‘Blindspot’ 5×08 Review: “Ghost Train”

Welcome back, blindspotters! After last week, our show returns with “Ghost Train,” a really intense episode that changes everything, literally blowing it up. The episode has action, emotion, pain, tension, mystery, secrets…but, above all, it has the harshness that only reality can have. We have been able to identify with the characters, even if we didn’t agree with their decisions. Let’s discuss everything!

Here we go!

“I WILL NEED A COFFEE”

I love Afreen and Weitz together? I LOVE THEM! After their fight in the previous episode, Afreen doesn’t trust Weitz, so she refuses when he asks for help, but the reality is that he needs her. Now more than ever. Madeline has him and many others in the palm of her hand, she is blackmailing them…and they must end that. And only Afreen can help him. But she doesn’t intend to be manipulated again, if Weitz wants her help, he’ll have to trust her and tell her the whole plan, not just the part that interests him (Afreen for president, please!).

Weitz has no choice but to confess all the dirty secrets…and they’re very dirty. Like, really dirty. These’re the kinds of secrets that should push Weitz out of the FBI and have him arrested. Although the show has gone over it – too much – because time is pressing and the important thing is to make Madeline cease to have power over them. In the end, Afreen accepts and helps Weitz. She has work to do and will need a coffee, so Weitz is already taking so much time to bring it to her (seriously, I LOVE HER).

But when she is about to do it, really doing it, doubts assail her. Many things will change if she presses that button. Madeline will no longer have power over many people but those people will be free after having been involved in very dirty secrets and Weitz…he is a different matter. If Afreen presses that button, Weitz will be free and may decide to continue fighting alongside her…or run away. She wants to think the best of him, she really wants to think that he will do the right thing…but she cannot ignore that he almost never does. And she’s afraid to trust him and be wrong again.  Weitz looks her in the eyes and makes her trust, she really trusts him, in that sparkle in his eyes, in his good intentions…after all, he wanted to help the team at first.

BLINDSPOT — “Brass Tacks” Episode 509 — Pictured: Ami Sheth as Afreen — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

However, Afreen is wrong. Weitz has been, is, and always will be a snake. Cunning, cowardly and interested. As soon as he’s free he secretly prepares his flight, as only a coward would. Afreen discovers this and is more disappointed than ever. For Weitz, he’s only doing the only thing he can do: save himself. The survival instinct is too strong to just ignore and he prefers to be a living coward than a brave dead. He really appreciates Afreen and her bravery, her hope…but he has already lost it all. He doesn’t think they can win so he prefers to make an escape in time. He wants Afreen to understand this. She doesn’t deserve to die.

But Afreen is not like that. She is not a coward. It may be the most stupid decision in the world to stay and fight, but it’s the right one. And often, right and smart are different things. She chooses to fight. Weitz thinks he has no choice but in reality that’s an excuse, something that he says to feel good about himself and what he is doing, because, in fact, he does. He is not forced to run away, he chooses to do so, just as Afreen chooses to fight.

At this point a phrase from Dumbledore, from the Harry Potter saga, comes to my mind, he once told Harry that what defines who we are is our choices. I think there’s no better phrase that defines what is happening. Afreen chosen to fight because that’s the right thing to do and is disappointed when, once again, Weitz chooses to do what is most selfish and convenient for him, he decides to save himself rather than fight for others. She really believed in him, she’s the only one who has, despite disappointing her over and over again, and Weitz knows it.

BLINDSPOT — “Fire & Brimstone” Episode 506 — Pictured: (l-r) Aaron Abrams as Matthew Weitz, Ami Sheth as Afreen — (Photo by: Scott McDermott/Warner Brothers/NBC)

That’s the reason that makes him rethink his decision by seeing the disappointment and sadness in Afreen’s eyes. If she thinks they can win…maybe they can.  Disappointment is worse than anger because you never fully heal. But just as he is about to choose to fight, he sees Madeline triumphing through the door with the entire team arrested, then the small hope that Weitz had felt vanishes. Everything is lost…even the chance to run away. And when Madeline congratulates him on catching the team, he feels like the world’s greatest roach, so he understands what Afreen wanted to tell him about his options, about the difference between fighting or running away. But it’s too late. Will Afreen think the same?

