The following post contains major spoilers for Blindspot‘s Season 4 finale.
It’s going to be a long and brutal hiatus for Blindspot fans.
The NBC drama’s fourth season concluded on Friday with a two-hour finale, which left the lives of Weller, Reade, Zapata and Patterson hanging in the balance. And though the show has been renewed for a truncated final season, it won’t be back on NBC’s schedule until midseason. In other words? At least seven months remain until we find out which FBI agents — if any — survived.
“It would be safe to assume that not everyone makes it out of that safe house alive,” series creator Martin Gero cryptically tells us. (Gero previously hinted, ahead of Blindspot‘s renewal, that Friday’s finale would be a “very bad” series ender if the show ultimately got cancelled. And now we totally understand why.)
A quick recap: In the final two episodes, the FBI discovered that Madeline Burke’s “Project Helios” involved hacking into the country’s power grid and plunging the entire Eastern seaboard into darkness (and chaos). Not only did Madeline’s henchman, Dominic, successfully pull off the scheme (though he got shot and bled out in the process), but Madeline successfully framed Jane, Weller and the entire FBI team, spinning a convincing story to make it seem as though the agents were responsible for Project Helios.
The FBI team (minus Rich Dotcom, who stayed behind at headquarters) discovered they’d been framed while en route to Iceland, where they planned to find hacker Kathy Gustafson, who was helping carry out Project Helios. But after realizing they’d immediately be arrested upon landing in Iceland, they decided to jump out of the plane instead (!) in order to buy some time. Once the agents had parachuted down to safety, a friend of Rich Dotcom’s helped them evade the authorities, bringing them to a remote cabin where they could lay low until they resumed their fugitive lifestyles under new identities.
Unfortunately, Madeline (who was released from prison and given an actual job with the FBI) was able to locate the team’s hideout… and she ordered a drone strike on the cabin, much to Matthew Weitz’s horror. In the finale’s closing scene, Jane — who was standing several yards away from the cabin, having volunteered to take first watch that night — looked on in horror as a missile hit the cabin, immediately destroying the entire structure (and potentially the four agents still inside of it).
After screening Blindspot‘s finale, TVLine spoke with Gero for more insight on that explosive cliffhanger, and how it will shape the drama’s fifth and final season.
TVLINE | In most of your previous finales, you’ve tied up the season-long arcs pretty nicely, and the Big Bads — Shepherd, Roman and others — have all been defeated. Why did you decide to subvert that this time and let Madeline get the win?
There’s a couple reasons. One, we want to be unexpected. We want our audience not to be ahead of us all the time. And you’re absolutely right: For the most part, the season finales — because we’re novelistic in our approach and every season has a beginning, middle and end — typically have the bad guys get their comeuppance. When we started talking about Season 4 — or, more importantly, what we wanted to do with Season 5 — we just decided, “Man, it’d be so awesome to spend the whole season laying the groundwork for Madeline to just win.” We really have the team take a loss, which you don’t often see in procedural television. It was super exciting for us, because it leads to a very propulsive Season 5, unlike any [season] we’ve ever done. It’s basically the team against the world, trying to still take down Madeline but also trying to clear their name. And this isn’t going to be something like, “They’ll be back on the FBI set by Episode 2!” The whole final season is about getting back home.
TVLINE | The last time we spoke, I had asked you if the Season 4 finale could possibly serve as a series finale, and you said definitely not — and now that completely makes sense. Were there ever any discussions, when you were breaking this episode, of not doing such a drastic cliffhanger, just in case you weren’t picked up?
This was always the plan. We have an incredible partnership with NBC. They’ve been such amazing champions of this show for five seasons now, and they really felt [that we should] do a Season 4 that demands a Season 5. And that’s what we did. There was no backup plan. We felt relatively confident, as we were making that episode, that there would be a Season 5. If NBC had sent up a flare, like, “Hey, guys, it’s not looking good,” then we might have altered it. But no, that was always the plan, and no alternate ending was considered.
TVLINE | The only character we can confidently talk about right now is Jane.
TVLINE | Where does she go from here? How will she cope after what she’s seen in this finale?
The easiest way to talk about it is: Should members of the team survive, they’re bonded together now, closer than they’ve ever been — the ones that survive, if they survive. The idea of revenge and justice is heavy in their minds. And it’s interesting for Jane because the rest of the team — sure, they’ve bent the rules sometimes, but they feel like they’re living a just and moral existence, whereas Jane’s big arc of the season was her reckoning with the fact that she has done terrible things in a past life, so to speak. Remi is not a separate person, Remi is a part of her. What’s interesting now is to watch Jane call on some of those experiences she had as a terrorist, to call on some of those experiences she had when she worked in kidnap and ransom, in order to operate outside the law for a greater good.
