Would agree that losing Lorelei was a serious blow to the storyline, except for one thing. I do not believe it happened.
At first, for a few hours, yep, bought it. But something up front about the scene was wrong, didn't fit. Finally dawned that it was the RJ happy face. It was painted, like with paint! In fact, rather neatly with no messy drips and carefully done eyes. LOL! Sure, RJ uses paint for the happy face on a barn; but, at a killing scene? No way.
Suspect Jane spotted it, too. "She got what she deserved" was for Lisbon's benefit.
Looking back, another tipoff was Lisbon's expression as Jane viewed the body. It was not so much sympathetic as "Will he buy it?"
Were other tipoff's, too. Lorelei (probably drugged) wasn't all cut up; just neatly stabbed or shot. Not RJ's style.
And we had Jane's 30% comment about what he let Lisbon in on. That gave her 'permission' to keep him in the dark about Lorelei's capture.
So, the whole thing was staged. Lorelei shall return!
Decided Patrick Jane is Red John-- split personality-- a long time ago. Whether or not he was preceded by an earlier RJ (who is still alive and sometimes acts as RJ, too-- e.g. Stiles) is open, though.
So, Patrick is actually hunting himself; something which clearly amuses Stiles.
Grace? Definitely Visualize material. Great scene with the priest. (Remescent of her classic meeting with Stiles-- only time I recall her wearing eye shadow. Was that a clue?) Even so, Grace seems too young and too consistently straight as a team member to have gotten much into the Red John business.
As for Rigsby, his RL existence has to be pretty rough. In the series, he's got to be #1 on everyones list as the CBI teamer who dies valiantly (to make up for being a twit all these years).
Nice that Lisbon and Patrick are officially partners. Could be she felt mentioning Haffner was, at the time, a distraction. Also, it might have come across as self-serving since she turned down a big pay increase to, at least partly, continue working with Patrick.
Anyway, back to Red John. Main rule in murder mysteries (the good ones) is that the murderer has to show reasonably often starting early on. Once the murderer is revealed, things click into place, and you have to admit the clues were there all along.
Really, practically speaking, it's too late in the series for anyone else but Patrick and/or Stiles to fill RJ's shoes.
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