Blindspot s2 ep 16

*SPOILERS*

Time for Blindspot’s pacy, action-packed, completely ludicrous post-hiatus return and we’re hitting the ground running. Or kicking and shooting, if you’re REDACTED, who fights her way out of jeopardy far more easily than I expected, while the morose Jane joints the rest of Team Tat at Kurt’s impromptu works night in.

New BFF Tasha wants to know all the deets about her and “Oliver Kind” (not his real name, obv), but sadface Jane confesses that there are no longer any deets to know: “Oliver Kind” has gone off in high dudgeon over Jane doing a background check on him, and made a big flouncy show of how outraged he is over it, in order to avoid actually answering any questions about his pre-“Oliver Kind” persona at all. Well-played, “Oliver Kind,” well-played. Or at least, better-played than Jane, who neither recognises a classic diversion technique for what it is, nor learns any life lessons from it; rather than keeping her nose out of other people’s business from thereon in, she follows up one “massive invasion of privacy” with another by having a good old snoop around Kurt’s house instead. Badly-played, Jane, badly-played.

But not that badly, I guess, since Kurt is much more kindly (sorry) disposed towards Jane’s more inquisitive tendencies than “Oliver Kind” – instead of a big row, they start a deep and meaningful about the forthcoming cross-country baby, only to be interrupted by Kalinda because Kalinda’s entire function on this show is to GET IN THE EFFING WAY. And to say things like “That’s my inside source phone!” which is the funniest line I’ve heard on any show all week, even if it isn’t meant to be.

While Patterson works on decrypting the “inside source” pen drive, then, and Reade and Zapata drag out his coke habit tedium some more, Kurt, Kalinda and Jane go on the world’s most obvious surveillance mission. Guys, I don’t have much practical experience in this area, I know, but three people dressed in black, sitting on separate park benches, who all suddenly get up at the same time, with the same facial expressions, and converge on the same floor of a nearby hospital – yeah, I’m pretty sure you’ve been made by everyone on the planet, never mind the “inside source.” But no matter; Jane gets to have a load of fun diving down a laundry chute(!) and kicking the “inside source’s” ass, so we’re all good.

And when I say “all good,” I mean even for the “inside source,” since, despite being a felon and a terrorist about a zillion times over, he gets an even cushier deal than Roman’s new one – this week, Tearful McFurious acquires some comfy new furniture in his Tat HQ home from home,as opposed to, y’know, a transfer to super-max – and, after a brief, bloody and largely pointless exchange of info, gets to ride off into the sunset (well, the elevator) with not much more than a shrug. Dudes. He sat RIGHT THERE and said he knew all of Shepherd’s safe houses and routes and whatnot. And none of you thought to ASK HIM TO WRITE THEM DOWN BEFORE HE LEFT? FFS.

Not that things get any less amateur from thereon in. Because Patterson is the only person in the building who has a clue this week, she works out who the mole(ar) is and a plan which should have gone great guns, were it not for everyone on the team standing watching gormlessly while Sandstorm went, er, great guns themselves. “What the hell just happened?” asks Reade, which is a question I don’t want to answer in any detail since what the hell just happened is so ridiculous and hilarious it has to be seen to believed, but I’d love to see how Team Tat explain it in their FBI Performance Appraisal Reviews. Back to Quantico, the lot of you. Except Patterson, who really can’t prevent what happens to her and has, frankly, been through enough.

As has poor Jane, I suppose. No sooner has the mission gone south, and Shephard temporarily run out of ways to keep tabs on Team Tat, than, well, what do you know? “Oliver Kind” is over his outrage and reaching back out both to and for Jane, who should know by now that her making out with any guy at all will always lead to some form of apocalypse. Snog Kurt, get kidnapped and tortured by Tom Carter. Get busy with Oscar, have your life and friendships completely destroyed. And smooch it up with “Oliver Kind?” Oh, girlfriend. Good luck next week, you’re going to need it.

