Blindspot: Season 1 Episode 11 – Shoot Anybody That’s not Us (Review)

Blindspot manages to crank things up nicely with Cease Forcing Enemy after the show’s midseason break.

Blindspot - Season 1

Blindspot manages to crank things up nicely with Cease Forcing Enemy after the show’s midseason break. Episode 11 lets the viewer finally learn who Jane Doe really is, like no-one had actually  guessed already, and Sullivan Stapleton’s character (Weller) gets the best line ever with:

“Shoot anybody that’s not us.”

Jane was rescued by tree tattoo guy before the break and after he cuts her free, they spend a little time sparring until Doe gets the upper hand. Despite the video message from her “prior self” Jane does not trust the information passed on. Although she does comply with his request to get rid of the protective detail.

Later, back in New York,  Agent Patterson (Ashley Johnson) works out another tattoo’s meaning. This one sends the team to the Black Sea. Zapata started to turn in her letter of resignation but changed her mind when she learns of Carter’s possible demise.  After Weller and the rest head to Ankara, Turkey the New York Office director gets an unwanted visitor.

Jonas Fischer (John Hodgman) from the Office of Professional Responsibility arrives to investigate the death of Patterson’s boyfriend and clearly the man is a major douche who wants to use this investigation as his chance to push Assistant Director Bethany Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) out of her position. Overly long sentences aside, the animosity between these two character is intense and almost palpable.

Before Fischer shows up, the FBI team discover a long missing jet (PA 921) and  after boarding the deserted aircraft, the agents are surrounded and captured by terrorists. The same group who were trying to explode the dirty bomb earlier in the season.

This episode of Blindspot offered the perfect blend of parallel storylines for maximum entertainment and gave the viewer a chance to see just who Agent Patterson really is and what she can do. It also gave Weller’s team another in the field experience with a different setting  and a change  in action.  It also proved that Mayfair, despite her shady backstory with Carter, is really a “good guy.”

Patterson, we learn,  is not just a techno-geek, she has mad math skills and the ability to think on her feet. Not only does she save the day when Weller and Jane are attempting to stop the plane with its deadly cargo, but she can do long and complex math calculations in her head.

Patterson: “Yes, you can for sure maintain enough air speed. I did the math.”

Fischer: “How? Where?”

Patterson: “In my head, where math is done. Please, don’t interrupt.”

Show creator/executive producer Martin Gero, along with episode director Rob Seidenglanz, manage to run a two pronged suspense build in this segment where the “suspension” of Patterson via the uncomfortable Q & A by Fischer is just as tense as the escape attempt by Weller and his team.

By the end of Cease Forcing Enemy all the female characters prove to be very strong individuals. Patterson shows that a petty bureaucrat (Fischer) cannot bully her, Mayfair proves that she can and will push to save her people, Zapata can take a zapping and still hold her own and Jane Doe is still the New York Office’s ultimate bad a**.

Not only does Jane/Taylor land a “dead” jet, but she was the one who saved the day when Weller was strapped in a chair and about to be killed.  These separate storylines Patterson’s and Doe’s, intertwined beautifully when Patterson managed to save the day also, whilst in the middle of being suspended by Fischer.

Despite Doe (Jaimie Alexander) proving her skills in combat yet again, she also shows her “savior” that regardless of her “own”  message, Jane will only comply under her rules.

Bethany Mayfair now has more pressure on her and her position and while it has been revealed that Doe is Taylor Shaw, there is still enough doubt to make this “fact” somewhat ess than trustworthy.

Blindspot manages to keep things interesting and this midseason premiere has lifted the show from its “tattoo” a week premise. Sullivan and Alexander still have that splendid chemistry and Ashley Johnson proves that her acting chops are more than impressive.

This series airs Mondays on NBC. Tune in for the tattoos, by all means, but stay for the great writing, brilliant acting and excellent storylines.

Blindspot Mid-Season Finale: Turning Into Total Recall (Review)

After making his move last week, CIA baddie Carter finally gets his hands on Jane in Blindspot and the mid-season finale, after a number of twists and turns, suddenly turns into Total Recall.

