Hello, poppets! Here we are, back after the Olympics. I hope you had a good time, just as I did, watching all those wonderful winter sports (hockey) and are now set to bundle up with our favourite shows. Allons-y!
This episode of The Blacklist, “Madeline Pratt,” is a little less violent and gross than previous offerings. In terms of The Blacklist, it’s practically lighthearted. ‘Lighthearted’ in that we don’t have any human traffickers to contend with and Red doesn’t suffocate anyone lakeside with the bag that held his deceased assistant’s ashes. Red likes orange sherbet in the middle of the night and gets acupuncture! Kooky.
It’s clear that Red and the titular super-thief Madeline Pratt (Jennifer Ehle, A Gifted Man) have a past, and one that’s been somewhat left unresolved. They’re still lovers, yet she holds a smouldering grudge. He stood her up in Florence who-knows-when and she can’t get over it so she sets him and Elizabeth up in the theft of a Russian icon from the Syrian embassy. God, Madeline, in the business you’re both in can’t you just put that in the ‘Loss’ column and move on with your life instead of getting all emotional and holding it over his head for freaking ever?
We also learn that Lizzie has a criminal bent of her own. Not only does her dad have a crooked past,Â but our Elizabeth can lift a cell-phone, slip out its SIM card, do a bump and relieve a guy’s ID card (and replace it, which is the harder part) and also do a simple card trick, making the ultrasound picture of the baby she and Tom had planned on adopting disappear between her fingers. Because that’s not heavily laden with symbolism. At all.
Now, while this is most likely an attempt to make Elizabeth a more interesting figure to the viewer, because, God knows, right now she needs all the interesting she can get, and to have her have some intrigue or some mystery surround her would be great, this is not a success.
And that’s because it does not surprise me that Elizabeth has the skills of the lowest grifter, because I think it would be in the FBI’s best interest to teach their recruits the basic skills of the lowest grifter. Seriously, pick a pocket, guys. If you’re in charge of national security, I want to know you can lift my cell phone, at the very least, because then I know you can lift the cell phone of an actual bad guy. If you’re coming around my neighborhood for an investigation, and I have to teach you how to pick the lock to a suspect’s back door (I admit to nothing and this is not a legal document) then I’m doing your job better than you and that can only end in tears.
One thing we have learned in all our episodes of The Blacklist so far is to not trust anything that comes out of Reddington’s mouth. He is the ultimate liar. But for some reason, when he and Madeline were in the fake lock-up he schemed up, the story he told her, about Christmas, and running out of gas, having to leave his car on the side of the road, full of presents for his little family and then walking for miles in the snow, the snow that seemed to have been falling for days, upset at himself for ruining their Christmas, then being able to laugh at himself, knowing he would be the brunt of future jokes around future Christmas dinners, “Hey, remember when Dad ran out of gas?” Wanting to hear his daughter playing piano and coming home to blood, only blood. Seeing blood. Smelling blood. His little one’s tiny fingers as she died. For some reason, I don’t think he lied to her. For some reason, I think we learned a lot about Raymond Reddington.
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
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