismay.
When after three days’ sorrow found,
Loud as Sinai’s trumpet-sound:
‘No earthly parents I confess—
My Heavenly Father’s business!
Ye understand not what I say,
And, angry, force Me to obey.
Obedience is a duty then,
And favour gains with God and men.’
John from the wilderness loud cried;
Satan gloried in his pride. […]

The number three is repeated at every step taken by Jesus as the number of days he ran from his parents. This glorified Jesus is a prideful one who doesn’t embodies what Blake believes in: “I am sure this Jesus will not do,/ Either for Englishman or Jew”. This “False Christ” finds an echo here in Gabriel’s character, who admits he’s “not stupid” and even though he pretends to be shy, seeks attention.

VIS#4: Gabriel and Michelle

Indeed, while Jane is finding his way in the wilderness, Cho and Wylie keep watch over Gabriel’s house. Wylie is surprised by the lack of action in the field and grabs Cho’s book, asking if it’s “any good”. Cho answers “it’s Dostoevsky”. It’s probably no coincidence that this classic writer studied human reactions when facing crime (‘Crime and Punishment’): the figure of Christ and religion and the question of free will are dominant in his work (like in ‘The Brothers Karamazov’), just like this episode is suffused with them. As a matter of fact, as commenter Kilgore Trout remarked about the previous episode on the poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ and the concept of Felix Culpa: “while humankind knew perfection in Eden, it was through the Fall that it realized far more in terms of life experience and meaning. Without the knowledge of good and evil man essentially had no choice, no free will”. The mention of Dostoevsky stresses this out for Jane: having known full happiness and having lost it to RJ, he’s come to a better understanding of his “human nature” like he said to Gabriel. Coming to term with his grief will bring him a better acceptance of the limitations of his condition and how to live to the fullest while he still can.

Religion is also at the heart of Gabriel’s character: he’s presented as a Fake Christ who is called like an angel. Gabriel’s the archangel in charge of delivering the word of God: he was the one who foretold the births of John the Baptist and of Jesus to Mary, whereas Michelle alluded to the archangel who fought evil. In a way, the season thus opened with a lost Mary who awakened Jane’s fears for Lisbon’s safety in ‘The Graybar Hotel’, while his Christ-like healing was prophesized by Gabriel.

The young man’s own Christ-like presence is stressed by his actions: he’s been introduced by his devoted sister who followed him like Jesus’ companions and his mother Mary; when talking to his neighbor, he’s simply sitting on the porch of the house in a humble attitude. The woman comes to him for love advice because she trusts his judgment; in a way, she’s his Mary Magdalene: “it’s crazy, I know. But I used to date this guy and Gabriel told me he was married and he had never met him. He just knew. I don’t believe in psychics but I believe in Gabriel.”

Having sensed that Wylie misses Michelle and is coming in the field because he’s tired of being back in the office when he could be useful, Gabriel talks to him alone: while seemingly having a seizure, he delivers words that are supposed to come from Wylie’s dead loved one in a true psychic way: “she says she’s okay, she says she’s okay”, “the pain is all gone, okay?” “you shouldn’t be sad anymore”. The touching of his abdomen in the place where Michelle was shot sells the trick to Wylie who asks “are you talking about Michelle?” Gabriel then adds that he sees “red clay. It’s white bones and they’re wrapped in red clay”. The red clay echoes again ‘The Everlasting Gospel’ by Blake, where the clay is associated with the Devil:

Then was perfected His galling pride.
In three nights He devour’d His prey,
And still He devours the body of clay;
For dust and clay is the Serpent’s meat,
Which never was made for Man to eat.

At Jason’s insistence, Lisbon accepts to search an era “known for its red-clay deposits” even though she insists that “Gabriel’s not a real psychic”. When she asks him what Gabriel said to make him believe his vision, she comments “Vega’s death was on the news. It’s no secret”, “he’s not a real psychic”, but Wylie is unconvinced “you can’t know that. I mean you can’t know that for sure”. He just wants to believe that Michelle is okay “wherever she is”. Lisbon going on a “wild goose chase” therefore matches Jane’s own quest in nature inhabited by wild birds: she’s giving her friend “a shot in the dark” and, as Abbott comments upon calling Jane, they’re “running a ghost ship right now”, whereas the consultant has no idea where he is, even though he is “trying to be more findable these days” at his lover’s request. The parallel between the two ends of the situation is enlightened by the presence of dogs: there’s a Dalmatian with Jane, representing the friendly side of the animal, while there’s a German Shepherd searching for human remains with Lisbon. Dogs are also sometimes seen as the guardian of the underworld: Cerberus guarded the gate of the Greek underworld, while the Egyptian god Anubis was the dog-like jackal-headed guide who helped the souls of the departed, for instance. As watchdogs of the underworld, the two canine companions of the characters are thus linked to finding a way to deal with the death of a loved one: it works for Wylie and for Jane and the Shepherd also uncovers the buried bodies of five more victims with removed fingernails; the murderer who is now classified as a “serial killer” and there are now seven victims, which is a nod to the last season of the show.
Jane arrives upon that frightening discovery and tells her that he’s back: “it means that I’m figuring stuff out”. He adds “it’s good to see you” which she repeats: it’s an allusion to the talk in the church in ‘The Crimson Hat’, since he greeted her with a simple “good to see you” after scaring her with a practical joke. Now, his first words are an apology: “I know I missed your call, I didn’t mean to”. In a way, he’s came back to her near open graves, like he told her goodbye in a cemetery: things are coming full circle.

VIS#5: talking on TV

Realizing that Gabriel’s lead was not pure intuition and that he knows something, they bring him into headquarters for being interrogated. He remarks immediately that Jane has changed: “there’s something different about you from the last time we talked. You look lighter, less conflicted. Number three: you saw it and found an answer, huh?”

Jane’s change of attitude towards psychics is even more palpable here: he doesn’t get sarcastic or biting like he used to. He doesn’t either try to manipulate the young man; instead, he lets him know that he understands how he works: “the number three is incredibly common, Gabriel. We see it everywhere. Red clay, a little rarer…” When the young man retorts “I didn’t want to be right”, trying to pass his skills as a cursed gift, Jane tells him “of course you did” and adds mockingly “yeah, visions are a real drag, I know how you feel.” He finally reveals “you know, I used to be you, Gabriel” in a calm, dispassionate voice that doesn’t betray anymore any struggle with his conscience. He then proceeds to cold-read the other man, who’s so surprised he reacts like his marks (“who told you all that? My sister?”). When he feels cornered by Jane who can understand his “little tricks”, he blurts out his trump card: “I had another vision you should know about: I saw that the killer is going to kill again, tonight. And if you won’t listen to me, I’ll tell everyone, okay, I have to warn people”. Jane’s reply is that he can’t leave, because he’s still studying him out: “I came in here to figure out if you are just a fraud or if you are a monster”… When Jane gets out of the room though, his words to Abbott are a little more ambiguous: “he’s not a fraud”, but he’s not really psychic either”… So Abbott asks him “what is he?”, Jane admits “I don’t know. We have to keep him here”.

There are two possibilities. Firstly, Gabriel might be so wrapped up in his psychic act that he’s convinced he’s the real thing, which will place him in that ambiguous category reserved for Kristina Frye, whose tricks Jane wasn’t able to explain and who was so confident that RJ could convince her that she was dead and could only be reached through a psychic session. Or he’s an accomplice or acquaintance of the killer, one way or another and he’s using his inside knowledge to stop the other while earning fame for himself.
Problem is, they have nothing to keep him here. They’re forced to release him and the young man is true to his word. He offers to the awaiting cameras a little speech: “I had a vision that helped them find five bodies today. They don’t have any suspects. FBI thinks it was me; they want to frame me, they want to hide the truth. There’s a serial killer out there: he’s a man with an evil heart and an appetite to kill. He’s not done killing. He won’t stop and he can’t stop, he’s gonna kill again.” Gabriel is doing the same thing that Jane did in the pilot: he’s tipping his hand to the killer and taunting him under the guise of warning people. Like Kristina before, he doesn’t seem to realize that what he does is dangerous because he’s stepped in the spotlight. The killer may now come after him and his loved ones: Jane was right, Gabriel was so eager to impress his audience that he acted just like Jane did when he was younger and less experienced.

Somehow, this scene was foretold by Jane talking to the reporter during the hostage situation in the previous episode. Only then, the name of the journalist “Elisabeth” was reminiscent of the Old Testament, while now it’s the New Testament that is referenced because Jane has progressed beyond his yearning for running away in his Exodus-like quest for emotional and physical security.

VIS#6: the ending

As a consequence after his little outburst in front of the reporters, Cho and Wylie are again on stake-out duty in front of Gabriel’s house. Suddenly, a movement in the shadows attracts Cho’s attention; it’s the neighbor who was running because she was scared. She explains: “Gabriel was on the news and said there was a serial killer on the loose and then I saw you lurking”. This remark is doubly intriguing: the woman was afraid, because she implicitly assumed that Gabriel was in danger after his interview, something the so-called psychic apparently failed to predict… Plus, her presence served as a distraction to separate the two agents since Cho running after her made Wylie more vulnerable again, this time to an attack. Thus, the neighbor, on purpose or not, gave an opportunity to act to the serial killer… Could she be the inside source that Gabriel used for his predictions? Did he get the clue about bones and clay from his talk with her? Could the serial killer be one of the men she was or had been dating and had Gabriel understood what was really going on with him?

Either way, the killer takes that opportunity and hits Wylie: in the house, they later find the sister killed (like Jane’s family) and Gabriel is missing (like Kristina Frye), which makes them suspect that the attacker might be him. Again, he’s either a fraud who’s fallen victim of his own tricks, or a monster…

The attack made Wylie doubt his abilities in the field: he’s still comparing himself to Vega and his assault probably reminded him of the dangers inherent to the job that cost his coworker her life. He tells Cho “I don’t think I’m cut out for the field”. Cho dismisses his worries: “you’re gonna get banged up every one in a while”, asking “you want to go back to the office and answer phones?” The idea of staying behind in a deserted bullpen makes Wylie think again: “I want to stay”. Obviously, he prefers danger to loneliness –just like Jane chooses in the end. When Cho tells him to go inside the house to meet up with Jane, the consultant hypnotizes him into remembering who attacked him. The lack of details contrasts with Jane’s very detailed description of his attacker in ‘Little Yellow House’: the roles are reversed now that Wylie takes a more active part in the investigation. The hypnosis scene is pure classic Jane trick and he’s able to make the young agent focus on an impression: “a faint scent”. Like he mentioned once before, scents are great vectors of memory and the clue reminds of how Jane was able to identify the killer in ‘Redwood’. Indeed, the scent reminded Wylie of his “Uncle’s fishing shed”, even though there was no actual fish involved: it’s not a coincidence that the fishing detail matches one of the biggest themes of the series too… Jason is finally able to pinpoint the exact scent: “beer, it smells like old, spilled beer” which leads them to an abandoned brewery “only a mile from where the bodies were found”.

