Friday, September 16, 2016

Blindspot 2x01 Review: "In Night So Ransomed Rogue" (Let The Battle Begin) [Contributor: Jen]

"In Night So Ransomed Rogue"
Original Airdate: September 14, 2016

Welcome back Blindspotters! The season two premiere, "In Night So Ransomed Rogue," required two viewings for me to process everything because holy information download, Batman. Talk about your rock 'em, sock 'em episode. We got action. We got answers. We got new questions. We got Archie Panjabi. We got Kurt Weller's heart eyes. And... we got Jane's real name. Does this mean a new ship name? (Possibly not.)

"In Night So Ransomed Rogue" draws the season two battle lines in the sand and the respective sides square off. There are various X vs. Y equations throughout the entire episode, but ultimately this is more than a battle for the United States. This is a battle for Jane's soul, and there is one major determining factor that will tip the scales.


Jane. Sandstorm. NSA. CIA. FBI. South Africa and the Apartheid system. Orion. Black holes. One big, scary missile. Where do we even begin?

Oh, I know: torture! Torture is always a good place to start, right? The season premiere reveals to us that Jane had been held captive at a CIA black site for the past three months. And no, it is not the fun-filled trip to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory one might expect. Seriously... it's the worst.

Jane is tortured day in and day out, but she doesn't break because she's Jane. These CIA agents need to watch Blindspot. Homegirl has been trained for this. Watching Jane break out of the CIA black site was Jason Bourne-level awesome. Scratch that. It's Jane Doe-level awesome. Bourne could learn a thing or two from her, and I will never grow tired of watching this woman kick everyone's butt.

The incomparable Archie Panjabi makes her debut as Nas Kamal. Although, if you are a fan of The Good Wife like me, you probably just scream "KALINDA!" whenever she's on screen. Nas works for an off-book department of the NSA called Zero Division. Yes, the spies who spy on spies have a division so super secret it doesn't exist. That's highly disconcerting even for the NSA. It's a cool name though.

Essentially, this sets up a NSA vs. CIA battle with the FBI playing "pickle in the middle." I legitimately cackled when Nas marked her NSA territory all over Jane and then told Weller the CIA is the devil. Why the CIA is "the devil" is yet to be revealed, but I don't care. They've upped the inter-agency battle another level with the addition of the NSA and it's awesome. I'm sold.

Nas is here to provide the Blindspot viewers with a massive information dump. No, seriously. It was a lot. Would it have been better if Blindspot paced this out better? Unequivocally yes. They either should have released some of this information last season or teased it our more slowly in season two. However, I'm willing to overlook the "everything but the kitchen sink" premiere. It is clear that Martin Gero has a plan for this show. It is well thought out, interconnected, and fluid. We're going somewhere and it's good. Blindspot wanted to clear the decks for a reason. So I guess what I'm saying is bring on the overload!

There is a terrorist organization operating in the U.S. with the codename Sandstorm — a.k.a., the group Jane works for. I mean worked for. Kind of. Let's just leave their relationship status at "it's complicated."

The NSA believes Jane was Sandstorm's Trojan horse and that they used her to infiltrate the FBI. That much we already knew. Now, the NSA wants to flip Jane into their Trojan horse to infiltrate Sandstorm.

You guys still with me? Need a water or snack break? I'll wait. Good? We're forging on, my friends. Onward and upward.

Jane drops the truth bombs we've been waiting for on Team Blindspot while hooked up to some lie detector machine straight from 2001 Space Odyssey. I kept waiting to hear Hal to say, "What are you doing, Jane?"

Of course, Kurt & company are appropriately shocked that: a) Jane worked for Sandstorm because they threatened Kurt's life, b) she didn't kill Mayfair, and c) she killed her fiancee because he killed Mayfair.

Never underestimate the power of open and honest communication, folks. Could we have avoided basically everything if Jane just told the truth? You bet! But communication is the the death knell of dramatic television. Sacrifices must be made.

