Blindspot finale recap: The team races to stop Madeline's Helios attack
I’ll be the first to admit that while I’ve enjoyed much of the fourth season of Blindspot, I was pretty consistently underwhelmed by the Madeline Burke story line. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio makes a great villain, but I was never all that invested in Madeline’s vague plans for… well, I don’t know what for, and that’s the point. Madeline’s motivations always felt elusive, and while that might make sense for a villain, a little clarity when it came to her evil vision could have gone a long way. That said, the two-part season 4 finale is a real barnburner, and immediately re-establishes Madeline as a villainous force I’m eager to see again.
“Masters of War” and “The Gang Gets Gone” work great as tandem episodes because of how they also stand as single thematic ideas. In “Masters of War,” we get the team hunting down leads in an attempt to stop the Helios attack. In “The Gang Gets Gone,” the team begins to falter, questioning not only each other’s loyalties, but also their own morality as officers of the law. It’s fascinating stuff. Where the first episode details why this team needs the ability to cross lines to get their jobs done, the second episode questions how anyone can do that and still hold on to their sense of self as a decent person.
At the top of the first episode, the team is desperate for a lead when it comes to Madeline’s associates, Barry and Dominic. Weitz is in the house, mostly fretting about “getting this win” so that he can look good and get hired as the new director of national intelligence, and that means he’s mostly distracting everyone else from doing their job. Nonetheless, they track Barry, who’s looking to pick up and release a viral contagion, to a house in Queens, only to show up and find Keaton with him. Apparently, Barry is ex-CIA, and Keaton just happened to locate him through some old communications. Nash, Keaton’s boss, shows up at the house too, and the teams fight over who gets to question Barry.
All that fighting is for naught. When they agree to go to a neutral location and interrogate together, the convoy gets ambushed. A couple of rockets into the side of an SUV, and Barry is dead, and the one lead the team had in relation to Helios is no more. But how did anyone know about the convoy? It seems Dominic is being fed intel by someone, meaning there’s a mole in the FBI or the CIA. With no leads in sight, the FBI brings in Madeline. She’s not much help either, though. She still insists she’s innocent, all while going on about some beef between the FBI and her father, who died when she was young.
Luckily, the team manages to catch Dominic on a security camera at the Belmore science lab, presumably where Barry was originally meant to pick up the virus. The drop, between Dominic and some young woman, only recently went down, so Jane and Weller rush to the scene to see if they can still find him there. That’s when we learn about the mole: Nash calls Dominic and tells him to get away from Belmore, and to try and keep the rest of their plans in order. This terrorist plot runs deep, and high up the chain of command within U.S. intelligence.
The team tracks down the woman who handed Dominic the package, and she’s completely mystified that she helped a terrorist. She thought Barry was working for the CIA, and that she was helping the government. It turns out she didn’t give him a pathogen, but rather a computer virus that can be used to knock out nuclear reactors or disable the security on a military base.
To Madeline’s credit, she eventually gives up Dominic’s private cell number after some serious pressure from Weller. The thing is, we know Madeline knows more. This one good deed must be part of the plan, or is at least innocuous enough to not make a difference in the grand scheme of Helios. Sure enough, after tracking the phone for a brief moment before Dominic realizes it, the team figures out his target: the NYIOC, which controls the power grid that keeps the entire country running. Dominic enters the building after killing an NYIOC employee at his home and stealing his credentials, kills everyone, and uploads the virus.
Patterson, Jane, Zapata, and Weller rush to fix it. Jane and Weller catch up with Dominic, who’s been texting his partner in crime Kathy the whole time, and kill him when he essentially sacrifices himself for the cause. That leaves Patterson to stop the grid from going down… but she can’t do it. Kathy blocks her attempts, and the lights go out on the entire Eastern Seaboard. Madeline’s evil grin closes out the first episode.
Things get a lot worse in the second episode. More of the grid starts to go out, and the team starts to fray at the seams. Reade lays into Weller for keeping Weitz’s secret about the drone strike, even if it was to protect Jane, and then he feels betrayed when he learns Patterson and Rich met with Kathy, and therefore have a personal phone number they can track. They track that phone to the Perlan Museum in Iceland. The rumor is that the museum sits atop a massive cryptocurrency mining operation, which is why Kathy and the key to stopping the attack could be there.
