Blindspot s4 ep 4

*SPOILERS*

Although Blindspot as a show is about as realistic as the possibility of me suddenly finding out I’m the secret heir to the throne of a small European monarchy (yes, this is the plot of both the romance novel I’m currently reading and The Princess Diaries), I suppose we need to be realistic in our expectations of it and accept that few, if any, episodes are ever going to measure up to last week’s Quantico Affair. So although a fair chunk of this week’s is set in Patterson’s lab, it’s not the same. Having said that, I do enjoy a mystery contagion / lockdown episode and this was a good, solid, eminently watchable one, made significantly better by my beloved PatDotCom, as usual. Rich even gets a bit of character development, bless him; not only is he very sweet to both poor doomed Laurel and heartsick Reade, but he even contracts a Secret Pain which, ordinarily, would make me a bit wary – the last thing Blindspot needs is more angst – but the wonderful Ennis Esmer brings the lightest, rightest touch to it, as ever, so if it means more screen time for him, bring it on.

Outside the lab meanwhile, Allie’s back and kind and supportive of Kurt in a refreshingly non-tv-ex-like kind of way (unless you’re watching 911 which also has a kind, supportive ex/ new love set-up l really like – if all this niceness and generosity is going to be the new normal for tv exes, l’m all for it). NotJane is running her own secret op, causing a stampede and fighting with Imaginary Roman (Fauxman?) because even death cannot stop that guy from being a complete pain in the everything. And Zapata has competition for Madeleine’s affections in the form of the singularly, startlingly charmless Claudia, who seems unlikely to hang about for long, but then effing Roman’s still here, so what do I know? Anyway, I’m losing patience with whatever the hell Zapata thinks she’s up to, and after this week’s ending, I would think Reade is too. We’ll see what next week brings.

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Blindspot s4 ep 3

This utter delight of an episode begins with a neat little sidestep away from last week’s cliffhanger: we know the Remy/ Kurt confrontation is coming eventually, but not today. Today’s all about Patterson, Rich and the Quantico recruits back at the office, and it is just glorious.

Patterson’s love life shenanigans. Rich’s super-speedy briefings. “Little Face-timesy” videos. Team Tat covered in paint and feathers (“He also had chickens.”) – if there was any part of “The Quantico Affair” that wasn’t ace, I don’t remember it. And at the centre of it all, the unpopcult dream team of PatDotcom (“Ride or die”, you guys!) and a riotously funny, joyously entertaining script delivered with so much fun and flair it made my month. “Eh, they just wanna kick down doors, they don’t care about the stuff we do in here”- au contraire, Rich, mon frère. I love Ennis Esmer. I love Ashley Johnson. And I absolutely loved this. Magnificent.

Blindspot s4 ep 2

*SPOILERS*

Blindspot continues its efforts to out-crazy itself this week with a story about a twenty-year-old magnetic mural on the wall at Tat HQ, which in turn leads to a fake secret spy club, which in turn leads to a real secret Russian plot and a talking ATM filled with sleeping gas instead of cash. Sure, why not.

That, however, is not even the half of it. Evil Jane is doing a spot of Evil Science, slipping Patterson a sugar pill to keep her temporarily incapacitated (see gas, sleeping) and prepping a nasty-looking syringe to make Weller more permanently so. Boston Arliss Crabb is back and trying to supplant Rich in everyone’s affections (as if!). Keaton is back too and suddenly acting a lot more protective of Zapata than he’s ever been before, either because he’s realised (correctly) that it’s the easiest way to get info out of the lovelorn Reade, or because the writers have realised (correctly) that Kapata would be a much better ship anyway. And Zapata herself is getting into a bit of a pickle thanks to a woman I’m sure Team Tat already locked up last year but who knows any more, a completely insane Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and a terrified little girl hiding in a wardrobe. Go big or go home, right?

If you’re looking for a realistic portrait of the challenges facing public sector intelligence services, I don’t think (I mean, without first-hand experience, I don’t actually know – maybe sleeping gas ATMs are actually a thing) this is the episode for you, but if you’re looking for some entertaining spy shenanigans with a healthy sense of the ridiculous and a fun way to spend 40ish minutes, fill your boots. Season 4 so far has some real pep in its step.

