The Blacklist Review S02E14
In a surprise role reversal, this week’s The Blacklist sees Reddington trying on the dame in distress hat while the FBI plays at being the competent hero for once.
This week’s Blacklister is T. Earl King IV and his two sons, who deal in auctions of what all the bad guys are craving: stolen relics and people of note. Reddington clearly didn’t eat his spinach that morning, because almost at the get-go, he walks right into a trap which sees him being put forth for the auctioneer’s hammer. Although my last review begged for the writers to put the captured plot device to rest, I found Red as the victim a fresh and welcome change.
Seeing as their favourite go-to man was currently spending his time getting dolled up to the nines while snarking at his abductors, the FBI actually had to do something this episode. It was refreshing to see Keen taking control of a situation and proving that she is capable of achieving a desirable outcome. I could’ve done without the young boy subplot, who appeared to only be there to prove how villainous our bad guys were (apparently the cages full of victims were not enough – when in doubt, add children), but watching Keen save Reddington was a nice change, and something I could get used to. No doubt, Reddington would’ve found a way out of his situation without Keen’s assistance if needed, but kudos for Keen being the knight in shining armour all the same.
Reddington once again ended the episode by scolding Keen for the risks she takes. Keen snarks back that Red must be pretty damaged, to not let anyone help him, and then tells him that she cares about him and, effectively, to suck it up and deal. It’s a far cry from the ‘never again’ of a few episodes past, and perhaps feels a little too quick for such a reversal, but the treat of seeing a softer, more vulnerable side of Reddington more than makes up for any leaps and bounds in story logic.
Meanwhile, Tom reared his shaggy, unkempt head once more. Apparently, he has spent the last few episodes jonesing for some work, and in this episode, he finally gets it. And what else must you do before you shave off all your hair and get German tattoos? Why, call the ex-wife that you spent years duping. Obviously, Tom is going to tie neatly back into the main storylines soon enough, as we were treated to a somewhat civil conversation between Keen and Tom about undercover tips. For most of the first season, I wasn’t too interested in Tom and his secret life, despite the huge ‘look-at-me’ neon signs the writers painted on him, but those feelings are starting to change. I’ve no idea where his storyline is going, but I’m interested to follow it along.
Although an entertaining episode, there were shortcuts taken in the writing that grated somewhat, and left me scratching my head. Dembe, who was with Red when he was captured, was knocked out and then seemingly released and well enough to go tell the FBI what happened – and then promptly disappear which, given the loyalty between Red and Dembe, seemed illogical. The King family, despite carrying a two hundred year old legacy of these sorts of illegal auctions, made Keen’s insertion into the fold a little too easy: surely, the family would be fairly strict on background checks and, at the very least, photo identification pre-auction.
Despite these failings, I rather enjoyed this episode, mainly because we were finally treated to something different. The last few episodes seemed to have indicated a bit of a drop in the twisted, convoluted and far too dense writing of season one and early season two, which has resulted in more streamlined, and more enjoyable, episodes, and I am all for the continuation of this trend. The Blacklist, which almost lost me for a while there, seems to be on the upward swing, and I only hope that it continues in this manner.
Review by Hannah Fitzpatrick.