Everyone but Rich heads to Iceland, and that’s when things really go off the rails and Madeline’s true plan comes into focus. While the team is in the air, arguing about who crossed the wrong line and who didn’t, Madeline and her lawyer open up their own investigation into the FBI, alleging that the team has gone rogue and are actually responsible for the power grid attack. These allegations are bolstered by the new director of national intelligence — not Weitz, but Nash. Madeline owns him, and he agrees to tracking down the team and prosecuting them.
Rich, alone and hiding in a vent, warns the team. As soon as they land in Iceland they’ll be arrested, so there’s only one choice: to jump. They strap parachutes to their backs, jump out of the plane, and meet the delightfully named Ice Cream, one of Rich’s dark-web buddies, on the ground. He gives them the password to get into the cryptocurrency mine, and Patterson goes about trying to reverse the grid damage. Again, there’s a problem. Kathy has set up some program that then makes the attack worse, and Paris and London go dark. Add in the ransom demanded by Dominic showing up in accounts under each team member’s name, and security footage of Patterson, Jane, and Weller beneath the museum, and you have some pretty damning evidence to back up Madeline’s claims.
With the team all but busted and on the run, Jane and Weller send Patterson to the safe house while they improvise and stage a hostage situation in the museum to buy Patterson some time. Things go south when the Icelandic police raid the building and Jane and Weller are handcuffed and tossed into the back of a police van. A bad situation… except it was orchestrated by Ice Cream to get them out.
Everybody meets back at the safe house, but the damage has been done. Weitz, who’s under Madeline’s control because she has evidence about the drone strike cover-up, holds a press conference about the team being dangerous rogue agents. Then, to Weitz’s surprise, Madeline steps behind the podium and announces a new Civilian Oversight Committee for the FBI. All of this, from poisoning the HCI executives to planning Helios, was so that she could essentially take control of the FBI, the institution she holds responsible for killing her father and ruining her family. Now she has that control. Rich is taken to some place called the Boat, which seems less like a yacht and more like a place to use some shady interrogation techniques, and Nash manages to track down the team’s safe house.
Inside the safe house, the team makes up. They forgive each other for their past sins and reaffirm that any lines they cross, they do so in order to protect each other because they’re family. They all agree to get some sleep, and then set about crafting new identities and working to get their names cleared so that they can return to the U.S. and take Madeline down. Zapata even puts her hand on Reade’s; everyone is together again.
Jane takes the first watch outside the safe house, and Nash orders a drone strike, one confirmed by the nod of Madeline’s head. Weitz watches in disbelief as the new “FBI” launches a drone strike against the team. As Jane turns and looks at the house, a smile on her face because they’re all together and that’s how they’ll beat Madeline, the strike hits. The house explodes into a million pieces, nothing but fire and debris. And the episode cuts to the credits.
My God. What an ending. Is there a chance the team somehow hid in the tunnels underneath the safe house, the ones Ice Cream mentioned “collapse all the time”? Will anybody survive this? Will the final season be Jane seeking revenge alone, looking to clear the names of the people who brought her back from being a blank slate of a person? So many questions, and so many months until we get the fifth and final season. The wait is already too much to bear.
The following post contains major spoilers for Blindspot‘s final season premiere. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, avert your eyes!
If TVLine polls could influence the fictional events of television shows, Blindspot‘s final season premiere would have come and gone without a single character death. Earlier this week, we asked you to guess which character on the NBC drama might perish in the first episode of Season 5, following a drone strike that could have killed Weller, Patterson, Reade and/or Zapata — and most of you didn’t think any characters would actually die.
But, as revealed in Thursday’s heartbreaker of a premiere, it was Reade who lost his life in that explosion. Via flashbacks, we watched as the FBI team — sans Jane, who was already out of the safe house — tried to escape to the underground tunnels running beneath their cabin, having been alerted by FBI Director Matthew Weitz about Madeline Burke’s imminent drone strike. Despite the team’s hustle, though, the explosion left them pretty banged up, and Reade was ultimately crushed by debris after he shifted his weight a bit to facilitate Zapata’s escape.
