TV Show Review

TV Review: THE BLACKLIST: Season 5, Episode 6: The Travel Agency (No. 90) [NBC]

Megan Boone James Spader The Blacklist

The Blacklist: The Travel Agency (No. 90) Review

The Blacklist: Season 5, Episode 6: The Travel Agency (No. 90) splits its attention between two stories but doesn’t manage to strike the right balance between them.

This doesn’t even take into account the bait and switch pulled by the episode’s promo, which led us to believe that it would focus on Cooper’s (Harry Lennix) efforts to rescue a cop he believes is in danger.  Instead, that storyline functions as a subplot to the one actually involving this week’s Blacklister. After the confusion and intrigue of the previous week’s episode, this week’s antagonist comes across as fairly typical as far as his ilk go. Indeed, the most shocking thing about Calvin Dawson (Kevin J. O’Connor) is probably the very visible gore that results when he dispatches of his first victim.

Gratuitously rendered, the bloodshed stands out from the relatively clean kills the show’s litany of gunmen usually perform. Curiously though, when Calvin grabs an axe and is just about ready to chop his quarry into little pieces, the scene cuts to the show’s opening graphics, leaving one to wonder why they bothered showing this nasty little display if they weren’t going to show the even more gruesome act it was a prelude to.

However, the program throws us a curveball by revealing that Calvin suffers from amnesia and is actually not responsible for the killings traced back to him. The culprit, as it turns out, is his wife (Johanna Day), in a reveal that’s more sloppy than shocking and a far cry from the excellently-executed twists of such episodes as The Djinn. One can understand that with a Blacklister as done to death as Calvin the show’s writers needed to shake things up, but one still wishes they could have found a more profound way to do so.

Returning to the subplot, it would appear that the writers wanted to revisit the subject of police shootings that they previously addressed in Miss Rebecca Thrall. This time around, however, the show has gone full woke, with Cooper and one of his quarries going back and forth about how the justice system is stacked against African-Americans. But lest Cooper get too high and mighty, Red (James Spader) reminds him that he is not only a cop but an assistant director for the FBI, and thus occupies a much more privileged place than he thinks. This particular moment embodies the politics of The Blacklist at their best, touching on important issues of the day without letting anyone get starry-eyed about them and definitely not letting them get in the way of telling a good story.

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About the author

Reggie Peralta

An aspiring writer, longtime film junkie, and former UCLARadio.com disc jockey (where I graduated with a BA in Political Science), I’ve made the jump from penning book reviews and current events editorials for HonorSociety.org to writing movie and TV news and reviews.

When I’m not working towards my certificate in Radio and Television/Video Production at Fullerton College, I enjoy reading (horror, science fiction, and historical/political nonfiction are particular favorites), participating in my school’s TV and theatre clubs, attending movie screenings, plays, concerts, and other events, and trying to come up with pithy things to say on social media. Believe it or not, there are occasions where I find time to write for my own leisure.

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