The Blacklist, Season Two (2014)
The fact that I am woefully behind on all of my TV shows (although I do keep apprised through my obsessive spoiler reading) in no way seems to impede my fan-girling. This is why I impose reviews of TV seasons on my blog – even though they are a year and a half past their “cool” date.
Since her world fell apart, Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone) has grown paranoid. Instead of enjoying the life – a happy one involving a child, she was on the verge of obtaining Liz is living out of a crumby hotel and trying to evade a tail. As an FBI profiler, one part of an elite task force, the day Liz met the task force’s greatest source is the day her life changed.
That source is the FBI’s most wanted criminal, Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader).
Making up this task force are the talents and specialties of tech genius Aram (Amir Arison); Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff), who is struggling with an addiction; and newest member, former Mossad, Samar (Mozhan Marnò). As protection against capture and incarceration, Red has a list of criminals and their locations, which he leads the team to find, only it’s Liz who is his handler. The only trouble is, one of Red’s nemesis’s is about to catch up with him in a horrifying way.
TV SHOW REVIEW: The Blacklist, Season One (2013)
Given how much I fangirl-ed over the crazy, insane, brilliant and exhilarating ride that was season one of NBC’s The Blacklist, a second season wasn’t without its risks. Sometimes, a show is unable to live up to its premiere outing. This show does, in spades. From the opening seconds of the first episode, I was again hooked as Red hunts down their next number, “Lord Baltimore.” The ultimate thread this beginning travels is intriguing all of which leads up to a firecracker of a finale.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Just to put a small “warning” label on this paragraph, from here until the next paragraph begins, I will be alluding to some season two spoilers should anyone wish to remain spoiler-free. Unlike season one, we are given more hints and clues to the connection between Red and Liz, and though some of the answers are commonplace, not all disentangle themselves to be totally satisfying. Carrying over from last season are explanations and MORE secrets about Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold), and while I did like some of the ways this story travelled, most of all, I wound up being annoyed at how Liz’s connection with him went down. As a character, I felt like she was making strides and working towards something better than her past with the man until that all came crashing down with one moment. Having said that I will admit to wavering (frequently) on my feelings of Tom. There is a mysteriousness to him that begs distrust however sometimes a sliver of sincerity works its way into his character that makes a viewer trust his feelings are genuine.
As the globe-trotting and bigger picture mysteries unfold, two of the things I most enjoyed about this season were digging deeper into the past of Red (which includes Mary Louise-Parker guest starring in a brief albeit important character arc role of his character’s past) and the growing bond between Red and Liz. Some of their scenes together are pure brilliance, supported by the fabulous talents of James Spader. His Red is what MAKES this show what it is. The script keeps itself on its toes to ensure that this character gets the kind of characterization needed to pull of the cloak of a criminal mastermind who is, actually, likable. From the unflappable aptitude Spader adopts (as Red) to the way he plays with some humor in the role, Red is one of the most interesting characters on TV today. Similarly, Liz is called to walk an ambiguous moral line more than once. How she chooses to deal with this is what makes her interesting. Not to be forgotten, everyone does a bang up job with their characters.
If you were a fan of the first season, you’ll certainly need to watch the second. The show keeps being cutting edge in its genre, which is nice considering NBC doesn’t have the consistent successes that some of its peers do. It’s a tangled web that makes for an entertaining puzzle to attempt unraveling. Keeping ahead of the motivations of the characters and the writer’s endgame is forever a mystery.
(Content: there are plenty of tense situations including some torture, kidnappings and shoot outs. In a block of latter episodes, there is a sensual scene between one couple, removal of clothing and passionate kissing/caressing under the sheets involved. Other episodes also contain sensual material including one that deals with a homosexual "number." The show is rated TV14.)