Red’s trying to discover who sold him out, which means pursuing members of his inner circle, finding out what they’ve done, then quite possibly killing them. To a Johnny Cash soundtrack. This process also includes what he calls “a modicum of torture”. At one point, in fact, he threatens a former ally that he’s going to “drag you out, throw you in the trunk, fly you to Papua New Guinea, and have your head stuck on a pole”; all of which, you suspect, is within both his reach and his skillset. You could, I suppose, give Red the benefit of the doubt, and argue that he’s really only after other criminals; it’s a salutary reminder, though, that for all the empathy with Keen, and the dry humour, Red remains at best – at best – ruthless and amoral.
While that’s going on, and with the FBI conducting its own molehunt, Tom is off to Nebraska for a job interview – yeah, whatever, Tom, “Nebraska” for a “job interview” – leaving Keen to track down a serial killer known as The Good Samaritan: so-called, rather tenuously, because after repeatedly torturing his victims he leaves them clinging to life and phones the emergency services. I may need to re-read my Bible, but that doesn’t ring a bell. Anyway, Keen’s had previous dealings with the killer, and figures that will be enough to draw Red out – if the killer’s important to Keen, he’ll be important to Red. She’s right; Red pops up to provide a clue, then disappears again to continue his housecleaning.
There’s more to The Good Samaritan, though, than meets the eye. When we first see him he’s abducted an apparently ordinary suburban wife and mom, and is torturing her to death. Not cool, bro. What we subsequently find out, though, about killer and victims takes us into Dexter territory, perhaps with a dash of Psycho, and makes for a much more ambiguous and interesting story than might have been the case, particularly when we find out more about his next victim.
So: a startlingly impressive body count, inventive torture porn – I liked the cigar and the vodka, and I loved the scene in which Red turns up in the house of Henry, an old friend, and charmed his wife as a prelude to the mayhem – and plotting which at least raises one or two moral questions, even if it doesn’t make us work too hard at them. Great stuff. I think we can relax, folks – The Blacklist is back.