I'll admit neither the promotional photos, press release nor promo left me with high expectations for this episode, but I guess the lesser you expect the more you get back. "Pink Tops" is as of now my top-rated non-Red John episode of the season.
It's rare for the Mentalist to have the teaser play out before the murder, as most of the time the first shot will be of the body, but this episode does just that and that makes for quick interest in what's about to happen. There's a big party and the wake eye will notice small cameos from most of the coming suspects in the crowd. The camera finds focus on a particular character and until she gets the text we're still wondering whether she'll be the victim or the one who finds the body. The gun shot moments thereafter is stylistic to say the least. You've seen it in the promos, but it looks even more awesome in context.
Cut to some mandatory Jane antics and we're on the case. The conflict is a bit different this time around as most setbacks come from police officers and the widower in denial, all of which have interesting side-stories of their own. And most importantly, this episode did what the Mentalist does best: Characters before police work. The procedures are there only to forward the plot while the main attraction is learing about the miniature universe and the characters relations to one another. The team visiting the house of the grieving relatives while Jane snoops around on his own is something I've missed from the early seasons, but now we've seen it again both in this and the last episode. That's a big plus from me.
The main attraction this episode is, obviously, Cho's interactions with our new recurring Summer Edgecombe. You can tell there are going to be sparks in that relationship. The character definitely brings something new to the table with her knows-what-she-wants personality and I'm eagerly expecting her next appearance.
Every main character gets their own time to shine this episode and it seems like we're slowly moving towards more of an ensemble cast with Jane not being the entire episode. What I do miss is varying interactions within the team. We have Jane-Lisbon and we have Rigsby-Cho-sometimes Grace. In the first seasons it didn't even matter who talked to who, but it almost seems like they're segregating since Season 3. This season has shown an improvement with Jane sometimes hanging around the others, but it can do better than do that. Remember episodes like "Red-Handed" and "Paint it Red" when the entire team hung out together and joined in on all the mischief?
That aside, it was nice to see how Jane's stategy came close to failing for once. Had it not been for the competence of the rest of the team members, this one would have done him in. That climax was thrilling and you know it. Eanie meanie miney moe.
9/10. Great episode. Great season, but please. More interactions.