The Blacklist

There are just so many way THE BLACKLIST is a mess, but I’ll try to focus my thoughts about this show that has me yelling at the screen every time I watch a recorded episode.  Problem one is the fact James Spader completely outclasses everybody else in the cast.  If they are going to go with a larger than life star they need to give him worthy co-stars.  The female lead in particular is just terrible.  She seems to have two expressions and neither of them are very interesting.  The problem with this rather flat performance is that it undercuts Spader.  You cannot understand why on earth Red is so fascinated with this woman and why she is so special.

Then there is the male F.B.I. agent who apparently lacks two brain cells that work in tandem.  He’s also a hothead  who acts first and usually violently, and thinks later.  It’s sort of like making the Klingon the head of security or even Tasha Yar, the woman who’s first reaction was always rage.  Neither one is  who you want in charge of defusing dangerous situations.  I can’t even remember the character’s name — that’s how little impression he made on me.

The episode that had me raging out loud at the television was the one where the male agent’s sweetie gets killed by bad guys who are after our heroes.  Of course when this guy realizes he and his lady might be in danger he grabs her and climbs in a car to drive her “some place safe.”  Really?  You don’t call for back up?  Make sure you have a safe house arranged?  Hunker down in a defensible position and wait for help?  No. So as expected the bad guys shoot the shit out of the car and the girl gets killed.  And then the moment that had me screaming.  Agent guy goes back to his apartment, and sees all the items that belong to his deceased love, and there’s a home pregnancy test box.  I sat bolt up right, and started yelling — “Oh, no.  You are not going there!  You cannot be going there because that is so hackneyed and on the nose.”  And yep, they went there.

The head of the team is just utterly ineffectual.  He blusters at Red that “That’s not happening!” in every episode, and then whatever it might be that Red wants to do inevitably happens.  Then there’s the obligatory tech guy who has the unenviable task of looking at computer screens, and the CIA agent who is supposed to mysterious and a mole, but once exposed by Red nothing changes and I don’t care that she’s a mole because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

Now let’s talk about Sam’s husband and that whole terrible Nefarious Plot thread.  I haven’t watched the last 3 episodes so this may have been explained, but whatever the evil group is after their plans seem based on a wing and a prayer.  They ordered this guy to woe and marry this woman.  If he hadn’t succeeded did they have a whole line of other cute guys waiting to try?  Now maybe this secret agent who knows hand to hand combat and is a great shot, etc. is also an Academy Award level actor.  The entire thing had me shaking my head and going “oh come on!”  So evil killer guy plays sweet and loving elementary school teacher who is madly in love with Sam for two years and she never suspects a thing?  It makes her look like an idiot, and the guy is just unbelievable.

Then after hints and suggestions from Red for the entire season (why didn’t he just tell her she was married to Evil Lawrence Olivier) she finally realizes her hubby is a baddy.  And then _she sleeps with him_ which just horrified and disgusted me and had me again saying “oh come on!”  It was all just too unbelievable.

Speaking of unbelievable — there’s Red.  I’m not sure if this is Spader being a diva and demanding that his character be perfect and brilliant in every possible way or if the creator of the show and the writers have fallen in love with Red and so are endowing him with every skill and ability.  He’s a wine connoisseur, a dandy, a gourmand, an art expert, a musician, an aficionado of ballet, a watch maker who can restore a music boss, and on and on and on.  He’s also a psychopathic killer that we’re supposed to celebrate and for whom we’re supposed to cheer.

The only reason I haven’t turned off this show in disgust is Spader’s undeniable charisma, and also the “train wreck” phenomenon.  Every week I have to see what new horror they commit.

5 Responses to The Blacklist

  • CL Stegall says:

    Admittedly, Melinda, I have yelled at the screen a few times, myself. (In particular the whole sweetie dying thing was killin’ me!) And, yet, I find that I just CANNOT miss an episode. They do some crazy shieze on the show, but I still remain entranced and caught up in the tale.

    The fact that Red never just comes right out and says what he knows is a constant source of irritation for me. As a writer, myself, I sometimes feel like punching the show’s writing staff in the neck. Just to make myself feel better.

    And, still… I keep right on watching. What the heck is wrong with us?!

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m going to watch the final episodes and then I am done. I just can’t take the show any longer.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Red’s inability to utter a simple declarative sentence feels like a convenience for the writers and not something that actually grows out of his character. And I share your frustration with the writing staff. I also gather that Spader is not making life easy for any of them.

  • Tengland says:

    This Red sounds like Mr. Peabody (of the movie named for him and Sherman), who’s expert in everything from rock music to cooking to bartending to physics to making tons of money. Except for the “psychopathic killer” part, something I don’t think Mr. Peabody would be interested in. About the only thing he was shaky in was child-rearing, but all those other abilities, and his propensity to show them off whenever he could, made him somewhat insufferable.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Insufferable is a good way to put it. I just want to slap that smug smile off his face. 🙂

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