After five-plus seasons of the CBI and Red John, “The Mentalist” needed to take a beat before settling into its new reality. While Patrick Jane, Lonely Expatriate Do-Gooder, might not be the stuff that series are made of, it was necessary to give Jane some distance from his previous quest.
In that respect, Sunday’s (Dec. 1) episode, “My Blue Heaven,” did exactly what it was supposed to do. By jumping ahead two years and removing Jane to an island, where he has cut off most of his ties with his former life, it allows for as clean a break with the Red John story as is possible.
Of course, the ramifications of his killing Red John still linger. Jane is a fugitive, and of his former CBI colleagues, only Cho is doing something remotely like what he used to by having joined the FBI. Libson is still in law enforcement, but she’s the police chief in a town where a stolen bike is a serious crime. Rigsby and Van Pelt have moved into the private sector, where they’ve started a security company (and a family, yay!).
Cho, incidentally, now works with Dennis Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar), the Austin-based FBI agent who was called in to oversee the CBI/Blake Association case — and who comes to find Jane on his island. He’s not there to arrest Jane, though, but to make him an offer: Become a consultant for the bureau, and the murder charge pending against him will go away, so long as he sticks to the terms.
Jane counters with his own terms, chief among them that he wants to work with Lisbon again (Jane/Lisbon shippers will likely be rejoicing). Abbott, surprisingly, seems to agree to with them — until he gets Jane back on U.S. soil, where he basically spits in the napkin on which Jane wrote his demands.
To make matters worse — although you probably guessed this early on — the woman he bonded with on the island, Kim Fischer (Emily Swallow) — is also an FBI agent. Jane’s letters to Lisbon were what enabled the FBI to locate him, but Fischer presumably deduces that Jane is ready to come back to the mainland. It’s a pretty good play, as Jane is just as surprised to see her as he is to learn Abbott is turning down his demands.
It’s not a big leap to predict Jane will eventually come to help the FBI, either on his terms or theirs or somewhere in between. Abbott seems like he’ll be a less flexible boss than Lisbon, and considering Fischer was undercover for much of her appearance here (or was she? The misgivings she expressed about her job could be genuine), it’s difficult to get a read on her just yet.
What did you think of “The Mentalist’s” first post-Red John episode? Are Abbott and Fischer good additions to the cast, and how do you see Jane coming back into the fold?