The Blacklist smashes together The Da Vinci Code and Outbreak for a case of the week that does nothing but take the easy way out.
Let’s bitch it out…
Case of the Week: The task force pursues an eco-terrorist group intent on spreading Pneumonic plague to cleanse the human race. Considering the recent panic over Ebola this is either incredibly topical or highly insensitive. While the premise has promise, the execution, as usual, is flawed. Not only is there absolutely no danger that either Lizzie (Megan Boone) or Navabi (Mozhan Marnò) will die, the fact that the antidote is found and the crisis averted so easily robs the story of any power. Virtually no one dies? As current evidence in West Africa demonstrates, that is the very definition of fiction.
Red Alert: In between providing back-up for Lizzie, Red (James Spader) spends ‘The Front’ looking for a mystery “Girl” who Lizzie immediately deduces is his absent daughter, Zoe. When his first attempt fails (see below), he seeks out Aram (Amir Arison), which puts him at odds with Lizzie – though it has less to do with Aram and more to do with petty jealousy (our girl Lizzie is nothing if not predictable). In the end the back and forth is unnecessary because Red discovers the Girl in question working at a food truck. There had better be more than this because it’s a wee bit underwhelming (which has been the name of the game these last few episodes)
- Spin-Off Potential: Red’s adventures at the DMV, including long wait times, a smelly employee and an insufferable broken pop dispenser, are highly entertaining. I could easily watch a few hours of him just complaining about the amenities and playing Oprah with the broken or outdated technology.
Lizzie’s Wig has two mommies: she’s paying someone to impersonate her for Red’s watcher (Hal Ozsan). The lookalike appears to make a handsome wage to take her place so that she can sit around waiting to access the locked door we saw at the end of last week’s episode. I’d inquire how one gets a job as a stand-in for a federal agent, but it appears to require mock strip tease skills, so that may not be the best career path for me (Side Note: how desperate is The Blacklist to increase the episode’s T&A quotient?!).
- Also: Lizzie’s hair is flat, flat, FLAT this week. Yawn.
Agent Boring: Thankfully Ressler (Diego Klatenhoff) continues to do little more than tag along. Hallelujah.
Hot Assassin Husband: Glimpsed only in flashbacks, Tom (Ryan Eggold) offers Lizzie many a sloppy kiss. Liz also regrets the life she almost has before Red burdened her with all of this Blacklist stuff, including the child she nearly adopted. *Shudder* Remember the ghastly adoption storyline? Never again, Lizzie! Never again!
Other Blacklist Business:
- Aram and Navabi celebrate her brush with death with some very chaste hand-holding. It would be cute if the conditions that led to her hospitalization weren’t so silly: an untrained cult discipline somehow manages to get the drop on her, infect her with plague and shoot her in the abdomen? I thought she was Mossad?!?!
- If you’re interested in eco-terrorism plots, I recommend checking out The East and, more recently, Night Moves. Neither is exceptional, but they’re at least willing to scratch the surface a little bit beyond the “drink the kool-aid” approach employed here.
- Finally, these end of episode musical montages are getting a bit tired, aren’t they?
- Red (introducing Lizzie to service art historian): “Does the FBI do Christmas parties?”
Your turn: Was the story timely or insensitive? Do you care to learn more about Red’s daughter? Happy that Aram and Navadi are hooking up? Interested in getting into the look-alike business? And what is behind the mysterious door? Speculate away below.
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC