Trish gets some welcome focus in “The Rule of Three”, while Ashley debates how best to parent Sean.
This recap of Blindspotting season 1, episode 3, “The Rule of Three”, contains spoilers.
Is it okay to hit your kids? If so, when’s the right time to do it? These questions are pretty essential to Blindspotting episode 3, “The Rule of Three”, since Sean is watching too much age-inappropriate TV and has decided it’s okay to kick both Ashley and Trish. Rainey proposes the episode’s title as the ideal strategy. You hit your kids at Sean’s age, then when he’s a tween, then right before he turns 18, just to let him know what time it is. I’ve heard worse parenting advice, admittedly, but considering one of Rainey’s children is in prison and the other is running a start-up strip club in the living room, questions should probably be asked about the effectiveness of this strategy.
After hogging a lot of the limelight, Ashley is largely sidelined in this episode. Instead, the plot takes a two-pronged focus, following Trish’s attempts to better herself while Janelle and Earl try to teach Sean the error of his ways. Earl’s attempts to equate his punishment with Sean’s is a consistent source of gags all throughout “The Rule of Three”, but it’s really Trish who is the star of the show here, and it’s a welcome change.
Trish and Ashley clash – this is no secret. But the reasons behind their disagreement are pretty integral to the show’s ideas. Ashley moved out of the hood, and she earns a living by faking a posh British accent at an upscale hotel. To Trish, this is unacceptable. She’s determined to come up by being entirely herself, which means when she goes to the bank to try and negotiate a business loan, she can’t help but be totally up-front about the kind of business she’s trying to create. Thus, her application gets denied immediately, and in response, she trashes the loan officer’s desk, gets drunk, and picks a fight with Ashley, for which Rainey slaps her in full view of Sean.
It’d be easy to dislike Trish for being self-sabotaging and aggressive, but Blindspotting episode 3 manages to build a lot of sympathy for her as well as drawing some neat parallels between her and Ashley. Both don’t particularly like what they do, both are forced to make concessions, and it doesn’t really matter that both of them have radically different approaches to dealing with these things. Ultimately, they’re faced with the same hardships; Ashley is assumed to know where cocaine is because she’s Black, and Trish is assumed to be a business liability because she wears a grill – although, let’s be frank, there were plenty of other genuine financial reasons why she couldn’t get that loan.
But either way, both just want to better themselves. Seeing Trish being forced into dancing when she had, at least in her head, reinvented herself as a leader, someone who was above going out on stage and displaying herself for the entertainment of creepy strangers, was genuinely crushing. It was such an obvious personal compromise that I couldn’t help but feel deeply for her. For all its gags and stylistic flourishes – Trish’s conversation with the loan officer was a particular formal highlight – Blindspotting season 1, episode 3 proves that where the show really excels is in its characters.