In contrast to last week’s episode, Thursday’s episode had one of, if not the most effective Blacklister this season. Excellently played by Reg E. Cathey, “The Caretaker” comes from a long line of men tasked with protecting state secrets. He follows in this ostensibly-venerable occupation, committing grave robbery to get his hands on a contract implicating the US government in the extrajudicial killing of a Chinese national. Viewers might think he’s a pushover because he doesn’t carry a weapon or, outside of a flashback, engage in any kind of violence, but his imposing stature and deep voice should be enough to convince doubters.
As deserving of attention the Caretaker is, the show makes a mistake all too many programs make. Instead of focusing on this interesting, well-acted antagonist, the episode devotes more time to secondary plotlines that only peripherally involve the Caretaker. The Chinese assassination plot covered up by the Caretaker is quickly forgotten (or at best made the subject of throwaway reference) before we are told to reorient our attention towards a hostage situation involving his daughter. Indeed, a good deal of the show’s second act revolves around Agents Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Navabi’s (Mozhan Marno) efforts to secure her release and subsequent race to thwart a bomb plot connected to the whole thing, with the Caretaker, the nominal villain of the show, hardly appearing at all.
Some of the scenes pertaining to the show’s larger story arc are handled very well, even exceptionally. An exchange between Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) and Gina Zanetakos (Margarita Levieva) is especially fun to watch, with viewer expectations that Tom, like many characters in action movies and TV series, will promptly forget his treacherous old flame’s attempt on his life after she makes even a slightly suggestive remark delightfully subverted for the most part. Strangely enough, we don’t see much of Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and Raymond Reddington (James Spader), and the little we do is pretty unremarkable. One hopes that this is not the case when The Blacklist returns in April.
Leave your thoughts on this review and this episode of The Blacklist in the comments section below. For more The Blacklist reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our The Blacklist Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ or “like” us on Facebook. The Blacklist airs on NBC.