Review: The Mentalist - Throwing Fire
by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 18th 2009 1:02AM
(S02E10) So this was the inevitable flashback episode of The Mentalist. We've had flashbacks before, of course, but we knew we were going to get one where we learn how Patrick Jane became who he is. An episode where we see a teen Jane scamming people by making them think he could read their minds (though he's more talented than that and really can figure things out, just not in a mystical way). The kid playing young Jane was pretty much spot on doing a young Simon Baker.
Too bad the present-day mystery wasn't that interesting.
I also had a problem with the way that Jane had the flashback. He's hit by a baseball in the head and this causes him to flashback to when he was a teenager? The whole thing was more comical than scary, even though getting hit in the side of the head by a baseball traveling 80 miles an hour is probably something that a person should be taken to the hospital for. But Jane refuses to go to the hospital (of course) and for some bizarre reason Lisbon and Cho don't even insist that he go? That was kinda odd. Jane could have easily had internal bleeding or some other problem, especially since he was acting dazed and offbeat (even more than usual).
Also, there was nothing that preceded the baseball to the head that would have made Jane flashback to this particular event in his past. It's not like he was talking about his past with anyone before he got hit or any indication he was thinking about his dad. Even the murder of the baseball scout wasn't a case that would have triggered the memory because it was so similar. I guess one could make a connection, with fathers putting too much pressure on their sons, but it seemed to come out of nowhere. He just got hit in the noggin with a fly ball and started thinking about his dad and the carnival and the little sick girl.
I think this episode was supposed to give us some meaty back story for Jane's character, but oddly, it seemed more like a filler episode, unlike the flashback episode we had last season with Jane's former psychiatrist. So for all these reasons I think it was a lesser episode of the series.
- Jane's mind reading trick with the writing on the baseball with the tip of his finger was pretty cool and a trick we could all try, though the ballplayer was right; he could have just read it somewhere while looking into their pasts. The other player shouldn't have been so impressed.
- Is it just me or are you feeling old too? Whenever shows have a flashback to when one of the characters was a kid, it's in the 1980s. The 1980s! I was an adult then and as the years go by, I'm feeling older and older.
- No Christmas episode? Aw, come on. They could have easily put the word "Red" in a title that has to do with the holidays.