Tag Archives: Michelle Vega

Mentalist Nothing Gold Can Stay Review


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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers galore)

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

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

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

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


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


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

Jane and Lisbon

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

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

VIS#1 The turning point: Vega is killed

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

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

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

Wylie’s tears

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

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

Cho’s guilt

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

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

Jane and Lisbon are falling apart

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

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

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

1) Jane’s plan

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

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

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

2) Cho’s counteroffensive

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

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

3) Jane talks with the TV reporter

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

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

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

4) Jane’s suicidal initiative

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

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

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

VIS#3 The funeral: saying goodbye

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

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

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

Conclusion: a ray of hope in the darkness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re coming back for me”

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


Mentalist Copper Bullet Review


Bill Peterson (Dylan Baker), Abbott’s former boss turned nasty nemesis, digs up some evidence that Abbott committed a murder years ago. Jane decides to take the matter into his own hands and with help from the team, elaborates a layered scheme in order to save his friend.

Concise Verdict

After Jane’s manipulation in ‘The White of His Eye’, writer Tom Donaghy chose to deliver another nostalgic glimpse into Jane’s old character, who always stays one step ahead with secret drawer type of plans. At the same time, questions are still raised about lies and trust –on many levels- and the moral perspective is interesting: the murder case this time involves Abbot’s old crime (the corpse being represented by the desiccated skeleton in the coffin) and it’s already solved. Yet the real crime the investigation focuses on is Peterson’s theft of drug money for years. This implied double standard parallels Jane’s actions in the closed RJ case, and coupled with the team moments, it makes this episode a pretty intriguing one.

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (Spoilers Galore)

VIS#1: the opening

Right from the start, the episode deals with couple troubles treated in parallel, as both Abbott and Jane tried to protect their beloved from danger.

Indeed, in the deserted Rio Bravo cemetery, Bill Peterson is true to his word to make Abbott pay for not obeying his blackmail in ‘Green Light’ and he’s looking for evidence to convict his former protégé… To obtain it, he’s eager to dig Abbott’s past up along with his victim’s decayed body. He’s planning to search the skull for the bullet that would incriminate him, even going as far as check if the item is in there with his own hand before the tech moves in to remove it… This ‘Copper Bullet’ continues the notion of Western movies and battles (along with later Wylie comparing the man’s house security with Fort Knox and the team wanting to leave Vega behind to “hold the fort out here”) that hint that a violent dangerous confrontation is still to be expected sometimes in the future. Moreover, Lisbon’s been grazed by a bullet too in the previous episode which caused Jane to panic in the shot-related ‘The White of His Eyes’… And the metal mentioned in the title reminds of ‘The Silver Briefcase’, an episode that also showed the team investigating a case outside of the normal regulations to catch a criminal hiding among law enforcement members… From silver to copper, the metal shade is slowly turning to that golden color reminiscent of heartbreaking sunsets on cliffs or on paradisiacal beaches like Jane dreams of and of course of his forlorn wedding ring.

This scene at the desolated cemetery contrasts with the next one, in the city at night… Lisbon and Jane are eating ice cream and talking about the events in ‘The White of His Eyes’ that probably took place the same day or the day before–because, even though Teresa’s not wearing the same black suit as when the discussion started in the bullpen, that dark red shirt and tan jacket were seen in the previous episode. Interestingly, they’re not sharing like they did at the end of ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’ when they reconciled after Erica managed to wedge somewhat of an edge between them and like in ‘The Red Shirt’ when he was making unacknowledged overtures to her. Both times he was trying to be more open with her and make her see his point of view, like he’s now, but they still eat their vanilla cones separately, because there’s a distance born of his breach of trust. But they’re working on it: they try to talk about Jane’s choice in a calm manner, like an adult couple willing to face their disagreements.

