Blindspot, a show that has previously derided veterans, and blamed the CIA and American indifference to foreign suffering for two separate, anti-American terror plots, is scraping the bottom of the barrel in its search for cliché liberal boogeymen. Taking a cue from CBS’s Limitless, tonight the NBC drama throws back to the 90's by setting its sights on a Michigan militia.
The episode, titled “Sent on Tour,” opens with the FBI team decoding one of Jane Doe’s mystery tattoos and discovering an address in a remote town that immediately sets off alarm bells for the unit’s director, Bethany Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). She describes the community as “off the grid” and “anti-government” and says they’re almost certainly running guns, the FBI just can’t prove it.
Mayfair: Looks like Patterson got another tattoo lead.
Weller: What do you got?
Patterson: At first, all I could see was this turtle shell. But then I realized the patterns were less scute-like and more coral-like. It's a Petoskey stone, which is the official state stone of Michigan.
Reed: Go, blue! You guys know I still hold the record—
Zapata: Record for most consecutive games with a catch? No, you've never mentioned that.
Patterson: Looking closer, one of the stone's coral patterns is very purposely shaped like Alpena County. And the Alpena pattern contains an address in an unincorporated community in Draclyn Township.
Jane: What's the problem?
Mayfair: Draclyn's the problem. It sits along the old detroit-mackinac oil pipeline. Ten years ago they were on the brink of ruin when a flood of cash saved the community. We always suspected illegal arms dealing but we could never prove it.
Jane: I don't understand. If they're running guns, why don't we just arrest them?
Reed: Draclyn has strong ties to Michigan secessionist groups. They're off the grid. Anti-government, anti-law enforcement. Which makes policing Draclyn a nightmare.
Jane: So, how do we get in there?
When the team finally lands in Draclyn, they discover the address belongs to the FBI’s number two most wanted fugitive, Saul Guerrero (Lou Diamond Phillips), a crime kingpin wanted in connection with 19 different murders. The cock-sure criminal casually informs the show’s stars that the town’s residents have standing orders to ensure he’s never taken into custody.
Weller: Excuse me, sir. My name is Kurt Weller, I'm an agent with the FBI. Is this your residence? Sir, I'm talking to you. Do you live here?
Guerrero: Well, I'm not the gardener, if that's what you're asking.
Weller: Show me your hands.
Zapata: Get on your knees.
Reed: Don't you move. Don't move!
Jane: Whoa, whoa, what's happening?
Weller: Saul Guerrero, you're under arrest.
Guerrero: So, which is it, hands up, down on the ground, or don't move?
Weller: Get down on your knees, put your hands on your head, and don't move.
Jane: Who's Saul Guerrero?
Zapata: This man is number two on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
Reed: We got Rico warrants out on him for 19 murders.
Guerrero: Alleged murders.
Reed: Terrorized New York for over 20 years.
Weller: So, this is where you've been the whole time?
Guerrero: Oh, I love it here. Fresh air, starry skies, friendly neighbors.
Weller: The illegal arms. It was you. What'd you do, buy yourself some protection?
Guerrero: The people here have very strict instructions not to let anyone take me away.
Fortunately for Weller’s crew, not only do they discover a map tattoo on Jane’s body that leads them to safety, but the town’s sherriff grows a conscience just in time to declare to Guerrero, “We’re not your militia anymore,” as he saves the FBI team from the town’s residents.
The show writers’ message is clear. If you’re a poor rural American who is wary of excessive government, you’re probably a mid-90's cliché of a militiaman, bitterly clinging to an illegal firearm and harboring a dangerous criminal for pay.