Bank robberies are all the rage these days, so The Blacklist pulls a heist.
Let’s bitch it out…
As much as I like to make fun of The Blacklist for its complete insanity, I’m going to give it props for breaking from formula this week. Lizzie (Megan Boone) and Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) head to Warsaw to investigate a break-in at a bank that specializes in laundering criminal funds. Perhaps its the decision to make the villain of the week an entity rather than a single criminal, or the fact that the episode turns into ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ but watching Keene and Ressler try to move Kaja, a wounded bank employee, across Warsaw through a sea of crooked cops was more interesting than the average episode of the series (Side Note: clearly Poland was not a tourism partner on this episode because very little about the depiction of Warsaw made me want to visit).
Of course, in true Blacklist fashion this storyline is cut short so that focus can shift back to Red (James Spader). The highly entertaining mastermind swoops in to abduct Kaja so that he has financial leverage against Berlin (Peter Stormare) in order to secure the release of Naomi (Mary-Louise Parker, still being wasted playing victim). The cat and mouse between Red and Berlin seemed enticing early on, but their meeting at the amusement park turns out to be an underwhelming affair. Red predictably tells a diverting story and Berlin name drops Lizzie to illustrate that Red is “blinded by passion.” Clearly the conflict has been in the works for long enough that it wasn’t going to be resolved with a simple chat, but the outcome felt obvious the minute we learned Berlin had money in Monarch. Despite a last minute wrench by Lizzie (once again adopting her holier than thou approach to working with Red), there’s very little genuine tension in the trade-off and the episode ends with a whimper and an idle threat from Lizzie.
Unfortunately what began with some promise ends up feeling more like two incomplete episodes smushed together, neither of which is completely satisfactory. Still I’ve got to give it to The Blacklist for at least trying something new.
- So did we ever learn whether Red was behind the heist? I kept waiting for that obvious reveal, but unless I missed it, the identities of the robbers were never confirmed.
- As predicted, Samar Navabi (Mozhan Marnò) hasn’t disappeared. In fact she’s tracking the team, playing amateur photographer and rescuing them when the shit hits the fan at the safe house. Harold (Harry Lennix), undoubtedly realizing that he’s finally in the presence of a competent agent, makes the smart move and offers her a job. Naturally she’s a mole for Red.
- Side Note: is anyone else mildly uncomfortable that Meera, a woman of colour, was killed off last season and now the show has filled her position with Samar, another woman of colour in a very similar role. The Blacklist does realize that they’re not interchangeable, right?
- Agent Boring update: Ressler is showing up late for work and his reaction time is crap. Plus he’s totally on pills (*gasp*). Does any of this make us care about him? I think we all know the answer!
- Lizzie is insufferable update: She doesn’t trust Red with the money! Then she gives him the money because he’s an asset! But she’ll blame him for every death Berlin causes as a result! Honestly, haven’t we gone through this back and forth mistrust of Red a million times already? Lizzie: make up your mind and just stick with it, for effs sake.
- Hot husband watch: no sign of Tom this week. Boo
- Finally, I’m about to declare a moratorium on the use of maudlin montage songs. They’re effective, but holy hell, do we need one every week? In fact, this week we actually got two! Is the music advisor for this show getting paid by the song?
Your turn: did this feel like two episodes to you? Was it obvious that it would come down to Berlin’s money versus his thirst for revenge? Do you hope that MLP hangs around for longer and actually, you know, does something? And does Lizzie need to stop waffling on whether or not to trust Red? Sound off below
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC