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The Mentalist Review: Who Is Patrick Jane?

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Cho's statement below is at the crux of "Fugue in Red." Is Patrick Jane a better man because his family was brutally murdered? Certainly Cho believes it's true and it's hard to argue. 

Cho: Don't take this the wrong way but the death of Jane's family made him a better person. | permalink

Prior to those tragic events, Jane was an egotistical conman. He took people's money under the ruse of speaking to their dead loved ones. He duped desperate lonely folks by telling them the lies they wanted to hear and Jane was good at it.

How good? As Teresa said, he did a cold read on her that would have been very convincing if Lisbon hadn't known better and it was based on only vague memories and her minute body language. Patrick Jane has a talent for reading people and before his family was killed, he certainly wasn't using it for good.

Jane on the Mic

Does that make him a bad man? It definitely gives him some seriously unlikable qualities, but I'm with Lisbon. I believe there's a better part to Jane, that he is more than his many flaws. That he's also the man his wife and daughter knew and loved. 

As much as the murder of his family pushed Jane out of his corrupt lifestyle, it also pushed him into a darkness that haunts him to this day. The only people he probably ever truly loved are dead. His driving force is to kill the man who made that happen and Patrick Jane has killed once trying to attain that goal.

But in the middle of all of that darkness he found an unexpected friend.

Lisbon: Jane needs something to hold on to and we're going to give it to him. | permalink

Teresa Lisbon believes the best in Patrick Jane. That doesn't mean she's naive. She knows he's a conman. She knows what he's capable of but she sees the good with the bad and she's not about to give up on him. Lisbon has hope that someday, Jane will find some peace and in that hope she's given him a home at the CBI and a far superior way of using his talents.

The other intriguing question that comes from Cho and Jane's conversation concerns Jane's feelings about his CBI colleagues. Does he like them? 

I'm with Cho on this one. I don't think he dislikes them but I also think he could walk away from the team in a minute and never look back. All but Lisbon.

Jane can walk away from Lisbon but she's left her mark. She may be his one true friend. That's why he teases her, pushes her buttons, and subtlety looks after her. 

Jane needs a friend and Lisbon isn't walking away, even when he asks her to. Even when he pleads "I'm happy now.  Just let me be happy." Ouch. How that must have hurt.

That's what made that final scene so difficult to watch. It's the pain on Teresa's face as she walks her friend through the house full of ghosts, knowing that once he walks through that door his imaginary happiness will disappear forever.

But she knows that when those horrible images come rushing back, he shouldn't be alone and that he'll never find true happiness living a lie.

Who is Patrick Jane? Teresa Lisbon believes he's a better man. Do you?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (167 Votes)

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

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stunning episode, I was blown away.The Mentalist keeps getting better.
My father is a psychiatrist and I asked him about this, and he said he had seen quite a few cases of amnesia occurring in patients who had had a dangerous injury or accidents like a fall or something.
So it's not really far fetched..
The scene where Jane's memory comes back, the anguish on Lisbon's face and the way Jane was stood silently swaying..wow!
The Mentalist keeps getting better and better,can't wait for the next one.

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To those questioning the amnesia angle of the story... In my line of work I have helped to treat several people who have obtained temporary amnesia after suffering a physical trauma if they have suffered another major psychological trauma earlier in their lives. Case to point, I have been involved in the treatment of a lady whose two children died in a house fire who then suffered temporary amnesia after having a major car accident four years later. She had no idea that her children were deceased. It does happen so it's not actually that far fetched at all...

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I'm pretty sure it's wrong. I think the murder pushed Jane out of his psychic business but I think that what made him a better person is his wife and child. Don't forget that he was helping the police too before his family got murdered. I fail to see how the murder could have magically turned him into a better person.

Fortyseven

Great. The red herring was funny. I suspected a con when he was with Cho. I expected it was a long con when he was leaving with Tamara. Tunney's good at expressing herself through subtle facial expressions. Loved Van Pelt's expression after Rigsby told her Jane wanted to sleep with her. Jane at his worst still cares about kids.

