Mentalist Review: Episode 5×16 “There Will be Blood”

Review of Episode 5×16: “There Will be Blood”
by castiello

Overall: Raw and gruesome, just like any good Red John episode should be. There was torture, there was murder, there were answers given and even more questions raised. Loyalties were tested. Friendships were tested. Emotions ran high in this exciting and action-packed installment of the Red John Saga.

Jane: For the most part, he made me proud. He’s been doing that a lot lately. In this episode he was truly, visibly upset that Lorelei had killed someone. He felt responsible for her actions, since he was the one who set her free. As Lorelei pointed out, Jane is not as cold-hearted as he would like everyone to believe. This gives me hope for his future. Buckets and buckets full of hope.

Some other things that give me hope: Jane was honest with Lisbon about meeting with Lorelei. Jane said “thank you” to Lisbon for covering his butt (even though he most certainly didn’t deserve it). Jane called Rigsby immediately after figuring out who the Red John minion was. Jane also called Lisbon right away to let her know Rigsby was in trouble, and checked on Rigsby before entering the suspect’s house. As badly as Jane wanted to get inside that house, he put the needs and safety of others above his own personal vendetta. The softer side of our favorite consultant is in full view this season, and I could not be more ecstatic. I know he’ll always be an egomaniac, and I would never want that part of him to change, but his capacity for kindness and empathy gives him balance. Without it, he’s just an annoyingly brilliant detective with a great smile.

Considering how nice Jane was in this episode, it was pretty awful to see him get betrayed like that. It hurt when Lorelei wouldn’t give up Red John. If killing Red John was her goal, why not tell Jane the name and they could hunt him together? It was foolish, going after Red John alone, and Jane told her as much. Of course Red John was watching Lorelei’s every move. He’s always twenty steps ahead. She never even had a chance.

And then, on top of the betrayal, Lorelei shot Jane’s one remaining lead. Watching Jane perform CPR on that guy, hearing Jane’s voice break as he said he couldn’t find a pulse, seeing him yelling and screaming when the paramedics took the guy away…brutal stuff. I can’t even blame Jane for being that paranoid, because he has a right to be. Red John has minions everywhere. Ten bucks says Jane never sees that guy again.

Despite all the hopeful signs regarding Jane’s character, there was one unsettling note. One line that gave me a little shudder – the last line of the episode. After seeing Lorelei’s bloody corpse, complete with the trademark smiley face on the wall, Jane said something to the effect of “She had it coming.” And then he just walked away. Any way you look at that last scene, it’s pretty cold – especially as he had admitted to having some unspecified feelings for Lorelei earlier in the episode. Some interpretations of Jane’s line are more disturbing than others, though. He may have simply meant “Lorelei had it coming because she was torturing and killing people herself.” What goes around comes around, right? Karmic justice and all that. I think Lorelei even said the same thing after she killed Julia in the beginning of the episode: “She had it coming. She helped murder my sister.” Or, maybe Jane simply meant that Lorelei was a fool for taking on Red John alone. She wouldn’t heed Jane’s warning, and ended up dead because of it. She had it coming. But what if Jane actually meant “After stringing me along and betraying me, after denying me what she promised and then shooting my only lead, she deserved what she got”? That one gives me the most chills. I don’t think Lorelei deserved to die just for betraying Jane (if the situation were reversed, don’t tell me Jane wouldn’t have done the same thing), but maybe Jane does think this. And as warm as he was for the whole rest of the episode, he was stone-friggin-cold at the end…

Lisbon: All I can say is, I really hope there was nothing extremely flammable in the vicinity during her scenes with Jane, because I saw some serious sparks. When these two really dig deep, when they peel things right down to the nerve, it’s absolutely electric. Lisbon gave Jane an ultimatum: if you’re going to continue operating outside of the law, you’re going to have to leave the team. Jane countered with the truth: I will do whatever it takes to catch Red John, and you have known this from Day One.

In the end, Lisbon sided with Jane, covering up his meeting with Lorelei and lying about the circumstances of Lorelei’s escape. I honestly can’t blame Lisbon for hiding the truth from the likes of Bertram and Kirkland. Considering all of the inside jobs Red John has pulled off, Lisbon would be a fool to trust her slippery, politics-oriented boss. She would be a complete idiot to trust Kirkland, some guy she barely knows who won’t even explain what he’s doing on the case. Lisbon is smart to put her trust in her team, and her team alone.

I did feel bad about Jane making her an accessory to murder, though. Not just bad – like, really crappy. I believe his claim that he didn’t think Lorelei would kill anyone, but still. It’s a nasty position he’s put Lisbon in, having to choose between her love of the law and her loyalty to her friend. She was in this same exact position with Bosco years ago, and loyalty won back then, too. In this case, I don’t really think Lisbon had enough evidence to turn Jane in, even if she wanted to. But she certainly could have changed the focus of the investigation, and eventually some evidence of Jane’s involvement would have turned up.

