Episode 14: Red in Tooth and Claw
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 episode basically has two plots. The main plot is the weekly case. The characters return to the museum from the third season episode “Red Queen”* because one of the graduate students has been murdered. There's the usual red herrings but the suspect turns out to be a fellow colleague because she had discovered a rare moth species. He decided to kill her and steal the credit so that he could keep his job. There's a lot of moments that work in this weekly case but very few have to do with the actual mystery. It's rather the humor and the way that it's solved that's entertaining. It's true that Jane's method of tricking the killer into revealing himself was a bit predictable but it was fun to watch because of the lecture he was giving at the same time. Simon Baker proves that he's as charismatic as ever in that scene. The humor proves to be the reason to watch this episode as the writers inject some light moments. There's a spectacularly great point where Rigsby tries to prove that his dinosaur is better by doing some research only to be shot down by Cho. It's nice to see that the series is perfectly capable of delivering a light episode considering how dark Red John has turned this show. The weekly case is decent and noteworthy on how funny it was.
The sub-plot of the episode involves poker and Grace. Grace has applied for a program that's going to teach her advanced computer investigative techniques. I don't remember this being brought up before so it was a bit odd to suddenly learn about it. Granted, I had also kind of forgotten that Lisbon had started to play poker with her boss and a few other big shots in the law and order scene. The two sub-plots basically converge when Betram keeps losing so he refuses to accept the stipend to pay for Grace's computer program. He only accepts when Jane is able to help him take over his fake bluff so that he can win. This is kind of silly as it's basically just the show stalling a plot without really adding to the tension or it being necessary. It's understandable that Grace's plot needed some obstacle that needed to be overcome but this just felt like the show was trying too hard. She does end up going because Amanda Righetti needed to on maternity leave. The poker sub-plot does have a saving grace (no pun intended) when Lisbon starts to play with Lisbon. Overall, the whole poker sub-plot felt unnecessary as Grace could have just gone and it wouldn't have made a large difference to the narrative.
Red in Tooth and Claw is pretty much an average episode with a decent weekly case, great humor, and an unnecessary poker sub-plot.
*I think. That I believe is the only episode to take place in a museum based on my CTRL-F search.