Well, that was confusing. But it sure tied up some loose ends. The last two episodes of The Blacklist crammed a ton of plot and information into an hour apiece… or 43 minutes… whatever run time is these days. The first of the two episode plots involved Mako Tanida: A Japanese criminal who has just escaped from prison to exact his revenge on his enemies, one of whom happens to be Donald Ressler… dun dun dunnnnnnn. Friends and coworkers of Ressler’s begin turning up dead and he fears for himself and his girlfriend’s safety.
Now if you haven’t seen either of these episodes I’m going to make it very clear: SPOILER ALERT. I have every intention of talking about who died.
Moving on. After Tanida has killed several of Ressler’s collegues, Ressler believes Audry, his girlfriend, may be in danger. Ressler rushes to bring Audry to safety but is hit by another vehicle. The man in that vehicle is Tanida, who shoots Audry and flees. Audry then dies in Ressler’s arms, which didn’t really surprise me. She was either going to end up dead or as a villain as far as I could see.
I really enjoyed this episode. The focus is mainly on Ressler and his character development, which is well overdue. After Audry is murdered, Ressler breaks from the FBI to find Tanida and get his revenge. Ressler seeks out help from Reddington who provides it but warns Ressler that the there is no turning back from the path he is about to embark on. It was an interesting episode to watch. For once Ressler and Reddington are able to relate on human level. Reddington provides help to Ressler giving him instructions on how to find Tanida.
With the help of his former colleague, Robert (Bobby) Jonica, he goes after Tanida. What Ressler doesn’t realize is that Jonica has been running Tanida’s empire since Tanida’s imprisonment. It isn’t until they have Tanida in their transport and are en route to bring him back to the FBI when Jonica causes a car crash and Ressler realizes the reason Audry is dead is because of his best friend Jonica.
On the edge of a breakdown, Ressler grapples with shooting his best friend or turning him over to Keen and company who arrive shortly after the crash. After unloading his clip into the snow beside Jonica, Ressler surrenders his gun to Keen and makes the choice to walk away.
This is a defining moment in Ressler’s character development. Here he has had a traumatic event happen like many a character before him. His decision solidifies his character’s path for the remainder of the season, and potentially the series, as an agent of good rather than evil.
Here is also where he separates himself from Reddington, who as far as we know did not make the same conscious choice. This is exemplified by the wonderful gift box sent by Reddington to Ressler containing the head of Tanida at the end of the episode.
The latest episode “Ivan” is about a teenager, Harrison Lee, who causes a car accident murdering a man in order to acquire a “skeleton key” which has the ability to knock out citywide infrastructure — such as defense grids, weapons systems, communications, etc. — and uses it to try and woo a fellow high school student. She is less impressed and more creeped out considering he’s been stalking her.
As for Keen, she played a much smaller role in “Mako Tanida” than she does in “Ivan,” where she discovers Reddington’s warnings were accurate about Tom. However, Tom Keen’s role in both episodes is rather large. Between the two episodes we are finally able to see the other side of Tom Keen. What are we privy to?
So far we’ve learned that he’s kind of a bastard. He murders two people, Lucy Brooks, and the investigator Reddington hired to find her, without batting an eye. He also brutally knocks down Elizabeth with a rather large wooden door and then punches her in the face in the latest episode so that she doesn’t have the opportunity to recognize him while he escapes, all the while maintaining his “loving husband façade” with her at home.
Reddington and Keen’s relationship develops further in this episode as well. Keen finally realizes that Reddington’s warnings about her husband were warranted and becomes aware that she doesn’t really know who her husband is. At the end of the episode, Reddington comforts Keen, knowing she would discover the truth about Tom having set the investigation into Jolene Parker’s (aka Lucy Brooks) murder into action. He fixes a music box which plays a tune that Keen recognizes from her childhood, raising more questions about their past and former acquaintance.
I’ll be honest; I was rather disappointed that Lance Reddick was barely used in this series. He did a good job as the “Cowboy Investigator” that Reddington hired, but I would have liked to see him last a little longer. He was a solid force in Fringe and I think had they integrated him into the show for even a few more episodes he could have brought a lot to the table. I will say this; at least there was interaction between him and Reddington. I’m still cranky about Robert Sean Leonard having only been used for one episode and no character interaction with Reddington.
As for the future of this show, anyone else have any predictions? I sure do. I have a feeling the show is slowly guiding Keen and Ressler to a romance. I hope it won’t be that predictable, but I have an inkling. However, you never know, maybe Red and Tom will run off together. Sometimes this show throws one out of left field.
Other queries? We the viewers still have no idea who Mr. Kaplan really is, what her relationship with Reddington is, and what her past may include. I’d like to see more of her as an involved character and less of her as simply Reddington’s “cleaner.”
Finally, if you out there reading this agree, disagree, or have your own theories I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to comment. As for me, I’ll be back with my impressions and conjectures next week.