Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Mentalist: Who is Red John?

I have been out of town and didn't get to watch the latest The Mentalist episode until today and wanted to jot down my thoughts before this Sunday's new episode when it has been advertised that Patrick will come face to face with Red John (I think it's important to question whether this implies that Red John will be reveled as Jane has already met the Red John persona seasons ago as well as presumably been face-to-face with Red John many times).  My original deduction as to the identity of Red John is still in the mix (Bret Stiles) as well as my thoughts on the other two most logical possibilities (Bertram and Haffner) which is bittersweet; since none of my contenders have been eliminated, the new information hasn't aided me in anyway.  While some new information has been dished out, at this point every suspect on the list has been viewed with such scrutiny by the CBI team, it is hard to weed through what is an actual clue and what is just paranoia and over-thinking.  I'll begin by recapping what we have learned in the last two episodes about each suspect and how it has effected my view of them (if you have not done so I encourage you to check out my initial post The Mentalist: Red John Revealed as it will add clarity to the ideas because I will be building from my previous thoughts).  I will also take a look at some of the major events, themes and clues that have effected the show and of course the suspects in the process.  Without further ado, let's jump into The Mentalist: Who is Red John?

Bret Stiles
In addition to my previous insights, we now know that Stiles is also a good whistler, a trait that Sophie attributed to the man who visited her, presumably Red John.  However, overall he has remained the same: a powerful man who when being hunted by the FBI can gain asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy, a persuasive leader able to recruit massive amounts of followers who will go as far as smear blood over their face and pour it over their body in a huge ceremony commemorating his pass from the world of living to that of the dead and perhaps most importantly maintain the ability to conceal his emotions. (For an in-depth look into Bret Stiles and why he captured my suspicions as Red John early on click here.)  Another important fact we have learned about the illusive Visualize leader is that he is dying.  This may provide support for why, if Stiles is Red John, he has decided to make a move and reveal his identity to Patrick.  While it may appear that it is Jane who is weeding out his most formidable opponent, Red John did incite him by telling Patrick that he too knew the list of seven suspects and would begin killing again, lighting a fire under Jane.  He also thinned the heard by murdering Brett Partridge, meaning that while it is Patrick who is working hard to uncover Red John's real identity, is it in fact the mysterious murderer is ready to reveal himself to Jane?  The one doubt I do have about Stiles is his age as Red John has been repeatedly described as a middle-aged man and I'm not sure dear old Bret fits this description.  I am holding out hope that my instincts many years ago, before the writers themselves knew the identify of Red John, along with logic rather than cheap tricks and subterfuge will hold out till the end.

Ray Haffner
Since my last post the two major things we have learned about Haffner is that he is also a good whistler as well as his unreasonable fear of spiders.  While Sophie dictated that the man believed to be Red John came to her to work out his fear of heights, as I discussed in my original post this may have been simply a means to an end to obtain an appointment with her as I'm not sure Red John would expose himself like that as his meeting with her was for ulterior motives.  However, Sophie did state that whether it is fear of heights or something else, the man she met with did have an underlying phobia and spiders may be it.  As arachnophobia and acrophobia are also close in name this may have been Red John's way of disguising his real fear.  I still feel that Haffner wears his emotions on his sleeve as every time he said hello to a member of the CBI team it was painfully clear how he felt towards them at that particular time which does not fit into Red John's profile at all.  The true criminal mastermind is cunning, able to fool anyone he crosses paths with and Haffner isn't remotely able to hide his disdain for Jane.  In addition, I believe that Red John doesn't ultimately see Jane as an enemy or a threat but rather admires him for the qualities they share.  While Haffner is in my top three suspects, due to his recent scenes he has almost fallen off the list entirely simply because of his lack of emotional control.  However, as I will discuss below, I believe that Jane was attacked from behind in the final scene with the remaining suspects which leaves only Haffner and Stiles as possible culprits.  While I think that there is much more to this encounter than what we saw, Haffner is definitely more capable of getting the drop on Jane than Stiles, but he may be under orders from the real Red John.  The fact that only Visualize members lacked the three-dotted tattoo may be significant and my thoughts that Red John planned on kidnapping Patrick as well as my ideas about the Tyger-Tyger society, which are also detailed below, all point to Haffner or Stiles being the illustrious leader.  Yet in this case my instincts overpower my logic as I just don't think Haffner has what it takes to be Red John.

