The Blacklist Season 1 Review “Ivan”

The Blacklist Episode 17 Ivan (1)

The Blacklist has definitely invested a lot in the backstory of our female lead. So many unanswered questions surround her life that sometimes it is difficult to imagine she is an actual person beyond these questions that define her. The show has invested so much in these questions recently that the procedural formula has become an afterthought. That’s unfortunate, because the procedural aspects of the show are the ones that function the best. I know a lot of folks are were invested in the proceedings of this week’s episode, but I wish we had spend some more time in Belarus.

The show has spent a lot of time teasing a secret underbelly to elementary school teacher/super spy Tom Keen. There’s been so much teasing about it, that him being some kind of bad guy (or something) is surprising to no one. As a result, the scene in the secret apartment doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than making Liz look like a substandard FBI agent. The scene itself was well designed with some pretty solid camera work and character positioning, but it lacked the suspenseful punch to really make it work. Maybe the show can ratchet up the suspense until the end of the season and the Tom unmasking, but I can only hope it won’t spill over into season two.

I would like the show to resolve a lot of its long standing issues, because the procedural aspect of the show continues to suffer. At the beginning of the season, Red Reddington was one of the more fun and dynamic characters on network television. Now, he’s stuck behind a table working on a music box to make a grown woman feel better about her sneaky husband. The show got me all fired up when they jet-setted off to Belarus, but it turns out my joy was short-lived as Red quickly returned to his work bench. James Spader was his usual terrific self in the scenes he did get, but his lack of a presence in the show’s procedural dealings is very noticeable. Granted, he probably couldn’t have rescued the stalker guy attempting to take over Washington DC so he could confess his love to a junior in high school, but Spader would have at least made it easier to swallow. Where I was once worried the show was going to overuse Spader, The Blacklist has shifted to under-using Spader. Given what’s left when he’s not around, the show may need to shade back in the other direction.

Red Reddington Fashion Rating: 6

Red got an extra point for that dope overcoat he was wearing when they discovered the bodies of Jolene and the Cowboy.

Elizabeth Keen Trauma Watch: Red

We have to bring this segment back. The woman is preparing to continue her sham marriage to a man she can be pretty certain is a murderer. It’s pretty easy to imagine her running in the red for the last few weeks of the season. However it ends, finding out your entire life is one giant construct is probably not good for one’s psyche. If this whole thing leads to her shooting Tom until she runs out of bullets but keeps pulling the trigger until Red calms her down, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Government Bureaucracy Watch

You have to love it when a 2 minute conversation can land you smack dab in the middle of one of the most secret government projects going. I would ask if the show even cares about these things, but I know they don’t, and it’s perfectly fine.