Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blindspot 1x14 Review: "Rules in Defiance" (Spiral) [Contributor: Jen]

"Rules in Defiance"
Original Airdate: March 21, 2016

"Rules in Defiance" puts Zappata front and center as the team tries to take down a sex trafficking ring. Both Kurt and Jane are controlled by their feelings for one another in wildly different, but ultimately destructive, ways.


Patterson pieces together two of Jane's tattoos through an anonymous tip. The tattoos lead to a man named Ronnie Vargas who is on death row for killing his girlfriend. He's going to be executed in the next 36 hours. Oscar isn't lying. These are certainly time sensitive tattoos. Meanwhile, the team discovers that an ICE agent named Stearns is trafficking women. He assigns deported women to the same bus and mislabels their birthdays as a way to flag them. Another deportee has been flagged, but Zappata volunteers to take her place in order to catch the trafficking ring.

Of course it all goes wrong. The kidnappers knock Zappta out and slip off her tracker so the team loses her. Zappata is still an FBI agent, however, and is not completely helpless. She defends another victim from attack by kicking some serious butt. For the record, an entire episode of Zappata kicking the teeth out of sex traffickers sounds fantastic to me.

Unfortunately, Zappata's serious skills tip her captors off to the fact that she's FBI. Apparently, most women don't come to them as readily-equipped ninjas. (Although, really, offering a self-defense course in high school isn't the worst idea for you, America. Or world. We could make it a part of the home economics course. After learning how to sew on buttons and bake cookies, girls can learn how to defend themselves against rape. In my opinion, these are all useful life skills — that last one, sadly so given our world today.)

The kidnappers decide to burn the house down before the FBI shows up. Zappata is able to free the women, but is trapped when the fire grows out of control. Luckily, Weller and Reade are able to save her.

Ronnie's girlfriend, Paloma, was kidnapped by the sex trafficking ring and killed by a state senator. His execution is stayed after the team arrests the men behind the trafficking ring. When Jane expresses concern over what Zappata endured, she stresses to Jane the importance of the tattoos. Nobody was coming for these girls, and without the tattoos, nobody ever would have.


Jane is struggling with whether or not to work with the FBI. She believes by removing herself from the equation, it solves the issue of being a mole for Oscar. Jane doesn't trust him or herself. Or at least she doesn't trust who Taylor Shaw use to be.

However, when Zappata's life is threatened, Jane jumps back into the fray and ultimately helps Patterson piece together where she is being held captive. When Jane checks in on Zappata, she stresses the point that doing whatever is necessary to stop the bad guys is worth it. For several episodes Jane has been pulled in two directions. In "Rules in Defiance," she finally makes a decision. She can't spy on the FBI because she is FBI. Jane doesn't remember who she was or who she use to love. All she knows is the present. Her team is her family now, and she won't betray them.


Unfortunately, Taylor saw this coming. Perhaps the only consistent piece of herself Taylor could rely on was how she loves. Taylor trusted that piece of herself would remain with or without her memories. She was right. Jane's love for her team, and for Kurt, is what helps her choose a side.

Then, Oscar threatens Weller. The people they work for will kill Weller unless Jane cooperates. It's the perfect counter-move and for the first time, I can see how Taylor Shaw planned all of this. Somehow, Oscar knew the only way to get Jane to cooperate would be to threaten those she loves — to threaten Kurt.

If Oscar is only following Taylor's instructions, then she knew how important Kurt would be even without her memories. It means one of two things: 1) Taylor knew that even if she forgot everything else, she wouldn't forget how much she cares about Kurt Weller; or 2) Taylor knew she'd fall in love with Weller, even if she couldn't remember him, because of who he is.

Either way, he's the perfect way to control Jane. They can't control her through her mind, so they are controlling Jane through her heart instead. The only person who could really know Jane in such an intimate way — being able predict her actions and counter moves for them — is Taylor Shaw herself. It's pretty trippy when you think about it.

Taylor is using how she loves to control herself.