Jane insists that the “mission” was “accomplished” and “everything turned out exactly as we planned” and that “no one was hurt”, “except the bad guy”… until Lisbon points out the main problem: he removed her from the action when things got more heated. He explains that he “was concerned” about her safety, but she states that he doesn’t get that she’s a FBI agent. For her, it sums up the issue: Jane cannot accept that danger is an inherent part of her job that she comprehends and accepts. It’s part of her life and she’s dealt with it for years. Yet she doesn’t get herself what are Jane’s motivations in that respect. They’re not on the same wavelength here, because he refused far too often to open up to her in the past, both on his feelings and on his fear of the past repeating itself, and she hasn’t taken the measure of how deep his terror runs. On the other hand, she clings to a surface justification for his actions –the issue with her job, that he’s been bringing up for some time to get her to quit- probably because it’s safer than to think that there’s a real and more difficult problem she’d had to deal with. Thinking that he’s his usual disrespectful self that likes to mess with her job and overall authority is easier than to address grieving issues she’s not good with. Indeed, her usual grieving pattern is to sweep the feeling under the carpet –Bosco, for instance- and she avoided the family house after her father’s suicide brought the situation down. Moreover, she probably doesn’t realize what Jane is feeling, because she never thought of herself as meaning so much for anyone. Her surprise at hearing Gregg’s wife tell her that she left him heartbroken was genuine. And her mother and father’s deaths were different from Jane’s loss: she probably doesn’t feel like they were taken from her in the same way as the haven provided by Angela and Charlotte was wrenched from Jane. Hers were linked to getting into abuse and breaking free of it. She wouldn’t be terrified of it repeating itself, or she wouldn’t have taken a broken Jane under her wing especially after he started showing his darker manipulative tendencies…

They’re interrupted by the news that Peterson is making a move against Abbott. Lisbon’s obviously in the loop both regarding the murder and the threats made by Peterson, which proves Jane’s transparency with her. It contrasts with the other times when he was saving his boss’s career, like in ‘Blood Money’. In ‘Little Red book’ too, for instance, after Lisbon got fired in reaction of his killing a man in a mall, he took action behind her back, mostly, because she wouldn’t go along with making fools of Haffner and his men. Now, both Abbott and Lisbon give him carte blanche and the team is fully cooperating. The news is spreading in one to one confidences and Abbott even notices that “everyone’s whispering”.

Proof is further showed of Teresa’s involvement when she waits at the door for Jane to finish talking with Dennis. She’s worried that their boss would lose his job and that he could go to prison. Jane assures her than they’ll prevent it, but his posture sprawled on the couch does not make his statement very convincing: she tells him that “this is serious’. His only answer is mysterious: “I know. Don’t you love it when the stakes are high?” Once again, the poker game metaphor characterizes his actions.

On the other hand, Abbott explains the situation to Lena and apologizes profusely. He’s sorry and he says her “I should have told you everything”, “it’s my fault”. Lena supports him and tells him “you don’t have to apologize, not to me, not to anyone”: it’s “this person” who’s trying to bring him down that makes her angry. Both are willing to lose their job to protect to other, him by telling Peterson that he’s resigning, her by letting go of her dream situation. Abbot is horrified by the prospect and tells her that he doesn’t want to have her quit because of him –which is an interesting line, given that Jane wants precisely that from Lisbon…- and he’s even ready to go along with the story that they’re separated: in other words, he’s eager to sacrifice both his job and his private life to protect her… As Jane puts it when entering the office, they’re both offering to fall on their sword for the other, in the most chivalrous and in their case useless kind of way, since Jane’s lucid enough to guess that Peterson won’t stop until he destroyed them both.

As the distraught lovebirds place themselves into Jane’s scheming hands, his skills are once again called into question. In the previous episode, Ken mentioned that he needed Jane’s charm, a detail that surprised Jane enough to ask if he should feel insulted or flattered, whereas now Lena outright tells him that Dennis told her that he has “one of the trickiest and most devious mind he’s worked with”… It’s not his intelligence that’s called for, but his ability to trick and manipulate people, as the “charm” remark hinted at. Jane replies in the same kind too: “I didn’t come here to be flattered, but please, go on”. Lena then tells him that Abbott considers him as a friend and that “he would trust [Jane] with his life” which softens the blow… Jane wants to protect them so much that he decides not to tell them what he has in mind, in order to give them deniability. He’s using the very same method he used to enforce on Lisbon in the CBI era: earning her trust in protecting her by lying to her and keeping her in the dark… the very same thing he’s been trying to do in the previous episode.