Public Service Announcement 43 of 2018: Blindspot

The fourth and possibly final – who knows, at this point – season of Blindspot hits UK screens tomorrow (Monday) night at 10pm on Sky Witness, with a number of potentially encouraging signs. For one thing, REDACTED is dead. Woo! Unfortunately, though, it looks like that alone doesn’t mean we’ll be rid of him and his whining – I’m guessing he’ll crop up in plenty of flashbacks, nonetheless. Boo! Let’s try another, then: OTHER REDACTED has switched back to evil! Well. As we said at the end of last season, the show really needs a shake-up and this is certainly that. But I really don’t like stories where people “secretly” act like pantomime villains for the audience while the good guys act oblivious, so l hope OTHER REDACTED switches back to good in two or three eps, rather than twenty-three of them. Third time’s the charm, then: Rich Dotcom is now a series regular! We adore Ennis Esmer round here, and his partnership with Ashley Johnson’s Patterson – the (remote, maybe, but I ship, therefore I am) possibility of PATDOTCOM! – is the greatest gift the show could possibly give us this year. I’d keep watching and reviewing just for them, but if the Chair of Truth could make another appearance and Weller could hang out with Bill Nye the Science Guy again, that would be more than welcome too.

Blindspot s3 ep 22

*MASSIVE BIG SPOILERS*

The first half of this finale does nothing for me. While Team Tat uncover various clues stemming from an incredibly laboured, dull metaphor/plot device involving a French first edition of The Count of Monte Cristo, whiny Roman whines his way to a final confrontation “back where it all began”, somehow establishing Crawford as the fiendish mastermind behind all his troubles ever. Blergh. The defeated Crawford, rather than wanting to slap him about the head, sacrifices himself instead, committing suicide by Jane so Roman can live another day and reunite with wet blanket Blake. So far, so season three, but, just as I’m getting seriously annoyed at the prospect of Roman getting away yet again and having to endure another season of his self-righteousness, he doesn’t. Yes, he reunites with Blake but – not something I ever expected to say in connection with Blake – that’s when things start to get interesting: in the first of three major shocks to end the season and the first sign of any actual resemblance to her father, she suddenly produces a spine and a gun, tells Roman what’s what and shoots him in the stomach! OMG!

Is it wrong that I shouted at her to “Shoot him again!”?

She doesn’t though, so, at this point, having left him bleeding but alive, I’m once again resigned to the idea that Roman and the chip on his shoulder will make it to season four, but lo! Jane turns up! Does she shoot him? Well, no. Instead they have an emotional reunion which might have meant something had this storyline not gone on far too long already and he not been insufferable, but no mater. This time, at last, having first dutifully made a telephone call to set someone else up as yet ANOTHER big bad behind him, Roman really does die, in his sister’s arms, on a stunning South African clifftop, as the sun begins to set in the distance. It’s a strikingly beautiful shot of nature at its most lovely – this show has never skimped on location work and it’s the better for it – and a startling contrast with the next one: the dark, sleek, futuristic cityscape of night-time New York, where Kurt is being kind to Jane, and Patterson and Rich are working on the elaborately-decorated USB that was Roman’s dying gift. A lexicon of the tattoos if you will, it won’t entirely solve them all right away – perish the thought – but it’ll get them there, eventually. Or will it? Because, if Roman’s death presses the sorely-needed Reset button on the show, there are then a couple more shocks which thump the poor Reset button so hard it’s obliterated.

First up, while it’s no surprise that Blake didn’t get a clue all on her own, Zapata gave it to her? ZAPATA? We all knew last week’s “firing” was a cover for something, but if you guessed it was for going undercover (for the CIA still, presumably?) as part of Team Blake, you’re way cleverer than I am.

On the off-chance we’re not already reeling from that particular twist, though, the show’s not done yet. Kurt may be bleeding out between surgeries and “not looking good”, but I think we all know he’ll be fine. The bigger problem, although Team Tat don’t know it yet, is that Jane, suffering from ZIP poisoning – the science/timeline behind this suddenly manifesting itself being somewhat irregular – isn’t actually Jane any more….

The deliciously nasty little smile on Remi’s face as she sits holding Kurt’s hand is a terrifically-unsettling way to end a season which started brilliantly and joyously, before getting itself bogged down yet again in angst and Doe family woes. I’m really not sure if I’ll enjoy the return of Remi or not, but Blindspot was in desperate need of re-tooling – Rich Dotcom and a sense of humour made a massive difference to at least the first half of the season, even if he was under-used in the second, and Patterson is always a joy, but it was time for a shake-up and this is certainly that. We’ll see how it works out in season four.

Blindspot s3 ep 21

*SPOILERS*

The EPG for this week’s episode says “Jane is forced to recruit someone from her past to help take down a dangerous alliance,” which makes my heart sink; not because of the “dangerous alliance” part but because the “someone from Jane’s past” well is one Blindspot is far too fond of dipping into, and those “someones”, with the rare exception, tend to be somewhat annoying. My fears are realised as this week, we get the mother lode, both literally and figuratively, with a double-does of the intensely irritating Shepherd, appearing first in time-wasting flashback before being shuffled in to Tat HQ to wind everyone, especially me, right up.

