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Image Credit: BLINDSPOT -- "Why Await Life's End" Episode 123 -- Pictured: Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC)

Let's just call 'Blindspot' the classiest show on TV

This fall, I called Blindspot the smartest show on TV. Now I’ll go ahead and call it the classiest, too — in terms of how it respects its story, actors, and fans. After seeing the explosive season finale, “Why Await Life’s End,” I’ve never been more impressed with how a show has wrapped up a single season, both on screen and off.

SPOILER ALERT: The rest of this post contains major spoilers from the Blindspot season finale.

Let’s face it: Blindspot set the bar pretty high when it arrived, on both counts. We’ve all seen shows that promise a great new mystery and wind up barely remembering what they told us to begin with, let alone delivering a satisfying conclusion. And when Jane Doe emerged from that body bag in Times Square, that was one of the best single scenes in the recent history of television — so the payoff needed to be equally as big, if not better. And that is exactly what we got on Monday night.

“Why Await Life’s End” answered every major question that Blindspot asked, even the one about the isotope test that it brought up near the start of the season and then conspicuously forgot about. We learned about the master plan and how it came to pass; it turns out that Jane was one of the bad guys after all. We were told what really happened to Taylor Shaw (even though it just confirmed what we had been thinking to begin with). Most importantly, we found out who Jane Doe is — not literally, but we now know who she is at heart and what she’s chosen to stand for, even if we’re still not getting her name. And that’s the idea Blindspot was subtly posing all along: Is one’s identity wrapped up in a name, or is it who you choose to be?

If you look backward after watching the finale, it’s easy to draw the lines between where we ended and where we began. The intricacy of the writing becomes apparent. The season ends with a terrified Jane on her knees being arrested by Weller, and it started with a terrified Jane on her knees in Times Square. A bittersweet loop. If we felt let down by finding out that she wasn’t Taylor Shaw, it was because we believed she was, the same way that Weller so desperately wanted to believe. The series decided it was going to tell this ambitious, emotional story, and in hindsight, it felt like we’d reached an emotional, satisfying end, as well as a new beginning.

But I don’t want to stop there. I’m a firm believer that TV shows don’t get enough credit for the things that we fans never see — namely how hard the cast, crew, and writers work and the quality professionals that they are. That was another aspect in which Blindspot excelled. The series has one of the best overall casts in television, and two of the best leads in Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander. Those two deserve not just awards recognition but awards victories for what they did this season. They have been phenomenal. And everyone around them: Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza, Ashley Johnson, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Ukweli Roach came to play too, whether it was for one scene or a dozen scenes.

Yet here’s the thing about that: When you have actors that good, it’s the responsibility of the writers to give them material that’s not going to waste their talent. There’s nothing more frustrating than great performers on a show where we know they could be doing better work. Blindspot always did its best to support the actors. While not every episode was a home run, most of the time, there were so many moments that let talent shine. Stapleton was so heartbreakingly brilliant at pulling Weller’s internal chaos out, culminating in a tear-inspiring performance in the finale. Alexander had to spend the whole season on Jane’s emotional roller-coaster ride. Jean-Baptiste went out with a bang. The list goes on, but we should applaud the Blindspot writers for respecting their cast by giving them scripts as good as their performances.

Which brings us to the last reason Blindspot is the classiest show on television. Yes, it did justice to its complex plot, and yes, it stood behind its actors. But it also delivered for its audience. Aside from the fact that it ignored the tooth problem for so long that it became clear it was the other shoe that was going to drop, Blindspot didn’t do anything that made its audience feel misdirected or like we’d missed something. Especially in shows with mystery plotlines, those things happen far too often. Reveals come out of nowhere just for the sake of shock value. The show does something and then comes up with a flimsy reason to undo it. Or we just never get an explanation that makes sense. Blindspot has always treated its audience like we’re smart people, and more shows should do that.

So thank you, Blindspot. Thank you to the cast, crew, and writers who put together a fantastic first season of a wonderful show. You weren’t always perfect, but you lived up to all of my expectations, and you went about it all so well. You’re not just the smartest show on television, you’re also the classiest, and it’s going to be a pleasure to see where you go next.

Blindspot returns to NBC this fall.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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