“Senile Lines” solves a tattoo, reveals Shepherd (Michelle Hurd)’s next move (more or less), and has Reade (Rob Brown) finally prepared to face his demons, all while the team is under investigation by ADA “Whiny” Weitz (Aaron Abrams).
The episode’s a slow burn at best, even given Abrams’ usual charisma — and a strange send-off for a character that we wanted to see a lot more from.
We’ve finally got Roman (Luke Mitchell) where we wanted him: Out in the field, being awesome. Weller initially intended to use Roman only for Sandstorm-related field work, but Jane (Jaimie Alexander) insists he needs more, to feel like a real part of the team. Nas (Archie Panjabi) backs her up, and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) has the good sense to listen to these smart people he’s surrounded himself with.
One of Jane’s tattoos relates to a nonprofit called Life Prospect Inc., whose shady shell-corp financial dealings muddy the waters. The team finally finds a connection when a 16-year-old foster kid jumps (or is thrown) from the window of a foster home that Life Prospect owns. Prior to her death, Amber Wallace was growing increasingly erratic in her social media posts, with talk of the devil chasing her. The teams moves in to investigate — but find the other six foster kids and their foster mom, Carol, missing when they arrive.
One of the missing kids is caught on a security camera trying to steal a cell phone from a bodega, and the team brings him in. In short order, Eli reveals that foster mom Carol has been forcing strange meds on the kids, insisting it would make them feel “better” — erratic behavior and death notwithstanding. (Some parents do set the bar a bit lower than others.) After testing the drug, Patterson determines that it’s kinda an anti-depressant, with some awfully shady side effects, that hasn’t yet been brought to market.
Turns out foster kids make for excellent/illegal drug-trial subjects. Who’s gonna miss ’em, right? (Carol locks down her Worst Foster Mom of the Year Award when we learn she reads the kids a bedtime story before they’re put to sleep — permanently.) Since Amber’s death, the cabal of evil pharmaceutical warlocks (er, doctors and R&D types) want to get rid of the remaining “evidence.”
Weller and the team storm in, kick some evil Big Pharma ass, and Roman rescues a gaggle of adorable foster kids under heavy fire. Despite all his talk about being bad to the bone, he keeps proving otherwise… So far. (Sorry, “Blindspot,” but we know how you roll.) It’s an interesting insight into his and Jane’s shared childhood and trauma, but we have to say: Big Pharma is already an obvious villain, so to have them all but chortling over putting kids down is a little bit on the nose.
The Team Under Investigation
Weitz has an obnoxious go at everyone but the janitor: Patterson, Zapata, Jane, Weller are all paraded into the conference room, one by one. And while the subject of this investigation is meant to be the team’s apparent collusion with Sandstorm, Weitz comes across a lot more like the nerdy high school hall monitor who’s a little too obsessed with everyone else’s hook-ups — even though they number far fewer than he seems to be willing to accept. Get out much, Weitz?
Weller, being Weller, decides to fall on his sword and take one for the team. He figures it’s on him that the team is taking this much heat — between Shepherd funding his education, losing so many Feds in the raid on the Sandstorm compound, and so on and so on — and he’s all set to come clean with Weitz…
Until Nas beats him to it. In her deposition, she takes full responsibility for pretty much everything that’s gone wrong. Weitz isn’t falling for it, but she points out how bringing her in would be quite a coup — and a sure thing, to boot — whereas when Weller brings Sandstorm down any day now, Weitz will look like an even bigger douche than he already does.
Weller’s not happy about Nas’s sacrifice, but she reminds him that the team needs him to get to the end zone on Shepherd. If this is really it for Nas, it’s something of an inglorious send-off. Having watched her fend off that piano wire backseat attack with some epic ninja moves just a few episodes back, only to now see her defer to a bureaucrat, is super, extra unsatisfying.
After getting worked over in the alleyway, Reade seems ready to see the light — by way of a sweet, well-meaning Iraq veteran named Travis (Garrett Dillahunt). Travis, whose liver and kidneys aren’t doing so well since he’s spent the last decade trying to obliterate his gruesome wartime memories, recognizes the signs of PTSD in Reade.
Travis has the “cheerfully down-trodden yet rife with wisdom” thing going on, and he tells Reade that he’s basically gotta deal with his crap rather than bury it. Travis recounts his own experiences with a shrink who forced him to look at photos of his dead war buddies: A seemingly harsh approach, but Travis explains that when he faced the ugliest stuff head on, he could move on. Reade actually starts to open up about the stuff with his coach, even mentioning the tape, and Travis suggests that when he’s ready to face that particular demon, he shouldn’t do it alone.
As much as this plotline was feeling really played out, the scene in which Reade finally calls Zapata over for moral support, to watch his coach’s sex tape while seated next to him, is absolutely a poignant result. It’s nice to see Rob Brown getting to do some nitty-gritty character work again after the unavoidably “Afterschool Special” path it took to get there.
Shepherd on the Move
The hour ends with a whiff of progress on the Sandstorm storyline: Shepherd is in Bangkok, making a sweeping proclamation about how she’s got the final piece of the puzzle to complete Phase 2… Which appears to involve a boggling amount of poison gas. Some flunkie wants to know if she needs that much, and she spits that she’s not paying him $20M to ask questions… But does recommend avoiding the western hemisphere for a while, all the same.
A very transitional episode, moving things along on several axes while also seeming to stand still. We’re overjoyed to be nearing Phase 2, whatever it turns out to be, and still quietly hoping this isn’t the last of Nas…
“Blindspot” airs Wednesdays at p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Four episodes remain in Season 2, with the finale airing May 17.