There, in a silent scene, they find the body of a butchered Gabriel hanging by his wrists from the ceiling. The word “fake” is carved on his forearm; it is reminiscent of the smiley written in letters of blood and of the letter on the door addressing the “dirty money-grubbing fraud” that RJ left behind in Jane’s bedroom. The “fake” comment is both a comment on Gabriel’s visions and an implicit jab given that, even though he was right, he wasn’t able to foretell that he’d be the actual victim this time. It therefore further echoes RJ’s words: “if you were a real psychic instead of a dishonest little worm, you wouldn’t need to open the door to see what I’ve done to your lovely wife and child”. The atmosphere of the gory crime scene also matches the one surrounding the abandoned corpses left in warehouses by RJ (Panzer’s body in ‘Blinking Red Light’, even more given that the man committed the same error than Gabriel and taunted a serial killer on TV and Lorelei in ‘There Will Be Blood’), as well as the theatrical display of the morgue attendant’s corpse in Rosalind’s house in ‘Always Bet on Red’. Interestingly, Gabriel’s cadaver has again a Christ-like vibe to it, especially with the cuts on his body and the bloodied naked foot: it might mean that the mysterious killer took his toenail to add to his collection, but it also reminds of the colonel’s wife, whose bloodied beige shoe was the focal point of the violent murder in ‘The Silver Briefcase’… It might mean that things have come full circle in that perspective too: Jane has somehow gotten over his fear and he’s able to concentrate on investigating again.


After living again relieving his most traumatic experience and most feared scenario through the eyes of a younger version of him, Jane’s finally able to gain some distance… He realized that he’s more experienced, he’s not prey of not the same prideful attitude or the same mistakes that plagued his past: he’s changed… This is showed in the choice of the title of this episode: “Byzantium” is a dark purple that doesn’t appear in the show; instead, it’s an allusion to Yeat’s poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’.
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

This poem echoes Jane’s life experience: he left behind the dying generations who were focused on love (Angela and Charlotte and more recently Vega who started dating Wylie) and the birds and fishes scattered through his quest (found in the cabin with the fishing wild birds on the pond). They represent the past he’s overcame, the brilliant glory he was yearning for in his younger years, in the “summer” of his life attuned to the “sensual music” of his earthly desires. Now, he’s one of the “old men” at the fall of his life: he knows he’s powerless to protect the people he loves (“An aged man is but a paltry thing,/ A tattered coat upon a stick”), but he’s also wiser. He’s learnt to observe the world and is a “student of the form” (“Nor is there singing school but studying/ Monuments of its own magnificence”): he observes and think, until he’s able to achieve a new, deeper level of gold, not the dawn whose gold couldn’t stay in the previous episode, but one which brings him a greater degree emotional fulfillment. Like the poet, Jane has therefore arrived at the conclusion of his spiritual journey –symbolized by his shoes before which now are alluded to by the missing shoe on Gabriel’s foot- that ties to the sea theme since he’s “sailing” towards an ideal happiness. In a second poem, simply called ‘Byzantium’ and written by Yeats a few years after ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, the results may be visible, even though the writing is more obscure: Jane along with the poet has managed a mystical union, the former with a new form of happiness at Lisbon’s side, the latter through appreciation of historical and eternal works of art. They’ve become a golden bird that has become immune to the deadly violence of the perishing world, in contrast with the peaceful marveling at spiritual beauty:
The unpurged images of day recede;
The Emperor’s drunken soldiery are abed;
Night resonance recedes, night walkers’ song
After great cathedral gong;
A starlit or a moonlit dome disdains
All that man is,
All mere complexities,
The fury and the mire of human veins.

Before me floats an image, man or shade,
Shade more than man, more image than a shade;
For Hades’ bobbin bound in mummy-cloth
May unwind the winding path;
A mouth that has no moisture and no breath
Breathless mouths may summon;
I hail the superhuman;
I call it death-in-life and life-in-death.

Miracle, bird or golden handiwork,
More miracle than bird or handiwork,
Planted on the star-lit golden bough,
Can like the cocks of Hades crow,
Or, by the moon embittered, scorn aloud
In glory of changeless metal
Common bird or petal
And all complexities of mire or blood.

At midnight on the Emperor’s pavement flit
Flames that no faggot feeds, nor steel has lit,
Nor storm disturbs, flames begotten of flame,
Where blood-begotten spirits come
And all complexities of fury leave,
Dying into a dance,
An agony of trance,
An agony of flame that cannot singe a sleeve.

Astraddle on the dolphin’s mire and blood,
Spirit after Spirit! The smithies break the flood.
The golden smithies of the Emperor!
Marbles of the dancing floor
Break bitter furies of complexity,
Those images that yet
Fresh images beget,
That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.


Mentalist Red in Tooth and Claw Review


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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS #1: Lisbon and Jane interview Dr Kidd

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

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

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

VIS #2 Lisbon talks to Bertram

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

VIS #3 Jane plays poker with Bertram

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

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

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

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

Jane and Lisbon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Icings on the cake

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

Honorable Mentions

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

Best Lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pet Peeves

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

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

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


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

There are quite a few pro arguments:

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

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

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

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

In the Cons Department:

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

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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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His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts


Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) and her Serious Crimes Unit investigate the murder of Gabe Meadows (Jake Olson), a journalist who had been on a crusade to expose the cult Visualize. When incriminating evidence appears against the cult’s enigmatic leader Brett Stiles (special guest star Malcolm McDowell),  consultant Patrick Jane (Baker) is intrigued by Brett’s lack of concern at being the prime suspect of a murder investigation.

Concise Verdict

I was a bit worried when I learned that McDowell was guest starring again. The actor is a legend but his last appearance had grated on me. In this episode, however, Brett Stiles was written exceptionally well and as always played charismatically by Malcolm McDowell. I was overjoyed and found myself holding my breath hoping the episode would have as perfect and ending as it did a set up. It did and once again I found myself at a loss trying to describe just how awesome an episode is. All I can say is this one was on par with some of the best of earlier seasons (my bar for grading newer eps). The music by Blake Neely was perfection; a nostalgic mixture of season one tunes fans know and love and thrilling new ones too. The direction by Charles Beeson was exquisite and the casting was exceptionally good including the ethereally talented and beautiful Louise Lombard. Did I mention the writing was perfect? A truly enjoyable, well thought out addition to this season. 10/10

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)

It was so much fun watching Brett and Jane spar verbally and mentally. But more than that, Brett’s appearance allowed for some very important questions to be raised and issue to be addressed. Mainly, regarding Jane, Lisbon and Grace (Amanda Righetti).


Brett comes over to CBI to get a Visualize member guilty of messing with the crime scene to cooperate with the CBI. Jane notices Brett has professional bodyguards with him and asks him what happened that he no longer trusts his own people to protect him.

Brett replies, “Well I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.”

-I think this was my favorite line of the episode. Even the mention of RJ serves as continuity that events of ‘Red is the New Black’ will be dealt with. Also, not only was the line very funny, it was very in character. Brett here is letting Jane know that he knows RJ’s alive, while simultaneously giving Jane a jab about mistaking Carter for RJ. This knowledge lets Brett come off as superior to Jane.  He’s a powerful man who knows Jane’s big dark secret. Brett was deflecting, pointing out Jane’s problems to keep him from guessing Brett’s true motive, his own problems at Visualize.

Brett does this again when Jane asks him why he’d help a “lowly drone”.  Stiles first says that every member of his church is like his own child, then ask Jane about he is still being chased by his demons, once again to distract Jane form his motive in getting involved in the case. Jane can’t help but rise to the bait and answers firmly (defensively?) “I’m chasing them.”

But just because Stiles got to Jane doesn’t mean Patrick isn’t aware of what Brett is doing. He quickly puts together the puzzle and realizes that Stiles is using the murder to incriminate himself and to flush out possible traitors in his organization. There were some pretty great moments to be had while Jane figures out Brett’s game.

1- First he visits Brett at his headquarters and observes him amongst his posse. Brett introduces Karl Leban (John Newton) and Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo) as “Two of my most loyal lieutenants.”

-I love Jane’s reaction to Brett’s emphasis on the word loyal and Jane’s reaction to it, you can practically see the wheels turning in his head. I suspect Brett did it to get a read out of his lieutenants, see how they’d react to his outward abject trust of them. Jane on the other hand stored the information as a piece of the puzzle to be assembled later.

2- When Lisbon tells Brett that he’s under arrest for murder, Brett’s followers all rise in his defense. It was a very tense moment which further highlighted the leader’s powerfulness. The message was very clear here, Brett is in complete control of his decisions and all of his followers as well, and can make things very ugly if he wanted to.

3-Later at CBI Jane tells Brett that Gabe’s research states Stiles always has someone else do his dirty work. Stiles replies that “That’s something you’d know a little bit about. Getting Red John to kill the San Joaquin killer that was very nice. Almost elegant I’d say.”

-Based on Brett’s reaction, I wonder if Jane’s comment that Stiles uses people was him baiting Stiles,  wanting to see how much Stiles knows about Red John and Jane’s role in getting him to kill Panzer. Jane had to have known that Stiles wouldn’t let a comment like that go. At least, he should have. I guess that depends on who one believes to be the better mentalist, Jane or Stiles.

Stiles then adds “Yes, you’re coming along,” to which Jane quickly (defensively?) replies “I’m doing nothing of the sort.”

Any ideas on what Stiles meant here? Perhaps, based on Jane’s quick retort, Stiles was hinting to Jane that he is turning into the very person he’s set out to catch. It’s possible, especially based on Brett’s subsequent statements:

“You’re not very happy, are you Patrick. Perhaps you feel a bit like the sorceress apprentice, you’ve woken up a power that you can’t quite control. Tell me, how is Rosalind Harker enjoying life under FBI protection. Is she glad that you brought Red John back into her life?”

-I love the continuity here and how Brett pointed out that despite Jane’s larger than life personality and his successful manipulation of Red John, he is far from satisfied in his life. It would be great to know if Jane ever thinks about his purpose, what it is he wants from his life other than revenge. We got some hints earlier in the season, but none after the Panzer incident. Though Jane’s contention that he needed RJ to get rid of Panzer, his covering up RJ’s involvement, and Brett’s comparing Jane to the sorcerer’s apprentice hints that Jane, at one point, might have wanted to move on from hunting RJ. At least overtly. His kissing Erica a few episodes ago could also mean that he’s trying to move on from his wife’s death. It would be nice to have more evidence either to support or refute this.

What we do know is that Brett’s jabs had Jane decide that having Stiles as his ally can only be beneficial to him, especially since Jane knows Brett has information on Red John (Blood on His Hands). So Patrick plays along with Brett’s act of being a murder suspect and  helps him ferret out his competition. Brett accurately figures out that Jane did this so that Stiles would owe him. Both men acknowledge the debt.


When Lisbon interrogates Brett Stiles, he unleashes his mind games onto her.

“Tell me Agent Lisbon. Do you enjoy watching Patrick Jane take over the team and your life?”


Ahem. Thank you Mr. Harper for using Brett to ask the question most Lisbon fan has been wondering this season.While Teresa’s no-nonsense attitude is a very enjoyable aspect of her character, it has been in hiding for a while now.

A few episodes ago, I wondered:

Is it me or has Lisbon become a pushover? It’s not just Jane anymore. When she asks to see Duvall and the model is all “he’s not available” she resignedly tells her to have him call her back without even trying to exert her authority (or flash her badge) as she usually does. I’m starting to think Windsparrow is right, Lisbon is exhibiting signs of being burned out by the job (or perhaps by Jane might be a more accurate statement). She’s just lacking her usual spark, spunk, and bite.

In a season where her strength of character has been questioned by so many viewers, it is particularly important to reinforce her motives on why she tolerates Jane’s increasing control especially when she still disagrees with him sometimes.

So why does she? Lisbon answer to Brett: “We close cases. That’s all that matters to me.”

– Teresa’s mantra for letting Jane get away with murder is as steadfast as it always was. It’s interesting that the reason she gives Brett is the same she gave Sam Bosco two seasons ago. But Stiles doesn’t buy into it any more than Bosco did.

“You’re telling me you love justice more than yourself. Come on justice, what is that it’s just an idea. You are flesh and blood. Why sacrifice the real for the imaginary?”

Lisbon’s reply?

“I’m not looking for a guru I’m looking for a murderer.”