Public Service Announcement 12 of 2017: Blindspot, Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre)

Silly season has come a little early this year with two of Unpopcult’s favourite pieces of nonsense making their way back to UK screens this week.

Tonight (Thursday), 9pm on Sky Living, sees the return of season 2 of the gleefully bonkers Blindspot, which left off last time with REDACTED in terrible danger, the writers still trying to make fetch Roman happen, and everybody’s personal lives all over the shop. Will REDACTED survive? Who is the mole inside Sandstorm? Who is the mole inside Team Tat? And when will Jane and Weller bloody get over themselves and get back together? Declining US ratings mean this run might be the last chance to find out, but no matter: unpopcult will be watching and reviewing anyway. And hoping Rich Dotcom makes another appearance, because we flat-out love that guy.

In other “guys we love” (albeit in an entirely different way) news, meanwhile, my beloved Gregory Fitoussi is back in my tv life for the third and likely final season of Spin (Les Hommes de l’Ombre) – starting tomorrow on More 4 at 9pm. A political soap which is either a lot less clever than it thinks it is, completely hobbled by its ham-fisted subtitling, or more than likely both, the only two things keeping me watching are Gregory’s magnifique “villain” Ludo and how much fun we have talking about the show on unpopcult. I’m hoping the writers learned from the deeply disappointing season 2 that what we need is more Ludo not less, and that the awful Simon is really not all that, but we shall see – reviews every week as usual. À bientôt, j’espère.

Blindspot s2 ep 15

It’s never going to be easy to follow a Rich Dotcom episode, so some credit is due to the Blindspot team for trying something a little different in a bid to divert our attention from last week’s fun. Albeit, it’s not actually that different, since we’ve had a similar type of ep before and it was after a Rich Dotcom one last time as well. Yes, it’s time to do one of those same time/ different perspectives eps and, just for shake-up’s sake, to change up the usual sub-teams while we’re at it.

So Jane, having drawn the short straw last week, gets the only slightly less short one this week, when Kurt pairs her up with Suzy-Frowns-A-Lot Zapata, and they head off to a suspicious antique house (I think?) to get shot at. Shopping is dangerous, y’all!

In fairness to Zapata, however, she’s too busy worrying about Reade to growl at Jane for once; instead of the usual passive-aggression, we get competent, reasonably cheerful (cheerful for Tasha, that is, let’s not go wild) Zapata playing so nicely with Jane that there’s even room for some cute girl talk and some – wait for it – smiling. SMILING, you guys. Talk about changing things up.

Things are not quite so positive in Team Patterson and Reade, meanwhile, because Reade, having traded one warm body for another, is all coked up again, almost getting himself shot as a result (there’s a lot of rogue shooting going on this week), and Patterson, having eyes and a brain, is onto him. Not that he listens to the woman who saved his life, oh no. Sigh. Enough, you guys. As this storyline has gone on, my sympathies for Reade have dwindled from not insubstantial to barely there at all, which I assume is not the intended effect. Come on, dude. Get a grip.

Kurt, meanwhile, is all grip. Having won first prize last week with his “date” with Rich, Agent Weller takes one for the team this time around and pairs himself up with (*deep breath*) Roman. After a little light sparring – or a missed opportunity to pummel his head in, your mileage may vary – the unusually serene (again, serene for Weller, that is; we’re not talking meditation, more just not threatening to beat anyone to death) Kurt takes Ragey McMoanyFace out into the field because apparently sending him to a CIA black site instead would be bad. (Well, bad for Roman, I guess. For the viewer, not so much. But I’m getting distracted.) Anyway, Kurt takes Cheery Chops to the improbably but hilariously-named MediSpa to investigate potential organ trafficking as opposed to mud baths and mani-pedis and – the biggest change of the week – for once, Roman doesn’t disgrace everyone and end up under a mountain of entirely avoidable bodies. Hurrah! Although Kurt pretending Furious McWoebegone is “suprisingly good company” as opposed to “barely tolerable on this one occasion, and that’s really only because he fancies the guy’s sister” is a step too far.

