The Blacklist Review: Raymond Goes Selfless

Spoilers

These two double episodes of The Blacklist Season 10 changed our notions about Reddington.

Despite Raymond’s many secrets, some things are quite clear. His actions and behaviors are almost predictable, even when he tries to hide his motives and intentions.

Raymond never does anything out of the kindness of his heart. It has to serve him somehow; if another person benefits from it, it’s rarely his intention.

Another thing about him is that he cares little about who suffers the consequences of his actions. He can plow through a crowd of innocent bystanders if that means getting his way.

Finally, money is his greatest motivation. Anywhere he stands to make a dollar or millions, he puts all his energy into that.

Raymond - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15

Yet, these two hours undid everything we thought we knew of him. His actions caused concern for Dembe and confusion for the Task Force.

On The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15, Red spent all his time trying to find a way to get the Task Force out from under Congressman Hudson’s thumb.

Elsewhere, the Task Force was busy working on three cases that seemed too mediocre to warrant their attention.

When Raymond got hold of the Hexroot program, he ensured that he couldn’t in any way, shape, or form be connected to the Task Force. That worked great for him but put the Task Force in a peculiar position.

Siya Malik - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15

Red had no incentive to help them any longer, and in our The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 9 review, we thought he was preparing to make a run for it.

Yet he stuck around all this time despite having little incentive to stay.

His reason for staying is primarily tied to Agnes. Why, then, would he help the Task Force?

Even if he were to leave now, Agnes would have remembered Pinky as a person who existed, not someone who meant a lot to her. They had only been hanging out together for a couple of months, and even though they had developed a kind of kinship, it was not a life-changing connection.

Dembe - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15

Wonders shall never cease because Raymond is used to having basic knowledge about how different people operate. If there is one thing one can be sure about politicians, they always have something to hide.

It was thus very surprising when Red discovered that Congressman Hudson was a unicorn. A moral oasis in an immoral desert.

Going back to what I was saying earlier about Raymond doing anything to get his way, for the first time, we saw him take the high road and do nothing in return, even when it was damn clear that the decision was going to cost him and the Task Force.

He was banking on finding dirt he could use to blackmail Hudson, and the truth he found touched his cold dead heart.

Harold - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

Congressman Hudson was not tailing a young woman because he had bad intentions. He wanted to ensure she was safe and well.

We know Red would not have stopped there. He would have dug deeper and set the man up if needed.

Who am I to hold up my life and work against his (Hudson) life and work. After what I heard yesterday, hell I’d vote for the guy.

Raymond

Raymond seriously considered the legacy he would leave after his death. He had led a life of largess and treachery, but what good was that now?

His second out-of-character act was cleaning up a charity organization before he gave them a substantial amount of money.

Again, the Raymond we know would not have cared about the morals of the people he dealt with as long as his needs were met. Yet he was gaining nothing from the donation and even less from removing the immoral people from that organization.

Red - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

The three cases he gave the Task Force were some of the blandest they had ever investigated. They were used to working demanding cases with twists and turns where nothing was as it seemed.

Following the cases as solved, it didn’t feel like a normal Blacklist case would feel. They were uninteresting, but they invoked strong feelings of pity. No one wants to feel pity for Blacklisters.

Artificial reproduction is a hotly contested topic because some people feel it diminishes the value and the mystery surrounding human life. But those people have never found themselves in a position without options.

Addabo wanted a child with his wife, and those dreams were first stolen by cancer. He suffered fresh heartbreak when he thought he’d found a way out, only for his son to kill all the embryos.

This isn’t something I haven’t admitted to the press. I had surgery for testicular cancer last year. We made our embryos before the procedure.

Addabbo

Todd, Aimee, and Alexander - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15

There should have been a crime in there somewhere. He had killed a lifetime’s worth of dreams, not for one but many people. His feelings about the method should have been irrelevant.

Wagner: I’ve worked my entire adult life for my father. He wrote the foundational code that starred the contact. But I’m the one who kept this relevant in the 21st century. I’m not going to split half of everything I’ve worked for with a couple cells in a petri dish.
Siya: You know, it takes a lot to build a family. My own own mother was willing to sacrifice anything. When I think about all those families and their dreams, about what was lost, what you destroyed for money?

The other two cases were pretty straightforward. The medical supplies mishap could be blamed on the good ol’ capitalistic system where profit is king.

There was also a lawyer who used her clients’ misfortunes to enrich herself.

The little that can be said about these three cases is a testament to how uninteresting they were. It was like watching Red clean a house.

