The Mentalist

Season 3 Episode 12


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jan 20, 2011 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
220 votes
  • Leave the science to shows that actually understand science.

    While I'm normally a major fan of the show, watching Linda Park waste her talents playing a scientist who apparently last studied science in the 19th Century made Jane's usual masterful manipulations of - well, everyone - seem more like teasing the kids on the short bus than anything resembling wit. Maybe I'm wrong, and that is a realistic portrail of a modern profiler. If so, we should be glad serial killer has a lousy pay scale.

    There are a number of shows that depict - or depicted - actors playing scientists who manage to actually look like they're doing science. If we had gotten something like that: a profiler version of Bones, or one of the Numbers geeks, even toned down because this is a state agency, it might have been fun watching Jane's insights show them up. But when the scientists take on things could have been written by Mary Shelley, it felt more like watching a bad 1980s version of one of her stories than what is usually one of the better shows of 2011.

    Having thought about it, I decided that this review needs some examples. I haven't edited the first two paragraphs, but have added two examples.

    1) When the package of body parts and bloody note arrived at the CBI office, Dr. Montague assumes it proves her hypothesis - that the killer is the caveman - is correct. As a long-time Bones fan, I can hear temperance saying "You can't presume that this package is from either our killer or the caveman." and then passing it off to Sweets or someone inside the FBI for analysis. The numbers geeks would say something like "We can do a markov chain analysis of the cavemans letters to determine the probability that this letter was written by the same person." (Ok, I think markov chains are cool). The difference is that they - unlike Dr. Montague - do the science to check their hypothesis. They also get docked points for not mentioning that the body parts and bloody letters thing was first done by Jack the Ripper.

    2) After her one date with Rigsby, she blows him off for future dates with the line "We only have a 20% chance of having a successful relationship", leaving unstated - and unsupported - that she isn't going out with him again. Better - at least she did some analysis. But science is more about sets of numbers and comparisons between them than just calculating them. In particular, when making a choice between two options, you need a number for both option before you can decide which is better. Giving her an extra half line to do that would have let her finish doing the science. Something like:

    "... and I have a 40% chance of meeting someone and forming a successful relationship if we don't date."


    "... and I have a 70% chance of a successful relationship with my current partner." Or let Rigsby (because I feel sorry for the big lug) expose the flaw in her reasoning. Probably with help from Jane, by later asking her "Hey doc, you have anything more fun planned than failing at a relationship with me?" as she leaves.

    Dr. Montague does this kind of thing throughout the show. That she's supposedly a scientist but doesn't seem capable of doing even simple science makes her an adversary unworthy of Jane, and just spoils this episode for me.
  • Jane goes head to head with a Behavioral specialist. I can't say Behavioral Sciences Expert 'cause well... you know...

    All in all this was a pretty solid installation to the series. Granted I've only been watching for about a season. I always figured The Mentalist was a quaint bit of snarky fluff to be had after something meaty like Criminal Minds. Let's face it, it takes a day to digest most CM eps! They're that awesome! However, with all due respect, I find I'm falling quite comfortably into the arms of CBI's Patrick Jane. He's part "Lie to Me" and part "wannabe BAU" which is just perfectly perfect. He's the idea of what could happen if a behaviorist had a vendetta in one hand and a sympathizer in the other. It's good. I gotta say, though the behavioral specialist was pathetically strident and initially so tethered by the dogma of her science I was turned off, but then, she showed promise, a willingness to 're-define' a hypothesis. Something that's refreshing in the world of the sciences. Jane of course taught her a few things, and I'm sure she taught him a few things though we're not about to find out just exactly what they were, but, the fact was this ep was well written and engaging. And as usual it's the focus on the details that get the deed done. The writers for this show are sadly understated but doing a quality job! That said, I'm a drama/angst junkie. I want more Red John, I want more progress on the case and I want him actively tormenting Jane on a subtextual basis. Let's see some breakdown in his sociopathic tendencies, let's see some more arrogance and perhaps more than just a little taunting, and not necessarily in the shape of more murders, how about some communiques? A note here or there with his sig smiley or grotesque trophyism. I feel like the writers are afraid to get dirty. Get dirty. It'll strengthen the show. You've got a cast of solid actors. Use them, challenge them, and give those of us who know of what we speak something truly challenging. All else.. great job cast and crew. Thanks for the happy.
  • 1/20

    The Mentalist used to be one of my favorite shows on TV, a great refreshing take on the procedural, but it has fallen off a bit in my book. Still, you can turn on CBS on Thursday at 10 and find a fun show from time to time and this was one of those solid episodes. Seeing Patrick Jane face the "expert" was a nice little matchup, but I did not like how she refreshed the Grace Van Pelt and Wayne Rigsby relationship. They did a good job of burying that, and it should only be reexplored 2-3 years down the road, not right away.

    Still, that's a small little flaw. This episode was funny, it was interesting to follow. It gets two thumbs up from me.
  • Really like this episode!

    The competition was fun to watch even though no one is ever close to winning againts Jane... :)The ending was a complete surprise, never would have guessed who the killer really was. There was another hint at Red John towards the end I don't know if we'll ever get closer to knowing who he is . The comment about Jane being depressive was interesting , after all he is a sad clown always making jokes but you can feel the pain underneath that's never going away. We never get to know much about Jane's late wife maybe we'll get to that eventually...
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