The Blacklist Season 1 Review “Wujing”

The Blacklist Episode 3 Wujng (1)

Secrets are a large part of many television shows. Characters can have secret motivations, secret lives, or even be on double secret probation. Secrets are teased, float aimlessly in the background or come crashing through characters’ lives like a meteor. Whatever secrets a show may have, sharing them with the audience becomes a constant inner conflict. A show that constantly teases an audience with a secret can see it become quite tiresome. It can ruin the reveal when it finally does happen if you’ve annoyed the audience with it for too long without solid answers. On the flip side, giving away all your secrets could be the death nail for the show if you don’t have anything interesting to back it up. It’s a delicate tightrope to walk, and with 22 episodes to fill in a network television season, a show has some hard choices to make surrounding the timing of long standing arcs.

The issue of secrets was not only a key piece of tonight’s episode of The Blacklist, but is a large part of this early run of episodes. The problem the show has with the secrets its harboring is there really isn’t a good reason for Red to hold on to the secret of why he chose Liz. I know we’re only three episodes in, but the show has failed to give us even a good reason for holding on to these secrets. It’s too easy to speak in vague tongues with things like “it’s complicated”. It’s far more rewarding for the viewer to take the time to show the audience just how complicated it is. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the audience is privy to information some of the characters weren’t. The show has to make a choice: It can either share the information or give us a good reason why Reddington can’t share it.

The case of the week continued in the same vain as its quality brethren. The show puts our heroes in perilous situations, but the resolutions don’t seem quite as hacky as you see in some action procedurals of this nature. Granted, there are lucky breaks and kooky things that occur to give Liz and Red the upper hand, but it’s done in ways that are legitimately exciting. In particular, Megan Boone is starting to seem more comfortable in the role. It’s allowing her to access certain places we wouldn’t normally see from someone who could easily just be “the pretty face next to James Spader”. Good on her that’s she’s actively fighting against that labeling.

The status quo was maintained this week. Sure, there was a lot more side-eye between characters harboring secrets, but The Blacklist remains the same show it was last week. When I mentioned it last week, I meant it as a compliment and stand by that claim this week. So many shows have no clue what they’re doing three episodes in. The Blacklist knows exactly what it is and can deliver it in a relatively entertaining package on a weekly basis. There may be some secrets to learn and haberdashers to visit, but it won’t cease to be entertaining. On network television in 2013, it’s hard to ask for much more.