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.


It's "High-Velocity Lead Poisoning", not severe.


Note to LaoHao88, Red John is as dead as bin Ladin. Cause of Death (C.o.D.) in both cases "Severe lead poisoning"


Great ending. I prefer ending a TV season with a BANG rather than a cliffhanger. Does anyone know why Red John's devotees are willing to die for their leader? How many people are under his spell and to what end? As for GUPTA the gas station guy slipping out of handcuffs, anyone in law enforcement can confirm that link-style handcuffs can be defeated by prisoners who are extremely nimble and flexible. Note to OLGA, that's the difference between a police officer who is sworn to uphold the law and an annoying dilletant like Patrick Jane.


Kudo's to the best suspense drama series in modern history. The original NCIS runs a close second with the cancelled Medium a not too distant third.


Great finale!!!
Regarding the question why RJ knew to be at the mall - I think he just followed Jane, simple as that. Once O'Laughlin told him it was all a ruse to lure him out, he left it to O'Laughlin to kill off Hightower and followed Jane instead to see what happens. I don't think the bracelett was a listening device, if it were he would have been in on the plan earlier on. Also I don't think he planned to come actually face to face with Jane. It just happened and he tried to make the best of the situation. But I still believe that Kristina Frye is somehow connected to RJ - before watching the finale I actually believed it would be her turning out to be RJ somehow. I thought she was creepy.


Red John was shot, but did he die?


Although as viewers we know it was a cold-blooded killing by Jane, Red John was in possession of a gun with hollow-tip bullets when he was gunned down by surprise. So unless a witness was closely following the interaction of Jane and RJ, the security guards and the police are going to find the dead RJ with a gun on him -- allowing the self-defense plea for Jane. And although Jane knows he did it in cold blood and is unafraid of owning up to that, I am going to bet that Lisbon and the others try to convince him to let his lawyer plead self-defense to keep him out of prison and still working with his CBI "Family."


Hello, I also liked the finale, it was mind twisting, although there were some obvious, like the FBI fiancee being the mole, I knew that wedding wasn't gonna happen. I think that P. Jane's way out of the murder charges will be something very technical, I am sure Red John was wanted dead or alive. He was armed and known to be dangerous, etc. I also think that LeRouche still has something to do with RJ so the next season will be interesting. It's sorprising that CBS let a main character get sweet reveange and not take the high road, this being the case of HOratio Cane from CSI Miami who didn't kill his wife assasin and the BLue Bloods where the killer of the Reagan's son shot himself.


The plan to assign a different hotel room to each suspect was good. If Grace had not told her friend the details of the plan they would have maintained the upper hand. Grace was gullible, available and close enough to Jane to be manipulated. Bertran called someone after Jane visited his office. What if all the suspects were in on it? Jane was either followed or the telephone line was bugged in the police station. The only logical scenario dictates that Red John must be dead.


I thought Patricks psychic girl friend Kristina would reappear and help finding or identify RJ.

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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.