Most of the episode, however, took place two months after the explosion. After keeping their distance from each other for eight weeks (very timely!), the team reconvened at a Cold War bunker in Prague, prompted by a New York City incident in which one of Jane’s tattoos suddenly appeared on Times Square’s digital billboards. They were also tasked with breaking Rich Dotcom out of the CIA black site where he was being held (which they did successfully), and they agreed to stick together in Prague until they’ve gotten revenge on Madeline. (Madeline, meanwhile, has hired a scary-looking team of mercenaries to find the rogue agents, since she feels that Weitz is “unmotivated” to do it himself.)
Below, series creator Martin Gero explains, among other things, why Reade was the premiere casualty and how his death prompts “amazing stories” in the final season.
TVLINE | Walk me through how you came to the decision to lose Agent Reade. Had there previously been conversations with Rob Brown about him leaving the show, or was this just the best creative decision?
It was a little of both. There were some business reasons why we needed to probably lose a lead character this season, and that started driving the conversation. And then creatively, we started to talk about who that would need to be. What would impact the story in a great way for the last season? As you get deeper into the season, I think you’ll see why it needed to be Reade for a bunch of reasons. His death plants a seed that ripples off into a bunch of amazing stories that we couldn’t necessarily do if someone else died. And they’re such a great cast. Everyone that was in the building that exploded came to me between seasons and was like, “Listen, if it’s me [who gets killed off], I totally get it. Let’s just make it cool.” Rob couldn’t have been more gracious about it. And this is a mild spoiler, but this isn’t the last we’ll see of Rob on Blindspot. The character is very much dead; it’s not a misdirect or anything. But we’re a show that occasionally does flashbacks, so he’ll still be a part of the season.
TVLINE | I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical that Reade was really dead, until I saw that death scene in the debris and realized how final it was. Was that part of the intention behind that scene? To make clear to viewers that he’s really gone?
Very much so. The reason the storytelling in that first episode is so non-linear is because originally, my instinct — which was immediately proven wrong by everybody [Laughs] — was to just pick up right there [with Reade’s death] at the beginning of the episode. And even just talking about how that scene would be, we were all just so bummed out. It was so rough and depressing, and we were like, “That’s a terrible way to start an episode, let alone a season. I don’t think we can recover from that.” The idea quickly became that we had to put it toward the end of the episode, because then we don’t have to rush it. We can give it the time — not only a whole act to show what happened, but then an act afterward — to really show them grieving about it. And they continue to grieve.
We got Mark Pellington, who directed the pilot, to come in and do this episode. It just felt like this is one we really needed to not f—k up. It needed to be one of our best episodes. And I’m into this show, I love this show, but I’ve never cried during a rough cut when I first watch the show. [Laughs] I just thought Audrey [Esparza, who plays Zapata] and Rob did such an incredible job. They all did an incredible job in that sequence, and I think it leaves no doubt that he is very much dead.
TVLINE | How did the cast react when they found out who died? Did any of them have warning before they got the premiere script?
I let everyone know [beforehand]. It’s complicated, but it was a decision we had made pre-pickup [for the final season]. We had talked about it like, “If there is a Season 5, this is how it will play out.” We pitched NBC this configuration of it. We wanted it to be our final season, we wanted it to be 11 episodes. This is how we wanted to go out. So, the second we got the pickup, I let Rob know first and then told the rest of the cast. Everyone knew from jump what was happening.
This season is about goodbye. It’s a long goodbye, and it’s about how finite the show is, and also how finite our lives are… It allowed us to elevate the storytelling in a way. The jeopardy that every character on this show is suddenly under really charges the show in an exciting way. And look, I’m not gonna single out a show, but there have been some shows that ended that maybe didn’t take as big a swing as people would have liked. And you’re trying to thread that needle of not killing enough characters or killing too many. [Laughs] It is a balance. But it’s an ending. And there’s no bigger ending than the death of a character to remind you, “This is ending for all of us.” That was the idea behind the Rob of it all.
TVLINE | Should we be concerned about Zapata moving forward? She’s obviously got the support of the team, but it doesn’t seem like she’s in a great place, emotionally, during this premiere.
