Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Blindspot 1x11 Review: "Cease Forcing Enemy" (Who Are You?) [Contributor: Jen K.]

Welcome back, Blindspot viewers! How we made it through hiatus is beyond me, but tattoos, terror and Jeller are all back on our TVs now. We survived! Blindspot doesn’t waste any time in jumping back into the action. "Cease Forcing Enemy" kicks this action into high gear, introduces two new players, and answers a long-awaited question: “Who is Jane Doe?”


Patterson decodes another one of Jane’s tattoos because she’s Patterson and that’s what she does. The series of numbers are pi with digits missing from it. When the missing digits combine with the arrows and dots on Jane’s body it reveals the latitude and longitude of The Dark Isles. Bam! I’m excited because I actually understood how Patterson decoded this tattoo.

Team Blindspot flies to Turkey only to discover a missing plane and the plane's passengers in a warehouse. The terrorist cell holding the passengers hostage also takes Team Blindspot hostage. One of the passengers is an aerospace engineer, and the terrorists want to use her micro satelleties to locate and disable the U.S. miltary’s GPS satelittes. Without GPS, the entire armed forces would be working in the dark and will never see an attack coming.

Jane’s tattoos are leading to cases which are rapidly increasing in danger. And this is precisely her fear. Everyone on the team is tortured, making "Cease Forcing Enemy" one of the more difficult episodes to watch. Blindspot may be fiction, but seeing a knife held to Weller’s throat while he is threatened with beheading is chillingly real. It’s a painful reminder of journalist Daniel Pearl's murder and the innocent lives lost in ISIS executions.

While Jane and the team are able to save the passengers and stop the terrorist plot, this particular case sets a new tone for the show. Most of the cases are domestic, but the longitude and latitude tattoo brings a global scale to Jane’s mission. Exposing government corruption seems certain, but the complexities of Jane’s tattoos and scale of the cases involved seem almost insurmountable. It’s reminiscent of Alias’ Sidney Bristow discovering the size of the worldwide criminal organization SD6. The more tattoos the team uncovers, the bigger and more complicated things get. This isn’t a singular battle. This long and complex war.


Team Blindspot is in dire straights. They are outmanned and outgunned. However, "Cease Forcing Enemy" is the first time the team works together almost seamlessly. They are able to anticipate each other’s movements with very little communication. Everyone on the team is key to their survival. Weller is the consummate hero as he selflessly risks his life over his team and the hostages. Zapata makes the radio. However, it is Reade who is most surprising.

Reade and Jane have a tense relationship, but when he sees Jane breaking loose from her zip cuffs, Reade distracts the guard and anticipates her movements. It gives Jane the chance to get a gun. As we all know, when Jane has a gun, it’s pretty much game over. Weller is saved, and the team escapes. Reade may have his concerns about Jane, but he showed a real trust and understanding in her abilities.

The real hero of the episode is Patterson, of course. When the team has the chance to transmit Morse code, they unanimously choose Patterson to send the message to because, duh, she’s a genius. Patterson is rapidly becoming the person Team Blindspot depends on most. And perhaps that’s the reason Chief Inspector Fisher’s investigation into Patterson is so infuriating. Watching Fisher interrogate Patterson is like watching someone kick a puppy who has cancer. If the goal is to replace Carter with someone equally as dislikable, then mission accomplished, show. Fisher is an absolute weasel and I violently dislike him.

It’s why watching Mayfair go all "mama bear" on Fisher is so satisfying. Nobody messes with her people. Mayfair covers for Patterson because she knows her value. The highlight, of course, is when Patterson puts Fisher in his place as she rapidly calculates air speed “in her head where math is done.” Well, some of us need a calculator for that math, Patterson. Pen and paper at least.

Related to the team dynamic, Mr. Tree Tattoo officially joins Blindspot as a reoccurring player. He saves Jane from Carter and warns her the FBI can't be trusted. While the scale of the FBI’s corruption is unknown, the hearts of her team are not. (And yes, I include Mayfair in that list.) Mr. Tree Tattoo has Jane questioning everything, but she’s holding fast to trust in the team. The question isn’t whether Jane has the right team. The question is, are they playing on the right side?


