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!

The Mentalist s7 ep 11

With Jane away at the Grand Canyon thinking about things and Vega… well, you know what happened to Vega…. the rest of the team are both short-staffed and kinda bummed. When a college student couple are murdered at a local make-out spot, however, and a young localĀ man comes forward claiming to be a psychic with information that can help, everyone has to table their trauma and get back on the horse in the SUV. Which means Cho and Wylie trying to work out their grief in the field, and Lisbon bringing Jane back to town via the police equivalent of pulling him there by the ear. Heh.

Of course, Lisbon lets Jane off way too easily when she does get a hold of him, but it’s Jane so I’d probably have done the same. As far the main story’s concerned, though, if there’s one thing this show has experience with it’s folk pretending they have psychic powers and “Byzantium” handles this one very well – the hook, of course, being that Jane “might just be looking at (his) reflection in the mirror.” Although, for the record, this guy may have Jane’s preternatural observational skills but he has absolutely none of Jane’s charm.

Their scenes together sizing each other up are excellent – all controlled and menacing and great. Even if, like Lisbon, the long-time Mentalist viewer has “years of experience” looking past the “psychic” front too, so we can all spot most of the usual cold reading tricks now too. This guy’s very clever and very observant, but he’s notĀ actually psychic, is he? Which suggests that, since this ep ends on a cliffhanger and the last two episodes are being shown as a double bill next week, the show might well be about to end with a story very similar to the way Patrick Jane’s story really began all those years ago: a very smart man pretending to be a psychic getting on the wrong side of a serial killer, with all sorts of terrible consequences. Fancy one last hurrah for old times’ sake, then? Check back here next week for the post-finale debrief.

The Mentalist s7 ep 10

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.

The Mentalist s7 ep 9

“Don’t you love it when the stakes are high?”

Not quite as high as last week’s and not quite as exciting an episode as a result, but still; this week’s Mentalist was great fun, largely because, like last week’s, this was a story with real stakes – something that the writers, Jane and co, and therefore the audience could properly care about.

“Copper Bullet” had the team working against the clock to save Abbott from Dastardly Dylan Baker’s revenge mission against him and Mrs Abbott, which meant 40ish minutes of characters I thoroughly enjoy (and Vega) working together to help another character I thoroughly enjoy and being fun and smart in the face of evil. Plus, Jane and Lisbon being cute, Cho’s disdain for cats being hilarious and his smile being adorable, and a nice hoe-down thingy at the end. Worked for me.

The Mentalist s7 ep 8

“I don’t want your word, I want her safe.”

When an assassin kills a key witness and three other folk in the process, Abbott and co are called in, partly to help protect the remaining witness and partly so Jane can persuade her and her husband she won’t go the same way as witness number one did.

Of course, Jane manages the persuading part with aplomb but, unusually, he also swings into uber-protective mode himself and it’s a very good look on him till he takes that concern a little too far and seriously annoys Lisbon in the process.

All of which makes for an unexpectedly tense episode. While I’m pretty confident the show isn’t about to kill Jane or Lisbon, I don’t think anyone else is necessarily safe now, and yes, our hero’s unease may well be borne out of his recent change in relationship status (bless), but it’s still infectious. Well, it made me nervy, anyway. In a good way, that is; fond as I am of the show and its leading man, a Mentalist ep like this one with real stakes and genuine suspense is always better than one where Jane just coasts his way to the big reveal without breaking a sweat. And a sprinkling of Abbott and Cho being awesome together does no harm either. I liked “The Whites of His Eyes” a lot.

The Mentalist s7 ep 7

Some poor guy is killed for some whatever reason by some other dude….. Nobody (especially not the writers) cares who or why since the real point of the murder investigation is to give Lisbon and Jane an excuse to go to Chicago and sort out her relationship with two of her brothers, one of whom is a potential witness, the other of whom is in terrible debt, and both of whom could stand to see their big sis a bit more.

Bringing the Lisbon Siblons siblings closer together also brings Jane (in gentle and supportive and thus highly attractive mode) and Lisbon closer together in a sweet, shipper-pleasing episode with lots of significant, adorable firsts for their relationship and lots of SQUEE-ing from my sofa. Bonus points also for Lisbon looking great in a skirt and Jane looking fantastic holding a baby (awwwwww!) – if you wanted to watch a whodunnit, you were short-changed, but on the Jisbon front it was a bumper week.

The Mentalist s7 ep 6

Yay! I liked this one.

Opening signs weren’t good, since the FBI investigating a failed DEA drug bust initially screamed “jurisdictional turf war” – not something we’re too keen on round these parts. And I wasn’t keen on revisiting the Rio Bravo business touched on a couple of weeks ago, either. However, it’s always good to see Dylan Baker and the combination of him, Abbott, Jane and a brisk, simple but well-plotted story made this episode the best of the season so far, I think. Abbott and Jane’s friendship, in particular, made the Rio Bravo revelation scene unexpectedly moving, and the little sub-plot about Jane’s birthday was both very sweet and overtly, physically couple-y (ie there was kissing) in a way the show seems to have avoided since Jane and Lisbon got together – some manna for the shippers at last, eh? Or at least some of them; a lovelorn Wylie got nowhere with Vega this week but I’m happy enough for that ship to sink, to be honest. She still does my head in.