This season Red John has been forced to share a lot of his moments with whichever case-of-the-week happened to be on at the moment (i.e. Little Red Book, Always bet on Red, Red is the New Black), and when the press release for "Red Rover, Red Rover" surfaced, I worried that this episode might turn out to be the same.
In a master stroke however, the case itself, while not Red John related, still turns out to be so integral to the plot that you can't but think the episode wouldn't have worked without it. Red John's sole involvement is at the beginning of the episode, but he still continues to haunt through-out the full 42 minutes. The case turns out to be a vent for what Jane is feeling.
I think it's the very simplicity of it that makes it so effective. "Do you give up yet?", spoken by a girl roughly the same age as Jane's daughter at the time of death nine years ago. And where has Jane come in those nine years? This is the moment he's forced to face that question and Red John makes him do so by giving him nothing. No new murder, no big CBI attack, nothing concrete, but just that. Nothing. Asking him to give up. And it works.
Early on, he makes his decision, and the rest of the episode, Jane is channelling his emotions through the case. All these years, his sole purpose in life has been to find Red John and make him pay eye for an eye, and now that that purpose is left behind, instead he begins to take that out on whatever murderer is within reach. It's not by a hunch Jane does unto the murderer what the murderer did unto his victim, the same thing he said he would do to Red John. And that is no doubt stepping over the line.
Jane has been doing more and more immoral things in every regard of the Red John case since the shooting of Timothy Carter and this is the culmination we've all been waiting for. The confontation with Wainwright has been due for a long time and consequence finally catches up to our broken down consultant in its most dramatic form.
I do not think this is just another ruse. I really do think, and hope, this is the state of mind Jane has finally gotten down to, because if this really is rock bottom, then I have no doubt this will be a turning point of the show. If Jane is able to climb up from this, maybe he can finally set his focus straight and pursue Red John with the same manner of thought and skill he does his other cases, something he couldn't possible achieve while still thinking Red John is the greater combatant, as he has been continuously forced to believe throughout these first four seasons.
And another little thing for which I have no doubt: After next week's season finale, we are in for a long summer.