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The Blacklist S01E20: "The Kingmaker"


We've reached the portion of the season where what NBC's promo department is promising about The Blacklist and what actually happens on The Blacklist are hilariously divergent. We expect networks to hype every episode as the biggest and most shocking episode since the last one, but what this show seems to view as a HUGE DEVELOPMENT hardly ever tracks as such. 

"The Kingmaker" was a fine hour of television. Frankly, it featured what was probably the best case and Blacklister of the show's 2014 episodes. But what Liz learned about Red from those photos Tom pointed her toward—and what we learned about Red independently from Liz—didn't exactly move the needle for me. In past reviews, I've discussed The Blacklist's penchant for taking things slow with its central mysteries, and while I'm fine with that approach, I can't really stand it when any TV show allows its characters to simply not answer questions because they're mysterious or something. 


Red was doing a whole lot of that in "The Kingmaker," particularly in the second half of the episode when Liz confronted him about his role in her father's death. She prompted him with clear, direct questions, and he mostly just sat there. Even once she (read: Aram) discovered that Red had probably killed her dad, Liz more or less let Red off scot-free when he refused to provide additional details. Last week we saw her torture her own husband, and yet this week, after learning that this NOTABLY EVIL PERSON killed her dad, she just stormed out, crying her way to Ressler's apartment? Come on, give your female lead more credibility than that. Of course, it doesn't help that we saw the events in question take place four months ago, again setting up a situation where the lead character, who is supposedly very smart, looks kind of slow. 

In theory, breaking Liz down like this should allow the show to build her back up with real gusto in the last few episodes of the season. Her entire life has been destroyed, but now she knows that she can't trust either one of these men in her life. What does she do now? Fight back. Unfortunately, the fact that she made that trip to Ressler's betrays what The Blacklist thinks of Liz as a character. I don't think this show is dumb enough to have her jump into some romantic thing with Ressler, at least not at this point, but the writers need to be careful here. Liz has been too many steps behind for too long. They can change that now, if they actually want the audience to care about their female lead.


As "The Kingmaker" illustrated, The Blacklist is generally more interested in Red than it is in Liz. I get that. James Spader is wonderful, Red is a secretive supervillain type, etc. "The Kingmaker" brought back Alan Alda's mysterious Fitch and introduced some of his cohorts—a collection of international fellows and I think just one woman Skyping in. You see, somebody has been coming after Red's operation, and he needs Fitch and the United Nations of Evil-Doers to back him up. So far, that isn't going so well. Red's out on his own a little bit more now, and threatening to expose sensitive information about Fitch and his crew if/when things go south. That could be interesting, but right now, it's just old dudes talking in rooms. 

Hey, that case though, right? Linus Roache brought a little star power to his performance as the titular Kingmaker, a tricky bloke who made his name by building up politicians and world leaders using any means necessary. I enjoyed the idea of the Kingmaker character and the lengths to which he'd go to ensure his clients' success. The second half of the story got bogged down in typical procedural bad-guy stuff—B&Es, executions, and so on—but it was somewhat satisfying to see the look on Red's face when he learned that the Kingmaker was dead, and thus unable to be coerced into giving up the info Red needed. 


Yet, I couldn't help but think throughout this case: Why in the world is the FBI still doing Red's dirty work, seemingly on a whim? It's the premise of the show, sure, but this week they were already investigating the Kingmaker before anything notable happened on U.S. soil. I suppose we'd all do well to once again remind ourselves that The Blacklist is just Red Reddington's world, and everybody else is simply living—or delivering exposition—in it.



NOTES

– Of course the promos for next week's episode made it seem like THE MOST IMPORTANT one ever. Sure, show.

– No Tom this week, but Ryan Eggold did show up in a slick Mustang ad meant to trick viewers into not hitting fast-forward on the DVR. Get those checks, Ryan. 

– Dembe was eating pot-laced ice cream and simply loving it. I want so much more of Dembe every week. Wouldn't you watch a Dembe web series? 


What'd you folks think of this one? Is The Blacklist moving at the right pace for you?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/19/2016

Season 3 : Episode 23

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was a good episode.. just started the show fyi lol
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Why was it repeated so many times that Red does not have any friends? I have always thought it seemed the opposite, that Red has LOTS of friends. Everyone he has done business with, his acquaintances , his assets always greet him as if they are good friends with him. (Well.. everyone except the guy whose wife Red slept with.) There's Dembe, Mrs. Kaplan loves him, and there was Luli... we can only assume he has lots of friends.

If anything, Liz seems like the loner. She didn't have one single solitary BFF or relative to go and talk with about Tom. She had to go to Ressler. Of course she wouldn't be able to tell her friends about her job, about Red, or about Tom being a planted husband.... in fact she might be extremely embarrassed about the whole thing (Tom doesn't love me.... because he's a spy!). But she should have at least one person she can vent to. Hard to believe that she is so isolated. Even her dog deserted her.

