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Recap: “The Blacklist" follows the big game with a bang


Welcome to the very special and inaugural recap of NBC’s “The Blacklist.” Confession time: I binge-watched this show over the summer and caught up on season two today. It’s my ultimate guilty pleasure. But, because it’s 2015, I’m watching and writing about what I like. And I do enjoy “The Blacklist.” It’s ridiculous, exciting and fun, and James Spader is a delight.

Here’s what you missed on Sunday’s post-Super Bowl episode of “The Blacklist.”

Note: The following recap contains spoilers for season two, episode nine of “The Blacklist,” entitled “Luther Braxton.”

NBC threw six promos for this episode of “The Blacklist” at audiences during the Super Bowl. And, in terms of drawing new viewers, “Luther Braxton” treated us to all of the classic elements of “The Blacklist:” weird, semi-gross violence, smarmy Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “Pretty in Pink”), lots of shooting, smoke and punching, and a loud, cliffhanger ending that left us with even more questions! New viewers, what you see is what you get.

The episode opens with the discovery that lifetime criminal mastermind Reddington is now being held in a secret prison. Luther Braxton (Ron Perlman, “Sons of Anarchy”), Reddington’s rival, takes over said prison from the inside and begins making demands to the FBI. As the FBI team descends, Braxton’s associates capture Agents Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff, “Homeland") and Samar Navabi (Mozhan Marno, “Charlie Wilson’s War”).

Meanwhile, Reddington escapes his cell within the prison and finds Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone, “My Bloody Valentine”) hiding, and the two plan a rescue and escape.

FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix, “Man of Steel”), Agent Aram Mojtabai (Amir Arison, “Girls”) and the rest of the “Post Office” headquartered team contemplate options to get Keen, Ressler, Reddington and company out of danger, while grappling with Braxton’s demands for data and top secret files.

If Braxton gains access to the files, Reddington could be killed, along with the team at the FBI working with him. Cooper gives up codes to Braxton, causing Kat Goodson (Janel Moloney, “The West Wing”) to report to her boss, the nameless National Clandestine Service “Director,” (David Strathairn, “Good Night and Good Luck”) who orders fighter jets to the prison location.

The episode ends with Reddington and Luther’s in person faceoff, interrupted by a missile fired from the jet. Explosion-as-cliffhanger! Classic “Blacklist!”

“Luther Braxton” provided a little insight to Reddington’s history and highlighted the relationship between Keen and Reddington, while also introducing new mysteries: Braxton refers to Keen as “the one” before the missile hits. The second part of this episode picks up this Thursday, and judging by the previews, it should be just as action-packed: everyone survives the explosion, but Luther kidnaps Keen and has her undergo regression hypnosis to remember the night her parents died in a fire. So, check back Thursday for the second part of this recap!

Lots to think about tonight….

*”Fulcrum” reminds me of NBC’s “Chuck.” You are missed, Chuck Bartowski.

*Missing from this episode was everyone’s favorite former-husband-turned-double-agent-who-is-actually-working-with-Reddington Tom Keen. (Ryan Eggold, “90210”) You know, a totally normal guy.

*I don’t understand why the marketing team behind “The Blacklist” have not embraced the “#Teams” mentality. In Season One, I was #TeamTom. Season Two has me #TeamRessler so far. I guess they just want us all to be #TeamReddinton?

* Keen trying to wake Reddington up was sad and kind of sweet. Their dynamic is never the same from week to week.

* I love that there was an “Avengers: Age of Ultron” commercial during this episode. It’s Spader’s world, we’re just living in it.

*What is the appropriate term for Reddington's FBI team? I know it’s not “Fringe division” (“Fringe”) or “the Scoobies” (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) or BAU/SVU...any guesses? Maybe I should get deeper into this fandom after fighting it for so long.

*The promo for Thursday involving regression hypnosis makes me think of “The X-Files,” since Mulder attempted to undergo hypnotic therapy to remember the night his sister was abducted. THIS IS WHAT I’M HERE FOR: FBI-centric dramas with overarching conspiracies!

Tune into NBC’s “The Blacklist,” airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m.

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