What do you do without Joe Chill?

Anyone who has followed Batman knows his parents were killed when he was only a child. Eventually the writers at DC Comics gave the killer a name… Joe Chill.

Joe Chill is the unseen presence that was the goal for Batman. A name for that haunting desire for revenge that kept the Dark Knight forever vigilant on protecting Gotham City. Yes, there would be far worse villains than the weasel face little man; the Joker has killed hundreds of people, but Chill holds more power over the hero than super villain.

Over the years there have been stories where Batman came close to capturing Joe Chill, and in some Chill has been captured, or killed. But all the same he remains the cancer created the Batman. The death of his parents always there when he’s hunting down killers

I bring this up because of a television show I’ve been enjoying for the last few years called THE MENTALIST.

In the show, a serial killer murdered the wife and daughter of our lead character Patrick Jane years earlier. He has been working with the police (The CBI, California Bureau of Investigation. They didn’t want to use the FBI,) helping them solve crimes, but his real desire is to hunt down the killer Red John.

Red John is Joe Chill for The Mentalist.

Last season every episode was building to Patrick confronting or possibly killing Red John. And so that is what happened.

After watching the season ender I was certain the next season would take the series in a new direction. Patrick will have finally solved the case that has been his life for so many years. To me the new season would be: What does The Mentalist do now?

If Batman captures or kills Joe Chill the purpose of his very existence comes to an end. Can Bruce Wayne move on with his life? Can he put the cowl away and lock up the batcave? Or does he keep going because he knows that the mission continues… (forget the fact that many of the super villain exist because Batman exists.)

The Mentalist’s new season began this past week (I’ll try to keep the SPOILERS to a minimum) with him going to jail for the murder at the end of last season. Through out the episode his sanity is questioned, but his team sticks with him to the end.

So once he’s released from jail he should be able to move on with his life, which is what I wanted to see. To see how he can continue help the police (CBI) when he no longer has the obsession. It would be interesting to see the change and development of his character.

But (and here’s the SPOILER), the episode ends on Patrick telling his partner that the man he killed wasn’t his nemesis, and that Red John is still out there.

It was a rather disappointing way to start the new season.

There are two ways that I believe the series will go from here: 1) Red John is alive and manipulated the whole thing, and will show up every so often through the season (usually one of his followers will get involved and not himself.) Been there, done that. 2) The other way is that Patrick Jane’s psychosis won’t allow himself to admit the villain is gone; otherwise he has nothing left to live for.

This second direction is the way I am hoping the show goes will. Because I really want to see Patrick get on with his life, find out that there are more important things in his life than an archenemy. Maybe he might discover things already close by.

There is one more direction his character might take, but I’m pretty certain that a light detective show like The Mentalist would never go, and that would be to reveal that Patrick Jane is Red John. That would be a real depressing way to end the series.

What I really want to see is what happens to Batman when Joe Chill is no longer out there.

In THE MENTALIST what I really want to see is what happens to Batman when he’s finally solved his parent’s murder and Joe Chill is no more.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.