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BLINDSPOT “Naughty Monkey Kicks at Tree” Review

By on November 10, 2018

BLINDSPOT — “Naughty Monkey Kicks At Tree” Episode 405 — Pictured: (l-r) Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller, Josepyh Melendez as Luther, Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC/Warner Bros)

 

BLINDSPOT “NAUGHTY MONKEY KICKS AT TREE” REVIEW

 

BY PAULINE PERENACK

 

Environmental Terrorism

Last week on Blindspot, Weller called in Allie for help with Jane, and was finally able to convince her that something was off. As a result, Allie dug into the woman Jane had met with, but came up empty. Reade, Patterson, and Rich all came way too close to being infected by an engineered biological weapon, while Jane took the opportunity of a lockdown to download files from the FBI server that would get her closer to finding Shepherd. And in the midst of everything, Zapata is back in New York and at Reade’s apartment, trying to get specific FBI files, as Reade walks in on her.

Introducing Jackson Fernwood

Tonight’s episode, “Naughty Monkey Kicks at Tree” picks up from last week’s episode, with Reade looking at the wrong end of Zapata’s gun. Still there for the FBI files, Claudia and Zapata tie Reade to a chair, with Claudia finding kitchen utensils she can use to torture him. Zapata pistol whips Reade to buy time, during which she sends an email to the team saying Reade is sick. When Reade comes to, he asks why Zapata is doing what she’s doing. She tells him it’s because there’s so much corruption in the CIA and FBI, and she’s just looking out for herself. Unfortunately, Claudia realizes there are feelings between Reade and Zapata and threatens Zapata’s life to get the password from Reade. He gives it to them, but tells Zapata he can see she’s in over her head. She ignores him, and she and Claudia walk out with the information they came for.

Back at headquarters, the team is briefed on a new tattoo case. The tattoo is an outline of a scythe, and leads the team to an assassin, Luther Vanlax, AKA, The Scythe. Jane suggests bringing in Keaton for help since Luther killed internationally, and Keaton says the CIA believes Luther has connections to Russia. Rich points out that his name is basically a shout out to the USSR, so it makes sense. Using a list of aliases, Patterson tracks Luther to Clovis Labs, and the team sets off to apprehend him.

They get there a little too late however, and watch as Luther kills a doctor, but they manage to capture him. However, when they bring him back to headquarters, he immediately recognizes Rich. Apparently, in his criminal days, Rich had a scam going where he told environmentalists he would plants trees and perform other acts of environmental kindness, if they paid him. He of course never did, but did create a website under the alias of Jackson Fernwood, that included a manifesto, which ultimately inspired domestic terrorism.

Patterson is able to determine that Luther has ties to the Eco Liberation Movement, who are known for a number of terrorist attacks in the name of saving the planet. Turns out, the doctor who Luther killed was also part of the movement, and was stockpiling white phosphorus, which is a chemical that burns and can’t be put out. She wanted out of ELM, so they stole her stockpile to use to burn New York to the ground, and Luther was sent to get rid of her to clean up the trail.

By tracking ELM and their leader Daniel Katzovich, the team is able to find their compound in Long Island, and Rich and Weller go in undercover to see if they can find the phosphorus. When Weller sees a locked door, Rich distracts everyone, while Weller investigates. Inside the room, Weller finds empty drone boxes, empty barrels, and EMP devices, which can only mean that ELM is planning an aerial attack on the city, while disrupting communications so that first responders won’t be able to help.

Throughout the episode Jane has been busy trying to find Shepherd, and is using Violet, the woman she met up with a couple of episodes ago, to do some searching. And as Weller and Rich are in the compound, she just straight up asks Keaton if she can visit Shepherd – using the excuse that she’s dying, and wants to see if Shepherd has information. Keaton isn’t a fan of the proposal, but when Jane brings up the favor Keaton owes her (he did torture her), he agrees to take her the next day.

Now that Weller and Rich know that ELM is ready to attack New York, Patterson tells them they need to get Daniel’s phone so they can get more information. Rich is able to lift it, and give it to Weller to download the data, but they’re burned before the data upload can complete. Daniel triggers the EMP, killing the team’s comms systems, so Weller has to fight his way out. He’s almost taken out by a guy with a gun, but Jane is there to save the day. Rich however, has jumped into the bed of Daniel’s truck, with no way to contact the team.

Patterson was able to get the last text sent to Daniel before the data feed was cut, and sends the team to Greenpoint. Already there and watching as Daniel readies the drones, Rich climbs out of the truck bed, and first tries to call for help using OnStar, who hangs up on him thinking he’s a prank call. So instead, Rich walks into the thick of things and tries to reason with Daniel that burning garbage isn’t exactly great for the environment. Fortunately, the team arrives right then, and a massive gun fight ensues. Jane goes down, and when Keaton goes to help her, he gets shot. As Jane tends to him, Weller takes out Daniel, and successfully brings the drones back to the ground, ending the threat.

As the episode ends, a lot goes down. First, Reade gets back to headquarters and tells the team what happened to him. He wants Keaton to tell them what’s going on with Zapata, and Patterson has to break the news that Keaton is in a medically induced coma, and might not make it. Jane and Weller go to the hospital to hear the results of a procedure Jane had gone under for a medical trial that could have provided her a cure, but are told that she is not a candidate for the trial, and suddenly Jane/Remi is really worried, and fully accepts the hug Weller gives her.

When Weller heads back to the office, Patterson gives him information on Violet, which proves Violet is not a good person, and Weller’s paranoia returns in force. His paranoia is dead on, as Jane meets with Violet and tells her the location of Shepherd.

And finally, Zapata and Claudia meet up with Madeleine to hand off the files, and Zapata kills Claudia. She tells Madeleine that Claudia was MI-6, and Madeline thanks her, telling Zapata she had been warned of a mole in her ranks, and had assumed it was Zapata.

The Fall of Zapata

This episode was ok. As always Ennis Esmer as Rich is the best part of the hour, and even though his solo scenes with Ashley Johnson were fewer than usual, the two make the best of them.

The tattoo case as per usual, was rather boring. While the shootout was better than most, the overall threat was similar to every other one we’ve had over the seasons of some domestic terrorist group ready to level New York, and it’s up to the team to stop them. It’s getting too formulaic, and this might as well be a Dick Wolf drama at this point.

However, the main highlight was Zapata’s storyline. It was tough seeing Reade realize that the woman he loved was gone, but there was enough eye contact between the two that I want to believe some seeds of belief were planted in Reade that Zapata is really on their side. Also? I fully believe she is. The fact that Madeleine was told of a mole in her ranks, and that it was likely Zapata, makes me believe it was/is Zapata. The seemingly throwaway line by Patterson that she would see what Zapata “took or left behind” in the servers is a good hint that Zapata is working on their side. I also bet that Zapata put in some sort of code in that email she sent saying Reade was sick. But, like Reade pointed out, she’s just in way over her head, and she’s scared, but Zapata is Zapata, and she’s going to see this mission of hers until the end.

Finally, the Jane/Remi storyline is getting better. Remi is scared of dying, and she’s seemingly settling in more and more to Jane’s life. I know next episode teases her breaking Shepherd out, but obviously, Patterson and Rich are going to be able to find a cure, so the real question will be how she goes back to being just Jane. Until next week!

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