At least Jane had the decency to say “thank you.” I get why Lisbon didn’t want to accept his thanks, though – it made her feel dirty. She knows what she did was wrong, even if she had good reasons (Jane is a friend, the person Lorelei killed was a freakish murderer, and Kirkland can be trusted about as far as you can throw a piano). Lisbon is the last person who’d ever want to dress up a crime as a good deed. She was disgusted with herself, and it showed.

As angry as she was, though, we got to see at least as much of Lisbon’s gentle side as we did Jane’s. The tenderness in her voice when she wanted to take over CPR, and that devastated expression on her face as she came up to the attic to tell Jane about Lorelei. Some phenomenal acting on that last bit, especially – I mean, Lisbon didn’t even have to say anything, because I already knew. And the whole scene gave me some major X-Files déjà vu: remember the scene where Scully comes to tell Mulder that Diana Fowley’s been murdered? Same emotion. You could just see it written all over Scully’s face.

Rigsby/Cho: In a dark and twisty episode, at least these guys got some light moments, talking about what “computer stuff” Van Pelt might be up to. And even after Rigsby got hurt, there was still a bit of comedy: Cho “You all right?” Rigs: “Not really…” Cho (to Lisbon): “He’ll be fine.” Of course, Rigsby did not look the least bit “fine” at that moment, but I think the fact that he was talking and saying he wasn’t fine made Cho believe that his partner was okay. With some people, guys especially, they’ll say they’re okay when they’re at death’s door, but moan over a paper cut. If Rigsby was seriously injured, he likely would’ve been more stoic about it.

Bertram: Bertram, you slippery, sly dog, secretly reporting to Kirkland like that. Bertram is one of those characters that I’ll never be able to trust. He’ll always have an ulterior, self-serving motive. Now, whether that motive is to boost his career by catching Red John or boost his career by serving Red John, we may never know. But if I had to leave my life in the hands of Bertram or some random dude on the street, Street Dude’s got it.

Kirkland: Oooh, he’s creeping it up again. I like it! He engaged me whenever he was onscreen, and even seemed to have a weirder look and vibe to him than in his previous appearances. He used to have facial hair…didn’t he? The clean-shaven look is doing wonders for his “ick” factor. I still don’t know if he’s Red John, but at least in this episode I felt like he would do the character some justice.

Lorelei: I’ll miss her. Yeah, I know, I’m one of about two fans who actually liked this character, but I’ll miss her, nonetheless. I’m glad we got to see so many sides of her in this episode – we saw someone who’s a ruthless murderer, someone who is comfortable torturing others, someone who does actually care about Jane’s feelings (to an extent), someone who does care about innocent lives (she wouldn’t shoot the children in the way of her target, and only wounded the cop), someone who deeply loved her sister, and, in the end, someone who is as self-serving as Jane himself. Though most of the fandom is probably still singing “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead,” I will take a moment to mourn this character who was complex, well-cast (hey, she was cute enough that I still liked her, even when she was zapping people with a stun-gun), and made every episode in which she appeared a topsy-turvy, unpredictable ride.

Randomness: Speaking of unpredictable, whoever cast this ep did a great job. By including at least two “big name” actors in the group of board members, the casting director made it that much harder for the audience to guess who the Red John minion would turn out to be. My money was actually on Emmanuelle Vaugier. She was definitely dialing up the weird, just to throw people off :). Also, Jane’s line about “I only tell you what I’m doing about thirty percent of the time” was priceless. And so true. One of the most interesting things in this whole episode, for me, was the location where Lorelei’s body was found. Was that carnival/funhouse stuff lying around that storage facility? Carnival, as in how Jane grew up? Hmmm…

Final thoughts: Intensity. Unpredictability. High emotion, high stakes, high risk. When our characters are faced with a tough situation, we get to see who’s really trustworthy…and who’s not. Who’s willing to bend the law, and who isn’t. We get to see who puts friendship first, and who puts revenge above all else. In “There Will Be Blood,” we got to see a lot – and I liked what I saw. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Mentalist Review: Episode 5×14 “Red in Tooth and Claw”

Review of Episode 5×14: “Red in Tooth and Claw” (AKA “Ultimate Death-Match: T-Rex vs. Triceratops!”)
by castiello

Overall: Cho and Rigsby duked it out over their favorite dinos, Lisbon went to bat for her youngest team member, Van Pelt got all geeky about a computer class, and Jane danced mental circles around a group of over-stressed grad students. Despite a predictable case, this episode had just enough humor, sweetness, and team involvement to make it memorable.

Lisbon: She fainted at the sight of a worm-festooned corpse…What’s up with that? It seemed highly out of character for this normally-unflappable and non-squeamish agent. I can’t ever remember Lisbon being “icked out” by a body before. Jane, yes – but not Lisbon. Usually when a woman faints on television, it means her character’s either pregnant, or seriously ill. However, the moment seemed to be played purely for comedy, with no follow-up mentions that would typically come after illness- or pregnancy-induced swooning. Therefore, I took it as a weird, not-quite-in-character moment that most likely doesn’t have any further significance in the series (other than letting the audience know that Lisbon has an issue with crawly things).

