The NBC series Blindspot has been an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, and it all came together in the last two episodes of Season 2, answering questions about Sandstorm and Shepherd, Jane and Weller, and the team at the FBI, while also giving a glimpse into where things could go in the already picked up third season. It had a sense of closure for some storylines and opened up new ones, satisfied loyal viewers, and even took things into space.
To chat about all things Blindspot, Collider got on the phone with showrunner Martin Gero. During the interview, we got some answers about that final scene, what he’s most proud of with the Season 2 finale, how Season 3 will be a soft reboot for the series, what’s next for Jane (Jaimie Alexander) and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), Jane’s tattoos, Roman (Luke Mitchell), Shepherd’s (Michelle Hurd) plan, taking the story to space, and what they learned from Season 2 that will affect the storytelling for Season 3. He also talked about the upcoming ABC series Deception, that he’s producing (along with Greg Berlanti), and weaving magic into an FBI story.
Be aware that major spoilers are discussed.
Collider: First of all, congrats on the Season 3 pick-up!
MARTIN GERO: Oh, thank you! Yes, it’s fantastic news!
Before the final scene in this episode, the rest of the Season 2 finale could have been a perfect series finale since most of what you’d set up over the first two seasons has come to a resolution, whether it be Sandstorm, or Kurt and Jane, or the plans for the team. Would you have not aired that final scene, if you hadn’t gotten the Season 3 pick-up, or is that where the season would have ended, either way?
GERO: I was very, very optimistic about a pick-up, so to be honest, that did not cross our minds, one way or the other. For us, I would have been very happy, if that had been the last episode because it did wrap up so much. But no, we had no plans to take the cliffhanger out.
This was clearly a big finale, even taking the story into space. What are you most proud of with the Season 2 finale?
GERO: We try to really top ourselves for this big episodes. Jeff King, who directed this one, I thought did a fantastic job from a script by Rachel Caris Love. And space was something we had known we were gonna do for about a year now. In the season premiere, they’re standing in front of this giant rocket. When you show a big rocket, at some point, you’re going to space. For us, it was a great way to pay that story off. We have such a phenomenal visual effects company – this company out of New York, called Alkemy X – that allows us to tell these stories on a grander scale.
Will Season 3 have a different feel to it?
GERO: Yeah. We’re loathe to call it a reboot, but it is a reboot. It’s a soft reboot for us. Our show runs on secrets. All of these reveals are incredibly important to the show, and we realized, very early on, even in the first season, that by the end of Season 2, we were gonna know an awful lot about these characters, in a way that having some sort of massive reveal come out of nowhere might feel a little artificial. And so, what this two-year time jump allows us to do is to refill our secret tank with all of these characters, as well as slightly shift the characters, in a way that I think will be really satisfying. It will be the same old characters, but in a new dynamic that I think will be really satisfying for our fans, so the show doesn’t start to feel stale.
What can you say about what that final scene means, for Jane and Weller, and for the story you’re looking to tell in Season 3? What role will Jane’s tattoos play in the story now?
GERO: With the tattoos, in a way, it’s a return to the type of storytelling we were doing in Season 1, which is very tattoo driven stories, really leaning on our close-ended episodes. We kind of got away form that this season, a little bit. Probably half of our episodes were tattoo cases, but I think that’s something our fans have really missed, with those great Patterson puzzles that end in fantastic reveals. What’s great about the way we’re doing it in Season 3 is that some of those tattoos are now about our team. That’s all I’ll say, for now. So, in one way, it’s a new dynamic, but a return to the type of storytelling that we did in the first season. And then, for the Weller-Jane relationship, it’s not going to start from zero. That’s all I’m saying. All of our Jeller fans will be very satiated with the first episode back.
Did you intentionally want to present each of the members of the team with other options, so that staying with the team or going had to be their choice?
GERO: Absolutely! I work with a phenomenal team of writers, and one of the things I’m really proud of is how much time we spend talking about the next season while we’re working on the current season. Before we even got down and dirty with Season 2, we spent a couple of weeks talking about what Season 3 is and where we go from there. We quickly realized that we were going to do this time jump and a reshuffle of the team, so we decided, through the back half of the season, to see this idea that they were maybe gonna go somewhere else and have new experiences, for various reasons that needed to feel organic and not a betrayal to the characters that they are. So, we definitely wanted to lay that groundwork.
How much of a problem will it be for the team that Jane let Roman go? Is that going to have to be dealt with, in some manner?
GERO: Zapata, in [the finale], was already very unhappy that Roman got away and she’s not buying that Jane didn’t have the shot. It’s definitely a thing to be discussed, but that ship has sailed, so they have to focus on the task at hand.
What would it have taken to push Jane to kill Roman? Would it have had to have come down to either saving herself or saving Kurt, for her to have actually pulled the trigger?
GERO: Yeah, I think that’s probably right. I think she’s a selfless character, that way, so if it was a choice between her and Roman, she may have even sacrificed herself. She feels like she really has let this guy down. She couldn’t protect him when she was Alice, when they were kids. She manipulated him and left him, when she was Remy. And then, she betrayed him when she was Jane. There’s no way around that. It’s really strange that perhaps our most sociopathic character is also our most sympathetic one this season, but you really feel terrible for him. He’s a dangerous guy, but how he became this person is patently clear. For us, she could never pull the trigger.
