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Good episode, but not at the level of last season's for me, at least so far. they just tried to do too much in this episode; all the blackmailing, the idea that there is tons of tension and these complex relationships they tried setting the stage for with Harvey-Darby Harvey-Jessica Jessica-Mike Mike-Rachael. I'm not big on the idea of Harvey going from being a case away from leaving to now doing a 180 and staying to take down Jessica in a span of 15 min. I also think they went way too fast with Rachael and Mike, way too many questions + doubt from Rachael for me to just believe they start the opener in a relationship ,espec with their past and all their ups and downs. And I wish we saw some of that "conversation" they had about Mike's past. Still good episode, lots to like and look forward to, but I think they're casting their net a bit too wide and go quantity over quality at times.

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The other thing I forgot to mention in my last post about where I read a bit of a preview for season 6(cant find the link it wasn't some super well known site so you do kind of have to take it with a grain of salt) was that the format of the show would change a bit. They would stray a bit away from the case of week style and focus more on this Red John hunt and its different perspectives. This to me is a very welcome change; the case of the week format had it's moments but last year was full of a number of average episodes in case of week format and they weren't able to tie in the Red John story line as naturally as they did a couple years ago in their episodes. Granted, it probably means next year is the end of the line for the show for good, but 1 season is still 22 episodes, thats alot to look forward, if indeed the show is serious about changing the direction of the show(and Bruno's interview definitely helps with that claim) I'll be thrilled.

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A couple people have posted that Kirkland and Stiles are more likely to be RJ because of the power positions they have and networks established. That's true but I think that might miss the pt: RJ isn't going to come across as powerful. We don't know about his networks, if his networks so transparent in the FBI and CBI to everyone to see then his gig as RJ would be alot harder to conceal. Above all else, Bruno has always emphasized RJ is "just a man", "waldo" someone behind the scenes, in other words people we wouldn't expect. And that's what this show is, doing things we aren't supposed to expect and throw deliberate red herrings. So even if your trying to play the game of rationalizing who RJ is(which I don't think is going to help you identify RJ but is entertaining nonetheless) I think you have to be careful at how you look at the current clues. Because things will change, greatly even in a short period of time and alter the landscape of the show. Always remember that

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I'll make a couple comments about what I've read and seen here.
1) In some season 6 preview I read, what they did give away was early on a) Lisbon would have a really hard time hiding the list info and Cho picks up on it b) Jane starts to doubt the list because RJ mocked it and referred to it with such derision. RJ is still one of the seven, but it is going to be alot more complicated than that. Like we are at the end of every big episode, we will be surprised with what happens, we wont predict it coming. There's a greater story here and lots more mis-directions left. That's why to me the show was willing to make the list down to 7 so soon, it's not about catching RJ himself, but the process. What is the goal? How does RJ work and get people to die for him so seamlessly? They wont make RJ more than 1 person, that's a copout and Bruno has stressed not doing copouts, but there are alot of other people that matter besides RJ to this story and that's a key for next yr.

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about who RJ is itself, but the meaning behind it and process to getting him and how it affects and changes everybody. Your right also @anitraward1, everything has been planned for years, this isn't on the spot improvisation, "Oh in season 3 we wanted Stiles to be RJ, now I think Partridge would be better so tada!". The other reason to give the list is because there are other characters important in this game to analyze even if they aren't RJ. It absolutely matters what Stiles and his end game hidden behind a cloud of mystery are, it absolutely matters what Kirklands end game is(and I don't think hes in any way connected to RJ), or say any potential moles RJ still has we haven't seen yet(which is probably why some random names like Reede Smith were on the list to create suspicion of the idea of mole). But ultimately, it is up to you and your expectations, what do you want to take away from the show? Because I can tell you know if you focus on the clues that could reveal who RJ is and trying to make them all fit harmonously, you might not be as satisfied in the end as you could be.

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This isn't a show about intricacies in storylines coming back to having ramifications, it doesn't require us to scrutiinize everything like other shows do to come up with the killer, we do so anyway, but really who RJ is going to be dictated by simple things like having symmetry of RJ being there from episode 1 or always keeping him in the background as someone we all know but consider insignificant but who appears in all the big episodes. However, if your focus is on how Jane approaches the situation, how he changes, the potential aftermath, how it affects the characters, and the overall meaning behind having an entire CBI organization ripe with corruption and how that affects a life or how exactly this obsession eats at Jane in new ways we haven't seen, then regardless of who RJ is, you can always gain something from it and be at peace with yourself and satisfied. It's just up to you and what you expect, the show is basically telling us narrowing the list itself its not about who RJ is, but the process/end meaning

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before they show knew there were only so many possibilities) thats not really the significant part, it's the process and overall meaning behind finding him and what it means to Jane and everyone else. Who Rj is, yes of course it's relevant, but honestly there were only ever a handful of suspects close observers of the show truely ever believed could be RJ. Focusing the mystery on "saying oh it could be ANYBODY' wouldn't have been smart by the writers and they knew this. Also, this sets up more twists and turns rather than just leaving everybody open and Jane finally coming to a key breakthrough and pursuing that character and that being the end of the story. As for the idea of being cheated, it all depends on what you want: If you want everything to tie together and make sense, you probably will be dissapointed(and the show has already warned us we will likely be dissapointed and that RJ is just "another man" as Brunoe said).

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@anitraward1: I'll start by saying Red John absolutely is one of the 7 on the list, I think it's popular to pretend otherwise, but that's just not living in reality, rather it's just overanalyzing little things that fans like us like to do. The show has already teethered at times of losing fans interest in the RJ subplot, Bruno knows this, the show throws alot of misdirections portraying things like "Jane shoots one of his own" but never have they outright lied and they aren't with the stories most important part, they didn't last year saying we would make major breakthroughs, and they won't now. RJ will be caught in season 6 like they are saying and it will be 1 of the seven. Granted there will be alot more complications and twists that don't just make it as simple as Jane spying all 7 and pursuing what he finds, but there's a reason they gave us this list, they're not trying to lie to us. Rather the focus is not so much on who RJ is(we've seen RJ before there were only so many possibilities he could be) but rather the process, the show wants the focus to be on the path, process and overall meaning, not just the name himself.

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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.