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The Mentalist Season 5 Report Card: A

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Ready to play school teacher?

As we struggle through the long summer hiatus and await the return of The Mentalist this fall, let's relive some of our favorite - and not so favorite moments - from The Mentalist season 5. Read on for our latest TV Fanatic Report Card and grade the CBS drama below...

A Red John Lead

Best Episode: The Mentalist gave us a really solid season so picking one favorite episode was pretty darn difficult. But in the end I've got to go with the season finale, "Red John Rules." Between floating the idea that Red John is psychic, to breaking into Jane's memory box, the finale was filled with twists and turns. When Red John used an already deceased Lorelei Martins to tell Jane he'd predicted who would be on the final list of seven suspects, even before Jane came up with them, that really got my attention. Knowing that the serial killer will be killing a lot closer to home…let's just say I'm hooked on season 6 and it hasn't even begun.

Worst Episode: I can't say there was an episode that I really hated but "There Will Be Blood" was disappointing. I was a big fan of Lorelei Martins and it felt as though there was more story there to tell, so finding her as Red John's next victim may have been inevitable but was still a disheartening turn of events.

Most Improved Character: Wayne Rigsby. I've never been a big fan of Rigsby. Other than his arson investigative skills, he's always felt like the weakest member of the team.  With "Red Velvet Cupcakes" Wayne finally stepped up and told Grace how he really felt. I didn't even care that it was undercover. The words were honest enough to garner my respect and win back his one true love.

Most Disappointing Character: Grace Van Pelt…and only because she was either stuck behind a desk, or plant, or file box for most of the season and then shipped off to Los Angeles for training. I'm happy for actress Amanda Righetti and her new baby but I'll be thrilled to see Grace back full force next season.

Most Intriguing Return: JJ LaRoche. I had hoped we'd see more of this season and The Mentalist gave me my wish, culminating with "Red and Itchy." The fact that LaRoche not only worked with Patrick Jane but asked…no make that begged for his assistance to find his missing Tupperware made for a gratifying episode. The story behind what was in the mysterious container gave this already compelling character yet another curious layer.

Most Disappointing Return: Lorelei Martins. I was captivated by Lorelei from the beginning. She was the smart and seductive Red John disciple who had reason to turn on the psychotic madman. But watching her run around shooting at people and ditching Jane to go rogue was discouraging. Having Red John murder her may have been inevitable but it felt like a mediocre ending for such a unique character.

Hopes for Season 6:

  • More danger. I'd love to see Red John go after the core members of the CBI team. Not that I want to see anyone's blood drawn in a smiley face on the wall but I'd love to see how Patrick Jane deals with the people closest to him being in imminent peril.
  • With Red John playing head games with Patrick, it would be great to see Teresa step up her game. I'm hoping she's an integral part of keeping Jane on track and hunting down the serial killer.
  • Red John. I'd love to see him caught by the end of the season. As show creator Bruno Heller has mentioned, it will be interesting to see how Patrick Jane gets on with his life once Red John is no longer his focus. That said, at the very least I want to know who the maniacal serial killer is before the season ends.


Final Grade: A

How would YOU grade this season of The Mentalist?

 

 

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

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Abbsolute55

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Abbsolute55

I'm going crazy with the "held for moderation" thing! I can't post any comment...

Huisclothes

@bw&r agree. i don't think there's a byzantine puzzle that will reveal itself if only we read the clues right. i think it will be whatever makes the best episode and the loose ends be damned.

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Stiles with his sketchy background with mysterious connections and RJ info is another red herring. Same with Bertram who Jane thought for a while in the finale 2 years ago was the mole. What we can say with Patridge is the show has never tried to show him as a powerful type, as someone who could be RJ, rather a pathetic socially awkward man who Jane toys with. That is the classic red herring only in reverse, this in reality is the man with all the power who has done all the toying to Jane. I agree with the quote you had about Waldo, that he's so obvious he's there that he's not. To me this EXACTLY what they are trying to make RJ, but not in a way that he has so much power. Rather as someone who was always there from the start, in the background. Someone you'd never suspect, someone who at the end of the day is a perfectly ordinary man at surface. Insert Brett Partridge, there are A TON of problems with him as RJ, but it just fits the show's DNA far more than anybody else based of 5 seasons of viewing in my opinion.

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casually see are where we should look for explanations of events in the RJ sequel. Rather, the RJ storyline is simply at the writer's impulse, it's a testament to the rest of the show it has lasted so long and been as successful as it has in spite of that. The one trend though that has been a constant throughout the Mentalist is the idea of "red herrings". Every character the show tries to portray as suspicious or a particular story line or an aspect about a character they blatantly try to get across has a far different meaning in the end and was just deceiving to us. It's true in every case of the week, it's true in much of the RJ storyline(from trying to convince us Jane was insane and might shoot Lisbon in the season 4 finale to convincing us RJ was finally caught in season 3). So based off the show's DNA, that's how I look about this list of 7. Kirkland is a blatantly obvious red herring and I really don't think the show waited so long to show RJ. Stiles with his sketchy background with mysterious connections and RJ info is another red herring. Same with Bertram who Jane thought for a while in the finale 2 years ago was the mole.

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There are many TV shows I have watched over the years where applying lists of 30+ reasons for each character being a suspect, carefully scrutinizing them and analyzing the most minute differences could be quite fruitful and there would be a closure to the story when it was done that all made sense and tied up things satisfactorily. That's not The Mentalist's MO, creative story writing, we see it every week with every case being an inside job where fans can often guess the killer far away, how inconsistent the RJ storyline developments have been(the random Timothy Carter as RJ sequel which I'm still convinced was some botched effort of something more the writers tried but then didn't pursue, how RJ clues went from nowhere to Jane narrowing down a list mid season to us getting nothing about it till the season finale). Look, we all obviously like this show alot, but it's not because of deep, authentic story lines where events far beyond what we casually see are where we should look for explanations of events in the RJ sequel. Rather, the RJ storyline is simply at the writer's impulse, it's a testament to the rest of the show it has lasted so long and been as successful as it has in spite of that.

Huisclothes

@rationalgal i count ten rj murders (i'm including carter peak) when jane joined cbi. when bosco takes over the case, jane has been at the cbi for 5 years. there have been fifteen murders. emma plaskett happened during jane's 4th year. jared renfrew and the prostitute were two more but weren't in the classic style and the implication was that rj henchman did the job. so that leaves four rj murders between jane joining and bosco taking the case that aren't accounted for.

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@anitrawrd1: I like all the effort your putting in trying to tie everything together, I just happen to disagree with you on the approach of looking at RJ. To me it all comes back to what is this show, really what is it's DNA, and frankly it's not at all something about having the clues tie together and make sense, not in the slightest way. We can say alot of good things about this show, but continuity and tying loose ends and using subtle clues and having them all add up is not one of them to put it politely. The list of loose ends adds up exponentially every year while the aspect of tying those up is ignored(what made the 5.21 episode so memorable this year was this was the such rare occasion where we finally had some continuity that stretched beyond just a few episodes and answered a legitimately deep question fans had---but even that just turned out into a fascinating subplot but one which brought no aspect to the RJ storyline).

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Have there been any purely random RJ serial killings since Jane joined CBI? I can't think of any. All have been related to Jane's hunt for RJ and RJ's cat and mouse game. How about minions? Were there any before Jane joined CBI? Didn't they start when Red Dawn revealed Kirkland's interest in Jane? Timothy Carter's Identity took hold about 5 years before Jane's trial, at or about the time Jane joined CBI. Were there even any informants before then? All this looks like a game change where the original RJ serial killer was replaced by who else but Brett Stiles, the only one with all the capabilities to do what he has been doing but was not being done before. Maybe Partridge gets to do some of the Jane-related killings just to keep him under control. I doubt that Siles does any killings himself. Jane told him he never wielded the knife himself, but had others do it.

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Perhaps the prior serial killings were done by Partridge and Stiles now has him under his control so he doesn't mess with Stiles's cat and mouse game. Perhaps that is why Partridge acts out killings in the ghoulish way he did in the pilot - it's as close as Stiles will let him come to actually acting on his desire to kill. Then there's Kirkland, definitely involved. The guy with casual access to a limo that shows up in Red Dawn, then in Crimson Hat. Kirkland may be RJ/Stiles' informant in the FBI, who alerted him to Jane's plan in the S4 finale, got Wainwright into the limo, set up the phone connection, etc. So why wasn't the limo traced? The FBI had it and the license number. But Kirkland is HLS and can control what the FBI does re any info it wants to use, destroy or admit to having. Kirkland acts like someone under pressure (just like Partridge?) and reluctantly following orders. From Stiles?

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