What’s this? Checking in will be a shorter recap for the shows simply put I don’t want to write about on a week in and week out basis. Some because their format doesn't jive with me others because there isn’t that much to really say from week to week. So this is going to be likely a bit shorter, a bit informal, and maybe even fun?
Last Time On: When we last popped in on The Blacklist the FBI led by Harry Lennix was making a deal with the devil (they knew at least) Raymond "Red" Reddington the "The Concierge of Crime". Redington mysteriously turned himself in and will only work with rookie Elizabeth Keen, giving everything a Silence of the Lambs vibe. Together they team up to takedown the members of Reddington’s titular Blacklist. The list of criminals and scoundrels who are just too evil or have violated some kind of criminal code of social mores. Also, it turns out that Agent Keen’s husband is like a spy or contract killer. Why else does one need fake passports money and a gun hidden underneath the floorboards? Perhaps he’s in some kind of Duplicity -esque situation?
From a production standpoint the only news has been that NBC ordered the back 9 episodes lickity split after great ratings thanks to The Voice lead in. Making it the first new show of the Fall to get a full order.
Now On: The Blacklist case of the week formula is why it’s being checked in on and not recapped weekly ala Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The two have the same basic formula and premis when you reduce it down but S.H.I.E.L.D. has a more interesting cast and production side of things. Also more characters are just more intriguing to me. Grant Ward maybe Agent McBeefcake but there’s something to him. I can’t really say that for Donald Ressler(Diego Klattenhoff - how ever you say that last name) who is really bland uninteresting FBI stooge taking orders from Harry Lennix. He’s serving more of a function than anything at this point. It doesn't mean he can’t be a useful or enjoyable function he’s disarming of the thug and cover story about being Reddington’s inside man was something I didn’t expect from such a milktoast looking guy. It kind of made me want to check out Graceland again. Harold Cooper is equally as vague but is played by Harry Lennix (who has an awesome voice) and is at least in a position of real power giving him some kind of intrigue.
The FBI is on a tightrope in The Blacklist for the plot to function they are going ot have to make mistakes or disregard whatever warning Reddington gives them. Structural failures aren’t the hardest thing to come up with when dealing with a major bureaucratic entity like the FBI. It’s the disregarding of a warning that could make them look the worst in the long run. The show can’t make the FBI look utterly incompetent (they have to swoop in and “officially” save the day) but they also can’t stop action before it happens. “The Stewmaker (No. 161)” pulls the FBI into the situation after Keen is kidnapped and her old case is elevated.
Agent Keen, I’m not sure what to make of you. I actually like Megan Boones performance, she’s got this beat up Maria Hill vibe to her. They are also keeping her strong by throwing around beautcrativ weight and escaping the StewMaker for a little bit. At the same time she is forced by plot to not act on information. Man there is the germ of something there. It could be I am not at all invested in her dive into FBI conspiracies and her husband. This whole episode was about reading people which is also her job and it seems to have pushed her past a point where she even really wants to read anymore. I’d not want to after nearly being turned into human stew.
James Spader continues to chew scenery and be the funnest thing to watch in this show. The character of Raymond "Red" Reddington(with a name like that you have to just go all the way) knows thy self and is true to himself. He’s a monster yes. One who is taking out monsters he deems to be too monstrous for some unknown reason. It’s that kind of self knowledge that makes him interesting compared to Keen who doesn't know herself or the world she’s stepped into.
The monster of the week is one of the things that Blacklist uses to differentiate itself. This weeks neerdowell, The Stewmaker (who turns out to be a Dentist in Maryland), is terrifying. He doesn't speak for 90% of the episode. All we are is shown him doing his work, making people disappear. It isn’t flashy or stylish there is a very down to earth sensibility in the montage of preparation. Which made it a bit more freighting. Last weeks Blacklister was really boring and the one prior was kind of generic. The Stewmaker felt like something out of a horror movie. Complete with body horror shots of people being melted.
If you liked this episode might I suggest Snatch plenty of talk of body disposal via bigs and the meaning of the saying “hungry as a pig”.