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October 4, 2015

The Mentalist: Flame Red

by Debra McDuffee, posted Dec 2nd 2008 11:26PM
Jane talks to Lisbon about revenge

(S01E09) I had been craving more Jane, and also more interaction with the team, and I got my wish on both counts in this week's The Mentalist. The opening scene with Jane reading Lisbon's mind was so much fun, and I love the little seed he planted: "Now I have access to your innermost thoughts."

Simon Baker continues to please with his larger-than-life presence. He reminds me a bit of Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen in Burn Notice -- just one smart smile can say so much.

Just when I was starting to think I was The Mentalist, because I could predict the killer in the first act of the show, they threw me off a bit. Ah, something's got to keep my ego in check, I suppose. I have to say, I had a bit more fun not knowing, even though I get that it is about Jane's thought process and not really a whodunnit.

As usual, there were some great red herrings thrown our way:
  • The policeman on the scene was shifty, making me suspicious, although how many episodes in a row can it be the policeman on the scene who is the killer?
  • The widow not wanting to touch him made it more suspicious.
  • Ben Mechado shooting at Cho and Van Pelt, and the subsequent frame-up job.
  • The possibility of Dave Martin being alive and seeking revenge.
And what did I love about the team's interactions?
  • Rigsby's pain-killer-induced love confession to Grace was priceless.
  • Almost as priceless as Grace's reaction: what grown woman hums with her hands over her ears when she doesn't want to hear something?
  • Cho confessing that he was thinking about having sex with his eighth grade history teacher; there's some new insight into what is behind the poker face.
It didn't take much to learn some new things about Jane this episode. I liked that he was risky and edgy again, pulling the Jane antics that I love him for: the mind reading, the trick he played on Mechado in the barn. On the flip side, he pockets a brownie at the widow's house and rolls his eyes at her during the questioning, clearly disapproving that she's taken a lover.

Most interesting, however, were Jane's thoughts about vengeance. Does he really believe that he'll kill Red John slowly, or was he making a point to Lisbon about how this killer was really motivated? He says things throughout the episode like "revenge doesn't come cheap" and "revenge is a poison, for fools and for madmen." Then he says all that is nonsense. What are we to believe? Does Jane even know what he himself believes?

As much as I liked not really knowing who did it until the end, and as satisfied as I was, I couldn't help but think it was a giant rip-off of The Usual Suspects. Even thinking that, it didn't bother me, and I still really liked this episode. Did you all feel the same?

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I watched the episode that ran this evening - my first time. I do like Baker and his character. They fit and help the show grow. However I hope they change out Tunney as the co-star. Unfortunately the tv doesn't really like her. Her 'tough' walk came off as a stuck tampon. Her facial expression never really changes. Instead of that helping her character with a legal occupation, it makes her look plain. If she didn't speak I never would know she was there.
EzSay (Just being honest)

December 09 2008 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TV plots are frequently predictable, and so I myself can't work up much indignation if I'm waiting on the other side of a plot twist. Still The Mentalist remains cool because, no matter what's happening in the B-runner, the main character remains so completely weird and new. Watching Paddy stuff brownies in his pockets reminded me that he has only an empty, haunted home which he avoids as much as possible, to the point where he'd rather sleep at the office. It harkened back to one of the first things we ever saw him do - fix a sandwich for himself in a victim's kitchen.

And that whole revenge thing last night was way unnerving. I found myself wondering - is that cold-eyed would-be killer the real Jane? Does he even *like* Lisbon and the guys? Or is he just very cynically palling around with them, pretending to like helping them solve crimes, when all he's really interested in is being on-site when Red John goes down?


December 03 2008 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I first saw the concept of the show I thought that Steve Franks would probably be pissed. Now I think that if he's ever seen the show he probably feels good that his show is far superior. It's one thing for the premise to be similar, but Simon Baker is playing is playing Shawn Spencer without a a partner! The only differences are he doesn't pretend to be a psychic, blacks don't exist in the world of that show, and he works for a state vs. a local agency. While show have been ripping each other off since TV was invented, but all The Mentalist proves to me is that Psych would be a better fit on a network than cable.

December 03 2008 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At first I thought it was the cop because he was shifty and messing with his handcuff holder - odd camera shot to be there for no purpose. But yeah, how many episodes can it be the cop on the scene? Then as soon as the retarded guy showed up, I said "that's probably the guy" ... when the aquifer was behind his little house, I said "he's definitely the guy." But I figured it would be something like with all the other property owners dead, somehow the property would turn out being his (not sure how, with surviving spouses and all, but hey). I picked the right guy, but for the wrong reason.

For the first 40 minutes, I thought this had something to do with the national guard guys trying to cover up something bad that happened in Iraq (murder of a civilian, friendly fire, etc.), and one of them wanting to come clean and the others trying to cover it up. That seemed where this was going, and it would have been cliche, so I'm glad that was not the direction the story took. I'm liking this show more and more, and I did not like it very much at first.

December 03 2008 at 5:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode as always. I also think that this is not meant to be a typical whodunit rather a solve-along with Jane. I too loved the interactions within the team or the human element of the show's characters. But I would like that they also keep track of the Red John story so that a bigger arc is built. That said, the Red John mystery seems more like a series-arc rather than a season one. So can't hurry that. Hopefully there'd be atleast a couple more seasons of this show.

December 03 2008 at 4:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to WhoElseButME's comment

I don't know whether this would be considered a spoiler or not but if you read the post on this site about the Q&A with Bruno Heller, the creator of the show, he talks about the Red John storyline and how long it will go for.

Here's the link to the Tvsquad post: http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/11/28/bruno-heller-talks-of-the-mentalist-procedurals-and-simon-bake/

December 03 2008 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tv junkie

Another way too predictable case. "the retard did it" said my roommate, and I said "he's faking it." all within the first ten minutes of the show. voilà.
it actually remind me more of "Primal Fear" where the killer pretended to be insane.
Simon Baker is one charming man, only he can said the line like killing someone die slowly, with a smile, and still be the good guy.

December 03 2008 at 1:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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