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Ball of Fire is the eighth episode of Season 3 of The Mentalist.


Patrick Jane is kidnapped, and Lisbon and the team go back through years of Jane's casework to find suspects only to realize that almost everyone he's ever dealt with might want to harm him.

Recap & Review[]

It’s a slow day for the CBI, so slow that Rigsby and Cho are betting over bouncing a ping pong ball into a glass, and Grace is on the phone with O’Laughlin. Jane even complains of boredom over the phone to Lisbon, who reminds him that boredom is good for homicide detectives. But he will not be thwarted; he is at a roadside fruit stand and he will return with fruit. Except he’s interrupted when a man in a hoodie shoots up the joint and tries to shove Jane into his trunk.

Jane gets a call out to Lisbon before being taken, so the CBI is on this case. They get pointed north as far as the direction of the car with Arizona plates by a witness, Sherry Winger. Lisbon says, “If Jane were here, he’d make some snarky remark about something we missed at the crime scene.”

O'Laughlin becomes their FBI liaison for the case. Hightower makes a statement for the press secretary to give, despite Lisbon’s objections.

Meanwhile, Jane gets set up in a basement. He attempts to befriend the man handcuffing him to a pipe. He tells him he can make the pain in his wounded shoulder (shot by the owner of the fruit stand) go away, and starts to work his Nice Calm Voice and relaxation. Then there is a bang and the man falls, dead. Sherry Winger descends the stairs to the basement.

But she’s not Sherry Winger. Jane calls her "Rachel", and it’s apparent that he knows who she is. She waves the gun at him, gives a few threats, fires the gun once (missing Jane), and excuses herself to take her medication.

The team has brought in every single case file that Jane has worked on since joining the CBI, looking for clues to who would kidnap him. Cho also brings in all of the complaints and mentions that Jane not only has a file, but a filing cabinet dedicated to him. Rigsby and O’Laughlin are sent to investigate a call from a rancher south of where Jane was taken who saw a car on their private road, with a driver who had a gun.

Lisbon gets a phone call from Linus Wagner, the doctor from the pilot episode, who claims to have information about who nabbed Jane. Back at the ranch, the car has been torched, but Rigsby and his arson smarts uncover a paper that the kidnapper would have used to staunch the blood. O’Laughlin takes a picture of it and sends it away on his phone, declaring if there’s a match they’ll know in ten minutes.

Lisbon goes to visit Wagner, who wants her to testify for clemency for him in exchange for the information. At first, Lisbon tells him no way, but she relents and will testify that he helped on a case. He had published an article which included references to Jane, and she contacted him posing as a psychology graduate student, Sherry Winger. She is actually Rachel Bowman, a girl looking for revenge on Jane because her father died in prison after he put him there.

Rachel comes back to torture Jane some more — verbally and physically. She claims, “It’s abusive, what you do — you use people, like toys. No thought for the damage you do.” And then she uses a cattle prod on him.

CBI arms up to break into Rachel’s house, but it’s empty. She’s alerted via text message about the security alarm going off and interrupts her fun with the cattle prod. Jane asks her to take the body away as the decomposition smell is becoming unbearable, but she pushes the body closer instead. Jane picks the pockets looking for something he can use to pick the lock on the handcuffs and comes up with a pocket knife.

On her way back to the office alone, Lisbon gets a call on her phone from Jane’s phone, it is Rachel on the other end. She lures Lisbon to a cabin where Jane is being kept. They’re forced to improvise for their lives, since Rachel is prepared to let them all go up in flames as she douses the house in gasoline. They use the knife to fake Jane going crazy and slashing Lisbon’s throat rather than let her get burned up, which allows Lisbon to pounce when she is unaware. Rachel twists away before they can accomplish anything, but just when all appears to be lost, there is a game saving shot from Hightower — three of them, in fact. Rachel drops over dead, and the danger is over.

Rigsby and O’Laughlin come to an understanding — O’Laughlin now respects Rigsby as an officer of the law, and Rigsby makes it clear if he hurts Grace, he will have to deal with Rigsby. Jane and Lisbon end their adventure on the couch, bantering back and forth.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Season 3 Episodes
Red Sky At Night  · Cackle-bladder Blood  · The Blood On His Hands  · Red Carpet Treatment  · The Red Ponies  · Pink Chanel Suit · Red Hot · Ball of Fire · Red Moon · Jolly Red Elf · Bloodsport · Bloodhounds · Red Alert · Blood for Blood · Red Gold · Red Queen · Bloodstream · The Red Mile · Every Rose Has Its Thorn · Redacted · Like a Redheaded Stepchild · Rhapsody in Red · Strawberries and Cream