They’re all dealing with it differently. We’re doing some interesting stuff with her storyline, and what it’s got to do with her grieving for Reade. In some ways, it’s really nice, because this is probably the highest-stakes season we’ve done, it’s got the most conflict in a season that we’ve done — however, because there’s so much external conflict, it really has allowed us to eliminate the interpersonal conflict with the team, which, to be honest, is what our audience wants. [Laughs] They hate when our team isn’t getting along. This allowed us to have incredible unity among the surviving characters for the rest of the season. It’s actually our most hopeful and most emotionally uplifting season in a lot of ways.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about Madeline Burke a little bit, since she’s only gotten more powerful in this episode. Is it fair to say she’ll be wreaking havoc for all 11 episodes of this season?
Yeah. She is our Big Bad this year, that’s for sure. We’re not going to be back on the FBI sets in Episode 3. This season is about us clawing our way back, so much so that we had to build this enormous Prague bunker. Which is not a thing a show usually does in its fifth and final season! But we needed a brand-new home set, you know? Our art department team, which is incredible, built this phenomenal bunker for us to film in because that’s going to be their home for most of the season.
TVLINE | I’m also really loving Matthew Weitz’s dynamic with Afreen in this episode. But can we trust Weitz right now?
I think you can! We now have such a long and complicated relationship with Weitz. He started off as a bad guy that was kind of a good guy, and then he was a bad guy again, and maybe he’s a good guy now. It became clear to us as we started breaking stories that we needed Weitz to play a much bigger role this season because he’s got the physical proximity to Madeline. And not only that, but him and Afreen — we needed to have a resistance inside the FBI. They play a huge part over the entire season.
TVLINE | I’m going to jump very far ahead now, but since you’ve wrapped production on the show already: Give me your best teaser for the series finale.
It is our biggest episode since the pilot, but not for the reasons you’d think. [Laughs] Because of how logistically complicated it was, we actually shot that final episode off and on for two-and-a-half months, kind of in between all of the episodes — and again, I think you’ll see why. It is a very loving episode. When we sat down and said, “What are the things that we want to see out of a finale?,” we were able to hit almost all of the things. The finale is action-packed. It’s also filled with an enormous amount of heart and emotion and ends, in my opinion, in an incredibly satisfying, full-circle way. I think it’s a really unique episode.
[The final season] is designed as a thank you to our fans. I know that sounds weird, because we are killing some characters. But emotionally, the show is going to be incredibly fulfilling this season. It has some high highs, it has some low lows. But this is uncut Blindspot. [Laughs] The fact that we were only allowed to do 11 episodes instead of 22 — the season flies by. Everything you love about the show, you’ll get to live it one last time as we say goodbye.
Your turn! What did you think of Blindspot‘s final season premiere? Did Reade’s death take you by surprise? Grade the episode in our poll below, then hit the comments with your reactions!
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Jane awakes surrounded by her concerned teammates.
She remembers everybody because she was given an experimental antidote Patterson developed. The new director Grigoryan has assigned new people to track down Ivy.
The team has received immunity deals but they can't work for the government ever again. But they've got clean slates. Ivy got away with one ZIP bomb and has stayed in the country rather than flee.
Grigoryan agrees to reactivate them for one last mission. Ivy is meeting with a bombmaker, Jesse Thomas. Jane is hallucinating people from her past, including her brother Roman.
Since Jane thinks she's dying, he convinces her to go after Ivy on her own. Weller and Zapata go after her. Jane arrives at the cathedral where Patterson and Rich sent Weller and Zapata.
Jane isn't dying. She just needs a bigger dose of the antidote.
The rest of the team searches for Ivy. Jane needs to sort through the hallucinations to determine where Ivy is so she stops the antidote, even though the ZIP might kill her.
She confronts her hallucinations who show her where she needs to go. Then she tells the team she knows where the bomb is. The hallucinations point Jane toward the right trash can in Times Square.
Zapata takes down Ivy but she's tripped the detonator. Patterson and Rich have them cut the green wires. The team gets a round of applause when they return to headquarters.
Jane gets the antidote in time.
The team catches up at a later holiday meal. Patterson and Rich are hunting for gold, Kurt and Jane are fostering children, and new mother Zapata is a private eye.
They get their happy ending.
- Blindspot Season 5
- Episode Number:
Episode 23Why Await Life’s End
Blindspot Season Finale Recap: Digging for SecretsPrediction: Next season will open with Jane in a cross-examination room.
