The Mentalist Season Finale Review: Tea with Red John

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Wow! The Mentalist season finale gave us some serious closure on Red John with twists, turns - and an ending I didn't see coming.

I spent most of the episode wondering where the title "Strawberries & Cream" was going to come into play. When it finally did, it all became clear.

It's Red John!

But let's start from the beginning. The episode began with a bang, literally, as an innocent man was blown up by a bomb vest. It was a terrifying scene, as we witnessed the horror on Dinkler's face as the cops approached. He knew he wouldn't survive.

Jane worrying about Lisbon's safety and going to join her at the abandoned high school was sweet. We don't normally see that kind of concern from him.

And the setting of the closed down school at night was very creepy, with its sounds echoing through the hallways, but Lisbon didn't respond to Jane's pleas. Still, I never expected to find her with a bomb strapped to her chest.

I liked that Lisbon's Catholicism was brought into play as she whispered Hail Marys as Patrick drove. She was truly frightened and it was nice to see Jane take control in those moments, letting her know she wasn't alone.

I wondered if La Roche was our mole when he shot Gupta. How did that man get his cuff off and what gun was he going for? I guess we'll never know. The scene was left ambiguous enough for us to question it either way.

And what the heck is in that damn tupperware container in La Roche's safe that he was so willing to hand Jane his suspect list? How bad could it be? If I were Jane, I might break in again just to find out and relieve the curiosity.

The suspect list was not a surprise. I was wondering if they'd throw in someone from our core CBI team, but it didn't happen. The whole set up with the different rooms was a nice bit of suspense but I never really doubted that it was O'Loughlin. I figured he would either be a bad guy in the finale or end up dead. Turned out it was both.

Poor Grace. Confusion and horror crossed her face as her fiance told her he was sorry and he'd grown genuinely fond of her. Ouch. I can only imagine how this will effect her going into next season.  Will it send her into Rigsby's arms or will it leave her closed off from all romantic relationships after being so blatantly betrayed by someone she loved?

I couldn't believe O'Loughlin pulled the locket from her neck just before he died. That was cold. And what's worse was that with Craig dead, she'll never get any answers as to why he targeted her.

The final confrontation between Jane and Red John was well played. Jane finally met the devil, face to face, and there were no horns. I was surprised when I saw Bradley Whitford in the role but pleasantly so. Red John didn't look like the big bad wolf. He was a guy who could be your next door neighbor - and wasn't that what made him so scary? That such evil could appear so completely innocuous?

In the end, I had the same thoughts as Jane. Was this really Red John? But when he told Jane his daughter smelled of "Strawberries & Cream," probably from her shampoo, well, they say that scent is a powerful trigger for memories. You could see those memories play out over Jane's expression. This was the man, the monster that had viciously murdered his family.

As Red John watched Jane's face crumble in grief and sadness, he almost smirked as he turned to walk away. But not so fast. With a "Please, wait" Jane looked Red John in the eye one more time before he shot him three times with the gun hidden in his pocket. Then he calmly sat back down at his table and finished his tea. Vengeance delivered.

Patrick Jane did exactly what he said he'd always do and I was happy to see it.

Where will next season take us? Has the Red John arc completely played out? I don't have the answers but I look forward to the fall out, lamenting the long summer until season four begins. 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (860 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


I egree with Traveler. Jane did complete his mission, with a bang. Although there will be consequence, he seemed quite content to give up, even his abject repulsion at the gun he extracted from his smoking jacket. We can be sparring all summer at the coming events, but one thing is certain, we will be watching. Has anyone mentioned how well Simon Baker carried the finale. He may sometimes act quite childishly but always the consummate professional. No wonder the show has taken on a life of its own and I'm not talking the Jane/Lisbon nonsense that some fans would like to see happen. Will jane find romance again? Why not. Patrick said he would resume his life after the vengence. Sweet.


I watched the ending of this episode at least 10 times. Jane played it perfectly, always indicating that he would "some day" catch RJ, showing all the right emotions at all the right times, and never, EVER hinting that day, that HOUR was when he intended to kill RJ. Right up until the gun went off. The RJ arc has been from the first episode until now, but the show will survive the end of that arc better than it would survive it's extension. How are we to believe that Jane is all that smart if he never even gets close to RJ? That RJ would be at the mall watching is no surprise in someone with his resources and the ego of a serial killer. He's probably been within a few feet of Jane several times before just for the thrill. Nobody knew that Jane had ready access to a gun other than the person who gave it to him, and I can believe Jane's oft stated and never-denied aversion to guns fooled RJ into thinking that Jane was unarmed. It certainly fooled me! If the RJ arc is revived, it will mean that he fooled Jane into murdering someone else. THAT would kill the show for me; if Jane can be fooled into killing someone who isn't RJ he isn't the character I watch the show for and I'd lose interest. As for Jane spending time in jail, that sounds entertaining; and it wouldn't be the first time. He has spent time in jail before when he was caught bugging the office of the other CBI team covering the RJ case. He was running the place in a day, including handling the current outside-of-jail case. A man with THAT kind of manipulation skills is why I watch the show! There are a dozen ways the show can go, the most likely of which includes taking down RJ's organization; we KNOW there are many lieutenants out there, and they won't just disappear now that their sick leader is dead. With Jane in jail that will complicate things quite a bit. I'll enjoy that tremendously.


