‘The Blacklist’ 6×01 and 6×02 Review: Betrayal

The season 5 finale reveal that the Red we know isn’t actually the real Raymond Reddington left no room for doubt that it would be a serious game changer. Personally, I still don’t understand why Red’s true identity is such a big deal. No matter who he was in the beginning he’s been living as Raymond Reddington for over thirty years, and as far as I’m concerned that’s who he is now.

Viewers of the show have never known him as anything different, and he had been living as Red for longer than whatever his original identity was when he walked into Liz’s life. The driving theme of season 6 is that Liz and her sister Jennifer are obsessed with discovering Red’s true identity, no matter the cost.

The only question I am left with is, why does it matter? Red’s work with the Task Force has saved thousands of lives, and without him Liz and every member of the Task Force would have died from some catastrophic disaster in the field ages ago.

For some reason, none of this matters to Liz now. It doesn’t matter that Red has given everything he has left to her, that he has risked his life hundreds of times to make sure she’s safe. It doesn’t matter that he’s protected her and loved her like she IS his own daughter.

Liz is completely bent on taking him down and finding out who he is, even if it means turning him in to the police to face the death penalty. What I don’t understand is why? What has Red actually ever done to Liz to maker her hate him this much?

She blames him for Tom’s death, but Tom’s death was entirely his own fault. Red was the one who tried to save him. Liz blames Red for pretty much everything that has gone wrong in her life, but she shouldn’t be blaming him, she should be blaming herself.

Yes, Red gave her information that influenced all of her decisions, but ultimately Liz has agency. In the end, Liz makes the final call, and many of those calls have caused the problems that she blames Red for.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of Liz as a character. From the first episode of The Blacklist years ago I gravitated toward Ressler as my favorite character followed closely by Samar, Aram, and Cooper. I was never able to connect to Liz or root for her really, and I think it comes from this fundamental character flaw that she can’t admit when something is her fault.

She doesn’t take responsibility for her own actions. This character flaw used to be much less prominent and I did like her dynamic with Red in the beginning, but now it’s become pretty much unbearable.

She’s lied to her partners on the Task Force for years, not giving them the trust and the respect that they deserve. Every day in the field their lives are in each other’s hands, and Liz is now making choices without even pausing to think how those decisions will affect the rest of the team.

The biggest of those decisions without question was turning Red into the police. Liz even had the audacity to accuse Ressler of turning Red in to draw suspicion away from herself. With this catastrophic choice, Liz has made the final decision that only her personal issues matter to her.

The Task Force and all the lives Red has saved don’t matter to her,  Ressler, Samar, Aram, Cooper, and Dembe don’t matter to her, and Red’s love for her doesn’t matter. Her own child doesn’t even matter to her. She abandoned Agnes without a second thought to chase Red’s secrets, secrets that should have just been left to fade into the past.

This whole storyline just seems like a slap in the face to fans, but the part that bothers me the most is what Red’s reaction is going to be when he finds out the person he loved and cared for most in the world is the one who betrayed him.

Liz has always been a blind spot for Red. Nothing matters to him besides making sure she’s safe, and Liz took advantage of that. She stabbed him in the back and twisted the knife.

Red is going to be absolutely destroyed and crushed when he finds out, and I just wish he wouldn’t waste that kind of emotion on someone who doesn’t even come close to deserving everything he has given her.

From episode one of The Blacklist it was clear that James Spader would be the one carrying the show. His absolutely incredible portrayal of Raymond Reddington is the only thing that has kept The Blacklist going this long.

If this season really is his down fall, and Red goes for good then The Blacklist goes with it. There is no way the show can survive losing James Spader. I just hope that it finds its footing again the rest of this season so it can bow out with grace and give the fans and the actors the ending it deserves.

I will always feel that characters like Ressler, Samar, and Aram were wasted to focus on the frankly tedious relationship between Liz and Red, but at least that will be less disappointing if the show gets a good ending.

Check out the synopsis and trailer for episode 3 below and let me know in the comments, how did Liz’s betrayal of Red make you feel?

The Blacklist continues Fridays at 9/8 central, on NBC.

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