Blindspot recap: One Begets Technique
Rich Dotcom returns for a heist-centric episode as Mayfair’s past comes back in a big way
Rich Dotcom is back on Blindspot! And aside from featuring a ridiculously fun case-of-the week episode, “One Begets Techniques” slowly reveals more information about Bethany’s past and entangles Jane into a web of lies as Oscar asks her to continue getting closer to Weller. Your much more competent recapper is out this week, but I’ve got enough Rich Dotcom love to go around, so let’s get to it.
Rich begins the episode not-so-safely in prison as he cleans up in a poker game against fellow inmates. Despite his fast talking and sarcastic quips, they realize he’s been cheating and beat the ever-living crap out of him.
Oscar, meanwhile, continues to push Jane to use the photographs of Taylor’s youth to get closer to Weller, who is at the hospital dealing with his father’s diagnosis. Rather than get comfort from Allie, Weller immediately goes to Jane, who tells him she’d love to see him sometime soon.
Allie tells them both that Rich Dotcom, after his beat down, is finally read to talk. He claims he can give up Shohid Ahktar, whom Jane learns is No. 8 on the terrorist list and is essentially the bank for every major terrorist group in the world. The CIA confirms that Ahktar and Rich have had dealings in the past, but he will only talk to Weller and Jane.
The two meet with Rich, who shows off some of his grade-A sass. Weller, of course, has no time for his BS and demands to know how to get Ahktar. Rich obviously has a plan, and obviously it’s ridiculously difficult to achieve. He reveals that Ahktar has a “soft spot for unattainable art,” a.k.a. stolen stuff, and Rich states he has something Ahktar won’t be able to turn down: the Gardner paintings. In the ’90s, the Gardner museum in Boston was burglarized, and paintings worth half a billion dollars were never recovered.
But with Rich’s prison sentence plastered all over the news, he needs Weller and Jane to help him with a “prison break” in order to set up the drop with Ahktar in 72 hours in New York. After breaking him out of prison, he will get them Ahktar, and then he’ll return to prison, albeit in medium security this time around because he knows he won’t live much longer in maximum security. Weller agrees, but once Rich is out of prison he throws another curveball: The paintings need to be stolen from their current owner before they can hand them over to Ahktar as part of their plan.
Turns out the original thief of the paintings is Randall Turner, a leading art history professor whom Rich also considers one of the greatest burglars of this century. And unlike most of the jobs Turner just does for the money, the Gardner paintings are his most prized possession. The security system to break into the apartment itself is next to impossible:
Turner keeps the paintings in a windowless concrete room in the middle of his brownstone in Cobble Hill with these protections:
1. A smart watch on his wrist at all times with un-arms and re-arms every room as he walks through them. If they go down the wrong hallway without the watch, it triggers the alarm.
2. A 12-digit keypad lock
3. A heat-sensitive palm scan
4. Each painting has five wires behind it; tripping the wires while removing a painting will result in a shotgun blast that will blow a hole through the painting and kill the person taking it down.
5. If Turner senses anything amiss, he has a kill switch around his neck that when pressed will incinerate the entire gallery.
Of course Rich has all of this information because he’s been planning this heist for ages, only to get caught before achieving his goal. Rich says there’s no way to trick Ahktar into thinking they have the paintings when they really don’t because 12 hours prior to the meet, he is going to request one painting at random. If it checks out, he will reveal how and where the rest of the hand-off will occur. He’ll want to verify the paintings himself, as well, so it’s a guarantee that he will be in the city.
But first things first: Randall Turner needs to get robbed. The team clones his smart watch and retrieves the 12-digit keypad lock from the watch’s files. They then bring down all of the belongings in Rich’s storage locker from Yonkers so he can retrieve a glove he has been tirelessly crafting with Turner’s handprint.
Weller feels rightfully suspicious of Rich, but Allie’s not ready to shut anything down. Their tension about the case is strengthened by Rich’s constant efforts to make Weller and Jane see that they have an obvious attraction to one another, mostly in front of Allie’s face. Mayfair sides with Allie, and the heist is on during Turner’s lecture.
NEXT: The heist is on
Rich, Jane, Weller and Allie break into Turner’s, and all seemingly goes according to plan until they type in the 12-digit lock and find that Turner has changed his handprint scan to a retina scan. The team asks Patterson for help, and together they decide to cut Turner’s power so the system can reboot. Turner gets the alert about the power on his watch and immediately cuts his lecture short to find out the cause, as expected. But by this point, the team is inside the gallery with a not-so-secure (though totally expensive doorstop), and Rich is once again bothering Weller about his feelings for Jane over Allie, whom he so lovingly calls “Lady Tommy Lee Jones.”
The team gets all but one painting off the wall before the doorstop gives way and the doors slam on the team. After fiddling with some wires inside, Allie and Jane get the doors open to reveal Turner brandishing a freaking sword to attack them. The fight is head to head until Weller pulls the last sensor from the painting to shoot Turner dead. Unfortunately, that means one particular painting is partially ruined. But of course, Rich knows a guy to help them fix the mistake. Mayfair grants Rich’s forger friend (who also happens to be his ex-lover) amnesty and some cash to fix the gunshot wound to the painting, which thankfully is not the painting chosen by Ahktar to be scanned for authenticity.
Rich’s forger friend asks to scan all of the paintings in order to forge in the similarities to the wounded painting, and as he works, Jane awkwardly attempts to comfort Weller about his dating life. But thankfully, the exchange doesn’t last long as Rich reveals Ahktar has set up the meet and the wounded painting is made whole again.
Rich tells the team that Ahktar is holed up in a fancy hotel, throwing a Gatsby party. Allie and Weller both offer to tag along with him while he makes the drop, but he only accepts Jane’s offer as she fits in the best with the criminal underworld. The team fits Rich with a bracelet to track the two, and once he confirms Ahktar’s identity, he is to say the phrase: “Mustard on the beat, ho” because of course.
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Jane and Rich get gussied up — Rich in a suit from his storage locker — and make their way to the penthouse-style suite to see Ahktar coked up and dancing around while shooting his gold-plated guns off in every direction. He sees Rich and Jane and begins to scan the pieces as Rich decides to do a little blow as well (when in Rome?). Unfortunately for the team, Ahktar says the paintings are fake, but he quickly escapes after ISI agents ambush the party with the FBI right behind them. Jane and Rich chase after Ahktar, who shoots Rich in the leg but is then quickly taken down by Jane after he runs out of bullets.
Jane faces Rich, who has climbed over the ledge and is ready to jump to his death because he knows he’s soon to be a dead man. Weller and Allie arrive, and the team tries to talk Rich off the ledge, but as Allie goes to grab him, he jumps and releases a parachute to bring him safely to a car with his forger friend waiting to take the two of them away for good.
Turns out Rich planned the whole con from start to finish; he must have paid the inmates to beat him up in prison and worked out the details — all the way down to escaping with the real Gardner paintings. As Weller explains, he clearly took a few risks along the way that paid off greatly in his favor. And in the end, the team likely did not even get the real Ahktar because the man they captured explains in custody that’s not his identity.
Weller tries to get a happy ending out of a bad day by asking Allie out to drinks, but she needs some time. Clearly, Rich wasn’t lying with all his talk about Weller and Jane. She knows there is something between the two of them.
Meanwhile, Mayfair gets some advice on finally moving on from Sofia and makes the big step of calling Alexandra for drinks and to talk. As she smiles about their future date, a figure gets in her car with her. Looks like Sofia may not be as gone as we all thought.