The Mentalist Rant

If you watch the Mentalist and you haven’t watched last nights episode, I pretty much give it all away.

…but it’s not like it wasn’t blatantly obvious what was going to happen….

…still, it is only fair for me to warn you…


…Last warning… spoilers ahead!…


For those of you who don’t give a rats behind about the Mentalist, I apologize in advance.  This rant has been clogging up my brain since I finished watching the show last night and I just can’t seem to let it go, so why not a blog post!

I first started watching the Mentalist with my boyfriend over a year ago.  It was one of his favorite shows and even though I started watching it in the middle of season five, it drew me in.  I caught up on all the past episodes through TNT reruns and Netflix DVD, thank you technology!  For me, it was the worst possible way to watch a TV show.  I am OCD even in my TV watching and normally watch shows in order from the beginning.  That didn’t happen with this, but I eventually caught up and was able to piece the story together.

The quick snippet from IMDb about The Mentalist if you have never watched it or heard of it: A famous “psychic” outs himself as a fake and starts working as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation so he can find “Red John,” the madman who killed his wife and daughter.

There were many things to love about the show, such as:

  • Patrick Jane, the “psychic”, isn’t really a psychic.  He just reads people really well and has some quirky ways in which he ends up getting people to confess or basically turn themselves in by setting well-orchestrated traps.
  • Each episode is almost completely self-contained.  There is a murder at the beginning and by the end, it is usually solved. The “Red John” plot only surfaced in a few episodes throughout the seasons and it kept you hooked but didn’t beat you over the head with cliffhangers and each episode bleeding into the next.
  • Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon, the Senior Agent of the CBI, had a working relationship that didn’t turn into a romance, which is completely weird for me because I love a good romance.  I found myself looking for it when I first started watching the show but realized later that I actually appreciated that it wasn’t there.  It was refreshing.

Overall, it was campy and clever and didn’t take itself too seriously.

Fast forward to season six.

I was worried when I found out the show was going to continue even after they concluded the Red John story.  I wasn’t sure what they could do, but after five seasons, I agreed that it was time.  The one thing I wish they hadn’t done was dissolve the CBI.  I think having a fictional organization in California only added to its campiness and when you take that away and have the FBI instead, it makes some of the things Jane does not as believable in the strange way that his actions were believable with the CBI.  I started putting his actions in an FBI context.  Would the FBI really let that happen?

Once Jane and Lisbon became a part of the FBI, the romantic arc started and it felt so forced to me.  I kept watching, thinking they weren’t going to go there, but suddenly we have Lisbon and Jane exchanging longing glances and crap that had been mostly absent throughout past seasons.  There were hints of it before, but it was easily explained as a respectful, working partnership between colleagues, and in my mind, that was better.  Why does there have to be a romance?

The writers also decided to add tension with a relationship between Lisbon and Pike, another FBI agent who isn’t on their team.  Their relationship felt so disingenuous, almost like Lisbon didn’t even believe it herself.  And maybe it was.  Maybe she only entered into the relationship to make Jane jealous, but that doesn’t fit Lisbon’s character.  Throughout the seasons, Lisbon was calculating and thought about the consequences of her choices before making them.  She towed the line and kept Jane in check.  Yes, she gave him reign to do some crazy shit, but she was almost always the voice of reason.

I didn’t see her character change so much throughout the show that she would enter into a relationship with a guy, agree to move to another state with him, agree to marry him (granted she only did this because she was pissed at Jane, but it should still have consequences), only to change her mind just because Jane admits he loves her.  This, after manipulating and lying to her over and over and over!  In the current season, he disappeared to Mexico for two years and she didn’t hear from him until she was dragged into his FBI mess. He didn’t even ask her if she wanted a job in the FBI, he just got her the job and basically made her uproot her life to join his.  I don’t see how or why she would choose him over Pike – except that the writers (and maybe some viewers?) wanted a romance, and damn it, we’re going to get one whether it makes sense or not!

There were a great many things that were off about last nights episode, but the one that really bothered me was the scene in the hotel with the dresses.  As stated above, Lisbon is in a relationship with Pike, serious enough that she has agreed to move to another state with him.  She goes to Miami with Jane to crack a case and they end up at a fancy hotel.  His excuse is that the FBI is paying for it but he is in manipulation mode.  When she gets to her room, there are three dresses laid out for her, courtesy of Jane.  She doesn’t get angry or insulted or anything a woman in a committed relationship would actually do.  She calls Jane and thanks him and then dresses up for him for dinner.  Ummmm, what about your boyfriend?  I felt it was so out of character for Lisbon and everything I have seen of her to this point.  I honestly didn’t think she was one to swoon over a man buying her a dress.   Yes, she was questioning her relationship with Pike and we could see that her and Jane had feelings they weren’t talking about, but the Lisbon I have known for the past five and a half seasons wouldn’t react that way.  And the whole one line at the end to conclude this rather forced relationship with Pike?  “He’ll understand.”  Seriously?

Maybe this story line is what the viewers were asking for and I am all alone on an island of “I hate where the Mentalist is going”, but I really don’t think it makes the show better for Jane and Lisbon to be in a relationship.  In fact, I think it takes away some of what made it unique to begin with.  I think the writers should have left well enough alone and walked away from the show with the end of Red John.  I think the only place it can go from here is, well, not somewhere I am excited about watching.  I might watch next season, because apparently there is going to be another one?  But then again, I might not.

5 thoughts on “The Mentalist Rant

  1. I have often said that the only way I will be truly satisfied with the Mentalist is if, in the end, in the final episode, it is revealed that Jane was Red John the entire time. That the ENTIRE show, he was conning us, the viewers, because he is the ultimate conman. He killed his wife and daughter, and to cover it, became Red John. He has manipulated and lied and conned his way through everyone, including those of us watching at home. A sort of Sherlock Holmes of serial killing. It would be a full circle – we have built up so much empathy for a conman, and like any good con, he used that empathy to trick us the entire time.


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