Sunday, April 2, 2017

Blindspot 2x17 Review: "Solos" (Baggage) [Contributor: Jen]

Original Airdate: March 29, 2017

Hello Blindspotters! Sorry I missed you last week. Life got busy, but I did not forget about you or the last two episodes of Blindspot. Let's do a quick recap of last week's "Evil Did I Dwell, Lewd I Did Live" and then dive into this week's "Solos." Major revelations happened last week: Nas does not die, which is nice because I like Nas. We finally find out who her Sandstorm contact is — Cade! Remember Cade? Well, in case you have forgotten, Blindspot has those trusty flashbacks to fill in the blanks.

Dear Blindspot,

Thanks for not making me remember stuff.

Love, me.

Cade isn't a fan of the United States, but he isn't a fan of Shepherd's Phase Two plan either. His father was a coal miner who died in a mining accident. Cade wants to stick it to the government, but he's not down with hurting innocent people. His intel is a bust however, because Shepherd planted a bug inside Patterson's tooth while she was held hostage. So that's how Sandstorm has been one step ahead every time. Just when you think Patterson can't be violated anymore. Yeesh. Team Blindspot turns the table on Sandstorm and leads them into a trap with the bug.

It leads to a showdown with Patterson and Borden. Borden tries to get Patterson to kill him, but she refuses. She's taking him in. (That's my baby girl!) Borden tries to apologize, but then — being the coward he is — blows himself up with a grenade. We end "Evil Did I Dwell, Lewd I Did Live" with Patterson emotionally numb and demanding the dentist remove her tooth without anesthetic. My take is she wants to feel something even if it's pain. Reade passes a random drug screening (bullet dodged), but Zappata reports him to Weller. And Jane and Oliver are kidnapped! Which brings us to...


It's official: I'm over the tattoos. Blindspot is a stronger show when it ditches the procedural element and follows the complicated but fascinating Sandstorm plot. "Evil Did I Dwell, Lewd I Did Live" was a strong episode primarily because it focused on the characters and the larger overarching Sandstorm plot. It's the same with "Solos." Jane's tattoos are of little factor. Instead, it's Oliver who's gotten them into hot water.

Oliver's father is a Bernie Madoff type. He orchestrated a ponzi scheme and disappeared with $200 million. Herman is the kidnapper's ring leader, and his daughter killed herself after losing her all her money in Magnus Steele's ponzi scheme. He's out for revenge, but there's a twist. He's also kidnapped the children of Magnus Steele's partner, Edith Kananacks. The children are being held at a different location. Magnus and Edith can either pay back the $200 million or watch their children die.

Oliver quickly deduces that Jane isn't your everyday gal. Our girl is extremely effective in a crisis. However, she is overpowered rather easily a few times by the kidnappers. It irritated me at first, but then I realized she may have been cautious so the kidnappers didn't kill the children. It forces Jane to use her brain instead of her brawn. Patterson isn't the only smarty pants in the Blindspot family! Oliver tells Jane that his father has an old work number where he checks messages, and Jane convinces the kidnappers to let Oliver call the number. Then, she takes the phone and uses key Sandstorm words in her message so the call is flagged by the FBI and they can track her location. Jane also gives Patterson an additional coded message, which alerts the team to the location of the children.

Once Team Blindspot secures the kids, it's back to kicking butt. Jane takes out most of the kidnappers, and even convinces Herman not to kill Oliver for revenge. However, one of the other kidnappers kills Herman when he doesn't pull the trigger. The remaining kidnappers take Oliver and Jane to his foundation where he can wire them $50 million. In another ingenious move, Jane scratches out the symbol of Oliver's foundation so Team Blindspot knows where to follow. Oliver struggles with the kidnapper during the wire transfer until Nas shows up and shoots him. Jane, of course, is able to free herself.

Anytime Blindspot highlights Jane's resourcefulness, it's a strong episode. She's the female MacGuyver and that never gets old. The real purpose of "Solos," however, is to blow up Oliver and Jane's relationship — which is absolutely fine by me.


There was a fracturing of the team and a rebuilding, in a way. Zappata knows about Reade's drug abuse now and she tells Weller when Reade fails to. Kurt tries to approach him like a friend, which is very generous of him since Reade is committing a felony. He tells Reade to take a leave of absence and get help. Reade is in permanent self-destruct mode though and flips out on Weller. He tells Kurt that they aren't friends or family. Kurt is his boss, and tries to keep his cool. He tells Reade not to throw away his career — which, of course, is exactly what Reade does. He quits.

The self-destruction isn't over. Reade refuses to speak to Zappata, and then tries to score drugs at a bar. When the dealers recognize him as a cop, they beat the crap out of him. What's frightening is that I still don't think we've hid Edgar's lowest point.

Patterson isn't doing so great either. She wants to quit therapy because Borden is dead. She wants to move with her life. The therapist persuades Patterson to talk about Borden's death and the additional violation of the bugged tooth. Patterson is insistent that she's fine, but we know she's not. When she finds a copy of Oregon Trail that Borden gave her, it occurs to Patterson that there may be bugs. She ransacks her apartment looking for more hidden devices.

Patterson is about control. It's why she likes puzzles so much. She likes to find the answers. It gives her a sense of control in a world that has infinite variables. However, Patterson can't make sense of what's going on inside of her. She is feeling anything but control. There's a strong desire, post-trauma, to pretend you are fine when you are really anything but. We don't want trauma to change us, even though that's inevitable. We fear the person we will become, because what if it's someone we don't recognize?

