Blindspot Review: “Rules in Defiance”

(Episode 1.14)

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<i>Blindspot</i> Review: &#8220;Rules in Defiance&#8221;

This week’s episode of Blindspot was rather different from other weeks, in that Jane Doe stepped back and didn’t do much of anything. Instead, the episode focused more on Zapata getting in the action. While it was nice to see something different, it didn’t make the episode particularly special. If anything, the lack of Jane involved with this week’s tattoo mystery resulted, in some ways, in this not being one of Blindspot’s better episodes. Sure, it kind of showed that the FBI team is currently having a tough time trusting her, but it’s a little ridiculous that they’re getting suspicious of her now, when all of them have done something questionable to break the trust amongst themselves.

Zapata has always been a supporting character, as part of the FBI team led by Kurt, and we’ve never before seen an episode devote more focus on her than Jane. In previous episodes there was the big subplot involving her spying for Carter, but this week put Zapata front and center of the tattoo mystery, by having her infiltrate a sex-trafficking ring. Even though she went through a couple of rough moments, it never really felt like her life was in danger. In the beginning of the episode, she was confronted by a district attorney who’s been spying on her for reasons related to her gambling addiction. (Seems like she can never catch a break from that.) So even though Carter is gone, this new guy may pose more of a threat to Zapata down the road, as he reveals he knows she was working for Carter by giving FBI secrets to the CIA, which is a major felony. So while Zapata’s mission had its exciting moments, there was never a feeling that something unexpected would happen. We knew Kurt and Edgar were going to do whatever they could to rescue her, and of course that’s what they did, with a predictably massive explosion to boot as the three of them ran out of a burning building, just in the nick of time.

Kurt needs to decide if he wants to be with Jane or not. Sure, it’s understandable that he’d rebound with his ex-girlfriend, Allison, even though he told her his affection for her had nothing to do with Jane. Riiiight. Like this isn’t a love triangle waiting to explode. If there were to be a love triangle in Blindspot, this isn’t a bad one. A few episodes ago, with the revelation that Oscar was Jane’s fiance before her memories were wiped, it looked as though the show would be heading down a direction where Jane would have to choose between Oscar or Kurt, but at the moment Jane has made it very clear she has no feelings for Oscar, so instead it’s Kurt who will be having to make a big decision.

As to be expected in the second half of this season, Jane met up with Oscar toward the end of the episode and had another debate with him about not wanting to betray her friends and how she’s no longer the person she once was—whomever that may have been. And of course, Oscar, as usual, tells her that there’s no other way out. But this time Oscar reveals something a little different that perked up Jane’s attention: Kurt will be killed if she doesn’t do what Oscar’s organization wants her to do. This is a curveball Jane could not have seen coming. Even if her pre-memory-wipe version of herself was an important figure within this organization, there are people who are higher up calling the shots. What’s interesting to consider is how Jane’s life isn’t being threatened. Whoever she’s working for, they need her alive and they need the FBI to solve these tattoo mysteries.

Once again, the show’s gone back to its typical formula of focusing more on a tattoo mystery of the week, rather than the mysteries concerning Jane. Sure, the tattoos are part of her (literally) and sometimes they help Jane understand who she is, but it never really feels like the tattoos are this great big web of secrets for her to uncover. There are plenty of other shows that had weekly mysteries contributing to a bigger mystery at hand, with much more shocking effect (Lost, FlashForward, Dollhouse, Person of Interest, to name a few). The tattoo stories would be much more exciting if it actually seemed like they affected Jane directly. And there have been a few times where they have, but Blindspot is becoming less exciting and more of a predictable procedural. We now have a rough idea of what to expect every week: There’s a new tattoo mystery the FBI team always solves, a supporting character subplot to seemingly add more drama, and an ending teaser regarding Jane and her quest to find answers. Sure, we get an exciting episode every now and then, but it’s not enough to keep audiences hooked and tuned in every week. Some audiences may be happy with Blindspot for what it is, but for me, it’s unfortunate that this series has the potential to be so much better.