Episode 10: Panama Red
By: Carlos Uribe
The Mentalist is a show about Patrick Jane, a consultant for the cops who solves crimes while seeking revenge for his family.
This week a guy is found dead in a gym. This guy was a botanist who had two jobs. The first was his main job working for an organic pot farm. The second was doing freelance work for a major tobacco company. He had died because he had stolen some seeds from the tobacco company. These seeds were worth a lot of money and the boss from the organic farm had killed him in order to sell them on the black market. What the boss didn't kow is that the seeds he had stolen were actually worthless. The Vice President of the tobacco company in charge of developing the seeds had switched them out for normal seeds. The Vice President was hoping to sell the seeds in the black market. That means that the boss had practically killed this young botanist for practically nothing. It's all very tragic. The weekly case wasn't necessarily bad. It was entertaining enough to ensure that I didn't fall asleep watching the program or tuning out but it wasn't interesting enough to really care about whether the murder was solved or not. The trick that Patrick Jane had pulled to get the killer wasn't that original and I'm sure this show has not only done it before but better. That Lisbon couldn't see what was so obvious made her look stupider than intended.
The weekly case wasn't very strong and there really wasn't any advancement on the weekly case. If that's the case then why isn't this a mini-review? The answer is two-fold. The first is that it's the fall finale and it felt wrong not giving it a more substantive review. It's actually a bit surprising that this episode didn't deal with Red John. All it did was remind us that Jane has shook hands with the serial killer and not much else. The previous fall finales of this show had at least something to with Jane. The second season had flashbacks to his past as a performer with his father. The third season fall finale was a Christmas episode that continued the LaRachoe investigation into who killed Todd Johnson and contacting the old CBI director. The fourth season fall finale had Patrick Jane temporarily turn into his old self. This fall finale had a boring botanist case and the only special feature it had is the second reason of why it gets a review but it has nothing to do with Jane or Red John. That is unless Summer is actually Red John.
That's right: Summer returns this episode. She's found at the garage where a huge counterfeit operation is busted up by the police. The series reveals that she's pregnant and marrying the father of the baby. She has largely moved on and cleaned up her life but accidentally got mixed up in the wrong thing. Cho tries his best to get her off the hook but this gets him in trouble with his boss at the rapid response team. The problem is that once again Summer is a character that I simply have trouble liking. It's hard to care whether or not Cho is actually able to get her off. It certainly doesn't help that it reveals absolutely nothing new to Cho. There was never any question he was going to try and get her off simply because he had a relationship with her. They might have broken up but he still cares for her. It feels like she was simply brought back because the series writers had a misguided conception that there was a demand for her return. Maybe there was but I'm certainly happy that she was only around for a single episode.
Panama Red was an okay episode of the Mentalist. It really wasn't significant in the long-run, Summer's return was rather pointless, and the weekly case was just about average. Overall, this is not an episode that's making me excited to see the rest of the season. Considering that the show is going to basically be off the air for a month, that's not really good. Here's hoping that it manages to pick things up when it comes back.