We gave it an A-
Blindspot only took a few weeks off over the holidays, and we probably all need to thank the show for that. None of us could have handled a month or two of sitting with the words Weller spoke to Jane at the end of the midseason finale: “You won’t find her, Jane, because I killed your daughter.” Yeah, that was a big one. Blindspot knows it too, and uses our hunger for answers against us, refusing to check in with the aftermath of that reveal until a solid 15 minutes into the episode. That’s just plain cruel, but also wonderfully manipulative.
Instead, we begin with one of Blindspot‘s signature cold opens. A masked man records himself breaking into some sort of warehouse. He talks as if he’s an activist of some kind, spray-painting a symbol on the warehouse door and excitedly going on about how that will “show them,” though the “them” is a mystery at this point. Then, when the masked man is finally in the warehouse, his partner knocks him out and the live stream ends. The midseason finale ended with a betrayal, and “Hot Burning Flames” begins with one.
Back at the FBI headquarters, Patterson has found a connection between all the tattoo cases: Hank Crawford, a.k.a. Blake’s father and, as we know, the man who was ordering Hirst to do everything she did. He has ties to a number of the tattoo cases, but the evidence is tenuous at best. Still, it’s something for Reade and everyone else to go on, though later they’ll disagree on how best to go after Crawford.
Meanwhile, Roman is in Marrakesh auditioning for his own job with Crawford. He meets a man named Victor, who seems close to Crawford, who immediately tells him to go back home, that he’s not needed for this job. Roman improvises though, quickly using his powers of observation to convince Victor that he’ll be useful, no matter what the job is. It turns out to be a simple buy, but of course it all goes wrong and Roman is put through more than he bargained for. It’s a subplot that doesn’t have much bearing on this week’s episode, but it does get Roman closer to Crawford, and therefore closer to whatever his endgame might be.
As usual, we learn a lot more about that mysterious robbery from the cold open when Patterson uses some fancy technology to shift around the spray painted symbol and discovers it’s the calling card for an activist group named Blue Dawn. Patterson is visibly upset that Reade realizes it’s a slide puzzle before she does — which ends up giving them numbers for a URL. Patterson tracks where the video was uploaded from, and Reade and Zapata go check it out. Another government agency is already there, but it’s clear they’re completely incompetent. It turns out that this is a warehouse where the Department of Energy stores some nuclear warheads. The agency says that all the inventory is there, and yet Reade notices a few locks have been changed. That’s right, nobody actually looked inside the boxes to see what might be missing.
So yeah, two nukes are gone, and that’s really not a good thing. What’s worse is that nobody can get a hold of Jane and Weller, the FBI’s go-to people in a crisis.
Flashback to nine hours earlier, and we finally get to watch the wrenching aftermath of Weller telling Jane that he killed her daughter. Jane is confused at first, and then she demands to know everything. Weller says it was an accident, that he met Avery in Berlin, where they quickly got a lead on Jane meeting with a man named Max, who Jane confirms is a German gangster who helped her obtain some passports to get out of the country covertly. When Weller went to confront Max, his people were seemingly waiting for him. Weller fought back and a shootout ensued. That’s when Avery, despite Weller’s instructions, walked into the building and Weller pulled the trigger, not knowing that the silhouette behind the plastic curtain was Avery and not a German gangster.
With Avery (seemingly) dead and the Germans coming for him, he had to leave. It’s a choice that Jane can’t live with. She’s devastated, and you can see their relationship falling apart in this moment. I’m still not sure how I feel about the show using a secret daughter to suddenly drive a wedge between Weller and Jane — it feels a little too hasty — but there’s no denying that Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander sell the hell out of the calamitous emotions that define this scene. It’s truly heartbreaking to watch unfold. (Recap continues on next page)