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


why can i not find The Mentalist episode of strawberries and cream Only one i missed all season


this episode just aired in Australia... 1 so proud that Simon is an Aussie :p ... but wow what an episode.... can't wait for the new season :p


One other thought. If that really was Red John (and I'm not totally convinced it was) well if you were he, going to meet someone who has vowed to kill you, wouldn't it make sense to wear a kevlar vest, and maybe some packets of red dye to make him think he had succeeded?


After watching the finale, I feel really sorry for Van Pelt. It's second guy who played with her feelings just to achieve some dark goals :( She deserves much more than that! I hope she gets some nice man during the next season... Reunite her with Rigsby - might be a good idea ;)


haven't read all of the comments........but Gupta is played by RAVI KAPOOR...............he used to play Dr. Mahesh "Bug" in Crossing Jordan.


Great finale! however, im really really dissapointed Jane simply shot Red John (if that indeed is him) i expected something much more tourtuous! so that bit was a massive dissapointed, by as an earlier commentator commented: i dont think the writer decided to break Janes morals and etc for someone who is not Red John, because if they have, that was a really really bad move.


Bigger question (haha), can a dead body maitain an erection. If not, maybe RJ isn't dead?


I did notice that ufortunate bulge. Was it intentional or just a wardrobe malfunction. Why would this seem valid to the plot. Red John's victims were not sexually molested but profiling a serial killer one understads that they are often unable to conummate the act, but are turned on nontheless by danger and the thrill of the crime, so no need to question this occurence, more to the point is Heller telling us that all evidence that there was a gun and a cell phone at the scene is gone and Jane is in quite a pickle. Erection aside, we have bigger (pun intended) dilemnas in the making. I hope Patrickenjoys his jail time as much as thee last time.


Question for Traveler- After watching the episode 10 times, did you notice RJ's lying on the ground, dare I say with a bulge, looking much like an erection? I'm not trying to be erotic or creepy, but it goes to whether or not it was the real RJ. Wasn't there a comment by Jane's female psychic friend that RJ was most likely impotent? Could this shooting victim just be a RJ disciple turned on by the story of the killings, or was it RJ who got turned on by the pseudo sexual crime?


YAY! Fantastic end to season 3. I was concerned that they might leave it like that, so glad to hear there will be a season 4. Phew! I guessed it would be Grace's fiance and they would get him but I didn't think Patrick would get Red John too, although it was time he did imho. For those wondering how come Patrick and Red John were both in the mall, Patrick hadn't yet left the mall after he realised he was wrong about the director. Red John had to know from Grace's fiance about the director and the trap to have turned up at the mall and I guess he went along to personally witness and enjoy Patrick failing. So will Patrick go to jail? Red John was a heavily armed seriel killer in a busy public place after all and Patrick had no back up but still needed to stop him. Will Lisbon be okay? How will Grace handle it all? And what's going to happen with the rest of the loose ends? Really looking
forward to finding out!

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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.