Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 31, 2017)
An action series that emphasizes its mysterious lead character, Blindspot moves ahead with its second season. This four-disc Blu-ray set contains all 22 of Season Two’s episodes. The plot synopses come straight from the series’ official website.
In Night So Ransomed Rogue: “After Jane (Jaimie Alexander) endures three months of CIA torture, the FBI brings her back into the fold - this time as a double agent.”
Season One didn’t draw me in right off the bat, but I eventually came to like it, and S2 picks up pretty well where that one ended. “Rogue” digs into the overall narrative nicely and gets the season off to a lively start.
Heave Fiery Knot: “Shepherd (Michelle Hurd) gives Jane a new tattoo case to crack, leading Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), Nas (Archie Panjabi) and the team into the center of a deadly plot. Reade (Rob Brown) pursues legal action against his former football coach.”
Man, I’d almost forgotten how frantic Blindspot tends to be! I think that hyperactive style was the main reason I needed a while to embrace the series during S1, as its tone of semi-constant urgency threatens to derail the proceedings – “all climax all the time” can wear out the viewer.
Until the viewer adapts to the style, that is, and eventually I swallowed the pacing. I need to readapt, as so far, S2 seems pretty over-caffeinated. Still, “Knot” gives us enough intrigue and action to work well.
Hero Fears Imminent Rot: “While struggling with the new mission Shepherd has given her, Jane questions her innate violent abilities - despite Roman's (Luke Mitchell) assurances that she's a natural.”
S1 spent a lot of time with explorations of Jane’s backstory, and S2 seems to want to mine that same territory, as it invalidates much of what we learned last year. That feels like a somewhat cheap/tacky choice, but it doesn’t bother me a ton because I expect a series like this to throw out plenty of groan-worthy plot twists. As long as S2 keeps the action fast and furious, I can overlook questionable story/character decisions.
If Beth: “Jane learns some key intel about Sandstorm, the team pursues a criminal gamer and Reade's anger turns to violence.”
Sometimes I think the “Sandstorm” narrative exists just as an excuse to throw the team out on one daring mission after another. “Beth” manages to add a little intrigue, though, so maybe I’m wrong and the overall plot will coalesce better eventually.
Condone Untidiest Thefts: “While Weller and team investigate a botched assassination, Jane has a flashback from her own near-death experience. Meanwhile, Reade pursues Coach Jones (Brian O’Neill) into dangerous territory.”
Though I don’t know how it’ll tie into the season’s overall arc, the plot of “Thefts” works much better than for the average Blindspot episode. It provides an intriguing thread with an enjoyable new character, factors that make it probably the best show so far in S2.
Her Spy’s Harmed: “While Weller and Nas chase down an NSA whistleblower in Bulgaria, Zapata (Audrey Esparza) takes a major risk to prevent Reade from becoming a murder suspect, and Jane grows closer to Roman while assisting him on a Sandstorm mission.
After the relatively tight focus of the prior episode, “Harmed” finds itself spread too thin. That makes it a more erratic program, though it comes with some strengths, mainly via PJ Byrne’s goofy performance as a hacker - Blindspot lacks much levity, so I’ll take the occasional light moment. Throw in Esparza in her underwear and the good outweighs the bad here.
Resolves Eleven Myths: “Rich Dotcom (Ennis Esmer) hacks the FBI computer system, forcing the team to protect him from a legendary assassin. Feeling the intensity of their sibling bond, Jane hopes to convert Roman into an FBI asset.”
Rich acted as a highlight of S1, and ala PJ Byrne in the last episode, he adds needed looseness to this usually somber series. Add in a tight plot related to a super-assassin and this becomes a solid show.
We Fight Deaths on Thick Lone Waters: “When an undercover heist operation gone wrong lands Jane and Weller in grave danger, Nas and team must untangle the stories of unreliable witnesses to find the truth. Zapata urges Reade to let her dispose of evidence in Coach Jones' murder.”
“Deaths” uses the standard Rashomon structure to spice up its storytelling. While not the most original motif, it gives the episode some spice and allows it to become a good one.
Why Let Cooler Pasture Deform: “As Sandstorm begins to execute Phase Two of its plan, Weller and team race against time to raid the organization's compound and prevent a national disaster. Meanwhile, Jane struggles to maintain her cover with Roman and Shepherd.”
After a few shows that largely focused on “standalone” stories, “Cooler” takes us back to the Sandstorm narrative. While I liked the respite from the season’s overall arc, I admit that “Cooler” brings us back with some interesting revelations – even if one of them comes as little surprise.
Nor I, Nigel, AKA Leg In Iron: “The team must rescue Patterson (Ashley Johnson) from her new, deadly nemesis, but can they get to her in time? Meanwhile, Jane struggles to win back Roman's trust after erasing his memory, and Reade and Zapata reach uncharted waters in their friendship.”
Blindspot stretches credulity in many ways, including the fact virtually every part of its team eventually hooks up with another member. This seems like a cheesy choice, and it hampers “Nigel”. The rest seems okay, but the series’ push toward so much untenable romance feels too soap opera for me.
