‘Blindspot’ 5×03 Review: “Existential Ennui”

After a little hiatus, Blindspot is back! “Existential Ennui” is a transition episode, but really perfect in terms of the balance between emotion, action and intrigue. It’s a necessary episode to show the strength of the team that, inevitably, will have to face Madeline. Let’s discuss everything!

Here we go!

THIS IS OVER!

In this episode Madeline has tested our newly beloved Weitz. She knew it was too much of a coincidence that Patterson and Weller were in Helsinki, right in the same city as him, killing one of her own and avoiding her plan…without him knowing anything.

So she’s been questioning him the whole time. He has been nervous, but has been firm before her. He hasn’t faltered. In fact, he has tried to manipulate her by appealing to her ego and her ambition. And I feel tremendously proud of him for this.  But you can’t manipulate the teacher. So Madeline has taken another tactic. One that made it clear to Weitz what was at stake.

She took Brianna tied to a deserted place, to kill her. To execute her. In front of Weitz.  He was pleading with Madeline for Brianna’s life. But she was clear on what to do and why. Brianna made her choices, chose her path…and that’s the destination to which it led. Just as he is making his own way with the decisions he‘s making…the difference is that he’s in time to change those decisions.

BLINDSPOT — “We Didn’t Start the Fire” Episode 502 — Pictured: Aaron Abrams as Matthew Weitz — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Warner Brothers/NBC)

This indicates that Madeline doesn’t yet trust Weitz. She knows he has betrayed her, but is making sure to make it clear to him what his future will be if he continues to do so. But why? If Madeline is certain, even suspicious, that he is betraying her, why not kill him directly? Why get involved in giving him a lesson? I think the answer is that she needs him. Both now and in the future. His role now is clear: to be one of her minions within the FBI. His death could make some people suspicious, and Madeline has no time to deal with that. But I think she also needs him for something else.  Something that we still don’t know what it is…and I trust will be revealed to us soon.

Then, Madeline kills a terrified Brianna with her bare hands. And everything becomes more real. Brianna is dead. And I’m surprised to find that it has affected me more than I thought. She’s a character who has always been there, since season 1. She has not been main but she has been there. That she’s gone now is like…a void. An emptiness that you didn’t expect to feel but you do feel. And now I have even more desire to see the team win against Madeline.

As Madeline’s minions wrap Brianna’s body and throw it into the sea, Weitz is desperate. She didn’t have to do that. It wasn’t necessary, he doesn’t understand why.  Why does she do this? And, above all, why did she make him look? And she did it for two reasons.

One reason is to show Weitz her power. If you are useful, you live, if you stop being useful, you die. And the other reason is to teach Weitz a lesson. Treason is paid for with death. Now it’s up to him to continue betraying her and end up dead…or to be loyal to her and live to see another day.

Once he’s in this position, there are only two options: either he continues to risk, despite the consequences, to stop this madness that is Madeline’s plan or he doesn’t and is loyal to her.

Until the end I haven’t seen clearly what Weitz’s decision would be. Because what he has seen could have led him to believe that it was better to be loyal to Madeline or, on the contrary, to have made him see that he had to help destroy Madeline, no matter the cost.

However, Weitz has decided to be loyal to her, at least for now. As soon as Afreen has gone to speak to him to raise the next move along with Brianna, he has told her it’s over, Brianna is dead and he doesn’t want to end up like her. He doesn’t want Afreen end up like her.

BLINDSPOT — “I Came to Sleigh” Episode 501 — Pictured: (l-r) Aaron Abrams as Matthew Weitz, Ami Sheth as Afreen — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Warner Brothers/NBC)

I have to say that Weitz has disappointed me a bit. I mean, I understand this decision, in fact, I think we would all do the same because we’re human and the survival instinct is very strong. But he was being so brave, risking everything for the first time , to do what was right not what was most beneficial to him, and now…now he’s back to business as usual.

The good thing is that I don’t think it will be for long. Right now Weitz is scared.  Madeline has managed to scare him to the core and seeing Brianna’s murder has really affected him. But what he hasn’t taken into account is what it will be like to be a man within Madeline’s organization. What he’ll have to do. What he’ll have to see.  That will affect him so much that it will kill him inside…and, in the end, he will wish he was dead before continuing to see and do those things. In the end, he’ll realize that he must help put an end to Madeline for good if he wants to look in the mirror again and not hate himself and wish to die. Hopefully Weitz realizes all this sooner rather than later.

FEARS AND DEMONS

The team has some issues in this episode. Ironically, the need to protect and their fear of losing themselves make the bond that holds them together tense, until it almost breaks.

It all starts with a nightmare. Jane’s nightmare. She doesn’t know what it means but that nightmare is a reminder that Madeline is close, she almost feels her breathing on her neck…and that it can make her lose everyone, everything she fights for, everyone she loves.

