The Mentalist: The Secrets Of “The Silver Briefcase”

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Holy hell, guys! Was “The Silver Briefcase” the best episode of the season, or what? Simon Bakes has been directing an episode per season since season 3, so I knew – suspected – that this one would be a treat (all the previous ones were), but I certainly didn’t expect it to be this brilliant. It’s impossible not to feel his touch in every scene, every frame, every line of the dialogue. And on top of that, it was quite amazing to see the cast enjoying themselves – it made the story sing!

Ya’ll ready for this crazy ride?

“The Silver Briefcase” opens with a man going about his business in a typical suburban house – washing his hands, setting the thermostat, etc. It screams trouble!

Cut to the FBI team, all geared up, running through the dark rooms, guns swinging and all business. Until the buzzer comes off, that is, and we learn that it is actually a tactical demonstration/competition between two teams – the FBI and the marines. High five to Abbott for betting on his team and winning some pocket money! The FBI probably doesn’t pay enough for the stress he goes through on a daily basis anyway. Also, Jane, thanks for helping Lisbon take off her bulletproof vest while on camera – you guys are doing a great job being subtle. Keep it up!

Oh, here it is again! The TALK about the FUTURE. This time it’s Lisbon who brings it up, telling Jane he wouldn’t be all that happy to quit the FBI – he enjoys the mind games to much. I swear I could see ‘Challenge Accepted!’ flashing in Jane’s eyes. They’re, however, interrupted by Colonel Raymond who comes over to congratulate Lisbon and offer her a job in case she gets tired of running with the FBI at some point. Good luck with that, by the way. Pretty sure she’s all booked for the next 40-something years.

Jane being Jane senses something wrong about the Colonel. Did he and Lisbon have a fling? Sounds like a reasonable conclusion to jump to when someone offers your girlfriend a job. Hm, no? In the meantime, half of the fandom is like, ‘Hey, is that the guy from the preview?’ while the other is all, ‘Aw, jealous Jane is a babe!’

Nevertheless, something if off, and they take it to Abbott, and since we all know that Jane’s intuition is pretty much legendary, Abbott allows them to look into the Raymond’s wife’s murder because, apparently, Jane runs the FBI now anyway. Not that anyone minds or anything. FISTBUMP!!

They send Cho to talk to the detective who worked on the case, and then go to see Zach Jefferson, the guy that was convicted for the crime because he oh so conveniently found Nicole Raymond’s car with the keys in the ignition, the wallet, and a bag of jewelry in the backseat. I bet back then he thought it was the luckiest day of his life. Jane is convinced it was a setup. What else is new?

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Using the ‘My girlfriend and I are out house hunting’ excuse, Jane and Lisbon visit Raymond’s house, aka the crime scene, that is now for sale. Have you seen the look on Lisbon’s face when Jane called the agent? I bet she wouldn’t mind doing the real house hunting. Except they kind of did one just recently…. As for the crime scene, nothing about it makes any sense. I totally agree with Jane here – no one in their right mind would ever use the window overlooking the park to get into the house. Have you met suburban moms? Gosh, they’re scary!

On the bright side, the two of them manage to recreate the most probable scenario of the events – from the open window to the wrong body temperature of the victim that led to incorrect determination of the time of death. There’s only one piece of the puzzle missing – Raymond had to have had an accomplice. A woman that would pose as his wife in the car they’d later abandon for Zach to steal.

Yes, Jane, let’s talk about the work place affairs. I almost forget he is talking about actual cases when he brings up stuff like this. What are we on here, again? Oh, right, Colonel’s girlfriend who may or may not be his co-worker. Well, his office might have gazillion employees, but the FBI has Wylie, and God bless IT personnel and their ability to sneak in anywhere as long as they talk tech stuff.

