The Blacklist Review: The Gang Hunts “The Architect”

The Blacklist

My views on The Blacklist are split pretty solidly down the middle. Everything that has been happening with the task force has been wonderful, and the Reddington story is hollow and predictable. There are a few saving graces, like James Spader’s performance, but I’m not sure how to feel going forward. Perhaps I’ll work it out by the end of this post.

This week on The Blacklist: Harold demands that Reddington give them a blacklister, so that they can continue their work without aiding his vendettas. Reddington gets information from Isabella Stone about who ordered her attack against him, and continues his work to track them down. The search for The Architect sends Aram into the field, where he runs into his “ex-girlfriend”. Tom continues to search for information on his past.

Okay, so as a procedural The Blacklist is killing it right now. The villain was nothing remarkable, but they’re finally developing their underling characters. Elizabeth took a complete backseat to everyone else, and Aram being out in the field again was one of the best stories they’ve done this year. They explored his past relationship, and his budding one with Samar, and it gave some of the other characters a chance to shine. It was absolutely wonderful. Obviously, the show needs Reddington and Liz, but to continue to have stories like this will be the shows saving grace. They’ve tapped out some of their other stories, so they’d do well to lean into that.

The rest of it was not a mess, but it just wasn’t strong enough storytelling. Reddington does Reddington, only to find out at the end that (spoilers) his sabotage was an inside job. It’s pretty obvious to me at this point that Mr. Kaplan is behind all of it. Of course, there still may be a twist or two that has yet to come that will make me believe in loving a TV show again (it could be Dembe! Or Kaplan could be a puppet!), but most signs point to Kaplan and it will be tremendously disappointing if that’s the case.

As for the Tom stuff, I’m starting to be glad that he’s getting his own show. He’s a great character with a rich, deep story, and the flagship series does not have room for him anymore. This may have been the first time I’ve been remotely interested in watching Redemption. Ryan Eggold has done a great job, and I’m actually genuinely interested in the mystery of Christopher Hargrave’s “murder”.

Here are a few other thoughts:

  • Anyone else desperately want to see Samar punch that girl? I mean, just sayin’.
  • Any chance that Dembe is the one sabotaging Red? Nah, I’m positive it’s Kaplan.
  • I like Liz Keen as much as the next guy, but pushing her to the background in this episode was a fantastic decision.
  • Forgot to touch on this earlier, but Amir Arison really shone when Aram was in the field this week. Hope to see more of that.

Overall, this was a bit of a mixed bag. I’m hopeful that they will continue to lean into the stories that bring Ressler, Samar, and Aram directly into the action and further develop those characters, because that’s what works for the show. Of course they need Reddington, but I’d like for them to handle his situation in a surprising way, and I’m just not sure at this point that it’s possible.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know in the comments!

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC


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