In a lot of ways, Patterson is on a similar trajectory as Reade — even though her coping mechanisms are different. They are both losing control because they don't know how to deal with the trauma they've experienced. It's why Patterson and Reade need tethers — people to hold them steady when the world is spinning. The question is, who will be the person Patterson and Reade reach out to? Or will they reach out at all? My hope is that find their way to one another because I think they are the only people who can truly understand what the other is going through.

As for the rebuilding, Nas and Weller obtain Roman's release. He's put on house arrest and is allowed to live with Jane. He's also able to provide some valuable intel from a memory. Roman posed as a benefactor to a trust fund, which Weller and Nas believe is funding Sandstorm. It gives them an avenue to trace Shepherd. Weller is reminded of Jane in his interactions with Roman. As the memories return, Roman is growing more and more convinced that he is a monster. Kurt is convinced Roman is not the enemy; Shepherd is.

Nas and Weller decide that if they treat Roman like a monster, he'll become one. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they want him to be on their team, they need to start treating Roman like he is on their team. The psychologist is staunchly against this. She warns Weller and Nas that every memory Roman uncovers can potentially turn him back into the murderer he was. Truthfully, this psychologist seems to put very little stock in free will. She acts like Roman's memories control him — that there's no value in the new memories he's making, or the connections with Jane and the team. The best way to combat those memories is to allow Roman the chance to continue developing those connections. I'm with Nas and Weller on this one.

Here's the kicker though: Jane is still lying to Roman. She zipped his memories. While her intentions are good, Jane is still controlling Roman with lies just like Shepherd did. That's not love. If Jane really wants a relationship with her brother, then she has to tell him the truth. If Roman finds out from anyone else, she could lose him forever. That potential is still there if Jane tells Roman she zipped him, but at least she'll stand a fighting chance. Nas and Weller gave Roman the opportunity to start choosing for himself. Jane needs to give Roman that same freedom.


Jane and Oliver survive, but their relationship doesn't. Oliver is looking for someone with less baggage than him and Jane doesn't qualify. Poor Jane. It's easy to forget (pun intended) that so much of life is a first for her. Technically, this is her first real break-up. It went a million times better than Oscar. Dumping is a big step up from a battle to the death. Honestly though, who cares? Nobody actually believed this relationship had a real chance.

Zappata and Jane have a little girl talk, and I am absolutely loving the friendship that is building between these two. If you had asked me which two characters would be bonding at the beginning of the season, Jane and Zappata would have been last on my list. It's Zappata who realizes the scratches in the couch are the foundation logo and it's Zappata who pulls Jane aside to discuss her relationship with Oliver. Jane explains Oliver's reasons for the break-up and Zappata tells her his reasons are crap. She explains everyone has baggage. Oliver and Jane just weren't right for one another. "Because when someone is really right for you you make room."

Enter: Kurt Weller. No, really. He walked into the room right after Zappata said that. Real subtle, Blindspot. Nobody has more baggage between them than Kurt and Jane. There's more baggage still coming (I haven't forgotten you are still lying to Kurt, Jane Doe.) I said in my Arrow review this week that unconditional love isn't ignorance to someone's flaws. Unconditional love is about challenging a person another to do better and still loving them when they fail.

That's what Kurt and Jane have. No matter what happened between them, they found a way to make room for each other in their lives again. They were able to deal with the baggage by challenging each other to do better... and finding a way to forgive when they failed.

Releasing Roman was Kurt not only taking a leap of faith in Roman, but in Jane. Kurt believes in Jane. He believes Roman will be a better person for having Jane in his life because that's how Kurt feels about her. After everything, Kurt believes in Jane's goodness. She may fail. She may make mistakes. But that doesn't make her unworthy; it makes her human. More than anything, Kurt has always been able to recognize Jane's humanity and it's the reason he can see it in Roman.

The absolute joy on Jane's face when Roman told her he was getting out brought tears to my eyes. These are just two traumatized children who were ripped away from their parents and their home. They had to learn how to survive at a very young age and all they had was each other. Roman is integral to Jane discovering who she and vice versa. They need each other. Only now, maybe they can need each other living in the light instead of surviving the dark.

Kurt gave Jane a gift — he gave her a little piece of home. Kurt gave Jane her family back. Jane tries to explain what it means to her, but Kurt interrupts and says, "I think I have a pretty good idea." There's a softness in his voice, and a tenderness in his eyes. His looks at her with so much love. Even though she isn't Taylor Shaw, I think when Weller looks at Jane, he still sees family. Only it's a family he's never known before. It's not a family of his past, but of his future. Kurt can name off all the practical reasons why releasing Roman was necessary, but at the end of the day, he did it for Jane. Because Kurt loves her.

Stray Thoughts:
  • Roman remembers the trust fund was in Alice Krueger's name. Jane Doe was loaded? How, who, what, where and why? I HAVE QUESTIONS.
  • Why is the FBI investigating the team? I swear this FBI does more investigating of its own people than it does criminals.
  • Can't Patterson have someone sweep her apartment for bugs? It feels like there's someone to do that at the FBI.
  • If the promo is to be believed, then someone is leaving the team. Any guesses? I'm thinking Nas. She'll take the investigation hit for the team.


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