Eric Liebowitz/NBC
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TV Show
S3 E17
April 08, 2016 at 05:29 AM EDT

Given that I can only think in lame jokes following that insane final scene — Talk about a shotgun wedding, am I right? Eh? EH?! — perhaps I should leave the episode breakdown to Mr. James Spader himself. I try to limit Blacklist intake to mostly just the episodes themselves (call me a purist), but I caught a clip of ol’ Spades on The Tonight Show recently where he advised potential fans, “Even if one saw the pilot and then sort of abandoned it at that point — if anyone has ever had any passing interest in this show, boy, [episodes] 17 and 18 are so crazy. I mean, so crazy.”

And he wasn’t wrong! Spader may have failed to mention that almost all of episode 17 excluding the last 10 minutes — which, to be fair, felt like a bullet-riddled eternity covered in maternity lace — were pretty much a plot-stall until what I assume will be a mind-blowing episode 18, but I totally see where he’s coming from. You didn’t need to have a working knowledge of the Cabal, or know what the hell a Fulcrum is, or that pretty much every government official in The Blacklist is actively trying to start World War III to be able to appreciate the action of this episode. I mean, there was a shot of a bullet going into a Holy Bible; there was a highly pregnant woman hobbling down a church aisle with four assault rifle beams trained on her chest; cans teetered in slow motion behind a car that read “Just Married” the groom drove the bride away from her attempted capture. The excitement was pretty self-sustained.

Not to mention that in between all the rounds of ammunition and perfect music cues, was the underlying tinkling tune of “spin-off, spin-off spin-off”…but we’ll get to that at the end. First we must address what this episode of The Blacklist gave us after a lengthy six-week hiatus: not a whole lot of answers, no, but plenty to look forward to as season 3 heads into the final stretch.


Excluding Spader as Reddington, I would wager to say Edi Gathegi as Matias Solomon gives “The Blacklist” it’s other most captivating performance. The simultaneous stillness and swagger that Gathegi brings to every single reaction, whether he’s following orders or making the calls, brings a believability to the fact that while Mr. Solomon doesn’t seem to be as infallible as Red, he might just be as resilient. He’s probably the most worthy foe to Reddington we’ve come across, and yet we still know so very little about him (there’s that **spin-off** tune again)…

But like the cockroach in a stylish trench he is, he just keeps coming back, this time in an armored car on the way to prison. But it seems the Cabal has more drive-him-out-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-leave-him-for-dead plans as the car makes an unexpected stop and all the guards turn their guns on him… too bad they already have unseen guns pointing at them from above. Mystery shooters take out Solomon’s would-be killers, and it’s clear by the look on his face that he doesn’t know who his savior is either, but he’s likely just been entered into some kind of unspoken contract.

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Speaking of legally binding decisions with very little forethought — Lizzie and Tom are getting married! And since the church they wanted had a sudden opening, she’s already super pregnant, and Tom is apparently a whiz at peonies, Liz is ready to do this thing today. Unfortunately, Red calls her in after getting wind that Solomon has escaped and is on the hunt for a nuclear missile that’s allegedly being transported. It’s kind of an ill-fated-chicken and the unfortunate-egg situation: Did Red bring this to Liz right now because he heard she was rushing the wedding, or did Liz rush the wedding because she knows she’s being completely unreasonable trying to create the nuclear family she always wanted out of an ex-spy-conman, a fired FBI agent with a KGB mom, an unborn baby, and a criminal overlord grandfather figure she thought Red might try to get in the way. Hard to call…

NEXT: It’s a nice day for a Blacklist wedding…

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