The Mentalist Review: End of the Red Era

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After six seasons of chasing the infamous serial killer, Patrick Jane finally came face to face with "Red John" the man who slaughtered his wife and daughter.

No doubt The Mentalist Season 6 Episode 8 will divide fans of the series with the conclusion of this intricate, complicated story arc. There was no way to answer all of our lingering questions in one episode and despite many dangling threads, I was still left satisfied.

The End of a Journey

Let's start from the beginning.

The CBI is indeed gone and FBI Agent Abbott made it clear that Lisbon's team was under a microscope. If they've ever done anything even remotely questionable they will be held accountable. 

That statement had to send worry through them all. Rigsby and Cho and that mess with Rigsby's father? Grace being engaged to one of Red John's minions? If Abbott truly decided to dredge up the past I doubt any one of them would be left standing.

But Abbott had one goal…find Patrick Jane.  

I had to wonder what Abbott was planning to find in the CBI attic. Wasn't sending half a SWAT team in to sweep for Jane overkill? 

I couldn't believe Bertram and Cordero were still anywhere near the Sacromento area but that was before I realized they had their orders to carry out before they could leave.  In the meantime this dynamic duo had no problem blowing away people in public places who recognized them. You'd think they could have come up with better disguises than a silly hat and sunglasses. 

When Bertram and Jane made the plan to meet at the Alexandria Cemetery, a question occurred to me.  I know we've seen Angela and Charlotte's gravestones before but why would they be buried in Sacramento if the family lived in Malibu? Not that it matters now but it struck me as odd. 

One of the most touching moments was when Jane met Lisbon in the park and told her he didn't want her involved in this anymore. From his expression, I believe he was trying to protect her. His goal, as it has always been was to kill Red John and he didn't want her to be a party to that. 

It was sweet but still very, very, sad.

That's when Jane found out who really had his back and it wasn't just Lisbon. When Abbott and his men had Jane literally on his knees, Lisbon, Cho, Rigsby, and Van Pelt all went toe to toe with the FBI, guns drawn. Lisbon and the team not only put their careers but their lives on the line to allow Jane his chance to finally end his quest for Red John.

That's not to say it wasn't a source of stress. I loved them all handcuffed in the car. Cho couldn't stand how helpful and polite Rigsby was being and even the newlyweds found themselves at odds. The sarcasm between them was the one bit of humor in an otherwise intense hour...

Grace: Sometimes I think you like being helpless.
Rigsby: OK fine, don't relax. Break the window with your forehead and we'll all jump out and make a run for it.

When the two men finally met in the church, Bertram was just as arrogant as he's always been as he told Jane in this The Mentalist quote

Jane: You lied to me.
Bertram: As did you. What a couple of scamps we are. I promise that is the last lie I will ever tell you.

Who else would use the word scamps?  The moment he made his promise I knew he planned to kill Jane but I still wasn't sure if he was Red John.  Up to this point I'd been assuming he wasn't RJ, that there would be yet another twist in the story but then I began to wonder if no twist was the twist. Because that's what this show will do to you. Send your theories spinning in circles. 

One of the highlights of the hour was Cordero shooting Bertram. Bertram's shocked, "Hey, " just before he hit the ground was priceless. He never saw that coming and I was amused at how the members of the Blake Association all seemed to forget how vicious a tiger could be. 

And finally, the real Red John was revealed. 

As many had suspected, not all those presumed dead in the Malibu explosion actually were as Sheriff Thomas McAllister stepped into view. 

To briefly recap his Malibu caper, instead of a spare tire in the trunk of his car, he packed a spare body. Then he used a concussion grenade to render the group unconscious so that he could make the switch and slip away before setting off the real explosion. DNA had been changed in the system by Brett Partridge before he was killed.

Far fetched? Yes, but let's face it. Red John has pulled off things in the last six seasons that ranged from the bizarre to the unbelievable so I'm willing to accept this as just one more part of the master plan from a diabolical serial killer.

McAllister stood there, eager to continue the game. It's as though Jane had been his favorite play thing for over a decade and he just wasn't ready to let him go yet. 

Jane on the other hand, was done.

I have no questions. You're an evil, sexually perverted sociopath with pathetic delusions of grandeur. The rest is just details.


