Following a pretty mediocre midseason finale, The Blacklist is back with a bang!
The Director picks up events pretty much straight after The Kings of the Highway; following Liz’s (Megan Boone) capture and arrest by Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) the task force must protect her from the Director (David Strathairn) and the Cabal while in custody. Imprisoned in the red box that once held Red (James Spader) Keen is supposedly safe, but when nitrogen starts pumping into the impenetrable prison Aram (Amir Arison) faces a race against time to try and save Liz’s life.
This episode was a great combination of thrilling and tense; in a lot of the scenes I was genuinely on the edge of my seat. In particular when Aram has to make the decision of whether to open the red box to save Keen from suffocating but inevitably hand her over to the General, or to watch her slowly die. Also the scene where numerous heavily armed Cabal members, lead by Mr. Soloman, surround the log cabin in which Ressler and Tom are holding Karakurt – I absolutely thought at least one of them was going to meet their end in the following shoot out!
Both Red and Liz took a back seat in this episode with a shift in focus to Ressler and in particular Aram. Don’t worry though as Red still has time to fit in a few of his amazingly convoluted but hilarious stories! I’m glad Ressler finally got a little bit of character development in this episode as he (slowly!) cottoned on Laurel was corrupt and teamed up with Tom to bring Karakurt in. I feel that he’s always been a little on the one dimensional side, and with his previous clichéd drug addiction, I was never really fond of Ressler. But his arc in this episode was really well done with his doubt over why he’s doing what he’s doing, finally believing Liz was set up and joining team Red, he finally won me over.
But the star of the show had to be the fantastic Amir Arison as Aram. To evolve from the geeky techy who provides the comic relief to full blown bad ass, pointing a gun at the Director, just proves what an amazing character Aram is. That scene was so rewarding, he truly stepped up for Liz and Red and also stood for what he believed in – I almost wanted to do a fist pump! He really is one of the best characters on the show along with Red.
This episode also proves that The Blacklist’s action never fails to live up to expectations with a fantastic shootout. The showdown showcases Tom and Ressler’s skills with various weapons and also their ability to out smart their enemies in a particularly clever switcheroo. The fact that they manage to kill all the Cabal henchmen (bar Mr. Soloman) unscathed was a little far fetched, but The Blacklist excels at the absurd. A prime example was the scene in which Navadi and Red construct a fake crime scene to make the FBI evidence transport vehicle attend the site. This vehicle confiscated Red’s ‘care package’ earlier in the episode, so their plan was to distract the drivers while they steal back the briefcase. Also the numerous perfectly timed rescues in the episode just add to the absurdity, but it’s refreshing for a show to actually gleefully embrace the silliness at times!
With the task force finally uncovering the traitors in their department, where does this leave Ressler and co.? Will Liz finally be exonerated now Kerikar is in custody ready to admit to framing her? And what is Red’s plan with the Venezuelan foreign minister? I really hope the rest of the series wraps up these points properly as season three is shaping up to be my favorite so far!
The Blacklist continues next Thursday at 9pm on NBC – check out the preview for next weeks episode below.