It is commonly recognized that the 100th episode of a series is a landmark and therefore the episode is usually made special in some way. The Mentalist’s 100th episode “Red Dawn” that aired Sunday, October 28th was no different. As advertised it was a flashback to Jane’s first case with the CBI, which is always fun to see how the characters meet and their first impressions of each other, such as Lisbon’s declaration that Jane, much more unkempt than we are accustomed to seeing him, has a “homeless vibe”, or when Rigsby, looking through files of recent trainees that may fill the empty slot on their team, spots Grace’s file and says he likes the look of her. Dramatic irony always warrants a laugh.
But viewers got even more than expected: a possible glimpse of Red John. It was just a flash and he only spoke two a few words, but that high tenor voice is very telling to Mentalist fans who have followed Patrick Jane’s hunt for Red John these five seasons. Before speculation let’s look back and recap as the episode chronicles Jane’s first encounter with his CBI colleagues.
Recap season five episode five “Red Dawn”
Jane shows up at the CBI, looking most unlike the sharp-dressed Jane viewers are used to, hoping to get information on the Red John case which he has been told has been assigned to Teresa Lisbon’s unit. He is informed that unfortunately they cannot share case details with civilians. But official policies like that would never stop Jane. He provokes, likely on purpose, an officer into punching him which gives the CBI reason to appease him so that he doesn’t file charges. Classic Jane. Now Lisbon’s boss, Virgil Minelli, is more inclined to let him see the Red John case files. But while he waits, he tags along with Lisbon to the crime scene they just got assigned.
First time on a crime scene, Jane is much less self-assured than what fans are used to seeing, but he still knows he has a knack for spotting clues others miss. After observing the body, then feeling nauseated, he mentions that they might want to find the woman the victim was on a date with the night he was killed. The others are baffled at this interjection, but Jane explains simply that he smelled cologne plus alcohol on his breath and noted the victim’s flashy outfit and the clear conclusion was that he had been on a date. He turns out to be right, which seems to puzzle the team even more.
Jane continues to tag along with Lisbon as she interviews the victim’s parents then she takes him home, saying that he can come back to CBI in the morning if he wants to look at the Red John files. Much to Lisbon’s dismay, he does. Of course he overhears case details as he waits for the files and keeps helping them along with useful observations. Lisbon notices his keen abilities and ends up asking him to help interview all the suspects in a room together. As usual, though not yet usual at the time the episode is flashing back to, Jane pulls off an elaborate ruse to draw out the culprit. So as we already know, the CBI hires him on as a consultant.
In the last few minutes of the episode, Minelli gets a call from an FBI agent, or at least a woman claiming to be an FBI agent saying that she has heard the CBI hired Jane. Her interest in Jane, she states, is connected to her interest in the Red John case and she wants to keep updated. Minelli says he is all for inter-departmental cooperation and agrees. As the woman hangs up the phone she says to an as yet unseen companion “There. It’s done.” The shot switches to her companion’s face, a man with dark hair who replies, the words are insignificant at best but what is memorable is the unusually high male voice. Familiarly, spine-chillingly high-pitched, actually. In the moment we see the man’s face, a twisted smile stretches across it, dark and sadistic. The implication, of course, is that this is Red John and the woman is one of his many accomplices.
Speculation: Did we just see Red John’s face?
There is a strong case to argue that Mentalist viewers have finally seen Jane’s nemesis’ face for the first time. The voice and the evil look are meant to imply so, at least. But let’s not forget that we have once before believed we looked into the face of pure evil – right before Jane shot and killed a man who had even said he was Red John in the finale of season three. He turned out to be an accomplice of Red John but the voice and demeanor fit the little information previously revealed about Red John. Yet this time feels different, because it was revealed to the audience only, not Jane. It seems more like foreshadowing. Of course the only way to know for sure is to keep tuning in to new episodes of The Mentalist at 9:00 CST on CBS to see when that face pops up again.
100th episode specials
For a behind-the-scenes look of the cast talking about the past and possible future of the show, as well as the 100th episode itself, see this clip from CBS.com. Also see the show’s page for photos, to watch the full episode, and see the preview of the next episode.