TV Review: “The Blacklist” Season 3 – Strong Start

Written by Danielle Sing May 26, 2016

The Blacklist

The third season finale of “The Blacklist” recently aired and many viewers are still holding their breaths from a main character death a few episodes back. With a fourth season slotted, a spin-off being planned, and with no sign of this character returning, it brings down the strong start to this season. The dialogue and the acting is excellent as usual for “The Blacklist”, yet the tired and repetitive second half of this season knocks it down a few notches.

Liz Keen (Megan Boone) is wanted by the same FBI Counter-terrorism team that she works for after she claims to be a Russian operative. Liz goes on the run with Raymond Reddington (James Spader), her FBI team’s criminal informant, to escape capture. Reddington is able to get Liz free of all charges but that doesn’t stop her from being publicly hated. Following Liz being assaulted in a parking lot, she discovers she is pregnant with Tom’s (Ryan Eggold), her ex-husband and resident Blacklister, child. They struggle to start a life together as Liz tries to cut all ties with Reddington, which he refuses and proves dangerous for Liz.

“No matter what I tried to do, all I brought her was misery and violence.”

The first half of “The Blacklist” season two was very strong and it excellently dealt with the cliff-hanger ending of Liz claiming to be a Russian spy. It felt past paced as Liz, Reddington, and the FBI team were solving cases, and it felt like a very long car chase. But an entertaining, directed by Justin Lin car chase. The tremendous first half of this season is the best “The Blacklist” has ever been, which is why the second half is a major disappointment. Not only did the announcement of Liz’s pregnancy change the tone of the show completely (as Boone herself was pregnant), but the show felt repetitive. Every episode felt like a constant repetition of Liz wanting to get away from Reddington and the life of crime, even though she wants to work with the FBI team and re-marry her criminal for hire ex-husband. It was contradictory and it started to get tired and stale as the season progressed. But I will compliment the fact that “The Blacklist” continued to have Liz on air while Boone was pregnant, instead of using it as an excuse to write her character out of the show like other cop shows do (aka “Criminal Minds”).

the blacklist

Despite the disappointing second half to this season of “The Blacklist”, the dialogue and the acting is still as good as it always has been. James Spader is always a joy to watch and the only decent episode of the second half, ‘Cape May’, focused solely on a more sympathetic side of Reddington and showed Spader’s acting chops. The other stand out actor was Edi Gathegi as Matias Solomon, the main villain for the third season. While he was not always on screen is presence was always felt by both the other characters and the audience. While Gathegi was calm as Solomon, he was devious and brutal when he needed to be. He is the villain the “The Blacklist” has been missing in previous seasons and I hope he returns since his death was ambiguous. Though Reddington is known for his witty one-liners, Solomon had a handful of his own.

“My name is Masha Rostova, and I’m a Russian agent.”

Overall, if the entire third season of “The Blacklist” was as good as the first half, this would be getting a near perfect score, but the repetitiveness and the staleness of second half does dim the bright light of first half considerably. Also, the death of a main character could completely ruin the premise of the series if they are not brought back somehow. I think my expectations for the fourth season are going to start low but I’ll still watch it.

My Rating: 7/10

The Blacklist

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