Blindspot S1: E10 ‘Evil Handmade Instrument’ Review

Blindspot S1: E10 ‘Evil Handmade Instrument’ Review

By Amanda Joyce November 25, 2015 08:30AM EST
80% Review Score: 8 / 10
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NBC Universal Television
Blindspot (2015)

After losing David (Joe Dinicol) last week, Patterson (Ashley Johnson) is bound and determined to catch the people responsible. Connected to his death might be a spy ring that Jane (Jaimie Alexander) and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) go up against with the rest of the team in this midseason finale.


**Spoiler Alert**

This review contain spoilers for S1E10 of Blindspot. Read at your own risk.


The Good

So much Cold War spy tactics. Modern movies and television like to go high tech for most of their spy tactics, but this episode takes us back to tricks of the Cold War trade with the cyphers, library books, and even aconite (instead of cyanide) capsules in teeth. It’s like something out of another era, and it’s great! Russia might not appreciate the US always painting them as the bad guy, but historically, they’re a narratively safe choice for movies and TV, so it’s always interesting to see someone take a new spin on an old story.

Ashley Johnson is heartbreaking. Johnson as Patterson is playing someone using her work to distract her from the grief she’s feeling, and she’s fantastic. In every scene she’s in, you can see it bubbling just under the surface as she pushes herself to work harder, or she blows up in anger, or she holds herself back from breaking down. She’s excellent at the emotional scenes.

NBC Universal Television


But she is also excellent in interrogation. Patterson doesn’t usually get to be involved with suspects. She’s in a room, staring at a computer, and relaying information to the team. Her waltzing into interrogation and taking charge of the questioning with impeccable bluffs combined with the evidence she’s uncovered showed a fire we haven’t seen in the character before, and it was amazing.

Flowers as coded messages. Definitely an interesting choice for a television show to use, and to have it further complicated by the flowers using some sort of binary code, is really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a modern spy story that’s used flowers for code before.

Carter kidnapping Jane. His methods are a little extreme in trying to get information out of Jane, but at least he wasn’t solely appearing in this episode to get under Mayfair’s skin. We got to see just what kind of man he is, and what he’s willing to do to protect his career. Of course, he pays for that need to save his career with his life.

Everything was Jane’s plan. Talk about an interesting cliffhanger for an episode. Jane is rescued only to be shown a recording of herself telling her that being sent to the FBI with her tattoos and her memory wiped was all her plan. It’s an idea that was floated back when she was first found, but it felt like the show was getting further and further away from that possibility until that reveal.

The pacing. The pacing in this episode is intense, even for Blindspot. It’s hard to look away from any of the scenes. The emotional beats, the exposition, the chases, and the fight scenes, all work together instead of pulling from one another.


The Bad

Lots of “thought process” flashbacks. It almost feels like this was conceived as a midseason premiere instead of a midseason finale with the number of flashbacks we have, especially from characters other than Jane, to remind us of the events of the previous nine episodes. With this airing with the first batch of episodes, the reminders of how David died, what he meant to Patterson, Zapata refusing to place a listening device in Jane’s safehouse, etc are unnecessary.

Zapata prints out a letter of resignation. Unable to deal with what she’s done in taking money in exchange for spying on Jane, she decides it’s better to quit the FBI altogether. It seems like an obvious play by the writers in an episodes that introduces a brand new special agent that could easily replace her, and I wish we’d seen them take another route instead. Of course, with Carter dead, maybe she’ll never turn it in.

NBC Universal Television



Tattoos Unpuzzled

Last week’s episode had us sitting at 16, and with this week continuing on from that storyline, we got no new tattoos. Maybe not a huge surprise since Patterson was distracted by other things.


Grading the episode: Not my favorite of the season so far, but still an incredibly strong episode. The show hit some serious forward momentum on the Jane Doe puzzle and delivered a fun and fascinating case of the week, all while Ashley Johnson carried the emotional weight of the episode. This chapter, hands down, belonged to her, and she delivered. B+

Note: Blindspot will return with all new episodes in February.

Tags: Blindspot (2015), Jaimie Alexander, Ashley Johnson, Audrey Esparza, Sullivan Stapleton
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Having graduated with a BS in Psychology in 2008, Amanda opted not to pursue a scientific field, but freelance writing instead. A bit of a pop culture junkie, ...
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