Blindspot creator breaks down the reunion-filled series finale and its puzzling ending
The story of Jane Doe is over. Or is it?
In its final hour, Blindspot left fans with one last puzzle.
Ivy Sands (Julee Cerda) has one more ZIP bomb and the team is determined to stop her — even Jane (Jaimie Alexander), who is having hallucinations (of many, many of the show’s past guest stars!) from ZIP exposure. The team stops Ivy as Jane and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) defuse the bomb set to go off in Times Square. They save the city, but the FBI cuts ties with them, so the team goes off to have new lives.
Catching up with them some time later, they all come together for a family dinner. Zapata (Audrey Esparza), who has had her baby, is working as a private investigator; Patterson (Ashley Johnson) has teamed with Rich (Ennis Esmer) to travel the world in search of treasure; and Jane and Weller are fostering children, making a new busy life as a family. Among their dinner guests Sarah Weller (Jordana Spiro), Avery (Kristina Reyes), and several other familiar faces return for the celebration. Then in the closing moments, Jane flashes back to Times Square, seeing herself defuse the bomb then die from ZIP poisoning as Weller and Zapata watch helplessly.
Does Jane die or is she sitting at that large table with the family their team built? We spoke to Blindspot creator Martin Gero about pulling off the cameo-filled finale, how Jane’s story ended, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How long have you had this ending in mind?
MARTIN GERO: We've had a real sense of what we wanted to do in the finale since toward the end of season 4, so about January of last year. When we got the official go-ahead that we were going to let us finish the series.
We were bringing back over 100 guest stars for this finale, guest stars that work a lot. Just coordinating everyone's schedule in a way that made sense was difficult. We realized we couldn't shoot the episode over the usual eight days, so we shot the episode on and off over a two-and-a-half-month period to accommodate schedules. For instance, Archie was like, "I'm available these two days," and we made it work. It meant a lot of flying back and forth to New York for me, but it was incredible. What was amazing is everyone said yes. Everyone said, like, "yes, I'd love to come back" to celebrate the show, but also just like hang out with this very unique collection of people again for one final time.
It was overwhelming because, in addition to all the talking guest stars, there were so many more in flashback and hallucination sequences. There are actors from all hundred episodes – every previous episode has some representative in the hallucinations at some point.
What should viewers take away from the final moments with Jane? Is it up to the viewers to interpret whether Jane is died in Time Square or is living the life viewers saw team built for themselves after the FBI?
It's up to the viewer to decide. It's interesting because the term ambiguous means that we just don't know, but what I think is really exciting about this ending is doing exactly what we hoped. People have really firm reactions either way. Some people are sure she died, and there are others who are happy she's alive and with her family. It's kind of like a Rorschach test for what you need out of the ending. If you were to do a deep dive, it would be very clear what our intent was. But that's not the point.
This finale, in many ways, is us trying to do everything that we wanted in the finale. To have our cake and eat it, too, a little bit. So, this allows us for both a happy and sad ending, depending on you.
What was going back to Times Square like?
It was totally surreal. It was also the most stress I've ever felt in my life, maybe making the show. We'd done it before, but the reality is in the pilot, although it's really a defining moment for the entire show and one of the most visually beautiful openings of a TV show, it's very short. There's not a lot of dialogue, there's not a lot of scene work. Times Square is empty for a bit, and she comes out of the bag. It's gorgeous, but we shot it over six hours. Whereas this time it's a whole act of television. We're in Times Square for six or seven minutes of the episode, there's a lot of dialogue before Times Square empties out, and there's a lot of dialogue after it empties out. It was a two-night sequence in the middle of November, so we fought the weather, hoping that it was consistent over two nights. I cannot praise our AD and PA team enough, not to mention all the help we get from the city trying to close down Times Square. There are no visual effects in the scene, we closed it down for real.
What was the cast's reactions to the ending?
Everyone is really emotional about it, and, as designed, everyone had a totally different take. They all thought that their take was right too, which was great.
There's a version of the story where after the team stops Ivy, they get their jobs back. Why close the FBI chapter of the entire team's lives?
This is the ending of the show, and we didn't want adventures to continue without the audience. Also, just realistically, not that there's a ton of realism in the finale, but, realistically, after everything they've been through, just even publicly, it would have been tough for them to be FBI agents again. They were known worldwide terrorists for a while.
How much fun do you imagine watching Zapata work as a PI or Rich and Patterson's treasure-hunting adventures would be?
Oh my God, it'd be the greatest. Part of the reason we did that is each actor of these actors is so strong they could really carry their own show. I'd sure as f--- watch Zapata P.I. And, yeah, doing a spin-off with Patterson and Rich as they go around the world searching for treasure, who doesn't want to work on that show? Everybody involved needs a little Blindspot break. It's been a very big five years, but, yeah, sign me up whenever those guys are ready.
You had a cameo in the finale! How did that come about, and what was that like for you?
It was really fun. It was a very last-minute thing. Joe Dinicol, who plays David, has been a good friend of mine for about 10 years and was the officiant at my wedding, so it seemed like a fun thing to officiate his wedding to Patterson.
What do you want viewers to take away from the finale?
More than anything, we wanted it to be an emotional and satisfying end, so I hope people feel that the journey was worth it. It's been an incredible journey for us, interacting with fandom as they watch the show with maybe the exception of when they thought I had killed Patterson, and I got several deaths threat.
Everything else has been such a joyous experience in many ways for us. We just wanted to end the show in a way that felt very Blindspot, that felt unique and hopefully, more than anything emotionally satisfying.
Anything you'd like to add?
You already got my Roman twin thing, which I've been dying to tell everybody – so I'm glad that's out in the world. What's incredible about doing this volume of television is we've said it all. That's why the show is ending because we felt creativity that it was time to end, that we had done what we wanted to do. I'm just so thankful to the fans that we got to sew it up.
I will say one more thing. I have said this before, but I would like it out there. What we're going to miss more than anything is working with our crew. Our crew was phenomenal and has been with us for the most part for all 99 episodes. Unfortunately, COVID 19 has decimated our industry, as it has with many industries, of course, but a lot of the crew has been out of since the middle of March, as has every crew. We're pointing people in the direction of this organization called The Actors Fund, which sounds like it helps actors, but it actually helps anybody associated with the entertainment industry. For those who have the means, or you've really enjoyed Blindspot, head there if you can.
Blindspot is over, but you're bringing a new show to NBC. What can you share about your new show Connecting?
I found as we were all self-isolating that I was actually talking to my friends more than I have ever because there wasn't much I could do. Also, there was a lot to process. We were jumping on Zoom, and FaceTime calls that lasted a while and were so funny and yet so profound as we were finding out things about each other while processing what was happening to all of us.
I'm such a huge fan of the NBC half hours, obviously growing up and watching Cheers, and this feels like a show that we could do that would feel prescient and really funny. It could be comfort food and also help people process what the hell's going on. I'm excited to have a show air in the fall on NBC and give people a place to fall in love with these amazing characters that we're creating and trying to figure out what's going on with all of us. We're shooting it entirely in self-isolation. The actors are filming it at their homes with our guidance, of course.