“The Red Tattoo” – The Mentalist

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.26.44 PMWe scarcely know what to do with ourselves, here. Yet another great episode from The Mentalist. We’re beginning to find it difficult to find fault with the long-running CBS show. That shouldn’t be a problem for us. Surely not hating a show we want to enjoy is a good thing, right? Wrong. Liking it means we have very little to write about. So then we have to nitpick. And overanalyze all of the Red John hints. And that just makes our heads hurt.

But the good stuff first.

First up, Grace and Rigsby. Their marriage has affected the show not one whit. Which is fantastic. It’s always a worry, when two main characters tie the knot, that the show’s writers will lose the run of themselves and, for unknown reasons, turn the show into some manner of rom-com. The Mentalist has dodged this dark fate. If we hadn’t seen their wedding two weeks ago, and seen their first forays into newly-wedded bliss last week, we wouldn’t even believe they were dating. A few of Rigsby and Cho’s conversations centre on Grace but, then, they always did.

It’s also a pleasure to see that Continue reading

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“Black-Winged Redbird” – The Mentalist

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 6.48.49 PMWe definitely preferred this episode to the Season 6 opener. While that suffered from a long-build, an uninteresting case and a closing scene that neither shocked nor caused (much) suspense, “Black-Winged Redbird” went a long way toward rectifying those issues, with a significant ramping up of mystery and plot development.

Where last week’s Red John arc served almost as an afterthought, he was basically front and centre in this episode. While there was a case of the week – another drone episode, making it seem as though Hollywood is jumping on the drone warfare debate bandwagon – it was largely secondary to the quest to find Red John. The case’s surprise twist was neither surprising nor much of a twist. We had it solved from the mid-way point. For once, though, we didn’t really care that it was a totally predictable conclusion, because the case was never supposed to be the focus.

That Red John arc became really interesting this week, with a definite and solid uptick in clues and drama. Lisbon survived, but the gruesome murder of Sophie Miller (Season 1 guest star, Elisabeth Röhm, Angel, The Client List) was more than enough to make up for our disappointment (sorry, but Lisbon irritates sometimes, and we would have liked to see what Jane would become after losing the woman he clearly loves*). This arc threw up a number of clues – Red John’s a great whistler – and intriguing developments. The most curious of these was Continue reading

“Red John’s Rules” – The Mentalist

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 10.23.21 PMAfter 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 Continue reading

“Behind the Red Curtain” – The Mentalist

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A surprisingly good episode from The Mentalist for the second week in a row. Once again, the casting was clever enough to avoid providing “Aha!” moments for all the wrong reasons. The plot was a little predictable, perhaps, but not enough to stop one enjoying the twists and turns of its unraveling. As always, it grates somewhat that Jane does all the work for the team – did they never solve crimes before he got there? – but that’s easily ignorable in the face of decent and, at times, surprising writing. This episode also struck a workable balance between Red John fare and murder of the week.

That balance has been missing for a long time. This season, perhaps more than any before, is very much about Red John. While Seasons 1 through 4 were always topped and tailed by Red John-centric episodes, this (and the latter half of Season 4) is very much focused on Jane’s endeavors to find the serial killer. That has often overpowered the rest of the show and, somewhere along the way, plot advancement and character development were sacrificed. Not so this week. While character development was scant (we had a bit more Grace and Rigsby, but nothing to write home about), the plot was driven on in a big way – even if we don’t quite understand how just yet.

We are, of course, referring to Bob Kirkland and his relationship to Red John. Our suspicions had been more or less allayed as to his being the man himself, but we haven’t been able to shake that niggling suspicion that he’s high up in Red John’s organization. That was basically confirmed this week. Though, we say again, we’re not quite sure how. Kirkland confirms to viewers – although, unfortunately, not to Jane – that he’s a ‘friend’ of Red John’s. That was only to be expected. The real mystery comes in the form of his question for the formerly comatose Jason Lennon: “Look at me. Look close. You recognize me? You ever seen me before?… It’s important.”

