A question that many Blindspot fans have asked, especially after the end of season 2 is: what is the difference between Jane and Roman? Why was she able to change and redirect her life while Roman has been unable to do so?. Although both had a seemingly equal past until Jane was turned over to the FBI, their reactions and instincts are very different, marking a path that would lead Jane to redemption and Roman to discover that for him a redemption is impossible…or is it? What if Roman had a chance of redemption after all? To reach a conclusion, we must first analyze the past of both and see the differences between them. Here we go!.
To talk about the Jane and Roman’s past, we must start at the beginning: the orphanage. Through flashbacks we saw how their life was there. They were trained as child soldiers; in that environment, Jane and Roman only had each other. He had more problems adapting at first (Jane was, at the time, the most violent of the two) but Jane was always there, she was his support, the only person he could trust. She gave him a symbol of that connection, a coin, and that coin was a tangible proof that, despite the punishments he had to endure and the situation in which he was in, he had someone who cared for him and who loved him.
However, Roman soon discovered that this orphanage was a jungle in which only the strongest would survive and that was how Roman, in his early childhood, killed for the first time, marking his character forever and losing what was left of his innocence.
Shepherd later came and manipulated them both, encouraging their murderous instincts, making them part of her organization and making it so they blindly believed in it. In this part of their lives, we see a difference that we already intuited from the orphanage: Jane is a better strategist than Roman,which is why she designs much of the plans.
The connection between siblings is still there, as always. Roman relies blindly on Jane and she guides him along the path that Shepherd has laid out when she thinks he is drifting away, preventing Roman from having any emotional weaknesses that could jeopardize the mission.
Here we see that both are convinced that they’re doing the right thing following their mother, Shepherd, in her plan but Jane is more convinced than Roman, and cuts off any possibility that he may change.
Once Jane has been turned over to the FBI, their paths separate for the first time and they go through totally different experiences; while Jane is rediscovering herself and starting again, free from a past marked by violence and manipulation, Roman remains under the influence of Shepherd, more vulnerable because a key piece in his life, his sister, is no longer at his side, but, at the same time, more convinced than ever that the objective they have is correct and worth any sacrifice.
Jane’s change comes at this point, she doesn’t remember her past or her identity…but she’s forming human connections, with Kurt above all, that lead her to find herself, to develop that personality that she would have had as a child if someone had not brutally murdered her parents; Jane rediscovers herself and becomes the person she would have been if her life had been normal. In fact, Jane’s first instinct is to help people who are in danger, we saw it on one of her first missions with the team, it’s just who she is and despite all the pain and brutality of her life, that is something that has not been lost and is still there, inside her.
After all this, Jane returns “home” with Shepherd and Roman, and, at first, he protects her from Shepherd’s suspicions, however, when he himself begins to feel suspicious about her loyalty, Roman makes a difficult decision and chooses Shepherd and her organization, warning Jane that if he finds out that she is a traitor, he will find her weak point, the thing that can cause her the most harm, the person she loves the most…and kill him.
At this point we see Roman for the first time choose someone over Jane, threaten to destroy her life. In that moment, Roman’s the perfect soldier that both Shepherd and Jane wanted him to be, completely removed from the human connections that could make him flinch, it’s as if he doesn’t have humanity, as if he were an empty shell.
Once Jane’s loyalty to the FBI is proven, Shepherd again gives Roman a choice between her or Jane, ordering him to kill her. Considering everything we’d seen before, it seemed like a simple decision for Roman, but it wasn’t. He had no connections, no one to tie him to the here and now, except Jane…it’s impossible for him to kill her, he can’t do it. She is, after all, the only person he really loves, the only one he can love and the one who can make him feel something. So Roman chooses Jane and shoots Shepherd although, as Jane confirms later, that doesn’t mean that he agrees with what she is doing, he can’t kill her, but he isn’t going to go to the FBI with her, he hasn’t deserted, he hasn’t changed sides, he has only refused to obey an order. It’s then that Jane makes a decision that will change everything and erases Roman’s memories.