With that said, I must break a spear in Weitz’s favor. I’m not defending or justifying his decision. It’s a selfish, treacherous and horrible decision…but it’s human.  Running away is not the right thing, it’s a betrayal but it’s a human reaction to let the survival instinct take over, especially when you don’t see that there is a way out and you have lost all hope. The only options you see at the time are to stay and be an accessory to the bad guys or run away. Fighting isn’t even in the picture. But once you see a way out…what you choose it’s important.

The arrest of the team leads us to …

“DON’T DIE” 

After a few investigations and a lot of nerves, Tasha, Jane and Kurt had to go on a mission, so Patterson devised a very intelligent way to communicate with each other using devices that we will, lovingly and nostalgically, call Tamagotchi.

Later, when they realize that the tattoo investigation was actually a trap and everything is going to shit, Patterson and Rich try to survive and make all the information in the bunker disappear. In the middle of all that, Rich says goodbye to her, although we still didn’t know that it was a goodbye. Rich confesses that he was always the smartest…until he met her. Suddenly, he had someone who understood him, who spoke the same language and who competed with his wits but also a role model…a model of someone who used his wits to help. She and the team helped him really trust someone and find himself. That’s beautiful and touched Patterson as much as us.

Before that, we also experienced a kind of farewell when Jane tells Patterson that she always takes care of them, from a distance, keeps them safe and always takes them home, Kurt thanks her for that…for everything, for all the times she saved them.  And we’re crying again…because what is coming now is terrible.

Patterson always has a plan B so when her plan A fails and the servers don’t explode, she and Rich follow plan B and get it all done. When they were about to leave before the explosion, Madeline’s henchmen catch Rich, and Patterson has only one way out: the room that’s going to explode shortly. She tries to run away, she tries…but she doesn’t have time and, while Rich cries for her, for not being able to help her, save her, for having to see what is going to happen…everything explodes and Patterson…is gone.

BLINDSPOT — “Ghost Train” Episode 508 — Pictured: Ashley Johnson as Patterson — (Photo by: Warner Brothers/NBC)

God, she’s gone. And I can’t stop crying. Why? I refuse to accept it. Rich cries, he can’t even speak when they take him along with Jane and Kurt, he can’t even say it.  Jane and Kurt can’t stop their tears either…Patterson…the one who always had a smile to offer, the one who always brought them home safely…is gone. And Tasha, she can barely stay on her feet when she finds out. Her best friend, her sister…her family. It just isn’t possible. It has been so emotional to see them break up for Patterson…just like seeing the respect of Afreen and the others when they have turned off their equipment. Patterson will no longer put them back in place.

The team’s reaction is the same as mine. I refuse to accept it. Is there any chance that Patterson is still alive? As they have shown us, it doesn’t seem so. But there is always a but. Things are not always as they seem. It was too…obvious that someone on the team was going to die. Already the synopsis of the next episode spoke of the survivors of the team. And if you want to surprise with a death, that is not a good idea. Maybe…it was all a hoax. Recall that Patterson always has a plan B and, what better way to beat Madeline than now? I think there’s much more hidden in this than it seems.

That said, as we mentioned, the synopsis left little doubt that a team member was going to die. And the truth is that, by elimination, I imagined that it was going to be Patterson. I didn’t think they were going to separate Jeller so that left us Tasha, Rich and Patterson. I discarded Tasha because Reade had already been killed and there was no point in killing her too…plus she’s pregnant. Rich and Patterson remained.  Here I took a risk. As for their abilities, the characters are the same so it all boiled down to how emotional a death would be.