A step not far enough is what may have doomed Kalinda, though; while everyone else is busy wife partner-swapping, she goes solo and forgets rule no.1 for getting into cars in procedural tv drama. Always check the back seat, girlfriend. ALWAYS CHECK THE BACKSEAT. Unless you want to give us a good cliffhanger to an equally good, solid episode. In which case, as you were…..

Blindspot s2 ep 14

Q: What could be better than Rich Dotcom finding religion?
A: Rich Dotcom finding ALL the religions. And wearing every single one of them, all at the same time.

Oh, yes. After a very quick flashback (because “nobody likes a prequel”) to the dark days when he was still calling himself “Gord” and wearing tracksuits, Blindspot’s incorrigible, irreplaceable MVP floats back into FBI HQ, toting skull cap, rosary, monastic robes, travelling library of holy books and generally beatific expression, to help the bemused, outwardly irritated (but secretly delighted, don’t even pretend, you guys) Team Tat stop one of his old schoolfriends doing something very bad-with-a-capital-B, and giving us yet another episode that’s tremendous-with-a-capital-T in the process.

Given that something more than offering Kurt a Bible (HEE) is called for, it’s time to get the band back together again, albeit Boston Arliss Crabb, the increasingly irate yin to Rich’s yang, is somewhat less serene about being dragged in to try and reclaim past glories. But even Boston knows better than to get in the way of everybody’s good time. And a great time it is, except for the unfortunate Jane who’s stuck trundling around with Nas and the tantrum-prone Roman on a magical mystery tour of Shepherd’s apparently extensive property empire, which need not concern us because Roman is the worst. And because the only thing he bloody remembers is killing REDACTED, which is going to help precisely nobody, FFS, Roman!

Thankfully, the episode doesn’t waste much time on Angry McStompyFeet, though, or even on Reade’s burgeoning drug habit, so I don’t need to. Back to the main event: there’s a Secret Society party to go to, and Jane may be busy, but Kurt and Patterson (who is “OK,” apparently, after last week, although as Kurt points out, “an OK person doesn’t collapse at work”) aren’t, which means that it’s time for a glorious twist on Unpopcult’s favourite tv trope. Yes, it’s “pretend we’re a couple” time again, with the reluctant Patterson pairing up with nemesis Boston, and the equally reluctant Weller teaming up with the utterly gleeful Rich himself.

HEE. If I narrated every hilarious moment of Rich’s date with “Meat Trophy” Weller, I still couldn’t do it justice, but, suffice to say, Ennis Esmer is riotously funny once again, and Sullivan Stapleton is clearly having a ball of a time sending up Kurt’s usual grumpy persona as a result. As is the rest of the team. That it all winds up with another homage to my beloved Speed is just the custard on the crumble. How many ways can I say it? Another Rich Dotcom ep, another triumph. HURRAH!

Blindspot s2 ep 13

*Spoilers*

Let me start by saying it doesn’t make any sense that nobody had Jane sit down with a sketch artist as soon as she met Shepherd and then run the resultant image through military files weeks ago, but it’s not as if logic is Blindspot’s strong point. Now that we’ve found her in Weller’s yearbook instead though, it’s time for a quick flashback to military school where a leaner, lankier but equally grumpy Kurt is acting out – some things don’t change – before encountering Shepherd/ Ellen Briggs for the first time.

Back in the present, we’re off to school once again, as Kurt, Jane and Kalinda turn up at his Alma Mater to find out, disconcertingly, that Shepherd has had a weird crush on him at the very least since he was a teenager and she was a fully-grown mid-ranking member of the armed forces secretly offering to pay for the rest of his education. Girlfriend, WTF?

While Weller and his two exes visit a nursing home to try and work out what Major Mrs Robinson sees in him – on another channel, this would be a bittersweet indie road trip movie about failed relationships, very probably starring a Duplass brother and Olivia Wilde – Reade and Zapata follow the Tat of the Week to a domestic terror plot, only to find the man ostensibly in charge of it wandering nonchalantly through FBI HQ. “I’m an informant!” he bleats indignantly, which seems unlikely at first since informants don’t just get the run of the place, do they, but turns out to be true because again, logic, Blindspot, strong point et cetera.

