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The Blacklist S01E19: "The Pavlovich Brothers"


Is Elizabeth Keen an idiot? Above all else, that's become the dominant question of The Blacklist's entertaining yet oftentimes silly first season. The show's premise inherently places Liz at a disadvantage. Everyone around her is lying about 100 different things, and she's simply trying to survive a new job and the mystery and likely subterfuge surrounding both Red and her husband Tom. That'd be tough on anyone. But as the season has progressed, it does feel like every time The Blacklist allows Liz to figure something out, she's almost immediately made to look at worst extremely foolish and at best blinded by emotion, giving Red or Tom or whomever else another advantage. I really enjoyed "Ivan" from a few weeks ago, when Liz truly learned that Tom wasn't just a school teacher, but as many people in the comments pointed out, the episode didn't necessarily do the show's lead character a lot of favors. Here we are two episodes later, and "The Pavlovich Brothers" gave Liz her big moment with Tom—and then kind of made her look dense again.

The Blacklist took a chance in playing the long game with its two central mysteries—Tom's allegiances and Red's history with Liz—both of which are directly connected to Liz and generally require her to solve them to A.) bring the stories to a satisfying conclusion, and B.) justify her abilities and presence as the show's lead character. Many of today's great shows don't wait that long to burn through stories, which makes The Blacklist kind of a throwback to a slower time, when the expectation wasn't that a show would answer everything in a max of 15 or 20 episodes, Scandal- or Vampire Diaries-style. While I appreciate this about The Blacklist, it almost certainly made tonight's BIG MOMENTS less impactful than they could have been because Liz continued to be a step or two behind.


To be fair, "The Pavlovich Brothers" probably gave Liz the clearest and safest "out" she's had in a while, in that her problematic behavior can be written off as a byproduct of her pure rage over everything Tom has done to her. Although Red and his seemingly never-ending network of helpers had Tom on complete surveillance, Liz quickly ruined the operation by following Tom into the National Archive simply because she couldn't help herself. She just had to see what this man—this man who she thought was her loving husband—was up to. It was a stupid decision, and one that allowed Tom to call into his people to let them know the crumbling status of his covert work, but hey, I get it. We all probably would've done the same thing. 

The same rationalization explains Liz's choices in the second half of the episode as well. Once Red cunningly used the team to find the titular Pavlovich brothers—the men involved in the kidnapping waaaaay back in the pilot—and then used the brothers to smoke Tom out of his safe house, Liz finally had her chance to face Tom as he is, not as a husband or a fake husband, but as an operative. The interrogation was unsurprisingly charged, with an emotional Liz pushing for the truth while Tom didn't really give much up (at least at first). The episode went out of its way to illustrate how damaged, and perhaps hardened, Liz is by everything that's happened; 18 episodes ago, she freaked out when her husband was attacked and tortured, and this week she was prepared to do the exact same thing to him. I mean she snapped his thumb with big pliers! That's some real ish right there, nicely played by both Megan Boone and Ryan Eggold, and nicely directed by Paul Edwards. 


Unfortunately, as Tom pointed out, snapping someone's thumb isn't the best plan when you have them handcuffed. He escaped relatively quickly, jumpstarted a destructive and somewhat incomprehensible skirmish, returned the handcuffing favor, and then simply gave her some information about Red's True Nature. Even if you can set aside the fact that Red did some of the primary legwork to capture Tom in the first place, or that Liz's emotions simply got the best of her during the confrontation, it was pretty dumb for Tom to just give Liz the proverbial next clue on her quest. The Blacklist hasn't completely removed Liz's agency, but developments like this one definitely limit it. Let her figure some of this stuff out for herself! 

I'm hoping that with the truth about Tom out in the world, The Blacklist will give Liz more opportunities to be intelligent without quickly pulling the rug out from underneath her. Before this episode, I would have said that she didn't really trust Red that much anyway, but I'm a bit concerned that his role in Tom's capture—and his ability to say "I told you so" about Tom—means that Liz will blindly believe Red again. You know, until she reveals the contents of those photos Tom provided her and then changes her mind.



THE NOTE LIST

– Tom suggested that he was working for the good guys; is there any chance that's true? And do we think that actually cares for Liz at all? He seemed pretty cold-blooded during the interrogation, but he kind of had to be.

– Red scanned the book that was supposed to be handed over to Tom. Any guesses as to its contents?

– This episode spent a lot of time talking about what a threat the Pavlovich brothers were and stressing their connection to previous events, but they weren't especially interesting. 

– Speaking of the brothers: Their introduction this week involved abducting a Chinese scientist named Li who was working on White Fog, the nickname for a nasty germ strain. Shout-out to the show for getting a bunch of people to say GERM WARFARE. The standalone cases have been much more hit or miss in the second half of the season than they were in the first half.


What'd you think of this one? How do you feel about the show's treatment of Liz?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/19/2016

Season 3 : Episode 23

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Liz has been in the dark about Red's little killing spree. Although she may have suspected Red had something to do with Diane's disappearance. Maybe with those photographs, she gets to finally see the result of some of Red's house cleaning after the post office incursion.

