Sunday, January 14, 2018

Blindspot 3x09 Review: "Hot Burning Flames" (Hot Mess) [Contributor: Jen]

"Hot Burning Flames"
Original Airdate: January 12, 2018

I desperately wanted to enjoy the emotional and angst-filled fallout from Kurt's: "I killed your daughter" confession, but the plot line in "Hot Burning Flames" is a disaster zone. I found myself screaming in frustration rather than crying. Instead of forging a new and interesting path for Kurt and Jane, Blindspot doubles down on the tired, old, and cliched fear of the Moonlighting Curse.


We aren't going to spend too much time on the Case of the Week because the writers recycled the storyline from another episode. And I mean that literally. A nuke gets stolen (AGAIN) and New York is under threat of annihilation (AGAIN). The woman responsible is Lana "Svetlana" Stepulov. She is the sister of Anton "The Architect of Death" Stepulov — the former number two of the Dabbur Zann. She's trying to finish what her brother started.

Sigh. Is this the third nuclear threat this season? I think you can dig a little deeper, Blindspot. Anton was an interesting villain in season two's "Droll Autumn, Unmutual Lord." He had a sick son and gave the CIA intel on an impending attack in exchange for a heart transplant. Then he double crossed them when his son died. However, Lana is just hokey.

It culminates with Kurt facing off with Lana in an airplane. She arms the nuke via a wristwatch mid-fight. It wasn't supposed to be funny, but I laughed out loud. Then, Kurt skydives after her to disarm it. Yes, you read that right. Think Point Break, but without the awesomeness of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Kurt saves millions of lives (again), but in the cheesiest way possible so I'm only giving him partial credit.

Despite saving New York, it doesn't do a darn thing to get him out of trouble with Jane. Kurt left her daughter for dead, so from Jane's perspective, there aren't enough lives in the world for Kurt to save that will erase the blood in his ledger.

But sure, maybe couple's therapy?


Team Blindspot is stressed about their ship imploding. It's excellent audience perspective representation. They spend 95% of the episode wondering where Kurt and Jane are, and then the other 5% freaking Kurt and Jane are breaking up. Zapata and Reade play marriage counselors. Reade is there for Kurt and Zapata is there for Jane, but really what can you say one of your best friends killed your other best friend's kid?

Reade gives a touching speech about being there for Kurt because he was there for him. But when Weller fesses up, Edgar just awkwards his way through it with a bunch of silence.

Zapata does a little better. She offers a whole bunch of "I'm sorry" to Jane and asks what her daughter's name was (Avery). It's a nice moment between the women, but it's clear the team won't be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again any time soon.

And why? Because Kurt and Jane are idiots. Primarily Kurt, but Jane isn't too far behind.


I consider myself a patient TV viewer, but there is only two words I came away with after watching "Hot Burning Flames."

Jamie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton did a beautiful job acting in the emotional scenes. It's probably some of their best work, but I had difficulty getting invested in the scenes because THIS ENTIRE PLOT IS SO RIDICULOUS I CANNOT EVEN.

In order to make this fly, Kurt Weller has become the dumbest oak tree to ever live. But not in a sweet or even mildly entertaining way. In a pull-my-hair-out-bang-my-head-up-against-the-way-convinced-he's-been-body-snatched-by-aliens way.

Let's run through it shall we? Kurt explains to Jane how he killed her daughter Avery. They met, Avery tells Kurt she is Jane Doe's daughter, she produces a birth certificate and Kurt Weller — former Assistant Director of the FBI — glances at it and basically says, "Looks legit. Allow me to tell you everything I know about your mother, me, and our super secret FBI lives."

Uhhh... WHAT? At least Jane is operating with some logic (at the moment) and asks Kurt how he can be sure that this girl was really her daughter. Did he get a DNA test? HA! Silly rabbit. No, he did not! Because why would Kurt, a man who believed Jane was an entirely different person for over a year, want to confirm Avery's identity with actual SCIENCE? Honestly Kurt, your father was a freaking pedophile, murdered your childhood best friend, and lied about it for years. You had to dig up Taylor Shaw's grave to find out the truth. WHERE ARE YOUR TRUST ISSUES?

