'Mentalist' Recap: Patrick Jane Attempts a New Beginning in Post-Red John World
The CBS procedural jumped ahead two years in Sunday's episode as it establishes a new universe after wrapping up the series' long-running mystery.
[Warning: Major spoilers from Sunday's episode.]
The Mentalist may have wrapped up the Red John mystery, but Patrick Jane's (Simon Baker) journey lives on.
Sunday's episode, "My Blue Heaven," turned over a new leaf by dropping the "red" -- and various forms of the word -- from the title, something that will continue in forthcoming episodes. Picking up two years after Jane caught and killed Red John, aka Sheriff Tom McAllister (Xander Berkeley), The Mentalist saw the former California Bureau of Investigation members scattered across the world following a departmental shutdown and an FBI takeover.
Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) found herself a police officer in Canon River, a sleepy town in Washington where the biggest crimes are stolen bikes. Meanwhile, Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) wasted no time with his two years, graduating from Quantico five months prior to become a key team member for FBI agent Dennis Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar), and married couple Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) opened up their own surveillance company. Where did Jane set up shop? In a small ocean town in a Spanish-speaking country where his hangouts include a local bar/breakfast spot on the beach.
A sudden visit by Abbott to Lisbon's new digs propels the new version of The Mentalist forward. Spotting a seashell on her desk, Abbott inquires about its origin, almost baiting her to spill intel on Jane's whereabouts. It's later revealed that he and the FBI have been intercepting letters Jane had been writing to Lisbon that helped the FBI pinpoint Jane's location. It's also during Sunday's episode that Jane meets a mysterious woman named Kim (Emily Swallow), who later becomes a pivotal puzzle piece to the new Mentalist world.
When creator-showrunner Bruno Heller said the repercussions for Jane's Red John actions would be addressed ("You can't go around killing people willy nilly without some ramifications," Heller had said), he wasn't kidding. After a local warns Jane that Abbott is looking for him, Jane makes an impromptu visit with his adversary, and here the stakes are laid out. The FBI, Abbott says, is willing to drop Jane's charges if he agrees to work with them -- though Abbott emphasizes that he isn't a huge fan of the deal, instead wanting an indictment. (Jane did kill a man.) Jane doesn't bite, saying he's "done" with that life and that he's "moved on." But has he?
Through a nudging by Kim (they end going on an intimate dinner date with some dancing), Jane tells Abbott he'll only return to the States if it's on his own terms, which include bringing in Lisbon to the meeting with Abbott and the "powers that be." And in classic Jane fashion, he sets up an intricate drug meeting with local troublemaker Danny Otero (Juan Gabriel Pareja) and Vietnamese drug dealers for Abbott to bust in on. Was this an olive branch? Within moments, Jane arrives at the room, bringing Abbott a napkin of his terms and just like that, Abbott signs it without issue.
Before you know it, Jane is back on U.S. soil, briefly reunited with Cho before he and former partner Lisbon enjoy each other's company in the stark, steel walls of FBI headquarters. This is when things get interesting: Jane is under the impression that his napkin full of requests will be met and agreed upon, while Abbott has his own ideas. Now that they're in the U.S., Jane's napkin means squat. Instead, Abbott lays out his situation: With Jane facing 20 years to life on homicide, aggravated assault, grand-theft auto and obstruction of justice charges, those can all go away if he agrees to be a consultant with the FBI for at least five years -- a deal that can be revoked at any time at Abbott's discretion. (Certainly sounds a bit like White Collar, doesn't it?)
"Interesting," Jane says, who isn't OK with Abbott's suggestion. Jane reveals some of the terms on that napkin -- no parole (he would be a free man) and Lisbon must work with Jane. Abbott doesn't bite, leaving Jane in a precarious situation: a stay at the FBI detention center for an undetermined period of time for not agreeing to Abbott's deal. And remember Kim, the woman he connected with while he was in "paradise"? She's FBI agent Kim Fischer, who may be a force to be dealt with.
"My Blue Heaven," also directed by Baker, was a stark contrast from the traditional Mentalist episode from years past -- serving to re-establish the post-Red John universe the show aims to exist in with a new government entity (FBI) and new adversaries in Abbott and Fischer for Jane and Lisbon to play off.
Questions of Jane's future post-Red John weren't answered by the end of the episode. Should Jane have taken Abbott's deal? How long will he be stuck in detention? Will Jane and Lisbon find their place within the FBI? Does Jane's relationship with Kim factor in at all?
Do you like this new world of The Mentalist?
The Mentalist airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on CBS.