Blindspot 1 x 03 – Eight Slim Grins: Observations

NBC-TV aired Episode 3 of its new hit series Blindspot last night. For me, they hit this one out of the park for a home run. Maybe it wasn’t a grand slam home run or even a prodigious, in terms of distance or in this case, ratings, home run – but it had enough to leave the park, thereby hooking this viewer.

***** A few mild spoilers ***** follow

This is third Episode and it was called Eight Slim Grins. The second episode was called A Stray Howl. For what it is worth, those episode titles are anagrams. A Stray Howl becomes Taylor Shaw. Eight Slim Grins becomes The Missing Girl. By the way, I’m not at all into anagrams, so take it as gospel that I didn’t figure those out myself.

However, I am old enough to know what the word ‘derivative’ means. At its simplest – derivative can mean ‘something that has developed from something else’. Of course, in that sense, most of television is derivative. But derivative is also a relative word.

By that I mean that a person who has been watching TV and movies for say 30 years, may have a far greater amount of knowledge about film and tv shows than someone who has,  say, a quarter of that amount of experience.

Now Blindspot is a mystery, a police procedural, and it has a certainly intriguing character who has no idea who she is, or where she’s from, or even how she ended up where she is – that is in the hands of the FBI. But having memory loss may not be new, also having inexplicable talents and skills is not a new television concept either.

Within this very show, in the first three episodes, FBI Agent Kurt Weller has told this Jane Doe to wait outside, wait in the hall, and wait in the car. I’m wondering if that can be called self-derivative.

Weller: I'm going in and you're waiting in the car....

Weller: I’m going in and you’re waiting in the car….

You know the Bourne films – first there was Treadstone, then came Blackbriar, and by the 4th Bourne film, called The Bourne Legacy, the black ops program was now being called Operation Outcome. Which I offer up as examples of derivative. Now in Blindspot, by the end of the 3rd episode, we hear of another secret operation. This time it was called Daylight.

Now didn’t we see and hear of a clandestine secret group within the CIA, as in a CIA within the CIA. in the film 3 Days of the Condor?

Now in this week’s episode, we had a major portion of the show, set up with an assassination or maybe it is an escape attempt within a hospital. John Woo had his climatic shootout in a hospital in Hard Boiled. And if we take note that in this Blindspot, a wounded criminal was moved post-surgery.

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone had his father’s hospital bed moved in The Godfather (1972). And in Bullitt (1968), Steve McQueen not only asked the Doctor to misplace the hospital records, he also had the hospital bed moved. The fact that the patient had already died just made it more interesting. Steven Seagal, in the 1990 film, Hard to Kill, played a LA police detective, Mason Storm. He got shot up and was in a coma for 7 years. But when he came out of the coma, the bad guys heard about it and sent in a kill team to take him out.

Using a rolling hospital bed, and the efforts of an interested nurse played by Kelly Le Brock, Detective Storm was spirited out harm’s way as well as of the hospital safely.

So yes, when we get a similar scene involving a movable hospital bed in Blindspot, we can say that the term derivative applies.

But at the end of the day – so what…

While Blindspot has a bunch of questions that are still dangling over our heads and make the show very interesting, each week we see more and more of Jane Doe’s skills emerge and we get some answers to questions previously asked that we had no answers for. The acting and the writing is sharp, and the show is excellent paced.

And there’s some twists when you don’t expect them. The bearded guy – who Jane Doe had repeatedly flashed about in Episodes one and two, shows up early in this episode. And where you least expect him – in the safe house where Jane Doe has been stashed. A surprise for sure, and the fact that we won’t be seeing him again, despite the fact that he is a link to Jane Doe’s past – is an even bigger surprise.

But here is what I like best about the show. Each week a specific tattoo comes into play. And each week that tattoo relates to a crime that will happen in the near future. Since we’ve already been told that these tattoos are all brand new – that means that the tattoos were not only artistically designed, but they are a part of a bigger mystery – who would be able to know all about these future crimes and have created tattoo clues about them? Without having an answer to that question – another question arises – why was Jane Doe, who now has been DNA tested and discovered to be Taylor Shaw, a childhood friend of Kurt Weller who went missing 25 years ago, placed and pointed specifically to fall into the hands of the FBI

Yeah, so the plot thickens – with or without derivative elements and you know what – I’m all in.

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3 thoughts on “Blindspot 1 x 03 – Eight Slim Grins: Observations

  1. If you like police procedurals, you can do a lot worse than Blindspot. I do like the central question of who sent Jane to the FBI and why?

    Alas, I’m beginning to tire of this one as I’d already figured ot the unit chief was involved in high crimes and misdemeanors, and the bickering about staying in the car is an unnecessary cliché.
    I also found the storyline about international jewel thieves who invade a hospital to spring their fellow heist man completely ludicrous.

    I think the conceit about tattoos predict future crimes is an ill-advised “derivation” from the Minority Report fiasco that airs on another night. For me, the weekly crime by tattoo is a weakness that drags the show down to the same level as the overcrowded pack of procedurals that prevent real entertainment from the airwaves.

    • I agree that the crime/tattoo clue of the week renders Blindspot into the same neighborhood that most other shows have. For example, in addition to rolling or continous story lines, The Good Wife has a ‘case of the week’ and the The Blacklist has a ‘most-wanted’ of the week. However, The Blacklist did turn that a bit sideways last night. Fisher Stevens played a disbarred attorney already in jail – this time they got him OUT of jail instead of captured.

      The Player will be similiarly structured as will The Minority Report and Limitless.

  2. I like your take Mr! Awesome research and correlations, I give you major kudos on your style. This is a show I can’t wait to give my spin on, and I’m right there with you. The anagrams give a nice intellect level for the viewer that loves to be challenged, and likes to be right all the time. It’s very easy to feel proud of one’s self for figuring out the anagrams. I, like you, am not the most aware of scrambled word meanings and didn’t look at the episode titles as challenges to conquer. I really hope this show gains a little more traction because the characters are sincere and as a viewer, we can’t help but root for this team. To me the show has a mysterious feel, but that at the end of every episode, we are left wanting more, but also feel gratified by the information we gathered.

    I can’t help but hope for a little romance to blossom… I’m sure we’ll get a taste before long.

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