Oh... it gets worse. Kurt's reasoning is that since Avery looks and acts like Jane then she must be her kid! She has the same fire, y'all. It has to be her. MYSTERY SOLVED. Take that, Sherlock. Kurt Weller is on the case.

I'm sorry, but no amount of Sullivan Stapleton's beautiful tears could keep me from screaming at the television. I'm not seeing the visual resemblance between the actresses, but that's television for you so I'll let that one pass. But mannerisms and personality can be coached. I wonder if there's someone hell bent on destroying Kurt and Jane's marriage, who knows Jane inside and out, and could set up this entire encounter up to make Weller believe he killed Jane's daughter.

In Kurt and Jane's defense, it's not like Roman has been threatening to break them up for months on end. Oh wait a second. HE HAS.

Let's set aside identity for a moment. Let's just pretend this kid really Jane's daughter, because she probably is. If Kurt is absolutely convinced that he killed Jane's daughter, enough to lie to her about it for months on end, risk their entire marriage and do absolutely zero investigative work about it, then I would assume he actually confirmed she was, ya know... DEAD.


Weller was headed to find Max Koehler, a German gangster Jane was seen talking to in the hotel lobby just a day prior. Jane lost her go bag and Max was giving her new passports. Avery wanted to come too, but Kurt knew meeting this man was dangerous. So he instructed Avery to stay behind. Weller is ambushed when he arrives at the dry cleaner Max operates in.

Jane asked what happened and Kurt said, "I don't know. I went in there... and it was like they were expecting me."

Is this his first day out of the academy? Who are you right now, Kurt Weller? Of course they were expecting you because ROMAN SET YOU UP.

Kurt ends up in a gun battle and he fires at someone standing behind a hanging sheet. It's Avery. She's bleeding out from the gunshot wound and unconscious, but Kurt can't stay with her because he's still under attack. Thereby, leaving the door open for her to magically be alive in 6-8 episodes.

Kurt: If I had stayed any longer I would have died too. 
Jane: Then you should have stayed.
Ouch. It's safe to say flowers, chocolates, and jewelry aren't going to fix this with Mrs. Weller. Kurt checks Avery's pulse and she has that vacant dead body stare, so that's enough for him to be convinced. Let's list a couple ways Avery could survive: 1) She was faking and Kurt can't take a pulse to save his life. 2) She was faking and took some kind of Blindspot drug to slow her heart rate. (It's important to remember this show is based on a fantasy drug.) 3) She was not faking and someone saved her via CPR because they know she's a valuable asset.

I'd be less irritated with Kurt's accept-everything-at-face-value attitude if he circled back and tried to collect the body. Or at least attempted to investigate where the body is. Or continued to follow Max's gangsters. But he did none of the above. Kurt headed to the Himalayas to find Jane.

Jane doesn't apply any of her investigative skills here though either. She simply accepts all of this as true and doesn't consider, for even a second, that Roman could be behind any of it. Blindspot does an about face on her position when it comes to Avery's adoption. For weeks, we've seen Jane grapple with the guilt that she let Shepherd take Avery away and didn't fight harder for her. However, when she hears Avery believed Jane didn't love her, this is the reaction: "I didn't give her up. Shepherd stole her from me and sent her away. I fought for her."

Umm... when? I'm not saying Jane didn't love her daughter. Of course she does. Shepherd did take the baby, but Jane didn't look for her kid. She enlisted in the army. Then, she signed up to get her memory zipped and take down the American government with the same woman who stole her child. Even after Jane remembered Avery's existence, she decided not to look for her. She literally just changed her mind last week! How does Jane equate all of this to a life spent fighting for her daughter? I'm having plot line whiplash.

The scene where Kurt explains to Avery how Jane would walk to the ends of the earth to find her if she knew about her are very touching, even if it didn't turn out to be entirely factual. Kurt has absolutely no idea what happened in Jane's past or why Avery was given up, but he knows his wife. There's really only one person qualified to explain to Avery who Jane Doe is and how much she loves her daughter: Kurt.

