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The Blacklist Review: Who is the Mole?

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After The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 10 concluded the entertainingly intense two-part mid-season finale, it was no surprise that The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 11 took some time to slow things down and get a little personal.

That’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of blood, death and deceit - but it was more of an hour that felt like a transitional phase with the standard case of the week.

Red Is On the Hunt

The premise of “The Good Samaritan” as a character is an interesting one: A man once abused by his mother, doling out the exact same pain and punishment to those who hurt their own family. He never quite killed them, simply leaving them on the brink of death instead. Such a nice guy.

It was good that viewers were able to initially question his motives, his reasons for not just killing them and slowly learn of his past.

He’s hurting people who hurt others. Is that a type of vigilantism we can root for? Heck, a show like Dexter explored that concept for multiple seasons.

And while it was a case close to Liz (one of his victims died in her arms) and it tried to explore those moral questions, that aspect of the hour ended up feeling like typical case of the week fare. We all know the Good Samaritan was going to die or be captured by the end of the episode in last minute fashion. Can you imagine if a Blacklister lasted longer than a couple episodes?

Really, it came as no surprise that the best moments involved any scene with Red.

James Spader plays that character with such command that it can be tough for anyone and anything around him to compete for screen presence. And he continues to do so week after week.

But we were reminded that despite his charisma, humor and charm, Red is a killer; one who doesn’t like to be played the fool.

He was ruthless and cunning, weeding out anything that got in his way and uncovering the clues to find the source of the leak. He's got some scores to settle.

From his meeting in the restaurant and shooting the man because he “couldn’t take the suspense,” to assembling his weapon as a timer before he would shoot alleged mole Aram (really glad it wasn’t him), to shooting the banker for a name but having to raincheck on the stroganoff... Red made those scenes tense, dangerous and entertaining.

It keeps his character interesting, and frankly, the more Spader gets to chew scenery, the better. He really does make this show.

I was a bit surprised the mole was revealed by the end of the episode - and that it was none other than Skinny Pete, I mean, Newton Phillips.

Although, when he appeared on the misty covered rocks at the end to see Red, I almost forgot who the character even was. I do wish we perhaps had more time with Newton so the uncovering would feel like the same huge betrayal for me as it did for Red.

That said, the show’s masterful use of music came through again in that tragic death, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 16 finale promos that used the same song, “Line of Fire” by Junip. It was a rather fitting moment with a haunting melody that played over the scene.

Poor Newton, threatened by Alan Alda’s group, who - surprise, surprise - is connected to the government. I hope we continue to see his character as I think he’s a good and worthy adversary for Red.

It may be fun to watch Red gain the upper hand and know every detail before everyone else, but it’s also nice to see that there is someone out there that poses a real threat and match for him.

I’m still wary of Tom, though. I mean, who doesn’t tell their wife about a job interview in Nebraska that happens to have you fly out for it that afternoon? Way too suspicious, especially if the couple didn’t talk about the job or the possibility of moving. Does he really think that if he gets it, Liz will move? Or is the job interview not really a job interview at all and something more covert and mysterious?

Either way, I’m sure Red will put Liz on the trail. After all, their finally back together and ready to move on to the next chapter. I wonder what aptly nicknamed member of the Blacklist will come up next?

What do you think? Is Tom really just a mild-mannerd teacher or is he someone Liz shouldn't trust?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
  • 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (70 Votes)

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

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I'm still waiting to hear about Lizzie's mom...maybe she on the blacklist...Red her protector. I don't like Tom wether he good or bad!
I'm leaning toward MEERA more so than Ressler as bad. James Spader is the show and most of the supporting characters except for the computer guy are bland especially the director guy. Love to see more Alan Alda and Jane Alexander...that is the tangled web.

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I may sound dense, but can anyone explain Alan Alda's part to me and what part of the government is he in?