Poor Mr Informant has apparently been put up to the whole business by a rogue Agent running an “off-book” op, which Weller, to his credit, is completely outraged by. “My office does not radicalise people!” he yells, with touching but clearly misplaced faith in his colleagues, “Or create a terror cell just to bring them down!” Oh, hon. Try watching the past season and 1/2 back again, having another good read of Mayfair’s secret files or even just taking a closer look at what Patterson’s up to this week – your office gets up to a whole load of things.

Which our hero knows deep down, of course, giving him his weekly opportunity to flagellate himself for not being Mayfair (although Mayfair was neck-deep in felonies, let’s not forget) and Kalinda a chance to comfort him again. Step OFF, Kalinda. We all know where your “comfort” took us all last time.

As Kurt does his usual then, so does Zapata, once again using a mission as an excuse to indulge her mortifyingly obssessive interest in Reade’s love life. Girlfriend, if you want to be part of Reade’s love life, BE PART OF READE’S LOVE LIFE. But if not – it’s not your beeswax. Even if it does now involve a potential coke habit. Ruh-roh.

Plenty of time for rehab and Rapata later in the season, though. First we have to foil yet another plot to blow up Manhattan (if I were another of the Five Boroughs, I might be feeling a little slighted by now), Roman has to get in his Whine of the Week, Jane has to go on a date(!), Patterson has to collapse(!!), and raving lunatic Shepherd has to kidnap Weller (!!!) and murder a defenceless old man in front of him because she’s not just crazy, she’s crazy in love. Or something. Maybe she’s got into Reade’s girlfriend’s coke. Whatever. I enjoyed most of this ep, and the plot seems to be moving forward at speed even if Roman and Rapata continue to drive me up the wall.

Blindspot s2 ep 12

*Spoilers*

“I’m sorry – you wanna send Roman out into the field?!”

Because just a couple of episodes ago, he was a sociopath killing machine whose mission in life was the destruction of the entire country, but now he’s just a trigger-happy amnesiac with a grudge, let’s get him suited up, no?

Well, yes, according to Jane, who keeps inanely repeating that “Roman solved a tattoo!” as if (a) her batteries need changing and (b) Patterson, the person who actually did solve the tattoo, isn’t standing right there with “Uh no, girlfriend” written all over her face. 

Not that Kurt will have anyone telling Jane “Uh no, girlfriend” but himself. Initially resistant – because he is not COMPLETELY INSANE – to the idea of recent Sandstorm devotee Sadface McWhinyPants bringing his unique skillset to Team Tat, he changes his mind as soon as Evil Dr Sun tries to nix the idea; suddenly Assistant Director Weller’s all “yeah, dude, into the field you go” and btw, “thank you for helping us.” And not killing us, I guess. 

The plan, then, is for Roman – chaperoned by his very jealous little sister – to try and wangle his way back in with the local Friends of Sandstorm biker gang (every procedural loves a biker gang) via flame-haired old, er, flame Kat Jarret, the gang’s second-in-command.  While Jane’s busy trying a darker lip – striking, but maybe not for the office, hon – however, Roman decides to accelerate the plan in such a way that Kurt and Reade get shot (in the vest, relax everyone), Kalinda and the FBI “accidentally” supply Sandstorm with just enough of just the right kind of rare explosive they need, and the biker gang all end up dead. Oopsie.

But how did Shepherd outwit poor old Team Tat this time? Kalinda suggests it’s because “I’m clouding your judgement and you’re clouding mine,” dumping Kurt with all the emotion of an impulse shopper returning a dubious-looking handbag to the department store. Patterson, who probably has every season of “24” on DVD, ventures a different explanation, though – “maybe there’s another mole?” Yes, Patterson – it’s KALINDA. I’ve been saying this for weeks. The irony, if I’m right, being that, as Kalinda sabotages the FBI for Sandstorm, there’s an excellent chance that former mole Borden may now be sabotaging Sandstorm for the FBI – or did I completely misunderstand all his weird “just totally changing the plan, nothing to see here” hostility towards Random Evil Henchman? Hmm. 

