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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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (860 Votes)

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


How Red John knew to go to the mall shouldn't be too surprising, since he could have tapped the CBI office or followed Jane easily. As for his identity, it would be interesting if it is yet to be revealed but at least we've finally seen the face of someone 'claiming' to be red john for the first time. I would say this is good season finale script writing today. Many TV shows got cancelled lately due to their hyper suspense finale - thinking that the more suspense the better their chance at getting the next season slot. TV networks now are tired of playing that sort of games anymore. Now series like 'V', 'Crusoe', perhaps 'the Event', etc. are cancelled because of crazy suspense...making room for new shows. So there could be other 'RJ'. Jane's family could have more than 1 killer working at the same time, twins or just a very manipulative mastermind. There's no flashback scene, which is usually used to proof the real identity of the character. Many had tried to guess RJ as all the cast of Mentalist one by one including Patrick Jane himself, if I really want to go down that road, I'd pick on someone very dear to Jane so that he's going to have a hard time dealing with it, but who? well I'm not showing my card just yet...suspense...Muahahaha! As for if the one and only RJ has been caught and killed, well I supposed it will work out for the show as well. Someone more evil and witty for the new season? Whether it breaks from the RJ obsession or not, I'm sure many would still love to seek how Jane uses his perverted smarts whether if he's in jail or not. A twist with a change in the show's protagonist? Well, just because it's never really been done... Okay, I've said must go on.


I watched the finale and was so sure that this red john crap was over ... But now after reading these reviews i cant stop thinking about how you guys might be right ... I was sure about one thing before i read this and it was that the neckalace was some what of important because the camera focused on it for like a whole minute and it wasnt even that cute and how could vanpelt be so dumb ... I feel bad for her because they always use her to try to hurt the CBI or jane


i just really, really want to know if Jane goes to jail or what happens to him, i'm really curious!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i don't really think that red john is dead either, i just can't wait for the next season to start!!!!!!!! i want it to start now!!! or at least have a little website that tells us what will happen to Jane.


In my opinion, Red John is not dead. He's too important for this show to kill him off now. I don't think the guy from the West Wing is Red John. I believe like others who have mentioned it here that this guy was sent by Red John to watch what went down in the Mall and if he was discovered to say that he was Red John. He was told a few details about the death of Jane's family to remember in case Jane didn't believe him. This way, Red John ensures that Jane is locked up in jail and can't go after him anymore. Betram has to be Red John's 2nd accomplice in the CBI. The Blake poem is one strike against him and he also likely told Red John about the meeting at the Mall because Van Pelt didn't tell O'Laughlin about that meeting. All she said was that they suspected Betram. It is possible that Red John just followed Betram and Jane however.
My guess is that Red John is Virgil Minelli, the previous director of the CBI. He left the CBI after the gunnings of the police unit investing Red John. He would have been in a position to install Betram as the new director, his man. He could have killed to woman who shot the police officers himself. And I just think it is likely that Red John is really someone we've known in the show for a while, not some random actor who used to be in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Plus, West Wing guy didn't act evil enough to really be Red John. Just my 2 red cents...


i believe the gun he was going for was the police officer's one.
As to review, good one :D
Do we know for certain that there will be a new season, if there is it's kinda pointless, the whole series was based around vengence for red john. I fear the series would be "empty". ohh yeah, and the two scenes with the telephones at the end, one being agents Lisbon's lying on the table when she's guarding hightower seemed to sloopy to be realistic, and the other one were Grace declined Rigsby's telephone call. Who declines a coworker in such perilous times.Preplexes me. The rest was great, a good end. And i'm greatfull that they don't drag the series on forever like lost and so many others.


@FCBarca = I agree with you on number 1...(FYI, SPOILER ALERT) Assuming Red John really fell into Patrick's trap (which he did according to what he says in the end) then why he was at the place of meeting with the other suspect? one answer would be: he has 2 spies. but assuming this to be true, he sacrificed 2 good inside men just to deliver a message to Patrick, not to mention the risk of death. This is of course before the main question of was he Red John? because whatever the answer is, it's still a question of how did he know to be there? I'm confused! any lights?! :D


@Cobra= it's very unlikely that Berman is RJ. It conflicts with the structural fact that RJ has an inside man, not inside CBI himself.


Is there anyone who remember the another team took over the Red John's case from Lisbon's team? All team members were killed by the hand of Red John. The boss of this team told Patrick Red John had made a misstake and this mistake could lead Patrick to catch Red John. However, what is the mistake Red John made? The following episodes didn't mention it. Now, Patrick did exactly what he said, Red John was killed by Patrick. But the writter didn't let Patrick use the above clue. I think this is a issue of the Mentalist. Additionally, I lived in China and can't get the latest new about the Mentalist in time. Due to this, if I am wrong, Please let me know and correct me. Million Thanks for your time.


Excellent finale to series 3 but still too many questions and far to easy set up in my opinion. I believe the writers stated that it was red john who Patrick shot but this is The Mentalist after all so they could be pulling the wool! I think that Bartram is Red John and played Patrick well.
Funny he was reading the same paper as Red John and left the mall as RJ appeared?
Another note is why did Jane automatically assume the assassin was going for Room 505? Rope was long enough for any of the apartments below. And why handcuffs? Surely she was there to kill mole? (By the way Craig was invited up to Hightower's so could be two insiders) Someone on an earlier post noted Bertram phoning somebody before he met Jane. That was probably RJ stand in to cover him at mall as he would know Jane would be armed. Gale also mentioned giving Jane enough rope to hang himself therefore putting the wrong room sugesstion into Jane's head. Cast your mind back to when Bosco was shot by his secretary and she in turn was poisoned, I think we saw the back of Oscar Ardiles head as he walked past so I reckon he is other mole. Of course this could be utter nonsense and RJ is dead but if the writers see this, there is plenty of scope for change! Go for it, mess with our heads! P.S. I live in UK and got an early view of series end, just want to thank you for all the fantastic shows you give us.


It is possible that the person Jane killed in the food court was the "hand" of RJ, and that he WAS the one who killed Jane's family (and DID experience what he discribed). That way, RJ could be still alive, but Jane could still have gotten his revenge.
I'm fine with RJ being dead, though. I expect the writers can rise to the challenge of keeping the series interesting.

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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.