Sunday, August 6, 2017

“Blindspot” post-mortem

I bailed out of this TV show during the first season, after a promising premise devolved into frenzied absurdity.  Yet, curious whether  by the end of the second  anything had been resolved concerning the overarching idea (entwining memory, cryptography, an Origins Myth, and the tabula rasa motif), I checked the episode-guide in that indispensable modern Baedeker, Wikipedia.

And, no, nothing came of it.  All the initial hints were red herrings.  A typical episode boils down to such as this (midway through the second season):

While with Sandstorm, Jane alerts the FBI that their attack is imminent and Weller's team raids Sandstorm's headquarters. Roman knocks Jane out. When she awakens, Shepherd reveals she has long known Jane is a triple agent for the FBI thanks to Sandstorm's mole, Dr. Borden. Flashbacks reveal Borden's wife was the doctor who nursed a pre-memory wipe Jane back to health in Afghanistan; after she was killed by a US drone strike, Jane recruited him into Sandstorm. In the present, Shepherd tells Jane she pretended phase two was underway to lure out Weller's team; when the FBI arrives at Sandstorm HQ, she detonates a bomb, trapping them in the rubble. Shepherd orders Roman to kill Jane; when he refuses, Shepherd tries to kill both of them, but Jane and Roman escape. Weller manages to summon help and rescue his team. While treating Roman's wounds, Jane erases his memory, hoping to give him the same second chance she had. Patterson recognizes Borden's ring, realizing he works for Sandstorm. When she tries to arrest him, he fights back and a shot rings out; it is not shown who was hit.

The phrase “jumping the shark” was coined in animadversion to TV serials that, running out of steam, gin up some gimmick  foreign to the program’s original raison d’être:  the screenwriters’ equivalent of a Hail Mary.   But the “Blindspot” farrago is not just one incident in one episode:  every episode is like that, simply a turn of the kaleidoscope  to let the same bits of colored glass  shift randomly to different positions.  It’s not jumping the shark;  it’s a shark steeplechase.


It is a familiar experience, that extensive taking-in of some dramatic production (whether visual or written) may, after you have gone on to other things, still leave behind a kind of vapor or atmosphere, through which you view in-principle-unrelated material.   As, laying down a novel of Dickens and turning to some quite different prose, you yet continue to notice what seem stray Dickensian notes.

And such it was in this case, after I had scanned through the synopses of the complete list of episodes.  With a sigh  I turned to the day’s news:  and there it was, in large type:

British model kidnapped in Milan was to be 'sold as a sex slave' and 'fed to tigers when her buyer got bored'

The 20-year-old was held captive by the Black Death Group for nearly a week in a remote farm house in Italy before they planned to sell her on the 'dark web'.

 Like an out-take from “Blindspot”.

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