Oh, the exquisite misery. Just as Jane is ready to forge a future with Kurt, her past comes roaring back with a vengeance. Keep the kiss on replay folks. It’s gonna be awhile before we get another one.

Kurt wants to talk about their super hot make-out session and who can blame the man? It’s obvious Kurt wants to tell Jane that he’s madly in love with her and wants to make lots and lots of babies with her. However, he plays it cool with, “meet me at the park” instead. Smooth, Weller, but we all see your fuzzy bunny feels.

Unfortunately, Jane is completely wigged out by her waterboarding run-in with Carter and the fact her sex dream ex-fiancee just dropped a bomb on her — the tattoos and Jane's loss of her memories are her own decision. This is her plan and he’s following her orders. The question is: what makes a person do that to themselves? What traumas did they have to endure in order to get there? What injustices have they seen, which would necessitate such a sacrifice? In short, what happened to you, Jane? The more we find out, the less I want to know. Let’s just skip all of the sure-to-be trauma of Jane's past, and go straight to her making babies with Weller. His plan is a sound one.

But Jane can’t forgo her past. She has to know, because right now the unknown is more terrifying. I mean, also, we wouldn’t really have a show otherwise. So instead of meeting Kurt at the park, Jane meets Mr. Tree Tattoo on the roof. She asks Mayfair to drop her detail, which she does, but Jane is still followed. Mr. Tree Tattoo is right — the FBI doesn’t trust her. Is it Mayfair? Probably not, but that’s what scares Jane. This probably extends beyond the Assistant Director and Jane has no idea how far it really goes. So Jane meets Mr. Tree Tattoo because he has answers. He finally answers the singular question that has plagued Jane since she showed up at the FBI with Kurt Weller’s named tattooed on her back. Is she Taylor Shaw?


Hallelujah! We knew it! This answer is exceedingly important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Knowing she is Taylor Shaw may help Jane discover who she was, but it doesn’t tell her who she is. That’s the real question that needs answering.

Being Taylor Shaw means Kurt is as much a part of Jane's past as Mr. Tree Tattoo. She’s intrinsically connected to both of these men. The past cannot be used to favor either man more because they both share one with Taylor. However, by choosing the roof over the park, it feels like Jane is choosing Mr. Tree Tattoo over Kurt. It is more complicated than that, though of course. Because Jane is terrified her tattoos will lead to Weller’s death. As much as she fears for the lives of her team, losing Kurt is unimaginable. Jane is willing to risk many things, but she can’t risk Kurt. So, for now, she keeps him at arm's length.

As much as Jane trusts Kurt, she doesn’t want to tell him about Carter and Mr. Tree Tattoo until she knows more — until she understands. Being blind is no longer an option because the stakes are too high. Answers are the only way Jane can protect Kurt. Jane is choosing the roof to find her way to the park someday. Jane is choosing her past, so she can protect her future — Kurt.

Stray Thoughts:
  • Carter's death means Zapata is off the hook. This is a second chance for Zapata to prove her loyalty. Hopefully she takes it.
  • Patterson joking about missing pieces in pi only further prove she is an absolute cinnamon roll.
  • I understand the necessity of the roof, but a text to Weller telling him she couldn't make it wouldn't have been too much to ask.
True story: I was so engrossed in Blindspot that I forgot my dog outside. Eventually, he got fed up with me, went to the neighbor's house and they brought him home. Once inside, he gave me a verbal tongue-lashing — comprised of barks and whimpers — for twenty minutes. I tried to explain Jeller to him, but he didn't care. #worstMommyever


  1. Excellent, as usual. I, too, thought a little heads up text would have been nice to poor Weller hanging out at the park. Argh, right in the feels.

  2. Very insightful review...agree with you on Fisher and Jane wanting to protect Kurt. But, how long can she wait to keep him in the dark?