Blindspot s4 ep 22

*Season finale SPOILERS*

Part 2 of the season finale and the gang are not in a great place – and I don’t mean Iceland, which looks glorious. Reade has found out about Kurt’s deal with Weitz, so it’s not just bad feeling that’s flying about, but a few fists as well. “Hey!” shouts Weitz. “Does someone want to explain to the FBI Director why his FBI team is fighting in an FBI locker room?” I would have added “During a crisis which could lead to global disaster if we don’t get our FBI asses in gear,” myself, but each to their own. Either way, the answer to his question, is non-committal, so back we go to trying to save the world instead.

The first of many obstacles to this, however, is that Kathy, now a fully paid-up member of Evil Madeline Inc, is apparently switching off North America’s lights – Rich’s “Oh, Canada!” made me laugh – from a secret baddie lair under the Perlan Museum in Iceland. Weitz won’t officially authorise the trip to go stop her because there have been just a few too many dead bodies as a result of previous Team Tat missions and Jane’s “OK, well what if we promise you zero body count this time?” really isn’t enough to convince him. (Weitz’s “That’s expected all the time!”, accompanied by his delightfully incredulous expression made me laugh again.) The world still has to be saved though, so Original Team Tat head off on their “unsanctioned” Icelandic excursion, while most recent signing Rich stays behind to try and crack Evil Madeline Inc’s masterplan.

While Team Tat are busy truth-bombing their way through their “tension-filled flight to Iceland” – don’t think I didn’t notice you standing up for the absent Rich, Patterson, SQUEE! – however, Evil Madeline Inc somehow manages to take over the FBI in the most annoying fashion possible. It involves a lot of speechifying, and lying, but it’s the speechifying that is insufferable. Shut. UP. Madeline. Even Weitz thinks it’s ridiculous, but resistance ultimately proves futile, so he sort of plays along and the press conference thing he does is BAD, but in fairness he also tries to help Rich a bit and – SPOILER – I’m pretty sure he saves the rest of Team Tat’s lives at the end, so as Team Tat bosses go, he’s really not that bad. And he’s funny. *Shrugs*

Anyway, Evil Madeline Inc’s Big Idea turns out to be framing Team Tat and destroying the FBI from within for reasons which become increasingly demented and shouty as the episode goes on. Shut. UP. Madeline. Because Team Tat are heroes, dammit – or really because Jane insisted it was the right thing to do, how’s that for “not an FBI agent,” huh, Reade? – they carry right on world-saving, though, undeterred by the fact they are now the subjects of an international arrest operation authorised by no less exciting a personage than “the Icelandic Minister” – albeit the Icelandic Minister of what is never explained. In fact, the whole manhunt thing turns out to be something of a bonus, morale-wise, since there’s nothing like a worldwide frame-up to bring Team Tat closer together again. Although it does take jumping out of a plane together to do it. I say again, Iceland looks GLORIOUS.

With a little help from Rich’s friend Ice Cream and a delightfully silly fake hostage situation then, – I mean, I’m sure it’s awful for the unwittingly fake hostages, but the Wellers are having such a good time with it, Kurt even winks! – the lights are back on across the world, Team Tat are on the run but loving life in a charming Icelandic safe house all compromised friends again, and we’re on the cusp of finding out the greatest mystery of all: what IS Patterson’s first name?

Except that Nash and Evil Madeline Inc have our beloved Rich locked up on a very sinister-sounding “boat”, and then they DRONE the living daylights out of the Icelandic safe house and maybe out of Team Tat! Which would make the next, final season both very depressing and considerably cheaper to make, but I don’t think we should worry unduly. There are tunnels, y’know. TUNNELS. Team Tat will be fine, I suspect, and hopefully the final season will see them bring down Evil Madeline Inc, rescue Rich and, IF THEY CARE ABOUT ME AT ALL, give us lots more PatDotcom and a lot less wittering on about Bethany. Apart from any time Madeline showed up, this was a fun finale for an ok season – there were some good episodes, some terrific ones, and some really best forgotten, but that’s what happens with a twenty-odd episode procedural season. Blindspot’s unabashed commitment to the utterly bonkers throughout continues to be admirable though, as does its increasingly healthy sense of humour. The less seriously it takes itself any given week, the better it is, so here’s hoping the final, shortened season means cutting out all the angst/filler, and focusing on the fun stuff. Either way, unpopcult has come this far. We’re with Patterson, Rich and the rest of Team Tat till “the bitter end” as well.

