‘The Blacklist’ season 1, episode 9 review: James Spader just earned himself an Emmy nomination

The Blacklist logo any seasonBy and large, we try to ensure that we don’t jump to any sort of knee-jerk conclusions when it comes to actors deserving nominations, but it’s just so rare that you feel that way minutes or hours later after watching a show.

But for James Spader and “The Blacklist,” it was clear before this episode even started that he was deserving of some recognition. “Anslo Garrick” was really just further proof, and this is saying something when you consider how many other great actors there are fronting drama series these days. That one speech to Diego Klattenhoff as he explained his motivation for staying alive was powerful, poignant, and really rather perfect as a showcase of how Raymond Reddington really is, and he is not afraid of fighting a man that even he is somewhat afraid of.

In some ways this felt almost like a “Blacklist” bottle episode, as the entire hour was basically set within the FBI facility as Garrick infiltrated it, and the team had to work together to protect Red; in turn, he protected them. He’s the only reason why Ressler is still around at this point.

While all of this was happening, Elizabeth Keen did her best attempt of playing rescue while wearing some sort of enormous bulletproof vest. She’s the unlikely hero here in that her experience, save for working with Red, is pretty limited. But, she’s really the only thing that the team has to save them given the limited amount of time. Anslo was slowly chipping away at members of the team, and even near the end of the episode, he also found a way to capture Liz. More and more people were dying, and Red was helpless at this point to do anything, trapped inside of a box while the FBI would not release him. This was so chilling; the world’s most notorious criminal felt such a heavy weight of guilt that people who did not even like him were sacrificing themselves … and there was nothing that he could do about it.

The episode ended without really hope for anyone, and while we are sure that there will be a chance for Red and Liz to figure this situation out, it doesn’t look good. For once, there may be an enemy that is smarter than they are, and they may either have to wait for a mistake, or find a way to outsmart him. Grade: A-.

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Photo: NBC

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