We gave it a B-
9/21/15 - 1/1/70
- TV Show
- genre new
- Drama, Mystery, Thriller
- Jaimie Alexander, Sullivan Stapleton
- In Season
After last week’s chaotic bit of catch-up storytelling — in which we learned how and why Jane went missing for months, and how Weller eventually found her — this hour is a little more traditional. It’s a case-of-the-week style episode that ties in the ever-evolving story of Roman’s revenge and Jane’s potential secrets, while also exploring the shifting dynamics within the reunited team. You see, everything is different now. A lot of time has gone by and everyone on the team, which was once tight as could be, are in different places now, both professionally and emotionally. They’re together again because they need to be, but that doesn’t mean everything just clicks back into place.
“Enemy Bag of Tricks” doesn’t begin with Weller, Reade, Jane, Patterson, and Zapata though. Rather, it kicks off with two hunters walking through the woods. The older one is rambling on about a huge kill he made in the past, and the younger one is dutifully listening in the way we all do when someone’s telling a long-winded story we barely care about. That story is the least of their problems though when they run into a heavily armed mercenary. He tells them to turn around and go back home, but the hunter won’t relent. He says it’s his land and that he’s going to call the cops. That doesn’t work out so well. A bunch of other mercenaries pop up and shoot the two hunters dead.
The mysterious cold open then transports back to some sense of familiarity, as Weller cooks Jane breakfast in their apartment. He’s promising to get their stuff shipped back and serving up a mean looking meal of scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon. There’s just one problem: Jane is a vegan now, due to living with all those monks for so long. It’s the first sign that their time apart has changed them, and there could be plenty they don’t know about each other anymore. It’s a common theme of the episode. From the “final notices” that pile up on Weller’s counter, to the secrets Patterson may be concealing about her and Rich Dot Com, there’s a lot hiding in the shadows so far.
Back at the FBI headquarters, things are a little tense. Patterson keeps insulting Stuart, Weller is perhaps a little too controlling considering that Reade is the boss now, and this is all before the idea of nuclear destruction suddenly pops up. Before we get to that though, there’s another tattoo to solve. This isn’t one that Patterson cracked though, as with previous cases. This one is, in fact, ordered by Roman, though of course the team doesn’t know that. When he showed up outside Weller’s apartment at the end of the season premiere, it was to guide him in the right direction.
Essentially, Roman’s plan is carefully laid out, so much so that Weller can’t get ahead of the game and start solving tattoos on his own. If he tries that, everything crumbles. So, Roman says he’ll likely show up every now and then to give him a nudge, make sure he’s solving the right clues first. So, Weller shows up to work with the instruction to “solve Perseus.” Weller, using Roman’s hints, tells the team that he noticed something funny about the tattoo, namely that there was an extra finger on one of the hands.
Through some combination of crazy word association and blind luck — I love the ridiculousness of the scenes where they put a bunch of clues together in the span of a few seconds — the team determines that the tattoo is pointing to the Finger Lakes. When they line up the tattoo with the map, and also the older tattoo that’s joined with the new one, they find an intersection point and a circle. Weller determines that it’s a search radius, and while Reade is hesitant about just going out there and looking around, Weller convinces him to send the team searching.
The team searches well into the night until Reade finally orders everyone to go home, once again clashing with Weller and his inclination to be the leader. Weller and Jane linger while Reade walks away. “How do you know this is the right place?” Jane says. Then a satellite comes crashing down from the sky, our mercenaries from the first scene swoop in and pin down our protagonists before taking something from the satellite, and everyone is left dazed and confused.
Looks like they’re in the right place. (Recap continues on next page)
“Enemy Bag of Tricks” isn’t just focused on the team though, despite all the interpersonal tension, which is giving this season some necessary emotional stakes. We also get a better look at who Roman is now, and just how evil he is. He’s in Sydney, Australia, attending PTSD meetings. Seems a little strange, but hey, he’s getting help and that can’t be a bad thing, right?
Wrong. As it turns out, Roman is specifically targeting a man who attends these meetings. For weeks he’s subtly manipulated him until the man invites him into his home to share a few drinks and bond over stories of their trauma. It’s truly heartbreaking stuff. The man mentions that his best friend from his time in the military killed himself. Eventually, he mentions that the same friend left him millions of dollars. “Why did I tell you that?” he says, to which Roman replies that he’s drugged him and that he’s going to kill him. It’s a horrific bit of business, and now there’s no question about whether or not Roman is truly a bad guy. Where last season looked to redeem him, season 3 wants to make sure there’s no question about who he is and what he’ll do.
