Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blindspot 1x15 Review: "Older Cutthroat Canyon" (The Burning Rose) [Contributor: Jen]

"Older Cutthroat Canyon"
Original Airdate: 

One of Jane's most prominent tattoos is revealed in "Older Cutthroat Canyon," but what makes it truly interesting is the hidden emotional connection to Kurt and Jane.


There is a general excitement among Blindspot fans (Blindspotters) that the "Burning Rose" tattoo will be revealed. I feel this is an appropriate time for a confession. This is a safe zone right? Right.

I had absolutely no idea what anyone was talking about — no clue what the "Burning Rose" tattoo is.

I consider myself an enthusiastic fan, but I don't keep track of Jane's tattoos. Mostly I just look at Jane and think "pretty" because Jaimie Alexander is the living embodiment of a goddess. Given that it's one of the most prominent tattoos on Jane's body I am a little embarrassed by my cluelessness. In my defense, I did notice the "Kurt Weller" tattoo in the pilot. I get points for that, right? Anyway, I am extremely appreciative of any Blindspotters who do keep track of the tattoos. I'd be lost without you.

Now that this is off my chest, what is the "Burning Rose" tattoo, exactly? It's a stolen painting by a reclusive artist. As the team investigates the theft, a bomb goes off in the studio. Shrapnel slices Kurt's throat and he's nearly killed. All together now, kids: "NOOOOOOO!"

The team starts putting two and two together when Jane is nearly taken out later by a sniper. The bomb was meant for Jane. Someone is trying to kill her. Jane gets another memory flash and recognizes the shooter as someone she and Oscar worked with. Those memories are getting awfully convenient, aren't they?

Long story short, the sniper's name is Cade. He use to belong to Oscar and Jane's group (whatever that was), but once Jane was inside the FBI, Cade went rogue. Oscar decided the FBI couldn't protect Jane from Cade and tried to have her moved. Remember the night "Ruggedly Handsome Man"(yes, his actual IMDB description) tried to kidnap Jane from her safe house? Before he could remove Jane, he was killed by a sniper. Cade is the safe house sniper!

So what does this all have to do with the "Burning Rose" tattoo? Cade threatened to expose the reclusive artist's identity if he/she did not paint the image of the "Burning Rose" tattoo and display it. He used the "burning rose" painting to draw Jane out.

Why this elaborate plan is necessary is a bit more boggling. Jane has been running around town with Team Blindspot for several weeks. By all accounts, Cade is an excellent shot. He didn't need to draw Jane out because she's not hiding. It's a fairly complicated plot that ends up being a bit of a stretch. It was extremely entertaining, so I'll over look the contrivances.


Once again, Jane aligns herself squarely with "her team" (a.k.a. Team Blindspot). Jane's loyalties are not confused. If Oscar wasn't threatening Kurt every chance he gets, I'm pretty sure Jane would tell him where to stick that GPS tracker he forces her to plant. She's between a rock and a hard place, but Jane cares about these people and not just Kurt. Jane disappears to draw Cade away from the team. After Team Blindspot tracks Cade's location, Jane refuses to abandon them despite Oscar's protests. Her number one priority is the safety of "her team."

I am not unsympathetic towards Oscar. His team members are dropping like flies and he's afraid Jane is next. It's clear he's very much in love with her. It must be very painful that Jane barely remembers him. The big heart eyes for Kurt Weller can't be much fun either. Still, Oscar is threatening Kurt and nobody threatens my baby. It's going to take a lot more than tackling Cade off a boat to square things with me.

Jane, Kurt, Zappata, Mayfair, and Patterson have all played the "rock in a hard place" game. Most are still playing it. Now it's Read's turn. He's getting too close to Carter's murder.  A masked man holds him at gunpoint and tells Read to drop it, or else he'll kill Sara and Sawyer.

Read is madly in love with Sara, so he immediately backs off the investigation. He also breaks up with Sara. He wants to make sure it sticks though, so Read tells Sara he doesn't love her. I was screaming at my television, "DON'T DO IT, READ!" And yet, Read did not listen to me. Ugh, how annoying. So now Read can officially join the "Push Away The One You Love To Protect Them Club." Jane is the President. Kurt is the Vice President. And I'm pretty sure they are looking for a treasurer.


I readily admit Kurt and Jane are not together. Except... they are so together! They are just one of those couples. I don't think my heart will be able to handle Jeller as an official couple. Their "not together, but together" moments are giving me heart palpitations as is.

Kurt is post-op and is still the first to figure out someone is trying to kill Jane. Mayfair tells Kurt Jane is missing and immediately Kurt asks, "Has he got her?" There's a lift in his voice and it shakes ever-so slightly. He is absolutely terrified. I don't even think the anesthesia has worn off before Kurt rips out the IV. The man nearly has his jugular sliced in half and he's back on the job to save Jane. THAT'S LOVE. Sorry Oscar. Jugular beats boat. Paper covers rock.

Jane is not to be outdone. She returns to the boat to save the team (but mostly Kurt) even though she knows it gives Cade the opportunity to kill her. Of course, as Jane tries to free Kurt Cade puts a gun to her head. Kurt screams her name helplessly as Jane begs Cade not to kill her in front of her team... in front of Kurt. It is so intense! It is also an homage to Alias. If you aren't feeling Sydney and Vaughn warm fuzzies then I advise you to start a Netflix binge. Specifically the Alias season one finale. You can thank me later.

Of course, the real emotional juggernaut is when Jane explains to her whereabouts to Kurt and Mayfair. Okay, she lies but let's focus on the big picture:
Jane: I'm sorry. Are you okay?
Kurt: No. I'm not. I lost you once before. I spent most of today thinking I lost you again.
Jane: What would you have done if you were me?
Kurt: Exactly the same thing.
SWOON. I nearly passed out. No joke. This is the dialogue when they are not together? What are they going to say to each other when they go on a date? What will the wedding vows be? Sure, I might be jumping the gun a little, but you know I'm right. This is where they are headed. There is an almost cosmic connection between Kurt and Jane. Kurt only has his childhood memories of Taylor. Taylor has no memories of Kurt at all. And yet, they know in their bones who the other person is. With that knowledge comes a deep understanding. No matter what comes between them: time, distance, other lovers or lies Kurt and Jane will always manage to bridge the divide between them.

The image of a burning rose is fraught with symbolism. Unequivocally one of the great symbols for love is the rose.The rose on Jane's back is very much engulfed by the flames, but it is not consumed. A black rose typically means tragic love and certainly Kurt and Jane are a tragic love story thus far. Certainly, in "Older Cutthroat Canyon" Kurt and Jane come close to losing each other. The threat, or the flames, is Jane's past. However, it's the flames I find most interesting. The fact that the rose remains resilient as it burns symbolizes a fortitude to the love. There may be tragedy. There may be sacrifice. But ultimately, love will survive.

Kurt and Jane are the burning rose.

Stray Thoughts:
  • It's official. Kurt Weller is Macgyver and it only makes him hotter.
  • "You don't know who you work for?" Uh -h. Jane is identifying with another witness again.
  • There were so many great lines in this episode!
  • "This guy makes JD Salinger look like an extravert."
  • "Well if it can't it's one terrible bomb sniffing dog."
  • "She's not running. She's protecting us."
  • "I don't give up on my friends for anyone!"
  • "Oh nice! Think we'll fit through it?"
  • Who's the old man?
  • I feel like a sniper would go for the head shot, but I may have watched one too many movies.

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