Meanwhile, as Wylie, who’s “awful at keeping secrets” has told Cho, they’re all investigating discreetly Peterson’s life in order to find a flaw. The man is divorced – a failed relationship again…- and have expensive tastes like tennis, scuba-diving in the Caribbean and French wine… which reinforces Jane’s previous assumption that he’s keeping an hidden stash of dirty money. Not to mention that those Caribbean paradise islands remind of Jane’s dream of sailing to beaches in Polynesia… and therefore also hint at the double-edged metaphor of sea linked with his obsession with his history. In order to reel the corrupt man in, Jane is precisely planning to “catch up with an old friend” and reunite with his past: the scheme is therefore two-folds, as Jane will “take care of the bullet” that their mark dug out the tomb, while Wylie and the others should “dig down on Peterson”… That digging hints that the two parts are matching, yet the implications and link with death and past are telling.
The only person who’s left out is Vega, the newbie, even though Cho is almost as bad as Wylie in distracting Vega’s suspicions away from their not-case with his one word answers… Interestingly, her first guess for him not wanting to tell her is “did I do something wrong?”, an allusion to her previous issues with the older agent.

VIS#2: Jane meets Pete

That old friend Jane is meeting with is Peter, the carny buddy he introduced to Lisbon in ‘Cackle-Bladder Blood’ and who’s made another appearance with his wife Sam in ‘Red John’s Rules’. Like then, the men greet each other with friendly teasing and insults and Peter Barsocky even alludes to the former episode by telling that he’s “as fat and wrinkled as Daisy the amazing elephant”, the same one who got Lisbon entranced and distracted enough for Jane to give her the slip. Jane paid for his and presumably Sam’s first class tickets and fancy hotel room and Peter’s relaxing at the pool. His fish themed shirt is another nod to the fishing/sea theme that had been running since the RJ era…
Apparently, Jane is eager to inform the man that he’s “seeing someone”. Instead of coming as a shock for Pete, who knew Angela and whose last apparition involved Jane realizing that his nemesis was targeting people from his childhood, the man correctly surmises that Jane’s sweetheart is that “pretty brunette who come around with you a couple of years back… the cop” and explains that he already knew that “she was sweet on” Jane. Is he referring to his first meeting with the one he used to call “Pepper”, before she handcuffed him to his own truck? Or to the discussion about Lily Barlow, whose uncle was also able to guess that she was lying on her bed at night, thinking of Patrick? His remark is ambiguous enough to let in the shadow the moment when he started suspecting Lisbon’s feelings, but it anyway put emphasis on the fact that one more character saw what was going on between them at the time, in addition to Grace, Wayne and Abbott. It is a little disturbing that Pete doesn’t mention the letters that Jane sent to Lisbon through “carny friends”: is that a pet peeve or is the man sly enough not to mention his major clue in Jane’s reciprocating Lisbon’s interest?

One way or another, and even if the pretty brunette cop is a little “cranky” with Jane right now, Pete wholeheartedly approves of the relationship: he insists “you should be happy” and even dare to broach a touchy subject that obviously makes Jane’s uncomfortable by telling « maybe it’s time, you know, to take the ring off… There’s no shame in moving on, Angela would want you to”. This friendly and almost fatherly talk serves as a counterpoint to the meeting with Lisbon’s brothers in ‘Little Yellow House’: Jane obtains the approbation of his family through the words of someone who knew them and who’s cared for him for a long time.

As he used to do with Lisbon in the CBI, Jane quickly hides the personal question behind work: he tells Peter that he needs a favor in order to help a friend in need. Both seem to consider this as some “fun” “gag”, which enlightens where Jane’s conception of investigations as cons comes from…

VIS#3 Jane meets Peterson

Once this part of the plan is taken care of, Jane decides to visit Peterson. He likes to confront bad guys face to face obviously, since he did it with Lisbon’s adversary Volker and more recently with the colonel: when his friends are threatened, things get personal and he’s eager to let the other man know that he’s in the game… To continue this game allegory, Peterson is busy playing tennis at his club and Jane sneaks in to outright tell him that he’s not “gonna sit back and watch [him] destroy Dennis Abbott”. To make his words more hostile, he even touches the other’s dark blue, white and red “velour” sport jacket. The red color associated with the red polo underneath hint at a threat and Peterson’s behavior becomes accordingly more menacing: he grabs Patrick by the neck and stats that he doesn’t “a rat’s ass about Dennis Abbott”. He’s only seeing this as an opportunity for his career to get on a Congressman’s good side and “screwing Dennis Abbott, that’s just icing on the cake”. Yet, in spite of his cold words and his blatant interesting in money and saving his job, the repetition of Abbott’s full name indicates that things are actually very personal: he’s trying to get revenge because in his eyes, Abbott betrayed him by not “having his back” when he ordered him to…

