Red John returns in the season finale of The Mentalist, “Red Sky in the Morning”. We first start out with Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) on a date with “real” psychic Kristina Frye (Leslie Hope). Jane appears to be trying his best at winning small talk when Kristina works her psychic magic on the waiter. She gives him a message that his recently passed mother is fine, and that his uncle says “Roll Tide”, a football reference about his favorite team. The waiter is awed, and Jane is flustered and frustrated. He excuses himself to go to the washroom, and we see touching his wedding ring as he struggles to take deep breaths.
Back at the dinner table, he seems about to tell Kristina he can’t do this when he gets a phone call from Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti). Back at CBI headquarters, she and Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) are examining a web alert Van Pelt received–for a video of a murder. The video shows a woman’s brutal murder, and ends with the infamous Red John smiley face and a written message: “”I am becoming what I am meant to be/Your children’s children will worship me.”
Kristina arrives at the office with Jane, and tells Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis) that she feels the woman has been killed recently, and that they’ll find the body near water. Jane says he needs to see the crime scene before he’ll make any assessment. Rigsby gets a call about a body of a woman found in the Bay Area. Jane’s not impressed with the “water” connection to Kristina’s conjecture.
Hightower is receptive to Kristina’s insights, so Jane takes his boss aside and asks her to leave Kristina off the case. When he explains, “Red John is mine,” Hightower agrees. Kristina doesn’t need to be a psychic to get the message she’s not wanted, so she heads for the elevator. She tells Jane there’s no hard feelings, and gives him a kiss on the cheek that surprises him.
Jane heads over to the home of victim Marley Sparrow, and asks the forensics team to give him the room for a moment. As he’s looking at the pictures and personal belongings, the head of the forensics team comes in and hassles Jane. He seems unimpressed by Jane’s conjecture about her habits and personality, and scoffs that he’ll be looking for actual evidence once Jane leaves. After another minute, Jane declares that it wasn’t Red John. He asks that Marley’s papers be sent over to CBI, and then leaves.
Jane and Lisbon talk to Marley’s roommate Ruth and her boyfriend Dylan. Ruth was out of town for two days snowboarding, and Marley was supposed to join them. Marley apparently stayed to be with her boyfriend, a mysterious policeman Grady Ship from San Francisco. Ruth’s never seen him because Marley goes to his house and he always stays in the car when he picks her up. Lisbon talks with Marley’s instructor, who says Red John was mentioned by one of the students in her serial killer lecture last semester. The teacher is a little flaky, and doesn’t remember who it was, but she agrees to get Lisbon a list of the students in that lecture.
The CBI team gets together to compare notes on the case. It turns out Marley’s boyfriend isn’t a cop, and the real Grady Ship had a connection to one of Red John’s associates. As they’re talking, Jane notices Kristina on a muted TV. She’s appearing on a talk show, and Jane reads the captioned words on the bottom of the screen. He’s horrified as he sees that she’s talking about Red John, claiming to understand him and asking him to seek help. Jane runs out.
Back in Hightower’s office, she and Jane try to get Kristina to understand that she’s put herself in danger. Jane is incredulous that she doesn’t see the similarity between her actions and his own past talk show appearance that got his wife and child killed. Kristina is calm, saying that Jane was lying but she was telling the truth. She feels confident that she’s in no danger. Jane wants 24 hour protection for Kristina, and Hightower arranges it.
Van Pelt finds an address for “GS” in one of Marley’s notebooks, and is disappointed when Lisbon won’t let her pursue it herself. Lisbon sends Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) and Rigsby to the warehouse, where they find a wall full of red smiley faces and a bucket of what they hope is animal blood. While there, there’s a crash through the window up above. Cho and Rigsby scatter and pursue the suspect, but he gets away, leaving only a lens cap behind.
Jane conjectures that GS may be a voyeur, and suggests Rigsby and Cho check the university film club. They talk to Marley’s professor again, who gives them the list Lisbon asked for as well as the film club list. She seems thrilled when they ask her where she was on the night of the murder. When they notice that one name is on both lists, they ask her about this Wesley character. She says he’s a good actor, but strange. Cho and Rigsby search Wesley’s dorm room, but it’s empty. They run into Ruth and Dylan again, who confirm the professor’s “weird” assessment of Wesley. The two say that Marley’s mystery boyfriend drove a black SUV.