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Honestly, I don't know why Liz looked so surprised when Red admitted he killed Sam. Never, never since the first time he laid eyes on her he told her he was a good guy. He actually never said he was a good guy either, he didn't say what he is or what he is not. She could have at least imagined that a guy who frames her husband the way Red did is capable of doing worse. The question she should be asking is in which ways her father's death serves his business, giving that he is a business man. At this point it is clear that there is a secret concerning Liz, I'm pretty sure it has everything to do with her biological father. He did not die in that fire she remembers, neither herself nor Red knows that he is still alive. As Red doesn't know he might be this misterious enemy that is coming after him, Berlin if Berlin is a guy or the man behind Berlin if Berlin is a group.
Fitch and the rest of the guys are in Red's hands because he says he has some evidence of something bad they have done. Who are they? How are they related to Red besides that alleged evidence?
As for Liz, what happened to her so far covers what Red told her. This is the end of something and the beginning of something new. The question is what is she going to do now.
Maybe, may the next episode will shed some light on this Berlin guy or group, I certainly hope so.
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Does anyone have any idea of what the coffee cup/teacup pattern that was in the scene where Red and the Prague guy from the swimming pool are talking - about 3:37 from the beginning? It has a blue and white pattern with a gold rim and little gold balls for feet.
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There was a spoiler that surfaced some time ago that NBC had put out a casting call for the part of Craig Keen, and that episode has come and gone. But there was also casting call put out at the same time for the part of “Walter Reddington.” What ever happened to Walter? Was this just another snipe hunt for the fans, a wild goose chase? There are only two episodes left, that are both supposed to deal with “Berlin.” It's supposed to be a two parter, and according to Megan Boone, there is a cliff hanger. I hope the cliffhanger is between May 5 and May 12, not a cliffhanger that keeps us guessing through the whole summer. But maybe both cases will apply.

Anyway... where is this Walter Reddington they mentioned so many weeks ago? Will he show up for the season finale? (Not a spoiler, just speculation.)

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They are making the same mistake with Liz as Homeland made with Carrie in season 2 - becoming unbelievable as a competent government agent.

Emotions are one thing, but these are characters who have seen death up close, and been on the brink of life of death more than once. So breaking them down into normal emotionally tormented beings makes no sense.
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I was willing to give the show a pass on making Liz "appear" to be a bit of an idiot. She wasn't, she was still playing catch-up to a bunch of people who already had answers to questions no reasonable person would think to ask.

Red and Tom had been at this a long time, so Liz being behind makes sense.

But you're right, now that shoes have dropped with both Red and Tom, there's no more excuses for Liz not putting her expensive FBI training to good use and whoopin' a little ass. "I didn't know where else to go", however is NOT a good indication.

A strong, educated woman who's in a position of authority who's entire existence seem to depend on what's happening with one of two men in her life? Hmm...when did Olivia Pope join The Blacklist?
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So your saying when you just find out that your spouse ends up having a whole secret life you don't know about including killing people and your new father figure killed your dad when he's supposedly his good friend.....you can't seek any emotional support?

The most important figures in her life just happen to be male. It's nothing about girl power.

And really who else can she go to? She can only go to someone who works in the Post Office if she wants to be honest, and Ressler is the person she is closest to her and her situation there.
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"Last week we saw her torture her own husband, and yet this week, after learning that this NOTABLY EVIL PERSON killed her dad, she just stormed out, crying her way to Ressler's apartment?"

Yeah about that, remember when Liz stabbed Red in the neck with a needle to get info? Sure he was in a hospital bed at the time I think, but she certainly has lost a back bone to mess with him, perhaps because he's more intimidating now that she's seen him work?

Oh, and I'm relatively certain Dembe was just eating Ice Cream, and he already had the "edible". Dude had the munchies man. Also yes that was awesome. I rewound and freeze framed all the jars so I could see all the "samples" red got to keep :P .
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I thought Red was just sitting in a chair.
And she stabbed Red because she thought (and rightfully so) that he was behind the attack on Tom.
She since then has become close to Red and had paternal feels for him. He was also the one who kept warning her that her husband isnt who he says he is. After defending Tom a number of times she finds out the Red is right. Thus making her even closer to Red,who btw is one of her last connections to her father and spends time fixing music boxes from her childhood for her when she finally figures this out.

But now boom, after torturing her husband, Tom tells her Red is not all sunshine for her either. And he is right and her "new dad" killed off her dad.

And she confronted Red and he said yup i killed him.

There is only so many blows a person can take before they are knocked down. And faster still when it is your supports that are knocked out from under you.

