Mentalist Review: Episode 5×18 “Behind the Red Curtain”

Review of Episode 5×18: “Behind the Red Curtain” (AKA “Forty-eight minutes of adequately-interesting investigation followed by four minutes of HOLY CRAP!”)
by castiello

Overall: Anyone else getting the whole Jane = Wile E. Coyote, Red John = Roadrunner vibe? Though Jane put in an honest effort, I’m not sure he really made any progress in identifying Red John. While “The Red Barn” had a definite feeling of forward motion, this episode once again had poor Jane running in circles…:( On the plus side, we had not one but two very happy reunions, plus a well-constructed case. And, although Jane may not have gotten much new info, the audience got a truckload dumped on us, so all in all, not a bad hour of TV.

Jane: Can I just say that I love how he can solve a case using roughly two percent of his brain, while the rest of his mind is busy at work on other problems? Also, I gotta have some respect for his unwillingness to give up: even though all signs pointed to the fact that Coma Guy, aka Jason Lennon, would not survive to talk to Jane, Jane still super-glued himself to that hospital hallway anyway, hoping against hope. I wasn’t sure if he could trust the nurse he’d befriended, but it turned out she was the only one at that hospital he could trust, and her instincts regarding Kirkland and Co. (“like monsters about to rip off their masks and show their gross, alien faces underneath”) were dead on. I also kinda loved how she was all, “I know you’re using me, and yet I don’t care.” I feel the same way. If Jane smiled at me and took me out for lunch every day, I’d probably tell him anything he wanted to know. Just goes to show how powerful that glow around him really is. When he turns up the charm, 99% of the female population is helpless to resist.

Lisbon: Hmmmmmm. A rare part of the 1% who can resist the Master of Charm…sometimes. In this episode she was gloomy. She did not want Jane at that hospital, and I had to ask myself why:

Option One: She was just trying to keep Jane from obsessing, because it’s unhealthy and all that jazz.

Maybe, but this was a unique situation – a living Red John accomplice within reach. Surely, Lisbon could see that this was a little different than Jane sitting in his attic, rereading his notebook for the one thousandth time. This was a real lead, and a good one. So, why was she so keen on keeping him away?

Option Two: Lisbon predicted the outcome – that RJ would somehow get to Lennon first and kill him – and was trying to spare Jane the pain of yet another anvil falling on his head.

Possible, but it kind of goes against Lisbon’s typical positive and hopeful attitude. She is usually the one saying “We’ll get him,” “Hardy will talk,” “This is a good clue.” To think that she was expecting Red John to win again is a bad sign. Almost like she’s giving up, and I hate that idea, so, moving on:

Option Three: Lisbon didn’t want Jane to get in trouble with the FBI/Homeland Security for hanging around a restricted-access prisoner.

A more likely option, because she does really care about Jane keeping his job. However, when Jane got caught skulking around the hospital, the punishment was minimal. Basically, he was told to leave and escorted out. I didn’t feel that he was in any danger of getting sacked, so why would Lisbon be so concerned?

Option Four: Thinking back to April Grey’s comments a few months ago, I couldn’t help but consider one last option: That maybe, just maybe, Lisbon has been compromised. That somehow, against her will, she has been hypnotized or brainwashed into doing Red John’s bidding, and that the only reason she wanted Jane out of that hospital is so that he wouldn’t be able to talk to Lennon.

A scary option, but that’s what makes it fun! I would totally freak the heck out if Lisbon had been turned, and the storyline following that revelation would be a rollercoaster of must-see, hate-it-but-love-it TV. Of course, I say this secure in the knowledge that any such hypnosis or brainwashing would be reversible, and our beloved Lisbon would be as unaccountable for her actions as Rigsby was in “Russet Potatoes.”

Cho/Rigs/Van Pelt (!!!!!): She’s baaaaaaaaaaaack! YAY! That moment when VP was just standing in the background, all glowy and happy to be back home – I think my soul fluttered its wings. Beautiful, wonderful reunion scene with her and Rigsby. True, Rigs, Cho and VP didn’t have a huge amount of screen time in this one, but just the fact that she’s back, the fact that she was so warmly and wonderfully received, totally made up for it. I am officially a pile of goo.

LaRoche: Always, always a pleasure to have him onscreen. The actor has a presence, and I can’t help but be enthralled. I love him for his fierce competence at his job, his reluctant affection for Jane and Co, and his complete awkwardness in any situation outside of his comfort zone. Jane was right to bring him in on this investigation, forcing LaRoche to breathe some fresh air and interact with some human beings. Jane learned the importance of that from Lisbon, and it’s lovely to see him passing on the lesson.

Kirkland: What the heck? No, seriously, what the HECK? If anyone can make sense of the last four minutes of this episode, I’m all ears. I mean, I’ve got plenty of theories, but most of them are about as likely as Jane giving up his pursuit of Red John and joining the Ice Capades.

Theory One: Kirkland is Red John, but he had never interacted with Lennon personally. Kirkland decided to make sure his identity was still a secret before killing Lennon either out of mercy, or because Lennon was a loose end who possessed damaging info on Red John’s organization.

Theory Two: Kirkland is Red John, but he uses some form of hypnosis/mind control/disguise to prevent his minions from clearly seeing his face. He checked to make sure that Lennon’s coma had not jarred loose any memories of Red John’s actual appearance, then killed him either out of mercy, because he possessed dangerous info, or because Jane would have eventually been able to undo the mind control/hypnosis protecting Red John’s identity. (Special Note: The idea behind this theory came from a wonderful fanfic called “Reverie by Cho” (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5424258/1/Reverie-by-Cho) which everyone should read for the sheer awesomeness of getting to imagine Jane and Co. as superheroes).

Theory Three: Kirkland is a Red John minion. He wanted to make sure his identity as a RJ disciple had not been revealed to lower members of the group. Once secure in this knowledge, he killed Lennon on Red John’s orders.

Theory Four: Kirkland is a good guy. He is either a mole in the Red John organization, trying to bring the serial killer down, or simply a DHS Agent with lots of insider knowledge. He killed Lennon to stop Jane from identifying and going after Red John prematurely.

Although all of these are total straw-reachers, my favorites are Two and Four. I am totally open to hearing any less-insane theories, though, if anybody has some of those for sale.

Randomness: The case was good. Unpredictable, with a side of real emotion. The motive for the killing seemed a little weak, but I guess desperate psycho people will do desperate psycho things. I loved the mother-daughter angle, even though they’ve used similar storylines in the past. One thing I did roll my eyes at: why did the soon-to-be murder victim tell the murderer she was going to expose him? Don’t any of these characters watch TV? You never tell the murderer you’re going to call the police. You never announce to your lover that you’re going to tell his wife about the affair. Think, people. Think.

Overall: Despite the general and frustrating lack of progress on the Red John front, we do know one thing for certain: Kirkland is a killer. And it shouldn’t take Jane long to arrive at this same conclusion. The nurse will know Kirkland was alone with Lennon. Jane himself saw Kirkland leaving the room after Lennon coded. It’s not rocket science, and surely Kirkland must realize this. Does he want Jane to know he’s a killer? Does he want Jane to know he’s the Killer, the infamous and long-sought Red John Himself? I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out… 🙂

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