Why You Should Be Watching The Blacklist Immediately (No Spoilers!)

I totaled my car.

Its a not-so-short story that basically involves me making excuses for why I was on the road I was (habit and a bad sense of judgement and ice make for a precarious driving situation) and bemoaning how expensive car insurance is.

So, I think I’m entitled to a modicum of pity-partying. I just didn’t know this pity-partying would include a month long reading slump that effectively cleared out my TBR list in one shot. I just haven’t been able to get excited about anything and when you have no car, you’re options for after work activities are limited.

So, I did what any twenty-something would do in this situation.

I turned to Netflix.

Anyone who knows me well knows my favorite phrase is “I’ve been meaning to read/watch/listen to that!”

I have a list of the things I’ve been meaning to read/watch/listen to so long that it’s an actual wonder that I’ve read/watched/listened to anything at all.

These last couple of weeks have been different, though.

I finally started the NBC show The Blacklist.

What followed was a lot of present Brianna blaming past Brianna for not watching before.

But I truly believe that there is a right time to watch/listen and read certain things. Or that’s what past Brianna tells future Brianna.

Anyway, The Blacklist.

Are you watching it?

If yes, please comment immediately or find me on twitter so we can talk.

If not, listen to the myriad reasons why you pretty much have to watch The Blacklist right now–trust me on this, okay? And I say this from the other side of a season two bombshell. I can’t watch season three because Hulu refuses to put it up and I don’t want to pay for it. So I’m going to spend this time trying to convince you to watch it instead. And then we can bemoan why we can’t catch up together.

So, The Blacklist:

Meet Raymond “Red” Reddington

Raymond Reddington is a criminal mastermind–“The Concierge of Crime,” as the media calls him.  This man has been brokering deals for some of the most notorious criminals the FBI isn’t even aware of since he turned traitor and started selling state secrets to the highest bidders. He’s been number four on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for about twenty years after he abandoned his post in the Navy–he was being groomed for the admiralty–and disappearing on Christmas Eve, leaving a wife and daughter behind.

One day, he strolls up to FBI headquarters in D.C. and asks to see Assistant Director Harold Cooper. The guard at the front check-in has no idea who he is but as the facial recognition software kicks in every alarm in the lobby goes off and every gun is turned in his direction. When Cooper arrives, he merely says that he has information on a very dangerous dude planning a very dangerous attack but he’ll only talk to Elizabeth Keen.

So who the hell is Elizabeth Keen?

Elizabeth Keen is a FBI profiler. In fact, her first day is supposed to be when Raymond Reddington surrenders to the FBI. Coincidence? Nahhh. The first rule of The Blacklist is that there really are no conicidences where Red is concerned.

Elizabeth or Lizzie as Red likes to call her, was abandoned by a mother who was apparently too week and a father who was killed in a fire while trying to save her.

If Liz had to profile herself she’d say (and forgive me, I’m paraphrasing from the first episode, “Her colleagues call her ‘Sir’ because they think she’s a bitch. Like most children who raised themselves, she can display narcissistic behavior, she can be withdrawn, disconnected. She has a deep yearning to understand the criminal mind and is board certified in forensic psychology and yet she operates under the delusion that she can rewrite her past by having kids of her own.”

Her husband is a third-grade teacher named Tom. Red doesn’t like him.

No one, not even Lizzie, knows why she’s so important to Red. We only know that they’re somehow connected and it’s this connection that drew me to the show.

Seriously. I like crime shows but I hate watching the same thing over again and crime procedurals are often just that–the same thing over and over again. The Blacklist is a type of crime procedural with a high concept premise that changes things up a bit. The FBI already knows who they’re tracking down because Red has given them a name–usually something ominous sounding like “The Freelancer” or “The Stewmaker.”

My favorite tropes are found families and reunited families and criminals who have a heart and a history that separates them from the monsters. Basically, grey criminals, not the black and white perps that crime shows often make them to be.

Red is that type of criminal. He’s savvy, witty as hell and a total badass. You can’t help but root for him.

Especially as you learn more and more about his major vulnerabilities–which are hard enough to discern as it is.

His major vulnerability, you ask?

 

Now, I’m only on season 2, episode 18 as I type this; so I’m not privy to all the details yet about Elizabeth and Red’s connection. All you need to know as you start watching the series is that there are very few things in the world that Raymond Reddington cares about and I’m pretty sure among the top five is Elizabeth Keen.The mystery of their connection is an enigma buried in an impenetrable glass cage a la Magneto’s prison in an FBI black site about fifty levels deep. The writers’ are holding all the cards and so far, have only given brief hints. It’s brutal and it’s one of the main reasons I keep watching and you will probably keep watching too.

Another reason you’ll keep watching?

The tangled web of characters–people who aren’t just criminals of the week or morgue bait. The company Red keeps is always fascinating and two-dimensional. I can imagine these characters having lives when the episodes are done.

Red pulls the weight most episodes, but these other characters are a delight to uphold. They are:

DEMBE ZUMA

 

Dembe is the definition of a cinnamon bun too precious for this world. He’s the king of succinct. He’s also Red’s bodyguard and his surrogate son to Liz’s surrogate daughter. He’s just as protective of Red as Red is of him. Don’t let his strong and silent demeanor fool you–Dembe has probably assessed the situation before a bad guy walks into the room, knows ten ways out of every room and can probably kill you with his stony glare. (He’s totally a softie, though, and I love him for it).


ARAM MOTJABAI

Aram is totally the Abby from NCIS of the taskforce. He’s the go-to agent for anything technological and types faster than a court reporter. Besides Dembe’s expressions and Red’s quips, Aram is the comic relief in the show, giving heavy moments a more lighter and sunnier quality. He’s one of those characters that you have no choice but to love.

DONALD RESSLER 

Ressler is hot, guys. And I can’t help but like him. I have big hopes for him in the coming episodes and I’m really looking forward to seeing what his deal is. But you should like him because he’s nice to look at, he’s loyal and his interactions with Red are super amusing.
TOM KEEN

I can’t really explain why you’re going to like Tom Keen. Just that, he loses the glasses eventually and becomes way more of a plot point than he is in the beginning. I kind of love him now, even though I’m not 100% sure if I should. His character’s secrets definitely make the show more interesting.



SAMAR NAVABI

Why is there no good gifs of this woman? A Mossad agent on loan to the task force, she’s a total BAMF and often the voice of reason for her partners. Her intelligence adds to her totally badassery and while she has some unspoken alliance with Red, that doesn’t mean she takes shit from him. She’s one of my favs. But she comes later on and you’ll totally be rooting for her and another agent to get together.

Dude, I know. But I really want to convince you to watch this. At least try to get three episodes done of season one. Then we’ll talk, okay?

And if not, know that the writing is pretty spectacular and the music choices are spot-on. I’ve found a few songs to add to my playlists immediately–especially for ones themed as “How To Flee A Crime Scene in Style” and “Wannabee FBI Agent.”

So, just trust me on this. I’ve had a month to fall in love with this show and I’m still thinking about it. You won’t regret it once you start watching and then you’ll find you can’t stop. It’s that good.

Although, even all the spoiler avoidance in the world can’t save me from seeing that major shakeups are ahead in season 3 and 4–be prepared going in! This show is cray and intense and that’s why I love it!

Happy watching!

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