And the award for one of the best teams on television goes to: Bruno Heller and the team of THE MENTALIST!

I really didn’t think this show could get any better. I really didn’t think it would be possible to be even better, week after week, when there’s been such a great episode before to begin with. But here we are. And I don’t think they’ve stopped yet.
Once again this episode shows us – or the team – closing in on Red John. Haffner is back, and so is Visualize, and we have a few highly interesting moments – moments that made me wonder where they are going with this. With Haffner and Visualize, I mean. We’ve established that Red John is obviously connected to the cult (no one around to correct me, certainly no Visualize member, so yes, it’s a cult :-P), and still I see a completely different evil there – just not Red John.
So maybe Haffner is just that good. But him asking about the RJ investigation was a tad too straightforward for me; I can imagine them having some interest in the killer, but not that he is one of them. In my opinion everything Bruno has shown us might just as well be false leads. It all makes sense, it all appears to lead to the real RJ – but then we thought the same about Partridge (okay, I never believed it was him, but anyways) and Kirkland.
Furthermore, Haffner’s conversation with Jane in front of the hotel elevator felt more like a threat to me, and that, too, is a mistake I don’t see RJ making. I mean, seriously, that guy has been playing this game for ten years, and he seems to have one hell of a self-confidence; he needs to also. I even believe that he would never admit it to himself when Jane was closing in, when he was slowly losing. So RJ losing countenance I don’t really see. But then we don’t know what kind of person he is; we can only judge by actions, and that also only through a third person’s eyes.
Most interesting about this episode I thought was that only half through it the team learnt of Bob Kirkland’s death. I would have thought they knew it already; with the recent pace I wouldn’t even have complained if it had been only a side note. But then, this is one genius show, so of course it is made an issue, and it is investigated by the team, who try to find out what really happened – suspecting that it wasn’t what the official report says. It isn’t really brought to end and, however, at least in my opinion. And after all, what result should there be, anyways? Kirkland is dead and we know he was shot in Red John’s name. Even if they knew what had really happened, it still wouldn’t change much for the team, since they already know that Reede Smith is a RJ suspect, and it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise that Kirkland is killed by RJ (the organization, not the person). The only thing they could actually learn is how far the involvement of people goes; that RJ is indeed a big organization. But that’s no surprise to them either, or shouldn’t be.
Haffner’s arachnophobia had me think for a moment that Red John, as far as we know also with some phobia, probably is head of a support group for phobias ^^ But seriously, he has a bad case of arachnophobia if he only has to stand across the room to be frightened like that. I hate spiders and squeal when suddenly one appears before me, but I’m also occasionally able to get rid of it myself, something Haffner obviously wouldn’t be (which makes him a bad boyfriend, just saying). Question is, what do we make of it? Can it be important? Can it be a way to identify Red John?
What else do we learn. Bret Stiles is gone. If we can believe Cooper (yay for Bob Picardo!), he hasn’t been seen ever since Red John’s message, delivered via Lorelei on the DVD, came out and to Jane. Another clever trick to mislead us? Stiles is the one I least of all see as RJ. However, by now I don’t know what or who yet to trust – except for maybe the team, or at the very least Lisbon. I’d love though if Stiles wasn’t one of RJ’s minions, or even the man himself. I’d love if he’s the only one to actually help Jane and turn out to be in on the game, but not playing the game.
At this point, though, I don’t know anymore what will happen. This is all so well made, so clever, that I can see anything happen. Makes me very nervous also.
So there’s one other thing. Most important thing of this episode of course. The tattoo. Jane learns from the woman who was spying on them, the PI that was hitting on Cho (poor Cho, I so hoped he’d find someone :(), and who was then killed by RJ or one of his disciples, that the guy who attacked her has a tattoo on his arm/shoulder – three dots.
Okay, here’s the thingIit confuses me that Jane readily assumes that it was RJ who attacked her. Who is to say that everything outside his normal kills – the “ritualistic” ones – is done by the guy himself also? Could have been one of his minions. I don’t see yet that it was really Red John. Why would he make it so messy, why would he not draw his smiley face? Other than of course the fact that he was rushed by the police arriving. But even that shouldn’t do much to a man who’d been tricking the police for years.
And then there is the reaction Lisbon shows when Jane tells her. I know she isn’t RJ, and I’d never want to assume it, but… it was strange. She looked shocked, worried, but not in a sense of, OMG, it’s getting more dangerous for Jane, but more like, he’s closing in… on me. She almost looks scared with a “damn it” face. Of course it could be simply a misconception, or something on Robin Tunney’s side that went wrong (it happens, no problem), but I watched that moment twice, and it also got to me twice (even the second time, despite me knowing what was coming).
Ah well. It will be very interesting to look back at it the moment all this is over. The RJ part I mean. But for now, let’s wait for next episode, because the promo looks damn promising…

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Tags: Bob Kirkland, Kimball Cho, Patrick Jane, Ray Haffner, Red John, Teresa Lisbon, The Mentalist