-Jordan Harper shows that Teresa Lisbon is as awesome and as subtly badass as she’s always been. Seeing her face up to a powerful and manipulative man like Stiles is very reassuring and soothing. But it remains to be seen if she can do the same to Jane.

So many fans have asked me why Lisbon continues to go easy on Jane despite his continuous errors in judgment. With regards to Red John, I figure she’s able to forgive Jane because he had always told her what he would do; he never lied about it so she had time to steel herself for the occasion.

As to his season four messes, Lisbon learned about most of them after the fact so there was very little for her to do to prevent them.  I also suspect Lisbon is pragmatic enough to pick her battles with her consultant. She has to be to be able to work with him so well and for so long. She’s probably just saving her energy for when things get really bad. But I understand the concern and I myself wish that her tolerance bar wasn’t quite as high…or as low as might be the case

Another possible reason is the fact that Lisbon’s own sense of justice seems to be getting closer to Jane’s (a major theme in season three). In a comment to the Red is the New Black Windsparrow elaborated:

There are layers and layers here. Yes, she is tired of fighting the grinding gears of bureaucracy, and Jane’s machinations, and the unimaginable stress of the Gordian Knot that is the Red John case. Another factor is her shifting loyalties. When the show first started, Lisbon was married to her job. Her primary allegiance was to The Law (as the surest way to Justice) and to the CBI as a manifestation of The Law. It was easy to see that she trusted her place in the agency in general. And she relied on her relationship with her boss, Minelli, as an anchor. Over time, her shifting relationships to higher-ups eroded that reliance. While Hightower was not the personal anchor that Minelli was, in the end Lisbon’s bond with Hightower was still of primary importance as a conduit for her relationship with the agency. Then the agency betrayed Hightower in a way that would leave Lisbon feeling more than a little adrift. Then being cut loose by the agency, that would have been an even more personal betrayal. Her loyalty to the agency was punished. Jane stepped in, saving her job (and saving the jobs of her team which might inspire even more gratitude). It seems plain to me that her primary loyalty now is to her ersatz marriage to Jane and the version of Justice that he can help her to achieve.

I’m going to agree here. I’d also like to add that more and more I’m starting to believe that the joy Lisbon gets working with Jane exceeds the grief he causes her. She seems to genuinely enjoy his company now as opposed to her MO the first three seasons of avoiding him. They are friends. Good friends whom it seems spend time together outside of work. They’ve shared at least a couple of meals and she’s been to his house and even knows about the bloody smiley he still has there (Fugue in Red).

But this new closeness, as nice as it has been, doesn’t necessarily put Lisbon in a better situation to control Jane’s wilder schemes. Indeed, Lisbon is increasingly content to simply look the other way and has adopted Jane’s “no harm, no foul” doctrine. Another, which I’m actually grateful for is the “deniability” rule. I like this one because as long as Lisbon doesn’t know what Jane is up to, then her integrity (and character) remains preserved. Even if she learns it after the fact, it would be too late to stop him.

I do wonder if the poop will ever hit the fan and Lisbon realizes that, perhaps more than her friendship, Jane needs her guidance. Or perhaps that’s not true. Perhaps we’ll learn that Lisbon enjoys conceding control to Jane as it lessens the pressure on her as a boss.

Hmm. Wanna bet on it?

I do think (hope) the last option is true. Time will tell. But perhaps the perp in this episode was being used as foreshadowing to a shift in the role Lisbon plays in Jane’s life….and vice versa. But more on that later…

Best Scenes

2nd runner up: Jane reveals Brett’s Game

The scene starts when Stiles beckons to Jane with his finger from behind the two way glass after Lisbon shows him a (doctored) photo of him leaving the crime scene in a blood spattered shirt. After that, every single word out of both of their mouths was fun, fun, fun. Really great scene.

1st Runner up: Brett’s tries to manipulate Grace

All of Grace and Brett’s scenes together were amazing, starting with how she tries to pull off the  helpless maiden routine to get him to reveal if he has any property. Stiles then cold reads that Grace  has a problem with her landlord and teaches her to get rid of her anger by visualizing it as smoke she exhales from her body. Grace is skeptical but tries the technique later in private. Grace later volunteers to question Stiles on who was giving Meadows information on Visualize. She is derailed when Stiles once again turns the matter on her, guessing that she has killed and asking if she found perspective from it. Grace tells him it changed her and he asks if her friends noticed. She states that they did a little and that “I think it freaks them out.” Brett replies “Of course. They don’t have the imagination or the vocabulary to converse with you about it. You know you are like a little bird that fell out of the nest. But you don’t need the nest you need to fly. And that I can teach you.”

-I loved the music in these scenes. The piano was appropriately titillating; representing the Stiles trying to entice Grace into joining Visualize, getting under her skin and into her mind. The direction was perfect.

As to the analysis, Onan 1st over at twitter asked me if I thought Grace being approached by Stiles was a move orchestrated by Jane to see what Brett knows about Stiles. It’s an intriguing possibility but I think Jane was too busy helping Stiles’ set himself up and solving the murder. We also don’t see Jane approaching or asking Grace about if Stiles tried to talk to her.

But it’s true that Jane does want to use Stiles to get to RJ. He knows Stiles has information on Red John (the Blood on His Hands) which is why he wanted Brett to owe him one. He’ll collect the favor when he needs to.

Now Brett has obviously done his homework on Grace, based on his knowing about her shooting Craig and even that she has a problem with her landlord. He would have known that she was feeling vulnerable and might fall for his tactics. I suspect that Stiles has plenty of followers in law enforcement (like the officer at the beginning of the episode). Having one so close to Jane would have been an extra bonus.

As to Grace, she did seemed intrigued by Stiles. She is, as Onan 1st stated clearly looking for “more” from this world. But thankfully she is wise enough to not fall for Brett’s tactics. Perhaps seeing how affected Nora was by him, she was reminded of his crimes. Or maybe, like she tells Brett, she truly is over bad-boys.

I don’t believe that Brett’s implication that Grace’s friends were unsupportive of her. But perhaps she took Lisbon and Wayne’s telling her to talk to someone about her problem (Scarlett Ribbons, Little Red Book) to mean that they weren’t able/willing to listen to her. Or maybe she’s right, maybe they are freaked out by her change. But I doubt Jane would have any problem if Grace wanted to talk to him. Perhaps she’s the one who is finding it hard to talk to someone who knows her. A lot of people find opening up to strangers easier than to their friends and loved ones. It’s what Jane did in Jolly Red Elf. I think that is what Grace did with Brett and I think that is the reason for her kissing him on the cheek at the end. She was grateful.

The winner: Stiles returns to his throne/murderer revealed

First, this:

Cooper: “Brett, I thought-

Brett: “What you thought my corpse cold enough to loot. Do you really think I’m weak enough to be pushed aside? Do you think I’m stupid enough to be caught with blood on my hands? Tell me Cooper do I seem weak to you now?”

-McDowell here was so terrifying. If I were Cooper I would have wished I were wearing a diaper at that moment or I would have been truly embarrassed. Seriously, it was like he was channeling Anthony Hopkins from Silence of the Lambs. Speaking of which…

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain March, 2012. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain March, 2012. Not to be used without permission.


Anyway, Brett’s Hannibal-like terror and menace was tempered by his subsequent astonishment and disappointment that all the members of his inner circle had doubted him and voted him out.

Then Nora Hill states that she stood by him. Jane expresses surprise that she didn’t suck up to the new boss, while Lisbon states the evidence against Stiles was very incriminating. Nora had to know for sure he was innocent. Stiles then realizes that Nora is the killer. Nora then stands up and slaps Stiles, telling him viciously, “Damn you for what you turned me into!”

I just about spontaneously combusted here. What an awesome and fabulous scene!

Honorable Mentions

Malcolm McDowell not only stole every scene he was in, he brought out the best in an already exceptionally fine cast. His scenes with Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Amanda Righetti, and Louise Lombard were so good it hurt. Speaking of which, the aforementioned actors were all spectacular as well.

Speaking of Louise Lombard, I went all sorts of crazy when I saw her name as a guest star. I practically flailed when she appeared on screen. CSI fans will know her as the amazing actress who portrayed beloved CSI-turned cop Sofia Curtis. I absolutely adore her and was stunned when she suddenly disappeared off the show. She is as fantastic here as she was in CSI’s 2-parter classic, A Bullet Runs Through It”. If I may veer off topic for a bit, she and Paul Guilfoyle created quite the waterworks in those episodes (television fans and wannabe screenwriters, that episode is a must-see).

Lombard is similarly phenomenal in His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts, especially in the scene where she confesses to Cho that she killed Meadows out of fear that he’ll reveal her as his informant to Visualize. She states that she honestly doesn’t feel remorse “150,000 people die every day, why should I feel anything for one man just cause, cause I was the cause of his death?” The contradicting tears and shaking jaw, proof that she’s just trying to convince herself, were part of an Oscar-worthy performance.

Icings on the cake

-Lisbon bonding with the victim’s sister. It was very in character to see how disturbed Teresa was when Jesse Meadows (Caitlyn Custer) didn’t seem bothered by her brother’s death, saying that he left her when he left visualize. It shows that Lisbon values family over everything and her showing Jesse the video letters the victim left to his sister is continuity that Lisbon tries to give the victims’ families’ closure whenever possible.

-I loved seeing Jane use his intellect to help his cause in a way that doesn’t mandate his breaking the law. Thank you, Mr. Harper for showing that this isn’t an impossible feat.

-It’s nice to see Grace and Cho sharing more scenes together. More of this please.

Best Lines

“Trash duty.”-Grace whispering under her breath at job Lisbon gives her.

“Is there a problem?” -Lisbon, in response to the above. Love Boss Lisbon.

“Alright, when Cho shows up grab him, spread the pain around.”-Lisbon to Grace, in response to the above, after Grace’s statement that there’s no problem.

“Pre-member bigot!” Cop/visualize member to Jane.

“Well I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.” –Brett to Jane. AWESOME

“I gotta get back to running my religion.”-Stiles

“Yes, your flock won’t fleece itself.” –Jane, in response to the above.

“Apparently you major in yourself.” Cho’s reply to Lisbon’s inquiry that Visualize has a college.

“Mind suffers from Junk food as much as the body does.”-Nora to Lisbon on why the Visualize college has no internet. SO TRUE!

“Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after ya.” Randall Parker to Risgsby. A cookie to whomever reminds me of who first said this quote.

“Hope the whole arrest your master thing didn’t ruin your lunch.”-Jane, to Leban.

“No, I can gloat from a distance” in reply to Leban’s question if he came to visualize to gloat.

“Like the Brett Signal.” Jane convincing Leban to gather Brett’s posse

“You’re good. Not as good as Jane, but good.”-Grace to Brett. Love her loyalty here.

“Either one of you framed Brett Stiles for the murder, or you didn’t.” LOL. Jane yanking suspect’s chains.

“You overestimated the courage of your bootlickers.”-Jane to Stiles

“I figured if they wanted to cook your goose a little I’d turn up the heat for them.”-Jane to Stiles.

“Well thank you Patrick, I didn’t think you cared.”-Brett, in response to the above, after Jane helps sets him up further to.

“Great sales pitch. But I’m sort of over bad boys these days.” Grace to Brett’s final attempt to have her join Visualize.


So I mentioned that how Nora was affected by Stiles might be foreshadowing on Lisbon and Jane’s relationship.I felt this way once before this season. In episode Always Bet on Red (see that review’s conclusion) I wondered if the perp’s bitterness at having her love be unrequited was a hint at a possible outcome in the event that Lisbon develops romantic feelings towards Jane.

