Write yourself a tease for this post, then say it in James Spader’s disarmingly frightening delivery.
There’s no particular need to bring you up to speed on The Blacklist if you haven’t already watched. To watch any given episode is to have watched most of them, and none of them – this is not a J.J. Abrams joint where disparate elements of interest are eventually revealed to have some purpose, even if you don’t think that purpose was worth a season and a half. This is a more bombastic, freer flowing, sometimes clumsy piece of television that often seems like the writers don’t necessarily know where the element they introduced is going to lead, but they are pretty sure why they brought it in, and usually the why is ‘because it’s kinda awesome’.
Every character has a secret. Some secrets also have secrets. Some secrets are revealed promptly, others are draaaaagggged out over more episodes than you thought there even were in a season. The useless characters eventually get killed off. Sometimes they are replaced by aggravatingly similar (in look and utility) characters. Sometimes the really interesting and plot-driving characters also get killed off. Also, bad guys often get killed off. And Alan Alda got killed off. He may or may not have been bad. What I’m saying is, there is some killing in this show.
There are also real moments of intrigue, villains that seem both all to real and beyond belief, and a magnificent break-in-cum-dance-routine involving ladders.1 There’s James Spader saying the line ‘I do love stroganoff.’ with no outward malice and yet it’s one of the most menacing things you’ll see a character do or say on (network) TV. There’s the lead character’s steady growth such that we’re no longer scratching our heads as to why they are taking up valuable stroganoff-related screen time.2