The Blacklist s1 ep 2

From the FBI’s High Value Detainee Site, a cargo ship in the middle of nowhere – I would quite like this to be a thing, and perhaps it is – Reddington is helicoptered to New York, there to be polygraphed about his relationship with Liz, who is going, or has gone, through the same thing. Do they know each other? Hell, no. But everyone’s wasting time, Red says, because something bad is going to go down at a nearby industrial estate at 11am. Not quite – we had to wait until 11.20, but the bad thing did indeed go down, proving that Reddington knows his shit.

He’s prepared to offer the FBI the goods on a criminal known as The Freelancer – number 145 on The Blacklist – but he’ll only talk to Liz and he wants immunity. The immunity thing is kicked about during the episode, and as far as I can tell they settle on a deal under which he gets tracker-chipped and might get immunity eventually. I may be wrong, and anyway it’s not as if trackers ever go wrong on American TV drama, is it? He also gets to choose his own security team, supplemented at the Feds’ insistence by Parminder Nagra, presumably from the CIA’s British exchange programme.

The Freelancer’s MO is to disguise his assassinations as mass-casualty accidents, leading to a considerable loss of civilian lives, “rivalled”, Reddington notes drily, “only by governments and terrorist organisations”. And his new target is a human rights activist played by Isabella Rossellini, about to give a speech in Canada. To Montreal, then, for a few twists and turns, and yet more pen-in-neck action. I’d like to think they’ll go three-for-three on this next week. Liz, meantime, is trying to decide what to do about her husband – a teacher, it turns out, to go with his puppyish charm – and his box full of tricks.

We don’t really get answers to any of the big questions this week, and the show might yet founder on the syrup-wearing charisma vacuum that is Megan Boone’s Liz. But with another slickly-plotted, improbable episode under its belt, James Spader moving through every scene as if on castors, and a full-season order already in the bag, The Blacklist doesn’t have much else to worry about for now.


12 thoughts on “The Blacklist s1 ep 2

  1. e October 11, 2013 / 10:45 pm

    The tension is now, how much information can they feed us so we don’t get too frustrated? I get that the indirect redirect seems to be the show’s “thang” but for me, the hook is the “Why her” backstory. As satisfying as “good doer is really EVIL”, that’s not really the show I want to keep watching.

    Again, there better be an endpoint to all this because if they go Lost on me, I’m going to be really angry.

  2. Jed Bartlet October 11, 2013 / 11:12 pm

    Not getting a Lost feeling yet, e; my guess is that we’ll establish a connection of some sort between Red and Liz fairly soon, but one which will lead to more questions: husband/father/mother/pen-into-neck skills.

  3. Kay20 October 13, 2013 / 12:34 am

    So accurate Jed: syrup-wearing charisma vacuum that is Megan Boone’s Liz

    I can’t help thinking this show would have been so much better without someone that’s looking WAY out of her element right now. She’s about as interesting to me as cardboard.

    I love the plot so I’m sticking with this for now after nearly abandoning it, but so far Boone has been nothing short of “meh.”

  4. Jed Bartlet October 13, 2013 / 12:54 pm

    I don’t know much about Megan Boone, so I’m reluctant to blame her. And it’s early days, and I totally get why the whole point of Liz at this stage is that she’s a cipher: although her husband may have been keeping secrets from her, it’s clear that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. So the part may develop.

    I can’t help thinking, though, that putting someone with a bit more spark up against James Spader might have made those scenes better.

    • Kay20 October 13, 2013 / 10:44 pm

      She just seems so starry eyed. When she said her coworkers called her bitchy I was like, huh? You look like you’d sway in a harsh wind. Not seeing it yet.

      • CJ Cregg October 14, 2013 / 8:31 pm

        I haven’t seen this one yet but I had the same reaction as you to the “bitchy” comment in ep 1, Kay. It seemed bizarrely unlikely.

  5. Capt. Harold Dobey October 15, 2013 / 10:47 pm

    I like her.

    I think she was meant to be a bitchy fed and the events of episode one have just thrown her into a spin. There just wasn’t even of her pre-spin.

    I’m woried it’s Losty from the point of view… there’s a plane that crashes on an island, there’s a bad guy with a list, there’s two and a half men, that kind of thing.

    I’m bored with Listee of the Week already, but I’m sure’ll mix it up.

  6. CJ Cregg October 19, 2013 / 1:27 pm

    Is Parminder Nagra the bitchy fed instead now? Struggling to see the point of adding her character to the mix unless I suppose the CIA knows what Red knows about Liz and Neela’s job is to keep a lid on it. Hey, maybe Liz is one of a number of identical clones, unaware of each other’s existence, created in a secret CIA-sanctioned program, and her dodgy husband is her monitor. Or maybe Liz’s dad was a secret agent with special skills and secret knowledge whom the CIA pushed too far so he went rogue and nuts, and now the CIA and Red are convinced his daughter inherited those skills and that knowledge and are waiting to trigger it.

    Or maybe too much TV on a Friday night messes with my head.

    Anyway, would the Feebs really let Red away with using them to pull off a hit like he did this week, even if the hit-ee was an extremely nasty piece of work ? Hmmm.

  7. Tim November 1, 2013 / 10:14 pm

    I’m firmly of the opinion that Megan Boone’s range is, shall we say, limited. I rather suspect she subscribes to the Joey Tribbiani “smell the fart” school of method acting.

    Nonetheless this was good fun, no less so for its preposterous nature. SIlence of the Lambs meets Alias. No bad thing. I take back all my pre-premiere mutterings about this being a low-rent SotL – it *is* but it doesn’t care that is, and therefore neither do I, notwithstanding Spader being more hammy than a Porky Pig cartoon.

  8. Jed Bartlet November 1, 2013 / 10:17 pm

    I can’t decide – and this isn’t giving anything away about future episodes – whether Keen’s blankness is perhaps the point, or whether Megan Boone just doesn’t have much charisma. If the latter then it’s a shame – I can’t help but think that having an actor with some game up against James Spader might balance the show a little more.

    • Tim November 1, 2013 / 10:24 pm

      You may be right, Jed – and I may be being a bit tough on Megan Boone – but (like Keen) I’m not sure she’s up to the job.

      Alternative casting suggestions #1: a younger Jessalyn Gilsig, circa Nip/Tuck season 1?

      • Jed Bartlet November 1, 2013 / 10:33 pm

        Oh, just about anyone. Lisbon off of The Mentalist would be my choice. (For most things.)

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