Some details we already knew. Red John killed Jane's family after Patrick's show of arrogance belittling the killer on TV. Since then he's claimed to have used Jane's belief that he is smarter than most everyone else as a way to stay one step ahead. Well, that and having hundreds or even thousands of followers to do his bidding certainly helped.

But Jane had had enough. He took Red John down with two items…a bird and a hidden gun. So we can assume Jane figured out that RJ's fear wasn't heights but pigeons. 

When that woman didn't immediately run when she saw Patrick with the gun I knew she was one of Red John's minions. I was kind of surprised Jane didn't see it coming but thinking straight can be difficult with that much adrenaline pumping through your system.

Then somehow, with a gunshot wound, McAllister made a run for it that sent him through the cemetery, across streets, yards, and homes and finally into a park.

When I saw him get close to that school bus I immediately thought of all the ways that could have gone horribly wrong. I was relieved they didn't go there.

When Jane finally caught up with him, the man was writhing on the ground trying to call 911 for help. Instead he had to face Patrick Jane.

I found it amusing that his last ditch effort was to try and make Jane think he was really psychic. I guess whatever abilities he had didn't show him what came next. 

I was a little surprised by Jane's questions. He wanted to know if Red John was sorry for killing his family. The fear of death was the only reason I could think of that would get the man to say yes because after ten years he certainly never showed an ounce of remorse. And I'll admit that as he died, he did look afraid. 

In the end Jane got to look Red John in the eyes and squeeze the life out of his nemesis with his bare hand.  I found that satisfying. After all this monster had taken from him and a decade of his life hunting him, Patrick deserved that moment of intimate vengeance. 

But it was his phone call to Lisbon that made me sad…

Lisbon. It's over. It's done. I just want you to know that I'm OK and I'm going to miss you.


Miss him? Where was Jane headed? Did he have a plan? And with her cell phone in the possession of the FBI, would Teresa ever even hear his message? 

I'm afraid we'll all have to wait another week to find out. In the meantime I found Sheriff McAllister a creepy, arrogant, and worthy Red John.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (360 Votes)

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


I liked the episode and couldnt breathe for most of it. I think the acting was brilliant and didn't expect Mcallister to be Red John. I wasn't really OMG about it because obviously it was not Bertram.
The ending was good but sthg was missing. dont know what.. I guess I'd have loved to have more questions answered.
I wondered if he would kill him at the end, and he did and I think he had no choice because he'd have escaped in prison.
I can't believe it's over though, weird feeling. I can't wait to see the next episode, see what they're gonna do now. The pigeon thing was clever, it proved Jane was smarter than McAllister! Im satisfied all in all although of course they are loose ends.


This episode could have been way better, but I am satisfied with the choice for the real Red John suspect. I just wished they had spent more time with his character. Jane might not have cared for the details, but I did. And the leaked episode was EXACTLY the same with this. Oh well, at least we can now move on.


Sorry, should be - It was not perfect


I was not perfect but I liked it. I wish Red John character was played with a little more "edge" but, for me, it was about Jane not RJ and Simon Baker's performance was great. Also the team...they were super. I can't wait for the next episode.
(sorry for my English :))

@ reba

Exactly. For me the story is about PJ not RJ. I have always been somewhat perplexed at the need to analyze every clue about rj. rj is a metaphor for evil and the tragedy that we all ultimately face. So I was very satisfied with this episode and the superb acting by the whole cast. I do understand the frustration and desire of others who invested a lot of time in all the intricate clues to have more answered. I blame the teasing whole build-up of the first 7 episodes for amplifying that frustration, but ultimately, like life itself there are many unimportant details. The bigger question is how we deal as individuals with our frustrations and problems.


I thought the episode was excellent. It was very satisfying to have Jane kill Red John. I loved how the team came together to help Jane. I don't like the FBI agent. He jumps to conclusions and doesn't see other sides. I love the show and I hope it keeps going. Big changes but new horizons.


So please explain "he is mar" from season 1? And I never understood why when there were only 7 suspects the team could not do their usual digging into their backgrounds and find some connection to what was known about Red John, victim associations, where he could have found his female accomplices, traumatic event to turn someone into a serial killer. Anything. Another thing I have a huge problem with is the violence shown in the last few episodes. Usually the show takes place after the gruesome violence. Too many holes, characters being inconsistent, and incredibly disappointed. Could have been so much better.