Kurt, meanwhile, lives his worst fears in the flesh when Tasha and Jane don’t return from the dangerous mission they have gone to. Especially when Jane doesn’t appear anywhere. He needed to find a culprit, a culprit other than himself for not being by her side, for not protecting her, for not preventing something bad from happening to her…and he finds the perfect culprit in Tasha.

BLINDSPOT — “Existential Ennui” Episode 503 — Pictured: (l-r) Ennis Esmer as Rich Dotcom, Ashley Johnson as Patterson, Audrey Esparza as Tasha Zapata, Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

Tasha. She also has her own problems. Something happens to her when she’s on the field. In the missions. She’s so scared…she can’t stop seeing Reade. He would have to be there, next to her, guarding her back. He should be there. But he’s not there.  And she’s scared because the last time she did that, that she was on a mission, the last time she really fought Madeline and her plans, she lost Reade. More than fear, she panics. Being in that situation again, struggling, seeing Reade in her mind, reminding her of the price she paid…it’s too much, so she starts having a panic attack and needs to stop. She needs to abort the mission because she feels like can’t breathe.

Patterson and Rich also feel that paralyzing fear when they see that others are in serious danger…or dead, and they can’t do anything, just like when the possibility of leaving that place becomes more and more real. The rest of the team is their family, the only people they can trust, the only people who were there in the horrible times. And that place is the only one they can call home. Home is the place where we feel safe, our refuge, our anchor…and that place is ruined. For all. Losing it after all they’ve already lost…they couldn’t bear it. They need to hold on to the only home they have.

This mixture of feelings is like a pressure cooker, a time bomb…until everything explodes. Tasha is guided by that panic that paralyzes her and she wants to be too cautious, she wants to wait too long. And while she has a point where they don’t have to trust the unknown so much…it’s all they have to find out Madeline’s plans.

Later on the mission, Tasha needs to stop, but Kurt ignores her and she feels even more unprotected. She feels even more panicked and the feeling of not being able to breathe becomes stronger. When they can’t find Jane, Kurt blames her for not being focused and she does the same to Kurt for being so blinded in defeating Madeline to see his daughter, that he doesn’t calculate the risks.

The truth is that both are right. Tasha lets her panic guide her on the field, but Kurt makes overly quick decisions. And both must keep a cool head. They need to keep a cool head. If they don’t, they won’t get out alive.

Tension grows with Jane’s decision to bring a prisoner. Tasha feels the danger of being discovered and losing the only thing they can hold on to and closer to, and everyone else feels the same way. She also feels so alone…Kurt agrees with Jane but she believes it was too risky…and time agrees. When they find out that the prisoner knows where he is and that he is one of Madeline’s minions, not one of his victims.

BLINDSPOT — “Existential Ennui” Episode 503 — Pictured: (l-r) Ashley Johnson as Patterson, Audrey Esparza as Tasha Zapata, Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

They’re in grave danger and it’s Jane’s fault. It all gets worse when she refuses to do the only thing that could save them…with Kurt’s support. So they face each other.  They blame themselves for the situation, they fracture, they break each other, they…attack each other. Until Rich has enough. He calls them to order while I applaud him standing up. Now more than ever they must be united. And they’re so…engrossed in their own problems, in their own fears that they are unable to see and appreciate the little things that make the situation somewhat more bearable.  That they are not able to value what each one does for all the others.

They have made mistakes, yes, everyone does. But they must be united to face the consequences. Only united do they have a future.  Everyone realizes that Rich is right. He has never been more right. And they feel ashamed of having attacked each other instead of trying to understand, to put themselves in each other’s shoes.

An apology is in order. Tasha approaches Jane and apologizes to her. She knows that she has been too harsh and unfair to her. Jane accepts it but also apologizes.  The decision she made was too risky and she should have thought a bit more about the consequences it might have. But she knows that something else is happening to Tasha. She has seen her out there, on the field. She has seen her hesitate…and almost die as a consequence of those doubts.

Tasha decides to be honest. They’re her family, she can trust them. She has never confided her worst fears to anyone, only Reade. But he is gone and Jane, Kurt, Rich and Patterson are family. They’ll protect her. They’ll understand her and will not judge her. They would not consider her weak. There is no need to pretend with them.  So she confess it. She confesses everything. She sees Reade in every corner, he should be there but he is not there and she’s afraid of losing them all.

Jane is honest with her too. She has been through the same thing. She knows what it’s like to feel that fear, how it can paralyze you and prevent you from seeing things with perspective. In fact, her nightmare has revealed to her that she feels guilty for everything that is happening, for everything that they have suffered. This is how she feels. Although she knows that she isn’t guilty and that the good times that arose after her appearance outweigh the bad ones, she cannot help but feel this way. And Madeline takes advantage of that. Of their fears, of their demons, of their weak points.

BLINDSPOT — “Existential Ennui” Episode 503 — Pictured: (l-r) Ashley Johnson as Patterson, Audrey Esparza as Tasha Zapata — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

She understands Tasha and wants her to know that she has her there, by her side, that Tasha has them all. They’re her strength and always will be. Tasha nods. She knows. Now they all know. And I love that they show us this strong friendship between them. I want more!

