Now the show apparently survives not on a strong through-line of catching an uncatchable serial killer, or even on keeping character Patrick Jane out of prison himself (that held a few episodes, but has since gone out the window), instead, the show is entirely carried by the charisma of Patrick Jane played by actor Simon Baker.
It seems thin to me, but hey, I love watching Simon Baker play Patrick Jane so I'm not terribly upset that the show has gone from "intense" to "eye candy" on my personal rating system. Not everyone feels the way I do; novelist Orson Scott Card lavished praise on the show which can be best summed up as "bravo for not doing the expected thing and ending the show." I'll save my own praise for the new direction when it shows me that it can carry itself forward propelled on more than a smile and some great hair.
One of the things that the reboot has not addressed, which it desperately needs to in order to reach emotional satisfaction is the Red-John-sized elephant in the Jane/Lisbon relationship.
The reboot involves skipping ahead to two years after the death of Red John. That is, two years after Jane kills Red John. In this time, Jane's been hiding out in a tropical, non-extradition country, charming the locals, speaking very bad Spanish, and sending Lisbon the occasional letter via his carny friends. We get to see Lisbon come home from her huge demotion of a job (she's now small town law enforcement after being a state level homicide detective leading her own team), pull out Patrick Jane's letter, pour a glass of wine, and read his missive with big smiles and great relish. When he returns to US soil to be the FBI's crime solving mentalist monkey, he negotiates Lisbon be part of his team. She puts up a token protest -- she doesn't like that he assumed to speak for her but she's so glad to be out of her small town gig that she quickly forgives him. Then their relationship goes back to normal.
But it absolutely shouldn't.
Throughout the entire pre-reboot show, Patrick Jane asserted that if he ever figured out who Red John was, he would kill him. Driven by the death of his wife and child at Red John's hands, it's easy for the audience to accept this desire as the eventual, inevitable outcome. Either Jane was going to kill Red John or Red John was going to kill Jane once he'd finished toying with him. But Theresa Lisbon always said she would stop Jane. That she would be his conscience, his life line; she would hold him back. She would keep him from becoming the next murderer she had to hunt down and arrest. She would be his friend when he needed one most; she would center him and keep him from becoming a cold, calculating killer.
She tried, again and again to deter Jane from that path. In the final hours, she cleared the path for him to act as he did, not because we really got the sense that she was suddenly on board with premeditated murder, but because she came to realize that the CBI was falling apart and Jane's way was going to be the only way to find out who Red John was. She knew what he was going to do.
She knew she'd failed.
Even knowing that she likely saved lives through her actions, this would not have been easy to accept for a career cop like Lisbon who really believes in the system. In fact, I find it hard, if not impossible to believe she'd accept that failure to the point where she could move past it. In spite of two years passing, this should be the emotional turmoil that eats Lisbon up. It should be the wedge between her and Jane:
He always promised we would become a monster. She always promised she would pull him back from that edge.
She failed him and he became that monster.
Or did Jane fail Lisbon?
Jane always asserted that he would kill Red John given the chance, and Lisbon asserted that she wouldn't give him the chance. Jane gave her fair warning that he was not as good a man as she believed him to be. But that's the thing: She believed he was a better man and he failed to live up to it when the time came.
Was it right? Was it just? Was it necessary?
These are rationalizations, ones that some people/characters might accept, but not ones I think Theresa Lisbon could accept. Her relationship with Jane should be ready to fall apart under the weight of the Red-John-sized elephant none of them are talking about.
I look forward to the day when the script writers agree with me and let it all play out. Until then, I remain dubious of the good front Lisbon puts up, especially as Jane seems more and more interested in her love life. As fun as a Jane/Lisbon romantic relationship would be to watch after all these years, I think it's utterly unbelievable until the Red-John-sized elephant is addressed -- and that will be even more fun to watch. It would be, once again, intense.