Jane and Van Pelt mirror each other's emotions and reactions in this subtle segment of the Van Pelt story arc, adding depth to a pair of personalities which, at first encounter with the series, seem to have little in common. Each has lost a lover to violent death; each was partially responsible for that violent death; neither has shaken the agonizing realization of how profoundly, how drastically, and how quickly life can plunge from joy into torment. Both tend to be undemonstrative, generally projecting a rather flat affect which illustrates emphatically that "still waters" do, indeed, "run deep." Similarly, both bury part of their pain in their work.
Knowing that viewers would reject a sudden insertion of the supernatural into a series based quite firmly upon exposing fake "supernatural" trappings, the writing/producing team carefully sets the scene for Van Pelt's flashbacks and/or visions: out of kindness, Lisbon returns to Van Pelt the necklace which O'Laughlin had given her while he and Van Pelt were engaged. As Van Pelt thanks Lisbon but states that she no longer wants anything that reminds her of O'Laughlin, Van Pelt flashes back, briefly, to an intimate moment with O'Laughlin and to her shooting him in desperation. As the episode cuts to the opening credits, viewers realize that something concerning O'Laughlin will be part of the story and that the brief flashback is actually foreshadowing rather than pure memory.
A very few minutes into the plot, Van Pelt rolls her car while trying to escape someone trying to kill her; in the back seat is Janpen, a prostitute whom Van Pelt is taking in for questioning about the murder of a mob boss's son. Shortly after Van Pelt, looking bruised and shaken, struggles out of the car and tackles would-be escapee Janpen, O'Laughlin enters the picture. Most viewers immediately realize that the violent wreck has probably garbled Van Pelt's perceptions, since she [and viewers] can see and hear him, but Janpen cannot. As he reappears in several brief scenes, he seems to be anticipating Van Pelt's reactions; they even discuss the fact that, since he is dead, he is probably a figment of her imagination, a product of her being hit on the head when the car rolled. Through their brief but intense conversations, Van Pelt begins to understand herself better and to accept not only that did she love him, but also that he actually loved her as much as his damaged personality could love. In the penultimate scene, Van Pelt "hears" a warning from O'Laughlin and thus is able to keep Janpen, revealed as the murderer, from killing her.
Later, in the office, Van Pelt questions Jane about whether he ever talks to his years-dead wife. After acknowledging that he does talk to her but doesn't see her, Jane guesses out loud that O'Laughlin has been to "visit" Van Pelt. As they talk, Jane opines that there are only two ways to handle tragedy: bury the memory, or learn to live with it. After Jane leaves, urging Van Pelt to take care of herself, Van Pelt stands silently beside her desk for a few moments. Realizing that Jane has chosen to live with his losses rather than burying them, Van Pelt makes the same choice: she retrieves the necklace and drapes it over a spray of flowers on her desk.