As I recall, Diane's house had very large windows that had the drapes open, not drawn, at night with the lights on... so some one could have easily taken photos of Red killing Diane. He also killed Grey out in the open by the water. Tom may have photo surveillance of Red killing the EMT, the doctor who sedated him for Anslo, and the associate of the apple man at the surveillance house. Or maybe Tom caught Red taking part in the disposal of the bodies. Red killed Fyodor, the Russian who was offered the cigar and vodka in a restaurant. There might have been an open view to the street through the windows. Lots of opportunity to take pictures.

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The last time Liz used the word “monster” was when Red rescued her from the Stewmaker. So monster = Red killed someone.

In the preview for the next episode, it just didn't seem as if Liz was as upset as she should have been if she had found out that Red suffocated Sam.

She should be really really angry at him, furious in fact. She should be crying and pounding his chest or throwing things at him. I can think of much better words than “monster” to call someone that murdered your father. It also occurs to me that Red still had that chip in his neck when he went to Nebraska to kill Sam, so someone at the FBI must have known of his location on that date. Maybe finally someone at the FBI was on the ball and told Liz where Red was on that day, and one fact leads to another. Tom was sitting next to Red outside the hospital, maybe he was recording the entire meeting with his phone or with a concealed camera.

And it sure will be interesting to see how Red gets out of this mess if Liz does have a picture of Red killing Sam.
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Its obvious that Red has killed people so its simply not that. She has clearly made her peace with that.The stewmaker was a gory death however.
So if it is about the spree, it is the ones she'd think are pretty innocent such as the EMT who was forced into it. Though that seems weak to be Tom's proof of how bad Red is.

And I dont think Tom would frame Red for Jolene's death. That wouldn't help Tom's case when the truth came out.


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What we have here, as we've seen since the pilot is a Tom-Liz-Red love triangle. Not a in love love triangle but a love triangle none the less.

With Liz's father now dead, these two men are the two most important people (men) in her life that she has and who she trusts/loves the most. Both have/will/are fighting for her love, affection and trust throughout the series.

In the pilot she choose to believe Tom over Red. A few episodes ago she choose Red over Tom. And now with the picture, Tom's proclamation, and the feelings in her own heart, she won't know who to trust. Both have betrayed her. Both say they are the better guy, and the other one will only cause them pain. As the show progresses, it would be a continued tug-of-war of who should Liz trust.

This of course might just thrust her into the the other guy-in-her-life's arms: Ressler. As long as they don't hook up for good, or better yet at all, I am okay with it. I wouldn't mind them becoming bffs and would even embrace it. Ressler lost his love and killed his own bff; he has a broken heart and void to fill too. But I am just so sick of the male/female partners being the end all hook up in just about every show out there. Though he is just as straight laced as she is, no kookyness/wildcardness from him, so maybe that coupling is safe from occurring and I am just worrying for nothing.

And of course its largely possible that Ressler, Red, Liz, and Tom just become one big happy family and form their own unit agianst the world.

Afterall, Ressler has a place in his heart for Red. First it was obsession over him for the last 5-10-15yrs (don''t recall how long but i think it was some denomination of 5) Next,some what of a partnership when Red turned himself over and in turn was handing over threats (not all of them were bad guys after all, look at Milton). It is then followed by immense gratitude at doing a lot to save his live and give him bittersweet speeches that made him cry and evaluate his own life/future. And it has moved onto an in-awe-of status, with bringing his lost love back into his life and more so after it is his bff that so immensely betrays him.
Okay so yeah, I guess its Ressler and Red that get to become the new bffs. Especially since I think Liz is going to steer clear of Red for awhile so it will be up to Ressler to be the middleman and grow his affection/comradery for Red.

And just to go back to Tom. I do think he loves Liz. And even though I ship them, I can agree that he might not be in love with Liz, but I do honestly believe he loves her. His actions and words seem to testify to that fact. After all, according to Craig, the only family Tom has is an estranged brother in Chicago. Thus Liz is the closest person he has in his life and he has been with her day in and day out for two years without any word from Berlin in the meantime. He had a nice cozy/happy life, one that he might have always dreamed of and one that he tried to continue with children.

I think the fact that instead of running right away, Tom tried to confront Liz about the music box and about the museum , was his own "stupidity/recklessness" in dealing with heartbreak/hope (as in comparison to Liz's actions mentioned in the episode's review.) And when Liz lied to his face about it all when he basically gave himself up on a silver platter for confrontation, he was heartbroken too at her complete loss of faith/trust in him. His happy life was gone. And that is when he walks away with a last look and an I love you (nor does he abandon their dog somewhere convenient to buy himself time) .

