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Mentalist – I do what Red John tells me to do

An apparent admission of love, and a surprising death on the season finale of 'The Mentalist'; but was it really all that it seemed?

- Season 4, Episode 24 - "The Crimson Hat"

I know I get a lot of heat for my whole “Jane is Red John” rant I continue to go on … and will still go on about, until I’m shown concrete evidence to the contrary. However, last week a few people thought Wainwright might be Red John. While that turned out to be a wrong guess, I’m not so sure Wainwright was entirely innocent.

Red John — at least the one we heard over the cellphone — mentioned contacts he has in CBI or the FBI that helped him figure out Jane’s true plan. Well, something didn’t seem quite right with Wainwright. Although six months passed since the events of the last episode, I did not buy his sudden concern for Jane’s wellbeing. It seemed way too convenient that he’d bring something like that up, when just the previous day Lisbon talked with Jane about his plan and how close he was getting to Red John. That’s either a big piece of evidence showing Wainwright had some sort of in with Red John, or the writers didn’t quite piece together the timing right.

We’ve known for some time that Red John has a slew of minions under his control, and I could see Wainwright being one of them. Sure, he was tied up in the back of that limo before he was shot, but he didn’t budge an inch while he sat back there. Either he was knocked out with his eyes open, he was already dead before Jane got in the limo, or he did just as Red John commanded.

I don’t see how the CBI or Jane will get any information out of their new captive. She seems to be fully under Red John’s influence, and threats will go nowhere with her. Every Red John disciple has met an early end, and I really hope just once that doesn’t happen. Instead, I could see Jane using some hypnotism on her to extract information, though I wonder why that wasn’t tried before. I just know I’ll be frustrated as hell if she simply winds up dead in her cell, with no leads to follow. THIS one has to lead somewhere.

I’m not sure whether to give props to the Mentalist writers for making me second guess Jane’s intent in shooting Lisbon, or to be irritated that the explanation never led to something more meaningful. The look Lisbon gave Jane when he said, “Good luck Teresa; love you,” excused why she looked surprised as the gun was drawn, but then later … it went nowhere. No real explanation of his saying he loved her or his wish of good luck. So while what he said made sense for how she reacted, it was blown off way too much later.

What’re your thoughts on the finale, what Jane said, and Wainwright’s fate?

Photo Credit: Michael Desmond/CBS

25 Responses to “Mentalist – I do what Red John tells me to do”

May 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM

Jane isn’t Red John. I don’t buy that he would’ve killed his wife and child. Plus, I don’t really know what the point would be for him. They are both similar – they both like to manipulate people to reach their ends, but Red John seems to do it more with fear, irrationality, and anger, while Jane is more subtle, clever and ultimately prefers to see people happy.

Red John seems like a small man while Jane seems like a much bigger man.

Besides – Red John already gets his thrills by pulling the strings of really naive people and killing. There’s no need for him to get more thrills by donning a second personality (as in, multiple personalities) as Jane.

I totally thought Wainwright was a weirdo, but that may have been intentionally done by the writers to throw the viewers off. I wouldn’t be surprised if next season, we find out that he was totally innocent.

I don’t trust the lady FBI person. I think she’s working for Red John, or is Red John (that would be a good twist – Red John is really a Red Lady). Sure, she ultimately shot everyone up, but Red John likes to kill his accomplices when he’s sure they’ll get caught anyhow, and she knew when she put the waitress into play that the waitress would end up getting caught. Moreover, it would be a great way for her to kill Wainwright if she wanted him out of the way for whatever reason, without suspicion falling on her. And she’s been way too critical and b!tchy. Jane has a fantastic track record of helping the CBI to catch criminals, and he’s come the closest of anyone to nabbing Red John – there’s no reason for her to be hellbent on screwing him over all the time.

May 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Interesting thought. Now I want to go back and watch the scene during which Jane ‘interviewed’ FBI Lady in that diner…might be a couple of clues.

May 18, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Jane is not Red John. However, they’re the same in that they’re both incredibly adept at making people do or believe what they want them to do or believe. Red John finds those who are crushed inside and has them believe their loathsome self-hatred is their power; Jane does quite the opposite, and what he did with the CBI’s retired, pier-fishing, Colt 45-drinking boss is a prime example (from the episode, Jolly Red Elf).

