The Mentalist – Recap & Review – Red All Over

photo: cbs

The Mentalist
Red All Over

Original Air Date: Apr 29, 2010.

Liz – Associate Staff Writer

Coming down off of their triumph last week of who killed ADA Kelly Flower, CBI seeks this week to answer the question what is black, white, and red all over. There’s a lot of answers to that riddle but this week it’s Xander Harrington, murdered in formal wear at his own party.

Stabbed in his office with a letter opener, he bled out for a good twenty minutes before succumbing, which is officially impressive. Nothing else is amiss in the office, except a file of a confidential business sort is missing. This file contained the names of employees who were to be laid off on Monday. One of the attending reporters even has blood on the bottom of her shoes. Case solved in time for everyone to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts before quitting time.

Or so we wish. Xander’s brother Ed told the reporter about the list and she was just satisfying her curiosity.

Visiting the family brings more things to light — patriarch Alex’s much younger wife, Tara (Queer as Folk‘s Michelle Clunie, with hair) is busy blaming herself because she had security cameras turned off in the home. Alex himself is reeling. Xander had organized a coup to take over the family’s media conglomeration, and become CEO. Finally, Xander’s daughter Ashley is holding secret tea parties under tables and saying things like her dad went on a trip. (To the dirt farm.)

The family had received threats from a group that bears more than a noted resemblance to Scientology and other scams of the sort. Founded by a man named Bret Stiles (Malcolm McDowell), this group, called Visualize, specializes in “brainwashing with a sideline in tax fraud.” The threats are in response to an expose that the family’s newspaper was planning to publish. I wish that I could describe the glint in Patrick Jane’s eye when he hears Xander’s wife, Sadie, use the word “cult,” but suffice to say he is on top of that.

Cho attempts to get some kind of useful information out of them, Jane talks to the Visualize technicians assessing people for inner vision. It is determined that Jane has issues with “paranoia, depression, and negative thinking in general.” Welcome to this program already in progress — although if the serial killer who murdered your family continues to manipulate things around you so that you are in the position to continually come into contact with him and is actually doing it, I don’t think that’s paranoia. But I digress.

While Lisbon is visiting the family again, Alex receives a threat via text message — specifically for a bomb in the grand salon. Lisbon instructs him to evacuate everyone he can, and then calls Jane for help in finding the bomb. Jane becomes the rational one and tells her to get out of there even though he gets spot on where the bomb would be hidden in that room. Ashley comes in, slides under the couch, and will not leave. With ten seconds left on the bomb, it starts beeping, Lisbon is freaking out, and disarms it by tearing the wires out.

Once the adrenaline subsides, Lisbon starts asking to talk to the staff and people who had access to the room, that sort of thing. Suspicion eventually lands on Sadie’s assistant, Elizabeth Stanfield. While looking in her apartment, Cho and Rigsby find an autographed copy of Bret Stiles’s book Visualize.

Lisbon and Jane go back to speak with Stiles. Jane calls Stiles out immediately as an undeniably charming con-man, but still a con-man. I suppose it takes one to know one. Stiles responds by flipping Jane’s kill switch by bringing up Red John and the dead family. Way to go, Stiles. Not a proportional response in the least. But I will let it go, because I love watching Jane’s façade slip just a crack and we get to see the interior bit of him that is ready to go postal. A+, Simon Baker.

With the claws out, Lisbon puts the boys back on track and somehow Stiles knows that Elizabeth is with Ed Harrington. I don’t know, kind of skeazy, but whatever. They catch Elizabeth there and when they bring her in to HQ, she begins to spew the crazy.

With more threats for the Harringtons coming in, Alex asks Hightower for extra protection — specifically, Lisbon and her team. It’s arranged and of course they make the most of it by concocting a ruse to catch the murderer — Xander’s own father, Alex. Jane plants the idea that Ashley witnessed the whole thing by uncovering (planting) a teacup in the office. When they fake a security breach and send them to the panic room, Alex starts to subtly question Ashley about the “game” that he’d been playing with her daddy. Cho pops out at the opportune moment to arrest. It works like a charm.

Not only did Xander manage the coup, he’d also been banging stepmom Tara behind the scenes — but so had his brother. This was honestly a weird subplot that I didn’t much see the need for, since Alex already had plenty of motive for killing Xander. It was just an extra kink that didn’t need to be there and honestly when they explained it I felt my eyes crossing.
ETA: My mistake. Xander had only managed the coup, and Ed had the dubious honor of doing his stepmom and fathering his own supposed half sister. Thanks for the readers for pressing me to correct even as real life encroached on my time and sanity.

Ultimately, not their best but since next week involves clowns I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s going to be the best episode ever. Because everyone loves a clown. I was going to make a joke about Jane and “once a carnie, always a carnie,” but then I realized clowns are from the circus and not carnivals. Yeah, that was a fail on my part. I want more Slightly Crazy from Patrick Jane.

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About Liz

MFA Candidate in Dramaturgy. Theatre, movie, music geek.
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4 Responses to The Mentalist – Recap & Review – Red All Over

  1. Xander says:

    If I’m right, it was only the younger bro having a go at the step mom… revisting the confession scene should help

    • Liz says:

      It may have been. The scene moved very fast and it was a lot of new or little visited information thrown at you at once. I’ll check it out and correct myself if I need to, thank you!

  2. mey says:

    You still haven’t corrected yourself. Xander wasn’t sleeping with the step mom. They were just friends (Xander and his wife were close/only friends of the step mom). Alex just assumed that Xander was sleeping with his wife, and Xander just assumed that Alex knew that Ed was the father.

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