Thursday, November 9, 2017

Blindspot 3x02 Review: "Enemy Bag of Tricks" (Uneasy) [Contributer: Jen]

"Enemy Bag of Tricks"
Original Airdate: November 3, 2017

Blindspot's "Enemy Bag of Tricks" explores the new — and mostly uneasy — dynamics between the characters while they work together to avoid nuclear destruction. Just a regular Friday night with the team!


Jane's tattoos have a sequence to them, according to Roman. They have to be solved in a certain order. If the team tries to jump ahead then the whole thing crumbles. Every so often Roman is going to tell them where to look and he's going to use Weller to do it. If Weller refuses, then Roman tells Jane about Berlin.

So Kurt comes armed and ready with the Perseus tattoo solved. He has eleven fingers total. There are eleven Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. The tattoos work as vectors or a map. Patterson lines up Jane's tattoo against the Finger Lakes region and they match up. Perseus has two rings with matching symbols: L-X-T and Y-1-7. Patterson connects the symbols and it leads to an intersection point. This tattoo is on Jane's left chest, so they take the old tattoo and overlay it with the new one. There's a circle on the intersection, which reveals a search radius in the middle of an empty field.

Phew. They've doubled the mental gymnastic to solve these tattoos by combining the new and the old. The team is unable to find anything in the field, despite Kurt's insistence that something has to be there. Jane wonders how he's so certain and TA-DA! A satellite comes crashing to the ground engraved with L-X-T-Y-1-7.

Team Blindspot is attacked by the same mercenaries that killed two hunters in the opening sequence. They take something from the satellite. Patterson tracks down a piece of the satellite to a company called ProTechSat. Someone intentionally hacked their server and brought down the satellite to steal the black box inside it. L-X-T-Y-1-7 is the main hub for the United States' missile defense shield.

Say what? As a child of the 80s, it's difficult for me to go along with this plot. Reagan gave this idea his best shot with the Strategic Defense Initiative, but SDI did more to bankrupt the Soviet Union than it did protecting us from missile attacks. Love your conspiracy theories though, Blindspot. They make for a good time.

The block box enables whoever has it to shut off the other boxes within the Missile Defense Network, leaving the U.S. vulnerable to nuclear attack. The mercenaries are going to sell it to the highest bidder. Our lucky winner is North Korea! Yeah, the part about North Korea and launching missiles is absolutely real. I'm with you on this one, show.

Team Blindspot needs to find the mercenaries and hacker who brought down the satellite. Turns out Jane actually knows the mercenary leader. She worked with Dwire on kidnap and ransom cases while on the run. Jane is able to figure out where Dwire is hiding and the FBI takes him down.

Dwire's buyers were late, which leads him to believe they knew the FBI was coming. He tells Jane her team has a leak. The hacker turns out to be Marci, one of the ProTechSat analysts. They track her to a planetarium, where she intends to transfer the data to the North Korean buyers. The team stops Marci and North Korea from launching the missiles at California.

Yay, we avoided nuclear war!


There's an entirely new dynamic within the team and some are struggling with it more than others. Weller and Reade try to out alpha male the other throughout most of the episode. Kurt isn't being honest about how he solved the tattoo and Reade is suspicious over the team being in the right place at the right time. Reade is used to Weller being in charge and he overcompensates by being abrupt and businesslike all the time.

Zapata is the most bothered by the change in Reade's demeanor. Patterson explains that it was difficult for her to work with many of the friends she hired to work on her app. Reade is simply sorting out how to be the boss and be a friend. She encourages Zapata to try and find their new normal.

Reade chills out slightly by the end of the episode, after Hirst gives him a much needed talking to. He realizes that, despite their time apart, they all still make a good team and he needs to trust that more. Zapata sees the softening as an opening and shows up at Reade's apartment in an effort to spark their friendship back to life and find their "new normal."

Except... Reade isn't alone. He's living with his girlfriend Megan. She insists on Zapata staying for dinner, basically twisting Reade and Zapata's arms into a yes. Thus begins, I'm sure, one of the more awkward dinners of their lives. Remember how Reade and Zapata were in love with each other but never talked about it? Then she left for the CIA and he basically stopped speaking to her for nearly two years? Well I sure do. I'm not sure if Blindspot is going to follow through with a Reade/Zapata romance, but they sure aren't finished exploring it.

As for Patterson, she is struggling to work with Stuart — the other analyst who works in the lab. "Look at me and Stuart. We hate each other, but we're still friends." When Zapata points out that Stuart doesn't seem to know about the whole "friends" part of their relationship, Patterson realizes she's been too hard on him. She goes to his apartment to apologize, but finds Stuart dead! He's been shot and his apartment ransacked.

I wasn't terribly attached to Stuart, but his death is still a shocking end to the episode. He spent a good time arguing with Patterson over another tattoo bothering him. Stuart wanted to focus on it, but Patterson insisted they solve Perseus first and avert nuclear annihilation. It does make one wonder if Stuart has been working on the tattoos at home and discovered something he wasn't meant to.


Kurt and Jane awake in domestic bliss after being reunited. Kurt is making breakfast and immediately notices Jane did something with her hair. She did. It's long and straight now. Very pretty, Jaimie Alexander. Jane is visibly pleased Kurt noticed and asks if he likes it. "I love it," he responds.

