The Blacklist recap: Two Lies & a Truth with Raymond Reddington

Y’know, after 114 episodes of The Blacklist, you really have to start wondering: just how many abandoned warehouses, in fact, host state-of-the-art medical facilities for criminals? Is it every warehouse you see? Every other warehouse you see? Two out of three episodes in season 6 alone have kicked off in warehouspitals™, and for the entire time we’ve known Red, he has gotten his check-ups, life-saves, and bullet wounds treated exclusively at warehouspitals™ worldwide.

But The Blacklist is a rather heightened world, of course, so where two out of every three warehouses is curing cancer or creating world-ending diseases in their world, it’s probably only, like, one out of every three in ours. Yes, The Blacklist does love to go all out on Raymond Reddington’s heightened world of interwoven crime, featuring non-stop shady syndicates; many, many a walk-in freezer that actually leads into an alley; and of course, the perfect Johnny Cash track for every shooting spree. And yet, with all that flare for the dramatic, this series still loves to toy with a universal human ethos, cutting right through that Venn diagram of fact and fiction.

And this week, everyone is obsessed with *The Truth*: when one is morally obligated to tell the truth, when one is morally excused from not telling the truth; who’s owed the truth, when it’s okay to not tell the truth under oath if you super-believe that the lie is for the betterment of the world.

I’ll admit that while I found the Boston Legal roleplay in Friday’s episode to be a real hoot, and loved Becky Ann Baker as the no-nonsense-but-also-discreetly-down-for-a-little-nonsense judge, I’m not totally sure what the message we’re supposed to be receiving here is.

When Raymond Reddington — truly a world-class truth-bender when it suits his purposes, and I will not hear otherwise — is going on a diatribe about how “the sad fact is that the facts have never mattered less than they do today,” I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do with that. And when Red uses Cooper’s own principled goodness against him to force his hand into telling the truth about the immunity agreement, only for him to then decide to lie on the stand and say he’s not aware of any crimes Red may have committed while protected by said immunity agreement — what am I to do with that?

I guess, at the end of all that courtroom proselytizing about The Truth, the real lesson to be learned was in the completely separate Blacklister-procedural story all along. When it’s revealed that one Blacklister-partner has been deceived by the other, Samar tells the victim: “Sometimes it’s the people closest to you that you have to watch out for,” and the camera pans to Lizzie and Red.

Because once you realize that everyone so whole-heartedly sees their own version of the truth as the noblest one, you eventually realize that can only be a prescription for betrayal.


Oh yes, that was a pharmacy pun! Because it’s all fun and games until a bunch of desperately ill people come to a warehouspital for a solution, inject themselves with what they believe will be a very expensive cure for their rare illness, and immediately all die right in front of the pharmacist who made the alleged cure.

Over in the cleanest holding cell in the world, Red doesn’t care about Lizzie telling him that Cooper’s been ordered to deny the existence of the Task Force because he’s conveniently overheard a news story the Marshals were watching. Five people found dead in a warehouse, and he thinks it has something to with a man he recently invested some funding into: the fantastically named Spalding Stark, a.k.a. The Pharmacist.

Stark presented himself to Red as a renegade biohacker, dedicated to enhancing human life, but following the deaths of five people at his hand, he’s now worried that Spark isn’t the visionary he thought, but “the worst kind of charlatan — the kind who preys on the weakest among us for financial gain.” (Recap continues on next page)

James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.

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