Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


The Blacklist recap: 'The Judge'

This week’s Blacklister seeks justice for those who are innocent, while Tom and Jolene turn out to be pretty guilty.

Posted on

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The Blacklist

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
James Spader

A war is coming on The Blacklist and it could not be more exciting. Shoo. Things are getting heated. People are starting to show their hands at this poker game. We’ve got Tom, who’s finally outed himself as a spy killer (working for whom, we know not!) There’s nasty Jolene, whose name was chosen by the music team purely for the opportunity to use that song (and they nailed it.) She’s perfectly cast as a shifty villain you can’t wait to see fall. Her sights are set on Red, but naturally he’s one step ahead of her. Agent Cooper throws down his cards and it turns out that he’s got some naughty hidden behind his nice Federal badge. Good times ahead.

This episode was all about justice and passing judgment. The take away? No one is qualified to dispense justice. Only God can do that. God and his avenging angel, Red.

Reddington is alerted to another name on his Blacklist when an Assistant U.S. Attorney is discovered bedraggled and wandering the back roads of Pennsylvania after being a missing person for 12 years. Even though the man could easily be Sam Beam of Iron & Wine after a particularly invigorating juice cleanse, Red thinks it’s more likely that the former attorney has been held captive by “The Judge,” a mythical figure who metes out punishment on behalf of the falsely accused. (I’m still leaning toward Iron & Wine doing a Woodie Guthrie tribute experience, but Red knows best.) So Red catches up with Lizzie to explain his theory. The Judge works through the prison lending library system (That literacy project is such a scam! No one is jail actually reads. It’s always a front for something…) Inmates write letters stating their case for innocence and fingering the corrupt cops, lawyers, and judges who wrongly accused them. They slip the notes into their dog-eared copy of To Kill A Mockingbird and it ends up in Monroe, Virginia at the headquarters of the sinister Prison Literacy Project.

While the Feds are busy corroborating Red’s theory with missing persons records, Red is having a Cadillac pow-wow with one of his informants, a cowboy that he hired to track Jolene/Lucy Brooks. Lance Reddick (Fringe, The Wire) owns this episode with his glowering Outlaw Josey Wales impression. “Don’t tell me how to do my job,” he barks after Red passes him the newspaper clipping with Lucy Brooks’ picture on it. “If I could find you on a sheep farm in Dingle, I can find this girl.” But Red already knows where she is – with Tom in steamy Orlando, the land of teacher conferences and sordid affairs. He wants to know where she’s been, what she’s up to. But before he wraps up this little tête-à-tête, he takes a moment to admire Reddick’s midnight black, cowboy hat: “I love hats. That one takes a certain kind of man.”

NEXT: What are Tom and Jolene up to in steamy Orlando?