You don’t often see a clip show anymore. I’d like to think the end of the trend is owed to the growing sophistication of storytelling on TV, but really, I think we can blame The Simpsons. Like how Walk Hard undermined the traditional biopic with its viciously accurate parody, The Simpsons took apart the trappings and contrivances of a TV series, when either because of financial considerations or creative drought, it must resort to a clips show. One might think that with so many mysteries to unravel that The Blacklist wouldn’t want to waste the time walking over its own footprints, but it’s finally come to this: a Blacklist clip show.
The ongoing drama of the week concerned Liz being accused of the murder of harbormaster Eugene Ames, a murder that was actually committed by her surreptitiously sneaky ex Tom, who is now undercover in Germany as a terribly unconvincing skinhead for some reason. More on that shortly, but the majority of this week’s Blacklist was confined to a judge’s chambers as Liz explained about 37 hours worth of story to convince Judge Denner why airing all the task force’s dirty laundry in open court would be a bad idea.
In the end, all I will say about the clips reel is at least it was well edited. All the important points were well represented, from Red and Liz’s first meeting, to the revelation of the fake Tom, to a fleeting glimpse of all the nefarious bad guys that Liz and the FBI have picked up with Red’s help. Naturally, Judge Denner is not bowled over with the over-the-top and suspiciously elaborate story that Liz unfurled for him. I think viewers of The Blacklist all know that this thing we’re engaged in, at times, doesn’t lend itself to much credibility, but “The Major” kind of smacked us in the face with that idea until, like the judge, we realize we got off track.
For instance, wasn’t this fixed? Didn’t Red threaten Samuel Aleko into silence? Wasn’t Detective Wilcox thwarted by the task force already because he was trying to walk where national security concerns abound? Apparently, these are incredibly slow crime times for the Washington D.C. area. Or at least, they must be, since so much time, effort and energy is being put into trying to get Liz. Sure, Aleko’s not talking, but why not keep talking at him until you shake something loose, no matter how small a clue it is? Badgering someone until they confess in frustration was an interrogation strategy that worked for Columbo, so…
And the point of all this is what? Although it would be an unusual and unexpected choice for The Blacklist to go into Orange is the New Black territory by following Liz to prison and maybe cultivating a Blacklist of her own, I think it’s fairly assured that this new direction is more a divergence ready for fan fiction as opposed to the third season of the actual Blacklist series. Like most clip reels, if you’re a fan of the show, you just get a bunch of insights you already know about, up to Liz’s exaggerated retort to Denner’s disbelief at the entire mythology, and her lack of knowledge about her place in it. “Wow, I suck!” she exclaimed. Something we all agree on.