The Mentalist Review: Mind Games

April 23, 2010 by  
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THE MENTALIST: Friday 23rd April, Five, 9pm ALERT ME

The last time I reviewed The Mentalist I was hopeful about the show’s potential and full of praise for the acting – but in between that episode and this one, the show has somehow lost its appeal.

Tonight’s episode is a middle-of-the-road entry in what has so far been an enjoyable second season, so only real fans will get a kick out of it.

As many of you will know, Patrick Jane is a mind reader of sorts who acts as an aide to Detective Lisbon and her team of investigators. This week they are looking into the death of a prominent baseball scout. The scout’s partner, the ex-wife, the young players and their fathers are all suspected but it takes Jane and his abilities to uncover the truth.

Unfortunately as all this is going on, Jane takes a ball to the head and starts to experience flashbacks to his childhood as a circus psychic. The episode is littered with a lot of daddy issues but Jane’s are the only ones that get explored and we learn that his years at the circus were forced by his con-man father.

It’s surprising to see Jane participate so unwillingly in his father’s schemes when we already know that he went on to be a fake psychic on TV. I’m sure it won’t be a huge problem for future episodes but inevitably when writers adjust a character’s backstory, it contradicts previous episodes.

Simon Baker plays Jane a little more on the kooky side – this time on account of his head injury – but now it’s just annoying. Robin Tunney has almost nothing to do as Lisbon and given that the death of her friend Bosco was only two episodes ago, I was expecting more from her character. The rest of the team sleepwalk through what’s already a dull storyline, except for Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) who does get a little drama when she has to apprehend an emotional suspect threatening to kill herself. It’s a short scene and Righetti isn’t impressive in the episode’s only pacy scene.

It’s still a good show overall but this episode is just plain boring and only provides minor insights into the characters. Hopefully this is just a mid-season slump and the writers will pull it back up to its original high standards.