Good, strong opening episode! I'm actually getting excited about this season of The Mentalist, which is not something I was expecting to happen. Plot-wise, we pick up where we left off.
Jane and Lisbon are shocked at the discovery that Red John knows the list of seven suspects. Jane appears to be at a total loss as to what to do. Then, they get a case.
It's a run-of-the-mill sort of thing. A body has turned up, but it's old - a skeleton. It takes some time, therefore, to ID it. They think it belongs to a man who went missing quite some time back. Along the way we meet the wife, the son (from another marriage), the people at the local bar... there's some disturbing stuff going on, like the wife having sex with her stepson. In the end, Jane uses a "psychic" trick to reveal the truth: the waitress and some of the regulars at the bar were responsible. They did it to get the guy's money.
In all honesty, this case-of-the-week barely kept my attention. It wasn't bad, but it had nothing particularly special going on. The episode should have spent more time on its strongest plot thread: the subplot about Red John.
Lisbon is scared, because she doesn't understand how Red John could have gotten that list of suspects. She's even more frightened, however, with Jane's apparent indecision. For the first time, he truly doesn't have a next step. It's scary for the audience to see Jane so clueless, as well, and therefore it's easy to sympathize with Lisbon's desire to act.
Jane tells her not to tell anyone about the list, because it will only put more people in danger. Lisbon can't just do nothing, however, and she tells Van Pelt. Who then tells Rigsby. Who then tells Cho. Oh boy. Van Pelt has put traces on the phones of all seven suspects. When the team shows up to finish up the case, Jane immediately can tell from the way they're acting that they know. He's pissed, and he tells Lisbon as much. She gets mad and storms off, driving away to leave Jane and the team to finish the case.
He tries to go after her. And when the case is wrapped up, he tries to call her. She's not answering. We start to get the sense that something might be wrong. Lisbon, at the office, gets a distress signal from an anonymous caller that directs her to an address where Partridge is, according to the GPS. When Lisbon arrives, she finds Partridge, all tied up and in the process of dying. Just before he goes, he manages to say one thing: "Tiger, tiger." Oh no.
Lisbon suddenly gets attacked! By... someone! Who is still unseen. Back at the station, Jane gets a call from Lisbon's cell phone. When he answers it, Red John speaks to him, telling him that Lisbon can't come to the phone right now.
The episode ends on Lisbon's unconscious/dead face as the trademark red face is painted on her. Is she dead? I doubt it. Is this still freaking interesting and intense? Yes!
This subplot, with all the tensions concerning Red John... fantastic! I'm really looking forward to next week, when we get to see Jane freak out and frantically try to get Lisbon back. As I mentioned, the actual case-of-the-week plot was nothing special here. However, the Red John stuff was more than interesting enough to make up for that. This was a pretty solid episode!