Blindspot's evolution continues. While the show's core mystery and case of the week components remain, Season 2 has successfully integrated more compelling character-based stories. Of course, there were solid character-driven moments in the first season, but so much of space -- in sheer minutes spent and conversations had -- was dedicated to figuring out who Jane was, who did what and which tattoo predicted the rise of Donald Trump. After the explosive revelations of the first couple of episodes, this season has turned toward more intimate (though no less interesting) issues, and it's made the show better.
This week's effort, "Condone Untidiest Thefts," nicely pieced together some of the season's most significant personal anxieties for Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), Jane (Jaimie Alexander) and Reade (Rob Brown). More impressively, the hour accomplished this mostly on the go, with Weller and Jane's respective issues manifesting within the context of the season's best case while Reade made a dramatic, potentially life-changing choice on his latest personal day.
Weller's ongoing fear about becoming a father bubbled to the surface as Marshal Allie (Trieste Kelly Dunn) joined the unit on a high-profile attempted assassination case to which she had personal ties from her childhood. Though the show has repeatedly demonstrated Allie's skills in the field, Kurt quickly morphed into dogged protector mode, in a well-intentioned but demeaning way. He pushed Allie out of an interrogation despite her personal relationship with the suspect (the No. 2 in the Irish mob) and only begrudgingly accepted her help/success once his alpha tactics didn't get the dude singing.
Meanwhile, Jane spent the early part of the episode wondering about a new memory involving her being treated while injured and some kind of bracelet. Blindspot has slyly shifted the mystery-generating device from her tattoos to her memories and this one worked not for the information she (and we) received, but for how it shaped her experience throughout the duration of the case. As she heard another round of lies and half-truths from Shepherd (Michelle Hurd) and a team full of people either preoccupied or not exactly psyched she's still around, Jane experienced some basic feelings: loneliness and a little bit of betrayal.
Thankfully for us, both Kurt and Jane's problems followed them out into the field as well. Allie's connection to the case (and her fundamental skill) made her a great asset as the team tried to procure the necessary evidence to prove that a well-positioned senator crafted his own botched assassination, which predictably sent Kurt into a fit once they encountered a firefight in the process.
Strategy split Kurt and Nas (Archie Panjabi) in one corner of the building and Jane and Allie in another, with Kurt urging Jane not to be safe, but to protect his child and its mother. From there, the episode teased out some good interactions amid the fisticuffs and gunfire. Kurt turned even more rash once Allie was shot in the leg, jeopardizing the op, Nas, and himself in the process. Jane did her thing to keep Allie relatively safe, but definitely took note of how Kurt responded to circumstances beyond his control. Though it wasn't exactly jealousy, it was something.
In these moments, both Weller and Jane seemed especially human, which isn't always the case. The concerns weren't about some grand conspiracy, they were centered on key human emotions. Even once everything turned out okay, Weller grumbled through another speech about Allie taking it easy, to which she rightfully poked him about doing the same, illustrating the hypocrisy in assuming different roles for expecting mothers and fathers. Likewise, Jane accepted Kurt's thank you, only to phone the dude she met last week and stumble her way through one of the more comedic pick-up attempts.
In the grand scheme of things, these moments probably won't be remembered. But they still go a long way in establishing some tangible, grounded stakes beyond global terror conspiracies, office moles, or even will they or won't they romantic pairings. It's simply nice to be reminded that Blindspot's characters experience normal thing, even while they're experience abnormal things.
Speaking of abnormal, I hesitate to suggest that Reade's latest breakdown is anything close to normal, but credit to the show; it has laid the groundwork to get to such a momentous choice. I am, of course, referring to Reade's decision to, seemingly, murder the football coach/sex predator after discovering a cache of VHS tapes presumably full of videographic evidence of the trauma he has repressed for years.
You'll notice the use of seemingly and presumably there. We didn't actually see anything -- on the tape Reade found, or in whatever action he took after the fact. Given Blindspot's proclivity for misdirects and twists, it's highly possible that this was more than just Reade simply murdering his former coach in a fit of uncorked rage. Yet, the show has at least spent time walking Reade and us through the basics of repressed memories and that's really only essential if this traumatic result is in play.
Heightened choice aside (and it's always iffy when shows decide to make mostly "good" people murderers), the portrayal of Reade's circumstances again demonstrate that Blindspot recognizes the value of conflicts and problems with more immediacy. Some of those problems are just about fear and loneliness, while others are spurred on by significant psychological distress, but as long as they're not simply the result of a drone missile or a political coup, the show is better off.
Blindspot airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on NBC.