by Billie Doux
Procedurals are not my thing, but I do like some of them and I've been watching this show for awhile. Although I've occasionally tuned out during the more run-of-the-mill whodunit episodes, Simon Baker's work as fake psychic turned detective Patrick Jane got me watching in the first place, and kept me watching all this time. There was just something about the character that immediately got to me and stayed with me. Honestly, it's not just the hair.
Last night, they finally wound up the arc that has dominated the entire five and a half year run of the series, and we learned the identity of Red John, the serial killer who murdered Jane's wife and daughter. I thought they picked the right candidate, because I always thought Sheriff McAllister was the creepiest of the suspects. And I knew it couldn't have been Gale Bertram because they settled on him a couple of episodes ago. (My pet theory was that it was going to be Bob Kirkland's twin brother.)
They did a lot of things right in this episode. I liked that Jane didn't change his mind at the last minute and that he killed Red John in cold blood -- and he even did it in broad daylight, and with his own bare hands. Jane clearly went through with it because Red John wanted so badly to live. I also liked that Jane came so close to killing himself afterward, because that was in character. This was the moment he'd kept himself alive for for the past ten years, after all. He has nothing else to live for. Except perhaps crime fighting, and Teresa Lisbon.
And clearly, Jane had figured out who it had to be and remembered the sheriff's fear of birds, or he wouldn't have brought the pigeon. Where exactly was he keeping that pigeon? They frisked him, didn't they? :) Okay, I'll go with it. Jane was a magician, after all.
I do feel, though, that a lot of the episode was a "let's get from that point to this point" sort of thing. The CBI team were just there to provide cover for Jane and were under arrest for most of the episode. The FBI lead guy felt slimy and offputting and I kept thinking he was more than he seemed, but apparently no, he was just slimy and offputting. There was a lot of running from place to place and outwitting of cops and bad guys, something Jane tends to do a lot. The ending did feel somewhat satisfying, but it wasn't a home run.
One big thing they glossed right over is that we never learned how McAllister came up with Jane's ultimate list of suspects. That was a big one, so huge that at the time (the fifth season finale) it actually made me consider the possibility that Jane himself was Red John. That would have been a courageous move by the producers and it even would have made sense, but it would have also enraged the fans and ruined the emotional center of the show, so I get why they didn't do that.
I'm also glad that a member of the CBI team didn't turn out to be one of Red John's disciples. That might have worked in the second season, possibly the third, but after this long it would have been a cheat. There have been rumors that Grace Van Pelt was going to be it, probably because of her red hair. I suppose it still could turn out that way since Van Pelt, Rigsby and Cho are still alive, but I don't think the viewers would ever go for it. I know I wouldn't.
So where do they go from here? I like that they're going to move ahead a couple of years and completely change the series. It appeared that Jane might have covered for his kill, too -- the world will probably believe Red John was Gale Bertram. It's more than time that Jane and Lisbon got romantically involved, too, especially if this is the last season, as I keep hearing it might be.
One little thing that I've always liked is how every episode title has a reference to the color red, which made sense because of Jane's obsession with Red John. The title of next week's episode is "My Blue Heaven." That made me smile.
So Mentalist fans, what did you think? Did it work? Were you pleased or disappointed? Where do you think the series can possibly go from here?
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.