Red John – Poor John

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I’m not an avid fan of The Mentalist, but when I have time, I watch it.  And I’ve watched it long enough to be sick and tired of the whole “Red John” underpinnings of the Patrick Jane character.

Short version.  His wife and daughter were murdered.  He seeks vengeance, and uses his people reading and logic skills to deduce murder after murder.  Many of those murders were also victims of Red John.

Red John, it is revealed over time, is a cultish figure, able to recruit men and women to his cause and penetrating the layers of law enforcement agencies to kill anyone captured that might give a clue as to who he is.

If you had to put a picture to him, you might conjure this guy:

Casting thought so, too, and set him up as a cult leader of a Scientology knock off.  He looks creepy enough to leave this signature sign at a murder scene, right?

Only, compared with the abundance of other nitwits introduced over the years, Malcolm McDowell, aka Bret Stiles, he’s the ONLY character that possesses any semblance of, well, cultish ability.  Not to mention facial features that can arrange themselves to convey a seriously ill intent and a voice that carries gravitas.

Instead, we got the Sheriff.  In a ho-hum plot twist, the Sheriff, ie, Red John, returned from the dead, thought to have been the victim of an explosion that also took the life of our better suited cult leader (2nd from left).

Whatever.  I’m happy to see him dead.  Rather, I’m happy to see the plot line dead.  But I doubt any viewer, in the rare scenes with the Sheriff, ever thought he was a Manson or a Dahmer or a Berkowitz or a Jim Jones.  He’s just your average bad guy with a badge.

It’s almost as if the writers had to turn this story in with one week’s notice.  Wasn’t there someone looking over their shoulder to say, “Eh?  You’re really going to ask a mass murderer to walk up to a guy who hopes to kill him, and hold out his hand for a present?”   Really?  And this evil incarnate is actually going to indicate in his death scene that he regrets killing Jane’s family?  

Are you kidding me?  I think the writers were sick of this plot line, too, and at least they’re free to create some new ones after killing so many off.  Hopefully they’ll do better than some ridiculously stereotyped FBI agents as the “obstacle of the week” write-in.

There were two good points to this semi-finale.

1) Jane did anticipate and reason through the explosion to not only figure out that the person said to be Red John wasn’t, but also plan ahead to where he would be able to steer a meeting and have a gun ready.  Smart thinking, Jane, as we would expect from you.

2) They stuck to their guns, or pens rather, in allowing Jane to kill the killer as he always said he would.  They might have stopped short of that, fearful of fan responses who might have fallen in love with Jane and figured a “good guy” would never do that.  Well, he did it.  And it was, as far as non-verbal eloquence goes, extraordinary.   

We’ll see where the show goes from here.  There’s enough chemistry with Jane, Lisbon and Cho to keep things interesting, but the rest of the characters have run their course just as much as the current stable of writers. 

But, hey, there’s always Elementary.

1 comment :

  1. I've always enjoyed this show, but the "mysteries" they present each week are uniformly awful. The show survives due to the cast chemistry, and nothing else. I'm sorry to see 2 regulars leave, and I already hate Special Agent RuPaul as a new cast member.

    Gregg

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