Roman is the least of the FBI’s worries at the moment though. When they bring in the two people from the company that owns the satellite that came crashing down to earth, they learn something pretty devastating. It turns out that said company is just a front for the Department of Defense, and that the satellite is integral to a Missile Defense Shield that the government lies about even having. Inside that satellite was a black box that, when paired with a high-powered computer and some next-level coding skills, could turn that shield off.
Oh, it gets worse. Just then Zapata calls Keaton and, surprise, North Korea is prepping a missile launch! (So much for escapist TV, huh?) That must mean that whoever took the black box is probably selling it to North Korea so that they can take down the shield. Luckily, the team gets a break when Stuart discovers that two hunters were found dead in the area where the satellite fell. Also in that area is a number of cameras meant to track bear populations. This time though they caught the murder by the mercenaries, and in a crazy twist of fate, Jane knows one of them.
Again, there are secrets everywhere. Jane tells Weller that while she was away she put her skills to use by rescuing kidnapped people for money. It’s a morally gray area because of some of the people she worked with, like the man with many aliases that killed the two hunters and stole the black box—she calls him Dwyer Lee—are not good people. Weller’s initially angry, but when Jane fires back with “haven’t you ever worked with bad people to do something good?” he immediately thinks of Roman and his current situation. He sees her point, and despite the secrets, they continue to grow closer.
After the team tracks Dwyer to a house in Brooklyn and they recover the black box, they set about seeing if the box could have been cloned. The two Department of Defense employees, Nakheel and Marcy, set about examining the black box while Reade questions Dwyer about the North Koreans. Dwyer doesn’t roll over on his contacts, instead suggesting that the reason the North Koreans didn’t show up at the meet was because there’s a leak within the FBI.
Reade doesn’t think that makes any sense because nobody knew about the location and the black box…except for Nakheel and Marcy. So, they do some digging and discover that Nakheel’s used his access badge to get into the satellite network. There’s only one problem: He was in the hospital all night. That means Marcy was the leak and the one working with the North Koreans. We see her shoot two men and then call the North Koreans, letting them know that the deal is still on.
This is all a lot to process. Much of “Enemy Bag of Tricks” is fun enough as is, but it’s also overstuffed with information. There’s a lot of great material to explore in the personal and professional relationships here, but the show is asking us to care about these relationships while barely digging into them. The premiere did a much better job of finding that balance between all-out action and more subtle emotional beats. (Recap continues on next page)
After pushing Nakheel to think about where Marcy might go to make the deal, the team figures it has to be the River Point Museum. They need to find Marcy and the North Koreans immediately because there’s no plan to take the black box back to North Korea. Instead, they’ll take down the shield on-site, opening up the United States to a nuclear attack.
That leads to a thrilling raid sequence, as the team storms the museum. They find Marcy dead and chase the North Koreans down before both Weller and Jane team up to stop the deactivation of the missile defense system. As always, they save millions of lives in the nick of time. “Yay. That was not fun,” says Patterson. “My comms went out. We get nuked?” says Reade. They can laugh now, but that was a close call.
With the nuclear threat taken care of, it would seem that the team is starting to get its groove back. Reade apologizes for overcompensating with his leadership and not trusting everyone to do their job. Even Patterson, who’s been cruel to Stuart for the entire episode, decides she better apologize to him and make sure he knows he’s an integral part of the FBI. On top of that, Jane and Weller continue to find their romance again. Jane shows him the money she was keeping in the vent from all her rescue jobs, and it’s more than enough to get them financially back on track.
Of course, that’s too happy of an ending to close out the episode. Blindspot needs something more shocking, and I’m not talking about Reade having a girlfriend now and Zapata clearly feeling conflicted about it. No, I’m talking about when Patterson goes to apologize to Stuart. She shows up at his apartment and notices that the door is ajar. When she goes in, gun drawn, she sees that the apartment has been tossed. She calls out Stuart’s name and he doesn’t answer. Then, she walks into his office and finds him dead, seemingly shot to death.
Throughout “Enemy Bag of Tricks” Stuart was working on solving a tattoo by himself. Patterson didn’t approve, saying it was a waste of time, but he kept saying something was off about it, and he couldn’t figure out what. Was he close to something and that’s why he was killed? Why was Stuart, of all people, a target? How will Patterson respond to losing yet another person she worked closely with? As always, Blindspot leaves us with a number of questions after a shocking cliffhanger ending.