The beginning of a new era. It’s strange, and yet… fascinating and thrilling.
First of all, let me get into something that I noticed thanks to my increasing involvement with BBC’s SHERLOCK. The last episode was actually THE MENTALIST’s version of the Reichenbachfall. Patrick “Sherlock Holmes” Jane kills his nemesis “Moriarty” Red John, even though he doesn’t take the fall himself as well in this version. Then he says goodbye to his “Watson” that is Lisbon, and leaves – for two years. This is very much Sherlock Holmes, indeed. We know that THE MENTALIST was originally pitched as some version of Sherlock Holmes, and there are many elements that make it similar to the ACD classic; now we have the actual Reichenbachfall as yet another element. I love how Bruno Heller and his team subtly stick to this premise.
But, the episode. As said have two years passed. Bit of a shame we don’t get to see what happened in those two years; the time jump doesn’t really feel like one because despite the fact that they’ve all now another life they lead, they are still pretty much the same. Not big ramifications, just other jobs and/or regions to live in. Here we have the reason why I prefer TV shows over movies – you can’t just tell several weeks, months or years in a few minutes. Not even THE MENTALIST can that; not when before they described six years in detail.
Alas, there are worse things, and I won’t start complaining now. After all it is way more important what happens now than what did in those past years. So we find Lisbon in Washington (state) as a police chief in a small town. I’m not sure whether it is the first time she gets a visit from Abbott, though it seems like it, what is of course curious. Why would he only come by after two years? Why not sooner? Apparently he’s still looking for Jane, and thought he is convinced Lisbon has to know something, you get the impression she’s one of his last options. Okay, she isn’t very cooperative either, unsurprisingly so.

Lisbon: I don’t know where Jane is and frankly, I don’t care.
Abbott: You too were so close.
Lisbon: It was a long time ago.

I wonder. Is she really angry at Jane, could she really ever not care? Or is she still protecting him? It is interesting that Abbott, who has only known Jane and Lisbon shortly when all the Red John stuff went down, and didn’t actually had too much to deal with them, recognized the closeness between them. I mean, we know it is there, but lately a lot of people have seen this connection between Jane and Lisbon, and it’s getting suspicious. A hint at what’s to come?
Jane, in his little paradise, is living a quiet life. And you wonder what exactly is he doing there. I mean, two years is a long time and — does he have a purpose? Or does he just enjoy life without this constant looming shadow of a danger that Red John used to be? That his then unfulfilled revenge was? When Jane writes a letter to Lisbon, it’s pretty nondescript. Nothing particular, nothing special; it’s like a daily phone call reporting what happened during the day. Actually it’s not even that. It’s just… words. Letting her have part on his life, where she can’t be there. He doesn’t go for the important details, but tells something that’s something, anything. And he includes sentences like

They’re the kind of things I think you’d enjoy.

– which very much sounds like he wishes she could be there with him. They emphasize that he misses her and thinks of her, more than his letter writing does. He imagines her there with him, in some way, but thinking what she would like, by looking at things and thinking, Lisbon would like that. Even after two years of not seeing each other, they are still so tightly connected, and if that doesn’t confirm how much they belong together, I don’t know what does.
Here’s an excerpt of the letter, of what I was able to read:

I’ve found a tailor. […] Despite his sometimes poor taste, his work is excellent. I think you might be surprised at the look. Maybe one day you’ll get to see it. Let’s just say I’ve gone native.
I’ve been meaning to apologize for leaving you on the beach that night. You being absent is the one thing that’s made this new chapter strange and sad.
Miss you.

