The Blacklist Ruin Review
The Blacklist: Season 5, Episode 9: Ruin is a powerful midseason opener and far and away the strongest episode we’ve seen since Season 3’s Cape May.
Opening to the accompaniment of Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”, we see Liz (Megan Boone) go about her new life as “Grace”, living in a cabin out in a remote mountain community. Although her daily routine might strike one as mundane at first, the melancholy music and the sheer expression on her face drive home the fact that she feels dead on the inside. It’s quite the departure from the action that we’re come to expect from typical episodes of the show, having more in common with the contemplative nature of the aforementioned Cape May.
It could easily be said that this episode serves as a sort of May for Liz, not only in terms of the moody tone but also because the rest of the show’s regulars don’t really figure into the story. As a matter of fact, Red (James Spader) and Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) are the only ones who appear, albeit briefly, in the continuity of the program’s events: the rest, from series staples like Aram (Amir Arison) and Cooper (Harry Lennix) to recurring favorite Susie Hargrave (Famke Janssen) pop up only in sepia-toned flashback. This heightens the sense of isolation from not just the other characters but the show as a whole, making it feel like we’re in a whole different world removed from the intrigue of The Blacklist.
What we’re not removed from, however, is the violence that’s so characteristic of the program. Just as it looks like Liz has put her past with Tom (Ryan Eggold) and the FBI behind her, trouble arrives in the form of several mobsters trying to retrieve their “cargo” (that is, a snitch). Led by the sharp-faced Bill (William Mapother), the gangsters are pretty generic villains but considering that they’re supposed to be little more than baddies of the week they actually work pretty well. Mapother is particularly good, seamlessly transitioning from unpleasant rich dude to menacing mobster when his and his men’s cover is blown. But the most menacing character of all is Liz herself, consumed by her lust for revenge against Tom’s killers and all too happy to get some “practice” in with Bill and company. The particular unpleasantries she has in store for him, including putting broken glass in the ice cubes he chews and setting a bear trap for him, demonstrate how far Liz has gone morally, and leave us wondering where she will go from here in upcoming episodes of The Blacklist.
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