Episode 22If Love a Rebel, Death Will Render
Blindspot Recap: Going RogueMarianne Jean-Baptiste is one of Blindspot’s few true talents.
Episode 21Of Whose Uneasy Route
Blindspot Recap: LockdownMayfair will soon have to bring Daylight into sun.
Episode 20Swift Hardhearted Stone
Blindspot Recap: The Haunting of MayfairMaybe Jane should moonlight as an FBI psychologist.
Episode 19In the Comet of Us
Blindspot Recap: Secret Morning RoutinesA nonlinear story line makes this week’s episode feel crumpled.
Episode 18One Begets Technique
Blindspot Recap: The Return of Rich DotcomThis episode is wildly entertaining and really dumb.
Episode 17Mans Telepathic Loyal Lookouts
Blindspot Recap: Scavenger HuntThis week, loony little Patterson is up to bat.
Episode 16Any Wounded Thief
Blindspot Recap: Jane Gets HersAnybody want to solve a crossword puzzle?
Episode 15Older Cutthroat Canyon
Blindspot Recap: The Devil in the DetailsJane is finally introduced to bigger pieces of her past life.
Episode 14Rules in Defiance
Blindspot Recap: Jane Takes a BreakJaimie Alexander is pretty good at pull-ups.
Episode 13Erase Weary Youth
Blindspot Recap: Double-Agent ManThe slimy Jonas Fisher returns to lead a witch hunt.
Episode 12Scientists Hollow Fortune
Blindspot Recap: Where Jane DiedWhen Blindspot broods, it’s too corny to take seriously.
Episode 11Cease Forcing Enemy
Blindspot Recap: A Literal CrossroadsThank you for foiling any future sloppy Weller kisses, Tree Tattoo.
Episode 10Evil Handmade Instrument
Blindspot Recap: You Did This to Yourself, JaneDo I have Stockholm syndrome, or were the final five minutes of this midseason finale actually delightful?
Episode 9Authentic Flirt
Blindspot Recap: Bye-Bye, Lover BoysAlmost everyone acts like someone they are not in this episode of Blindspot.
Episode 8Persecute Envoys
Blindspot Recap: Jane’s Night OutWeller made a joke! And he smiled!
Episode 7Sent on Tour
Blindspot Recap: The Truth Is Called DaylightWas there a time warp last night, or did Blindspot dump two hours of semi-coherent information into one?
Episode 6Cede Your Soul
Blindspot Recap: Jane Has a Sex DreamThis show is too thin to be so complicated, and too complicated to be so boring.
Episode 5Split the Law
Blindspot Recap: Bait and SwitchThis week’s episode title, “Split the Law,” is an anagram of “Will the past.”
Episode 4Bones May Rot
Blindspot Recap: Back to the Jane Doe Drawing BoardBlindspot is an increasingly pleasurable show to watch. Pleasurable like playing a game of Scrabble with someone who has trouble spelling.
Episode 3Eight Slim Grins
Blindspot Recap: Call Me TaylorFinally, Blindpsot has begun to hit its stride.
Episode 2A Stray Howl
Blindspot Recap: So Many FlashbacksOn to the next tattoo.
Blindspot Season Premiere Recap: So Much HuggingWill Jane become capable of an expression other than doe-eyed?
Recaps blindspot episode
Tonight on NBC Blindspot airs with an all-new Thursday, July 23, 2020, episode, and we have your Blindspot series finale recap below. In tonight’s Blindspot season 5 episode 11 called “Iunne Ennui” as per the CBS synopsis “The 100th and final episode. Turn off your mind relax and float downstream, it is not dying. It is not dying.”
Blindspot the season 5 episode 11 airs at 9 PM – 10 PM ET on NBC. Make sure to bookmark this spot and come back for our Blindspot recap! While you wait for the recap make sure to check out all our Blindspot recaps, news, spoilers & more!
Tonight’s Blindspot Recap begins now – Refresh Page often to get the most current updates!
Jane later woke up at the hospital. She didn’t know why she was there and so the team explained to her what happened. They told her that she went after Ivy. Ivy sensing that she was in danger had decided to set off one of the ZIP bombs and so Jane contained herself with the smoke in order to stop the spread. She saved the team from being wiped. Jane also saved herself it seems because her memories were just fine. She remembered everyone and most importantly she remembered herself. Jane was okay. She couldn’t wait to join the team again and unfortunately, they had bad news for her.
