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The Blacklist “Lord Baltimore” 

Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC
Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Previously, on The Blacklist: Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) discovered her husband Tom (Ryan Eggold) was a no-good lying liar who lies and was a plant sent to spy on her, then he got shot for his troubles. Too bad. I liked him better when he was a jerk. That’s ok. His assumed corpse up and dragged itself away, so I’m guessing Tommy-Boy will be back around sweeps week. Joy! Some guy named Berlin (the incredibly talented Peter Stormare) is going to a lot of trouble to find Red (James Spader) because of Red’s involvement with his daughter’s death. And Red, well, Red is Red. Make of that what you will.

Lord Baltimore #104

Look, people: When Red Reddington tells you there’s going to be a rain of fire, there’s going to be a rain of frigging fire. Do what he says and take the three million dollars, random Cameroon warlord bossing around child soldiers. You practically set that three million dollars on fire by yourself.

You could tell me Red was Santa Claus or you could tell me Red killed Santa Claus, I would believe either one. The guy gives as much as he takes away. Just do what he says.

Going into season two of The Blacklist, we’re given a pretty rich territory of discovery: Berlin is closing in on Red and he is wicked determined to find him; Lizzie has been deeply betrayed and Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) is wounded, out of commission and replaced by a jerk.

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

Lizzie is working out her pain by living in hotels, growing out her hair, staring at a ceiling of crazy (like a wall of crazy, but on your ceiling so it’s what you stare at while you try to sleep, which I doubt Lizzie is doing much of) and walking around in her underwear. So far, the underwear walk is the best contribution to The Blacklist Megan Boone has made.

I guess this is to illustrate that this Elizabeth — season two Elizabeth — is just so much more edgy than last season’s buttoned-up, freshed-faced, naive Elizabeth. That Elizabeth was fooled by Tom Keen and so very and easily manipulated by foolish love. This Elizabeth wears hoodies and hides out in seedy hotel rooms under assumed names and sports pony tails and has no regard for pants. She has changed. Elizabeth has changed, people.

Red hasn’t, much. He’s still threatening people, burning piles of money and searching for Berlin. It’s been two months since the season one finale and he’s been searching hard. And so has the FBI, who’s put 12 million dollars into the cause. Seriously? They must put a lot of faith in that list of his to make this worthwhile.

The titular Lord Baltimore is a data miner, someone who tracks a subject by their online activity and hands that information over to whomever wants it to track that person down in order to, well, do whatever they want with them (I highly suspect it’s not to invite them to the next ‘Cat Fancier’ luncheon). Which leads us to one of our guest stars this week, the tragically underused Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust The B in Apt. 23; Breaking Bad). Ritter never gets enough opportunities to stretch her dramatic talents (check out her run on Breaking Bad; it’s worth it) and this turn is a perfect example of why she should get deeper roles.

When introduced as Rowan Mills, an employee at one of the country’s most impressive data firms who mysteriously had $250,000 deposited into one of her accounts, she presents as easily shaken and nervous, playing with a ring on her finger as an unconscious habit. When she gets a call from a computerized voice warning her off talking to the authorities, she’s terrified. And then there’s the realization that billions of bytes of information have been taken from Rowan’s computer, but still, she’s confused and scared.

Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC
Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC

After a visit to an apartment held in Rowan’s name is discovered, she reveals that she has a twin sister, Nora, who was assaulted for years by an uncle (and nobody believed her. That’s nice) and then joined a private security company, for which she was working when she disappeared six years previous. I want everyone to know that it was at this point I looked at Mr. Tobey and declared, “THAT’S Nora. She came back and killed Rowan and took her place. I am calling it at 12:13AM” (the time we were watching. Also this means my instincts are great, or I watch too much television).

Sadly, I’m right, Rowan is dead. The truth is saddened even more by the revelation that Nora murdered Rowan and in her pain, a casualty of her childhood abuse, of not being listened to or believed and the horrors she witnessed and was subjected to as a private security consultant, she absorbed everything and the only way she could cope was to break in two, Nora and Rowan, thus was born the Dissociative Identity Disorder that was used to make her a weapon.

Nora is Lord Baltimore (or working for Lord Baltimore, I’m not sure which) and Krysten Ritter is sorely under-rated because her transformation from mousy Rowan to warrior Nora was a treat to behold as she embraced her true vicious self and went after Red’s wife, Naomi, at the behest of Berlin.

Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC
Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Oh, yeah. Red has a wife. Who’s not dead in a fire. And she’s Mary Louise Parker (Weeds) She also seems to have a new husband (partner?) Lee Tergesen (who, with Christopher Meloni as Tobias Beecher and Chris Keller in OZ had the greatest love story ever told on television) has been living for the last 20 years in witness protection. Well. Damn.

This seems like a switch of MLP’s roles as of late, as most of what I’ve seen of her recently has been a kick-ass persona, so seeing her helpless and crying, mimicking the pose on a bed for a photo to send to Red in a locket that’s a mirror image of the one received by Berlin in jail of his daughter is jarring. His promise to send Red pieces of Naomi over time, like he received pieces of his daughter, is, to forgive the phrase, bone-chilling.

Next Week: Berlin and Red meet. This can’t be good.

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

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