It doesn’t take Wylie too long to find a woman called Denise Sparks who has the African art on the walls of her office similar to something Jane spotted in the Colonel’s office earlier. Seriously, guys? It’s like screaming about your relationship from the rooftops. [insert facepalm here]

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Jane sends Lisbon to have a chat with Denise in the coffee shop. About bags. Because it’s what women talk about. This whole scene was priceless, really. It also made me feel much better about my own non-existent social skills – I also have no idea what women talk about. High five, Lisbon! The good news is, Denise actually can be the killer of Nicole Raymond! See? All those years of working with Jane are finally paying off – Lisbon can now spot a criminal from a mile away.

They just need to prove it. No biggie, right?

Well, this is where the fun begins, and by ‘fun’ I mean Wylie and Vega reenacting the trip from the Raymond’s house to the office, which had to require Denise to change in the car and drop her ‘Nicole Raymond’ disguise somewhere along the way. I’m quite amazed Wylie managed to keep his eyes on the road, what with Vega changing right there on the passenger seat. The guy sure was having the time of his life – so much action!

Well, they do manage to find some clothes that may or may not be connected to the crime – I mean, let’s be real. You don’t throw away something under the bridge and then expect it to stay there for 8 months, do you?

The bad news, however, is that the cop working on the case who Cho met in the beginning of the episode called the Colonel and asked him about the supposed FBI investigation. Raymond isn’t an idiot, I’ve got to give him that. He puts two and two together, and confronts Jane and Lisbon, putting an end to their merry little game.

Or so he thinks!

They need the confession – Abbott says. The confession Jane intends to get.

He sets up a meeting with the Colonel, inviting his unfortunate lover to join them. Jane brings the silver case with him, claiming it contains the lab results that can pin the murder either on Raymond, or Denise, or both of them. They have 5 minutes to make a confession and get the deal, or—

Of course, Denise cracks once Jane mentions that she may very well follow Nicole Raymond’s footsteps once the Colonel gets tired of her. It isn’t hard to make Raymond fess up after that, and try to blame the murder on Denise – this is as far as his love goes. Case solved, Jane wins! Again.

Am I the only one thinking that the FBI would fall apart – literary – if he actually left? Like, how are they going to solves anything without his insight and, let’s face it, genius schemes?

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Back in the office, Jane and Lisbon take off for the night, leaving the mysterious case, containing the mysterious evidence on the desk, basically forcing the curious Wylie and Vega to open it. Naturally, the evidence was a bluff – inside the case if the note from Jane, saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Trust this man to meow as well!

On their way out of the building, Jane and Lisbon go back to the TALK, and I’ve got to admit that the scenarios he offers to replace their FBI work don’t sound too bad! Maybe not the sharks, or scorching sun, but in general – I’m sure they won’t get bored.

Fade out…

FOOTNOTES

~ “The Silver Briefcase” was undoubtedly not only the best episode of Season 7 so far, but it is quite possibly one of the best episodes of the entire show. If not THE best one. It was perfect all over, to be honest, and I want to believe that Simon Baker had as much fun directing it as we had watching it.  The episode was surprisingly low on Cho time, but we got to see Wylie in action, and it was pretty cool, seeing as how he mostly stays in the corner, figuratively speaking, only helping from behind his desk. Smart move! Also, good to see that Cho and Vega are almost BFFs at this point and she doesn’t have to follow him like a lost puppy.

~ Abbott rocks. Like, he’s my hero on so many levels I can’t even begin to express how much I love him! It’s quite amazing to see the progression of his relationship with Jane. Go back to the beginning of season 6.  He was basically a step away from biting Jane’s head off. And now? FISTBUMP! I was a bit disappointed that his personal issues weren’t addressed in “The Silver Briefcase” – after all, the previous episode ended on a rater grim note, and I expected him to at least seem distressed about it. But then again, there’s only so much you can squeeze into 42 minutes of screen time, so let’s not be greedy.

~ I’m really starting to warm up to Vega. It appears that when she’s not insanely annoying, she can be really cool! Case in point – put her to work more often. When she’s busy, she doesn’t have time to do stupid stuff.

