I wanted to be disappointed. Really. Actually I was disappointed after watching the season premiere. Promos, articles and interviews big on promising loads of Jisbon, and then that? Huh. Not really what I was expecting. No kiss, no hug, no shared house, no nothing we got to see. Well, apart from some origami and an oldtimer.
But, as things go, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and eventually I realized: No, I’m not disappointed. I’m confused and surprised. Once again. It’s funny how this thing with expectation works. It usually stems from conditioning – you expect things because that’s how they’ve always been, how you’ve learned to expect them. And, after watching (probably too) many TV shows, I am conditioned to expect the outcome that will be great initially; but later on, when you look closer, you see that it doesn’t quite work.
I should have known better when it comes to The Mentalist and Bruno Heller. Of course we wouldn’t get Jane and Lisbon in a teenager-in-love mode, fooling around and unable to keep their hands off each other.
No. What we got was them. It was Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon as we’ve gotten to know them in the past six years. It was their characters, from beginning to end – true to themselves and absolutely believable.
It was Bruno’s writing.
The coffee in the morning. The tentative talk about Jane getting keys to Lisbon’s house. The carefulness in the behavior around others. Their need to keep it secret, to themselves. The implicit trust that has been there for a long time now, and still feels different now. Feels so much better. And, most importantly, the love that speaks from their eyes and every smile they give each other because they are, all secrecy notwithstanding, unable and maybe unwilling to completely mask their feelings and happiness.
What got me most however was Jane’s “Don’t talk to her like that.” It was nothing I would ever have thought I’d see him do. Or no, that’s not true. He had it always in him I guess – and he did say that he will always protect her. Suddenly he can, openly, as the boyfriend/partner, without the need to pretend. He knows full well she’s the last person who needs his protection; if anything, it should be the other way around. But he wants to be there for her, and he wants to shield her, because he loves her, and because he cares for her and would never want anyone to hurt her, not even with words.
At the same time it’s such a wonderfully… clumsy attempt at protection because it is sort of unnecessary. That guy’s not their enemy, no perp. Yes, he is insulting her, though I’d rather say he referred to all of them, even if he was addressing her. But Jane goes and is brave and tells him off just because he can – and because he wants to. Because the woman he loves has been insulted and he would never let that stand, so he comes to defend her honor.
On the other side we have Lisbon accepting it just like that, another thing that surprised me. I was waiting for her to shush him – and she didn’t. I was squinting my eyes because I was sure I’d missed an eyeroll or something – but nope, nothing. Instead she looked… impressed? I’d even go as far to say that she was pleased by it.
To me, this scene shows most that they are different now, even though they are mostly still the same. That they are comfortable with whatever and however they are now, which is so essential to their relationship.
And then there is the ending. His honesty. And the silent agreement: We don’t need a plan. We don’t need our future all decided. We had ten years of contemplating whether we wanted this, and now that we have it, we won’t force ourselves to make it as perfect and thought-through as possible – we’ll just make it up as we go. Because that’s what love is for. It’s a thing that needs to be lived, not planned.
They had a decade to get to know each other – they don’t need a plan. They just need each other.
Here’s to an extraordinary season seven to send off a perfect show.