The Blacklist

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by stj, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that kinda bugged me, too. Killing the "stewmaker" certainly does not make him a "monster," (melodramatic much?) and she didn't even bother to ask him why. Plus, no one bothers to ask about the missing photo from the book.
     
  2. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks There's a- a peck here with an acorn pointed at me Premium Member

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    The actress who plays Elizabeth Keen makes Kristen Stewart seam like a thespian.
     
  3. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I forgot to mention that I love Parminder in this! She is actually really believable to me as a CIA agent. And in last week's episode I really enjoyed watching her kick some ass!
     
  4. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Yeah, Megan Boone's character (Elizabeth Keen) needs to step up in the emotions department. I realize she's a professional, but even outside of her job she doesn't really emote.
     
  5. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You may be right the episode was hinting that. But Reddington first of all abandoned his real family without a qualm. Why then care about another one? Particularly since the girl's photo was close to the beginning of the stewmaker's album, implying that she was killed years ago. And this would mean she was fathered by Reddington well before his mysterious break into criminality. It is not clear why another daughter's existence would be a dark secret until he took up a life of crime. Nor is it clear how the death of a daughter might lead to taking up a life of crime.

    Yes, Elizabeth Keen being his daughter would be pretty saccharine. The question of why she would matter so much more than his ordinary children applies to her as well.

    However, as to the monstrousness of killing the stewmaker, that depends on what you deem his motive. We know what he said for Lizzie, but what he did was silence the last witness to the criminals who ordered the crimes the stewmaker merely abetted. After all, the dialogue made it clear that Lizzie was supposed to be his first kill. Even the Old Testament says a life for a life. The stewmaker didn't kill anyone.

    Many murderers got away because of Reddington's intervention. At best, the photos may help confirm the deaths of missing persons. As fun as some viewers may have found Reddington killing a man for felony tampering with evidence, in truth, Reddington committed murder to protect murderers, even if he said he a bunch of satisfying BS. In all probability, Lizzie's "melodramatic" monster was based solely on the disproportion of the punishment for attempted murder, based on the lex talionis principle, without thinking of the protecting murderers angle.

    That would be necessary plot-wise, because the FBI would know Reddington killed the guy, but they can't highlight the protecting murderers angle, because it would highlight the scripted incompetence of the FBI (designed to make Reddington look good.) Also it would detract from the pleasure of the murder for that part of the audience that likes that aspect of the show. Ressler's aside was meant to assure us that Reddington would kill Lorca, the drug dealer, at some point for his own personal pleasure.

    Tom Keene is not bland, but is positively angelic. Thus far, it can only be assumed that Lizzie is not just a fool, or why should anyone care about her, not just Reddington, but us? But either a villain has manipulated her throughout her marriage, or she hasn't realized that Reddington set the mad bomber on her husband. Lizzie can't be a dramatic agent if she's too clueless to know there's a dramatic choice to make. I don't know if it's possible to write anything but a deer in the headlights with this kind of story.

    The points above about the longevity of the anti-hero trend and the desperate need for willing suspension of disbelief for this show are both correct.
     
  6. Top41

    Top41 Vice Admiral Moderator

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    I've seen all of the episodes now and have to admit it's pretty entertaining. Spader is awesome; I agree that Megan Boone isn't as strong as she should be but hopefully she'll get better. Despite under-emoting, there is something likable about her. I really hope Lizzy's husband isn't evil because I like him and he's hot! I hope there's more to the story. I wonder if he could be working for the CIA or something like that? I give the writers kudos for advancing the story each week. I thought she'd sit on it for like half a season before it came up again.

    The producers keep saying Lizzy isn't Red's daughter. I wonder if he's responsible for her parents' death or something like that, and feels bad about it? Another reason I doubt the husband is evil: it seems like Red would do something about it.

    This is probably the new series I've watched most consistently so far. I've let others build up here and there but I'm always eager to watch a new episode of The Blacklist. So that says something to me!
     
  7. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    It seems that Lizzy is important to Red because of her husband. I'm guessing the husband is evil and behind what happened to Red's family/daughter, the dead girl in the picture.
     
  8. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The husband looks like he could be Spader's son. The have some similar like looks that it's possible.
     
  9. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This is the only new drama that I'm watching and I'm really enjoying it.
     
  10. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but tomorrow seems to offer a few real answers to the husband storyline.

    First, I do have to repeat: James Spader selling this guy for the time he's on screen is truly amazing. That said, I'm having trouble finding the entertainment value in watching even this bravura performance when the payoff is so often Reddington killing someone, or abetting a criminal.

    Which is why the husband storyline is so interesting (so far.) Reddington's statement to his valet or whatever about playing the long game seemed to be in reference to Tom, implying I think that Reddington is taking a chance on Tom either being more than just another criminal or that at least letting Elizabeth play it out will put him in more solid with her. The part about finding out who their enemy is suggests that Elizabeth's connection may be with that person (her real, criminal father? but Reddington knows who that is...)

    And a question for people with much sharper eyes: The symbol that Isabella Rossellini's Eberhardt put on Reddington's bodyguard seemed in my memory to be the same symbol etched into the box under the floor at the Keen's house*? Or are my eyes and memory playing me false?

    *Strictly speaking, the Keen's ability to keep a house while losing Tom's income and paying their share of his medical bills is a red flag for chicanery. Particularly since elementary school teachers are not especially well paid. (I have my doubts about low level FBI agents too.) But in all probability it's just Hollywood's idea of the ordinary lifestyle.
     
