Red John Revealed (Spoilers - don't read if you don't want to know)
Spoilers ahead - as Channel 5 in the UK show the series about 3-4 weeks behind the US, if you don't want to know who Red John is don't read any further
So America now knows who Red John is. Patrick Jane came face to face with his nemesis on their screens a few weeks before we'll get there in the UK on the rather tardy Channel Five. Our last Mentalist update left you several episodes into season 6, with Patrick Jane's list of seven potential Red Johns now down to five.Patrick soon learned from the dying lips of Kira Tinsley that her killer had a tattoo of three dots on his shoulder and got his five seemingly remaining suspects together in the house where his family were murdered. This Agatha Christie like reveal was stumped when Patrick found the tattoo on not one but three of his suspects shoulders - Reede Smith, Sheriff McAllister and Gale Bertram - only for a giant explosion to blow things off course.
Jane barely survives and Lisbon informs him that Stiles, McAllister and Haffner have died, and that Bertram has been hanging around his hospital bed. With only two living suspects and soon Smith in custody, Jane announces to the press that Gale Bertram is Red John and that a secret society called the Blake Association has infiltrated all the law enforcement agencies. Bertram, hiding in a bar, sees the broadcast, murders the barman and starts to try to escape the manhunt that is now in full effect. Before Lisbon can do more, the FBI close down the CBI, and a despairing Jane tells Lisbon he has given up.Which brings us to episode 8, Red John. Here's the promo:
With some Red John dialogue and a chasing suspect seen from the back, many fans felt it had been given away. In addition, leaks from the CBS website showed a confrontation between Jane and one of our original seven suspects, a supposedly dead one, that left little doubt as to who Red John really was.
In the episode itself, Jane is contacted by Bertram and a meeting ensues at a Church where Bertram tries to explain that Jane has got it wrong - that he is a member of the Blake Association but he is not Red John, and that he does not know who Red John is. Their meeting is interrupted by the man himself who has Bertram dispatched and offers Jane the opportunity to ask him all the questions he must have. Instead, Jane refuses and reveals a hidden weapon as the final climax comes to a head with Red John dying at Jane's hands.Well, many fans really wanted Brett Partridge to be the one who rose from the grave in this finale as he appeared in the very first episode. Instead, we get a character who first appears in the second episode, disappears until season six when he returns and then saves Patricks life, before coming out as a pervert, a sociopath and a serial killer. Now, I have to say I preferred Haffner or Partridge as Red John, and I have to say that I much preferred the Timothy Carter reveal at the end of season 3. I was waiting for fireworks, deaths of beloved characters and some intrigue that would set up the rest of this season.
Still perhaps a weak climax is rather apt in a show which has always played at being clever but been very formulaic and unsurprising overall. The shards of light that have kept me watching have been Simon Bakers witty acting, the enigma of Kimball Cho and Robin Tunneys peculiarly gutsy fragility. Similarly rare excitement has come about through an interesting opponent entering almost by mistake - Walter Mashburn the millionaire, Morena Baccarin as Erica Flynn and twinkly Visualize foes Malcolm McDowell and Robert Picardo. Yet, the show has never quite had the guts to follow through on its promise or to mess shit up for very long.
So, Sheriff Thomas McAllister is therefore the perfect Red John as there was no clever trail of clues, no careful insinuations of guilt or any discernible difference with any number of guest stars during the last 6 years who may just have turned up and been evil for some poorly defined reason.
This episode leaves us with a new set-up for the show for the rest of what I suspect is its last season. No CBI, Patrick on the run, Lisbon and the others as accomplices. Yet, the idea it will suddenly take risks with Jane robbed of his principal motivation seems a long shot to me....