Blindspot lowers the boom when Jane finally comes face to face with Sandstorm. Here's the rundown:

  • She was born in South Africa (THE TOOTH!). Her birth name was Alice Kruger.
  • Her parents were Apartheid activists who were murdered by the government.
  • The South African government kidnapped Jane and enslaved her in some training program which turned children into assassins. (Think Angelina Jolie in Salt.)
  • Jane has a BROTHER — blood freaking brother. They are very close, probably because they survived hell together.
  • Shepard, the leader of Sandstorm, is ex-U.S. military and Jane's adoptive mother. She liberated Jane and her brother from the South African Assassin Trainee Program For Kidnapped Orphans. They were extremely dangerous or "special," and she chose to raise them as her own.
  • The name Jane goes by is Remi. Her brother is Roman.


Was it a lot all at once? Yes. Was it absolutely worth the wait? YES. It gives us all the answers we've been dying for. Yet, it also leaves so many unanswered while simultaneously creating brand new ones. The puzzle of  "Who Is Jane Doe?" is suddenly much clearer. And I love nothing more than a television show with a plan. Blindspot clearly has a glorious one.

Finally, they cleared the decks on a couple things — mainly Orion. Bascially, Orion was a off-the-books Seal Team 6-like operation. However, they killed good guys as well as bad guys. Truthfully, it was a bit anti-climatic.

The NSA unscrambles a picture Patterson has been working on and it's Jane, unconscious, dressed in combat uniform. Sandstorm is an anti-government terrorist organization. Alice Kruger's parents were killed by the government. Remi, an Orion team member, was betrayed by the government. How Remi came to believe a group like Sandstorm is necessary is not a difficult logical leap to make.

It's not all about answers though. Blindspot beautifully sets up season two with the scene between Roman and Shepard. For one, there's a big scary missile sitting right next to them. I had a momentary flash to Buffy The Vampire Slayer when Buffy lifts a rocket launcher over her shoulder and The Judge asks, "What's that do?" (I'm The Judge in this scenario in case you're wondering.) Whatever that missile does and whatever it is for... it's not going to be good.

Finally, Shepherd lowers the boom  Sandstorm has a mole in the FBI! It's time for a good 'ol mystery mole hunt! Those never get old. Of course everyone is a suspect — although I had a giggle when they flashed to Weller because come on. Same with Patterson. She's the living embodiment of a unicorn. Unicorns don't go evil — it's impossible.

The obvious choice, of course, is Nas. But I think that Blindspot wants us to think that so I'm disqualifying her for the moment. Reade and Zappata will be tough sells for me, even though either would make a fantastic choice for a mole. Right now, I'm leaning toward Dr. Borden or FBI Director Pellington.

Truth be told, I typically enjoy the second season of a television show way more than the first. The first season requires so much — albeit necessary — set up.  By season two, we know the characters, we know what the show is about, and we can just dive in, which is exactly what Blindspot is doing. We're free diving to the bottom of the ocean, friends! Game on.


New section alert! We were given two incredibly important new characters in Roman and Shepherd. They are Jane's family, both biologically and emotionally. Up until now, the strongest familial connection Jane had was to Team Blindspot. Still, we saw the sway Oscar had on her last season, and I have a feeling Roman and Shepherd's influence will be even more powerful.

Roman and Shepherd will play hugely into Jane's overall arc this season and probably for the rest of the show. Of all the threats Team Blindspot will face, Team Standstorm will be the most dangerous. I'm not simply talking tactically, here — I'm talking emotionally. Each holds significant influence and sway over our heroine. Team Blindspot is fighting for Jane, but Team Sandstorm is fighting for Remi.

Martin Gero gave a fantastic interview to Entertainment Weekly where he explained the origin of Remi and Roman's names. They are derived from the names Romulus and Remus, who are the key figures in Rome's foundation story. Already I am sold. Gero is speaking to my mythology/symbolism-loving heart.