Rich’s death would have affected the team and the audience…but Patterson’s death would have much more impact, whether they planned to kill her permanently or later wanted to surprise the audience with the news that she survived. So it had to be Patterson. But the way to show it, to teach it, to…make us suffer. Masterful. When a show manages to move and stir you up so deeply…that show is worth it.

“NO MATTER WHAT, I LOVE YOU”

I think there is nothing better that can define Jeller than that phrase. Throughout the entire episode, they had conflicting positions on how to deal with the different options they had to end Madeline. While Jane wanted to act immediately, Kurt wanted to wait. Jane has been carried away by what Madeline’s plan affects her, she wasn’t thinking things coldly…however, when they had a clear plan and objective, they gone for it…only Madeline and her minions had already found them.

When everything seemed lost, when they knew they could die the next second or never see each other again, they just wanted the other to know how they felt. How much they loved each other. So they look into each other’s eyes, seeing the truth reflected in them and they tell each other so. Afterward, they kiss, what may be their last kiss, and they cling to each other until the last moment, savoring each other…memorizing, trying to freeze that second forever…and only letting go when they have no choice. They’re pure love!

BLINDSPOT — “Ghost Train” Episode 508 — Pictured: (l-r) Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller, Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe — (Photo by: Warner Brothers/NBC)

That said, let’s talk about their capture. I think it was a silly way for producers to get them caught. That is, all the members of the team have fought until they could no longer, they fought for their lives not to be captured…but not Jeller. They were ready for anything but as soon as they saw some policemen and not the waiting mercenaries, they simply gave up. WTF?!

I understand that they don’t want to kill innocents but, in that situation, it was to fight or die. Was there really no other option than simply surrendering to the first change?  I have been quite disappointed with this because I don’t see it as credible. Kurt has many years of experience in the field and is a top FBI agent, he could have thought of something, not to mention Jane, with such extensive military experience…do they really want me to believe that any of the two came up with something better than to give up? It’s nonsense.

“SHE’S GOING TO KILL MY FAMILY”

As soon as Patterson manages to find out the location of the mysterious clues, Tasha knows that Keaton is the one who sends it to them. It has to be. No one else would be lost in a secret place in Malta. And she can trust in him, they’ve been through a lot not to. It may not be him…but at this point, they must take risks. So she goes to Malta and reaches Keaton, although Madeline is on her heels.

Keaton reveals who is helping the team in the shadows. It’s him, Allie…and Boston!  Our cute Boston. He also appreciates the team but, above all, he loves Rich. And he’s with them now…and he’s been caught. He’s going to do anything to save him, to help him…to help them. This couple has me hooked! I hope they get their happy ending.

However, something changed since Allie’s arrest…actually, everything changed.  Keaton asks Tasha how she is and she opens up, really opens up, trusts him, they‘re friends and who else would understand that survivor’s guilt and the mourning for losing the most loved?

But everything is a trap. Keaton wasn’t behaving like a true friend, it was just a strategy to buy time…until Madeline and her minions arrived to catch Tasha. He betrayed her. He betrayed them all. Tasha realizes it and we can literally see Keaton’s betrayal breaks her heart, the pain is etched in her eyes, on her face, even in the inflection of her voice…but she doesn’t have time to think about it. She has little time and must convince Keaton to run away.

BLINDSPOT — “Ghost Train” Episode 508 — Pictured: Audrey Esparza as Tasha Zapata — (Photo by: Warner Brothers/NBC)

Only he is not going to do it. At first he, Boston and Allie were helping them, with nothing hidden, but later Boston had to go underground, Allie was caught and Madeline found his family. Madeline threatened to kill them if he didn’t help her. So he did it. He had to choose between doing the right thing and saving the team and the world or save his family. And he chose his family.

I really want to be mad at Keaton. I want to hate him. And a part of me does. But most of me…understands him. What would we not be able to do to save those we love? The answer is nothing. We would be able to die for them…but also to kill or have people killed. It’s dark, haunting and even horrible. But it’s the truth. As with Weitz, it’s a human reaction. It’s part of our shadows. Keaton doesn’t want Madeline to win, he just wants to keep his family safe, whatever the price.

