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THE BLACKLIST Review: Why Red Still is, And Always Will Be, A Villain

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 7 years ago

THE BLACKLIST Review: Why Red Still is, And Always Will Be, A Villain

By Kai Greenwell

Ressler works alongside Red and Lizzie to find an abducted financier who is one the Director’s closest advisors on this week's episode of The Blacklist.

Red links this abduction to others, always one man and one woman, always the brightest minds in their prospective fields, presuming that someone is building an ark of sorts.

Meanwhile Ressler and team have to work around the Director, who is not only prying but has formed an uneasy alliance with Solomon in his efforts to take down Red and Liz. The Director takes some drastic measures to distract Ressler while he sends Solomon in for the kill. They fail and Red and Liz escape with what they needed, using it to steal the Director’s personal slush fund and Ressler finally gets proof that the Director is working with the Cabal.

Additionally, Tom’s plan to provoke the Russians works a little too well and he and Asher Sutton are kidnapped and forced to fight to the death. Tom survives and gets a face to face with who he thinks is Karakurt, but Harold Cooper is disturbed by Tom’s actions, and fears what chain of events he has set in motion.


While a major plot point is Lizzie’s growing acceptance of the morally grey and black, as an audience we have had to become somewhat desensitized to these actions as well. Red in particular has left a consistent number of bodies in his wake, but most of the characters in the show have killed someone this season.

The Blacklist has a high body count but almost all on screen deaths have been by gunshot or explosion. In doing so they have allowed scenes like Tom’s remorseful killing of Asher to retain emotional power. Whilst the situation he found himself in was horrible, the simple use of a knife instead of a gun was what made the whole experience uncomfortably intimate for both Tom and the audience.

Since the latter half of season 2, the show has focused on Red’s relationship with Lizzie and so has shown more of his compassionate side, moving away from the mysterious trigger happy pseudo-villain of the first season. His penchant for tying up loose ends with death this season shows that mask slipping. Red definitely has motives to be good – to Lizzie and Dembe, and is loyal to a fault – to Lizzie and Dembe. It is the most interesting villains, such as Walter White, that have these traits as it makes them rounded and somewhat relatable characters, but for all the fine hats and sardonic laughter, Red was introduced to us as, and still is, a villain.

The Blacklist continues Thursdays on NBC.

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