‘The Blacklist’ – Red Settles Old Scores

Published 2 years ago by

Blacklist Season 1 Episode 2 The Blacklist   Red Settles Old Scores

If it wasn’t clear from last week’s premiere, James Spader’s portrayal of Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington is reason enough to give The Blacklist a chance. The charismatic man of mystery claimed by the end of ‘The Freelancer’ that “the F.B.I. works for him now,” and he couldn’t be more right.

The Blacklist may be disguising itself as a “terrorist of the week show,” yet the series displays much more bravado than your run of the mill procedural. With his new immunity deal approved by the government, Red is willing to help the Bureau fight terrorism, but only on his terms. Red’s detour to Montreal with Liz highlighted the series’ superb writing from creator/executive producer Jon Bokenkamp.

As Red and Liz conversed over cocktails, you could see their relationship building, if ever so subtly. She’s drawn to him, even if she doubts his motives, and it was nice to see Red drop the “you could be my daughter” line, due to the fact that many have speculated on the mysteries of Lizzy’s father. Perhaps that was Bokenkamp’s attempt to inform the viewer to not assume anything too quickly?

James Spader in The Blacklist The Blacklist   Red Settles Old Scores

Either way, Liz’s profile of Red was one of the standout scenes from this week’s episode. Megan Boone’s confidence in her role is even more impressive than it was in the premiere. The young actress is standing toe-to-toe with Spader in every scene and holds her own impressively.

From their conversation in Montreal, Red hinted at Liz’s past being important and asked if she comprehends who she truly is. The mystery behind Red’s Blacklist and the connection it has with Agent Keen’s past are stories worth exploring, but it’s their evolving relationship that keeps this series’ heart beating. Sure, ‘The Freelancer’ has it’s moments of thrilling chases and bone-shatering interrogations, but the strength of the show continues to be its two leading actors.

With the leads firmly in place, the series introduced us to some interesting new characters this week. Firstly, the lovely C.I.A. agent Margot Malik (Parminda Nagra), whom Red refers to as “Attractive, but treacherous.” Reddington also brought in two of his own henchmen, which should balance out the new team nicely. The human trafficker posing as an activist was an enjoyable twist, but again, the national security threats were backdrops to the more interesting story of why Reddington is so interested in Agent Keen.

Megan Boone in The Blacklist The Blacklist   Red Settles Old Scores

‘The Freelancer’ builds on the strong premiere by focusing on character development, before delving into the “case of the week” scenario. Near to the episode’s conclusion, Red asked Lizzy what she plans on doing concerning her husband Tom and his double-life. The montage that followed showed us that for now, she is content with burying the secret. While watching her husband share his intimate thoughts about his wife to the adoption people, it appears that Liz is content with having a loving husband no matter what he’s hiding.

Bokenkamp wraps up this week’s episode by showing the viewer that Liz’s assessment of Red at the restaurant in Montreal was correct. He’s a man that is just as comfortable in a noodle house as he is in a French bistro, but does he “really” know any of the men he’s laughing with? Will Agent Keen become his one true friend as the season progresses? We’ll just have to wait and see.


The Blacklist continues with ‘Wujing’ next Monday @10pm on NBC.

Follow David Griffin on Twitter @griffinde
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. The first episode was tolerably good, so I will be watching this series (I have also been enjoying Agents of Shield and Sleepy Hollow, so I can recommend those as well). Usually a TV season has between all the cable and network channels at best only one or two good shows. This season, however, I see a whole bunch of “maybes-check them out” shows. The three mentioned just now, of course, and also perhaps Crisis, Chicago PD, Crossbones, Ironside, Reign, Arrow, Almost Human, Gang-Related, Enlisted, Black Sails, Helix, BBC’s Atlantis, plus I am watching Revolution on Netflix. recently I have also watched Zero Hour and Strike Back, and look forward to the movies in production The Terror and also Interstellar, as well as the series being developed, called Raiders, and plan to watch the History Channel’s Vikings. All these in addition to a number of movies coming out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for me if all of these I will watch pilots for should prove to be good? Someone might have to add a few hours to the day! Thank goodness for those I might miss or fall behind on I can always rely on good old Netflix and the station web-sites to allow me to catch up!

  2. Good ass show. Not regretting my season pass At All.

  3. I enjoyed the plot of this one, especially the twists behind who was the villain and Red’s network. The powers that be were a bit too shadowy and flat, but not wholly unbelievable. My only gripe is that the lead actress remains very wooden, more in this episode than the pilot. Perhaps that’s due to what her character’s been through in life, but scenes tend to drag when they focus on her side of the conversation/arc. I suppose I’ve yet to see what it is about her that would spark Red’s curiosity for all these years that he’s watched her.

  4. Good show, but I didn’t find this episode as compelling as the first one. I’d rather the focus was a bit more on the two main characters background instead of the villain of the week.

  5. I like this show. I think its gonna get better and better.

  6. I’m thinking Red will either be Lizzie’s Godfather or Father-in-law.

  7. My biggest problem with the show is how he can so easily slip away from them any time he wants to. They’ve been at the business of covering people for some time and it would be nearly impossible to keep slipping away like that.

    • He only slips away from locations he knows which is why he suggests those places

  8. I want to like this show, I really do. The pilot was cool. I was into it. But the second episode had so many unrealistic things. An FBI agent hijacking a taxi? Two episodes in a row where Keene uses a pen on someone? I’ll watch again next week probably but it’s just getting a little too unrealistic for me.

  9. Who is the older actress who plays the FBI chief in episode 2 ? What TV shows has she been in?

    • If you’re referring to the character who kept refusing to meet Red’s terms because she’s the boss, that is Jane Alexander. Incidentally, the episode was directed by her son, Jace.