TV Recap: The Blacklist, ‘Luther Braxton’

Written by Ryan DeMarco

The Blacklist

In the Mid-season premiere, Reddington (James Spader) is arrested by the CIA and is relocated to high security center, known as “the factory”. While this is happening, major league criminal Luther Braxton (Ron Perlman) and his minions take over the facility and take hostage all of the staff while they attempt to retrieve the fulcrum, a highly classified blackmail file that could ruin some big time people and reveal a secret organization. It’s up to Red and Agent Kean (Megan Boone) to stop Braxton.

Sunday night was a big night for television thanks mainly to some sort of high profile sporting event that was going on. I believe it was the Puppy Bowl. Hundreds of millions tuned in to watch. Oh wait, it was the Super Bowl. I always mix those two up. Anyhow, The Blacklist was given a wonderful opportunity to draw in some new fans, those who may have never heard of the show or just don’t like to try new things. So it was needless to say that The Blacklist had to be big and told in a way to easily bring people back in, especially new viewers.

Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/NBC
Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/NBC

The episode immediately opens to Raymond Reddington getting arrested overseas. Essentially this is what happened in the very first episode. He is brought to a high security facility known simply as the factory. It is a place also known as the “slaughterhouse for spies”. Very cute. If you remember last year, Reddington lost his protection once Alan Fitch’s (Alan Alda) face blew off from that nifty neck bomb he was stuck in. So Ray was in trouble, fortunately for us, he was expecting that since he’s a mastermind and all. Once he’s captured, Elizabeth Kean and the rest of the FBI task force led by Harold Cooper, have to immediate scramble to locate where the factory is. Since a place that slaughters spies tends to not be in the phone book. Once they pinpoint his location, Kean and her team are sent after him to intercept. But of course in the Blacklist, things are never that cut and dry.

Enter Luther Braxton, a criminal that were led to believe is a brilliant thief and has been prisoner at the factory for quite some time. Within the first few minutes of his introduction he is enacting a plan to break out of his cell and release his minions to take over the facility. He does it very simply thanks to a number of startlingly dumb guards. Once Ray hits the facility he warns the staff of Braxton and his plans to escape and as usual nobody listens. Braxton escapes, people die, Reddington runs off. And if timing couldn’t be any worse, Agent Kean and the team show up on the facility, to which they are immediately ambushed and captured. All except for Kean that is.

Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/NBC
Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/NBC

It isn’t long before Kean and Red meet up and more of the story is unfolded. Braxton is trying to get the fulcrum, a blackmail file that is highly guarded and sheds light on the world’s most powerful scumbags and shady organizations. Because it’s always smart to store a shit load of secrets in a death prison. Red wants to put a stop to Braxton and of course Kean always tries to stand in his way, but it’s James Spader and he does what he wants. Negotiations go south for officials when trying to deal with Braxton, so they plan to blow up the factory to do away with Red, Braxton, the fulcrum and wipe their hands clean. Within moments Kean is captured and Red has to singlehandedly murder all of the baddies which always makes fun TV. With the last few minutes of Braxton he shed’s light that Kean is tied someone with the fulcrum, putting another piece of the puzzle together on how Agent Kean is connected to Red. Braxton tells Red, “She’s the one”. Because she is Neo apparently. Besides that big clue no other huge information is brought up but it is beginning to show on why Red is trying to protect Kean so much.

Overall, it was a decent episode for the Blacklist and a great way to bring the audience back into the chaos thanks to a fast and exciting opening. This show always excels at the action, the guest stars, and the Spader. Every scene with Red is always a good scene or great scene. The supporting cast always does their job with an exception every once and a while but the real reason we tune in is watching Spader. Perlman is a bit under-used as the baddie here but overall he does a fine contribution to this episode. But ultimately the show still slips in certain aspects, The FBI are sometimes bumbling idiots and we are constantly reminded that Agent Kean is very important.

The Blacklist airs every Thursday night on NBC.

Rating 7.5/10

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