The Mentalist Review: Blowing Red Smoke

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Could Bret Stiles be Red John? Or just one giant red herring?  "His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts" had Patrick Jane and his favorite cult leader circling one another yet again and what fun it was.

Stiles and Jane took shots at one another like a couple of prize fighters. Stiles certainly made it his business to know a lot about Patrick Jane. He knew that Jane had used Red John to take down the San Joaquin killer. He knew Rosalind was under protective custody with the FBI and, of course, he knew that Jane had shot a man he had claimed was Red John.

Stiles poked and prodded at Jane mercilessly, even comparing him to the Sorcerer's Apprentice who had woken up a power he could not control. On that count he might just be right. 

Malcolm McDowell Returns to The Mentalist

He even took a shot at Lisbon and tried to turn her against Jane. It didn't work. As a matter of fact Lisbon trusted Jane so much that she didn't even tell him not to cause trouble when he went to the Visualize campus alone. She simply accepted that he had a plan. It wasn't all that long ago she would have insisted on baby sitting her consultant. These two have come a long way over the past year.

Lisbon saw right through Stiles tactics but I was beginning to worry about Grace.

The Visualize cult leader compared her to a little bird who had fallen out of a nest. Grace has been floundering all season and seemed vulnerable to Stile's advances. I was proud of her that she didn't fall for his charms, despite the kiss. 

Grace was definitely playing on the edge with Stiles in a way she never would have had the guts to in seasons past. How strong she's become, or how far she'll push that edge, are in question - but I look forward to finding the answers. Grace Van Pelt just got a whole lot more interesting.

As for the murderer, I knew it had to be one of two people based on the actors who played them. I'm a big fan of Robert Picardo (Jason Cooper) and was a little surprised his role was so small. When it became obvious that Jason was far too weak to commit murder that left only one other viable option.

Nora Hill - played by Louise Lombard, formerly of CSI - certainly had more backbone than Cooper. Anyone who carries a hammer around in her purse in case of trouble shouldn't be messed with.

Guilty or no, Stiles kept things interesting. Besides knowing an awful lot about Red John's interactions with Jane, he also threw out a lot of red references throughout the episode. Grace's red cloud of anger. Picturing the red smoke leaving your body. Were these meant to be clues to his true identity or just another Red John red herring?

Once again, Bret Stiles walked out the doors of the CBI and back to lead his crazy cult, but this time he owes Patrick Jane for his freedom. How do you think Jane will collect?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (90 Votes)

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


Grace Van Pelt is one of the most naive, impressionable cops I've seen. She gives women and cops a bad name. Just when I think she's tough, she falls for yet another master manipulator! I can't believe she kissed Stiles on the cheek! At first, I thought maybe she was playing Stiles, but then I remembered just how gullible her character really is! Someone pointed out, too, that her character used to be such a "strict christian,"... How many strict christians believe in psychics? Van Pelt is a romanticist, and has proven time and time again to be a very weak link! The attorney, Craig, the protected witness she left unprotected, and now Stiles? Van Pelt needs to be the weak link, anyways. They need to create a storyline that removes her from the team, at least for now. Amanda Righetti is pregnant and they have yet to write it into the show!


Fun post, Mia! I too don't usually call my cowrrkeos by their last names alone, though in my years in academia there were always people that I called Dr. . If I ever call my DH by his last name alone, he knows he's in trouble. Sort of like calling a kid by first and middle name.I love Austen trivia! Darcy's first name is Fitzwilliam because it was his mother's maiden name. As far as I can figure, there were 3 siblings: Anne (Darcy's mom), Catherine, and a brother who is the father of Col. Fitzwilliam. Not that I have ruminated on P&P a lot or anything.


I think that Red John is a cult inside the cult of Visualize. I don't think it's Bret Stiles but I think Stiles is aware of it. How does he know so much about Red John's activities someone talked about it in their inner visions etc... Also where else are you going to find a lot of RJ flunkies other than in a world-wide cult!?


I don't think Bret is RJ.. RJ is involved with Bret and Visualize.. Bret is protecting RJ but will somehow help Jane find him when the show comes to end. I think Red John and Bret have a personal relationship but RJ will cross Bret for some reason. Minds will be blown anyway..


@ Sara Luck - regarding Cho and Summer (actress = Samaire Armstrong) ... I like them too and was thinking maybe she'll be on the second episode listed for this week (Friday, March 9, in Ohio) due to this plot summary: "Jane and the CBI try to narrow down the list of suspects when a terminally ill man, is found murdered. Meanwhile, Cho is forced to face his demons." But, the site where I found that info also lists 3 guest stars for the episode and none are Samaire Armstrong?? So, hope, but glad anyway for maybe resolving Cho's back problems and pain killers.


Um anyone for more Cho and Summer?! I love them together and can't wait to see what happens with them!


Red John = Luther Wainright


It is unlikely that Stiles is Red John, although probably connected in some say through Visualize. I suspect a mastermind behind this who controls everything. We have yet to find out who it is. That will probably be at the windup of the series when all hell breaks loose and plot threads are tied up. I called this cult a "hive" so it needs a queen bee meaning the mastermind is a highly manipulative woman. Guessing Kristina Frye. She has all the characteristics (that coma she's in being faked). Absolutely GREAT series! I have never watched one where the main character was so well developed -- and so well acted! Jane's biography and personality are fully detailed. Totally 3-dimensional! Only problem is the need to be commercial and stretch this moneymaker out as long as possible. That's why we get fillers and dropped plot lines. Otherwise this could be a beautifully done award winning drama. Regardless of this, it's the best of the best!


@Keith: Interesting thoughts on Grace’s cure. I hope that’s the case! Cheers.


This is a late comment, but a thought I had thinking about this episode. Grace has kind of become a character like Mel Gibson's in Lethal Weapon, the kind that might get a crazy look in her eyes and jump off a building. What I was thinking is that they maybe got stuck there with her and needed to "cure" her of her malady ... and that's what the Stiles and letting your anger go was all about. And, sure, it might be a thread they can play with the next Stiles episode, but they needed her to go back to the Grace of before??

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