The Blacklist Season 1 Review “General Ludd”

The Blacklist Episode 8 General Ludd (6)

One of the cool things about the format of The Blacklist is its ability to attract good actors for a one off fun ride. What’s been really impressive about the first handful of episodes is that all of the actors used in the guest starring role have all brought it. Whether they’ve been effective or not is debatable, but nobody has come on screen and mailed it in. That trend continued tonight with the typically muted performance from Justin Kirk. In many ways, Kirk’s portrayal of the General Ludd leader was something The Blacklist needs more of going forward. Ludd had an ideology, could articulate it, and wasn’t super weird about it. If Reddington can be a super criminal without being one of the weirdest people on the planet, surely other high-level criminals can be as well. Kirk’s performance here was perfectly serviceable. He was able to propel the action without getting in the way of it, and really seemed like he belonged in this world. When portraying the bad guy of the week, you shouldn’t attempt to accomplish more than those two things.

Far less appealing this week was Red’s visit to Lizzie’s adopted father. At this point, it’s safe to wonder if the show will be able to keep track of all the questions it has left hanging. Every week brings some new questions for Red with no answers in sight. The safe money is on Red as Lizzie’s father, but the show’s track record would seem to indicate it probably has little interest in obvious answers. The Blacklist is much more interested in shocking and surprising its audience. While it’s important for a show filled with mystery to contain the occasional twist, it’s tough to latch on to anything when everything rings false. Red seems to genuinely care for Elizabeth, but his constant manipulation of her prevents me from being truly invested in the relationship. Megan Boone was as good as she’s been in this episode when dealing with her father’s sickness/death, but she still remains primarily the delivery mechanism for Red Reddington. It’s not Ms. Boone’s fault. The show won’t let the relationship advance in a meaningful way. Until that happens, moments on a swing set in the DC suburbs will seem like another attempt by Red to divert conversation away from anything the audience is interested in hearing. The audience that has stuck around is ready to be a part of the inner circle. We’re just waiting on Red to open the velvet ropes.

Red Reddington Fashion Rating: 6

Another muted week from Red as he stuck primarily with black. However, the final scene provided hope for a brighter future: lavender stripes. We can’t get a good look because of an admittedly dope overcoat, but lavender stripes sounds pretty cool. We need more of that please. Also, Spader deserves kudos for looking less ridiculous in a hat than Megan Boone looks in her wig.

Elizabeth Keen Trauma Watch: Dark Orange

Her father died. It’s been a rough few months.

Absurd Criminal Contacts

Shoutout to Red for having a suburban housewife and a plastic surgeon on the payroll. I’m glad Ms. Suburbia doesn’t have any unscheduled visitors, because the garage being buried in money has to be a tough sell. As for the plastic surgeon, I think the pedicure is a little on the small side for a guy who fixes the faces of wanted criminals. I’m thinking he should be getting that weird massage where women walk on your back. It just seemed like a real missed opportunity. Maybe next time.