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July 30, 2014

Review: The Mentalist - Throwing Fire

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 18th 2009 1:02AM
The Mentalist
(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.

More thoughts:

- 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.

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9 Comments

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bob klinedinst

Your musical sound track over whelms your dialog !!!
Tone it DOWN !!!!!

December 31 2009 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eldritch

"- 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."

Hang in there, buddy. Take it from me, it only gets worse from here. I don't mean to upset you, but if you think about it, it will be hardly 5 more years and you'll be having conversations with adults who don't remember 9/11 because they were too young!

December 21 2009 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

"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."

You guess? It was the fathers pressuring their sons that precisely brought up those memories. It most likely brought up the memories casually, but getting hit in the head left him time to really focus on them.

December 18 2009 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LC's comment
LC

BTW, the kid was fine and all, but reminded me too much of Spencer Pratt for my liking. I'm just glad he didn't have the creepy flesh colored beard.

December 18 2009 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xbxtv

The trigger was clearly Jane's conversation with Cho and why he (Cho) quit playing baseball. Jane is actually saying: "Eh, parents. It's funny, isn't it? The regrets in life people keep to themselves."

December 18 2009 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ashu

agree with what you said. not the best Mentalist episode but it was enjoyable.. the content of the flashbacks were kind of a disappointment.. though I do appreciate your comparison to the flashbacks in Bloodshot (those were few but SO significant) but here I feel the writer lacks the knowledge of how to get a flashback into an episodes (wish Gary writer of "Bloodshot" could write another episode *dreams*)

anyways, I liked how they go on with case, you'll say that why he didn't go to the hospital, I'll say this stubborn Jane.. Lisbon insisted that he go but she wasn't with him the whole time to actually take him herself ..

December 18 2009 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elyse

I actually found time to watch it, and spent most of my time muttering "go to the hospital!" Sorry, but it bugs me to no end how TV writers treat head injuries like a splinter in the finger. Plotwise, nothing too new, but I like the actor who played his father. can never remember his name but I enjoy his work.

Yeah, as was said, it did have that 80's feel to it. Now we just needed Magnum PI or Simon & Simon to wander into the scene, or hey, maybe Barnaby Jones! ;)

December 18 2009 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wanda

As you say, not the best mentalist episode, but I did enjoy it. You mentioned the lack of a trigger for his flashback? I think the trigger was the presence of the overbearing fathers. About seeing a Doctor, it wasn't clear to me whether or not the Dr at the beginning looked Jane over... I assumed he did. I thought it interesting that Jane's coworkers had no idea what he was thinking... he joked, etc, and yet was reliving an unpleasant time in his life.

December 18 2009 at 6:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marali

Law and Order did this same exact episode many years ago. The 'too old' ballplayer who fudged his age to get him into the big league. That show was about Little Leaguers but the same outcome. Fudged identity and a younger kid floundering in school while pretending to be his older more talented ball-playing cousin.

I liked the flash backs to the younger Jane and appreciate the development of his conscience but what I'd prefer to know is how he met and loved his wife, created a child and let the intensely grave moment of their murder change his trajectory,

For me, Jane is often too whimsical for a man who has survived such darkness.

He's made some moral choices but there is no true past/present connection.

Jane is lost and trying to recoup his sense of ethics and dignity. This show is too often about his pranks and not enough about the true pathos.

Jane is such a brilliant but self-absorbed a@@hole. And, yet, we love and embrace his genius. I know he'll solve Red John one day but I don't want the writers to forget everything else in getting there.

December 18 2009 at 6:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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