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Blindspot s4 ep 21

*SPOILERS*

A surprisingly dull episode this, given that we have a plot to shut down the entire US power grid, a prisoner transport vs rocket launcher disaster, Madeline (who has somehow managed to get a full cut and blowdry in prison) doing her usual, Dominic doing his usual, a CIA/FBI jurisdictional turf war (so, their usual) and Reade, Weitz and Weller in some sort of bro-mantic triangle of jealousy and intrigue. Actually, I’ve made that last bit sound significantly more interesting than it is, and the rest is very much nothing new, so maybe it’s not all that surprising the episode is so dull after all. Patterson and Rich are not given anywhere near enough to do, Reade and Zapata continue to dance round each other, and even Weitz at his Weitziest can’t liven things up all that much. Keaton coming back does provide a bit of a spark – especially when Zapata scoffs at the idea of shaking his hand and throws herself into his arms instead, SQUEE!!!! – but he gets shuffled off to Malta (!) very quickly to try and stop anyone other than me noticing his chemistry with Tasha is off the charts while Reade’s is at a very low peep, and I’m so bored with Dominic the supervillain I struggled to care about any of the rest of it. Except the last scene, which is great, but not much consolation for 40ish minutes of decidedly tepid TV. And talking of tepid: ENOUGH with Weller wah-wah-wah-ing on about Bethany, FFS. It’s Blindspot not Babyspot. ARGH.

Blindspot s4 ep 20

This episode is a bit weird. The main plot is fine in theory, if a bit uninspiring in execution: old adversary/ championship-level smirker Sho Akhtar insists there’s “gonna be an attack in New York tonight/ tomorrow!” – when is there not, fella? – but is evasive as to the where/ when/ how do we stop it details. The interrogation and investigation is hindered by the fact that a shiny new computer system is being installed at Tat HQ which, as everyone who has ever worked in an office anywhere will know, guarantees that the thing will stop/ crash/make-you-question-its-parentage-loudly-and-with-expletives at EXACTLY the moment you need it to work, and the episode itself is hindered by the fact that almost everyone on Team Tat is suddenly obsessed with children. That’s the weird bit. Bethany is visiting Kurt and Jane (no word on who’s babysitting when they have to dash out to deal with Sho) and this means that there’s a load of chat throughout the ep about a) how awesome Bethany is and b) how Team Tat need to stop Tatting and start living raising/adopting children because kids kids kids kids KIDS.

The thing is, I’m sure Bethany is lovely, but if I wanted this kind of chat, I’d log onto Mumsnet instead of watching a demented procedural about a former amnesiac terrorist and her friends saving the world one tattoo at a time. And as for Patterson suddenly wanting to adopt because of the awesomeness of Bethany (What gives? Does the kid do magic or something?), the idea of PatDotcom raising a baby genius together is very cute but I’d rather they, uh, did some other stuff together instead. All of this Bethany/babies/ let’s-stop-being-superheroes -and-settle-down chat all at once – even the week’s potential victim takes a moment to weigh in on the topic – seems more likely to have been motivated by the thought that “hm, the show might be on the cusp of cancellation, we should start setting up a family-friendly reason to stop saving the world/ happily ever after for everyone just in case” rather than being the product of organic storytelling. And since a) I don’t have a maternal bone in my body and b) kids, however adorable they may be, are never anywhere near as fascinating to anyone else as they are to their parents, all of this just leaves me a bit nonplussed and means that, despite some fun lines from Rich and Pattycakes, the only time the story really catches fire is when the baddie pours solvent on Reade’s trousers and lights’em up.

