Tonight on The Mentalist, “Black Gold and Red Blood”, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) once again defies people’s expectations. After Agent Bosco (Terry Kinney) discovers the bug that Jane planted in his office, he has Jane arrested. As usual, Jane isn’t remorseful in the least bit and doesn’t seem to be all that fearful about jail time. Turning down Bosco’s deal to quit the CBI, Jane heads off to the penitentiary. Not considering himself a cop, Jane refuses protective custody and gets put in with the general population.
Once we get a look at Jane’s murderer roommate, if we weren’t already thinking it, we get the idea Jane may have made a serious error. After all, Jane is very pretty and not at all violent, which is not the best combination in prison. Though Jane makes friends with his cellmate with a little psychotherapy, he realizes he may have been a bit naive when his cellmate informs him everyone knows he’s a cop.
Of course, though Jane is pretty and non-violent, we forgot that he’s also a little crazy. With absolute fearlessness, Jane confronts the other prisoners head-on where he both confuses and seduces them with his usual “psychic” charm. It’s not long before he’s playing cards with the top dog, and offering him hypnosis to get rid of his drug problem.
Meanwhile, back at the CBI headquarters, Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Cho (Tim Kang) try to appeal to Bosco to let Jane go. When that fails, they join Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) in urging Lisbon (Robin Tunney) to use her influence over Bosco. Lisbon denies having any sway over Bosco, despite her team’s assurances that he’s in love with her.
The CBI’s case in “Black Gold and Red Blood” involves two feuding families, both with claims on a patch of land that can be drilled for millions worth of oil. The Hines family, a modern day Romeo and Juliet joining of the two families, reside on the disputed property. When the husband turns up dead from a gunshot wound, the CBI are called in to investigate.
Jane is at the crime scene, and meets all the players before his arrest. The team interviews the victim’s wife Donna Hines (Erin Cahill), her father Dooley Gerber (William Russ) and step-mother Sandrine (Ashley Jones). After the victims’ father pulls a knife on the Gerber family at the crime scene, they pull him in for questioning. A “freedom” fantatic, he tells Cho about the oil and blames the Gerber family and the corrupt government for his son’s death.
While Lisbon is hoping Jane is learning a lesson from his stint in jail, Jane is simply up to his old tricks. Cho brings him a file on the case, including the victim’s journal that contains numbers and names, and an entry of “Vultures!” After an idle vulture factoid from his new inmate pal gets him thinking, Jane calls Cho and asks if he can interview Donna Hines’ brother. When Cho declines, Jane takes a different tactic. He phones Roddy Gerber (Eric Laden) ahead of Rigsby’s visit, riling him up so he’ll punch Rigsby when he arrives. Rigsby arrests him, so he ends up in the same ward as Jane.
Jane discovers from Roddy that his hunch was correct. Hines had discovered endangered species turkey vultures on the property–which would have meant it was protected land and couldn’t be drilled. Roddy beat Hines up to get the location of the birds, so he could kill them, but he claims no involvement in Hines’ death.
Jane then asks Lisbon to visit him so they can be in the visiting room when Roddy’s father visits. Questioning Dooley, Jane is surprised to find that he seems innocent of the crime as well. Lisbon is frustrated that Jane is still up to his usual antics and doesn’t seem to have learned a thing in prison.
What she doesn’t know is he’s about to go even further. Determined to break the case himself, Jane feigns illness and takes advantage of a guard’s fear of mice to escape prison. He heads over to the Hines’ farm and confronts the family, after phoning Bosco to let him know where he is. He shocks Donna and her father with the revelation that her husband was having an affair with Dooley’s wife Sandrine–evidenced by her glitter makeup turning up on both men. Hines wanted to break off the affair and confess it all to his wife. Sandrine demanded he keep quiet, and when he refused, she shot and killed him.
The police arrive just in time to arrest both Jane and Sandrine, who can’t believe she was frightened into a confession by a wanted man. Back at CBI, Bosco tells Lisbon that Jane’s sentence will now be even longer. Outraged by Bosco’s stubborness, Lisbon insists he drop the charges. Her influence over him seems to be blackmail, however, for whatever happened when they worked together 8 years ago. Bosco is stunned that Lisbon would risk both their careers on Jane, and he relents.
Back at headquarters, Jane thanks Lisbon for getting him out. He guesses that she had something on him, perhaps because he killed a criminal and she kept quiet about it. Lisbon denies it, but looks very uncomfortable. Jane seems almost as surprised as Bosco that she cashed that chip in for him. Lisbon hopes that her sacrifice might make him temper his behavior in the future, but Jane just laughs it off with his trademark grin. But we know he realizes what a big moment this is, what she’s done for him. We also didn’t miss his throaway line about how lovable Lisbon is, and she didn’t miss it either.
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PHOTO: Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, The Mentalist “Black Gold and Red Blood” screencaps, c2009 Primrose Hill Productions, Warner Bros. Television, CBS.