The Mentalist 6×20 ‘Il Tavolo Bianco’: or Hills of beans or whatever

Caption: CBS

The synopsis for this episode is, ‘Jane’s freedom is at stake when a grand jury is empanelled to decide if he should be tried for the murder of Red John. Meanwhile, Lisbon tries to find out how Jane feels about the possibility of her leaving Austin with Agent Pike.’ And sure enough this is how the episode starts. Jane is arrested and Fischer and Lisbon have to appear to give testimony to the Grand Jury. The opening credits roll. Then Fischer and Lisbon get back and find that Jane is not in jail at all, he’s out on ‘bail’ and by ‘bail’ he means it’s all a scam. Oh I’m sorry; it’s a ‘sting operation.’ That’s a hilarious use of marketing, and I love it. At the end of last week’s episode you get the feeling that the head of the human trafficking ring is cleaning up loose ends, and getting people out of his way. Then on the next week tease Jane is on trial for his life. That’s a great way to get him out of the way. But no! It has nothing to do with the trafficking case; it’s for a completely different murder case. We weren’t let in on the scam. By stepping outside of the show to keep us out of the loop we are just as surprised as Lisbon is, and she gets pissed. So often trailers and commercials give us too much information, this was a delightful reversal of that.

All in all this was a great episode. Jane gets to do some great Jane stuff. Fischer is actually in more than one scene (she is SO underused), Cho gets emotional, and Abbott is trying to hook Jane up with Lisbon? What? Abbott continues to surprise me, but yes as part of the investigation he sends them on a romantic dinner date on the government’s dime.

Source: CBS It's ok, I get arrested at least once a season. I'll be fine.

Source: CBS
It’s ok, I get arrested at least once a season. I’ll be fine.

Now to continue form last week. This is why I don’t want Jane and Lisbon to get together: they always do. It’s become the norm for these crime dramas, the standard pattern of straight laced female cop, partnered up with quirky male consultant. It’s become a cliché. Case in point: Psych, Castle, Perception, Elementary, Blacklist, Bones… wait, sorry Bones is TOTALLY different. It’s a MALE cop partnered with a quirky FEMALE consultant. My bad, totally different thing all together. Long and sort of it all these shows are following the post Monk format. The comedic relief is derived from the, usually male, funny man, and that is balanced out by the, usually female, straight man. It’s, more or less, the old comedy duo from the 40’s. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s been the same for buddy cop movies for decades. Unlike Monk however, so often in these types of shows the two principle characters fall in love. One of the things that I enjoyed so much about The Mentalist was that it was exactly not that. Jane and Lisbon have always had this, almost brother/sister relationship. They were hilarious, they would pick on each other as if they grew up best friends, and although people would often ask them if they were together, they were always just friends. They had a character dynamic in this show that was unlike any other on television, almost unheard of on modern TV, a platonic male/female friendship. Something that was unique and different than anything else, that made this show stand out, and they’ve thrown it away. First off it shouldn’t be unique and different. In real life men and women are friends all the time. Television should reflect that. Instead what television says is that men and woman, no matter how different or incompatible they are will inevitably become soul mates if they work in close proximity with each other for at about 100 episodes or so. Second Jane is a psychopath, while not the murdering kind; he does have blatant criminal tendencies. He also has almost no regard for anyone around him. We see this time and time again when people who are close to him are murdered and he has very little reaction. Now he obviously has the capacity for love, he did truly love his wife and child, but I’ve never though it a good idea for him to fall in love with Lisbon in any romantic sense. It is my opinion he should love her like a sister and that’s it.

Source: CBS I just want to point out that one of the shows on TV was, "News All Evening"

Source: CBS
I just want to point out that one of the shows on TV was, “News All Evening”

Also Agent Pike is awesome. Unlike Jane who makes decisions for Lisbon and then doesn’t even tell her, Agent Pike actually respects her decisions and is totally supportive. In fact it was great in this episode when he turns on the TV and Casablanca is on. He goes on about how it’s a classic and she has to watch it, it’s a love story about a woman who has to choose between two men… or there’s a baseball game. That’s probably my favorite thing about Pike, he knows Lisbon well enough to know what’s going on. Jane doesn’t. Jane had no idea she was serious enough about Pike to move to DC. Pike knows Lisbon has feelings for Jane in a similar way that Ilsa feels for Rick and chooses not to show here Casablanca because he knows it will upset her. I for one hope that Jane takes a page from Rick and sees Lisbon to the airport give a speech about beans and send her on her way.

Paul Choate

was born with a remote control in his hand. He’s a Trekkie and an avid fan of comics as well as equally nerdy fare. When he’s not watching television on the couch he’s working on his new webcomic. Follow him on Tumblr and check out his website:


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