Quick summary of aforementioned mythology: Romulus and Remus were twin brothers, abandoned and left to die, but saved by a she-wolf. In the story, the brothers disagree on where to begin their new city. During the argument, Remus is killed and Romulus builds his city... Rome.

There are obviously so many layers here! Gero explained that Shepard, obviously, is the she-wolf. She is a mother, but also a wolf. There is a symbolic dichotomy to a wolf that is fascinating. They symbolize loyalty, protection, strength, leadership, and familial bonds. For Native American cultures, wolves often represent spirit guides or teachers, with deep intelligence and perceptiveness. Then there's the darker symbolic side to the wolf. A predator. A killer. A force of destructiveness and evil. They hunt in packs lead by the alpha and survival is what's most important.

This will be the dichotomy of Shepherd. The she-wolf will use each side, the light and the dark, to control her pack — especially her children.

As for Remi and Roman, they symbolically represent the founders of Rome. The United States is modern-day Rome. The question is, are Roman and Remi here to save the United States or see to its destruction? It seems Sandstorm is preparing to burn the United States to the ground so they can begin anew.

In the foundation story, Romulus and Remus disagree on where to begin their new city. In the ensuing argument, Remus is killed. This sets up the battle lines between Roman and Remi. They will disagree on how to build "their city." Remi, without her memories and influenced by her experiences as Jane, wants to protect it. Roman, with his memories intact, wants to destroy it. Yet, at the core of their relationship is a deep bond that will create the push/pull for each character this season. Will they save one another? Or will they be each other's destruction?

Often, the marker of a creatively interesting show is one where "the hook" can be used again and again. Blindspot continually plays with the idea from which its name is born. The blindspots these characters have towards one another are what make the show tick. Last year, Kurt and Jane's blindspots for each other were most prevalent. Gero promises the focus this year will be Roman and Remi's blindspots for each other.


Team Sandstorm may be reuniting in ways, but Team Blindspot is splintered. Reade, Patterson, Zappata, and Weller all feel extremely betrayed by Jane. They blame her for the death of Mayfair. Their anger, hurt, and distrust are justified.

However, Jane also feels betrayed by Team Blindspot. She was tortured for months by the CIA and she blames the FBI. She blames Team Blindspot — her family. She blames Kurt.

It's explained several times that Kurt did not willingly hand Jane over to be tortured. They iced him out. Except, here's the problem: Kurt spent the better part of last season protecting Jane from the CIA. The team knew the CIA's interest in Jane wasn't altruistic. They posed a significant threat to her. Kurt may not have wanted Jane to be tortured, but nobody took active strives to save her. This is the CIA we're talking about here. Jane is an off-the-book asset they want information from. They weren't going to go for tea together. Sorry, Kurt. It's called willful ignorance. Jane's anger, hurt and, distrust are also justified.

Still, Jane is much more interested in making amends than Team Blindspot is. Reade views her as a pathetic pawn. Zappata is the most angry and bitter, probably because of her close relationship with Mayfair (a point made clear when she coolly shoots Jane and drops her like a stone. It's a cover for Jane's infiltration into the FBI, but Zappata didn't hesitate for the chance at clean vengeance).

I guess Zappata is conveniently forgetting about that time she lied to the entire team for most of the season and spied on Jane. Did anyone get killed because of Zappata's deceit? No. But that doesn't make Zappata better than Jane. It makes her luckier than Jane. The bottom line is that Zappata was a pawn as much as Jane was. While I understand her grief is understandably dictating her feelings toward Jane, I cannot help but smell the familiar scent of hypocrisy.

Team Blindspot clearly does not want to work with Jane, but they sign on in order to avenge Mayfair. Still... all hope is not lost. There's a softness to Patterson as she asks Kurt whether or not he still believes in Jane, which means the desire to believe is still in Patterson. Ultimately, the fight for Jane's soul will be between her Sandstorm family and her FBI family. Team Blindspot just has to decide they want back in on the fight.

