After watching this season finale of The Mentalist, we’re simultaneously irked and confused. All the (small) progress of the season has been set back greatly. We’re now, once again, no closer to Red John. Not really. What we were hoping would be a season finale of epic proportions, bringing us closer to Red John (if not catching him entirely) and making us feel that an end was in sight was no such thing. On the plus side, we can now look forward to a thrilling Season 6 – one with high stakes. After 5 years of a show that is, at its root, about a serial killer, we’re finally about to see him in action on a grand scale. And we were pleased to see that a number of our personal Red John suspects were on Jane’s list. We’d love to see that list narrowed down in the next season.
Or even pushed aside entirely. We mentioned that we were no closer to Red John, for all of Jane’s insistences about having it narrowed down to seven candidates (see Quoteworthy). Yes, it could still be one of them. But there was one fatal flaw in Jane’s reasoning, and one that makes us think that none of these suspects is Red John. Jane told Lisbon that he was only considering men he met after his wife died. After. How can he be so sure that he didn’t know him all along? That’s certainly supported by the murder of the week. Red John seemingly plucked a memory out of Jane’s head. A happy memory about which he hadn’t told a single soul, or so Red John says. We don’t believe in psychics here at Pond Hopping Girls, so it stands to reason that Red John was there when the memory was formed, or knew someone who was, or is someone Jane is close to. Someone he’s known for a long time. Just because they’re not friends doesn’t mean they’re not old acquaintances.
The murder itself was no less of a disappointment than the episode’s general lack of forward momentum. We’re used to a certain level of sadism from Red John’s murders which, while we certainly don’t enjoy, we appreciate. The Red John episodes have, historically, felt that bit more serious than all of the others. They were personal, and creepy, and tension-filled. While this episode and this murder contained many of those ingredients, they didn’t add up to a delectable dish. It felt weaker than previous efforts, and lacked much of the requisite drama that has made others a success.
We’re not sure we hated the episode. It was relatively enjoyable, and the ongoing issue of predictable casting (Red John’s accomplice was played by Laura San Giacomo, Veronica Mars, Just Shoot Me!) was ably balanced out by a couple of twists and turns. But we can’t say that we’re actively looking forward to Season 6. At this point, we’re not even sure we’ll be watching. – K
Quoteworthy: “Patrick, Lorelei told me what she told you about shaking my hand. So I know that you have made a list. And I know that by the time you watch this video you will have narrowed that list down to a few names. That’s quite a feat of memory and research. Bravo. I bet you think you’re pretty damn clever, but you’re not. You got a lucky break. That’s not clever. I’ll show you clever. I’m going to kill a happy memory that you’ve never told anyone and, when you investigate, I’m going to lead you right to this video. There’s more. Right now, I want you to take out your list of suspects and look at the names. I will give you a minute. … Okay. The names are Bret Stiles, Gale Bertram, Raymond Haffner, Reede Smith, Bob Kirkland, Sheriff Thomas McAllister, Brett Partridge. There. See? That’s clever. But fair’s fair, Patrick. You’ve changed the game, so there’s new rules now. Eileen Turner is the first of many. I’m going to start killing again. Often. Until you catch me. Or I catch you.” – Red John
PS This episode may have put an end to the dreams of Ron theorists. He didn’t make the cut on Jane’s list. But does that mean he’s not Red John, or just that Jane’s not as clever as he thinks.