The Blacklist Review: Lies and Manipulations

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It's tough to know what's accurate on The Blacklist. It seems like there are more lies being told than truths.

On The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 14, Madeline Pratt draws Red out by stealing $10 million from his safe deposit box in Istanbul.

In response, he goes to Liz for help and that's the beginning of conflicting ruses and antics.

Red's continued manipulation of Liz is becoming more suspect as their relationship continues. When he was trying to get her to help him whenever she would ask him a question, he would deflect it by bringing up her personal life. For example, when Liz questioned his motives and he brought up the baby. 

Red gets results, but at what cost? How much manipulation will Liz and the FBI withstand before they've had enough and decide to lock Red up as the criminal he is? When Red returned to the Post Office before the mole was officially captured, Harold believed that Diane's disappearance could be attributed to Red. Even with the suspicions, Harold allowed Liz to go into the Syrian Embassy on the heist.

Red is usually the one doing the manipulation, but this time he was played by Madeline. I was surprised to see that Red was willing to put Liz at risk for a woman that shouldn't have been trusted. Madeline double-crossed Red and Liz. She wanted Liz to attempt to steal the statue to deflect attention from her. While Liz set off an alarm and was captured, Madeline stole and escaped with the statue.

In the end, Red got his payback. After rescuing Liz, Red met up with Madeline and the two of them were captured and held behind bars. Red explained his absence years before to her by telling the story about how his family was killed. Red sold the tale brilliantly and it brought tears to her eyes. When he was pulled out of the cell, she was willing to give up the statue's location to protect him.

Sucker! I didn't see it coming either. Red set up their capture in order to get the truth from her. Brilliant move. It worked and Red got a bargaining chip to use with the FBI.

Was the story about his family true? I don't know. I wouldn't bet a penny that anything Red says is true, but there probably was a bit of truth to the story. This story just heightened my irritation over the lack of answers about Red and Liz's pasts. At this point in the season, we should have more answers.

We don't really know Red, Liz, Tom or Jolene. Their pasts are clouded in mystery and somehow intertwined. With only 8 episodes left in The Blacklist season 1, I really hope that answers are coming. At this point, the weekly takedowns (or not in this case) aren't enough to hold my interest.

It's becoming more difficult to believe the FBI would put up with Red's behavior. He retrieved the location of the suitcase nukes and would only turn them over in exchange for the statue. Why would the FBI agree to that? It's frustrating. Plus, Madeline, got away and not empty-handed. She took the $40 million painting from the home where Red was staying.

Meanwhile, Liz's marriage continued to fall apart. Tom walked out on her and then went to Orlando early without her. If that wasn't bad enough, he ran into the mysterious, flirtatious Jolene at the hotel.

Liz is too smart to not see that Red is manipulating her both personally and professionally. Something has to give in regards to Red for it to remain believable. Now that Harold has been called off the investigation into Diane disappearance, perhaps he'll become more suspicious of Red.

Should the FBI arrest Red?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (49 Votes)

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


I personally like the fact that we aren't being handed all of the answers yet. If this was a one season show then I would agree they need to start answering some questions but hopefully it will go on for many seasons. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Too bad society is all about the instant gratification anymore. Few people appreciate the seduction. Also, we have been given bits of information as the episodes are evolving -- it's just not the information you want. While the individual Blacklist may not be fully understood, it is clear Red knew the "war" was coming when he went to the FBI and is setting up an alignment with a powerful organization. Also, we've been told for months to be wary of Tom and we are learning that he is as unscrupulous as Red has been saying. That mystery will be fully or at least adequately known in the next episode. As for Red and Lizzie, I like the mystery about who he is to her -- it gives the viewer the chance to develop theories of their own. People who enjoy good mystery novels understand the multitude of twists and turns and the slow unveiling of new information gives the audience a chance to develop their own ideas, thus making the final reveal all the more exciting. When too many clues are given too fast the final result is just another dull arc that is easily forgotten in the next plot.


I think the guy Cooper was talking to in the end is really working for Alan Alda's organization, and they don't want the investigation into Fowler's death to reveal any information.


Oh and I loved the beginning when he was talking about the painting and saying he couldn't sleep imaging the horrible music she was playing. too funny!


Liz is far from smart. I am shocked she is even in the FBI. And how would Ressler's girlfriend understand if he was late? She dumped him due to his job. Let's see, she was his fiancé, dumped him. Now she's dumped her current fiancé for him.


As soon as Red and Pratt were captured and locked up, I (correctly) screamed Mission Impossible/Implausible. That twist did not surprise me since was a classic IMF scenario - All that was missing was the Mission Accomplished music at the end when you are shown it was a set-up.


I was a bit disappointed with the lack of plot twist. This episode was a bit formulaic. The one bright spot was when Red was flipping through photos of Madeline, one had her at a table with ted cruz. Very nice touch. I'm hoping they will explore the shadow government that Alan Alda is from. The tom story line is lame.