Similarly here, I can’t help but wonder if Nora’s slapping Brett and her spitting out “Damn you for what you turned me into” is an example of why Lisbon should be more wary of her increasing closeness to Jane. Is it an indication that Jane’s lawlessness might rub off on Lisbon to the point that she herself does something wrong?  I find the possibility truly intriguing and not just because, prior to the episode, I done *cough* creative writing which explores the possibility that one of the reasons Jane sometimes holds out on Lisbon is because he wants her to remain steadfast in her own beliefs, even as he ties to convert her to his own. All hopeless optimism I’m sure, but the slightest possibility that the theme might be explores has me all sorts of excited.

Do you think the writers are giving us hints via these female perps?

Last but not least:

Here are the twitter link for composer Blake Neely , writer, and Director Charles Beeson should you want to congratulate them on an excellent job in this episode.

Speaking of excellent, here’s a video @ducrichy made for me for the mentalist.  A fun happy Jane video to offset season four’s angst. Thank you so much!

Note: I want to apologize for being late on this review. I recently took on a new job in addition to my full time one. I also wanted to comment on this episode’s title which Harper stated comes from a poem written by Saki but I’m just too overwhelmed at the moment to give reviews the detail I’d like. I do hope readers will forgive me and help to pick up the slack 🙂

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Mentalist The Red Shirt Review


The CBI Serious Crimes unit is called in when a van explodes presumably killing football legend Doc Dugan (guest star Craig Bierko). When CBI Consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) discovers that Doc is in fact alive, it is revealed that his assistant Jake (Russ Hunt) had subbed for him and was therefore killed in his stead. Jane then convinces Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) that they should allow the public to think that Dugan died as they try and solve the case. Meanwhile, Agent Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and his girlfriend Sarah (Jillian Bach) are in San Francisco for work and the trip results in a lover’s quarrel.

Concise Verdict

In the last episode’s review I’d stated:

“The one-shot episode’s need to be evermore perfect now that he (Red John) is sticking around.”


“In a show that’s almost entirely devoted to Simon Baker’s character, the spotlight needs to passed around as much as possible. And I don’t mean have episodes devoted solely to individual characters…rather give characters as equal share as possible within the episode.”

Hallelujah, my prayers have been answered!

Every single actor was in top form here, perhaps because they were given such great material to work with. Aside from great moments for the series regulars (Yeoman especially shone in his character’s subplot), The Red Shirt also introduces guest characters viewers can become vested in; a vital element of this show. The direction was also superb with great location shots and while the case isn’t exactly complicated, a lot of interesting methods were used to solve it including the mandatory clever ruse at the end. Also, CONTINUITY! The result was an extremely satisfying one-shot (these are the heart of the Mentalist, in my humble opinion). Thank you Jordan Harper for restoring my faith in this show. Now if we can only have more  episodes like these… 9.5/10.

 Detailed (aka humungous) Review (spoilers galore)

There were several important scenes in this episode. As some dealt with recurring plots (both in the episode and in the season) I combined their discussion.

Rigsby/Grace/Sarah Love Triangle

In episode Blood and Sand Grace was shown to be bitter towards Wayne’s new relationship, telling him “Good luck” but “Be careful” because Sarah (Jillian Bach) was a public defender.

In this episode, Grace is more graceful towards the situation. Rigsby is in San Francisco to testify in court. When he tells Grace that his girlfriend Sarah is with him as well, Grace artfully changes the subject back to the case; she’d asked Rigsby to comment on how the bomb was built.

-While Grace seemed disturbed at the fact that Sarah and Rigsby were traveling together, even if they both had work, it was nice to see her handling it better than she had in the past.

Sarah tries to prepare Rigsby to testify in a trial by acting as the perp’s lawyer. When she asks him questions regarding his criminal father Rigsby bristles and leaves her.

-While I wish Sarah had given Rigsby warning first that she was going hardline with her questions, I think she was sincerely trying to help him and didn’t mean to hurt him. I also love that she called him “babe”. It shows a certain level of intimacy and genuine affection.

Later, Rigsby tells Cho (in one of the best scenes of the episode) about how his trip sucked. As Rigsby recalls what happened, he realizes how Sarah had been just trying to help him and states that he got mad because she was doing her job very well. He later adds that her ruthlessness is actually “pretty awesome”. At the end of the episode, when as he tries to make up with her Rigsby inadvertently riles Sarah up even more by telling her that she’s a public defender, she can’t help but be the way she is. Sarah passionately defends her job, and hardly gives Rigsby a chance to get a word in before demanding to know if he has a problem. Rigsby says no and proceeds to make out with Sarah.

-I think a lot of women fell in love with Rigsby here. The fact that he finds Sarah’s strength of character a turn on is a very attractive quality; it takes a big man to handle a spitfire. Can this couple be any cuter?

Image by Chizuru-chibi. Copyright Reviewbrain October, 2011. Not to be used without permission.

Cho’s Injury

Cho has been taking a lot of pain pills in recent episodes and continues to do so here. I’m starting to wonder if this is the start of an addiction story line rather than simply being continuity to the injury he suffered to his back when he got hit by a car in episode “Where on Earth is Carmine O’Brian”. Cho even goes as far as to lie on Jane’s couch when he’s in pain after tackling a suspect.

Wainwright’s Leadership

We got a couple of scenes with the CBI’s new boss Luther Wainwright (Micheal Rady)  in this episode. Although Wainwright had told Jane that he’ll adjust his actions according to his belief that Jane is a clinical psychopath (Ring Around the Rosie), we have yet to see any evidence of that. To be fair, since Red John’s re-emergence is an issue yet to be handled this season, perhaps the situation simply has yet to present itself. One could argue that Luther had a chance to assert his claim during the SJK (Blinking Red Light) killer case but instead he allowed Jane to handle the matter his own way.

Wainwright continues to give Lisbon’s team a fair amount of leeway. He tells Cho at the beginning of the episode that he’ll handle the reporters while they solve the case, his voice trailing off when Cho leaves him standing awkwardly. Later when Luther finds out that Lisbon kept the fact that Dugan was still alive from him hidden, he merely points out to the fact that the case should have a positive result or he won’t be happy. After which he wonders if it’s possible to get an autograph from Dugan.

I’m not sure what to think of Luther. He seems bright enough. In another of the episode’s best and funniest scenes he catches up with Lisbon pointing out Dugan’s girlfriend as the prime suspect reading some of her threats. He also notices when Lisbon pretends to head towards the elevator, instead of going upstairs like she had been (to where Dugan was hidden) when Luther  caught her in the hall. When Lisbon stammers an excuse that she was wrong to go upstairs, Luther, concerned, advises her to get plenty of rest.

So he’s both smart and kind. But Luther’s kindness here seems at odds with how he  bluntly (and perhaps cruelly) told Jane that he’s a clinical psychopath. But that makes him more interesting. Either he has a soft spot for Lisbon (one won’t blame him) or a problem with Jane (again, one can’t blame him), or simply, at the time, Wainwright’s words to Jane, the results of his psychopathy test, was simply his way of getting back at Jane for keeping him out of the loop in episode “Ring Around the Rosie”.

So he’s either vindictive, or he simply felt the need to assert his authority. Perhaps once he did that, he was able to be his amiable self again. At least that’s the theory. I hope we learn more in future episodes. So far, Wainwright is the least defined of all CBI heads; I wonder if it’s intentional…

Lisbon’s Character Development

When it is revealed that Doc Dugan is still alive, Jane cajoles Lisbon into going along with his plan to continue having everyone think Doc was dead.

-I knew she’d end up agreeing and it saddened me as I miss the Lisbon who thought out Jane’s plans before going through with them. For a while now we’ve seen major signs that Lisbon is more tolerant towards Jane, and a few small ones that she still retains her own way of doing things. But the instances of the former exceeded those of the latter both in significance and in occurrence. I’ve been worried that Lisbon had become far too complacent. I should have known better seeing as Jordan Harper wrote this episode; he’s usually generous in depicting Lisbon awesomeness and that was the case here as well.

Lisbon agrees to go along with Jane’s plan, but only after she gets permission from the victim’s mother.

-I’m not sure why Lisbon agreed despite her initial misgivings; perhaps because Jane’s playful goading was irresistible, or maybe, seeing how Jane so excited about solving the case she didn’t want to burst his bubble. Whatever the reason, Lisbon did not lose sight of the bigger issue: a life had been lost and Jake’s family had the right to decide if they would go along with pretending he hadn’t died.

It’s nice to see evidence to support Jane’s statement in episode “Little Red Book” to Bertram that Lisbon is a healthy moderating influence on him. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciated this scene. It reassured me that all I love about Lisbon; her sympathy, strength of character, compassion, and honor has not changed. For that, this was my favorite scene in the entire episode.

Once the case is solved Lisbon takes Dugan with her to see Jake’s mother. She apologizes once more for the woman’s loss then allows Dugan to reconcile with his assistant’s mother and spend time with her.

-I adored this scene as well. Besides bringing the focus of the show back on the people affected by the crimes committed, it recalled many previous situations where Lisbon (like Jane) tries to make the victims’ families feel better about their loss.

Later, Lisbon joins Jane at the CBI’s rooftop café. Their discussion of how Dugan seemed to sincerely want to change for the better, and the opportunity which gave him the perspective to do so leads to Lisbon to asking Jane if he’d want to be remembered after he died. Jane cites this desire as “childish vanity” and says that being dead, he won’t care, and neither would Lisbon when she dies, although he does say that she will be remembered fondly.

-I think Jane’s turning the matter into the familiar “there’s nothing after death” was very telling; he did not answer Lisbon’s question which makes me think that he in fact does want to be remembered. His contention that it’s “childish vanity” only gives it away. Is there anyone on this show more childish or vain than Jane?

As to Lisbon, the woman who constantly refuses to eat with Jane (unless it’s case-closed food) is actually sharing ice-cream with her consultant; and the J/L fans thought her agreeing to drink tea with him was progress towards a more romantic relationship. I can only imagine the swooning. Admittedly, it was a very sweet scene. I may need to brush my teeth now 🙂

Best Scenes

I’m leaving it up to you all this time. You can vote more than once 😉

Honorable Mentions

The guest stars were very well picked and familiar enough that viewers would not be able to decide whom was the perp based on that. Bierko is of course always a pleasure to watch, but so was Ashley Williams, Emilio Rivera, Ray Laska, and Chrisopher Gartin. Recurring guest star Jillian Bach was also as adorable as ever while Micheal Rady continues to give a solid portrayal of Luther Wainwright. But mostly, it was nice to see the series’ stars all get a more or less fair share of screen time and share in Baker’s spotlight. Tunney, Yeoman, Kang, and Righetti were all fabulous.

Icings on the Cake

-Location captions are back! The ones telling us where in California we are that were missing in the beginning of the previous episode.

– The case’s premise and case solving techniques were novel and interesting, but what I love most about this episode is that it was classic Mentalist in the best sense. The case occurred in Sacramento and a lot of time is spent at the CBI. But there were plenty of locations within (CBI cafe rooftop, hallway in front of the elevator, room where Dugan was held) amongst others which kept the episode visually pleasant and fresh. And that’s not even counting the sports bar or San Francisco. It’s a huge contrast to the bland locations of the last episode. As to the case, Jane multitasks as detective and matchmaker. He cleverly sets up the perp while allowing Dugan to hear that his ex-wife still loved him. Again, Jane using his powers for good is a classic aspect of the show and is reminiscent of the earlier episodes. The affect is just as delightful here.

-The issue of celebrity idolatry and the disillusionment of fans discussed here via one of the suspects is an interesting topic and an increasingly relevant one.

– Jane’s speech on the 30 yard rule and on why the truth hurts was also interesting and a good fact as we’ve come to expect from this show.

Best Lines

“What do you say, Lisbon, huh what do you say?” –Jane to Lisbon . He’s so eager here, like a little kid. I miss this Jane.