Of course, Kurt Weller is oblivious to the depth of Jane's love for him. He wakes up in Allison's bed after a drunken hook-up. Well... I knew Kurt was spiraling. Everybody copes differently, I suppose.

Allison isn't a bad person. In fact, I like her. She's no-nonsense and drills down to the truth rapidly. So, when she tells Weller that, "I don't want to play proxy to the woman you really want to be sleeping with," I nearly jumped for joy. So often the "obvious" in these types of triangle tropes is avoided. Anybody with eyes can see that Kurt Weller is in love with Jane, and I adore Allison for calling him on it.

... It's what happens next that's so frustrating. Kurt insists that's not what is going and... Allison is convinced. Um, what? This character feels too smart for Kurt's lame, "I'm not in love with Jane because I have terrible basketball tickets for the two of us," excuse. Allison is walking headlong into the trope she so ardently and accurately argued against. Sigh.

So why is Kurt doing this? Reade calls Kurt a hypocrite when he says Reade's feelings for Sarah are interfering with the job. From Reade's perspective,  Kurt's been blind to the job ever since Jane Doe showed up.

Kurt believes if he convinces himself that he's not in love with Jane, everything will be under control again. Allison feels like an expedient way to do that. Essentially, Kurt is drowning and Allison is the life raft he's grabbing hold of. Unfortunately, this particular life raft has one big gaping hole in it: Kurt is in love with Jane.

Allison jumping on board with Weller feels akin to her jumping aboard the Titanic. Weller is ignoring the Jane Doe-shaped iceberg Allison is pointing out. Instead of listening, Weller is ordering more speed and Allison is asking for a cup of tea instead of a life vest. Soon enough, Allison will be among the wreckage of the sunken ship and searching for a door to float on (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet not included). She should have listened to her gut and stayed away.

Both Kurt and Jane are being controlled by their love. Jane is becoming a mole to protect Kurt, and Kurt is embarking on a relationship he has no business starting. If they just admitted the truth to one another to start with, a lot of this inevitable-to-ensue chaos could be avoided. Kurt and Jane may think they have everything under control, but they don't. The debris field is growing larger. Until they admit the truth, everything will continue to spiral.

Stray Thoughts:
  • Jane tells Weller she misses him and then hastily added "... and the team." Nice try, Jane.  The faster these two stop being stupid about each other, the better.
  • Reade needs to question Sara a whole lot less about Jane if I'm going to believe he's in love with Sara. Way to early to play that card, writers. It just makes Reade look like a scumbag.
  • Who's the "they" Oscar and Jane are working for? Are they the bad guys? Or is it the FBI? I'm so confused. I need less pronoun usage and more unique identifiers, Blindspot.
  • Zappata is such a hero this week that I'm just going to overlook the whole discussion with the state's attorney.


  1. Great piece. I particularly like the point about Taylor knowing that she would fall in love with Weller. I always thought it was weird that in the first half of the season Jane became comfortable with Weller so quickly (touching him etc) given what she'd been through, but her having subconscious feelings for him would explain it.

    I think their relationship is heading for big implosion towards the end of this season. If falling in love with Weller *was* part of Jane's mission it's going to make things even worse when he finds out. I predict she'll be back with Oscar going into season two.

  2. If Jane cares so much for Kurt then why get engaged to Oscar?
    Is it because she thinks she will never get close enough to Kurt and maybe Oscar is nearby, settling for second best? She gives up the ring because I assume that she does not want Oscar to get hurt, and knows that she will be falling in love with Kurt?

    1. Did Oscar confirm that the reason their relationship ended was the mission? I know Jane asked him, but I've been wondering: What if the mission *wasn't* the reason they split up? What if something else happened that Jane hasn't remembered yet?

    2. Oscar did not confirm nor did he respond to her question, but I do wonder why as well. I hope there will be more information about this in future episodes.

    3. Well... Oscar and Jane are not engaged. They broke off the engagement at some point. So right now Jane is completely single and free to feel whatever she's feeling for Kurt.

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