We’re at a loss and beyond confused. Moments later, (Spoilers!) he kills Jason. So why would it matter whether Jason recognized him or not? Knew him or not? All we can think of is that it might be some sort of test. But not testing Jason. Testing Kirkland. We’re aware this is going to sound completely off the wall, but the only thing that makes sense to us is that Kirkland, at some point in the past, got a face transplant and he’s asking Jason this bizarre question to make sure that he truly is unrecognizable. Which made us wonder anew if he is in fact Red John.

So, yes, we sound crazy. And, yes, we’re probably way off base. But we’re also excited. For the first time in months, The Mentalist is compelling, and we may be looking forward to next week’s episode, and to getting some answers. – K

Quoteworthy: “‘Trust me, you’ll have fun.’ Was there ever a more suspicious phrase?” – La Roche

“There Will Be Blood” – The Mentalist

       

And we’re back in business! After a brief respite, we’re back in Red John territory. Joys. The one saving grace? Lorelei Martins. We just love her a little bit. Yes, she was evil. Yes, she was protecting a serial killer. Yes, she has killed. But there was something charming about her, and there was a part of us that was shipping her and Jane. The whole series has pushed Jane and Lisbon, but that tension doesn’t hold up under re-watching. For a while there, for us, it was all about Lorelei.

Also making an appearance? Bob Kirkland. The questions about Mr Homeland Security keep coming thick and fast – is he protecting Red John or does he really not trust anyone else to catch him – but, with too much time left between cameos, some of the gold dust has worn off and we’re left with a frat boy with a dodgy accent. We’re still curious about how he’s connected to Red John, and about his influence over Bertram, but we just don’t care that much anymore.

Even the sideline stories – Rigsby attempting to get over Grace by almost dating a load of redheads he met on the internet, the predictably obvious murder – failed to inspire. I found my concentration slipping in a way that it hasn’t in years. The episode just didn’t grip me the way it should have.

Though it did give us hope, for a time. Before it savagely ripped it away. They do persist in dragging out this increasingly frustrating Red John thing. The one potential resolution dried up with the oh-so-predictable death of Lorelei. And, before she went, she made Jane’s work just that little bit harder, shooting the only other lead he has. With Lorelei dead and Lennon (Christopher Cousins, Breaking Bad) in a coma, there’s no end in sight for this dull saga.

Last week’s episode of Psych saw Shawn defending The Mentalist vehemently. We get it. The Mentalist is Psych for the seriously-minded. Of course Steve Franks would want to give a sly nod and a wink to the fans of both. But mostly it just made us wish that The Mentalist had half of Psych’s charm, or was as grown-up as The Following. It either needs to be more serious or less, more funny or less, creepier or less. Because it can’t keep being both – that just makes it middle of the road. – B+K

Quoteworthy:

“She’s at a computer training programme. She’s probably using computers.”

“I should have signed up for that.”

“You barely know how to turn a computer on.” – Cho, Rigsby

“If It Bleeds, It Leads” – The Mentalist

       Image copyright CBS (2012)

Things just aren’t working out for our CBI agents this week.

We discover that the driver from last week’s episode brought Lorelei Martin to a high-security federal prison. The FBI stole her from Jane. Jane is trying to find a way to get to her, but doesn’t know how to break into a prison like this one – razor wire, electric fences… impassable.

Though his attention is split, he still manages to help Lisbon et al. with their case. Not that it does any good. (Spoilers!) The victim, reporter Cassie Flood, was wrapped up in an exposé of Tommy Volker – a local philanthropist who, she claimed, had committed mass murder in the Amazon in order to remove opposition to a project of his. The team knows this Volker was behind Flood’s murder, but can’t prove it. In fact, their only lead (his personal assistant, who’s willing to talk about a conversation she overheard between Volker and Flood) apparently commits suicide just when they need her most. Lisbon knows Volker had her killed, too, but still can’t prove it.

Dejected and guilty, she’s visited by Bob Kirkland – the man we saw in the car with Agent Schultz in “Red Dawn” – who tells her to back off on the Volker case and to watch her step.

And, in another ‘woah’ moment, Kirkland bumps into Jane. He calls him by name and, when Jane asks “Do I know you?”, says “No, but I know you”. Seriously, though… is he Red John?? Ahh, the suspense! – K

 

Quoteworthy: “Hell hath no fury like a slut outflanked.” – Jane