Early episodes of "The Mentalist" often gave us glimpses into Patrick Jane's grief and emotional vulnerability, but lately it's been all about Red John and revenge. In "Devil's Cherry," it takes a powerful drug to get our favorite consultant to truly look at what his life has become. But will his latest revelations help or destroy him?
Dangerous teaIt's always been one of Jane's quirks on "The Mentalist" to make himself a cup of tea in a victim's or suspect's home. Many of his actions are designed to throw people out of their comfort zone, but this is one of his many tactics that also puts him in danger. Puttering around the kitchen of a brutally slain diamond cutter, Jane makes himself a brew from a used tea ball he finds in the sink. Moments later he's collapsed on the ground, caught in the throes of an "Alice in Wonderland"-level hallucination.
Pulling a rabbit out of the potJane plays out the CBI case in a fantasy world that begins with him following a rabbit he pulled out of a soup pot on the stove. The rabbit leads him to an ornate garden, where he finds a mysterious teenage girl who speaks in riddles. As she leads him to the victim's work place, a glittering factory of gems, she slowly reveals that she is actually his daughter Charlotte, as she would be had she lived.
Jane is at first angry with this morbid trickery, but then he can't help being curious and interacting with this feisty and forthright manifestation. When he finally wakes from his drug-induced stupor, he begs Lisbon to let him revisit the crime scene, despite his still-compromised state. He feels certain that his hallucinations held clues to the actual murder, and revisiting the home and office will help him rekindle those memories.
Fantasy girlJane gets more than he bargained for, however, as he retraces his steps. Charlotte still appears to him, helping him along but also bluntly letting him know that the Red John obsession is getting "tired." Jane is stunned when she repeatedly insists that his pursuit of the serial killer is pointless -- that nothing will help his wife and daughter. It's been 10 years, she reminds him, and he needs to move on with his life.
Charlotte also chastises him for his glib way of dealing with everyone, including his own subconscious, and asks if there's anyone that really knows him. He's obviously hurt by the accusation, but he tells her Lisbon does. When she next manifests, she teases him about how "cute" Teresa is and asks if they've ever gotten together. It's rare we see Jane so uncomfortable, and we get both an amusing and a heartbreaking glimpse of the father/daughter relationship that could have been.
Deeper down the rabbit holeWith the help of his visions, Jane discovers the flaws in the neighbor's witness statements. With a bit of trickery, they catch her red-handed with the diamonds stolen from the victim. The psychotic woman had been plotting his death for years in order to get his stash of gems, and she'd poisoned him with the hallucinogenic tea to make him easier to deal with. A further side effect of the drug was that it made the victim extremely open to suggestion, and she convinced him to kill himself.
Lisbon is extremely concerned for Jane throughout the experience, especially when she knows he's been seeing his daughter. She has reason to worry, for Jane isn't content to take the lessons from the experience and move on. The end of "Devil's Cherry" shows us Jane making what we assume is a cup of the spiked tea, and we know he's hoping to see his daughter again.
What do you think, "Mentalist" fans? As far down as he's gone, has Jane not completely hit bottom yet? Will he hallucinate his way to an early grave, or will Charlotte finally convince him to get on with his life?
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