As it unfolds and refolds like an origami fortune teller, this week's episode of Blindspot gets a bit crumpled. A nonlinear story line dips back and forth in time, attempting to weave character complexity into a plot about a school shooting. And while these momentary flashbacks reveal some interesting details about each member of Weller's team, the mechanics of the device are too clunky to justify its use.
Weller's team shows up to work feeling a little smirky, each holding a secret as to their morning whereabouts. Jane's drinking the rare cup of tea from a morning spent with Oscar, who's been feeding her pots of oolong. Reade's wearing a bowtie after having a strangely intimate conversation with his longtime tailor about love and relationships. Kurt's a little late, having visited his dad in the hospital. And Zapata clues Patterson into a tattoo linked to football team scores after hitting a Gambler's Anonymous meeting and seeing some sports pages.
The tattoo she's noticed details a set of scores that lead to Hudson University's football team, where Reade just conveniently happens to know the coach — Coach Jones — who ran his childhood football camp. The team heads over to investigate the clue and quickly discovers that two school shooters are rampaging across campus looking for Jones. As the FBI team splits off, we jump back to their respective mornings, which certainly elongates and splits up the episode's major plotline, but does little to emphasize the content of the flashbacks, which actually hold the key information. Back to those in a moment.
Zapata and Jane pick off one of the shooters, while Weller and Reade pursue another. Eventually, Reade runs into the second guy, Levi Hart, a football player under school investigation. Levi confesses to Reade that he was molested by Jones and is hunting him down to avenge his and other violated boys' lost innocence. Reade tries to talk him down, promising to open an investigation into the coach, but Levi's too far gone and Weller's team picks him off too. It's a bummer of a story line that's rendered especially dark because Charles Brice, who plays the shooter, is a good crier. In the end, they discover the molestation scandal was covered up to keep Jones's lucrative football program running. It's not a terribly subtle allusion to the state of American football today, but it's an apt one.
At episode's open, Zapata sits in on her first Gambler's Anonymous meeting and we begin to get a bit of backstory as to the origin of her pain. Years ago, on a domestic-violence call, her partner was shot point-blank, so she buried her pain and vulnerability in the rules and structures of gambling. It seems a steep fall to go straight from cop to hard addiction, but for the sake of suspending disbelief, I'll buy it. I like Zapata's character, I'm just not sure why she often feels so torn about her loyalties. It doesn't seem in keeping with her character's strong conscience. Remember, she's working against Mayfair with the U.S. attorney.
Meanwhile, Reade is staying out of everybody's business and buying bow ties. It seems like he and Weller have struck up their bromance again, enabled by Weller's generally more open attitude toward the world. Speaking of which, he's been spending time with his dad, who, I swear, has cried in nearly every scene he's ever been in. He still seems fishy, and he's going to kick the bucket soon; maybe he'll let something slip before he does.
As for Jane, at the day's beginning, Oscar declares he should no longer be her handler. In a bluster of frustration, Jane admonishes him for sleeping with her and then running away. By day's end, she returns to their meeting place. Oscar awaits, having given into a woman he supposedly loves, but from whom he is hiding things. I'm starting to believe their attraction, mostly because Jaimie Alexander's show of emotion is true, pointed, and sincere. Oscar feels a little sleepy most days, like he just got stoned and doesn't really care about anagrams or tattoos or the FBI. Sleepy or stoned, he's up to something, secretly dragging Carter's body in a bag through the night with an accomplice.
While Weller's team is dealing with its own affairs, an old flame visits Mayfair. Remember her? She's the one who faked her own death years earlier, while attempting to escape the blowback from Daylight. She didn't actually commit suicide. Begging Mayfair for money, Sophia attempts to bring an unyielding Bethany along as she disappears from the country. Bethany suffers no fools. My guess: Whoever is seeking these women out will soon find both of them.
- A series of football scores on Jane's lower abdomen point to a sexual-abuse scandal at a university.
- The week's anagram is "focus on the time."
- Weller did a good job scaling that building.
- Reade did a good job jamming that bomb with an earring.
- Jane did a really good job searing that lady's wound shut with a hot metal spatula.
- In other news, Blindspot's writers are really getting into the minutiae.