So far the second season of The Blacklist has been a hit-or-miss affaire. Last week’s episode The Mombasa Cartel never really managed to engage with its audience. The week before that we had The Front, which was about a resurgent eco-terrorist group hunting down poachers and turning them into waxwork. The creepiness factor reminded me of The Stewmaker, but no more than that. This weeks episode entitled The Scimitar is about a Iranian operation intent on taking revenge on the US for the death of a nuclear scientist. The man the Iranian intelligence send is according to Reddington one part hitman and two parts con man. His name is The Scimitar, despite Red’s warning the FBI and agent Keen are easily fooled when a man described as an US DSS officer is targeted for kidnapping. Keen and Ressler succeed in extracting him, but the Scimitar has already planned for that. He allows Keen and Ressler to be run down by gunmen on a motorcycle. A wounded Keen wakes up in what she thinks is a hospital but instead is no more than a façade. Scimitar pretends to be a doctor and allows Keen to phone Cooper and tell him that three nuclear scientist she was supposed to protect are indeed in danger. Unwittingly she has just given Scimitar the names of scientist he before did not know. Both Cooper and Keen separately discover something is amiss, but the damage has already been done.
Reddington meanwhile continues to make casual conversations to the woman identified in the picture shown in the episode The Stewmaker. Many believe she is Berlin’s daughter and so far nothing she says contradicts that. Reddington has her sedated during a meal at her food truck and has Dembe put her in his car. At the fake hospital Scimitar makes plans against his first target, a physics professor called Collins who is holding a seminar that evening. Keen manages to undue her bandages only to find mysterious pins in her arms. A nurse is sent by Scimitar to kill Keen and Ressler but Keen manages to sedate her instead. Keen wakes Ressler and takes out one of Scimitar’s guard before they escape. Meanwhile Navabi asks Reddington help in finding a man named Hassan whom Mossad believes leads Iranian security ops. Navabi knows the FBI can’t find Scimitar in time and makes a deal with Red. Red warns her that Mossad is after Hassan and won’t like how she jeopardizes their operations. Red also tells her that The Scimitar was responsible for her brothers death.
Red and Navabi visit Hassan at his opulent villa. Red warns Hassan that unless he wants to find himself in a dark Israeli jail for the rest of life he will tell them how he helped Scimitar. Hassan gives them the location of a warehouse used to built the fake hospital rooms. Meanwhile Keen and Ressler attempt to escape from that very same warehouse with Scimitar guards on their heels. Navabi and the FBI manage to get there just in time. At the hotel where Collins was supposed to give a seminar Cooper discovers that she has already been kidnapped. Keen joins him at the hotel and spots Scimitar outside, he manages to escape without Collins. At Hassan’s villa Scimitar finds Reddington instead. Navabi joins Red at the villa. He offers Scimitar as a gift to her and leaves for an appointment. Navabi asks Scimitar about her brother, but he says he didn’t kill him and if Navabi were to take revenge it would just be cold-blooded murder.
Keen thanks Ressler for not leaving her alone at the hospital. They talk about his drugs addiction and he convinces her he is working on it. Cooper tells them a body was found in the river matching the description of Scimitar. Keen positively identifies him and asks who would be responsible. Keen visits Tom in her makeshift prison. Tom taunts her by stating that the only way she can keep her career is to set him free, or else kill him. Reddington has arranged for a meeting with Berlin. Red accuses him of starting a war based on the false notion that Red killed his daughter. Berlin calls him a liar and threatens to kill Red’s daughter. Reddington then releases the woman he followed and drugged. He asks Berlin what daughter he is referring to because the woman is not Red’s daughter but Berlin’s. Just before she attempts to speak the screen fades to black.
The Blacklist sometimes fails to convince as a high concept show, its procedural aspects makes many revelations far too convenient. I wasn’t fooled into thinking that the DSS officer was real, after a sniper takes half-dozen shots at Keen and Ressler and misses you just know it is a plant. Luckily the episode didn’t linger on this issue too long, both Keen and Cooper discovered quickly they had been fooled. Nonetheless many episodes from season 1 managed to do better. One thing that has so far been missing from season 2 is Tom Keen. During season 1 he was a very effective antagonist, despite Reddington’s warning I was convinced Tom worked for him. Now that Tom is revealed to be alive and in Keen’s secret captivity there is something missing from him. He is no longer the imminent menace he was during season 1. Also Reddington has lost a little bit of his coolness. I can’t help but wonder whether the show is quickly running out of new ideas. The release of Berlin’s daughter by Red at least means that the confrontation between the two is about the heat up. This was The Blacklist S2ep7 The Scimitar Review, I hope you enjoyed it.
Score; 8 / 10. A decent episode of The Blacklist that sets in motion storylines that will hopefully bear fruit.