How RJ got hold of Wainwright is a good question. After all, wasn’t the CBI team on the hush-hush about their plans with Jane? How could Wainwright have been there, if he was not in some way in cahoots with Red John?

What I’ve noticed is that CBS is killing off cast members in many of their final episodes this season. But it would be too much of a stretch for Lorelei to be killed before she can be thoroughly questioned. And if turns out that FBI agent who figured out the dead man was not Rigsby was working for RJ all along, then her expression at finding Wainwright tied up in the back seat of the limo would be some pretty good acting on her part. But a die-hard RJ disciple could probably pull that off.

If I had to guess the identity of Red John, I’ll bet it is in some way connected with the red-headed blind girl Jane knows. Hopefully, Jane will have matured in his thinking and will soon take a new tack on getting RJ for good.

May 18, 2012 at 8:50 AM

I think agent Darcy is shady! I almost thought she is Red John.

May 18, 2012 at 4:25 AM

I’ve never really thought Jane was Red John, but that was clearly Simon Baker’s voice over the phone at the end.

May 18, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Holy buckets… I didn’t notice at first, but … you’re right! That’s definitely Simon Baker!

May 18, 2012 at 6:29 AM

I had only heard of the theory that Jane was Red John last week. However after hearing his voice, that was most definitely Simon Baker speaking on the phone so now I can see the possibility. I re-listened to the previous Red John voice, the one that many think is Brett Partridge. It is more nasal, but I believe that was Simon Baker also. So either Patrick Jane = Red John, or they have just been using Simon Baker as the voice of Red John until the writers make up their minds who the real Red John is.

May 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Exactly, wouldn’t make much sense to use the actual actor’s voice, even if he has been cast and seen already as possibly hinted at by Bruno Heller. You have to protect the identity.

When Lost revealed “Jacob” at the time, they used the prop master as a stand in, and the voice was one of the producers. Mark Pellegrino wasn’t even cast yet.

May 18, 2012 at 5:47 AM

There’s a funny symbolic level on which Red John and Patrick Jane are the “same” – ie two sides of the same coin, or two manifestations of the same idea.

But in the bare story-telling conventions that Bruno Heller is working with, it would make no sense that Patrick Jane is LITERALLY the same person as Red John. No amount of hand-waving, or crazy split-personality theories, or evil genius machinations could make narrative sense out of that.

On the other hand, I’m quite willing to believe that there are more, and deeper, connections between Jane and Red John. No, not the “evil twin” device (or I sincerely hope not), but I would not be at all surprised if Red John and Patrick had some shared history, going way back; some early encounter, which highlights the different paths that each man took. [Is there any currency in the “Red John is a woman” theory? It did cross my mind that Lorelei might really BE Red John – the voice is very high and slightly womanish.]

May 18, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I’ve been sort of under the belief that it’s either an actor trying to sound like Simon Baker, or Simon Baker is a stand in.

I think the show could work it well if it turned out to be a giant con that Jane is Red John.. but that would be such an obvious Day 1 smart ass guess that the reaction would be visceral to say the least.

May 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM

I don’t know Keith … Doesn’t Wainwright’s death make any connection to Red John pointless from a story perspective at this point?

I mean, if he’s not in charge any more, does anyone even care if he was in RJ’s pocket?

May 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM

The fact that he got a job at CBI in the first place would be an eye-opener, and then trace the line down from who promoted him there, perhaps?

May 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Oh, good call.

We’re definitely getting into the territory of “No Red John reveal can possibly live up to the build-up.”

I hate it when that happens.

May 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

This episode made it very obvious that Lisbon is either Red John or one of his minions. She was the one who tipped off Wainwright that Jane was up to something, setting the balls in motion for the denouement.

May 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Sneak double reverse twist: Bradley Whitford was Red John after all, and Jane couldn’t accept that after killing him and has stepped into the role of Red John ever since.

May 19, 2012 at 5:19 AM

I want to preface my thoughts on the “Jane is Red John Theory” by saying this theory has always seemed too outlandish to be true. But, for the second have of this season, I have slowly come around to believing in it. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed when listening to Red John over the cellphone in the back of the limo. If you listen past the distortion of his voice, the way in which he pronounces certain words sounds very similar to Jane’s voice.

