Rich and Patterson must lead the team when attempting to take down a domestic terrorist
It doesn’t take long for this week’s episode of Blindspot to resolve last week’s cliffhanger. After we briefly check in with Zapata, who’s experiencing a whole lot of PTSD over in London, and presumably regret, because of her work with Madeline Burke, we’re suddenly back in Jane and Weller’s apartment. Last week’s final scene plays out again, with Jane holding the needle full of poison behind her back as Weller grows suspicious and Hallucination Roman tells her to kill her husband.
The thing is, that barely counts as a cliffhanger. There’s no way Blindspot is going to kill Weller, at least not in the third episode of the season, so it’s not a surprise to see Jane/Remi come up with a lie to cover her tracks. She tells Weller that the poison is for her, for when “things get bad” with her disease. This revelation leads to yet another scene where Weller proclaims how much he needs Jane while he tears up, and Remi has to pretend to be all sad and comforted before rolling her eyes behind his back. We’ve had more than a few of those scenes across the first three episodes, and it’s growing tiresome; hopefully this week’s final scene signals a move away from such boring, repetitive storytelling.
You know what’s not boring and repetitive storytelling? Seeing Patterson make out with some hunky dude named Lincoln in a bar before offering up a fake name and then waking up the next morning beside him. Patterson never gets these kinds of storylines—all her romances are either doomed because the dude’s a terrorist or kind of played for laughs—so this is a nice change of pace, and it’s great to see the character moving past the trauma that’s defined her for too long. With Lincoln, Patterson has a simple, no strings attached one night stand, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Or rather, she thought she had it that simple, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
At the FBI headquarters the next day, while Patterson is running late because of her romantic rendezvous, the team learns about Kira Evans, Hank Crawford’s lawyer/fixer, being murdered. That’s not bad news in and of itself for them, but the fact that Zapata has been pegged as the killer is certainly not welcome news. Reade can’t believe she’d do something like this, but new FBI Director Matthew White is quick to run down some information they don’t know, namely that the CIA was leveraging Zapata with old gambling debts, and that she was funnelling classified information about Jane to Tom Carter. It makes the team wonder if, just maybe, Zapata’s always been on the other side.
With that bit of shocking news delivered, the team gets to the next tattoo case. Rich calls them into the lab and tells them that a domestic terrorist is at a specific address downtown. It may not sound like it, but it’s a completely hilarious scene. Rich skips all of the typical briefing stuff, like laying out how he solved the tattoos using math and all that boring stuff, and instead just gives the field agents exactly what they need: an address. When Patterson shows up, she’s livid. She says that showing their work is half the fun, especially when the aforementioned domestic terrorist is a serial bomber who’s been untraceable for ages, to which Rich tells her to show up on time if she loves laying out the details so much.
Patterson’s day is about to get even worse though, because when her and Rich go to introduce themselves to a number of recruits from Quantico that will be shadowing them for the day, one of them turns out to be Lincoln. The shock of seeing him in the FBI offices leaves her speechless, and when Rich takes over the meeting she confronts Lincoln about knowing who she was all along. He swears it’s all just an awkward coincidence, one made all the more awkward when Director White mentions that Lincoln is, in fact, his nephew. Man, when Blindspot wants to pile on the twists, it doesn’t hesitate.
Let’s get back to the case though, because it’s one of the best the show has done in awhile, largely because it makes an inspired storytelling choice. When Weller, Jane, and Reade return from the field covered in paint and feathers because their bomber tried to blow them all up, they reveal that they’ve caught their man and they have his phone. Rich pulls some data off it, and figures out that there’s another bomber out there who was working in tandem with him.
Larry Mills is his name, and he’s ex-military and in possession of 1000 pounds of explosive. That sends the team back out into the field in search of Mills, but what’s fascinating is that “The Quantico Affair” never once follows that action. Instead, using the Quantico recruits as an excuse, the episode stays inside the FBI and follows the work of Rich and Patterson as they attempt to figure out what Mills has planned.
Now, that choice is probably determined by budget and production, as what unfolds within the subway systems of New York is pretty elaborate, but still, it’s a lot of fun to watch the “behind the scenes” stuff for an episode, especially since Rich and Patterson have such a great rapport, buoyed by the chemistry between Ashley Johnson and Ennis Esmer. Rich and Patterson are colleagues who have different styles but who also share nerdy passions and a certain respect for each other. They’re adorable, is what I’m saying. Added bonus: not having to watch Weller be sad about Jane for yet another episode.
Anyways, the team gets a tip from the most unexpected place: Madeline Burke comes into the FBI offices and delivers a number of HCI’s old files, saying she’s hoping to correct the past mistakes made by her predecessor and move forward with transparency. We know that’s bogus, and the FBI does too, but they have no real evidence of wrongdoing. So, they accept her files, and that leads them to Mills and his target, which is a tech company that was competing with Crawford’s. That company is located in one of the largest buildings downtown, so the team has to hurry.
Eventually the team determines that Mills is planning on using the subway lines to bomb the building, and that leads to a frantic chase underground. Once they track down the right train—Lincoln shows off his skills and makes the right call based on math, which Patterson loves—Jane has to get on top of the moving train and dismantle the bomb by punching in an elaborate bit of code. She does so just in time, and everybody is saved.
The thing is, this isn’t simply a win for the FBI though. Yes, they save all of those lives, and Lincoln gets assigned to an office in Los Angeles, but it’s exactly what Madeline Burke wanted. She ordered the bombing plan into action, and she used HCI’s files to thwart it, allowing her to play the PR game and show up in front of the media like some sort of savior. Who knows what this means for her future plans, and how Zapata plays into them, but for now she’s got the upper hand, and all the FBI can do is keep a close eye on her.
Speaking of which, the final scene of the episode gives us a change of pace that’s desperately needed. While Patterson and Rich are off affirming their newfound bond over searching for some “book of secrets” that could help cure Jane, Jane herself is sneaking off in the night to meet with somebody. She exchanges some money under a shady bridge, and asks for a delivery sometime soon. We don’t know what she’s after, but one thing we do know is this: Weller is watching her. He followed her and, when he sees what happens, he calls it in. “We need to talk about Jane,” he says, and suddenly this story is off and running in a different, more exciting direction.