It’s interesting to watch how different those two manipulative men act when trying to put pressure on others: Peterson is brutal and uses physical threatening, whereas Jane is sneakier. He provokes the other man by implicitly belittling him and the club employee comments that “he was very persuasive” when making her let him in, which echoes the remark about his charm. Plus, Jane’s “devious mind” had one single goal by ticking Bill off, since he wanted to get close and distract him enough to lift his cell phone.

The plan: breaking into Peterson’s house

Soon, the main part of the plan comes into play as the team decides that they need to get a look inside Peterson’s home, given that it’s the most likely place where he’d hide the money. It isn’t the first time Jane decides that breaking and entering is a good way to pursue his goal: the main difference is that now Lisbon is on his not-so lawful side of justice… For instance, he chose to lie to Rigsby and Cho when breaking into the empty house in ‘Redemption’ and his illegal search of their suspect in ‘Blood Money’ caused the clueless Lisbon to be suspended. Same when he chose to hire Culpepper to attempt a burglary into in LaRoche’s house to find the infamous list: any of those times, Lisbon wasn’t included in the plan and the reveal of his illicit activities caused quite the uproar even though she helped him in the end. Now, she’s the one to decipher how Peterson has been able to commit his “perfect crime” for years. He’s been “skimming”, stealing dirty money during low-level busts, something almost impossible to check giving that nobody would believe the convicted drug dealers had they a mind to tell.

Same when the operation is on motion: she’s Jane’s accomplice and she shares his goal and methods. She calls him on how he would figure out the pass code –a small measure of distrust that might catch viewers’ attention since it’s the second time his way of doing things is questioned this episode. His answer to her question is an airy “the way I figure things out” after using a rather simple plan: “pick the lock, open the door, see what happens” when “alarms give you a minute to 90-second grace period before they alert anyone”, then go and find where malicious Bill may have hidden is safe and open it… Is that me, or is it roughly the same basis that he used to rob the casino in ‘Pink Champagne on Ice’? Even the mirror illusion and the substitution are somewhat used after they later realize that they cannot open the biometric safe: they take money from the evidence room to stage some photos in order to give Peterson the illusion that they busted him…. It’s a trick on a large scale, plus Jane remarks when Lisbon guesses how he knew the pass code to the alarm that she’s “killing the magic here” by telling out loud. It is further proof that she’s getting as good as him. Indeed, unlike in the heist at the casino, she’s neither an assistant nor a trump card, now she’s his equal because she gets him and how his tricks work… On the other hand, the trick with the candlestick hiding a secret safe is a bit reminiscent of ‘Red Scare’ with its secret passageways: it gives to the episode an old school impression of familiarity. The same thing happens when Wylie asks for Abbott’s help into getting clearance to take a couple millions dollars from the evidence room; after being told “you know how Jane said h wouldn’t need your help?” Abbott only replies resignedly “he lied, didn’t he?” That’s classic Jane for you.

Meanwhile, Vega feels left out and she confronts Cho to let him know her feelings: “I’m here to protest my exclusion”, “if Abbott is in trouble, I want to help”. Cho flats out refuses and draws a line at getting her involved, even though he had no qualms about Wylie, because he doesn’t “feel responsible for him”. Vega retorts: “you’re not responsible for me”, even though Cho is worried for her career. It enlightens how the fatherly bond between them works both ways: he’s chosen to lie by omission to protect her for a “career killer”, just like Jane and Abbott did with someone they care about. He’s giving her deniability in case things go wrong. But Vega won’t leave it at that: like Lisbon, she understands and accepts the dangers of what she’s chosen to get involved in. She states ““listen, I’m a part of this team, or I’m not”. This talk is reminiscent of the one she had with Jane in ‘Green Light’: back then she questioned Jane’s methods too, before finally accepting to partake in the “fun” of his plans even though they wouldn’t have met with her stern father’s standards. Now she’s fully part of the team. It’s even hinted at by her pretext for leaving the bullpen: she tells Abbott that he has an errand to run, the same excuse Jane had given her to get her help… It’s a pivotal moment both for Vega and for Cho and it is emphasized by Cho’s line “what we’re discussing involves breaking about seven laws” and Michelle’s casual answer “as long as it’s only seven” echo Lisbon being lured to the 7th floor in the previous episode; it’s a discreet nod to the 7th and last season of the show and, as usual, it’s linked with transgression and tricks.

