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The Mentalist Round Table: "The Desert Rose"

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The Mentalist season 6 returned with a killer episode... literally, as "The Desert Rose" featured Jane and Lisbon doubting one another and questioning what to do next when it came to Jane's list of seven suspects.

Below, TV Fanatic's Christine Orlando is joined by The Mentalist fans from Twitter - Nerwen_Aldarion, SteeleSimz, and Donnamour1969 - to decide whether or not Teresa was right to share the list with Grace and why Red John chose to paint Lisbon's actual face. Gather around now and join the debate!

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What was your favorite scene from the episode?

Nerwen Aldarion: I'd say it was the last few moments. I loved watching Jane's terrified expression as he realized Red John had Lisbon. The painting on her face was just disturbingly awesome. Can't wait to see where that goes next.

SteeleSimz: I'm going to go with the argument scene between Jane and Lisbon after he finds out that Grace knows about the list. It shows that, despite all they have been through, they each believe that their way of catching Red John is the better way.

Donnamour1969: My favorite scene was Jane confronting Lisbon in the diner. Simon Baker plays this scene expertly, showing his anger, his betrayal, his horror at what Lisbon has done. I loved it when Lisbon says: "You're not my boss." That really defines the differences between them in their approaches.

Christine: I loved all of the above. Yet, even though I figured out that Lisbon was going to be abducted by Red John when she was grabbed from behind in the abandoned house, I still literally jumped.

Mentalist Season Premiere Scene

Was Teresa right or wrong to share the list with Grace?

Nerwen Aldarion: Hmmm, a VERY good question. I'm on the fence with this one. On one hand, Jane has always had very good reasons to keep the team in the dark. On the other hand, when it comes down to it, he has always needed their help. He can't do this alone and they are the only people he can trust. So in the end I think they will be stronger for it, but I have to say that I believe Lisbon probably should have warned him at the very least.

SteeleSimz: I think Lisbon was correct to share the list. She was doing what she thought was best even though she knew it was going against Jane wishes.

Donnamour1969: Given the results, and the position Lisbon was left in at the end of the episode, I'd say Lisbon made a bad decision. Red John knows that they know the suspects; he'll be expecting such surveillance and planning accordingly.

Christine: I understand why she made the decision to tell Grace, but I wish she and Jane could have sat down and told the entire team together in a secure location. That way they all could have discussed what to do next. Unfortunately, with Jane's need for secrecy and the constant sense of fear and paranoia that didn't happen.

Should Patrick regret sharing the list with Teresa and, if so, why?

Nerwen Aldarion: No he shouldn't. She's the most important person to him and as of now, the one with the biggest target on her back. She needs to know who to look out for and Jane certainly cannot do all of this by himself. He needs her. Granted I have my own reasons for why I think Jane did tell her in the season 5 finale but I don't think he truly regrets it. He's just afraid and that makes him say things he shouldn't.

SteeleSimz: No, he shouldn't regret telling her the list. Red John doesn't belong to Jane but rather to the team. They have been helping him chase the man and have suffered loses because of him.

Donnamour1969: Yes, Jane must be hating himself about now. The shock of hearing Red John's voice on Lisbon's phone has got to be huge. Given his tendency toward accepting blame for things he didn't do and not accepting blame for things he actually does,  I'd say he's in a world of self-loathing.

Christine: Should he? No. Lisbon's his partner and she needed to know. Does he regret it? Absolutely. I'm sure he feels that by telling her he's put her in Red John's crosshairs. But the truth is, she's always been there. The fact that they're getting closer to catching him is what's made this all more real.

Lisbon seems to be wondering if Red John could actually be psychic. Jane is vehement that there is no such thing. Do you believe in psychics?

Nerwen Aldarion: No and I'm not sure if Lisbon really believes RJ is a psychic. I think she is more wondering if Jane is in over his head. All of this time she's always thought that Jane was the smartest man in the room and now she has to be wondering if RJ is playing chess while Jane is playing checkers. Jane has been the man with the answers and now he doesn't, she's scared.

