Tonight on The Mentalist, we have a small-town murder. Does anybody remember Murder in Small Town X? I liked that show. Every night when they’d send two contestants off to a creepy locale and only one would return, I would always get pretty freaked out even though I knew nothing would actually happen to either of them. Yes, I’m a wuss. Anyway…

Curtain up tonight on Patrick playing a mind game with Lisbon. He’s making her imagine shapes and "send" them to his mind. He guesses that it’s a triangle inside a circle, which is exactly what I was imagining too! Weird! (Probably a common choice.) He jokes that he can actually read her mind now and she blushes. She is Saved by the Dead Body, as the team whisks off to Marquesa, California to investigate an arson.

They come upon a burnt scene with a car as the source. Patrick observes that Piller been crying and guesses the victim and Piller served in the national guard together. Hey, Chief Piller is Cult Leader Josh from Veronica Mars episode "Drinking the Kool-Aid." Cool! Rigsby realizes the arson was of a garage and Garcia, the victim, was locked inside. Patrick discovers the arsonist watched the fire from a nearby scarecrow.

At Garcia’s farmhouse, Rigsby says it was very professionally done arson, with an electronic timer and a rocket fuel-like acclerant. Lisbon, Patrick and Piller interview the widow. Piller touches the widow’s arm, which I saw coming a mile away. Please let it be something other than them having an affair. Surprise me, show! The widow thanks a man named Ben for doing some chores. He’s a real estate agent who also served with Garcia and Piller. I’m pretty sure I recognize him from a Quantum Leap episode, the one where Sam’s a priest. I have watched far too much TV.

After Ben leaves, Lisbon takes the widow and Patrick helps himself to some food (snerk) while examining the family photos. Patrick questions Maddie, the daughter, about the lack of military paraphenalia. She says her dad used to have it displayed, but took it down awhile ago. She also alludes to the fact that her mom doesn’t really love her or her father.

Widow interview. Susan saw the fire and heard her husband screaming from inside. A boy named Tommy interrupts, having brought Susan some food. Susan tells the detectives that Tommy is a mentally-challenged boy who does odd jobs. Hey, it’s Chip from Kate & Allie! I am immediately suspicious of the mentally-challenged boy. Maddie yells at her mother to call him "retarded" and how she never tells the truth and storms off. Patrick then lays it out that Maddie suspects her mom’s lover of killing her father. The mother is sleeping with Chief Piller (awww, really? REALLY?) and Patrick and Lisbon suspect that she isn’t sure of PIller’s innocence in Garcia’s death. She confesses to sleeping with Piller but says Piller would never hurt her husband.

Rigsby and Van Pelt interview Reese, a local mechanic, who was the last to see Garcia before he died. Reese lets the detectives know that Garcia is the second man in their town from the National Guard unit to die in an arson. David Martin was the first, three years ago. Van Pelt recieves a phone call. (I’m pretty sure Reese played a villain on a CSI episode once, and Wallace’s mom’s creepy tenant on Veronica Mars. The VMars alums are popping up ALL OVER tonight!)

Cut to Piller’s house, smoke billowing from the windows and screaming from inside. Rigsby runs inside, throws a chair through the living room window and carries a burning Chief PIller out. Van Pelt strips off her jacket to put out the flames on Rigsby’s arm. It’s very heroic! Go Rigsby! That house isn’t the only thing on fire; Van Pelt’s panties just burst into flames!

Van Pelt changes Rigsby’s dressing, telling him that Piller isn’t out of the woods yet. Lisbon arrives and tells them that the doctors found tranquilizers in Piller’s sytem. So the victims are doped up just enough to wake up so they can burn to death. Awesome. Cho is dispatched to talk to Susan Garcia about Dave Martin. She tells him David’s death was an accident because he passed out with a cigarette in his hand. She also informs Cho that David, Ben, Trey and Garcia were in business together. They bought 5 acres and let David live there. Tommy the Challenged Boy lives there now and Ben is the only owner still alive.

Speak of the devil, Patrick and Lisbon arrive at Tommy’s trailer on the property. Patrick spies a copy of Moby Dick tucked in with Tommy’s children’s books and toys and then takes off into the brush, where he finds a fenced-in open-air greenhouse type thing that Tommy has been growing. He found a natural aquifer, which he uses to grow his plants.

Rigsby and Van Pelt in recovery. Doped-up Rigsby tells Grace she has a lovely name and then he tells her he loves her. Her reaction is to put her fingers in her ears and hum, which is AWESOME. She shoots him down because they work together and there are rules. In the middle of her speech, he falls asleep. HAHA! Cho relieves her from RIgsby-watch and they skedaddle.

