With this first episode of Season 5, The Mentalist maintains a pattern it’s cultivated over the years – first episode is about Red John, last episode is about Red John and, at most, one or two episodes in the middle are about Red John. And this particular Red John-centric episode isn’t even that Red John-centric.
As always, we’d like to remind our readers that we will not be pulling our punches – this is a spoiler-filled post! DO NOT READ if you don’t want to know.
It picks up a week after the events of the Season 4 finale. Wainwright is dead, Bertram (Michael Gaston, Damages, Unforgettable) is back, the team is off suspension because of a deal they made with the FBI, Agent Darcy (who shot Wainwright) is on leave and wracked with guilt, the CBI has Lorelei Martins in custody and is fighting with the FBI to keep her, and the CBI and the FBI are covering up the botched job that was the basis of that finale.
But they can’t focus exclusively on Red John – they have other cases to solve. Namely, that of the double murder of Callie Karlsen and Rex Lango in Sacramento. They worked together at a local convention center. The murders took place in Callie’s apartment. According to the first responding officer, Yannick (Jon Curry), she was strangled, and he was clubbed with a bottle of expensive champagne. Jane does his ‘psychic’ thing – she has no steady boyfriend (so no love triangle, sorry Rigsby) and she comes from money.
As CBI are leaving the crime scene, they’re met by a very aggressive duo from the FBI – Agents Reede Smith (Drew Powell, Southland, Malcolm in the Middle) and Gabe Mancini (Ivan Sergei, Crossing Jordan, Jack & Jill). Much arguing and brawling ensues.
At an FBI/CBI press conference, it is announced that Jane’s attempt at snaring Red John was, in fact, a joint task force sting operation intended to capture Lorelei Martins. The charges against Jane, according to the announcement, were fabricated in order to give him a believable cover. No one believes any of this because of the long history of institutional back-biting between the two agencies.
To show the world that they can get along and are, in fact, friends now, CBI and the Feds are forced together to work the Karlsen/Lango case.
Callie worked at the conference center for two years, Rex had only been there for two weeks. Callie’s supervisor, Mr Norris (Jim O’Heir, Parks and Recreation) was an ogler and a perve. Jane gets the Feds out of CBI’s hair by misleading them regarding Norris’s involvement. They think they snatched a crack suspect out from under the CBI. Jane knows they’ve got a dud.
Luckily for fans of the show, this means we don’t have to put up with another episode where our team gets ‘help’ from outside agencies. You know you all prefer it when it’s just the usual five.
Van Pelt tracks down a sister, Nicola (Amanda Detmer), who confirms that they were a wealthy family. They lost everything in the economic crash. Their parents died a year later in a highway collision.
Callie left a frantic voicemail on her sister’s phone, insisting that she call her as soon as she could. By the time Nicola found the message, Callie was dead.
That expensive bottle of champagne was the last from their father’s cellar. Callie had been saving it for a special occasion. She always thought their luck was going to change.
In the middle of this conversation with Nicola, Jane gets a phonecall from Bertram to say that the FBI caved and were giving them Lorelei. Jane is immediately suspicious but, nonetheless, wastes no time in getting back to interview her. He insists that he be allowed to talk to her by himself, with no one watching or listening in.
He offers Lorelei anything she wants, including an escape and a new life, if she gives him Red John. All she wants is a kiss, which he duly gives. She says she’ll consider talking about Red John.
Lisbon is furious with Jane for offering what he did. Personally, I think she’s a little furious about the kiss, too – he did tell her he loved her last season, and none of us can be sure if that was all part of the play or if he really meant it. Lisbon has to be wondering too. Could she be a little jealous of Jane’s pseudo-relationship with Lorelei?
Back with the Case of the Week, a small feather was discovered in the back of Callie’s throat. Not only was she strangled, she was smothered to death. Lisbon and Van Pelt are puzzled by the two very different methods.
They track down Rex Lango’s family – he had changed his name from Ersat Lonegal (or something). Rigsby and Cho go to visit the family, from whom they discover that Rex was a thief, a liar, and a hound.
The CBI thinks Rex was at her apartment to fix her broken computer.
The Feds steal Lorelei back from Jane. He is frantic. He’s sure that there is someone in the FBI that works for Red John. Why? Because Red John told him there was. Jane is convinced that they will either kill her or let her escape and he can’t have that. He has a chance to turn her and this is the closest he’s ever been to getting Red John. When Bertram refuses to fight to get her back, Jane threatens to blow the cover-up so carefully constructed after Wainwright’s death.
At the hearing to determine custody, the FBI questions Jane’s objectivity but he argues that his history with Red John is the very thing that makes him most suited to the task. No one knows Red John better than Jane. He then spins some elaborate lie involving glass beads to paint Mancini as Red John’s man in the agency. The CBI is awarded custody.
Jane then figures out who killed Callie (he’s really on a roll this week). She had just won the lottery. She was excited. Rex was over to fix her computer and, when she told him, he got greedy and tried to strangle her. She hit him with the bottle of champagne, killing him. Due to lack of air, she fainted, but not before dialing 911. Yannick arrived at the scene, saw the lottery ticket and put two and two together. Then he got greedy, smothered her, and stole the ticket. Another case solved.
Jane and Lisbon go to collect Lorelei from holding but, when they get there, the warden brings out some random woman who’s definitely NOT Lorelei. But she’s the only Lorelei Martins on file. One of Red John’s disciples must have helped her to escape. As another lead slips through his fingers, Jane looks distraught. Will he ever find the man who killed his family? Guess we’ll have to wait until mid-season/the season finale to find out… — K
“This is like a bad date.” – Lisbon, on sharing the case with Mancini and Smith
“You’re trying to hold back the tide with a broom.” – Lorelei
“I think you do it to be close to Teresa Lisbon. I think you’re a little bit in love with her.” – Lorelei, on why Jane stays with the CBI
“Why two methods? Two different people?”
“Or the killer wasn’t strong enough to complete the strangulation. A woman…?”
“Women can strangle people.”
“Believe me, I know I could…” – Lisbon, Van Pelt
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Is jane cracking up? Can’t wait to find out!