I must say this episode made me question Red's motives. I always thought he was a clear paternal figure for Liz. Whether she be his daughter, niece, or replacement daughter I always thought his affection was true. And now I wonder if she could be the kidnapped daughter of Berlin and he is simply growing her affection for him for a later revenge on Berlin.
Though I suppose both could be true. He could have grown to love her if this was the case. He could have kidnapped Berlin's daughter as a revenge for his own daughter's murder but not be heartless to kill a child. Berlin would feel the pain of loosing a child, and believing her dead. And maybe later when finding out she lives, the threat of her being killed if Berlin comes too close to reclaim her.
Sure in Anslow Garrick, Red was willing to die for Liz, but Ressler did the same for Red in the same episode. So do many a man on a mission, to protect their asset/operation.

But like Liz that is exactly the point. We are to question who to trust, which of the bad guys (Tom or Red) is the better (since good is questionable) guy.
Who really has Liz's interest at heart?
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whoops, I realized I made an error. Ressler doesn't kill his bff, he just was about to do it. Either way, he is dead to him.
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I just want to throw in my two cents and say please, no hooking up of Ressler and Liz. Please. I don't see it, don't feel it, there is no on screen chemistry at all. I hope the writers don't feel it's necessary to pair them up, or this WILL be too much like a soap opera. For that matter, what's wrong with Aram? The poor guy is making puppy dog eyes at Liz all the time, blushing and smiling at her. What's up with that? But even Aram should be off limits. Why not introduce a cute new mysterious stranger that starts up a relationship with Liz. Maybe one of Red's body guards? A foreign dignatary? Cable guy? Anybody but Ressler.

Also, who was it in the episode that thought that Red took the girl (scientist) for monetary gain when the FBI couldn't locate her? Was that Ressler? After all this time, Red has shown to be valuable and trustworthy to the task force, he saved Ressler's life, he gave him guidance and solace after Audrey died (well sort of) and he even sent him a thoughtful gift wrapped up with a bow and a heartfelt note. How could Ressler not trust Red after everything he has done for him?
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i smiled and liked the idea of Aram. But now seeing them again together in this ep (kingmaker) and remembering their scenes together, I am really liking this coupling. They'd be cute. And he seems like a nice, safe, intimidatable guy.

But really they should at least give her time to heal and question all her choices before they go and give her another romance.
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Glad to see another with me. I'm fine with all your romantic choices.
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What's in the the photo from Tom's security deposit box?

To me a really good bet would be Red suffocating her dad. Tom was there and could have just as easily been monitoring what's been going on in her dad's room. It is a really recent pain for Liz and someone she loves very much so it can do a lot of damage to their (Liz and Red's) relationship.
Furthermore, it doesn't give away any new background about Re that we didn't already know.

Otherwise I can only otherwise think to see is of him smiling and posing around dead bodies, possibly while defiling them, like we have seen of US/UN soldiers doing in the Middle East. Cause I highly doubt he would kill children considering what happened to him.
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Wait, "the US/UN soldiers" is what came to your mind and not the dozens of head chopping done by the Islamists? Wow, just WOW!
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Why not? They are a bigger faction and thus cause much more harm.
Plus hypocrites are the worst. Let's not forget, for example, a major booming buisness of the UN is the traffiking of girls, particularly out of Eastern Europe.


Plus it more relates to the show.
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I guess you got a point, the Islamists say they're going to kill everyone not like them and they do. Congrats on picking out the exception rather than the rule.
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Geee, you really hate the Islamists. Let's let not forget how the powerful "most democratic" countries of the world constantly terrorizes them and kills all the innocent bystanders in their countries.


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There was a Ford Mustang commercial right after Tom's car chase scene. Wasn't it funny that in the commercial Tom says to the camera, that he's not such a bad guy and there may be a glimmer of goodness in him after all. Not sure of the exact words.

I think that's the first time I've ever seen a commercial where a character from the TV show I'm watching, appears in a commercial and talks to the camera. It was like, “Hi, I'm Tom Bond. I'm not a bad guy but I play one on TV. Although I may be a good guy too.” And then he winks.

Red could do lots of ads for lets see... suits, hats, beer, cigars, Mercedes .. omg the list goes on and on. Lizzie can advertize acting lessons.

Maybe Mr. Kaplan can advertise shovels and cleaning supplies! (Sorry, I'll stop now.)
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I've been seeing this more lately. It is a good gimmick for people who fast forward through commercials to stop and watch, or just give them a favorable attitude toward the product through the like of the show. I actually really like the commercials being catered to the show. I know it catches my attention and it also makes them a little more unique.
Of the top of my head I know of two. With Mad Men its done for a few things like alcohol and Clorox. And for what is the best car commercial out there, for Defiance as seen below:

