9.4

What Blindspot Got Right, in its Best Episode Yet

Episode 1.18 (“One Begets Technique”)

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What <i>Blindspot</i> Got Right, in its Best Episode Yet

Without a doubt, this was the best episode of Blindspot yet. And it confirms, with absolute certainty, that the best episodes of Blindspot are the ones that don’t involve a procedural tattoo mystery of the week. This week’s installment was consistently exciting and unpredictable. It also helped that the show brought back the bad guy from Blindspot’s previously highest rated episode, Rich Dotcom.

It all starts with Dotcom wanting to strike a deal with the FBI by claiming that he can lead them to the most wanted man in the world—a man known as Ahktar, a very dangerous and elusive terrorist who the FBI doesn’t even have a picture of. Naturally, Jane and the FBI team don’t trust Dotcom, but find themselves with no other choice but to accept his help in apprehending an infamous criminal.

So how do they get to Ahktar? Dotcom tells them they need to present him unobtainable art—a big pleasure of his that will get his attention. Dotcom reveals he knows the man responsible for the infamous Gardner Heist (which was a real art heist that’s never been solved). That man is known as Turner, now an art professor whose townhouse is rigged as a fortress to protect his stolen collection. The FBI team needs to pull off a heist of their own to get the paintings and attract the attention of Ahktar.

The first half of this episode plays out like a fantastic heist movie. We’re presented with the step-by-step plan—which inevitably goes wrong (just like it would in any good heist flick). The plan fails when they come across what should have been a handprint scanner, and instead is an eye scanner. The stakes are raised as they now have less time to get the paintings, because Turner has been alerted from his security system. The fight between the FBI team and Turner when he arrives is intense— especially since Turner storms in with a samurai sword—and is killed by a rigged shotgun hidden behind one of the paintings.

The second half of the episode ends with a great twist. Dotcom and Jane go to a party hosted by Achtar, with copies of the stolen paintings. Things really explode when Achtar realizes the paintings are fake and almost kills Dotcom. Ahktar is apprehended and Dotcom jumps from the top of a building—giving the impression he’s committed suicide—until we see him release a parachute, escaping the FBI with the real art and becoming a prison escapee. Turns out this whole mission was a genius prison break concocted by Dotcom—get the FBI to help him commit what was basically the second Gardner Heist and distract them with the intent of apprehending Achtar—whom the FBI end up realizing may not even be the real guy.

The return of Rich Dotcom was a very welcome one. I wish he could’ve become a permanent part of the FBI team, but perhaps he could become a recurring character (please?). In this episode and his first appearance back in episode nine, “Authentic Flirt,” Dotcom brought an exciting global, underground criminal world to Blindspot—one that we’ve rarely seen otherwise. Both episodes have a higher level of adventure and adrenaline that, unfortunately, isn’t present week-to-week in this series.

There have been other strong episodes in this series, and they all share in common a few things: the supporting characters (Edgar, Zapata, Mayfair, Patterson) take a step back and aren’t as heavily involved in the episode; there is no tattoo mystery to solve and if there is, then it gets very personal for Jane; and there is a unique bad guy who will either return, or has already been a recurring character (Dotcom, Carter, Fischer, Kade). These are the ingredients for a great storyline. Mix them up and you’ve got a thrilling and suspenseful episode of Blindspot.

Last week I was worried that the show had truly lost its touch. This week only continues to convey the show’s wave formula of one great episode after every two or three so-so installments. While I would not call Blindspot a procedural, it definitely carries some procedural elements, with the weekly tattoo cases. I understand that, of course, there are mysteries for the team to solve, as a result of these markings on Jane’s body, but the series would be vastly improved if it took a more serial approach and made the individual mysteries feel more directly connected. Until then, bring on more episodes like “One Begets Technique” and here’s to hoping we’ll see Rich Dotcom again someday.

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