Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Mentalist

The Mentalist
Episode 16: There will Be Blood (Full Review)
Episode 17: Red, White, and Blue (Mini-Review)
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.

Spoilers Ahoy!

There Will be Blood:

It's time for a Red John episode! It's about time. Lorelai has been busy trying to figure out if Red John killed her sister. She managed to find a participant in her sister's death in this week's victim. She totured her for an hour before killing her in order to get the truth. She managed to figure out who she had been working with that might actually put Red John there. This gets the CBI involved as a nanny cam placed her at the crime scene. There are basically three players in this investigation. The first is the CBI. They are the main law enforcement group of the show so that makes sense. Their goal is to catch Lorelai before she can break the law again. The second player is our protagonist Simon Baker. He might be consulting with the CBI but he's hoping to catch her after she confirms that Red John killed her sister. He's hoping that this revelation will lead to her giving him Red John's name. The third and final player is the Department of Homeland Security who seeks Lorelai for their own mysterious reasons. They all play a role in the narrative to different degrees. The Department of Homeland Security is happy to sit in the sidelines until the very end when they take one of Red John's accomplices. He's in a coma so he's not useful but there's a danger that he might reveal to them that Patrick Jane had some sort of working relationship with Lorelai.

It's Jane who is really a key player. He helps with the investigation without revealing too much. He doesn't tell Lisbon where he's going and he meets with Lorelai a few times. There's even a great scene where he walks in on Lorelai torturing an accomplice of Red John. Jane is able to stop the torture but he gets the man to open up. Lorelai gets the confirmation she needed about Red John but she refuses to reveal his identity to Patrick Jane. She has vengeance on her mind but she only ends up getting killed at the end of the episode. He's not any closer to finding out who Red John is. With the very real possibility that the Mentalist might get canceled, it remains frustrating that every plot that's supposed to lead to his identity keeps going nowhere. Lorelai might have told Patrick that he shook his hand but there's still hundreds of identities he has to go through in his mind. The Department of Homeland Security is clearly involved somehow but Lorelai didn't have much to do with that as that plot point was introduced in the flashback episode. The one accomplice we get is in a coma and inaccessible to Jane. The real question becomes just what was the point of the Lorelai plot?

There Will Be Blood is a pretty great episode of the Mentalist by itself. The three players were juggled almost perfectly and it was very well written. The problem is when you try to fit into the overall narrative. We don't know anything new about Red John and the only lead is out of the hands of our protagonist. Red John might make our protagonist dark and compelling but he's also hurting the show because we're no closer to actually figuring out who he is. The Mentalist is on the bubble and I think every fan should prepare for the likelihood that we'll never get to find out who killed Jane's daughter and wife.

Red, White, and Blue-Mini-Review

The weekly case in Red, White, and Blue involves a medic doctor who gets killed when she threatens to open an investigation into pharmaceutical fraud. There were obviously numerous red herrings such as a sexual harassment case and a suspect with short-term memory loss. It's the latter that's very interesting as he turns out be a key witness that helps solve the case. He basically provides the writers with the excuse to have Jane use his mentalist techniques to help rebuild memories. The episode is average and fun while it lasts but almost instantly forgettable.

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