Red (James Spader) and Tom (Ryan Eggold) both get a shave and Lizzie (Megan Boone) reveals her true self.
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s hard to tell if The Blacklist is having an existential crisis, or if two seasons in I’m just growing tired of its lack of ambition. The show very clearly falls into the procedural spectrum, with episodes like ‘T. Earl King VI’ presenting a case (and villains) that can be resolved within the 44 minute runtime. With that said, it’s hard not to watch episodes like this and wonder if the writers are deliberately padding the narrative with filler. At this point in the series, Red and/or Lizzie have been abducted or threatened with death roughly 800 times (rough estimate), and I’m faaaaairly certain that the show won’t exist without them. That changes the dynamic of an episode like ‘T. Earl King VI’ which acts like we should be concerned about Red, even though we know that it’s only a matter of when, not if, Lizzie will rescue him. The result is another snoozefest.
Considering that the most interesting development this episode has to offer is not one, but two shaving scenes, I can’t justify writing a full review, so here are some bullet points:
- I literally could not remember who Madeline Pratt (Jennifer Ehle) was. Even when Ehle turns up, I didn’t recall seeing her on the show. (She had her own episode, 1×14, a year ago). Memo to writers: if you’re going to bring someone back, maybe give us a reason to care?
- The King family of villains are hilariously ridiculous: Two grown sons playing Russian Roulette for their father, Earl King (Jeffrey DeMunn)’s affection? The dad doing his best Mason Verger from Hannibal impression with a voice box and wheelchair? Like, are we meant to take these characters seriously or are the writers just fucking with us?
- What is up with Red’s extended shaving scene? If the purpose is to generate tension that Red might get his throat slit, it’s an abysmal failure. If it is just to provide a little something extra to an overly long expository exchange between nemeses (nemesi?), I guess it’s kinda interesting.
- Is it just me or did the barber shave Red’s right side twice?
- Have you been picking up on the Bolivia references? As far I remember (I keep falling asleep…) The Blacklist has never confirmed what Red did there, but both Luther and Earl King have mentioned it.
- Tom returns with hair that would have been in fashion on the old WB network back in the early 2000s. He has a semi-flirty phone conversation with Lizzie. He shaves his luscious locks. He gets Nazi tattoos. He becomes – I shit you not – “Christof”. The End. This is not what I signed up for when the promos said he was coming back.
- Reasons to hate Lizzie: during her phone convo with Tom, she mentions that they’re both leading double lives, then admits she’s going undercover for a few hours. Hours. Yeah, that’s definitely comparable. Ughm, Lizzie is the worst
- Speaking of Lizzie, you know that her undercover persona “Josephine Sullivan” is totally just her acting normally, right? She adopted those mannerisms far too quickly and easily.
- I kept hoping that the kid would kick her in the shins. Random lady wants to “rescue” you from an auction where humans are being sold like cattle? That just screams stranger danger to me
- Harold (Harry Lennix) is sick, you guys. Just in case you forgot about it, his experimental trial is randomly inserted into the dialogue. ‘Cause he’s sick.
Your turn: do you care about any of these developments? Was that the real Lizzie coming out? Are you ready for the Cold War between Lizzie and Red to end? Do you prefer 90s hair Tom or Neo-Nazi Tom? Did you realize that Harold was sick <sarcasm>? Sound off below.
The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC. Next week: Lizzie’s murder drama catches up to her