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The Blacklist recap: Eli Matchett

Red’s got messages, Red’s got m-m-messages.

Posted on

Eric Liebowitz/NBC

The Blacklist

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

“When people feel their homes and livelihood are being threatened, violence is never far behind.”

That might not be the truth on the culs-de-sac and clean streets many of us grew up on, but in Raymond Reddington’s world, truer words have never been spoken. In fact, Red and The Blacklist itself spent Thurday night’s entire hour nailing home two messages that center around this very theme: 1) Red changes the entire route of his mahogany-scented shipping container to send a message to the Director — he will stop at nothing to exonerate Lizzie, and that means taking down the Director himself; and 2) This episode delivers one message as hard, quotable fact: Lizzie has officially left her world and entered Reddington’s, that is a fact. Bad things happen to good people, that is a fact. And bad things happen to Lizzie — whether she is good is very much up for discussion in season 3.

You know you’re in for a ride when the whole Blacklist gang gets out of the Northeast (exept Aram… Aram has never seen sunlight; his glow comes from within). Because Red might have friends in D.C. places with furnished-sink homes and fridge-evators, but there are only so many fantastic getaways Red can make before viewers start to roll their eyes, and for me, the FBI only being half-a-step behind R+L=? has come just in time.

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If there’s one message that this episode attempts to nail home a little more subtly, I think it’s this: Red isn’t lucky — Red makes his own luck. To use his own analogy from last week, Raymond Reddington doesn’t so much catch every green light; instead, he runs all the red ones. That means breaking the law; that means lying; that means working with criminals, murderers, people who have caused much pain, people who are undeniably bad; for Red and, now, for Lizzie that means killing: “I shot a cop…and killed the Attorney General of the United States.” You sure did, Keen. Welcome to the show that just took you out of the protagonist’s seat.

The FBI has more or less caught up to its most-wanted fugitives (No. 1 and 2 with a bullet), but mentally, we have to assume he’s still 18 steps ahead. Because, for perhaps the first time ever, we’re watching him get there; Red is constructing a complex puzzle of Blacklisters, with the sole intention of exonerating Lizzie. The Troll Farmer helped her escape, Marvin Gerard found a loophole in the Fulcrum, and…


The episode opens in — to get specific — Iowa, the home of the double-bacon corndog. A small group of local farmers has broken into Verdiant Industries, the single largest manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds in the world. Apparently, they’re crops that are the very foundation of our economy (a.k.a. our stomachs). These small family farmers have been driven out of business because they can’t afford the seeds that Veridant produces, but they haven’t broken into the plant and killed nine people for just a little revenge… No, they want retribution. They steal the proprietary files of Verdiant’s gene modifications to release them to the public so that Verdiant can no longer have the sole hold over these seeds that make the world go ’round.

NEXT: Verdiant and the Cabal…