TVLINE | Before the cabin was blown up, the team had resolved a lot of the issues they’d been arguing about on their flight to Iceland. Assuming any of the team survives, will any of that tension linger in Season 5?
Certainly there’s going to be tension, just because of the fact that they’re isolated together. They don’t have anyone else to go to, they don’t have friends or family. It’s not that they have cabin fever, because that cabin blew up, but there certainly will be stuff that needs to get resolved because of the close quarters they’re working in. But also, on our show, people really love the team, and the reality is, for storytelling purposes, we’ve always needed to keep some of them at odds with each other for inner conflict and all that. But now, for the ones that can make it out, there’s going to be a great unity and a great common purpose of, “We’ve got to fix this together. We have to trust each other.” It’ll be some of the purest team stuff that the show’s ever done.
TVLINE | How does Matthew Weitz play into all of this? It seems in the finale that he’s really on the team’s side now, but he’s also been untrustworthy at different points of the season.
What Matthew Weitz looks out for is himself more than anything. [Laughs] As long as his interests align with the team’s, then he’s on their side. What I love about that character is we spent the first half of the season making you go, “I love this guy! This guy’s OK!” And then the second it was inconvenient for him, he immediately starts to blackmail Weller and threatened to put Jane in a black site. He has that in him still, and that’s why that character is so fun. He doesn’t have a lot of subtext. [Laughs] He says what he means. He’s not trying to hide anything, he’s very overt with what he wants and what he’s willing to do for it. But now that his power has been greatly neutered by Madeline, he’s going to want to take her down, too.
TVLINE | The skydiving sequence in this finale was completely insane, and you had mentioned in a previous conversation that it was quite the undertaking to film. What was that process like? Were there any mishaps during production?
When we decided to start doing these international shoots, the idea was we would go somewhere and we wouldn’t take any lights, [we’d do] very few stunts, and we’d just shoot someone walking outside in Paris or whatever. And then as we got into it and started doing Venice with that boat chase, or the huge rooftop fight in Japan, we started to push the envelope and ask, “What is possible on our budget and timeline if we plan far ahead?” So this sequence was planned for six months.
The skydiving team was captained by some of the people from Mission: Impossible, we flew them in from the U.K. And it was tremendously dangerous — maybe the most dangerous thing we’ve done on the show. We’d done skydiving before, but it was under pristine conditions, and they were just falling down on a flat piece of ground with not a lot of wind. This time, they were landing, like, 300 feet away from a glacier. The wind was exceptionally high, the terrain was rugged. That shot of Patterson falling and getting dragged? That actually happened. We didn’t plan that. The parachutes they were using are twice the size because they can hang in the air a lot longer, which is great for us, because it’s hard to shoot them if they fall too fast. But it means that when you get to the ground, they’re very unwieldy in the wind. We got really, really lucky. That team was extraordinary, and that whole sequence was done over two jumps on two different days that we were able to tie together. But it’s all real. There’s no CG in that sequence. [Laughs] It’s incredible.
TVLINE | When the show was renewed for a final season, you wrote that this had been your initial plan for the show, that it would run for five years. Have these first four seasons been in line with your original vision?
When I sat down and wrote that mini-Bible for myself [before pitching the show], the level of detail dissipated with each season. [Laughs] I knew Season 5 was going to be [the team] on the run, and it would have an ending that I can’t really talk about right now, but the ending of the show is something we’ve been playing around with for a while. But what’s amazing about working on a TV show is it’s no one’s idea, you know? It’s everyone’s idea. There’s 450 people that work on this show on a daily basis… Everyone puts themselves in the show, so the show grows and mutates from your original ideas, and we’ve been evolving those ideas for what we wanted the seasons to be. But if it came down to the sentence that I wrote for each season [originally], it’s come pretty close. The details grew around the incredible people that we have on the show.
TVLINE | And looking ahead to Season 5, is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to? Any stories you haven’t gotten to tell yet that you’re hoping to do?
You know, it’s so rare for a show like this to know it’s going to end. It’s such an incredible privilege to do these amazing episodes and really honor the show in a great way — to give people all of those fan moments and proper goodbyes, not only to our main characters, but also the dozen or so supporting characters that people love when they drop in. [Season 5] is a little more compact, so the storytelling is even more dynamic, and we know where we’re going. We know we’re going toward a very specific end now. This isn’t something where we have to set up Season 6 or Season 7. We can be a little more reckless than we’ve been, in a good way, as far as the outcome of some of these stories. Fans of the show are in for a pretty crazy ride.
Your turn, Blindspot fans! What did you think of Friday’s Season 4 finale? Grade it in our poll below, then drop a comment with your reactions.