Review of Episode 5×12: “Little Red Corvette” AKA “Slime Goes Down”
Overall: If I had to pick one word to describe this episode, it would be “different.” For the most part, I felt like I was watching a crime movie, rather than an episode of The Mentalist. A lot of screen time was devoted to what the bad guys were up to (which we normally wouldn’t see much of) and there wasn’t the usual “whodunit” element present, either. We already knew who did it, so the entire focus of the episode was on how the team could catch the slippery eel responsible for all these murders. That said, “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad,” and while 5×12 was not standard Mentalist fare, there were still plenty of things to love about the episode.
Lisbon: Justice, at last! What a cleansing moment, to see Lisbon finally snap those shiny cuffs around Volker’s wrists. She got to shoot him and punch him, too, but those were just bonuses. The arrest was the big win. It was hard to watch everything she had to go through to get to that moment, though – one witness fleeing the country, another witness stonewalling and then committing suicide, Volker clearing out those offices right after CBI got the warrant to search them (When Lisbon smashed that vase on the floor, my heart shattered, too…).
It was a rough ride, made all the more bumpy by the fact that Lisbon was clearly uncomfortable with some of the underhanded methods she had to use to get what she wanted. Lying to a judge? Blackmailing the Deputy District Attorney? Yikes. These are things Jane would do without even blinking, but with Lisbon, you could just tell that the level she was sinking to repulsed her. There was an interesting discussion last week on Paint It Red about what this Volker storyline might mean in terms of the show’s overall arc: Is it meant to bring Lisbon closer to Jane’s line of thinking – that going outside of the law is sometimes necessary to bring down the bad guy? If this is the case, I’d say Lisbon’s still a far cry from being okay with Jane killing Red John – she got her hands a little dirty in this ep, but there isn’t any blood on them, yet. Only time will tell if she will follow Jane into even murkier waters, or lead him back into the light.
Jane: Wow, two episodes in a row of mature, supportive Jane. I think my brain just imploded. Is our favorite Mentalist growing up? It sure seemed that way when he quietly listened to Lisbon’s pain, and then sat down to help her sift through boxes of evidence. I can’t get enough of this new Jane, who is being a real friend to Lisbon – listening to her, helping her, showing genuine concern for her. I also loved the way Jane stood up to Volker when the Slimebag paraded into the CBI to fake-gloat – Jane’s speech not only wiped the smug smile from Volker’s face, but also brought Lisbon back from the verge of frustrated tears.
One of the other great elements of this ep – the little boy. Here we have Volker, this ultra-powerful, ultra-rich, ultra-scary dude who gets whatever he wants by killing whoever won’t give it to him, who can murder a whole tribe of people and get away with it, who can make grown men commit suicide with a few words, and somehow, at the end of the day, a nine-year-old kid ends up being the one person who can take this guy down. That was awesome. I really liked how Marvin was at the center of it all, and how each one of the bad guys drew their own moral lines when it came to killing the boy. Hitman #2 secretly refused to do the deed. Hitman #3 openly refused to do the deed. Brenda, however, did hand over the file with Marvin’s picture, knowing full well that she was sentencing the boy to death. Her discomfort means nothing, because she still handed over the file. She was willing to let a child be murdered. And Volker, naturally, had no problem with dragging a kicking and screaming child out of zoo exhibit and shooting him on the spot. Volker’s only irritation was at having to do the dirty work himself, for once. There are different shades of evil at work here, different levels of wrong.
Getting back to Jane: whenever he has a scene with another parent who’s lost a child, it kinda takes my breath away. To have that shared loss between them, that understanding no one else could ever fathom…I loved Jane’s raw honesty when he spoke to Marvin’s mother. I also love that Jane was the one focused on the missing boy for the whole episode, and that, in the end, Jane was the one to bring him home. It just felt right.
Cho/Rigs/Van Pelt: Not a huge amount of screen time for the terrific trio, but still some memorable moments, including: The flat diet soda scene between Cho and Rigsby (Trivia: How long has it been since we’ve gotten a nice, light partner moment between these guys? Answer: Too long.) I treasured that little gem. Also treasured the few short scenes where Rigsby and Jane teamed up to identify Hitman #2. A Jane/Rigs partnership is rare, and I love it like crazy when the show mixes and matches the characters a bit. It lets us see some fresh, new dynamics. Another bit to squee about: Rigsby was the one to notice the zoo field trip flyer on the refrigerator! Even though Ben’s too young for school, I’m sure Rigsby’s already well-accustomed to activity scheduling, custody sharing, daycare plans…Basically, just knowing where the kid is and what he’s doing at all times. Rigsby’s “daddy instincts” are fully honed, and it helped him notice a detail that saved Marvin’s life.
Brenda: The reveal about her working for Volker was kinda underwhelming, probably just because I wasn’t that attached to her character. Watching her hand over a child to a murderer was creepy, though. And even though her slimy boss will be behind bars, now, I still fully view her as a threat to Lisbon and Co, most especially if Volker has ties to Red John. After all, this is a woman who willingly entered into a relationship with a mass murderer, so yeah, I’ll be keeping an eye on her.
Final Thoughts: Love: Supportive!Jane, kid-centered storylines, Cho/Rigsby partner-y goodness, genuine two-sided Jane/Lisbon friendship, unusual team member match-ups, and Lisbon taking down Slime. Don’t Love: Screen time for people I don’t care about, Murky!Lisbon, and low usage of supporting cast members. Curious About: Where this is all going. What purpose does Volker serve in the grand scheme of things? How does this story tie in to Red John and his eventual capture? I’m hoping the Powers That Be have an awesome, well-woven arc for us this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing everything come together.