  11. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Yes, none of that pesky "reality" getting in the way.

    I'm looking forward to the next one, too. I'm hoping for a bit of a switch, as the previous formula of the first few episodes would have gotten very tiring, very quickly. I'm hoping to see a bit of a game-changer.
     
  12. Aldo

    Aldo Admiral Admiral

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    I'm also liking the dynamic Elizabeth seems to be forming with Red. She still hates him, but finds herself drawn to him in moments of despair (like when she visited him after her husband demanded she come home).

    I hope this is a new trend for TV shows to actually, you know, develop their characters over the course of the show rather then keep them static like was the norm for so many procedurals over the years.
     
  13. Marten

    Marten Captain Captain

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    It must be some sort of Obama-care propaganda! They are so well insured it's impossible!
     
  14. IndyJones

    IndyJones Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He probably has insurance and a number of paid sick days, and his wife is working as well. Were you expecting them to be evicted from their home after a week or two?
     
  15. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    OK, not quite sure what that last episode was about. The whole thing was his convoluted scheme to fuck with her head or is Tom really some kind of super-spy (seems unlikely)?
     
  16. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

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    Especially since next episode they seem to be all chummy again. They've got to be careful not to raise too many questions without any real answers. Adding new wrinkles is one thing, but ping-ponging back and forth with just that storyline could get old. But at least we learn that Redd has something over the FBI boss this episode.

    Even when Miss FBI is crying, I feel they are Hollywood tears... the emoting is still a problem, but either getting incrementally better or I'm getting used to her acting.
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Recent family experience with major medical expenses may be affecting my view. Twenty percent copay is pretty standard, and deductibles so far as I know run about one thousand dollars. Fifteen days sick leave per school year would be pretty generous I think, so yes, I think they would have been down to one income pretty fast. The hospital and physician expenses would probably be limited to out of pocket, maybe $10 000, but meds and PT may well be separately handled. Her employer (is it still the FBI?) may have been generous on paying her for any of her time with him (if she took any?) but there are very often official limits on employees taking paid leave for sick family members.

    An elementary school teacher with only a few years experience in a metropolitan area might be pulling down something like 60K, leaving a take home less than 40K after taxes, federal and state. The house payments might be as low as $2 000, but could be as high as $4 000. No, I don't think they could live on her income.

    As a matter of fact, I wouldn't expect them to be evicted, but to downsize. If they're taking all their savings, sucking out any equity in the house, selling assets or what not, I'd expect that still to be a source of worry, even strife. Major medical expenses are a major cause for bankruptcy, which should an option on the table for them, given the marital problems.

    antichristhill, it doesn't make much sense to me either. Frankly, I have no idea when Tom was supposed to establish this career as a major criminal, unless he started when he was twelve. Nor do I see how Tom could be criminal mastermind enough to know, somehow, that the evidence would fall apart. I have long ago decided that any criminal plan involving walking into custody is even dumber than the director.

    But I think that we are supposed to believe that Red took the fall for Tom, so that Elizabeth's feelings wouldn't be so crushed. I don't see how Reddington could have planted the picture, nor do I believe the bimbo-terrorist when she says she doesn't recognize Tom. I don't know why Elizabeth doesn't think the really interesting question is not whose arm is around his shoulder but who's taking such carefully cropped pictures? Why?

    Elizabeth long ago should have realized that Reddington ordered Tom's murder, then the box was supposed to take the grief away, by turning Tom into a liar instead of a dead husband. Said box being planted by Reddington to make sure that his Lizzie would be a merry widow.

    What's really bizarre is that the surveillance team doesn't seem to be working for either the Black Site or for Red.
     
  18. IndyJones

    IndyJones Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's assuming an awful lot about their personal finances, and I don't think it's justified. I'm well-aware that medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcies in this country, but at the very least this is a family with dual earners, and he would have had at least some sick days. Maybe they watch Suze Orman and had an 8 month emergency fund that they dipped into, maybe they're diligent about contributing to their Roth IRA's and are pulling some money out, maybe they inherited money, etc.

    I'm not saying that a family couldn't be wrecked by that type of situation, I just don't think it's so likely as to be strange that it hasn't yet been brought up in these episodes.
     
  19. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Technically, weren't his injuries a result of her job at the FBI? I would think the government would be on the hook for a large part of the bills thus created.

    Criticism of the show: Spader needs to limit the "evil laugh" bit of characterization to once per show. It's already heading towards self parody.
     
  20. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've been thinking the timing of everything seemed off. Tom walking into custody just as his putative girl friend was planting a bomb implies not just the possibility that he and she somehow planned it together/scheduled it. (No, there's no reason why she would agree to go to jail just to provide Tom an alibi for the Fokin murder, especially since disposing of the murder weapon would have been SOP for any halfway competent assassin.)

    The other possibility is that it is because Reddington knew Tom was trying to confront Elizabeth about the box, that Reddington manipulated the whole crisis by hiring Zanetakos in the first place. That would explain how Reddington could plant the photo. Then the whole episode would be Reddington burning off an old business associate to boost Elizabeth's morale. Framing Tom is pretty bad, particularly since it makes her a gigantic fool for being screwed by a criminal. But after all she got over Reddington sending a man to stab Tom.

    Reddington's got an inside man at Black Site, maybe part of the fallout from Kuwait.