If someone was to describe NBC's Blindspot to you, you would naturally assume that this was a show that was stealing familiar elements from such a diverse range of sources as Bourne, Total Recall, The X-Files, Alias, and so on. We have an amnesiac woman named ‘Jane Doe’ covered in tattoos that solve mysteries, so its up to her, Kurt Weller and his FBI team to solve them and uncover the truth about her past. While it is true that the premise isn’t entirely original, what we have here is still an entertaining show, despite some major faults along the way. Like the tattoos covering our entire anti-heroine’s body, this is a show about mystery and deception, which is something that series creator Martin Gero and his writing team would have great fun in by pushing our suspension of disbelief to its very boundaries. For the most part, the show manages to keep those mysteries compelling and engaging in order for us to eagerly see what will come next in later episodes, even if a lot of the mysteries, conspiracies and character motivations end up feeling somewhat contrived or occasionally repeated to hammer home the point its trying to make.
And this perfectly highlights the biggest problem this series suffers from the most: padding. This show is loaded to the gills with it by having a lot of filler episodes or pointless characters, subplots or sequences, crammed in and repeated constantly throughout, like the conspiracy surrounding the disappearance of Taylor Shaw, Zapata’s personal struggles, Reade dating Weller’s sister, Mayfair’s involvement with the anonymous Project Daylight, and so on. It’s the TV equivalent of overusing slow motion in a movie; this series would be half its length without of all the superfluous additions that could’ve easily have been excised. As it stands, it feels like a 12-episode series that had been extended to 23, and unfortunately, its momentum can be lost along the way.
Having said that though, there is still enjoyment to be found, and a lot of that can be found its uniformly solid cast, who all manage to convey the complexity and intrigue of the characters they are playing, as well as delivering the exposition with enough credibility without falling into the realms of the ludicrous and the annoying. Jaimie Alexander is solidly efficient as the mysterious Jane, displaying a unique combination of vulnerability and strength, whilst Sullivan Stapleton manages to make Weller an interesting protagonist with depth and authority without making him completely dull. While there can be good character moments for our two central players, they do tend to be a bit on the bland side thanks to the pointless padding and contrived motivations.
In regards to the supporting players, the real standout, and in fact the true underlying heart of show, is the adorkable Agent Patterson, played with genuine likeability and pathos by the extremely talented Ashley Johnson (her of Critical Role and The Last of Us fame). Patterson is the character that goes through the most development over the course of the series, starting out as a quirky scientist who, by the end, transitions into a woman who nobly stood up to evil. True, her comedy can be seen as predictable, but she definitely brought some much-needed humour during the darker turns of the season. In fact, her subplots are actually much more investing than the main plots of the episodes, and because she goes through the most changes, it’s entirely plausible to see her as the actual main character instead of Jane or Weller.
Blindspot is a flawed series undeniably, but it still manages to be an entertaining popcorn thrillride that’s mostly fun and engaging. The concept of having a new reveal or mystery every episode is an interesting idea despite the overall concept being somewhat unoriginal, but it keeps us invested in both the events that transpire and the characters involved. Plus, credit to Gero and his writers for using misdirections to keep us from guessing what the real plan entails, even if the execution is sometimes deeply questionable. True, the relentless padding can be annoying, but overall, it’s still entertainingly good fun, though it could’ve easily have been shortened and spruced up quite a bit.
BLINDSPOT – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON / CERT: 15 / CREATOR: MARTIN GERO / STARRING: SULLIVAN STAPLETON, JAIME ALEXANDER, ROB BROWN, AUDREY ESPARZA, ASHLEY JOHNSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW