We gave it a B
Now that’s more like it. After last week’s solid but overstuffed episode of Blindspot, this week’s episode does a much better job of telling a clear narrative while using its case-of-the-week structure to flesh out the stories of the main characters. There’s a lot we don’t know about what happened in the time between seasons, and Blindspot needs to find that balance between holding information back in order to enhance the mystery while also not willfully disrupting the organic nature of the plot in order to pull out some twists later. “Upside Down Craft” succeeds by using this week’s tattoo case to focus on Rich Dot Com, Patterson, and the recent past they’ve mysteriously shared.
“Upside Down Craft” begins at a fancy party of some sorts, the kind where billionaire lobbyists and Wall Street guys gather to pour money into causes that only benefit themselves. You know the ones. Anyways, Jane and Weller are flirting it up in their formal wear, while the rest of the team, who can hear everything, try not to barf. After Reade and Zapata download some files from a computer, they give the sign to arrest the man they’re after: Mr. Loewe, a high-powered Wall Street guy that the FBI is accusing of fraud, manslaughter, and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.
Back at the FBI headquarters, Director Hirst is letting the team know that if their evidence isn’t rock solid, the FBI could be in for quite the backlash. Arresting high-powered white dudes in the U.S. is always a no-no, so Hirst wants them to make sure they nail Loewe. The evidence sure seems solid: a tattoo on Jane led them to an anonymous tip, which in turn led them to look at a train derailment that killed some people. Essentially, the evidence shows that Loewe shorted stock in that rail company and then exchanged emails with an engineer in order to have the train crash, the result of which is the company’s stock plummeting and Loewe making millions.
What looks like ironclad evidence quickly evaporates when Loewe’s lawyer shows up. She says that her client has been the focus of cyber attacks for months now. Specifically, she says a hacker group that goes by the name Three Blind Mice has been targeting her client, planting emails in his inbox in order to make him look like a bad guy. She has a lock box filled with emails of this kind, and she wants the FBI to instead find the real culprits: the Three Blind Mice.
All of this is interesting enough as it is, but it gets much better when it’s revealed that Patterson and Rich Dot Com are two of the Blind Mice; or were, about a year ago. During Patterson’s time away from the FBI she wasn’t just building the massively popular Wizardville app — which everyone besides Weller seems to play — she was also teaming up with Rich and an unknown third person to do “good” hacks. “Good” hacks means taking down corrupt politicians and giving money back to people exploited by them.
Both Patterson and Rich got out of the game when the hacks started turning the wrong way, but now the rogue third mouse is threatening to expose them. Sure, this third person doesn’t know who they are, but now the FBI is actively looking into a hacker group that Patterson and Rich were a part of. Surely that can’t be good. The episode gets its tension from the fact that Patterson and Rich have no choice but to help with the investigation, but also can’t come clean about their past activities. The good intentions are there, but what they did was still illegal.
When Hirst delivers them a picture of the suspect, who was spotted near Loewe’s house wearing a mouse mask, Patterson uses some fancy (and super Orwellian) software to create a biometric profile. What that means is that she can use software to analyze this masked person based on their gait and bone structure, and when she runs that profile through some other security cameras in the area, their suspect is revealed: Kathy Gustafson. Hirst orders her to be brought in, and requests that Rich and Patterson do the questioning with her.
The walls are closing in. (Recap continues on next page)