The Blacklist The Harem (No. 102) Review
The Blacklist: Season 4, Episode 11: The Harem (No. 102) works best as a standalone episode after a series of show mythology-focused entries this past season.
Not to say that last night’s episode didn’t deal with the show’s overaching story: in fact, Liz (Megan Boone) confronts Red (James Spader) about killing Mr. Kaplan, making clear that theirs is a professional relationship and that she is disgusted by the personal moral depths he has sunk to. But the focus of the episode isn’t Liz’s relationship with Red or even Red himself.
On the contrary, much of the program is focused on Liz’s attempts to infiltrate The Harem, an elite group of female thieves headed by the magnetic Margot (Jill Hennessy). As an antagonist, Hennessy is as good as it gets, which by the standards of The Blacklist is very good indeed. She is shrewd but also intimidating on a physical level, as seen when she corners Liz in a restroom, menacingly intoning that her loyalty should lie not with the group but her specifically. It is only through the intrusion of the jealous Emma (Anastasia Griffith), who earlier hinted that she knows Liz is an FBI agent, that our hero is saved.
Seeing Liz trying to convince criminals that she is one of them is something we’ve seen before, but the chemistry between her and the others makes it feel brand new and very much compelling. One scene where Margot orders her to shoot a wheelchair-bound informant who vouched for Liz to her is especially effective, with Liz calling her bluff in a way that makes so much sense that you have to applaud the writers for coming up with it. In short, it’s quality writing that I hope to continue seeing on The Blacklist.
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