Kurt's reassurance to Jane that Avery knew her mother loved her in the end was equally heartbreaking because she cannot believe anything he says. Not after all the lies. And that's really what this boils down to — the lying. This is the part of "Hot Burning Flames" that delivers because this is where the real breakdown between Kurt and Jane is: trust.
Jane: If it was a mistake, then why didn't you tell me sooner? 
Kurt: Because I was trying to protect you. 
Jane: You were trying to protect yourself. 
Kurt: Why hear about a daughter that you didn't even know that you had? Only to find out that she was dead. And your own husband killed her. 
Jane: Every chance you had to tell me, you lied. 
Kurt: What would it change? 
Jane: Us. It would change us.
Kurt's actions and reasoning, no matter how misguided, are understandable. However, his choices are still wrong. Especially when Jane did remember she had a daughter. And of course Roman was going to make sure she did remember, Kurt. Do the math!

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, but particularly a marriage. And when is broken, it is very difficult to repair. What's even more maddening is Kurt and Jane have lied time and again to one another. They both know the damage it can do and yet there is a continual refusal to learn that lesson. One of them always chooses to lie again. It's the same mistake over and over again. That's not interesting character development.

Weller automatically assumes that Jane will not forgive him and he will lose her. And yes, maybe that would have been true — but we'll never know. The lies compound everything and make it ten times worse. And it was already pretty bad to start with, Weller. Jane is distraught over Kurt killing her daughter but she is equally (if not more) angry about the lying. Even if Avery really was dead, it was obviously a mistake. Kurt didn't mean to shoot her, but he never gave Jane an opportunity to come to that conclusion without further injuring her with all the deceit. This shows a lack of faith in Jane's love for him and her ability to forgive. Kurt essentially damned himself with these lies. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Jane leaves Kurt. She takes off the ring, puts it on the counter and grabs a bag. Oh, Blindspot. You were doing so well thumbing your nose at the Moonlighting Curse, but now you've reverted to the old standby. It would be so much more interesting if Jane stayed. It would be so much more interesting watching Kurt and Jane remain married without any idea how to do that. It would be so much more interesting watching them fight in this box you put them in. It would be so much more interesting to use the last three years of relationship development and put them to a real test. One that neither of them run away from. LIKE A REAL MARRIAGE.

Instead, Blindspot falls back on "break up" to create drama. It's just so very tired. Kurt infantilizes Jane with his need to "protect" and Jane cuts and runs at the first sign of trouble. We've seen all this before. 

We don't even make it 6-8 episodes before we find out Avery is alive. The reveal is the episode conclusion. It all feels like a big waste of time. If Kurt or Jane used any of their investigative skills, basic common sense, or maintained any of their character development from the last three years we could avoid this entire break up. However, that would expose the plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon and Blindspot wants to play this ridiculousness out. Admittedly, I had a few margaritas before I watched the episode but there isn't enough booze in the world to get me to buy this nonsense.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Sure, Jane. Get shot. That'll show Kurt! 
  • There's nothing cooler than Patterson explaining math. Intelligent woman are entertaiment gold!
  • Team Blindspot suddenly figuring out Hank Crawford's connection to all the tattoos currently solved is another plot contrivance in an episode full of them.
  • Am I supposed to be pro-Crawford and anti-Roman? Because I'm totally pro-Roman right now.
  • I would like a show entirely of Luke Mitchell being secret agent-y and beating people up. Do me right, 2018. Make it happen.


  1. I also felt like this ep was a mess...I mean who shoots through a curtain without making sure who's behind it, then leaves the body there (let's pretend we were surprised to find out her daughter is alive). Actually I find this whole random daughter plot unnecessary since it came up but whatever makes the shippers happy I guess, while imagining the whole family together and such. To me is just pointless drama, that is going to be solved soon since Jane won't have to wait much until she knows Avery is alive so. I was hoping she wasn't her daughter and someone sent by Roman, would be more interesting atleast.
    Also, I can't find the other reviews between the 4th episode and this one. Have I missed them?

  2. No! I fell behind. I'm all caught up now and they'll be posted on the site soon. However, they'll be back dated so you'll just need to search the Blindspot tag to find them. :)