One of the things I loved about this episode: the way Lisbon talked about Van Pelt. There was clear affection in Lisbon’s voice as she told Bertram how much Van Pelt had been gushing over White Hat. And in a way, I’m kind of glad Lisbon didn’t send Jane to help Bertram with his poker face. Bertram told Lisbon there was no money for the training program, and she took him at his word. It didn’t occur to her that if she got Bertram in a better mood, the funds might magically appear. I like that she still has enough integrity not to think of manipulation as a solution for every problem. That said, I also like that Bertram gave her credit for a plan she didn’t come up with. She has out-maneuvered him in the past, and it’s good that he sees her as someone who can go toe-to-toe with him and come out on top.

Jane: Sometimes, I feel like Jane is my kid. Sometimes, he acts so selfish, spoiled or immature that I just want to cringe. Sometimes, when he gets out of his car at a crime scene, I want to say, “Please, please don’t embarrass me…” In this episode, however, he did the exact opposite: he made me proud. Here, we enjoyed the return of gift-bearing Jane (it’s been a long time since those fancy watches and necklaces…) and helpful Jane, a guy who – without being asked – goes out of his way to do something kind for his friends. In teaching Bertram how to win at poker, Jane helped both Van Pelt and Lisbon. It didn’t risk anyone’s life or cost anyone anything (except that one judge), and was possibly one of the nicest things Jane’s done in a good long time. Any time that Jane is thinking of others, rather than himself, is a time to celebrate!

I did feel his hurt, though, that no one said “thank you” for the gifts. That was kind of rude. Sure, the presents weren’t as expensive as the ugly watches, but in a way the dinosaurs were much more thoughtful – he picked out something he thought each team member would appreciate. If Van Pelt had been there, I have no doubt she would’ve said “Thanks, Jane!” with a big grin on her face. One thing I did question, however: Where was Lisbon’s gift? Or, maybe poker lessons with Bertram were the gift. Getting to tell Van Pelt they’d secured the funding for White Hat was probably the best present Lisbon could’ve received.

Van Pelt: Her excitement about White Hat made me excited for her! I could feel her gloom when she thought she wouldn’t get to go, but I knew it would work out in the end. I think the writers found a good explanation for her character’s absence – it fits with her expertise, and could make for some really cool storylines when she gets back. She’ll be able to help solve cases even faster with her super-awesome hacking skills – hey, maybe she can even hack the Visualize database and get Jane the info about the Ellison farm! The only thing that bothered me about VP’s storyline in this episode is that maybe the writers could have thrown in a mention or two about White Hat earlier in the season, so it didn’t just pop up out of nowhere.

Cho/Rigs: These guys were at it again with their hilarious banter, arguing over whose dinosaur was better. They gave the ep a healthy injection of humor (Cho: “I stopped asking questions a long time ago…” Rigs: “Don’t play with spiders, kids!”) but also balanced it out with the first serious mention of Rigsby’s feelings for Van Pelt in a couple years. I was one of the people who actually didn’t mind how quickly Rigs and VP got together romantically – or how quickly they broke up. In the seasons since then, we’ve gotten to see both of these characters in other relationships – we saw Grace engaged to a man who tried to kill her. We saw Rigsby propose to the mother of his child. We’ve seen both of them change and grow through their experiences, and all the while Amanda and Owain have skillfully played that underlying connection – a connection that gives me no doubt that when these characters finally do get back together, it’ll be better than ever before.

Bertram: What a baby! And a sore loser! Jeez Louise! I do love that we’re continuing to see the poker games, though, and that Lisbon continues to use these opportunities to gain information and make allies. Season Five has done a good job on the card game continuity front, but not such a good job on the FBI rivalry – what happened to that FBI Agent who wanted to go out with Lisbon? Do we still see him at the games? Have we even heard the FBI mentioned lately? I thought they were going to be the big “enemies” this year. Of course, with the new episodes spaced so far apart, it’s harder to view the episodes as a continuum. If I’m ever lucky enough to own this season on DVD, I’ll see if the episodes hang together better when viewed right in a row.

Random Notes: I knew the killer was the Moth Kid pretty much right away. I actually thought he’d faked the new moth somehow and the other girl found out, which didn’t turn out to be the case, but nonetheless I did know it was him. And that it involved the moth. Having the killer revealed so soon didn’t bother me, though, as I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Jane’s brain in action (Memory Palace, I *heart* you!!!) and the scene with Rigsby and the spider was priceless. Also fun: Jane’s version of “bingo” (featuring the word “bad-ass”!). I thought the show did a good job portraying just how much stress the students were under – the lengths they were driven to spoke volumes. I did wish someone would have told that poor cop ex-boyfriend that his girl wasn’t cheating on him – they usually have more of that type of resolution in the show’s final minutes. Having the moth named after the dead girl was a sweet touch, though – another example of how kind-hearted Jane was being in this ep. Oh, and one final note about Jane: he used his wedding ring to deflect a romantic advance. Haven’t seen him fall back on that in a long time. What does it mean?

Final Thoughts: Not a big, mind-blowing episode, here, but lots of little treasures. The team seemed like a family – bickering, teasing, and helping each other. Hope it’s not too long before the next episode, and I really hope it’s not too long before Van Pelt rejoins her colleagues. We’re all gonna miss her so much!!!