Blindspot finale recap: The team races to stop Madeline's Helios attack
I’ll be the first to admit that while I’ve enjoyed much of the fourth season of Blindspot, I was pretty consistently underwhelmed by the Madeline Burke story line. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio makes a great villain, but I was never all that invested in Madeline’s vague plans for… well, I don’t know what for, and that’s the point. Madeline’s motivations always felt elusive, and while that might make sense for a villain, a little clarity when it came to her evil vision could have gone a long way. That said, the two-part season 4 finale is a real barnburner, and immediately re-establishes Madeline as a villainous force I’m eager to see again.
“Masters of War” and “The Gang Gets Gone” work great as tandem episodes because of how they also stand as single thematic ideas. In “Masters of War,” we get the team hunting down leads in an attempt to stop the Helios attack. In “The Gang Gets Gone,” the team begins to falter, questioning not only each other’s loyalties, but also their own morality as officers of the law. It’s fascinating stuff. Where the first episode details why this team needs the ability to cross lines to get their jobs done, the second episode questions how anyone can do that and still hold on to their sense of self as a decent person.
At the top of the first episode, the team is desperate for a lead when it comes to Madeline’s associates, Barry and Dominic. Weitz is in the house, mostly fretting about “getting this win” so that he can look good and get hired as the new director of national intelligence, and that means he’s mostly distracting everyone else from doing their job. Nonetheless, they track Barry, who’s looking to pick up and release a viral contagion, to a house in Queens, only to show up and find Keaton with him. Apparently, Barry is ex-CIA, and Keaton just happened to locate him through some old communications. Nash, Keaton’s boss, shows up at the house too, and the teams fight over who gets to question Barry.
All that fighting is for naught. When they agree to go to a neutral location and interrogate together, the convoy gets ambushed. A couple of rockets into the side of an SUV, and Barry is dead, and the one lead the team had in relation to Helios is no more. But how did anyone know about the convoy? It seems Dominic is being fed intel by someone, meaning there’s a mole in the FBI or the CIA. With no leads in sight, the FBI brings in Madeline. She’s not much help either, though. She still insists she’s innocent, all while going on about some beef between the FBI and her father, who died when she was young.
Luckily, the team manages to catch Dominic on a security camera at the Belmore science lab, presumably where Barry was originally meant to pick up the virus. The drop, between Dominic and some young woman, only recently went down, so Jane and Weller rush to the scene to see if they can still find him there. That’s when we learn about the mole: Nash calls Dominic and tells him to get away from Belmore, and to try and keep the rest of their plans in order. This terrorist plot runs deep, and high up the chain of command within U.S. intelligence.
The team tracks down the woman who handed Dominic the package, and she’s completely mystified that she helped a terrorist. She thought Barry was working for the CIA, and that she was helping the government. It turns out she didn’t give him a pathogen, but rather a computer virus that can be used to knock out nuclear reactors or disable the security on a military base.
To Madeline’s credit, she eventually gives up Dominic’s private cell number after some serious pressure from Weller. The thing is, we know Madeline knows more. This one good deed must be part of the plan, or is at least innocuous enough to not make a difference in the grand scheme of Helios. Sure enough, after tracking the phone for a brief moment before Dominic realizes it, the team figures out his target: the NYIOC, which controls the power grid that keeps the entire country running. Dominic enters the building after killing an NYIOC employee at his home and stealing his credentials, kills everyone, and uploads the virus.
Patterson, Jane, Zapata, and Weller rush to fix it. Jane and Weller catch up with Dominic, who’s been texting his partner in crime Kathy the whole time, and kill him when he essentially sacrifices himself for the cause. That leaves Patterson to stop the grid from going down… but she can’t do it. Kathy blocks her attempts, and the lights go out on the entire Eastern Seaboard. Madeline’s evil grin closes out the first episode.
Things get a lot worse in the second episode. More of the grid starts to go out, and the team starts to fray at the seams. Reade lays into Weller for keeping Weitz’s secret about the drone strike, even if it was to protect Jane, and then he feels betrayed when he learns Patterson and Rich met with Kathy, and therefore have a personal phone number they can track. They track that phone to the Perlan Museum in Iceland. The rumor is that the museum sits atop a massive cryptocurrency mining operation, which is why Kathy and the key to stopping the attack could be there.
Everyone but Rich heads to Iceland, and that’s when things really go off the rails and Madeline’s true plan comes into focus. While the team is in the air, arguing about who crossed the wrong line and who didn’t, Madeline and her lawyer open up their own investigation into the FBI, alleging that the team has gone rogue and are actually responsible for the power grid attack. These allegations are bolstered by the new director of national intelligence — not Weitz, but Nash. Madeline owns him, and he agrees to tracking down the team and prosecuting them.
Rich, alone and hiding in a vent, warns the team. As soon as they land in Iceland they’ll be arrested, so there’s only one choice: to jump. They strap parachutes to their backs, jump out of the plane, and meet the delightfully named Ice Cream, one of Rich’s dark-web buddies, on the ground. He gives them the password to get into the cryptocurrency mine, and Patterson goes about trying to reverse the grid damage. Again, there’s a problem. Kathy has set up some program that then makes the attack worse, and Paris and London go dark. Add in the ransom demanded by Dominic showing up in accounts under each team member’s name, and security footage of Patterson, Jane, and Weller beneath the museum, and you have some pretty damning evidence to back up Madeline’s claims.
With the team all but busted and on the run, Jane and Weller send Patterson to the safe house while they improvise and stage a hostage situation in the museum to buy Patterson some time. Things go south when the Icelandic police raid the building and Jane and Weller are handcuffed and tossed into the back of a police van. A bad situation… except it was orchestrated by Ice Cream to get them out.
Everybody meets back at the safe house, but the damage has been done. Weitz, who’s under Madeline’s control because she has evidence about the drone strike cover-up, holds a press conference about the team being dangerous rogue agents. Then, to Weitz’s surprise, Madeline steps behind the podium and announces a new Civilian Oversight Committee for the FBI. All of this, from poisoning the HCI executives to planning Helios, was so that she could essentially take control of the FBI, the institution she holds responsible for killing her father and ruining her family. Now she has that control. Rich is taken to some place called the Boat, which seems less like a yacht and more like a place to use some shady interrogation techniques, and Nash manages to track down the team’s safe house.
Inside the safe house, the team makes up. They forgive each other for their past sins and reaffirm that any lines they cross, they do so in order to protect each other because they’re family. They all agree to get some sleep, and then set about crafting new identities and working to get their names cleared so that they can return to the U.S. and take Madeline down. Zapata even puts her hand on Reade’s; everyone is together again.
Jane takes the first watch outside the safe house, and Nash orders a drone strike, one confirmed by the nod of Madeline’s head. Weitz watches in disbelief as the new “FBI” launches a drone strike against the team. As Jane turns and looks at the house, a smile on her face because they’re all together and that’s how they’ll beat Madeline, the strike hits. The house explodes into a million pieces, nothing but fire and debris. And the episode cuts to the credits.
My God. What an ending. Is there a chance the team somehow hid in the tunnels underneath the safe house, the ones Ice Cream mentioned “collapse all the time”? Will anybody survive this? Will the final season be Jane seeking revenge alone, looking to clear the names of the people who brought her back from being a blank slate of a person? So many questions, and so many months until we get the fifth and final season. The wait is already too much to bear.