Those of you who figured Jane naming Gale Bertram as Red John wasn’t the last word in “The Mentalist’s” long-running serial-killer storyline, well done: Sunday’s (Nov. 24) episode showed there was still more to be told.
If you were looking for a grand explanation of Red John’s motives, methods and all the rest, though, you may have come away a little disappointed.
Sunday’s episode, fittingly titled “Red John,” finally brought an end to Jane’s quest to find and kill the man who murdered his family. Once he did catch up with the killer — which was not without complications — he wasted little time in making good on his promise to end Red John’s life. It was a raw, real moment that Simon Baker played the heck out of — the play of emotions on his face as he throttled the last breaths from Red John was impressive to watch.
It did not, however, wrap things up in a very tidy package.
Bertram, as it turns out, is not Red John — the killer is Napa Sheriff Thomas McAllister*, who has Blake Association member Cordero shoot Bertram dead in the chapel of the cemetery where Jane’s wife and daughter are buried. Jane eventually gets the drop on McAllister, wounding him. A Red John disciple distracts Jane long enough to allow McAllister to get away, but Jane eventually chases him down and ends his life.
(*Series creator Bruno Heller says he told Xander Berkeley only recently that his character is Red John. Berkeley was “thrilled” to find out, Heller says.)
McAllister tries to tell Jane that he knew the seven final suspects because he really is psychic, but Jane brushes him off, keeping his hand on McAllister’s throat until he expires. That line is left purposely ambiguous — I read it as McAllister searching for a way to extend his own life, but Heller and Co. are clearly OK with viewers taking it at face value if they choose.
The big question for the show now is what comes next? Talking with reporters earlier in the week, Heller says one of the things the show wants to explore post-Red John is now that Jane has fulfilled his mission? The CBI as we know it is in shambles — Lisbon and the rest of her team spent a good amount of the episode in handcuffs, and more of it in the dark about Jane’s plan. Jane is now a fugitive, as far as the FBI is concerned. The last image of him in the episode is of him running away — free of Red John at last but also just a couple steps ahead of Agent Bennett and the feds.
It’s unlikely the show will just return to normal next week, but just how it all comes back together remains to be seen.
What did you think of “The Mentalist” this week? Were you satisfied with how the Red John story came to an end, and what would you like to see on the show in the future?