“The Golden Hammer” – The Mentalist

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 21.07.05For a less than amazing episode that felt more derivative than anything else, “The Golden Hammer” sure knew how to make us sit up and pay attention – with one hell of an ending.

The episode (and we’re getting a little tired of saying this, now, but what else can we say) was still enjoyable, solely because of how fun-loving it now is. Embracing humor with every scene, The Mentalist fairly skips. The interplay among the old characters and the new, the witty banter and trade-offs, the complete (if probably temporary) lack of an overarching bad guy to furrow brows and darken scenes all combine to create a show that buoys its viewers along with it.

In addition to all that, there’s the stepping-up of the Lisbon-Jane romance. While we (and, presumably, many other commentators) predicted a love triangle blooming to include Agent Fisher, we’re seeing her being pushed to the wayside as two consecutive episodes show Lisbon and Jane, respectively, displaying tell-tale signs of jealousy as the other dips a toe in the dating pool. And this makes sense. For the first time since his wife died, and despite the fact that he still wears his ring, Jane finally feels free. Free of his past and free of his future. It wouldn’t surprise us at all if we saw a symbolic removal of the wedding ring within the next few episodes, although, we have to admit, some doubt may still remain as to which Agent he’ll be setting his cap at.

And so, despite it being less exciting than previous installments, “The Golden Hammer” still kept us hooked throughout the episode. It may have seen the return of predictable casting – we had the killer pegged from the moment she walked on screen – but it also demonstrated the best of the format, providing a compelling narrative in spite of that predictability. Yes, we knew who did it. Did that matter? Not really. Even without the twists and turns we had come to hope would become de rigueur on the CBS show, the writing was clever enough to ensure we were never bored.

But then, with that ending, how could we have been. The fact that Van Pelt and Rigsby had been pulled back into the action tipped us off that all was not going to be roses by episode’s end, but we weren’t expecting this, whatever this is. Grace’s discovery that whoever had bugged Ardiles’ phone was watching each of the members of our favorite CBI team, Rigsby’s discovery of Ardiles’ corpse… all of this makes us worry that the blessed reprieve we’ve had from overarching villains may be short-lived. We’re sticking with our original prediction – the rest of this season is going to be about the Blake Association.

We’re just not sure we care. – K

Quoteworthy: “You’re acting like you used to act in the early days and it makes me nervous.”
“How did I act in the early days?”
“You were crazy.” – Cho, Jane

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