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Where the hell is Tom....the whole Red and Liz storyline is sooooo boring..i just want to see Tom and Liz kick each other asses to get the truth...
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Or how about the show starts doing Community-esque end-tags starring Dembe?
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Actually, the new Mustang ad campaign with Eggold debuted during last week's episode, but if I'm not mistaken, this was a different, new commercial.
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that's what I asked. He said different thing this time.
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i feel that their tring to make sure. in-case this gets canned. alot of long standing plot points. being force togerther faster then it should
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Yes! Dembe is the man! I would wacht It and follow like a grupie!
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I'm prepared to put up with the slow pace of the overarching plot IF the writers are prepared to go deeper into the conspiracy. Too many shows either bottle it or get canned before we learn enough about the puppet masters... From 24 to Rubicon, Cult and more. Frustrating. Blacklist has the potential to go further.
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So I read "Last week we saw her torture her own husband, and yet this week, after learning that this NOTABLY EVIL PERSON killed her dad, she just stormed out, crying her way to Ressler's apartment?". Come on what did you think was going to happen. Her Husband she trusted, loved, and cared for, he betray not only her, but everything she thought she was when she with him. Least with Red she knew he was a monster so she were more upset that her father died, then the fact he killed him. Cause she was looking at the the snake in front her(Red), so when she gotten bitten from the behind(Husband) of course it would throw her in a loop. Not knowing what's up and what's down. So what should a girl do about it. Is to lick her wounds for minute (just for a minute) and get back up and see if she can still stand. That what I am hoping to see.
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Ugh! Lizzie looked like and idiot in this episode. I'm not sure how to feel about it. I feel bad that Red and Tom have rocked her world upside down but she should be smarter. As for her going to Resslers, I think it makes sense. Not on a relationship level but on a friend one. Who would want to stay in a house built on lies anyway? He has been kind and has asked about what's going on. So let's not jump on that 'ship just yet.
Red looks a little defeated after his revelation to Lizzie. He even was pissed at her for not leaving the Kingmaker alive. I felt more bad for him than her after both happened. I think he admitted to killing Sam because he is probably getting tired of lying to her.
Did anyone else miss Tom this episode? I did. :) Oh and Dembe, more Dembe!
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Good villian of the week, but agree about Lizzie's behavior confronting Red. Let us hope that the hype is delivered next week, time to move the central story along a bit. Good first season though.
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I was disappointed to not see the Tom storyline moved on. And, sure wish Liz would have let Red have it. He admitted killing Sam! I would have at least whopped him upside the head or something. Where is Grey Minerva? I miss her take on things!
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Well when someone close to you , lets say an uncle, kills off your dad, you would just let him have it? OR do you feel a big sense of betrayal and turmoil because you love this person too? And thus you just can't look at the person anymore at the moment and you retreat to try and figure it all out and lament the double loss?
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I like Grey's take as well.
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Yes to Grey Minerva take
Love Linus Roache's work (especially currently on Vikings) but the Kingmaker was underwhelming, so he's got some germ phobia about hotel rooms, who doesn't and now so does an audience :-) ,but he has to do his own wet work? Seriously breaking into a house himself (did he even have his own gun) to shoot the competition? Hires incompetent drivers that create loose ends and promotes goofballs who drag their wife and kid along who then get upset with the consequences? Sheesh, the guy needs a HR department with better screening of employees.
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Though the "villain of the week" story was rather mundane and a bit boring, the scenes with Spader were so darn intense... that they left me quite troubled, and mostly towards the end.

Note: The symbol on the envelope was the same as on Tom's secret box and also in a similar shape as LIz's burn on the hand.
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Great post. I was troubled myself, and for the life of me can't figure out why.. Red just seems soooooooooooo......hhmm.....can't put my finger on it. He just has been different the last two weeks. Not sure what to make of him. Is it because he knows the truth is about to come out or he is about to be taken down& He used to seem so in control. Even Anslo Garrick Red was cocky. Now, he seems......not sure what. Scared? Angry?
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Worried... I think is the word.

This, I believe, was the troubling thing. We're so much used to seeing him confident and cocky... as you and BelleForest have described.
This time, he really seemed distraught.

Brrrr! I still have shivers just remembering it...
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I think what we are seeing is fear. Red may be concerned because the "war" that he told Cooper about, may be about to begin. He also told Cooper that things would get much worse before they get better, that the incursion was just the beginning.

Red is always comfortable in his surroundings, confident that he has everything well under control, but something definitely is different, I agree. I think Red is genuinely afraid, that he has no control over what happens next. It must have taken a great deal of courage to approach Fitch to ask for his assistance. Fitch saying no and Liz walking away from him are two things Red may not have anticipated.

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Why were you troubled, Swinglabacase? Was it because Red admitted that he killed Sam?
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No! I was troubled just from the emotional background tension of the moments so extraordinarily conveyed by James Spader.
We never really got any major new answer but I was like at the edge of my seat, expecting something big being revealed... every time Red was around. Mostly towards the end when he was talking with Liz.
I knew that he killed Sam, because we saw it, but the tension after she asked the question and Spader's facial expression and the final "yes" just finished me... After what she's just learned about her husband... I think I was living through her for a while... :)
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Ahh I see. I share your admiration for James Spader. The first time I watch an episode I only have eyes for Red. I watch his every move, listen to every word, watch his eyes, his expressions... I always enjoy his scenes. Anyway, I always find it is necessary to watch the episode again (and sometimes again) just to figure out what else was going on. ;-)
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I am about to watch it for the third time....:-)

I love james Spader!!!
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What surprised me most was that Red told Liz the truth about Sam. So what if he was at the hospital? That didn't prove anything. He was the one originally that told her that Sam was ill, and that she should go and see him, so she must have already suspected that Red and Sam knew each other.

Besides, I really thought after seeing the previews, that Liz would have an actual picture of Red killing Sam. This was a major let down. Liz's lack of emotional reaction was a major let down. She was more intense in the first episode when she stabbed Red in the neck with a pen. This time... I don't know. (Just poor acting I guess?)

Red has always managed to avoid her questions before. Why didn't he just change the subject this time? If he didn't want to lie, he could have said... “Don't be ridiculous. Why would I kill Sam?” That wouldn't technically be a lie, that would be a lie of omission. He could have diverted her attention away from that subject and instead gave her a tidbit of new information about Tom. It just doesn't make sense that now, of all times when Liz is so vunerable, that he would jeopardize their relationship. I'm sure they will reconcile eventually, or there wouldn't be a show. But that scene was too predictable and silly. Red is smarter than that.