May 20, 2012 at 4:07 AM

I would do everything red John tells me to do…expecially more if Red John is Lorelei MARtins
remember the writing with blood? (he is Mar)
she claimed to having a special relation with Patrick
She tried to rip off the finger with the wedding ring, his last link with the past.
this is just metareference but they are watching a documentary together where a female lion is hunting a zebra predator/prey she/he
and also there are not depth characters in the show enough to claim the prestigious role, it has to be an outsider.

May 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Hi everyone, good points out there.
What I’ve noticed:
– during the cell phone conversation in the limo there is a red led blinking, much alike the one of the camera that people have suggested “switch” Patrick Jane in Red John. I personally don’t believe in this theories, however I couldn’t but notice that the voice on the phone is actually the same one as Jane’s. But it could have been just a rielaboration in Jane’s mind….I don’t know
– Second: the sudden awakening of Wainwright worries for Jane, that you called out of line, are in relation with Jane’s breakdown. For 6 months they never got a word from Jane, and then the imprisonment: it’s probable that Wainwright felt responsible and was trying to do something. I don’t believe he is a minion of Red John. He is an innocent bystander, killed to just give another motivation for Jane to continue the hunt.

June 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Anything other than Jane as Red John at this point would defy logic, unless the writers are going for a random, LOST style story line, or a sci-fi bogeyman which would be beyond lame.

The voice on the phone at the end is clearly Patrick Jane. If anybody has any doubt, search for a YouTube video called “Mentalist Red John” uploaded on May 19, 2012 by a user named testholborn. The share extension for the video is: /4X_LREb5j-M

June 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Ok, maybe I’ll eat my own words down the road. :-)

Last night I went back and carefully watched the pilot episode with the assumption that Heller had carefully crafted 4 seasons and not just haphazardly strung together an asinine story arc LOST style and I came up with an alternate theory.

Near the beginning of the pilot, the camera zooms in on the tattoo of one of the coroners. It’s a grim reaper with long red air parted on the right under a sickle dripping with blood.

The color, length and part looks just like Van Pelt’s hair in a later scene of the pilot as she reads the fake Red John letter in Jane’s hotel room.

Recalling additional trivia throughout the 4 seasons:

– The blood on the wall in Mexico “He IS Mar” could mean “He is Married”.
– The blind woman remembered straight hair. The coroner with the tattoo had straight black hair with grey streaks.
– In a deleted scene on the DVD, where RJ is watching tv, his hand, wrist, lower arm structure appear to be the same as the unknown coroner.
– RJ was friends with the father of the deputy. The coroner with the tattoo seems to fit that age category.
– Van Pelt was called “Red” in some episodes.
– Van Pelt was at the computer when RJ communicated with Jane over the network. The coroner would have access to the network.
– Stiles said that Visualize has various law enforcement members.
– She’s always in on Jane’s most secret plans to catch RJ.
– She shoots her “fiance” who then rips the necklace off her before he dies.
– Stiles talked about setting Van Pelt free. Perhaps it was to break RJ’s grip on her.
– Only Van Pelt knew Lisbon was going to take some personal time and go for a walk where she eventually meets Jane. Then a police car appears in the middle of the desert when Lisbon finally meets up with Jane after 6 months.
– A lot of coroners have died over the years working on Red John cases. One committed suicide, another was killed in a car accident, one ends up in dead in a closet, etc. Maybe it’s because they all figured out at some point that RJ was working in their department.

So here’s my alternate theory: Van Pelt (Red) is the real mole and she’s married to the guy with the tattoo (John). The guy working in the Coroner’s department with the tattoo is the real Red John, Van Pelt is simply Red. He does the actual smiley face killings and is a member (or former member) of Visualize who manipulates others, including Van Pelt (dating back to the unknown trauma she once endured).

June 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Wow! While that’s a really well thought out idea, I don’t quite buy it.

I checked out the pilot again as well, and that coroner doesn’t appear to be anything other than an extra who happened to have that cool tattoo. I’m not convinced the tattoo has red hair, either — seems to me the hair is red because of the blood dripping off the scythe, but even then it’s not all that clear.

The guy, to me, seems a bit old for Van Pelt too. The only reason Jane centers in on that tattoo was just an artful way of displaying that death happened there, not that he noticed anything awry.

June 27, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Yes, perhaps the hair is red from the blood of the scythe which would add to the symbolism. But the part being on the right, the same style and length seems a little more than coincidental. Check it out in HD, it’s fairly detailed.