While the rest of the team are picking out nursery colours and talking about moving forward with their lives, however, Reade and Zapata are in a holding pattern, as they determinedly continue to not date even though they really want to date and there is no good reason not to. I am so TIRED, you guys. I don’t have any emotional investment in Rapata/Zapeade/whatever, but if they could just get ON with it and then we could all move forward with our lives, whether nursery-based or not, that would be great.

All of which means that, bizarrely, the best part of the episode  turns out, against all odds, to be the Brianna C-plot which is all about how important it is to appreciate your employees/co-workers, give them room to develop and praise them for a job well done. Aw. It might not always stop them from committing various felonies, but it’s nice to be nice.

Public Service Announcement 33 of 2019: Deadwood, Always Be My Maybe, Blindspot

We’ve been a little quiet round here recently, but that’s not to say there’s nothing on. The days of tv slowing down for summer are long gone – the next couple of weeks alone will bring new Designated Survivor, new Killing Eve, new Handmaid’s Tale and new Big Little Lies amongst LOADS of others, with the (not entirely concrete, date-wise) promise of new Private Eyes and new Poldark also hovering somewhere over the horizon. We’ll be back to talk about all of them and more nearer their air dates but, meantime, a quick heads-up for some of this weekend’s tv fare.

First up is the return of hard-hitting period Western drama Deadwood, one of those serious auteur shows which critics and its fans love in a really devoted way but is very clearly not my type of thing. The show was cancelled somewhat unceremoniously in 2006 after three seasons, and there’s been vague talk of a movie to finish it off properly for years. Finally, it’s all come together – creator David Milch and the beloved cast including Ian “Lovejoy” McShane and unpopcult favourite Timothy Olyphant are back tonight (Saturday) on Sky Atlantic at 9pm with a fitting send-off for the show, if delighted critical reaction is to be believed. I’m quite pleased it’s all worked out, to be honest: I can be quite confident that something’s not for me while also wishing it well. If you’re a Deadwood fan, enjoy, and I genuinely am happy for you.

Way, way, way at the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, is Netflix’s latest romcom Always Be My Maybe (streaming now) which not only has the benefits of a cast including caustic comedienne Ali Wong and movie legend Keanu Reeves (playing against type as the romantic competition rather than the hero), but will also remind everyone of this joyous piece of pop perfection. If that’s not enough to tempt you, I don’t know what is.

And finally for today, with the number of “breaks” it’s had recently I feel like I’ve PSA’d Blindspot almost as regularly as I’ve watched it, but here we are. Season 4 resumes again on Monday night at 10pm on Sky Witness. Since this is episode 20 of 22 and the season finale has now aired in the US, I’m hoping we’ll get a clear run to the finish line this time, but who knows?

Blindspot s4 ep 19

I’ve dawdled a bit with this post since Blindspot, having only just returned,  is taking yet another break – I think the announcer said it won’t be back till 3rd June – but in the meantime, against the odds, the show’s been renewed for a fifth and final season. I’m fine with that. I would’ve been happy enough with it ending this season too, but as long as the fifth season involves plenty of Rich and Patterson and the continued possibilities that a) PATDOTCOM might happen and b) they get their own spin-off, I am ON BOARD.

This instalment, meanwhile, not only has plenty of Rich and Patterson, but so many other things going on that, when sitting down to write this, I couldn’t remember the case of the week, even though the case of the week is characteristically demented: Russian spies, Juliet from Lost and a satellite equipped with live nuclear missiles which can be launched from space. Sure, why not?

All of that’s wrapped up with minimal fuss and minimal staff, though, since most of the cast is occupied elsewhere. Kurt dips in and out of satellite-gate, since he’s busy tracking down his mum, finding out from Jane that he didn’t quite know the truth about his childhood after all, paying cash money to save Mrs W from gangsters she’s in tow with (that bit seems counter-intuitive for, y’know, FBI agents), and possibly sending her to rehab. Jane makes tea (so. much. tea.) and provides sympathy for Ma Weller. And Rich and Patterson are alarmed (as am I) by the fact that Krazy Kathy – who, let’s not forget, kidnapped two FBI agents, electrocuted them with shock collars and threatened to kill them – is not only out of jail after serving about five minutes of her sentence, but is up to her old hacking tricks again, complicating their lives somewhat since Reade is not going to be able to ignore the Three Blind Mice issue forever.