In fact, Keaton wasn’t going to make it out of it all alive. He knew he was going to die.  He decided to do it rather than be one more pawn of Madeline. So he wishes Tasha luck, he really hopes they win, that they beat Madeline, that’s what he wants…but he is not going to be there to see it. As soon as he achieves his goal of luring Tasha and the team into a trap…Keaton commits suicide. Because that’s what he’s done by targeting Madeline’s henchmen.

He was waiting to do it. He knew that everything would end like this, and he wanted to go killing as many as he could, sending a message, he just stayed alive until he achieved his goal so that his family was safe when he left. Because he knew there was no other choice, Madeline would kill him anyway, and he wasn’t going to allow it.  He would leave, but on his own terms and in his own way. And I will miss him a little bit.

Tasha can’t help but gasp in horror. Despite his betrayal, she understands what Keaton has done, why he has done it, and they have lived through so many things together, they really appreciated each other…and now he’s dead. That leaves her alone with Madeline. She, with a satisfied smile, makes them tie her up. It’s then when an interesting confrontation between them arises.

BLINDSPOT — “Brass Tacks” Episode 509 — Pictured: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Madeline Burke — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers)

There’s something…personal between them. Madeline bet on Tasha from the beginning, even knowing that she couldn’t trust her, she saw something in her, she saw herself reflected in Tasha…and Tasha also felt that, that she and Madeline are more alike than she’s willing to admit and hates it. She hates that and hates her. So it’s personal. Even more so now that, as we speculated in the previous review, Madeline blames Tasha for her son turning against her.

It’s then when both press the weak points of the other. Madeline attacks Tasha in her heart: all her partners are dead. Including Reade…Reade who was much more than a partner…was the love of her life. Here Madeline plays with Tasha’s guilt and the feeling that she destroys everything she touches. Tasha is not far behind and also shoots Madeline’s heart directly naming the only person capable of affecting her: her son.

How were she able to do that to her son? Is it really worth it? She’s the only reason that her son, in the last moments that he could be himself, hated her. That really affects Madeline, she is incapable of loving anyone…except her son…but she chosen her mission before him, is it really worth it? And Madeline can’t help but wonder about just that as she carries on with her plan.

CONCLUSION

Boom! Just, boom! What an episode! They have left me speechless. It was AWESOME. Really, after watching the episode yesterday I knew I was going to need time to recover and write down everything I had to say, it’s so fucking intense! This.  This is why Blindspot has us from the first second.

The episode is the perfect mix of emotion, mystery, secrets and surprises. It’s a masterful way to blow our heads off. Blindspot has been able to interweave and enhance all its strengths to play a perfect melody. The way in which the emotions, farewells, even manipulation and weaknesses of each character, together with the shock of the end are connected is masterful. They have left us with our mouths open and crying.

They have touched our hearts, they have made us shout “NOOO!” to the screen (I hope it wasn’t just me) but they’ve also kept us on edge with one revelation after another of the secrets that had held everything together so far. They have literally blown everything up. Everything we thought we knew, what we clung to, even hope…the game has completely changed and everything seems to have ended but, in fact, it has only just begun. It’s one of the best episodes of the show and there’re only three episodes left, I can’t wait to see what awaits us!

PS: I was curious about Tasha’s attitude when Patterson gave her the device to communicate. As soon as she saw that it was a pet that had to be cared for, she related it to her baby and felt attacked. Tasha thought that Patterson doesn’t trust her abilities as a mother and has become defensive. It’s a curious and enlightening attitude of Tasha. I think that she doesn’t trust about her abilities as a mother, she’s afraid…that’s why she cannot bear to be reminded by someone. I think we’ll see more of this in the remaining episodes.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t hesitate to share your opinion with us in the comments below! We’ll be back next week with duoble episode 5×09 “Brass Tacks” and 5×10 “Love You to Bits and Bytes”.

Blindspot airs Thursday at 8 / 7c on NBC.

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