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The relationship between Red and Liz is the best part of the show for me. I was sad to see Liz heart broken over Tom and now she can't lean on Red. I sure hope they make up. Even though he killed Sam. What a show!!!
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Red made an oath to Lizzie from the very beginning that he would never lie to her.

What I really can't handle is Liz calling Red a monster. The last time she called him a monster, the 'stewmaker' was about to throw her in a tub of acid. Red rescues her and kills the Stewmaker and what is her response?... "You're a monster!" Yeah, that 'monster' just saved your skin. Literally. When she called him a monster again at the end of the episode, after everything he's done for her, esp w/ regards to Tom, it ruined the episode for me.
I watch Blacklist for James Spader's brilliant performance, but Lizzie's character is testing my resolve.
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Haha! Unless calling someone a monster is how you say thanks in Lizzie-speak, I'd say yeah she's pretty ungrateful for someone who could be clogging the drain.
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:-)
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Yes, Red did tell Liz he would never lie to her. But I believe he has lied by omission. He has always neglected to fill in the details of any question she has asked, by changing the subject and refusing to answer a yes or no question. He evades and deflects. I think she finally gave up asking him "How do you know all this?" because he never answered her.

It may be that Red believed it would be safer for her to not know the truth about her real father (not Sam), about Tom, about herself, about himself... about everything.
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I think that she was mostly angry at the fact that he killed Sam before she had a chance to see him one last time... and he's succeeded in avoiding a much worst question: "Why didn't you wait after I see him?" Because he would have to answer "Because I didn't want him to tell you what he wanted to..." Then he would have lose her for good.
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I agree. Red took away the one thing she could never get back, the opportunity to say goodbye to Sam. But Red had offered his plane to her earlier in that episode and told her she should go and see Sam (she brushed him off). Red didn't seem concerned at that point that Sam would spill the beans. Red killing Sam before Liz got a chance to see him must have had something to do with the fact that Tom was on his way to the hospital.
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Liz needs to either get her head in the game or go and join her fellow RFASG (Rubbish FBI Agent Support Group) over on 'The Following'. She's the reason I've lost interest in this now - she's just too stupid. Red's turned into as big a baddie as Tom, and I'm seriously concerned they're now going to be making her have a 'relationship' with Ressler. Which is going to be about as romantic as being given dead roses on Valentine's Day. Nope, this show quite obviously teetering on the edge of the pool where they jump the shark and it's still only season 1....NOT a good omen.
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Ho gosh, I hope they don't do that LIz/Ressler phony soap-opera-esque romance...
Spader's acting is great enough to compensate for bad writing but lets not push the envelope of cheap story telling too far... Look what happened to Intelligence.
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I hope they don't take the easy out and have Liz with Ressler. I like them both. I think they should put Ressler with Malik....just sayin.....;-)
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I actually thought this was the way it was headed.......and I was okay with that actually - far better than needy, weedy Liz...
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Yeah Ressler getting romantic has me uncomfortable, like maybe buying his and her gun holsters for Valentines day uncomfortable :-)
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I have to say I could see him doing that way more than the whole chocolates and roses thing. I think Malik would preferthe holsters too.....
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The woman who skyped in had a Germanic accent and looks vaguely familiar(The actress) Is this Berlin? The one that send Tom to Liz and maybe undermining Reds business.
I'm really excited if this is true, because my grand theory is depended on Berlin being a woman.
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Me too! I hope that's Liz's real mom!
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I thought for a moment this was a picture of Madeline Pratt, but she does not have a German accent (but could probably fake an accent). Gina Zanetakos was German, I believe, her passport said she was born in Berlin, but that does not look like her... does it?
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Liz must be the most annoying character on TV. And can we even call that acting?!
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I don't think the actor playing Liz is the problem. All she needs is to have a script that allows her to be more decisive, independent, and strong.
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I´m confused - you think she is a bad actor because..? I saw many bad or mediocre actors but I think she is quite good actually and I believe her "Liz" and all emotions.
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I had a hard time believing The Kingmaker would do so much of his own hands-on dirtywork. The episode was watchable, but I must agree that I didn't get the needle moved - it was another "I'm not going to work with Red" thing that we all know means nothing. And Liz didn't break Tom's thumb on purpose to let him go, that was disappointing, she's still just stupid.

I thought for a second that Liz was going to be smarter in this episode. When Red told her the truth (again, as usual) and she let him continue after he interrupted her emotional outburst, I was intrigued as to a person who could do that. But instead, she ends up going back to stupidtown.

It was so weird hearing Linus Roache in his native accent instead of the American one he used on Law & Order and Batman Begins.

That Mustang ad was from last week, Cory.

I'd watch more Dembe and Red, but probably not a webseries.
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Does anybody know if James Spader has Parkinson's in real life? I noticed him shaking and some muscle spasms during last night's episode.

Could be nuisances of the character of course, but I wonder...
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People, Liz should get her ass kicked. She is fighting against master criminals and she just started the job.

Furthermore, this show isn't about super sleuth Liz, but about a pretty run of the mill agent who is thrusted upon expert level scenarios because of connections.