I loved the addition of Mary Stuart Masterson and just how strong and bad-ass she was. Will we see her again?
GERO: I hope so. We can’t say anything about that quite yet.
One of the best moments of the finale is when we learned that Nas will be the one who gets to interrogate Shepherd. Why was she the best choice, and will we see her again?
GERO: Archie [Panjabi] was just so phenomenal to work with. She’s truly one of the best actresses we’ve all worked with. We love having Archie around. The entire cast is obsessed with her. So, it was a real loss, both on the show and personally for us, that she had to go away. The character left the show in such a selfless way, essentially offering herself up to save the team, that we wanted to give her that victory, at the end. So, from very early, we talked about having that mirrored scene, putting Shepherd in the chair that Jane was interrogated in. We wanted to give her that win. We thought that the audience would want it, and we selfishly wanted to give Nas the final victory over Shepherd, this person that she’s doggedly chased for many years.
What do you think was going through Shepherd’s head, at that point? Is she resigned to being defeated, is she relying on Roman to carry on, or does she have yet another plan in place that we aren’t even aware of yet?
GERO: I won’t speak to the future, but I think she feels utterly defeated. It is very over for her. She’s in a black site somewhere and is about to be questioned by Nas. Her plan did not work. Her son and daughter have both walked away from her. It’s about as big a loss as you can get.
Because the last two episodes were really a Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 finale, what were the biggest production challenges of this finale, and what were you surprised that you pulled off?
GERO: The space thing, for one, was something that not a lot of people thought we were gonna do great, and I hope we pulled it off pretty well and in a way that’s totally believable. I’m lucky enough to be friends with a number of people who work at NASA and JPL, so all of that stuff is how they would have done it, for real. I, of course, am an idiot and was like, “Could they just space walk out there?” And they were like, “No, man, satellites aren’t anywhere close to the space station.” I was like, “Oh, right!” And then, someone suggested, “You could send the Soyuz up there.” That’s where that came from. I’m so relieved about that. Also, there were massive pieces in there, like Roman’s car flip. We did a bottle show, as our second to last episode. Usually, when a show is on your set, you do it to save money, but we went hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget because it was maybe our biggest action episode, even though it was shot entirely on our set. It was a fete to pull off, and it speaks volumes about the 400 people we have working on this show, on a daily basis. All of those people are pouring in their passion and creativity to achieve this kind of level of storytelling, for 22 episodes a year. It takes more than a village, and I feel incredibly fortunate that I get to work with these amazing artists, every day.
What do you feel you got most right with Season 2, and in what ways did you learn from Season 2 that will affect or change how you approach Season 3?
GERO: I think Season 2 was very, very satisfying for our loyal viewers. If you’ve watched every episode of the show, the pay-offs, all the way through the year, were incredibly satisfying. If you’re a casual viewer of Blindspot, first of all, what is wrong with you?! How are you only watching every other episode?! But, they do exist. For them, the show maybe got a little confusing because the pace that we tell our mythology storytelling is so break-neck that, if you miss a couple of episodes, it might be harder to settle into the show. So, that’s something that we’re looking to help in Season 3. We want to have the show continue to be incredibly rewarding for our loyal viewers, but also way more approachable for the people that just drop in when they want to watch an episode of Blindspot. And then, also, what we’ve learned over these past two seasons is that our show does fun a lot better than it has any business doing. Our Rich Dotcom episodes are great. Some of our standalone episodes this year really worked and were very effective. So, we would like to see a better balance and tone with the show in Season 3. There’s so much going on in the world to stress about. We want Blindspot to be the escapist television it’s supposed to be, and not just have it stress you out even more, with the various ways the world could blow up. Although, that will still be a part of it.
You’re producing another series, at ABC, but you’re staying with the FBI, and adding an illusionist to the mix. What are you most excited about with Deception, and how involved will you be with the series?
GERO: I’ll be real involved. I’ve been very hands on with the pilot. Chris Fedak is the showrunner, and it is his show, but I was there every day for the pilot and I’m going to stay very involved with the show. I’m a huge fan of magic, and this is a show that we’ve been wanting to do, for a long time, and the fact that it’s made it all the way to air is so exciting. It’s tonally a very different show than Blindspot. It’s a very funny show. Not that Blindspot can’t be funny, but Deception is a very bright and lovely show. The one similarity it shares with Blindspot is that it’s one of the best casts in television. It’s got a deep bench of amazing actors on it. And the stories we plan to tell on there are going to be real different. It would never happen because they’re on two different networks, but man, what a cross-over that would be. In my mind, they work at the FBI upstairs, and the Blindspot team is the FBI team that works downstairs, in the basement.
Will that be enormously challenging to pull off, every week?
GERO: It’s really hard. One of the reasons that we came up with this was that Greg [Berlanti] and I were talking about how hard it is to reinvent these giant action sequences, again and again, and keep them fresh, and how do you create a twist to that. For us, adding a magic component to them, there’s a car chase in the pilot that feels so fresh and new because of how we’re doing it and what we’re doing with it. It’s a huge canvas for us to tell some incredibly exciting and fun stories.
Blindspot will return for Season 3 on NBC.