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The Blacklist “The Pavlovich Brothers” 

Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/NBC
Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/NBC

Ah, The Pavlovich Brothers. Our first return villains. Last time, in The Blacklist series opener, they were just the nameless kidnappers of a senator’s daughter and responsible for the first of many ass-kickings Elizabeth Keen would receive (sweet memories…). Now they’ve been bumped up to the big leagues, official Blacklisters, an elite extraction team responsible for the kidnapping and, well, extraction of a Chinese scientist who’s been working on a germ warfare project. Just another day in Washington.

And isn’t it nice when families work together? I bet they have big potluck barbecues every weekend to wind down. “Hey, Sasha, how about that Sudanese warlord? He got you good, eh? Ha ha ha!” “Oh, Piotr! It’s not funny! Look at my stitches. I had to tell my wife I got bit by the neighbour’s dog. She hit it with a rock! Ahahaha!” And then everyone eats American hamburgers.

More so than usual, the case of the week was secondary to the issues surrounding Elizabeth and her husband/watcher Tom and Red Reddington. Basically, the Pavlovich brothers were necessary to have around in order to be dispatched to snatch and deliver Tom, trussed up like a Christmas turkey, to Elizabeth’s apartment, all at Red’s behest. Because Red knows everybody. I mean, everybody. You know how there’s always some guy: “I know a guy,” (In my podunk town, I’m the guy who knows a guy).

Red knows ALL the guys. You want to dabble in human trafficking out of DC? Red knows a guy. You want to disappear and need some poor sap to have his DNA messed with to fool the authorities into thinking he’s you? Red knows a guy. Need someone tailed 24 hours a day? Red knows enough guys to make Sherlock’s Homeless Network look like a kindergarten field trip where everyone dropped the rope and left their buddy in the dust. In the Venn Diagram of Guys Who Know Guys, Red is right in the middle, intersected by everybody.

And so what do we do with a problem named Tom? (I would sell my right arm if a group of nuns came out and sang that. My. Right. Arm.) I’m not even quite sure what happened here. After Tom makes a run for it, because he’s realized Elizabeth has cracked his oh-so-clever cover, and Red so graciously gifts Elizabeth with his ziptied self (and frankly, I think the real gift would be four Serbian mercenaries sitting in my kitchen, drinking my wine. I’d be all, “Dudes. Need bread with that?” and sending my kid out to buy a chicken) Elizabeth cocks up Tobey’s Christmas morning at the Keen house like she’s going to get a raise for screwing up this interrogation. It’s freaking impressive.

And again, what do we do with a problem named Tom? He insists to Lizzie that he’s one of the good guys, that he was never there to hurt her, yet Jolene referred to Elizabeth as his ‘target.’ That doesn’t sound too benevolent to me. When discussing Elizabeth with his fake brother, fake-Craig, who killed himself to protect Tom’s secrets, he was downright cold and dismissive of her. He intuitively guessed she suspected him, yet had sex with her anyway (and my hat is off to Liz on that score, actually going through with that intimacy in order to keep her cover intact while knowing Tom was a lying rat. I don’t even like being touched by people I like. I probably would have barfed on him) so he’s pretty gross if nothing else. And now he claims he has some sort of proof, that turns out to be photos in a safe-deposit box, that he’s not the big bad she thinks he is. It might not be so hard to believe, for us as viewers, if things had been a little more consistent along the way.

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

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