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Yes! Now that you mention it, I remember seeing a commercial with Christina Hendricks (Joan) during Mad Men. It was either for a car, or for alcohol, or perhaps there are two commercials. I'm pretty sure Jon Hamm's movie that is coming out (can't remember the name of it) was aired during Mad Men as well. And it does catch our attention. I suppose viewers that watch on Hulu or Amazon, etc. may not get to see those commercials.
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Yeah, exactly, but now they might want to so they go looking for the commercial on youtube since they heard about it. Much more likely the them looking up a regular ad. Or they might just rewatch it cause they like it so much. I know that's what I did for this commercial. When it first came out, I fast forwarded all other commercials but this one and even rewounded to see it.
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Doesn't it seem ironic that Liz tells Tom that her “father” gave her the music box? Tom must have known that Liz was lying, he even commented that the box looked so new. There was no way Sam could have given her that music box. If it had been in one of those cardboard boxes that Liz had in her living room (after Sam died), then Tom would have seen it already. (Liz was looking at pictures in that episode and found the burnt bunny that reminded her of the fire.) Being the super sleuth that he was,Tom would have already searched Liz's possessions at the house numerous times (just in case Liz had something that was related to Red).

Not that it is important, but it's just notable. Tom probably suspected that music box came from Red, and was wondering about Red's motives in giving it to Liz. Maybe there is something about the fire and the flashbacks that Liz remembers, that is important to both Tom and Red. Just another bread crumb.

So if Tom came home one last time to verify in his own evaluation of her “tells”, that Liz already knew, that was just one more thing she said that he knew was a lie.
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It would be a huge surprise if Tom would be working for the good from a different perspective to help protect his acclaim Wife.........Liz
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The more I think about it, the more I believe Tom isn't a bad guy. The show went to a lot of trouble to make him seem evil, it's too simple. He told Jolene he went dark, but I think it was because he really was in love with Lizzie. He turned Jolene down for sex because "I love my wife." Ditto why he wanted them to move to Nebraska (or wherever it was) -- to get both of them out of harm's way so they could have a life. Ditto the baby. Ditto telling LIzzie he loved her as he left with the dog. He didn't have to say that. He killed Jolene because she threatened Liz' safety and their life together. He left the dog at the door so it wouldn't get killed in the street. He's a good guy. I'm looking forward to how this plays out.
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I agree. He is a relatively good guy, or good guy in the sense that he is on Liz's side.
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I just have one question, like everyone else. What the hell is on those photos???
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At the end of the episode Red says: “You deserve the best in life, Lizzie. I know that sounds odd coming from a man who has brought you some of the worst, but it's the reason why Tom had to work so hard to be that for you. To be kind, to be thoughtful, make you laugh, to make you love him. Because you deserve that. And it will come.”

He forgot to say "I promise" as he always seems to say lately.

I'm not sure if someone else already mentioned this, but doesn't it seem as if Red could be speaking about himself as well as about Tom? Red worked hard to be kind, thoughtful, to make Liz laugh, and we assume, make Liz love him (like a father, that is).

Being an ardent supporter of Red, I am so afraid of what might come next. Was Red just doing all that to get close to Liz, merely to use her? Everything he has done was to play on her vulnerabilities, especially after the loss of her adopted father Sam. Maybe what Red has done is just as bad as what Tom did, to target her, seduce her as part of his “job.” I hope they are not going to turn Red into the kind of man that is manipulative and self serving, with evil motives. I hope not.

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I do agree that he seems to lumping both of them together.
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You know at this moment of the Blacklist, i don't even care abour Red anymore of the list...i just care about Liz and Tom and their storyline..
Who is he really and why is she his mission. What is behind it. The whole cat and mouse game between them....
this episode succeeded this episode with everything i wanted to see...nice!
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Lizzie just can't trust anyone! It's interesting because she can be so smart and then her emotions kick in. There were some great lines in this episode. Fantastic acting by both Liz and Tom. Can't wait until next week.
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May be the photos are of Red killing her step father in the hospital or old ones of them together
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Totally think the same!
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Isn't Liz supposed to be a very good profiler? 'Cause geez the writers do make her look/ feel / act dumb...

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Understanding a bit on how Red thinks, there are levels of endgames to this show.

First, he's got his 'Blacklist' the show's premise and where we get to see nearly untouchable bad guys put on the radar.

But, for the most part, there is a surgical precision as to which ones are getting targeted.

For the most part, Red wants something a lot more than just put these bad asses away. How all of this is working out is the fun part.

Then there is the mystery of Liz and his relationship with her.

Why lie to her he's not the father? Maybe he isn't lying.

I just really like this show and enjoy the ride.
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OMG I just love James Spader and I think he has kept a lot of surprises for us, which even our greatest imagination cannot see it coming!
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Tom cannot be good. Anyone who lies to marry you when they really don't love you and just want to use you and TARGET you- is NOT GOOD.
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Has anyone noticed that the scar on Liz's wrist and the symbol on Toms stash box and the envelope she took out of the safety deposit box are the same



