‘Blindspot’ spot of the week: She breaks hearts, not just bones

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Pilot’.

I cannot exactly declare that “Blindspot,” which debuted last night on NBC, is a great show. Blindspot gets right to the point in the first couple of minutes — introducing us to our mysterious, tattoo-covered Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) emerging from a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square.The first discussion point for this new NBC thriller materialized before the premiere episode was even a minute old: In these jittery times, could a large duffel bag really be dumped in Times Square unchallenged and sit there indefinitely while passers-by stepped around it unconcerned?

The new thriller “Blindspot,” starring Jaimie Alexander as “Jane Doe,” a woman whose memory has been erased and whose body is covered in tattoos, premieres tonight. (NBC) “Dancing with the Stars”: Oregon’s hero, Alek Skarlatos, impressed the judges his first time on the dance floor. But I will likely be watching it for a few weeks yet, and that’s more than I can say of any number of silly shows that premiered last night, including “Minority Report,” another season of the now two-time Emmy-winner “The Voice,” and the whopping ninth season of “The Big Bang Theory.” “Blindspot” is itself remarkably silly, too, but there is an element to it that vibrates at a more sophisticated pitch. Since we don’t know much about Alexander’s character, EW decided to get to know the Thor actress by having her take our Pop Culture Personality Quiz. Primarily, that element is Jaimie Alexander, best known for playing Lady Sif in Marvel’s numerous “Avengers” and “Avengers”-adjacent films, including the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok.” It’s not difficult to see why she is an excellent choice for film—she has striking features, including a pointed chin that is alternately set with determination, quivering with repressed emotion, or coquettishly dipping down to accent a smile.

Tattooed between her shoulder blades — in her blind spot — is the name of FBI agent Kurt Weller (played by Strike Back’s Sullivan Stapleton), who is just as clueless as she is about who or what could be masterminding this riddle. The butt-kicking star revealed most days the process is a far cry from the full-body 7-hour process. “Every single day I put on the arms and then chest up,” she revealed to E! Alexander was name-dropped in Deadline this spring as a performer who was being highly sought after for television pilots, and whether or not that’s true, certainly in “Blindspot” she is earning her reputation. ABC/2) “Life in Pieces”: The cast of this new sitcom about a family going through various life stages and changes is outstanding: Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt, Thomas Sadoski, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Dan Bakkedahl, Angelique Cabral, and more. Because her wardrobe involves a full body of tattoos, Alexander spends seven and a half hours standing in the makeup department getting them transferred on — and that is before her day in front of the camera begins. “I can’t sit down, so it gets a little rough towards the end of the makeup session,” said the 31-year-old in what we are sure must be a tremendous understatement.

In any case, I liked the way “Blindspot” opened and I liked Jaimie Alexander, the actress who popped out of that bag wearing only tattoos and lots of them. (Nice camera work, by the way, to accommodate the nudity; it would have killed the whole ominous buzz of that opening scene to have seen blurring or carefully placed obstructions or whatever.) Is the whole premise of the show preposterous? To take her mind off the process, “we blast The Beatles and watch Daniel Boone reruns because that’s the only thing on at 3.30 in the morning”, she said. CBS/6) “Minority Report”: TV adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi movie about police trying to prevent crimes with the aid of “precogs” who can see what’s about to happen.

This elaborate torture is actually something the actress is quite prepared for. “The worst thing that happens in television or in film is the way they just cover you up because they don’t want to put the actor through makeup every day. The Thor star said the role has her fighting on quite a bit—when you see the first episode tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC, you’ll see why—and to recover from that she and her stunt double BFF cook healthy food together (they also live together in New York!), and do Aqua Cycle, which is basically Soul Cycle, but in water. Stapleton, a veteran of Strike Back, knows a thing or two about kicking butt on TV, didn’t know Alexander before . “I guess that’s been the great part: We get to work together and I get to watch this girl kick absolute ass,” he told us.

