When we last left The Mentalist and our pseudo-psychic hero, Patrick Jane, he had wowed his new crew with his powers of observation/telepathy and was tracking a serial killer named Red John, who killed Patrick’s wife and daughter years ago.
This week, a mother and child frolic on the beach and find a dead body. Back at the office, we find out the woman had a head wound and drowned, but not from salt water. She had ditch water in her lungs. On the beach, the dead girl’s friends throw flowers in the water and cry.
Patrick, Rigsby and Cho come across her hippie-dippy friends. Hope and Winn are particularly forth-coming with details about the last time they saw the dead girl, Chris. Hope spills the beans about Chris hooking up with a boy named Danny. Patrick then asks them what color Chris would be and they say orange. He asks which animal and Hope says rabbit. Oooh, spooky. Patrick then takes a lie-down on the sand.
Grace and Teresa interview Chris’s family. Her dad’s a drunk and her siblings are kind-of neglected. He took 2 days to notice Chris was missing and regales the cops with the story of Chris’s mom’s fatal car accident at the hands of a drunk driver. He also says her ex-friend Darlene got Chris busted for drugs last year. On their way out, Grace asks Teresa if it’s tough for her, since a drunk driver killed her mother. She reprimands Grace for bringing it up.
Teresa gets Darlene from lock-up and questions her. Darlene spills about an older guy Chris was sleeping with. She called him "Pops." Ew. They get a line on "Flipper," a surfer named Phillip who has a wrap sheet. They find him at his trailer, where Patrick is already there playing chess and philosphizing with Flipper. I have to confess, I didn’t see that coming. Delightful.
They bring Flipper in for questioning. He is a "child of the ocean" and likes children. He says he never had sex with Chris because he does what’s right. He waits until they are 18. That’s… considerate of him. He finally owns up to seeing Chris at a beach party the night she died. Chris’s father sees Flipper out in the hall and flips out, crying and scaring his other children. Yikes.
The team heads to Chris’s high school and Patrick asks the weird animal question again and gets dolphin, killer whale, hawk and tiger from her friends. He then drops the bomb that the party they were at was the last time anyone saw Chris alive. They said it ended around 10:30 and Chris stayed behind by herself to "clean up," but Hope thinks she stuck around to meet someone because she rejected Danny that night. Turns out the guys in the group take turns "hooking up" with Hope and Chris. Which doesn’t mean sex, but that’s still a little icky.
The murder scene is a construction site, where a night guard quit the night Chris died. Patrick finds a slab of cement with a bump sticking out of it, which he says is thetip of the missing night guard’s nose. Owner Dane Kurdick (Danny’s father) shows up and I’m suddenly suspecting this is "Pops." He’s played by Brett Cullen, aka Goodwin from Lost, and he’s a handsome middle-aged fellow. Patrick calls him "Pops" and gets a visible reaction, then calls him a sweaty little pervert and accuses him of sleeping with 15 year-old Chris. He goads Kurdick into slugging him and then arrests him.
Back at the office, Kurdick is interrogated about his relationship with Chris and Patrick lays a trap for Kurdick by enlisting his son Danny’s help. He asks Danny and his friends to meet at the point where they had the beach party. At the beach, Patrick tells them about Flipper’s wrap sheet and then tells them Chris was sleeping with Danny’s father, which they all knew already. Hope says she thought Chris was meeting Kurdick the night she was killed.
As night falls, Patrick asks if he can hypnotize the kids so they can recall more details about the beach party. He gets them staring into a fire and lulls them in with his voice. Hope "sees" Danny’s father up on the cliff, watching their party. Danny freaks out, demanding that his father didn’t kill Chris. When they ask him how he knows, I get the feeling it’s because Danny actually killed her. The kids hurry off.
The office the next day. Hope shows up, eagerly asking if Kurdick confessed. They tell Hope that Kurdick has an air-tight alibi for the night Chris was killed and that Hope was never actually hypnotized, she just pretended to be to feed them a fake story. He knows that she hated Chris because she said Chris’s animal was a bunny and her animal was a hawk. I’m sure the local DA will love that evidence.
Hope’s confession. It flashes back to the party where Danny punches the missing night guard, who hits his head and is killed. The kids dumped him in the wet cement and promised not to tell. Except Chris won’t promise, so Danny hit her over the head, then drowned her in a trough until she stopped moving. Geez.
Outside, Danny shows up and Patrick lays Hope’s confession on him. Danny then snaps and says it was Hope who killed Chris out of jealousy. He says the guard was an accident and Chris wanted to call the police, so Hope hit Chris with a shovel. Hope cries that she was protecting Danny and that Chris was a hypocritical, prissy bitch.
Suddenly, the other two posse guys show up and say it was Flipper. I feel like I’m watching Clue. "That’s how it could’ve happened… but how about this?" Patrick reconstructs the crime for the Murdering Foursome, saying they all killed Chris. Hope made them all take part in her death so that they were all equally guilty. Ew.
Teresa tells Chris’s dad that Kurdick probably won’t serve time, but that he needs to concentrate on his two remaining kids now. Well, that was depressing. Not a bad episode, if a little too I Know What You Did Last Summer. I’m just sad Patrick didn’t start wielding a hook or wearing the Gorton’s Fisherman outfit.
I like so far that all the episode titles have red in them ("Red Hair and Silver Tape, "Red Tide" and next week’s is "Ladies in Red"). I can’t wait to get more on the Red John mystery. I wish they would sprinkle some information in about that, but I can be patient for a few more episodes.