How the trick is done!

So, as promised, here's an explanation of how Red John pulled the trick with his list, apparently proving that he had information that Jane didn't even have access to when the video was made. The show briefly raised the spectre of Red John being psychic, but we can dismiss that out of hand, since his plan to get information from Jane's psychiatrist proves he's working with realistic sources of information. So - how did he make his own version of the list six weeks before it existed? There's a clue in the lead-up to the reading of the list.

It's all in Lorelei's strange phrasing during the opening message, before she picks up the piece of paper. It has the stilted performance quality of her words whenever she was acting as a mouthpiece for Red John back in the season 4 finale, as opposed to all the times in which she spoke to Jane as herself. This is because, as with everything else she says in the video, the opening segment is a performance scripted by Red John.

So if all of it was a performance, why was one section off the top of her head, and another section read from a piece of paper? Simple - they recorded dozens, perhaps even more than a hundred versions of this speech, so that whatever short list Jane ended up with, there would be a version of the tape with Lorelei saying it.

This raises the question - wouldn't he have to record an absurd number of versions? Not really. Think about Jane's behaviour after finding out about the handshake. Everywhere he goes he's talking about names and jotting them down in his book. In the video Red John claims that he only found out about the list while interrogating Lorelei, but just like Jane, Red John is a magician, and that's a misdirect to keep people from seeing how the trick is done.

Look at it from Red John's point of view - once Jane breaks Lorelei out of prison, he knows that his identity could be compromised. He's fairly sure that Lorelei wouldn't tell Jane, but he also knows that there's information out there which could turn her against the cult. So the only natural thing to do after hearing that Jane has sprung Lorelei is to massively increase his surveillance of Jane. He'd quickly discover that not only does Jane not know who he is, but that Jane is busy making a list of men's names. While he wouldn't know about the handshake, the sheer volume of listed items would make it fairly simple to intuit that Jane is writing down the names of every man he's met since his family was murdered.

What about Jane's security and misdirection? Not an issue - Jane wasn't secretive about the list at all before Lorelei was murdered. He was talking about it in relatively public areas and not taking special precautions about his room. So while Bob Kirkland's information was bad because he got to the list so late, Red John's list of names would be closer to raw data. From there it would be a simple, yet time-consuming matter of figuring out who could have been at each of the Red John crime scenes.

Because he didn't have the handshake information, Red John's list of suspects probably would have been a little longer than Jane's, which would lead to Lorelei having to read many different versions of it, as she obviously did. Then it was simply a matter of waiting until the list was done, killing Jane's memory, and dropping the correct DVD off with Laura San Giacomo.

Well, not 'simply', obviously, but entirely possible and within Red John's capabilities without resorting to supernatural explanations.

And how did he know which were the final seven names to use? Again - Jane's careful with the list, but he's not that careful. For gosh's sake, he works on it in a room filled with windows which has roof access. It would not be that much of a challenge to see the short list.

So, that's my theory - join me here next time for a quick explanation of why I still think Brett Partridge is Red John, despite him being killed off in the season opener.

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