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Toughest New Girl on the Block
November 10, 2015  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment
 



Let’s make it official. The toughest new chick on the TV block this season is Jaimie Alexander from NBC’s Blindspot. 

Given the competition these days, that’s an honor worth coveting. 

It also means no disrespect to Melissa Benoist, a/k/a Kara Danvers a/k/a Supergirl on CBS, or Priyanka Chopra, who plays Alex Parrish on ABC’s Quantico. 

Up until about 10 years ago, either of those two would have won the title by acclamation. 

TV women these days, however, do not fumble in their purses for pepper spray when confronted with a menacing adversary. 

They’re packing heat. They’re packing fists of titanium. Or they’re simply more hard-core than anyone they’re likely to meet. 

And that’s not just the women who are cops. 

If you ever find yourself in a barroom brawl with the current cast of TV characters, do not antagonize Taraji P. Henson or Constance Wu.  

So this year’s crop of tough chicks arrived ready to roll, from Supergirl and Alex Parrish to Charity Wakefield’s Cassandra King on The Player, who has a remarkable touch with a sniper’s rifle. 

Erika Christenson’s Betty Beaumontaine on Wicked City is a serial killer. 

Only a few years back, cops like Jennifer Carpenter’s Rebecca Harris on Limitless and Jaina Lee Ortiz’s Annalise Villa on Rosewood would have led the pack. Now they’re in the middle, eclipsed by the likes of Jean Smart’s Floyd Gerhart on Fargo (right.)

Floyd strikes a blow for female empowerment, in a sense, by crashing the largely male-dominated world of cold-blooded pathological violence. 

In any case, now that all these characters have had some episodes to work up a sweat, Alexander remains at the top.  

Interestingly, she claims the title before she even has a real name. Or at least a name we’re sure of. She’s officially Jane Doe, and while some DNA evidence suggests she’s really Taylor Shaw, other DNA evidence suggests maybe she’s not. 

Whatever her name, she’s got mad combat skills. 

She can fire any kind of gun from any position, and that includes picking off the bad guy who is standing behind an innocent victim and holding a gun to her head. 

When it’s time for hand-to-hand combat, she’s even better. She has martial arts skills, but she doesn’t just flip a bad guy and point her gun at him. If he punches her, she punches him back. They throw each other against walls and the worst she does is fight him to a draw until FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) arrives.    

We’ve had some hints, via blurry flashbacks, that Jane/Taylor at some point had intensive military-style training, like Navy Seals get.

That would explain a lot.

For better or worse, it doesn’t entirely explain the premise of Blindspot, which is bizarre enough so it would feel at home in Pixar animation. 

At some point, after her training and after she apparently did some things that needed to be forgotten, Jane took a drug designed to blot out the memory of her entire life. 

We joined her story shortly after she took the drug, as she woke up in a duffel bag in Times Square and discovered her whole body was covered with tattoos. 

It wasn’t a look that so far has caught on widely among viewers, but it was the best TV series opening scene in years. 

The tattoos have subsequently helped drive the plot, since they hold clues to a series of crimes committed by nefarious shadowy bad guys.

It’s all a little weird, though maybe no weirder than the premise of fellow NBC shows The Blacklist or The Player

What further distinguishes Alexander, in any case, is that she has managed to carve out a complex character who is surprisingly relatable in spite of the fact that only a tiny percentage of us will ever wake up in a duffel bag in Times Square, naked and covered with tattoos. 

Sometimes Jane is a female Terminator with ink. Sometimes she’s scared and confused. She’s looking for answers, she’s looking for love. When the whole tattoos-and-clues thing asks a little too much of our forbearance, we can just sit back and root for her, which may help explain why Blindspot has become one of the first Class of 2015 shows to get a second-season renewal. 

In the tough-chick game, Blindspot hits a bullseye.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Keith
Yes, I've noticed that Blindspot is, essentially, the same storyline as The Blacklist with Jane's tattoos providing cases to be investigated in the same way that Raymond Reddington provides cases to be investigated.
Nov 11, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Hinckley
True that. And then it's hybridized a bit by giving Jane some of Elizabeth Kean's bewilderment.
Nov 13, 2015
 
 
 
 
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