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Kronos



Joined: 21 Apr 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
On another series...

I'm starting to watch The Mentalist this year.


I am a big fan of the series. I've seen the the first two seasons on DVD, and I have seen part of the current run. I think Simon Baker is terrific in the way he carries humor and darkness - he's got such a twinkle in his eye, but you know that he'll screw you over if he needs to do so. You catch it once in awhile when he manipulates people through hypnosis or just plain mind games.

I've been a Robin Tunney fan since EMPIRE RECORDS and THE CRAFT, and I am pleased to see her getting regular work. I think she's hotter now than she's ever looked, but I also like her character. I think she's a good cop who happens to be overshadowed by Jane's abilities, to the point where they now don't know how to function without him. [It's a lot like Japp, actually, for those who know Poirot -- though she's not nearly so bumbling. Japp's a great cop, but he's not Poirot.]

I agree with you about Rigsby and Van Pelt. Grace VP is a pleasure to look at, but both of those characters bore me. Cho, otoh, is a badass. I love that actor's stone face and the character's pure heart and fearlessness. He has some cheesy but fascinating backstory, too.

One of the show's biggest problems is the way they write about topics that no one on the staff knows anything about. In the early stories, there was one about NLP and another about witches, neither of which got the facts remotely straight. But I enjoy it, even as I sometimes want to throw something at the screen.
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Kronos



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Addendum: It helps that I do like MONK. Monk is pretty much Poirot in the modern world.

So maybe I am simply the type who enjoys "quirky genius helps cops". I haven't seen nearly as much CASTLE, though, which is a tragedy given how much I profess to adore Fillion.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect that I would like Monk if I started watching it from he start. I'm more tolerant of "Quirky Non-Cop Helping Cops" than I use to.

I don't really count people like Nero Wolfe in that non-cop role as they're professional: he's a pivate dick. Quincy is an ME. Grissom was a CSI dude. Rockford was a private Dick. So they're a little different.

In a sense, I can get into the old genre of Stooge Cops being shown up by Private Dicks. It's a classic genre, that works a bit better on the page than on the screen. These days it's a bit annoying to see the "Continuing Cops" (i.e. continuing main characters) of a show either be stooges or mediocre detectives.

It's part of the hook of Mentalist that Jane is a super duper "read" and that makes him a great non-detective detective. But I do wish that the Lisbon was shows in every show to be a strong detective on her own right. Instead, it's Jane who is completely carrying the team. :/

If you like Nathan, you'll like Castle. I'd recommend getting Season 1 as a starter to see how you like it. It's a partial season since it was a mid-season replacement. Low investment cost. They also have commentary tracks to about 4 of the episodes with the Creative + Nathan + Stana + Huertas, along Molly on one or two of them. Watch the episodes and then listen to the commentary tracks later. I think they actually give good insight into some of what they're doing both from a script standpoint and what the actors are bringing to it... and what they enjoy about the show. And they're having a fair amount of fun with it.

I was sad that there weren't any commentary tracks in Season 2 as they did move the character storylines along in a good way.

Anyway, I did a post up here about what works for me on the show:

Castle

Looks like the top post was near the end of Season 2.

John
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Kronos



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen a bit of CASTLE, and I enjoyed it. One of the things you mention in your post is the relationship with the daughter, which I agree is excellent. That character is treated with respect - she's not a cartoon teenager, which is tough to find.

Maybe I will rent the first disc or two this week at Hastings. I need something new after watching rasslin non-stop the last three days. Of course, I am in the middle of season 2 of NCIS and season 2 of FARSCAPE and season 10 of SG1 and recently acquired Clash I-XXXI, so I really DON'T need anything new.

Never stopped me before. BTW, I watched the first season of Moonlighting a couple of years ago. It was a show I know as a kid in the 80's. But I was blown away on re-watch by how smart the dialogue was and how spot-on everyone's performances are. Conventional wisdom is that it gets worse by the season, so I haven't been in a rush to finish it (don't want to sour the lovely taste).