Must mean something but what I have no idea
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Tom is still a bad guy for lying to Liz all these years. Red is a bad man as well. Liz should just forget them both. Red is probably not her real father and the mere fact that he leaves riddles and leads her around is telling . Don't follow no one- blaze your own path. I say.
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"Red is probably not her real father." You're kidding, right? From the pilot episode you could tell he was her father.
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I read the first sentence.. that's enough to see you are just going to hack on the show ( and call it a review) no need to read further
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i feel like it is their intention to make liz a character that is lost between tom and red. although she is fbi agent, she seems much more careless about the people around her. but it also could be a flaw that viewers cant be sure about her real personality! is she dumb or is she intelligent? can she decide on her own or she's dependant on Red! maybe that gets settled in next season!
and it should be mentioned that her situation is really challenging, all her life has been a lie in matter of weeks and i think its ok to let her be lost to finding answers!!
but this episode was great, i loved the acting and scenes and just simply perfect!
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I sort of feel bad for LIz, because she has had so much bad happen to her during her life. Her character often seems depressed I wish they would give her some successes and something to be happy about for a change. Of course, Red is questionable at best, but he has always been true to Liz and has never lied to her. It would do her character could to continue to trust him. I trust Red much more than I would ever would trust Tom... until Red changed his mind.... he has made it clear allegiences can change quickly.
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Am I the only one that thinks Tom is Reds son?
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Yes. Yes. you are.
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In first line I think Tom is the connection to Berlin who/what works against Red.
I assume Red's afraid of whatever it is and probably tries to find leverage.
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1. The photo is probably of Red and Keen's Step father, or Red and Tom, or Tom and Keens Step father.

2. Tom sounded extremely sure that the photo would prove his point, too sure for a character that seems to be on the outside looking in.

3. Tom also sounded extremely sure that he had knowledge of or a deeper understanding of Red than others.

4. Red hasn't physically hurt Tom in any way himself nor has he asked any of his people to do so. ( I take the Pavlovichs Brothers actions as being over jealous in getting the job done).

5. Red has hurt and killed people who got in his way or troubled Keen in the slightest, yet he allows the man who broke Keen's heart to walk? With nothing more than a surveillance team?
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This show is fairly decent and it does have a considerable amount of potential, but it's also inherently flawed in its core. The single-most recurring shortcoming in my opinion stems from Elizabeth Keen herself, as she's deliberately written to be kept in the dark regarding almost every aspect pertaining to her life; ranging from her past, her family, why Red "chose" her, what Tom wants with her, etc.

If the protagonist (Keen) isn't aware of what's occurring around him/her, then he/she likely isn't going to be seen as "in control," unless the universe of the show has made it logically improbable for the protagonist to catch up; the major problem with The Blacklist is that much of Keen's inability to learn various secrets of her universe originates from her own incompetence and questionable actions, thus making it more arduous for the viewer to comprehend and accept things from her perspective.

In turn, it gradually becomes more difficult for the viewer to sympathize with this character, especially if he/she is a lead character. This is mainly because of two things:

A) Either the viewer has become privy to information of which the character is not yet aware...

B) Or the viewer is no more informed of the show's mysteries compared to the character in question, therefore it becomes sluggishly unbearable to wait for clear-cut answers while the character is simultaneously stumbling from one development to the next.

b) A show with twenty-two episodes per season and a part-procedural format doesn't help matters in terms of pacing.

If the mentality of the audience is A (not that I'm trying to speak for this audience), the protagonist is often expected to get up to speed, or otherwise be routinely impeded from learning certain truths if the "obstructions" are believable. However, because Reddington is both a protagonist and an exposition character (arguably the show's most influential), the audience wants answers from him first and foremost, leaving B as the more sensible reasoning for criticisms of the show than A.

Case in point: Tom claimed to be a "good guy" in this week's episode, yet how many viewers actually believed that? Reddington is clearly the heart/brain/soul of the show, yet the writers don't treat him as such; they portray him as a deutertagonist of sorts while focusing squarely on Keen, when the deutertagonist is what Keen's role should be.

That's also not accounting for the lackluster, standalone cases of the week, the importance (or lack thereof) behind a few of the supporting characters, the show's unclear general direction, and so forth. It seems the writers prefer to shift the first-person outlook from Reddington to Keen depending on the episode, and that's a fault. In this show, Spader is unparalleled; stop trying to compare him with Keen and perhaps the quality will improve.

Oh, and I'm not attempting to bash the show. I enjoy it, but it's wasting so much potential.
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what if..the writer intended to make Liz character that way for the 1st season? (dumb and emotionally incapable to be an agent of FBI) then in the course to the finale or maybe in the 2nd season *BAM* they turned her around into a cold blooded and intelligent woman after some events and we all gotta love her.
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Also, I think the photos are of Red killing (smothering) Liz's step dad.

