The Mentalist s7 eps 12 and 13 (series finale)

imageAnd so The Mentalist comes full circle: in a bid to catch NotRedJohn last week’s serial killer, Jane struts his “psychic” stuff across various local tv and radio shows, putting himself up as bait. The trick – suggested by Agent Tork aka Agent Who? or Agent Why are they bringing in this random new guy just for the finale? – works just as it should, of course, so why everyone else is shocked when it results in Jane being snatched right out of Agent Tork/Who/Why’s car, I don’t know. It’s almost like they’ve never watched the show before.

Anyway, Jane wakes to find himself in the unhinged Lazarus’s clutches, so the first half of the finale is nicely tense, with Lisbon and co (but especially Lisbon, aw) worrying desperately, Wylie showing unexpected backbone and Jane doing various smart Jane things to get himself out of danger because Jane obviously has watched this show before and knows what’s what.

Once our hero has rescued himself (with a bit of an assist from Lisbon, in fairness), it’s time to shift gears for part two: the mission being to squeeze in as many shipper-tastic moments into 42 minutes as humanly possible. Given the unstoppable smiling and perpetual squeeing I was doing throughout: mission accomplished.

Just so nobody got too comfortable, there was some unfinished serial killer stuff to add a little (not unwelcome) spice to proceedings, but it was never allowed to get in the way of what turned into a sweet, affectionate and utterly delightful farewell to a group of characters I’ve grown to love over the past seven seasons.

imageThe proposal was adorable, of course, but the wedding was the climax we had been waiting for and it was absolutely lovely. New characters and old united on the dance floor to wish Jane and Lisbon well: Abbott (best boss in the world) showed off some super-cool moves, a beaming Cho (I love Cho so much) took a delighted selfie with Rigsby and Van Pelt (she didn’t even annoy me or anything!), and a newly confident Wylie took his well-earned place with the rest of the team, while Jane and Lisbon sat beaming, nearby, giving the shippers one final thing to cheer about – Awwwwwwww.

And SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Unpopcult has been watching and writing about The Mentalist with varying degrees of enthusiasm since episode 1 of season 1 – at the moment, it holds our record for most posts about it – and the tv landscape has changed a lot since then, as has the show. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember it as being one of the first “civilian consultant helps law enforcement” series, helping to launch an avalanche of similar-themed shows but, although those shows and their one-liners became ubiquitous for a while, this one combined its sense of humour with a real darkness at its core – and that darkness wasn’t too common for network TV procedurals. And probably still isn’t, now I think of it.

The Red John storyline should, of course, have ended at its high point (Bradley Whitford!) but, even though it overstayed its welcome in the end, it still gave the show some of its best, scariest moments throughout the series, as well as making a star out of the then little-known Simon Baker; in lesser hands, the cocky, damaged, manipulative, broken Jane would have been deeply annoying or completely unlikeable and the show would have ended with its first season, but Baker made Jane someone whose pain we could feel and triumphs we could root for, even when we probably shouldn’t – I’m struggling to think of any other network procedurals where the hero has walked away from two (or possibly more) murders he committed and I’ve been quite happy about it, but that’s Patrick Jane for you.

The supporting cast blossomed as the series went on as well, with Robin Tunney’s no-nonsense Lisbon in particular growing into a great foil for Jane, and Tim Kang’s Cho becoming awesome. Yes, The Mentalist definitely reached its zenith somewhere in the middle of its run, but, although I didn’t want a seventh season after the particularly lacklustre sixth one, I’ve been surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this last lap of honour.

Like Jane himself, free from the weight of Red John, the final season was more mellow and relaxed – maybe a little too mellow and relaxed, especially to start with, but there was a lot to enjoy, especially in the second half of it, especially for the Jisbonites among us, and, now it’s over, I’m so glad we had it after all.

Rockmond Dunbar’s Shipper-King Abbott and Joe Adler’s surprisingly likeable Wylie were perhaps the most pleasant of surprises in the end – I assume financial reasons were at the root of the show’s move to Austin and the replacement of Rigsby and Van Pelt but, once the awful Agent Fischer was out of the way and the writers remembered the key relationships of the show involved Jane and Lisbon and Cho, rather than Jane and Agent Fischer, it worked. But then, The Mentalist was always about characters rather than location; this was a truly satisfying way to say goodbye to them all. And – because I can’t say it enough after all those years of faithful yet fruitless Jisbon shipping – it was one long SQUEEEEEEEEEE after another. Bless. It’s been a long, twisty road but such a fun ride, and I loved the final stop. Let me just say it one last time: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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4 thoughts on “The Mentalist s7 eps 12 and 13 (series finale)

  1. Jed Bartlet May 7, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    They actually kissed in these episodes. Quite a lot.

    I liked how, in the second one, when the baddie turned up he was immediately surrounded by thousands of FBI gunmen. It was almost as if the writers were making it clear that there would be no messing about in the final episode – no shooting, no chases; let’s get this done and we can all go to the wedding.

    It was good, too, to see RigPelt. I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more grit in the finale – at first I was going to suggest that the festivities could have been watched from afar by someone in the Red John orbit but I think they’re all dead. So a discreet “tiger tiger” would have done.

    Overall, though, I really liked this season: it undoubtedly had a different feel from the others, but with RJ out of the way that was always going to be the case. As I’ve said before, I particularly relished the way in which the character of Abbott inverted the cliché of the police boss who always has to distrust the genius solving all the cases, AND disapprove of office relationships. Abbott clearly loved Jane and shipped Lisbon harder than anyone. I even grew to like Vega (sob) and Wylie.

    And thank you, The Mentalist, for seven good years. I still heart Lisbon after all this time (and it’s worth saying again that – with one or two contextually-justified exceptions – the show never resorted to unnecessary glamorisation of Robin Tunney). Cho has been a treasure throughout. And I hope we get to see Tim Kang in something else before too long; he’s been fantastic.

    • CJ Cregg May 8, 2015 / 11:19 pm

      I know what you mean about grit, but I think I preferred it this way. These characters have endured enough horror for seventy seasons let alone seven – I’m glad they got their proper happily-ever-after with no more spectres hiding in the shadows waiting to ruin it for them.

      Good points about Abbott and Cho, both of whom I adored. I wasn’t sure about Abbott at first but he turned out to be ace. And another good point about the non-sexualisation of Lisbon.

      Jisbon did indeed kiss a lot in these episodes. Awwww. Took them long enough, but awwwwww. I’m getting all nostalgic about the show already. Bless.

  2. Jed Bartlet May 7, 2015 / 2:28 pm

    Forgot to say – I was sure Tork was going to be a bad ‘un.

    • CJ Cregg May 8, 2015 / 11:11 pm

      So was I. Or die. It was just so weird the way he suddenly appeared and everyone was like “Oh hey Tork” like we were supposed to know him. It reminded me of that ep of Flashforward where they suddenly introduced everyone’s best bud “Marcie” as if she had been there all along…

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