Gale Bertram
In recent episodes we have found that Bertram too is proficient at whistling but the big twist was Jane's information gathered from the private investigator before her death that her attacker had a tattoo on his left shoulder of three dots which Bertram was found to have (as well as two of the other suspects).  This wasn't of particular shock to me as I had a hunch that these markings are another way of identifying membership in the secret society throughout law enforcement, the Tyger-Tyger group.  Below I will go into more details about my thoughts regarding the syndication as well as the tattoo, but I've always thought that Bertram was part of this society that I believe was created by Red John.  As stated before, after compiling all my thoughts on the matter, I came to the conclusion that Jane was likely attacked from behind and Red John had planned to kidnap Patrick as his final act before revealing himself which would eliminate Bertram from my list of suspects.  However, I still have doubts only because of my original profile of him as the whistling and the three dots didn't sway my opinion in any way (so if you skipped my first post I encourage you to at least check out Bertram's profile here as my thoughts on him have remained the same).  I can still imagine his confusion act changing like the Cheshire cat into a purely evil smile which will strike the audience as they will know instantly that he is Red John.  I wonder if all those years ago the Red John impostor knew Patrick would be in that mall because of Bertram, thus taking all this into consideration he will stay on my list of probable suspects.

Reede Smith
We learned that Reede Smith was also part of the three-dotted tattoo alliance which wasn't a shock as we already knew he was part of the Tyger-Tyger society.  His general presence as well as the fact that he is a low-level FBI agent who doesn't possess a position of power or influence which Red John must have in order to have collected so much intelligence over the years makes him an unlikely candidate in my opinion.  One could argue that simply being in the Tyger-Tyger group granted him access to information or favors from other branches of law enforcement, which is true, but I would imagine that it took a considerable amount of years to build the syndicate up to what it is now and Smith was never in a position to recruit higher-ranking people like Bertram.  In addition, he has accused Patrick of being a suspect in homicides which I don't see the real Red John ever doing.  He would know that Jane wouldn't harm anyone except who he perceives as his ultimate nemesis and have a long-term plan that isn't as mundane as setting Patrick up for a crime he didn't commit.  I think Smith is simply part of the Triopunct/Tyger-Tyger alliance.  When he told Kirkland that there is a secret society and they even accept low-ranking people like Smith, he seemed obsessed with the power the group provided him which was likely how they were able to recruit Smith in the first place.  He felt under-appreciated and was given a chance to be part of a law enforcement syndicate that recognized his talents as well as gave him a high place or power amongst them.  In addition, the fact that the writers revealed early on that he was a member and actually used him to reveal to the audience that the secret society existed makes me doubt even further that he is Red John as they wouldn't show their hand so early.  Overall, I never believed Smith was a possibility and nothing in the episodes since have given me a reason to change my view.

Sheriff McAllister
All I have to say about the sheriff of Napa county is that he seems like a good guy.  As he was the first revealed to have the triple-dot tattoo he immediately told Patrick it was a misunderstanding and that he was not Red John.  As everyone has been on heightened alert since the suspects were revealed, studying each scene for any tells that they may be the infamous Red John, I think it is important that we take every "clue" with a grain of salt.  It seems clear that the writers want us to do this as with McAllister, Lisbon and Jane over-thought his unwillingness to climb the ladder or look over the cliff as signs that he was acrophobic which were proven to be of no consequence when he scaled the ladder, walked on the beam of the roof as if a skilled tightrope gymnast and pulled Patrick to safety.  While we know that he is in fact part of the secret society, (this being under my assumptions and thoughts that the tattoo is related) I feel like any indications that he may be Red John, things that cast him as an untrustworthy or secretive character, can be attributed to his place in the crime syndicate rather than him having an underlining persona as a serial killer.  Basically, I don't think he's Red John.

Red John
I think it's important to question whether or not it is certain that the real Red John is within the suspects we have been presented with.  It never really occurred to me until I started reading what others had to say on the matter, as I had always thought it was Bret Stiles.  I do admit, that after really looking closely at Red John's profile, tendencies and personalities Stiles is the only one who  embodies all of them meaning that if it isn't him, whomever the writers have picked to be the notorious cult leader must be masking the intelligent serial killer with the ability to gain massive amounts of followers willing to do his bidding, kill and die for the cause he has presented behind the character they put forth in their daily life.  In other words, why the other suspects don't posses what we know of about Red John is because they are two-faced, have an evil side that is different than the character we see them as like I have detailed with my thoughts on Bertram and why he still remains my second choice as the notorious serial killer; that while Bertram seems clueless on the outside he might have a hidden personality that enables him to be Red John.  While I'd like to believe that writers are always logical, truthful and honest, I have been let down in the past and it's entirely possible that a major twist could take place.  Perhaps Red John meant for Lorelei to tell Patrick that they had shook hands to lead him astray, and thus Jane has taken the clues to mean that one of these five men are in fact Red John, but in his desire to find his nemesis' true identity fell for as simple a move as the Queen's Gambit.  However, questioning the truth behind every clue is tiresome and tedious as no real logical answers can be obtained if we are constantly questioning the validity of our axioms, thus as I said if this is the case no amount of thought can accurately point us in the direction of Red John and it becomes nothing more than a guess.  Below I go down one of those rabbit holes as I question why Patrick is so sure that Red John himself would kill the private investigator when he is so close to being unmasked and has such a wide network of disciples that would gladly do the chore for him?  I would hope as I stated before that they wouldn't stoop to cheep tricks and subterfuge as so many fans are diligently decrypting the clues and while some are pulling for their nominee of the identity of Red John, others still want to be surprised wondering until the last moment who this man we have been waiting seven seasons to unmask is and possibly more importantly what is his endgame, his plan for Patrick?  I am among those who have put a decent amount of time into dissecting the facts and hope that viewers haven't been led astray but we won't know until we know, you know?