I sure as hell would be all wtf if its her first day (now months) on the job and she is kicking the asses of people who have evaded the law for so many years thanks to their high skill level.
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he's allegedly a 'profler'. I submit she cant profile worth a damn.
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That just means she passed.
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well if it wasnt for Spader I would have given up ages ago. The actress that plays Lizzie is not very good imo but also the character of Lizzie isnt very good either shes annoyingly wet and blank.
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I believe, or hope, that she will get better after we're done with that "Tom" arc...
She is too shocked emotionally for now to think and act at her full potential.
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I didn't like it. The so called King Maker seemed to bring up too shallow of plots for police to actually buy any of this, it didn't need to be Liz's squad. Any beat cop with more than a years worth of experience would see that the accident was hinky because their was no break marks. Any person with an ounce of intelligence once they woke up in a room with a dead person would have had a tube of their blood pulled to see why they blacked out. Plus there would have to be evidence of sex on both of them. Plus he didn't even kill the Senator. Lame.

Lizzy is slowly spinning down the drain of likability. She keeps getting her arse kicked. She is way too focused on the material aspects of the case with Red and Tom and she seemingly is having issues separating her personal life and the professional life.

The whole mystery guy behind whatever is trying to get Red is the only interesting aspect of the show right now.
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There are quite a number of poisons/drugs that are untraceable in your system or in a few hours.
And the guy who hit him was suppose to stay there to testify it was an accident. Plenty of accidents occur with no brakes, mainly due to the fact that a driver is not paying attention or is in shock.

I'm not sure if I hit the brakes when I had my accident on a bridge.


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I agree about the drugs, but still pull a tube of blood and that still doesn't discount that there would be signs of sex on both of the individuals.

The guy was supposed to stay, but he didn't even hit his breaks to think about it nor did the other guy that went off the bridge. At that point in your driving history at his age, slamming on your breaks becomes a near automatic response.

I don't know, it just kind of seemed sloppy.
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The dead gigolo didn't have to convict the Czech politician to end his career and more importantly put him out of play for whatever business he was helping Red with.

The Kingmaker did kill the Senator. That's why the reporters were asking the Assemblyman about running for his seat in the scene where Liz and Ressler arrest him.

What was sloppy was the Assemblyman's traceable payments to the Kingmaker.
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@NeeUyank Okay, I thought for sure he was dead since he shot him at close range and I thought in the head. Not much of a super villain then, huh??
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No, he did not kill the senator, as Chandler guy responded as "I hope he gets well soon" kinda way.. and thats why he was arrested not for homicide but conspiracy to murder..
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  • This show would be so much better if it was about Red and say Alda and whoever else and we just left Lizzie to live her life doing whatever she likes. I've had it with this character... it is just terrible and seems to have no backbone / smarts to be a credible FBI star agent (meh acting could be a part of it) and if The Blacklist could get rid of it, it would stand a chance to be a better show.
  • I do not know who this Linus Roache actor is (will IMDB later) but he was terrible as a totally cliched British evil-doer and that nose thing was beyond irritating. Sorry but he ruined the somewhat decent case of the week IMO
  • Am I the only one ready to give up on The Blacklist? Over the past two eps we have had two pretty important reveals, last week's 'Tom is a plant' and this week's 'Red killed your dad' but it was all felt pretty anticlimactic mostly because of Lizzie's reactions. There is only so much mileage you can get out of Red visiting speakeasy parlours and Dembe eating funny yogurt...
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For me, every word Red said in this ep made watching worth it. Also loved Dembe, the speakeasy, the suave pot-dealer and Alan Alda.
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I will give it the season, simply because I'm still here. But I cannot imagine any season cliffhanger that would encourage me to keep watching. Sorry, Red. Good concept, but far too drawn out.
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That's exactly how I feel since it has been a bit of an effort to watch the past couple of episodes
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Well, I was right about was in the manilla envelope. And I said it was because that way you cause strife without any new reveals that the audience doesn't already know. Tada.

I liked the villain except for his sniffing. Politics is all about public perception, the strings you can pull, and whose money is in your pocket. The client had the family background card, the ivy league card, the biracial family card, so now all he needed for the win was hero/public sympathy.

I'm amused how fans are saying they like the slow pace, but then complain about the slow pace of the episode.

I have learned to mistrust trailers long ago. Not only do they try to make every episode life-or-death episodes, but they also give away major plot spoilers like "a main character will die" that just ruins it for me.


And I hope she is currently just going to Ressler, as someone to spill all the beans to. She needs to notify someone, other than Red, about Tom.

And was this Tom car commercial different the the last? Did he say last time something along the lines of "what they know about themselves is a lie"?

And i didn't think Dembre was eating pot ladened ice cream. He was just eating ice cream next to a bunch of weed. Why would Red tell Liz not to have some since they have to work but have his body guard be compromised in that manner? Thus no pot for Dembre then.

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Red referred to "edibles" and then we pan past the smokable marijuana to see him eating ice cream with green flecks in it. An "edible" is a food item with marijuana or cannabis oil infused in it during cooking so that the person ingesting it gets high from eating rather than smoking. There were no other edibles shown.
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okay you got me there captain.
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We definitely need a spin-off about Dembe!
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Great review, Cory, I think you hit the nail on the head. While I'll readily admit that Red is the best thing on this show- and if it wasn't Spader, I don't know if it'd work- the presentation of Lizzie each week is KILLING me. She's more of a prop than any kind of rounded character. Development-wise I've been much more interested in even Ressler's growth. And that's not a knock on the character or the actor, he's just had so much less screen time than Liz. I'm not sure how they can "fix" her at this point, but I'm not one for just jettisoning a person who's been such a big part of the show so far either. I hope they have a plan. A GOOD plan. Otherwise I feel like the only thing is some kind of major trauma and/or extended absence- which can also be problematic. I don't know. At this point, I feel like the show would almost be better if the Red/Lizzie stuff was ignored altogether, and they just focused on how shady Red and kinda-wants-to-do-the-right-thing Red find a balance. Maybe even flesh out this whole FBI thing out a little more too. And then reintroduce Lizzie 2.0.... There's so much under the surface too that's only been alluded to do far, maybe the writers have a master plan. I hope so, because right now I really like this show, but it's only good, not great.
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I don´t get it - what is wrong with Lizzie character?
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i do think that Liz might actually figure something out next week, and likely actually needed to be totally betrayed by everyone to just see a big picture (and go figure, the secret they are implying that is figured out is not the one I thought we would get the answer to).