The problem with Lisbon is that they've booked themselves into a corner. Jane is Hogan, and the writers can't ever allow anyone to come close to his powers. It's a lot like BONES in that way, except that The Mentalist actually shows us that Jane is good at what he does. [instead of constantly telling us how good the "genius" lead is, while never demonstrating it -- how that show stays on for so long, I will never know -- I love Boreanaz and was perfectly set to fall in love with Bones herself given my taste for smart brunettes. But not a chance. . .talk about a show that treats its audience like idiots]
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Kronos



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another non-cop show that I have enjoyed but which is sadly not on DVD past series 1 is CROSSING JORDAN.

/random
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kronos wrote:
The problem with Lisbon is that they've booked themselves into a corner. Jane is Hogan, and the writers can't ever allow anyone to come close to his powers. It's a lot like BONES in that way, except that The Mentalist actually shows us that Jane is good at what he does. [instead of constantly telling us how good the "genius" lead is, while never demonstrating it -- how that show stays on for so long, I will never know -- I love Boreanaz and was perfectly set to fall in love with Bones herself given my taste for smart brunettes. But not a chance. . .talk about a show that treats its audience like idiots]


That pretty much nails the major problem of the Jane-Lisbon relationship. It's really sad because the show makes the strong decision not to have them booked to jump each other's bones. That means it has to be a 100% professional relationship, with perhaps the "growing friendship/respect" arc tossed in as well. But if they're going to develop that type of relationship, they need to have Lisbon be good at what she does.

It just isn't there. She's not a stooge. They seem to know they can't pull that off, and since the show is probably aimed strongly at women, while putting over Jane/Baker strongly, they can't have Lisbon be there just for laughs. She can't play Cramer/Stebbin to Jane being a Wolfe/Goodwin combo... they just couldn't keep their audience if the co-lead was a woman like that. But they don't seem to be able to develop her into a consistent "equal" in the relationship where she being her own strengths to the table.

Perhaps they were on display in Seasons 1, and after that it become ever more The Jane Show. That happens in series where one person becomes the monster in the show. :)

John

edited: changed "can" typo to "can't" in highlighted text.


Last edited by jdw on Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kronos



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
Kronos wrote:
The problem with Lisbon is that they've booked themselves into a corner. Jane is Hogan, and the writers can't ever allow anyone to come close to his powers. It's a lot like BONES in that way, except that The Mentalist actually shows us that Jane is good at what he does. [instead of constantly telling us how good the "genius" lead is, while never demonstrating it -- how that show stays on for so long, I will never know -- I love Boreanaz and was perfectly set to fall in love with Bones herself given my taste for smart brunettes. But not a chance. . .talk about a show that treats its audience like idiots]


That pretty much nails the major problem of the Jane-Lisbon relationship. It's really sad because the show makes the strong decision not to have them booked to jump each other's bones. That means it has to be a 100% professional relationship, with perhaps the "growing friendship/respect" arc tossed in as well. But if they're going to develop that type of relationship, they need to have Lisbon be good at what she does.

It just isn't there. She's not a stooge. They seem to know they can pull that off, and since the show is probably aimed strongly at women, while putting over Jane/Baker strongly, they can't have Lisbon be there just for laughs. She can't play Cramer/Stebbin to Jane being a Wolfe/Goodwin combo... they just couldn't keep their audience if the co-lead was a woman like that. But they don't seem to be able to develop her into a consistent "equal" in the relationship where she being her own strengths to the table.

Perhaps they were on display in Seasons 1, and after that it become ever more The Jane Show. That happens in series where one person becomes the monster in the show. :)

John


I don't know that she was demonstrated as being a super detective in season one, though there's no question she a scrappy little thing. But then, I might just be pre-disposed to like Robin Tunney.

I have never seen Nero Wolfe, but I come back to Poirot/Japp. Or Monk/Stottlemeyer. Japp's played slightly more for laughs, but not as much as I initially implied (except when Poirot takes the piss out on him now and then). But in both cases, the cops are TOP MEN in their departments, and they are not paper tigers. It's just that Poirot and Monk are so far above them that they look almost incompetent.

Lisbon is in the same position. I throughly agree with you about being happy they're not romantically involved.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched the first two episodes of Season 1. Have to say... the Jane Is A Genius & Lisbon Don't Know Nothing is there right from the start. :/ There's very little sense of partnership between the two. They could have established her as sharp right from the start by having *her* point out that it wasn't Red John, the artist stuff, and have the other members of the team surprised by it and confirm it on the old case videos. Or...