Dmebe and Siya - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15

Uninteresting cases made “The Hat Trick” a bit dull for most of its runtime. Even the Task Force was aware.

However, it spoke to how much Raymond was dedicated to redeeming himself.

Everything in his being was pointing toward the end of his life being near, and based on the speed at which he was acting, it was almost like he knew the approximate time.

Dembe clocked that, and despite Red’s attempts to persuade him otherwise, I’m not sure Dembe was convinced.

Dembe: But is everything alright?
Raymond: Everything is all relative and alright id definitely relative.
Dembe: Raymond!
Dembe: Everything is fine. I’m fine.

Dembe Zuma - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 15

What’s eating Raymond Reddington, do you think?

Things improved a bit on The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16, as Raymond sought to save the Task Force from the government by exploiting the next weakest link in Hudson’s chain.

The Task Force fought for its life elsewhere before a United States judge.

Oversight on law enforcement is a necessary check and balance. It’s our responsibility especially in this current political climate when we’ve seen what can happen when law enforcement agencies authority goes unchecked. We’re simply asking for transparency.

Dorf

Hudson was an exception in the political world. Senator Dorf was what you would expect to find in politics.

Julian Flores - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

Hudson made a risky bet by joining hands with Senator Dorf. Despite knowing that Dorf was untrustworthy, he was willing to use him to achieve his goals.

Yet when Dorf went down, he nearly took them both down.

The Blacklister was Blair Foster, and she was compelling. Or maybe she appeared so because of what we dealt with earlier.

Still, she was powerful, and she knew it.

Ressler: I was with Blair Foster. She ambushed my NA meeting.
Cooper: Did she say anything incriminating?
Ressler: No. She comes close to the line without crossing it. She’s bold. She’s not afraid of anyone.

She was also fearless; where many people would be climbing walls if they thought the FBI was onto them, she actually presented herself.

Blair - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

She made a great play towards Ressler, and for a moment, he looked like he might falter. She enticed people with great deals.

She oozed confidence even with handcuffs on her hands.

She also operated in a non-transparent way, which made her the perfect target for Red.

Being from DC, Red figured there must be a way someone as corrupt as Dorf was connected to her.

His hunt for that connection took him down to Cuba for the second time in as many weeks, if not days, and had him reach out to a friend for a favor.

Richard and Blair - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

Yet I’m not sure that was the only reason he was there. His first attempt at reconnecting with Weecha didn’t bear any fruits.

Manny: I should have known you had and agenda. It’s probably why Weecha left you.
Red: Left me? She didn’t leave me. It’s considerably more complicated than that. Who told you anyway?
Manny: Straight from the horse’s mouth.

If you watch The Blacklist online, you know Raymond Reddington is nothing if not persistent. Even his second attempt yielded no results.

It became clear that Weecha had been avoiding him, but he might have begun to wear her down.

Where he’d failed earlier, Red finally managed to get Dorf and Hudson to back off.

Richard - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

In the legal halls, Cooper and Panabaker were trying to save themselves from what would be interpreted as government overreach by some.

How the Task Force always manages to win judges over never ceases to amaze me. They can be in dire straights, yet a judge will always side with them.

While there were compelling arguments on both sides, I’m ruling in favor of your task force, assistant director Cooper. It’s clear to me that the safety and security reasons for keeping your records internal far outweigh any benefits Congress might receive from making them public.

Judge

It was disappointing when she agreed to grant them their motion of private operation. This cat had more than nine lives.

All seemed lost when Hudson and Dorf’s crusade ended abruptly, and the judge ruled in their favor.

But they caught Blair’s interest.

Blair Foster - The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 16

Now, here’s the thing. Wujing was the most dangerous threat to Red and the Task Force, and after his death, it was doubtful anyone else would match his zeal.

The Task Force has been able to field one threat after another.

It’s becoming repetitive and boring, so one has to stick this time, and I hope it’s Blair and Hudson.

We are gearing up for the show’s final quarter, and many questions still need answers.

“Blair Foster” was elevated by a strong Blacklister and Ressler. With no cases, Ressler had been so absent it was starting to get noticeable. Seeing him do his thing, especially with Blair, made it clear how instrumental he is to this operation.

His personal arc saw him help the guy he was sponsoring make amends. I don’t know why, but I have a bad feeling about this.

What did you think?

Let us know in the comments section.

Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He has watched more dramas and comedies than he cares to remember. Catch him on social media obsessing over [excellent] past, current, and upcoming shows or going off about the politics of representation on TV. Follow him on Twitter.

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