Midseason Report Card: Did ‘The Blacklist’ season 2 try too hard to be shocking?
Since when did “The Blacklist” become “Scandal”? There were a few times during the second season of the NBC hit that we started to wonder that.
This is a show that we expected to give a glowing Midseason Report Card to before it premiered, mostly because the first season proved to us that you can still tell somewhat-procedural stories on TV, and have it work out in a way that also has a strong serialized component. The relationship between Raymond Reddington and Elizabeth Keen was interesting enough that we did not completely care so much about some of the finer details, including what their backstory was.
Well, the first part of season 2 probably tried a little too hard to sell on how important “shockers” were to making this story something worth watching. First of all, the big “shocker” that was Tom Keen behind the door was hardly one at all. Rather than give us genuine character development, it stretched Liz beyond what we thought were the character’s boundaries, and was completely predictable basically from the moment we first saw what they were building to.
With this, the show almost went out of its way at times to make Zoe D’Antonio into Berlin’s daughter, and have this be a key component of the end of the fall season. With this being said, Reddington’s killing spree was pretty awesome.
We don’t want to be entirely critical of the show here, since it does still do a whole lot right. You have some of the best guest casting in TV, excellent performances from James Spader and Megan Boone, and also a superb since of style. We just wish that the show could relax a little this season, and know that it is okay for Liz to still be human, and for an episode or two to go buy without trying to trick us into something. Basically, this is one of the few shows that needs to not work so hard at impressing us. It was doing a very good job of that already. Grade: B-.
What did you think about the first half of “The Blacklist” this season, and do you still have hope for the rest of it? (Photo: NBC.)