It's common knowledge that it was Patrick Jane's fault that his wife and daughter were brutally murdered by the serial killer Red John, but sometimes due to his pain it's difficult to remember other people suffered too. He's come a long way even in the last season from being very touchy and slightly insane about what happened to his life, and now being able to come to terms with his wife's death in a slightly better way. Last week's episode was about his wife's brother Danny stirring up trouble for Jane and reminding him about how badly he failed his wife.
Danny calls Jane and asks for help, but when Jane gets to the location, there's a murdered body on the floor and the police arrive to arrest him. Lisbon manages to get him out of trouble and he admits that Danny was involved, so he needs to find out what his brother-in-law was up to and if he murdered the man or not. Danny, like Jane used to be, was a con man and a carnival trickster. It's fun to get glimpses of Jane's life in the carnival, and this time he directly goes back to it to see old friends and find Danny. Mr. Friendly from LOST makes a guest appearance as Jane's old friend, which was nice, and they talk a bit about the life and how Jane's wife wanted to get away from it. She didn't enjoy always looking at people like marks, and she got Jane to 'run away' from it with her. They tell Jane another con artist might be able to find Danny, so he steals Lisbon's car and leaves her at the carnival.
Van Pelt agrees to help Jane by setting a trap for a con artist, and this is an old lady who plays a sweet grandmotherly role to con people. She knows that Danny has a girlfriend, and then Jane abandons Van Pelt to keep looking for his brother-in-law. Meanwhile Lisbon is dealing with trouble from the detective on the case, since Jane is no where to be seen and he was there. The suspects of the case are the dead man's sister, wife, and assistant/girlfriend. Come on. This should be a no brainer just by looking at the list there. Still they need to stretch an hour out of it, so there's supposed to be some guesses on whether Danny was just conning the guy or killed him for a gold statue.
Jane and Danny hide up in a cabin and they have a confrontation about Red John and everything that happened. Danny emotionally tells Jane that he stole his sister from the carnival and then got her killed, and Jane agrees. It's not even a self pitying yes I killed her, he's very matter of fact about it. And although the homicidal seria killer is the actual culprit here, there's no denying that it was Jane's folly that led to it. That's one of the things that is crucial to the series, and very interesting about it. Jane has a reason to feel guilty. In the end of course Danny didn't kill the guy, but they make a plan together to suss out who did.
Danny gets arrested and shouts at Jane, then escapes in the confusion. Meanwhile he confronts the man's wife about how she was angry he wanted to leave her for the assistant. Shocking, right? Sigh. Anyway, Danny comes in and shoots Jane to death, so she confesses and shows him the statue she stole. That's good enough for everyone, and Lisbon lets Danny go. That's nice and all, but he is a con artist and a criminal and will just go on to lie and cheat someone else. I know, I know, logic has no place in TV cop drama! Danny and Jane visit his wife's grave and talk about the afterlife. It's bittersweet and well done. It's great to get back to Jane's past in this episode, and they do handle his tragedy with a steady hand. They haven't let him do a lot of trickery this season though, so it would be great to go back to that, and to stop letting the cases be so easy!
The Mentalist is on CBS on Thursday nights at 10 PM EST.