Tyger-Tyger Secret Society Thoughts
While I have encountered some thoughts about the Tyger-Tyger society throughout law enforcement being a separate entity from Red John, I highly doubt this.  Since we know that Red John has recited the William Blake poem to Patrick previously, as well as accomplices of Red John murmuring the first two words of the poem as an indication they are a part of the syndicate it seemed clear to me that this was blatant proof of a connection to Red John.  They were also Bret Partridge's final words possibly indicating that he too was involved in the cult and took his death to be a necessary sacrifice or perhaps to simply let it be known he was colluding with Red John.  This is something I found particularly brilliant about the final list of seven suspects.  That while only one of them really embodied all of what we know about Red John on the surface (Bret Stiles), they all had shady aspects to their character implying that if they are not the brilliant serial killer and leader of this mysterious cult, they had the pretense to be a member of it.  Though I will go into more detail below, the triple dotted tattoo seems to prove this as three of the final suspects bare the mark likely meaning that they are in fact part of this secretive society.

Triopunct Tattoo Thoughts:
I think the tattoo is another way of showing membership into the network of law enforcement members aside their "Tyger Tyger" code word therefore I'm not putting too much stock into Bertram, Smith and McAllister having it as I suspected they were part of Red John's network before.  It seems to me like the most plausible series of events was that Patrick was attacked from behind.  After he took interest in the three-dotted men the guns, Haffner and Stiles were behind him.  I think it's most likely he will be kidnapped and Red John will attempt to persuade him into his cult using his mentalist ways.  As I discussed in my previous post this seems like Red John's ultimate goal, to convert Patrick as he could have harmed him at any point but instead has made multiple attempts to invite Jane into his group or become his friend.  As Stiles is nearing death this may be why Red John has made his move now.  Haffner made a comment that they study Jane in Visualize and it is possible that Stiles, if Red John, hopes Patrick will take his place as leader of the cult, which we now know extends into law enforcement, after his death.  I also found it suspect that the only men without the tattoo were Visualize members, since the private investigator claimed they were the ones who hired her and Jane believes that it was Red John himself who murdered her.  I also think it's possible that Red John may have followers that know him as well as a separate group, the Tyger-Tyger society that is only within law enforcement meaning Red John himself may not bear the tattoo.

Thoughts on the Murder of the Private Investigator
Another things that bothers me, is the assumption that whomever killed the private investigator was Red John himself.  Knowing that Red John has a long list of devotees willing to murder and die for the cause, I find it implausible that Red John would commit every task himself.  This leads way to my thought that in fact none of the triple-dotted suspects are the leader Jane seeks.  There is a possibility that for reasons of deniability their highest ranking member, the leader of the group, may not posses the tattoo as his followers do.  Although I do believe that the Tyger-Tyger society and Red John followers are synonymous yet the murder of the private investigator leaves me with too many questions.  I assume that the reason for her death was because she saw the face of Red John or possibly one of his associates, but I wonder why they employed her in the first place to bug the CBI offices.  I think it's clear that Bertram is part of the group, due to his tattoo, and it would have been easy and quite possibly less conspicuous for him to plant a bug after hours.  Her strange encounter with Cho, as he had his gun and badge clearly visible as well as the fact that he was the only person in a gym wearing a suit and tie made it very awkward for her to approach him there and then pursue him back at CBI headquarters.  Thus, I wonder why this whole charade was necessary in the first place.  She claimed she was hired by Visualize, implying Red John is involved in the cult solidifying the thought that Stiles or Haffner is this illusive leader.  If so, there is the possibility that the Tyger-Tyger cult is separate from Red John and what the triopunct tattoo represents.  Of course, she could have been lying or whomever hired her could have been untruthful to her making this entire situation a black hole in which each answer only leads to more questions.  
Why is the creepy guy who brings Rigsby the report on Robert Kirkland's death important?
I wanted to just touch on this because the exchange that takes place between these two men seemed to me to be vital.  I expect that the man (I will continue to refer to him as such as I don't remember his name) is part of the Tyger-Tyger syndicate and was beginning the recruitment process with Rigsby.  He said something along the lines of "I did you a favor and maybe one day you will do me one".  I think this is how it works: you (this scenario is based on the idea that "you" are already a part of the society) reach out to someone who you were either instructed to or believe they may be a good asset for the society by doing them a favor.  In turn you bring up the idea that they will some day pay you back, in a friendly unobtrusive way.  One day you call in the favor and see if your target is willing and able to obtain the information you seek.  You continue to foster the relationship and perhaps one day your target needs information from another branch of law enforcement so you connect him with another member of the society.  As this goes on and your target is now friendly with a few members of the syndicate you approach him and inform him of the little "group" you have that encourages interagency cooperation but because of the red tape must remain secretive.  If he's hooked maybe later on a person higher up on the totem pole assess the likelihood your target would be willing to become a full member, tattoo and all and the next steps are taken from there.  Honestly, this just seems like the most logical way to recruit new members without exposing the group and I really don't know the entire process, but I do believe that we saw the first step in it which may mean the man who brought the report may soon be calling on Rigsby to return the favor! 

