Red Sees Red

1/20/2014

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So much to say, so much to GIF, so little time. I wanted to do a photoset last week of when Red was staring at Luli's coffin, tears in his eyes, and thinking about the people involved in his kidnapping, her death - the people he killed. But at 11PM every Monday, right after it airs, I'm not going to transfer the recording from my DVR to DVD, then bring that over to my PC to rip. Too many extra time-wasting steps. By the time I had downloaded it the next day, some of those Tumblrs who don't need sleep had already made the exact GIFs I was going to, which freed me up to do other things, like write a few thoughts about the latest episode of The Blacklist. What follows is NOT spoiler-free, but at least it's shorter than normal.

I think this six-week hiatus and all the anticipation really built to something monumental. It had maybe more of an impact than it would have had there been no winter finale. "The Good Samaritan" was such a dark episode; all episodes are, but this one was all about revenge: the Good Samaritan believing in an eye for an eye; Red searching for the mole, leaving bodies in his wake. Don't break the heart of a brokenhearted man. You will get no sympathy. Even Red's amusing lines were tinged with more rage and less detachment than usual, which was expected but hard to watch and only deepened the love I have for this character.

That love was put to the test, though. I may not condone Red's actions, but I still sympathize with him. When we first see Red in the episode, he is finding, questioning, and dispassionately dispatching the doctor who injected him, the medic who removed the chip from his neck, and Apple Man's partner, brilliantly scored by Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around. It reminded me that he may be looking for redemption, but he is very dangerous and unforgiving. He also kidnapped Aram. Red's calm while he was stripping and reassembling his gun was chilling, Aram frantically transferring money to the tune of the Jeopardy countdown playing in my head. Red was ready to murder him without a second thought. For these reasons, I needed time to process "The Good Samaritan."

I read a comment that just when you thought Red was sort of a good guy, this episode changed that. They may be looking at him too simplistically. We've gotten glimpses of Red's motivations, what he's had to do. I remind myself of what Red has lost, what his enemies have turned him into, and that he can't trust anyone, even his own people. The character and story just keep getting richer and more interesting, and labels like "bad" or "monster" fail to convey the intricacies of this damaged soul.

I did not see it coming that a close acquaintance of Red's was a part of this. Just like we didn't get to know Luli, we knew even less of Mr. Grey, a.k.a. Newton Phillips (Charles Baker). It's nice that it wasn't a character I am attached to, yet it was still a poignant moment for the two of them. Bravo to Spader, Baker, and the writers. With the dawning realization that this moment would be his last, Newton revealed that they (Garrick? Fitch?) had threatened his family. But Red could never forgive such an unthinkable breach of trust when he could have asked for help. Newton was responsible for Luli's death, Red's kidnapping and torture, Ressler's brush with death, and putting Lizzy in danger. It was sad to see Red having to again take the life of someone he knew, and again by suffocation. James Spader did another tremendous job with just a few words, that stillness that comes over him, the emotion in his voice. I will never stop praising his performance.

It's been interesting to watch Liz grow and be willing to do what is necessary, to intimidate, to be less hesitant. Red's personality is rubbing off a bit, like when she threatened the man she rescued from Karl Hoffman. I can't say I was sorry for him at all since he regularly beat his wife, though I do hate anything to do with eyes. Liz is so much tougher than where the show started. And the smile she had for Reddington in the end was lovely. She was genuinely happy to see him. I really hope that's how this series ends: with smiles instead of tears. I could also live with bittersweet.

A few of my favorite moments...

Aram: "You're not going to kill me?"
Red: "No. I'm going to find someone else and I'm going to kill them."

Red: "Oh my God, the suspense is killing me."

Red: "If you had come to me, I could have helped you. We could have avoided all of this. But now we can't."

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