Few things are better than when a TV show's investments start paying off. Thus far, much of Blindspot's second season has been focused less on the big mysteries and more on the characters. Recent episodes haven't concerned themselves too much with hollow references to grand conspiracies, and instead honed in on palpable human issues facing the people within the story.
On the contrary, this week's episode, "Her Spy's Harmed," was far more plot- and mystery-oriented. Yet, because Blindspot did such solid legwork in the first five hours of the season, the significant events of this episode felt even more significant. Unlike during chunks of Season 1, the show is giving the audience tangible reasons to care about these events, and more importantly, the people within them.
In this regard, "Her Spy's Harmed" was a fine culmination of prior episodes for characters like Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), Jane (Jaimie Alexander), Reade (Rob Brown), and even Roman (Luke Mitchell). They're all playing a part in what will surely be a never-ending fight for and against creeping military industrial complex power, but they've got enough going on individually that all the MacGuffin-y references to emails and microchips can't sink the show too far.
Let's start with Jane and Roman, as their story continues to be the show's most intriguing. The formula of Blindspot means that these characters can't spend too much time together every week — that would disrupt the familiar procedural and team-oriented elements, at least for now — but when they do, the show immediately improves. Maybe it's because Luke Mitchell rules, or maybe I just really, really like his beard. Either way.
This week, both characters approached the latest "big mission" with similar goals: convince the other to trust them fully to further their respective causes. For Roman, it's about pulling his sister back into the loop to better prepare for the hard shutdown of America, but also just to get his sister back. Meanwhile, for Jane, it's about getting closer to Roman to procure more intel, and yet she remains curious about this dude and the relationship she supposedly had with him before the mind wipe.
That was a relatively simple set-up, but one made better by everything we've seen in recent episodes. Roman and Jane are demonstrably screwed up and lonely people. They have next to no one else in their life. While their respective mission goals matter, those lingering emotions created an additional level of tension between them. And as the mission to secure the necessary microchip (nothing is more yada yada-worthy than a microchip, by the way) unspooled, their frustrations and resentments quickly bubbled to the surface — which is not ideal when you're undercover and eventually trapped inside a locked room together.
Roman couldn't get over that his sister just left him in the name of the mission, even if he really cares about that mission. Jane, conveniently flush with new flashbacks to their childhood at the orphanage, including the moment when Roman received his brutal eye scar, began to sympathize with her brother's position, even though there's nothing she can do to change the past. Roman blantly accusing Jane of turning him into the psychopath he is today was one of the better moments of dialogue in this show's entire run, not just for the in-the-moment effect but also for how it totally spoke to Jane's ongoing concern that she was actually kind of a monster before she turned up in a body bag outside the Times Square Outback Steakhouse.
Jane eventually ditched the microchip mission to save Roman (and probably save some rando security guards from being violently maimed), demonstrating the deepening complexity of her mission. As she later told Nas (Archie Panjabi), it was better for the mission to build an emotional bond with Roman than just check off another "job" from the list. But it's not like this is all work for Jane. She now cares about her brother, albeit maybe not as much as she's claiming.
Roman, however, is just a mess. The episode concluded with him not triumphantly proving to Shepherd (Michelle Hurd) that Jane was back in the mix, but instead with him blubbering into Jane's arms over a shared childhood experience. As predicted, there's an increasing sense that Roman is along for the ride with his mother, and with his sister before that. Dude just wants to be loved.
With Jane and Roman off another family bonding trip, Weller and Nas took a little vacation of their own to Bulgaria. You know, just a quick trip. Patterson's analysis of the black hole emails further revealed the location of Blindspot's Edward Snowden stand-in, Douglas Winter (P.J. Byrne). But when Weller and Nas made it abroad, they quickly discovered things weren't what they seemed: Winter didn't actually hack the NSA, he was framed at gunpoint by two mysterious masked figures. Conspiracy alert!
This was the kind of thing Blindspot can do in its sleep. Weller and Nas had to protect Winter from the Bulgarian authorities and the CIA, who arrived hoping to secure the supposed hacker and get all the gold stars in the process. Winter's manic nerd energy offered the story some much needed relief, particularly once Weller's vision for how the mission would go came crashing down around him.
Though the show sometimes overplays the bonds between the team members, the Weller-Mayfair relationship always felt real enough last season. Thus, it was similarly workable enough here to see Weller, frustrated by everything with Jane, still reeling from the news about his baby and the reveal that he's been watched for decades, lose it a bit. Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) was his mentor and she's gone now, at the time that Weller needs her most. Catching Winter and learning more about Sandstorm was Weller's way of honoring Mayfair's memory and finding some personal answers in the process — and he got none of that.
He did, however, get sex. Wouldn't you know it, the workplace tension between Weller and Nas was building to some major sympathy sex. Sure, why not? That's one way to make a dude feel better.
I'd be remissed if I didn't mention the other events at home. Zapata's (Audrey Esparza) discovery of Reade standing over his old coach's body led to a somewhat sleepy story about the former covering up for the latter, and only partially trusting the latter's assurances the he did, in fact, not kill the coach, in the process. There's only so many places you can go once a lead character maybe-probably not kills another person, and this wasn't my favorite, but there's still time to explore some more of the psychological consequences for both Reade and Zapata.
Also, Patterson (Ashley Johnson) had a tiff with Dr. Mole (Ukweli Roach), only to make up, only then to discover that there's a bug in his office. DUN DUN DUN. She believed Nas to be the culprit of the bug, sowing distrust between Weller and Nas, but we know better. Don't be blinded by that advanced degree and accent, girl!
Best of all, Blindspot really earned that bug reveal, as well as the last-second news that Roman and Shepherd were the ones who blackmailed Winter and that Weller recognizes Shepherd's voice. Context-free, those are all small "twists"; I mean seriously, Weller knows a voice? WOW.
But with the manner in which recent episodes have established the bonds between Weller and Nas, Patterson and Dr. Mole, and Roman and Jane, suddenly these things matter so much more. Characters' anger or distrust has weight behind it and there's now real stakes to the team's eventual showdown with whomever is the mole and Shepherd and Roman. Those weren't just twists for twist's sake (mostly). For that alone, "Her Spy's Harmed" was one of the better episodes of Blindspot thus far.