“The Blacklist” Recap: Forgetting to remember
Note: The following recap contains spoilers for “The Blacklist” season two, episode ten entitled “Luther Braxton: The Conclusion.”
“Luther Braxton: the Conclusion” slowed down the action from Sunday’s post Super Bowl episode but cranked up the levels of psychological and emotional manipulation. In the end of the first installment of “Luther Braxton,” a CIA-ordered missile struck the secret government prison site that thief Luther Braxton (Ron Perlman, “Sons of Anarchy) commandeered. On “The Blacklist’s” first Thursday night showing, Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “Secretary”), Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff, “Homeland") and the rest of the FBI team attempt to track down missing Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone, “My Bloody Valentine”), who was kidnapped by Braxton in the chaos of the missile strike.
Braxton’s interest in Keen depends upon her relationship to the fulcrum, which is significant data containing secret files. Braxton forces Keen to undergo regression hypnosis to recover a buried memory of the night she suffered a notable burn on her hand as a child. In order to carry out the hypnosis process, Braxton blackmails psychiatrist Dr. Selma Orchard (Gloria Ruben, “ER”) into performing the procedure.
In the first few attempts, Keen cannot recover the full memory. Reddington delivers threats to both Braxton and Braxtons associates, while the shadowy National Clandestine Service “Director” (David Strathairn, “Good Night and Good Luck”) meets with members of an organization called the Alliance to discuss the failed missile strike.
Reddington and Braxton face off in a church graveyard, giving Spader and Perlman ample physical space to bounce each other’s unique presence off of one another. Reddington finds Keen but attempts to make her finish her final memory recovery. Keen remembers a group of men present during the night of the fire; Reddington was among these men. Calling out Reddington’s motivation in his and Keen’s relationship, the episode ends with Keen searching through old photos and discovering the true location of the fulcrum: inside her childhood stuffed bunny, a recurring symbol in her regression hypnosis.
Reddington confronts the Director and confirms that Red knows the location of the fulcrum, as well. The CIA makes an official statement that Reddington’s whereabouts are unknown, setting up the Alliance’s motivations against Reddington into motion.
“Luther Braxton: The Conclusion” resolved the post-Super Bowl episode’s action and added further questions to the ones it answered. Keen’s role and position with regards to the fulcrum, as well as Reddington’s against the National Clandestine Service and/or the CIA, became cloudier after Thursday’s episode. This episode provided much less Reddington facetime compared to the post Super-Bowl episode, which was aimed at wooing new viewers to stick with the show and to tune in Thursday. The focus on Keen is an interesting contrast but may not have sold new viewers. One certainty: “The Blacklist” was renewed for Season 3!
*Points for accurate glitchiness of FaceTime, “The Blacklist.” Too often, the resolution of FaceTiming or Skyping is unrealistically clear!
*Spader Fedora count: 1
*Selma Orchard is a fake name.
*Personal opinion: “The X-Files” used regression hypnosis in a much more interesting and effective way than “The Blacklist” does.
*I care the least about this show when Keen tries to claim that Red doesn’t care about her.
*This week's episode boasted a surprisingly low body count, compared to Sunday's shootings and explosion. But Keen was briefly waterboarded for a few minutes, which seems like some sort of disturbing compensation.
Tune into NBC’s “The Blacklist,” airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m.
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