The Mentalist--Recap & Review--Red Queen
Rigsby speaks with a heavily accented man from the museum, who speaks glowingly about Montero as an honest antiquities dealer. He traveled a lot to South America, and had a key and security codes to the museum in order to show private buyers artifacts. Examining the body, Montero is wearing a calculator watch which reads ’6078′—or, upside down, it reads ‘blog.’
Grace found Montero’s blog, “I Dig Dead People” (get it, ’cause he’s an archaeologist?) and finds that he blogged about the pendant three weeks ago which came back with him on his most recent trip. An anonymous e-mailer had contacted him to set up a viewing. More bad news follows when there are multiple partial prints on the triceratops rib, and while more intriguing than bad, the news that Montero’s business had flourished while other antiquities dealers were shutting down or losing money is certainly of note.
Rigsby and Cho have been sent to check out Montero’s warehouse. While Rigsby is more excited about the taco truck just off the highway at first, that changes quickly as they check out the back and people are working there, loading things into a truck. A good old fashioned shoot out ensues, but they get one of the guys and find out that guns are their cargo, not precious antiques.
The man they have in custody, Salvador, reveals Montero was trafficking guns for cartels, gangs, private armies, in exchange black market antiquities. Lisbon and Jane are listening in, but he’s not fooled and knows they are being led to believe one way. He slides in to the interrogation and about the location of the body, asks if someone who was in trouble with a cartel would be found stabbed in a public museum. Salvador answers of course not, it’s too high risk.
A few minor problems with the museum scenario:
I presume the show called it a museum of archaeology and anthropology to explain the presence of Mesoamerican artifacts. That doesn't work because we see tyrannosaurus and triceratops skeletons and a hall of animals with stuffed African elephants at the end. Archaeology and anthropology aren't the same as paleontology and zoology.
The LA museum does have a hall of Mesoamerican artifacts, for which I've criticized it. As many have noted, museums shouldn't lump indigenous people with lions and tigers and bears as part of the natural world. For more on the subject, see "Native American Dioramas in Transition" and Indians in Natural History Museums.
So the show tries to correct the problem by renaming the museum, then undoes the effort by displaying dead animal bodies. Nice try, but no cigar.
These days, I think most museums acquire artifacts from other museums, private collectors, or estates. They don't dig them up themselves and
Anyway, no one on the show explained what repatriation meant. It was just good to hear it on network TV in a somewhat correct context.
All in all, Red Queen was another average attempt to portray Native issues. It didn't include any Indians on-screen. But at least The Mentalist is trying. Last spring it gave us the Aingavite Baa story featuring Indians.
For a similar TV episode, see Maya Mummy in Castle.
There's a made for tv movie in New Zealand called "The Man who lost his head" about the repatriation of a Maori artifact from a British museum - it was written by an English guy and aside from painting the township New Zealand as rather 'quaint' and eccentric (which we probably are) it deals with the issue quite well (and humourously). The film is fairly predictable and some of the characters are stereotyped (none more than Martin Clune as the stiff upperlip Englishman) but as a light hearted film that deals with a serious issue it is enjoyable.
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