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.


One eensy problem with Stiles being Red John. The woman who "knows" him, blind though she may be, recognizes his voice, doesn't she? And isn't Stiles a public figure? Hasn't he been interviewed? I do like this show. The characters are fun to spend time with, it's not conflict-ridden, a relaxing mystery each week with a story arc mystery as well. But I agree with the call for Mo Cho!


I do think there is a story line for Lisbon. She pretty much raised her three "near feral" brothers after her mother was killed in a car accident and her father became an abusive drunk. No wonder she's so no-nonsense focused on her law enforcement career. Also competitive as a track star in school. GREAT actor too. Check out her reaction in Season 1 to Jane's revelation about him being in a locked psyche ward. Tremendous depth of comassion and understanding. Yes, it's crap that the writers drop story lines so often, tho they do pick them up later. I expect the Lisbon/brother/niece plot line will reappear. I can see its possibilities for some major development. Cho has a good story line too. Only Riggby and Van Pelt are empty shells. Nothing much to show why they are who they are.


Meh. I'm a little unconvinced w.r.t. Grace. After through all that with O'Laughlin, she's willingly giving herself over to Stiles? I mean.. no lesson learned?? She's either really really really gullible or... I don't know. Just dumb.


Lisbon has no storyline in terms of her brother and niece whatsoever. That was ONE episode in which she by the way acted totally different to how she does in the rets of season 4, in that episode the old fierce Lisbon seemed to be back full force - but like the whole "subplot" they totally dropped that too after the episode aired. I know the writers tends to drop storylines like they want but it's really getting annoying for people who really invest in other character besides Jane.
Lisbon is written so inconsistent this season I can hardly enjoy her anymore nor do I recognize the character from previous seasons. She is just a shadow of her former self.
And I highly doubt that her brother or niece will show up any time soon again.


This show is so great !
Especially loved the tense relations between Jane, Red John and Stiles.
All very bright and intelligent characters. and Stiles does keep in touch with what Patrick is doing.
Loved the music at the ending of the episode !


Visualize HAS to be the hive from which we get Red John (however many there are). It is a worldwide cult. Where else would Red John get all these blindly loyal, devoted minions? I suspect there is a mastermind behind this whole Red John enterprise, whom we may or may not have seen yet. As for Lisbon, she has a story line in her brother and niece. We met them a few episodes back and I saw the makings of a great sub plot there, especially with Lisbon's niece Annie, whom Jane taught to pickpocket and she was a natural for it. A budding mentalist. There was a hint of something bad to happen to Lisbon's brother, so maybe Annie will be a feature in the ongoing plot development. I hope so. She was a real charmer.


I think Grace still could go under Stiles' power at some point in the season. It's possible that she could be the weak link to the season finale.
But I'm hoping not. McDowell plays this part very well, and I'm sure we have not seen the last of him. I think that it is also possible that Stiles could be Red John, but not 100% convinced as yet. I think he will play a big part either way, if they ever decide to put the Red John issue to rest. We thought it was over at the end of last season, but it turned out not to be. I'm also a little leary of Lisbon's young boss being one of Red John's employees. Who knows. This is a great show, but as I had last week, Cho needs more screen time.

Frank lee meidere

@Cathy: I agree that Lisbon needs some kind of advancement in her character, but I think the right direction has already been suggested a few months ago when she started using her own "Mentalist" powers to track a murderer. It's time she really became Patrick's disciple and started to develop her own abilities.


I miss the old Lisbon. Even if she trusts Jane so much now, she still is the only character right now that doesn't have a storyline. Cho has Summer and his upcoming painkiller issues, Rigsby has Sarah and the baby, Grace has all sorts of problems and now this thing with Bret Stiles. Give the woman something to DO please, instead of her running after Jane, cleaning up his mess and being totally fine with it.


Any chance Grace is playing Stiles in hopes of infiltrating Visualize? Remember when she was an uptight Christian when this series first aired? They sure dropped that really quickly. Remember the "he is man" clue they found about Red John? It's possible it was intended to say "his is many," in which case it's possible that Jane killed the Red John who killed his family, but it just wasn't Red John No. 1.

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