The Blacklist is finally back after its mid-season hiatus. Fresh after the death of Alan Fitch (played by Alan Alda) Raymond Reddington intends to find the Fulcrum. His quest is a tacit acknowledgement that he never had it in the first. For Raymond (James Spader) things become complicated when notorious criminal Luther Braxton allows himself to be captured and send to a CIA blacksite located on an oil rig. There he hopes to gain access to the security network of the USA intelligence community and access the Fulcrum. As Raymond does not want anyone to know he doesn’t have the Fulcrum he also allows himself to be captured and placed on the oil rig.
Assistant-Director Cooper at the FBI can’t make out what Raymond’s plan until he is briefed by Fitch’s replacement called The Director (played by David Strathairn). Cooper sends Keen (Megan Boone), Ressler and Navabi to prevent Braxton from taking over the blacksite. Instead are captured when Braxton releases his team of compatriots whom were also arrested to perform this specific operation. Only Keen avoids capture. At the FBI holding facility Cooper enters into an argument when Kat Goodson, the representative of The Director, orders an airstrike on the oil rig. His intention is to kill both Braxton and Reddington and thus secure the Fulcrum.
While Braxton’s men torture Ressler and Navabi (Mozhan Marno) for fun Reddington uses his own team to secure the oil rig. When the plan comes down to blowing up the boiler room to destroy the servers Reddington’s helpers leave as they are not keen on a suicide mission. Keen manages to hook up with Reddington and together they blow up the boiler room. Braxton captures Keen but is freed by Reddington. Just as the missiles targeted by Kat Goodson arrive Braxton deduces who Keen is and why she is so important in order to find the Fulcrum. The episode ends with the missiles hitting the oil rig.
This episode of The blacklist starts very slow. At first it seems that Reddington was genuinely captured. He appears out of his depth and so does the audience. Slowly the audience is led onto his plan to secure the Fulcrum and prevent Braxton from obtaining it. Only three-quarters into the episode does it all become clear and have events become full circle with the death of Alan Fitch in the previous episode. The audience still doesn’t know precisely what the Fulcrum is or what Keen’s exact role is. Reddington describes it as a blackmail file. At least the hunt for the Fulcrum allows Keen and Reddington to team up and make progress in their relationship. In a touching moment Reddington tells her how he feels like a fish who has adapted to the darkness and lost his eyes, pigment and his beauty.
Such scenes do mean that Navabi and Ressler were out of the equation for most of the story. For one episode I did not mind that this happened but The Blacklist should not make a habit of sidelining its main characters in such a clumsy way. I also enjoyed Harry Lennix’s depiction of Harold Cooper. Here is a man who is slowly becoming aware of just who it is that is really in charge. He could try and blow the whistle on the group that Kat Goodson and The Director belong to, but he takes Goodson’s advice and contemplates a more cautious approach. It would be interesting to see if Cooper will slowly turn into a facsimile of Reddington.
This was The Blacklist S2Ep9 Luther Braxton Review. The show will be back on Thursday with the conclusion of the Luther Braxton story.
Score; 8.6 / 10. The Blacklist is back with an episode that starts slowly builds up to an exciting cliffhanger.