In its midseason premiere, NBC’s Blindspot introduced the threat of an internal FBI investigation into the show’s task force. Two episodes later, “Cease Weary Youth” puts that idea at the forefront.
It’s the morning after the previous episode. Jane’s out for a run as she flashes back to any number of things, including Oscar mentioning that Orion is the name of an operation in which she “went off the grid.” Meanwhile, Patterson is punching some stuff because Olivia, the woman involved in the Russian spy case that got her ex David killed, is being arraigned and looking for a way out. But that just gets her killed in a court bathroom. That is not the way anyone wants to go.
Naturally this situation is promptly brought to the attention of the CIRG team, pulling Weller into Mayfair’s office after he takes a call from his own ex Allison (a returning Trieste Kelly Dunn). Mayfair explains that the problem gets worse because the name that Olivia was going to give up belongs to someone in Weller’s own office. “The FBI has a mole,” Mayfair says, because every government organization on TV has a mole in it at some point.
Weller takes that information and goes down to the weekly team huddle, only to discover it’s already been crashed by counterintelligence agent Sloan (an also returning Afton Williamson). As if on cue, Fischer (John Hodgman) and his goons walk in upstairs. So now that everyone’s all in one place it’s time to try and do their jobs while everyone else has their own agendas.
Fischer wants to polygraph everyone, which is basically his way of forcing people to admit skeletons on the record. He immediately makes Weller admit to having been dating Allison when she was with the FBI, but that’s all he gets out of him because minutes later, Weller is storming back into the room with the rest of the team and needing to have his second “sidebar” with Sloan in ten minutes. This naturally makes the rest of the CIRG squad look at him with more apprehension.
Cue the montage of the rest of the squad getting squeezed. Jane gets to admit to all kinds of stuff, like being trained in Russian martial arts. Dr. Borden gets poked at for having a mother who has one-eighth Russian parentage. Sloan’s cell phone number was in a phone where it shouldn’t be. And Reade, fearing that Fischer will out him, decides to announce to Weller that he’s dating Sarah. Weller doesn’t have time to punch him because he’s trying to get Fischer to lift his lockdown of the building – and to get Mayfair, Zapata and Jane out of his crosshairs.
What does Fischer have on all of them? Well, he’s found a bug that was planted in Zapata’s apartment, and the fact that it looks like the one from the CIA forces her to admit that Tom Carter (Michael Gaston) was leaning on her for intelligence on Jane Doe. In Mayfair’s case it’s the murder of Saul Guerrero (Lou Diamond Phillips). And he intentionally misquotes Reade to get Patterson to admit that Jane sometimes slipped out without her FBI protective detail.
Meanwhile, two members down and needing a big win, the guys lean on Sloan to bring in her Russian source Roman and also call in Allison for extra backup. Roman drives around the three primary suspects at the Russian embassy and Weller wants him to look at photo ID’s of everyone who works in the building; Allison suspects Jane, claiming she “just doesn’t want to see you get hurt.” Of course that’s it.
As if on cue, our hero is hauled back in by Fischer, who found out from Weller’s nephew Sawyer about Weller and Jane’s big kiss from the midseason finale. After some uncomfortable scolding about that it becomes clear that Fischer is looking at Jane as the prime suspect for Carter’s murder, which is not too far off from the truth – she wasn’t the one who did it, but she was in the room when it happened. Fischer believes this means Jane is a Russian sleeper agent, and she’s dug into a deeper hole when Roman identifies her.
Everyone except Weller now doubts Jane. But when Weller goes to throttle Roman, he finds clues that point to an unsurprising true mole: Fischer himself. Under pressure Roman confirms that this is the case. The rest of the team rushes to the FBI’s detention facility where they rescue Jane but not before she kills Fischer. “He was going for his gun,” she insists and Weller backs up her story. Jane thanks him for believing in her but turns down another opportunity to talk to him.
Of course that leaves him free to interrogate Reade about dating Sarah. Despite Reade insisting that he’s serious about the relationship, Weller orders him to end it, then goes to yell at his sister about it. But really he’s just pissed that he can’t protect everyone and that he keeps getting the screws put to him. Have you ever realized how much time people spending wandering the streets at night on this show?
If you thought that was a buzzkill, check out Zapata going through her now-ransacked apartment talking to the random people she knows are still listening to her thoughts. She dares them to call her and the phone actually rings. Meanwhile, Jane tells Oscar that she’s out and Reade renews his suspicions about Jane – but this time he has Mayfair on his side.
“Erase Weary Youth” is a pretty much standard version of a pretty much standard crime drama plot. Especially with the pipe that was laid in last week’s episode, any Blindspot fan could see that this installment was going to use the device of the FBI’s polygraph tests to make public all of the secrets that the main characters had accumulated so far this season.
And bringing back the character of Allison is just a way to play on that for Weller – there’s nothing in the script that requires her specifically, though the description of next week’s episode shows that she appears again, so maybe she fulfills some function that audiences haven’t seen yet. In this episode, though, she comes off as more of a device of her own.
Give Blindspot credit, though, for maintaining continuity by being willing and able to revisit characters and plot points from previous episodes. That’s not easy to do in general and the script for “Erase Weary Youth” is able to explain to viewers what they need to know from earlier in the season without it stopping the story or sounding forced. It’s nice to know that everything in the season really is connected and that the show isn’t forgetting what it’s already constructed.
Now there are questions: Who is actually bugging Zapata’s apartment (because it doesn’t seem like it’s the CIA)? Is Reade going to regress to his early season form of being “the guy who’s always suspicious of Jane” and stop moving forward as a character? How much does the team really trust her considering that they were all willing to believe Fischer’s evidence that she was a Russian spy? Yes, certain things clicked but the theory certainly had holes in it, and yet only Weller came to her defense. That can’t make anyone feel good.
Fans will have to wait and see if being falsely accused and nearly incarcerated has any effect on Jane’s relationship with the FBI, or if Blindspot is going to introduce another Big Bad to fill the hole vacated by Carter and now Fischer. The audience certainly doesn’t miss either character but the conspiracy part of the show is an element that it loves, so it’s hard not to think there’s something else around the corner.
Blindspot airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.