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@ Tryin_to_get_it_

He's a powerful US Senator who presumably heads up a few government sub-committees and has either become corrupt or crazy or both

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@ Tryin_to_get_it_

Alan Alda is playing a member of an unknown organization which Red has information about, and they hired Anslo Garrick to attack the Post Office and try to see if Red's partnership with the FBI led to the discovery of said information. As for what part of the government he's in, it was never stated, but based on what I read in the episode guide, he might have a connection to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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I think the mole is Tom. He gets pulled to the Post Office, gets to see the layout of the place, and then a week later the place is invaded? Far too much co-incidence. They hinted at it when questioning Lizzy about taking a civilian into the Post Office.
Plus the phone calls from the Post office to the lookout post at Lizzy's place doesn't make sense. Wouldn't it be more the other way around? They're watching Lizzy go to the Post Office which more than likely means Red is there and that triggers the incursion? If all the operatives are being watched, it's a bit of a co-incidence that it happens to be Lizzy's watch that receives the phone calls, and not the 10 other surveillance teams.
Lizzy is definitely the weak part of the show. The writing for her is not consistent. She's meant to be a rookie agent, instead she's suddenly John McLane from Die Hard? Huh? She's only been in the job for a few months at most, and she's a psychologist. Since the pilot, when has she actually used any profiling skills? Never

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Count me among those who do not remember the mole from earlier episodes. Some kind of quick flash-back would have refreshed a lot of memories. I also have a hard time with some of the violence on this show. It is graphic where it doesn't have to be. When you have a character as strong as Red you don't need gratuitous violence to hold viewer interest. Lizzy is growing on me. She has always been a cutie but I initially had a hard time caring about what happened to her. In the last couple of episodes her character has become a little more kick ass and a little less whiny. She seems to have accepted her relationship with Red and is actually embracing it to a certain degree. (And she's still a cutie).

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I believe the mole is really Ressler. If you look at the scene where he was shot in Anslo Garrick P1, it looks like the shotgun was intentionally aimed at his leg, instead of trying for a fatal shot at the head and chest.

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I love Red Reddington. I think if you are going to be bad you should be bad! James Spader did an interview where he said make no mistake Red is a bad guy. I wondered why Red did not kill the banker when he had no problem killing the "little" people: the EMT/Doc and who ever that third guy was but left him alive. Red just telling Alan Alda, knew he would be back to great of an actor just for one epi., yes you may be able to take me out at any time but I will not go easy and I can take you out at any time. The bankers wife was getting on my nerves and I wanted Red to shoot her! I have a problem with the "mole". This guy knows what Red is like why did he not just tell Red what was going on? I would rather be on Red's good side than his bad. Also I am getting tired of the Tom storyline. It is time the viewers know if Tom is a good guy or a bad guy. It is ok for Lizzie not to know for a little while longer but this is getting old. Why is Tom so bent on moving to Nebraska? Also if Tom is so bad why hasn't Red just killed him? Why keep him around? Red had not problem killing Lizzie's dad why not kill Tom? Move it along writers! Best line of the show--Lizzie to Red: Did you bring me anything? Also I agree the music on this show is great.

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I love this show. But Megan Boone is just... Well, "very average" is the best I can do....

Sarah-silva

This was a great episode!
Red had some pretty funny and great lines.
I still think Tom is innocent and that Red is not her dad.
Time will tell for both items.
The mole is Meera (yes she was cleared but that was a little fast as no one else was cleared) then she had to tell the boss that Elizabeth had talked to Red.

Terrie
@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

I don't think Phillips was the mole. I think we've been thrown a bone. I don't think it is Meera either. I think it's Ressler. I've read a lot on this show and everybodies main complaint seems to be Megan Boone(Liz). James Spader continues to steal every scene he's in. You can't even focus on the others in the scene with him because your so engrossed in his performance and what he's going to do and say.

Malka-gittel-bas-reuven

Someone found this episode creepy? But "creepy" has historically been Jimmy Spader's middle name. They haven't clearly shown who the FBI mole is, but much as I am finally thawing towards Ressler, the fact that Alda's character is clearly highly placed in the bureaucratic community makes it plausible that Ressler is the mole. Until Red saved his life, he's always wanted to get Red, and Alda's character could have offered that chance, while Ressler would feel that he had government authority, which would be important to him.

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Of course Alan Alda is dirty…very dirty