The real question is, if the real battle is Jane's soul, then what will tip the scales between Team Sandstorm and Team Blindspot?

Simple — love. 


The central relationship in Blindspot will always be Kurt and Jane, or Kurt and Remi if you prefer. The long-awaited name reveal potentially means Jeller must transition to a new ship name. Reller, perhaps? If only for the ease of transition. However, I believe there's a strong argument to made to the name Jeller, which I will make. But first, we have to deal with where Kurt and Jane are now.

Where they are now is not good. It's not good at all. We start off with Jane putting a gun to Kurt's head. Then they beat the crap out of one another. So... this relationship is going need some work. Don't worry, shippers. We've got nowhere to go but up!

Lets talk about the fight. While Jane can beat up basically anyone, it is Sullivan Stapleton we're talking about here. He has about 100 pounds of pure muscle on her, and he's also eight feet tall. In the battle between Super Ninja Jane vs. Biology... biology won. Rock crushes scissors.

There's a moment when the fight moves from disarmament to a full-out brawl. Kurt hits Jane hard... really hard, and she goes down, flat on her back. Weller actually whispers her name and his voice is filled with concern and remorse.

It reminded me of a moment from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Buffy's great love, Angel, throws her to the ground after she tries to forcibly stop him from committing suicide. She hits the ground hard and he immediately whispers, "Oh my God." Angel is dismayed at what he's done, even though Buffy can kick the living daylights out of him every day — and twice on Sunday. There's another moment, when — in a heated argument — Buffy hits Angel and he responds in kind. The stunned look on Buffy's face is heartbreaking, and Angel immediately apologizes profusely.

An honorable man, a man who loves, doesn't hit the woman he loves. But Kurt Weller has a job to do. Watching Sullivan Stapleton play Kurt's emotional conflict was a highlight of the premiere. Jaimie Alexander isn't to be outdone, however. She's not able to shoot Kurt, even though she knows that choice may cost her her freedom. These actors brought real emotional depth to an already fantastic fight scene, which catapulted it to another level.

Kurt makes a firm announcement that he will swallow his feelings for Jane in order to get justice for Mayfair. Sure thing, buddy. Kurt is the more emotionally available of our fearsome twosome. Hearing Mr. Fuzzy Bunny Feels declare himself immune to the temptation of "the heart eyes" was hilarious. Kurt can't even make it an episode without expressing EVERYTHING he feels about Jane in a single look. Personally, I'm ready to put 2 to 1 odds he's singing a different two by the mid-season finale. Any takers?

Kurt cannot hide the jealousy when he finds out that Oscar was Jane's fiancee. Let's just never mention sleeping with him, okay Jane? We can feel his stomach actually drop when Jane confesses she was trying to save his life by working with Oscar. Yes, sleeping with Oscar makes that defense muddy, but — again — let's just pretend it didn't happen. Okay? Cool. It was at this moment that I yelled, "THAT'S RIGHT, KURT! SHE WAS TRYING TO PROTECT YOU! SHE'S YOUR LOBSTER!"

Kurt is firm the lie detector cannot be believed. He adamantly clings to the belief he cannot trust Jane — even in the face of some significant emotional sacrifices Jane made on both his behalf and Mayfair's. And this is a point Nas makes when she says, "She's already killed her fiancee. She loved Mayfair. And she loved you." Nas ships Kurt and Jane. She spends ten minutes in a room with them and she's already all-in. Nas is my spirit animal.

However, Nas doesn't have a blindspot when it comes to Jane like Kurt does. Kurt's unwavering belief in Jane has been replaced by his obstinate distrust. He's simply traded one blindspot for another.

Kurt cannot hear that Jane loves him nor can he admit he still loves her. It hurts to much right now. When we are in pain, our body's natural instinct is to protect us from it. We saw it represented physically during Jane's torture scene. She went to a place in her mind where the pain couldn't touch her. That's all Kurt has done. He's found a place in his mind where the pain can't touch him, but it also means that the truth cannot touch him either.