Jane is accepted and mostly loved around the town. Of course he had a great relationship with the kids, and takes up protecting them now and then. It’s nice to see him so content, even though there is this kind of sadness to him – still. Is it because everything’s over and he lacks purpose? Is it because he had to go into hiding? Or doesn’t it have another reason – the lack of a certain person? After all, he writes so in his letter. He misses Lisbon, and her not being with him is the one thing that spoils his happiness. It doesn’t get any more obvious than that.
And then there is the other thing – the apology. Two years have passed, and he’s still thinking of what he did to her, that he left her back at the beach, and apologizes. It’s not the fact that he apologizes that late; it’s that he does it at all, and that he has never forgotten. That means, all this time he must have thought of it, never forgotten it. Lisbon’s on his mind, constantly. If the letters don’t prove, this does, and so much.
Interesting here is that he is still wearing his wedding ring. Does it mean he’ll never get it off? Or is he just waiting for the right moment? The right person to give him that kind of purpose and love that he can finally close that chapter of his past once and for all? It’s not about forgetting about his wife and daughter, by far not. But I think he needs real happiness first before he can move on. And I also think that he will only find that with Lisbon. Jane is someone who is committed, and needs to commit. And he can only do that with someone he trusts. Need I say more?
In any way do we learn that it’s not like Lisbon doesn’t care; quite the contrary. Not only does she keep all the letters she gets from him tucked away neatly in a box – she also seems to take them out and read them sitting at the couch, fire burning in the fireplace, and a glass of wine in her hand. It looks as though she waited for a moment in which is comfortable like this to read; she doesn’t just stand in her hall or kitchen, no, she makes an actual ritual of it. Or at least that’s what it appears like.
All the while we have Jane meeting with Kim for a date, have fun with her, dance with her. What do they want to show us with that? That Jane has moved on, or tries to, out of hope to ever see Lisbon again? That he has no plans to return? But Kim is only a tourist, he knows it won’t have any future. And it has to have a meaning in connection to Lisbon, as those scenes in which Jane dances with Kim are shown while Lisbon reads the letter.
On the other hand we have that scene of Jane seeing Kim in the morning – and to me it looks very much like for a moment he wonders, he thinks it’s Lisbon. Because Kim looks a bit like Lisbon, seeing her from behind.
The reunion is fantastic. Really. It is so heartwarming, so special; there is nothing of the former careful distance left, now they see each other and hug and say that they’ve missed each other. And it’s beautiful. Her “Thank you for the letters” is so gently spoken, so touched, that it creates a very special kind of intimacy between them.
Funny thing is, in the past years, as much as I may ever have shipped them, I could never truly imagine them being together – being close, hugging, kissing, all that. Now, with their new “them”, every time they look at each other I totally expect them to just lean in and kiss, as if it was the most natural thing in the world for them, and it would look just like that – completely normal and natural. It works now, they can work now, and I ship them more than ever. The way he looks at her alone, how all his focus is on her for a moment even when Abbott comes in it incredible to watch. You see the love in his eyes, and if she looked, well…
I love the fact that Lisbon is one of Jane’s terms for working with the FBI. Of course she isn’t happy to not be asked, but I guess deep down she wants him back in her life, and she wants to be back in his life. And she accepts his ways did so a long time ago. Of course she protests; she always has and this isn’t going to go away, luckily so because it’s way more fun like that.
Sure they’re going to need to have a talk about his habit of deciding things that also change her life significantly without asking her. There is a lot of conflict potential; that has been there for a long time. That’s also why I think that if their relationship turns into more, it will be a moment of real emotional rawness, when especially Lisbon is angry and desperate, maybe disappointed, and Jane realizes what he has done wrong and has to try and mend it, afraid to lose her.
Of course Kim had to be more than just a tourist. Well then, Agent Fisher, nicely played. the best part, however, is Lisbon’s barely hidden jealousy. And she is jealous, seeing that she immediately noticed Jane calling her by her first name, and then demanded to know “who is she?” I can’t wait to see how she will perceive Fisher in the future, and how she will approach her (as we know that those two will work together sooner or later).
In other news: Rigsby and Van Pelt (though it is the Rigsbys now, isn’t it?) have a private investigative service now, up and running for 15 months, and Grace is pregnant. Not bad. Oh, and I love seeing Cho work for the FBI, that’s going to be so much fun. He is the perfect Federal Agent *g* even more I loved him pointing Jane to the room in which Lisbon waited, all stoic and serious, but the moment Jane turned away, he smiled. He knew so much how happy those two would be to see each other again. I firmly believe Cho ships them 😉

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Tags: Jane/Lisbon, Patrick Jane, Teresa Lisbon, The Mentalist