The Blacklist: General Ludd, Review
What happens when you have a group that wants to destroy the country's financial markets go up against a devoted capitalist like Red Reddington? Good TV, that's what!
I sometimes wonder if my feelings about any given episode of The Blacklist are determined in that pre-credits sequence. If that’s compelling, it usually bodes well for the rest of the episode. If it seems like a setup for a procedural, and doesn’t have that hint of action-movie adrenaline that the best episodes have displayed, it’s often a bad sign. The latest episode of The Blacklist, “General Ludd,” certainly had that heart-racing opening, as fragments of a bombed airplane start dropping out of the sky on an otherwise fine day in the park. That’ll keep you up at night.“General Ludd” is kind of like a cross between Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous…if those movements decided to take things to the next level and actually start performing acts of terrorism in an attempt to destroy the country’s financial system. Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as heavy-handed as it sounds. When the team decides that having planes fall out of the sky is unacceptable, they decide to try and nail the movement’s leader, who’s a bit of a master of disguise. Folks, I may as well give fair warning, as there are SPOILERS AHEAD.But there’s more. Lizzie’s Dad (well…foster Dad, as viewers know) is in the hospital, and it’s serious. But as is always the case when there’s any kind of family crisis, Agent Keen can’t get away from the action long enough to actually attend to personal matters. Although, we do get to see her and Tom attend to a “personal matter” of their own in the shower, which is, of course, being eagerly watched by the creeps who have wired their entire apartment. Who are these guys working for? It’s not the government, and the obvious answer is that they’re employees of Red Reddington, but later developments (and I’m warning you again, there WILL BE SPOILERS) seem to indicate this isn’t the case.There are plenty of fine and skeevy Red Reddington moments in this episode. For one thing, he has no interest in this case. It’s not on his radar. But like a true capitalist, Reddington is able to get what he wants in exchange for his services. I’d say that few things are as chuckle-worthy as Red hanging out in a suburban housewife’s laundry room while she manufactures counterfeit bills for him, but that would be untrue. You see, there is NOTHING funnier (on this show, at least) than James Spader coming face to face with Andrew Dice Clay as a crooked plastic surgeon. While this IS technically a spoiler, it isn’t the one I was getting at…LAST CHANCE! SPOILERS!While it still seems like they’re telegraphing the idea that Red is Elizabeth’s real father pretty heavily, that can only mean some kind of serious misdirection is on the horizon. But Red is obviously quite close with Lizzie’s real father and knows all about the reasons he had to take her in in the first place. Is Red perhaps an uncle (or even an older brother) who is trying to protect Lizzie from her real father, who we’ve already established was an abusive sonuvabitch? Are the creeps spying on Lizzie perhaps working for this mysterious person who hasn’t been named or established yet? On a side note, Red’s hospital confrontation with Tom was pretty ambiguous. Was some kind of message sent there? There was certainly an implied threat, but did Tom pick up on it? Was he supposed to?That’s a whole lot of unanswered questions, ain’t it? But there’s some real tension on display here, and I refuse to believe that The Blacklist which (mostly) has been a fairly smart bit of TV, is going to take the obvious way out. Here’s hoping that whatever they give us isn’t too contrived. In the meantime, I’ll be watching…
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