Blindspot 1.6 – The Man with the Tree Tattoo

We got introduced to a new mystery on the show this week in the form of Jane’s first dream (a sex dream, no less) and a man with a tree tattoo. At the beginning of the episode, Jane and the therapist Dr. Borden both assume the tattoo is symbolic rather than literal and the man in the dream must be Kurt. Yet at the very end of the episode we learn the truth – the man with the tree tattoo does exist. Not only that, he’s standing outside of Jane’s safe house watching her! Other than a former lover, who is he to Jane? How does he know where she is now? Will he come forward to help her uncover her memories?

Considering her other friend, the bearded man, was shot by some unknown sniper before he could help her or tell her anything, Jane could use someone who’s genuinely on her side and knows what happened to her. In fact this episode overall has several scenes showing just how much Jane could use a friend. Is It Better to be Objective?

This week the plot centers around a tattoo on Jane’s leg, an owl that turns out to be the logo for an app called TRAKZER that allows anyone to track government vehicles. The culprit is a 17-year-old girl named Ana who thought she designed the app for the NSA. When she learns the truth, that she’d been conned, she’s more than willing to cooperate with the FBI to catch the real bad guys.

The main theme of the episode, however, is objectivity. The scene when Jane tells Dr. Borden about her dream is intercut with Mayfair lecturing Weller about his need to stay objective as far as Jane is concerned, because if he can’t she’ll replace him as lead agent. Jane too feels the need for some boundaries since her whole world right now revolves around Weller. Unfortunately Weller’s reaction to his talk with Mayfair is to push Jane away through criticism. When Jane bonds with Ana and shows her some compassion, Weller lectures her on how that’s not how the FBI does things. Jane replies, “She’s completely alone in this world and she needs something in her life other than her work.” Kurt obviously realizes Jane’s talking just as much about herself in that statement and immediately softens his harsh stance, offering to take her out with the team to grab a drink or something. But Jane says no: “It’s a little hard to relax when everyone at the table has been staring at photos of your tattooed body all day.”

We see Jane’s desperation for some friends and life outside of her work when she tries to invite her security detail out for a drink, or even for them to come inside the safe house and join her for a drink. They’re not allowed to do either, and her disappointment is heartbreakingly plain. 

Kurt does offer to step down as the lead agent on her case since, as he admits, he isn’t completely objective as far as she’s concerned. But Jane points out that no one else would be as invested as Kurt, so his lack of objectivity makes him the right person for the job. Similarly, she’s right when she tells him that Ana didn’t open up and offer to help them until Jane showed her a little compassion.

What do you think? Does Kurt need to stay more objective as far as Jane is concerned? How about law enforcement in general? Is objectivity always a good thing?

More Clues

One benefit of Jane bonding with Ana is that Ana spots a unique clue in Jane’s tattoo that the team had missed – steganography or “the practice of concealing messages or information within other non-secret text or data.” The black square on Jane’s arm isn’t just covering up her old Navy SEAL tattoo, it’s also a clue in itself. When the “off-black” pixels are changed to white, a design emerges that looks like a turtle shell. Decoding that could take some time. This also means any tattoo on Jane’s body could have double or even triple meanings, or more. They have to examine every detail and not take anything for granted.

Project “Daylight” also came up again, except this time specifically referring to the redacted case file on Saul Guerrero (the case file we saw Mayfair looking at in the pilot, with the case number tattooed on Jane’s body). Patterson, frustrated that Mayfair won’t give her the necessary clearance to investigate this clue, brings it to Kurt’s attention and asks him to look into it. While he defends Mayfair to Patterson, he does get a suspicious expression on his face as he watches Mayfair, so presumably (especially given the preview scenes for next week) he’ll dig into this asap.

Kurt’s Family

Even though Kurt sleeps at the office to avoid spending any time in the same room as his father, his sister Sarah determinedly pulls Kurt into a family conversation to tell their dad that Taylor’s alive. Of course, Kurt hasn’t mentioned the contradictory isotope test, but he’s still choosing to ignore the possible ramifications of that for now. He isn’t completely convinced of his father’s innocence yet, either. Taylor might be alive, but as he tells his sister someone still kidnapped her that night. His dad has an extremely emotional reaction to hearing the news, though, as he bursts into tears. Think Kurt is right to hold onto his lingering suspicions or should he give his father a break?

 

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