‘The Blacklist’ 5×03 Review: ‘Miss Rebecca Thrall’

Have The Blacklist writers finally listened to fans and returned to the old style of the show that focuses on everyone in the task force and a new blacklister every week? It seems like they might have, as “Miss Rebecca Thrall” continued the trend we’ve seen in the first two episodes of the season. The key mythology questions of this season so far like “Who’s bones are in the suitcase that Red doesn’t want anyone to find?” and “Is Red really Liz’s father?” have largely been relegated to the role of subplot. Those questions are still addressed and advanced every episode, but viewers aren’t being pounded over the head with them.

The first three episodes of season 5 have already been better than pretty much the entirety of season 4. Even the other members of the task force besides Red and Liz are getting their own stories and focus. We could all use more of Samar and Aram as they still have largely side character roles so far, but Ressler on the other hand has already had more scenes in these first three episodes than he did almost all last season.

His troubles with Henry Prescott have only gotten worse, and you can see him struggling with his own morality, digging himself further into a hole that’s going to be a nightmare to climb out of. He even had a scene where he had an extensive story/metaphor to tell, not just a few lines. This is a big deal you guys.

Perhaps the best scene of “Miss Rebecca Thrall” came towards the very end of the episode when Red offered his help to Ressler if he was ever in trouble. He even went so far as to say that he admired and respected Ressler for his commitment to doing the right thing. Something that I’ve always sensed between the two of them, but Red has never said out loud.

It happens to be particularly awkward at this point as we all know Ressler is struggling with the death of Laurel Hitchen, and his arrangement with Prescott, but it was a touching scene and a rather obvious bit of foreshadowing. At some point this season, Ressler will no longer be able to go along with Prescott’s blackmail, and he’ll have to turn to Red for help. This is something I’ve been waiting a long time for, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

I’ve always maintained that Ressler is sort of the moral compass of the show, keeping everyone on track and within the law when others are making questionable decisions. Recently however, Ressler has been the one making morally ambiguous choices, largely because he’s been forced to by events out of his control. The path on which his character is headed is so rich with possibility for deep and meaningful character development, and I think we’re going to see him change a lot over the course of this season, and the rest of the task force with him.

Red and Tom also had some hilarious exchanges as they were forced to work together during “Miss Rebecca Thrall”. Part of Red’s plan to rebuild his empire involved tricking an arms dealer into selling him weapons, and then getting arrested. To pull the plan off, it had to look like Red and Tom were getting arrested as well. They actually weren’t, as the men who looked like an FBI SWAT team were actually Red’s people, but Tom had no idea this was going to happen, and complained about how he was going to die in prison and never see his family again. Red’s reaction to Tom’s outburst was priceless:

Tom, if I wanted to get rid of you, I’d put the bullet in your head myself. However, you are important to Elizabeth, so, like it or not, you’re important to me.

Honestly, it’s so entertaining when Red puts someone like Tom in their place every once in a while.

Next week’s episode “The Endling” is yet another blacklister focused episode, that from the trailer looks like it could be a tear jerker.

Check it out for yourself below, and I’ll see you all back here next week!

The Blacklist airs Wednesdays at 8/9c on NBC.

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