The one thing that The Mentalist never lets us forget is that Patrick Jane is a tortured soul. "Devil's Cherry" drove that point home.
At the start, I couldn't believe that Jane would make tea in the victim's kitchen. He's been at enough crime scenes to know better, but Jane wasn't himself here. Lorelei's disappearance looked like it sent him spiraling into depression and, as Cho said, who could blame him? He went deep undercover for six months only to have his one lead to Red John stolen from him.
After 10 years of chasing a mad man, Jane is no closer to finding him - and perhaps too close to going mad himself.
The hallucination sequence was a lot of fun. Seeing the pot lid jump had me doing the same and I enjoyed the delay on revealing the contents. I knew something was up when Jane started chasing the bunny. When he passed the couple dressed as garden gnomes, I figured this was either a dream or a drug-induced hallucination.
Obviously, I was correct on the latter but I have one question: How could Jane have taken that walk if he passed out on the kitchen floor?
However, I'm willing to let that question go to get to the heart of the episode... and that heart was Charlotte.
I liked that Charlotte had sprung from Jane's subconscious and wasn't yet another Red John plot. Yet, at the same time, it made me ache for Patrick. He longed to see his daughter so badly that his mind conjured her the first chance it had.
Their father/daughter conversations were really fun, as she berated him with teenage snarkiness and he told her to stop rolling her eyes. But it was Charlotte shining a light on Jane's empty life that was the most touching, as she told him in this The Mentalist quote...
I've been dead for 10 years and you're still stuck in neutral. | permalink
Deep down inside, Jane was questioning what's fueling his obsession with Red John and whether sacrificing his own life to catch the serial killer was really worth it. Make no mistake, Jane has sacrificed his life for Red John. It's been a decade and this obsession has become his life. The image of Charlotte tried to show him how sad and unnecessary that is.
The look on Jane's face when Charlotte disappeared was heart shattering. It was as though someone had ripped open a barely healed wound. His overwhelming grief was there to consume him once again.
This episode had some other interesting moments. Like when Jane told his daughter that Lisbon was the one person that really knew him and soon after he told Teresa that she could call him Patrick. Both were small moments but telling ones of his awareness of his feelings for Lisbon.
And the killer was... evil doesn't seem to cover it. She drugged a man and made him saw himself to death while she watched! Horrifying evil is the only term I can come up with to describe it.
This episode was filled with wacky tea, butterflies, bunnies, garden gnomes and eagle's claws. All of it was great fun and kept me guessing. Then the end came and I was left to wonder if Patrick added the bella donna to his tea. I couldn't blame him if he did because I don't want to imagine that kind of desperate, gnawing pain.
But if he did add the drug, he won't be able to stop and that could lead to a very dark and dangerous season of The Mentalist.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.