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.


Excellent finale. I hope RJ's dead. I loved the sting and the setup for it. The end was awesome. Van Pelt shouldn't have told O'Loughlin anything after the sting and especially not invite him up to see Hightower since there is always the possibility that there's more than one mole.


I don't get it. Why would the assassin need a rope to climb down to hunt Hightower when Red John already knew it was all Jane's plan? All the assassin needed to do was show up at the room (and leave immediately) to mislead Jane who the mole was. So why did she need that rope? Had she really used that rope Jane would've figured O'Laughlin was the real mole right away. Was that what RJ wanted?


That was red john, come on. I don't think the writers of The Mentalist would draw up a plot for a fake red john, that would be too silly and an exaggeration of red john's planning. Jane will not leave the CBI team because he's found a calling, and red john's purpose of 'creating good through evil' was already set as permanent on Jane's will to fight crime. I think, like any terrorist organization, a new leader will emerge in the red john network. His voice was like the one on the other finale, while he was on the phone with the FBI guy, who clearly was evil from way back when he appeared on the show. If this guy isn't red john, that would be a huge upset to fans, even if he has a twin or whatever. red john is gone, but the red john network lives on.


WOW what a final, as soon as i heard Red Johns voice i knew it was him! I wanted to see an even darker side to Patrick Jane as he butchered Red John but i suppose this is not Dexter.


We couldn't really see anything of what either man was doing from about mid chest down, when the shooting of "Red John" occurred. So, is it possible that 1. Red John was actually pointing that gun with the hollow points at Patrick Jane at the moment Jane fired his gun, making it legitimate self-defense? Or, 2. Jane didn't actually fire the shots that killed Red John, he had a gun in his pocket ready to do just that, but the shots that killed Red John came from elsewhere, or even from some sort of explosives rigged to his own body? Then Jane pulled the gun out of his pocket, making it appear to everyone that he had fired the shots . . . I also think it's a definite possibility that this guy might not be the real Red John. For one thing, the fact that he said the "Strawberries & Cream" thing to Jane seems designed to goad him into the very violent action he appears to have taken. So the guy could be one of Red John's minions, willing to die for the "cause", as it were. If so the writers could be planning to resurrect Red John at the end of next season, or just at some indeterminate time in the future. Another possibility, maybe Red John is not a person at all, but the name of a criminal organization or cult that all of these people, including this guy, belong to. Or maybe each person in that cult is a Red John. Remember the words written in blood "He is man" - maybe that was intended to be "He is many", sort of like "I am legion" - very creepy & chilling.


Janes whole roose to catch the mole was clever .. However .. I have a feeling Red John knew the plan before ... well.. kinda, My first hint was with the assassin, why did she wait on the bed ? Was it to purposely lure out the CBI ?
I'm most likely not right. Just a hunch, it's pointless anyway now we believe Red John is dead. I feel this season finale was a closure on everything,
All the other suspects being moles would be too cliche,
I feel a fresh start, a new plot, uncovering behind RedJohn, why people worked for him, and possibly Red John is just a concept, .. however that seems unlikely, so maybe it becomes one ? For some reason I feel next season we will be seeing more of Janes past


I for one, was not convinced that was Red John, he could be another one of Red Johns accomplices who was given that information to tell Patrick Jane. Lets say I wouldn't be surprised if at the end of season 4 we find out that "Red John" is still alive and this one was a well placed fake.


It has to be the real Red John Jane shot, anything else would be a cop out on the writers part after all these years of searching for him. I love the choice to portray him as a completely normal, sane man, it does make the fact that he viciously murdered people a lot creepier. And remember, this is a man who has supposedly entangled god knows how many people in his web. This is the same man that Rebecca, Bosco's secretary, honestly believed was doind good deeds for the world. What's going to be interesting now is seeing how the team (especially Lisbon!) reacts to all of this. I have a feeling that the DA's animosity towards the SCU is going to come into play, but obviously, for the sake of keeping the show running, somehow, someway Jane will be exonerated. Clearly there are some Red John loose ends - what exactly did he do to Kristina? How is Bret Stiles involved? - and many more, I'd love to see Red John's accomplices all somehow come into play. Jane said the man had minions all over the state, perhaps Red John is no longer a single man, but a concept? It was a great season finale, I actually punched the air when Jane fired the gun. The fact that Jane, who hates guns, willingly using one is just one of the subtle underlying bits that made this episode so well written. Can't wait for season 4!


This could go either way. If they want Patrick to have killed Red John, then it will turn out to be Red John. If they want Red John to reappear later, then the show's writers will just say that Red John gave his minion enough info to convince Patrick that the minion was Red John. Kinda frustrating really in that each is equally likely and the "super villain" can keep going if they want.


Fuck you Red John

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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.