Veg*nism & Pop Culture: Meat huggers ruin everything on The Mentalist.

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

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Proceed with caution: Major spoilers ahead!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an animal rights terrorism plotline on CBS’s The Mentalist. At the time, I worried that maybe the show had jumped the shark. Well, after a brief break over the holiday season, The Mentalist returned Tuesday with an awesome episode (Season 1, Episode 11: Red John’s Friends). Although…I was a little surprised to see animal rights terra-ists make another brief appearance. That’s two episodes in a row, and in completely unrelated story lines. And this time, we Totally. Ruin. Everything. Like WTF, Bruno Heller!?

Here are the relevant bits: the titular character (Simon Baker as Patrick Jane) used to be a psychic charlatan, a fraud. A real sleazy John Edward type. While on the daytime talk show circuit, Jane started talking smack about a serial killer called Red John, whom he was “helping” the police to catch. Red John got pissed and killed Jane’s wife and daughter. Jane renounced his flim-flamin’ ways and joined the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a legitimate consultant – with the ultimate goal of one day finding Red John and exacting revenge.

There’s the background. So. In this particular episode, a convicted murderer (Todd Stashwick as Jared) makes a deal with Jane: Jane proves the man’s innocence (he’s an asshat, but ultimately not guilty of this particular crime), and he’ll tell Jane everything he knows about Red John (a friend of friend dealio). Jane ultimately solves the case, catching the real killer – but with a little help from Red John. Red John, you see, is onto Jared, and wants him sprung from the pokey so Red John can kill him before Jared divulges his identity. Jared suspects as much because, hey! – he’s flapping his gums about outing a serial killer. CBI wants Jared to get to Red John who also wants to get Jared. It’s a game of cat and mouse, and they’re all playing one another.

(More below the fold…)

Veg*nism & Pop Culture: Animal Rights Terra-ists on The Mentalist

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

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Proceed with caution: Spoilers galore!

Ten episodes in, and already The Mentalist has jumped on the animal rights terra-ism bandwagon.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m addicted to cop tv: The X-Files, CSI, NCIS, Law & Order, Criminal Intent, Life, NYPD Blue – I just love ’em. And my love runs extra-deep for the serialized cop drama/mystery/thrillers with a season/series-long story arc. Throw in a lead character who just so happens to be an atheist, and I’m hooked. Hello, The Mentalist!

That said, the latest installment (Season 1, Episode 10: Red Brick and Ivy) just wasn’t up to snuff.

The plot line is all too familiar: a scientist who experiments on non-human animals is murdered; the prerequisite, SHAC-like animal rights group which has been “terrorizing” said scientist (or said scientist’s university/lab/company/employer) for months is suspect numero uno. Cue the crazy!

In The Mentalist, the scientist in question is an up-and-coming neuroscientist who, along with his colleagues, has been conducting invasive research on animals (most notably, chimpanzees – unfortunately, a baby chimp does have a role in the episode) in order to locate the structures in the human brain which govern morality. The end goal? Finding a way to manipulate these structures and thus, magically, turn all of humanity into moral beings. Whatever that means.

(More below the fold…)