We’re no closer to the truth about Jane Doe’s past on Blindspot but we’re now intimate with betrayal. How could you do this to me, Blindspot? How could you do this to Mystery Beard?
Spoilers for Blindspot episode 3, “Eight Slim Grins,” whatever the hell that means.
No, I whispered to myself five minutes into this week’s Blindspot. No, not Mystery Beard. Anyone but him! Everyone but him!
In the first real twist this show has twisted, the mysterious man from Jane’s past who has been lurking in the shadows finally came into the light and confronted her. They beat the crap out of each other for a bit, then Mystery Beard told Jane that she couldn’t trust “them”—the FBI, we presume? He was primed to spill some much-needed plot beans, when suddenly shots were fired through the window and down went Mystery Beard. I am at least 96% sure that he will stay dead.
Wow! This was a great moment because while Blindspot loves to murder characters just as they’re about to fill us in on the backstory, Mystery Beard seemed set up for a longer run. He spent the first two episodes stalking Jane, offing minor characters and appearing in her flashbacks. But maybe he’s not that important after all, and was just there to plant those seeds of trust-doubt and die. I hope we’ll still see his furry face in flashback form.
Commenter mrrpmrrpmrrpmrrp pointed out last week that Johnny Whitworth’s nameless character was actually billed as “Ruggedly Handsome Man” on IMDb (Mystery Beard only in my dreams). I see now that he was slotted for just two episodes. If I’d paid more attention to the credits, my heart might not feel so beardless and broken. Somehow we must soldier on.
“The test results are in. Turns out I’m one of the best things on this show and need more to do.”
After a promising start, the rest of the episode isn’t much to write home about. The ‘A’ plot of the week centers around some guys who commit robberies all over the world, known as “The Candymen” because they wear colorful ski masks (ooookay). One of them is wounded and captured and has a tattoo just like Jane’s Navy Seal tattoo. Turns out all the robbers are ex-Navy black ops (also like Jane?), on the lam and committin’ crimes because they’re bored. Do they know our erstwhile amnesiac heroine? We’re gonna spend the next hour trying to find out.
“Eight Slim Grins” featured several of the “Jane, stay in the car! Jane, stay here, it’s not safe! It’s for your own good, goddammit” Jane/Kurt scenes we’ve come to know and roll our eyes at. We know Jane’s not going to sit still and Agent Weller telling her to is code for “here comes a fight scene only Jane can fight, possibly while half-naked.” This has worn tiresomely thin, but at least we get some resolution: by the end of the episode Jane is given a gun and a place on the team, and hopefully is now cut from Weller’s apron strings. I can ignore the sheer implausibility (as Agent Reade, the lone voice of reason, points out) of a victim joining her investigation as a team-member if only to never have to listen to the “Jane, you can’t go in there” speech ever again.
“Bad Jane! No biscuit.”
The ‘A’ plot, which leads to a shoot-out in a besieged hospital, is a bloody mess, and an uninteresting one at that. The injured Candyman says he remembers Jane, mutters the cryptic word “Orion,” then dies, with far less shock and loss of sexy villainy than Mystery Beard.
We’re mostly treading water through all of this and waiting for the DNA results to come back on Jane. At the end, the results are in, and the mystery gets weirder: Jane is indeed Weller’s childhood friend Taylor Shaw, who went missing when he was 10. Where she has been since and how she became an unstoppable killing machine covered in awful tattoos is still unknown.
“If you’d read the IMDb credits, Kaila, you wouldn’t be hurting this way.”
This wasn’t a great hour of drama, but Blindspot, while sometimes seeming painfully paint-by-numbers, also manages to get in some surprises like Mystery Beard’s passing and revealing the Jane-as-Taylor story so early. The stage is also set for future betrayals as we learn that Command Lady Mayfair was involved in an operation called Daylight that was so shady anyone with knowledge of it (probably Jane) must be terminated. We had hints that Command Lady wasn’t quite kosher before, but I hope they let the badass Marianne Jean-Baptiste run wild with that storyline.
It will take a long time to heal the wounds of this episode and learn to trust and love again. Ruggedly Handsome Man, I hardly knew ye, but for the short span of three episodes, you were my favorite beard on television. Good night, sweet hirsute prince.