What I want for Christmas, all I want, really, is to get a collected volume of the Wit and Wisdom of Raymond Reddington (James Spader). If there isn’t already a tumblr for that (and why shouldn’t there be? Someone get on that) there at least has to be some monkey in a darkened room, typing furiously anytime Reddington opens his mouth.
From his dismissal of CIA intel regarding this week’s bad guy (Anslo Garrick; Ritchie Coster of HBO’s Luck), “If it were worth having, I’d have it,” to his speech to the wounded Agent Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) about what he still wants from life before it’s time to go, just about everything that came out of Reddington this week was worthy of being engraved on someone’s retirement watch. “When someone is dying in front of you, you try to save them.” It’s almost Zen-like in its simplicity and beauty. Who thought we’d be saying that about the guy who will shoot you as soon as look at you?
His mocking of Garrick, who’s come with a band of mercenaries known as ‘The Wild Bunch’ (that’s as bad as most of the names the contestants on Big Brother come up with for their crappy alliances) to capture Red and subsequently torture him until his soul bleeds out would normally be fairly ill-advised, but he’s tucked safe and sound in his box of detainment and feelings, so he gets away with saying things like, “I did what I always did, and beat you. And you did what you always did, and got beaten by me.”
And don’t feel too sorry for Garrick. His half-paralyzed face doesn’t stop him from chewing scenery like a lion gnaws a rotting warthog carcass (“You’ll soon let me in, little piggy.” TheHell?) It’s hard to imagine what he’d do with a fully functioning array of visible emotion. I half expected him to mumble, “He tasks me…” and go into a full-fledged Khan Noonian Singh against the Captain Kirk that is Raymond Reddington. “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee!” Indeed.
Also receiving (then later giving) little pep talks, is Elizabeth Keen, (talking herself into not sucking while running around the black site, doing her best John McClane in bare feet) who took the opportunity of being stuck in an elevator, then being the only member of the team still at large, to remember that she’s a highly trained FBI agent. It’s about time. Whiney, crying Lizzie was working my last nerve.
And it’s good to see Elizabeth put her mutant power of being a catalyst for destruction to good use for a change. Maim and injure the bad guys, Lizzie. Good thing she wasn’t around when Ressler got shot; he’d be dead for sure. As opposed to the active praying for death he must be participating in. Having a leg broken by gunshot must be tough enough, having to listen to Reddington mock his intelligence and just general Ressler-ness would be enough to have anyone reaching for that bright light at the end of the tunnel.
But it’s not Ressler who dies. It’s Red’s bodyguard, Luli (Deborah S. Craig, Hart of Dixie; Six Degrees) who gets blown away when Garrick finally gets bored of not being able to get Red out of his plexi-glass box of mobile surgery and Agent Cooper (Harry Lennix) refuses to give up the code to unlock the door.
Whereas I understand that Reddington is basically Cooper’s property, and there must be a really good reason for wanting to keep him around, aside from his Grocery List of Evil, I find it difficult to comprehend why Cooper doesn’t just give the smarmy bastard up before Garrick starts popping off agents and Red’s employees like a bored kid pops the heads off dandelions.
The only explanation I have is that Cooper knows as soon as Garrick has Reddington in his hot, little, murderous hands, he will not hesitate to kill everyone else in the building. Not just for his own amusement (although I have no doubt this is Garrick’s version of fun. It’s not juggling geese, but I bet it gets him to his happy place) but to serve as an example to the greater underworld at large. “I asked once. Don’t make me do it again.”
So, we have Ressler passed out from pain after having his wound cauterized by gunpowder (I’m suprised he stayed awake as long as he did; I almost passed out just watching everything going on in Red’s little Not-So-Mobile Surgery), Luli dead; beloved Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq: Kings; 30 Rock) on his knees praying with a gun pointed to his head; Elizabeth Keen knocked out by a member of the Wild Bunch, and Red begging Cooper to let him out, in order to avoid the bloodbath he knows is coming. Here endeth Part 1. Happy Thanksgiving.
-Oh, Garrick; you had better hope that Red dies in that box or you get the Hell out of Dodge before he figures a way out of this. We’ve seen what Reddington does to the people who hurt whomever it is Red loves. You’re going to die, Uncle Scar.
-I don’t think Dembe gets shot. I think tech guy Aram (Amir Arison: ‘H+’) shoots someone (if he’s not the mole. I strongly suspect he’s the mole). Or it’s Lizzie, come to save the day because Aram rescued her from The Wild Bunch.
-Yes, Red, I have been in a sailboat in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight for days. It is both magnificent and terrifying. It is also a perfect analogy for Reddington: Master of his own destiny; dependent on, and trusting no-one but himself; adrift yet driven. The screenwriters are on fire this week
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.