The Mentalist (1x18) - Russet Potatoes Review

Hypnosis - venturing into one of Jane's key areas of expertise, this episode is one that reveals how good a mentalist could actually be. With the series' name it was inevitable that there would be an antagonist mentalist at some point and we are far from disappointed. As the intro to the Mentalist defines: "Someone who uses mental acuity, hypnosis and/or suggestion" this episode truly is about mental manipulation. Ashley Gable writes this episode and like his previous ones this is one of the best treats with surprises that even the most observant viewer may miss.


We start with a salesman, Carl Resnik, dragging a large black bag that he believes to be potatoes to the CBI HQ which is in fact the body of a dead woman, Mary Beth. In real life or even in any other semi realistic tv show the cops would presume that the salesman would be mentally unfit and wouldn't even consider for a moment to risk him exposed to the public for any reason. Jane we all know is special in this respect and effortlessly convinces Lisbon to take Carl to the second suspect's seminar which results in the capture of the suspicious suspect number 3, Rick Tiegler.


It doesn't take long for Rick to become suspect number 1 and as we look at the time we see there is more than half the episode left making us doubt this is the end all even with the suspect admitting holding the smoking gun and stating he hypnotised Carl. To the more acute of us we notice that despite Rick's panic and attempted escape from arrest he is now calm and steady like in a trance state when he repeats what he remembers. This leads us to the conclusion that a hypnotist hypnotised another hypnotist to hypnotise Carl to take the fall. For us because the tv show can only screen a certain number of people within the 40min window, this really narrows down the killers to two people.


Just as the traditional closed case pizza is broken out Lindsey, the sister of the victim conveniently arrives and with Jane's doubt, the case carries on. Rigsby talks to Lindsey whilst Van Pelt brings in the second suspect, Dr. Royston Daniel who was secretly sleeping with Mary. In a surprise twist Rigsby after seeing Royston being uncooperative says he can make him talk and smashes Royston's face into the table. Jane confirms that Rigsby has been hypnotised and proves it by getting Rigsby to kiss Van Pelt. On a minor note, Van Pelt can also be seen to be holding and kissing Rigsby back which suggests that this love interest isn't completely one-sided...


Back on topic it's plausible that Royston could have hypnotised Rigsby to hurt him to alleviate suspicion on himself. Jane however clarifies that it's likely hurting Royston was an unseen side effect of the implanted suggestion. As the majority of us aren't hypnotherapists it's interesting to find out that (at least in the context of the story) traps or safeguards can be put in place to prevent someone waking someone from a trance such as Rigsby feeling pain when Jane tried to discover more about the hypnotic suggestion.


At the end we confirm that Lindsey was the hypnotist and she killed her sister to be noticed by Royston. The best part of the episode however was the power struggle between Jane and Lindsey in controlling Rigsby. Jane thought that having Lisbon as backup was enough until Lindsey called Rick who is still under her control. Lindsey convinces Rigsby to throw Royston and Jane into the ocean (off the top of the building) and Jane counters with "Shark!" Since hypnotic subjects can't do what they morally under normal circumstances wouldn't choose to do so the illusion of a shark is meant to put off being thrown into the ocean, Rigsby wouldn't want Jane hurt. Jane gets lucky and snaps Rigsby awake by patting him on the shoulder, Lisbon disarms Rick and Rigsby grabs the gun from Lindsey diffusing the situation.


Overall a lot happens in this episode and there is barely a dull moment. If you get the chance instead of re-reading my review you should rewatch the episode and .... three, two one ... wake up and rewatch it!

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