Blindspot s2 ep 20

*SPOILERS*

Oh, FFS. Everybody was clearly having too much fun without him last week and Miseryguts McPersonalitybypass – or, as some people like to call him, “Roman” – couldn’t be having that. So back he is to demand that Jane, now that she and Weller are smiling at each other again, stop THAT immediately and ruin things with the man once more. Which Jane duly does, either because this ship is a magnet for storms and icebergs, or because the writers hate me.

Either way, at her appalling brother’s insistence, Jane tells Kurt about Emma Shaw, and Jeller grinds to a halt yet again. Sigh. I suppose at least the temporary resumption of hostilities means Weller gets to attack Roman with a dumbbell (TEAM WELLER) as opposed to making him Thai chicken, so there’s a silver lining of sorts, even if our hothead hero calms down to some degree by the end of the ep. Unlike Mr Totally-Not-a-Murdering-Psychopath-Anymore-No, who… Well, that would be telling but, once Kurt finds out, I’d say Roman’s chances of making it to the newly-announced season 3 a live man let alone a free one are looking considerably more slim.

But you don’t hire Ronda Rousey for a guest spot and waste your entire episode on a guy with a frown for a face. The main plot of the week, then, has Zapata in jail with Ronda to get close to her Sandstorm boyfriend, soon followed by Zapata out of jail with Ronda and getting close to her Sandstorm boyfriend’s fists and bomb collection. As you’d expect, most of the story’s built around women fighting each other – a lot of it – and since Blindspot has a decent track record in that area anyway, nobody appears to, er, pull any punches. The action is solid, well-choreographed and exciting, for the most part, although I’m finding Zapata’s sudden overwhelming need to go even more maverick than usual a bit odd. Of all the people on Team Tat with cause to take Sandstorm personally, Tasha seems waaaay down the list. Unlike Patterson, for instance, who is struggling so much with what Borden did that even Dr Sun – a character usually so cold that she could turn a hot dog into an ice lolly – is sympathetic. Too late to help poor Stuart, but sympathetic nonetheless. And probably right about Roman, but we’ll see about that next week.

Blindspot s2 ep 19

*SPOILERS*

Blindspot has been trying my patience a little recently; it’s been so bogged down with characters’ angst and whinging that I’ve been wondering if cancellation (which isn’t looking likely) might be such a bad thing after all. But now look what’s happened – the first episode in weeks without Rowan dragging the story down like a ten-ton weight and Kalinda playing gooseberry, and all of a sudden Blindspot is fun again!

It’s crucial, of course, that the Tattoo of the Week story is a cheerfully ridiculous, enjoyably outlandish one about a hacker scavenger hunt, with Jane, Weller and a bunch of folk in silly outfits competing to take over a not-even-thinly-disguised Wikileaks-style website. Although it’s not Rich Dotcom levels of hilariousness (how can it be?), it’s lighthearted and funny, replacing the whining of the past couple of weeks with jokes, you guys. Jokes!

Even the Sandstorm side of things is streamlined. It’s still not exactly chipper but it’s leaner and wittier than usual, with the juxtaposition of Shepherd’s demented odyssey across Bangkok with Weller’s quietly disappointed “that’s pretty anti-climactic” displaying a lightness of touch and humour that’s been almost entirely absent from Shepherd’s scenes in the past.

Which is not to say that the episode is entirely angst-free. Tasha is obviously in big trouble and although Reade has massively improved (his scene with Kurt is quite sweet), he’s still struggling to claw his way back to fitness for duty, with Dr Sun – always in favour of the most extreme solution to everything – immediately advising him to consider chucking it in, before even really bothering with counselling or treatment.

But for all that, every plot strand is at least moving now, with the show feeling like it’s broken out of a rut and started sprinting towards the (season) finish line. That’s every plot strand including the Jeller OTP, by the way – I know you saw that almost-kiss, you guys. The Kurt and Jane of mid-season would have got all agitated and upset about it, but this pair smiled. SMILED! Hurrah for that. And squee!

Blindspot s2 ep 18

*SPOILERS*

It’s not easy being maverick law enforcement.