That doesn't mean Kurt and Jane don't drop some heavy emotional bombs on one another. Everything they kept secret from one another, they finally face. Jane confronts Kurt about the tooth. Kurt confronts Jane about the photographs. Their confessions are equally as powerful. Kurt wanted Jane to be Taylor, more than anything. So did Jane. In this moment, Jane and Kurt concede to their blindspots for one another and within themselves.

It's all so wonderfully tragic. Yet, what these confessions reveal is that even though they are an ocean apart, Kurt and Jane have always wanted the same thing — a way to one another. It is the first step toward rebuilding what has been shattered. A tentative, painful, but intensely hopeful moment where they reached across the great divide between them and find a spark of healing in honesty. It is also the first time we see Kurt allow the truth to reach beyond the pain.

As melodramatic as this may sound, as this scene played out, lyrics from Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" popped into my head:

If you forgive me all this
If I forgive you all that

This is when the real work begins. Kurt wanted Jane to be Taylor. Jane wanted to be Taylor. The problem is that desire wasn't as much about who Jane is as it was about who she was. It's the same issue with Remi. A name is simply a name. It doesn't define who we are. We make those definitions ourselves. While Remi gives Jane answers to her past... it is still her past. Remi isn't necessarily who Jane is, no more than Taylor Shaw was.

The wonderment of the name "Jane Doe" is that it represents the blank slate Remi is now. As Remi gets her memories back and connects more with Roman and Shepard, it adds more pieces to her identity puzzle. However, she's not the same person.

It leaves Remi with a choice — return to who she was or embrace this new person who is evolving... this Jane Doe. We know Jane's real name, but we still don't know the real Jane yet. The name "Jane Doe" represents the both battle and the potential decision. Is she Roman's Remi, or is she Kurt's Jane? Who are these two women, and more importantly, who does Jane/Remi want to be?

Kurt Weller is as important to that evolution as Roman, Oscar, and Shepard are. Perhaps even more so. As strong as familial bonds can be, the great love of Jane/Remi's life is — and will be — Kurt Weller. Great love is a powerful force. It molds and defines a hero and their choices. We are on a hero's journey with Jane Doe, and her love story with Kurt is what will ultimately guide her through the dark. So, perhaps, Kurt and Jane's "Jeller" is still a fitting name for this would-be couple.

Stray Thoughts:
  • Team Blindspot is super bored with the solid bust. HA!
  • Why were there dirt bikes? No. Seriously.
  • Kurt Weller's ruggedly handsome face is back in my living room. Oh, how I missed you.
  • Was anyone else chanting "don't be a love interest" when Luke Mitchell first showed up and then cheering when he was revealed to be a blood relative? Because I sure was. NO. MORE. LOVE. TRIANGLES.
  • That was some entrance for Archie Panjabi. Slow motion and everything. Kalinda has arrived. Respect must be paid for she is QUEEN.
  • "I still say we call in local SWAT. It's one person, but that one person is Jane." Reade knows what's up. He watches Blindspot.
  • Jane couldn't shoot Kurt. Kurt couldn't shoot Jane. See? Nothing to worry about. Endgame.
  • "It makes a polygraph look like a mood ring." Favorite line.
  • "Yelling doesn't help me code!" Patterson, my sparkly unicorn, how I have missed you. Also, I love your sassy new 'do.
Throughout the episode, there were many Buffy The Vampire Slayer homage moments. You are on the right track, Blindspot. Spectacular premiere. SPECTACULAR.


  1. I missed your episode reviews almost as much as Blindspot! Spot on for all the details of the first episode and bring on the rest of the season. I absolutely detest hiatus.

    1. Thank you so much Kim!!! I'm thrilled to be back. Hiatus is the worst.

  2. Jen I love your review. Your thoughts are spot on.