I don't think anything besides possibly a full reveal happened between Liz and Ressler (let's not forget, exactly how long has it been since his fiancee died?). A random thought I kept having...I want Liz to do one more indulgent thing. Insist everyone call her by her maiden name (whatever that is, I never caught what Sam's last name was). It it probably bothersome to be Agent Keen all the time when that's Tom's last name and it is also totally made up. This actually first occurred to me when Dembe was handing the phone to Red, it was followed by, Dembe, she probably is totally fine with you calling her Liz, I mean she'd likely object to you calling her Lizzie. I mean especially now for probably next week, if she needs to communicate with Red, she probably will only want to talk to you. You haven't backstabbed her.

But again in the lets give Liz credit camp...she is a criminal profiler, not actually a field agent. She does that because of this whole operation. And her profile actually helped Aram and Malik identify the Kingmaker.
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Well considering she hasn't told anyone the truth about Tom, she just can't go around changing her name now can she?

And she might just keep Keen to remind herself not to get fooled again.

And who is to say Scott is her real last name anyway?
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She can change her name to anything she wants it to be, but yes, she would have to explain it to her co-workers. But she ditched the rings last night, if she just tells them she wants to be called her maiden name (it is probably what she graduated the academy with) Aram and Ressler will comply and Malik and Cooper will join.

Well, we only know that if Scott is her maiden name, that was what she came to Sam with, and that is as real as any other name.
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That's why you don't change your last name, especially at a professional level, unless the name grants you more access.
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You can legally change your last name. You file for a name change (should you want to) when you get married or what ever other reason. Thus that is your legal last name. And the hassle of changing it back is a reason why a number of married women keep their divorced husband's name.
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Your maiden name is always legally your last name anyway and you can revert to it at any time. Yes, it's a pain changing back to using it, but.
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I don't play to myself, it seems like a giant pain in the ass and I couldn't even begin to imagine how I would get it changed on my law license.
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Lizzie = Elizabeth Scott Keen
Sam = Sam Mulhoan
Red = up the proverbian creek without a paddle
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Is Scott her middle name or her maiden name?
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That's a good question that has never really been answered. Scott may be her middle name, but it also may be the result of the (old fashioned) tradition to use one's maiden name as a middle name. Not sure which applies.
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@BelleForrest True. I thought it was a nice touch that Red said when speaking to Liz, after she'd said that he didn't have any friends, that he'd been friends with Sam "all of your life" and a good part of his own.

To me that resonated, but of course to Liz, who others have noted is always a little slow and too caught up in her emotions to think straight, she didn't get that hint.

I don't know where I stand on the whole is Red Liz's father thing. He did tell her he wasn't her father, but there are different ways that could be interpreted.
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@ ummhaniyyah, (in reply to your comment below) Red gave Liz to Sam to adopt (at age 3), so he may have forged those adoption papers to hide her real identity, and hide her real parentage.

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She was adopted so it could well have been her preadoption last name.
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The episode was good, but once again it seems like everyone EXCEPT Red is an idiot. Take Fitch, for example. Red asks him for help, he asks the League of Evil Bad Guys to help Red, and all of them refuse. Fitch tells them that the Season 1 Final Boss is targeting Red directly and Red might throw a Dead Man's Switch if the Final Boss kills him, but the League of Evil Bad Guys say it's a risk they're willing to take and the benefits Red's death brings will most likely outweigh the negative effects of whatever he has on them. Ok, stop right there. They hired Anslo Garrick, one of the most sadistic Blacklisters, to torture Red into giving up the information. Red threatened that there would be consequences for that attack, and he killed not only Anslo, but also hunted down and killed nearly everyone associated with Anslo's attack except Fitch. Red is clearly a man of his word, and he told Fitch that if he allowed the Season 1 Final Boss to get to him, he will kill said boss and rain an unholy firestorm against Fitch and the league... and Fitch just shrugs it off saying "Bring it on?" HE SHOULD BE WETTING HIS PANTS! "The Good Samaritan" showed just how ruthless Red can be when he's crossed, so when he asks you a favor, you say "what, where, and when?"

Lizzie... again, big idiot. She could have arrested Red right then and there after he admitted to killing her father, since he killed a (supposedly) innocent man, or, knowing how stupid she can be when she's faced with mind blowing news, she could have SHOT HIM... but nope, she just calls Red a monster and staggers away in a state of shock... and of course she's going to sleep with Ressler now. Ressler/Lizzie was hinted at since episode 2, and since he's the only handsome guy on the show who ISN'T out to get her (coughTomcough) having him screw her brains out to kill the pain seems like a logical choice... and then she'll get pregnant with Ressler's baby, the Season 1 Final Boss will kill him, and she'll have to go back to Red again because, though she may despise him, he at least never lied to her and could probably take care of her 1 night stand baby if need be. (But I hope to god this scenerio doesn't happen. Liz/Ressler is WAAAAY too obvious now.)