“Really, really dead, wicked witch of the west dead.”-Jane to reporter on Dugan.

“I’m not dead.”- Doc. Craig Bierko’s  reading of this line was so great.

“I don’t wanna play dead!” –Doc. See above comment.

“No thanks.” Grace, replying to Doc’s offer on if she’d like to know why his girlfriend worships him. Amanda Righetti is so charming here and funny. I missed this Grace.

“Tempting, really, but I shot and killed my last boyfriend. I’m not ready for a relationship, yet.” Grace to Doc, at his continued propositioning  of her. Also, see above comment.

“He had all these holes that he dug in himself and he had to find a way of filling them.” Anne Dugan. Amazing line, delivered wonderfully by Ashley Williams.

“Any nibbles? Let’s dangle another worm shall we.” This line is just so Patrick Jane. 3+ years I imagine it gets harder for writers to come up with new dialogue while keeping it sounding like Jane. This was a great example.

“First punch is free that’s how pathetic I think you are, pathetic! I’m getting worked up.” Jane, dictating tweets to Cho to lure in a suspect over twitter. -Simon Baker was fantastic here. Jane’s version of “getting worked up” is stressing the repeated “pathetic” coupled with a shudder over his zeal. Careful Jane, you don’t want to hurt yourself!

“You told off a mobster, somebody tried to kill you and you don’t even mention it? You’re about as helpful as an actual murder suspect.” Annoyed Lisbon is so funny!

“Maybe we need the other end of the wire, the listening…” Love tacit continuity on how Jane remains unfamiliar with police devices.

“Oh that’s a great looking suit for a policeman. Most of you have no taste. -Arnold Greene to Jane. Love, love, LOVE Jane’s big bashful yet pleased smile here. The ham can’t resist flattery! Again, vanity 😉

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Mentalist Like a Red-Headed Stepchild Review

NOTE: The following analysis in its entirety was written by Violet, an avid reader and commenter to this blog. Only the grade was decided by myself; it was assigned after reading her review, based on her comments. I would like to thank her for her wonderfully generous contribution and unique perspective. I can honestly say I could not have done better. -Reviewbrain


Patrick Jane (Baker) and Agent Teresa Lisbon (Tunney) meet Agent Wayne Rigsby (Yeoman) at a crime scene in Hangtree California where a prison guard was stabbed to death. After closer inspection, Jane deduces that the victim aspired to become a detective and states that the killer is an ex-convict. Back to headquarter, Rigsby, who has seemed uneasy since Lisbon decided to check the ex-inmates in the area, notices that his father is on their list and leaves quite abruptly to visit him alone. Their meeting is rather fiery, as Steven Rigsby (William Forsythe) hates cops with a passion and considers his son’s choice of career as a failure and a betrayal; on the other hand, Rigsby is less harsh but it’s obvious he still resents his father for his difficult childhood. Rigsby Senior refuses to help his son, but he affirms that he is able to learn who killed the man… While Rigsby deals with his problematic father, Lisbon and Jane investigate the victim’s personal life, which lead them finally to Carson jail. They interrogate an inmate, Marcus Lansdale (Jamie Harris), whose sister appears to be the victim’s girlfriend. In the meantime after talking to Lisbon and having her approbation, Wayne rises to the bait and comes back to get his father’s help with Grace Van Pelt.

Concise Verdict

All in all, “Like a Redheaded Stepchild” was a quite unsatisfactory episode. It finally gave us some more personal information on Rigsby, a welcome addition as we are still in dire need of more background on the team, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that those new elements only confirm what we already guessed about his past. No great revelation here. The structure was nevertheless rather well-thought, as it tried to make his character progress in a rather realistic manner. And, although the whole ordeal was apparently reduced to a way to explain a change of attitude towards Grace and her wedding, it seems relatively justifiable in Rigsby’s character development. If the result was not stellar, it remained fairly acceptable.

The episode was a kind of breather in a very Jane-centric season. Tension of a different nature coupled with some amusing scenes managed to somewhat (finally) distract us from the omnipresent RJ plot, another good point in its favour. Now if only we could have had the impatiently awaited serious discussion between Jane and Lisbon… Its absence and the lake of concrete mention about it was without any doubt the most frustrating point in this otherwise not so badly done episode.8.0

Detailed AKA Humongous Analysis (spoilers galore)

In spite of the writer still managing to dedicate an important but discreet subplot to Jane and Lisbon -that will be discussed later- this principal storyline this week follows for a change the growth of a less essential character of the show, Wayne Rigsby.

After a sequence of episodes showing us Jane’s actions and reactions (“Bloodstream” being the only recent episode more centred on Lisbon), “Like a Redheaded Stepchild” restores a balance by giving us more insight on the team. I purposely use “team” here, instead of just “Rigsby”, as I have the feeling this episode tried to break the almost exclusive focus on the two heads of the SCU : our younger male agent is, by essence, the most representative of the three remaining co-workers.

Indeed, Wayne is the most endearing member of the team, with his awkwardness and his funny moments, and is usually in charge with Jane of the comic relief. He was moreover since the start and for a long time the official “lover” of the show and the romance has been centred on his point of view. In fact, he has until now the largest number of personal and introspective parts with the exception of the duo Lisbon/Jane. On the other hand, Cho, always the stoic, only had an episode for him in season 2 and gets at best a few moments recently: the brief mention of a potential alien abduction, his mixed uneasiness and harshness towards Lisbon when he was briefly promoted… the most significant of them is his reaction to Rigsby’s lie about his father. He’s harder to guess and has generally more of an external and rather distant point of view on people. The same goes for Grace: she’s a nice girl but there is still a kind of distance with her. Now I can’t figure if it is something emanating from her (she ditched Rigsby quite easily to protect her career, she hesitated before refusing to become a spy for LaRoche, the little scene when she quickly silenced the barking dog in “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” could also show there’s a colder side to her) or if that impression is falsely induced because viewers can’t help but compare her with Rigsby, who is a much warmer character.

Her scenes with Craig are generally seen from her ex’s perspective. The moments where the engaged couple is alone are quite rare: they mostly occurred when she was suspected of being negligent on her duty during Trina’s father’s murder (Blood For Blood). What’s more, we are used to seeing her through Wayne’s admiration, like an inaccessible girl and, even now, there is always a notion of unrequited love attached to her character.

So viewers identify more easily with Rigsby than with Cho or Grace and he’s the most natural choice if writers want to give the spotlight on somebody in the team.

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that he’s a protagonist in a major plot of the show beside RJ’s: the only official and certified romance. It is certainly not a coincidence if that aspect is refreshed on the threshold of the season finale. A double balance is achieved then: the team versus Jane and Lisbon, and the romance versus Red John’s plot.

It is also not difficult to notice that Wayne’s character development has been carefully prepared for some time as it offers a total continuity with the elements we already had about his past (‘Red Menace’). Earlier in the season (‘Bloodsport’) his problematic relation with his criminal of a father has already almost jeopardized his career and his friendship with Cho, when it was discovered he lied to provide his father with an alibi. That would explain, by the way, Cho’s absence by his friend’s side this time: Wayne wouldn’t risk the friendship again by asking him for support or advice on this particular topic.

I must say I’m rather fond of the way things were handled with our arson specialist here. During the whole episode, he is indeed forced to deal with his father and his feelings in a series of confrontations, almost step by step. He comes to term with his childhood, but progressively. I’m quite glad that it didn’t seem too rushed, like it sometimes feels in this kind of scenarios in TV. There is often that same old pattern:

1) Ambivalent meeting – sometimes the situation seems to get better

2) Conflict

3) Resolution: he/she still loves the character because family is important or he/she is a bad person and the character is sad, so the episode ends in a depressing note.

Here, the plan, although similar, still tries to be more gradual. Although the usual moment where a close friend gives the protagonist some advice is mostly reduced to some sentences hurriedly uttered before an action scene which he seems almost not to pay attention or to brush them off. The same went for “Cackle-Bladder Blood”: Jane’s meeting with Danny followed the same conventional steps, but the traditional rhythm was altered from the start, since the first meeting was a pretext to lure Jane to a crime scene…

So, even if the result may end up somewhat mildly convincing (honestly, the whole thing isn’t entirely unexpected), I still enjoyed the effort to wander a little off the beaten clichéd path…

And I’m almost ashamed to say I liked how the ordeal ends relating with one of the recurrent sub-plots of the season, the remaining feelings for Grace. Although I’m not particularly a shipper for their couple, I found that a little too easy for the writers to resolve the problem by simply putting Rigsby in a new relationship. Reviewbrain has certainly another opinion on this as she’s been openly hoping he could get a love life of his own, but I still quite agree with Dr Montague: before starting a new love story, I think it’s necessary to properly end the previous one, or the other has a lot of chances to fail. The balance has to be settled, things cleared out.

That’s why I’m going to include in the Very important Scene’s  every moment between Rigsby and his father as well as the ending as they form a chain, a progression, leading to a conclusion between them and a sort of closure for Rigsby.

– 1st Very Important Scene (VIS): Rigsby and his father meeting

The first meeting between both of them tries to deal with what could be considered a great incoherence of the episode: would it be acceptable for an officer of the law to investigate a family member? In a more realistic world, Rigsby would have been removed off the case at least until his father was proven innocent. Writer Jordan Harper tries to remedy the problem by making Rigsby leave the bullpen with the list of the ex-convicted in the area, alone and quite abruptly: in theory, nobody could have eyed it and picked up Steve Rigsby’s name. Then, after that first talk and Steve having properly mentioned an alibi, we understand that Wayne is more willing to use him as an informant than to really suspect him of murder. Mother Teresa also seems eager to cover up for him. And after all, it isn’t the first time Rigsby has taken liberties with the rules to protect him.

Yet, this protection is not well accepted by Steve and is rather reluctantly offered by Wayne if we can judge by their discussion. Both of them have obviously very little contact and Daddy Rigsby accuses him of “keeping tabs” on him, adding with irony “ain’t that sweet”. Their antagonism seems to have more than one layer. Steve is angered by his son’s choice of career. Although he affirms he could find the killer “in ten minutes”, but states that it’s not to be so, that cops have “procedures”.  Similarly, Rigsby can’t approve of his living on “smuggling cigarettes, dealing meth again” and has clearly not gotten over his resentment over his difficult childhood and the repercussion it seemed to have had on his mother.

Reviewbrain has stated for “Bloodsport”:

“His father was part of the “Iron Gods” motorcycle gang and was convicted of manslaughter; among other things. LaRoche’s asks if Rigsby is in contact with his father; he denies it. LaRoche’s then confronts him with evidence that his father contacted him a couple of years ago. Rigsby admits that his father needed his help to sort out a misunderstanding with his parole officer….. He confesses to Cho that he used him to create an alibi for his father; that he lied to his father’s parole officer, telling him that the three of them were together.


It is interesting that ‘straight edge’ Rigsby lied to protect his father. On the other hand, it is not that surprising.  Rigsby comes across as a fiercely loyal (and decent) person. Even if his father abused him as a child (if we are to believe Jane’s claim, then it’s not unreasonable to assume that Rigsby’s criminal father was the one that hurt him), it is easy to believe that he’d help him.

Now, we know all of this was quite accurate: that Rigsby and his father only see each other when a law-related problem rises, when they can’t help it. Steve has already used his son for getting out of trouble and isn’t the least bit thankful about it. Moreover, the scene responds to Jane’s allusion that he has been hurt: Steve really was an abuser to his son. He calls him a “self-righteous bastard” and rhetorically asks “how many times I’ve straighten you out?” which considering the ending of the episode can only mean that he’s beaten him up to make him do his will.

