The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 3 (TV Show Review)
Last week The Blacklist closed out one phase of the ongoing feud between Red and Berlin, leaving viewers with a vague promise that the two might be able to ally with each other to root out whoever had caused the feud between them in the first place. It was a pretty damn good episode, especially since it marked the two meeting each other face-to-face for the first time. While the first season finale and the second season premiere showcased a lot of changes on the FBI’s Reddington Task Force, things are also setting in the same kind of groove they were in towards the end of the first season.
This week’s episode, “Dr. James Covington” does some really great things, such as bringing back Tom Keen for a brief cameo and forcing Elizabeth to once more question Red’s motives and his longer game plan. Along the way she also helps take down a rogue surgeon who has been running an organ scam for a number of years, ruthlessly and callously so. Some of this episode is a bit filler, but by and large I loved it since it continued some of the mysteries from the previous two episodes while also creating some interesting new ones, keeping me hooked.
One thing that The Blacklist has done really well so far this season is in showing how Elizabeth has grown in the months since the end of the first season finale. She is much more focused now and is also starting to chase a leadership role in the task force. She’s always been Red’s primary “in” with the FBI, the only person he will bother to talk with about new cases or ongoing cases (for the most part!) and that created a certain place for her within the team, but now she is much more visible I’d say. That this comes at the expense of someone like Agent Malik, who was killed off a the end of the first season, is regrettable, but I’ll take what I can get.
And as I mentioned in last week’s review, some moral ambiguity is creeping into her psyche now. She no longer sees things as black and white but has gained a more nuanced view of what she does and what she is required to do. That was underscored at the end of last week’s episode and comes back into play in a big way for the climax of the new episode. And this is something that Agent Ressler calls her out on and the timing couldn’t be great. Sure, watching a “train-wreck” would have been fun, but I’m glad that the obvious choice is getting nipped in the bud, so to speak. Writers Lukas Reiter and J. R. Orci are able to avoid the cliches inherent in such an approach, at least for now, and I’m all for that.
This week’s villain isn’t all that memorable. The story kind of plods along on that front for most of the episode and James Covington doesn’t become interesting almost at the end. I was kind of disappointed by that twist, but I also thought that it was a great way to bring the focus back on Elizabeth and Donald (Ressler) for those moments. Their relationship has solidified in recent weeks, and this was just another thing that the two of them managed to bond on, though I doubt that either of them realized it at the time.
This week also saw Raymond Reddington upping his game, trying to get the drop on Berlin’s businesses and pull ahead in order to solidify his position. That isn’t how things work of course, particularly since Berlin is involved, of all things, but I quite enjoyed this episode because it gave me another peek at the man under the hat. Through 24 episodes of The Blacklist, I’ve already seen how ruthless and callous he can get, but this episode was quite another matter entirely. He is a spider at the center of a web, and when he feels his web weakening or shaking, he takes measures to strengthen his position. That is what the main subplot of this episode was, and it was handled masterfully. Especially when he shared yet another story with another character, this time talking about his childhood and one of his earliest summer jobs as a kid.
Biggest thing in this episode though is the addition of Mozhan Marno’s character Samar Navabi, who is an Iranian working for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. She is also the one who tracked down Red in the season premiere and held him hostage until Harold Cooper’s (temporary) replacement broke him out. She is now working with the Reddington Task Force, and I have to say that I’m very intrigued as to what she is doing here. Liz casts doubts as to her recruitment, and whether it was her own idea all along, or whether she was discreetly manipulated by Red into it, and I found that conversation between the two of them to be very fascinating. Hopefully this is going to be a long arc as the season progresses and isn’t over as quickly as the temporary cessation of hostilities between Red and Berlin.
Ultimately though, the coolest element of this week’s episode is the much-awaited appearance of Tom Keen, and what that means for Liz’s paranoia. He is only there for a couple minutes or so at the start of the episode, and he doesn’t say anything that he hadn’t already told Liz last season, but I still found it to be quite awesome. His appearance also cleared up some previous things in the second season, such as who the hell has been spying on Liz for the last few weeks, and this plays into the episode’s ending, when it all comes together.
A great episode for sure, though the villain was quite weak unfortunately. And we also get to see brief seconds of Mary-Louise Parker’s character Naomi Highland, Red’s estranged wife, so it was fun overall!
Posted on October 7, 2014, in Review Central, The Blacklist, TV Show Reviews and tagged Amanda Kate Shuman, Amir Arison, Aram Mojtabai, Berlin, Betrayal, CIA, Conspiracy, Crime, Crime Drama, Daniel Knauf, Dembe, Diego Klattenhoff, Donald Ressler, Drama, Elizabeth Keen, Espionage, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Female Protagonists, Female-Led TV Shows, Global Conspiracy, Harry Lennix, Hisham Tawfiq, Intelligence Drama, J. R. Orci, James Spader, Jon Bokenkamp, Karen Gaviola, Kristen Reidel, Lukas Reiter, Mary-Louise Parker, Megan Boone, Monarch Douglas Bank, Mozhan Marno, Mr. Kaplan, Naomi Highland, NBC, Peter Stormare, Politics, Raymond Reddington, Review, Rowan Mills, Samar Navabi, Spies, Terrorism, The Blacklist, The Blacklist Season 2, The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 3, The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 2, Thriller, TV Show, TV Show Review, Women in SFF, Women in Television. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.