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: 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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