Also, this point explains from the start the title “Like a Redheaded Stepchild”, a reference to bad treatments towards a child, which also implies the expression “beating someone like a red-headed stepchild”, meaning beating somebody up with great violence. The “Stepchild” here is Rigsby of course, but only figuratively speaking since Steve tells it’s his “own flesh and blood” that has become “a lousy cop” and that it “makes (him) want to puke”.

To conclude, this scene has two purposes: making Steve into a potential informer for the case in a preparation for the next events and exposing the situation and the difference of attitude between father and son.

VIS #2:

Following his boss’ order to take somebody with him to go and talk to his father, Rigsby visits him a second visit with Van Pelt. After a short discussion, the son asks the father to show him than he isn’t “just a big talk”. When his father tells him to ask nicely Rigsby painfully admits that he needs his help. Rigsby Sr. then takes the agents to meet a woman; Rocket whom he states can provide them information.

In this context takes place our second VIS: as they wait in the car outside a bar for Steve to get the woman, Van Pelt and Rigsby casually talk about him. Rigsby is comfortable enough to open up about his untrustworthy father and Grace, always the optimist, states delicately that “he’s a character” and that this is may be an occasion to the two becoming closer. They are interrupted by a ruckus coming from the bar and watch as their supposed informant is running out. Van Pelt gets her, while Rigsby barges inside. He finds his father threatening a man with a knife, who apparently tried to attack him over “last time” while the bartender is aiming a gun at him. Steve is dead serious and states to his concurrent that he doesn’t do fist fights: he has his blade. Wayne has a hard time convincing his dad to put his knife down and, when they are outside, Steve has some harsh words again: “you trying to embarrass me? Never get between me and my business again”…

The exchange enlightens even more their respective personalities. Steve considers his shadowy business as his exclusive priority: he obviously doesn’t give much about his son’s case and has indeed a very violent streak. He also doesn’t seem to mind that Wayne, a cop, has seen him putting a knife against a man’s throat, whereas Wayne seems more troubled by his father’s unconcern about danger than by the fact that he has obviously used the occasion for his illegal business.

Because until that point there was nothing to suggest that Steve was using the occasion. He states the man was angry over “last time” and wanted to fistfight with him; that he held a grudge, so by business, Rigsby’s father was speaking figuratively.

Making Grace come along with Rigsby adds an emotional intensity to the scene: she’s meeting her ex-lover’s father for the first time; she has the most influence on him and knows him better than anyone else in the team. So, it’s interesting that she’s his partner here and not Cho, who’s investigating in Carson: the man is his usual confident and Rigsby trusts him deeply since he has named him to create his dad’s alibi. Grace’s presence instead hints that the arc is bound to have a different impact on Wayne, because of her place in his life (affection and influence) and her personality. She isn’t just going to tell him blunt truths like Cho (“you’re going to die alone” for example), she will try and support him. Their difference in attitude was perfectly shown in “Every Rose Has its Thorns” when Wayne appeared wearing a shiny suit for an undercover operation. He felt awkward and Grace tried to reassure him by mothering him and telling he looked good, while Cho remained quite indifferent, showing his usual quiet irony and detachment.

In the meantime, Jane and Lisbon’s parallel investigation also put the notion of family under the spotlight: the victim’s girlfriend refuses to make an assessment against her brother Marcus who is in jail at Carson. She’s in fact in a similar situation than Rigsby; she doesn’t approve of her brother’s criminal activities but protects him, because he’s family.

VIS #3:

Later, Van Pelt and Wayne are about to arrest a suspect. Just before Rigsby makes a dangerous move, Grace tells him that he is a good person, that he has nothing to prove and that he doesn’t owe his father anything. The exchange is brief and Rigsby seems to brush her words off.

Nevertheless, they answer an underlying uncertainty of his, because, as Reviewbrain pointed out for “Bloodsport” when LaRoche was interrogating him: “he’s afraid he’ll end up a criminal like his father. When LaRoche mentioned that criminal behavior can be hereditary, he definitely hit a nerve with the young agent.” In a few sentences, Grace hits right on the spot….

This moment also reminds of the scene where Craig, Grace and Wayne were about to get a suspect in “The Red Mile”, as Rigsby was beginning to have doubts about O’Laughlin’s eagerness or ability to protect Van Pelt. The setting is really similar. The discreet reference here makes us feel once more the shadow of the storyline about Red John with the suspicions we can have about Craig. At the same time, that time, Wayne saved Grace physically, just like she’s trying to help him here by offering a much needed moral support.

VIS #4:

The struggle between the Rigsby’s takes a turn to worse when Wayne finally understands that he’s been manipulated. Just like in VIS #2, Steve has used the case as an opportunity to get rid of a concurrent. When Wayne comes to that conclusion, he confronts his father in the same bar. His Daddy then shows him the same knife he used before and warns him, repeating « I don’t do fist fights ». This affirmation takes a new significance in front of Wayne, who, unlike Steve, is a very loyal man. Steve pointedly places his own son at the same level than his rivals, considering him as a threat because he’s meddling in his activities and represents the law. For the viewer, it’s more apparent than ever that the younger Rigsby is a far better person than his dad.

Steve here offers troubling similarities with Jane’s father: living on illegal (or semi-legal) business, showing the same indifference for their son, having no problem with manipulating them to get more money. They are lousy fatherly figures. Yet, Jane and Rigsby develop two different reactions to them: while Jane followed his father’s steps by conning people, Rigsby has chosen law enforcement. Yet, Jane like Rigsby is a better person than his father. Jane loved his family and Rigsby, well, is Rigsby, but neither of them seems to entirely believe that. It’s quite sad, because part of Jane’s guilt probably comes from the (mistaken) certitude that he’s not a commendable person and Rigsby has, until now, seemingly been held back by similar fears.

What is more, 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. That is, unAnd that’s where we can see Grace’s influence, because he decides to react after this last manipulation.

VIS #5:

Indeed, Rigsby finally waits for his father in front of his house, drinking beer and burning his stock of illegal cigarettes. That was quite clever, because the beer has a double meaning:

1) The meeting is this time informal, he’s gotten in the house and helped himself with a beer. He is a son in his father’s house.

2) He’s off duty, hence the drinking. He refused twice before when Steve offered him a drink.

Burning the cigarettes also held the same ambivalence. As a cop, he doesn’t expose his father, but impedes his illegal selling; meanwhile Steve only interprets it as he would with a delinquent in one of his usual deals: “I do you, you do me, that’s the way it should be. So that makes us even?” Rigsby denies the contention. He wants a physical confrontation and so they fight.

Wayne removes the bullets from his gun and put it on the side, while his dad also takes out his knife to set aside. Neither has a weapon, the fight is fair this time because, as Steve puts it “Just this once, I’ll give you a fair chance”. At the same time, since every object in this scene seems loaded with symbolism, by removing their weapons, they have both also taken off the emblem of what they have chosen to become: the duty gun for the cop, the blade for the criminal. The fight is indeed very personal, between father and son.

And, once again, we can see the difference between them: Steve hits first, in a traitorous move. A few seconds after, Rigbsy has almost the same movement, abruptly directing a punch from a crouched position, but unlike the other, he warns his adversary just before hitting. They end up struggling on the floor and Wayne has the advantage but he hesitates and finally refuses to hit Steve. He even offers him his hand to stand up. Wayne has grown up: he has symbolically killed his father’s influence by getting over his anger towards him. They have the same reflexes towards violence, but Rigsby manages to sublimate them for becoming a better person. And that he has understood.

VIS #6:  the conversation between ex-lovers

Made stronger-willed by his altercation, Wayne apparently decides to settle things with everything frustrating in his life and goes and talk to Grace. He tells her that he won’t go to her wedding, because he still loves her but he understands she’s marrying a good man.

Now, there is very probably the main point where my opinion and others may differ tremendously, because, for me, this type of scene was necessary in their story.

Indeed, there was a straight line of related moments during the whole season showing us that Rigsby, despite his best efforts, hasn’t yet gotten over his break-up. He’s been continuously trying to find a new girlfriend and has, apparently, always failed: his creepy date in “Bloodsport”, Dr Montague who ditched him after one dinner, and more recently Sarah, the bubbling and nice girl he met in an investigation on a matchmaking service, when Cho insensitively told him he should give it a try to stop “dating (his) coworkers”.

But, in spite of the huge number of scenes where he’s depressed or searching a new love interest, we never really knew what Wayne wanted with Grace. He was obviously having regrets and difficulties to accept her new relationship with O’Laughlin… but he never told if he was still suffering but truly wanted to move on, like she did in “The Blood on His Hands”, or if he was still hoping to get her back…

In fact there is a word to characterize Rigsby until now: passive. Just like he accepted his father using him, he has allowed Jane to do so. He never tried to seduce Grace, although he was attracted to her, and in spite of the pushes Jane was giving him. The first time he confessed, he was under medication and, later, she was the one who really made the decisive move. In the same way, he has shown a passive acceptation for women who had been interested in him: that charming cougar in S1Scarlett Fever”, his date in “Bloodsport” who fantasized about his supposed violent tendencies, Sarah shyly hitting on him. He didn’t really insist, protest or try to change Montague’s point of view when she stated that they had no future since he was still in love with someone else.

We can go even further in this analysis.  Reviewbrain previously stated that:

“Now we know that Rigsby is a man who respects rules. This is evidenced by how long it took him to act on his feelings for Grace (because inter-office dating was against protocol) and the fact that he is always the most reluctant (aside from Lisbon) to play along Jane’s unorthodox schemes. Jane even called him a ‘wuss’ in the season two premiere. “Bloodsport” gives us a possible explanation for Rigsby’s attitude; he’s afraid he’ll end up a criminal like his father.”

But what if his respect of the rules, his sticking to the law because he just believes he should do so? Doing what is right by duty but not by choice could be another form of his passiveness. Deep down Rigsby wanted to act on his feeling for Grace, just like maybe most of the time he’d like to follow Jane, like Cho does without remorse. After all, the two men went together to make Bosco change his mind when Jane was in jail: they were already equally “corrupted” by the charming ways of their consultant…

So, I like to believe that here is the first time we get a real and sincere reaction from Wayne: for the first time he did something that he wanted to do, doing right by himself. He doesn’t seem to think he’ll get anything from it, but he was being true to himself. And I think it’s a far more responsible attitude.

Therefore, I don’t feel Rigsby (and the storyline) is regressing: I think he’s simply seeking closure. The issue was positive for him because he clearly was not managing to move on. He was just trying until now to escape reality with new girls. It doesn’t mean that he needs to keep pining for his lost love: now that he’s made peace with his feelings for Grace as he did for his father, he is probably readier than before to let go. That is, if the writers let him, of course, because the wedding seems surrounded by many dark clouds.

This season, the writers seem to enjoy making the characters confront their past: with Jane, the topic is recurrent, but the visiting of the graves was particularly powerful. Lisbon was also forced to do so in the episode with Trina. Now, it’s Rigsby’s turn. And, every time, it seems to have an effect on them: Rigsby decides to assume his feelings. Lisbon managed to take a difficult decision about Trina (it was certainly positive from Jane’s point of view, even though for us it may be more arguable) and Jane’s actual attitude conveys the impression of finally starting to move on.

Speaking of them, onto the second plot in the episode!

Subplot: Jane and Lisbon or The Mystery Of The Missing Scene

We left the consultant and his boss in the end of episode Redacted with the idea of them being about to have a discussion about his revelations in the attic. And there is none; even worst, there is no statement that they had finally resolved their issues. Once again viewers are forced to play the epic Jane/Lisbon hide-and-seek game: we are reduced to squinting our eyes to find some indication of what has happened and what they are thinking.

