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September 20, 2014

The Mentalist: Red Menace

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 16th 2009 11:43AM
The Mentalist
(S02E04) "Everybody is. I am." - Jane, on people who are geeks

Is Patrick Jane really, really brave or just clueless?

I've been wondering that the entire series. He's not a fighter. He's not even one of these "strong, silent" types who acts wimpy but is secretly a karate master or former Navy Seal or whatever. He honestly doesn't have any physical skills but he insists on interrogating people who could turn his bones into mulch. Like tonight's confrontation with bikers in a dive bar. Or maybe he was comfortable because Lisbon was there with a badge and a gun. I think he's done it in the past with no backup though, so I'm not sure if he's brave or just oblivious or doesn't care.

It's also interesting to keep track of how little Jane seems to do in a lot of these cases but it turns out he was doing a lot. For example, tonight Cho and Rigsby faced off against a dozen bikers and Lisbon and Van Pelt got into a car chase with a woman on a bike. Meanwhile, Jane was on his couch reading about promotional mugs and t-shirts in a magazine. Maybe they can have Jane stay on that couch all the time and he can solve crimes from there. Patrick Jane: Couch Detective.

He's sort of like Jessica Fletcher, only Jessica got more physical during her investigations. But he's the one who always comes up with the solution, so I guess it's better if you can do that without wrinkling your suit or getting out of breath. Plus he gets to things in clever way, like taking the kid out for his driving lesson. The killer was too obvious though (that's often this show's downfall - can you imagine how great this show would be with more ingenious plots?). This show is more about the journey (the investigation, the banter between the characters, Jane's quirks, etc) than the actual mystery.

But the mystery was...meh. I was strangely uninvolved in the case, and I'm sure other viewers were too. I did love the security camera footage from across the street. The picture was better than the one I have on my 52" Sony HDTV. And while I quite enjoyed Jane getting together with the woman at the end and giving the sleazy bar guy his comeuppance, it was awfully convenient that the guy actually came outside without backup and then his gang just happened to come outside at the perfect time to see him suspiciously meeting a guy in a hat in the dark and holding a envelope filled with money. I guess we're supposed to think that the gang...killed him? Boy, Jane can be cold.

No Red John in this episode, which means no office intrigue. I miss that.

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Eldritch

"...so I'm not sure if he's brave or just oblivious or doesn't care."

His entire family was killed, and he feels responsible. He may not give a damn whether he lives. He has nothing to lose. That kind of attitude can make you fearless.

October 17 2009 at 5:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zachary Pruckowski

Jane had set up "gang leader as informant" in a line at the bar, where he said something like "you would know". He also spent a lot of time planting "there's a mole" during the bar scenes with the underlings, specifically so "take a short phone call, then walk outside unexplainably" would look more suspicious, and "meet shadowy guy and take a bunch of money from him secretly" would seem to be more incriminating.

Thing is, however, the informant thing was exactly what he did in Redemption (the season opener) with the name of the fake guy he planted everywhere who supposedly knew something, so the minute he began mentioning a character we hadn't seen before (the informant), it became clear he was planting something.

In terms of "is Jane really brave or really stupid", I think he's just confident. Jane thinks he can accurately assess whether or not a guy is serious about threats, and he's confident he can smooth over whatever tensions he creates if needed. He recognizes the line between "I'm pissed and want to swing at you" and "I'm going to hunt you down", and probably makes sure he keeps people in "I'd swing at you if there wasn't an armed cop next to you".

I also think Jane lacks a reason to live. He said it clearly in the season premiere - he has nothing else outside the CBI and finding Red John and has no interest in finding something outside that, so "I could die" means a lot less to him than anyone else on the show.

October 17 2009 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C.A.

Jane certainly isn't oblivious, the man notices everything. He also knows how he comes off and that gives others a sense of puzzlement because you are going to assume the guy is crazy if he doesn't care if he dies. That is the answer too, he really doesn't have any regard for himself at this point. What does a man care if he dies if he doesn't have his family anymore. Sure, he wants to get Red John, but isn't sweat it if someone pops him in the mouth.

October 16 2009 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miles

Jane has no respect for anyone else. The deal with the biker at the end was he can't help playing God.

October 16 2009 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I really liked this show last year. The during the summer I started watching Castle. Now we're in season two and I think I'm likeing castle better. The first few episodes on the mentalist have not grabbed me like last year, so far. I'm thinking thr chemistry between Kate and Richard in Castle is much stronger then between jane and Lisbon on the Mentalist. I love the supporting casts on both shows, probably the Mentalist support crew over the Castle crew. But their almost as good as one another. Kimble Cho (Tim Kang) is my favorite so far, love the monitone delivery he always comes with. Anyway I think the Mentalist needs to pickup their script writing. Castle/ keep doing what their doing, nothing wrong there.

October 16 2009 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
Eli

That's because Castle actually is better in pretty much every way. I'm not saying The Mentalist is a bad show, but it was seriously overhyped last year.

October 16 2009 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

I vote for oblivious with a side order of don't care.

October 16 2009 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris

I enjoy this episode!

October 16 2009 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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