Thursday, January 12, 2017

Blindspot 2x11 Review: "Droll Autumn, Unmutual Lord" (Up Close and Personal) [Contributor: Jen]

"Droll Autumn, Unmutual Lord"
Original Airdate: January 11, 2017

This week, Blindspot examines the lines between the personal and the professional in their episode "Droll Autumn, Unmutual Lord." How did they do? Let's dive in!


One of Jane's tattoos leads to shipping container that's recently docked in New York harbor. It's holding a who, not a what: Anton Stepulov. He's the Dabbur Zann's second-in-command. You guys remember the Dabbur Zann, right? He was behind several terrorist attacks including the Black Sea incident when Team Blindspot was almost beheaded. Remember? Yeah, me either. Honestly, the "Case of the Weeks" blur into one big, long episode for me sometimes.

As if Stepulov's appearance in the United States isn't concerning enough, there are traces of nitroglycerin in the container. The team quickly deduces the Dabbur Zann is going to set off a bomb.

The steps to tracking down Stepulov is like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The shell company that paid the freight on the container also paid $250k to a woman named Arlene Turner. She insists it's life insurance from her brother Paul, who recently died of kidney disease. Patterson reviews the security footage and discovers  Paul was escorted out of the hospital and was very much alive. Team Blindspot fears Paul is a volunteer bomber, recruited by the Dabbur Zann. They find the vehicle Paul left the hospital in and pull it over. There's no Paul, but they do find Stepulov, his traveling companion and... Keaton, the CIA agent who tortured Jane.

It turns out Stepulov is a guest of the CIA. His son Henrik needs a heart transplant. Paul donated his heart to Henrik in exchange for the life insurance, which the CIA provided. The traces of nitroglycerin were from his heart medication. Henrik also has a rare condition called situs inversus. His heart is on the wrong side of his body and there's only one surgeon who can perform a transplant like that. Naturally, Keaton offered the surgeon to Stepulov in exchange for actionable intel. The Dabbur Zann intends to attack a target at 6 p.m. Stepulov agreed to disclose the location after his son's heart transplant.

Henrik's operation gives Jane and Keaton a little time to debate the morality of torture. Keaton insists it was nothing personal and he was just doing his job. Keaton insists he would have rather been at his daughter's basketball game than interrogating an enemy combatant. If you thought this was an odd reference, then you'd be right. It was Blindspot's attempt at casual, because the daughter comes into play later. Understandably, Jane takes her torture very personally and tells Keaton where to shove it. She reminds him that — orders or not — he is accountable for his actions.

Henrik dies. Yes, seriously. No one can catch a break on this show. Kurt decides that honesty is the best course and informs Stepulov his son is dead. Jane tries to appeal to Stepulov's humanity and convince him that telling the FBI the location of the target is what Henrik would want. Apparently, Henrik wasn't down with terrorism.

Typically, Jane's doe eyes — combined with a warm and fuzzy talk — does the trick. But not this time. Stepulov tells Jane where to shove it. The United States murdered his son and now he's going to watch them burn. I mean, really guys, what were you expecting? Stepulov hates the United States on a good day and this was anything but a good day. No dice, my friends.

The Dabbur Zann use basketballs, inflated with explosive gas, as the bombs. The basketball racks are fitted with an explosive charge. Weird delivery method, right? Team Blindspot agrees, but then Jane remembers that Stepulov said losing a child is the worst thing that could happen to someone. The team has been looking at this all wrong. This is personal to Stepulov. This is about Keaton.

The Dabbur Zann have targeted a basketball tournament, where hundreds of kids and parents are — including Keaton's daughter. Keaton tries to extract his daughter from the game, but the agent guarding her is killed and she's ultimately taken hostage. Patterson shuts down all the cell towers so the terrorist cannot detonate the bomb and Keaton offers himself in exchange for his daughter. It opens a window for Kurt to take out the terrorist.

As Keaton holds his daughter, another terrorist attempts to shoot them, but Jane appears and kills the terrorist. Keaton thanks Jane, but she icily replies, "I was just doing my job. It wasn't personal."

Burn! Jane's didn't save Keaton because she liked him or trusted him. Jane saved Keaton because it was the right thing to do. Jane offers Keaton what he never offered her... humane treatment. By doing so, she settled the argument between them. "Just doing my job" means "doing the right thing." You cannot separate the two. This job will always be personal because it's always dealing with human life.


