Mentalist Recap – Meaning of Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

May 21st, 2010 | 18 Comments | Posted in TV Shows by Edie


Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Mentalist Recap – Meaning of Tiger Tiger Burning Bright – As Red John starts reciting, “Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright…” from The Tiger, by William Blake and everyone tries to figure out who he really is by dissecting the poem, there was one bright fan who is also a poetry fan who knew to go deeper and found more.

As Patrick Jane is looking like he’s finally enjoying some time with his new friend, Kristina, a psychic that Jane isn’t convinced is psychic but likes everything else about her. A link to an online movie that the CBI comes across shows a murder that looks just like a Red John case. Jane investigates and tells Brett Partridge, the on-scene cop, that it isn’t Red John. Partridge is annoyed at Jane’s quick assessment but Jane puts him down with his usual one line once-over.

Kristina is asked to not help on the case but instead of just sitting by, this is TV and we see her go on TV and plea for Red John to contact her. Eventually, he does this by first murdering the host of the interview and then her which, as you can imagine, really annoys Jane.

Turns out that Jane is right and the movie was done by some kids who were Red John wannabes. After jumping through a half-dozen hoops, Jane is abducted by the kids and, as he is about to be the star of their next movie installment, his life is spared by Red John himself, who is grumbling about amateurs. He is wearing a mask, shades of Phantom of the Opera and while Jane is still strapped to a chair in bubble wrap, he whispers the following lines fromĀ  William Blake’s, The Tiger (or The Tyger):

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

So now everyone is wondering what the poem was, means, and is going to mean next season.
Everyone is also wondering if Kristina is Red John. I seriously doubt it but I think there’s a good chance that she was is a follower of Red John and set herself up to look like bait so that Jane, thinking that Red John has her, is motivated to continue RJ’s game.

An insightful fan over at TV Squad brought up the following points:

William Blake was also an artist who did relief etchings, illustrations and paintings. One of his works is entitled, “A Brace of Partridge,” and lo and behold, who did we see last night that was also seen in the premiere episode? Brett Partridge, and, as we all know, there are no coincidences in television.

It looks like the case is almost solved but you wanna bet the libraries and online archives get a million requests this Summer for The Tiger, background on William Blake, and more interest in Dante’s Inferno?

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18 Responses to “Mentalist Recap – Meaning of Tiger Tiger Burning Bright”

  1. David Clothier Says:

    As an alumnus of Auburn University, I am always a little irked when I hear “Roll Tide,” which was also part of Red John’s final words. The obvious connection is the earlier scene involving Kristina and the waiter. However, something else struck me as “poetic” in the scene with Red John and that is his quote from William Blake’s “The Tiger.” Is it mere coincidence that the Alabama Crimson Tide’s biggest rival is with the Auburn Tigers? Could this be the key?

  2. Bill Bahr Says:

    My guess: It’s the waiter! :) and Kristina still lives….

  3. Bill Bahr Says:

    Oh, and the poem? It merely asks if good can’t be involved with creating evil. Recall that Kristina thought there must be some good in Red John. I’m guessing that he lured her out of her apartment to satisfy her curiosity. Again, though I haven’t gone back to compare voices, Red John’s voice sure sounded like the waiter’s. Wasn’t as happy about some of the developments in this episode as previous ones. Some events were character-uncharacteristic.

  4. Alice Says:

    In my memory, Red John’s voice and frame was much more similar to the creepy and obnoxious forensics guy who tries to hurry Jane out of the room.

    Love the analogy to Phantom of the Opera!

  5. Cathryne Says:

    Ditto that, David. And, War Eagle! I thought it was odd when the Roll Tide comment came up last night too. I’d hate to learn that Kristina is a Red John follower, but RJ did somehow know to say Roll Tide. Unless he was in the restaurant when they were, or Kristina told him about that conversation, then it might be the waiter. And, it might all be a setup between Kristina and RJ/Waiter to bring Jane in. Hate to have to wait several months for the next episode!

  6. Linds Says:

    Well when I looked up the poem, it talked of who created the tiger (a symmetrically beautiful animal who is a ferocious killer) and how could “He” who created the tiger also create the lamb (a creature not associated with killing at all – perhaps the prey of the tiger.

    My interpretation is that Patrick Jane is somehow responsible for creating the killing tiger out of the perfectly symmetrical being that it also is.

    The perfect symmetry could have to do with the killer’s looks. Perhaps Red John used to be a good-looking individual. And maybe now he/she’s been horribly disfigured somehow.(either physically or emotionally) I am guessing it’s a physical dis-figuration – why else would he/she wear a mask?

    I like the idea that maybe the killer is Kristina. But what could Patrick Jane have done to her in a past life that is coming back to haunt him??

    I love this plot of the show and I really hope that we find out soon who Red John is!!


  7. JujuF Says:

    Agree w/Alice that RJ is the creepy and obnoxious forensics guy.

    The more scenes there were of Kristina reassuring Jane of her safety, the more she became… not sure how to explain it – almost smug or resolute? But there was something more in her face than just these, which brought up the question of her being RJ in my mind like you. I agree that she’s involved w/ RJ somehow.
    Good episode. Thought provoking.

