TV Show Review

TV Review: THE BLACKLIST: Season 4, Episode 2: Mato (No. 66) [NBC]

James Spader Susan Blommaert Jack Topalian The Blacklist

The Blacklist Mato (No. 66) Review

The Blacklist: Season 4, Episode 2: Mato (No. 66) isn’t as enthralling as it’s predecessor, but it more than adequately moves the show’s story forward.

In a move that came as a welcome surprise to this reviewer, the antagonist of the episode, the titular Mato (Raoul Max Trujillo), was none other than the hateful hitman from last week’s episode. You might remember him as the nasty cad who left Tom (Ryan Eggold) for dead and kidnapped and at one point even threatened baby Agnes. So you could imagine the pleasure many viewers likely felt at the thought that this incontrovertible monster would get his just desserts from Red (James Spader) come the episode’s end.

And come it does, but disappointingly, it is not in the least bit satisfying. Despite being the namesake for this particular show, Mato himself barely figures into the story’s action, and not in the “less is more” approach we have seen used with other Blacklisters. It’s barely been a week since we were introduced to the character, so we not only already have some idea of what Red’s up against, but we also expect his demise to be handled appropriately, for the punishment to fit the crime so to speak. By making Mato a secondary character in his own episode, we lose the sense of proportion we were expecting his death to be dealt with after he was built up into something that he apparently was not.

Not only does Mato come across as a supporting figure in the program, but the cruelty he displayed in Esteban appears to have inexplicably been dialed back, almost as if the creators had second thoughts about making him such a contemptible character. In fact, Red comes across as an even bigger monster which, as Blacklist fans will know, is saying a lot. Siccing Tom on an old friend of his (Jack Topalian) undergoing surgery in order to track down Mato is an example, albeit not the main one.

That, of course, would be his killing of Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) at the end of the episode. We know that she betrayed him, and we know that Red is as amoral as they come, but we like Red, and we like Mr. Kaplan, so we expect him to forgive her just as he has forgiven any number of transgressions committed against him. Her death, while perhaps foreseeable, still comes across as surprising, although the very last shot of the episode suggests that Red might not be as great a shot as he thinks he is. At any rate, it will be sure to prompt discussion among The Blacklist viewers for weeks to come.

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About the author

Reggie Peralta

I am a recent UCLA political science graduate and current Fullerton College Radio and Television/Video Production student.

  • jj1960

    Nicos was not a friend of Red’s, but a friend of Mr. Kaplan’s. Red’s motto is “Loyalty above all else,” and Kate suffered the same end as all those close to him suffered for disloyalty….death. The only thing different is he did not kill her. Time will tell if that was intentional or not.

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