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That was her adopted father. And why would he have pictures? I mean Tom was outside and spoke with Red. So it would make you wonder. But you would expect Tom to be there, being it was his father in law. I think that Red is her uncle or god father. We have ruled out Dad, pretty much. He told her he had never lied to her.. which he hasn't. She asked if he was her father.. he paused, but said no. James Spader his self, said he has no idea, but the relationship will turn out to be complicated. I think Red had something to do with the house fire that killed her parents.
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Gosh, I have tried so hard to tolerate Liz as a character and the actress too, but damn this episode has totally made me hate her completely. That lady can't even cry, always the same expression, how dumb can her character be, etc etc etc.
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Yep - the showdown with Tom was so long coming and it should have been a great scene but it was so anticlimactic... I think it is mainly bad writing but perhaps also not so great acting. I just keep thinking how good was Jennifer Garner in Alias
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Totally agree the actress is a big let down, I've been saying this since the pilot she has the one expression the pained constipated look . Red hand delivers her Tom on a platter and all she wants to talk about is his feelings! Off Lizzy already and make this show about Red and his dealings , the already good ratings would double :)
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Lol @ constipated look. Nailed it.
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Regarding the brothers, it's a big pet peeve of mine when writers make the bad guys nearly omniscient and omnipotent -- up until the time the writers want the good guys to catch the bad guys (or in the case of some other shows, where the bad guys become allies) and suddenly, they start making a tonne of stupid mistakes.

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As for the book. I didn't get the impression Red noticed anything. He had it copied so they could study it further to suss out it's secrets.

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She is gonna drop the Keen surname right? Was her maiden name ever mentioned? I don't recall her father's last name ever being stated.
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I think Tom says its "Sam Holland" when he arrives at the hospital.
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During the lie detector test, the examiner states her name as Elizabeth Scott Keen. Also, Sam's last name was Mulhonne (sp?) it was on the funeral program.
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I got the impression that Tom DID develop feelings for Liz but still kept his job as top priority. As for him being with the "good guys", I'd guess HE believes it. But, more likely they're amoral. Not really good, but not evil either. Clearly he was willing to kill a member of his own team, so that's not really what good guys do. But, I'm leaning towards the GOAL of Berlin being benevolent.

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But maybe he was undercover to protect Liz... I do think another option is that he was suppose to tail Red or find out something about him. Maybe Liz was just the way to do it.
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The way his female cohort (the sub teacher) talked about her as his "target" suggests he was NOT there to protect Liz.
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-- " it was pretty dumb for Tom to just give Liz the proverbial next clue on her quest."

Actually, I didn't have a problem with that part. It was clear from previous episodes that Tom's involvement with Liz was all about understanding Red. So, I saw it as in character for Tom to let Liz know Red wasn't what she thought. It could easily further Berlin's plans by letting Liz start her own investigation.

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First let me say that I really do enjoy the series. That sad, Yes, I'm very, very tired of Liz bouncing between utter brilliance and absolute incompetence. They need to make up their mind. Is she exceptional? Or, just an average agent in over her head.

I almost cursed at the TV when she got out to tail Tom. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And, Red seems to have known she lets emotion override her intellect, so HE was stupid, stupid, stupid for letting her in on the tail.

Then her "interrogation" of Tom was so unbelievably naive and, well, STUPID, I'm starting to dislike here. A LOT.
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Well I can hardly imagine that someone anyone would deal with this much better and without emotions. Everyone would want to talk to him on personal level - she does love him, he was her husband with whom she wanted kids.. your brain isn´t capable to accept in several days that all of it were lies, that that person doesn´t feel anything to you or doesn´t fell at least sorry. I like her a lot and I understand why she did what she did.
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But as a good ' father' figure, whatever Red turns out to be to Lizzie, you let your ' kids' learn on their own. He could tell her, but she has to experience first hand. He will end up being her uncle or god father.
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I think she has been stupid because she is so angry over being duped. Her whole life has been one big lie and no one will tell her the truth. I wanted to smack her, sure, but understand why she went charging in. Soooooooooooo stupid or hers and Red's part. Unless, Red knew she would be dumb and go charging in and needed her to do so and have Tom suspect her.
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She's playing with the big boys. It's time she "smartens up". Let the spying to the spies and the interrogation to the torturers. Dumb dumb dumb. Can't stand her!
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Is this whole book drop off- pick up scenario more proof that Tom is a double agent? That might explain his “good guy” remark, and could explain why he killed Jolene, because she worked for Berlin. ( The reason Jolene showed up was because Tom had gone “dark,” and Berlin wanted answers.)

So if Tom was still dark and not communicating with Berlin, then what was the book drop all about? Why did Tom do that? It could not have been to send information to Berlin, Jolene said that Berlin had not heard from Tom.

Maybe the book drop was to keep in touch with the other faction Tom is associated with. Maybe he was using the books to deliver intelligence about Red, or otoh, they may have been sending him information about Red (He certainly knew about all of the Blacklist cases that Liz and Red worked on.)

If the writers are trying to make Tom a good guy, and Red the devil, I have a feeling those roles will be reversed again by the end of next season.

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well, the show is so popular, they have to keep changing things to make it interesting. I think James Spader makes the show. It is a role made just for him. I am not sure Megan Boone, who plays Liz, was the right actress for the role. But they sure got it right with Red
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Spader's character seems to be fairly modeled after his character in The Office -- But, only when he was being interviewed. The writers totally blew his character once he became a regular.
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Oh I also like your scenario.
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That's a very plausible scenario. I like it.
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This was not a good episode. It seemed disjointed and poorly written. Liz questioning Tom was so anticlimactic,. Granted she asked him who he worked for, but she already knew he worked for Berlin. Why didn't Liz ask the most important question, “Why did you choose me? Why did you target me?” Does it have something to do with Red?”

