We open on Time’s Square. An NYPD officer spots a duffle bag, large enough to hold a human, with a tag that reads, Call the FBI. We jump cut to a bomb disposal unit approaching the mysterious bag and the oddest thing up to this point is seeing an empty Time’s Square. If you’ve caught any of Blindspot’s previews, you’ll know that a woman, played by Jaimie Alexander (Thor’s Lady Sif), is inside the duffle bag. She’s naked and covered head to toe in tattoos that could lead the feds to a killer.
We’ve seen, or heard, a lot about this opening sequence, but it does its job: it thrusts the viewer into the action, in medias res. I’m a fan of beginning a story in the middle of narrative, so long as we get enough of the story’s background (i.e. the original Star Wars trilogy). Blindspot chose to jump from NYC to Kentucky and the effect jarred me. I wondered what made the Kentucky agent Kurt Weller so important and then I saw Weller’s name tattooed on the unknown woman’s back.
The rest of the show played out like a hyper-stylized mix of mystery, thriller, and police procedural. I connected more with Alexander’s Jane Doe – and I think that’s the point – but Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) kept Jane Doe and the audience at arm’s length. In fact, most of the cast comes off as wooden and the dialogue is clipped, stilted and Alexander carries Blindspot.
Despite her strong performance, Alexander’s Jane Doe flies a little close to Sif (Thor), but there may be enough of a Black Widow vibe to counterbalance any similarities and Blindspot weaves enough webs that more than one season will be needed to trace them all. I’m sure that the person(s) behind Doe’s tattoos and mind wipe has the prerequisite twists and turns needed to fuel Blindspot’s narrative, but at this point, Blindspot doesn’t spend as much time developing any character besides Jane Doe and that’s only because she has a mysterious past and her tats reveal the weekly and series’ puzzle.
I may watch for a while longer but Blindspot will need to branch out from Jane Doe.
Jaimie Alexander gives a great performance but the rest of the cast, and the writers room, need to step up to make Blindspot something sustainable. It needs to be something more than an excuse for a half-naked Alexander.