The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 5 (TV Show Review)

NBC’s The Blacklist has had an interesting second season so far. Lots of new characters have strung up in the wake of season one’s finale, and the Reddington Task Force has experienced some big changes of its own, whether that is losing some people or gaining some new allies. But things are still in flux, as they ever are on this show, and that is a good thing, since there are some mysteries still left unexplored, which define the show itself, and none more so than the relationship between Red and Liz, which got murkier and ever more mysterious in last week’s “Dr. Linus Creel“.

In “The Front” this week we see the heroes go up against a group of eco-terrorists, who have some grand plans for cleansing the world of the species that eradicates dozens of species a year. It all starts off with a murder, and by the end we are left with the team redefining some of its interrelationships and also Red finally getting one of the things he has wanted since the start of the season.It is not all that interesting an episode, personally speaking, since the eco-terrorists were rather boring, but the good thing is that the subplot involving Red and his investigation still remains a strong story, despite everything else.

One of my complaints about last week’s episode was that the villain was uninspiring, even dull and cliche. Crime dramas/police procedurals often reuse certain villain traits and personalities, regrettably so, and the thing is that the execution matters a great deal. If the execution isn’t there, then the episodes are as dull and uninspiring as last week’s Dr. Linus Creel. This week however, writer Adam Sussman tackles something different, with the help of teleplay writer Jim Campolongo. Eco-terrorists haven’t been on the show yet, I don’t think, and they are quite a welcome bunch this time around since they are also quite hardcore about what they want and how they are going to achieve it. Reminds me of this one James Bond movie, in which Bond goes into space after a villain. Suffice to say, the plot here is somewhat similar to that movie, but it also manages to differentiate itself and stand-out from the crowd.

Other than the lackluster villain, if there is one thing that bothered me about this episode, it is that the villains are able to proceed very soon with their plans. Given the… instrument that they use, it kind of didn’t make sense since the villains are too prepared and too organized, despite appearances to the contrary.

However, the rest of the episode is pretty good, once you factor in the good guys. Their interpersonal relationships have been complicated since the start of the season and this episode takes thing in a different direction altogether. We’ve seen before how Aram has been attracted to Samar since she came on board with the team a couple episodes back, and we see how their relationship changes in this episode by the end. It is interesting in that where there wasn’t any romance in the task force, there are some strong stirrings of that, complications of all these individuals working together in the kind of stressful conditions that they do.

As far as I’m concerned, it is also a welcome development since it gives the show its first strong example of a relationship between two characters of colour, and I value that. Where characters of colour are concerned, the show hasn’t done so well unfortunately, mostly in terms of two important characters who died last season, and so it is nice to see that things are moving in a different direction this time. And Aram and Samar do make a great couple. It is still very early days for them, but I liked that they are kind of beginning to get comfortable around each other.

And then we have the immensely complex relationship between Red and Liz, which went to some new heights in this episode. Previously we’ve seen that, concerned for her safety in the wake of Berlin’s attacks on the team last season, Red has had Liz under surveillance, keeping track of her whereabouts so that if she ever needs help, she does have some backup. And we also know that this is a decision that frustrates her, because she doesn’t want to be dependent on him for anything. Their relationship was redefined by the end of season one, in the light of some of the lies he’d told her, and she wants to maintain a strictly professional relationship with him.

But we all know that that’s not gonna happen, not anytime soon. Because Red is a master manipulator and that’s one of the things that I love about him so much. Liz really takes him to the task in this week’s episode, but he remains as unfrazzled as ever, true to form. We do know that he feels cares about her deeply in some incomprehensible (for the viewer) way. Some of the previous theories about why that is have been shown to be patently false by now, especially given how the episode ends for Red, having found someone that he has been looking for for a good long while now.

The dynamic between Red and Liz has always been at the heart of the show and this episode doesn’t change any of that. What it does change however, is the terms of that dynamic. We’ve seen how Liz is keeping some big secret from everyone, going so far as to hire a body double to throw off anyone who is following her, such as Red’s man keeping an eye on her. We see here how there is some elaborate scheme in place by her, and that there’s this big locked door in some undisclosed place where she’s keeping her secrets. The promo for next week promises that we are going to peek behind the door in next week’s episode and I for one am really excited for it, since this is a new mystery that I’m really looking forward to seeing uncovered.

Maybe she is keeping Tom there? That would be mind-blowing!

So yeah, once again, not a great villain, but the subplots are still damn strong.

More The Blacklist: (Season 2) Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4.

More The Blacklist: (Season 1) Eps 1-3, Eps 4-6, Eps 7-10, Eps 11-13, Eps 14-16, Eps 17-20, Eps 21-22;

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Posted on October 22, 2014, in Review Central, The Blacklist, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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