The Mentalist Episodes 3-23 & 3-24 Review: Strawberries and Cream Parts 1 & 2

Damn, that was a fantastically crafted two hours of television, wasn’t it? The episode begins with the normal investigation and stuff we usually see. Jane is doing his thing while Lisbon and the others try to keep up. This takes up most of the first hour, but the episode quickly takes a turn and we learn that Red John is involved and looking for Hightower to kill.

Jane crafts a clever plan to catch Red John’s friend in the CBI, dropping hints to the remaining suspects to lure them in. After the CBI director is implicated, there is another twist: O’Loughlin is the mole. This is an easy solution to the Rigsby and Van Pelt stuff, and always a plausible explanation. Lisbon gets shot–both Hightower and Van Pelt don’t immediately tend to her–but she is okay. The writers have a final, more spectacular twist, however, when Jane meets Red  John at the food court. We see everything that is going on, and just as Red John prepares to leave, Jane shoots him several times, killing him. Impressive, bold writing.

Throughout the episode, we never really know what will happen next. The writers have been unpredictable with Red John, and have shrouded him in so much mystery that practically anything could happen. I kept wondering whether Jane could actually outsmart Red John this time and whether Red John knew everything that was going on. Even now, I’m not entirely convinced Red John lost.

There are so many questions that have to answered still, so there is plenty of story to tell. Was that really Red John? How did he get so many followers who seemed normal otherwise? Of course, there is another huge question looming–what happens to Jane? I doubt he’ll be prosecuted, because Red John did have a gun, but what at the aftereffects of Jane shooting a man who was prepared to walk away? The Mentalist is coming back next fall, so we’ll get answers soon enough.

Score: 9.4/10