The Blacklist Review: The Hidden Truth

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With a show like The Blacklist, the series is bound to have some pretty formulaic episodes from time to time. That can’t be avoided.

But I was expecting something far more interesting coming off the heels of a massive attack in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 10, Red eliminating the man who betrayed him in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 11 and the continued prospect that there was a mole still on the FBI’s side.

While there were a few decent moments, The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 12 unfortunately was a rather bland adventure of the week.

The Alchemist was a creative character... in theory. Someone who “protects” the guilty, can turn them into entirely different people with his mastery of genetic manipulation and hides them from being found? He’s bound to be memorable.

Instead, he’s a guy obsessed with the lab and his family. There’s no charisma or charm involved, leaving this important blacklister as just another check mark. Even the FBI’s chase to track him down felt like something we’ve all seen before on countless procedurals. Not to mention the cliche standoff where the hero character puts themselves on the line in dramatic fashion to try and negotiate.

Liz’s actions just felt silly at that point.

And while the Alchemist was gunned down, his secret list was conveniently still available. So, you know, no big deal.

It’s tough to find interest when not even Red is willing to stick around and help out. Having his character with less screen time, and noticeably so, was definitely a negative.

I know he had his own business to deal with (just who is Lucy Brooks?) but his character really helps sell this show. I kept wondering when he would come back or when we would see him take part.

Sure, he was able to uncover the FBI’s mole, Meera, but that confrontation was saved for the last few minutes of the episode to have us eagerly looking forward to the next time. It does make me wonder why she would be the mole in the first place, though.

I did appreciate the attempts at providing some character drama outside of the case, even if that didn’t feel all that inspiring.

Sure, Tom skipped his “interview” for Liz, but those two dug themselves further into drama territory and further apart in their relationship. It all just felt so obvious with the arguments about the baby and work, not to mention the “substitute teacher” who has lured Tom to check out a photograph exhibit.

C’mon, Tom. Don’t fall for that one.

I guess it was inevitable for the couple to have some problems, but I find the issues with trusting who Tom actually is more fascinating than their arguments about dinner dates and baby shower parties.

As for Agent Ressler, it’s good he gets to have something to do outside of the office. Did his dinner with his former flame feel like a forced way to give him that something else to do? Maybe. Is it convenient that she also put her current relationship on hold? Possibly.

I like his character, though, so I’m willing to see where it goes.

However, this hour just wasn’t one I’d be rushing to watch again. With a case that should have been more than standard and a huge lack of Red, it's too bad the Alchemist couldn’t have switched this episode with a more engaging version. Hopefully, dealing with Meera as the mole turns The Blacklist back into its thrilling self.

So Meera is the mole! What should Red do with her?


Editor Rating: 2.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (68 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I think it was how this episode ended that made it feel *not* like the Blacklist. A shoot out in a convenience store? I know every ep can't be insane but I have to agree the ending of the alchemist left me kind of flat. Such an intriguing character could have been used again.
Substitute teacher has for sure been hired by someone...
That was a crap move by Tom to lie about making dinner then bail when Liz said she was on her way hone with Chinese. Like another poster said, doesn't he know what her job entails???


The new teacher going after Tom, guess who hired her. Turns out to be Red. Red has always warned Liz about her husband. I've long thought Tom is in Alan Alda's circle of power, with primary job as a cleaner. So Red can't help Liz by directly taking Tom out, so he hires this teacher to break the two up. If they get a divorce due to him cheating on Liz, Liz is then protected and Red potentially can take Tom out without blowback by Liz, or turn him against Alan Alda's character for information.

Sarah silva

I personally enjoyed this episode.
The Alchemist was an interesting # on the list. It was crazy all the things he did. I did find him creepy, especially when he was talking to the girl that showed up for the audition.
I have said for weeks that Meera was the mole.
Red going after Meera was the business that he was referring to when he grabbed the list from Liz and did not look at it and said he had unfinished business to attend to.
I still think Tom is not bad, however I do not like that he seems to like the 'substitute teacher". We all know she was sent by someone to hurt Tom or in the very least seduce Tom and he seems to be into her already. If he could be interested in another woman then he really does not love Liz and just wants a baby. Has Tom not known what Liz's job is for a long time? He should be more understanding. Liz loves Tom and wants to be with him and they had dinner plans, but she does not have a 9-5 job. She can not be in pursuit of the Alchemist and then all the sudden just say: "Sorry guys, Tom is waiting with dinner at home, I am out of here".
So Ressler and his ex will get back together.


Poll Option #5: He should hire her to work for him.

@ Jenny

lol. That would work!


I don't think Meera is the mole even though she stated she was.....................she's a pawn for the real mole.................

@ Terrie

He's going to kill her anyway.


This is an excellent series and this episode was fast paced and we got more info on all the characters. I think this review was too harsh. Red can't kill someone every episode or he would a monster. Now he's just interesting. I hope we get Toms story soon. I'm really torn between liking him or he's creeping me out.


I have the same feeling about Tom. I don't know what to believe. is he the harmless teacher or a damn good agent?

@ martinelli

Agent. Why would you fly to Nebraska and not go to the interviews? Was probably a debriefing of some sort.

@ 3dhouse

I don't know. I'm trying to figure it out why would Red want to protect Liz from him? So far he did nothing wrong, at least we don't know it yet. Ok, he went out now with that girl but let's be honest, Liz missed the appointment for the adoption, were late many times, Tom has been tortured because of her etc.
He must have don something to turn Red against him.

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