The Roman we know evaporates along with his memory, he experiences the same thing Jane did, that change, discovering himself again, being what could have been…but with some differences. While Jane began to make connections with the team, Roman only has Jane as his sole support. Kurt treats him well, but only does it for Jane’s sake, and the rest of the team can hardly stand his presence, and he is aware of it. In addition, while Jane was free and a full member of the team, Roman is locked in with no one to lean on except Jane.
These differences, though understandable and necessary, I think, were key to Roman’s later behavior, as much as Jane’s lie, the only person he ever thought he could trust.
Jane’s change cames on the one hand, through the emotional connections she created but on the other hand, through something intrinsic in her – her humanity, her kindness. However, Roman seemed oblivious to any humanity. As the new FBI psychologist said, Roman was unable to feel love. Why this difference?.
I think the reason is that Jane did have emotional connections, even when she was in Shepherd’s organization, so her humanity wasn’t eradicated., Yet, in the case of Roman, both Shepherd and Jane tried to erase any trace of what they considered weakness in him, and that made Roman incapable of creating affective bonds beyond those he had with his sister.
So Roman is lost, confused…but with a need to help,same as Jane, so, of course, Jane believed that he could follow in her footsteps, change; and, despite what the psychologist said, it all seemed to be working, Roman was moving forward, he had Jane believing in him and what he had always been, she was, as ever, his support and his compass and he was adapting to his new life, but, at the same time, he continued hating the person who snatched away his memories as much as he hates the person he was before.
And this, to hate the person who erased his memory, is another important difference with Jane. She was confused, wanted to know who did that and why…but she didn’t hate what they did, on the contrary, as she discovered things about herself and her old life, she was grateful that they had given her a chance to change. She erased Roman’s memory so that he had the same opportunity as her…but while for Jane losing her memories was liberating, for Roman it was a punishment, a cruelty.
Roman remembers that it was Jane who snatched away his memories and his reaction is pure blind anger and fury, he hates her and it almost drives him to kill her. This behavior has a reason, Jane is the only person that Roman felt he could trust, that he felt he loved and when he discovers that she has betrayed him, first snatched away his memories and then lied about it. he feels betrayed. When he discovered that her loyalty was with the FBI he was infuriated, but it wasn’t a direct treason against him, but this time he feels betrayed, wounded in the deepest parts of himself and that causes blind anger and hatred to settle in his heart, because it’s easier for him to deal with something that he handles and knows as well as the hatred and punishment he wants to inflict on Jane.
After discovering the truth, the old Roman returns, the Roman who has no emotional connection with anyone, who has no humanity, the one he (and Jane) has been taught to be since his childhood. Jane was the person who kept him connected to his humanity, but now that she has betrayed him he no longer has anybody, and the ties that connected with his humanity are broken into a thousand pieces, just like any connection he may have made with the team. He remembers that they kept him locked, they looked at him with contempt; and he chooses freedom and the possibility of revenge offered by Shepherd, taking refuge in what he knows.
In episode 2×07, during a dream, Jane sees Roman next to her and Kurt as if they were a normal family with a changed Roman who’d found his way, like her., That was her desire and to give that opportunity to Roman, she decided to snatch his memories. What Jane didn’t take into account is that Roman didn’t have to be like her, there were some differences between them, few, but significant.
But what if Roman broke through those barriers of hatred and focused on the feeling of betrayal and the pain he felt? I believe that if he did, Roman could forgive Jane and thus, in time, redeem himself, since in forgiving her he would recover that vital connection he has with her and together they would make the bond that binds Roman with his humanity bigger and bigger, until attaining a total change in him and, with it, his redemption.
During, and after his childhood, Jane and Shepherd were responsible for eliminating any trace of light and ability to love in Roman…or were they? Do you think Roman could redeem himself or do you think it’s impossible?. We have our fingers crossed for a redemption arc for Roman, because he deserves it.
Agree? Disagree? Don’t hesitate to leave us your opinion in the comments below!.
Blindspot returns on Friday, Oct. 27 at 8/7c (NBC).