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I'm with some of the others expecting a long con at the end - firefighters in the club makes me think the writers wrote that in as a red herring - the red herring in the pocket in the firehouse scene was a double entendre. I thought it was a clue to the long con. But it was actually a clue that all the other clues to the long con were red herrings. Confused yet?

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Absolutely stunning episode! We have now seen what PJ was like before he met and married Angela. No doubt he started changing his sleazy huckster ways out of his love for her. I doubt she would have married him otherwise. What was to love? I think that over the few years they were married, because of Angela's influence as well as his daughter's, he lost most of that sleazy huckster stuff, with only his love for money and public adulation remaining. And that is what set the stage for his wife's and daughter's murder. Now he suffers for that, and not just that, but in remembering what a sleazeball he used to be. No wonder he is full of self-loathing. I'm wondering what else there is in Jane's background that would be interesting to know. Example: what happened to his mother? Did she die and was he somehow feeling the blame (such as, she died in childbirth)? More guilt. He seems to need a mother, as suggested by his somewhat endearing childlike behavior at times. Angela performed somewhat of a mother role in getting him to change his ways. I think that sums up his relationship with Lisbon. It's more of a mother-son relationship than of lovers. I doubt they will ever be lovers. Given what we saw in this episode and the way the story in going, I fully expect that Jane cannot ever get over the pain of his loss and in the end will wipe out the Red John operation (with help from Lisbon no doubt) and die in the process. Continuing the mother-son idea and how the show picks up on our cultural myths, I can see the end with Lisbon holding a dying Jane in a "Pieta" scene. Well, no. That is SO cornball melodramatic. Forget I said it. What we will likely see is Lisbon at Jane's tombstone (next to those of Angela and Charlotte Ann), leaving flowers, and accompanied by Walter Mashburn. But who knows what the writers are up to? They could turn this thing in other directions quite easily. Bottom line, though: I just don't see a happy ending, given the logic of the story so far. BUT, wouldn't a tragic ending set the producers up to put Simon Baker in a happy ending romantic story (TV series or movie) so all the Mentalist fans would jump on that and make it another money-making hit? Why not? It's what I would do.

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Outstanding episode. Simon Baker was excellent acting as both sides of Jane. I loved how Lisbon stayed with him and believed in him. It was very sad when he remembered but it had to happen.

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Simon
Baker is a wonderful actor. He is able to make us laugh, mourn, surprise, trick, love it. But above all able to define a character, giving many layers.

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Great review! @Keith Vlasek: I was going to say the same thing about that flashback episode. In another episode where Jane and Lisbon exit a roadside fruit shop on one of their trips, he tells her that he needs her to know that she can trust him before making her do the ‘trust fall’ into his arms. I believe Jane is a good person and the amnesia brought out all the negative traits he detests in himself. Re: Cho’s question – ‘Do you even like us?’ - that question could also be asked of Cho, Rigsby and Grace. I don’t think Grace and Rigsby really like Jane, but I think Cho respects him and admires him to some degree – the two men are akin in that they both keep their true caring natures close to their chest. …which brings me to Jane’s chest :). It was a highly emotional scene, and we got to see a little more of Patrick Jane than we’re normally privy to – which of course was the writer’s intent – to expose the vulnerable Jane. Agree with wolfshades – the episode was magnificent.

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I echo the praise of this episode. Clearly this is the sum of excellent parts, starting with being WELL WRITTEN. It was then taken to the next level by strongly acting the complex emotional subtleties (especially Robin Tunney; WOW!) to which both all the actors, director & editor need to excel. Everything in this medium is collaborative; it's STUNNING when it works. The only weakness of this episode was the tired and fallacious trope of "amnesia," but credibility always takes a hit somewhere just to get a story rolling. I forgive that when it gives us this. Nice review.