"It's not Red John. Tell them, Jane."

That lets Jane give the explanation of why it isn't Red John since the wording is very much his own. Jane can even do a brief subtle double take, as if not to expect her to see it, but *not* explicitly say that infront of the other two members of the team. Later he could ask her:

Jane: "It's a very good copy cat, most wouldn't see it. When did you know?"

Lisbon: "When I saw the face. It was in the wrong place. I've read all the case files, looked at all the photos and watched all the tapes. It's my job to see things like that, Jane."

Jane: *nods & raises the eyebrows, gaining some respect for Lisbon*

That's very easy to do.

The other annoying example would be in Epsiode 2 when she tells Jane not to ask Van Pelt to run down the lead on Motels... because Lisbon is going down the rabbit hole on another lead. Later Jane asks Van Pelt to run them down the Motels, and tells her to contact him first with the info (using Lisbon's name to get it done). It would have been the perfect time for:

Van Pelt: "I have the information. Lisbon asked me to run it yesterday when I got done with the other lead."

Jane: *raised eyebrows about Lisbon not being an idiot and having multiple things being done at once*

Instead, it's pretty much Super Jane.

Baker is really likeable in the role, and the "tormented soul" as cliched as it is tends to be enough to pull you along. You do want to see Jane get Red John... though I've got to confess if the rest of Season 1 and 2 follow Season 3 and those first two episodes in Lisbon always being part idiot / part five steps behind Jane, I don't think I'll have the stamina to stick with it if they drag it out to Season 5. :)

John
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright... finished Season 1 of The Mentalist, and am a few episodes into Season 2.

On Season 1:

Yeah, it's The Jane Show. That's a positive if you enjoy Jane, a negative if you don't care for him. For light entertainment, I find him perfectly fine. The key is to forget/ignore that it's a Police Procedural, and instead see it as an old Quirky Genius Detective Mystery because that's really the structure of it. The cops are continuing secondary characters, there to help Jane in small ways rather than the other way around. Like secondary characters in detective books, they have personalities and side character plots that don't get too much in the way of the plot or Jane. Those things are often there for Jane to play off of.

So it you take Jane as a Nero Wolfe, or Poirot as Kronos probably more correctly points to, it works in that way. Jane is likeably, which takes some doing because he's played to be a bit of an ass at times. But it's hard to make Baker a heel in a role like this, the rest of this core characters "like" him, and he gets the bad guys in the end... so it's played to like him.

Cho continues to be good... you wish there is more there for him. They touch a bit on the banger and military aspects of his background, but brought neither to the forefront in season one. That gives one an idea of just how much of the Jane Show it is: in 24 episodes, they wouldn't have 1 that has a Cho-driven storyline or even strong secondary subplot. Almost every series along these lines with a core-cast of 1+4 would at least have one different episode a year devoted to each of the core members to give some insight into them, even if just a secondary plot that gets a couple of scenes.

It seems that the secondary character storylines in the first season were entirely eaten up by Rigsby & Van Pelt (more later). I see in the notes for Season 2 that there's at least one that touches on Cho's banger past, and already hit one early in Season 2 that touches on Lisbon a bit. But... that was a strange and big hole in Season 1: just didn't put much effort into making the rest of the team into characters.

Lisbon... I've just come to accept that her role is to be Lead Stooge Cop, though the writers try to hide it by making other cops more stoogey (especially the usually Local Law Enforcement). It's a really thankless role, there just isn't any other way to say it. :( Jane is laps ahead of her *always*, and even as the season goes along there's very little showing of him trusting her to let her into some of his stunts. There could very easily make it explicitly clear when she's in on it ("Let me tell you what I have in mind...") and explict when she's not ("It's better than you don't know...") with the afterwards nod of him explaining that he needed her to play it straight.

