The real Red John just went over most people's heads,
because that is what he always did within the context of the series. He is the
dark alter ego of Patrick Jane, and while RJ is aware of this, Patrick Jane is
not. At the end of the series, Red John wins.
The "official" resolution requires you to accept
that there are true psychics. S05E22 is the key episode that actually spills
the truth about Red John. Red John kills a happy memory that Jane never told
anyone about. How he knew is just an unanswered question, you say? No. Heller
saw to it that he provides an answer to that very important question - an
answer by Thomas McAllister, his FINAL WORDS: that he is a true psychic. We all
know what Jane ALWAYS said throughout the series about true psychics. Even
Heller does not believe in them: “Jane feels very strongly as I do that psychics
don’t exist" (quote from an interview with TV Line). Jane knows that this
question is unanswered, but he decides to believe he finally has Red John and
"the rest is just details".
* The only possible answer to the mystery of the happy memory is "Red John
is in Jane's head". And there are no true psychics. Just put 1 and 1
together. There is NO ALTERNATIVE interpretation that explains that.
* Also in S05E22: We learn that Patrick Jane has Irish ancestors. St Patrick's
Day in Ireland is strongly associated with the color green. GREEN JANE (bright
vowel) - RED JOHN (dark vowel). Red and green is one of the most contrasting
color pairs according to opponent process theory. The two are also
* Let's continue with duality and opposition. Did you know that William Blake's
"The Tyger" has a companion poem? It is "The Lamb". The two
stem from Songs of Innocence and Experience. Duality. Harmless Lamb - Deadly
* Lorelei used to be the beloved of Red John ... and Jane.
She told Patrick Jane exactly what Red John wanted Jane to know (that he shook
hands with Red John), leading him to the seven suspects and making him
ultimately believe Red John was dead. Also, within this story arc, Red John
tries to win him over to his side, trying to unify the two sides of his
* Whenever we hear the true Red John speaking in the series, it is Simon
Baker's voice, at a higher pitch. Whenever we see "Red John", it is a
theater orchestrated by the real Red John.
* There is a precedent of Jane killing a fake Red John. Here's the official
comment by Bruno Heller: "What
you get from that scene is what you should get. The viewer is supposed to be
convinced. Patrick Jane is certain it's Red John... The thing is, Red John is a
master of the mind game. If Red John wanted to die, maybe this is how he wanted
to die. Or maybe he just wants Jane to think he's dead." Well, he did it again, didn't he. But this
time, the audience needs to decide
whether to believe.
* Red John is afraid of heights. A point is made that McAllister is not. A
whole episode is dedicated to that topic.
* One of the strongest pieces of evidence: The Red John Smiley itself. It was
deliberately crafted to resemble the ultimate nemesis of the show. And it looks
exactly like a smiling Jane, with his characteristic eyes. There is no way that
this is a coincidence.
* Van Pelt once said to Bret Stiles that he is "good, but not as good as
Jane". Bret Stiles created a huge cult that worships him. Red John
needs to exceed that - McAllister certainly did not. Even Jane says he is
disappointed. If this is good art, and I believe it is, Red John must at least
be the equal of Jane - and the only person we ever met in the series that would
be a worthy adversary to Jane is ... Jane.
* Patrick Jane shows that he can be very cold to people. He is described as a
psychopath once, and he smiles a lot and drinks a lot of tea at the sites of
murders. He is also capable of killing, also by means of manipulating others
(in this case, Red John himself) - this is exactly Red John's method. Once you
see Jane from that angle, he assumes a wholly new dimension when appearing on
* Panzer is a model of a killer hiding in plain sight. There may be some
foreshadowing here when he says to Jane " that kind of duplicity, that
double life, i don't know how you do that". Jane also says Brett Partridge
must be a good chess player if he is Red John. Again, this is a hint at a
killer in plain sight, and we know that Jane, who fulfills a similar role regarding
the investigation of the RJ murders, is an excellent chess player.
* Throughout the series, the FBI believes Patrick Jane could be RJ. I believe
the new spin on the series after the killing of McAllister would have
ultimately seen the true reveal of RJ by the FBI, had the series continued.
* Jane speaking to Krystal (a dangerous crime boss that hides behind a harmless
fake identity) in "White Lines": "I never, uh, really tell
anyone who I actually am. That's why we're so well-matched. I think you're the
same. Well, uh... there's a real Krystal that you don't let anybody see."
This is one of the stronger pieces of evidence, and Red John speaking.
* In the final episode, I believe we also see the Red John side of PJ. He
blackmails the fraudulent jeweler to give him a hugely expensive wedding ring
which he gives to Lisbon - in an episode where Lisbon makes a point that the
two have to be honest with each other from now on. We also see a huge Jane
smile at the very end, and it is hard to overlook the Red John face. Jane also
says "We have to promise each other that we will always look on the bright
* The show ends on PJ/RJ having a wife and soon a kid again. A pleasant ending
if you look at it from the lamb side, a terrifying ending if you look at it
from the tiger side.
* Compare this to Lisbon's "Which side would you rather be on? Childish
naivete or defeated cynicism?"
* If you were the author, what would be the better story? McAllister or
Jane/John? Can we trust Heller to be a good author? The key question is -
are you lamb or tiger, innocent or experienced?