The Blacklist Season 2 Report Card: Grade It!

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Who would have thought that Liz would have gone from hunting blacklisters to becoming hunted by the FBI?

The Blacklist Season 2 certainly took an interesting turn by the end, but what about the rest of the sophomore season?

Battling the cabal, the return of Tom, uncovering the past about Liz, and Dembe’s amazing hat were just a few of the highlights. And of course, James Spader provided fantastic performances as Red (per usual).

So let’s break down the second season in TV Fanatic’s latest report card…

Best episode: There were actually a few episodes that could have taken this one, but I’ll give it to The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 18. We got a blacklister, Vanessa Cruz, who managed to escape from the Liz and the FBI, and yet, Red clearly has something in store for her in the future. Tom really was trying to prove himself to Liz on his journey for forgiveness, even revealing to her the big secret that Red hired him to watch Liz. We also got Liz emotionally confronting Red, even willing to give up the sacred fulcrum, right before the shocking moment of Red getting shot.

This was a well-crafted episode on all fronts that left you wanting to know more. And it really set the pace for those final episodes of the season.

Worst episode: The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 15 was a long-winded recap episode. Liz basically sat down and told the story of The Blacklist complete with intercut flashbacks. This is great for someone who’s never seen the show before, but it’s rather easy to catch up with the previously on segment at the very start of the hour and not use the entire hour. This was unfortunately just a boring waste of an episode.

Best villain: Luther Braxton takes this title, though it may have helped that actor Ron Perlman portrayed the character. He was a menacing villain who was willing to get his hands dirty, killing anyone that got in his way in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 9. Plus, in addition to his presence, Luther was able to banter with Red and go toe to toe with him. And while he wound up killed in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 10, he proved his worth as a memorable and dangerous villain for the series.

Most unsatisfying storyline: I like Ressler, but his whole addiction to drugs storyline was just disappointing. How many times have we seen this type of story in other shows? It felt more like the writers trying to give Ressler’s character something interesting to grapple with, but there was never this great payoff, and I was ready for him to just flush the pills and get on towards something else. Here’s to hoping Ressler gets a much better story for next season, because he’s definitely a character that deserves it.

Best reveal: There were some solid reveals from Liz’s mother being a KGB agent or that Harold wasn’t actually sick. But it was finding out that Liz was the true target of the cabal in The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 21, and that she was the person who infected the senator that was a great reveal. I didn’t see it coming until it pretty much happened, but it was a cool twist that really propelled everything towards Liz being on the run. Bet she never thought her trying to save the day would wind up having her as one of the most wanted.

Hopes for The Blacklist Season 3: I’m really hoping next season takes its time with Liz on the run and it's not wrapped up in one or two episodes. I really think this is the right type of shift for the series to keep things fresh and I’m interested to see where things go from here. I really hope we get some more stories involving characters such as Dembe, Ressler or Aram. I think there’s plenty to explore with them (just look at how Harold got a meaty storyline for this season!), and I want to go deeper with their characters. I’m also interested to see where the Tom relationship goes, as his story definitely doesn’t seem over. And of course, I want to know more about Liz’s past and her connection to Red etc. And can we definitively get an answer that Red isn’t her biological father?!?

Overall grade: A-

What would you grade The Blacklist Season 2?

Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Blacklist Quotes

Death must be so be at peace. I welcome that one day.


Just because you’ve been bumped up to first chair in the orchestra doesn’t mean you can compose a symphony.