SteeleSimz: I'm going to go with Jane on this and say that I don't believe in psychics.

Donnamour1969: This is another area that defines both of them--belief in the unknown versus complete disbelief in anything spiritual. Because of Jane's own trickery and dabbling in the world of chicanery, he can't allow himself to believe in the unexplained--to him, everything must have an explanation. Personally, I think some people are gifted with a sixth sense, but no, I don't believe in psychics.

Christine: I'm willing to say that there are things in this world I cannot explain. That said, I also believe that 99.9% of the time there is a logical explanation. Although psychic readings are fun, I honestly don't believe.

Why do you think Red John painted Teresa's face?

Nerwen Aldarion: A warning. Remember, the face is always the first thing a person sees when they enter the room, it's the message BEFORE you see the body. In this case Lisbon is the message but I think it's more than just Partridge's death. I think this is a warning to Jane that while he didn't kill Lisbon now (I don't believe she is dead by any means) he most certainly could have, very easily. He wants Jane afraid. Jane doesn't give a whit about his own life when it comes to RJ but we've known since the season 1 finale that Jane won't sacrifice Lisbon for that. That was when RJ was tipped off that Lisbon was Jane's achilles heel and he is certainly ready to exploit that.

SteeleSimz: I think he painted it as a warning to Jane. He wants Jane to know that he still has the upper hand and that he can still destroy Jane's life with on single slice of the knife.

Donnamour1969: To show Jane who is really in control, that he has the power of life and death.  Obviously Lisbon will survive, so this is sort of Red John putting Jane in his place, like he's saying,  don't even try to pull one over on me, because you will fail and I will win.

Christine: To me, it looked as though Red John was painting a clowns face on her, as though he's laughing at Jane. If you think you can catch me you're kidding yourself. I'm always a step ahead.

With the list now down to six, what's your guess? Who is Red John?

Nerwen Aldarion: Haffner. I did my own analysis of the Red John suspects and put Partridge down at the bottom so I was thrilled to be right so far. I feel like Bertram, Stiles and Kirkland are far too obvious to be Red John, while Smithe and McAllister are so unknown it would feel a bit like being cheated. But Haffner has been in recent episodes in a big way, it would also fit with the idea of Bertram being a follower. He would be the "power behind the throne" pulling Bertram's strings so to speak and being a CBI agent would give him all of the access he needs to carry out his plans. But I'll admit to liking the idea of all 7 being Red John in some form of another fitting with "He is m-a-n" being "he is many" However, a part of me hopes I'm wrong. While I love being right it would be even more satisfying to be surprised.

SteeleSimz: I still have two top suspect and those are Haffiner and Bertram. However, I believe that Haffiner is Red John.

Donnamour1969: I was personally disappointed that Partridge wasn't Red John. He'd been my number one suspect since the Season 2 finale. He matched every clue and even had the same voice as the Red John in that finale. But now, given new Bruno Heller interviews, spoilers, and future episode titles, I'm thinking that all seven of the suspects could be Red Johns, or at the very least, six could be his minions, given Partridge's last words ("Tyger, Tyger"). Another new theory I've developed is maybe many on that list are actually bigger insiders than Jane is into the mind of Red John. Maybe they are actually helping Jane. I've long suspected Kirkland has some personal agenda for getting Red John himself. Time will tell, and clearly I've been wrong before...

Christine: There are so many great theories out there. I was kind of hoping it was Partridge. Stiles and Bertram seem to obvious and I agree that Kirkland seems too have his own agenda. Since I'm a big fan of the actor Reed Diamond I'm hoping it's Ray Haffner. That would be pretty cool.