The CBI team take turns sitting with Kristina in her home, which is surrounded by police. Lisbon lets Jane and Lisbon know that Wesley looks good for the murder. Kristina is skeptical, because “Marley didn’t mention him”. Jane is incredulous that she’s still keeping up the pretense of being a psychic. Lisbon gets a phone call, and she looks sick to her stomach as she comes back into the room to inform Kristina that the woman who interviewed Kristina was murdered–by Red John.
Out in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Jane looks over the crime scene. We can see the memories of his own wife’s murder flooding back as he looks at the bloodied body. He knows this one isn’t a copycat murder. Back at Kristina’s, the psychic lets Jane know she’s still being Zen about the whole thing. She feels that Red John just wanted to create fear in his wake, and he’s done that, and it’s over. When Jane tries to get her to admit she screwed up and is in danger, Kristina gets angry and asks him to leave.
Rigsby and Cho discover that Wesley’s mother owns a black SUV. When they go to her apartment, a neighbor tells them she hasn’t seen mother or son in three days. Cho and Rigsby storm the apartment, expecting to find the mother dead, but the apartment is empty save for all the cats. They find a shrine to Marley, with pictures and a red smiley face. They bring it back to headquarters.
Cho is pacing, obviously focused on Red John, but he agrees to look at the shrine when Lisbon asks. He evaluates the pictures, and notices a sign for a chain restaurant and other clues to help them find the location. Lisbon tells Jane to “make that phone call”, and Jane is surprised that she knows exactly what he’s thinking. He calls Kristina, but Van Pelt answers, saying Kristina is taking a nap. She offers to get her, and Jane listens, horrified, as Van Pelt moves to the bedroom and discovers that Kristina is missing.
Back at CBI headquarters, the team says it looks like Kristina packed a bag and slipped out of her own accord. Jane feels there’s just as good a chance that Red John just engineered it to look that way. Hightower says she’s turning it over to Missing Persons, who are better equipped to find her. She and Lisbon tell Jane he’s too wound up to work in the field, and he needs to stay put. Lisbon and her team go out to search the possible locations for Wesley’s secret hideout.
Antsy for something to occupy his mind, Jane looks at Wesley’s shrine to Marley, and takes one of the photos. He drives out and finds a boarded up hotel that was in one of the photos. For once, Jane seems to be doing the sensible thing. He phones Lisbon and tells her his location, and after peeking inside the dark room, decides not to go in. He gets halfway across the street before he decides to go in. He’s hit from behind a few seconds after he steps foot inside.
Jane is panicked when he wakes up and he’s plastic-wrapped to a chair. Wesley appears in front of him with a knife, and tells him he’s going to get to die for the honor of Red John. He then seems uncertain about his speech, and turns to look at someone or something behind Jane and asks if he can “do that again”. Jane seizes the opportunity and tells Wesley to do it once again “with feeling”. He acts the part of director, and Wesley falters, more unsure of himself now. Jane guesses that Wesley is an unwilling participant, that his mother has been kidnapped, and that Ruth and Dylan are the perpetrators.
Ruth and Dillon are annoyed that Jane guessed their identites, and that he’s ruining their masterpiece. Jane calls it a “cheap slasher film”, but Dillon’s excited that there’ll be real blood. Jane says it took a real sicko to kill Marley, and Ruth gleefully confesses to the crime, saying Dylan filmed it all for her. They threaten Wesley, and Jane can’t convince him that they’re going to kill him no matter what he does. He raises the knife, but then suddenly a shot rings out and Dillon goes down. Then Ruth gets shot through the chest. Wesley is terrified, and a cloaked figure shoots him in the leg. He goes down.
The figure walks over to Ruth and chastises her for making a “cheap imitation of my work”. He then shoots her again as she screams. Jane is terrified now, and he struggles so much the chair tips over. The killer walks up. Jane and Wesley are staring at each other, terrified. The killer picks the chair back up, and asks Jane if he knows who he is. Jane says he does, and we know it’s Red John. He leans in front of Jane and he’s wearing a hideous mask with deformed features. In a squeaky voice, he tells Jane: “”Tiger, tiger burning bright, in the forests of the night/ What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
He disappears, and Jane’s just about to relax again when a gloved hand grips his other shoulder. Red John tells him that Kristina would want to send her love to him, and then he says “Roll tide” before vanishing again.
Days later, at CBI headquarters, Lisbon asks Jane if he’s sure Red John didn’t say anything to him. “Nothing,” Jane replies, but it’s clear Lisbon doesn’t entirely believe him. We next see Jane lying down on his mattress at home, with the red smiley face above him, reciting the Blake poem Red John quoted.