  8. Jennygarp Says:

    Something else interesting to me is that the copycat killers were a couple, with the woman being the dominant/more violent one, despite Patrick thinking it was the guy Dylan. And Wesley was a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb for them.

    Maybe the writers are hinting that Kristina and Red John are working (killing) together like the college kid couple, and someone (maybe even the creepy CSI guy who, like everyone else, we immediately started suspecting) is their patsy.

    Like JujuF, I thought Kristina’s expression was oddly calm. Didn’t make sense if she was innocent, because it didn’t read as if she felt safe, but more that she didn’t care the reporter had died; she was still saying there was good in Red John and that she felt she knew him and his motives. But maybe she DID know she was safe, and the reason she doesn’t fear him (which is driving Patrick crazy) is because she’s in and/or leading Red John.

    Or maybe I just hate the character and I’m projecting. Love this show, anyway!

  9. rich Says:

    RJ also asked Jane “Do you know who I am” and he replied “yes” meaning RJ’s true identity.Thats why she said roll tide, there was no sense in hiding it. I’m guessing split personalities here that’s why she said Kristina would want me to send her love. RJ also rubs Jane with a circular motion that seems affectionate.
    RJ is Kristina!

  10. Scott Says:

    I think that the forensics guy couldn’t be RJ because he would have treated Jane a lot differently at that crime scene. Kristina makes the most sense as RJ. She is as brilliant as Jane when it comes to reading people, and the way she jumped to the defense of “RJ” when the interviewer called him a ‘beast’….it was like she was defending herself and not Red John. Then the talk about how RJ was capable of saving/redemption. Interviewer ended up dead…probably for the ‘beast’ comment.

    I think RJ wanted to meet Jane up close and knew s/he couldn’t stay around forever so she hatched the plan to go on TV and then disappear.

    Based on how Jane wasn’t too affected by the news at the end that RJ had Kristina and how he laid in the bed at the end pondering the poem, I think he was wondering whether RJ IS Kristina and that letting him and the fat kid live was to show him that s/he wasn’t a complete monster. Someone mentioned Kristina’s ’smugness’ and really, she was extremely confident and brilliant the entire time so the writers definitely set her up as the perfect RJ candidate.

  11. Kt Basin Says:

    the waiter was obviously fat, and red john looked as skinny as patrick so…..stop thinking its the waiter.

  12. TheTurk Says:

    Who is this forensic guy? I can’t remember him :(

  13. Edie Says:

    The smarmy forensics guy is the same guy I referred to in the post as the “on-scene cop,” Brett Partridge, and the similarity in the voice with Red John’s has been brought up in other conversations. He only appears in the premiere episode and this season’s finale. He becomes indignant as Jane takes one look at the first victim and says that RJ didn’t commit the murder.

  14. Nathan Says:

    I don’t think its the waiter (he’s far too fat) and I don’t think it’s Christina herself, because she just doesn’t fit the bill for me. I think the voice was too manly for Christina. I know Partridge has to at least have some sort of connection, as again, there are no coincidences on the internet. So here are my theories:
    1. Christina is a pawn of Red John.
    2. Here’s an interesting one: Red John is Christina’s brother. “Did He who made the lamb make thee?” The poem eludes to something incredibly evil made by the same creator as something good (the lamb). Maybe Christina is the lamb, and Red John is her brother. This would explain why Christina is so sure he can change (and wants him to so badly), and why she’s so sure he won’t go after her.
    3. Although I choose to believe differently, it’s still possible that Christina is Red John.

  15. alice Says:

    just so everyone knows, i’m pretty sure that when RJ said “Roll Tide”, he was telling Jane that he was he was at the restaurant when Jane was on the date with Kristina, and that he is always watching Jane wherever he goes. He’s just warning him that he can’t get away with anything behind his back. So stop saying it’s the waiter. They wouldn’t make it that obvious.

  16. Sydney Says:

    Red John mentioned Roll Tide just to let him know he was always watching him and he was never safe.

    Brett Partridge is Red John. His voice is too similar and he has only showed up twice in the show. And those two times were only when there was a COPY CAT of Red John. Most likely taking an interest to see who is imitating his work.

    Also William Blake also painted Brace of Partridge. Also giving off a clue. Because his last name is Partridge.

    And the poem does talk about something so beautiful and strong could be a killer, and how could God create such a thing. That you are in awe of this, probably just relating to him how his work is amazing and he is this great being.

    Kristina most likely knows Red John somehow, maybe her twin or old friend mentioning the symmetry in the poem. But it just seemed like she knew him too well, but I don’t believe she is Red John. They mentioned multiple times it was a male. Even the blind woman said it was a man, he had rough hands and how he smelled. Even if she cannot see blind people are not stupid. She would know if she was being visited by a man or a woman. And Bosco’s secretary kept saying He. When she was poisoned she looked at man who was dressed as a cop (we didn’t see his face) and she smiled at him big and when he touched her head it was poison. When we see the cop walk away from the back you can tell it is a guy.

  17. Sydney Says:

    touched her hand*

  18. BlueDave Says:

    I have not watched all of these but the ones i have watched are excellent. My guess would be Janes’ Father.