Instead, we get a few episodes where we guess she's in on it because she turns up at the right time when he's about to get blasted. On occassion, it's made clear even at that time she's not in on it, and instead he just gave her a reason to show up. :P

The constant lying to her over time becomes annoying as well. There really needs to be more explict comments from him of "You're the only person I truly trust"... and leave his lies for the times when he wants to protect her: "I couldn't put you at risk of knowning what I was up to", or some such nonsense. Just very little effort there in season one.

Wose yet are the number of comments at the end of Season 1 and possibly begining of Season 2 about how Jane helps them clear cases, and how their rate would drop without him. Enough different characters make a comment like that you get the sense that not only do we know that Jane is totally carry the team... but the team knows they're medicore without him. :/

I feel sad for the actress. They do throw here A Very Special Episode early in Season 2 that touches on backstory more than in the past, and lets her eat up some scenes. But if you contrast her with Stana as Beckett in Castle, it's really sad because I suspect that before these two shows started, Robin was the more respected actress. The Castle Creative _loves_ Stana, and have really put a ton of effort into making Beckett a full character (even when so much of her is hidden beneath the surface, slowing being flashes), and giving Stana various scenes where she can act / express / etc.

So... I just accept than Lisbon is a bit of Stooge Lead. In the extras for Season 1, they talk about Lisbon being Watson to Jane's Holmes... but I wonder if that's insulting to Watson since at least Watson is the voice of the stories. She certainly isn't Goodwin to Jane's Wolfe, as no matter how much Wolfe is ahead of Goodwin (and everyone else) in terms of who the killer is, we see tons of examples of where Archie is well ahead of most of the rest of the characters in the stories... funny as hell to boot, and quite willing to point out where he screws up :)

Anway...

Rigsby & Van Pelt didn't end up as bad as I thought, though of course they take it to another level in Season 2. I think the negatives to it would be that it ate up all the secondary character storyline time as mentioned above, and also that Rigsby especially comes across as a bit too dumb / naive / stoogey in the stuff for someone who is suppose to be the show's Studly Beefcake (Jane goes after a different female demo). Van Pelt has kind of grown on me, and it's not that hot for the actress. I think they've done a good job of writing "doubt" and "inexperiance" and "bit of a fish outta water" for her, and the actress doesn't do to badly with it. I think perhaps a thesbian might trying to overact, and perhaps a less natural, slight more wooden "I'm still learning to act after all these years" actress makes it work better. In the end, I tend to enjoy her stuff #3 on the show behind Cho and Jane, and comfortably ahead of Rigsby and Lison.

Card subject to change as they become stressed out lovers trying to keep it under wraps.... but we'll see how that goes. :P

Minelli pretty much gets across that the CBI are stooges: when the Boss is stoogey in a "good guy stooge way", then it's not hard to put 1+1 together. Don't see too many Boss Cops like that anymore, where the job of the team is to find ways around his orders, where he's too chickenshit to fully support them against complaints from the Rich & Powerful, but he smiles at the kids when they bring in the bad guy despite breaking his orders and rules seven ways to Sunday. :)

On Red John... I thought they did a decent job in Season 1 of not over playing it. Just enough to pull you foward, but not so much that the week-by-week cases looking like shit relative to the Big Lead Heel. Do still think that if it goes the Monk route and it doesn't get solved until the final episode, I'm going to get annoyed. If it's not taken care of in Season 3 (which seems unlikely), then it really needs to get solved by Season 4.

Looking at the early episodes of Season 2, having looked at the brief items in the DVD case, I know where they're headed with Bosco. Okay with his introduction, and where they're headed certainly does put over Red John as a mega heel. Of course I know they have a new Boss due to watching Season 3, so know where they're generally headed with him. Also recall him showing up in Season 3 in "fishing retirement", with Jane leaning on him to help.

Should probably wrap Season 2 this weekend or so.

On Seaon 3, I really like LaRoche. I thought he was a bit ham handed this week with Van Pelt, perhaps the first time that they writers over extended themselves to make him heel it up... came across almost like Russo booking. Van Pelt was in enough deep shit for thinking she screwed up to have LaRoche try to squeeze her like that. I hope it's not a sign losing steam on him, as where LaRoche fits into all of this and having a strong climax to his arc is one of the pulls to me at the moment.

Anyway....

