The second half of Blindspot’s (NBC, Mondays, 9/8C) first season gets off to a pretty great beginning with Cease Forcing Enemy – which begins immediately following the mind-blowing revelation of the fall finale: that Jane is behind her current situation!
Even as Jane is reeling from that revelation, the team is sent off to the Black Sea following Agent Patterson’s latest tattoo discovery. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Fisher, a somewhat pompous investigator for the Office of Professional Responsibility (basically, Internal Affairs) arrives to begin an investigation that resulted in the death of a civilian.
Written by the show’s creator, Martin Gero, and directed by Rob Seidenglanz, Cease Forcing Enemy sets up a credible theory for the disappearance of a vanished passenger flight while even more interoffice fractiousness is revealed – Deputy Director Mayfair does not like Chief Inspector Fisher (John Hodgman) and it’s easy to see why.
Cease Forcing Enemy deals with its internal investigation and a terrorist action in the Black Sea with the show’s usual fast-paced dispatch. Fisher is a man who enjoys wielding the power he wields and his questioning of Patterson (Ashley Johnson) is both incisive and blunt. The terrorists are as ingenious as they are ruthless.
Like most episodes of the series, Cease Forcing Enemy frequently steps past the plausible into the ludicrous, but in such a subtle manner that its basic, grounded approach never gives its audience time to think much about certain situations before moving quickly on to the next crisis.
Jane (Jaimie Alexander) finds herself being torn, this week, as a man she remembers from before tells her that the FBI is up to some incredibly bad stuff. The people she works with, she is certain, would have no truck with that – and yet, this guy, Oscar – to whom she was once engaged, and who tells her that she came up with the entire FBI scenario (tattoos, amnesia and all) for that reason.
Other questions – like Tasha’s (Audrey Esparza) potential resignation – are dealt with quickly and efficiently, as well.
Technically, this is one of most noir eps of the season – odd lighting, peculiar angles, intriguing editing choices all contribute to Jane’s growing feeling of paranoia and distrust. But who is it she distrusts – Oscar or the FBI. When she makes a choice at the close of the ep, we have to wonder if her alignment is shifting, or if she’s just performing due diligence.
Johnson gets to stand out a bit more than usual as she has to help deal with the Black Sea crisis after her session with Fisher – a situation that also has ramifications for Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). It’s fun to watch Patterson go from totally cowed to totally in control – a moment where she shuts down Fisher is one of the episode’s best.
One of my early fears for Blindspot was that it might burn through too much story, too quickly. That might still be the case, but for now, it seems firmly on track and firing on all cylinders.
Cease Forcing Enemy is one of the young show’s best eps yet.
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