Ben’s house. He starts shooting at them until he realizes they’re cops. Cho finds 6 jugs of accelerant in his barn. They cuff him and haul him off. In interrogation, Ben claims he’s being framed. He’s worried he’ll be next, since his fellow owners of the land are all dead. They think the aquifer is perfect motive for Ben to kill the others, which of course means he didn’t do it.

Patrick intercedes, saying Dave Martin is the arsonist. Patrick says the other three tried to kill Dave and he faked his death and is now taking his revenge. Huh. That’s a little too Scooby-Doo for my taste. Ben insists that Dave’s death was merely a tragic accident, but Patrick says that someone is enacting revenge and he says, "I hope you burn like a candle, you miserable son-of-a-bitch." Oooh, Mean Patrick is HOT. H-O-T.

Outside, Patrick informs LIsbon that they have to let Ben go because he’s their bait. Their tethered goat. Heh heh, Jurassic Park. "Is he gonna eat the goat?" Lisbon says Ben is not a goat, but Patrick says that Ben helped burn Dave Martin alive and deserves to suffer a little because it’s about vengeance. Lisbon tells Cho to let Ben go, saying that Patrick needs to learn about consequences and that if Ben gets hurt it’ll be on Patrick. Uhh, what? She can’t just turn Ben loose so as to teach Patrick a lesson! Oh my god, Lisbon! Patrick then informs Lisbon that when he catches Red John, he’s going to gut him like a fish and let him slowly bleed to death. Lisbon says if he does so, she’ll have to try to stop him and she’ll have to punish him if he succeeds. Innnteresting.

Cho and Rigsby stake-out Ben’s house. The following exchange occurs and it must be included verbatim because I almost wet my pants from laughing and had to rewind my TIVO because I missed like the next 2 solid minutes of action. Rigsby says to Cho, "You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?" and Cho says, "No." Rigsby asks how he could know that for sure and Cho deadpans, "I was thinking how I wish I could go back in time and have sex with my 8th grade History teach Ms. Hoofaker." Oh my god, awesome.

Anyway, Rigsby points out that Reese is new in town, yet pointed them in the direction of Dave Martin. He also has burn scars on his arms. They think he may be Dave Martin in a wig. They drive off to Reese’s garage. Of course, while they question him, Ben is lured out to his barn. Ruh-roh!

Barn of Creaky Doors and Ominous Shadows. Ben is locked in (a board across the doors on the outside) and the barn is doused in accelerant by a creepy-ass mysterious figure up in the hayloft. It’s Dave Martin, being very Jason from Friday the 13th, and threatening to start the barn on fire. How did he get from outside to the hayloft so fast? Does he have an accomplice?

In Dave’s Villains-Must-Explain-Themselves-And-Thus-Give-The-Police-Time-To-Save-The-Day Speech, he reveals that he is actually Patrick Jane in a rubber mask. Wow, I did not see that coming. Seriously. I love it when I get surprised. Now that Patrick got Ben to confess to killing Dave Martin, Ben goes for a machete and advances on Patrick. Patrick threatens to drop the lighter, but a voice rings out from outside the barn, calling for Ben. Someone throws a fire bomb at the barn with Ben and Patrick trapped inside. Cho and Rigsby show up just as Ben and Patrick run out from behind the barn. They arrest Ben for killing Dave Martin and Rigsby takes off chasing a figure running into the woods. It’s Tommy.

Interrogation. Cho asks Tommy if he likes to burn things and he says no, fire hurts. He keeps asking for root beer. Lisbon tells Patrick there is no way Tommy is capable of this. They think someone is manipulating him. Patrick goes into interrogation and tells Tommy he knows he’s not dumb. He spotted the Moby Dick at his house and tricks Tommy into revealing that he’s read it. Tommy keeps trying to play dumb, but Patrick says he should’ve spotted it right away. He wore a death shirt to the Garcia house and Patrick says only a true idiot or a daring killer would have worn that shirt to a house in mourning. Tommy finally gives up the act and Patrick asks if there are 2 personalities or if Tommy is just an act. He says Tommy is a performance. He realized a few months ago what the other guys did to Dave and went out for revenge, calling it beautiful and redemptive. He wants Patrick to tell Maddie that he’s sorry for causing her pain.

At the Garcia house, Maddie cries and screams about getting revenge on Tommy, and Patrick tells her not to get caught in the revenge cycle. He says revenge is for fools and madmen. He makes Maddie and her mother hug and they cry together. Outside, Patrick tells Lisbon that what he said about revenge is total nonsense. It’s hard to tell if he means it.

Okay, so I sniffed the mentally challenged boy as the culprit, but I enjoyed that he wasn’t actually mentally challenged. I didn’t see that coming, I thought they’d go another way. Also, what’s with the white people pairings? Van Pelt and Rigsby, Lisbon and Patrick. Poor Cho is just left out in the cold!

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."