So, onward with the suppositions! First of all, there is a faint continuity with last episode: the perpetrator is a thief (like Culpepper), Jane is in jail (investigating, but he could have ended up in a similar environment if he was exposed), he even refers to being a former convict. The killer also manages to find a simple way of escaping, just like Jane has tried get Culpepper to do in “Redacted”. Thus, even though there is no explicit mention of the previous episode, it is kept fresh in our minds since the same elements are mixed differently, like shuffled cards: the ghost of the past ep is discreetly but surely looming over this one…

So now that it’s been (hopefully) established that I’m not pulling imaginary continuity out of thin air, I’ll say that although we actually can’t be assured that they had “the talk” and, if so, that they have -or not, more probably- gone further in the discussion of RJ, there is a subtle shift between them in two revealing aspects:

–         their general attitude

They stand in close proximity, particularly when they interrogate for the second time Marcus’ sister. They always act as a pair when investigating, and are often visually associated -almost matching clothes in S1, in style and colours but here, it’s even more flagrant. They look like a duo, even finishing the other’s questions! And physically, they are actually closer in this scene. But I admit that is totally subjective…  Still, he tries to give her advice about a new haircut in the beginning of the scene: now, Jane acting as her beauty consultant? Improbable to say the least if they have not cleared things out and he’s expecting a disagreeable talk to come; far more credible if things have already been hashed out and had gone smoothly…

Second point, Lisbon doesn’t hide her amusement at Jane’s antics. When he calls her in front of the class his “lovely assistant”, she just roll her eyes, makes a half crooked smile and immediately joins him in his act. She acts more agreeably than when she got the same treatment during the talk-show in “Red Carpet Treatment”.

She is also less on edge when they are waiting for the murder suspect to show up, especially in comparison to previous episodes (for instance when Steiner was pretending to be a blackmailer, or under the table near the coffin in “Pink Channel Suit”).

Instead, in this episode, Lisbon plays along and tries to guess the animal Jane’s shaping with his hands in his improvised shadow puppet show: “Is that a rabbit?” adding that it seems to be dancing (one of the cutest moments ever)… They gave the vibe of acting like friends who are completely comfortable with the other, with no snappy or witty comment.

– professional attitude

As All-I-Need pointed out in her comment for “Redacted”, Jane comes to the crime scene with Lisbon, in her car, which contrasts with his lateness at a crime scene. Now, this could mean that she’s keeping tabs on him. But then Jane doesn’t leave as soon as he gets an opportunity to do so. Assuming he still doesn’t have LaRoche’s precious updated list, why doesn’t he try to find a new, fool-proof subterfuge to get it? During the whole episode, he completely focuses on the case. The only time he sneaks out of Lisbon is when he goes back to Carson prison. This reminds me of “Red Gold”, when he has been also coming in her car and was so eager to behave… admittedly because he was pleased with her about her previous decision about Trina in “Blood For Blood”. He was happy with her and intended to show it. So it is not a stretch to assume the same is happening here, in a more moderate and natural manner?

Second valid argument from All-I-Need, when he calls Lisbon from jail and tells her to join him, he asks her to trust him. He wouldn’t be asking for a trust she knows he doesn’t deserve if he hasn’t previously convinced her that he now merits it…

Moreover, he actually tells her his ideas before putting them in action: she knows that the girlfriend is Marcus’ sister and he probably even told her beforehand about their common tell before lying. He sticks with the law: in Carson, he only makes observations, no foolish games. He set everything in place (observing the inmates’ actions, speaking to robber Nick) but he waits for her, and implicitly her agreement, before putting his plan into motion. In fact, if we pay attention, we can notice that he still can stop everything if she refuses to come.

Besides, Jane didn’t put any innocent person in danger in his alone time: he only tricked an admittedly unpunished assassin (Marcus) and the actual killer (Nick). Even so, Nick would only be in real physical danger if he goes back to Carson. His confession would get him out of that trouble: Jane playing with others’ lives is a means to an end here, a way to ensure the perpetrator will confess his crime.

As for Lisbon, when she learns from Grace that Jane has sneaked out first thing in the morning to return to Carson, she only asks what for, then simply concludes “whatever”. She isn’t annoyed or worried of what he could be cooking. When he calls her, she hangs up on him just after she learned what she wanted to know: he needs her to come for the investigation, she comes. All-I-Need is right again, she seems to trust him and his judgment enough to drop everything else. More importantly, she’s not just putting up with his professional antics here. On the one hand she’s more relaxed, showing her amusement, on the other she doesn’t systematically try to control him, doesn’t ask what he’s been doing. She seems to know perfectly well that he’ll be coming to her when he finds something. And I think that shows her trust for Jane and a renewed confidence in her status with him.

For all these reasons, for this accumulation of little elements, I really believe they had “The Talk”. I even wonder if it hasn’t implicitly already taken place during last episode: after all, Jane was in her office when LaRoche gave her a piece of his mind. Lisbon isn’t the kind of person to wait to make her position clear. The discussion could as well have consisted (once more) on her insisting on the necessity for him to tell her the truth and/or him giving her more detail about Todd Johnson and Hightower.

But, let’s be pragmatic: Lisbon doesn’t suspect anything about the poem and Jane isn’t in direct danger anymore. Why would he need to tell her about it?

 To conclude, this episode tends to show that the tension is slowly rising towards a climax. The expectations for the finale always remain in the back of our mind, from Grace giving her wedding invitations and details about the seating arrangements at the beginning to Nick telling Jane that he carries a knife, because when one’s life is in danger, they defend themselves and that he, Jane, can understand that. That’s a new addition on the ever growing list of people who can discern something more in him (the husband in “Bloodstream”, Erica in “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”), as well as a clear allusion for the viewers to a possible encounter with the knife-brandishing Red John. And a question is raised: we’ve been told that the new coming season would be marked by a change in the team dynamic… Now, if something happens to O’Laughlin during the wedding, whereas he’s implicated in RJ’s net or becomes a victim, how could Grace and Wayne keep working together?

Best scenes

The winner: Rigsby and his father, the final confrontation. I actually loved this scene because there was a lot of subtext. That was not the usual natural conclusion for Rigsby. It’s obvious his previous problems with Steve always ended with his father threatening him, physically or emotionally, and him letting things go: the story should then have ended at VIS#4. This same pattern must have been repeating itself every few years, not quite often but every time his father needed him, to have an alibi for his parole officer or something else. So, I enjoyed the writer was able to give such a vibe to that one debacle between them both. And, yeah, it was nice to see Rigsby break free and man up.

1st runner up: Rigsby telling Grace his feelings… (See above for analysis). It was the conclusion of an important chapter of their love story. Like Jane in the previous episode, Rigsby has finally opened up to his true feelings and we actually have at least one of the serious talks we needed at the end of this season.

2nd runner up: Rigsby and Lisbon almost sibling relation evidenced by the very brief talk in her office. She’s a great boss and a symbolic older sister figure. And Rigsby trusts her enough to want to tell her about a very delicate matter, professionally and personally speaking. She already knew about his past and never mentioned it. Typically Lisbon, she supports him and only asks him to bring someone with him next time, probably for having a potential witness if things go wild as well as for protecting him. And, considering the whole trust issue with Jane, her simple “I trust you, Rigsby” is quite powerful.

Honourable Mention:

I must admit I enjoyed quite a lot Owain Yeoman’s acting in this episode. He’s not as brilliant as Baker, but he managed here to convey complicated emotions with only a few expressions; restrained and credible.

Icing (s) on the Cake

Jane eagerly jumping on the occasion of mimicking a teacher was a very nice and funny touch: it was unexpected and just light enough to counterbalance the tension around the Rigsbys’ plot. Sure, this manner to link the investigation to Marcus was a bit of a stretch, but I liked the scene and particularly that Jane couldn’t help pulling his usual trickster stance. Calling Lisbon “his lovely assistant” was enough to show the blurry line he skates between teacher and magician. No matter what, he’s always the showman!

Best Lines

“Wow, this is great. Reality TV at its finest.” Jane- in front of the multiple surveillance screens at Carson.

“Snitches get stitches.”- Jane subtly trying to convince an inmate to expose one of his fellows.

“That’s a popular misconception. Stitches are for alive people” Nick’s answer to the above.

“Rabbits don’t dance.”- Jane to Lisbon about his shadow puppet … That made me smile…

“My mind is a computer… a steel trap computer… a steel trap…”Jane, in response of the teacher’s assertion “the human mind is not a computer”. His line somewhat ends in babbling and is quickly interrupted by Lisbon but the whole exchange was hilarious.

Pet Peeves

–  First of all, obviously, Rigsby allowed to continue investigating his father… (See above for more details.)

– If Wayne didn’t trust his father, why didn’t he follow him in the bar? Even if he didn’t want to risk frightening Rocket, that was completely naïve from him! Is that me or almost every character on this show really needs to take classes on distrusting people? As if it wasn’t enough with them still following almost blindly Jane in spite of all… And did he need to call Steve “Dad” in front of the bartender when he was brandishing his blade? He could have gotten himself a complaint. The bartender could have argued he was only protecting his clients… So many incoherence’s in so little time…

– The trap with Jane telling Lisbon the “snitch’s” name while surrounded by inmates? Yeah, very subtle, almost credible…

– Rigsby’s “You’re marrying a good man” to Grace about Craig. Couldn’t he add ‘I think he almost let you get killed a while back’? Now, is Rigsby an honest, almost fiery protective person, or is he not?

Reviewbrain: I’d like to thank Violet once more for proving that she really was the perfect choice as guest reviewer. Thank you for your hard work and for keeping the reviews coming while I am otherwise engaged.

I’m just going to add one more poll to get readers’ input on where they think the Rigspelt (Rigsby/Van Pelt relationship) will go from here…

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Mentalist Red Alert Review


Senior CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) has just arrived at a crime scene in Crane Creek California when she gets a call from Director Gale Bertram (guest star Michael Gaston). When he tells her he’d like regular updates on the case Lisbon concludes that someone involved in the case must be ‘connected’. She’s right. The victim is filmmaker Amber Sutherland (Tyra Colar) who came to the town to make a campaign video for the town mayor, an influential friend of Bertram’s. Meanwhile, Jane who is running late to the crime scene is caught speeding. He tells the officer he’s with CBI. Unimpressed, the officer asks to see his license and registration. Jane tries to talk his way out of the situation. And when that doesn’t work, Jane flees the scene. Trying to diffuse the situation, Lisbon appeases local Chief Nail (Louis Hertham) promising that Jane will pay his ticket, to the latter’s protest.

Lisbon then learns that the victim was seen the previous day talking to a Ronald Crosswhite (Josh Randall). He is a man who killed his wife two years ago but got off due to a procedural mistake made by one of Chief Nail’s men. Lisbon and Jane go to talk to Crosswhite who tells them that the victim, Amanda was doing a documentary about his wrongful indictment. He insists that he was out for a drive when his wife was murdered in their home; that the incriminating surveillance footage which put him in his house at the time of the murder is wrong and that his wife’s killer is still out there. Later, Lisbon tells Jane that he’ll get arrested if he doesn’t pay his fine. The next morning Jane goes to the Crane Creek City hall to pay the ticket when Crosswhite enters. Taking hostages (including the Mayor’s wife) Crosswhite demands he not be arrested for killing Amber, and a new investigation be conducted in his wife’s murder.

Concise Verdict

In my “Red Alert Preview” , I stated:

What has my expectations soaring is…this episode was written by Jordan Harper; writer of season two’s ‘Redline’, one of my all-time favorite episodes. It had so many memorable characters…plenty of mentalism, some Jisbon moments, and an interesting case.

Harper also really played up Lisbon’s awesomeness in that episode and if the promos are any indication, I expect we’ll see that in ‘Red Alert’ too. As a Lisbon fan, I’m ecstatic. I’m sure Robin Tunney will rock the episode.

