Music and Pregnant Mayhem, The Blacklist “The Cyprus Agency”
Let us all give props this week to whomever has the happy job of picking the music for this show, because they are killing it. The use of Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” in “The Good Samaritan Killer” was an inspired choice, the lyrics echoing Red’s actions of methodically going from place to place, cleaning house. This week it was “Sundown,” the 1974 folk rock classic by Canada’s gift to the world and living legend, Gordon Lightfoot. (You are welcome).
“Sundown,” with its bad woman in a satin dress and all that creepin’ around all those back stairs, was the perfect accompaniment in the final scenes of “The Cyprus Agency,” in which Elizabeth’s husband, Tom, meets his new substitute teacher friend (in a car. After dark. Oh, you are above reproach, you dog) after a fight with Lizzie and Red confronts and kills Diane Fowler (Jane Alexander), ostensibly because she’s the mole and is messing up his deal with Fitch (Alan Alda) who’s also as crooked as a cricket’s back leg.
One gets the idea, however, that it’s something deeper than that and he just really, really hates Fowler. I say this for two reasons: 1. Why else doesn’t he care that she can tell him the truth about what actually happened to his family? Now he’s going to have to wait and presumably torture that story out of someone else and 2. He’s Red. There’s always something else.
Which seems as good as reason as any as to why he picked just right now to steer Lizzie towards The Cyprus Agency, headed by Owen Mallory (Campbell Scott, Royal Pains; Damages), a placement service that provides designer babies to adoptive parents. At first glance we assumed the babies were being stolen, but no, that’s too simple and not creepy and gross enough.
Considering Elizabeth and her husband Tom (by now, you all know how I feel about Thomas, so from now on, just imagine I’m waving my hand dismissively in the air every time I type his name) are knee-deep in the adoption process, I refuse to believe this is merely a coincidence. Red doesn’t work within the confines of coincidence. Such is his strangle-hold on every possible contingency, he would never allow anything to happen accidentally.
There was real potential with this Blacklister to be gut-twistingly, disturbingly awful. Even Red called it, “Evil.” Red Reddington calling you “evil,” is the equivalent of Adele approaching you after a particularly rousing evening of karaoke with tears in her eyes and saying, “Sweetie. I will never sing “Someone Like You” ever again in this lifetime. It now belongs to you.” It means that, as a Big Bad, darling, you have arrived.
And it was evil. Evil and creepifying, as Mr. Tobey so succinctly put it. But the problem was, the extent of the evil wasn’t fully exploited or illustrated. Here we have, not only the kidnapping of lovely, intelligent, educated young women, stolen from their lives before their lives had a chance to really begin, ripped from their families who then had to live through their own version of Hell wondering where their missing daughter/sister/cousin/girlfriend had vanished to.
But then the women were placed into medical comas, forced to endure invasive medical procedures in order to become pregnant, roused long enough to give birth, then had their children stolen from them, before being knocked out again in order to repeat the entire cycle over and over all in aid of Owen Mallory creating his own miniature New World Order with him as the Father of Creation because the system failed his adolescent lunatic ass.
This? Is terrifying. It could have been chilling. It should have been chilling. These are people, stolen from their lives and forced to breed and nobody spoke up once about the abject inhumanity of the entire situation. It saddened me and simultaneously made me angry.
The final reveal of the dozens of pregnant women comatose and hooked to machines was anti-climactic, when it could have been so much more. Nobody so much as batted an eyelid. THe FBI scientist was practically waxing poetic about the medical advances in use, like they weren’t surrounded by women who’d been forcible knocked up and kept sedated for months at a time. I’ve seen more emotion raised regarding veal pens (which are gross; don’t get me wrong). I wasn’t even surprised when Lizzie got a heavily pregnant victim rolled on her during Mallory’s escape attempt, because it was pretty clear that all these women were just props, present to move the story along.
And that story is this: Elizabeth and Tom are not going to be going through with the adoption, and that’s because Red Reddington successfully planted that little seed, that adopting a baby wasn’t going to work. Red managed to creep around the back stairs of Lizzie’s head and she’s decided against having a family, and realized, finally, that maybe she and Tom just aren’t working.
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC. New episodes return at the end of February.
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