While Weller, Jane, and Nas investigate Weller’s connection to Shepherd’s overall goal, Patterson, Zapata, and Reade unravel a domestic terrorism plot to be carried out by a group of farmers. Here is a recap, followed by a review of the Blindspot episode “Name Not One Man.”
Flashback to Cadet Weller sneaking out of the military academy to check on his sister’s wellbeing and also because he hates the place. Shepherd encourages him to channel his anger into gaining power to protect the people. In the present, Weller, Jane, and Nas visit the academy. They learn Shepherd’s real name is Major General Ellen Briggs, and she sponsored Weller’s scholarship. Most of her files are redacted, but they connect her to Sean Clark. Weller questions him, but Clark only talks about baseball, so Weller gets nowhere.
Patterson gets a hit on Jane’s back tattoo. The text includes a Bible verse that doesn’t exist: Genesis 3:25. It leads to Jared Wisnewski. At his farm, Zapata and Reade find a stockpile of automatic weapons and bomb supplies. They return to the FBI, only to discover that Jared is in the building! They learn he’s an informant working with Agent Boyd, who’s running an off the books operation that’s enticing farmers to attack on 3/25. Weller’s furious Boyd has resorted to entrapment and takes over the operation. Demanding to know what else is happening under his watch, Weller asks Patterson how she cracked this case. She reveals she used Omaha, a secret NSA data collection program. Weller orders her to stop; it’s invasive and illegal.
Weller sends Jared back into the field. Another farmer, Tess, wants to move up the timeline, then grows suspicious of Jared and shoots him. A shootout and car chase ensues, but Tess escapes. The interrogation of a third conspirator leads Weller and Jane to the Bureau of Land Management, Tess’ most likely target. Driving a truck, Tess barrels toward the building, but Weller stops her just in time.
Patterson uncovers a message between Clark and Mayfair, in which he prevents Mayfair from promoting Weller to the D.C. office. He (and Shepherd) needs Weller to remain in New York. During another visit, Clark mentions the Truman Protocol, but Shepherd knocks Weller unconscious before Clark can explain.
Nas hands Roman all of Shepherd’s files, which show a woman who betrayed her country. He doesn’t remember anything, but he feels a warmth toward her and wonders what that says about him. Later, Jane visits Roman for his dinner order, but Roman just criticizes Jane for being under the government’s control and unable to make decisions for herself. On an arcade date, Jane plays skee-ball with Oliver and wants to win a giant stuffed shark. It’s going to take approximately ten dates worth of tickets, which Jane agrees to. Stressed because she feels like Weller tied one hand behind her back, Patterson collapses in her lab. After returning home, Nikki tells Reade he needs to relax and shares her cocaine.
With Weller tied to a chair, Shepherd tries to convince him they’re fighting for the same ideas. They’re both trying to save the country, maybe in different ways, but next time they meet, Weller will have no choice but to join her. She stabs Clark to protect the plan and leaves Weller to free himself.
“Name Not One Man” nudged Blindspot back into the groove of things with an episode that finally delved into Shepherd’s real connection to Weller. The emphasis on the series’ overall mythology seamlessly weaved into the case of the week format to produce a story about control with relevant moral questions. With the season passing the mid-way point and moving towards the finale, here’s hoping that Blindspot can keep up the pacing and the Sandstorm tension that’s been lagging the previous couple of episodes.
The most notable takeaway from “Name Not One Man” is the fact that Shepherd has been shaping Weller into her secret soldier without his knowledge. While this idea clearly demonstrates Shepherd’s money, power, and influence, it subsequently exposes a problem in the creation of Weller’s character. Having one of the main characters of a series question his life’s work and the path that brought him there certainly creates an interesting character study and a natural pool of drama, but it also makes this particular character feel inconsistent and unclear. Looking at what we previously knew about Weller’s childhood, it was safe to assume that the whole “my father was accused of murdering my childhood best friend” thing set Weller on his path to choosing a career on the right side of the law, to protect the people who needed an extra hand, and to prove his differences from his father. It made Weller honorable, selfless, and morally upstanding. And it made sense because that’s who the character has proven to be time and time again these past two seasons. But having Weller’s father be the one who sent him to the military academy and Shepherd being the one who convinced him to stay feels like it contradicts the core of the character we know.
Along with Weller learning he had less control over his life path than he originally believed, he also learned that he has less control over the workings of his agents than he believes he should. Between Agent Boyd’s willingness to entrap suspects into an arrest and Patterson’s use of an illegal NSA program, this episode brought up an interesting discussion about the lengths the team is willing to go to in order to defeat an opponent who seems to have no boundaries. Is “for the greater good” a valid justification to bend the rules? Is defeating the enemy worth it if you become like them in the process? How else do you defeat an enemy who has used every tool at her disposal, including her children, and preyed on your weakness (Weller’s weakness for Taylor Shaw)? While this is not the first time Blindspot has asked questions of this sort (see: Operation Daylight), the fact that the Sandstorm threat is a much larger, much more current problem than Mayfair’s flashbacks make the right answers much less certain, although Weller seems to think he has it figured out. I wouldn’t be surprised if something in the near future causes him to reevaluate his stance, especially given Shepherd’s speech at the end.
Roman’s speech to Jane about having little control over her life may be the start of some much needed character development for Jane. Most of her development this season has revolved around Remi, who’s kind of the worst, in an amusing and exciting way of course, but who is not the protagonist. We know who Remi is as a soldier, who Jane is as an agent, but who is she as a person? Giving Jane more agency over her life will only strengthen her character and make her feel more like a driving force in the series, as opposed to the usual reactionary force. Fleshing out her relationship with Oliver over the course of their ten arcade dates (which I expect to see, kidding, sort of) would give valuable insight into the life Jane could have had if Shepherd didn’t control her upbringing.
Was it just me, or was Zapata trying really hard to have friends this episode? I’ve always enjoyed the camaraderie between Zapata and Reade, so it’s nice to see them back in the platonic zone looking out for one another as partners do. It’ll be interesting to see if and/or how she handles confronting Reade about his cocaine experimentation and if that’ll shed light on whether or not she wishes she had someone to confide in about her gambling addiction last season. Also on the friendship front, we need more scenes of Zapata and Patterson being gal pals. The Jane / Zapata / Patterson bar scene from last season was one of my favorites because it showed their relationship outside of the office and provided for a little levity.
ODDS AND ENDS:
– Ever since the midseason return, the episode titles have switched from anagrams to palindromes. Thus far, the middle letters spell out “KURT.”
– Look how proud Jane was when she clarified that Weller is the Assistant Director of the FBI!
– Reade: Hey, you want another drink? I’ll make a drink.
Nikki: Your finest vodka soda.
Reade: I don’t drink soda, girl. I got juice, though. I can make you a screwdriver. At least there’s some vitamin C in this.
Nikki: Okay, nerd.
– Zapata: Have you had dinner yet?
Patterson: I ate a Go-Gurt.
Zapata: A what?
Patterson: A Go-Gurt. It’s what you eat when you don’t have time to eat a yogurt. It’s like a tube of yogurt.
Zapata: Yeah, that’s not dinner.