The same extended metaphor of tricks and performances that has been running during the whole operation is also mentioned when Vega is executing the traditional undercover job of the episode. She’s put a pair of glasses on to tail Peterson in the restaurant when he’s spitting his venomous revelations to the Congressman’s legislative director. She then can the other woman say “a hearing’s a tricky thing. It’s about showmanship. You display it, a little theatrics, if you will.”

As the plan unfolds, she’s later asked to stall him while the others break into the house and Wylie is busing gathering the money from the evidence room, pretty much like she was supposed to fake arresting Peterson in ‘Green Light’. And her method is reckless since she cannot think of another plan than to get the man involved in a car wreck, like she did in ‘Orange Blossom Ice Cream’: she’s as eager to prove herself to the other team members as she was back then, only now she doesn’t want to prove her skills as an agent but rather her trustworthiness and dedication. Unfortunately Peterson recognizes her and the schedule is getting even more airtight for the others. Cho and Lisbon hurry to tidy everything out in the house, Wylie rushes in with the cash and Jane actively fights all that frenzied tension by calmly sitting in the kitchen and eating a banana. He’s partaking in his age old habit of making himself cozy in the suspects’ home, like he did innumerable times when making himself some tea (‘Blood Money’, ‘Devil’s Cherry’) or a sandwich (in the pilot).

Nevertheless, Vega and Lisbon are not the only ones whose role in the team is being reaffirmed. As Abbott is worried by Michelle’s involvement, Jane tells him “what you did at Rio Bravo… you risked your life to take out a mass murderer that no one else could. No one else would. You did that because you’re a good man. Peterson is not a good man. He’s a greedy, corrupt bureaucrat with a very healthy sprinkling of sociopath on top”. Jane recognizes the similarities between himself who risked everything to take his own villain out and Abbott. They’re kindred spirits in vigilantism and the risks are very much present even now: “if we stop now, you’re going to prison, your wife’s going to lose her career and Peterson on his way to be being the head of the DEA… Is that what you want? It’s not what I want. And for what it’s worth, everyone else feels the same way”, so Abbott needs to “chin up” and “trust” them. The team is all gathering around their leader in his quest for justice, just like the SCU protected Jane when Abbott was threatening to arrest and stop him, even though they didn’t completely agree with the means he would be using. It’s a nice counterpoint and role reversal to their first meeting and in a way it concludes Abbott’s interactions with the unruly consultant. Once again, “trust” is the key word when interacting with the devilish consultant…

VIS#4: the reveal

After getting their much needed evidence (or rather fake evidence) on Peterson, Abbott goes to DC to reassure Lena. He knows that she’s terrified of the outcome but tells her that everything will be fine. His main argument is a declaration of faith, even though Lena states that they “need a miracle”: “I trust Jane and he hasn’t let me down so far”.

Unsurprisingly, Peterson is here too to sabotage Lena’s hearing. The change of dynamic and the tension between him and his former employee is palpable: he calls the younger man “Abbott” instead of “Dennis” as he used to patronize him with. It’s emphasized by the other man still calling him “Bill”, as a reminder of their former familiarity and an indirect way to let him know he’s not afraid of his threats… Indeed, both are holding two kinds of evidence above the other’s head: Bill has the ‘Copper Bullet’ he fished in the drug lord’s skull and Abbott has a series of photos of Peterson’s cat on an impressive heap of banknotes and firearms. He’s showing them his cell phone, which is also a nod to the fact that Jane has stolen the man’s phone earlier: he’s been doubly tricked… Abbott seems very self-assured and states “it seems we both have secrets. Cute kitty by the way.” Peterson is rightly stricken and frantically looks for an empty room to talk more privately; that alone is an implicit confession and he’s well aware of the danger of his situation.

