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The Mentalist - Jolly Red Elf - recap

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Written by : published Friday 23rd December 2011

A Santa drops dead on a sidewalk. Lisbon and Jane come to check out the body. A local cop admires the Santa suit. Plush pile, real leather uppers. The beard appears to be real. Lisbon asks for his professional opinion. Jane says this isn’t the actual Santa Claus. Jane says a lot of Santa is a nineteenth century marketing gimmick. This Santa smells like cheap whiskey. Jane asks what is that in his jacket pocket. It is a Christmas card. ‘My life is a lie, forgive me”. Placed in a plastic baggie. Jane says the bloody spectacle is murder. The friend says Benjamin Ripple would never kill himself. He loved the art of being Santa. They visit his home. It is full of Christmas.

He had a mail order gift business. Jane guesses his parents died young. He transformed his most happy childhood memories into an identity. Jane thinks it was a murder. He was a survivor, it was highly unlikely he took his own life. “We all have secrets.” Jane finds a sobriety chip on the tree. The blood alcohol in his body was lethal. They see his product company was not doing well. They figure the business takes a dive and then so does he. But the handwriting analysis does not match the note. He belongs to the national society of authentic Santa's

They are having a convention downtown. But Lisbon gets serious. Someone torched a cop killer and Lisbon wants to give a briefing. Hightower introduces the murder of a police officer. He set alight the CEI holding cell. Tom Johnson, EMT, killed six officers and a young woman. This was a homicide. JJ La Roche the new head of the professional standards unit gets up to speak.

He says he has a list of people in the building at the time of the murder. Wayne Rigsby asks why do the need blood and tissue sample and he says that they need to test for accelerants. Jane approaches the cell. JJ says “you remembered something”. He finds a lighter JJ put there. JJ La Roche pulls apiece of evidence from the crime lab. He says he will talk to him later.

They visit the Santa convention and Rigsby says “Santapalooza”. It is a big convention. Van Pelt and Rigsby visit the convention. They say they were all close with the victim. One man says that he is lying. “You are trying to kick him out of office”. There was a power struggle among the Santa's Van Pelt and Rigsby are not sure there is motive. Lisbon lurks and JJ lurks closer and asks where Patrick Jane is. She says he is in the field and he says that is inconvenient. Jane is the lead suspect in his investigation. Lisbon gapes. Lisbon calls Jane to come to the office. He hangs out near Vergil at the dock. He says he needs his help. Vergil says that he never needed his help when he worked for him. Whoever set the fire works for Red John. Patrick Jane say that “Red John doesn’t know I know that”.

For the first time he knows something. He wants JJ La Roche’s suspect list. Cho investigates the Santa group steering committee and Benjamin and his colleagues were angry he promoted his online business using their organization. He was sitting two stools away. Out of disguise. A concerned member of the NFAS. He had a date at the opening night mixer. You called her his”Ho Ho Ho”. The men sneered at Benjamin using an escort and he built the online superstore on the back of their Santa group. Jane attends the AA meeting of the group Benjamin was a part of. Jane watches and listens. He opens the speech and request her for sponsor.

Jane puts on a show of being depressed and emotional. Jane starts to talk about is family and how his obsession destroyed them and sees the silhouette of JJ La Roche in the doorway. Jane comes outside and confronts La Roche. He asks if Jane has substance abuse issues. He is convinced Jane is lying. “You are telling me those words back there aren’t real?" He says “You are sweating” Jane says it is a parlor trick. He is working undercover. JJ says he was transfixed. Jane says to JJ la Roche his own parlor trick act is the cagey detective. He asks if normally this routine works? The sponsor comes outside to ask if everything is OK. Jane walks back in. Lisbon asks about the AA group. Jane says he went undercover. Cho says he never goes undercover. Roxy is the new lead. The escort. She works for a dating service Cho and Rigsby fight over who will interview her. She provides the standard girlfriend experience.

Cho implies she goes farther and she says “That way madness lies” They probe why Benjamin hired her. She was paid by someone else. A man pays her from a center for alcoholic convention. She cruises the treatment facility. The center changed her life. She has a new Jaguar to prove it. Jane goes back to the AA meting room. The woman who was his sponsor loved Benjamin. Jane says that she was in love with Benjamin. He didn’t return the feelings. She thinks he did in his own way. The red suit made him feel loved, normal life left him feeling alone and ignored. Angry enough to ruin the crime scene?