Totally agree. It is the same thing every week. It has now gone beyond entertaining to annoying. Give us some answers for goodness sake.
I feel like I am watching the same show week after week. I am about to ditch it.


So Red and Madeline like playing games with each other and also having sex with each other. Really glad they did not show it just talked about it. I knew Madeline was playing Red and Red knew it. It was interesting to see he let Lizzie get pulled in but I guess he knew Madeline would not hurt her. Also who did not see a mile away that Red set up him and Madeline being kidnapped I can't believe Carla Day you did not see that. Red and Madeline play games....I wonder if we will see more of her? I can understand why Tom gets so angry at Lizzie about the baby but I don't understand why they want a baby. Lizzie is too busy at work and her work is dangerous the baby could be harmed or Lizzie killed---why have a baby? I don't get this storyline at all. Also why is Ressler asking to beat Tom up? Isn't work what broke him and the girl he is back with now? I am so glad that it seems like we will get some Tom answers next week. Also doing the Olympics they played the clip of Lizzie asking Red was he her father and he answers that is a complicated question when on the original show he tells her no. What's up with that? Also learned new word...Effigy.

@ Grimmfan#10

The baby thing was a central component of the every first episode, which was also Liz's first day of a new job. The job changed with Red's insistence on having Liz work with him so the viability of adoption dropped drastically. Tom is holding on to what he thinks they both agreed to and have kept investing time and emotional effort into.
I saw the whole Red double cross immediately. It really was too transparent. And the whole story was too un-Red like.
I liked Pratt even though you could see her self satisfied smirks as she pulled off one double cross or con after another.

Sarah silva

The whole premise of the show is for Red the bad guy who should be in jail, to help the FBI. The deal he made Episode 1 was that he would remain out of jail as long as it takes to help the FBI capture members of the Blacklist. At least that is my opinion.
I love reading reviews and it is always great hearing others opinions!
If all the shows on tv were based on real life and always had some reality to it, there would barely be any shows on tv! This show is great and entertaining!
So glad the show is back, we get 2 new episodes this week and next but then NBC wants people to watch Believe so they are airing in 2 Mondays from now so there will be another week of no Blacklist!
I used to root for Liz and Tom but not anymore, watching Tom be mad then fine and happy then mad again is getting old. He will cheat on Lizzie with Jolene, who will in turn hurt him and Liz will have to come to his rescue! Then maybe Tom will smarten up and maybe I root for them again.
Red was on fire tonight, he has so many great lines tonight! James Spader delivers them so well!
If I had to choose my favorite I would say it was commenting on Liz's clutch.
Red manipulating Madeline with his story and their fake capture was fantastic.
I also loved Ressler asking Liz is she wanted him to rough Tom up....YES I do.
I also like that when she was upset, he stayed with her and said his girlfriend would understand if he was late for dinner.
I like Ressler more and more and I think I want Liz and Ressler together.

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

The reviewer stated there's only 8 more episodes for this it makes since they are bringing something else in on a week or two.........I don't believe we get 2 new episodes in one week.............and that would be because The Voice is back on...........

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

The line I liked the most occured during his heated discussion with Harold when he looked around and asked "who chose this panneling?" I also like Ressler and I hope that his relationship with Liz continues to develop, romantic or not. The Tom storyline is definitely getting old, even if he does have an affair with Jolene. I don't think anyone would miss his character if he went away - a lot of us are tired of him moping around. Such a whiner. Wasn't surprised to see the writers use a photo of Ted Cruz mixing with Madeline. Hollywood writers have to take all the snarky shots at conservatives they can or else they lose their union card.


Why such a high rating after what seemed like a negative review? I for one thought this was another great episode. The writers continue to keep me guessing and wanting more. Pretty much all you can ask for in a show. Oh, and one of the better acting performances I've seen in a while

Carla day
@ Jeff

I enjoyed this particular episode. My concern/disappointment is more with the series in general with the lack of answers and Red getting away with manipulating both Liz and the FBI. At this point, it seems like there's no limit to Red's ability to get away with whatever he wants. At some point, I'd like to see him knocked down a notch.

@ Carla Day

Harold says something (in a promo or early on in the episode) to the effect that despite what Red does, they (FBI) would not have been able to accomplish as much as they have without him. So, we're expected to believe that the Bureau is balancing wins with the real costs of having Red do what he wants. Reminded me of White Collar- the higher ups won't release Neil because they want the case closure rate.

@ Carla Day

You do make a great point. I find it funny that Red has the capability to just walk around and do whatever. It's also mind boggling that Liz is ok with not really knowing who Red is and just putting up with his games time and time again. All of that being said, I still love the show. The writers aren't afraid to take risks and they really do a good job of keeping its audience on the edge of their seats.

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