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The Blacklist Review: Line in the Sand

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How far would you go to protect someone you love? Would you kill large groups of innocent people for medical testing?

That's what Frederick Barnes did on The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 7. In order to find a cure for his son's rare disease, he spread a modified fast-acting version of the disease in a train car that killed everyone on board. 

A Subway Attack

Of course, neither the FBI or Red knew exactly why Barnes went from being a highly respected scientist, to a scientist for hire to the highest bidder, and then finally to someone who distributed his work. Based on this shift, Red called him the "most dangerous man in the world." Based on his intellect, he could cause massive fatalities.

Liz and Ressler believed they uncovered the Barnes' motive when they found out that Barnes' secret son has Kurz disease. They thought he wanted to infect more people, draw attention to the disease and force interest in finding a cure. They were wrong. Barnes' plan was much more conniving than that.

After killing the train car full of people, Barnes' next target was a court room. And, his true plan was revealed. He was looking for someone with a with a natural immunity to the disease in order to use their bone marrow to save his son. 

The investigation felt off compared to the first six in The Blacklist season 1. For the first time, the show played more like other procedurals on television than a complex drama driven by the mysterious characters. And, for one episode that worked to highlight the importance of the partnership between Liz and Red.

Liz was still pissed off at Red for presumably setting up Tom. She didn't want to have anything to do with him, but for the good of the case communicated and met with him as necessary for the case. When he asked her to go to Cuba with him, she refused. And, he appeased her ... then.

Red was not about to let Liz go though. With the case solved, he pressed the issue. She wanted him to stay out of her personal life, but that was a non-starter. It was all or nothing. And, Liz's desire to protect people and solve cases superseded her disdain for him and his interference in her life.

While Liz believes that Red is trying to turn her against her husband, she's still intrigued by Red and the secrets that he holds. She doesn't seem to have any clue what he is holding out from her, but she has some sense that it's important or she wouldn't continue to tolerate him. 

It's not just about solving cases and providing her with extra status at the FBI, though that certainly has to play a part. Red does provide her some job protection. For example, Red may be her way out of disciplinary action after breaking protocol by giving up her gun and letting Barnes go.

This is personal and there is no avoiding it. And Red makes that crystal clear.

You know the problem with drawing lines in the sand? With a breath of air, they disappear. You may not like me. You may not understand how or why I do what I do. But I'm here because you want answers to questions you haven't even thought of yet.

From the previews, it looks like we may get some insight into what that all means in next week's episode, "General Ludd." While the connection between Red and Liz wasn't advanced in this hour, we did find out more about Red himself.

He had his associate, Luli, pay double in cash for a house. He wanted that house no matter the cost, but not to live in. His memories of the place initially appeared to be happy ones. He uncovered the height markings of a child on the wall and then remembered a girl playing in the yard.

Those memories made him smile momentarily, but then he left and had the house blown up. What happened to his family? We know he had a wife and daughter that he supposedly left behind when he went underground. Did something happen to them? And, was it before or after he turned to the criminal life? One thing that's sure is that Red's full of mystery.

Should Liz have agreed to Red's terms? Or, pushed him away? Does she really trust Tom 100% now? Or, does she still have doubts?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
  • 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (97 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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The old man with grey hair from the bunch of mercs that took down the surveillance center is a badass!

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@ guest

He was cool! I was thinking the FBI needed those guys.

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It has not been explored yet, but it has been hinted: There is something going on between Red and Cooper. There is a significant past there that will come out. Why else would Cooper let Red dictate everything? Yes, Cooper gets to collar the bad guys.... We shall see.

