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The Blacklist Season 2 Starts with a Literal Bang

Elizabeth Harper | 23 Sep 2014 23:45
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But there's one big question here: why would Berlin hire a hacker to track down Red when Red avoids leaving any kind of online trace of himself? He avoids computers, social networks, and only uses burner phones. So who would a hacker be attempting to find? The FBI team working with Red speculates that it might be one of them, but after sorting through some of the data Baltimore has stolen Red realizes it's a woman in protective custody named Naomi Hyland... who used to be his wife.

This is an interesting wrinkle. There's already plenty to suggest that Red is FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen's father -- or, if not, at least knew him well -- but could Naomi be her mother? Naomi mentions her former life going up in flames and we already know that Elizabeth was in a fire when she was young and Red has burn scars on his back. While the whole thing seems a little too obvious for the show's subtleties, the idea has been stressed to the point that it's hard to believe Red isn't her father despite his denials... and now we might have found her real mother as well. Unless it's all a smokescreen and Naomi and her daughter were in a completely unrelated fire.

But there's no tearful reunion. Elizabeth shows no sign of putting the pieces together while talking to Naomi and soon Baltimore and company sweep through the assembled federal marshals and take Naomi to Berlin. And though Naomi tells Berlin she can't do anything to help him find Red, but Berlin doesn't care... because he intends to send her to Red piece by piece by way of revenge, believing Red did something similar to his daughter.

Does Red deserve this? With Red being a pretty bad guy himself, the series sometimes struggles with the problem of who viewers are supposed to root for -- so it helps to paint an even worse villain in Berlin. And presumably we'll get the satisfaction of seeing Red and company hunt him down... hopefully before Naomi, who's already missing a finger, dies for it.

Bottom Line: The Blacklist is a thoroughly entertaining thriller with plenty of action. If the rest of season 2 can keep up with the pace set by the premiere, it's going to be a very solid season of television. However, while the series has a decent ensemble cast, moments Spader is off the screen remain the least entertaining -- and Elizabeth Keen, the lead "good guy," still isn't that interesting. But the rest of it is good enough to watch despite this.

Recommendation: Though it isn't perfect, The Blacklist is pretty good television. Fans of action and thrillers will find it fun, if not always particularly deep. For fans of Spader, this is a must-see: he's great in the role of Red and gets a lot of screentime... and most of the show's memorable moments.

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