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.

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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!

Public Service Announcement 28 of 2019: Timeless, Blindspot

We thought Timeless was dead when the final episode of the second season was broadcast with no word on renewal. But for some reason – and I assume money’s at the root of it somewhere – NBC relented just a little, and ordered a two-part finale to allow the writers to wrap things up properly, and give viewers a bit of closure. After this, we’re definitely done. (Probably.) These episodes were shown in America a few months ago, and although I am entirely unspoiled, I assume that #Lyatt is endgame. Otherwise, why bother? (Tonight and next Tuesday, E4, 10pm.)

And perennial Unpopcult favourite Blindspot returned last night from a midseason hiatus. However, its American ratings aren’t great at the moment, so this might be its final run. I assume that #Patdotcom isn’t endgame, but it should be (Mondays, Sky Witness, 10pm).

Blindspot s4 ep 16

*SPOILERS*

While Madeline ties up loose ends and prepares to leave the country – I had written “flee” instead of “leave” at one point, but “flee” suggests fear and panic, and the wholly unaffected smirk on Madeline’s face suggests anything but –  someone is killing off all the HCI Global board members who might lead law enforcement back to her. Gee, I wonder who that might be.

Reade and Zapata are temporarily distracted by smashing up her office and getting shot at (neither of these are euphemisms) in the vicinity of a passing cartel member, but eventually everyone works out it’s – surprise! – the supervillain of the piece tidying up, and the hunt is on. Nobody is terribly bothered about the board members, mind you, which is just as well because they don’t even try to save any of them. They do, however, get the deets for Madeline’s private pilot, who has a similar smirk and a surprising willingness to help out. Or DOES he?

Meanwhile, Jane is taking a mental health day, tuckered out by all the moral gymnastics she’s been doing over the past four years. Conventional therapists – ie those with no previous involvement in terrorism or other major criminality – can’t seem to help, so it’s time to visit “an old friend”, a phrase which made my heart sink when I read it on my EPG. The show is generally much more interested in the Sandstorm friends and family tree than I am. I was surprised and delighted though to see who the “old friend” actually was: I always liked REDACTED and he was a really lovely character before he, er, wasn’t. Maximum security does seems to have given him a little edge, so his counselling techniques are significantly more direct than they used to be, but they work and the old REDACTED kindness is still in there somewhere. I know I was fretting about consequences and the lack thereof for Jane last week but it’s obvious the show doesn’t give a stray bullet about any of that, so is there really no hope that Team Tat, composed as it is of a combination of “reformed” master criminals and unrepentant rule-breakers – as Jed pointed out a couple of weeks ago, they’ve all done their fair share of colouring outside the lines – might have room for a handsome, sensitive former member who’s really, really sorry for everything?

Perhaps not. Anyhoo, Boston – brought in to make sure he doesn’t go the same way as the ill-fated HCI Global board members, pretending not to be happy about it – takes a break from vigorous  bickering with Rich to work out that JB’s not entirely on the level, the team converge on the hospital from where Madeline’s about to make her grand trip and there’s a lot of shooting and hand-to-hand combat which would no doubt be terrifying if you were a patient in said hospital but is entirely normal if you’re a regular viewer of Blindspot. I mean, Jane’s MRI trick is COOL. As is THAT cliffhanger, albeit for different reasons. Since the next episode’s already been shown in the US, it seems unnecessary for Sky to make us wait 4 weeks for it, but that seems to be what’s happening. Hurrumph.

Blindspot s4 ep 15

*SPOILERS*

An impressive but extremely obvious set-up/armoured truck heist leads to yet another nuclear threat to New York, and kudos to our heroes for pretending to be shocked, but at this point it really is more surprising when an episode of Blindspot passes without the possibility of nuclear obliteration of everyone in the five boroughs. Luckily, though, the plot is wholly incidental to the many other delights on offer this week. The cheerfully ridiculous “Call me Dave” from DOI is back and driving Patterson insane. Kurt is a big fan of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. (I haven’t seen that one, but Rogue Nation and Fallout are terrific too, Kurt, let’s talk.) Keaton is NOT DEAD (Hurrah!) and totally ready to sacrifice his entire existence to save Zapata, and I may be the only person in the entire WORLD shipping them, but the writers are totally helping me along with it – Reade was definitely jealous in the hospital scene, Zapata was more relaxed in those few minutes with Keaton than she’s been with anyone else in the team for years now, and did I mention he was ready to throw himself, his career and the rest of his life under the big CIA black site bus to save her? I rest my case.

All of this pales into insignificance, however, beside the true joy of the episode. No, it’s not Jane’s angst, back again and something of a miscalculation, I think, since all it does is remind us that girlfriend really should be in a black site somewhere herself, given all the stuff she did before she became the new, improved version we have now. I like Jane 2.0 (or whichever iteration we’re currently on), and I’m quite happy to hand-wave her continued freedom at the moment but if the show keeps making me think too much about her crimes – which, let’s face it, are many and spectacular – that’s going to become a lot more difficult.

But never mind my moral quandaries. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rich’s latest, and possibly greatest, work of genius: “a board game! Starring us! Solving complicated mysteries by completing puzzle-based tests on three unique boards!” And in which Patterson is taller than Kurt, you can get a “Commendation from the Bigwigs” card, and Dave from DOI is a peanut. Tattoo Squad forever!

Blindspot s4 ep 14

*SPOILERS*

No doubt conscious of suggestions that the Blindspot formula might be running out of steam, the writers have tried to shake it up a number of times this season, with a variety of episodes trying something different. These have ranged from the absolutely wonderful right through to the pretty awful, with this week’s falling somewhere in between.

In short, a new bomber demands that Team Tat confess to falsifying evidence against a previous bomber or he’ll keep up the bombing, so our heroes have to investigate the previous case, the new one and themselves. This means a lot of looking shifty and pointing fingers at Rich – STOP it! – but there’s really no danger of it being him since he’s integral to the show at this point, and the advantage of the first case being two years old and having happened off-screen is that there are people who’ve already left/been killed off that we can blame it on instead. Poor REDACTED.

Although ”The Big Blast from the Past Episode” itself is actually quite good, then, my feelings about it are mixed. As well as being sad for REDACTED, I wasn’t in any hurry to see OTHER REDACTED again and I’m disappointed about what the twist means for ALSO REDACTED – I’ve really enjoyed him this year. The ep also highlights just how little Zapata has developed over the years – two years ago, one year ago, now…. her entire storyline always comes back to her moaning about whether she really fits in at the FBI, and whether Reade is enough to keep her there. The answers to these questions being “no” and “no”, a bolder way to resolve this ep and just end the whining already might have been to reveal that it was in fact Tasha who had falsified the evidence, and to give her a big Mayfair-style shock exit while trying to stop the bomber. Alas, however, it wasn’t to be and, since Madeleine’s goons took special care not to kill her this week, I suspect they want to frame her for something to come instead so no doubt there will be plenty more Zapata/Reade feelings in our future instead. Whatevs. Anyway, in the meantime, this wasn’t an amazing episode but it was a more than decent one.