The Blacklist Review: “The Kenyon Family” (Season 2, Episode 12)


The Blacklist

Creepy incestuous religious cult with militia leanings? The Blacklist, you’ve done it again! Well, sort of. Granted, the titular Blacklister this week stuffed just about every crazy cult cliche that the writers could possibly think of, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t successfully executed, at least for the purposes of pure entertainment value. Heavily armed? Check. Crazy religious with a less than subtle preoccupation with doomsday? Check. Allusions to Waco? Check. Polygamy and incest? You know it. Creepy leader that’s both the worst Sunday School teacher you ever had and the old guy in your childhood neighborhood that you always assumed had a body in his basement? Big check. “The Kenyon Family” may not be the most dangerous members of The Blacklist, but they do make an impression.

While Liz and the FBI waded into tricky political waters in dealing with clan Kenyon led by Justin Kenyon, who it’s implied has already had a couple of run-ins with law enforcement, Red decided to track down the mysterious final clue of Alan Fitch: a safe that contains vital information located in an unknown apartment in St. Petersburg. To get the job done, Red required the assistance of one his most talented, but most infuriating contacts: Glen Carter from the DMV.

You may remember Glen from an earlier episode this season, “The Front,” the one that found Red stuck constantly in the DMV waiting area in one of The Blacklist’s best gags, not because the DMV is particularly funny, but because finding Raymond Reddington stuck in a tableau so prosaic just creates its own comedy.

On another network tonight, there premiered a new version of The Odd Couple, and if that series were to feature James Spader and Clark Middleton as the titular pair, it would be a smash comedic success. Glen clearly likes screwing around with Red, and Red has less than a short temper with Glen’s personality quirks. There’s a face Spader made after Glen explained why they must travel to St. Petersburg together, that for me, brought the house down. “The Front” definitely showed potential for these two characters, and everyone from the writers, to Spader and Middleton seemed to pick up on that and run with it in this outing.

As for what Red and Glen found in St. Petersburg (after ransacking the wrong apartment, of course) is a phone number. Didn’t Fitch tell Red that the safe contained files that would be of assistance to Red as he dealt with the folks inside Fitch’s group? A single business card with an unidentified phone number does not say files to me, unless the person on the other end of the phone is one of those people with a freaky, perfect-recall kind of memory. The full mystery of who’s on the other end of the phone will have to wait till next week, though.

Indeed, the entire Fulcrum conundrum took a backseat this week as Liz didn’t have time to pursue any new leads in regards to the mysterious little box found inside the bunny. She did have time though to make another “we’re all business” speech to Red when he offered her the key to a posh new apartment. (Presumably, we didn’t see the apartment but knowing Red it was not only posh, but better than posh.) Dollars to donuts, with Tom’s return less than skillfully teased for next week, it’s only a matter of time before Liz lets bygones be bygones with Red, because if there’s one thing that can make her forget her beef with Red, it’s her beef with Tom.

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