~ Now, I don’t know if it was the original idea, or Simon Baker’s directorial view of the storyline, but HOLY HELL, HAVE YOU SEEN ALL THIS JISBON GOODNESS?! A small touch here and there, stolen smiles, the way they talk to each other EVEN WHEN PEOPLE ARE AROUND – everything that was missing in the first 4 episodes was neatly packed in “The Silver Briefcase” (see what I did here?) I’ll be honest here – I always wanted Jisbon to happen, but in my mind their relationship was different. I certainly imagined more conflict, but look at how at ease they are with each other, how natural their interaction is. Granted, they had 10 years to get to know each other, but still! Yes, it is so much better than anything I could have imagined!

~ Love, love, love, grumpy Lisbon! It’s obvious she’d follow Jane to the moon, but I do like her skepticism about sailing around the world and beekeeping. He actually had me at ‘beekeeping’, but that’s me. (Also I keep typing ‘beeRkeeping’, so maybe that could be their thing.) I like that side of Lisbon because she’s me! I could never relate to her more than when she was talking about pirates, and sharks, and storms, and being seasick. Yes, I LOVED this episode.

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~ Jane’s list of ‘possibilities’ is quite impressive, you can’t deny that! He obviously gave it some serious and thorough thinking, but at the same time I’m glad that most of their conversations at the moment are in passing. He’s not pressuring her to do anything, and I‘m 99% sure that if Lisbon said that she absolutely needed the FBI to be happy for the rest of her life, he’d go along with it because, essentially, all he needs to be happy is Lisbon, so….

~ They are also the worst at hiding their relationship at this point. Like, yeah, let’s talk about our future within the earshot of EVERYONE in the office and have heaps of eye-sex. Also – adorable.

~ As much as I am happy about the whole warm and fuzzy stuff going on right now, it’s seriously alarming because we all know – ‘happy’ doesn’t last long on TV, which means that something is about to go seriously wrong. Hello, paranoia! Am I the only one freaking out?

~ It was really cool to see all of the characters being involved and active. The episode was well-paced, but, unlike the last week’s “Black Market”, it didn’t have too many storylines going on at the same time, which had the audience focused on the issue at hand – Raymond’s case. And, of course, endless kudos for the excellent execution and the use of montages and cross-cutting. It really was a pleasant treat, all aspects considered.

~ All in all, I know it’s too late, but can we please have the rest of the S7 episodes directed by Simon Baker as well? Wouldn’t that be a delight? He has a good eye and he seems to put everyone at ease when he’s in charge – I think it’s remarkable. The entire episode seemed to be like a party for everyone. I can’t seem to stop watching it, and I probably won’t until the next one comes out. It’s sad – very, very sad – that we are only a few episodes away from the end of the show, but I do look forward to seeing more of Baker’s directorial works in the future.

Meow!

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MEMORABLE QUOTES

Jane: The world is infinite in its possibilities.

Vega: Curiosity killed the cat.

Jane: Pound it! *fistbump*

Jane: Love springs up in the unlikeliest of places.

Jane: Well, I love eggs, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat nothing but omelettes for the rest of my life.
Lisbon: Fair enough, what’s the alternative?
Jane: Pork chops, coleslaw, French fries…

Lisbon: Jane, one of us could get run over by a bus, tomorrow.
Jane: Not if we’re on a beach in Polynesia, buses can’t go in sand.
Lisbon: You could get eaten by a shark.
Jane: Not if you don’t go in the water.
Lisbon: That sounds pretty boring and wussy, don’t you think?
Jane: Yeah, they have palm trees, and hammocks, and cocktails, and sunsets, pineapples.
Lisbon: And endless boredom, sunburn, bugs the size of helicopters.

A coffee junkie and a passionate traveler, Nadin is in love with all things writing – because who wants to live in the real world, anyway? TV or films – everything needs to be fast paced and dramatic. Scary? Even better! A vampire at heart, she can always be found in her cave, glued to her laptop. As a dedicated yogi and someone who can easily hike all the way to Alaska, Nadin thinks she’s the unhealthiest healthy person ever – because pizza, duh? She strongly believes that live needs to be lived, so… walk away from whatever makes you sad and make things happen!

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