The Mentalist Review: The Real Red John?

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Did anyone actually care about the murder case this week? I know I didn't. "Little Red Book" was all about the shifting relationships of these characters and where they're headed next.

The world is still off its axis for our CBI crew. Jane is allowed back as a consultant, but his team is disbanded and Lisbon is facing termination. Bertram has to blame someone for the Red John debacle and he's putting it all on Teresa's tiny shoulders.

Back to His Old Life

When Patrick visits Teresa at her home, she's handling it well. As usual she's strong and downright stoic. She says she'll be fine. Of course she will, because Jane is determined to save her.

In a secret meeting, Jane implores Cho, Rigsby, and Grace to help with his plan to save Lisbon. The only one to balk is Rigsby. He's always been the weasel of the group. He threw Cho under the bus last season in order to save himself and now he doesn't want to risk his job to help Lisbon. I'm glad he got stuck with the security gig. I used to root for the Rigsby/Grace pairing but now that I think about it, she deserves better.

Speaking of Grace, I'm wondering how bad things will get once she blows off her therapy. There's going to be emotional consequences to killing your traitorous fiance. I'm not sure Grace can handle the fall out on her own.

When Jane hypnotizes his new team member, I have to admit that I felt my eyes closing, too. Who knew that Patrick Jane's powers could be felt through the TV screen? The man is that good. Of course, I was a little tired to begin with.

I'm so happy to see LaRoche back and so disappointed to hear that he's leaving major crimes. That man is an enigma. I've never seen a character who can go from creepy to cuddly teddy bear so quickly. One moment he's looking through Ray as though he can see to his soul... the next he's got Teresa in a heartfelt bear hug. The man is full of surprises and I sincerely hope we'll see more of him this season.

And it's nice to see that it's not only Jane trying to help Lisbon. She asks LaRoche to help get her in to speak with Sally Carter because she wants to give Jane some closure.

The one thing that surprises me is the Lisbon basically congratulates Jane on killing Red John. She's always been so against Jane seeking his own justice. Is she being sarcastic here? Does it not matter so much now that it's done and she can't change it? Or does she just want Jane to move on?

So, is Timothy Carter Red John? Is the psychopath really dead and his last hurrah is to leave enough doubt to drive Patrick Jane insane? Or is his blind lover right, if her lover truly was Red John? Is the man on the slab simply Timothy Carter and Red John still lurks in wait for his next victim?

This is why I love the Red John case. It twists and turns in so many directions I'm never sure which way is up. Simply the idea of Red John being out there should make for another great season of The Mentalist. For a look ahead, meanwhile, check out the official CBS promo for next Thursday's episode!


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (100 Votes)

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


That's crappy tv writers, not anyone posting comments.


If Carter was not shot, but detained by the police, it would be his word against Jane's. Not enough for an arrest. Carter was not stupid enough to open fire in the mall even though he had a gun. For what reason? He could easily talk his way out of any trouble. It is possible that he might have had a carry permit for a concealed weapon, being a smart villain. A background check would have shown him too be an upstading citizen. Even though he had a gun in his newspaper and with Jane saying he was Red John, this would not be enough to arrest him. Carter warned Jane to leave it alone, so if someone overheard the conversation, it would be hard to prove a direct threat was being made. So, Carter would have walked if Jane did not shoot him. Or been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. Something a good lawyer would pled out to a suspended sentence and a fine.It is quite a stretch to say he posed an imminent threat to others because he had a gun in the newspaper! And even if a threat was overheard, it would not lead to serious jail time either as eyewitness testimony that might have corraborated Jane's is often unreliable. Even if they found a gun on Carter's dead body, Jane would have still gone to trial. Probably, could have pled out to voluntary manslaughter with a good lawyer: given his mental state and all and been out in three. I am just tired of crappy writers.


@Vlasak: Carter was walking away after warning Jane to leave it alone. He presented no immediate threat to Jane or anyone in the food court. Jane had no duty to detain him as he is not a cop, as Jane repeatedly says over and over. Jane killed Carter not to enforce the law, but to get revenge as he thought he was Red John. The intentions of Jane take precedent over your argument about enforcing the law. Your premise in other words is false vis-a-vis Jane. Jane could have taken other reasoanble steps such as seeking out the police or even wounding Carter, or holding him at gun point, or hitting him over the head with his gun, or tackling him, which would have led to the police intervening. He did not. He shot him dead. There is a cliche repeated over and over in such scenarios. If you pull the trigger, you are no different than the bad guy. Most heroes stop at this point. Sometimes, the writers use self-defense as an out where the bad guy does tries to kill the good guy after he hesitates. Such was not the case here. Jane killed calmly, with malice-aforethought, with no remorse or guilt. Sipping his expresso afterwards. I have a new respect for the rule of law. When we take the law in our own hands, it makes us no different than the villains. I would like to see Red John brought to justice or if killed, at least by someone he's pointing a gun at, making it self-defense. Simply, having a gun in one's possession does not pose an imminent threat. Nor do verbal threats constitute an imminent threat. Nor does saying you are on the FBI's most wanted list. In such cases, the police would be allowed to detain someone, but not to use lethal force unless the suspect drew their gun on them. Consider this: What if Carter was innocent? What if Red John was holding his family hostage and making him say he was Red John to Jane? How would you feel then about Jane shooting him? We need to be very cautious about our certainty about being correct. Such certainty is often disproved by events. Cheers! Enjoy the show.


