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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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (860 Votes)

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


You have to remember... The crux of this conflict were two people who had the same skill set, but were on opposite sides of the mirror. Red John WAS Patrick Jayne... only the maniacal and psychopathic versus the mischivous and easily bored one. Patrick Jayne is a modern day version of Sherlock Holmes. He is extraordianarily gifted, deductive, but a sociopath in his own right. This is why he acts like everyone else is beneath him when they cant see, or dont understand what he has already deduced. Red John could manipulate most people the same way Patrick Jayne can. Only Red John has no conscience on how far he imposes his skills and will on them. Patrick at least does his thing to people who are willing for the very most part, and to either get information, OR, to help them (as in hypnosis to stop the person smoking in an episode).


The writing and acting in this finale was better than most movies Hollywood produces today. The Mentalist has given us characters with real personalities including very human weaknesses and strengths. A character as tormented and grief-stricken as Patrick Jane would not have hesitated to pull the trigger once he was sure the killer of his family indeed stood before him. What a surprise that a TV network allowed the hero to actually take out the bad guy! Our DVR has helped us never miss an episode, and we are looking forward to Session 4!


Gupta was played by Ravi Kapoor also known from Crossing Jordan, 24, Heroes.
And I hope next season we will learn about the people behind Red John and their philosophy of chaos and evil around the 'tiger & lamb' theme. They still exist and his network might be used by a different person or group of maniacs. There are lots of possible developments. The phone call of the director, why didn't La Roche use a car with a secure compartment to transfer Gupta, the religious motive from William Blake, aso. - we are left with a couple of unanswered questions we can reflect about for months. Great work.


Red John's materpiece: Making Jane shoot an innocent man,


I would like to believe that was the real RJ as if it was not it would be too dramatic, over the top and frankly a little bit stupid
but i do believe the RJ storyline is not over maybe RJ's accomplices finish what he started i also believe jane will be able to start relationships now (take his ring off, and maybe go out with lisbon etc.)


A lot of people are mentioning jail/prison. Remember when Jane was suspended (first season, first episode)? A CBI agent would be suspended with pay while Internal Affairs investigated the shooting -- so I expect next season's opener will start with Jane suspended ... and the case that draws him back in. You know, it turns out I sort of like LaRoche and his little dog (and Hightower too). Wonder if they can all fit?


What a wonderfully satisfying ending. Patrick gets his revenge. Bang, just blew three holes in the bad guy. I am so sick of politically correct twits shooting the bad guy 15 minutes into the script and then spending the rest of the time whinning about the loss of a poor soul and how they are so moved and so upset. The writers deserve five gold stars for this one. The plot of the show is always clever with lots of tension and dynamic between the characters. I had the show recorded and spent the next five minutes replaying Red John's demise. Marvelous!!!


Anyone know the name of the actor who played Gupta and where we have seen him before? Just can't remember.


I think we'll go for most of next season thinking Red John is dead and then at the end of the season there will be a Red John cliffhanger. That way they keep both camps happy.
Red John dragging on and on was getting a little monotonous so something had to give, but lots of people love the Red John thing. If ratings slide or it doesn't really work without him then they can always bring Red john back. This is the writers hedging their bets. Also it's been a long couple of series and getting to the time where they may have worried about the series getting cancelled so the ending was a neat wrap if it got canned and also something to continue with if there was a series 4(confirmed?).


Far too many of you are overthinking & overplotting the finale.
Of course Bradley Whitford is Red John. Jane can't kill an innocent man, it goes against everything he's about. Jane committing cold blooded murder destroys the entire show. RJ had a gun, therefore it's self-defense. Look for the season opener to be a two parter & then they move on to:
What is missing is why so many others are/were willing to do his bidding.
Why would the hit woman willingly just jump to her death to avoid capture is truly bizarre.
The next stage is to delve into his hold on his "gang" & who they are & why they do it for him.
As for the locket being a listening device, way too ridiculous. You're getting into technology that just doesn't exist. If it were a transmitter, where's it getting it power to last long enough & send out a signal from who knows how far? Something that small can't transmit that far, just a few hundred feet.
No, it was just a way to further wreck Grace's ego & send her into a tailspin & ultimately back to Rigsby. The question is when. Does this mean she wants out of the show for a movie career?
I'm guessing that next season is only partially plotted out, they're waiting for the reaction to last night's ep.

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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.