For months, NBC has been pumping us up for Blindspot — and for good reason. The new drama is like Jason Bourne meets Blacklist. Maybe it’s more John Doe meets Alias. Either way, it’s pretty darn intriguing.
The pilot episode opens up on a very familiar scene in Times Square. There are tons of lights, tons of people … and one random duffel bag in the middle of the street. Uh, hello? I’m no super-sleuth, but I know that unattended bags and briefcases are very bad in this day and age. No one seems to notice as they scurry along, until a cop spots the duffel in the crowd.
After determining that the bag doesn’t belong to anyone in the immediate area, the cop checks the tag, which clearly says, “CALL THE FBI.” It’s in all caps, so you know the tag means business. Streets are cleared and the bomb squad is called in. As a shaky, ungloved hand goes in to inspect further, the zipper starts to open and out pops a very naked, very tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander, Kyle XY).
She’s equally as shaky, but also crying. That could have something to with the nakedness. It seems like a cold night. But it probably has more to do with the fact that police are yelling at her … and she’s covered in tattoos. (And c’mon, the naked thing.)
Flash to a house, which has multiple women handcuffed, chained and being held hostage by a bearded, heavily armed man. There are people screaming and at least one crying baby, but that’s just drowning out the sounds of the FBI closing in downstairs. Agents Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton, Strike Back), Edgar Reade (Rob Brown, Treme) and Tasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza, Public Morals) make a plan that causes the armed man to fall through the floor and they take him into custody. Shortly after, Weller is whisked away via helicopter to help out with the situation in Times Square.
Seconds later, Agent Bethany Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Without a Trace) is briefing Weller on “Jane Doe.” Dr. Borden (Ukweli Roach, The Royals) joins the pair and informs them that Jane Doe has been loaded up with Zeta Interacting Protein (ZIP), an experimental drug for PTSD sufferers. The thing about this drug is that it’s designed to reduce selected memories when ingested in low doses. Jane Doe, however, is practically swimming in the stuff.
Weller gets a peek at Jane Doe and is asked if he recognizes her. Of course his response is, “I’ve never seen that women in my life.” The sentence has barely left his lips when they prop Jane Doe up, spin her around and expose a ginormous “KURT WELLER FBI” tattoo on her back. (Again with the caps!)
In the FBI briefing, Weller asks a lot of the same questions you probably have spinning around your head, too. However, we know better than he does that we can’t just answer these in the first 10 minutes of the show. NBC wants this thing to go the full series order — preferably more.
Weller asks his team to check records to see if anyone he’s put away is linked. He also wants to grill Jane Doe about her whole deal. Good luck with that! Apparently, ZIP isn’t the type of drug you can just sleep off. The doctor informs the feds that it’s possible that something could trigger Jane Doe’s memory, but even they aren’t all that sure.
Back in the lab area, Agent Patterson (Ashley Johnson) prints, pokes and prods Jane Doe in the nicest way possible. Jane Doe says that she’s sore. Aside the stiffness from sleeping naked in a bag in the middle of Times Square, this is some seriously fresh ink that she’s sporting! And the tattoos aren’t just new, but they’re also what Weller calls “a treasure map.”
Weller and Jane Doe finally meet face to face, where he tells her that her fingerprints and dental records don’t match up to anyone anywhere. He also wants to know how she knows him—or at least why his name is tattooed on her back. She feels his face and it gets sort of weird for a second.
“So what happens right now?” Jane Doe asks.
Without identification or pockets for house keys, Jane Does gets taken to a safe house. Heck, the girl can’t even remember what kind of takeout she likes.
The next day involves more questions, but Jane Doe still can’t remember anything. A doctor tells her to keep trying new things, to make choices. “Even if nothing ever comes back, you can still find yourself,” says he.
Weller and his crew are going over pictures of Jane Doe’s tattoos when she walks in. Apparently, she has full access to every nook and cranny of the FBI building. She’s finally getting the full picture though — an actual peek at every inch of her ink covered body. All of a sudden she sees Chinese lettering — and begins to speak Chinese. Not only do we realize that Jane Doe can speak Chinese, but the message is an address with today’s date.
The address belongs to a guy named Chao (Yung-I Chang), an employee for GE. Weller heads out to track him down, but Jane Doe insists on riding shotgun. When someone tells me to try new things, the last thing I think of is, “I’ll try being a FBI guy.” Of course, this is also highly unethical. He tells Jane Doe to stay outside, but her wait is short, since she needs to translate Chao’s roommate.
Inside the apartment, Chao’s room is padlocked, but the crew breaks in and finds a meth lab. That would be the shocking part if his desk wasn’t also coated in sulfur. Mr. Chao seems to be an explosives maker as well.
Back at the FBI, Mayfair and Zapata identify another one of the tattoos: Could our Jane Doe be a Navy SEAL? The tattoo seems to indicate that’s the case, but there’s no such thing as a female Navy SEAL … as far as we know. Mayfair says that could mean that she’s special ops and the next scene certainly confirms that as a possibility.
