The Mentalist: Season 1 Episode 2: "Red Hair and Silver Tape"

This week, show has decided to clarify what the title means for those audience members (read: me) who didn't think to Google it. Apparently, a mentalist (noun) is "someone who uses mental acuity, hypnosis and/or suggestion; a master manipulator of thoughts and behavior." Thanks, Webster's! Although that might have been helpful last week.

Agents Lisbon, Cho and Jane are at a vineyard, along with a substantial police force. The bumbling local sheriff leads them to the body of a young redheaded woman who is bound with silver tape. They examine her body and find a wound on her stomach, but determine that the cause of death was probably strangulation. Though Sheriff thinks that an evil city slicker did the deed, Jane insists that it was a local. "It was an accident," he says, which he knows because her clothes are still on. Jane insists that the abductor accidentally smothered her because she was making too much noise. Yeah, it's always such a bitch when potential rape victims can't keep it down. Since her body was dumped in a spot that "only a local would know," the killer had to have been someone from the town. Jesus, CSI should scoop this guy up. He basically just covered an entire episode in twenty seconds.

Cho isn't convinced that it wasn't drug related. "A drug trade smothering?" Jane asks. "By who, the Sesame Street Crips?" BWAH!! That was almost as funny as the Price and Tag incident of last week. Sheriff asks Jane if he's psychic "or some gizmo," because everyone from small towns uses corny phrases like that. Sigh. Didn't you watch the pilot, Sheriff, or do you not have televisions in Hicksville? Jane only pretended to be psychic. It was his hair that was really doing all the work. And then the hair, its honor having been besmirched, challenges Sheriff to a rock paper scissors match of DOOM. The hair wins over and over again. As if there was any doubt.

The agents and Sheriff drive up to a small house. They meet Mr. and Mrs. O'Keefe, and inform them that their daughter Melanie was found dead. Jane slips away from the grieving couple and enters Melanie's room, where her little brother Frankie is holding a picture of her. Frankie asks if someone killed Melanie, and Jane says yes. Back outside, the O'Keefe's tell the team that Melanie was a waitress at the Shand Creek Winery Restaurant. Her shift ended late, so they didn't notice that she was missing right away. They tearfully admit that Melanie was supposed to start U.C.L.A. in the fall. Lisbon asks if she Melanie had any jealous boyfriends, but her father says that she was "shy of boys." Isn't that code for lesbian? Her mom insists that she wasn't pulling a Lohan, she was simply honoring a purity pledge she'd made in high school. She seriously fell for that shit? Listen, we took purity pledges like that in Catholic school, and let's just say that didn't work out so well for everyone.

Inside the house, Jane is looking at the pictures on Melanie's wall. He focuses on a collage in the shape of an "H," which has a picture of Melanie and another woman in the center. Her lover, perhaps? He notices that part of the picture has been town away. How curious. Frankie asks Jane to tell him when they figure out who killed Melanie and he agrees, even though it's pretty clear that the kid is out for blood.

Over at the CBI headquarters, Rigsby is gawking at Van Pelt like the creeper that he is. I just noticed that Van Pelt is also a redhead. Hey, me too! You represent, girl! Lisbon phones in and tells Van Pelt to fax something or other, and completely shuts Rigsby down when he makes a desperate ploy to get out of the office. Jane comes outside and says that Melanie had a secret lover whose name began with an "H," and it was someone she didn't want her family to know about. The Sheriff of Perpetual Stupidity chooses this moment to reveal that he was at the Shand Creek the night Melanie was abducted. Lisbon's like "Wow you're dumb" and asks him if he saw anything. Sheriff finally connects his two brain cells and remembers that he saw a black truck speeding out of the parking lot. He almost went after it, but that would require motor skills, which would require upper brain function, and I think we all know that expecting that of Sheriff would be wildly optimistic. Lisbon tells him to start doing his job and check the woods around the restaurant while she has Cho check Melanie's car. She and Jane then meet with the restaurant's owners, Sandra and Malcolm Boatwright. Malcolm's a bit of a fatty and Sandra's a bit of a lush. Oh, and she's a redhead. I'm beginning to sense a theme here. They're practically force-feeding the pair every dish they serve and Jane can't get enough. Apparently the secret ingredient is "a lot of butter." I heard that word.

Malcolm gives Lisbon and Jane a tour of the kitchen before Sandra shows them to her office. They check Melanie's timecard and find that she left work at 11:25 pm. Sandra mentions that she saw her leave. Just then Raquel, the woman from the picture in Melanie's room, enters the restaurant. She insists that she and Melanie weren't friends, but Jane and his observational skills beg to differ. They interview her, and she has no idea why Melanie had a picture of her. "Maybe she has a secret crush on me," she offers. See? I'm not the only one getting gay vibes from this episode. She also claims that she doesn't know who was cut out of the picture because she was stoned when it was taken. When Lisbon leaves, Jane—who is clearly giddy about the whole situation—convinces Cho to step outside of the room so he can hypnotize Raquel. He sits in front of her and says something along the lines of "Raquel, look at my hair. When you're relaxing in your bed tonight I want you to think of my hair. Think of it, and imagine you are running your fingers through my golden curls. They are soft and luxurious, and you can even put mousse in them if you want to. Imagine how nice that will feel. The next time you see me and my hair, when I say hello, I want you to tell me the truth, because if you do you will be rewarded with 30 full seconds of finger to scalp contact." Okay, so maybe that's not what he said exactly, but it was in the subtext.

The team opens up


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