By and large, we thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The case was sufficiently surprising to surprise us doubly – although we did recognise the actor playing the culprit and wonder, the note-perfect red herrings and eventual conclusion left us pondering whether the writers threw away their six-year-established rule book and decided to just shake things up.
That would certainly be backed up by the strange new energy that seems to have come with the change of format, as if the writers are trying to change the show’s intrinsic quaintness and force it, kicking and screaming, if necessary, into the realms of modern police procedurals. A new focus on technology (among other things, Jane has finally abandoned the flip phone and invested in an iPhone) and the new magnitude of scale (placing crime on a national rather than California-based platform) position the show as a rival to faster-paced – and, perhaps, less nuanced – shows like CSI, Bones or Castle. We’re just not sure that’s a good thing. There’s always the danger that, in waving a ‘look at what technology can do’ flag so blatantly, The Mentalist will be stripped of its sedate (if somewhat eccentric and quirky) charm.
And yet, we are still enjoying this new format. We’re still being given the chance to really have fun with the show, with the early lightheartedness that’s been apparent since “My Blue Heaven” going absolutely nowhere. And that, we can’t help but love. It’s great to see Jane enjoying life for once, even if that seemingly must come with the completely unnecessary love triangle that appears to be brewing between himself, Lisbon and Agent Fischer.
But if these are the greatest of our problems with the show, we’re doing quite well, all things considered… Hopefully, these positive feelings we’re feeling will last. – K