Droll Autumn, Unmutual Lord: “When the team learns that the CIA deputy director who tortured Jane has made a risky deal with a terrorist leader, they must collaborate with him to prevent a national security threat. A criminal profiler studies Roman.”
Though it advances parts of the overall narrative, “Nigel” mainly acts as a standalone episode, and it does fine in that regard. I can’t claim it provides a particularly original terrorist tale, but it musters a decent level of tension.
Devil Never Even Lived: “Jane and Roman enter a risky weapons deal with a biker gang, in the hopes of ambushing Sandstorm and capturing Shepherd - but can Roman stick to the plan? Meanwhile, Patterson and Reade deal with personal demons.”
On the positive side: guest actor Amber Skye Noyes is really hot. On the negative side: the episode’s story feels like little more than an excuse to send the characters undercover into the biker gang. The negatives outweigh the positives in this lackluster episode.
Name Not One Man: “Weller begins to unravel the mystery of Shepherd's complicated role in his past, which started during his military school days. Patterson uses an ethically questionable surveillance program. Reade continues along a self-destructive path.”
We get an episode fairly deep into “series mythology” here, and those parts tend to work reasonably well. The terrorism plot sputters, though, and leaves this as a mediocre show.
Borrow or Rob: “A tattoo investigation leads the team to Rich Dotcom, who's forced to help them crash a party held by his college's secret society. Roman and Jane visit their childhood home. Reade continues to see Nikki (Meagan Kimberly Smith).”
As usual, Rich offers a lighter than usual tone for Blindspot. As long as the series doesn’t overuse him, he remains enjoyable and adds a fun touch to “Rob”.
Draw O Caesar, Erase a Coward: “The team splits up into pairs, hoping to find the connection between three tattoos and a dark web courier known for illicit dealings. Weller takes Roman out into the field. Nas gets a promising lead.”
“Coward” gains some intrigue via the undercover pairing of Roman and Weller, and that side of things works pretty well. Other elements feel more ordinary and less compelling, especially when we follow Reade’s tedious/predictable descent.
Evil, Did I Dwell, Lewd Did I Live: “Nas' inside source reaches out to the team with vital intel about Shepherd - but can he be trusted? Meanwhile, Patterson begins to unravel the mystery of why Sandstorm is always one step ahead, and a random drug test sends Reade into a panic.”
Of all the story arc-heavy episodes in S2, “Dwell” becomes the heaviest to date. That makes it a bit on the sluggish side, as we get a lot of explanatory scenes and not a ton of action. Add to that more soap opera related to various characters and “Dwell” sputters.
Solos: “Jane and Oliver (Jonathan Patrick Moore) are kidnapped and held for ransom in retaliation for his father's financial crimes. Weller and team scramble to uncover their location before it's too late.
C’mon – even when a team member gets a significant other, that person has a secret past, too? Can’t any of these people hook up with someone ordinary? That thread stretches credulity even in the nutso world of Blindspot and turns “Solos” into an eye-rolling episode.
Senile Lines: “Jane and team untangle a disturbing conspiracy while facing a deposition from Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Weitz (Aaron Abrams), who's eager to find evidence of aiding and abetting Sandstorm. Reade copes with the possibility that he's suffering from PTSD.”
Because Blindspot comes with so many monotone characters, it’s always good to get a different kind of personality. Weitz isn’t a jokester like Rich Dotcom, but he still infuses energy into the somber series that it needs. Weitz helps balance out the soap opera parts of “Lines”.
Regard a Mere Mad Rager: “Seeking intel on Sandstorm, the team joins an international scavenger hunt that could grant them access to the Truman Protocol. Shepherd puts the finishing touches on Phase Two.”
“Rager” allows the series to have a little more fun than usual, mainly due to the riddles Weller and Jane must solve. The episode pushes along overall plot elements nicely as well and becomes a solid show.
In Words, Drown I: “Zapata goes to prison undercover in the hopes of getting close to a jailed Sandstorm operative. Jane decides to come clean with Weller about Roman's devastating past.”
Sending Zapata to jail as part of an operation seems like a stale choice – or maybe I’m just mad “Drown” includes no catfight in the shower. Whatever the case, this ends up as a more melodramatic show than I’d like.
Mom: “Sandstorm's Phase Two begins, with Shepherd launching a full-scale attack on the FBI. Jane copes with guilt after Roman learns she erased his memory. Reade considers leaving the team for good.”
With only one more episode left after this, “Mom” acts mainly to set up the season finale. That makes it heavy on action but light on resolution. I expect that, and “Mom” preps us for the last show pretty well.
Lepers Repel: “After Shepherd launches her major attack, the team puts their lives on the line to capture her, prevent destruction of the US government and save the nation. Jane learns she has a chance to start over in a new place - without Weller.”
Season Two concludes with a literal bang during the action-packed “Repel”. It brings the year’s narrative to a close well and makes this a satisfying finish – even if it ends with a teaser for Season Three, a collection of shows that apparently will take place two years after this one.