The Blacklist – Pilot

The blacklist pilotI’m going to be upfront again. I liked this show. It’s not AMAZING, but it’s worth the watch, and it’s intriguing enough to make me want to keep watching.

In the episode James Spader’s character Raymond Reddington, one of the FBI’s most wanted, turns himself in in order to stop a terrorist attack by Ranko Zamani, someone he has considered a friend, and someone the FBI has long thought to be dead.

Reddington knows exactly what the first stage in the plan is and tells the FBI about it. They fail to prevent this, and a general’s daughter is kidnapped. He gives the FBI more leads on how to find people that are also tied into Zamani’s plan, then he helps Keen realize what Zamani’s ultimate plan is, and then sets him up to be found by the FBI.

Now, like a decent thriller, a lot of it is completely ridiculous. Things play out in a way that no normal human being could have foreseen or planned for. I don’t know if they’re going to introduce the idea that Reddington can see the future later in the series, or we’re supposed to believe he’s that adaptable, but you need to suspend disbelief to be along for the ride. And that’s fine. This is primetime network television. It should be more concerned with fun, and it is. It’s a pretty fun ride and it sets up the rest of the season nicely.

In the mythos of the show you learn a lot of things. Like: Reddington was a government agent that suddenly disappeared and was then selling secrets to the highest bidder, Elizabeth Keen (the rookie profiler whose career Reddington seems to be trying to ‘make’) had a criminal father, Keen’s husband doesn’t appear to be who he says he is, and Reddington wants to get in the business of tracking down the world’s most dangerous criminals.

None of those mini cliffhangers are solved at the end of the episode. In the promo for next week’s episode Keen’s husband is back home like everything is normal and there’s another scene where she asks Reddington if he knew her father. Maybe it’s because I saw the initial trailer for this that ruined the pilot’s plot, but all the grand set-up made it feel like this episode was just filler for the rest of the season. I still liked it, but (here I go again) I wasn’t nearly as entertained with this pilot as I was with Sleepy Hollow’s. That show did a great job of setting up its core mysteries during an episode full of insane shit. I feel like The Blacklist can get there as long as it doesn’t hover on those plot lines too long and also gives us great self-contained episodes each time.

The Blacklist gets a solid recommendation from me.


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