Blindspot s4 ep 13

*SPOILERS*

It’s been a week of unspeakable horrors in the real world, and really not the most sensitive time to be showing a Blindspot episode about people trying to bring down a plane. Which means I’m now wondering whether I should be writing about it all, but I don’t suppose I’d be helping anybody by pretending it wasn’t on, and, in fairness, this Blindspot is thankfully very different from this week: love, friendship and teamwork triumph, the plane stays exactly where it’s supposed to be and everyone goes home to their loved ones at the end. Thank God. (Except Tasha, of course. “Once a lone wolf…”)

So while I might not have been in the best mood for it, this episode is pretty terrific – fast, exciting, and surprisingly sweet and moving too. Everyone works brilliantly together as well: Rich and Boston are both particularly terrific, Jane and Weller are disconcertingly cheerful and angst-free (seriously, have we ever seen them this light-hearted before?) and even Zapata is infinitely less of a sad sack and much more engaging than usual, thanks to the aforementioned Mr Arliss Crabb. Team Tat for the win! Great stuff.

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Blindspot s4 ep 12

*SPOILERS*

Jane is in hospital, in the final stages of ZIP poisoning and uncharacteristically freaking out. (I’m not saying her fear and distress isn’t completely understandable, I’m just saying it’s not very Jane-ish.) Kurt, by her side, is doing his best to be loving and supportive, but love and support aren’t going to be enough, you guys, what we need is a quest! Yes, the only way to save Jane is to get the Stanton cells (which have gone from not really existing, to there being only one set in the world, to there now being a second…. by next week, they’ll be 3 for 2 in Tesco). And the only way to get the Stanton cells is to exchange them for the BOOK. OF. SECRETS. We’re going on a treasure hunt!

Happily, by “we”, I mean unpopcult’s favourites Patterson and Rich because, although Blindspot as a show is probably as close to done as Jane is for most of this ep, the PATDOTCOM double-act is only just getting started. So off they go to Peru to have an absolute ball finding EL LIBRO, and as Jed has commented before, the show’s commitment to location work makes a massive difference – that they really do go to Peru, and it looks amazing makes what was already going to be a delightful episode even better. Well, that and the fact that Ennis Esmer and Ashley Johnson are wonderful, and clearly having the best time together, and I love them. Yay!

And, by way of bonus, now that they’ve saved Jane, it looks like PATDOTCOM are going to try to save Zapata and her storyline too, which can only be a good thing. Not because I particularly like Zapata (I don’t), but because her storyline has been nothing but po-faced, unmitigated angst forever and I feel like I have been bored with it and her for my entire life. Even just adding Boston this week lightened things up considerably on that front. Imagine what adding PATDOTCOM could do….

Blindspot s4 ep 11

Well, thank goodness for that. Blindspot’s sense of humour returns this week as everyone (except Zapata; the writers are too enraptured with her tragic heroine narrative to give it even a minute’s rest) gets to send themselves up in a true crime/ murder mystery pastiche making loving fun of them all.

Long story short: the team investigate the murder of superfan Kurt’s favourite mystery writer, and in doing so have to solve the “real-life” (in Blindspot’s universe, not ours) murders in his unfinished final manuscript. Which features Team Tat in starring roles.

To add to all the fun, there’s finally a bit of PATDOTCOM romance (or PETDOTBIZ, to be strictly accurate: everyone is very clear, to my chagrin, that the only way this particular ship will ever hit the water is in fantasy sequences like these) and the heightened versions manage the difficult trick of catching the essence of the “normal” characters and their emotions besides, while also cheerfully, charmingly acknowledging their innate ridiculousness. Lovely. Of course, it’s not all fun and games – Jane’s in dire straits, and Zapata is doing whatever she’s doing – but it’s the best episode since the mid-season hiatus by miles. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Blindspot s4 ep 10

*SPOILERS*

The mid-season doldrums continue. Story arc 1 – “Save Jane, save the world!” – stomps out the usual predictable beats: There’s a lead! There’s a conspiracy! Bye, cure! Hello, new lead for next time! Story arc 2, meanwhile – “WTF is Tasha doing?” – finally starts to get a move on, but since it overstayed its welcome ages ago, I don’t care. Tasha sulks, Reade sulks, the CIA stomp all over everything – zzz.

There are two very good scenes, though: Rich, in the van, talking redemption with Jane is lovely and another reminder (as if we needed one) that Rich makes everything better; and Zapata at Coma Keaton’s bedside looking distraught strikes a surprisingly genuine note of bone-deep sadness, as opposed to fear, guilt or Tasha’s default sullenness. The rest is Blindspot going through the motions.

Blindspot s4 ep 9

*SPOILERS*

Blindspot returns this week, with a very high concept but sadly fairly low entertainment value episode set mostly inside Jane’s head. (Once she and Kurt have given each other a really brutal beat-down, that is.) Only just surviving the fight, he manages to dose her with the magic blah formula so Patterson, Rich and Dr Agent Whose Name I’ve Forgotten can administer the magic blah brain treatment which might kill her or destroy her higher cognitive functions, but seems unlikely to do either since this is a network procedural and she’s the female lead.

Anyway, this magic fix is very simple: you strap a comical-looking brain helmet/ swimming cap with electrodes onto Jane’s head and you stand around freaking Kurt the hell out by continually telling him that when the treatment works it’s very, very good, and when it doesn’t, it’s horrid. And you look sympathetic and worried while most of the “real” action – I use this term very loosely, since it’s not only not “real” because it’s a tv show, it’s not actually “real” on that tv show either – happens in her brain.

