We’re starting The Mentalist recaps here at IHLN. Last week we were introduced to Patrick, Debra from Empire Records Teresa, and their supporting investigation team. The Mystery of the Week (MOTW) wasn’t super-exciting, but the running mystery of serial killer Red John, who murdered Patrick’s wife and child, hooked me. Patrick isn’t "psychic," just observant. Disconcertingly so. Like House, only less misanthropic and more charming.

This week, our crack team shows up to a murder scene in a field where a young girl’s body was dumped. At a farmhouse, a woman shoos a little boy inside the house nervously as the police drive up. The police inform them their daughter Melanie is dead and they start to cry. Patrick finds the brother Frankie in his sister’s room and Frankie asks if someone killed his sister. Patrick confirms that and lays on Melanie’s bed, studying her pictures around the room. He focuses on one picture of Melanie and another girl that is torn and placed in the middle of an H-shaped shrine. Frankie asks Patrick to tell him when he knows who killed his sister. Patrick informs the team that Melanie met a man, wouldn’t tell anybody about him and that his name starts with H.

At lunch, Patrick and Teresa interview the manager and head chef at the restaurant where Melanie waitressed. Raquel, another waitress, shows up and Patrick recognizes her from the torn picture on her wall. Raquel tries to act like she and Melanie weren’t close, but she’s obviously lying. Patrick wants a minute alone with her because she "has a super-low threshold" and Agent Cho lets him. Patrick then hypnotizes her. Awesome.

The team opens Melanie’s work locker and finds a note that just says "sorry." Patrick then asks all the colleagues at the restaurant to give a handwriting sample to compare to the note… because whoever wrote it is the killer. A cook named Randal faints dead away. Annnnd we know who wrote the note. Snerk. Randal is interrogated, where he confesses to waiting for Melanie in the parking lot after work. He made his big move, which was rejected, so then he tried to kiss her and she kneed him in the balls. Way to go, Melanie. He wrote "sorry" on a note to apologize. Classy.

Van Pelt calls Teresa and Patrick with an abduction case that is similar, but that girl woke up in a hotel room with no apparent damage. Same brand of duct tape on both women and both women were redheads. Patrick figures they could catch this guy before he becomes an actual serial killer because Melanie’s suffocation was an accident and the first girl was relatively unharmed.

Raquel shows up and at Patrick’s tap on her shoulder (hypnosis signal) confesses that Melanie had a thing with Hector Ramirez, Raquel’s second cousin. They were going to meet up the night she died. Raquel says she’s afraid of him because he is a drug runner. Teresa is on to Patrick’s hypnosis gig and reams Agent Cho, saying if he lets Patrick pull that kind of stuff again he’ll be giving tours around the state house in a stupid hat. Haha. Not quite "God, that is so clever. I swear you get smarter the shorter your skirt gets," but not bad.

At Hector’s house, the team stakes out the premises. Hector takes off running, right towards Patrick and an ice cream truck surrounded by kids. Teresa awesomely flying-tackles him in the street. Wow, I like it when shows surprise me. Patrick looks relieved. At the station, Teresa questions Hector, who gives a pretty good stonewall. Patrick says Hector made Melanie feel like a captured princess instead of a choir nerd and she made him feel like a dashing pirate instead of a bad-tempered pharmacist. Snerk. Hector says the night she died he left the restaurant because she didn’t come out right away and he doesn’t wait around for people. Hector says he’ll always feel sick because he left her to be killed. He was proud of her going to college and wanted her to get out of their small town.

Patrick thinks Hector was telling the truth, but Teresa thinks the obvious guy did it because most of the time the obvious guy DID do it. If we always followed that logic, the disease on House would always be vaculitis. Or lupus. Suddenly, Frankie shows up at the station. Patrick takes him out to eat and wonders how Frankie is going to kill Hector. Frankie flashes him an axe and Patrick says that it might not be Hector. Frankie wants assurances that Melanie’s killer will be killed. Aww. Poor kid. Patrick tells him they won’t kill him but they’ll make him very sorry. Frankie scoffs at that, so Patrick confesses to the kid that he would have a daughter Frankie’s age if he hadn’t caused her death. We get a peek more at the flashback from last week and Patrick tells Frankie that feeling sorry is worse than being dead. It hurts more.

There is a lead on a motel room that was paid in cash but was a no-show and the guy who rented it obviously had on a ridiculous disguise. The hotel owner informs Patrick that the man rents the room monthly and Patrick determines by rubber gloves and bleach that are not the property of the hotel that the man is coming back.

After a conversation confirming the hotel reservation in which Patrick charmingly flirts wtih Teresa, he takes Teresa to the hotel room he found. He flips on the TV, which shows a live-feed of redheaded Van Pelt dining with Agent Rigsby at Melanie’s restaurant. Van Pelt is SMOKIN’ in a red dress and Rigsby almost chokes on his tongue when he sees her. Patrick tells Teresa the killer is going to abduct Van Pelt and bring her back there.

Van Pelt and Rigsby stage a fight in the restaurant and he storms off. There is conveniently another redheaded woman dining nearby. I wonder if she’ll be abducted instead? Too obvious show. The restaurant manager asks if she can call Van Pelt a cab, but Van Pelt says she’ll walk. Outside, the sheriff startles Van Pelt and starts to walk with her. A lure-children-with-candy-in-the-park van drives by as they talk and the sheriff insists she get in his car. Agent Rigsby then attacks the sheriff and Teresa shuts off the live-feed back in the hotel room.

Teresa and Patrick argue about his crazy theories and she storms off. As she gets in her SUV, the creepy van pulls into the hotel parking lot. Up in the hotel room, the female restaurant manager and her creepy chef drag the other redhead from the restaurant into the hotel room. They start to spread plastic on the bed as Patrick surprises them, then they draw a knife and a gun. Patrick doesn’t get to carry a gun? Seriously? The couple starts arguing about what to do with Patrick and Teresa charges in guns blazing and shoots them both. Bad. Ass. Patrick looks shaken.

At Melanie’s funeral, Van Pelt can’t believe it was a husband and wife killing team. Patrick calls them soul mates, in a strange way. Teresa is obviously upset over the funeral and shooting the suspects. As she and Patrick walk away, he puts a hand on her shoulder.

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."