While Jane Doe waits for the FBI guys to wrap things up at Chao’s, she hears the building’s super abusing his wife. She springs into action to save the woman and kicks the ass of not one but two guys. Once she’s got both guys down on the ground, Jane Doe is called back upstairs to translate a video on Chao’s computer. It turns out he’s going to hit “The Mother of Exiles.” Weller concludes that he’s targeting Senator Judith Moore, who is pro-immigration and pro-Chinese trade.
After a bit of investigating, the FBI realizes that Chao’s phone has been turned off and all of his emails are in Wenzhou, aka “the Devil’s language.” Seconds later, they turn Chao’s phone back on and find his location. On the ride over, Jane Doe begins to question her abilities. In case you aren’t keeping score, she can now speak Chinese and kick some major ass.
Her revelations need to be put on hold though. Chao has been spotted. He disappears into the subway, because, well… it’s possibly the most confusing place to follow anyone ever. Weller and Reade follow Chao onto a subway car, but Chao not only disconnects the car, he manages to attach a bomb to it. Weller tells Reade to get everyone to the back of the train and takes off down the tracks with the bomb under his arm.
With seconds before detonation, Weller decides to “reduce” the bomb by ripping away some of the C-4. He whittles it down, throws it and it explodes. It shakes the city, but everyone is safe — including Weller. Well, for now. Chao is still out there. However, now we know why.
By reading his emails, Jane Doe discovers that Chao is distraught over the death of his mother in a Chinese prison camp. He and his sister had been begging the U.S. government for help to no avail.
Weller has a revelation: “Mother of Exiles, it’s from a poem… Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. It’s on a plaque on the city’s biggest tourism attraction.”
Chao wasn’t targeting a politician — he’s planning to blow up the Statue of Liberty.
As the team rushes over to the landmark, Mayfair tells Weller their suspicion that Jane Doe may have been a Navy SEAL. “That would explain a few things,” he says. Yeah, all of the interesting things!
At the location, Jane Doe begs (again) to help. Weller straps a bulletproof vest on her and off they go. As the team moves in, the location is being evacuated. Weller calls out to a ranger — who turns out to be Chao. He turns and shoots Jane Doe in the arm. She says she’s okay. Frankly, she can probably kick ass using one thumb. However, I do wonder if that bullet hole was going to disfigure one of the clues on her body.
Weller heads up a set of long, winding stairs, where he’s met by a very angry Chao. The two wrestle and just as Chao holds a knife to Weller’s throat, Jane Doe fires off a warning shot. Chao threatens to kill Weller, but Jane Doe gives him an arm hole of his very own. Just as she fires, we’re treated to a black-and-white flashback of a long-haired Jane Doe shooting at targets in the woods. An unidentified bearded man tells her to do it again.
Startled, Jane Doe tells Weller she remembers something and the two have another awkward moment.
Back at FBI headquarters, Weller tells the crew that he thinks Jane Doe is special forces or intelligence-trained. She’s got the language, the fighting skills and the marksmanship. Even more important, he realizes that one of her tattoos helped to save the lives of hundreds of people. However, even if all of those tattoos are clues to crimes, why is she covered in them? And who did the covering?
Weller says this: “Well, one thing’s for sure. Someone likes playing games — and it’s just the beginning.”
After everyone leaves, Mayfair starts checking out a top secret file, the kind with just a few words that aren’t redacted. And those selections happen to be “murder,” “embezzlement,” and “Bethany Mayfair.” At the top, we see the case number, which just so happens to match one of Jane Doe’s tattoos. Uh-oh!
Weller goes to check in to make sure Jane Doe is okay. He tells her she’s going to be okay and she says, “I don’t know what that feels like.” The two embrace and Weller gets another glimpse of that back tattoo.
The action moves to the hospital, where Chao is resting after surgery. The bearded man from the flashback waltzes in dressed as a doctor. He pulls down his surgical mask and Chao says, “Everything happened the way it was supposed to.” Beardo says, “No. You were supposed to die. You for your sister, that was the deal.” He then finishes the job.
At the end of the episode, we get another flashback — this one with the bearded man informing Jane Doe that once she gets injected with the ZIP, she will lose all of her memories. She remarks, “I know, but it’s my only choice.” And in goes the needle.
So what’s the deal with Jane Doe? Is she a super-spy, a super-SEAL or a superhero? Weller says she saved a lot of lives in this episode, but that was all part of Beardo’s plan, right? If it weren’t for him, no one would have needed any saving. So it really is one big game — one that I’m totally up for if Jane Doe has more ass-kickings to deliver. I just hope they don’t try to force a Weller/Jane Doe relationship too soon. There were way too many teasers in this episode that seemed to indicate that’s coming at some point. This is just the pilot, people; save a little something for Season 2!
Blindspot airs Monday nights at 10/9CT on NBC.