When she saw the decoration she got mad. Anytime something cuts you off from experience your life it was unhealthy. He was drinking vodka last week, violating the sobriety. Jane holds up the sobriety chip. “Was this what she was looking for?” “Ten years of my life” She says. They visit where Benjamin was last before he died. They talk to a man named Wylie. It is a licensed medical facility. Technically he is not a doctor. There is no privilege. His clients would never take a drink after his treatment. He treated Benjamin. Immersion therapy can be used to treat any addiction. Low grade electrical shock. He record all the sessions for insurance reasons.

Leila Bloom is the nurse with ten years nurse experience. Benjamin got anti alcohol treatment. Wylie drove him back to his apartment. He offers hands on therapy. Lisbon is dubious. That and call girls. Wilder counters it is a method. He sees her (Roxy) as a marketing expert, with a keen insight into the needs of his client. He focuses on highly driven professionals. “Men like Benjamin have more to lose and he has a high success rate”. The nurse comes out and looks scared to death. Van Pelt pretends she has to make a call and goes out to talk to Leila. She is distraught.

“Did Mr Wilde tell you what happened after he turned off the camera?”. He temperature was dropping. She told Mr Wylie “we should get him to a medical doctor." Van Pelt asks has anything like that has happened before. Leila says he was showing signs of alcohol poisoning. She believes in pushing limits to find a cure. Lisbon says if Benjamin crashed during treatment and the man Wylie staged the event to save his business the evidence is circumstantial. Leila left a lucrative job to come to the Wylie facility. Her mom died in a car crash. they were alcoholics. Jane say she has nothing to fear. Jane comes in for the treatment. he says he is the CEO.

He is under stress and needs to get clear of his drinking. Wylie says after treatment all unwanted behavior is gone. Wylie asks Jane to select a level of current that is uncomfortable but not painful. “Tonight we are going take the fun out of whiskey”. Goal: Associate alcohol as asocial ritual with unpleasant sensation of electricity running through the body. He ups the current and puts on the restraints so he won’t dislodge the electrodes. Through the haze of alcohol he hears Leila says this is the last one. Jane is woozy and drunk. Patient's blood pressure is too low and irregular heartbeat. Leila says to call 911. Leila says “I’ll set you free forever.” She gets a syringe and tries to use it on him. Patrick Jane walks up and says ”Gotcha!” She is shocked he is lucid.

Jane faked his vitals from biofeedback. He says he is a cop. This place is surrounded. “You are in trouble”. She looks at his pen, which he claims is a microphone. But nobody comes. Leila went to Benjamin’s apartment. She pushed him off the balcony. She says the one part of the body the coroner never checks is the ankle. She moves a big needle to Jane. Cho breaks through the door and so does Lisbon and the squad. Lisbon apologizes about being late the place is a maze. But outside, JJ La Roche demands he talk to Jane or he falls under immediate review and loses his consulting status. They sit down to talk. JJ La Roche says the dead murderer had a secret he wanted to reveal to him alone. JJ asks what did he say and why did he want to tell Jane? (Jane is drunk) Jane asks what is his secret.

He says Jane has a very keen speculative mind. He says what is his best guess. Jane says that he wanted to explain himself and tell someone he is human. JJ La Roche says “Why did he have to tell you this”. Jane says because he is not a cop and he was the only one there to talk he could relate to. Next Jane takes he sponsor from AA to lunch at the beach side cafe. Vergil shows up and gives him the suspect list. “La Roche has no idea he has it”. Jane says he should stay and have lunch with her. he ask for tips and Jane says to grow a beard.

About the author tvqueen


I like to watch TV shows from classic eras as well as contemporary drama and comedy. Science Fiction is fun, and shows like the Cape and Fringe keep hope alive that the medium that produced Space 1999 is alive. Comedy such as 30 Rock is usually, good, but not always. I like Survivor but it has so little to do with survivor skills I am disappointed. Appointment viewing is Grey's Anatomy, NCIS LA, The CSI series for New York and Las Vegas and Miami, with a special shout out for the new Hawaii Five O. Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are top of the line viewing for the drama comedy Gordon's character and the business lessons they teach.

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