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Image Credit: BLINDSPOT -- "Swift Hardhearted Stone" Episode 120 -- Pictured: Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC)

'Blindspot' season 2 means more for Sullivan Stapleton

We’re three weeks away from more Blindspot, and the most exciting aspect of season 2 for me isn’t finding out who Jane Doe is, but finding out what Sullivan Stapleton is going to do next.

Blindspot is as much Kurt Weller’s story as it is Jane’s. His world got ripped apart just like hers did, maybe even more so, because he had memories that shattered and truths that were destroyed. Weller was doing just fine kicking behind at the FBI and occasionally being adorable with his nephew before he was pulled into that hallway to see a total stranger with his name inked on her back. Then it all crashed and burned.

And then the entire world got to see how talented an actor Sullivan Stapleton really is. Up until this point, unless you were one of the devoted fans of Strike Back or saw a great Australian film called Animal Kingdom, you may not have noticed. But there’s no doubt now. Not now that NBC gave him a national network-television stage. And Martin Gero and the Blindspot writing team handed him material so rich and so compelling that he could really sink his teeth into it. He got these great opportunities, week after week, and so we had no choice but to watch again and again as he just hammered them home.

Weller had his own roller coaster from hell to deal with in season 1. He could have been just another clean-cut, tough-guy FBI agent. Instead he was someone who, underneath that strong exterior, was struggling to fix the flaws of others and becoming increasingly flawed himself. He was sharing a home with his sister and her son. He had a broken relationship with his father. He was still haunted by the disappearance of Taylor Shaw decades ago. In trying to save everyone else, it was Weller who wound up getting lost.

Then Jane came into his life and unknowingly preyed upon that. It was impossible not to get sucked in as Weller tried so earnestly to help her the way he’s always tried to help everyone else. Then to watch him lean on her as much as she was leaning on him, seeing her as the resolution of his greatest mystery, the chance to take that weight off of his shoulders, and finally to see it all implode — to see the way he broke and then raged when it was all a lie; characters don’t usually get these kinds of rides. It was a huge challenge, and Stapleton never missed a beat. He was in the character and in the moment the whole time, taking the audience along with him.

Frankly, that got a little lost in season 1. We were so consumed with the mystery of who Jane Doe was that we didn’t quite appreciate Weller, and Stapleton, as much as we could have. But one of the things that’s great about season 2 is that it appears to set him up for an even better performance than the last.

The season 1 finale pretty much stripped Weller of everything he had. He knows Jane isn’t Taylor Shaw; he knows his father killed Taylor Shaw; his father’s dead; his mentor’s dead; and he doesn’t even really have his job anymore thanks to his involuntary promotion. So in season 2, who the frak is Kurt Weller anymore? What are the choices he’ll make to pick up his life and try to start over again? How much is this going to hurt?

Stapleton is fantastic at drawing out the interior lives of his characters. He has a knack for conveying what’s going on inside someone’s mind in very subtle and nuanced ways. It’s like you can always see the wheels in his head going even when Weller’s just standing there reacting to something. As the pieces are put back together, he’s going to bring the viewer along for that journey every step of the way. He’s going to make us appreciate the growth of Kurt Weller, not just where Weller ends up.

The fact he’s going to share scenes with other extremely talented people like Archie Panjabi is the icing on the cake. Those two will be brilliant together. Stapleton is going to get even better in season 2, because he has so much material to work with and because like the best actors, he continues to evolve his game. You always get something from him that you’ve never seen before.

Blindspot is a wonderful show in every respect, but the chief reason that it works is because of the actors who dove into the series and have never held anything back. Jaimie Alexander is another great example of that fearlessness: She brings so much emotion out of Jane that the audience is deeply affected by her. She and Stapleton work so well together because they share the capacity to take complex characters and truly bring every piece of their complexity to the screen. The success of the series has allowed us to finally pay them some due attention.

Sullivan Stapleton is in a class of his own, and he always has been. Over the years, we’ve seen him tackle different roles and refine his talent and continue to grow as an actor. With Blindspot, he has the biggest stage of his career, and he seized upon that from the first frame to the last. Season 2 is going to open even more doors for him, so we’d better get ready. Stapleton’s going to give us one of the best performances of the fall TV season for the second year in a row.

Blindspot returns Wednesday, Sep. 14 at 10/9C on NBC.

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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