Once they’ve worked together, the team has figured out Madeline’s next step: building a bioweapon. The situation has become more dangerous than it already was, but now they aren’t going to let their own fears separate them. Madeline is going to hit the front with a united and intensely strong wall.

JELLER

Again, it all starts with a nightmare. Kurt manages to wake Jane from the nightmare that repeats in her mind every night. She doesn’t know what it means but…she can’t stop living it when she closes her eyes. Kurt is simply there, offering his hand and support. And we love him just for this.

Jane’s fear is that they won’t succeed. There are days when she thinks they can do it, but there’re others…there’re others when they seem so far from killing Madeline that she is more aware than ever that they may never be able to do it. It’s at this moment that Kurt, contrary to what happened in the previous episode, becomes the one who cheers up Jane, the one who makes her see that they’ll succeed. They’ll have a family, they’ll see Bethany and they’ll have a house of their own. Together. We love Kurt even more.

But it isn’t only Jane who has had to face her worst fears. Kurt has also lived his own nightmare when Jane hasn’t returned from the mission, when it seemed that she would not return. He was determined to go after her, no matter what happened to him, the danger he was in…the important thing was her. He cannot lose her. He has lost so much…if he loses Jane it would be his end. It would simply destroy him. Only Rich has dared to stop him, to make him see that it was not only he who was in danger…but if Jane didn’t arrive at that moment, not even Rich would have prevented him from looking for her. He would have gone to the end of the world to find her.

BLINDSPOT — “Existential Ennui” Episode 503 — Pictured: Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

Later, when they’re considering injecting their prisoner with the solution to erase his memory and Jane’s refusal becomes evident, Kurt goes to speak to her. He doesn’t want to convince her. He understands her. She…won everything because her memory was erased…but she also knows what it’s like to lose everything when she did the same with Roman. She feels that she lost her brother definitively when he realized what she did.

And that man…has done horrible things, yes, but he also has a family. Erase his memories, his whole life with them…they can’t do that. Just imagining that any of them did that, that they erased Bethany, or the love story they have lived…is too painful, too terrible. They cannot do that to any other human being. They would never forgive themselves, just as Jane doesn’t forgive herself for doing that to Roman.

Kurt understands it so he tries to find another solution: get away, something that Tasha and Patterson vehemently oppose. However, I agree with them. I understand Jane, I really understand her. I understand her feelings and her reasons for refusing, but looking at it coldly, erasing that man’s memory is the only way for them to be safe. She took a risk by taking him there. Despite everything, I think it was the right decision…but it was risky.

Now she must accept its consequences. That place is a refuge for everyone. The only safe place they have known for two years. They must protect it tooth and nail…even if that means erasing a man’s memory.

BLINDSPOT — “Existential Ennui” Episode 503 — Pictured: (l-r) Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe, Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

Kurt is supporting Jane as a good husband would…but if he saw everything with his soldierly mind, he would come to the same conclusion: getting out of there, the only place they can call home and the only one that meets their needs is not the solution. However, Kurt is a husband rather than a soldier and is just as he should be. That makes us melt like ice cream in the middle of August. Just like seeing this couple support each other and open up so freely. There are no secrets, there are no fears, there’s nothing they don’t share. After their trust in each other was tested over and over again, they have come to full sincerity, they have become a truly solid, strong and unbreakable couple.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I liked this episode more than the previous one. Much more. It has action but they have focused more on the emotional implications of the characters, on what happens in their minds and in their hearts. That always makes them earn points.

Fear and need are present in each character, but each of them faces it differently.  Everyone is afraid of failure, of what could happen and what they could lose. Of losing the only real family they have ever known and the only people who really understand them because they have been through the same horrible things as themselves. And everyone also has a need to protect each member from that dysfunctional, strange but perfect family. At whatever price.

These feelings and the way the characters react to them causes clashes between them because fear is sometimes so strong, that the option that seems safest is also the option that can remove and break that link and make them lose forever. But in the end unity prevails. The family wins. And this, these feelings, this way of acting is so real and human that we can all feel identified with it.

BLINDSPOT — “Existential Ennui” Episode 503 — Pictured: (l-r) Ennis Esmer as Rich Dotcom, Ashley Johnson as Patterson — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

That’s what Blindspot achieves when it manages to influence its strengths: emotions, intrigue and action. When the show manages to unite them and maintain a perfect balance between these three premises, they gives us an episode like this. A high quality episode.

I think we all agree that this episode has been more transitional than anything else, however, it has such a successful balance that kept us glued to the screen, wanting to know more, see more and that’s difficult to achieve in such an episode. This season couldn’t have a better start.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t hesitate to share your opinion with us in the comments below! We’ll be back next week with 5×04 “And my axe!”.

Blindspot airs Thursday at 8 / 7c on NBC.

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3 Comments

  1. Excelent!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much! 😍😍😚


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