mentalist green thumb 'The Mentalist'   'Green Thumb': Back where we startedSunday’s (Dec. 8) episode of “The Mentalist” took the show back to its crime-solving bread and butter, and it did something else as well: It reintroduced the mischievous side of Patrick Jane.

The conclusion to the Red John saga got about as dark as this show ever has — understandable, given Jane’s consuming drive to find and kill Red John. That naturally pushed aside any playful elements to the relationship between Jane and Lisbon or anyone else. But since two-plus years have now passed in the show’s timeline — and Jane is living in the most comfortable prison cell ever — he’s back to being at least a semblance of the guy he was for much of the series.

The episode, titled “Green Thumb,” gives Jane his first case working with the FBI, and it feels almost like a pilot episode. Abbott and the rest of the FBI team get to be exasperated at Jane’s methods and his smarter-than-you smirk just the way Lisbon and her CBI colleagues once were. There’s the hint of a romantic entanglement when Fischer awkwardly queries Lisbon about her relationship with Jane. He even gets to play at being a psychic again, since the case involves the disappearance of a man who’s dating a Romany woman.

It makes for a much, much breezier hour of TV than the past few episodes have, and it ends with Lisbon being offered and taking a job with the FBI, which should warm the hearts of many a Jane-Lisbon ‘shipper. There are still things to work out: The Jane-Fischer-Lisbon triangle, if the show is indeed planning to travel down that road, feels awfully lopsided at this point, and Rockmond Dunbar deserves more than the Disapproving Superior Officer role he’s been handed thus far.

As a way to ease itself back into case-of-the-week mode, though, “The Mentalist” could have done a lot worse. What did you think of the show this week?

Posted by:Rick Porter