The Blacklist 4×11 Review: ‘The Harem’

Last night’s episode, “The Harem” was underwhelming to say the least. The group of female thieves were completely irrelevant, and it wasn’t even really a compelling case episode. There were a couple good exchanges of dialogue between characters, but almost nothing of significance. Something I found really interesting is that Tom wasn’t in the episode at all. He was featured in quite a few of the promotional photos, and was even mentioned in the synopsis, but didn’t have a single scene in “The Harem”.

The main highlights from the episode for me were the few scenes that Ressler and Liz shared. One of them even led to a small Keenler moment:

I know you’re worried about me, and I appreciate it.”

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It was a short exchange that left me wanting so much more. They haven’t had a good personal talk in a long time.

Now let’s talk about the group of female thieves called “The Harem” that Liz was sent undercover to infiltrate. This could have been an action packed exciting case episode, but instead it just fell flat. This group of women was supposed to be incredibly bad-ass and couldn’t be caught without Red’s help, but they made amateur mistakes throughout the episode, could hardly hold their own in a fight when a heist went wrong,  and the ring leader was easily captured by the FBI at the end. For a group of supposedly formidable women, there was nothing intimidating about them. This is extremely disappointing, because tough groups of women are so underrepresented in entertainment, and this could have been an opportunity to show that female opponents are just as tough as males, but instead it was completely wasted.

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Another part of the episode that I took issue with was Liz going undercover. She is back at the FBI and has to perform her duties as an agent, but her face has been all over the news. She shot the attorney general, and in recent episodes, people have been recognizing her left and right. You’re telling me that none of the women in this group had any idea who Liz was, even though they should constantly be watching the news and monitoring police and FBI activity to make sure they don’t get caught?

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I honestly have no idea how Liz can ever do undercover work now that she’s famous. Someone at some point would recognize her and blow her cover in seconds.

One last moment I enjoyed in “The Harem” was Liz finally confronting Red about Mr. Kaplan after Dembe told her what happened. A lot of the time, Liz is unnecessarily rude and even borderline hostile to Red when she has no right to be, but in this case she was completely justified. I did start to feel bad for him for a little bit when he almost started to cry and his regret over what he did was showing, but ultimately he made the choice to shoot Kate in the head, which is a pretty easy thing to choose not to do.

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This being said, it was good to see Red showing some emotion again. Lately he has been almost unrecognizable, unnecessarily violent and ruthless. That version of Red isn’t the character we all fell in love with. He only used to punish those who really deserved it, where as now he kills people whenever he feels like it, even just to close business deals. Hopefully, we’ll get to see Red showing more and more of his emotions, atoning for what he did to Mr. Kaplan, and returning to the man he used to be.

Next week’s episode is shifting back a little more to the central plot of the show, with Red enlisting the help of the task force to stop an unidentified person from attacking him and taking down his business empire. Why they would help him with this I don’t really know, but we’ll find out next week!

Here’s the trailer for a glimpse at what to expect in the next episode:

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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