The midseason finale of NBC’s “Blindspot” gave viewers one twist after another: In the show’s last ten minutes, Jane (Jaimie Alexander) paid Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) an impromptu visit to plant a long overdue kiss on the brooding FBI agent, before she was kidnapped by CIA deputy director Tom Carter (Michael Gaston) and waterboarded during a harrowing interrogation. During her ordeal, Jane flashed back to a memory in which she overheard Carter mentioning the mysterious “Orion,” but before the two could hash things out, Carter was shot by the man with the tree tattoo revealed to be Jane’s former fiancee, Oscar (Francois Arnaud), who has been following her since at least episode six. But the most shocking revelation of all came when Oscar showed Jane a video of herself, in which she revealed that she was the mastermind behind her own tattoos, amnesia and current situation — “you did this to yourself,” the Jane on the video told her confused present self, after reassuring her that she could trust Oscar.
Variety spoke to show creator Martin Gero about Jane’s shocking revelation, that unexpected kiss and how the arrival of Oscar will complicate things for Jane and Weller in the back half of the season.
Jane did this to herself, which is pretty huge – is figuring out the “why” of that choice a big part of what’s driving the back half of the season?
Yeah, absolutely, and also trying to fill in a little bit more of the who she is and where she’s been since she was abducted when she was five, basically.
Finally, we got a Jane/Weller kiss. How will that affect their dynamic, especially considering that Oscar is now in the picture?
Oscar will really complicate things for Jane. And it’s less Oscar complicating things and more this new knowledge of herself. It’s gonna make her extraordinarily uneasy, as you can imagine – it comes as quite a shock to her, and basically, she’s trying to realign her entire worldview after tonight. So it will mean some complications for those two.
What can we expect from Jane’s dynamic with Oscar, given that he knows a lot about her that she doesn’t know, and thus he probably comes with his own set of expectations?
She remembers being engaged to Oscar, so that’s its own little bit of complication for her, but also, she now has a direct source of information, finally, and somebody that actually knows something past who she might have been, which is all Weller had. Part of the reason she got so close with Weller was, in a lot of ways, he was the only other person in the world who kind of remotely understood what she was going through, because he was the only one she had a real, tactile connection to. Now Oscar is also there, but Oscar has his own playbook and his own set of rules, so it’s a very interesting dynamic between the three of them.
In her interrogation flashback, Jane remembers seeing Carter talking about Orion – will that mystery take center stage in the back half?
Orion is a very big piece, it’s a bigger piece than Daylight, so we’ll be getting more into that in the back half.
We’ve seen the FBI and CIA at odds in the first half of the season, mostly because of Carter. Now that he’s dead, will we see more inter-agency cooperation or complications?
You won’t see much more inter-agency conflict necessarily, because I think the main driving force between that conflict was Carter and now that Carter is gone, the pressure is kind of off. It now shifts away from the CIA a little bit for just a second.
Zapata (Audrey Esparza) was about to hand in her resignation after Carter tried to blackmail her into surveilling Jane, but he’s obvious no longer a threat to her – what can you preview about where she goes from here?
Let’s just hope she hears about Carter before she hands in that letter. [Laughs.]
We saw Patterson (Ashley Johnson) lose a little of her control in the interrogation scene this week – how has David’s death changed her?
I think certainly she’ll get her professional abilities a little bit more under control, but you can’t help but be changed by something like that. It’s interesting for us because Patterson is a great source of comedy in the show, and I wrote episode 11 and by default wrote a bunch of, what some would consider hilarious Patterson lines. [Laughs.] And then on second read I was like, “oh yeah, I really have to change how [she reacts],” she’s still able to bring humor in but … she’s not as ebullient over the next couple episodes. She gets back there eventually but she’s got a really interesting arc over the next half of the season too, that involves dealing with what happened to David.
We’ve been seeing more humor creeping into the show, between last week’s episode and some of the lines Reade (Rob Brown) and Zapata have slipped in – are you consciously pushing to include more of that now that the team has been established?
Absolutely, and I also think episode nine was an important one for us tonally. It was kind of a risk with how we played the bad guy, and I think everyone really loved it, including us, so there are definitely going to be more episodes like episode nine in the back half. It’s fun, it’s always about balance – it’s not gonna feel like a totally different show suddenly, but it’s nice to have that arrow in our quiver.
On a similar note, the team certainly seems a lot stronger now – more of a cohesive unit – so can we look forward to more pizza nights and trips to the bar moving forward?
Yeah, absolutely. The goal for us was always for this to be an ensemble character show and we take a step towards that every episode. We’re breaking episode 17 right now and the case doesn’t even start until halfway through act one. Yeah, there’ll be a lot more of that.
The show continues to raise the bar in terms of weekly stunts; what went into the motorcycle chase sequence?
We have a finite amount of time to make these shows, so doing those things always terrifies me. [Laughs.] That motorcycle sequence was just a testament to our entire stunt team, led by Stephen Pope, and our special effects team, led by Drew Jiritano. You don’t have all the time in the world like movies do, like blowing out a tire and chases with motorbikes, it’s fantastic that we’re able to do that because of the amazingly talented people on the show.
How was filming the waterboarding scene? It must’ve been a tough day for Jaimie.
That was rough to watch and even though she’s got nose plugs in there, she’s still being waterboarded, so there’s no way to get around that, so her and her stunt double Kylie [Furneaux] are incredible.
What else should fans look forward to in the back half of the season – anything you can tease?
I just hope that we’ve proven that we’re serious about moving story really quickly. This isn’t a show that’s going to take its time – we’ve got an enormous amount of story to get out, and I think what’s really exciting is, Jane’s a fascinating character but it’s hard to write characters in a show like this that don’t have any secrets. Suddenly Jane has a giant secret and the way that it changes the show is something that we were really nervous about, because it really does change the engine of the show… but it just made it so much more satisfying to write, and so much more fun, and I can’t wait for people to see the second half of the season. It kind of feels like, network television now – and I think it’s great – we basically do two cable seasons a year, so it almost feels like a whole other season, and we’re getting into breaking those last few episodes, and you’re not gonna believe 20, 21, 22 and 23.
“Blindspot” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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