Midseason Report Card: What ‘The Blacklist’ season 4 did right

The Blacklist logo any seasonWe’re a little ways removed right now from “The Blacklist” season 4 finishing off the first part of the season, and the reason that’s important is rather simple: It allows us an opportunity to sit back, take in a deep breath, and analyze everything that went right / some of what went wrong.

We’ll begin with this: Love him or loathe him, Alexander Kirk is the best recurring villain for the show since Berlin. He was dangerous, but more than that, he was the biggest emotional threat we’ve seen to date for Elizabeth Keen. Because of the complexities that were there with him believing for most of season 4A that he was her father, we saw her forced into dealing with a myriad of issues. She had a proclivity to trust him because he remembered her past, and claimed that he has her best interest at heart. Even after she learned that he was sick and was largely using both her and Baby Agnes as a means to get better, her caring nature still wanted to lend him a helping hand to a certain extent.

Emotional threats are always going to be more interesting to us than a physical threat. With that, you can very easily just throw a ton of damage at them and hope they go away forever on show’s like these. If there is a reason that you’re not going full John Rambo on someone, it really does add significantly to the complexity and the intrigue of the overall series.

Other high points – James Spader remains the consummate leading man, and Raymond Reddington is beautifully complex, haunting, and terrifying at the same time. You know he’s capable of killing people, but there’s still something sweet about seeing him hold Agnes and be a part of that whole family. Also, we must add that the entire storyline revolving around Mr. Kaplan is, by our money, one of the most interesting and creative stories we’ve seen the show cultivate. This is one of the few times we really cannot predict what the show is planning to do.

On the Task Force front, kudos to the writers for giving Amar more to do in his personal life, even if we all knew that his girlfriend was more than likely the mole. We’re closer to Amar / Samar probably than ever before, and that remains exciting.

The low points – When are we going to get something good for Ressler once more? Early on in the series we loved this character, but much of the Task Force this season so far has simply spent their time traveling to various places only to be told that their princess is in another castle. Tragic, really. We also feel like Tom Keen should be getting more chances to shine; it feels too much like he’s on hold, waiting for his spin-off to start, rather than being a consistently active part of this story. We personally liked the character more when he was a rogue and we couldn’t predict what he would be doing next.

Overall – We know that it’s easy to focus on the negative (hey, this is the internet), but we do think the first half of “The Blacklist” season 4 was solid entertainment. We just wish that there was a standout episode on the same wavelength as “Cape May,” one of our favorites of all of 2016 as a whole. Grade: B.

(Photo: NBC.)

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