Blindspotting series premiere recap: The Ordeal

Blindspotting - Starz/Eddy Chen
Blindspotting - Starz/Eddy Chen /

Today the official spinoff of the 2018 film Blindspotting premieres on Starz. Blindspotting Season 1, Episode 1, titled “The Ordeal,” kicks off with Ashley’s 12-year-long ride-or-die partner, Miles going to jail. The arrest couldn’t come at a worse time for the pair, both of whom return from the film played by Jasmine Cephas Jones and Rafael Casal.

They’ve finally gotten their lives together, so to speak, at home with the perfect tufted mustard lounge couch (which they never got the chance to break in) and an ideal setup together with their 6-year-old son Sean. With Miles headed to jail, Ashley and Sean are suddenly homeless and forced to go live with Miles’s mom and half-sister Trish, played by newcomers to the Blindspotting universe, Helen Hunt and Jaylen Barron.

Funnily enough, Hunt’s casting as Rainey came about via social media as Hunt loved the movie and had tweeted about it. From there, Casel slid into her DMs to recruit her for the show.

Fans of the film will find plenty to love about the television show, which feels very similar tonally to the movie and forges its own path with women of color at the forefront and its own sense of musicality. Like Daveed Diggs’ character in the film, Ashley is prone to lapsing into rap sequiturs and powerful lyrical monologues.

One particularly memorable scene has Ashley, Sean, Trish and other people in town getting down to the Thizzle Dance by Mac Dre. It’s a scene that would be at home in a musical, but it fits in here as the show refuses to be contained by a specific tone or genre.

The first episode of Blindspotting Season 1 is about setting up Ashley’s new living situation and her relationships with Rainey and Trish. Rainey is incredibly warm and welcoming toward Ashley, while Trish and Ashley have no love lost between them.

Blindspotting Season 1
Blindspotting – Starz/Patrick Wymore /

Blindspotting Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Ashley finds an engagement ring.

While settling into Miles’ old bedroom, Ashley finds a shoebox containing an engagement ring. Thinking Miles had planned to propose to her, and she slips it on her finger. Rainey is happy for Ashley, but when she talks to Miles on the phone that evening, Ashley is a little disappointed when he tells her specifically not to look through the shoebox. Is he having second thoughts? Or does he want to make sure she’s surprised? Either way, Ashley doesn’t mention that he found it.

Moments after the call, she almost gets robbed by a seemingly random passerby who threatens her by flashing the gun in his belt. Ashley quickly hands over the ring but is saved from losing it by Trish, who recognizes the would-be robber as a high school acquaintance. She chews him out and gets him to return Ashley’s ring before rounding on Ashley.

Out on the streets of Oakland, Ashley and Trish have it out. We learn that Trish doesn’t like Ashley because she persuaded Miles not to support Trish’s business ventures. Trish’s character establishing scene is her and her friends taking over her living room dressed in skimpy lingerie. They post a myriad of sexy photos and video clips to their various social media feeds.

It’s not entirely clear what Trish is hoping to do, although it appears she wants to open a strip club. She calls what she does sex work, although Rainey disagrees with that definition.

Ashley thinks Trish is immature and irresponsible, with no real business sense. She didn’t want Miles to get in bed with her financially and ruin their credit. But Trish doesn’t like how Ashley looks down on her, calling her out for being homeless and the fact that it was Trish who just saved her from being robbed just now.

In the final moments of the episode, Ashley retires to her new room/living room to crash on the couch (she gives Sean Miles’ room) and tries to enjoy a masturbation session on the couch. Her vibrator echoes, and Rainey hears her, offering to close the doors and give her some privacy.

It’s incredibly embarrassing for Ashley, especially as Trish gets the giggles when she realizes what Ashley was doing. It’s indicative of what her life is going to be like for the foreseeable future. She holds onto the idea of Miles only being in jail for one month because he doesn’t have priors, but the reality is, no one knows how long it’ll be yet. She’ll have to find a way to adapt.

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New episodes of Blindspotting Season 1 premiere Sunday nights on Starz.