The Blacklist Review: "The Longevity Initiative" (Season 2, Episode 17)
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The Blacklist Review: “The Longevity Initiative” (Season 2, Episode 17)

The latest member of The Blacklist is experimenting with immortality, but Liz and Red are coming at them for different reasons and with different goals.

The Blacklist

If we took a census and made a list of super-villain goals, taking over the world would probably make the number one slot, and achieving immortality would probably make number two. Real-life science has been wholeheartedly pursuing the goal of unending life. I even reviewed a documentary about the subject for this very website at last year’s Hot Docs, but despite some giant leaps in knowledge, living forever is still just a fantasy. Unless you’re a jellyfish.

The latest episode of The Blacklist had immortality on the mind, as Red’s pick for this week’s adventure was conducting human experiments into achieving the unachievable. It was a return to the classical structure of The Blacklist after the divergence of the last couple of weeks, the clip show and the redemption of Tom Keen. Once again, Red comes in with a name, “The Longevity Initiative,” and the FBI investigates with vigor until Red achieves his own ends. Those hoping for something classically X-Files infused with ghastly scenes of body horror ended up disappointed. Sure, there were more than a few missing skull caps along the way, but the search for immortality was more metaphorical than medical in the end.

The man behind the supposed science of immortality is Julien Powell, who turns out to be a con man of sorts. He said that he was close to cracking immortality, but  he was really just looking for a way to restore brain damage suffered to the frontal lobe in a very specific type of brain injury. Like the one suffered by his fiance. Powell fell asleep at the wheel while driving home years earlier, and crashed into an oncoming truck when the woman he loved suffered unrepairable brain damage. He thought he had the solution, but what he didn’t have was the money. And that’s where Roger Hobbs comes in.

We’re introduced to Hobbs as a tech genius and there’s something very Steve Jobs like about him. Maybe it’s the receding hairline, maybe its the hipster stubble or the turtlenecks, or maybe it’s the subtle shade of evil, but when Hobbs learns that Powell went to human trials without permission, drawing the unwanted attention of the FBI, he hires Red to clean up the mess.

Now, you might say “Wait, if Hobbs is such a big shot, shouldn’t he have some power people in the police on his side and at his beck and call?” That was my thought as well, and if you’ve been following along with The Blacklist the last couple of weeks, you have three guesses about who in the Justice Department is buyable for a guy like Hobbs. Tom Connolly tries to persuade Cooper into leaving Hobbs out of the investigation that he’s pretty much the center of, and when Cooper does his fine, upstanding G-Man impression – lo and behold – his place on the cancer treatment trial that’s saving his life is in jeopardy. Seriously, how many times is Good Guy Connolly going to threaten to ruin Cooper’s life and/or career until the director seems him as Scumbag Connolly?