Will Hart/NBC

The Blacklist

S6 E10
Show Details
TV Show
March 09, 2019 at 11:10 AM EST

At the top of this episode, while Red is lording a mysterious Blacklister conspiracy over Liz’s head while trying to convince her to get his immunity agreement reinstated once he’s cleared 24 counts of treasonous crimes, he quotes Hippocrates, saying, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Liz counters that she’s pretty sure Hippocrates also said, “Do no harm.” Well, I’m here to confirm that those two aphorisms are not necessarily mutually exclusive, for this episode was both full of desperation, and yet, mostly harmless.

From the jump, Red does not seem himself. A layman dropping into most any random episode of The Blacklist might think, “Oh this is a show where Spader does his Spader thing.” And yes, he does most of the time, but on occasions where Red is at odds with Liz (whether she knows it or not), the change in Red’s demeanor is palpable. Sure, the longwinded anecdotes, witty comebacks, and sassy Sima burns are all still there…but his heart just isn’t in it. Because his heart is somewhere else—with Lizzie, always with Lizzie.

Speaking of Lizzie, what the hell is going on with her? All it took was hearing that her mother framed the original Raymond Reddington for treason—and also maybe helped Fraymond Freddington usurp his identity—in the last episode for her to get tearfully back on board with declaring this imposter, whomever he may be, a golden-hearted champion of all that is right and just in this world???

Listen, I did enjoy Liz’s love letter/eulogy for Raymond Reddington in her witness impact statement because I prefer my Reds and Lizzies at evens, not odds, but…even for an often confusing show, we are at a particularly confusing time in Blacklist history. And this episode cemented it, what with its futile prison breaks and indeterminate final exclamations of “I HAVE TO FIND THE MAN IN CAIRO!” In Friday’s hour, we seem to have gotten one more link in whatever paper chain Red is constructing, as he once again declares—this time regarding the mysterious Cairo man—that “everything rests on finding him.”

But at this point, with the death penalty officially sentenced, just what “everything” means is clear to Raymond Reddington ad Raymond Redddington alone. I’ve long assumed that Red has been collecting intel to coordinate a big escape from prison, but in Friday’s episode, an attempted escape ended it what appeared to be genuinely unexpected failure. (Additionally, it consisted not of an elaborate construction of previous Blacklisters, but of…rubber cement and glue.)

Red still doesn’t know who made the 911 call that landed him in prison—or rather, he has been willfully misled by both Dembe and Liz—but if that’s what he’s still searching for, is he really willing to die for it? Or could the man in Cairo upon whom “everything” rests have something to do with the fact that Red knows that Liz knows he’s an imposter even though she doesn’t know he knows she knows (there truly is no simpler way to say that)…

All these questions, and I’m afraid tonight, we’re only getting breadcrumbs toward any sort of answers. Oh and, uh, one death sentence. We really do need to find that man in Cairo…


While this Blacklister has some entertaining trappings, such as Aram trading superhero knowledge with an adorable child, he’s ultimately pretty insignificant. And Red is pretty straightforward with Liz about that. I mean, yes, the Cryptobanker launders ill-gotten crypto currency for, oh let’s say, a hacker who hacks into a child’s pacemaker so he can ransom her father for $3 million, and the Cryptobanker is just like, sure thing, I’ll have the laundered for you asap

So, a bad guy for sure—but Red basically tells Liz that he’s luring her in with the promise of a larger conspiracy that hinges on the Cryptobanker in order to secure another immunity agreement once he’s free. Of course, that would imply he plans on achieving freedom through the legal system, when in fact, we know he’s already told Vontae and Vega that he plans to escape prison in eight weeks’ time…

But that was under the old timeline, the one where he had 24 federal charges to get through in court. Once Sima decides to change course and tell the jury about Red’s former immunity agreement, threatening the position of Liz and the rest of the Task Force, however, the timeline shortens significantly—because Red decides to up and plead guilty in order to protect the Task Force. So now he needs to escape prison…tomorrow.

While Red heads to court to determine if that guilty plea will ultimately come with a death sentence or not, he sets Vontae and Vega out on a “honey do list” consisting of: small amounts of ground beef, bleach, nail polish remover, rubber cement, and hair clippings from the prison the barber shop. Ah yes, exactly the elaborate prison break I’ve been imagining for the last seven weeks!

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James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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