Months of black-site living mean Mama Doe’s a bit twitchier and slightly more subdued than she was, but she’s still very much herself, which means we go from “No way will you be seeing Jane!” to “Here’s Jane here, carry on!” within seconds, and all for naught except that she and son Roman are both dropping giant “whatever mysterious malady ails him is going to ail Jane pretty soon too” hints all over the place. That’s a problem for another day, though; today’s task is to identify which particular nefarious scheme little bro has cooked up now and stop him.

Rich Dotcom, sporting a delightfully brash shirt and planning a charming, strangely familiar graphic novel/ tv series(?), is back to offer tech support, but is regrettably under-used – when you have a crew of miserable Does around, why bother with laughter or joy? – and even Patterson isn’t as well-deployed as she usually is, though she does have a couple of triumphant moments. The wickedness of the week is quite clever, though: Roman is planning to sort-of-blow-up-the-UN-but-not-really, just enough to get the squabbling leaders of two made-up countries evacuated to a not-so-safe house so he can kill them some more. To be honest, it’s probably too clever – the whole plan has something of the “sharks and laser beams” about it, but no matter – Blindspot, with its naked amnesiac lady in a bag/tattoo-palooza of mystery has sharks toting laser beams in its very DNA. This week’s particular silliness is worth it for the revelation that Kurt apparently has an encyclopaedic knowledge of fictional world leaders: “We need to find King Almasi and President Bottros!” he barks, without missing a beat. Impressive. More so than the UN’s own security chief who insists on sending the said King and President to the unsafe-house, because “protocol.” Oh, girlfriend.

Unsurprisingly, “protocol” gets a bunch of Ms Chief’s security staff gunned down in a hotel hallway – goodbye, guards, we never knew you – and Jane and Kurt playing international mediators before sending the King and the President to safety out of the window down a garbage chute. Hurrah! (The garbage chute is then summarily dispensed with, of course, so we can get an unencumbered action-movie shot of Kurt and Jane leaping out the window together instead. It’s very cliched, but I like it.)

It’s not all rejoicing and secret shipping of bickering world leaders (no? just me?), though. For reasons that make no sense and that nobody need trouble ourselves with, Keaton “fires” Zapata, putting a slight wrinkle in my Zeaton/Kapata hopes. And then Zapata and Reade give in to their feelings for each other, which turns the wrinkle into a giant crease. *Shrugs.* It doesn’t really bode well for the main characters that I’m more interested in a possible Keaton romantic angle than theirs, but never mind that for now. Plot-wise, the big news is the set-up for next week’s season finale: Roman challenging big sis to “one last game”. Is it too much to hope that “last” is the operative part, and season 4 brings some fresh villains? Come on, guys. Enough Doe vs Doe. End it.

Blindspot s3 ep 20

Not so much a game of two halves as a game of one delightful quarter and three somewhat uninspiring ones this week, as Bill Nye the Science Guy guest stars, playing himself, himself being Patterson’s dad. I can’t quite articulate why this is so much more awesome than Bill Nye playing A.N Other Non-Nye fellow who is Patterson’s dad, but it really is and Kurt Weller being Bill Nye’s biggest fan somehow makes it even better. Heh. The Science Guy and the Geek Gal Patterson are a perfect, joyous match, obviously, and while Sullivan Stapleton might not often get to flex his comedy muscles as opposed to his action man ones all that often on Blindspot, he certainly makes the most of it in weeks like this when he does. Heh again.

All of that stuff is ace, then, but the rest of the episode never gets much above all right. Because the show can’t get enough of Roman, he spends the week in his shed/lair arguing with the Jane and Roman in his head, which is exactly as pointless as it sounds. The almost fanatically unlikeable Avery is back to whine some more, find out her dad was murdered and almost get murdered (again) herself. And Meg – someone I’d really like to be kinder about because the time spent on her undocumented status is a symbol of the show’s commendable commitment to inclusion and tolerance this season, but I’m really struggling to because she has absolutely nothing else going for her as an actual character; she’s utterly boring – ends her engagement with Reade almost as abruptly as it began, clearing the decks for Rapata in the very near future, I should think.

The difference Bill Nye makes, however, like the difference Ennis Esmer’s Rich makes every time he’s in it and even the difference Christopher Fitzgerald’s Dash made last week, does seem to suggest that Blindspot needs guest stars like these to lift every episode – fond as I am of the show, it’s becoming apparent that, the wonderful Patterson aside, the core team/format (and their grumpy family members) is becoming somewhat stale without your Bills or Ennises around – or without the odd wacky change of pace like the Groundhog Day ep – to liven things up. Since the show has just been renewed for season 4, this is a little bit of a worry: I’m just hoping the writers are as aware of it as I am and we get more of Ennis, more of Bill and more of anyone we can get who can make us laugh next season, as opposed to more of Jane’s grumpy, self-righteous family members arguing all the time. Blindspot might be a procedural drama/thriller but it really doesn’t have to be such a po-faced one.