Still what I said in the first items about the show: it's light, and you either tolerate it or hate it based almost entirely on Jane and his pull. For me, he still holds my light-entertainment attention. :)

John
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Midline Shift



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not a show I would recommend. If someone thinks it sucks, wouldn't argue with that: I can easily find things about the show that I'd rather see. But it's also one where if someone likes it, I wouldn't argue with them. It can be a watchable light entertainment show.


This describes exactly how I feel about Fringe. I've been ready to tap out multiple times but never quite go through with it for reasons I haven't really been able to put my finger on. As annoying as some of the ridiculous other world stuff* is, I really want to see what ultimately happens. I dig quirky Walter (even if nobody could remotely be such a super duper physicist/chemist/biologist/physician/etc as he is) and respect that they at least try to provide quasi-scientific explanations for the paranormal events. Like you said, I wouldn't argue if someone thinks the show sucks but I find enough likeable things to keep coming back.


Simon


* - Seriously, if it's that freaking hard to cross over, how have they been able to do it so many times?
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody watching The Killing?

AMC has built a reputation for great original shows (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) and for my money this is another to add to the list. I heard it likened to Twin Peaks without all the weird shit, but I never saw TP so no idea if that's true or not. I watched the pilot On Demand the other night, and before I knew it I had plowed through all five episodes that have aired so far. I love whodunit/twists-and-turn shows, which is a big reason I stuck with 24 no matter how retarded it got. The show has a good eerie atmosphere and the acting is good, especially the cute lead detective. She's great. I'm not that interested in the mayoral race but I'm sure it will tie into the murder somehow. I do like the focus on the family and keeping them involved in the investigation.

Looking forward to see how the deepening mystery plays out.


Simon
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have most of it on the DVR. Was holding off on them until I got caught up on Justified: had the 10 episodes of the second season of that on the DVR, went out and grabbed the Season 1 dvd, and then went on an insane viewing cam-a-thoun of 23 episodes last weekend. :P

Looking at the dvr, it looks like I have the debut, which is the Pilot + The Cage. Then for some reason I don't have El Diablo (episode 3), then have 4+5. Guess I need to watch at least the first two episodes this week so that I can catch Episode 3 before it rolls off On Demand. :)

The reviews have been great, and the original Dannish version is pretty acclaimed. I'm looking forward to watch it.

John
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched the third season double-finale of The Mentalist last week, and am finally fiding time to write about it. The shows dealt with a few things we were talking about, so spoiler warnings....

Spoiler

Spoiler

Spoiler

Spoiler

Spoiler

Spoiler

Spoiler

I loathed the potential of the Red John storyline getting strung out for another season without a Major Breakthrough / Progress. One could safely say that they broke through.

Pros:

Obviously I popped when Red John turned out to be Bradley Whitford a/k/a That Douche Josh of The West Wing. Knowing at some point that Jane would get to cap Josh... I mean Whitford... I mean Red John put a big smile on my face. :)

I thought the final scene of the episode was well done, pretty well written. John kind of acted like you'd think he would. One might wonder why he didn't think Jane had a gun, but there really hasn't been any reason over the years why he thought Jane would carry. It was pretty clear that he thought he scared the living shit out of Jane... so I buy that.

Jane capping John kept at least the Who Is John aspect of the storyline from being strung out longer, and for that I'm happy. While there may be strings to wrap up, and no doubt they're going to open the season with Jane up for murder and probably some doubt by the cops that they can prove he was John... that will get sorted out, and the show probably can move on.

Cons:

It was...

A bit too easy of a finish. The three women of the show in peril. They deal with that, while Jane finds himself surprisingly with John. Presto, we have our dramatic Talking Bad Guy segment, and Jane caps him. No discovering additional key links that slowly lead to John... then perhaps John going on the lamb until he bubbles back up. No slow reveal of John's life, and how he has been able to get close to people, and manipulate them, and the source of his power, etc. Too easy, and if it weren't for Josh-John getting capped, it might be disappointing in addition to being the anti-climax that it seems a few days after.