A Random Theory for Thought:
While using my husband as a soundboard for my reasoning we devised a few possible outcomes, some of which are too extraordinary for me to even type out but I'd like to share one in particular.  Though my posts are comprised mostly of my ideas, I try to be as open as possible to all alleys of thought but I forewarn you that this theory is based on my belief that Red John is Bret Stiles as well as ties in Haffner and the motive behind his obvious hatred towards Jane.  Suppose Stiles is Red John, he certainly would have found himself by the time of Red John's first murders and empowered decided to begin Visualize shortly after, using his mentalist techniques to convert the masses.  Yet after his first partner killing with Tanner and the events following in which his partner was ready to turn on Stiles and rat him out he realized he could use the same savvy in which he created Visualize to create a network inside all types of law enforcement ensuring that even with the death of an inside man he would always maintain access to the information he needed to thwart the law.  He knew he would need someone already on the inside to begin the movement as well as a trusted face that wasn't easily connected to Visualize as it was seen as a religious cult that may shy away the exacted people he needed.  Enter Ray Haffner, a seasoned FBI agent already known to Stiles through Visualize but not seen as the manipulative master of the religion.  Haffner would be the face of Red John on the outside, his second hand man that would execute the tasks needed to get this new syndicate up and running.  However, while Stiles trusted Haffner and possibly sent him to people like Sophie to gather intel he was not cunning and wore his emotions on his sleeve which was not a suitable trait for a protégée.  Stiles had always had a fascination with Jane, possibly even before he spoke out on national television about Red John and he decided Patrick would be the perfect person to become the next leader of the group.  While Haffner admired his mentor, he felt unappreciated by him.  After all Haffner had done it was his right to take over, he should be given the keys to the kingdom, not Jane.  Thus Haffner began to hate everything about Patrick, his stupid tricks, the fact Visualize members were forced to study him, everything, and this showed.  Though Haffner did what he could to ruin Patrick, attempt to take Lisbon away from the CBI, warn her about Jane, anything.  He ultimately continued to do the work Stiles implored of him, silently building up his resentment.  Where this story ends, I'm not sure as I don't even really think this is the direction the show will go but I do have a plausible endgame in mind.  Haffner follows Stiles' plan to kidnap Jane at the summit of suspects as he knows the other three will go along as he recruited them into the Tyger-Tyger syndicate in the first place.  However, when they return to the lair while Stiles is attempting to convince Jane to be his predecessor, his final act before death, perhaps Haffner will pull a gun on Jane, express his feelings to Stiles about taking over as clearly Jane isn't interested and maybe even try to kill Patrick as he now knows to much or just because he hates him and wants to get rid of him.  Of course the rest of the CBI team will rush in at this point and save Jane, or Jane will devise some trick to buy himself time or the chance to escape.  Anyhow, I just thought I'd put that out there and I wonder after previewing the next episode, if they will even catch Red John in this week's episode as he seems to continue to have the ability to evade the CBI.

Thanks for reading and I apologize as I had less time to write this up and organize my thoughts than usual!  As always, I would love to hear what you think so please feel free to comment below.  I look forward to seeing how everything turns out, if Red John is who I think or even one of the final five suspects at all and whether Patrick will catch him, he will catch Patrick and whether they are intent on destroying each other or becoming friends in the end.  Check out The Mentalist Sunday nights on CBS and check back here for more television theories, thoughts and reviews!  

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