The Blacklist tried its audience’s patience a little with the less-than-successful Who’s Your Daddy? story, so it’s more than time for a decent back-to-basics episode. This one hit the spot. Our Blacklisters are The Harem, an elite all-female gang of thieves who only steal from other criminals. They’re after a missing list of people in witness protection, and the only way they can be stopped – apart from someone actually stopping them, and they’re waaaay too good for that – is for Liz to infiltrate them. Perhaps Samar might have been better placed, or maybe there’s a bit of belated agonising about where her loyalties lie. (And, sidebar – perhaps the best way of ensuring that everyone in Witsec isn’t simultaneously put in danger is to not compile their details into a list? Anyway.)
So Liz successfully blags her way onto The Harem, with a little collateral damage along the way, downs some shots with the gals, and gets to work on planning the theft of the Witsec list. There’s a nice twist halfway through, when she discovers that another member of Fox Force Five is already in Red’s pocket; and there’s a not-so-nice one, when it looks as if she might need to submit to sexual assault to remain a member of The Harem. Because, y’know, female criminal therefore gay. Nope, Blacklist.
But that doesn’t bring the episode down. I like a good heist – see reviews passim – and this has a couple, starting with the cold open which combines fake Braxton Hicks contractions and a real sniper rifle to excellent effect. There’s a hint of emotion towards the end, a reminder that the Kaplan business isn’t going away, and an elusive subplot in which Red tries to buy a shipping line but discovers that one of his dodgy accountants has disappeared, leaving his money in electronic limbo somewhere. I liked this a lot.