Somewhere along the middle of Season 3, I felt that The Mentalist lost track of what it used to be and it came dangerously close to just becoming yet another mainstream crime procedural with no twist. Every episode had an investigation that only dealt with police work and no fun along with some unrelated subplot about main character x:s personal development. I kept wondering what had happened to the amazing world building and character showcasing from Season 1, and I dreaded Season 4 would continue the same retractive trend.
The last season finale left me hopeful, delivering the best cliffhanger I have ever had the luck to run across.
Andthis season premiere reaffirmed those hopes. We have here an episode that combines the mood and scripting of season 1 with the drama from season 2 and the plot advancements from season 3. The team is closer than ever and the lighting is no longer set to permanent darkness. This is what The Mentalist is supposed to be!
The question of whether or not Timothy Carter was Red John kept you guessing all throughout the episode, and I'm personally very satisfied with the conclusion. I know a lot of people across the world wide web were unhappy, and I can understand their frustration after all setting their mind one one thing only to have it be what they all feared.
SPOILER WARNING: The man Jane shot was not Red John.
A lot of people seem to concider this a copout, but I beg to differ. Those people just need to realize that all this greatly advances the series myth arc. First of all, Jane now knows part of the implications of revenge, which might drasticallychange the outcome of Jane's and John's real meeting somewhere down the line. Secondly, nobody seems to have noticed the aftereffects of all that happened. It is still a possible interpretation that Red John was talking to Jane through Carter. Carter wanted to apologize and stop with all the killings. And what better way for a serial killer to do that than to fake his own death? After Jane's trial, everybody except Jane and Lisbon thinks Red John is no more.
And to those who actually thought the real Red John was dead, I'm having trouble grasping the fact that all those called the season 3 finale closure. He just appeared, talked and died. There were still a lot of loose ends, and tying all of them up post-mortem would've been bad writing in my humble opinion. (Loose ends include Bosco's last words, He is mar, Red John's grand scheeme that would "blow Jane's mind" etc. etc. There is still a lot to round up, and I'm happy to see that the Mentalist has found its way back and is heading towards that conclusion without rushing it.
Now let's just hope the trend continues through the rest of the season, and that it wasn't just a coincidence due to Bruno Heller's amazingwriting.