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.

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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.

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 awesome, 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.

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.