Once alone with his unexpected blackmailer, he checks that Abbott has no listening device before remarking –rightly- that they’ve broken into his home to perform an illegal search. He’s not fooled by Dennis’ statement that he has people that will account for every minute of his time: he suspects that it was “Jane or one of those other idiots” but also knows that Abbott has won, because making a fuss over it will only cause an internal investigation from the DA, which could only prove fatal to him given his wrongdoings. He’s trapped in a corner and the only way out that he can see is to assume that Abbott is as greedy as he is, since he didn’t hesitate to maneuver him with a clever blackmail just like he did himself. He offers him half of his stash – roughly the amount that Jane had guessed, amusingly- which makes some very nice and much more solid evidence against him after Vega has recorded it. His spirit is further broken when he realizes the whole charade has been a huge double bluff: first, he’s been tricked into confessing his sins; then, he hasn’t even the bullet anymore. The woman he has given it too wasn’t the real one: it was Jane’s carnie friend Sam, Pete’s wife. Jane had an ace up his sleeve the whole time since he had Peterson’s bullet since the day before and he just kept going because he wanted to get the man too. Like Bill considered destroying Abbott as icing on the cake of his career plans, Jane had caught him too in addition of the incriminating evidence that could send his friend to jail. To get this result, he used a clever substitution, like in the previous episode, with a woman wearing a pink jacket like key witness Lily Stoppard did, although in a lighter shade. This enlightens Jane’s skills and sense of justice as well as the writers ability to still surprise viewers who might think they’re used to their tricks after years of watching them… Peterson makes his exit from Abbott’s life with that line from his former protégé: “Bill, I can’t say how much I’m happy to say this: you’re under arrest” and Jane stresses that it’s “wonderful to see the government at work”.

Yet that rather moral if entertaining conclusion doesn’t mask the similarities between the events and some classic hard-boiled detective story: a man (not so) wrongly accused of murder, a dirty cop, a team of loners getting outside the limits of the law to fight an adversary in position of authority… As much as Bill’s cow-boy hat and the arid deserted little cemetery had a vague Western movie flavor, added to Abbott’s friends helping him out against all odds like the characters in the ‘Alamo’ and ‘Rio Bravo’ movies, the whole setting is more oriented towards film noir.

More precisely, there is some very strong resemblance with ‘The Long Goodbye’, a 1973 neo-noir movie featuring private-eye Philip Marlowe. In this movie, the protagonist tries to help a friend, Terry Lennox, who Marlowe thinks is wrongly accused of murdering his wife, like Abbott. Even though said friend commits suicide in Mexico –the country Bill had gone to in order to find evidence-, Marlowe’s still trying to uncover the truth. Interestingly, the same kind of story-telling is involved: some seemingly haphazardly gathered plot elements without much connection with one another form a rather confusing series of events that only the ending makes sense of. Indeed, Marlowe realizes that Terry has not died and that he has manipulated him in order to cover his crimes. It’s the same kind of plot twist that we have at the end when Jane reveals that he was stringing Peterson all along with a fake contact to the Congressman: that fact alone makes the whole episode become meaningful in a new level because it explains what he asked for Pete’s help and why he was so confident all along, going as far as eating a banana in a crisis situation. He knew that he had Peterson eating out the palm of his hand already since Sam had got the bullet. Plus, the grey morality finds an interesting echo in the movie, as Augustine, a brutal gangster who was scammed by Terry, states that “it’s a minor crime, to kill your wife. The major crime is that he stole my money. Your friend stole my money, and the penalty for that is capital punishment”… isn’t that the same logic the characters are obeying to in the show? Bill’s long-standing thievery is considered more condemnable than Abbott’s murder, given both men’s personality. Bill’s deadly sin was greed, whereas Abbott’s action was a sacrifice for the sake of saving lives…

Some interesting details can be added to the comparison: the movie ends with Marlowe playing the harmonica after shooting Terry who told him “you’ll never learn, you’re a born loser”, just like Bill called the team “idiots” before his downfall and the episode finishes in music and dancing. A more intriguing detail is a running gag in the movie in the person of Marlowe’s tabby cat, who runs away after waking him up at an ungodly hour: the determining –and mocking- element Jane adds to the supposed photos to convince Peterson that it’s really his secret stash that they’ve been raiding is a grey tabby cat that has been running around the house and annoying Cho. The presence of that “cute kitty” in the house only enlightens how lonely Bill is when compared with Abbott and his team members: he’s divorced, there’s no one waiting for him at home except the feline and he has no friends, only marks and adversaries…

