‘The Blacklist’: Baby Not on Board

Published 7 months ago by , Updated January 28th, 2014 at 5:16 pm,

Megan Boone in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 13 The Blacklist: Baby Not on Board

[This is a review of The Blacklist season 1, episode 13. There will be SPOILERS.]

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There is a highly perceptible nonchalance hanging around the events that dramatically change Elizabeth Keen’s personal life, The Blacklist winds up with an outlandish and horrifying storyline that should at least feel shocking, but instead what transpires in ‘The Cypress Agency’ so clearly demonstrates the episode’s real intent, the experience comes across as exciting, urgent, and intense as a stifled sneeze.

For what it’s worth, the ‘The Cypress Agency’ does have its priorities straight. Adoptive mother-to-be Liz is tasked by Red to investigate a wildly successful adoption agency run by Campbell Scott that’s been kidnapping young women who match their clients’ preferred genetic profiles for their mail-order bundles of joy, and impregnating them while they remain in an medically induced coma. Now that sounds like the kind of conceit that even Law & Order: SVU would have second thoughts about producing, but The Blacklist isn’t really interested in making such an exceedingly dark premise into something that’s potentially challenging or even all that interesting; it’s just smokescreen so Lizzie can finally have a reason to tell Tom she’s not ready to adopt a child. She even goes the extra mile to let him know that things between them aren’t working, a comment that eventually puts him in the company of the mysterious Jolene, during a montage wherein the rest of the cast stares pensively out windows or at unused baby strollers, as the dulcet tones of Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Sundown’ help to accentuate all the hurt.

But the show finding a potential way out of Liz’s uncertainty over adopting a child (and apparently continuing her relationship) with Tom just means that even if it takes thirteen episodes, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington always gets what he wants. Red’s been decidedly anti-Tom from the get-go and his constant prodding of Lizzie not to trust her husband has finally paid off enough that the writers can move forward; either to continue sowing the seeds of why Tom’s not to be trusted, or at least develop the Jolene character into someone other one of the show’s many, many mysteries.

James Spader in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 13 The Blacklist: Baby Not on Board

Continuing with the idea that Red always gets what he wants, ‘The Cypress Agency’ moves through the mole storyline with surprising efficiency. Teddy Brimley, the guy vetting Agent Malik, proudly proclaims her “cleaner than a duck fart” – which, not only allows James Spader a chance to muster up a face that seems to know what that reference even means, but it also gives Red reason to task Malik with tracking down the person responsible for leaking the blueprints of the FBI black site to Anslo Garrick. You know, in exchange for her life.

Malik’s swift investigation points directly to Diane Fowler (Jane Alexander), and in keeping with his streak of violent reprisals, Red breaks into Fowler’s home and empties a revolver into her, even though she promises him the answers to what happened to his family that he has sought for so long. As per usual, Spader’s scenes grant the episode its only real sense of significance, which is troubling considering the subject matter serving as the narrative vehicle this time around was potentially more interesting than decision it provoked on Lizzie’s behalf.

In the future, The Blacklist would be well-served by making it look as though it’s as involved in these episodic plots as it is in their sometimes-formless outcomes, just so there’s something more to the series than a constant string of half-answered questions.

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The Blacklist will be on hiatus while NBC broadcasts the Winter Olympics. It will return Monday, February 24, 2014 @10pm.

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  1. This show is just getting worse and worse. It went from being pretty interesting to being boring, typical, “yes-I-will-maybe-not” bullsh-t at every point in the story.

  2. The writing could be getting better if the writers work together.

    Red’s (probably) against Tom because he knows what he does (IMO).

    I’m watching it to see Red, James Spader, get away with it.

    Back to the writers, if Red had dirt on Malik (CIA) why would he just end it there and not continue to use her?

    Cooper has got to realize that his badge was taken, and that was used to kill Fowler and Red is behind it. Is Cooper using Red to take care of his road blocks. And if that’s true, is Cooper on the blacklist?

    Yes, the writers have made mistakes.

    • @Chad:

      Red didn’t have dirt on Malik. She explained that she signed the RFP but wasn’t the one who leaked the blueprints. So Red wanted to know who ordered the RFP, and once Malik got that information for him, he no longer needed her for anything and really has no leverage against her (other than her wanting to know who the mole was too).

      What Cooper knows or doesn’t know, we’ll find out. Red’s cleaner is very good at covering up things so they may not even know Red had killed her.

      What I find interesting is how Red always gets away with shooting people with a loud revolver and no one hears it or responds to it. It would make more sense to use a silencer but I guess the writers think the loud bang makes more impact as if the shooting and killing itself does not.

      As far as the adoption plotline goes, realistically, how does that pan out? Will the mothers want their children back? Will the parents not want their children anymore knowing the father is a psychopath?

      I think The Blacklist is decent show, episodic yet series arching plotlines and it’s refreshing to root for the “bad” good guy.

  3. Worst part of this is we’re not getting The Blacklist until the end of February to avoid the fact the US is going on yet another break two episodes into most shows like this one (have to wait until next Wednesday for Sleepy Hollow’s return and the end of February for Arrow to return and True Detective to debut, boo!).

  4. You guys don’t know a good show when you see one. Blacklist has had an amazing freshman season thus far. The husband’s storyline is a slow burn, admittedly. But given the consistent strength of the main storylines, I’m expecting a fantastic payoff down the line.

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