Review: Blindspot – A Stray Howl

The pilot episode of Blindspot was a little silly, suffered from a lack of attention to detail, and was hamstrung by having to set up the entire premise of the show. That said, it did manage to demonstrate that the overall concept held plenty of potential. Episode 2 – A Stray Howl, represented a vast improvement on what was previously established, delivering a much more focused story with an improved attention to detail and some kickass action scenes in that opportunitistc attritional style from the Bourne films.

In this episode the Tattoo of the WeekTM is a seemingly random sequence of letters, a sequence that can be decoded using the previous Tattoo of the WeekTM. Yup, solving one tattoo will give you the key to solving the next tattoo, whichever one that may be. The Tattoo of the WeekTM once unlocked leads our heroes to a disgruntled military drone pilot who has a serious case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but is receiving no support from the people who ordered him to pull the trigger. Not So Fun fact: PTSD in military drone pilots is a massive issue the world is struggling to deal with right now. This episode shows us that not only will the Blindspot tackle topical issues, but they will tackle them in a well thought out and respectful manner. And here I thought Blindspot was simply a remake of The Blacklist where James Spader has been replaced by an intricate tattoo map.

Photo from the episode "A Stray Howl"

Not only did this episode present a more focused story, it also saw a huge improvement in each an every character, with some odd quirks and backstory slowly being revealed, and a huge improvement in relationships and rapport between characters. Agent Weller’s cold dead eyes now come with an explanation, while his intelligence and charisma went on a trip to Pimp my Personality and came back slick paint job and shiny spinners. Agent Weller has a dark past but surprisingly it is not a secret past, and even more suprisingly, he is willing to open up about that secret past. Being open with character backstories is smart move by the writers, as the whole foundation of Blindspot is secrets, mysteries and subterfuge, and it could easily become another Lost where every secret had a secret backstory that you could only understand by continually rewatching the show and looking the one time that one character looked the wrong way at a smoke monster (at least that’s what I’ve been told, I never made it past Season 1).

Photo from the episode "A Stray Howl"
Much Brooding. Such Sadness

And the action, the sweet sweet action, where Jane Doe shows us that she can handle weapons with precision, can hold her own fighting hand to hand, and has some serious driving skills. The camera gets up close and personal, making every scene feel crowded and intense, and you really feel like you could be watching a Bourne film. I’m not sure what the budget is for this show, but they are getting some great mileage out of it. Hopefully they have enough to see them through for a whole season.

Photo from the episode "A Stray Howl"

Pilot episodes are notoriously average, so you should try your best not to judge an entire tv series by those first 20-40 minutes. Sometimes a tv series can take 16 episodes before its allowed to make the big reveal that most of their agents are actually Hydra agents. For Blindspot, I feel like if the second episode will be representative of the types of stories they will want to explore this season (just like it was for The Blacklist), though I am hesitant to make such a big call on a show I’m only just getting to know. My gut feel is that should always give a show at least three to five episodes to get its hooks into you, unless that show is Dads, in which case you did the right thing by throwing your TV out the window and setting it on fire after watching five minutes of that garbage.

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