The Mentalist Review: "Cackle-Bladder Blood"

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So, how much time does Patrick Jane spend in the CBI attic playing with cool toys such as flying helicopters? 

I still don’t understand why a state office building comes equipped with a creepy attic, but at least Jane is making good use of it.  Does he ever go home to sleep? And where is CBI security as he wanders around the building?  I’m just wondering.

Those mini complaints/questions aside, I really liked "Cackle-Bladder Blood." It was great to get to know more about Jane’s background and his family.  That his brother-in-law Danny was a con man seemed very fitting.  It also gave Jane the opportunity to tell Lisbon more of his history.  His wife’s family was “Carnie royalty” and she wanted out of the life when she married Jane.  She didn’t like that all outsiders were considered marks and fair game for cons.  Obviously, his wife was a good person and perhaps served as Jane’s conscience.  That must make his guilt over her death even worse.

Jane and Brother-in-Law

The Carnie scenes were fun. Also loved Lisbon saying, “Actually, people very rarely guess I’m a cop.”  No kidding.  Is it just me or does her size and long hair with bangs make her resemble a 12-year old girl more than a cop? 

Do I have to mention that Jane distracts her with an elephant when he takes the car and ditches her?  Not her finest hour.  But as usual, she has Jane’s back even when he seems to be working against her.  When trying to convince the Carnies to tell her where Jane went, she is honest with them.  “This job is all he has.  If he’s arrested they’ll take that from him.”  Which I guess tells us why he sleeps at CBI most nights. 

Kudos to Lisbon for knowing when she is being lied to and following them to Jane.

We also learned how loyal Jane is to friends and family.  He protects his brother-in-law even though he hasn’t seen him in years and isn’t sure if he is guilty or innocent.  He even offers to get him to Mexico if he is guilty.

I’ll admit I thought Landon’s murderer was Melanie, the sister, not the wife.  Most episodes I usually figure out the guilty party, so it was nice to be surprised.  Jane’s shooting was an obvious set up but fun to watch just the same.  (FYI: "Cackle bladder” is grifter slang for faking of your own death and refers to using a chicken blood bladder to simulate the blood loss of a violent death... in case you were wondering.) 

The cemetery scene at the end was my favorite.  Up until now it’s felt as though the death of his wife and daughter has completely consumed Jane.  He deserves to move on with his life and this scene felt like a small step towards that.  Because that crime is at the core of the show, I’m glad the writers are finding other ways to visit it that aren’t completely centered on Red John.

Did you love this episode?  Hate Lisbon’s hair? Sound off now!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Anyone else have a feeling that Danny is involved with Red John? He seems to be a psychopath and Jane mentioned he's been in "Show business" his whole life. In the pilot episode he called Red John a showman. Just an observation. It's interesting that he's popped up after Jane meets RJ in person for the first time. It's even stranger that he just disappeared at the end of the episode.


I loved the scene with the elephant although Jane ditched her. She found a way to find him anyway. Intresting that you brought up Janes wife being his conscience since this now seems to be Lisbon's part.

Sue ann

I agree that Jane deserves to move on with his life, but I think that he is wise enough to know that if he tries, Red John will take his new life from him as he took the old one. Patrick is going to have to remain in Limbo until Red John is captured or killed.


It was interesting to see the reemergence of Jane's past life and his absolute sense of loss at the graves of Angela and Charlotte. that he would ask his brother in law to forgive him whilst not being able to forgive himself is a recurring theme that will not ever go away as long as Red John is alive. I did miss the rest of the cast but this was a Patrick and Theresa episode. The balance of bathos and glee was just right in my opinion.


This was such a cool episode. I always like it more when they allow the characters to get more personal instead of just relying on the crime of the week. Lisbon is so darn small she looks like a strong wind would knock her down. I can't imagine anyone looking at her and thinking she's a cop.


Thanks for mentioning Lisbon's hair. I saw it in the last weeks show and thought it looked off. It just doesn't look professional this season and she is so tiny to begin with its hard to take her seriously as a cop.


I liked Kevin, as Brother in law would like to see more of him.
Janet in Tx.


This episode is about Jane's background, which we glimpsed in Season 2, when a baseball struck him in the head. What is interesting in this episode is that it updates things with people from his past, after losing his family. We learn that he and his wife had one wish, which was to escape from the mobile world of the circus, but he failed to stop his ambition in time. We discover a very rational Jane in his handling of his past. If his brother in law wants to kill him, he simply says he deserves it. But I also liked how he jumped into the arms of his friend, and paradoxically the way with which he answers questions even more painful. Lisbon takes risks increasingly important to him, but I regretted the quasi-transparent-presence of Cho and Van Pelt. Despite all that, I haven't found the story captivating. Something was not balanced, but what?

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The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 2 Quotes

You look like Cagney and Lacey had a baby and called it Pepper.

Sam (describing Lisbon)

Jane? No. It was a man. Patrick.

Trixie (after Lisbon refers to Patrick as "Jane")