The Mentalist Season Finale Review: Tea with Red John

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Wow! The Mentalist season finale gave us some serious closure on Red John with twists, turns - and an ending I didn't see coming.

I spent most of the episode wondering where the title "Strawberries & Cream" was going to come into play. When it finally did, it all became clear.

It's Red John!

But let's start from the beginning. The episode began with a bang, literally, as an innocent man was blown up by a bomb vest. It was a terrifying scene, as we witnessed the horror on Dinkler's face as the cops approached. He knew he wouldn't survive.

Jane worrying about Lisbon's safety and going to join her at the abandoned high school was sweet. We don't normally see that kind of concern from him.

And the setting of the closed down school at night was very creepy, with its sounds echoing through the hallways, but Lisbon didn't respond to Jane's pleas. Still, I never expected to find her with a bomb strapped to her chest.

I liked that Lisbon's Catholicism was brought into play as she whispered Hail Marys as Patrick drove. She was truly frightened and it was nice to see Jane take control in those moments, letting her know she wasn't alone.

I wondered if La Roche was our mole when he shot Gupta. How did that man get his cuff off and what gun was he going for? I guess we'll never know. The scene was left ambiguous enough for us to question it either way.

And what the heck is in that damn tupperware container in La Roche's safe that he was so willing to hand Jane his suspect list? How bad could it be? If I were Jane, I might break in again just to find out and relieve the curiosity.

The suspect list was not a surprise. I was wondering if they'd throw in someone from our core CBI team, but it didn't happen. The whole set up with the different rooms was a nice bit of suspense but I never really doubted that it was O'Loughlin. I figured he would either be a bad guy in the finale or end up dead. Turned out it was both.

Poor Grace. Confusion and horror crossed her face as her fiance told her he was sorry and he'd grown genuinely fond of her. Ouch. I can only imagine how this will effect her going into next season.  Will it send her into Rigsby's arms or will it leave her closed off from all romantic relationships after being so blatantly betrayed by someone she loved?

I couldn't believe O'Loughlin pulled the locket from her neck just before he died. That was cold. And what's worse was that with Craig dead, she'll never get any answers as to why he targeted her.

The final confrontation between Jane and Red John was well played. Jane finally met the devil, face to face, and there were no horns. I was surprised when I saw Bradley Whitford in the role but pleasantly so. Red John didn't look like the big bad wolf. He was a guy who could be your next door neighbor - and wasn't that what made him so scary? That such evil could appear so completely innocuous?

In the end, I had the same thoughts as Jane. Was this really Red John? But when he told Jane his daughter smelled of "Strawberries & Cream," probably from her shampoo, well, they say that scent is a powerful trigger for memories. You could see those memories play out over Jane's expression. This was the man, the monster that had viciously murdered his family.

As Red John watched Jane's face crumble in grief and sadness, he almost smirked as he turned to walk away. But not so fast. With a "Please, wait" Jane looked Red John in the eye one more time before he shot him three times with the gun hidden in his pocket. Then he calmly sat back down at his table and finished his tea. Vengeance delivered.

Patrick Jane did exactly what he said he'd always do and I was happy to see it.

Where will next season take us? Has the Red John arc completely played out? I don't have the answers but I look forward to the fall out, lamenting the long summer until season four begins. 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (860 Votes)

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


You asked about the locket, why he pulled it off. It must have contained a hearing device inside so he knew the inside plays of the CBI.


@shasha rai
if there was no Red John episodes, what would be the plot?


The Mentalist would have been a fairly good show except for the Red John episodes. They are boring and not beleivable and getting a bit tedious. Please save us from any more Red John stories. A lot of people are getting fed up with that rubbish.


R u kidding me? Why does everyone keep thinking Jane is Red John? How stupid does that sound? Why the hell would he murder his own family? God I'm so sick of hearing this stupid conspiracy.


I can bet my f**King house on the idea, still, that jane is RJ!!! He uses his pawns to create alibis and shift the attention else where, always@!!!


