TV Show Review

TV Review: THE BLACKLIST: Season 5, Episode 11: Abraham Stern (No. 100) [NBC]

Aida Turturro Nathan Lane The Blacklist

The Blacklist Abraham Stern (No. 100) Review

The Blacklist: Season 5, Episode 11: Abraham Stern (No. 100). This The Blacklist Abraham Stern (No. 100) review maintains that although it is much lighter in tone than the preceding episode, Wednesday night’s show manages to stand out with clever banter and a memorable guest star performance.

When it comes to great potential guest stars for The Blacklist, I doubt that Nathan Lane is the first person that comes to mind. Perhaps someone with a long history of playing villains like Christopher Walken, Joe Pesci, or Gary Oldman, but not the Birdcage star. Yet somehow Lane shines as the titular antagonist, a feat that’s all them more surprising because he refrains from hamming it up like, say, Tony Shalhoub or any number of other Blacklisters. The closest he comes to going full ham is when he briefly affects a British accent, and even that is handled with remarkable subtlety. As a whole, Lane plays the role fairly low-key, conveying a certain sense of quiet desperation when he explains his obsession with tracking down the episode’s MacGuffin (the last of the four 1943 bronze Lincoln pennies, in case you’re wondering). He still comes across as threatening, but it’s more of a cunning kind of menace than the kind you’d associate with sheer force, making him a good sparring partner for Red (James Spader).

One would assume that Lane’s mild performance would clash with the comparatively light feel of the program, but somehow it meshes very well with it. The light mood is especially surprising giving the dark nature of the previous episodes, with Liz’s (Megan Boone) quest for Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) killers being toned down this time around. With the help of Glen (Clark Middleton), she actually gets in one of the funniest moments of the episode, persuading him to fake a heart attack in a police station so she can get information about her quarries. The cherry on top is when Glen receives a get-well letter from Red when he’s recovering in the hospital that warns the nurses on standby that he is a “licentious cur.” Feigning ignorance, Glen says he thinks it’s meant to be a compliment, reminding us of both how sleazy he is and why he and Red complement each other so well.

Regarding some of the musical choices here, none of them stand out the way the Leonard Cohen song in Ruin did. To be fair however, the music is just an accouterment, with the draw, like with most memorable episodes of The Blacklist, being the writing and acting.

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About the author

Reggie Peralta

An aspiring writer, longtime film junkie, and former 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 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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