The Mentalist: Season 1 Episode 3: "Red Tide"

This episode felt a bit lackluster in comparison to others. It may have been because it veered more toward the traditional formulaic crime drama in using the hackneyed Orient Express/they-all-did-it device. It may have been because Jane's normal comic relief moments bordered on the ridiculous (building a sand castle taller than him with only a bucket and a few minutes).

But I think the real reason was that Jane wasn't as much the star of this episode. We didn't learn anything new about him, and he is after all what drew us into this show in the first place. This episode attempts to give depth to Lisbon's character. We learn about her past, and the pain of her mother's death and father's suicide. We even see her at the end of the episode break the icy, closed exterior we've come in the couple preceding episodes to know. Yet it's not compelling.

It's not the actresses fault-she does an excellent job conveying what she's supposed to convey without beating you over the head with it. And giving a noticeably good acting performance on the small screen when Simon Baker's in the scene with you is no easy task. No, this is more of a problem of writing and planning on the creator's part. The reason that we like learning more about Jane and crave more of him is because the show is built around him. We see through his eyes, we get inside his head, and gosh darnit, we just like him. We've only just met Lisbon, and she's been totally flat up until now. We don't like her enough to care; she hasn't won her way into our hearts yet. Perhaps as the show progresses, or if she has more hints at tension with Jane, we'll make room for her. But our hearts are full of Patrick right now, and at Episode 3, we just don't have time to waste with the sob story of Lisbon's past.


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