Friday’s episode of The Blacklist pulled what I like to call a “finals week combo” in the last five minutes; right before there was no turning back, they scored a 95 on the oral final exam, changing the game, and bringing that grade up by a full letter, baby.
It’s not that the bones of this episode would have been altogether C-material without the final twist: Red going on a five-minute monologue about Cary Grant and LSD? Yes, please. A rushed evacuation of the United Nations so that a drunk German man can defuse a bomb he made? Definitely. A tense bomb-diffusion capped off by Ressler taking a swig of said German man’s flask? Of course! But we’ve been teased with the knowledge that Red would soon be put behind bars, so to see it happen at the hands of a random beat cop in front of a random pretzel stand on a random afternoon felt pretty disappointing.
After all, as Red told his German friend earlier when he commented on their police escort into the United Nations, he has a “special kind of relationship” with the police. “Yeah, but this—they treat you liked Elvis,” his friend rightly observed. And surely this NYPD officer staked out at the pretzel stand wouldn’t try to come at Elvis sideways…
Wow, they really had me fooled, huh? Because a random NYPD officer may have arrested him, but that’s not who landed Raymond Reddington behind bars; that would be Elizabeth Keen. She vowed to take this imposter Red down at the end of last season, and while this episode certainly has us questioning if she’s still fully committed to that plan, the last five minutes prove she’s at least committed enough to risk his freedom in order to get some unencumbered RRR-research done. Perhaps if Liz had a little sisterly-support a long time ago, any one of those other hundred times she declared she was done—done, I tell you!—with Raymond Reddington might have stuck. She was shaking and crying when she thought about him in jail, sure, but two episodes just might be a record for our girl’s ability to hold a grudge.
Of course, that’s not to say that I like this development of Jennifer keeping the Red-vengeance accountability dialed up to a hundred. I personally prefer my Red and Lizzie on friendly terms, but I can appreciate that it’s an intriguing development. And this time around, I’m really buying the emotional turmoil, mostly because this time, Liz is continuing to push beyond it. She doesn’t really want to sever ties with this man who she’s come to accept as her father, as her family, as her support system—but that’s all outweighed by something she’s always wanted much more than any of that: the truth.
Lizzie isn’t waffling, she’s spinning, and that I can buy. And if you’ve noticed that I’ve yet to mention the Blacklister that we were chasing from Part 1 of the premiere to Part 2, that’s because, at least for now, he’s pretty inconsequential. He’s mean as a snake, almost certainly a sociopath, gifted with a contour palate, and has quite the kill-shot, but yeah…not that big a deal for now…
THE CORSICAN, NO. 20
But surely with a Blacklist number that high, he’ll be back for more. When we catch back up with Bastien Moreau, aka The Corsican, in part 2 of the season 6 premiere, he’s doing a little primping on his new face and talking about an assignment with a mysterious woman on the phone. Given that she hasn’t been able to get ahold of him for a month, she’s a little concerned about his ability to pull of the task, but Moreau assures her everything is on schedule. “The incident will appear to be part of your political agenda,” she reminds: “No one will know its real purpose if you can get it done.” Spoiler alert: by the end of this episode, we also will not know its real purpose. “It,” being Moreau hijacking the badge and access codes of a man who looks almost exactly like him (well, the new him) who’s headed to the United Nations to deliver a diplomatic package. Like just about anyone who comes within speaking distance of Moreau, that poor man winds up dead by a single bullet.
James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.