EXCLUSIVE: 'Blindspot' Star Michelle Hurd on Shepherd's 'Twisted' Fixation on Weller and a Deadly Reunion
By Philiana Ng
Warning: Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode of Blindspot. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Another mystery has been answered.
On Wednesday’s episode of Blindspot, the connection between Shepherd (Michelle Hurd) and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) was finally revealed -- and surprisingly, their relationship spans decades. Back when Weller was a young cadet studying at the military academy, Shepherd -- real name Ellen Briggs -- funded his entire education with the hopes of recruiting him to join her cause, which we know now to be Sandstorm.
So set on the idea that Weller could be turned, decades later, Shepherd blocked the FBI agent from a significant promotion to ensure that he would be present when Jane (Jaimie Alexander) appeared naked in the middle of New York City. In another example of playing the long game, Shepherd intentionally included a tattoo of Weller’s name on Jane’s body to stoke suspicion. It’s interesting to note that Shepherd still holds out hope that Weller -- the one that got away, she would be the first to say -- could still turn against the FBI and end up on her side.
The revelatory episode showed just how “complex and committed Shepherd is to this cause, and how long she’s been focused on creating, on honing, on sponsoring, on shepherding people she believes has the focus and the drive and the passion and anger to help other people,” Hurd tells ET. “As twisted as it may seem, she really does feel like she’s fighting for the right cause.”
Hurd notes that, though Shepherd’s tactics have been far from by the book, she’s reeling from what she believes is the government “betraying” her. Her immovable stance to continue forging ahead with Phase 2, even as her once loyal cohorts -- Jane, then named Remi, and Roman (Luke Mitchell) -- are no longer under her thumb, serves as Exhibit A of her unending desire to accomplish the ultimate goal, which Hurd says audiences will learn the details of soon enough.
“She’s not just an evil villain who’s wreaking havoc. She’s trying to right a terrible wrong, and trying to prevent more terrible wrongs to innocent people,” Hurd explains, revealing that the anger Shepherd saw in young Weller was exactly why she gravitated toward Jane and Roman. “She feels for those kinds of people, who are so driven and marginalized. She has faith and she has hope that people will see what she’s doing and go, ‘You’re right. This is wrong. Those people did lie to you and to all of us.’”
Hurd says exploring Shepherd’s history with Weller “enlightened” her and she admits she didn’t see some of it coming. “She sees something familiar about Weller, and about Jane and Roman, that is reminiscent about herself,” she offers. “Maybe she was lost when she was young. Maybe she wasn’t encouraged and wasn’t supported and she had to find her way, so she’s driven to find those people who are lost and give them a safe haven.”
Asked if things would be dramatically different had Weller joined her cause all those years ago, Hurd observes that the mission has become a personal to-do for Shepherd.
“In some sort of twisted way, she’s betting on that,” Hurd says of why Shepherd hasn’t given up on Weller. “In her head, Jane was going to do this, Roman was going to do this and Weller was going to do this, and everything is going to fall into place and Phase 2 will be complete. Sh*t hit the fan with Roman and Jane, so she’s lost a bit of that control, so she’s going to what she thinks is her fallback [plan].”
“In her own little off-kilter way, she feels that with Weller on board, everything is going to fall in line and be exactly as she planned,” she adds.
Though a reunion between Shepherd and her kids, Jane and Roman, may not be on the horizon any time soon, Hurd is just as “curious” about what that would look like if and when the time comes.
“I don’t know!” she says of the hypothetical reunion. “[Shepherd] feels that Jane is a lost cause. She has accepted the fact that Jane is over there and works for the FBI. She still feels that Roman can come back to her. When they do come together, it’ll be a mammoth fight to the edge of death.”