'The Mentalist' - 'Fire and Brimstone': Dot, dot, dot

simon-baker-mentalist-fire-and-brimstone.jpgIn its final run to unveil Red John, "The Mentalist" has asked its viewers to suspend more disbelief than usual, what with every case Jane and his CBI colleagues take of late seeming to connect to the killer.

Sunday's (Nov. 10) episode -- initially scheduled to air last week, until a late-ending NFL game pushed it out of primetime and CBS scheduled a repeat in its place -- did away with the case-of-the-week pretense and focused solely on the Red John story, with Jane ( Simon Baker) getting that much closer to figuring out who has been tormenting him all these years. Maybe.

The "maybe" comes from the fact that Jane was thrown a curve. Last week's episode gave Jane what feels like a big clue -- the private detective hired, then killed, by Red John revealed just before her death that her murderer had a tattoo of three dots on his left shoulder.

Jane manages to gather the five remaining suspects at his former home in Malibu, expecting to finger the killer once and for all by having the men reveal their shoulders. But instead of just one of them sporting the tattoo, three suspects -- FBI Agent Reede Smith ( Drew Powell), Sheriff Thomas McAllister ( Xander Berkeley) and CBI director Gale Bertram ( Michael Gaston) all have the ink. That presumably clears ex-CBI agent Ray Haffner ( Reed Diamond) and Visualize leader/charlatan Bret Stiles ( Malcolm McDowell), the latter being an exception to the Most Famous Guest Star theory of TV crime shows.

"It's not what you think," McAllister tells Jane when he reveals his tattoo. "You've got it wrong -- I'm not Red John." It's another indication that the larger conspiracy Smith hinted at a couple episodes back -- and delays the ultimate revelation of Red John's identity by another couple of weeks.

First, we'll have to sort out what happened in the final minute of the episode. After McAllister's line, Jane orders the three suspects up against a wall. We then see the outside of Jane's house and hear a gunshot and see a flash through the windows. Just as Lisbon arrives, there's an explosion. We can assume Jane will survive, but the question is whether he set the bomb off, and if any of the other five men survived.

The hunt for Red John is coming to a close soon -- who do you think it is? And how do you think the events of "Fire and Brimstone" fit into the answer?
Photo/Video credit: CBS