I am writing this a few weeks after season 4 has premiered, so I hope I am not spoiling anything for anyone, do not read on if you have not seen season 4 episode 1…
where to begin, where to begin... listen, I really like the mentalist, the character of jane is amazing, his ripping people to shreds episode after episode has been one of my favourite (CDN spelling) guilty pleasures on TV, but TV it still is, and silly US television "pablum" it still is... look TV can be great, stunning, The Wire, Breaking Bad, but the mentalist is a fun, interesting good show, it is not great...
how to know it is silly US television "pablum", well just look at the silly "pablum" comments by the people responding on this site... man, it has been some hilarious reading...
"Great season finale -- sitting down and finishing his tea after killing his Moriarty!"
"This was the best season finale ever. So many plot twists. I actually clapped at the end when Patrick fired the gun because it was so unexpected. The monster was dead."
"Come on people! The show will go on without Red John. There is no reason not be believe it was him."
"I can't believe that there are so many people who refuse to accept the fact that Jane killed Red John! Talk about denial! The man was so obviusly (sic) RJ with his knowledge, intelligence, attitude and demeanor."
first off, the RJ arc, not "ark" as one person wrote, hahahahaha, is "the" thing which sets the mentalist a bit above silly US television "pablum"... RJ is the mentalist... so, please, give me a break, there was no way that he is going to be killed in season 3 if there is a season 4...
secondly, three seasons, approximately 72 episodes, 72 hours of TV and the series creator, writers and producers end the RJ arc with 3 minutes at the end of the episode??? really??? give me a break... please, the mentalist is not the best show in the history of TV, but come on, give the series creator, writers and producers a little more credit than this… I expect the ending for RJ will be seen over something like 2-3 episodes, not 2-3 minutes…
I have to agree with comments by "FCBarca" and "Chief Inspector"... comments like "I can't believe some of these people that posted here are mentalist fans . How the hell can you be pleased with that ending ?"
the season 3 finale was beyond bizarre if you believe that jane killed RJ... and it was also bizarre is you think he killed someone who was not RJ...
firstly, the jane killed RJ problem (if you believe that jane killed RJ) ... think of all the 100s of mystery/crime movies, TV shows, books, where the good guy is chasing the killer... is this the way mystery/crime movies, TV shows, books, end, with the killer walking up and sitting one table over??? is this the way you wrap up 72 hours, with the killer revealing himself??? give me a break... how did jane "catch" RJ if you believe this scenario??? what crime solving, mystery cracking, super-sleuthing did jane use to crack the RJ mystery, the method was that RJ came and sat beside him in a shopping mall??? when jane does catch RJ, he will have figured out dozens of clues, cracked dozens of mysteries, tracked him down, manipulated him, outfoxed him... I guess it would have been a better ending to "Silence of the Lambs" if Buffalo Bill had come and sat down beside Clarice in some shopping mall at the end of the movie... arrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh
secondly, the jane killed RJ problem (if you believe that jane killed RJ) ... someone on the site commented "anybody wonder how RJ knew jane would be at the food court?"... for me, that is not the problem... the HUGE problem is, how jane knew RJ would be at the food court?... and by this I mean, why did jane have a gun??? someone on the site commented "They clearly showed Patrick with his right hand in his pocket through the entire conversation with Red John. Patrick had always maintained that he would be killing him, and no one could stop him." what??? I mean, over 72 hours of TV, has jane ever (please correct me if I am wrong) carried a gun before??? the last 5 minutes of season 3, the killer comes and sits one table beside him, and jane is carrying a gun for the first time in 72 hours of TV… give me a break… so if you believe that jane killed RJ, you believe that he took a gun to the mall to kill RJ??? because he knew that RJ would come and sit one table away from him in a shopping mall??? maybe jane really is a psychic… hahahaahahahha
next, the jane killed someone else problem (if you believe that jane killed someone else)… someone on the site commented "I DO think it was Red John that Jane killed. Because Jane is not a violent man, he doesn't like guns or shooting people - unless its Red John. If this weren't Red John, that would mean that he shot someone wrongfully. And then when Jane finally did catch RJ, his killing wouldn't be as meaningful. Plus Jane thought it was Red John - and he's never wrong." well, I am writing this a few weeks after season 4 has premiered, so I hope I am not spoiling anything for anyone, do not read on if you have not seen season 4 episode 1, cause as we now know, jane did not kill RJ, he killed someone else… I won't say that jane killed an "innocent" man, cause the series creator, writers and producers took care of this little problem by having jane kill a "guilty" man… geez, how cheesy is this… don't think the mentalist is silly US television "pablum", just look at the way they solved this little problem… did RJ get jane to kill an innocent man and beat him, nooooooo, jane killed a vicious child-murdering, child-molesting freak: jane wins again… yeahhhhhhhh…
also, the jane killed someone else problem (if you believe that jane killed someone else)… are there any repercussions for jane shooting an unarmed man with no cell phone (a RJ operative took them away???)… not for the series creator, writers and producers of the mentalist… they wrap this up with 2 minutes at the end of episode 1… no worries… jane gets up and gives a 60 second speech and admits that he killed someone and it wasn't self-defense and the jury acquits him 60 seconds later and all is back to normal by episode 2… wowwwwwwwwwwwww… at least for the TV show House, House did go to jail, and he has an ankle-monitor, and he lost his staff and lost half of his office space… the way the jane shooting was handled, this has got to be one of the biggest whitewashes in the history of silly US television "pablum"… gotta love the mentalist… how good is this show that after all this, I still can't wait to see jane continue his obsessive hunt for RJ… �

@ Rosster Montreal

hahaha now that red john has died, basically all you said was such bull shit :')


Is anybody else really bothered by Grace Van Pelt's stupidity and utter lack of judgement by bringing O'Loughlin to the hideout? WTF??!!


Juste one fundamental question : Why the HECK would RJ loose O'Laughlin for Hightower? Hightower doesn't know anything about RJ. Killing her would be even more suspicious than letting her turn herself in. The case could be reopened but it would take a lot of time to find the killer, while it only takes a few minutes if that stupid O'Laughlin just tries to kill her... Hello nonsense... My point is... Either i miss something, or this is exactly what was planned by RJ (letting Jane think he killed him, for multiple possible reasons), even if it means loosing an inside man. After all, he always played all kinds of people, they're all pawns to him.


Vendetta :D


He should of fired the whole clip into red john then walked over an kicked him on the ground

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The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 23 Quotes

Frankly, this is less thrilling than you advertised and possibly wrong.


Jane: If Director Bertram wanted a CBi presence to jump off a cliff would you and your CBI presence jump off that cliff?
Lisbon: If there was overtime, sure.