The Blacklist Review: Liz Knows

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The Blacklist continued to succeed in threading the unraveling of Liz's personal story with an FBI investigation.

On The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 17, the FBI worked with the NSA to find a hacker responsible for breaking into their system and then stealing the Project Skeleton Key device.

Red described it well by calling it a cyber terrorist's digital equivalent to a nuclear device. At the same time, Liz investigated Jolene's disappearance to a shocking revelation.

The evidence pointed the FBI to a cyber terrorist, Ivan. Not surprisingly, he was a former associate of Red's. In order to get Ivan to spill what he did, Red ran a con on him. He warned Ivan the FBI was coming and would help him escape for the money Ivan stole years before from Red.. It worked!

Red got his $8 million (which the FBI likely didn't know about) and "shot" Ressler on their escape. That bonded Red and Ivan, but it didn't lead to a recovery of the Skeleton Key. Ivan didn't do it. I think that's the first time Red's been wrong about their target. Though, I'm not sure it should be held against him since the real hacker did set Ivan up.

It was a high school student. Quite impressive! It's too bad that Harrison used his skills to hack the NSA and then accidentally killed an NSA employee while stealing the top secret technology. Otherwise he could have had a promising future working for the NSA or a tech company. He proved he was brilliant.

It was shocking enough that a high school student had the intellect, ability, and follow through to get the Skeleton Key. Why would he do that? Just to do it? It turned out he may be smart, but really he's just a teenage boy obsessed with a girl. He was stalking her in every way possible.

He copied her lunch, ate like her, stalked her at school, and cyber stalked her. Did he steal the device to gain greater access to her? Nope. Her father was the project leader for the Skeleton Key and they were moving the team to Colorado. Harrison didn't want her to leave and believed if he stole the prototype then her father wouldn't move. And, she would stay.

Kudos to the writers for coming up with a unique, complex, yet believable story for why he did it. As his story played out, his true motivation wasn't revealed until the end. It was a surprise with the foundation for the explanation all there. Well done.

While I loved how the hacker story unfolded, I can't say the same about Tom's story. While I'm glad that Liz finally knows that Tom's not who he says he is, the way she found out was a little too convenient and not up to normal The Blacklist standards.

The FBI traced Jolene's call on a mobile phone to a specific location? I guess if she had the GPS on that could be possible, but as a secret agent, I doubt she left that on. So, I'm not sure how Aram was able to come up with an address from a cell tower. Then, Liz calls Tom and gives him the address? Why?

Of course, he was there and was able to burn the incriminating paper before Liz found it. Just as bad was the walk around on the patio with the blue plastic hanging down?!?! Umm ... okay.  Tom attacked her, but she wasn't able to get a look at him or put together the clothing. It all felt too contrived from beginning to end.

The absolute worse was how Liz connected Tom to the apartment. She bought Tom a toy to take to school. Instead of taking with him to work, he threw it away in the garbage can at his lair. Sigh. Why would she give him a toy? And why would he throw it away? 

At least, Liz know knows that Tom's up to something and the story can move forward. I was disappointed in the series of events that led to that reveal, but I'm very glad the story can move to the next stage. Liz now can play Tom and find out who he is and what he wants with her.

The ending was sweet. Liz went to Red to tell him he was right about Tom. Instead of being his normal snide self and rubbing it in, Red comforted her and helped her deal with it. The music box with the tune her father used to hum along with Red's comforting words were touching. I still don't believe he's her father, but he's doing his best to fill that role for Liz. 

To know that everything's going to be okay. You're going to be okay.


It's going to be a fun, wild ride to see Liz try to con her husband. Since she found his lair, he's understandably suspicious of her. She's going to have to do a better job of lying or he's going to catch on . If it comes down to it, will he kill her? Could she kill him? Can't wait to find out!

Is Red Liz's father?

Ivan Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (70 Votes)

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

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The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 17 Quotes

So the Federal Government has armed a cyber terrorist with a digital equivalent of a nuclear warfare. Another fabulous example of your tax dollars at work.


The who-dun-it has already been solved.