There wasn’t a team. Not anymore. The team had been fired by the FBI and they were prohibited from joining any other federal form of government. They were now civilians. They were civilians when they were alerted that they had underestimated Ivy. They thought she would make a run for it now that she doesn’t have the ZIP anymore and it turns out she still has some ZIP. There were thirty canisters on the roster, but the team only recovered twenty-nine. This meant there was one more ZIP canister out there. It was in Ivy’s position and Ivy was going to use it. She’s still a terrorist after all. She plans on causing terror.
Patterson and Weller went to the new director. Director Arla Grigoryan was the same person that fired them and they still had to go here because they have urgent news. They have proof that Ivy is still a threat. She was in New York and so it could be reasoned that she would use the canister in New York. Grigoryan said she would put her best people on it. Weller told her that they were her best people and that they could potentially waste hours bringing new people in. Weller and Patterson asked to be the ones to run it. They said their team knew Dabbur Zann and how to take them down. They eventually got Grigoryan to see their side.
Grigoryan agreed the team could run this one last case. It was up to them to stop Ivy and her people. Except Grigoryan also added certain conditions. She said the team was going to run everything by her and that she would make the call. She even repeated what she said after Jane had made a hunch. Jane saw a map of where Ivy’s cell phone was pinging and she automatically deduces where Ivy was. Jane was once a terrorist herself. She knew what sort of location that Ivy was looking for and it sucks that her hunches weren’t good enough for Grigoryan. Grigoryan wanted concrete proof. Not hunches.
Grigoryan rejected what Jane had said because there was nothing backing it up. Jane felt dejected and she hallucinated seeing all the previous FBI directors telling her that she was wrong. She later went to the bathroom to wash her face. She thought she was stressed and it wasn’t until she saw Roman that she realized that her hallucination could mean something more. Like what if she’s dying again. Jane last started hallucinating when she was dying from ZIP poisoning and, while she did receive an antidote, Roman told her that it wasn’t sticking. Roman or her hallucination of him had told her that she was dying. And she came to think it as well once her hallucinations continued.
Jane saw all of her old foes. She saw her ex-fiancée. She saw Hank Crawford and Madeline Burke. She also saw her mother. They all tried to tell her to follow her instincts. They pushed her into going to the location where she believed Ivy was hiding. Ivy had made it out with the ZIP bomb, but Jane found her goons and she killed one of them. Jane was still talking to herself when the rest of the team came in. They quickly realized what was wrong and they brought her back to headquarters so that she could see the doctor there. Jane was in fact dying from the ZIP. She needed another dose of the antidote and so she agreed to take it.
Jane was taking the antidote when she had another hallucination. This time the hallucination held valuable information. It reminded her that she had overheard Ivy’s plan to use the ZIP and that’s why Ivy had drugged her. Jane actually knows where the ZIP is going to be used. She just has to remember it and so that meant she needed to keep having the hallucinations. Jane agreed to quite the antidote. She wanted to remember and the antidote would only have hindered her. Jane didn’t tell anyone on her team that she was risking her life to solve the case. She kept her secrets and she didn’t know fact from fiction anymore.
Nas had visited the team. She brought valuable information from the NSA and Jane had initially believed she was a hallucination as well. It wasn’t until Patterson hugged Nas that Jane realized Nas was real. Jane managed to cover up her confusion at first by claiming she had a headache and so Nas left with Patterson while Jane followed her hallucinations. Jane followed a rabbit she saw. She followed it into a deserted area at headquarters. She then saw all the villains she ever took down and they helped her remember. She remembered that Ivy mentioned Times Square. Ivy was going to set off her bomb in the biggest area of New York City.
Jane still hadn’t taken the antidote. She let the hallucinations guide her to the bomb and thankfully her plan worked. She did find the bomb. Zapata found Ivy and she also cleared out Times Square. Jane was soon joined by Weller. They alone were left with the bomb and together they defuse it. They stopped Ivy from flooding Times Square with ZIP. The team once again saved the day, but Jane had gone without the antidote for too long and she quickly died in the same place where she was technically born as Jane Doe.