It took me a while to figure out that the Kingmaker was Linus Roache, aka Michael Cutter, Jack McCoy's replacement ADA from Law & Order. Dude looks almost unrecognizable from his L&O days. Shame they had him merely as a case-of-the-week instead of a Big Bad. Roache playing a villain is very entertaining, since he did do some villian-ish things to get murderers to confess n L&O.

Did Ressler REALLY have to shoot the Kingmaker to get him to let go of Liz? He was strangling her. Ressler could've just whacked him upside the head or tackled him and broken his arm. Flat-out blowing him away seems seems like overkill... though Red's genuinely shocked expression at the news was priceless.

8 out of 10. Writers, PLEASE make Lizzie into a stronger female protagonist. Right now she can't seem to do anything without Red's help, and every decsion she makes on her own seems to be the wrong one... and please PLEASE don't have her and Ressler hook up after only two episodes since her breakup with Tom. For all we know Ressler might be working with the League of Evil Bad Guys!
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Guys, the big reveal was dissappointing imho, it potentially destroys the whole Red-Liz relation. There's a possibility that Sam was what connects them. Sam knows that Sam will die soon - and Sam doesn't want to leave his daughter alone and lonely with a bastard husband (in Sam's opinion) - so Sam calls his buddy Red - so Red meets Liz and takes care of her as Sam no longer can. Basically Red acts in loco parentis and the whole secret is just a hoax. There's timing - but it's more practical when Red and Liz meet when Sam is still alive. It looks suspicious when a total stranger claims he's the best friend of the body and he promised he would take care of Liz. There's an option when she doesn't believe him just like that. So they meet and bond and he gradually replaces Sam. I don't want it, the show is better and a lousy and boring not-mistery would kill it.
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It was an okay episode, the throw away villains of the week are really getting in the way of the main plot the audience wants to see, watching the King maker take down Liz was like Deja Vu and he had her so long that I felt like Ressler missed his cue. The plot that got moved slightly was Red's hand shown a little more, he has someone after him and he's scared. So it begs the question, "Who's scarier that Red?" If this is some throw away actor I'm going to give it the eye roll. The problem I have with the Blacklist is that the main story arch is not developed enough that it can be focused on alone in one episode. Which is why some shows benefit from having shorter seasons; that way the show can get to the point of the story it's trying to tell without all of the filler episodes that frustrate the audience. It's still a good show but its no longer a must see show; it's more of a, "I'll check in to see the last ten minutes kind of show."
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It doesn't beg the question. Begging the Question is an informal Logical Fallacy. The reveal merely forces us to question the hierarchy of villains in the Blacklist Universe.
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How many times in a single season can Lizzy tell Red he's a monster and she's through with him?? Not that great of an episode. Downsides of a 22 episode season.
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Exactly. This is, what, the 4th or 5th time she's told Red she's done? Then next episode she's asking for help or crying on his shoulder. It not only makes her look weak and finicky, but trains the viewers to never believe her. Makes it really hard to root for her.
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I was fighting off sleep the entire episode, and the two people I was watching with lost the battle before the Ryan Eggold/Mustang Mash-Up. If the Blacklist as a show is moving slow then "The Kingmaker" was the best example of it. I don't understand why with three episode left in the season you would make one of them filler, but that is exactly what this episode was.

They squandered what should have been an amazing Blacklister, and the fact that the kingmaker is dead means we'll never get to see his true potential unlocked.

Add in the fact that the flash in the pan promos summed up everything that happened this week of any importance to the overall narrative and I was left wanting after this week's installment.
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I agree, this episode dragged. I think the major issue was that the non-blacklister storyline didn't give us much that we didn't already know. The big thing that Liz was investigating (death of her father) was old news for us. We already knew that Red was being targeted by Berlin. We got a sliver of information about Fitch's group (they are multinational that don't know much about Berlin) but we basically got nothing. There was no Tom whatsoever, which made me mad because that story was building momentum and to go full stop after the craziness of last episode...disappointing. I keep thinking Tom's in NYC, The Kingmaker's in NYC, Liz and Ressler are in NYC, he's got to show up at some point, but no.

The Kingmaker storyline was a disappointment too. The best cases are the ones that are personal for Red. I was really hoping that Red was going to turn out to have been a "client" before his life went to hell. Remember how Red was fast tracked through the ranks of the Navy? Nope, no dice. Also I didn't find that man that scary or impressive. The sniffing and OCD thing wasn't quirky, it just felt random and forced.
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rapidly losing interest
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I already did early on, but got it back the past few episodes with the Lizzie/Tom situation. Now I'm back into losing interest mode again. This is a doze-off-on-the-couch-after-work show.
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Why?
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the plot is too convoluted for me. same as a few other shows anymore but I stuck it out and watched the finale. I love James Spader and am intrigued with the Tom storyline so I'll stick with it again.
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The scenes with Red and Fitch may hold important clues. We finally are given more dialogue to dissect that reveals more about their relationship and their agreement, and how that all ties in with Red's agenda.