VIS#5: the ending

In direct opposition to this ghastly self-imposed isolation, Jane thanks his carnie makeshift family with a group hug in front of the elevator. After they refuse to let him drive them to the airport, they thank him for the “good, clean fun, like old times” and Sam takes that opportunity to get him to talk about his “sweetheart, that little brunette”: she adds her approbation to Pete’s by giving a piece of advice to Jane, “don’t screw it up, Patrick”, “life’s too short”. Interestingly, it could be interpreted too like a more cheerful echo to Jane’s fears about Lisbon’s safety…

The team decides to celebrate their victory by going to a country rock party and gather around a congratulatory drink, a bit like the SCU did once during case closed pizza with the expensive wine Jane smuggled out of the mansion in ‘Red Scare’. Abbott offers a thankful toast “to friends” and when he’s too moved to find his words, Lena supplies “we’re forever in your debt”. Like in ‘Red Scare’ too, the friendly rejoicing gets more romantic when Vega decides to drag her admirer to check out the waffle truck, reminding of how Van Pelt and her lovestruck Rigsby ended up making out the kitchen… Indeed, there’s no kissing here, but after a bit of teasing about their respective mad driving during the dash to outrun Peterson, Vega quickly changes her mind and insists on dancing, taking Wylie by surprise.
Cho’s in for a surprise too when Abbott comments that he’d be moving to DC in a couple of months to join Lena and when he tells the stoic man: “the unit, it’s yours. You’ll be in charge” “and I think you’re gonna do a great job”. Both seal the deal by chucking and shaking hands and Dennis too leaves to dances with his “baby”: he prefers his love over his career. Jane and Lisbon are happy for Cho and, hand on his back, Teresa sincerely congratulates her former employee turned future boss. Jane adds “you deserve it”. Maybe embarrassed by this emotional moment, Cho gets up smiling to get another taco, leaving the main couple alone.

Lisbon takes this opportunity to finish the conversation they were having at the beginning, about his manipulations to protect her. Jane’s half-heartedly tries to change the subject: “it got busy. Life throws you curve balls”, but this new game metaphor doesn’t distract Lisbon. She tells him that it’s “serious”, the same reproach she made when Jane was sprawled on his couch after talking to Abbott: given that he was already thinking of a plan to get the man out of trouble, one can wonder if he’s not trying to avoid getting back in trouble himself by broaching the terrifying topic with her. The man indeed doesn’t need to be reminded that the situation is serious on both accounts: he’s serious enough about it to want to downplay it in front of her, probably because he’s afraid she won’t understand. However, she gets to the heart of the problem: “I love you. And I also love what I do. You can’t be jealous of that.” She’s misunderstood his intentions, and, after some poking from her, he finally explains “I don’t want to lose you. I don’t know how I would react”. Lisbon acknowledges that neither of them knows what the future has in store for them, yet she prefers to “focus on what’s going on right now. Right here. It’s good. It’s very, very good”. In order to make him happier, she even offers him to dance and he replies “okay, one dance” She wants two which makes him tease “everything is a negotiation with you”. Which it is actually, since she gives as much as she demands from him and it’s probably the best thing that happened to him for a long time; nevertheless, that little repartee is also proof that this talk is not finished yet… He’s just letting her comfort him like he did in ‘The White of His Eyes’ when she was repeating him that everything would be fine before luring him to bed. The episode ends on a sweet note though, since they’re dancing like they were at the end of ‘Rose Colored Glasses’…

All in all, that ending feels very much like a conclusion. Again, it makes one think to the movie ‘The Long Goodbye’, which a famous catchphrase visible on its poster “nothing says goodbye like a bullet”. This ‘Copper Bullet’ may mean too that something has ended. Abbott is planning to leave happily to greener fields, Cho is on the verge of becoming the new team leader. His status towards his friends and the team dynamics are changing: for instance in relation to Lisbon, he’s now gotten seniority over her as well as a six-months full training that she didn’t go through when Jane made her part of his deal (as mentioned in ‘My Blue Heaven’). Lisbon is therefore relegated at a less official status, as a simple team member as well as Jane’s partner in work and in their private life. She’s getting a particular standing with the tricks Jane’s been teaching her and that’s becoming more apparent after her repeated psychic acts.

