Blindspot: Season 1
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Blindspot: Season 1

Many times an actor or actress will find themselves being typecast with regards to a particular situation. For example, Shailene Woodley, an excellent actress, seemed to have had a series of roles that required her losing her virginity. She had to portray this pivotal moment in the young woman’s life no less than five times. In a similar fashion Jaimie Alexander has had at least three roles that required her breaking up naked, several times with amnesia; ‘Kyle XY’, ‘Models Agent OF S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and as a crucial element in the plot of the latest television show, ‘Blindspot’. I’m certain this coincidence but it does seem to be becoming her trademark. While in the first two occurrences confusing state of undress was fundamentally a passing plot point to introduce a character in the condition of the vulnerable blank slate. While the same is true for this latest project what matters is what the showrunner had in mind where her character go from this dramatic, albeit, familiar entrance. This series her unusual entrance was the starting point for an ongoing enigma that deepens with each episode compounding the intrigue and interest as the series progresses. On the most fundamental level ‘Blindspot’ can be classified as an espionage thriller with strong overtones of a police procedural. In place of the current request supporting character, the forensic expert, the nature of this series’ unique twist, a scientist with experience in cryptography is substituted .one refreshing variation on the usage of such a character has the potential for the story to include an alternative to the main narrative voice; the conflict between the personal and professional demands on the expert. Typically, this archetype is reserved for moments of exposition rarely if ever contributing to a significant thread.

When a large canvas bag is found unattended in the middle of Times Square, the New York City police dispatch the bomb unit to investigate. When the technician begins to open the bag, there is movement inside. Slowly extricating herself is an attractive young woman (Jaimie Alexander) completely naked and entirely covered in strange tattoos. One tattoo on the small of her back requires little decryption, it is the name of FBI Special Agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton). He is contacted and brought in to help identify the young woman that he has no clue who she might be. Soon, they discover that her tattoos provide clues to various crimes, many of which are a matter of national security. The woman is tentatively named Jane Doe and she is submitted to a full body scan to digitize and save the minutest detail of her tattoos. The team is assembled and goes in search of where the clues point in the first sign of danger becomes quite obvious that Janus had advanced combat training similar to that given to Navy SEALs. Despite some trepidation on the part of some team members, especially Special Agent Edgar Reade (Rob Brown) who retain serious doubts about the information that the tattoos provide as well as whether or not it is prudent to allow for armed and in the field. Also assigned to the task force is former NYPD officer and now Special Agent Tasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza), who is hiding the secret that she is a gambling addict and in deep debt. As mentioned, the breakout character for the show is Special Agent Patterson (Ashley Johnson), head of the FBI Forensic Science unit was in charge of analyzing and deciphering the tattoos. In charge of the unit is space Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office Bethany Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). Since every major character is required to have some covert secret. The director was once in charge of a top-secret operation referred to as ‘Daylight’, which they legally obtained information and acted upon it by attributing it to fabricated informants.

Another plot line used to help flush out the back stories of the primary characters is that Pattison has a boyfriend, David Wagner (Joe Dinicol), who apparently lives with her. Despite the fact that Pattison’s work is highly classified David does find out helps Pattison the site but one of the tattoos. Although she wants him away from trying to track them any clues on his own he does so and even make some progress. Instead of having the resident scientist continued happy boyfriend was quite helpful work, the right is selected to go in a much darker path for this particular story arc resulting in Pattison receiving a serious reprimand as well is being forced to face the tragic consequences of a breach of protocol. What the series does not do is avoid being a one trick pony where each week another tattoo is deciphered just in time to stop some nefarious plots from coming to fruition. By providing such nuanced back stories for the principal characters the writers have a selection of mysteries to continue to unfold. All of this is woven together around the greatest conundrum; who gave Jane her tattoos and for what purpose.

Pacing is exceptionally important such a multilayered series as this. There is an innate difficulty relating such a story to the audience. In order to create and maintain a suitable amount of suspense to retain the full attention of the audience. If the complete focus of the series was solely on the intelligence derived from the mysterious tattoos than the show would have rapidly spired into the TV haven of uninspired writing, the freak of the week. In this format the series is reduced to being highly episodic with a different adversary, crime or situation that is neatly resolved in the span of a single episode. The merit of this show lies heavily on how the serialized aspects of the various interrelated mysteries and wonderfully nuanced circumstances. With these elements firmly set in place the showrunner was free to provide a platform to showcase a number of amazing performances.

The main character known only as Jane Doe is arguably of the more physiologically complicated portrayals in recent memory. Jane has been obviously trained to be a lethal fighter able to inflict deadly force with ease. This is juxtaposed to a woman that has had her memories literally stolen. Robbed of her very identity and haunted by disjointed fragments of her past Jane may be a highly trained combatant but she is simultaneously a venerable girl trying desperately to piece her life back together. As Jane faces such emotional turmoil she has become embroiled in a web of intrigue with drastic implications to national security. Since Weller’s name was clearly displayed it is obvious that the two must have some connection or a well-placed teaser it appeared that that the mystery of her identity and connection to Weller were resolved only to be disproved in short order. Thankfully the show has been renewed for a second season which promises to be darker and more convoluted than ever.

Posted 07/21/2016

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