Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday’s episode of Blindspot. Read at your own risk!
It’s the shot heard round the world — or at least, in an actual basement below the Brooklyn-based Steiner Studios where Blindspot is being filmed.
Outside, the weather flip-flops between raging wind and freak hailstorm — fitting, given the growing tension and high emotion on set. Jane’s betrayal has finally come to light in the penultimate episode of NBC’s hit freshman drama, and someone pays the ultimate price for it.
At the close of Monday’s episode, Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) discovers Jane in the basement, the location of whoever framed the former head of the FBI’s New York Office, and realizes the tattooed supposed heroine has been lying to them the whole time. But before Mayfair can take Jane into custody (or worse, shoot her), she’s shot from behind by Oscar (François Arnaud).
Mayfair puts up one last fight in a bid to stop Jane before dying on the cold basement floor, leaving parting words of contempt: “I wish I could see the look on his face when he realizes what you really are.” It cuts Jane like a knife knowing Mayfair is right. Jane may not have pulled the trigger, but she’s certainly culpable, which means she’s probably lost Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) for good.
During one take, Alexander lets out a guttural scream that rips through the cavernous basement, the room so quiet you can hear a pin drop as Jane cries helplessly over the sacrifice. The breathless tension is only alleviated when the director yells cut, and Jean-Baptiste lovingly responds, “It’s okay, honey.”
That’s par for the course for Jean-Baptiste’s final days on set. The actress is in high spirits and sings between takes — a sharp juxtaposition to the heartbreaking finality that awaits her character. Moments prior to shooting Mayfair’s death, Jean-Baptiste sat down with EW on set to share her reaction: (Read our postmortem with executive producer Martin Gero here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your initial reaction to learning Mayfair was going to die?
MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE: Surprise. I was quite surprised that she was going to die.
Has it been hard to let go of this character?
Not particularly hard to let go of it. With acting, you constantly are playing different roles. Obviously doing series television, you don’t have the full arc of what’s going to happen to your character. It’s very much on the fly. So this type of thing would always come as a surprise unless it’s been set up from the very beginning that that’s what’s going to happen.
How hard has it been to say goodbye to the cast?
My friends, my little friends. I love them. It’s tough, because you build a solid team of people that you’re working with, that you’re seeing every day, and to leave them is going to be tough, but we’ll remain friends, and hang out, and do all that sort of stuff when we can, you know?
What do you think is going on in Mayfair’s head in that final moment of realization that Jane was her downfall?
It’s tough for Mayfair because she’s unable to warn her team, and her main concern is that they’re not harmed, because she knows how close Weller has gotten to Jane. It’s that powerlessness of just thinking, “My God, we’ve taken in the cuckoo into our nest, and she’s just going to bring everybody down and hurt what we’ve been working towards building.”
But, in a lot of ways, Mayfair did some pretty bad things.
Well, that’s debatable. We’re always going to have to leave that up for [the audience] — you take an opinion or a stance. Mayfair felt that she was doing something by taking down these criminals. No matter how she found out the information, she felt that it was a good thing to be able to lock these felons away and expose certain things. Should she have done it? Probably not. But, for her, it was like our hands are always tied by the bureaucracy, and finally here’s something that’s going to give us the opportunity to really take these people off the streets. So would I do it? Probably not. But, [for] somebody in her position, I think it is a very, very, very tough decision.
Do you think she deserved to die over it, though?
No. I don’t think she deserved to die over it. And I’m not sure that she dies over Daylight. I think she dies because she’s uncovered who this group is, or a portion of what these people are up to. I think that’s why she dies.
How do you think this will change the team since Mayfair was the beating heart of this group?
Right. I think they’ll survive. [Laughs.] Weller will be in charge, and they’ll figure it all out and work together. I don’t know how it’s going to go in terms of what happens with Jane and all that stuff, but Mayfair has left a fair few clues for them to uncover what she knows so far, anyway.
You’re filming your death scene today. How do you get into that mindset?
Well, the mindset is, she doesn’t know she’s going to die, and so you have to go into it like that without dropping any clues as to lingering stares or anything like that, like this is the end. You’ve got to play it as if you’re going to get out of it, that you’re going to bring this Oscar guy in, you’re going to bring Jane in, and then go from there.
Is this your first death scene as an actress?
Yeah, this is. So they’re very bloody lucky, I’d say.
The show does deal in a lot of flashbacks. Do you hope to see Mayfair return, maybe tell more of that story between her and Sofia?
I don’t see that happening, really, but you never know. You never know.
Mayfair’s death is coming in a year of television where a lot of LGBT characters are being killed off. Do you expect any backlash in that regard?
I have not seen anything thus far. Look, I just think there’s a lot of killing, full stop. But I do think that people should be a bit more sort of cognizant of what’s happening and just taper that. Arrest people, man. I mean, we’re in law enforcement. Have a few more arrests other than shooting to kill. I don’t know, if there has been a series of these deaths, I think that there may be, some people might not be happy about it and what it represents or doesn’t represent. I mean, I can’t say. And obviously I don’t write them, so it’s out of my hands in terms of how things are dealt with. I mean, I was very, like, “If we’re going to do this, let’s do it properly with her whole sexuality, because it’s important to have that representation.” Sarita and I talked a lot about the scene — although you don’t really see much of it — but just in terms of a relationship, and just focusing on that, and not knocking it over people’s heads that it’s two women.