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

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Entwife

RJ painted Lisbon's face as a message to Jane. I think the lines down the eyes seal that it's some kind of reference to carny for me. Maybe Jane knew a clown in the circuit who marked his makeup like that. I just hope it's not a threat about Pete, but I have no idea if Pete ever played a clown. Just my creep-out. Red John is a malignant narcissist IMO. He does not relate to people as persons, but as objects which have use (keep and use) or not (discard or destroy). Beyond the clowny smiley, RJ lies Lisbon on a mattress and does not, I believe, kill her. I think the message is see, Jane, I haven't hurt your object, you've let her fall into my hands and see I've even made her comfortable. You didn't take care of her and I did. The painting defaces Lisbon, mars her, depersonalizes her, makes her an object-- the message. It's very disturbing and causes me the most grief of anything in this grieve-worthy episode. And she's going to wake tasting Partridge. :/

Entwife

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the mess is VP's fault. I'm saying she agreed to do what Lisbon needed and then disobeyed a direct order about it because she was thinking with what was between her legs. Grrrr. Makes the case for no dating within the unit, doesn't it? Patrick already regretted sharing the list with Lisbon before this happened. No should about it. He just does. But now he will feel even worse, because his worst nightmare seems to have come true about it. Meh about psychics. Maybe. But Jane doesn't believe in them, so for purposes of TM, I don't believe either.

Entwife

I really think Lisbon wanted to keep the list a secret because of Jane's emphatic stance, even if it went against her copness because he's the real expert on the case and on Red John. However, I think it really shook her up to see him spooked and to answer her honestly (which she has been demanding from him) that he didn't know what to do. He gave her his honest answer, then appeared to be goofing around with eggs. All the while she's thinking of all the cop things she should be doing about it. I think she came up with the best compromise she could allow herself, by only telling VP. And the little twit, worried about what her boyfriend would think, disobeys a direct order and tells him. I'm still furious at VP. She should lose her job. The responsibility and the decision was Lisbon's. It turned out bad. But that's leadership. VP had no right to tell a living soul. I can't tell you how mad I am at her.

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my vote goes to Haffner!He has that sort of charisma! He seemed to like Lisbon and this is even more creepier!
I remember at one point, when he asked her out for the dinner:Is it work or is it Jane?---looked back then like he tried to get her out of the CBI and Jane as he knew what was coming! But hey, who knows, the way things are developing RJ could be anyone on that list!

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RJ: I've never cared too much for figuring this one out as I'd rather be amazed and surprised. But now the list is down to 6 known suspects, I hope it's Haffner. He's the most like Jane physically and age-wise and would make a good sparring partner. He seemed the good, clean cut guy in many ways, so they could make a great aha reveal of him as RJ. The guys who have been positioned as obvious would make for less satisfying RJs. Except maybe Malcolm McDowell. Love him. Since the hospital mercy killing scene I've thought Kirkland is running with his own agenda. Final thought: Haffner in Lisbon's office creeped me out a bit. Seemed he had her under his spell somehow with that look he gave her at the end when dismissing the Elliston Farm thing. So for that reason alone my vote is for Haffner.

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Should Patrick regret sharing the list? He shouldn't logically but given events at the end of the episode, he undoubtedly does. Until now, he has been secretive and possessive with Red John. Likely in order to avoid the very thing that has happened, among other reasons. As soon as he shares more than 30% with Teresa, disaster befalls her. I'm sure his self loathing quotient has now gone through the roof. I don't think anyone believes for a minute that Lisbon is dead, but Patrick doesn't know that and for the moment he expects the worst.

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Do I believe in psychics? One word: no.

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Was Teresa right to share the list? Although it was a betrayal of sorts (not unlike when she listened to Jane and Lorelei), I don't think she could do otherwise. It's in her DNA to follow protocol and since Jane seemed at a loss as to what to do next, it was her natural fall back. She felt like she had to do something because Jane, who usually takes the lead with RJ, seemed to be stalled out. She did give Grace the option of knowing or not knowing which I thought was the right thing to do. Can't say I blame Jane for being ticked though.

The Mentalist Season 6 Episode 1 Quotes

I'm trying to work here and you're staring at me like I have two heads.

Jane

Jane: It's a trick.
Lisbon: A trick how?
Jane: I don't know.

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