Saturday, February 9, 2019

Blindspot 4x12 Review: "The Tale of the Book of Secrets" (The Rock) [Contributor: Jen]

"The Tale of the Book of Secrets"
Original Airdate: February 8, 2019

It's time to cure Jane, and Blindspot sends their best to Peru to get the job done.


Jane is the Case of the Week again, so I'm going straight to teamwork because it was on full display in "The Tale of the Book of Secrets." Seriously, Jane has been the Case of the Week for like four episodes. Who is ready to cure her?

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but Team Blindspot has split into thirds. Teams within teams:

  • Team #1: Kurt and Jane (of course)
  • Team #2: Patterson and Rich
  • Team #3: Reade and Zapata

And then we have Boston who is a floater and goes where he's needed. I've stated many times the addition of Rich Dotcom to the team and promotion of Ennis Esmer to series regular is the smartest decision Martin Gero has made. Second only to marrying Kurt and Jane in season three, of course.

Esmer has chemistry with everyone, just like Ashley Johnson, but there's something special when the two share scenes together. So nearly an entire hour of a Patterson Dotcom team-up is the stuff dreams are made of.

What I particularly admire about Rich's addition is the writers are able to utilize his skills without usurping Patterson's. Female characters who are strong STEM examples are a rarity in television. Blindspot doesn't dumb Patterson down or have her act out-of-character just so Rich has something to do, unlike other television shows who have introduced technologically-talented male counterparts to partner with their established and beloved technologically-talented female character. *cough*Arrow*cough*

Patterson is clearly in charge and runs the lab, while Rich is her right-hand wing man. The two bring out the best in each other, and their abilities are blended into an unstoppable and hilarious duo. They are master puzzle solvers and if Kurt Weller is going to put his wife's life in anyone's hands, then Patterson and Rich are his best bet.

As I said, there would be impossible to find stem cells that Team Blindspot would find in the nick of time. Ken Lee, a billionaire hypochondriac, has his very own stash should he ever need it. Who needs their own private stash of stem cells? I can think of so many better uses for a billion dollars like... a big house with a pool. Yeah, okay, I'm not saying I would be the most creative billionaire, but I still think Jesus should give me the chance to prove myself.

Ken isn't giving up his stem cells to some rando in the FBI. Fair. Also, mean. Patterson offers Rich's white wale  the "Book of Secrets" — as a trade for the stem cells. The problem is Rich and Patterson don't have the Book of Secrets. A small snag in an otherwise brilliant plan.

I am not going to review every puzzle Rich and Patterson have to solve because there's a dozen of them. These are Roman hoops only Rich and Patterson can jump through. I get tired even thinking about it. Honestly, you'd think Roman would make it slightly easier to save his sister. He was very busy planning world domination. How did he plan all these freaking puzzles?

Anyway, Patterson and Rich's first solve leads them to the country where the Book of Secrets supposedly resides  Peru. In Rich's defense he did always say it was in one of the Americas. We go from cherimoya seeds, to the Cusco Cathedral, to a bed and breakfast with a snake on the wall, then a hidey hole near the Cristo del Pacifico, and probably a dozen other steps I've missed. But it all ends with Rich and his trowel digging up the Book of Secrets while Patterson keeps watch.

One of the best moments is when Rich and Patterson need Jane's help. Yup, deathbed Jane is still sleuthing with her hot husband. I STAN A CRIME SOLVING KING AND QUEEN. There's a file on Roman's final cache that Patterson could never open because she couldn't break the password. The clue is an image of what looks like an antelope in front a shield, but Jane realizes it's really a springbok — a gazelle found in South Africa and the shield is really a the South African seal. Jane is blind, she is struggling to breathe, and her brain will eventually be mush from seizures but she knows that image anywhere. It's Roman and Remi's coin. The password is, "I got you something," and y'all, I was verklempt.

