Apart from the nasty – but quick – armed robbery, this week’s Mentalist starts off at its lightest and cheeriest, presumably to fool you into thinking everything’s going to stay sunny side up. There’s some deadpan humour (Bank Man: “This is outrageous!” Cho: “No. Not yet.”), some romantic weekend planning and some Abbott being the best boss in the world. (Seriously. The best.) But the wisecracking, wooing and Wega-shipping are soon rudely interrupted by a tragedy that I was spoiled for but packs a significant punch nonetheless.
Thanks to excellent work from the whole cast, but especially Tim Kang and Joe Adler, I felt a lot sadder about REDACTED being REDACTED than I thought I would; the impact on the entire team is writ large on all their faces and threads through the whole story, although, come on now, no way would these people be back at work that same day, let alone investigating the REDACTED of their own. As that quite astonishingly co-operative Homicide agent points out, there are rules about that type of thing, and, as I would like to add, the reasons for those rules are both very good and totally obvious.
The Mentalist has always been more about characters and emotions than rules, though. It’s fitting then, that, once the baddies are dispensed with and there’s nothing left to do but face the pain they’ve caused, the focus of the excellent “Nothing Gold Can Stay” shifts back to one of the show’s original main themes: the indelible effect of all-consuming grief. For a few weeks now, Jane’s been hinting that the FBI life isn’t for him for much longer and, as this new loss brings the connection between his past trauma and current fears into sharp focus, I can see why. I really, really dislike the idea of a male character telling a female character to choose between him and her job, and I hope Jane and Lisbon find a way round it, but yes, I can see why.