Fighting for the people, working for the Man when the Man just doesn’t understand…. FFS, at least once a season on every crime procedural, or once a month if it’s Blindspot, some suit who doesn’t get it will actually try and break up the band. The temerity! Although, given this particular group’s inexplicable leniency towards mass-murdering lunatic and constant WHINER Roman, and their frankly insane adoption of him into the team, there’s definitely an argument that maybe the band should be broken up. Or at least be told to get a grip of themselves and their competency-based interviewing procedures.

Not only is Irate McMoanathon not in a four-by-four CIA cell with barbed wire round the door handles, but he’s now free of even his IKEA-furnished FBI cubbyhole, living at Jane’s apartment with minimal security and trotting along on this week’s non-Sandstorm-related mission as some sort of expert on fear, feelings and foster care. And yet he’s STILL GRIPING ABOUT HOW HARD HIS DEAL IS. Dude. If I had my way, Zapata would strangle you to death with her ponytail, so I suggest you accept your unbelievable luck with good grace and SHUT IT.

Anyway. This is a very roundabout way of saying it’s “spurious investigation designed to destroy the team” week again on Blindspot as Matthew Weitz – something of a maverick himself, given the apparently unlimited time and public funding he’s invested in pursuing a grudge against one guy and his tattooed pal in perpetuity – is back yet again to try and destroy Weller and Team Tat because, who knows, maybe Kurt turned him down at a party or something.

Much like the unhappy wife/family and the jurisdictional turf war, the unfair, rude and really annoying (but not always as off-the-mark as we’re supposed to think) “investigation” is one of those tiresome TV tropes that writers love to trot out, despite nobody loving to watch them. So, regardless of whether, if he wasn’t such a jerk about it, Weitz might have something of a point about the disastrous Sandstorm raid and the way Team Tat keeps RECRUITING FELONS, he’s too busy sneering to make it properly, and his asshattery just gets on everyone’s nerves (especially mine) and takes time away from the first solid/ only Tat of the Week story we’ve had in ages. As if having Roman be the hero and save the children isn’t galling enough. Sigh.

Weitz and Roman aside, though, the episode is just about redeemed by the decent Tat story, Reade finally getting a hold of himself, and Kalinda gracefully leaving the building. I’ve never warmed to her, and I’m not particularly sad to see her follow Oliver Kind out of the door, both now having served their purpose of keeping Jane and Weller in a romantic holding pattern for most of the season. However, I can’t help but notice that, given Kalinda’s (permanent?) and Reade’s (temporary?) exits from the Tat task force, and Borden’s ignominious end, Blindspot is suddenly losing team members of colour on an alarming basis. And since Kalinda’s departure takes place in an episode where a hitherto reasonably inclusive group of people suddenly, unaccountably, decide it’s time to start making jokes about pronunciation of “foreign” names like it’s somehow funny – as someone who regularly has to spell my own “foreign” name out to individuals who think that their not having heard it before somehow makes it a joke, I can assure you it’s not – it left a somewhat unpleasant taste in my mouth.

On the bright side, though, as a general rule, season 1 of Blindspot was much more fun last season without Kalinda so hopefully it’ll be more fun again now/if she’s gone. Although possibly not, if Roman the Anti-Fun has anything to do it. Maybe Shepherd can shoot him and join the team instead.

Blindspot s2 ep 17

Jane and Oliver Kind are basically stuck in a video game: locked in a single room, under video surveillance, in a remote cabin, till they work their way on to the next level (ie downstairs), get the word out to Team Tat, and try not to get some kidnapped kids killed, all while ideally not getting killed themselves.

Jane is pretty tremendous throughout, Oliver Kind not so much – any heroism on his part being more accidental than intended, although by the end he does seem to be picking up the hand-to-hand combat bug, if not necessarily the mad skillz. And I could have done without the words “Ponzi scheme” cropping up, but at least we don’t labour it.  Too much.

Kurt, meanwhile, divides his time between fretting over how to rescue Jane, being ridiculously nice to the unspeakable Roman – FFS what is it with the writers and this character? He is uninteresting, unlikeable, and unbloodybearable. ENOUGH -and being exceptionally kind to Reade who, never mind quitting, asshat, should be fired a thousand times over and take his terrible stoyline with him.

Roman and Reade notwithstanding, however, the episode was entertaining enough, thanks to Jane and the kidnap story, the departure (please) of Oliver Kind, and the promise of a Jeller resurgence – I see it, I SQUEE it. Hurrah!

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…..