‘The Blacklist’ season 1, episode 4 review: Why ‘The Stewmaker’ was the best episode yet

The Blacklist logo any seasonThere was a good ten or twenty minutes during tonight’s “The Blacklist” where we started to wonder whether or not all of the hype surrounding “The Stewmaker” was going to be worthwhile. This was an episode that had the most capable villain in the history of the show, and also the most terrifying. This man looked somewhat like Arthur Mitchell, Dexter Morgan, and Nicholas Brody (at least the version from last night’s “Homeland”) all rolled into one person and with the chemistry background of Walter White.

The reason the mystery worked for us was simply that there was almost a comic-book effect to the way that the Stewmaker operated. He was a villain that could be identified easily, and had a very specific M.O. to go along with it. The man also left a us with a trace of history; there was a specific photo that Red pulled out of his photo album before handing it over to the authorities. This is the first clue to a backstory that is coming, but all in due time.

This was an episode that also put Liz’s life on the line more than any other, and it was Red who did come to her rescue, killing the attacker in the process. This is, in her mind, part of what makes him a “monster” on the same level as the other criminals she is taking down. There was no reason to kill him; had he waited just a few short minutes, the authorities would have been on their way. But this is what makes Reddington such a shrewd villain, and a major reason by this show works. He lifts the entire story, and gives us that valuable person we want to root against, but at the same time can’t help but root for, at least to the extent that he stays working with Liz.

So long as “The Blacklist” continues to balance the individual story with a more long-term plot like they did here, it is rather easy to be thrilled with the direction of the show.

Overall, did you think that “The Stewmaker” was one of the best episodes of “The Blacklist” so far?

Photo: NBC

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