Before we get to the good stuff, though, here’s a short recap of where the season stands: Saul Guerrero is toast. Patterson’s lovely boyfriend David has been assassinated. (I’m sure his sweet soul is somewhere in heaven, solving crossword puzzles and writing love ciphers for Patterson.) Mayfair is still in reluctant cahoots with creepy Carter. Weller — whatever. And Jane is, Carrie Mathison–style, sitting at home, attempting to solve the story of her tattoos with an expert-looking wall collage.
Back in the FBI offices, Patterson (Ashley Johnson) is tracking down David’s redheaded murderer as a totally valid means of coping with his death. She’s solved almost every other plotline of the season, so why not the finale, too? As expected, she discovers the connections between the coded library books and a group of Russian spies implanted within the United States, who use Cold War codes and tactics — such as library-book ciphers, syringes hidden under telephone booths, and Brighton Beach flower -hop displays — to deliver intelligence and communicate with one another beneath the veil of suburban life. Redhead, of course, is one of the assimilated Russian spies.
After a search and seizure that includes a gigantic 3-D model of New York City and Jane (Jaimie Alexander) and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) co-opting a pair of motorcycles to chase down a soccer-mom-cum-spy, the dots all connect. With these spies, Vladimir Putin has been targeting and, eventually, killing Americans with records of anti-Russian activity.
Jane and Weller track the cold-blooded ginger to a war museum where the women go hand-to-hand on a boat filled with jets and tanks. Jane gets in some good punches, but must be saved from a deadly syringe’s poke by Weller. Redhead is killed in the struggle. And though David is finally avenged, Patterson could not be less satisfied. In what must be one of the season’s most authentic moments, Jane meets with Patterson in the locker room, holding her as she cries. For once, the story does not cut away from the opportunity for real emotion. Patterson is simply allowed to linger in her pain, and her early potential as a main character is fulfilled by Johnson’s ability to portray a guarded woman vacillating between sensitivity and strength, vulnerability and resolve.
With only ten minutes of the episode to go, the focus is thrown back to Jane’s identity and memory. She’s shrugged her detail in order to catch Weller unaware outside of his apartment. In the most uninspired of embraces, they kiss. It’s a bold, admirable move on Jane’s part, but Weller is clearly not the man for her. She quickly scuttles away when his nephew appears. Weller stands in the street with his jaw dangling like an old sock in the wind. Don’t worry, guys. I think it’s just a tease.
Now to the good part: On her way home, Jane is kidnapped and thrown into an unmarked white van by three masked creeps, and soon finds herself in a subterranean room, shackled under the icky gaze of CIA Carter. He demands to know who she is and lamely waterboards her, giving up quickly in favor of a power drill after she asks what “Orion” is. Before Jane’s perfect avian bones can be marred, though, tree-tattoo guy (also Jane’s former fiancé) bursts in, kills Carter, and whips out a video to prove his trustworthiness. And the really good part: His video reveals a long-haired Jane talking firmly and knowingly. She tells present-day Jane that she can trust this guy, whose name is Oscar. She says the mission is going as planned. But most important, she tells her that she — Jane — was the one who planned it. “You did this to you,” she says, “You did this to yourself.”
Why do I love this ending so much? It’s mostly because Jane is not being used as a pawn in someone else’s larger scheme. However absurd it may be, it appears that she is in control of the entire plotline. Of course, it also implies she’s probably into self-martyrdom, serious masochism, and/or sabotaging her personal relationships, but it’s also a sure sign she’s not a Navy SEAL gone bad. I also like this ending because, cheesily enough, it reveals that Jane is a true heroine attempting to uncover the underbelly of American intelligence with a crazy-ass scheme involving a body sleeve of tattoos and the abandonment of her cute fiancé.
We still don’t know if she is Taylor Shaw. We also don’t know what, if anything, Weller’s dad had to do with her childhood capture. A flashback from earlier in the season alludes to a basement full of orphans, but it’s unclear whether that’s connected to this episode or just an empathetic twinge on Jane’s part. We also don’t know who killed Beardo. But luckily, the new season is only two months away — and there are plenty of tattoos yet to solve.