She arrived in a bag and she left in a bag.
The following post contains major spoilers for Blindspot‘s series finale. Proceed with caution!
In the end, Blindspot concluded the same way it began: with Jane Doe stuffed in a bag in the middle of Times Square. This time, though, she wasn’t emerging from an unmarked duffel; rather, police were zipping her up in a body bag as the show came to an end.
The NBC drama aired its 100th and final episode on Thursday night, which culminated with a (seemingly) devastating twist. Even though Jane and Weller successfully defused a ZIP bomb that Ivy Sands had planted in New York — which would have wiped countless memories across the city — it was revealed in the final scene that Jane ultimately succumbed to the ZIP poisoning she’d encountered at the end of Episode 10.
Though Patterson had administered an antidote to Jane after she got ZIP-ed, the cure simply wasn’t strong enough for Jane, who’d previously been exposed to so much ZIP years ago that this new dose affected her much more than the average person. To that end, as a result of the ZIP poisoning, Jane spent the entire finale hallucinating people from her past — and we’re talking virtually everyone who has ever appeared on the show, including Roman, Shepherd, Dr. Borden and many more.
Jane was a little freaked by the visions at first, knowing they were a sign of her impending, ZIP-induced death. But when she realized the hallucinations were helping her figure out and stop Ivy’s plan, she decided to forgo a second injection of Patterson’s antidote and keep the hallucinations around… until, apparently, it was too late to receive the ZIP cure.
For series creator Martin Gero, however, Blindspot‘s ending isn’t quite so black and white. TVLine spoke with the EP after screening the finale, and he offered some insights on Jane’s fate, as well as the “overwhelming” experience of shooting an episode that brought back dozens of previous cast members. Read on for his breakdown of Blindspot‘s final hour.
TVLINE | You’ve spoken before about your initial plan for Blindspot, including the big twists that you’d envisioned when you first pitched the show. How much of the finale was in your head from Day 1? Did you always know how you wanted it to end?
I did, and it has grown and transformed over the years. There were certainly elements of the finale that I had in my head that are part of the show, mainly returning to Times Square. But the exciting thing about working on a TV show is that when you start, it’s just you. It’s you, alone, in a room, and then thousands of other people come into contact with it and add their incredible intelligence and artistry. You’d be a fool not to let the show grow in directions you hadn’t anticipated to accommodate their amazing ideas. So parts of it, absolutely. But this really is a collective achievement of the room.
TVLINE | My interpretation of the ending was that Jane had died, and the dinner party at the end was perhaps her version of heaven. Is that how you want viewers to interpret it? Do you feel it’s more open-ended than that?
I don’t think there is a correct interpretation of it. I obviously have my intent, and I and the writers have a strong idea of what we believe. But we wanted it to be a bit of a Rorschach test, and I can’t believe how effective it is. Fifty percent of the people [who saw the finale ahead of time] think she’s definitely alive, and 50 percent of the people think she’s definitely dead. We wanted it to be everything for everybody. [Laughs] We wanted to do the things that we wanted to do, but we also knew there were some fan things that they desperately wanted to see, at least for a moment in the show. We made a big list and said, “OK, in our dream finale, what’s everything we could put into it?” And then we tried to honestly put as much of that into it as possible, as you can see. It’s a very full episode. But we wanted everyone to have an ending that they could feel good about at the end of 100 episodes.
TVLINE | The episode also drops a few hints about alternate universes and multiple iterations of events. Should that factor in to how we view that final scene?
I’ll let you interpret that as you will. [Laughs]
TVLINE | So there does seem to be some ambiguity here about whether or not she really died. Why did you decide to take that approach, as opposed to tying everything up with a bow in your last episode?
I won’t speak to whether she’s dead or not, but I think ambiguous endings… here’s the thing. This will not be an ambiguous ending to most people. Most people will believe that it’s one way or the other and have evidence on either side to make that case. What we tried to do was, yes, it’s ambiguous if you take a step back. But in reality, the viewing experience will be very clear one way or the other.
TVLINE | As a point of clarification: All those scenes that take place between the bomb getting defused and Jane realizing she’s dead — did those really happen in some form, if Jane didn’t actually survive? Patterson’s goodbye scene with Zapata and Rich, for instance?
