Heroes with memory loss seem to be a big thing these days. The Bourne Identity is the most notable story featuring this trope, but earlier this summer the Syfy show Dark Matter was built around a similar premise with a spaceship crew who had their memories wiped, and now Blindspot, a show featuring a memory wiped Navy SEAL, has hit the fall TV rotation.
The pilot for the series was fast paced with a lot of material to get through in an hour. Jane Doe had to be discovered, her handler FBI Special Agent Kurt Weller had to be brought in, and then they have to race to stop a plot that they decode from one of the tattoos that cover all of Jane’s body. Weller ends up assigned to Jane Doe’s case because his name is tattooed on her back (in her blind spot, get it?), and Doe proves essential to the team, at least on the first mission, by being able to speak a strange dialect of Chinese that let’s her decode a tattoo and help track down a Chinese terrorist whose aim is to attack New York City. She also showcases some kick-ass combat skills which will undoubtedly make her useful in the long run.
As an aside, it was nice to see a terrorist bomber who wasn’t a fundamentalist Muslim. Like I always say, diversity is important.
I had this show on my radar largely because I’m a big fan of Jaimie Alexander (because who isn’t?), and I was hopeful that this would be a good vehicle for her. So far I’m optimistic. Like I said, the pilot is very fast paced and as a result the character development is very economical, mostly played out through whatever could be conveyed in an action sequence rather than through long stints of dialogue. But Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton (who plays Kurt Weller) have solid chemistry, and I think they form a strong base for the show to work with. The premise is also very interesting in and of itself. The allure of the puzzle that is Jane Doe’s past and why she would have all of this information tattooed on her body is pretty compelling.
The first “case of the week” was okay but also fairly straight forward, not hugely interesting. My hope is that now that some of the necessary background information for the characters and the plot has been conveyed in the pilot, the plots surrounding the individual cases can be given more room. I expect more character development as the show goes on, and I think that will improve things as well. As Jane Doe remembers more, I think she’ll become a more compelling character, and of course her new self having to face her past (whenever that occurs) will create some interesting tension.
The trick with shows like these, and where I hope things don’t fall flat, is that the payoff surrounding the mystery of the tattoos has to be really good. It’s the sort of mystery that will keep the show compelling for a good chunk of time but could also ruin the whole thing if it’s ultimately not interesting or well executed. Hopefully the writers know what they’re doing on that front.
One smaller thing I liked about the show was actually its use of locations. The first episode took place in New York City, and the locations they used felt like real New York locations. The apartment in Chinatown they visit was appropriately small and grungy, the street scenes felt like real street scenes, and the safe house where Jane Doe is living feels like it could be a real safe house. Often shows set in New York will just go for giving the city a really glam vibe by having all of the characters live in or investigate really nice home and office spaces. As a New Yorker it was refreshing to see a show that at least tried to take a bit more realism into consideration when choosing shooting locations.
Overall I’m happy with this show so far, and I’m curious to see where it’s headed. If you want a solid action thriller in your life, I can certainly recommend this one.