Ken Lee tries to double cross them, but Kurt alerts Reade who calls in the Peruvian police, which gives Patterson another chance to barter with Lee. The Book of Secrets is pretty much worthless from a medical perspective, but an important piece of Peru's history. Patterson being Patterson doesn't want to give it to a jerk billionaire who tried to kill them. Instead, they negotiate his release and in return, Lee gives Patterson and Rich the stem cells Jane so desperately requires.

RICH AND PATTERSON FOR THE WIN! Honestly, seeing the tears in Rich and Patterson's eyes as a healthy Jane thanks them for saving her life was the cherry on top of an already great team up. I could watch a show just of Rich and Patterson hitting the road and solving crime around the world. SPIN-OFF IDEA!

Zapata and Reade bring Boston, our designated floater, off the bench and ask him to go undercover with Tasha by pretending to be the hacker Del Toro. They offer to expunge his record and Boston immediately signs on, despite danger not really being his thing. It's kind of funny how they've made such a massive deal about this Del Toro guy and his abilities because they are seemingly easy to replicate. I buy that Patterson, Rich, and Boston are all super hackers in various forms, but could the Blindspot writers stop acting like Del Toro is unique?

Moving on... the real test for Boston is fooling Madeleine. Zapata has control issues, which is understandable given they could all die if this goes wrong. But the magic of people like Rich and Boston is they are well... magic. You gotta let them do their thing. Boston throws a pitch perfect hissy fit when Madeleine discovers his identity and questions if he's really Del Toro.

Madeleine says: "You are either brave or very stupid," and Zapata replies, "Why can't he be both?"

HA! Loved it. But also didn't Zapata figure Madeleine would discover who Boston is? I feel like Tasha should have been more prepared rather than worrying about Boston's preparation. Unfortunately, they aren't given anytime to loop back to Reade; Madeleine demands their phones and instructs Boston to hack and crash the plane today.

This feels like a safe place. I don't remember why Madeleine is crashing the plane anymore. And I don't care.


Here's the upside of Blindspot killing Jane: They are not killing Jane, but we still get all the sappy, super emotional, deathbed love declarations shippers go nuts for without having to deal with the very unpleasant consequence of the writers killing our fave.

Kurt "I've Never Refused An Assignment" Weller sends Rich and Patterson to Peru. ALONE. It's amazing. The absolute last thing I want to see is Kurt Weller running around the Americas while Jane tries to remember how to breathe. Yeah, sure, he'd be out searching for the cure but that's what his entire team of FBI agents are for. Kurt belongs by Jane's side and the glorious miracle of his character is he knows that.

Jane calls him on the decision. She believes Kurt is only staying put because he believes Jane is going to die. Kurt has been unwavering in his belief that Jane will be all right. It's clear he watches Blindspot regularly. But if Kurt thinks Jane is dying, then it must mean she really is and that's terrifying for her.

Kurt winces when Jane says "die" because even giving the word causes him physical pain. We know Kurt is afraid. He broke down with Patterson last week and the guy is just trying to keep it together for Jane. Both Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander give tour de force performances. But Kurt can't really admit it yet to Jane because he doesn't want to scare her more than she already is. So he offers the simplest and most honest explanation: "I want to be here because I'm your husband first and an agent second."

Nothing quite prioritizes your life like death does. It's an unpleasant way to go about it. I'd advise you simply head my and Kurt Weller's advice — put your marriage first. Your spouse should always be number one. Both Kurt and Jane have put up very strong fronts; they are soldiers. Warriors. Strong to the Wellers is not breaking. You face adversity with an iron will and stone face. And sure, when you are stopping bombs from going off in New York City, that's a really good resolve to have. But Jane's Zip poisoning isn't that; it is something different.

One of the great joys of marriage is not having to be on top of everything. You can fall down and know someone will be there to catch you. Life can be overwhelming — particularly when faced with your own mortality. I speak from experience.