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It's obviously from pretty much episode one that red is Elizabeth's father that discussion point should be mute

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Elizabeth Keen - Victim! Red's got her caged and powerless in a corner. Her only recourse is to supplicate to him. Grrrr! Ressler and Cooper are too eager to throw her to the wolves. If Tom is hiding something, at least he's being kind. Abandoning her marriage would be too easy. I actually hope it doesn't happen. What do I ultimately want to see from the storyline? Liz kicking some serious butt. I was hoping she would have given Red his walking papers, and that he'd have to fight to regain her trust. It's all been too easy for him, and I am not liking this. To add, I'm still on the fence over Megan Boone's performance. She's too girlie. Too bad Anna Torv previously played a similar role in Fringe. Even though she's beautiful, she added a fabulous macho edge to her character, Agent Dunham. She would've been great in this role opposite Spader.

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Elizabeth Keen - Victim! Red's got her caged and powerless in a corner. Her only recourse is to supplicate to him. Grrrr! Ressler and Cooper are too eager to throw her to the wolves. If Tom is hiding something, at least he's being kind. Abandoning her marriage would be too easy. I actually hope it doesn't happen. What do I ultimately want to see from the storyline? Liz kicking some serious ass. I was hoping she would have given Red his walking papers, and that he'd have to fight to regain her trust. It's all been too easy for him, and I am not liking this. To add, I'm still on the fence over Megan Boone's performance. She's too girlie. Too bad Anna Torv previously played a similar role in Fringe. Even though she's beautiful, she added a fabulous macho edge to her character, Agent Dunham. She would've been great in this role opposite Spader.

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I really noticed it last episode but it happened again this episode and deserved a mention: for all his larger-than-life scene chewing, James Spader is at his most menacing when he sits in silence. Robert Sean Leonard was brilliantly understated here. It's too bad we never saw him share a scene with Spader, since they worked with two of television's biggest scene stealers. :) I liked the back story on Red, not what I thought the house would represent. I've yet to find Tom likable or trustworthy. Hopefully the writers will strengthen the ensemble. There's a lot of talent but all of the characters remain very flat.

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I find it hard to believe that Red set up Tom. Can't imagine they would be able to trace anything back to him if he didn't want it traced back to him. He is that good. Why she didn't think of this is beyond me. Red is a master manipulator so what's really going on? The "Apple Guy" made a comment about Tom obviously not working for Red, so they know he is working for someone. There are a lot of holes in this Red set up Tom scenario. btw, don't like Liz at all. She is wishy washy and whines to much to be a field agent. The CIA agent is badass!!!

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@ Nisan

I've tried to watch this show because it is Supposed to be so great. Watched the first eppy most of the second eppy and find Red to be extremely unlikeable and the rest of the cast yes are rather flat and I don't get his fascination with Liz unless she is his daughter. I only watched last night to see RSL I loved him as Wilson on House. I would have liked to have seen Spader and Leonard in scenes together.

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He guys check out tv guide online and go to the photo galleries and look at Wigs: trick or treat. Lizzie is on the list. She has a short hair cut and the short haircut makes her look a little older. I bet next year she will have her real hair. You can tell most of the people on that list are wearing wigs but 2-3 of them I was really surprised they had on wigs.

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I was wondering why Red wanted the house. I knew he was going to destroy it. I wonder if the little girl is Lizzie or the the girl that Red took the picture out of The Stewmaker's book???? This show keeps you guessing, I just love it! I still don't know about Tom. I wonder why Tom is not more mad about the way Lizzie and her co-workers treated him last week. If it where me I would be mad as hell and not so easy going. Something is up that and where was apple eating guy this week? Also Tom was remodeling the house why did he not find all the cameras? Why has Lizzie not noticed the cameras?

Sarah-silva

I knew that Red wanted the house because it was his old house. When he was walking out I was just waiting for the explosion.
He has bad memories of that house and wanted it gone once and for all.
I knew that Liz would not tell Red that he has to leave. She knows the FBI needs him to solve all this cases.
She also does not want to let him go as she still wants answers about what he knows about her, even though she lost her trust in him with the whole Tom situation.
I think for right now Liz trusts Tom. I still maintain he is innocent. Time will tell.
With every episode I start to think more and more that Ressler and their boss are in on all this and are bad guys. No one at the FBI has Liz's back 100%.