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The Blacklist “Mako Tanida” 

Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz/NBC
Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Well. Tale as old as time, I guess. FBI Boy loves girl. Girl gets shot by fugitive Yakuza boss. Boy loses fugitive Yakuza boss in woods while threatening treasonous FBI officer. Boy receives fugitive Yakuza boss’s head in a box, courtesy Red Reddington, as a ‘My Sincere Condolences on Your Loss’ gift. I, personally, would have lent more towards white orchids and a nice fruit basket, no melon, but I’m not as cosmopolitan as Red. Welcome to the family, Ressler. I think this means he likes you.

For an episode called, “Mako Tanida” about a Blacklister named, “Mako Tanida,” (Hoon Lee, Banshee; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) this episode actually had very little to do with Mako Tanida, the above-mentioned Yakuza boss. Honestly, the most impact he made was showing up as a severed head in a box after he killed Ressler’s girlfriend, Audrey. And by the way, thanks for that, Red. The gesture was sweet and all, but now Ressler has a human head to dispose of. It’s not like when I was day-drinking and trying to hide it from everyone by tossing my empties in the dumpster behind the library. This is a head. Dramatic and effective? Yes. Practical? Nooooooo.

And while I feel bad for Ressler that he lost his lady-love, Audrey’s sudden death didn’t have much of an impact because we don’t really know her. She hasn’t been around; we have no real ties to her, no investment in their relationship. We care because we care about Ressler, but that’s the extent of it. Her passing has no effect on us, and Ressler’s finding the pregnancy test near the end of the episode felt like the writers just kicking a guy when he was down.

I felt much the same way about the reveal that Ressler’s “best friend” and former member of the same task force sent to chase Reddington around the world, Bobby Janica, was actually running a multi-country crime ring and was Tanida’s real target. We have never seen this man before in our lives. It’s hard to feel empathy with Ressler’s rage and sense of betrayal over his “best friend” screwing him over, when we have no idea who he is. Maybe if he’d been introduced visiting Ressler at the hospital when he got shot, so we’d have some sort of familiarity with him. As it stands, it was just Ressler screaming at some guy we don’t know, lying in the snow.

Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz/NBC
Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz/NBC

The long-awaited reveal that Tom is not your average fourth-grade teacher, and, in fact, a stone-cold killer was a bit more satisfying. Tom must be attending some night self-defense classes or some underground fight clubs or something, because for a guy who’s been deep undercover for two years with no word from his handlers, he does not seem to have lost any of his edge. He took care of Jolene (Finally! Somebody did it. She annoyed the crap out of me) and the cowboy with hardly breaking a sweat. If that’s him out of practice, then a completely on his game Tom could kill us all with his thumbs. Blindfolded.

And, we were right; he was placed with Elizabeth, knowing Reddington would show up eventually for her. Whatever his agency is, they want Red. Whatever his agency is, they better get in line.

The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

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