Blindspot: Eight Slim Grins (Review)

Blindspot - Season 1

Show creator Martin Gero serves up the fantastic in Blindspot and rather than expecting us to “get it,” he provides enough moments of truth to make the unbelievable palatable and acceptable.  Unlike another network’s tale set in the world of the FBI, this show pays less attention to trying too hard and more to the characters, their interaction and the mystery of the former Jane Doe.

Those who have not watched this episode yet, either waiting for HULU or for the DVD of season one to be available in shops, stop reading now.

It should come as no surprise the Jane is actually the “missing for 25 years” neighbor kid that Weller’s daddy was accused of doing away with. Taylor Swan, aka Jane Doe has shown up after all this time, covered with tattoos and proficient enough at hand to hand combat to be registered as a dangerous weapon. There is also the fact that she can use about any sort of sidearm and rifle manufactured…

As this week’s episode deals with the Candymen who are all former SEALS (something that they believe Jane is, or was) who now rob jewelry stores the world over, Patterson finds another tattoo which turns out to be an old FBI file number. She grabs the physical file and drops it off to the boss, explaining that Mayfair worked on the case.  Mayfair, tells her tech that she will look at it later.

The man from Jane’s/Taylor’s memory turns up at her safe house at the beginning of the episode and after some satisfactory unarmed combat, the man is shot before he can reveal anything of use to Jane.   At one point Jane has a tooth knocked out with the table leg her assailant uses against her.  She spits the thing out, a’ la The Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and ups her game to overpower the man.

After telling her that she cannot trust “them” (the FBI) the man from her memory is killed. Patterson finds out that the Candyman who was shot in the jewelry store has the exact same SEAL tattoo as Jane.  Jane Doe and Weller go to question the man, who is in hospital. While they are there, the seriously wounded man’s colleagues come to rescue him.

There are a couple of good fights, a decent shootout and some interesting twists and turns. Rather unsurprisingly, the dour Mayfair turns out to have a secret and her contact, (actor Michael Gaston who always plays stinkers) wants to have Jane killed in case the secret comes out.

By the end of the show, Jane finally learns who she is after Patterson reveals that the results of the DNA test prove that she is Weller’s old childhood pal, Taylor.  Mayfair decides that Jane/Taylor can now accompany the team on all assignments and she is allowed to have a gun.

This show is fantastical, a woman covered in tattoos with no idea who she is or how she got those tattoos. She is proficient at hand to hand combat, better than good with firearms and is very intelligent. The FBI let her roam around the bureau and get involved with the investigations without really knowing who she is.

Despite these more “out there” bits of the plot, the show works.  Unlike the ABC series, Quantico, which opted to use FBI training as the integral part of their suspension of disbelief and failed, Blindspot relies on the characters, plot and dialogue to sell its believability.

Example: Patterson tries to explain a finding to Agents Reade (Rob Brown) and Zapata (Audrey Esparza):

Patterson: “You guys familiar with ALPR?”

Reade: “Like the dog food?”

Patterson: “No, not… A-L-P-R… Automatic License Plate Recognition.”

In the above interaction, Reade is teasing Patterson, which Zapata recognizes and the two agents smirk at one another while the technician, in a state of what must be continual exasperation, explains what she means.

In fact, Patterson (Ashley Johnson) may just be the biggest grain of truth in the whole show. Her character is all about enthusiastically solving the riddles in front of her, whether it be the tattoos  she must decipher or tracking down a robber’s sister’s car. She is also a brilliant bit of comic relief.

Blindspot does not just have Patterson as its moments of truth, the performances also feel right.  The team, as Weller explains to Jane, has a way of doing things, a rhythm and the three performers work well enough together that this does not feel like an exaggeration.

Jaimie Alexander provides the biggest truth of all. Her character has shifted with each episode from the confused tattooed woman with a wiped memory to a more determined individual who wants to know who she really is and who did this to her.

As each episode concludes, we feel that another layer has been exposed, not peeled back, but left open just enough to tantalize both Jane and us, the audience. Blindspot airs Mondays on NBC.  This is a show that, despite its outlandish premise, works beautifully, miss this one and you will miss some quality television and performances.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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