The Mentalist: Why Teresa Lisbon Must Be Red John
Season Six of “The Mentalist” ended last night and it was a terrific season finale. We were left wondering about the “seven suspects” that I suspect are no longer suspects at all since Red John has identified them all to our beloved protagonist Patrick Jane. As much as I love Australian actor Simon Baker, I am distraught that I now realize the only proper way the series can finally end is in his death at the hands of the Real Red John: His soon-to-be-lover-and-still-boss, Teresa Lisbon. Yes, Teresa Lisbon is Red John and always has been because, you see, it can be no other way and still honor the moral code of the series.
If you’re a mighty Mentalist fan like me, then you had to finally confess last night that series creator Bruno Heller has been playing us all for six seasons not only about the true identity of Red John, but our ongoing stake in this emotional mess. Last night’s episode left no doubt that the real killer will turn out to be Teresa Lisbon and I’ll tell you why.
The clues were everywhere last night that Red John has special access to Patrick Jane’s mind. Red John can even pull dreams out of Patrick’s head and kill childhood memories as fully realized, and very real, adults. That’s pretty serious stuff that, if real — and it was made clear last night it is real — then the list of suspects becomes immediately small and numbers in the singular one: Teresa Lisbon.
We, as fans of the show, were left to wonder who has access to Patrick Jane on such a substantial and trusting level? Patrick Jane trusts no one, but he does trust Teresa Lisbon, and I expect next season, he will trust her even more and go to a Lorelei Martins-level of sexual intimacy with her — all to fool us into believing she really is on Patrick’s side. We want them to be together, right? The joke is on us!
Teresa also has full access to Patrick’s rooftop loft and, his wonderings, and in the amazing time-lapse photography of Patrick sleeping on the office couch we saw for the first time last night, the first person to wake him up was Teresa. Patrick also thinks he can read Teresa — and that egoism will be his ultimate downfall.
Yes, I believe Teresa is hypnotizing Patrick in some way to get him to reveal things to her that she then uses against him to slowly torture him by killing everything around him that he loves.
I realize Teresa may not be the original Red John, after all, Patrick Jane already killed Red John once, right? Last night’s show also strongly suggested an easy out in that Red John morphs into other, more convenient, people when necessary.
When Red John becomes everyone around you, and, finally, the one person in the world you trust the most, then true terror and pity lunges forth and careens directly into death; and that’s where all this is leading: Teresa Lisbon will reveal herself to be Red John to Patrick Jane and — in that most tender moment of human realization that he’s been played all along from day one — she will smile and kill him and live on because evil always easily endures while goodness suffers a hundred cruel deaths.
Of course, now that I’ve sussed out the only proper ending to the series, I’m sure none of this will happen — even though Teresa being Red John is precisely what must happen in order to honor the structure and merits of the storytelling. The ultimate betrayal of Patrick Jane must happen at the hands of Teresa Lisbon — even when he spends a season unwittingly trying to protect her from herself while shielding his heart from his avowed killer and imitator lover.