TV Reap: Blindspot, ‘Series Premiere’

BLINDSPOT -- Pictured: "Blindspot" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)
BLINDSPOT — Pictured: “Blindspot” Key Art — (Photo by: NBCUniversal)

Blindspot Pilot Recap:

Jane Doe (Jamie Alexander) gets discovered and together with a team of FBI agents led by Frank Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), they try to discover her past and who she is.

Sometimes it seems that NBC can do no wrong. Remember back, back, back in 2013 when the Blacklist was introduced? The premise was simple. A team of top FBI agents has to work with an unpredictable and mysterious asset to solve crimes all over the world that are somehow connected to a conspiracy involving said asset who also happens to have a personal connection to one of the FBI agents. They got a movie star in the mix as the asset and The Blacklist was a huge hit! So I don’t think anyone was surprised when NBC said “Let’s have another one of those” and Blindspot was born. And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I do have a feeling, like with Blacklist, it is going to a tough on to judge early on.

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The similarities between the Blacklist and Blindspot pilots start at minute one. The first scene of both involves the asset being detained by the FBI in an event that is too way easy to not be a trap. Both assets are played by establishes actors. Obviously the Blacklist is predicated on the Charisma of James Spader while Blindspot is placing it’s hopes on the tattooed back of Thor ally Jamie Alexander. The asset is brought to headquarters, as well as a specific FBI handler that is requested by the asset for some secret reason. Blacklist featured Law & Order: LA’s Megan Boone and Blindspot stars 300: Rise of an Empire’s Sullivan Stapleton. Both get to know each other while solving the crime of the week and attempting to unravel the mystery behind why they are both there.

Jamie Alexander is the clear acting stand out in the pilot episode. Her character, nicknamed Jane Doe, is a blank slate who spends most of the episode trying to figure out her true identity. She is a character in search of a backstory, and you feel it. Doe delivers every line with a hint of hopelessness and confusion as she realizes that she may never be the person she was before. Alexander also handles the fight choreography excellently, showcased mainly during an attack in an apartment building.

Stapleton is the other side of that coin. The complicated part of looking at the first episode of a show like this is that you know there will be a point in the future when things will change. Currently Kurt Weller is the most generic feeling action hero in perhaps the history of television. He is nothing but pure superagent. It is really saying something that Jane Doe is suffering from complete amnesia and she seems to have more personality than Weller. Here’s the thing. I don’t think it’s Stapleton’s fault. In fact, I think it may be to his credit.

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Weller reminds me a lot of Grant Ward from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and like Ward, I have a feeling that once more of Jane Doe’s past is revealed, the character of Weller will change and so will Stapleton’s performance. There are a few moments when the two leads get to talk and the show gets to stop being so serious for a second, and those work. Hopefully this was a case of the pilot having to explain way too much and the future episodes will focus more on their relationship. That seems to be what this show needs to succeed in the long run.

Blindspot is also way less predictable than Blacklist. Way less. For some perspective, in the first episode of Blacklist, we got introduced to a young fatherless FBI agent who doesn’t have a father and supercriminal Red Redding is about old enough to be her father and interested in working with and protecting the young agent who we cannot stress enough does not know her father. You’ll never guess how that ended up. (Spoiler Alert: He might be her father) Luckily, that kind of nonsense doesn’t exist in Blindspot…yet. So far Jane Doe is a mystery wrapped in an enigma but the writers have kept the specifics of that mystery plenty secret. We know that someone is pulling the strings but his motivations are beyond the audience at this point and that is how it should be. If we are going to be interested in Blindspot in five episodes, we need to believe that she show still has something up it’s sleeve.

The big takeaway from the pilot is that Blindspot has promise. Jamie Alexander is incredibly capable as Jane Doe. Sullivan Stapleton is fine as Agent Weller. Hopefully there will be something more to Weller in the future but now it is too early to tell. The premise is intriguing enough and the pacing is spot on. Right now everything depends on the script delivering in the future. If Blacklist is any indication, Blindspot might be worth putting on your watchlist.

Rating 6/10
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Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. He focuses on film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He has an unshakable love for U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. His twitter handle is @NationofNando. Did we mention how handsome he was?
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Matthew Nando Kelly is a cool and tough Senior Staff Writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.