The Blacklist stoops to new lows as it delivers a clip show masquerading as a new episode.
Let’s bitch it out…
At this point, I can honestly say that The Blacklist is one of the most unintentionally hilarious shows on the air. ‘The Major’ is the equivalent of a narrative white flag, a sign that the writers have literally run out of fresh ideas and have decided that they’ll just reuse old content and hope that no one notices. Perhaps this is an attempt to draw in new viewers by giving them a whole series overview? (If this is the case, the reveal about the Fulcrum had better be mind-blowing to justify this shit-show of an episode)
As anything other than a glorified clip show, ‘The General’ is a complete failure. It’s whole purpose is to up the dramatic stakes as Lizzie’s (Megan Boone) murder case comes closer to landing her in jail. And that would be fine, if that’s what were actually happening. But taking an hour to revisit nearly two seasons worth of content so that we can build up to the moment that she lies, and then Harold (Harry Lennix) perjures himself to save her, is just plain lazy. There’s absolutely no reason for this and the payoff doesn’t justify the means. We knew she would lie because she’s lied in the past. We also knew that Harold would lie because he was so adamant that he wouldn’t (also because there’s no way Lizzie is going to jail). So what we’re left with is 44 minutes of dramatically inert conversation between an idiot agent and smarmy Judge Denner (John Finn).
I particularly enjoyed the fact that Lizzie repeatedly mentions that Denner doesn’t need to know the details of the task force to make a ruling about the murder case. It’s like the writers are acknowledging that this is a waste of time. Lizzie is 100% right in her claims, too (first and only time I will ever write that). When Denner calls Harold in, he doesn’t ask about the task force, or any of their former cases; he asks Harold a single question: was Lizzie on the boat on official business? It’s another acknowledgement that Lizzie’s story was recounted in vain; sure Denner needs to know that they were doing top secret spy stuff, but he didn’t need all of the details about the child kidnapping from the pilot or how Lizzie felt the first time she met Red (James Spader). It’s the equivalent of narrative wheel spinning. What a glorious use of viewers’ time!
The Red side of the story is, unfortunately, no better. He demands that the task force help him kidnap a UN ambassador (or something – I may have fallen asleep) so that he can track down the titular General (Lance Henriksen), the man responsible for grooming Tom (Ryan Eggold) into the faux-German Neo Nazi he is today. Once again, this could be interesting, but since it’s basically just a conversation between Red and the General drawn out over the hour, it feels excessive. Also: not buying the fact that Red couldn’t just kidnap the UN guy himself – it makes no sense that the task force has to be involved and it likely takes way more time to execute than if he had just hired mercenaries to do it (which, incidentally, he’s done in the past).
‘The General’ is the perfect example of all of my issues with The Blacklist these days: inept plotting, narrative that develops at a snail’s pace and zero character develop. This show is becoming a complete slog.
- One highlight of the flashbacks: Lizzie’s wig! I missed watching Megan Boone try to rock the dead carcass of a small woodland creature as though it’s actual hair.
- Soooo…are any of the supporting cast still on this show? They’re clocking less than a few minutes of screen time per episode now.
- Best part of the episode: Lizzie’s sarcastic meltdown about what an inept profiler she is. It’s like she took the words right out of my mouth!
Your turn: did you enjoy the clipshow? Do you agree that this show is just spinning its wheels? Will you be peeved if Tom was brought back just to take the fall and spare Lizzie from going to jail? Sound off below.
The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on NBC