Blindspot: Authentic Flirt (Review)

Blindspot - Season 1

This week in Blindspot: Authentic Flirt, Jane and Kurt get to scrub up and attend an elite birthday party in order to obtain a list, for sale by Internet baddie “Rich Dotcom” (Ennis Esmer as a brilliant bitcoin villain) and Patterson “takes one for the team.”  Agent Zapata decides just how far she will not go as Thomas Carter’s mole and Bethany Mayfair underestimates her old CIA pal.

Out of all the television on offer Monday, Blindspot held the lead with tight plot, splendid villain; times two if one counts Carter, (so nastily played by Michael Gaston who oh so snottily threatens Zapata “You won’t like the tone of my voice” when she falters at planting a bug in Jane’s safe house) and a downbeat ending mixed with a little misplaced hope.

Patterson’s boyfriend, who should have been an ex-partner this week; David (Joe Dinicol) really should have listened to his lover when she told him to leave. Ashley Johnson’s forensic and puzzle expert tech tried to tell the man to back off. Sadly, the lad could not take a hint and is now a deceased former boyfriend. 

The show started with a man & woman wet team torturing an unfortunate victim to learn of his brother’s whereabouts and, unable to comply, the team kill the man. Patterson’s fella approaches his ladylove only to be pushed away again. Sadly his do or die attitude towards Patterson will ultimately get him killed.

Kurt has an old flame show up, but not before Zapata has another visit from Carter who orders her to plant his bug in Jane’s house. When she refuses he tells her that this is not an option. Back at the FBI lab, Patterson reveals the latest tattoo clue on Jane’s body.

After learning of the clue, Kurt, Jane, Reade and Zapata head to the address and end up killing the murderous couple from the beginning of the episode. This means that when more information becomes available, Weller and Doe must impersonate the two assassins they killed.

In terms of action and suspense, this episode delivered.  Despite ending on a mixed high note/low note, aka bittersweet twist, Zapata decides to destroy the “work of art” bug that Carter gave her and David is killed in an alley while following a woman with long hair.

Jane has more flashbacks, dealing with what looks like a relationship with someone and the “Daylight” connection from last week, Lou Diamond Phillips as Sal Guerrero, is taken out in prison while on his way to sign papers for Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). The hit has been ordered by Carter who is making his move to get Jane in his grasp.

Weller and Doe/Shaw dress to the nines and go undercover for a stolen list of names and not only regain the usb sticks but arrest the bitcoin villain.  We learn that Jane can speak Bulgarian and that Weller prefers the tattooed girl to his old flame Allison (Trieste Kelly Dunn).

By the end of the show, David has died, Jane bonds with the small FBI team, including Reade and Carter is making plans to take the illustrated woman in.

Ennis Esmer as the villain captivated and really showcased his ability to play an eccentric and fun bad guy who was just as dangerous as amusing.  Brilliant plot this week and the revelations about Jane continue to be handed out in dribs and drabs.

Kudos to Esmer, Ashley Johnson and goodbye to Joe Dinicol as David. Blindspot airs Mondays on NBC. Tune in and catch the next tattoo clue.

Blindspot: Sent on Tour – Daylight Breaks (Review)

Blindspot - Season 1

In Blindspot: Sent on Tour, the operation that CIA deputy director and all around douchebag Thomas Carter (Michael Gastonwas so concerned about, “Daylight,”  breaks the light of day, as it were, when Assistant Director of the FBI Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptistefesses up to Agent Kurt Weller at the end of the episode. The information is only revealed when the show’s villain of the week Saul Guerrero (Lou Diamond Phillips) is arrested and brought in.

Daylight remaining under wraps has been  Carter’s mantra from day one. The CIA second in command  wants Jane Doe/Taylor Shaw (Jaimie Alexander) killed in case one of her tattoos reveals details of the super secret operation.  Presumably, when Agent Zapata (Audrey Esparza) sold out Jane last week, the deputy director learned that the inked up woman was no immediate threat. 

Carter may decide to turn all his attention to Mayfair now that she has opened up to Weller.

Focus this week was on Jane and Patterson (Ashley Johnson) who allows her natural enthusiasm to override her good sense and almost gets her boyfriend arrested.  The twofold plot line had Patterson solving another tattoo puzzle and sending the FBI to a small “no man’s zone” where the local citizenry carry guns and are not afraid to shoot law enforcement officials.

Outside the FBI agency, Patterson’s boyfriend tells his girlfriend that he wants to move into her apartment.  He also continues to study the photos of Jane’s tattoos, one of which the two disagree on what it actually is. After a little freakout, about the moving in suggestion,  she goes to work. Later David (Joe Dinicol) calls Patterson and reveals that he has found the arch, that she thought was a tunnel and he felt was a covered bridge.  She meets him at the location;  the Boston Historical Society. 

While Weller, Reade, Zapata and Doe/Shaw all head to an unincorporated community in Draclyn Township located in Michigan, Patterson and David do their version of a  National Treasure scavenger hunt. As the two get caught up in their investigation Mayfair tracks them down and Patterson gets in trouble, as does her boyfriend.

In the township of Draclyn, the FBI team  find an uncooperative sheriff and Guerrero, whose file and its number are on Jane’s body as a tattoo. Mayfair has told Patterson that the case has no bearing on the Jane Doe situation and she then lies to Kurt about her role with Saul and  the file.  Guerrero is a nasty bit of work who is responsible for a multitude of murders and attempted murders on top of a whole catalogue of crimes.

Blindspot - Season 1
Agent Kurt Weller and Saul Guerrero (Sullivan Stapleton and Lou Diamond Phillips)

The team arrest him and must fight their way out of Draclyn. They follow tattoo clues on Jane’s body to get out and we learn that another of Shaw’s skills includes flying a helicopter. Oddly, Jane/Taylor is terrified of flying, getting visibly upset whenever the official aircraft hits turbulence. Later she tells Weller that it must be more about the lack of control.

Reade and Jane get a little closer and when Saul is brought in, Mayfair, who says she has history with the criminal goes to question him. Weller observes and he realizes that the suspect has never seen Mayfair before. Caught out in her lie, the assistant director begins to tell Kurt about operation Daylight.

Ashley Johnson (The Avengers, The Last of Us) plays forensic specialist and addicted puzzle solver Patterson and is, thus far, the most real of all the characters in Blindspot.  As the technician who decides to break things off with the boyfriend rather than jeopardize her job, the actress shines every time she appears in any episode.

These moments of truth, brought by Johnson’s character in any plot line, help the viewer to suspend their disbelief. The show, listed as being drama/mystery/thriller  could also include fantasy as a genre since the theme of an illustrated woman who has her memory wiped is pretty fantastical.

As viewers, however, we do not care that reality has been stretched to the point of breaking. Alexander, Sullivan Stapleton, Rob Brown and Esparza all bring a lot of conviction to their respective roles.  Stapleton is more than capable as the FBI agent everyone aspires to be and Jaimie Alexander as Jane/Taylor balances deadly female “tough nut” with vulnerability with ease.

Kudos to Lou Diamond Phillips as the “baddy of the week.”  The actor who usually plays Walt Longmire’s buddy, Henry Standing Bear, comes across as downright nasty in this episode.

Blindspot airs Mondays on NBC and continues to move at a good clip with enough going on to keep everyone entertained. While the latest episode had little in the way of hand-to-hand combat, there was a running gun battle with sporadic shoot outs between the warlike factions of Draclyn and the good guys. The ending also leaves the viewer wondering what will happen if Carter learns that Weller now knows about Daylight.

Tune in and catch this interesting drama and enjoy the action, plot lines and Ashley Johnson.

Blindspot: Cede Your Soul – Sex and the Single Dream (Review)

Blindspot - Season 1

Blindspot, Cede Your Soul sees Weller and Jane getting perhaps a little too close and when she has a single sex dream, where the partner could be Kurt, she and her lead agent decide to move back a bit.  Weller is accused of losing his objectivity and Jane’s “therapist” Dr. Borden (Ukweli Roach) suggests that the tree tattooed lover in her dream is Kurt.  