As Jane and Remi duke it out for control, Jaime Alexander and her stunt double put in a load of work, a few familiar faces (some less welcome than others) pop in to visit and there are some nice callbacks to more fun times (The Big Chair of Truth! The painting with the bullets!), but it’s just not enough to redeem an “experimental” episode which probably seemed like a great idea on the page but comes across as a load of slightly tedious psychobabble on screen. And is far too heavy on the Doe family therapy for me at least. I’m glad Jane’s back, and I’m glad Blindspot’s back too, but I’d really like the rest of the season to be set in the physical world as opposed to the mental one, even if that means we’re now swapping the “Is Jane Really Evil Now?” story for the “Is Zapata?!” one.

Public Service Announcement 12 of 2019: Blindspot, The Great British Sewing Bee

I’ve been in a bit of a weird mood with tv recently – there are thousands of things I could watch, and hundreds of things people keep telling me are excellent (*cough* Russian Doll *cough*), but very little that’s floating my boat. I keep trying shows that everyone else loves and either shrugging my shoulders or outright hating them. What is WRONG with me? (Don’t answer that.) To take my mind off this existential crisis/most first world problem ever, then, I’m very relieved to see the return of the reliably, unapologetically bonkers Blindspot, which probably has more than its fair share of flaws but also has the Patterson and Rich Dotcom dream team I so desperately need to perk my viewing back up again. Team Tat are back on Sky Witness at 10pm tomorrow (Monday) with the second half of season 4, and I’m on review duties as usual.

At the other end of the sanity spectrum meanwhile, I’m also delighted to see The Great British Sewing Bee has finally made it back out of tv limbo and back onto U.K. screens. Season 4 was shown in 2016, but then the BBC and Love Productions fell out over the Bake Off and there were rumours buzzing (sorry) that the poor Bee got caught in the middle. Who knows? Either way, it’s back on BBC 2 on Tuesday night at 9pm, with Joe Lycett replacing Claudia Winkleman as host. It’s not my usual type of show, and I really don’t have a craftsy bone in my body – I can sew an errant button back on, but that’s about it – but there’s something weirdly comforting about the Bee, and I have a sizeable crush on super-handsome judge Patrick Grant, so bring on the pins and the patterns, woo hoo!

Blindspot s4 ep 8

*SPOILERS*

It’s the mid-season finale, so the stakes are astronomical but, on Blindspot, when are they not? “A ballistic missile is inbound to New York!” Patterson announces. “Er… again?” I wonder. Team Tat is trying to stop a nuclear attack, you guys, so it must be … Monday.

In fairness though, they do an excellent job of making this one seem even more apocalyptic than usual, with lots of chat about evacuation (though, really, how far is anyone going to get in 37 minutes?) and staying till the end and calling our respective soulmates even though they might be in a mood with us or maybe even threatening to kill us and bring down global civilisation as we know it. Relationships go through rough patches, y’know, and this is a nuclear weapon we’re dealing with.

Except – hurrah! – it’s not! Since Weller very sensibly fills PatDotcom in on the whole Dr Jane/Ms Hyde Remi situation early doors, Team Tat’s axis of awesomeness works out it’s a trick pretty quickly, but the CIA and their extremely half-hearted black site evacuation protocols – 2 agents in a van? That’s it? Really? – are unmoved. So Remi and Fauxman spring Shepherd (albeit a significantly older and keener-on-a-quiet-life Shepherd) and it is ON. By which I mean, Operation Save Jane Whether She Likes It or Not is ON: Weller is in charge of driving very fast and getting shot at, and Rich and Patterson handle the snazzy tech, with a significant assist from one Boston Arliss Crabb who is very sorry he accidentally caused international nuclear panic, and hopes very much that you won’t make him go back to Supermax because of it, please.

Luckily for Boston, nobody will. I struggle to believe he’d get off quite that easily, but plausibility has always been a rare commodity on Blindspot and since I’m momentarily furious when it looks like he’s actually going to take the fall for NotJane, I’m quite pleased that realism ends up taking the hit instead.

With Boston taken care of then, the plan is for Patterson and Rich (who, lest we forget, are not actually doctors) to attempt some completely experimental, possibly fatal and definitely crazy brain surgery to try and get Kurt’s best girl back. Weitz and “Ed”, meanwhile, are in Mexico trying to get Reade’s best girl back, which means that this half-season really is all about rough patches in relationships, huh?

Of course, it’s a tad too much of a coincidence that Madeleine dashes off just in time for Team Zap to corner their erstwhile colleague alone – did Madeleine know they were coming? If so, I hope it’s not because Weitz is on her payroll. He’s been one of the surprise pleasures of the season so far and I want him to hang around but I don’t think secretly working for Ms Burke is going to help with that. Who knows, though? Team Tat and the show obviously think even actual murderers Remi and Zapata can eventually be welcomed back into the fold, so maybe taking a little coin from this year’s global supervillain doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker, after all.

Anyway. The show’s winter run has had some terrific eps and some not-so-terrific eps, and we end this pretty good one with half of the team trying to corral rogue agent no.1, the other half trying to corral rogue agent no.2 and Remi and Kurt running right at each other, which is a great final scene, even if the supervillain in me wonders why Remi doesn’t just shoot him. I guess Kurt’s right and there’s a lot more Jane left in the lady after all.