These season-ending episodes are the best.
When I heard that the final story would be a two-part episode, I set up the DVR and waited so I could watch episodes 23 and 24 back-to-back. What a ride! This series has produced some truly memorable moments, but at times it lulls into a formulaic routine. I was almost waiting for them to break out "Patrick Jane and the Mystery of Smuggler's Cove" or some baloney like that (to be fair, the writing on this show is consistently good, with only a couple lame episodes.)
This episode totally shook up the show, took it in interesting directions and makes next season's premiere seem a long, long way away.
Simon Baker did an outstanding job in this episode. I think it's easy to overlook what a tremendous talent he is. He covered a lot of ground emotionally, and played the breakdown to the hilt. The chemistry between he and Robin Tunney is tremendous Lisbon has the perfect way of using her tenderness to get through to Patrick despite emotional baggage. Patrick hooking up with Lorelei threw me for a loop, but in context of the ruse it was nice to see Patrick get some action (finally, ha!) and express his feelings for Lisbon. The final shot of the two of them holding hands was tremendous, and a big part of why I'm looking forward to next season.
I frankly don't care who Red John is because I am enjoying the hunt for him so very much, but this episode revealed some very tantalizing clues. I really liked the way the writers attempted to make Wainwright a sympathetic figure by having him approach Lisbon about reaching out to a presumed-off-the-rails Jane (a stark contrast from the previous episode which occured six months prior to the events of this episode) and then having him perish as a pawn in another of Red John's games. Well, I guess we can cross him off the list of Red John's informants, ha!
Cross off Agent Darcy as well? Maybe not. She was the first person I thought of when Red John said he had a "very good friend" inside the FBI, (not that I recall a lot of FBI characters aside from her being that well fleshed out yet) and the fact that she likely shot and killed Wainwright does not disqualify her from being that friend. Red John threatened her and she's still there. Maybe she struck a deal. Perhaps the same kind of deal Red John wanted to strike with Jane, but Jane refused. Maybe killing Wainwright was her "gift." Her reaction of horror at seeing Wainwright's body was well-played.
Aside from that speculation, the final observation I want to make is that now Agent Darcy and Patrick Jane each know what it's like to kill "Red John" -- only to find out that had murdered someone else. Each already has a previous "relationship" with Red John, and now each has taken a collateral life in the pursuit of him.
Well, at least CBI is off the hook for faking their own deaths to set up a failed trap for a person that must be the most prolific, capable and influential serial killer in the history of the world. Ha! How would you score that in real life? They got their boss killed by being about as shady as they could possibly be. I think the real achievement of this episode was blurring the lines between legal and illegal, right and wrong to such an extent that if they begin next season and they're all fired I could totally accept that -- and if they receive absolutely no punishment I could accept that as well.
What a mess. Can't wait until next season!