Feb. 15’s “Borrow or Rob” offered up a refreshing deviation from the norm — skewing roughly 80 percent comic relief by way of long-time Screener favorite Rich Dotcom (Ennis Esmer)’s delightful return, 15 percent a killer Roman (Luke Mitchell) flashback that will eventually make things awful for Weller (Sullivan Stapleton)…
And five percent associated bummers, including Agent Reade (Rob Brown) suddenly getting into coke, thanks to recurring femme fatale Nikki (Meagan Kimberly Smith).
That means the majority is fun and games, not game-changer revelations — but that’s precisely the point of comic relief, the relief part. The stuff Sean Spicer actually says isn’t funny, but Melissa McCarthy’s takedown of him is. When life, or politics — or a show like this one, bless it, which wants so earnestly to comment on both — goes too long burying us beneath one dark twist after another, laughter gives us a much-needed reboot. It’s the water stop along that grueling uphill segment of the marathon, so drink up: Next week could have Shepherd (Michelle Hurd) straight-up strangling a kitten, after all. (And actually, the teaser for next week looks pretty much exactly that bad.)
One of Jane’s (Jaimie Alexander) the tattoos contains a cryptic equation within the seal of a secret academic society called Daedalus. Well, make that secret-ish society: A list of members isn’t too difficult to come by, and one of the names on the list is more than just familiar-ish to Weller.
Soon after, Rich Dotcom makes his characteristically spectacular grand re-entrance, resplendent in orange prison garb, a red habit, and prayer beads while clutching an assortment of holy texts. He’s found religion — all of them, by the looks of things — but in short order, his spiritual platitudes are set aside for shock at seeing the equation: It’s an algorithm predicting an outbreak of war, today. (This is a very, very “Rich Dotcom” plotline, and one of the million-and-one reasons to savor every moment we ever can get with him.)
Patterson (Ashley Johnson)’s already determined the equation is somehow linked to lithium, so they start piecing together who within the Daedalus group would most benefit from inciting a war with a lithium-producing country — a nice and very “Blindspot” nod toward acknowledging that most wars have as much to do with commandeering valuable resources as they do with territorial or ideological disputes.
Rich considers who within the group might be looking for massive quantities of lithium, and Zach Riley, Silicon Valley billionaire mogul extraordinaire, looks like a good candidate. Of course, Rich uses this opportunity to draw his ex Boston (Josh Dean) into the caper, for double the fun.
The team discovers Riley will be attending a Daedalus party this very evening, and what with the stars aligning like this — a predicted outbreak of war and a secret society party converging on the very same date, and the Daedalus shindig allowing for plus ones — it seems as good a time as any for a double date to get to the bottom of Riley’s evil plan. Patterson and Boston pair up, as do Rich and … wait for it … Kurt Weller.
The fabulous foursome descends on a Disney-fied “Eyes Wide Shut” party: Masked waiters, red-cloaked members eating exotic animal organs, nary an orgy in sight. To compensate for the lack of titillation, we get an adorable double act in Weller’s straight man (in more ways than one), checking Rich’s manic hijinks at every turn.
Rich enjoys a bit of retribution by forcing Weller to play along with a cover story that reduces Weller to a muscled male hustler. The piece de resistance? Weller and Rich taking to the dance floor, the better to monitor Riley’s activity. It’s everything we could have ever hoped for, and more: The show has flirted with some of this in the past, coming dangerously close to something really offensive, but of course no show that could come up with Rich in the first place would ever fall on its face. (Would that we could say the same of Reade’s storylines, which are generally bummers that do the show no favors.)
With the Riley angle seemingly hitting a dead end, we get a red herring dirty bomb subplot that Weller — with Patterson’s and Boston’s help — thwarts just in the nick of time… Before we get Riley crawling into a limo to speak with Borden (Ukweli Roach) about his arrangement with Shepherd, after all. Combined with Rich’s announcement that he knows the meaning behind yet another tattoo, it seems we’ll be seeing both of these gents again in the very near future — and at least one of ’em is bringing a good time with him.
In the overall Sandstorm storyline, we do see a few new puzzle pieces slide into place: Nas (Archie Panjabi) takes Jane and Roman (Luke Mitchell) on a tour of some of Shepherd’s former residences in hopes of triggering a memory or two, and Roman remembers killing Taylor Shaw’s mother Emma (Stephanie Roth Haberle) under Shepherd’s influence. Ouch.
Jane begs Roman to keep this to himself until she can tell Weller about it herself: After all, while Jane labored for a while under the perception that she is Taylor Shaw, Weller actually grew up with her, and knew the woman. But then, when the opportunity presents itself, Jane stays tight-lipped. Is she protecting Roman, or Weller? Knowing Jane, most likely both.
Leading up to this breakthrough, Roman struggles mightily wandering the halls of his possibly childhood homes, he’s upset precisely because he can’t remember it. And being at such radically different place in his journey than Jane, he’s furious that she isn’t furious — wrapped up in a poignant moment, as Jane looks on with an understanding that only these two can share. While they may not remember their childhood together, these blank-slate second lives have bonded them just as much — a neat twist on Season 1’s shadow games with Jane and Weller, in which his memories of (and love for) Taylor Shaw helped to form her current self.
Nas also researches the “Truman Protocol” Sean Clark (Kenneth Tigar) cryptically referenced in the last episode: It’s about a series of meetings that preceded the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima — and it quickly becomes obvious why Shepherd had to kill Clark before he spilled more about them: There are no files whatsoever remaining on the Truman Protocol. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Looks like the Rich Dotcom comedy hour was particularly well-timed, in light of next week’s preview: The tease is that one of them the team could go down permanently. But no matter what happens next, at least we got Weller twirling Rich on the dance floor, for one glorious moment.
“Blindspot” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.