The "O'Laughlin is Red John's Man Inside" aspect sucked. Can't get across enough how much it sucked. It comes across like a weak attempt to Surprise! while also an easy way to eject out of the Grace-O'Laughlin marriage storyline so that Grace can go back to banging Rigsby. I can't say that I like O'Laughlin, and his storyline with Grace wasn't any good: it was way to forced to give her some love interest other than Rigsby. But I also don't want to see Grace back with Rigsby, and frankly was hoping that Rigsby would leave the show as his character is the weakest of the three sidekicks and really played out.

All that added up, a really unsatisfying Red John's Man Inside, to the point of coming across like a Red Herring. I know O'Laughlin debuted on the show the episode right before the Johnson gets lit on fire by Red John's Inside Man. But it kind of ignores that Red John was getting inside info on CBI all the way back to Season 2, and possibly Season 1 if I thought more about it. O'Laughlin just doesn't answer all of that.

In addition, there's Bertram quoting Blake that's now unresolved. Plus LaRoche is such a good potential Evil Henchman that he *not* turning out to be one of the Inside Men kind of sucks. :)

Also how they "figured out" O'Laughlin was a bit annoying. The second they busted in on the killer in the hotel, my thought was that the rope was to go down a floor. Window to the balcony was open too. Now if *I* instantly think that she might be climbing down, then why didn't they think about that?

Add in that they made Grace look like an idiot for trusting O'Laughlin with the location of Hightower... ugh.

Wait... isn't this the second time that one of Grace's boyfriends turned out to be a killer/bad guy? Blah. :)

Overall:

I'm glad they can in general move past Red John, though obviously there will be some fall out. I popped for "Red Josh", and him buying the farm. :) And the writing of that specific scene was fitting for the two characters.

But a chunk of it was unsatisfying and a bit annoying.

In a sense, the finale is pretty much what the series has been all about: just enough to pull you along through what can be a pretty annoying show.

Last Add:

While I know the show at some point, in the Series Finale at the very least, would come down to a confrontation between Jane and John where John would bite the farm, this isn't quite the resolution I expected. I always suspected that Lisbon would be the one to put Red John down, either because Jane couldn't bring himself to do it, or he was put in a position in the final showdown where he couldn't. And that there would be some resolution dynamic within Jane that he felt he failed in his quest because he couldn't do what needed to be done to revenge his wife and daughter. And in turn Lisbon being able to help Jane understand that while he might not have been able to do it, it was his actions that led to Red John's end: tracking him, uncovering him, working with CBI over the years, and having Lisbon in position to do what needed to be done... even if he hadn't idented it that way.

Sure, it's a bit Frodo in a sense. I don't think people aways see that in a literal sense, Frodo personally *failed* in nearly everything he attempted to do after Rivendale. Yet... so very many of his actions set up / created things that allowed the Quest to succeed even if he personally failed. The easiest one to see is that the Ring wouldn't have gone in the Lava Drink if not for Golumn. Why was Golumn there? Frodo let him live, saw more in him, etc. There are a number of other things like that.

I thought all the talk of "Red John is mine" and the over the top show getting of the gun in an earlier episode was just smoke: when the time came, Jane would not be the one put Red John down, and it would need to be Lisbon.

Is it "satisfying" that Jane did it. Yeah... it fit the scene, and we all in that same position would cap the killer of our wife and kid. It's also a bit too Hollywood, and you kind of wish that they went a bit beyond it. Having Lisbon do it would also give Lisbon a reason for being there in what is 90% The Jane Show.

John
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Kronos



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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More Mentalist Finale Spoilers

Spoilers


Spoilers


Spoilers


Spoilers


1. It's Bradley Whitford.

That's enough for me to shout, "That is so fucking awesome!" right there -- which I am not ashamed to say that I did when I realized who it was. He's one of my favorite actors. West Wing, Studio 60, The Good Guys - he just can't do anything wrong. But you never think of him as evil, and so to go with him is a brilliant move.

Whitford's characters are charming. They can reel you in, which RJ would have to be able to do to have so many people on his payroll/influence. And yet in all of them -- even a bumbler like on The Good Guys -- there's this layer of dangerous underneath. You never quite trust him. He's likable. A lesser man than Jane would have believed his whole, "I'm done with all this" spiel. And then when he talks about how the daughter smelled, you realize just how evil he is. But he never once twirls a mustache.

