Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TV Review: The Blacklist: "The Alchemist"

"The Alchemist," directed by Vince Misiano from a teleplay by Anthony Sparks, shows The Blacklist in its idle mode, and that's not an entertaining one. This episode, the series' twelfth, incrementally advances Reddington (James Spader)'s story while having Keen (Megan Boone) track down the villain of the week. The bad guy this time out is a former genetics researcher (Ryan O'Nan) who enables his über-criminal clientéle to fake their deaths and begin new identities. He knows the authorities need corpses to close their books, so, in order to deceive the forensic investigators, he uses his expertise to fake DNA traces and other markers on murdered stand-ins. The plotting Sparks gives the pursuit lacks twists and suspense. Reddington, on the other hand, is still trying to get to the bottom of the treachery that led to the mayhem of the "Anslo Garrick" two-parter. He found the mole in his operation in the previous episode, and now he's after the one in the FBI's. Just as in that last episode, producer Jon Bokenkamp has again decided not to treat the turncoat's identity as a mystery with which to tease the viewer. We know that Reddington's looking, we see him with his private cadre of hacker-investigators, and then we find out who the mole is. It's not very engaging, and apart from a amusing bit about real-life Wikileaks mastermind Julian Assange, Spader's lines lack their usual zing. The episode is further brought down by the time spent on Keen and fellow agent Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff)'s respective private soap operas. Ressler finds out his ex-fiancée has ditched her current one because of renewed interest in him, and Keen's marital issues go to a new level when her husband takes an interest in a woman who introduced herself to him at a party. The latter is part of a greater conspiracy, and the first probably is, too, but the supporting characters just aren't compelling enough to make this material of interest. The show is at its best when Spader's Reddington is center stage, and episodes like this one are just marking time until it gets back to that.

View the episode here

Reviews of other episodes of The Blacklist:

1 comment:

Mary Susanne Patterson said...

was disappointed in last night's episode. There's got to be a better actress choice for Lizzy's role. Megan Boone is flat! And with each passing episode I am more convinced that Lizzy is a total moron. It makes no sense Red is connected to someone so shallow. Red has done everything to keep her safe...including trading his life for hers. Red can be a monster but when it comes to Lizzy, he has never let her down. Seems she should be more trusting of that fact by now. He has repeatedly advised her to be careful of her husband. Given the facts, why is she still holding on to this guy? Why does she care? The drama surrounding Tom needs to be resolved. Dragging it out is making me dislike Lizzy's character. Frankly...I'm getting bored. They need to offer some kind of resolution to some of these mysteries instead of dragging it out and adding more mysteries to not yet resolved previous mysteries. Note to writers...Shape up or you'll lose the interest of your fan base. We love The Blacklist but the show can't thrive on Spader's genius alone. It's time to hire an acting coach for dear Megan Boone and pick up the pace of the spoon feeding!