Why would Jane suspect anything was awry anyway, it wasn’t a Red John crime scene.

I agree he does seem old for Van Pelt, but so is Lorelei. Age wouldn’t be much of a barrier for a master manipulator.

Also, I’m thinking that the job is a perfect cover under their collective noses. Whether it’s the CBI, FBI or regular police, all victims and investigations pass through the coroner’s office for homicides. The death hub so to speak.

Also, perhaps he’s the original founder of Visualize that was rumored to have been bumped off by Stiles in one of the episodes because he had no vision of what the organization could have become.

And maybe he (the original founder) somehow survived and altered his appearance and identity (similar to musing of the fake RJ in the mall) and is probably hatching a plan to kill Stiles in style (no pun intended).

Which would also explain his exceptional mental prowess.

Also, even if he was an extra, I think Heller only said that we’ve seen him before, not that he was a major character.

June 28, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Oh, and thinking along this alternate theory line, I came up with a plausible reason why Jane’s voice is on the recording in the limo if he’s not Red John … it’s part of a long con. That’s why Wainright was still alive and gagged in the back seat of the limo and not some Weekend at Bernie’s prop.

Jane has finally realized that the mole is very close to him in the CBI unit and as is attempting to smoke them both out at the same time. Jane knows that the RJ hates imitations, so he’s setting things up now and giving credit to RJ.

The blinking red light in the limo would then be a planted suggestion for Lorelei like “Whenever you see this blinking light, you will believe RJ is in the back of the limo and hear his voice over the speaker”.

Which in turn could mean that Jane also killed the San Joaquin killer and gave the credit to Red John after he conceived the idea while at the blinking red light and a strange look came over him.

It’s interesting to note that Jane has been escalating in his killing of bad guys since the pilot episode. First, he manipulates a situation where the wife kills the husband who molested their daughter, second he shoots the deputy who was going to kill Lisbon, third he kills the fake RJ in public, then he kills a serial killer. Now he’s on a slippery slope into darkness and he’s losing control. He almost loses two fingers and Wainright is inadvertently killed when his elaborate con is interrupted by Darcy.

Finally, Jane knows that Lorelei will sing because all he has to do is tell her that RJ won’t be pleased about her taking instructions from an imitator.

Actually, now that I’ve thought this through, I think my alternate theory makes more sense to me than when I was a firm believer that Jane is John.

Anyway, whoever RJ turns out to be I just hope it’s logically consistent and not some lame dream sequence cop out.

July 18, 2012 at 1:22 AM

woow thats an amazing theory. although i wouldnt want Van Pelt to be RedJohn. nice work.

August 23, 2012 at 7:27 AM

The Mentalist” in a nutshell: it’s all been done before.

Patrick Jane hits the rocks in Sin City and ostensibly doubts the moral difference between right and wrong (white hat v. black hat), attracting heartless siren Lorelei MAR-tinS, the bird in the scarlet red dress and black winglets, who spreads her wings and tempts him to the dark side of RED JOHN in the “Crimson Hat.

“Crimson Hat” is old-hat: The series’ cliffhanger involves yet another mole in the FBI, another CBI “number 1″ gets the boot, and RJ using the old cell phone gag gets away Scott-free. It’s the “Usual Suspects,” and RED JOHN like Keyser Söze vanishes like Jane’s hidden coin trick, “First he’s there, and like that he’s gone.”

Et two, Bruno?

Either Bruno Heller thinks the viewers have the memory span of a fruit fly or he’s trying to make a point: since the Pilot (through the Looking Glass with the Lyin’ fish – “one man’s fishbowl is another man’s snow globe”) Jane has a split personality like Verbal Kint aka Keyser Söze, and, like Verbal Kint , Jane has been making this story up as he goes. In the end of “Usual Suspects” Detective Kujan realizes with a shock that details and names from Verbal’s story are culled from various objects around the room – including Rabin’s crowded bulletin board and the “Kobayashi Porcelain Company” logo on the bottom of his coffee cup. (Well, call me Cho-bayashi.) Kujan realizes that most of Verbal’s story was improvised for his benefit. (Lisbon likes BOSCO.)

Jane: “old cell phone gag”? I invented that right there and then… rather brilliantly, I thought.
Lisbon : Oh, please. I’ve seen that done a dozen times.
Jane : What do you mean? Where?
Lisbon : On TV.
Jane : Well, anything can happen on TV. The question is, where have you seen that done in real life?
Patrick Jane: Life is a million to one. The universe is one big coincidence.

