On face value Blindspot Season 2 Episode 9 is a humdinger of a midseason finale. There's an exploding building, flashbacks to a drone attack, main characters in peril and a lot of dramatic yelling. It's as big and as busy as you'd expect from a fall finale - but it's not perfect.
"Why Let Cooler Pasture Deform" is Season 2 of Blindspot in a nutshell. It has a great heart and good intentions, but it's ultimately still kind of uneven. Given that the season has been looking for itself it's no surprise that this episode feels similarly unfinished.
This episode does almost everything that it's expected to do. It has Sandstorm making a big move, Jane's being a triple agent for the FBI uncovered by Shepherd, and a showdown with the double agent working inside the team, plus a cliffhanger ending to let the audience chew on until January.
From an entertainment standpoint it's a satisfying watch. We're excited by the action sequences, worried for all of our characters, and we feel like we've learned something. It's a good episode to relish with your bucket of popcorn while yelling at the TV.
He said I'm not going back to the FBI. Not ever.Jane
But if you're one of those fans who's enjoyed peeling back the layers of Blindspot for the last season and a half, this episode leaves a few things to be desired.
This episode reveals the identity of the Sandstorm mole, but it's an identity that audiences had figured out as early as the season premiere. And if for some reason you hadn't come to that conclusion already "Why Let Cooler Pasture Deform" threw in a few more obvious hints in its first act.
Cutting from Jane at the safe house to a completely random scene of Borden, back to Jane meeting with Shepherd? That's as obvious an edit as one can get. As a result of scenes like that and Borden lurking in the lab a few episodes ago there's zero suspense about who the mole is.
I just haven't felt this happy in a very long time.Borden
Blindspot had a decent idea but never took the time to establish any other suspects other than Borden. Remember the first season of 24 when they had a mole? Remember how it was supposed to be Jamey Farrell and then it turned out that Nina Myers was the even bigger traitor?
That worked because there was genuine uncertainty as to who it could be. Blindspot didn't give us any options other than Borden, so you have to ask yourself: were they really trying to create suspense? Or did they want us to know because they were trying to tell a new Borden story?
If it's the latter, it works a bit better. Ukweli Roach gets the most screen time he's ever had in the entire run of the show and you finally get to learn more about his character than his music preferences.
Good and right were never the objectives. Only money and power. Until someone decided we were a liability and I watched my entire team get murdered by American drones...My country has lost its mind and something has to change.Jane
Roach responds to the opportunity with a great performance, and it's easy to draw the line as to how Borden got from Doctors Without Borders to being a part of Sandstorm. You understand why he'd be won over.
The fact that Jane's the one who got him there, though, is a nice little painful stab in the heart. It'll be one more thing that she will hold against herself presumably when she finds out. Plus for the fans it makes Borden's betrayal that much more personal.
Poor Patterson, though. Her first boyfriend gets murdered, her second boyfriend - whom the invisible version of the first boyfriend in her head encouraged her to date - is a terrorist mole. Honey, just stop dating for awhile.
But the only real suspense with the mole storyline comes out of who gets shot in the final scene and truthfully, how do you really expect it to go? Blindspot would never kill off Patterson, who's proven to be the show's breakout character. And it did already have her kidnapped last season.
Shooting Borden, who being a mole now falls under the "he had it coming" category, makes more sense. He may not die right away because we need that scene of Jane or somebody chewing him out, but he's expendable. If we're being really blunt, he always has been.
That's not a slam against Roach, who's a fantastic actor, but the character never got fully used in Season 1 and Season 2 felt like it tried to rectify that in not the best way. We'll see if Borden makes it to the season finale.
You're not the only one that can infiltrate the FBI. Did you really think that Oscar was your only handler?Shepherd
The real shocker would've been to kill Reade, which thankfully did not happen. Rob Brown is too big an asset to the show and he's also the primary person Audrey Esparza plays off of, so he's pretty necessary. Their work in the hospital scene was one of the best moments of the night and reminds us how underused they can both be.
Is it particularly stunning that Reade let Coach Jones die? Not necessarily. Given all we know the guy did, many of us would probably have acted the same way and even if not, we understand why Reade would. That's not a huge revelation either. But him coming clean to Zapata is at least memorable.
I'm sick of waiting around. This was my plan.Jane
Then there's the whole Weller's baby issue, which turns out to be a big misdirection for both him and the audience. So that doesn't add any fuel to the fire in the end.
The only thing that audiences can sit around and argue about is Jane's desperate attempt to save Roman by injecting him with the ZIP and thus turning him into another Jane Doe. Lots of thorny stuff will come out of that; let's just hope this show doesn't turn into "Who is John Doe?"
Jane: Thank you.
Roman: For what?
Jane: For trusting me.
Roman: Thanks for not letting me down.
It all comes back to the feeling like this is a show in search of a new purpose. It was very tightly plotted last season and did a great job of tying up a lot of loose ends in Season 1 and the Season 2 premiere.
But it's telegraphing its punches. We all knew Borden was the mole from the moment the word "mole" came up. We don't care that much about Weller expecting a baby with Allison, or that he's sleeping with Nas. And Sandstorm still hasn't actually executed its big plan.
Let's be completely clear about this: Blindspot is a show with a wonderful cast and some great crew members, and it has done some wonderful things and can do them in future. But it has some questions to answer now - not just about the plot but about what show it wants to be.
Season 2 of Blindspot resumes in January. Until then you can catch up on the entirety of Season 2 when you watch Blindspot online. Leave us your thoughts about the season so far in the comments. And if you had Borden as the mole, give yourself a cookie.
Brittany Frederick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.