In this episode, the dark web appears as a major plot point, although not as much of a presence as in Quantico (ABC),  this “netherworld” of illegal  Internet activity makes it seem like Hollywood has a certain amount of paranoia about the lack of control over the Internet.  Regardless of this “coincidence” the dark web makes a great playground for nefarious activity which is what this storyline is all about.

A teenage girl creates a software that hacks governmental GPS tracking systems that a unscrupulous computer wiz is farming out to criminals and other assorted villains. A Saudi prince is assassinated in broad daylight and a lot of people are dying because of this software. The girl is brought in for questioning.

This week it is not the tattoo that drives the mission, but Jane does have a tattoo that matches the “tag” of the hacker. Ana Montes (Aimee Carrerois the teen girl with no family who is duped into believing that the software she developed went to the NSA. Learning that people are being murdered because of her hack, she decides to help the FBI to catch the man who lied to her.

Cede Your Soul showcased Ashley Johnson’s Patterson and for all intents and purposes Johnson ruled this particular episode. Her interaction with Montes is flawlessly comic, the two “technocrats” one teenaged and the other in mid to late 20’s was brilliant. Patterson tells the FBI agent’s in the field the it will take a few more minutes to crack baddy Shawn Palmer’s firewalls, while she furiously types in commands. Montes speaks up, reaching for the board:

“Here, why don’t you try accessing…”

Patterson: “Don’t touch my keyboard!”

Montes: (Small voice) “Okay.”

Patterson: “You are a hacker. This computer is behind the FBI firewall…No way you’re touching this kid.”

The two characters argue about which programming language to use both convince , Python versus Perl which, Montes suggests is okay if you are writing a program in the mid 90s.  The interaction between the two works well and each actor totally convince as the technocrats who know of what they speak.

The story then follows Weller and Jane as they grab an unconscious Palmer and arrest him. They take down the GPS software and Montes is allowed to go. Jane (Jaimie Alexander) offers to stay in touch with the lonely teen and when the girl returns home, Russian heroin smugglers force her to reactivate the GPS tracker system.

Cue the team coming to the kid’s rescue with the help of Patterson, whose system Montes hacks (leaving a clue that it’s her with switching the programming language from Perl to Python) and Patterson then uses the teen’s webcam to discover what is happening.

Weller and his team get there too late but Montes leaves a VIN number which tells the group where she is. Cue some intense gunplay, there is the use of an RPG by the Russians and as one tries to escape, Kurt (Sullivan Stapleton) throws a hand grenade in the back of the weapon’s filled truck and blows it, and the Russian thug driving, sky-high.

In terms of action;  explosions, shootouts and the “one-shot-one-kill” brains on the windshield shot by Doe,  this was an episode that delivered in spades. The sexy dream where it seems, at first, that Jane is getting too attached to Weller, turns out to be about someone else.

After the rescue of Montes, Weller and Jane work things out and she returns to her safe house. She invites the team in for a drink and as the camera pulls back from her rejection, we see a man who sports a tree tattoo on his arm. Is this the man in the dream…looks like it may well be.

While Carter, the CIA douche who wants to see Jane Doe dead, does not appear his presence is still felt as Agent Zapata pays off her bookie with the money that Carter paid her last week.

There is still the issue of Weller not accepting his dad’s innocence, which is odd to say the least, and the show ends with a tearful Mr. Weller senior sobbing when he learns that Taylor Shaw is alive and well.

The betrayal of Zapata resulted in an ironic pairing of the two women during the Montes rescue and one wonders just what will happen to them when Carter acts on the information sold to him by the agent.

Blindspot airs Mondays on NBC and despite falling viewing figures has been given the go ahead by the network for a full first season, unlike their Wesley Snipes vehicle The Player which NBC axed at nine episodes.   Presumably, with the latest news that some tattoos on Jane’s body could have multiple meanings the network feels Jaimie Alexander and that body of ink has a chance for longevity that Winchester, Wakefield and Snipes cannot match.

