If you have noticed, the reviews for the Blacklist tapered off for a while due to both time constraints and quality of the show. If the episode is just bad, it’s hard to find the motivation to write about it. This week’s outing, however, was in fine form. Ivan has the digital skeleton key that will open all firewalls so the team must stop him, plus he owes Red like five million big ones.



The greatness of the episode is two fold. One we get Raymond Reddington back in top shape and screen time. Plus, there is an emotional element that is subtle and only hits home in the last minute. The main problem with the previous episode was Red as the exposition fairy. He came in at the beginning to outline the case and at the end to wrap it up. This time, with Ivan, he was motivated to capture this guy since he was duped by him once before. First Red convinces the FBI team that Ivan is the guy they want, then takes the whole team on a field trip to Russia. Part of the plan was to get the intel on the skeleton key, but a lot of it was to get his money back with interest. Nicely done, Red. 

Only problem is that Ivan didn’t actually steal the key. Some hacker has been impersonating him online. What? Is that a plot twist? It was surprising and unexpected that the real thief of the skeleton key was a high school kid with a creepy crush. The twist itself was cool, however, the execution with the kid was left wanting. Mainly, due to level of acting when comparing a seasoned actor playing Ivan and a new actor trying to convince the audience that he’s sympathetic even after stalking a girl for months. Only Lizzy being on the speeding train made us care if it crashed or not.

On the more subtle side, Red is building something through the entire episode. Small pieces here and there. Not until he completed the music box is the picture complete. Red tried to tell Lizzy that her husband could not be trusted and he got the backlash when she would not believe him. This time he sets the pieces in motion for her to figure it out on her own and all he does is quietly build a music box. One that plays a song that always gave Lizzy comfort when she was a child. It’s a moving scene when Lizzy recounts her father comforting her when she was sad, but this time Red is there to hold her when her world falls apart. Lizzy doesn’t even bother to ask how Red knows this information. They are past that point apparently.

This leads to the weakness of the story, which is Tom’s tired spy plotline. One of the several problems with this storyline is that it requires our main investigator Lizzy to be stupid. She is presented with a lot of little clues that her husband is lying, but due to this plot, can not figure it out until the end. This leads to silliness like the scene where Tom is hiding two feet away from Lizzy in the evil hideout.

Blacklist - Ivan

She can’t figure out who the tall dark haired man is until she spots the toy she gave Tom in the trashcan. Now apparently it’s going to be a game of who can lie the best until she figures out a way to prove Tom is a spy. It would be nice if this story was completed by next week, but considering how glacially its moved all season that may be wishful thinking. Let’s concentrate on the good. Red, Red and more Red.

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