I liked it all, but Patterson and Rich’s story is far and away the funniest and the best, as usual, thanks to Kathy’s dream wedding plans, Rich’s “tongue”-coloured suit, Patterson just having “so much money” and the completely ridiculous twist at the end. Good times.

Blindspot s4 ep 18

*SPOILERS*

Genetically modified killer bees carrying a deadly toxin are killing people by way of poisoned melons, and Bill Nye the Science Guy might be the secret villain behind it. No, really. We’ve always said that a big part of why we love this show is its unapologetic ridiculousness, and this week’s jaunty nonsense is a worthy addition to the Big Book o’Bonkers that passes for plots on Blindspot. Sure, “What’s Her Name” is still being a Debbie Downer (although that scene at the end where she falls asleep after Reade tucks her in is very sweet), but everyone else is having a happily wacky time investigating whether Patterson’s Dad/ Kurt’s greatest hero really is the kind of “Science Guy by day, Poison Guy by night” who would deliberately develop cantaloupe as a murder weapon. After all, you would think Rich really would know a secret bad guy when he sees one.

There might well be something more than just tetrodotoxin in the air, meanwhile, as we somehow find out that Teen Remi loved toucans and wrote Goth poetry (WTF?), Bill Nye is a PATDOTCOM shipper (OMG finally – SQUEEEEE!) and Kurt’s mum might have been a Sandstorm informant (EH?). Throw in some ridiculous bee puns, Weller’s fanboy grin, Patterson being jealous over birthday lasagne and a frankly terrific move when Jane runs, jumps and apologetically locks the hapless culprit in a van with a swarm of angry buzz-killers (sorry), and I’m more than happy enough. It’s not the greatest Blindspot ever, but it’s good fun.

Blindspot s4 ep 17

*SPOILERS*

As situations of mortal peril go, being buried in a wooden box, several feet underground, in the middle of nobody-knows-where is very, very high up the terror rankings for me. (Especially when you introduce a big, bite-y bug into the occasion. NO NO NO.) And Jaimie Alexander and the rest of the cast certainly sell the fear and the worry this week – Jane is believably terrified, and everyone else is equally believably terrified for her. Especially Kurt, who slips back into Angry Bear Mode almost instantly, bless the big lug. He needn’t fret too much, though, since, happily, Jane has about an episode’s worth of air, a mobile phone, and – crucially – top billing in the opening credits so, although she’s in for an unpleasant 39 minutes (per Patterson’s big snazzy clock thing), we know she’s going to be ok.

We’ve talked about this scores of times before, of course: making things tense and thrilling enough for us to forget or at least ignore our own understanding of how procedural tv works is the challenge shows like this face whenever they put a lead that the audience knows is going nowhere in jeopardy. Sometimes they manage it, sometimes not. For all this was a good, solid, exciting episode, then, it didn’t quite clear that bar for me. The basic outline followed such well-trodden ground (sorry), that I was mentally ticking off the clues checklist in my head as we went along – phone trace, tell them about the soil composition, tell them about the special bug etc – which lessened the suspense somewhat, as did Dominic’s somewhat fanatical loyalty to Madeline. I must confess that I got a little distracted wondering why on earth he was faffing about risking his neck trying to get her released instead of just getting the hell outta Dodge, when he must know she’d barbecue his head and serve it to the FBI on a skewer if she thought it would save her own skin.

Having said that, I was entertained, even if Madeline has started to annoy me somewhat. And it wasn’t entirely predictable, either: there were some surprises along the way even if the one right at the end made me roll my eyes somewhat (Team Madeline, would you just GIVE IT UP ALREADY?!). I was particularly taken with how worried Rich was as well (bless him too). And Jane’s underwire stunt was complete nonsense, but still great. She is, indeed, such a badass, and there was plenty to like here. You go, girl!