Sometimes the only thing left to do is to succumb to the fear. Jane has been trying very hard to fight through her symptoms and act like everything is okay, but the truth is her body is failing her. The lack of control over your own body is deeply frightening. It's like being on a sinking ship and you are without a life raft. The boat is going down and you are going with it. All your choices are taken away. You must accept your powerlessness.

Jane admits she is scared.

Jane Doe finally cracks and when she does she lets Kurt all the way in. You find a deeper love with your spouse inside those cracks. Jane has felt fear before as Remi and Alice. Her life has been in danger. She's nearly died. Her parents were murdered. She lost her child. Jane's life has been marked deeply by suffering. Yet, the one thing missing from all of those events in her life was someone she could rely on. Jane never had anyone she could be scared with. Not even Roman. She was the big sister. It was her job to protect him, and not the other way around.

Jane has found her rock in Kurt. Her waves of fear, grief and anger can crash upon him and he won't break. He will be there, wave after wave, holding on and never letting go. I always think of that wonderful line from Glee in moments like this, when Rachel says, "This is what a man looks like. This is how a man loves."

Kurt affirms: "I know. I am too." Jane voicing her fear also gives Kurt permission too as well. Breaking means running away, hiding, or refusing to be there for someone. Kurt Weller is none of those things. Admitting fear is not breaking. Being willing to enter that space with your spouse, admit your fears together, and live in that moment is the strongest thing you can do as a couple. Fear is incredibly lonely and knowing the person you love most not only shares your fears, but is willing to face them with you, is a powerful antidote to the loneliness.

The beauty of letting go, allowing the fear to rush in, is that there's a peace that comes with it— clarity. You know, without a doubt, what truly matters in life. You seize it without hesitation, holding on for as long as you can.
Jane: "I love you. You know that, right?"
Kurt: "Don't say it like that."
Jane: "Like what?"
Kurt: "Like it's the last time."
Jane: "I love you and I always will."
Kurt: "I love you too."
If I thought for even a microsecond that Blindspot was really killing Jane, I would have been hysterical. But I don't so I kept my emotions to a low sob. Also, Kurt said, "Sweet dreams, baby," and I thought I would die. HE CALLED HER BABY. WHAT IS LIFE? We've milked this storyline for all it's worth. I am checking deathbed love declaration off my shipper list. Now it's time to cure Jane once and for all, which Rich and Patterson graciously do just in time — as predicted.

Jane says, "Apparently this hospital doesn't believe in a recovery period and they've got me doing laps in the hall already." This is the most real thing Jane doe has ever said. Listen, I've been in the hospitals a lot in my life and they constantly want you walking when all you want to do is sleep. It sucks. I feel Jane on a spiritual level.

The real joy of "The Tale of the Book of Secrets" other than the shipper goodness is that you no longer have to fear the writers will kill Jane or Kurt at the end of the series. There's no more emotion to mine from that plot. YOU SURVIVED, BLINDSPOTTERS! Now it's time to make some babies.

Have at it, kids.

Stray Thoughts:

  • When Rich pointed to the humongous Jesus, I thought, "Wait a second. That's Jesus?" I had no idea who that statue was and I AM CATHOLIC. Yeah, sometimes I'm unworldly and dumb.
  • Roman Briggs for Remi Briggs made me super emotional.
  • "Every time we do the thing of finishing each other's sentences, I get a little turned on." "You are completely alone in that." Rich and Patterson have about of 5% chance of happening as a romantic couple, but the writers are leaving their options mildly open with lines like this.
  • "Suck on that, NASA." I'm still laughing over this Rich Dotcom line.
  • "Would I lie to you?" YES YOU WOULD, KURT, but at least there's been character growth in that area.
  • "... that sexy crooked smile." Let's do a thing where Jane and Kurt talk about one another's best physical characteristics for 45 minutes. Annnnnd GO!
  • The final file to Roman's cache was called "Full Circle." If this show gets renewed for another season, I will fall off my chair.


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