The Blacklist churns out a confused case of the week as Lizzie (Megan Boone) goes to great lengths to hide what’s behind door number 1.
Let’s bitch it out…
Case of the week: Originally it seems like this episode is going to deal with an animal trafficking organization. That could have been interesting since too often this show deals with fairly rote murders, but the proposition is jettisoned fairly early when skinned bodies begin washing up ashore. The animal trafficking angles plays out more like a bait and switch; ‘The Mambasa Cartel’ is actually about a weird mountain family that likes to play The Most Dangerous Game in order to entertain their mutant progeny (so it’s basically Wrong Turn with James Spader). I would almost commend the writers for being clever and turning the killers into pseudo-good guys (or “poaching the poachers” as one groan-worthy line suggests), but the show actually already played this tune rather extensively in the latter half of its first season. Ultimately even the “killer mountain men” story line doesn’t stick, though, as this confused and poorly executed case of the week sputters to a close with an electric bath and Disney’s It’s A Small World… meets Psycho taxidermy exhibition (which is admittedly pretty creepy).
Red Alert: The sole redeeming part of the case of the week is that it is secretly the origin story of Red’s (James Spader) bodyguard, Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), the little boy we saw abducted 29 years ago in the cold open. Of course Red’s decision to murder Jeff Pearl, the villain behind…whatever this was, essentially makes Red no better than the traffickers. They killed Dembe’s family and now Red has done the same, which should make him no better than these bad guys of the week. But rather than splitting hairs, let’s just admit that James Spader gets a pass because he can ramble eloquently about obtuse topics and that’s more enjoyable than anything else The Blacklist has to offer.
- Red also spends time organizing a meet-cute with his daughter Zoe (Scottie Thompson) at her food truck. I’m starting to have concerns about this girl. Not only is she way too kind to weird men who fixate on their hats, but I’ve begun to question whether her food truck actually serves food. We have yet to see anything come out of it, which leads me to wonder if maybe she just lives in it? Is there a river nearby – ’cause that could be a big warning sign.
Lizzie’s Wig / Hot Assassin Husband: The truth comes out about Lizzie’s secret little dungeon room and disappointingly we learn that she’s just got Tom (Ryan Eggold) chained up. Part of me hoped that Lizzie had crossed over to the dark side and she was operating a sweat shop for Nike shoes or grooming a warehouse full of exotic peacocks. Chaining your lying, cheating ex-husband/secret agent in an unmarked cell seems so…ordinary.
- Also, ratting out Ezra (Hal Ozsan) to the cops to ensure Red doesn’t discover your secret? That’s low, even for someone who wore atrocious wigs every week for a year…
Agent Boring: After so many glorious weeks with barely a peep from Reesler (Diego Klattenhoff), this lame duck of a D-storyline comes roaring back. Not only does Ressler’s dependence on prescription meds catches Lizzie’s attention, we immediately descend into overwrought Lifetime-baiting cliché wherein Ressler denies (and fails to convince anyone) that he’s “fine.” So trite. All I have to say about this is that I wish he had slammed his head in the car door rather than his thumb. Ugh.
- Naturally it’s his dumb shaky hands that give him away when he tries to pose as one of the taxidermied fireside figures because of course they do…
- I may have pictured Denny from cult classic The Room yelling “You’re not my f*cking mother” when Ressler tells Lizzie off. There’s a frightening similarity in the acting ability and characterizaton of both guys.
Other Blacklist Business:
- Will Harold (Harry Lennix) do anything this season? He’s been completely pushed to the fringe since the second season began. Having a cane and a limp is not a storyline!
- Seriously, another episode-ending effing musical montage?! It’s so absurd that it’s kinda laughable at this point.
- Lizzie (describing the dead traffickers): “According to Reddington, these guys are just small fish in a big pond.” Ugh, really Lizzie? Animal metaphors in an episode about animal trafficking? That’s just poor taste.
Your turn: are you feeling these lacklustre cases of the week? Were you interested to get some insight into Dembe’s background? Are you surprised that Lizzie is keeping Tom locked up? Do you think when the other members of the team aren’t there Harold stops faking his injuries like SPOILERS Dr. Wells on The Flash? END SPOILERS Sound off below
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC