Review of Episode 5×04: Blood Feud
Overall: Whoa, only four episodes in, and already we have another emotionally-charged, character-driven storyline – way to go, Season Five! Lots to love in this one, including getting to see Ben for the first time (finally!), a couple of nice Cho/Jane scenes, plus some hardcore drama and major screen time for Rigsby (‘bout time!) and the awesome return of La Roche. Since this was Rigsby’s episode, it seems fitting to start off with his character this week:
Rigsby: Owain knocked this one out of the park, no question about it. I could feel everything that Rigsby was going through, from fear for his father’s life to the painful mix of loyalty/hate/love that Rigsby grapples with every time he interacts with his dad. The numb shock of loss and the raw, hot need for vengeance were all perfectly portrayed, culminating in a roller-coaster episode.
I love that we finally got to meet cute little Ben, and that we also got some info on the current situation with Sarah. The scene with Rigsby and his dad sitting in the bar together, having beers and looking at pictures of the baby, was probably the most emotional one for me – the conflict and uncertainty in Rigsby’s eyes, the desire to love and be loved by his father, coupled with the fear of being hurt once again was devastating to watch. And then his dad died…
I like how each member of the team found their own way to comfort him, from Van Pelt’s hug to Lisbon’s assertion that they would find the shooter to Cho and Jane’s quiet, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of this…” I feel like everyone tried to support him the best way they knew how. However, whether Jane (and Cho) did right by Rigsby, giving him that opportunity to kill his father’s killer, remains to be seen. Which brings us to:
La Roche: Loved seeing him again – he is super-cool and such fun to watch on screen. At the end, when he broke down Jane’s plan, I was a little shocked. When Rigsby showed up at the gym, I didn’t know who had called him, but quickly put it from my mind as the action climaxed. Hearing La Roche lay out all the steps Jane had taken to orchestrate the whole scenario kind of blew me away – I guessed who the killer was (and his motive) fairly early on, so there was no surprise there, but that ending was a jolt.
It is in keeping with Jane’s character (and Cho’s) that they would deliberately give Rigsby this opportunity – Jane’s always been very eye-for-an-eye, and Cho used to be in a gang himself, so he fully appreciates the concept of retribution. And yet, La Roche’s condemnation of these actions rang true, and I found myself siding with his interpretation of the events – that Rigsby may have thought he wanted revenge now, but who knows how he’ll feel later. His dad had just died. Lisbon was right to take him off the case, and Cho and Jane should not have brought him back in, no matter how much Rigsby wanted them to. They put him in a situation he was not ready for, and now he’ll have to deal with the fallout. Justified though the shooting was, Rigsby, who had a strong ulterior motive, should not have been the one to pull the trigger. Later, when he was holding Ben and crying at the end of the episode, my heart just broke for him, not only because he was mourning for his father, but because he was maybe mourning a little for himself, wondering if the pursuit of revenge had made him more like his dad than he ever wanted to be.
Jane: He got a few light moments in this ep (“There used to be a man attached to this needle – do you know where he went?”), but not too many. I liked how that little doggie’s tail just started whipping back and forth the instant he saw Jane. As sweet as Jane is with animals, though, he’s even sweeter with babies – methinks we need to see him holding/interacting with Ben very soon. It’s a crime we had to wait this long to even catch a glimpse of that cute little redhead.
As far as the more serious aspects of the episode, I like how this one focused on consequences. At the mention of Rigsby’s separation from Sarah, we see how drastically one of Jane’s schemes has impacted the life of one of his team members. Jane’s methods are often extreme, and it is important that the show illustrates, at least from time to time, how far-reaching the consequences can be. Jane usually gets the result he wants, but often does not acknowledge the price for other people (e.g. in “Ball of Fire,” Jane did not think of how badly he was damaging the killer’s daughter, by using her to get her father’s confession.)
I do believe Jane thought he was doing the right thing, calling Rigsby to the scene and setting up a situation where Rigsby would likely have to use lethal force against his father’s murderer. It’s what Jane himself would want, if the situation was reversed. It’s been what, ten years since his family was killed? And Jane still wants Red John’s head impaled on a pointy stick. But I think he didn’t realize–at least until La Roche pointed it out—that to assume Rigsby would still want the ultimate revenge after his emotions calmed down was a mistake. Jane put a raw, grief-stricken man into a situation he had no business being in. I do like Jane’s point that “it’s better to regret doing something than to regret not doing something,” but I like La Roche’s point even better: Rigsby will never get the chance to find out.
Cho: How wonderful to see him and Jane get a little time together. They have a great chemistry whenever they’re paired up – this nice, subtle blend of humor and deep understanding. Cho gets Jane. Especially in this situation, they were very much in tune–their brains were almost on the same wavelength. I think Cho believes in payback almost as much as Jane does, and I believe both men were trying to do right by Rigsby…they just went about it the wrong way.
Lisbon: She was a great boss and a great friend in the episode. Taking Rigsby off the case was definitely the smartest move. The way she handled those extremely sexist comments from Rigsby’s dad, so cool and professional and completely unfazed, made me proud. Her loyalty to Jane, trying to take the blame for him at the end, made me love her and worry for her at the same time. I don’t want La Roche to be right, that Lisbon’s loyalty to and love for team is her greatest weakness. I’m glad Jane didn’t let her take the fall for him this time. Her career has taken enough hits for him as it is.
Van Pelt: Loved her tenderness towards Rigsby. I think she is the only one on the team without major Daddy issues (at least, none that we know of yet). It was nice to see the “coach’s daughter” in her come out, as she gave pointers in the gym. I do wish she’d been a bit cleverer, maybe able to recognize that the gym owner was a little too helpful (i.e. not on the up and up), but that’s okay – this season is making me hopeful that she’ll have her day in the sun. Hopefully, they all will.
Last thoughts: An emotional and thought-provoking episode that made me reflect on the complexity of family bonds and the far-reaching (and sometimes unforeseen) consequences our actions can have. Did Jane and Cho do the right thing in this ep? Not necessarily. But do they–and Van Pelt and Lisbon–love Rigsby and try their best to support him? Hell, yeah. The team was a true family in this one, and that is something I love to see.