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October 05, 2017 at 12:49 AM EDT

I’m becoming a little concerned that season 5 of The Blacklist is going to make me feel like the babysitter who won’t just let the kids streamline 18 episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix when their parents go out. Because even though I know it would be a lot easier to just let them do what they want, I also know that eventually the parents are going to come and the homework won’t be done and Little Lizzie will be running around her room, hyped up on Mountain Dew, wearing her underwear on her head like a bonnet.

For the last two episodes since The Blacklist returned, I keep hearing the voice of Amy Poehler dancing around in my head: “I’m not a regular [show], I’m a cool [show]!” Because these episodes have been cool. They’ve been fun episodes, and I want to just be the fun aunt who lets them express themselves! But I can’t — I care too much! I don’t want this undisciplined, fedora-shaped child to grow up and go to college and set his dorm bed on fire from watching too much Pretty Little Liars.

Indeed, the hijinks in this episode were delicious enough to rot your teeth out. Even though the grading on these recaps can be a little superfluous, the scene in Wednesday night’s episode where Red cons an entire criminal household into believing that he is their employer’s lawyer surely upped this sucker a full letter grade. But it also highlighted two pesky Blacklist problems I can never get past. (1) Red making everyone at the Post Office look like a–holes all the time is getting a little wearisome. From the moment he walked through their doors, he has been serving his own agenda, and they simply must stop acting shocked about that. Alternatively, just give the audience one good reason why Red is constantly keeping them, and especially Lizzie, in the dark, given that his plans nearly always secure them an arrest and secure him seaports, or whatever it is he’s always after

And (2) Why — WHY?! — no matter how many times Liz insists she doesn’t need it, do the men in her life who claim to love her lie to her in the name of protecting her? It’s hard to enjoy Liz letting loose and wearing floral prints and stealing diamond necklaces when in the back of my head I know that the only two people she considers family (Agnes doesn’t count because Agnes doesn’t exist) are currently going behind her back to keep the exact same thing a secret, and that same thing is literally a bag of bones.

Okay, now that the disciplinarian portion of the evening is out of the way, see you on the other side for all the fun and games — I’ll be the one throwing desktops in the lake.


The cold open heist is perfectly scored to Sofi Tukker’s “Awoo” as we see a man drop into a room Mission Impossible-style, steal an absurdly hefty diamond necklace, exit the room while taking off his heist-y clothes, enter the room next door, and walk up to the podium in his tux to introduce the Napoleon Diamond Necklace, which everyone has gathered at this event to see. Of course, when they head into the display room, the diamond necklace is missing…tucked safely away in the clutch of Greyson Blaise’s date.

It came, it went/It conquered quick/I was there/And then, I quit.”

Red tells Cooper about this very heist when he marches Liz into the Terrace Vista Motor Lodge to demand that Red give them a Blacklister. He’s certain that Red’s claims of a compromised criminal empire are exaggerated and that he’s just been “playing grab-ass by the pool.” And while Red has been playing grab-ass with them for basically five seasons, he is fully prepared to lead Cooper & Co. right to Blaise, a notorious thrill seeker/under-the-radar art thief who will be at an auction Red knows about in no less than 36 hours. But Red isn’t handing over this information to capture Blaise — “I’m telling you about him so you can help me go into business with him.”

Cooper asks why they would ever help him do that. Red reminds him that his whole Criminal Informant deal lives and dies on people fearing him, and if he can align himself with Blaise, people will fear him again. Well, that, and because without Red, they really don’t have anything else to do. And also because they have relentlessly been assisting Red in building his criminal empire this entire time, it’s just that this time, he’s mentioning it up front. (All right, those last two reasons were from me.) (Recap continues on next page)

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