Tom taunted her about Red playing daddy, but Liz said nothing. This was supposed to be the episode we could not miss? (According to promos by NBC). I was disappointed.

Who else thought of Jolene every time Liz turned her back on Tom while she was on the phone? Argh.

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Agreed.
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Dumb move by Liz. She the actress has no gravitas and her character is as dumb as her. As always awesome episode. The brothers were damn well cast! The mystery of Liz is becoming tiresome. The writers are dragging things along with no real good reason.
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Did Liz at any point asked Tom why he was put on her? I mean that would be the first question, even before the one she actually asked "Who are you working for?"
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Great show, frustrating episode.

How obvious was it that Tom was going to get out of those freezer bag ties?

I would have expected smarter from this show.
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I have to say I disliked this episode. It was very anticlimactic. This whole time, and the little bit that she knew and all she can talk about is their relationship. Come on. Being deceived or not her life is at risk, one would think that her training would take over in dealing with him. But then again, this is twice her dithering has resulting in someone under her interrogation leaving. Tom out the door, his "brother" out the window. But we didn't really learn anything, so we are basically still in the same place that we were. Except now we can get the stupid home stuff out of the picture and focus on the case which is her and Red.

I also didn't like the 5 minute commercial for the new ford mustang. Seriously, product placement is one thing but that was just egregious and silly.

The rest was just all right. It in no way eclipsed the suckiness of the protracted deception of Tom. It was just kind of blah. Even Red's moments weren't that great.

I am not sure, this might be a nail in the coffin of the show. I guess it will depend on what the revelation is on the next episode.

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I think they want to make the characters real... people you can connect with emotionally. I don't like the fact Liz is always sad.. but maybe we are suppose to connect with her.. we have all been frustrated and treated badly. In real life, even the best trained ' agents' would react as she did. Maybe the show is meant to be more ' real' than what we are use to on tv.
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The promo for next week's episode is giving me A LOT of hope that we finally learn about the reason for the connection between Red and Liz.
Despite the secret about Tom, that's what I'm really interested in and what -concerning the latest episodes- felt like it was taken for granted!!
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Yeah, I kinda hated this episode, mostly because it again reinforced the biggest problems I've been having with this series so far: 1) Keen... I hate her idiocy and I hate her facial expressions; and 2) the FBI... I hate THEIR idiocy.

It's incredible how stupid both Keen and the FBI are. It annoys me in almost every episode that I know what they should be doing before they do. I'm not smart and I have no experience in tracking people and all the science that it involves, but it's just so silly that Red is almost always giving the FBI not only the name of a bad guy, but a tip to how to find them too... tips that should be so flippin obvious to the FBI.

And as you mentioned in the article, the writers gave a reason for Keen's idiotic decisions in this episode... that she's distraught over her fake marriage. But whatever... as much as I can understand that reasoning, her stupidity being shoved in my face again and again is annoying to watch.

And yet I keep watching. Because of the bad guys: Red and the merry band of misfits he keeps turning in.
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Well, Lizie finaly shows her bones! Ok, so she basically was a hormonal teenage girl almost all the episode, but then...she broke the thumb of husband/operative Tom! That was nice, if that was my case, I probably will do worse on him than that!

But, for real, We need an smart and more confident Liz (from Iván); she needs to stand on her own feet and makes changes and start to lead the show of her life. Wen you named Scandal and The Vampire Diares, We are talking about strong women (most of the time...and sometimes We want to kill them), that from time to time manage to conquer and overcome in one way or other, obstacles before them. James Spader is the lead, and he needs a series companion, not another minor character.

by the way, I think the Lizie wig was gone? her hair was moving more natural ley, I think finally the disastrous days of hair Lizie passed into history! Yey!
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Very unfortunately, they just got a better wig. And I think that's the reason we still need "an smart and more confident Liz (from Iván); she needs to stand on her own feet and makes changes and start to lead the show of her life." It seems to me, watching her, that so much of her energy is directed at hanging on to that wig, at making her hair move just so; there's just not enough left for the rest. Shame. Why can't they leave her perfectly fine natural hair alone and let her shine?
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I feel like I am the defend Liz camp (for a long time I felt alone in the defend Juliette camp in the Grimm community, but more people have joined me), my issue with how they position the writing is they make Red seem omniscient when he just was closer than the FBI team Liz had already directed to that location that Aram had figured out based on a cryptic puzzle of Red's.

The fact of the matter is that Liz was likely to get further with Tom by appealing to the emotional hurt she had suffered, you could see it bugged him, than she was with why he was there. The biggest mistake she made was going for his thumbs (I was so hoping she'd pull out pliers for his fingernails instead). She clearly hadn't seen the episode of POI earlier this season (holy crap that was only this season) where that was how Fusco won his HR scene.

