After last week’s place-setting episode, Blindspot is back this week to once again dig into the threat that is Phase 2. We still don’t know exactly what Sandstorm’s plan is, but what we do know is it’s going to be big.
At the top of the hour, we’re introduced to a new man. Well, it’s Borden, but this isn’t the Borden we’ve known. Instead, this one is menacing, cold, and calculated. He’s asserting himself as a Sandstorm leader, changing the design of something (presumably a bomb) and letting an insubordinate Sandstorm member know who’s boss.
After “Devil Never Even Lived” briefly introduces us to Freddy’s ex-girlfriend — who’s worried about his disappearance — we’re back at the FBI headquarters, where Jane is excited Roman’s muscle memory has helped crack the leopard tattoo code. I’ve been hesitant about Blindspot going down the same road with Roman as they did with Jane, but this scene reveals some interesting wrinkles in the story.
What’s intriguing is just how insistent and defensive Jane is being when it comes to Roman. She refuses to accept that Roman’s situation is different from hers. She wants him to be someone he maybe isn’t, and that could prove a dangerous mindset to have while working in the field. “Devil Never Even Lived” is largely an episode about how emotions can cloud judgment, and Jane’s continuous defense of Roman is the most obvious manifestation of that theme.
So, Jane wants Roman in the field, as she believes he’s one of the last chances they have to nail Shepherd and Sandstorm. When Roman recognizes the photo of Kat Jarrett with a little help from Dr. Sun, the plan seems even more formidable. “I was buying weapons. It felt important,” he tells Dr. Sun. With that, Jane has a plan: Go undercover with Roman amongst the Viper Kings, get them to set up a weapons sale with Sandstorm, then ambush them, kidnap Shepherd, and find out what Phase 2 is. If only anything on Blindspot was that easy.
For all of Jane’s confidence, Roman is unsure about the plan. Jane lays it all out for him — how they’re going to a biker bar called The Nest and will ask to meet with the gang’s leader, Abel Marx, to set up the sale. Roman is worried the “old Roman” will come out again; he’s concerned he’ll end up hurting people.
Those worries are brushed aside when Weller approves the mission. So, the two make their way to The Nest — which is, of course, playing “Mississippi Queen” when they walk in. The problems begin immediately, though. As Roman catches a glimpse of Kat, a memory is triggered. He was in a relationship with Kat and maybe hurt her. Sure enough, she walks up to him, punches him in the face, and chastises him for disappearing. A pretty standard welcome in a biker bar if you ask me.
After Roman manages to explain himself with some carefully crafted lies, both he and Jane are lead into a back room to meet with Abel. He’s pissed at Roman, too, but when Roman says he can get his hands on some HMX explosive to sell to Sandstorm, he has no choice but to trust the man who’s suddenly back on the grid.
NEXT: No risk, no reward
What Roman didn’t realize in the moment was that his bluff about HMX would create one big problem: HMX isn’t easy to get. In fact, the only way to get HMX is to steal it from the military, which means the FBI now has to plan a heist to hand over explosives to a biker gang so they can hand them over to terrorists. The FBI is getting more reckless by the day.
Luckily, Nas knows someone at the Department of Defense who owes her a favor, so she and Weller are able to plan the fake heist. The idea is to have Weller and Reade drive a delivery truck filled with HMX — some real, most of it fake — toward Buffalo while Jane and Roman team up with the Viper Kings to ambush the truck and steal the explosives. It’s a test, a way for Roman and Jane (or Remy, as they know her) to show they’re for real.
Before the mission begins, Patterson airs some grievances with Nas. She lays into her for not knowing about Borden’s association with Sandstorm, saying her whole job is to find these leaks and plug them. Now Patterson is a wreck. It’s a solid bit of character development. Too often these characters are forced, by necessity, to be nothing but FBI robots, so the shades of humanity here are a nice inclusion.
With that out of the way, the fake heist is on and everything goes off without a hitch. Well, sort of … After the explosives are secured, Abel orders Roman to shoot Weller and Reade. He only hesitates a moment before doing so, and everyone drives off satisfied that Roman is still the ruthless killer he once was. Once they’re gone, Weller and Reade get up, remove their bulletproof vests, and pray Roman knew they were wearing them when he decided to fire.
Back at the headquarters, the team — including a banged-up Weller and Reade — learn a sale with Shepherd has been organized for 10 o’clock that night. While the team makes plans to ambush Sandstorm, Blindspot has time for a few more emotional revelations. The first is Roman realizing he and Kat had a plan to escape their life of crime and build a new life together, but that Jane/Remy convinced him to stay. The second is Weller opening up to Jane, telling her about Allie leaving for Colorado, which means he’ll have very little involvement in his child’s life. It’s the start of them reconnecting after the events of last season, which is a story that needs to be told.
Later, when everyone heads out on the mission to ambush Sandstorm, everything goes wrong. First, Kat’s suspicions lead to a confrontation at The Nest, and Kat ends up dead. Roman and Jane still have the address for the meetup, but the moment is a meaningful one for Roman. He lies to Kat about loving her to comfort her in her final moments. Or is he lying? That’s the big question: Is Roman capable of humanity and empathy, or is he doomed like Dr. Sun suggests?
Those are questions for later. For now, everyone makes their way to the drop site, only to discover they’re too late. Abel is dead in the back of the truck and all the HMX is gone. That failure is just more proof for Nas that she and Weller are getting in each other’s way. They’re letting their romantic feelings cloud their judgment, which leads to taking unnecessary risks in the field. She breaks it off with him, and Weller is left with yet another devastating blow to his emotional well-being.
NEXT: The lady in the photo
Speaking of emotional well-being, Reade is in a weird place. He’s clearly covering for Freddy; his relationship with Zapata is all sorts of messy; and now he’s further complicating things. At the end of the episode, he sleeps with Freddy’s ex-girlfriend. I really want the best for Reade, but man, he needs to find something stable, and I have a hunch this relationship isn’t it.
If there’s a bright spot in terms of relationships, it’s with Weller and Jane. Weller’s openness leads them to find an emotional connection again, so Jane shows up at his apartment with a six-pack to help combat his loneliness. She’s a good one, that tatted-up badass.
When she shows up and cracks open a beer, she sees Weller has been looking through Nas’ file on him. She also sees an old yearbook from his days at the military academy and begins flipping through it. She spots a picture of him playing basketball, and the two casually joke about it. Things get a little less-than-casual when Jane spots a familiar face in the photo’s background, sitting in the stands watching the game: Shepherd. Jane points her out and Weller only has one response: “I remember her.”
With that, Blindspot is back on track after last week’s lackluster episode. By focusing on Sandstorm as well as the team’s interpersonal relationships, “Devil Never Even Lived” finds the show’s momentum and begins hurtling toward what will presumably be an exciting hunt for Shepherd and Borden.