If you stopped watching after season 3 and only started again last week, you basically missed nothing. Season 4 looked like a classic attempt of the show trying to buy itself more time and more future to prolong the show because nothing happened really with the Red John story line. While it was all fun and good, this show realized they couldn't just repeat what last year was like and had to change directions. And boy did they.
You can tell already this is a far different season. Simon Baker isn't all fun and games, you can tell he really is obsessed with this REd John riddle that it is slowly devouring him. Teresa Lisbon is much different, alot closer to season 1-2 than what she was the past few years. I'm not sure I ever saw her so mad at the team as she was a) at Van Pelt(for no real reason) b) for them fighting with the FBI. The Lisbon-Jane relationship isn't going to be joyful and fun spirited this year, you can already tell and it should make things interesting. Things really are getting serious. One thing that was kind of disappointing was we didn't get enough showing from the side characters on the CBI in Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt. Hopefully this is just a one episode thing not a season long trend.
What will be interesting to watch is where the show goes from here. How far do they accelerate and continue pursing this red john story line? Last year, we would have an episode with some Red John info and then 4-5 episodes with nothing about him. If the direction of this show appears to be what it is, I don't think that happens again but we shall see(next week already doesn't look Red John related). We're supposed to get big Red John clues this year.Will they come mid season and the 2nd half of the season develop off them or will we have to wait until the end of the year? Will we not see Lorelei again for another 5-10 episodes or will she be back soon? I'll be fascinated to see how they accelerate the story line, my guess is that things will continue at a fast pace.
I really like this CBI-FBI rivalry idea. It makes the theme still centralized around Patrick Jane but does a good job involving other characters. Plus it's really really interesting to see them duel it out and the Red John accomplish X factor that is the in the CBIs mind. Again, let's see how they develop this but things could get really interesting pretty fast because the rivalry is only at a tipping point as to how nasty it will end up.
Some questions that the show has left us with
1) What happens to the FBI agent that Jane planted the red bead in? Does he get suspected with working with Red John or is that story line just thrown under the rug? It'd appear that he won't be an accomplist working with Red John since everybody could see where the red bead came from, but this show always is known for making things not look as they you thought they would seem.
2) The news of the Red John accomplist in the FBI has spread via Patrick Jane to a judge and Bertram and the rest of the CBI team, how do they react and how seriously do they take it? In particular, the judge already showed suspicion. Will the rest believe him and if they do, what's the next step? Also, logic and common senses seems to suggest that there is truth to what Red John told Jane about this, but the show always has a twist up its sleeve that can complicate things.
3) And the big one, what happens with Lorelei? She is supposed to appear on at least 5 episodes this year so she's not dead, that would be too easy for the writers and frustrate fans. That wouldn't be Red John progress. Has she escaped prison? Or did she just get transferred so the CBI couldn't get access to her(a move pulled by the FBI)? There is no doubt patrick jane is intrigued by her and it's clouding her judgment. The way she talked to him and the way she was halfheartedly crying out to Jane to not let her be taken when the FBI took custody of her really suggest she is playing him to some extent. That she is in control of the situation and not really attached to Jane. Which would suggest that she wanted to get transferred to prison so she could set up the escape. There's a very solid chance in some way that the FBI is involved in this. How interests me but even more interesting is how Jane goes about uncovering it, what he makes his team do, his plan, and the reaction to whatever they find. Lots of potential from the first episode, the show has clearly changed its direction, let's see what they can go with this. I don't think they'll do this, but don't pull a last season and after the first two episodes go 5-10 straight episodes without any real development and a season without any real Red John progress or attempts to catch him.