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: 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.

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