The Blacklist Review: Betting on the Long Plan

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It seemed unlikely that The Blacklist would be able to come up with a criminal and case as intense and suspenseful as last Monday's the Stewmaker - but the writers managed to do it with "The Courier." 

The FBI didn't have much trouble tracking down the Iranian or the Courier, but that was just the beginning of the whirlwind ride. The Courier can't feel pain, wasn't willing to talk and had implanted multiple items into his body. He's a freaky and dangerous guy.

Million Dollar Delivery

The Courier was facilitating an exchange of $20 million for an NSA Agent. If either client reneged on the deal, they both would be killed. What? That's extreme insurance to guarantee that both parties comply with their side of the deal.  This deal went all kinds of wrong.

The Blacklist is far from the first show to use the race against time to find someone buried alive as the suspense driver. Despite that common plot device, the components surrounding the search made it unique and left me on the edge of my seat. 

This show has branded itself as one to expected the unexpected, but then be shocked anyway. A sting went bad, why? When Ressler pretended to be the Courier, he didn't kill the client immediately. He cut himself without flinching to prove he had no feeling, but that wasn't enough to satisfy her. 

Instead, it was Red that cracked her. The threat that the real Courier would find her and finish the job was enough to get her to squeal. With her information, they were able to track down the Courier and save Seth.

Everytime Red opens his month, he's playing someone. He's such a natural that it's almost impossible to determine what's true and what's not. Sometimes when he's with Liz, he lets his guard down a tiny bit. He's using her, but protecting her. The mystery regarding both his use of her and concern for her is slowly revealed each week. 

After saving Seth, Red could have used a favor for anything and he used it to "help" Liz. There's very little that is concretely proven as fact with regards to either Red or Liz. And, his motivation for getting the assassination file for her falls very much in the gray area. It will all come down to the box. Is it Tom's? Or, was it planted there to implicate him? And, what does Red know about it?

The mystery of the box looks to be answered in next week's episode, though it certainly will just bring up more. When Tom found the box, he urgently wanted to talk to Liz. At first look, that suggested to me that he didn't know anything about it. And, supports that it was placed there to divide the married couple. If it was his, wouldn't he have run if he knew she found it?

The evidence against Tom piled up when Liz got the file about the murder in Boston. It seemed to implicate Tom, but is it what it seems? It would have been easy to draw him to Boston for a job interview to set him up as a scapegoat if the need came up. The Apple Man and the survelliance just further complicate the issue.

The final moment left it up in the air. Really anything is possible at this point, which makes the story so compelling. Given Tom's reaction and Red's comment, "I'm betting on the long plan. The future," I'm leaning towards the theory that Tom's being set up. In the end, it is all about Liz and all of their actions will be directly related back to her and her history.

Do you think it is Tom's box? Or is he being set up? Did he kill the guy in Boston? And, how must does Red really know? For the case, did you find the Courier case compelling?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Excellent cast but I wish they would replace the actress who plays Elizabeth. Her acting skills are non existent and she is the most unbelievable FBI agent. She is like milk pudding ...bland with no personality.


Love this show! Do think the actress playing Keen is a weak link, but she is getting better and bringing in Parminder Nagra was a stroke of genius, she's a great actress and balances out Keen's blandness.


I LOVE this show!! I have not enjoyed a drama on TV since Twin Peaks and Sopranos left. The acting on The Blacklist is superb, the writing excellent and the suspense level constantly keeps me guessing what's next. I am pretty convinced Red is not her father, but perhaps he knew her father well (in a bad or a good way?). I think each Blacklister had something to do with her father /family, and each will take Red (and ultimately Lizzie) one step further to whatever his goal is. No idea who the apple eater idea who is watching the house, but I think they're more interested in the husband.
I think the husband knows Lizzie found his secret box and is unsure of how much she knows, who she told, etc.. Maybe something is missing from the box and he now thinks she has it. I'm very curious to see how they handle this in the next few episodes!


I absolutely love this show. 1 of the best on TV. Great writing and acting, keeps you on the edge of your seat. I sure hope it is around for a while. If you haven't seen it you must check it out. I cant wait until the next episode!


Anyone else notice the mention near the end of 'The Adversary?' Was this the first mention? The Adversary is being sought by Red apparently. So is Lizzy connected to the adversary rather than to Red? Perhaps, as Red told her, 'it's because of your father.' why he is interested in her, she is the daughter of the adversary (!!!) I do enjoy the show. My only appointment TV this season.


I would bet the house that Red is either her father, or was very close to her father and that he has been watching her through her life. He obviously cares alot for her. Why else would that be?


Good to see Robert Knepper resurface in something new. James Spader continues to be most impressive along with the rest of the cast. Great writing on this show. If "The Following" had had writing 1/2 as good as this it would have been a much better show. I love the character development and how it never is the 'same' feel like so many other shows. I like that they mix it up and keeps us off guard.


I just saw next week's preview. From the looks of it, Tom IS guilty of something, but I'm not sure if it's the murder. Red is orchestrating all events surrounding Liz, and it seems as though he's been planning the total infiltration into her life for a long time. When she found out about Tom, she ended up with Red, and said she didn't know why she came to him. She's falling into his clutches. Maybe he's grooming her to join him on The Dark Side.


I am not sure if any of you used to watch Breaking Bad, but Red's assistant that said "Your future is coming now" played Skinny Pete on Breaking Bad. Quite a different role for him (Charles Baker) here.


I think Red planted the box there, because if Tom is out of Liz's life, he's the closest thing she'll have, and then he can control her more easily.

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The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Liz: You're not telling us everything.
Red: Let me put your mind at ease. I'm never telling you everything.

Speak of the Devil, it's the Devil.