Blindspot - Season 1

After making his move last week, CIA baddie Carter finally gets his hands on Jane in Blindspot and the mid-season finale, after a number of twists and turns, suddenly turns into Total Recall. Granted, the series could also be said to have turned into a modern version of Memento (2000) a film that also dealt with a  protagonist with memory problems who leaves messages for himself.

This episode, overall, was chock full of some great plot threads. Patterson (Ashley Johnson) personally going after the murderers of her former boyfriend David, the Russian sleeper angle, and Carter getting his mitts on Jane Doe and using torture to learn what she really knows. Added to these splendid storylines is the reveal that Jane has done all this to herself.

Cue the Total Recall moment.

Fans of the first “TR” (the Arnold Schwarzenegger film that was a bit more faithful to the Philip K. Dick source) will remember Wade (Arnold) watching a video of himself explaining who he really is. The opening moment of Wade’s video has Arnold saying, “Howdy, stranger! This is Hauser. If things have gone wrong, I’m talking to myself and you don’t have a wet towel around your head.”

In Blindspot, right after Carter is shot, the man with the tree tattooed on his forearm, shows Jane a smartphone video where Jane tells “herself” that:

“If you’re watching this, the mission is going as planned.”

Of course this opening, while evocative of the Total Recall scene, has a different punch line, unlike Wade, Jane is not someone else, but she is the one who did all this. The tattoos, the memory wipe, calling the FBI, everything was done by her, not some mysterious entity. The man with the tattoo is Oscar and Jane learns that he can A) be trusted and B) he is there to help.

Overall, Evil Handmade Instrument is a “Mary Poppins” episode, (practically perfect in every way) there are enough interwoven plot points to keep things interesting, the reveal at the end of the episode is surprising and Jaimie Alexander continues to do her fight scenes with a  staunch realism that impresses.


There are a few issues.  The Russian sleeper cell uncovered by Patterson, who are responsible for David’s death, feels a bit too John le Carré,  in other words too cold war.  That said, with real world Russian leader Putin,  the cold war, as such, may become a new reality.

Another problem is the Patterson storyline where the forensic expert manages to perfectly bluff the Russian female agent into spilling her guts.  Part of the charm of Johnson’s character has been her awkward interaction with other people, for the character to suddenly be able to function coldly and cooly enough to trap the agent does beggar belief somewhat.

On the plus side, Michael Gaston proves that he can play real stinkers with an impressive aplomb.  Carter shows that nothing is beneath him when it comes to Jane Doe and it is obvious that the “black hole” he promises to send Doe to is, in fact,  a hole six feet deep.  The only complaint about the scene,  where he switches from waterboarding to a power drill to interrogate Jane in the deserted building, comes from the rather quiet gunshots that dispatch the CIA baddie with extreme prejudice.

In that enclosed area, the sound should have been deafening, not the little popping noises on offer.

Kudos to Heidi Germaine Schnappauf who, as  stunt performer, has followed the time honored tradition of switching to actor and acquitted herself quite well. Despite there being a minimal amount of dialogue for her character Heidi not only makes the fight sequence look very real, but she also rocks it as the redheaded Russian cell member.

In terms of series bad guy, mad props go  to Gaston as Carter. This actor knows how to be a proper villain.

Blindspot - Season 1
Carter having some last words with Mayfair…

Anther complaint has to do with Jane’s sneaking off to meet with Weller, and giving him  some serious after dark PDA while she is there. Granted, the storyline is about appreciating the one you have feelings for before losing them, but overall, it was one of those “too convenient” moments. Of course if she did not sneak away from her security detail Carter could not have caught her…

Patterson’s speech to Jane was tear inducing and much more believable than her sudden interrogation expertise.  Ashley Johnson is a brilliant actress and this scene proves it; chops to the Nth degree and a delivery that is flawless.

Blindspot ends on the note that Jane now “knows” that she has orchestrated the events leading to the present. It is a “mission” and it is going to plan.  Now all the remains is for the series to return in the new year and reveal what that plan is.

The sudden change of the series into Total Recall may be  trifle annoying, but hey, this is television with some great twists, turns, and sudden surprises. Show creator Marcos Siega has given us a series with a great storyline that challenges and keeps the viewer guessing.  For fans of  Blindspot, January 2016 cannot get here quick enough. 

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.

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