The Blacklist season 5 episode 9 review: Megan Boone performance shines above all in ‘Ruin’

The Blacklist logo any seasonWhat’s left after reality becomes a shadow? How do you rebuild a life when you hardly had much of a life at all? Over the course of The Blacklist season 5 episode 9 entitled “Ruin,” we see Megan Boone’s character of Elizabeth Keen wrestle with what are very difficult questions in her present.

The majority of the episode is set during an undetermined period of time in the future — months or even longer — following her awakening from a coma. She’s pulled almost a Dexter Morgan, taking herself out to the middle of nowhere to escape the trauma of her past and embrace a new reality. Being in Alaska is apparently the perfect way for Liz to mute some of the pain, some of the loss, and to figure out what she wants her life now to be. Above all else, she seems intent on trying to squelch the rage bubbling within her. She’s felt vengeance before, but never an anger quite like this. Finding her quiet time in the woods, with her dog, and with nobody knowing her real name is her ultimate escape. In this world she is “Grace,” a woman who lives out on her own with a generator and very little distractions from the real world.

Through flashbacks, you learn about the decision for her to leave the world behind. She determines that trying to continue the Blacklist mission with Reddington and the Task Force would be too difficult. With that, she informs Reddington that he should take up the mantel and continue to do some of the work with the remainder of the Task Force. She also sends her daughter Agnes off with Scottie Hargrave — in the process of that, it appears that her struggles with Howard Hargrave are put at bay. With The Blacklist: Redemption over, the appearance of Scottie here symbolizes that there is no longer an interest in directly addressing anything on that show. Liz wants her daughter to have a stable upbringing. Scottie is hardly a model parent, but she’s a little more capable of the job than Liz currently is.

For a time, Liz found her escape and her peace — until something happened that sent the memories and the feelings flooding back into her head.

The attackers

As fantastic an episode as “Ruin” is, the whole premise of these men and their criminal enterprise colliding with her seemingly out of the blue was a little hard to grasp. They didn’t necessarily seek her out, but they had their own mission that they were trying to achieve and her presence within the woods was a means to an end. She could give them the roof that they needed during some inclement weather so that they could carry out their “transporting” mission of another human. The plan was to use Liz and have her be collateral damage.

What these men underestimated is that Liz is not a woman to take any flack from anyone, let alone some strangers. The moment she realized that these guys were criminals, and not just unfortunate souls stranded after a plane crash, she took action against them. The scene of her putting glass into the leader’s ice cubes was the perfect piece of evidence that Badass Liz is here and she’s alive — Megan Boone’s monologue explaining what she did, and in turn explaining what she was after was fantastic. Boone in general was outstanding in this episode — raw, powerful, and painful. She made it abundantly clear that this was a version of Liz unlike any that you’ve seen before. We’ve seen her kill and channel her rage before, but not quite like this. Battling these men, who intended to torment her and did unspeakable things to her poor dog, awakened her and her true mission: Murdering everyone responsible for Tom’s death. Once she dispatched these guys, she was ready to make it back to her old life. She was ready to resume it, and ready to get what she felt she deserved: True vengeance. Through her encounter in the woods Liz realized that there was no escaping her anger. She could only hope to bury it, and whether it be destiny, fate, or just bad luck, she couldn’t escape the violence and the criminal underworld no matter how hard she tried.

CarterMatt Verdict

With the right material, The Blacklist can be one of the best network shows on television. “Ruin” proved that once again. Even with limited screen time for James Spader and some of the other main characters missing in action, this was the best episode of the season and a great way to showcase the Liz that was, the Liz that is, and the Liz that could be. She’s still grieving, but some of that sorrow has turned to fire and it’s ready to ignite across the world ahead of her. A fantastic start to the new year for the NBC series.

What do you think about The Blacklist season 5 episode 9? Did “Ruin” prove to be a Megan Boone standout to you? Share in the comments below!

(Photo: NBC.)

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