'Blindspot' Creator Breaks Down Explosive Finale Cliffhanger and Sentimental Final Season (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Warning: Spoilers! Do not proceed if you have not watched Friday's two-hour season four finale of Blindspot.
So, are they dead?
Blindspot threw everyone for a loop at the end of Friday's two-hour season four finale when the cabin in which Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), Patterson (Ashley Johnson), Reade (Rob Brown) and Zapata (Audrey Esparza) took temporary reprieve blew up in a fiery explosion following a drone attack ordered by their main foe, Madeline Burke (Mary Elizabeth Mastranoio). Jane (Jaimie Alexander), who left the cabin only moments earlier to steal some fresh air before the team -- wanted fugitives thanks to a frame job by Madeline -- went on the run to save their reputations and lives, watched in horror as the cabin went down in flames, presumably with her husband and friends still inside.
"A show like ours, we go out of our way to not be predictable. We try to play with structure a lot. We have characters you feel is unexpected. But for us, could we do that for a whole season? Like, could we literally just change the show? And obviously, we don't want to change the show so much that our fans feel like, 'Well wait, this is not why I tuned in every week,'" creator Martin Gero tells ET of the game-changing finale, which sets the table for what's sure to be a blistering 13 episodes for Blindspot's upcoming final season.
"The procedural engine of how the show fundamentally works in the fifth season is radically different because this isn't a thing where they're on the run in the season finale and then by episode two [in season five], they're back working for the FBI. That's not it at all for what we're doing," he promises, revealing that the final chapter kicks off with a two-month time jump. "They are on the run. The fifth and final season is about them clearing their names, trying to take down Madeline and trying to get back home."
Following Friday's season closer, ET spoke with Gero about the shocking finale, including whether fans should be worried about the fates of Weller, Patterson, Reade and Zapata; upending the show's formula; and what his plans for the final season entail. (Hint: Expect Blindspot favorites to pop back up.)
ET: First thing's first: You really blew up the show with the finale. Clearly that was your intention?
Martin Gero: Yeah. We wanted to shake it up and we wanted to end with a bang,literally. We were hoping for a fifth and final season, and we wanted to make sure this was going to be the worst possible series finale so that we would have to do a fifth season.
So you didn't film an alternate ending just in case you didn't get another season?
No, but we felt weirdly confident. We've had such an amazing partnership with NBC over the past five years, and they really wanted this to happen. And they knew what we were doing. I think if they had come to us and been like, "Hey, listen, this is going to be it," then we would have figured it out.
We see the cabin that Weller, Patterson, Reade and Zapata are in presumably still in go up in flames following a drone attack signed off by Madeline Burke, with Jane watching in the distance in absolute horror. Are we to assume they made it out OK?
I would not assume that.
What can you say about their fates?
I don't want to say much. I mean, it's a pretty big explosion. Our smart viewers will realize that there is an escape hatch in that cabin. But it was also said, "Don't go down there. It's very dangerous."
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At the end of the season, Madeline assumes control over everything, including oversight of the FBI, handicapping Weitz in the process and framing Jane, Weller and the team, forcing them to become fugitives on the run. What can you tease in regards to Madeline's master plan and what she wants to ultimately accomplish?
We've never had a bad guy win so hard on the show. Like, she really did it. She had a big success. We thought we had been able to mute her and confine her, but we really underestimated her. She finds herself in an incredible seat of power, looking over the FBI now and essentially neutering Weitz. But that's not her endgame, right? She's not like, 'OK, well done. Now I'm just going to enjoy helping run the FBI." She has a vision for what she wants her life to be and her plan is about getting more power. And the more power she gets, the more difficult it is for us to come back. The [final] season's tension really is: How do we stop her before she gets so powerful that it's just impossible?
The team went through a lot this season, and the past four seasons for that matter, and it seemed like, before the cabin blew up, that they were finally coming together and in a good place. If everyone did survive the explosion, how do you think the dynamic within the team will fundamentally change as a result of the past?
Presuming they all survive, or the ones who do, I think there will be great unity within [the team] like there never has been before. That's part of what excited us about doing season five. We really put this team at odds with each other at different times; it's been really rare that everyone has gotten along at the same time. For us, the idea that this is suddenly a team that only has each other and has to combat this huge foe, without any of the resources they're used to, just made it for more interesting storytelling for them emotionally and it made it really interesting as far as the stories we tell because they can't use any of their old tricks. Patterson doesn't have a giant supercomputer with access to all the FBI and CIA files anymore. They can't just go talk to people. They're not the cops. They're wanted fugitives, so they have to be careful about poking their head out. It's an additional layer of sophistication for us.
Rich Dotcom is also in a heap of trouble. Where do you envision him at the start of season five?
Rich is being held against his will. It seems like he's in a black site type of situation. I will say that the first episode of season five is mostly about how they rescue Rich. That's the major plot point for the first episode back.
What can you share about when the final season picks up?
There is a two month-ish time jump, but through flashbacks we'll tell what happened immediately proceeding what we saw [in the finale].
When it was announced a few weeks ago that the upcoming fifth season would be Blindspot's last, you wrote that you had always had a five-season plan. It's rare for a show to get to end on its own terms nowadays. Is there anything you're looking to accomplish in the final season? Callbacks to earlier seasons and past characters, perhaps?
Our primary concern is to not f--- up the landing. You're absolutely right; it's rare for a show like this to be given the opportunity to actually bring it in for a landing and pay service to the fans, the story, and give it a conclusion. It allows us to have a long goodbye. It's our senior year, so to speak. When you know it's your senior year, you can pay service to, like, "This is the last time we'll probably see this character. How do we honor that?" Or, like, "This is probably the last time we'll have a moment like this. How do we honor that? How do we honor our fans who have certainly strong varying opinions about our characters and where they'd like to see it end? How do we put our arms around everybody in a way that everyone can feel great about the closing of the show?" I think we've come up with something that's really exciting, especially for our grand finale. But the whole season has this kind of... I don't want to say sentimentality, but it has this celebratory vibe to it. We can check in on everybody one last time and give our main characters a season to say goodbye.
In terms of the show's ultimate ending, did it ever change in your mind during the lifespan of the show?
It's changed a lot. From the [original] plan that I wrote out in 2014, as we got deeper and deeper, that plan got more and more ethereal. Season five is them on the run, but how that plays out in specifics. It shifts and it grows and it evolves. There was a version of the ending that we've been talking about since season one, but it's grown and shifted over the years to accommodate how the show has grown and shifted.
Blindspotreturns midseason for its fifth and final season on NBC.