Blindspot: Split the Law – Black Sites and Gambling

Blindspot - Season 1

The world of Blindspot just got darker and more convoluted.  According to some sites the viewing figures for this Jaimie Alexander vehicle are falling.  Despite these ominous signs of slippage, Split the Law, a tattoo of the week that leads to CIA black sites, dirty bombs and the realities of gambling debts,  was entertaining.  This week sees more memories come flooding back as Jane tries to fit into the Taylor Shaw mold that Weller sees her in.

As predicted, each week has turned into a tattoo terrorist threat, but compared with the other FBI show on offer this season, this NBC series is less about procedure and more about mystery.  A sort of spy thriller set in the US where the enigma that is Jane Doe/Taylor Shaw is the biggest mystery of all.  The woman may be getting her memories back, oh so slowly, but there are still “hundreds” of tattoos to be deciphered and questions answered.

While viewing figures may be slipping the show is at least interesting and contains a strong female lead in Alexander. Other female characters in the series are also positive role models, even FBI Agent Zapata (Audrey Esparza) who, by the end of the episode takes money from CIA rotter Carter,  manages to have an expression of self loathing on her face while taking an envelope full of money.

Patterson (it is  quite interesting that on IMDb this regular character, played so well by Ashley Johnson that her character feels like the most realistic one in the show, is listed only by her surname) is another positive female role model.  Regardless of the characters in the show feeling real or not, the script allows enough leeway for each one to at least feel multidimensional.

Although Carter, the douche on two-legs who clearly wants Jane Doe dead, does feel a little like a pantomime villain.  Despite this fact,  actor Michael Gaston deserves major kudos for making this CIA boogeyman so despicable.  

The story this week involved the making of a dirty bomb and the good guys becoming confrontational after the bomb maker is caught on US soil, in a cemetery no less.

In Split the Law, a group of people are taken hostage as a coverup for the rescue of a CIA asset who was left to dangle in the wind by the agency. A number of innocent people are killed and Jane Doe helps the team figure out what really happened. The rescued man is a bomb builder who is making a dirty bomb.

Granted the plot with villains hiding amongst hostages may not be the most overtly original but the subplot itself, a CIA black site on US soil and a conniving head of operations attempting to cover up illegal operations takes the overall storyline up a notch or two.  On top of the CIA issues with Jane Doe and the FBI leader herself, the team are still divided about the tattooed woman and her presence out in the field.

Reade (Rob  Brown) even publicly sides with Carter and is chastised by Zapata afterwards because of it.

Blind Spot: Split the Law - Black Sites and Gambling

The shootout at the cemetery, where the radioactive waste is tracked down, ends with a stand off between the two agencies. Carter is stopped from shooting Jane by Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) but then walks away from the man with her back to him. (One cannot help but wonder at her confidence that this man will not shoot her in the back.)

Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) tries to get Jane to fit into the Taylor Shaw backstory and invites her to a meal with sis and his nephew. During the meal Jane gets overwhelmed with flashbacks of being led out of her house as a child.  Disturbed by the visions she leaves the meal and later explains to Weller that his expectations are upsetting to her.

By the end of the episode Weller walks out on his father, Zapata sells out to Carter and there is trouble brewing between the local FBI and the CIA.  Despite the fact that we know Tasha has a gambling debt she cannot pay, it comes as a shock to see that she, and not Reade, sells Jane Doe out to Carter.

It does seem odd that Weller cannot accept his father after learning that dad had nothing to do with the disappearance of  Taylor Shaw, aka Jane Doe. The woman may have had her memory wiped and is now covered from head to toe in tattoos but she is clearly alive. The walking out by Kurt when faced with his father is confusing. Perhaps there is more to this estrangement than meets the eye.

Blindspot - Season 1

Blindspot may be a “tattoo terrorist” of the week plot, but it is a good combination of action and subterfuge. There could be less time spent in each and every episode with Jaimie Alexander’s illustrated woman proving, yet again, how bada** she is by pummeling some hapless idiot into submission.

We get it, this woman is dangerous and a walking weapon. Let us move on and get into the meat of this mystery. Like, what was Operation Daylight and why is Carter so determined to see Jane dead?  Most importantly who put all those tattoos on the woman with all those clues, each a “foretelling” of some type of terrorist activity?