Either way, now we’re at just about the mid-season mark, everything’s simmering nicely. Kurt, now Allie-free, baby-free and Kalinda-free, is back to making soulful eyes at one Jane Doe. Ms Doe, meanwhile, having spent most of the ep determined to convince everyone Roman’s a big old softie, gets her wake-up call when Kat dies in his arms and he barely stops to adjust his beard, thereby clearing the way for her to stop nagging Weller about her brother’s incarceration and start cozying back up to the big lug in her own right instead. (Squee!) And Patterson knows that something’s off with Kalinda which means that Patterson, will, at some point, start working out exactly what that something is. (Hurrah!) All of which – apart from Jane’s initial idiocy over Roman, and Reade having the stupidest Surprise! Sex! scene I’ve seen outside HBO – adds up to a pacy, decent episode which I did enjoy, albeit possibly more for what it suggested might be on the way than what it actually involved. 

Blindspot s2 ep 11

*Spoilers*

“Relax, everybody, just relax. It’s not a weapon, it’s a human heart.”

If you squint, I suppose that’s a metaphor for Jane herself; reared from childhood to be a killing machine but now, thanks to Kurt and co, (and a healthy dose of Zippity-wipe-my-brain) free to be the heart and soul underneath instead. And so keen to do the same for the similarly psychologically challenged Roman, now stuck in both a dream cell and a literal one, that she wants him given the same sort of security detail/ safe house dealio she got.

Not that Weller’s having that, of course. “You were different, Jane,” he points out, entirely reasonably. “The only thing that he seems to remember is how to kill.” Or, “At the time, I didn’t know your previous job was psychotic mass murderer, and also, I really fancy you,” if you want to be more precise about it.

Seizing the opportunity to gain a bit of ground with Jane and look all helpful in front of Kurt, Kalinda breaks the Roman impasse (Rompasse?) by suggesting her psychiatrist friend might help, which seems like a great idea till her psychiatrist friend actually turns up and it becomes clear she’s either had an empathy bypass or is a member of Sandstorm herself. (Both of which are entirely possible on this show.) Happily, the not-so-good Doctor is slightly better with her patients than she is with everyone else, though; she manages to break Roman out of his mental cell, albeit she then recommends locking him up in a physical, padded one to avoid the risk of “re-triggering his psychopathic tendencies”/ getting any useful information out of him, which I guess we’re supposed to feel sad about. Jane certainly does, but if the writers wanted me to care about Roman, having him do nothing but whine and/or kill since we met him probably wasn’t the way to go about it.

Roman and a huge leap of logic about the rough draft extra tattoo aside, however, Sandstorm is taking a holiday this week, with the Dabbur Zann coming back off the subs bench for another crack at mass murder and city-wide carnage. The tat of the week leads us to the aforementioned human heart, and it turns out Jane’s nemesis Keaton has brokered a deal with the DZ boss Anton Stepulov to give Stepulov Junior a heart transplant in exchange for stopping an attack on New York. Not that it quite works out that way; a bevy of basketball bombs, Keaton’s daughter in danger, and gunshots flying everywhere is what we end up with instead, and another triumph for girl power with Patterson saving the day and Jane saving Keaton’s ass (and Kurt’s, and Keaton’s daughter’s, but who’s counting).

Even Reade and Zapata take a brief break from flirting to get in on the save New York action, but their two main functions are, as usual, to a) ask Patterson how to defuse the bomb, and b) pretend they’re not into each other, despite that kiss last week. At this point, the only people they’re convincing are one another, and if I was interested in them getting together, I might be annoyed about it, but I’m too busy wondering how long Kurtlinda’s going to keep Jeller apart. End of season? We’ll see, but meantime this was another highly entertaining episode, even if Roman and Tasha can disappear as soon as they like.