This being Hollywood’s fantasy of national security, she’s immediately whisked to a high-tech and fantastically staffed FBI headquarters, where she is thoroughly processed—using some technology that exists, some that doesn’t, and overall entirely violates some standard or other of civil liberties. In last night’s pilot, a string of Chinese characters tattooed behind her ear led her and her FBI handlers to an apartment in Chinatown where a man was planning to detonate a bomb. After the discovery of a date and address for an apartment tattooed in Chinese behind Jane’s ear, Weller and two of his team members decide to check it out.

Along the way, Jane discovers she has all kinds of talents, sort of like a superhero imbued with powers for the first time: Chinese, kickboxing, marksmanship, and a worrying ability to keep going after a bullet is lodged in her arm. It’s a lot of unwieldy plot points—borrowing indiscriminately from “Alias,” “National Treasure,” and “John Doe.” What keeps it together is Alexander’s performance. It’s an extremely physical role, given that the plot is her body; with that touch of the specific exploitation of the female body that recalls “La Femme Nikita” and “Orphan Black.” Like the heroes of those shows—and many others before it—Jane’s body is both a burden and her only asset. That scene, and several others in the premiere, suggested an interesting philosophical question that could be read into this series if you felt like reading way more into an improbable TV show than it deserves. NBC/8) “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: Guests are Ted Cruz, one of the contenders for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination; NBA star Steph Curry; and Don Henley. (11:35 p.m.

Alexander is more than talented enough, both with stunts and pathos, to sell that narrative arc. “Blindspot”’s only problem, right now, is that it wastes any time on Sullivan Stapleton’s Kurt Weller—the FBI agent whose name is tattooed on Jane’s back. When they arrive, they find a room full of bomb-making materials and a terrorist propaganda video inferring that the tenant, Chao (Chang Yung-I), is planning on detonating an explosive that day somewhere in the city. CBS/6) “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon”: The parade of political guests on late-night talk shows continues, as Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina drops by, as does Ryan Reynolds, who’s not running for anything, as far as I know. (11:34 p.m.

It would take a real novice in the ways of Hollywood love to not expect a slow-burn romance between Jane and Kurt, a stubbly FBI veteran whose primary character traits are “tough,” “good,” and also did I mention “tough?” Stapleton is reportedly good in other things, but in “Blindspot” he and Alexander have so little chemistry they appear to be acting in different television shows. I imagine there’s an audience that Stapleton tests well with, and that’s why he was brought aboard—certainly he’s a convincing tough and good and tough guy, what with digging a chunk of C4 off of a ticking bomb and then chucking it down a subway tunnel. Not that this show is not action-packed, of course, which resulted in a spot of trouble during a Navy SEAL training session she was put through in a hotel in New York City. “We had the windows open because we’re idiots, and we were messing around with shotguns and assault rifles. But “Blindspot” has to be careful not to eclipse Alexander, who is the real star here, with the all-too-available tropes of the most masculine, goodest-ever guy. Somebody saw us and called the cops,” she recounted. “The police came and started to bang on the door … They were trying to arrest us because they probably thought we were part of ISIS.”

If you’d had your memory wiped so clean that you didn’t know your own name, would you still have a strong enough sense of justice that you’d put yourself in jeopardy to help a stranger? We have a week to contemplate such weighty matters before we (perhaps) learn more about that shadowy guy with the beard and why someone would go to so much trouble and use up so much ink to convey messages to the F.B.I. They find the bomb that Chao kindly leaves behind on a subway car, and though it can’t be deactivated, Weller saves the day by running it down the subway tunnel and reducing its blast radius.

This is where Jane experiences her first flashback; she sees herself doing target practice in the woods with a mystery man who appears to be training her. So, even with the excitement of Weller and his team successfully saving the day from a terrorist attack, Jane still has to spend the night alone in her new “home” (read: safe house) to deal with her emotions.

The file has Mayfair’s name on it, and though most of the words are blacked out because it’s top secret, we do see words like “murder” and “embezzlement” scribed on the page. When he confirms with her that she wants to wipe her memory, her response is, “it’s my only choice.” Now we likely begin the season long (at least) process of uncovering her relationship with the mystery man and discovering what led her to willingly wipe her slate clean.

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