2. The Danger of Casting Red John

The truth is, I figured they had spent 3 years building up this monster. NO ONE could portray him properly. The best bet would have been for us never to see his face, no matter how unsatisfying it might feel. Almost every actor they could have picked would have been a disappointment. My brother suggested that they could have ended the final show with Jane meeting RJ and shooting him, while we never see John's face. That may have been the best answer.

I think it turned out to be ballsy to cast him at all, much less use a recognized actor. Most everyone would have overplayed it, or they might have somehow played it for laughs.

3. Jane's Revenge

John, I agree with what you say about Lisbon. She should probably have been the one to kill RJ. It would have cemented their bond, and it would have allowed our hero the opportunity to not get his hands bloody while still getting his revenge. But Heller clearly decided that Jane needed the catharsis. I don't know what will come next - it will likely get fucked up, or maybe the whole trial/self-defense acquittal will happen offscreen. Initially, I thought I would dislike that possibility. But now I feel like the worse option would be a 10 episode trial angle. That would suck because it would take us away from the real pleasure of this show: A [non]Detective solving crimes in creative ways. So as I type this paragraph, I have decided I hope whatever happens occurs off-screen.

4. Red John's Bond Villain Moment

O'Laughlin did it first. He should have killed the girls while he had the chance, instead of talking and apologizing. But RJ was particularly guilty. Or was he? Yes, he could have killed Jane as the food court. But he could have done it 1,000 times before now. Serial killers need to be recognized for their genius. It's a common trait in that personality. And he needs it to be Jane who knows who he is and what he did. It would be no good to him if Van Pelt figured it out and caught him. She's cute but stupid.

So I am okay with the result.

5. Too Easy to Catch RJ

Yes, it was all too simple. The plot with the hotel rooms was way too obvious to me, and I pegged O'Laughlin as the bad guy early on in the story. Oh well. We can't win 'em all. Sadly, finales that tie up season-long arcs often feel rushed. Think about the end of season 2 of Sons of Anarchy. Brilliant television all season long. But then the ending was rushed and anticlimactic.

I can't defend it.


What else? I would say that when Lisbon gets the bomb vest and she and Jane leave the school together, I would have liked to see him take her hand. They set her up to be very afraid in that scene, which was a little crappy. But I think that the relationship they have would have allowed him to take her hand, as a supportive and comforting act showing their intimacy. It didn't have to be romantic at all. I remember one Halloween that a bunch of us went through a haunted house. I held my best friend Carla's hand the whole time. There was noting romantic between us at all. But we were "scared" and supported one another with the gesture.

All in all, I thought it was an excellent episode that could have been more clever but which brought some nice suspense and a reasonably satisfying meeting with RedJDW.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm overall okay with it.

You kind of wish that if they had Red Josh booked as the heel that they could have let him get away for the big blowoff at the end of next season, especially with them learning more about RJ's life. That really is one of the mysteries that they just didn't dig enough into.

My thing about Lisbon being the one to cap RJ is just fantasy booking, and I suspect that 95+ out of 100 Mentalist Fans wanted Jane to pull the trigger... so that works. You know from my earlier posts that I think they've really screwed up the whole Lisbon character by making her look so weak, so that moment for her, and Jane having to come to terms with his own failure/success just would have worked better for me. I'm man enough to admit that I'm not the core audience, though. :)

Really did think they were setting up Rigby to leave once he said he wasn't going to the wedding. Character is a bit of a dead end at this point, and the actor is the type that could be tossed into a similar role in a half dozen new shows in any given year. 4th season, you also need some new blood in the supporting characters, and that's the one that sort of works. Younger side kick to break in, and a new personality type to interact with Jane and Cho.

I do wonder what the heck they do with Bertram and LaRoche. After all that build up, if they fail to make LaRoche a heel, it would really suck... he really was a good heel. :)

One thing I forgot to mention in the post above:

I wish they found some way to tie in the Old Boss who left into the episode, providing some key info. Perhaps he'll be used in an episode next year as they have to clean up the RJ Network that probably remains. It's a small thing, but he needed some piece of the payback for what RJ did to CBI.

John
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