'Blindspot' Season 5 Premiere Review: [Spoiler's] tragic death is nothing compared to what the FBI has in store
Spoilers for 'Blindspot' Season 5 Episode 1 'I Came to Sleigh'
The grand premiere of the final season opens to all things we associate with 'Blindspot': Terrifying explosions, ruthless agents and a tragic death that has Jane Doe's (Jamie Alexander) core team rattled and at the brink of tearing apart.
After four very strong years since Jane was found in Times Square with a patchwork of coded tattoos imprinted all over her naked body, the team has come a long way. They have found love, relationships, fun, and mostly, the courage and conviction needed to fight back threats within their own department at the FBI.
The fourth season culminated with them going rogue and hiding out in Iceland — the aftermath of which saw them lose one of their very own in an unsuspected drone attack. But even with the death shaking them up enough to get fingers pointed at each other, their primary threat remains in the FBI, in the form of new director Madeline Burke (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), whose days of framing the team as 'rogue agents' get more and more sinister.
When we meet the team, they are in bliss - superficial and brief - as they take turns one by one to keep a watch from the outside. Tasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza) and Edgar Reade (Rob Brown) have finally caved in to that insane sexual tension and decided there's no point in not pursuing whatever remotest bit of happily ever after they can venture off to together — the way Jane and Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) have.
Jane decides to take the day's first watch and within moments of her stepping outside, she spots a drone atop the shack the rest of them are hiding in and the rest is all predictable. A giant explosion leaves her shocked enough to not react right away, and suddenly the scene shows Jane waking up in the back of what looks like a cargo truck. It was a flashback and by now creator Martin Gero alarming teases about losing a core team member comes to mind, as viewers anticipate who is it we lost.
Jane arrives at what looks like another storage room hideout where Kurt, Patterson (Ashley Johnson) and Tasha are present. They had sent her coordinates on a burner phone and inform her that Rich Dotcom (Ennis Esmer) is being held captive by the CIA, and if they don't manage to save him, he will be handed over to the North Koreans, which means immediate death.
After much debating, the team decides they should do all it takes to save him, setting aside the fact that Tasha pretty much knew where Rich was being held at for a month now and didn't tell them anything. In her defense, Tasha claims walking into a CIA blackspot is like walking into a deathtrap with no way out alive, but we know these are futile warnings; there's no way they are going to offer Rich up for slaughter.
So while they hatch a plan to save Rich, the poor comedian is being tortured by the insidious CIA agent with a burn scar on his face. He doesn't care about CIA protocols where he can't move him unless he stops talking, and despite Rich's attempts to 'fillibuster' them with irrelevant incidents from his childhood, the torture continues. The best thing that the season premiere does is not show us the torture exactly; instead, it shows a menacing, villainous agent and amps up Rich's deafening screams of agony as he is being tortured, leaving our imagination running wild about what he could be possibly enduring.
On one hand, is this villainous torturer, and on the other hand, is Jane and Kurt teaming up with an old enemy, Shohid Akhtar, who decides to help them purely for his pursuit of revenge against the CIA. The action picks up in scenes where they rescue Rich, with Kurt tasing him to short circuit the CIA implanted tracker on his neck, and later, Tasha pretty much kicking enough asses to be labeled a proper queen at the task. It is only when Rich is rescued and brought to their hideout safe when instead of a celebration, things get really sad.
Rich keeps asking about Reade and this is where the coffin is nailed: Reade died in the drone attack in Iceland. As far as the show goes, Reade's final moments after the explosion have to be the most emotional moment so far. In that, Gero's team of writers have excelled at tugging at our heartstrings one by one, probably worse than Tasha's as she watches the love of her life die right in front of her own eyes after saving her from the pile of wood and stone and sacrificing his own life. Back in the present day, Tasha makes it more than just obvious that she blames the team for Reade's death.
Parallelly to the team's plans of rescuing Rich runs Madeline's sinister attempts at catching them dead or alive. As much as Matthew Weitz (Aaron Abrams) and Afreen try to keep the team's whereabouts from the FBI, Madeline's intent gets more and more malicious as she resorts to proper mercenaries, promising them fatal gasses in return to take out the 'rogue agents'. There's this inherent vulturous need in her to kill them all, no mercy.
And even with fake coordinates and little wins, Matthew doesn't really stand a chance when it comes to saving his friends' lives. And that convinces us that dying team members don't really come close to the sinister force of nature that is Madeline Burke, and in terms of what a sociopath she can be, Mastrantonio's portrayal offers a striking competition to Najwa Nimri's Alicia Sierra from 'Money Heist'. That's reason enough to be very, very concerned.
'Blindspot' Season 5 airs on Thursdays at 9 pm on NBC.