Our Mentalist team is at the scene of an abandoned car. Two girls are missing and one is named Cara Palmer. Is she dead? Wrapped in plastic? The other missing girl is Nicole Gilbert. They were on their way home from a wild party but never made it. Patrick advises the cops to look under the car and they find Cara’s body. She bled to death. Nicole is still missing.
As they discuss the two girls with the local sheriff, they find out that Cara was the good girl and Nicole was the bad girl. A park ranger named Kyle just assumes Nicole stabbed Cara to death and ran off into the woods. Teresa snaps at him for assuming that’s what actually happened.
Agents Rigsby and Van Pelt speaks with Cara’s parents, who say there is no way Nicole could’ve done that to Cara, but Cara’s mom does say that Cara didn’t like Nicole’s new beau Jason. She didn’t trust him.
On the search for Nicole, Patrick says that she’s probably dead. They’ve gone 5 miles and Nicole was barefoot and probably drunk. Patrick informs the sheriff that if somebody did sexually brutalize and kill the girls, he is likely to join the search party. Those types of predators get off on seemingly helping out when they in fact know exactly where the dead girl is. Creepy.
Rigsby and Cho track down Jason, who was going to strike off on his own search party. He denies that Cara didn’t like him and then says his alibi is that he was passed out at a bar in town. Back in the woods, the search party is called off. The sheriff then suddenly gets a call that Nicole is in a store in town. We are shown her, crazy-eyed and bloody, snacking on chips and Gatorade.
Hospital. The doctor says Nicole is hypothermic and was in a state of shock when she was brought in. The sheriff assumes Nicole stabbed Cara to death, but Teresa and Patrick tell him they don’t know that yet. Teresa questions Nicole, who doesn’t remember much and wonders where Cara is. She starts freaking out and Patrick tells her that Cara is dead, telling her that he knows she can handle the truth. He then asks her to remember what happened.
She tells him they stopped the car because she needed to throw up. There was a man who came at them and she heard a sound like rushing water. When she starts to really lose it, the doctor kicks the cops out of the room. In the hallway, Patrick says that whatever happened was so horrible that Nicole’s mind won’t let her remember. Teresa and Patrick remember that it rained pretty hard the night before, yet Nicole was covered in blood. They think she was being held somewhere near the river, hence the rushing water sound.
At the office, they review a video Jason shot that focuses on Cara as much as it does Nicole. It’s like the picnic video that James shot of Laura and Donna! In the background, they find a creepy guy staring at the girls whose hat matches some stuff they found in Cara’s car. He’s a truck driver for a cosmetics company.
Patrick visits Nicole in the hospital. She says people think she killed Cara. She says she doesn’t think she did, but she can’t remember. Suddenly, Jason storms the hospital looking for Nicole but is stopped by the police. Nicole seems scared of him and asks Patrick not to leave her alone. Later when she is sleeping, Patrick hears an elderly female patient playing Fur de Lise, which flashes him back to his wife and daughter playing the piano. But when does he throw rocks at a bottle while standing next to a map of Tibet?
Meanwhile, Rigsby, Van Pelt and Cho track down the truck driver at the bar. When he tries to run, Van Pelt kicks him in the balls. Woo! They question him and he says he’s been courting Cara, giving her free cosmetics. He’d been assuming eventually she would’ve slept with him. His looks and weight come up and Patrick asks how much he weighs. The trucker says 245 and that he has lost a lot of weight in the last year. Hmmm. He was alone in his motel at the time of the murder, so he has no alibi.
Patrick comes up and tells them to let the trucker go because he liked Cara and not Nicole, so why would he kill Cara and kidnap Nicole? He also says the trucker lied about his weight. The sound cuts out and I don’t get the explanation for why that’s relevant. Please enlighten me in the comments, because it left me very confused. Patrick also is listening to Cara’s iPod, which is evidence. Teresa makes him put it back.
That night Teresa stakes out the trucker while Patrick busts Nicole out of the hospital by distracting the cop guarding her by stealing his sheriff’s hat. It’s kind of funny. At the stake out, Teresa and Rigsby can hear a low hum and they wonder if what Nicole heard was traffic and not water. Patrick drives Nicole on the road where Cara’s body was found and puts on some of Cara’s music on the stereo to try to jog her memory. Nicole feels sick, and then confesses that Cara told her not to marry Jason because Cara and Jason had been hooking up behind Nicole’s back. Nicole then runs from the car, crying. Patrick demands to know what else she remembers and we see a flashback of a man smacking Nicole around and Cara being stabbed to death trying to intervene on Nicole’s behalf. The man then carried Nicole’s unconscious body off in his truck and drives away.
Teresa is investigating possible properties where Nicole was held with Kyle the park ranger from earlier. He’s creepy in that quiet-librarian-serial-killer way. I think we’ve found our murderer. Our Bob, if you will. No sooner do I type that then we see said park ranger, Kyle, holding Nicole hostage. Patrick calls Teresa with a description and she orders him to take Nicole back to the hospital.
Teresa and Kyle are searching an abandoned cabin-like building. Kyle is most interested in what Nicole remembers. Patrick tells Teresa over the phone that Nicole remembers the scent of pineapple and Teresa realizes that’s the air freshener Kyle had in his car. She then speaks in code to Patrick about needing help. It’s a nice tense moment. Her phone is still on as she slips it into her pocket. Teresa tries to talk Kyle down, but shoots him and takes cover. She and Patrick then use her phone as a decoy to draw Kyle’s fire and when he goes after it, they arrest him.
As the intrepid team prepares to leave town, Nicole hugs and thanks Patrick for helping her and believing she was strong enough to handle everything. Teresa congratulates Patrick on his cell phone decoy trick, as the team drives off into the sunset.