After two rather plot heavy episodes it feels refreshing to deal with a regular case-of-the-week.
I really like how the episode doesn't deal so much with the investigation as getting to know the suspects and their relations to one another. When the episode ends, it doesn't just feel like another case closed, it feels like balance has been restored in a small universe of people, with the bad guys getting what they deserve and the good guys getting closure.
A serial offender plot hits the spot with me every time, and when the plot premise became clear I couldn't help but draw parallels to certain episodes of Criminal Minds that also deal with child abductions. There is the missing child, there are the missing children from earlier cases who were found dead after x amount of hours and the investigation based on pattern rather than leads. Of course, the nice twist in the middle puts us back on the Mentalist status quo. Won't spoil it for you.
Positives of the episode include Grace van Pelt (whose character is finally starting to gain some altitude) the fake psychic getting what's coming to him and the fact that all tricks and readings are explained in detail, as well as most of the rest of the episode.
Negatives include how Jane's "psychic vision" dragged on a bit too long, but not much else. Great episode. Kudos to Ashley Gable, whose writing has always been a delight, and kudos to John Showalter for excellent direction.
And well, based on ratings and other reviews, I guess I'm the only one thinking this, but if pattern stands, this might just be shaping up to become the best season yet.