On the other hand, Lisbon’s position regarding her relationship has also slightly shifted: they’re not official yet, but it’s getting here. She’s not afraid to dance in pubic with him, at the risk of someone noticing: she’s even insisting, although she was the one who asked him to keep quiet about their love affair… Slowly, her couple is becoming more important than her career in her eyes. Being a cop is still a defining trait of her character in her mind, but it’s becoming more apparent that it’s a security blanket, a manifestation and justification of that fixer persona she’s build to help her get over her grief. Indeed, she’s now accepting to collaborate in Jane’s illegal actions, his tricks, all things she used to held against him in the first seasons when she was more by-the-book. She’s learnt to understand and to share his motivations and methods. Her career is no longer her priority, since she’s sincerely happy for her former subordinate: she doesn’t feel slighted. Could she slowly become accustomed to the idea of changing her life style, in spite of her protestations?

Jane too is changing, since he’s made an effort to reach out to his past and seeks the approbation for what remains of his family and, through them, of Angela. The comparison with ‘The Long Goodbye’ is particularly interesting here, since the other Phillip Marlowe story alluded to in the show was ‘The Maltese Falcon’ that served as a plot basis for ‘Cackle-Bladder Blood’. It was in that episode that Sammy and Pete made their very first appearance, along with Danny Ruskin, Angela’s brother, who was seething with anger, resentment and guilt. Now, the bitterness is solved: Jane’s gotten his family’s approbation and their help in his plan. From that meeting with Danny, to the talk about Barlow, the letters they smuggled to Lisbon and now their full acceptance, his friends have been less and less antagonistic. They represent what Jane’s feeling about himself in regard to his sorrow: moving on is acceptable now. He’s slowly admitting that he deserves happiness, hence the mention of his no-longer as meaningful wedding ring. His meeting with the imaginary ghost of Charlotte had been a way to talk himself into letting go of his revenge in order to focus on his life and find someone who would love him. Now, he’s still asking permission to his dead loved ones to let what they shared behind in order to build something new.

Vega has also set her boundaries: after keeping asking Cho if he was giving her the cold shoulder because she had done something wrong, which has been the dynamic she had been used to with him, she’s the one who realized that he is not responsible for her. It’s a reply to her seeking a fatherly figure in her job environment: now, she’s proven that she’s ready to make her own decisions. She’s become more independent and she doesn’t seek approbation on her choices. She’s grown emotionally. Her actions also echo her questions about Jane’s methods: she’s not wondering about the trick, she’s accepts that she’s a member of this team. In regard to Wylie too, her behavior has changed. The roles are somewhat reversed between them because he’s no longer making a move on her, but she’s been observing him when she was still in the dark about the situation and when he’d been avoiding her. She’s the one teasing him. She’s inviting him to eat something with her, in a private moment reminiscent of their game session in the previous episode, then to dance, with more romantic undertones. She’s setting him apart. Thus, on her side too, something has ended and a major change is occurring.

Under the appearance of a happy moment almost frozen in time, the team as we know it is telling goodbye and, in a way, Abbott’s cheerful toast to friendship is a faint echo to darker times, when the SCU too was holding a toast to their fallen comrade Sam Bosco in ‘His Red Right Hand’…

Pet Peeves

-Has Jane given back Peterson’s cell phone? How come the man didn’t suspect anything, after seeing first-hand his modus operandi of manipulating objects in ‘Green Light’?

-I understand that a bullet makes a very symbolic and meaningful piece of evidence against Abbott, but why hasn’t he just gotten rid of the gun that would have incriminated him instead? And how did Peterson justify that there hadn’t been any investigation when the murder occurred?

Mentalist Green Light Review


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

Concise Verdict

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

Detailed AKA Humungous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS#1: Abbott gets in trouble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) … on the case

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

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

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

2) … with Abbott

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

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

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

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

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

3) … and with Vega

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

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

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

The Ending

1) Abbott

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

2) Vega

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

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

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

3) Lisbon’s gift

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

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

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