Blindspot s4 ep 4


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.


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.

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.

Private Eyes s2 ep 3

Hello and thanks, first of all, to Gare Joyce, author of the Brad Shade Mysteries – without which there would be no Private Eyes – who made our LIVES a few days ago by telling us he likes our reviews on Twitter. To say this caused a degree of excitement and hyper-ventilation at Unpopcult HQ is something of an understatement but, before we squeal ourselves into orbit, let’s head back down to earth for this week’s review.

After all my chat last week about Zoe being the New Jules, this week the Old Jules reappears, as if determined to prove me wrong, and the action shifts to her school, of all places. She has been around a lot less than she was in season one, though – as Jed said, probably due to school or college – so perhaps she and Zo are job-sharing. Anyway, while New Jules spends the week at the office, with a Chucklevision style sub-plot rendered charming by Ennis Esmer’s Maz, Shade and Angie are called in to Posh High Academy (possibly not its correct name) to investigate and hopefully quash the allegation that Old Jules’s favourite teacher has, er, a particular favourite student, before it turns into a giant nightmare scandal and ruins the woman’s life.

Shade, running point and deciding he’s too famous to pretend to be anyone else, delights both himself and everyone but his partner by sending her in as a lycra-clad substitute teacher to field awkward questions about sex ed from some very excited teenagers – oh GOD – while he pretends he’s turned his hand to a new career in motivational speaking. Old Jules, getting more than a tad excited herself, seizes the opportunity to ask Miss Everett some awkward questions too. And, despite a curiously defeatist attitude from the principal who called on our heroes in the first place, everyone has a whale of a time with one-liners and secret societies, before solving the mystery in the usual amusing, good-natured fashion. Although this time the story ends with a little too much good nature for me to be honest; I know it’s Private Eyes so nobody was going to set up stocks and rotten fruit in the school playing fields, but dudes. I’d have expelled those kids’ asses without even blinking.

Private Eyes s2 ep 2

It’s not quite up there with “pretending to be a couple”, but the “things that go bump in the night” episode is another time-honoured procedural trope that at least half of unpopcult is very fond of, and the rules are pretty clear. Number one: The Mulder/Scully principle – one partner’s super-sceptical, one’s more open-minded to the possibility of supernatural goings-on. Two: by episode’s end, there will be a rational explanation for most of the supposedly unexplained shenanigans. Three: but not for all of them, because Four: a little lingering eerieness is no bad thing. And five: yeah, no, I think that about covers it, unless – bonus ball – the OTP have to hold/hug/grab onto each other at some point because, y’know, scary times.

So, faced with the prospect of all these delights in addition to the usual joy that is Private Eyes, my levels of excitement on sitting down to watch this week’s were almost as high as Mount Logan. It’s to the show’s credit, then, that, despite it breaking just about every rule on the list and turning the episode into something entirely different than I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.

From the start, nobody – and certainly not Shade, my pick for the likely Mulder – even entertains the prospect of anything supernatural. No, the rational explanation is revealed very quickly and the rest of the episode drops any hint of eerieness (and any hope of hold/grab/hugging) in favour of a fight against the far more prosaic realities of corruption, big business and Angie’s unique filing system. Which, because this is Private Eyes, is not just fine, but surprisingly fun and warm-hearted. It also seems to be a gentle way to reset the template for the rest of the season. Angie’s Dead Parent Conspiracy Arc takes a sharp swerve away from the expected route and ends up being nothing of the sort, albeit still giving us some very SQUEE-able moments along the way. New character Zoe, doing a decent job treading the fine line between quirky and annoying, might say she’s needed as “a buffer” between Shade and Angie – she isn’t, they’re lovely and they clearly adore each other, come on – but she’s really there to fill the space left by the absent Jules. And Ennis Esmer’s Maz looks like he’s going to be taking up the screen time Nolan would have had last year, which is great because Nolan is always angry, Maz is great fun, and HELLO, it’s Ennis Esmer, COME ON.

With the innate niceness at its heart, the relatively low-stakes (I mean, yes it’s corruption and threats and whatnot, but most procedurals we watch involve mass murdering serial killers and such) mystery solved and the villains vanquished in “if it wasn’t for those pesky kids…” Scooby Doo fashion, the whole thing is very, very Canadian, which I mean as a compliment of the highest order. I suspect that the world would be in significantly better shape if folk tried to be a bit more Private Eyes and a bit less True Detective, but there we go.

Public Service Announcement 33 of 2017: Private Eyes

I was going to start this post with a list of terrible, terrifying things happening in the world right now, but I don’t want to be responsible for the entire unpopcult readership taking to their beds in abject despair, so let me just get to my point instead: we could all use some light in the darkness and, friends, a veritable sunburst is at hand. Season two of the warm, cheery, wonderful Private Eyes – a White Collar-esque tale (sans electronic tag) of delightfully mismatched crimefighting buddies who bicker loudly but love each other secretly – arrives on UK screens tomorrow (Monday) at 8pm on Universal, and not a moment too soon. Unpopcult fell deeply, some might say hysterically, in love with Shangie and co last season, and who can blame us? With a charming cast including Jason Priestley, Cindy Sampson, and unpopcult royalty Ennis “Rich Dotcom” Esmer; a bushel of resolutely inconsequential, light-hearted mysteries; and a ship we’re so on board we’ve got our own cabins, Private Eyes got us through some tough times last year and we’re counting on it to do the same once again. Maybe that’s a lot of pressure to put on a will-they/won’t-they comedy procedural, but we can’t help it. We love this show SO MUCH. Reviews every week, as fast we can write’em, then, and, just to start the ball rolling: SQUEEEEEE.

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!