It’s open to your interpretation. [Laughs] I’m sorry. We’re really happy with the balance of the ending, and these are conversations we want the audience to make the choices on.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about the sheer number of people you brought back for this finale. Is it safe to say the only big absence was Bethany Mayfair?
Yeah, it just didn’t work out scheduling-wise, unfortunately. [Marianne Jean-Baptiste] is an incredibly in-demand actress, and we just couldn’t make it work.
TVLINE | I have to imagine it was a logistical nightmare to bring so many people back, especially for group scenes.
Yeah, it was a Sisyphean feat pulled off by both production and our casting department. We had this idea toward the end of Season 4, and I just made the calls. I called everyone and said, “Hey, we can’t afford to pay you your full fee.” [Laughs] “Please come back. Can we figure out a way to get you back for a day?” And everybody said yes, which really speaks to the kind of vibe that our crew has created over the past five years. People were just excited to be included, and they were excited to come back and hang out one more time before this very special collection of people all went their separate ways.
One of the things we did do was shoot over two months. We shot this episode off and on from the beginning of September to the middle of November, in part to accommodate everyone’s schedule. For instance, that Big Bad collection was so hard to pull off, to get everyone there in the same room. In fact, Tom Lipinski [who plays Cade] was on Snowpiercer, and the reason he’s in the first scene and not the second scene is he took an overnight flight from Vancouver, was able to shoot with us for four hours just to film his cameo, and then got on a flight and flew back to Vancouver so he would only miss a day of filming for his TV show. It was so overwhelming to have these people [back], to have Lou Diamond Phillips show up for three hours in the middle of the night in Times Square and just be so jazzed about it. Everyone was coming back for these tiny little moments.
What a lot of people probably don’t notice, upon first viewing, is in all of these flashbacks, a lot of the background players [are also former cast members]. For instance, the people in the cathedral — those are all guest stars from previous episodes. We have a representative of each of the 100 episodes featured, at least in some way, in the finale.
TVLINE | That’s really incredible. And I appreciated your cameo in that wedding hallucination, too. (pictured at right)
[Laughs] Thank you! Joe Dinicol [who plays David] was the officiant at my wedding, so I felt it was only right for me to officiate his wedding with Patterson. I tried to darken it as much as possible and color-correct so it would be as subtle as possible, but yes, thank you.
TVLINE | The other scene that seemed like an enormous undertaking was that cathedral fight sequence, which at least looked like it was filmed in one take. Can you walk me through what it was like to produce that?
That fight scene was shot over a pretty big two-day sequence. There is a stitch [where a new take is used]. I won’t go into where. [Laughs] There are some cuts. But it was truly a feat by our stunt team and our production design team. We knew we were going to do one last big Jane fight, and we’d been talking about it since the beginning of the season. It became very clear that to do it in the way we wanted to, the production design team would have to design a space in concert with our stunt team. And then, to their great frustration and joy, I kept being like, “It’d be great if one of them caught on fire!” And then, “Oh, what if, when they caught on fire, the sprinklers go off! That’d be amazing!” It was this whole giant set that we ended up building on stage.
And then Heidi [Germaine Schnappauf], our stunt double for Jane — she’s been our stunt double since Season 2 — has really done some incredible work. This is her true masterpiece calling card. The physical exertion it took to do that sequence again and again and again and again until we got it perfectly right in these single takes was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. It’s so dangerous.
And our A camera operator, Pyare Fortunato, he’s in the choreography with it. He had to come in and rehearse with the camera team before we could shoot it, just trying to figure out, “Where’s safe for me to be? How do we capture this?” I’m so glad you liked that sequence. That really speaks to what I’m going to miss most, which is this incredible crew that had this incredible, can-do attitude. One of the things that I’m so overwhelmed by all the time is, there’s nothing but problems in television production. [Laughs] Things always go wrong, things never go as planned. It requires extreme ingenuity from hundreds of people on a daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes by-the-minute basis to ever get these things finished. To watch that team do what they did for five years was the greatest professional thrill of my life.
That’s a wrap, Blindspot fans! What did you think of the series finale? Cast your votes in our polls below, then drop a comment with your full reviews!
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TAGS: Blindspot, NBC
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