We're post-kiss with Reade and Zappata, and hello to the awkward! They dodge the topic for awhile, before eventually facing it head on and joking about it. It's important to note the jokes are coming from Zappata primarily. Reade is quick to explain that he was under pain medication and was feeling vulnerable. He insists he's not in love with Zappata and after they get a drink, she points out a beautiful blonde staring at Reade. Zappata leaves the bar and tells the blonde, "He's all yours."

But is he? Zappata watches Reade flirt with the blonde and there's definitely a wistful, slightly-jealous, almost regretful look on her face. That kiss unlocked some feelings! This is a case of "Methinks you doth protest too much!" So, the question is, why did Zappata push Reade away? My suspicion that she's afraid of something real could be on point.

She was also reacting to Reade's protests. Reade wasn't that high off the drugs when he made his confession to Zappata. In fact, he sounded pretty clear to me. Zappata's reaction made Reade backtrack, but he may have missed the signal that Zappata was rethinking things. Audrey Esparza is a wonderful actress, and there was a "blink and you'll miss it" look when Zappata and Reade initially discussed the kiss. If Zappata was warming to the idea, Reade's insistence that he's not in love with her made those skittish fears rise again.

Still, Zappata can't ignore what Reade's kiss has unlocked hence the wistful look. Sometimes when you cross the line between professional and personal, you can't go back because... you don't want to. I'd buckle up for a long road of miscommunication and these two  being dummies. They'll figure it out though. I have hope.

I'm officially moving Roman to Team Blindspot section, since Team Blindspot is actively trying to move Roman to their team. Unfortunately, things aren't going well with Roman. He's stuck reliving the same memory over and over again. He's a little boy, trapped in a cell, and he can't get out. Until Roman breaks through, he won't offer the FBI any intel. It's been two weeks and Jane still hasn't been able to get Roman to open up, so Nas brings in a psychologist, Dr. Sun, who specializes in cases like Roman's.

Dr. Sun helps Roman remember how he escaped the cell as a little boy: he killed another orphan/assassin-in-training. She runs some additional tests on Roman and notices that Roman's brain reacts neutrally to both images of happiness or images of pain. These are ingrained responses, regardless of the memory wipe. It leads Dr. Sun to diagnose Roman with extreme antisocial personality disorder. Roman's experiences in the orphanage destroyed his capacity for empathy or love. Well... crap. That's not good.

Jane isn't buying it though. After all, she's totally fine!
Jane: I grew up in the same place, in the same way. 
Dr. Sun: I haven't examined you yet.
Uhhh... that's an alarming response. Dr. Sun sure knows how to bring the doom and gloom. She insists Roman be hospitalized in a mental institution forever and that Team Blindspot stop interrogating him. The more he remembers, the more Roman relives his trauma, which could trigger his psychopathic tendencies.

I found myself a little annoyed with Dr. Sun. First of all, if Roman is such a whack job then why couldn't he kill Jane? His brain was able to tell the difference between Mama Sandstorm (the mother of Satan) and Jane (an actual angel). Do you have a Rorschach test that can explain that in your bag of tricks, doc? I, personally, could try to explain to Dr. Sun that Roman is suppose to get better and have dinners with Kurt and Jane in their love nest, and his psychopathic tendencies are going to put a real damper on it, but somehow I still don't think she's going to understand.

Luckily for us, Patterson does understand. She tells Jane, from a scientific perspective, that psychology isn't an exact science. There are always a certain amount of unknowns that can determine the outcome of any patient. Predicting these factors is difficult.

Jane wants to help Roman, but she doesn't believe she's objective enough. Patterson insists that's exactly the point. It's good that Jane isn't objective. Patterson says, "Weller wasn't objective and he brought out the best in you."

Dear Kurt and Jane, You are in love with each other. Sincerely, everyone else.

We can always count on Patterson. She's the number one Jeller fan. She definitely gets to be godmother of their baby.

Patterson's advice is good advice. Dr. Sun is looking at Roman from a professional perspective and that's something Kurt was never able to do with Jane. So, Patterson is telling Jane to take a page from Kurt's book. Make it personal because it IS personal. Jane can be Roman's X-factor, just like Kurt Weller was hers. In the end, it could make all the difference — a difference not even science can quantify.


