The Blacklist: Ian Garvey (No. 13) Review
The Blacklist: Season 5, Episode 8: Ian Garvey (No. 13) isn’t very neat when it comes to tying its loose ends but it is very much neat to look at.
Coming on the heels of last week’s Blacklister Colin Kilgannon, Ian Garvey (Jonny Coyne) doesn’t cut such an impressive figure. Middle-aged and corpulent, he is an unassuming individual who never really captures the imagination of viewers. His brutality was established in the last episode with his torture and murder of Lena and it’s indulged further this time, but his cruelty and callousness don’t tell us anything about him aside from the fact that he is cruel and callous. All in all, he reminds me of Mato, a second-rate Blacklister from Season 4 who would have been entirely forgettable had the show not gone out of its way to make him extremely unlikeable.
What the episode does have going for it is some truly remarkable editing, with a surprising amount of the program shot in slow-motion. In fact, there are three major sequences that feature the use of slo-mo: Red (James Spader), Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), and Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) first encounter with their pursuers, Tom and Liz’s (Megan Boone) escape from their captors, and the team’s subsequent rushing of the wounded Tom to the hospital. So in total, there are three such scenes, showing a desire on the part of the creators to breathe much-needed life into the standard Blacklist formula that works for the most part. Anyone who is honest about why they like The Blacklist is unlikely to cite the editing and camerawork as a reason, so the use of both here stands out even more so than it otherwise would.
It’s not just that that the show uses slo-mo – 15 years after The Matrix, I find it hard to believe anyone would be impressed solely by that – but that it uses in effective and appropriate ways. The delayed movement of Tom and Liz as they try to fight the thugs holding them contributes to the feeling of a struggle for life and death between the two parties, while the same effect adds to the weight we feel when Tom is taken to the hospital and it appears unclear if he will make it or not. Compounding the power of the latter scene is a cover of “The Sound of Silence” playing in the background. Wary as I am of covers of classic songs on TV, I found this version to be both memorable and moving in its own way as well as well-suited to the events it served as background music to.
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