@George (I have an opinion I wish to put forth concerning: "There is a big difference between killing someone to save Lisbon's life when her life was in immediate danger and shooting someone who poses no immediate threat") ... The guy Jane killed, RJ or not, in the food court indicated he had a gun, partially showed his weapon, and threatened Jane's life and also identified himself as a wanted murderer who was at least on the FBI's most wanted list if not Number 1 on the list. By threatening Jane, he proved to any law enforcement type that he was an imminent threat to everyone in the food court. By identifying himself as a wanted murderer, he was a threat too to everyone in the mall and everyone he might come in contact with before he was captured. From that point on, it was the duty of any cop, FBI agent, marshal, or even CBI field consultant to either arrest him or kill/detain him by force or trickery (like by letting him think Jane was harmless until he could get the drop on the guy). If the gun wouldn't have disappeared, I don't see how it wouldn't have been (and should have been) judged a righteous/justified/or-whatever-term shooting. What to me can be debated and I find interesting, anyways, to contemplate about the character, is that all of us who watch the show know that if it was anyone other than RJ (as far as Jane knew), he wouldn't have seen it as his duty, even if it meant his own life (as a cop would) and would have just let the bad guy walk away.


uh yes I really loved the episode. It seems to me that there are several people who doesn't really prefer RJ story to continue, but I think RJ plot is the thing that keeps the Mentalist going,and I definitely love it. Mentalist never was based on 'reality', so I'm just going to keep watching it even tho some plot and this RJ thing seems to be kinda out of line. I do love Patrick Jane and I really want him to start getting a life, a lover, get into a relationship, tho.


@fortyseven I see your point. All along the audience was sympathetic to Jane in his quest for revenge against Red John. Writers have devices for this scenario to let Jane off the hook such as Jane killing Red John in self-defense. Even without that out, we would probably have been more sympathetic to Jane if he killed Red John, but what the writers did is have him kill the wrong guy. So we wait for the season premiere and learn this and feel betrayed and manipulated. With good cause, the writers have turned our sympathy against us. We were okay as long it was Red John, but now that it isn’t, our sympathy is exposed as a kind of hypocrisy. We’re caught on the horns of a dilemma implicitly posed by the writers. If it is alright to kill Red John, why not another monster like Carter? Why not vigilantism? Where do you draw the line? Jane felt no remorse or guilt, but many of the audience feel kind of creepy. Because they are crossing the line with Jane if they support him for killing Carter (after all he was a monster even if the wrong guy) or feeling creepy themselves for having felt sympathy for Jane at the end of last season when he broke the law. So much of our dissatisfaction with Jane is really about how we feel about being sucked in and betrayed by the writers. Our complicity has been exposed. Showers anyone? Enjoy the show. I will be watching something else.


There is a big difference between killing someone to save Lisbon's life when her life was in immediate danger and shooting someone who poses no immediate threat (even though he had a gun, it under wraps). Jane's character changed in the sense that he crossed a line and killed in cold blood, not self defense. This is a fundamental change, and it makes his character creepy.


Jane killed a guy who was about to shoot Lisbon on the 1st? season finale. Jane isn't usually violent or a gun user but he does know how and is willing to use one if warranted. Jane's always said he wanted to kill RJ himself so stop complaining about Jane being different/being evil now/his character being ruined.


@George.. It makes it very difficult to maintain sympathy for this character, now that he is a cold-blooded killer, which runs counter to past episodes when he was afraid to handle a pistol and ran when the gun-fire started. We like our characters to not cross the line. It maintains a tension (they can close to crossing the line, but have to back down) that allows us to be sympathetic to them. Unless your a fan of Jack Bauer, who repeatedly crossed the line, I think you would now find Jane a rather creepy guy So true! I mean a few month ago he didnt even wanted to touch a gun and now he killed a guy and he doesnt give a damn... not at all? Then he does stuff so 2 people loose there job etc. thats not the jane i like! funny cause thats just what red john said ( i think ;) ) we are all normal people and everyone has a good and bad side.. jane is on the way to be a bad person aswell, but he thinks he is doing the right thing, funny cause everyone (or almost everyone) who does bad stuff thinks that aswell


Oh come on. I hated this episode. I like the fact that red john has about 1000 ,, friends " and that he is a kind of superman - serialkiller (not realistic but who cares) but who really annoyes me now is: jane..
i was soo angry about this episode. I know there a people like Monk or Columbo and they were smart and got every killer. Like Jane, but now they turn him into a kind of super human. I mean I know he is good in what he is doing but it cant be true that he knows everything about everyone all the time. I mean slowly it just annoyes me. and no it doesnt make fun anymore. I just want to see him doing something wrong - its just too perfect now. And what really annoyes me: nooo one is angry with him or just freaks out once. if i would be Lisbon I would say: Jane i like u and i know you had to go through tought shit but cause of u i lost my job and now you got it back and no you wanna do the same red john shit again? and btw - Jane is smart .. How can he even think its ok to ruin the carree of 2 people?? I mean they lost their job or whatever - thats not funny, good or anything - and again nooo one cares - jane can do everything
it just feels like nothing changed. He shot some one, the team wasnt together anymore. but jane does some tricks and 20 min later everything is good again, no jail, no loosing the job, no anger just love???
i want the team back aswell but that was the wrong way.
Sorry but slowly i dont care anymore. 2 episodes and my loved Jane annoyes me so much.
The blind woman? maybe she was lying maybe not - who knows.. who cares
Jane doesnt get it still? She was with red john for a long time and he thinks that she is telling the trues after he brain damaged all the girls he ever met?
i dont think this will change..and get better.. disapointed!!

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The Mentalist Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

Lovely to see you. Keep working that bum wing


This man's dead. I'm all but certain of it.