Their conversation may be the most important part of the episode. Red looks very worried, as if things are not going as planned. Things must really be bad for Red to ask his enemy for help against another more formidable enemy.

It's more than just Liz finding out about Sam, Red's losing all pieces on his chess board.
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I never thought I'd say this.... but I missed Tom! Another nice commercial for Ryan Eggold.

I am thrilled that Red played a bigger role in this episode but... I was SO disappointed. I kept watching the clock, wondering when something BIG was going to happen. I'm still waiting....

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"Of course, it doesn't help that we saw the events in question take place four months ago, again setting up a situation where the lead character, who is supposedly very smart, looks kind of slow"

Far be it for me to defend Liz. I do like Liz, but i do see lots of problems with her character. But this^^ is not one of them. Liz's father was dying of lung cancer. She didn't know that Red visited him. Why would she four months ago, jump to the wild conclusion that Red killed him, absent any evidence or motive? And Red is very good at hiding secrets, that's what he does. Yes Red is nefarious, and has his fingers in a lot of pies. But he's not the devil, responsible for every bad thing, that happens in the world.
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Ressler could have, should have, shot the Kingmaker in his shoulders to save his partners life. He chose to shoot him in the back of the head. He chose to execute the Kingmaker.

I'm not rooting for it, but there's an opening that the Kingmaker died so that Red would not get to him, and that Ressler is another plant inside Red's life by the people in Berlin.
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Interesting possibility. Even last week, Ressler was in "we can't trust Red, what is he up to now?" mode. Also sometimes, there is an expression on Ressler's face (when talking about Red) that seems as if he still hates him.

If everyone is hiding a secret, I wonder what Ressler's secret is? You may be right.
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I would watch a Dembe web series!
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Yea, when the "revelation" came about Red at the hospital, I was like..."and?" Don't know whether to blame the writers or the promo department for making such a mountain out of a dud. That's really my only complaint about this episode.

Except maybe one more...killing off the Kingmaker was a mistake.

And yes, I would most definitely watch a Dembe webseries.
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Dembe eating ice-cream was the best thing that happened this episode. But we can’t forget that smile when he won the card game. I would watch a web series starring Dembe for sure, he doesn’t have to say anything and it’ll still be great.

What was up with that sniffing. I kept wanting to offer him a handkerchief. Also I thought they were going to make this a two part-er or something, the solution came to easy.

Why did they leave Meera behind at headquarters? She was badass CIA at the start and now since we know she’s got a kid we’re leaving her at ‘home’ being intel support, she can only leave the house when Lizzie isn’t around. Even though she’s better in a fight then Lizzie, who they made weak again this episode. How easy was it for the Kingmaker to get Lizzie on the floor, while only last week she could somewhat take on Tom.

Does the FBI wear their FBI jackets inside their headquarters all the time, or was the show trying to remind us of something?

All my complaining aside it was a good episode, for ones I felt that there was an actual treat (to Red).
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Yeah the sniffing was a bit annoying.

Well, I'd think Tom took it easy on her. Only hurt her as much as necessary. Otherwise he can totally loose his i'm-the-good-guy credibility.

And yes I think a Dembre webisode series where he didn't talk would be more entertaining. And of him doing rather simple stuff, doddering around with only glimpses of other stuff.
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My take on the sniffing was that was just his "tell" as to when he was getting excited.
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Interesting idea. I took the sniffing as a suggestion that he's not physically well enough to take office himself, so he pulls the strings of others.
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I thought that he was a germaphobe, he had his hotel room wiped clean in the beginning. Maybe he was extremely allergic to some common allergen, and when he came in contact with it... sniff sniff sniff
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Excellent point, points to you for remembering that element.
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THANK YOU for the point about the FBI! I was watching and thinking to myself "Why is the FBI getting its panties in a bunch over a guy who hasn't done anything yet but fly first class into the U.S.?" And it seems each week Agent Liz Bad-Acting (sorry, I was laughing at her facial expression when she was yelling at Red) are just kicking down doors on the flimsiest of evidence.

Plus, will the writers please stop killing off every weekly bad guy!

I would have actually liked to see Red and The Kingmaker square off in a room together.

Pet Peeves
How could The Kingmaker have possibly just wounded the senator firing TWO shots at point-blank range while Ressler from across a dark room is perfect?

Liz arrests the junior politician on what evidence? They killed the only other guy in the conspiracy (we don't actually know if the young guy was in on the other murders), and there was no evidence that car accident was staged.

We are never really told why The Kingmaker does what he does, and for whom. Try asking first, and shooting later -- it may make a better show.

If Keen asks "Where's Tom?" one more time, I'm gonna put my foot up her ass through the flatscreen!
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If I hear Lizzie call Red a 'monster' one more time I'm going to scream. Do we even have a tally on the number of times he's saved her life? How much he helped her with Tom? etc., etc., etc. The first time she called him a monster was right after he saved her from the Stewmaker. She was about to have her ass thrown in a tub of acid until Red showed up....Does she say 'Thank you?' NO! She tells him he's a monster. I can handle Lizzie being dumb or naive, but when she's an ungrateful B, I can't cope.
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Yes! Stop killing off the bad guys!!!! They are awesome and I would like to see a number of them return. Let them throw the dice to see if they get killed, maimed, deported, arrested, killed, escape.

She can arrest Chandler? as suspect, but then he gets off.

As for the shot- that's why you aim for the head if you can hit it.
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