As I’ve said more than once, there’s nothing quite like the sheer swagger of The Blacklist at its best. And the opening half of this season-ending episode is a case in point: most of the Task Force has been arrested by McMahon’s goons, but Liz is still on the loose and with the help of teen tech geek Tadashi – one of Red’s rotating cast of familiars – manages to free them, just so that they can all be recaptured and incarcerated in the Red Box, just so that Red and his squad of goons can free them again. It’s a heist movie without the heist. And then it’s off to a restaurant Red knows, for French toast kebabs with Vermont maple syrup butter dipping sauce.
But even though Red is clearly enjoying himself – “Have some fun! It’s going to be a riot!” – there’s serious business afoot, that being the culmination of the McMahon/POTUS Plot Against America. (President Robert Diaz is this week’s Blacklister.) Last week, everyone thought that the President was conspiring to have the President assassinated, so when the Task Force gets word that he’s at a televised debate they rush there and manage, just in time, to put off a sniper, who instead hits the First Lady. Then the Task Force is arrested. Again. And busted out. Again.
As it happens, the sniper wasn’t aiming at the President after all. And the reason for the Plot is somewhat underwhelming. Nonetheless, it’s enough to bring Diaz down. Red, meantime, is meeting with Brett Cullen, as a mysterious stranger who is, presumably, his brother or something like that? (And as you don’t just cast Brett Cullen for two minutes, I assume we’ll see him again in season 7.) And then to Paris, for an encounter with Liz’s mother, Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins, who was Martha Boyd in Homeland), who seems to have known he was coming, given what she does to him. It’s been a terrific season: I continue to be impressed by the way in which The Blacklist’s team of writers negotiates its subtle reinventions while keeping the standard remarkably high.