Mr. Weller, you are officially husband of the year. However, some of their bliss is tempered when he puts a plate of bacon and eggs in front of Jane. Turns out life with the monks changed Jane in more than one way. She's vegan now.  As for Kurt, he has to admit to Jane they are very nearly broke after his search around the globe for her.

All of these little differences are meant to highlight that Kurt and Jane lived separately for 18 months and things between them aren't exactly the same. Despite smiling and kissing their way through it in the morning, it does create an uneasiness they carry with them throughout the episode.

It's an uneasiness that leads to a fight. Kurt is angry when he learns that Jane was working with Dwire and on K&R cases. Dwire is no Boy Scout, and Kurt can't believe Jane would work with someone like him. Jane argued she didn't control who was hired for a job, but the ends justified the means for her. Kurt accepts Jane did what she had to do on the run, but to her credit, she doesn't allow Kurt to go on believing that.

The truth is, Jane didn't have to work on K&R cases. She wanted to. She liked it. It made her feel good to use her skills to help save people. This is a continuation of what she was trying to tell Kurt back on the plane in the season three premiere. Jane is searching for purpose. She found it while she was away from Kurt, but now she wants to find it with Kurt. "And to not be held accountable for the lives that you ended. Or for the lives that you didn't manage to save."

Whoa. Let's take off your judgey pants, Mr. Weller. Kurt is being incredibly harsh with Jane. Not only does he accuse Jane of avoiding responsibility for her actions, but he also essentially accuses her of killing without remorse or regard for human life. I mean, jeez dude. Take a hot second and reminder this is your WIFE you are speaking to. You know, Jane Doe? The woman you love and who is driven by an infinite amount of compassion. Yes, sometimes Jane works in the grey zone to get things done, but that doesn't equate to what Weller said. And nobody knows that better than Kurt.

Jane tells Kurt, "You have no idea what I did or didn't do" and Kurt angrily responds, "Exactly, Jane! I have no idea." Kurt is hurt that Jane wasn't always hiding. She was living her life — without him. Kurt is worried he doesn't know Jane anymore.

"Haven't you ever worked with bad people to do good things?" Jane asks. This hits Kurt squarely in his working-with-Roman heart. So he backs off a little because even Kurt can recognize when he's being a big old hypocrite.

If this was season one or season two Jeller, this fight would blow up into non communicative passive aggressiveness. We'd go another eight episodes, and two new love interests, before Kurt and Jane hashed our their differences. But this is new and improved Jeller. This is season three Jeller!

They realize Roman put Dwire in their path specifically to create a wedge between them. "He wants us to lie. He wants us to fight," Jane says. "We can't let Roman drive us apart," Kurt responds.

Look at how grown up our babies are. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean Kurt comes clean about Berlin or working with Roman. Instead, he makes Jane a vegan dinner. I'll give him partial credit because Kurt stressing over cooking is probably the most relatable thing he's ever done. He also admits he's been trying too hard to make things feel normal between them and he worries Jane is a stranger to him.

It's not often that Jane is the one to navigate their relationship road blocks, but this time she does. She smiles at Kurt and offers a very reasonable solution to his concern: go out to dinner. Ya know... DATE? Jane wants to sit down at a table, eat some food, tell stories, catch up and get to know one another again.

The single best marriage advice I ever received was from my father. He said to never stop dating your partner. Just because you are married doesn't mean you stop getting to know one another. People change and evolve over time. You don't need to disappear for 18 months for that to happen. Every married couple needs to put time and effort into learning about their spouse — no differently than when you are dating. It's a crucial piece to a successful marriage. It's something Jeller would have to learn whether they'd spent 18 months apart or not.

Kurt isn't sure a fancy dinner is in order because they are broke and Jane has another surprise. It turns out the money she hid in the air vent was meant for them. She was hiding it for a rainy day. Why she didn't just tell Kurt that immediately when he mentioned their money troubles that morning is beyond me. The only thing I can come up with is that Blindspot likes to mess with us. The good news is Jane was always holding on to the money for them. Not because she was planning on making another run for it. Jane doesn't have any secrets from Kurt. Not this time.

Let's hope Kurt can say the same thing soon. Kurt and Jane may be married, but there is no shortage of drama. It keeps things interesting while maintaining the core relationship of the show. This is exactly the kind of Blindspot I want.

Stray Thoughts:
  • "It's definitely why we're here." Obviously Jane. A friggin satellite with the same letters tattoos on your breast just landed in the middle of a corn field. We go it. Sometimes I wish Blindspot trusted the audience's ability to keep up a little more.
  • "I'm not just a handsome face Tasha." I mean... you are a little bit, Kurt.
  • "I don't care about the FBI or burning down the world. I'm trying to help you save it." This was a pretty interesting revelation from Roman. He ultimately helped avoid nuclear disaster. It gives another shade of grey to the character.
  • Unfortunately, Roman spends most of the episode manipulating a very nice Australian man from the same AA group.  I kept waiting for Roman to kill this poor man, which he eventually does. Roman is going all Talented Mr. Ripley and is assuming the man's identity along with his fortune.
  • It would be pretty funny if someone critiqued Luke Mitchell's Australian accent. (Psst. Luke Mitchell is Australian.)

1 comment:

  1. Always enjoy your reviews! Thanks for added insights that I hadn't seen for myself. Was worried you weren't going to review my favorite show when I didn't see anything from you for the season premiere 3.01. Glad to know you're still writing about the show!