@ Jess

The only explanation I can see is maybe he was writing out MacAllister. Maybe what looks like an "r" was supposed to be a "c". The guy was dying at the time. He can hardly be faulted for his penmanship.

@ Jess

Nobody can explain it. They decided not to explain anything, so you get to make up your own story! Isn't that awesome? Cop out.

@ Carobachik

He is Marshal sounds plausible. Been thinking that for months now.

@ Shtempik

Yeah, something like that. But again, the writers didn't know where they were going with it, so your conclusion is as good as any.


I am kind of dissapointed that he killed Red John to be honest... I expected he'd be the better man...

@ rad

A man who is so well connected as to be able to have people in custody killed and you thought Jane should have him arrested and tried? It never would have gone to trial. He would have disappeared. If you think Jane was anything other than what you saw then you and I have been watching two completely different shows for the last 5+ years. I also find the idea that Jane is no better than Red John because he has killed, as Guest suggests, to be a rather repugnant idea. No one Jane has ever killed were good or innocent.

@ rad

Agreed, he is no better then Red John. He has killed quite a few people now and some were innocent and not involved with RJ. He is a murder.

@ Guest

He's killed two people, the "fake" Red John (Bradley Whitford) and now the real "Red John." In the real world, would he be able to get away with taking revenge, twice? The first time could be seen as temporary insanity, but tonight's episode was premeditated murder, for sure.

@ FilmAlicia

Actually Jane has killed four people - Dumar, Timothy Carter, Oscar Cordero, and McAllister. Though none of them were innocent, all the murders were intentional, if not premeditated (except Dumar's, which was to save Lisbon's life.)


First, I think everyone should go read James Hibberd's review of the episode in EW ( It's absolutely spot on. My initial response to the episode is one of profound disappointment just in a purely visceral sense. The grandeur of the Red John figure had swelled to mythological proportions of the course of five seasons, and to see it unravel almost adventitiously in a matter of minutes doesn't seem satisfying. I'm further taken aback that the parts of the episode -- the climactic final Red John episode! -- that engaged me most are the more light-hearted moments of banter and camaraderie among our heroes -- the soon to disbanded CBI team. Hibberd is right: the "Red John" encounter from the third season rendered the real encounter tonight in the church anti-climactic, even inert. The writing in "Strawberries and Cream" is so good, and Whitford's line delivery so creepily matter-of-fact, that what we get tonight is almost pedestrian by comparison, even though Berkeley's portrayal is far from embarrassing. What ultimately redeems the episode as an episode (but not necessarily as a resolution to the show's central conceit) is the denouement in the park, where our protagonist finally fulfills his quest. The writers don't punt on the ambiguity of the Patrick Jane character, in which roguish charm and wit mingle combustibly with vengeance and self-loathing. As Jane finally, and unflinchingly, exacts revenge against the adversary who had once toyed with him at will, Baker brilliantly honors the complexity and humanity of his character. And I'm reminded once again why, despite so many mangled opportunities, despite so much bungled execution, I still follow this show.


Loved it! I did read an interview somewhere with the show creator that said that Jisbon would get closer. Guess it'll just take time. I, for one, can't wait! I didn't breathe until the final credits!

@ vincegfan

I agree that the EW review was "spot on." Bradley Whitford did make a better "Red John" and the confrontation between them was more interesting than in this final episode. I don't quite buy the legions of Red John followers ready to die for him, such as Whitford. That suggests someone with a demonic power over his followers. Red John, as I said below, was supposed to be the cult leader to end all cult leaders. I don't entirely blame the writers, because network execs encourage them to prolong storylines and plots way beyond their natural endpoints. Once again, it's the eternal conflict between art and commerce. The same thing that made "Lost" a good show but not a great show which it might have been. I still like Simon Baker and "The Mentalist" cast and plan to keep watching. Glad to see from the preview that Patrick finally gets to put on a new shirt!


I thought the Red John ending was really bad. I'm sick and tired of tv shows having no idea how to end things. That was truly awful. The FBI would just let Jane walk away, really. Jane has no questions for him? Well the tv audience has a ton of questions. That ending was like watching a daytime soap opera. Really really disappointing.

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