NBC’s Blindspot is a new action FBI procedural that out of the gate is intense, alluring, and…ridiculous.
On a dark night in Times Square, a local cop finds an abandoned duffle bag marked “Call the FBI.” Fearing the worst, the bomb squad discovers a mysterious woman (Jaimie Alexander) covered in a random assortment of freshly inked tattoos. Unfortunately, the woman’s drug induced amnesia is so severe, her entire identity has been completely wiped out, so wiped out she is a ghost even against the national databases.
The only clue to her identity lies in solving a series of puzzles hidden among her body, starting with the most obvious clue of her back tattoo naming FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) to lead the investigation.
In the pilot episode, we find Jane Doe has a special set of skills that leads to the uncovering and defeat of a plot to blow up the statue of liberty.
To be fair, the dramatic tone of Blindspot is pretty great. With thematic similarity to the Jason Borne series, Blindspot gives viewers an intense action series that feels more like a cinematic than a procedural. Like Borne, Jane Doe has no idea about her past, but as she moves though the world, she discovers her latent combat and language skills, suggesting she’s more than just a random woman plucked off the street.
The show seems confused as to what it wants to make Jane Doe. On the one hand, it attempts to show her has a powerful woman with skills that make you wonder how much of a covert agent she might be. On the other hand, the show takes far too may low brow moments to let the characters, and the viewers, gawk at the obscured nakedness that basically objectifies Jane Doe to merely a document that needs to be deciphered. The show in itself is an action procedural, but it’s sold based on the never ending shirtless teases of Jane Doe, which is a grave disservice to the intelligence of everyone.
Additionally, we have the generally annoying potential romance threads that are heavily displayed in the pilot between Jane and Weller, further reducing her to a damsel in distress.
The think the biggest crime of the show is what is the long term viability of this plot device? How many crimes can they prevent with the tattoos? How far in advance do the tattoos predict? How do they even predict anything at all? In two or three seasons from now, are we still going to have Jane Doe as a map to all the criminal activity in New York?
An in the end, how many skills can you really shovel into her wheelhouse? She has special forces training. She can speak an obscure Chinese dialect. She is a marksman. In terms of super spy skill set, there really isn’t a whole lot more on top of that other than more languages and hacker skills.
While I’m interested to see what the season holds for Blindspot, I can’t really see what this show can do that it couldn’t have done as a two hour movie.
- Bearded handler guy cleans up the mess
- The final audience only reveal that Jane Doe wanted to lose her memories makes you question the idea that this show understands its own design.
- “Am I being detained?”
- Mayfair’s (Marianna Jean-Baptise) case file was heavily redacted, but with the odd reveals of “murder” and “embezzlement.” Why would you not redact that as well?