Meet the new Jane, same as the old Jane?
It's been three months that Patrick Jane's (Simon Baker) been in (isolated) detention on The Mentalist — during which time he apparently couldn't find a decent razor — and Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar) and Fisher (Emily Swallow) are growing impatient, champing at the bit to have Jane join their ranks at the FBI. But there's only one problem: he won't work for them unless all his demands are met, and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) is the final holdout. Fisher takes a trip to Washington to personally recruit Lisbon, who's getting increasingly frustrated with the office politics at her desk job, and convinces her to at least hear Jane out.
Despite the case Jane makes, Lisbon stands firm. "I have a home and a respected career. You're locked up for murder," she notes — and has a point. But she sticks around, and the FBI enlists Jane's help on the case of a man who has been reported missing/possibly kidnapped in Brooklyn. (Oh, and by the way, he has enough information to bring down the entire financial system.) As they start looking into the case, Jane's flippancy isn't sitting well with the straitlaced Fisher, and he's not thrilled with her no-nonsense approach either. He wonders aloud which version of her is the real one — the uptight FBI agent or the laid-back woman he bonded with back on the beach.
Despite his lengthy hiatus, Jane hasn't lost his touch. Eventually (after briefly going MIA in Brooklyn), he deduces that the missing man caught his wife's psychic breaking into their home, accidentally killed him during the struggle that ensued, and was spotted by a neighbor when he was trying to bury the body. The neighbor — who we find out at the end of the episode is a former gang member — decided to hold the man for ransom, knowing that he was a valuable asset.
Of course, Jane explains all of this only after Fisher reaches her breaking point. Officially fed up with Jane's games, she says she's prepared to cart him back to Texas and formally charge him with the murder of Thomas McAllister (a.k.a. Red John). But once he tips her off as to where she can find the psychic's body, she's forced to reconsider. Cho (Tim Kang) wisely advises her that she'll never be able to rein Jane in and should probably just stop trying.
On the plane back to Texas, Lisbon and Jane have a touching conversation where Lisbon reiterates that she's ready to move on. She accuses her partner of never taking her feelings into consideration and tells him she was scared he had decided to disappear again when he ran away in Brooklyn. "You haven't been part of my life for two years, so let's get this case wrapped up so I can go home," Lisbon tells Jane, who looks genuinely hurt. And she's not the only one who won't let Jane have his way. Abbott is still not ready to budge either and tells Jane he looks forward to following his murder trial on TV.
If anything could change Lisbon's mind, however, it's a classic power play by Jane. During his impromptu tour of Brooklyn, we see Jane postmark a letter to Abbott, and later learn that it's a list of all the members of the Blake Association that he (supposedly) pulled off of the hard drive Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) found in Bertram's wine cellar back in Episode 7. Most have been arrested, but in the version that Jane sent to Abbott, some of the names are blacked out — and Jane says he'll only divulge them when his contract with the FBI is up. Abbott has no choice to agree.
But it's a bait-and-switch. In a subsequent conversation between Jane and Lisbon, we learn that they never actually cracked the code on Bertram's hard drive, and Jane manufactured the list —blacked-out names and all — during his Brooklyn jaunt. Lisbon finally agrees to come back and work with Jane and presents him with a pair of socks to mark the occasion. (Aww.)
Other key moments from the episode:
-Lisbon and Fisher have a female bonding moment about trying to "figure him out." Fisher asks Lisbon if they were ever involved romantically, and Lisbon gets a little flustered. Is "Will they or won't they?" going to be the new "Who is Red John?"?
-We also meet the meek, slightly creepy(?) Analyst Wiley — a.k.a. "Coyote," even though he doesn't get the Looney Tunes reference — who finds Jane while perusing satellite footage of the streets of Brooklyn on his lunch break.
-Loved Jane's repeated requests for a new couch as part of his terms.
-Despite the two-year time jump, this "rebooted" version of The Mentalist feels a lot like putting on an old glove, no?
What did you think? Are you glad Jane's back in the saddle with Lisbon by his side? Do you think Fisher has the hots for him? Did you miss Rigsby and Van Pelt in this episode? Leave your thoughts on "Green Thumb" in the comments below!
The Mentalist airs Sundays at 10/9c on CBS.
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