It's starting to feel like Kurt and Jane are a team within a team again. At first, I was nervous because it seemed like Keaton was ripping open an old wound after he said that he and Kurt go way back. And Keaton was implying that Kurt knew him as Jane's interrogator. That would mean Kurt knew about the torture beforehand. But Kurt assured Jane he didn't know about the torture. The two men know each other from Bulgaria and, from the looks of it, Kurt was not a fan of Keaton.

Still, Jane was a little uncertain whether she believed Kurt, so he decided to make things crystal clear: "For the record, I almost snapped his neck when I found out."

Oh boy. Is it warm in here? That line was hot. Jane is a little flustered (right there with you, girl) and accepts Kurt is telling her the truth. "Snapping necks" is Jeller code for "I love you."

They may be on the same side, but it doesn't mean they agree on everything. Jane is insistent that Kurt release Roman from his cell. She makes the same argument as last week — Kurt didn't lock her up. Kurt makes an argument in return: "Roman isn't you, Jane."

Listen, Jane I'm going to spell this out for you because you don't seem to be catching on. Kurt met you after reviewing the tattoos all over your naked and flawless body, including one with his name. Then, you held Kurt's hand and caressed his face, so you could remember who he was. You stared up at Kurt, with those big doe eyes, and asked him, "Who am I?" like a little lost lamb.

Roman is not that. He's totally different circumstances delivered in totally different packaging. One cannot diminish the importance of that difference. Of course, some of us prefer Roman over... you know, I'm going to stop. I've made my point.

Jane is worried when Roman finds out she wiped his memory that she'll lose him. Kurt tells Jane to explain to Roman that wiping her memories was the best thing that ever happened to her. It gave her a second chance — a way to start over. Jane challenges Kurt on his previous statement that Roman isn't like her. And so, Kurt explains more. He believes that whatever hope Roman has left is a gift that Jane gave him.

Awww. This is the second episode where Kurt is identifying with Roman. Last week, he understood what it was like to be betrayed by Jane. However, Kurt also learned it's better to have Jane in his life than not. He was able to help Jane navigate her betrayal with Roman because of that lesson.
Kurt is pulling once again from his experiences with Jane to help her navigate her relationship with Roman. Kurt views Jane's memory wipe as a positive, even after all the hurt it's caused him. Even though he lost Taylor Shaw and learned the truth about his father, Kurt hasn't lost all hope. That's a gift Jane has given him. Because at the end of the day, he still has her.

Even though Kurt doesn't trust Roman, and believes he's dangerous, he can recognize that glimmer of hope in him. Kurt has felt that same glimmer before. He understands that Jane is the source of Roman's hope because she is the source of his. It's a realization Kurt is slowly, but surely coming to.

It seems Blindspot is taking a page from Arrow and sending Allison where all unpopular Baby Mama Drama storylines go: off screen. Or, in this case, to Colorado. It seems strange that Kurt wouldn't put up a bigger fight over Allison leaving. This is primarily because Blindspot seems eager to move beyond this storyline. However, there is some in-character reasoning here. As much as he wants to be part of his baby's life, Kurt doesn't want to stand in the way of Allison's happiness. Kurt is a selfless guy and he puts the needs of Allison before his own. Of course, Kurt and Allison will work out a custody arrangement that ensures Kurt will see his child often and... off-screen. Seriously folks, I doubt we'll ever see this baby after he/she is born.

To be fair, Kurt was falling apart for a while. He was hitting the bottle a little too hard, but he seems to be turning it around. This baby was a big part of that. I'd be more worried about Kurt if his relationship with Jane wasn't improving, but it is. I think it's one of the reasons why Kurt is able to let Allison go. Regardless of their romantic status, Kurt seems more stable and centered with Jane. As does she. Kurt's impact on her life is what gives Jane the strength to keep fighting for Roman. There are no lines between the professional and personal with Kurt and Jane, primarily because they give each other hope. That's something they need in every aspect of their lives.

