Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Blacklist 1.02 Review: The Best Liars are the People We Think We Know

So, I lied. While I did watch yesterday’s episode of The Blacklist, entitled ‘The Freelancer (No. 216)’, last night, I did not get around to reviewing it. I did, however, take a great deal of notes, while watching the episode. Which is why that’s now first up on my reviews.
For anyone that has yet to watch the episode, and hope to do so without the chance of spoilers, then now would be that time to leave and go watch it. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
First off, can I just say how amazing this series does with regards to the music? The opening song was simply a masterful choice, and the scattering of music throughout the rest of the episode fit just well in each scene. Whoever is in charge of the music deserves some sort of award, and I do hope that they stick around for a very long time with this series. I honestly have three separate notes simply about the music in this show, so you know it has to be great.
Now, in regards to where the show’s second episode begins. I was a little confused. There seemed to be a slight disconnect from when last week’s episode ended, and the continuity with this one. I didn’t just imagine that last scene in the pilot where she goes and talks briefly with Reddington about her husband, right? That did happen? I do like the way this episode began, but it felt minutely off from last week. Especially having that discussion a few more times throughout the episode. If it were me, while Liz was being screened by a lie detector test, I would’ve thrown in a brief flashback to last week, just to tie it together a little more cohesively.
I can’t quite figure out what other show this reminds me of, but it does have a small resemblance to Chuck. Yes, this is a drama, whereas that one was more of a comedy, but I can pick up the hints of spy-like similarities, and the way certain scenes are expressed on screen. If that makes sense to anyone. This is definitely an espionage type series, with an interesting twist when it comes to Reddington giving himself over.
One particular sequence of scenes I have a few notes on, is when Reddington and Keen are in the restaurant in Montreal. After she knocks down agreeing to pretend to be his girlfriend, the slight nuance in the way he says, “Fine, you can be my daughter.” It was such a perplexing moment, that I can’t help but strongly feel she is his daughter. If it turns out she’s not, I will be sorely disappointed. And then, the other thing I liked about this scene, other than the classic way Reddington gets away briefly, was the subtle eye contact he gives the man at the bar, and a waiter. I know we’re supposed to catch this interchange, but nonetheless it was magnificently captured for our eyes.
It fascinates me, the way Reddington so easily gets away, but always goes back. He gave himself over, why would they not trust at least some of what he says? Why would a man that is number four on FBI’s Most Wanted list, give himself up to the FBI? Just to show them that he can get away? In the last two episodes, he’s given himself over three times. How do you not trust a man that does that? He obviously wants to be in the hands of the FBI, of what reason we know not of just yet, but he does need to be there. He’s given himself over willingly; please just give him some semblance of trust. Though, the fact that they finally did sign that form to give him build up to immunity did get the ball rolling in that direction. I was suppose it was necessary, getting that into circulation, and that this is only the second episode, so I guess they wouldn’t trust him just yet.
A few of my favourite interactions in this episode are between Keen and Donald. I know she’s married, but that’s obviously not something we’re supposed to trust, particularly due to that box that likely belongs to her husband. Keen and Donald’s interactions are always so full of this quick spark, and the subtle ways in which he looks at her, I can’t help but think he’s beginning to have feelings for her. I suppose she isn’t like the FBI’s usual rookies, all determined, doing what’s necessary, strong-willed, so I can’t help but see that he’d find that interesting. At the very least, the friendship that they sort of strike up, at least partner-wise, could prove to be quite interesting.
I have to just express how beautiful the city is at night. While I love my stars, how brilliantly lit up all the buildings are is just spectacular. The way they brought this place to us makes me yearn to be apart of that nightlife, all dressed up in fancy gowns and having intriguing conversations. My love affair with New Orleans may not be the only city I have a love affair with. I commend the cinematographers for being able to do that. Being one that prefers her trees, to her crowded places, that they were able to spark that interest in me, is astounding.
On that note, I do have a negative comment when it comes to the cinematography. When it came to the point where Donald chases after the Freelancer, the techniques that were used to film these scenes were a little iffy to me. Shaky camera work does have it’s time and necessary place, particularly when you’re trying to involve your audience in the scene and not just make it clinical, but this time around it was a little off to me. Specifically when it came to the glossed over shots, they annoyed me a great deal.
Back around to Megan Boone. I have to just commend her on her facial acting skills. The subtle ways in which she captures the audience with just a look, especially while playing against such an esteemed actor as James Spader, that’s been around a great deal longer than she has. I do think she work on her tone, though. It doesn’t need a great deal of work, but there are some instances where it doesn’t perfectly fit in the character, almost like there’s no change to it.
I find it interesting how much Keen wants a family. I don’t think now is the right time, when she’ll be in constant danger being around Reddington, but it’s astounding how much she still does want kids. However, this is only the second episode, that might come to change with every interaction she has with the criminal mastermind. I’m also perplexed by her desire to not have biological children. Perhaps it is because she was in the foster system, so she wants to give someone like her a good chance at life. Or it could be she doesn’t want her child to have something she feels she might pass on. I expect we’ll learn more about this as the series progresses.
One small part I do feel the need to mention before I sign off was the interaction between Donald and Reddington. His mentioning of the cheese cart was comical. I hope this ability to balance slight comedic moments with the drama that this series is founded upon persists.
My rating: 4 out of 5.

Best Lines:
“I agree with you completely. But it is a restaurant, and it is dinnertime.” – Reddington to Keen. Just the way he agrees with her, but still turns it around to service him.
“Oh yeah? And what’s the CIA look like?” – Margot Malik, whom Reddington rightly guesses is CIA.
“What is it with you and hotel rooms and pens in people’s necks?” – Reddington questions Keen, reference last week’s episode, where she stuck a pen in his throat to get answers.
“Looks like she’s dying. (Nods.) Definitely dying.” – Reddington nonchalantly states.

All right, I’m off to shower then watch Sleepy Hollow and review that. Then it’s New Girl, Trophy Wife, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. No more reviews of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, though, it is the first casualty (other than my lack of actually watching Betrayal, Lucky 7, The Big Bang Theory, and Glee) of shows I’ve stopped watching.

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