I am happy to say that my expectations were perfectly met. In ‘Red Alert’, Jordan Harper brings us one of the funniest and revealing episodes of the season.The episode even ends on a somewhat positive note; a sign,  a hope that, as viewers, we can dare expect….you’ll see below. Anyway, 10/10.

Detailed AKA humongous review (spoilers galore)

I had a lot of trouble writing this particular review. It wasn’t that the episode was complicated per say, but it brought up a number of issues and established some behavioral patterns which needed to be addressed.

Issue #1: Jane’s Disregard for Rules

Jane’s disdain for rules is a pretty well known aspect of his character. I’ve always assumed it was directly related to his ego; that because he’s so smart, Jane thinks he isn’t required to abide by the same laws that govern others. Rather, he has his own code of ethics which he follows and he expects others (i.e. Lisbon) to accept that. When she doesn’t, it results in the few times Jane is ever truly annoyed with her (Season 1, ‘Red Flame’).

But Jane’s annoyance here seems to be a bit excessive, which brings me to issue #2.

Issue #2: Jane’s Crankiness with Lisbon

When Lisbon tells Jane that she’ll be taking him to City Hall to pay his speeding ticket, Jane smiles and tells her self-assuredly that he made his feelings very clear on the matter. His confidence is quickly replaced with shock when Lisbon states that she sanctioned his arrest if he doesn’t. When she adds that they (CBI employees) are citizens too, not above the law, Jane bites off:

Oh well, thanks for that Ghandi. What I don’t appreciate is this cheap police state tactics.”

Simon Baker made a very interesting choice for his characters reaction here. It’s like Jane’s insulted Lisbon is forcing him to comply with the law, when, as a cop, it’s only natural for her to do so. Could it really just be because his ego can’t handle being coerced to do something against his will?

A couple of days ago, commenter All-I-Need and I had a discussion in the comments of “Bloodhounds” about how Jane’s ego may just be a cover to hide his insecurity; that he actually fears Lisbon might one day decide he’s more trouble than he’s worth.

In light of that discussion, and Jane’s childish behavior in this episode, a possibility presented itself to me: Perhaps bending the rules, and getting others to do the same for him, is Jane’s way of seeking validation somehow; like getting others to treat him differently makes him feel special; his way of affirming his importance.

And while it may seem hard to believe that Jane of all people is insecure, what really drove the point home for me was the utterly shocked (betrayed!) look on his face at Lisbon’s threat. He may have acted annoyed, but I think he also hurt. Like he’s disappointed Lisbon didn’t do more to get him out of it.

Of course, there could be another reason for Jane’s umbrage. Jane has expressly stated that he trusts Lisbon (Season 2 ‘Carnelian Inc’.). And he always seems to be seeing how far he can push her. A cynical interpretation would be that Jane does this because he wants to see if he can manipulate Lisbon into helping him with his revenge. But more and more I’m beginning to feel it’s actually because Jane wants to feel that there is someone he can depend on; someone he cares about who also cares about him, someone who knows him and is willing to do things for him. That would explain how personally Jane took Lisbon’s ultimatum: He counted on her to get him out of paying and was let down when she didn’t.

It would also explain why when Jane was taken hostage with the others, he gets irked with Lisbon when she tells him to ask Crosswhite to release an injured woman:

“I never thought of that. That’s a great idea,” he deadpans, then widens his eyes to let her know he’s being sarcastic, shaking his head.

It’s like he’s insulted Lisbon didn’t know he’d already tried that. It entails that he thinks she should know him better than that, which goes back to him wanting to be close to someone, and that person happens to be Lisbon.

Of course, he could just be frustrated over the situation.

Perhaps the likeliest possibility is that Lisbon’s law abiding reminds Jane that he’ll one day have to stand against her to achieve his revenge on Red John. In ‘Red Moon’, much to Jane’s annoyance, Lisbon expressed her expectation that Jane would eventually change his mind about revenge. His acting out could be him subconsciously wanting to remind Lisbon of his disregard for the law, how serious he is about his revenge, and that she should prepare (mentally) herself for that day.

Finally, there’s another more positive interpretation for Jane’s frustration with Lisbon. If we go by the assumption that Jane thinks his intelligence is what excludes him from having to follow regulations, then maybe Jane recognizes Lisbon is an intelligent woman and therefore considers the law beneath her and that, like himself, she shouldn’t have to follow rules.

It has been hinted at before. In “Red Sky at Night”, when Lisbon says that a victim (a no-good lobbyist) deserves justice like everybody else, Jane responds: “You’re a cop you have to say that, you don’t really believe it.”

In ‘Red Moon’, when she says that when they catch Red John they’ll put him in jail and try him legally, he says “I just assumed you took that judge and jury stuff with a grain of salt.”

In this episode, he mocks her after she warns Van Pelt to be careful when questioning the Mayor’s wife: “Teresa Lisbon, toughest gal west of the pay cuts and you’re scared of a small town Mayor and his wife.”

Now Jane could just want to corrupt Lisbon so she’ll be more likely to cut him slack. But I don’t think so. There just seems to be something more personal about it. It’s almost like he’s willing to forgive her following the law because she’s a cop and therefore is obliged to (as opposed to citizen consultants who don’t *sarcasm*). But more often he seems upset with her for not going by her own instincts when he knows she’s smart to make her own choices.

Which do you think is most likely conclusion?

Issue #3 Lisbon’s Awesomeness

While it may not be clear why Jane likes breaking rules, it is very clear why Lisbon does so in this episode. When her authority is taken away by the local mayor, Lisbon tries to persuade Bertram to put her back in charge. It’s not a power play; she genuinely disagrees with the plan Chief Nail wants to use to handle the hostage situation. She says it is dangerous and she doesn’t want people to get hurt. Unable to convince Bertram, Lisbon gives an informal tip to a reporter that CBI is bowing to local pressure. The news reaches Bertram who is then forced to return jurisdiction to Lisbon to disprove the claim.

I was so happy with how Lisbon handled the situation. We know Lisbon is smart, and we finally get to see that. Plus, we get to see how Lisbon truly loves her job because it allows her to help people. Her giving the reporter the anonymous tip could have gotten her suspended, or even fired, but Lisbon wouldn’t have cared if it means she can save the hostages. The woman is a saint.

I also love how, unlike Jane, Lisbon doesn’t need constant praise and recognition for her work. She is, in that sense (and all others actually) a perfect foil to Jane. But when Lisbon is commended on a job well done, her face simply lights up (Season 2’s ‘Red All Over’). Here, it was so nice seeing the Director calling her on her ‘smart play’. Lisbon certainly deserves it, though in the end she looks mostly relieved than pleased.

And despite the fact that Lisbon could have easily vindicated herself from Jane’s mocking (which he had been doing the whole episode), by telling him what she did, she does not. It speaks to her strength of character; Teresa Lisbon does not need nor desire Jane’s approval which makes her even more awesome than I thought she was. No doubt she doesn’t want Jane to know that she is perfectly capable of breaking the rules for a cause she deems worthy. Jane pesters her enough as it is without further encouragement.

Issue #4 Bertram’s Pragmatism

In the season premiere, Hightower tells Lisbon “Bertram’s all bottom line, he won’t let personal issues intrude.” It was nice that this claim was reinforced in this episode. Despite Lisbon’s actions, Bertram isn’t angry with her because in the end, everything worked out thanks to her actions. It’s a nice piece of continuity and one that actually made me appreciate the character. He’s not very likable, but at least he’s not vindictive. Especially when compared with how sulky Jane was over having to pay one speeding ticket which brings me to…

Issue #5 Jane’s Continued Tardiness

The reason Jane got the much debated ticket was because he was running late to the crime scene. This isn’t the first time. Jane’s been running late all season (‘Red Sky at Night’, ‘The Blood on His Hands’, ‘Pink Chanel Suit’, and now ‘Red Alert’). I can only assume the writers are purposely trying to establish a pattern here. It would be nice if we knew what it was indicative of. My guess is that he’s been spending more time at his home in Malibu (6 and a half hour drive away from Sacramento) and that’s why he’s always behind the others. Now why he would do that could be because he’s..

Issue # 6 Jane’s Rethinking Revenge?!

Crosswhite is about to be taken into custody, after he witnesses his wife’s murderers confession. But before he leaves he and Jane have the following conversation:

Jane: “Hey, uh, sorry about the whole jail thing, but you did take a bunch of people hostage.”

Crosswhite: “I don’t care, jail doesn’t mean anything to me now.”

Jane: “Yeah, well, we’ll see how you feel about that in a couple of years.”

Crosswhite: “I’ll be fine. I can breathe again.”

Okay, what is going on? After beating us on the head all season with bereaved men, real, or fake, (Max Winter ‘Red Carpet Treatment’, Todd Johnson ‘Red Moon’) whom Jane felts were kindred spirits, when he actually comes across one who’s going to jail as a result of finding his wife’s murder, Jane tells the man he might change his mind about it being worth it?!

What can this mean? Is Jane starting to find the weight of revenge unbearable; continuity for when he went to a support group, under the guise of being undercover (Jolly Red Elf) to talk about his addiction? Has the concept of jail suddenly become particularly unsavory for him? Is he starting to actually see a life after the capture of Red John? Or does Jane only want revenge provided he gets away with it (like Max Winter in Red Carpet Treatment?)

Is it just to keep us guessing? Is it to show that Jane’s passion is fluctuating?

Could this be why Jane is so annoyed with Lisbon this episode? Could her words, her hope for him, be getting through to him despite himself?

The fact that the episode ends on Jane, going to Lisbon’s office, for the sole purpose of bantering with her about not paying the ticket, obviously enjoying himself, suggests that Jane realized that maybe, despite himself, he actually has something to lose now if he pursues unlawful vengeance.

God, I hope so…

I’m open to other interpretations if readers have them. Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.

Best Scenes

The winner: The opening scene, from when Lisbon says that someone in the case is connected, telling Rigsby he jinxed them, to when Chief Nail tells them his officer is pursuing a suspect ‘acting crazy’.

Lisbon: “See what you did!?”

Ms. Tunney is an absolute delight.

1st runner up: Jane, Lisbon, Chief Nail, and Sergeant Riley at the beginning scene. Lisbon trying to fix things with the chief, Jane fighting with her and everyone else, the ‘underling’  incident’: hilarious.

2nd runner up: Jane and Ronald Crosswhite during the hostage situation, when Jane asks him for the second time why he seems so guilty if he didn’t kill his wife. He tells Jane that he lied to his wife about quitting smoking, that he had been out smoking when she was killed; that if he been there she wouldn’t have died. It is interesting that Jane tells him: “Have you ever considered that the killer was waiting for yo to leave?” Oh, Jane. I wish you could console yourself as well as you can others.

Best Lines

“I mean is this really necessary. Aren’t we all part of the justice league. Do you think Aquaman would give Batman a ticket?”-Jane.

“Meh. Speedtraps. Legalized extortion. You want people to slow down, park out in the open where they can see you but no. you lay in wait like thieves in the night.”-Jane.

“Looks like we both have a little problem controlling our underlings.” –Chief to Lisbon about Jane.

“Underling? Really? Lisbon would you explain to this man I’m a consultant. I’m not below or above I am to the side.” – Jane to Lisbon about the above quote.

“I’d love to chat with you Lisbon but there’s a man here with a large gun wants to talk to you.”- Jane.

“I would like to pay this ticket, but under protest.” – Jane to City Hall clerk Zack.

“Nobody pays any other way.”- Zack.

“What are you, like five? A little patience here.” Jane to Zack, after he asked him if he had a plan.

Pet Peeves

Enough with the thrillers please, leave something for the finale!