The Blacklist Review: “Tom Keen” (Season 2, Episode 16)

The Blacklist

In the end, Tom manages to slink away again due to Connolly’s meddling. He does eventually do the right thing though and comes back to the States and cop to the murder of Ames because, you guessed it, he has genuine feelings for Liz and doesn’t want to see her pay for something he did. It doesn’t matter that this is a man who didn’t exactly act like he was genuinely in love with the woman he was deceiving, and when that deception fell apart he bailed so fast there was practically a Tom-sized hole in the door. Liz experiencing phantom marriage syndrome, missing a husband that wasn’t actually real in the first place, I can almost believe, but Tom? Especially since supposedly he’s this master operator? Come on.

It’s bad enough when critics like me point out the abuses of logic that a show like The Blacklist sometimes engages in, but it’s another when a character inside the show can’t believe what he’s hearing. Poor Judge Renner once again finds himself in over his head, but we’re saved the clip show this week as Renner goes in-camera with the returned Tom. John Finn definitely gets points for his deadpan delivery of “I’m so relieved, someone told me you were dead,” when Tom Keen enters the court, but his own frustration about Tom’s sudden change of heart and desire to confess echoed my own.

Tom isn’t the only one who had a change of heart, though. Liz herself becomes fraught with guilt about Ames’ murder, and starts to liquidate her assets. Wilcox thinks she’s running, but it seemed pretty obvious that she was going to make some token anonymous donation in Ames’ honor to his family. Getting dressed down by Cooper probably didn’t help her self-esteem either, nor did her discovery that Cooper has a brain tumor. The good guy FBI director does get a piece of good news though when he hears that it looks like his terminal cancer isn’t so terminal, but we already know that Cooper’s improving health is another favor owed to Connolly. How long till being so entangled with Connolly on numerous fronts becomes an issue?

On the subject of poor decision making, Red calls Liz’s saving of Tom her “single greatest lack of judgment,” which is kind of funny considering that Liz frequently shows poor judgment. She seems to start showing it again as the episode closes as Tom calls Liz to ask how she is. If you aren’t gagging at the idea of potential relationship flaring up between these two, then you’re more of a romantic than I am. If Tom is so accomplished a liar, then why would Liz, a supposedly competent FBI agent, play with fire again? Other than that, what exactly are we supposed to do with Tom Keen now?

So, here we are again, a perfect chance to drop Tom Keen, and The Blacklist bulks. There comes a point when you’ve got to know when it’s time to let characters go, and it’s been time to let go of Tom Keen for a long, long time now. Unless there’s something really terribly fascinating in the offing with Tom, which I doubt, it’s time to cut the chord because, there are much better ways that The Blacklist can be spending its time.