RJ had a gun, that will cut jail time down considerably + some kind of temporary insanity type argument. If he has to do jail time, the series could easily just start... two years on (out for good behaviour). Will allow for the build up of various back stories that could be revealed over time.


We have a lot to look for next season. First of all, Jane is indeed going to suffer the consequence of his killing Red John, jail time and I'm sure an interesting trial. Bruno Heller has as much as said so. Lisbon will recover, Grace will forge ahead, she is stronger than she is portrayed. Malcolm McDowell has affirmed that he is returning for at least 2 more episodes and we will find out more about R.J.'s clique of followers and the reason behind their alliegance. Lisbon will have a hard time dealing with the fact that she wasn't there to stop Patrick from his vengeful act but will stand by him of course. Hightower is back, Laroche, who knows, but we have to eventually find out. and Grace does have something in her past also which we have never been privy to, she's the only one with a still uncovered secret. I've said a mouthful, will someone out there give me their opinion.


This was a good show...ending correctly...if jane had let Red John walk away..I would have stopped watching the series...We will probably hear more about Red John..we know he has follers


This is one of the best tv shows around, and the end of the season is just perfect. People are trying too hard to look at every possible aspect and little thing that was shown, but it doesn't matter. There's no need to know why and how RJ knew that Patrick would be in the mall...and that was RJ for sure. Why? Because it's the perfect ultimate evil man - the ordinary guy that could live right next door, 'cause monsters don't have horns and big teeth...that is the most scary thing. The show from here on could go in so many possible ways, that is a pleasure waiting for the next season. Jane could be in jail, a season about the trial, RJ "friends" could be seeking revenge..or even he could have had a teacher or something...on the other hand, there could be so many side stories with all of the characters...if the writers don't get to elaborate, we will enjoy at least one more season the beautiful character that Patrick Jane is. Can't wait for next season ;)


if it wasn't red john, the guy bradley whitford played was SURE creepy enough to pass. god i was getting chills! it's so weird considering how much I love bradley whitford. i can't imagine they're going to actually send him to jail- iunno how the show would work. i hope lisbon and the team forgive him. Maybe he'll go to trial and the jury will be like, well, it was a serial killer, so let him go haha


Geez - come on people. Patrick is at least as smart as Red John, and Red John's arrogance was finally his undoing. It's hard to say Patrick is smart if the Red John nonsense goes on for year after year. LaRouche is going to prove very interesting for a number of reasons (the tupperware, he's seen as Patrick's intellectual equal, the shooting of the suspect after he was the one supposed to lock him down, etc.). Patrick Jane, his approach, and the team (and Lisbon is NOT a romantic interest, though there will be one now that he's solved and avenged his wife and daughter) are what make this show great, not some phantom.


O.K. so now we're all about even. Maybe yes, Maybe no. Surely Patrick is going to jail, for how long, depends n the writers' creativity. I will be coming back with no vendetta, as they all say, revenge is pointless. Or is it? This was not a cliffhanger finale but it might as well have been. If any fans leave because this was R.J. and he's gone so be it, or not. Can you just see Bruno Heller smirking as he redefines the character he created, or just lets him be. Bated anticipation, perhaps. We'll just have to wait along with Patrick in a jail of sorts.
How delicious. Lapsang Suchong it is.


first off, i've been watching this show since it started, and this finally ended in patrick jane & us believing that was RJ. if it wasn't, that's pretty lame on the writer's part to "psyche" us out. for a long time we were hoping patrick would catch RJ & now the writers are going to say that was his handler? that's b.s. i will stop watching if that's the kind of ridiculous story line they are going to cast. enough of this RJ...patrick killed a man- it better not be for nothing. the writers are making a mockery of us b/c they spent a good amount of airtime showing & proving the dynamics of patrick & RJ. RJ better be dead or i'm not watching this show again. i want darling patrick to finally move on with his life- take this show forward...don't cling on the same story line. it's sad, depressing and quite frankly, i've had enough of this RD.

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The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 23 Quotes

Frankly, this is less thrilling than you advertised and possibly wrong.


Jane: If Director Bertram wanted a CBi presence to jump off a cliff would you and your CBI presence jump off that cliff?
Lisbon: If there was overtime, sure.