So, I am guessing because this is NBC and they are annoying with their cliffhangers, especially when they end up not amounting to much, that the pictures reveal what Red did to Sam and nothing else super informative.
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The pictures are of the fire. They will ' look as if' they are incriminating Red, but the true story will come out. He has always protected her, for whatever reason. She is the only person on earth, he feels anything towards. Maybe Uncle or god father? Maybe he is the cause for parents death.... Liz's Dad was in ' business ' with Red, his brother, and Red feels guilty they got killed. It wasn't an accidental fire, their enemies started it. and Red feels responsible.
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The Blacklist can be very entertaining, boring and frustrating at the same time; this episode is the prime example. Liz interrogating Tom was very entertaining, the Pavlov brothers were very boring and Tom telling Liz he's actually working for the good guys and not really hurting her during the fight; once again resets the board and still we don't know anymore about Tom than we really did before, we don't know anything about Red that we didn't know before and we don't know anything about Liz that we didn't know before. So with that the show raises expectations that we are finally going to get some answers; we have this unnecessary Pavlov story drag out and then we get Liz looking at pictures that we don't get to see. If the show continues like this; I probably will watch until the end of the season, Like I did Under the dome; just for some kind of answers (Which Under the dome basically didn't give) and then I'm done. I will not be watching Under the dome season 2 (Unless my friends tell me things have changed) Same thing with The Blacklist; I will watch it to the end of the season; but as it stands I have no desire to see a season 2. They are really going to have to do something good at the end of the season to make me want to give it a try next season.
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I've lost interest in it - Liz is such an idiot that she's now an honorary member of 'The Following's' school of dumb as a rock FBI agents. By now I'd have ditched both Tom AND Red and gone into hiding because neither man has her best interests at heart - regardless of what they're telling her.

Basically no woman, no human being, is this dumb - not one. I mean, seriously, my dogs have worked this out and are annoyed at Liz. I know this because every time she's on screen with either man, my Akita mix yodels in his 'stop being an idiot' way and my (female) husky all but rolls her eyes and turns her back on the screen - with that disgusted sigh of contempt only a female husky with attitude can really pull off.

As for this 48 year old woman, I just yell an increasing amount of abuse at the tv every week. So, rather than risking my blood pressure exploding out the top of my head like geyser, I'm going to bail. My OH still watches, hopeful Liz will 'wise up eventually' (his words).......I told him not to hold his breath and I'm personally not sure I'll live that long......as far as I know immortality is still the remit of vampires.
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An "FBI Agent" breaks the thumb of her captive while handcuffed...how dumb can that character really be? The procedural side of the blacklist is a complete mediocre they should keep it to an absolute minimum; it's completely downgrading the quality of show.
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Episode wasn't worth waiting three weeks for. I'd prefer a series just about Red.
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The interrogation scene was extra stupid regarding the broken thumb, too because given that Liz only wanted to talk to Tom about emotions and their marriage he could have talked and talked to her without compromising his mission and without having his thumb broken.
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I am curious what people feel the picture Tom gave Liz is of or about. I have two guesses that would turn her away from Red. My first guess is a more recent pic showing Red smother her Dad with the pillow. My second guess is an old pic perhaps showing Red kill her Mom but I have to stretch my imagination a little to reach that conclusion. The deep recesses of my mind wonder, what if her mom turned on Red and became a bad guy & he had to kill her. That would explain why Tom's team felt Red was coming after her and wanted to protect her, because Tom doesn't know the true story of why Red did anything he did in the past. Tom just thinks Red is a traitor. Again, my crazy thoughts.
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This is a fair review and it is true that the biggest problem with The Blacklist is not just Keen's but often the FBI's idiocy dealing with situations esp. in contrast with Red's seemingly infallible powers and endless resources. Red seems to be a little too much in control of everything and 100 steps ahead of the FBI, Keen and now Tom. In the end it is all about weak lazy writing
  • As a show device, it is fine when Red provides obscure intelligence info to the FBI but when he just tells them where to search for clues such us this week telling them to check the fuel's origine, it is just ridiculous... Surely the FBI operatives should know to do that without Red's prompting? Also the FBI should know who are the 'top smugglers' in their own docks? They sometimes seem like a small town police station rather than the FBI
  • Liz attempting to torture Tom was ludicrous. Someone in Tom's position will have been trained to withstand much more torture than Liz would ever be able to perform. He knows it and she SHOULD know it. What kind of profiler is she? And then that her torture of choice is to do exactly what would free his hands? That was beyond stupid.
To me this is symptomatic of very careless plot development on the part of the writers which does not bode well for the show as the case of the week was also very weak again. It seems to me the show concept is overextended ie the premise was enough for a limited series (10-12 eps) but it is suffering trying to fill a whole season... Hopefully they get their act together to provide more substance next season because this one started with a bang but is ending with a meh.
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