Viewers who want answers should head over to NBC on Mondays to find out.

 

 

Blindspot: Bone May Rot (Review)

Blindspot - Season 1

This week’s episode of Blindspot had a 12 Monkeys riff where a couple of the tattoo reveals (two CDC scientists) have not only used world travel to spread incurable viruses but are planning to do so again.  Bone May Rot also reveals that despite last week’s show with its DNA match, proving that Jane Doe is Taylor Shaw, it now appears she may not be the missing child from Weller’s past at all.

Question: When is DNA evidence not conclusive? Answer: When tooth enamel goes against the findings…apparently. The tooth knocked out of Jane’s mouth previously, during a knock down, drag out fight,  was analyzed by Patterson (Ashley Johnson) who learns that the makeup of the enamel shows that Jane was born in Africa.

Before this conflicting evidence is brought to the fore, Patterson’s boyfriend discovers the secret behind the two-leaf tattoo, a maple and oak leave intertwined, and this enables the woman to find part of a  logo. This logo is for the CDC.

Patterson is not too pleased with her boyfriend’s help and later has to lie about how she learned the significance of the tattoo. Bethany Mayfair is visited by the CIA “Daylight” man Thomas Carter again and the agent/operative is still anxious about what may be on Doe’s body.

We learn more about Weller’s team.  Reade tells Jane/Taylor that when Kurt is around her, he is not himself and it is revealed that Zapata (Audrey Esparza) has a gambling problem; she  owes her bookie 40K.  Weller tells Jane about “her” childhood and how he was looking after her when she disappeared. 

Jane also has a flashback to a man leading her away from her bedroom and out of a house. She learns that she has no family left at all, if she is Taylor Shaw.

Thus far in Blindspot, each deciphered tattoo has been revealed to be a threat. This week it is the spread of infectious plague-like viruses. SARS, MERS ebola and a rare strain of viral hemorrhagic fever, along with typhoid fever are all missing from a containment lab at the CDC.

As the agents, and Jane, inspect the facility the lead scientist leaves with a dangerous viral container which she sets up to go off in a crowded bus terminal. Weller and his team must isolate the mechanism that Rebecca Fine (Natalie Thomas) left to spread the infection.  When her partner-in-crime Frank Suri (Paul Fitzgerald) offers to help Kurt to stop the virus   from being spread, but really intending to let it loose,  Patterson calls  Weller and warns him in time.

This 12 Monkeys type plot device may not have included the travel but it did use the world wide infection theme (In the 1995 film, it is David Morse’s character who spreads the deadly virus around the globe via flights to all the major cities of the world.). Blindspot had two baddies, one who shoots her husband and then herself before the police can catch them and the other who tries to bring her plan to fruition despite her death.

The scene in the car where Rebecca falteringly explains what is happening to her husband just before she shoots him pointblank, and then turns the gun to blow her brains out,  is shocking and unexpected.   Later in the episode, Mayfair orders the CIA paranoiac Carter out of her office and his response is not unexpected.

Michael Gaston‘s pushy and disturbing CIA operative tells Mayfair that she needs to remember he offered to be “nice” first. Carter tells her that the next time he appears it will be bad, for everyone.

Blindspot is allowing its players to become more than two dimensional characters. The foibles of  Zapata, Murphy’s past indiscretions, Weller’s newfound vulnerability, and Reade turning out to be a pretty decent chap have all combined make the team feel more real.

Patterson (Johnson) is thus far the favorite. This puzzle-solver is funny, endearing and addictive.  The decision to place her in the show as focal point for the team and the person who can break down what each of Jane Doe’s tattoos mean, was brilliant. This episode also included a plot specific bit where “hidden” tattoos were revealed when the team go to the CDC and pass through the decontamination “ultraviolet” procedure. Pretty clever.

Blindspot - Season 1

Jaimie Alexander and  Sullivan Stapleton continue to have excellent chemistry with one another and they both bring  impressive amounts of truth to their roles, as does Ashley Johnson to her role as Patterson.  Blindspot airs Mondays on NBC, do not miss this tantalizing new show which leaves a mark on the viewer as indelible as the ink in those tattoos.

 

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