Blindspot recap: 'My Art Project'
After ending last week’s episode with a simple, vicious proclamation, where Jane promises to kill Kurt Weller, “My Art Project” begins with a flashback, refusing to immediately put us back in that tense moment. As is often the case with Blindspot‘s flashbacks, this one is confounding, and the nature of it is only revealed later. It’s 13 years ago and we see two men chiseling away at some giant sculpting project. Eventually, the camera moves out and reveals a giant map of the entire world, and the two men mention working for “Zero Division.” They wonder if the clues they’ve put in the map will matter; “to the right people,” says one of them.
That’s all we get, and then we’re back in the confines of Jane and Weller’s apartment, where the former is still pretending to be happy, married Jane Doe and not angry, vindictive Sandstorm operative Remi. When Weller leaves the apartment though, Remi is back, and she knows she’s on a tight timeline to find Shepherd and kill Weller. With the FBI looking for the “last remaining Sandstorm operative,” it won’t be long before Jane is revealed as Remi. Plus, there’s that whole poisoning thing which is slowly killing Jane, so yeah, things are tough for her right now.
Weller might not be getting warm greetings at home, but his return to the FBI is a triumph. “The man, the myth, the stubble!” shouts Rich as Weller returns to the action, finally cleared after being shot months ago. Rich is extra happy to have him back because “when Reade says ‘let’s move,’ it really lacks that grizzled tough guy oomph.” Weller’s first day back is looking to be a slow one until a flurry of events creates an intricate, complicated plot involving Russian spies, hidden clues, and poisonous ATMs. Yes, you read that right.
It all begins when Rich notices that part of the massive world mural (from our opening flashback) in the FBI office bears a striking resemblance to one of Jane’s tattoos. It’s part of the ones taken from the Tokyo cache, which is why they’re only noticing now. Upon closer examination though, the entire map is made up of different materials. When Patterson decides it’d be a good idea to bring in someone from the art world to examine it, Rich quickly vouches for his ex-boyfriend Boston, who he notes is great at forgeries and hacking and all sorts of fun stuff.
Boston, who’s just hanging out on house arrest anyway, proves to be immensely useful, realizing that some of the map is made of magnetic material. When he throws metal chips into the air, they attach to the map in certain locations. Measuring them reveals a web address, which leads to a physical address. Because this whole thing is one big puzzle, Patterson is sent into the field with Jane to see what this could all be about. They find a run-down warehouse that looks pretty desolate, except for a random ATM sitting in one room. The ATM welcomes them, and asks them if they’d like to make a transaction. After yet another puzzle the machine snaps a photo of them, identifies Jane and Patterson by name, and then gasses them until they’re out cold.
It’s all part of a complex ruse put on by a man named Jason Stuck who purports to be working for an off-the-books section of the NSA called Zero Division. He says their goal is to promote inter-agency information sharing, therefore bypassing a lot of bureaucracy and saving lives in crucial times. He needs Jane and Patterson, who have passed his puzzle tests, to bring him three FBI files in order to thwart an impending militia plot. He sounds convincing enough, but Jane and Patterson aren’t buying it. (Recap continues on next page)
Once they’re back at the FBI headquarters, they run the guy’s name. After realizing that no record of him exists, the team assumes he’s playing them for information. But the question is, who is he? After doing a little digging on the man who created the map sculpture, they determine that Jason Stack is actually Boris Sokalov, a Russian spy who’s spent years in the U.S. running this con in order to deliver valuable intelligence back to the motherland. Knowing this, they figure the best way to approach the situation is to send in Jane and Patterson as if they’re interested in his deal, though with drugs that will block the effects of the knockout gas, allowing them to track the location so the FBI can follow-up later.
That’s all well and good, but of course Jane isn’t exactly on board. She’s Remi now, and she’s not interested in helping the FBI solve anything. With that said, she wants to cut her own deal with Boris. When she learns that his wife and daughter were extracted by the United States government, and that Boris believes them to be dead, she concocts a plan to trade the location of his family for any files he has about CIA black sites in the hopes of finding Shepherd.
While Jane executes this plan, and eventually executes Boris himself when the FBI is forced to show up, Zapata finds herself in deeper than she could have expected with the new head of HCI, Madeline Burke. Zapata learns that Burke poisoned her husband, much like she did the HCI board members. She also learns that Burke will do anything to make sure HCI is secure and in her control. A quick trip to Switzerland sees Madeline kill Hank Crawford’s wife, retrieve a hard drive with all of his files, and then order Zapata to clean up the mess. While doing so, she stumbles upon the woman’s daughter hiding in a closet. She comes face-to-face with the trauma she’s an accomplice to. Whether Zapata has truly turned or is just undercover, one thing’s for sure: she’s shaken, and she’s starting to question her motivations.
That’s really the theme of this season so far: Everyone’s motivations should be questioned. If there’s one thing that’s clear at the end of this episode, though, it’s that Remi is set on killing Weller. She may not have all the information she needs to find Shepherd just yet, but she got enough from Boris to get started. On top of that, she’s concocting a needle full of deadly poison to have on her for when she needs to kill her husband. Roman The Hallucination says she might not have the guts to do it, and when Weller walks into the apartment at the end of “My Art Project” and asks what’s behind Jane’s back, Roman The Hallucination sees this as the only opportunity they have. “Kill him,” he says, and the episode cuts to black, yet another cliffhanger where Weller’s life hangs in the balance.