Tuesday, October 6, 2015

REVIEW: 'Blindspot' - Jane Learns Who She Is While More Potential Clues Slip Away in 'Eight Slim Grins'

NBC's Blindspot - Episode 1.03 "Eight Slim Grins"

An infamous crew of thieves almost pulls off the perfect jewel heist, except one thief - with a Navy SEAL tattoo identical to Jane's - is captured at the scene of the crime. Jane receives a visit and an ambiguous warning from the mysterious bearded man from her first memory. Weller and Mayfair struggle with Jane's role on the team.

Blindspot gives a definitive answer to one of the many questions at the center of its main premise in "Eight Slim Grins." Three episodes in and everyone knows who Jane Doe is. Weller's theory about her being Taylor Shaw, his childhood friend who disappeared, is proven to be correct. That plot thread could have been one big red herring. A way to establish a personal story for Weller on the show. Instead it proves just how willing the show is to give answers to its big questions in a timely fashion. Just because the FBI knows who Jane is doesn't mean they know much about her. Everything they know about Taylor Shaw comes from her first ten years of life. After that, they all remain clueless as to what happened to her. It is a victory for the show to give this answer. It's the first step on a long road of answers that will hopefully continue to captivate as it progresses throughout the season.

As satisfying as it is to get an answer regarding Jane, the show is also falling into a troublesome pattern keeping some of the bigger mysteries as vague and mysterious as possible. Every time someone pops up who recognizes Jane, they die before giving her any information of value. She knows that the mysterious bearded man from her first memory was a close friend. And yet, she doesn't know if she can trust him and what he has to say when he pops up in her apartment. But who knows if he would have provided any substantial answers because he is promptly killed off. Bullets from an unknown shooter come flying from the abandoned building across the street. He can't do anything for Jane except give a very cryptic warning "not to trust them." The "them" in that phrase could be alluding to any number of people though.

This episode is largely about establishing trust between Jane and the rest of the team. They haven't been able to provide any answers or clarity to her since she emerged from that duffle bag in Times Square. She's grown frustrated over the lack of answers. Every time she gets close to learning something it just slips out of her fingers. Weller and Mayfair have this plan to test her DNA against Taylor's. But they don't want to get her hopes up if it's just going to be a dead end. Jane is able to pick up on that tension and uncertainty amongst the members of the FBI team. Weller has been very forthcoming with her in a number of ways. But he is also at a breaking point with her out in the field as well.

Agent Reade does have a point in saying that she is the victim in this case but is still being let out into an uncertain field. No one on the team has a strong understanding of the tattoos or what the overall mystery with Jane means. In fact, blindly following wherever the tattoos point them to can be incredibly reckless. The case at the center of this episode isn't an established crime depicted in the maze of tattoos on Jane's bodies. Instead it pops up when a man is arrested and hospitalized who happens to have a Navy SEAL tattoo just like the one covered up on Jane's body. He is a part of a jewelry heist crew that have some serious training. And yet, this man is either in surgery or unconscious for most of the episode. That means the team has to track down the other members of the team in order to learn anything and how it may pertain to Jane. It's a stretch more than the other two cases. But it may also be the breakthrough that they've been searching for.

However, this man who recognizes her and may be able to provide answers is promptly killed off before telling Jane anything substantial about herself. A battle erupts at the hospital between Jane, Weller and the members of the jewelry heist crew. The injured man gets caught in the crossfire and dies before Jane can get much out of him. The word "Orion" will be important in finding out what has happened to her over the past few years. It will provide the show with a direction and story avenue to explore in the next few episodes. But right now, it's treated as the latest very brief mysterious element on a show that is filled with so many.

And yet, all of that is slightly okay because the bond between Jane and Weller is getting stronger. The team is learning that they need to trust her out in the field. They can't keep having her stay on the sidelines - because that's where the bad guys keep showing up. Seriously, it's always Jane who comes into contact with the bad guy they are chasing during the midpoint of the episode. That's a formula that is probably going to change moving forward. Weller does have a blow up at Jane for not staying in the car. But that anger does feel like it's coming from a place of attachment. He may be getting too close to this case - especially now that he's certain that Jane is Taylor. He doesn't know until the end of the episode. And yet, he's operating like it's true. It's the only explanation that makes since to him. He reveals the truth to Jane because she needs some comfort. She needs to know that the bureau is following up on leads pertaining to her case. She has more answers now than she did before. Slowly this team is starting to function as an efficient unit. Of course, that may change now that Mayfair is worried Jane and her tattoos will lead to one of her big secrets being exposed. That's a pressing and exciting threat for the future.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Eight Slim Grins" was written by Eoghan Mahony & Martin Gero and directed by Steve Shill.
  • When is Patterson going to realize that no one immediately knows about the piece of information she is about to share? She always asks if they know what she's talking about and then she explains it to them.
  • Does Dr. Borden still exist outside of that room where he talks to Jane as a patient? Because it hasn't felt that way since the premiere. 
  • Veteran character actor Michael Gaston has come onboard as a colleague of Mayfair's who is also connected to this "Daylight" operation. He would rather eliminate Jane in order to deal with the threat. That establishes just how serious he is about protecting himself. The truth that is bound to come out better be as good as these two characters are making it out to be.
  • So, some bad guys know where Jane is. And yet, they haven't felt the desire to kill her like they did immediately with the mysterious bearded man.
  • It's definitely going to be an adjustment calling Jane by her real name, Taylor, moving forward.