Anybody think it coincidental that Citroen, the car Jane drives, just happens to be the name of the gang member (Citron) suspected in the death of the nameless and faceless shotgun victim, which conveniently provided Jane the Rigsby body double? (Talk about a Crimson Hat.)

Anybody troubled by Jane telling Lisbon to pinky-swear not to tell ANYONE about his fake breakdown and then the CBI scoobs are suddenly in on the great deception?

Lorelei, on Keston, almost performs a “Verbal Kint” makeover on Jane’s left hand and gets caught on Debonair. Loved the final scene of Lorelei facing her opposite, Teresa Lisbon.

Jane (to Lorelei): I know it’s hard to believe now, but you’re gonna talk to us. You’re gonna break down, and you’re gonna tell us everything you know about Red John. You’re gonna sing like a bird. A Scarlet Tanager

(NB “Tanager” was the name of the ship in the “Usual Suspects.”)

The clever long con of “Usual Suspects” was Keyser Söze’s identity. (Fast Fact: Kevin Spacey revealed that Bryan Singer managed to convince every one of the major actors that they were Keyser Söze. When first screened for the company of actors, Gabriel Byrne (Keaton) was so stunned when he found that he wasn’t Keyser Söze that he stormed off into the parking lot and argued with Bryan for a half hour.)

The clever long con of “The Mentalist” was Red John’s identity. As in the “Usual Suspects,” Bruno has dropped more red herrings that cast false suspicion on every character in the show. As in the “Usual Suspects,” the answer was right in front of us the whole time: Jane was Red John, his imaginary nemesis. (Fast Fact #2: The CBI Headquarters is actually the rear entrance of the Pico House, a former luxury hotel and a National Historic Landmark located in Downtown Los Angeles, designed by architect Ezra Kysor.) (FF # 3 Patrick Jane loves Pekoe tea.)

Burning clues: Jane appears to be a Sherlock Homes super-sleuth character but in reality is a mental patient who suffers from paranoid delusions due to feelings of extreme guilt in the deaths of his wife and child who were burned as he was (CBI = intensive burn care?) in a horrific car accident involving a driver named Tanner when he failed to stop at a BLINKING RED LIGHT – hence the RJ symbol – while he was driving intoxicated and spends his days watching TV shows, which generate his ideas for the delusional episodes. “The Mentalist” is obsessed with fire, as in half the episodes it plays a significant plot point. “Tiger, Tiger burning bright, they were “Au-burned.” In the “Red Mile” episode Jane arrives at a crime scene outside Auburn, California. Shouts from Alabama football fans of “Roll Tide” first appeared during the Alabama-Auburn Tiger game in 1907. Curiously, a corpse was found in a burned car in “Ruby Slippers,” in which Jane discovers the identity of Fifi Nix, like Jane’s Phoenix, has risen from the ashes of his past life. The fake Jane character in “Red Moon,” where another corpse was found in a burned car, was named Ellis Mars.

The Mentalist – Tommy Westphall – Mars and Tin Man Connection

Green Tea for Two: Red John is Patrick (green) Jane’s imaginary evil twin, his “perfect symmetry” alter-ego (Jane/John), Professor Moriarty character in a “Tommy Westphall” imaginary world like “St. Elsewhere’s” snow globe and “Life on Mars” that is the dream state of Jane. Roy Tagliaferro (read: “cut iron”) anagram is “court irony.” Ironic that failure to obey a Red (don’t cross) and Green (cross) light will get you a “Crimson Ticket.”

Who’s a Lyin’? Jane or Mar-tinsS

Jane: Perhaps we can see each other again.
Lorelei: That’s not up to me.
Jane: Oh, you have no say in it?
Lorelei: None at all. It’s very “Westphall.”
Jane: I don’t follow you.
Lorelei: I do what Red John tells me to do.

The characters of Rigsby, Cho, Van Pelt and Lisbon are also Jane’s creations ala the “Wizard of Oz;” the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Dorothy – in reality are the assistants and doctors at the mental hospital and the RJ minions are Jane’s fellow mental patients. In the final scene Jane confronts “Red John” and in an homage to “OZ” awakens from his dream state to realize the true identities of Lisbon et al.

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