Stray Thoughts:
  • I consider myself an intelligent person, but I rarely understand the unraveling of the tattoos. So much exposition! 
  • If there are infinite amounts of moves in Mancala Patterson, then how is there a last move?
  • The leopard tattoo leads to a woman named Kate Jarrett who's part of a biker gang. I'm going to call it now and say that this woman is Roman's girlfriend.
  • Nas and Weller can break up any day now. Please and thank you.
  • "Someone told me to make small choices." Careful Jane, your Kurt Weller feels are showing.
  • There was a CIA agent guarding Keaton's daughter? That's absurdly convenient even by Blindspot's standards.
  • Was shooting near the basketballs really a good idea, Reade and Zappata?
  • Kurt Weller talking about cribs, mattresses, baby bumpers and nursery room colors is an aesthetic I never knew I needed, but now I do.
What did you think of this week's episode? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. Kurt and Jane seem to be on the road to recovery. I say "seem" because there haven't really been truly any significant Jeller moments, IMO. They talk to each other about the business of catching chriminals pretty much and that's all. Roman is also a major topic of conversation too! Jane and Kurt need to talk about themselves to each other to really get the rekindling of their feelings and romance going!!! There's no Jeller yet! But hopefully soon!

    Very not satisfied with the Allie and baby thing! Basically, Allie's move is a total cop out!!! Allie should be completely removed from Kurt's life; baby and all!!! Having her lurking in the background with with kid (even in Colorado...) is potential future fodder for Allie to come back with that kid to interfere with Kurt and Jane!!! Can we spell "soap opera" story line!!!! Better that the kid turned out to be some else's because that bitch sleeps around, Dude!!!! Always hated Allie's arc and disappointed that the writers are too weak to totally get rid of it!!! Bleh!!'

    Kill Nas!!! That's a simple, quick and extremely satisfying way to be rid of the black spot in Weller's ass!!!! Of all the entire lineup of characters, Nas is the most hated per social media postings. If there is anyone who is a Nas fan... It just must be Nas herself!!! Nas is a spoiler so kill her off. She can meet her demise in another shootout that she f**ks up again!!! Nas is the bitch shadow that looms over Jeller!!! Kurt needs a sound kick in the butt for his choice of creepy Nas to sleep with!!!! Kill Nas now!!!!

    Jane is Kurt's heart and soul!!! And if Kurt doesn't admit to that soon, he deserves to lose her forever and completely!!! Rumor has it that Oliver Kind is due to come back... Ok, let's see just how Kurt reacts to some up front competition!!!! Is Jeller the endgame??? We'll see.

  2. I really could've done without the early-in-the-episode cutesy moment that confirmed that Weller and Nas are still some kind of a thing. Can SHE move to Colorado too? Pretty please??

  3. Remove Nas from the equation completely (someone said to kill her). Prove that Weller is not father to Allie's baby. Let the Jeller shippers have their dream of Jane & Kurt sleeping together come true. Good one!!! Go back to solving cases based on Jane's tattoos and let Roman become a viable member of the FBI. Do all of the above and the show's ratings have a better chance of going up and up! But Season 3 may be long gone by now.

  4. Blindspot started out as a quirky adventure with lots of mystery. I get it that it is very hard to write for such a format. Going into the world of babies, new girlfriends, new relationships lost the thread. We wanted Jane to struggle, but we wanted her to show how awesome she is. That is still there, but somehow it got sidetracked with Nas, Allie, etc. I really want to see team dynamics again. They had it there for awhile. Let the team figure out why Weller is the key, and why his name is the most visible tattoo on Jane. Drop the fluff.

  5. Get back to Jane’s tattoos and how they lead to the cases for the team to solve. Explain why Sandstorm has tracked Kurt for so long. How does Sandstorm know in advance of the terrorists and other cases they put as clues in Jane’s tattoos? Why is Kurt’s name tattooed on Jane’s back so prominently? Why did Sandstorm think having Jane be Taylor Shaw would help their plan to use Weller? Don’t include Nas as part of the team! Nas should be eliminated from everything. I vote with the others who say to kill her. Nas draws strong dislike from a majority of fans! She’s a bitch! Eliminate Allie and baby too! They don’t ever need to come back to mess up Kurt. Jane and Kurt need to be a couple. Put Jeller back together and the ratings will go higher to save the show. But it might be too late.

  6. I love the actress who plays Nas but putting her as a love interest for Kurt in the face of baby mama drama and unanswered feeling for Jane was sloppy writing and direction for the show. Hopefully, they can turn this into something positive soon.