It’s strange, you know? For all the shows I’ve seen so far in my life – and that’s a lot, trust me – I’ve never been with one from start to finish and loved it for just as long. Sure, I watched Stargate from the very first episode on, but given that it was ten years, the enthusiasm decreased with time. I still enjoyed the show, but the big love? No, that was long gone.
There were others I watched for years and saw end, but not a single one of them meant as much as to me as The Mentalist.
I started watching The Mentalist because it was, in a long time, the first show that just made me laugh. I watched the pilot and I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed so much during an episode of any of my shows. The Mentalist was new, innovative, charming.
It also was refreshingly different. Also in aspects of shipping, because believe it or not – I didn’t initially ship Jane and Lisbon, and I was happy not to.
As the show went on and the years passed by, there was something growing. A routine, a familiarity that made it so incredibly comfortable and enjoyable to watch TM. The amount of light and dark moments was, to my mind, always perfectly balanced. It never got boring, it never felt wrong, or badly written/told. It was never too much, or not enough. There was constant progress, and contrary to other shows, I never felt like Bruno and his team were holding off where they could have progressed or even resolved story lines, especially the Red John one. The timing was just right.
And then they finished it, but not the show. Early on, Bruno Heller said that revealing Red John was the show’s endgame. Had to be. I was always hoping we’d see what happens after the final confrontation, and I’m glad Bruno changed his mind and gave us just that – a life after Red John. But not the perfect life, no. It could never have been perfect, and once again, Bruno showed just what a brilliant showrunner he is.
He gave us Jane without the purpose of catching and killing Red John; he gave us the man we had gotten to know so well trying to arrange with real life, a life that now was, seemingly, without purpose. And he never let the conflict end. To the very last moment, Jane never became the guy who went from a single-minded goal of revenge he had endured in for more than ten years to someone who easily managed life, normal life, just like that. Jane is, and always will be, a broken man. But he can be glued together, and he can be preserved and protected as long as he has a purpose.
As long as he has reason to live. Reason to love.
Mind you, even after I had started shipping Jane/Lisbon I never dared to hope; at least not in the beginning. After all, Bruno as well as Robin and Simon always vehemently denied the idea. They are like brother and sister, they wouldn’t work, Jane has too many demons in his past.
Funny how things turn out. After Red John’s death, I didn’t doubt that Jane and Lisbon would become canon. And they did – but in, and I don’t tire using that word, a perfect way. It was them. It was so on point, so in character, and it was something only a handful shows out there manage.
Looking back, this has been an amazing journey. Both for Jane and his personal development (and the other characters as well), but also for Jane and Lisbon, and their relationship. Who went from strangers to forced colleagues (just watch the pilot), to tentative friends. And then, and that is something that is absolutely unique in my opinion, we could watch that friendship grow. The friendship. Not romantic or sexual tension, not the desire to be together, not any passion that drove them to leave behind their own personal demons as quickly as possible so they can start a new life together. No, Lisbon and Jane shared an incredibly deep and special connection, a friendship based on trust – trust that came from believing in each other, from learning from each other, from confiding in each other. Of course they flirted – they are not blind or dead. But it was never the primary aspect of their relationship. This is what fascinated me the most – this friendship I would actually have been fine with had it stayed just that: a friendship for life.
With the burden of Red John gone, though, I couldn’t have been more okay with their relationship progressing. As said, it made sense. There was nothing forced to it. Kudos to Bruno and the writers for working it out so wonderfully, and kudos to Simon and Robin for playing it so brilliantly.
A few years back, I would never have expected this to end in a wedding. Much less them to be expecting. For Jane to finally get a family again – with the woman he loves so, so much. I guess no one of us would have. Yet today, on this final day after seven years of The Mentalist, after seven years of great television, I can’t imagine a better ending. Because they are happy. And they are so, so happy. And they deserve it so much.
Here’s to seven years of joy and sorrow, of laughter and tears. Of family and friends, of colleagues and enemies. Here’s to seven years of fantastic writing and acting; of a story that may end today, but nevertheless last forever.
Here’s to The Mentalist. Thank you for this amazing journey. And thank you for letting us be a part of it.