The Blacklist: The Lion In Winter

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Episode recaps
Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC


This gives the writers the chance to indulge their “Raymond In Prison Fantasy,” while ensuring that the story-arc should wrap up around episode five or six. Episode four will center around Raymond exerting his influence on the facility in record time. Perhaps Reddington can talk his new friend John Waters, into directing a musical starring the inmates?

Regular readers of these pages have seen many theories discussed over the last five years. Some of them have panned out, while others were completely off base. (Raymond, will never kill Kaplan!) The opening paragraph of this piece’s an excerpt from our previous recap. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into that paragraph. It was a guess a casual viewer of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” could have made.

This viewer could enjoy James Spader, inhabiting the character of Raymond Reddington, for the next 20-years. In fact if Spader, just sat in a chair in a library sharing Raymond’s tales for an hour a week, this viewer would be pleased. Jon Bokenkamp, if you want to utilize that format and call it “Tales From The Blacklist,” please feel free. One thing for certain, your costs will go down, and you’ll likely retain most of your viewership.

While finding the “Raymond In Prison-Land,” story-arc entertaining, it was alas totally predictable. Reddington picks up a new member for his “Island Of Misfit Toys,” in Vontae Jones, and shows his fellow inmates that Alfonse Baldomero’s, nothing but a poser. He gains the inmates’ respect when Alfonse gets gutted by one of Annunzio Ross’ goons, his first night back on the street. In the process Vontae gets some cred, and Raymond receives a record-player and some great old discs, to entertain him during the rest of his stay in the facility.

Capturing our Blacklist Members Of The Week, the Uhlmans, might have uncovered a huge score for the Bureau, but they didn’t make for memorable characters. Dorothy Lyman’s performance as Delaine Uhlman, likely shocked viewers who last saw her in the role of Nadine in “Mama’s Family.”

The Uhlmans own a mom and pop pawn-shop, with a clientele that’s just as likely to bring in a block of C-4 explosives, or a prototype from an NSA contractor, as bring in a class ring. Because of their ask no questions policy, their reputation’s well known by the denizens of the underworld. Their backstory, as Delaine, recounted to Samar Navabi, was far more interesting than the story we watched unfold.

The only part of that story-line that intrigued this viewer, centered around the reoccurring incidents that have plagued Navabi, since she returned to active duty. In the previous episode we saw her quite concerned over the fact she couldn’t recall the word sabotage. This go-round, in attempting to call 911, after Delaine got shot, she dialed 119, twice.

We saw Samar, near the end of the evening on her laptop, researching a medical condition known as Aphasia. According to the website, “Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others.”

The condition’s usually the result of a stroke, or a severe blow to the head, although it makes sense that Navabi, being deprived of oxygen, might have brought on the condition. If Samar’s suffering from the condition, she and Aram, should have a wonderful life together, but her career in law enforcement’s likely over.

Many long-time fans of the series had expectations going into season six, that this would be the final year for our beloved show. Although I’ve yet to check how its currently doing in the ratings, the absence of “The Blacklist,” from, is quite telling. Not only has the website stopped promoting the show on its landing page, they haven’t posted photographs since S6E2. Six seasons, is an impressive run in this era of television, and the series has floundered in the ratings for a myriad of reasons.

While this viewer would be saddened by it’s departure, my greater fear is for the series’ reputation to be tarnished, by a lackluster and convoluted final season. Unfortunately the show-runners and writers have painted themselves into a rather uncomfortable corner. Now they need to find a way to extract themselves from it. Here are a few ways they might consider to get the show back on track.

Get Rid Of The Character Known As Jennifer Reddington

Why is this character still in the series? Last season introducing the character known as Jennifer Reddington, made sense, as she provided the connection between Ian Garvey and Raymond. However, why is she still hanging around, and why is she so eager to learn the identity of a man she’s got no connection to?

If the woman formerly known as Lillian Roth’s truly Jennifer Reddington, what purpose would she have in finding out who the Concierge of Crime, truly is? She supposedly spent her entire lifetime hiding from her biological father. This man’s never attempted to contact her, or encroach on her life in any way. What’s she got against him?

If Lillian Roth’s not Jennifer Reddington, was she playing Garvey all that time? Because Garvey, likely looked at protecting Lillian, as one of the few redeeming acts of his life. We’ve never been told exactly when Jennifer enlisted Garvey’s help, but this viewer’s assumed she was either a child or a teen. It’s difficult to believe that a girl of that age could come up with such a byzantine plot on her own. If she’s not Jennifer Reddington, could she be a plant by some organization that has an agenda with Raymond?

If she is Jennifer Reddington, then why is she so eager to go on this mission? Any misconceptions she might have had that this man killed her father and took his place, got cleared up in the season premiere, when Liz told her she killed their father when she was a four-year-old. Let’s resolve this plot as quickly as possible.

Just Ask Him Lizzie

Ever get the feeling Elizabeth Keen’s more upset with herself than with Raymond? Poor little princess wanted so badly to have a family, that she completely disregarded the fact that she remembers killing her father as a toddler. She immediately allowed her emotions to override her logic, and her training as an FBI Agent. If Raymond Reddington’s my father, and I shot my father, that means Reddington’s dead, and this guy’s an imposter.

“Our Raymond,” had made it clear since the first season that Lizzie’s father’s dead, but she never truly accepted it. First she thought Constantin Rostov, was her father. When Harold told her that the DNA from the real Reddington’s clothes matched her DNA, she reacted like a teenager, and didn’t question it for a moment. That lapse in judgement lead to all the pain and losses she suffered in season five.

If she doesn’t tell Tom that Raymond’s her father, he immediately tells her about the valise that Kaplan left for him. The valise’s inspected by the Task-Force, so Tom, Nik, and Ian Garvey’s other three victims are still alive. The Task-Force’s discovery that the bones belonged to the real Reddington, should have reinforced what Lizzie had already figured out. The man she’s been working with is not the original Raymond Reddington. So what’s his interest in her, why did he seek her out? Why did he take on the identity of her dead father?

Of course Raymond, realizes that Lizzie knows the truth. After her constant demands that Raymond share his secret with her, she suddenly drops the subject when he gets the bones back? How could she feasibly believe she’s pulling one over on a man that’s been ten-steps ahead of the entire planet’s law enforcement for decades?

Instead of putting her cards on the table, and confronting Raymond with her knowledge, we’ve been subjected to “The Three Faces Of Eve.” There’s the version that she shows to Raymond, the version she shares with the Task-Force, and the one she reveals only to Jennifer. She’s not convincing Ressler, how could she possibly think she’s fooling Reddington?

It’s time for these games to cease. I have been waiting far too long for Dom, to tell Lizzie he’s her grandfather, and to finally reveal what we’ve all been waiting six seasons to find out. Who is the man we know as Raymond Reddington, and what’s his connection to Elizabeth?

The Story Continues Friday, February 1, at 9:00 pm, on NBC.

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