The Blacklist Season 1 Review “Berlin”

The Blacklist Episode 21 Berlin (3)

One of the more interesting choices a show can make in 2014 revolves around plot. Since every show has to have some sort of central conceit or mystery, the show creators have to decide exactly how to parcel the morsels of information to a (hopefully) hungry audience. These days, you’re more likely to find a show willing to burn through plot quickly as opposed to slow play it over a long period of time. With so many more options out there, producers often decide to plow ahead with plot for fear of losing their audience, and thus, their jobs. As a result, networks often end up with shows who flash all their bells and whistles, but have little to add to it once everything quiets down.

In this way, The Blacklist seems more like a throwback. The show is willing to slow play those plot points. How effective they are at teasing certain events is up for debate, but the show hasn’t been in a rush to answer a lot of the questions the pilot posed. It can certainly be maddening at times, but the show’s protection of its mysteries is actually refreshing. However, when the show chooses to reveal an answer, it blitzes through it like its got something better to do. Tonight’s episode gave the audience a lot of answers to questions the series had been posing from the beginning, yet the answer came in the form of Liz Keen doing her Carrie Mathison impression for two minutes with a musical interlude. It’s a common trope, and maybe the least exciting way possible for someone to find out anything. For a show that takes a lot of pride in its action sequences, having the big AH-HA of the season come through paper shuffling is, to be polite, odd.

Overall, this episode serves as a piece-mover to set up the season finale. Liz and Red get to have their big moment in the park, but when so much of Red remains a mystery, it’s hard to trust what we see. He obviously cares for Liz, but he’s never been above manipulating her for his own gains.

Aside from the few reveals, we didn’t really learn much outside of what the NBC promo department had already told us. There’s still numerous loose ends to be handled before the season comes to a close. Even though The Blacklist isn’t scared to slow things down, they can’t afford to keep people waiting until next season.

Red Reddington Fashion Rating: 8.5

I loved the get-up at the end. Great use of a zip up sweater, ridiculous glasses, and an off color hat. The whole thing just worked for me. It looks like he may be in possession of some silver bracelets soon, so I’m not expecting much from the finale.

Liz Keen Trauma Watch: Red

There’s just too many things converging on Liz at once for her not to be traumatized by it. It’s set to be a difficult finale for Mrs. Keen, and one that hopefully leads her down the county courthouse to get her name changed.