Monday, October 28, 2013

REVIEW: 'The Blacklist' Finally Confronts Tom & Thinks It Can Pull It Off in 'Gina Zanetakos'

NBC's The Blacklist - Episode 1.06 Gina Zanetakos

After Tom confronts Liz about the box, he claims he's innocent and insists they turn it into the FBI so his name can be cleared. Elsewhere, Red informs Liz and the FBI that the next name on the Blacklist is beautiful and deadly corporate terrorist, Gina Zanetakos (Margarita Levieva).

I simply do not care about Tom at all. The mystery surrounding his character is so dull. The show's insistence on focusing so much time on it is so frustrating and utterly meaningless. When it could be using the time to build up its characters it has a much firmer grasp on, it instead opts to spend an entire episode on its least interesting aspect. "Gina Zanetakos" is the hour where everything about Tom and the box comes to a head. For a story that has been building up over the first six episodes, it should be exciting for the truth to finally come out. But the show spends the entire hour wheel-spinning for no obvious reason and doesn't even give us a satisfying conclusion. It's boring and even the resolution that we do get doesn't necessarily excite me for the upcoming episodes.

The biggest detriment is how the show wants us to believe in the relationship between Red and Liz even though it has given us zero evidence to support that as well as multiple insistences that we simply shouldn't trust Red. Liz says so herself that she suspects Red is behind it all. But they justify her continued need for him as a shoulder to cry on by saying "It's just in the back of my mind." They will do just about anything to get James Spader and Megan Boone together even if it's not at the best interest of the plot.

When Liz actually gets confirmation that this whole thing is one big plot masterminded by Red and confronts him and says he should go to hell, it plays like the show thinks it's pulling the rug out from its core dynamic. It does not play like that in reality at all. It feels like Liz finally discovering how naive she has been with Red this whole time. I'm hoping that means she'll be more suspicious of Red's motives in the future. However, the desire to keep all the current elements still hanging around in basically the same orbit doesn't instill me with a ton of confidence.

In hindsight, now I see how great villains like the Stewmaker and the Courier initially were. They were flashy villains with meaningful characterizations and traits. Gina Zanetakos had zero personality. That's a huge writing failure. Levieva had her ups and downs during her two-year stint on Revenge but there at least she had a character. There was absolutely no way she or anyone else could have made this role spark. 

Some more thoughts:
  • In the grand arc of the season, what will the importance of Tom and the box story be? Right now, it seems pretty pointless and a mere distraction of what really should be happening.
  • And the show still wants us to be wary of Tom after this entire ordeal! This episode just proved he wasn't working for Red. But that means he must be working for someone else. Oh boy, that's a mystery I'm not looking forward to at all.
  • But literally, how the mechanics of the case-of-the-week were connected to Tom were so thinly conceived. Just because multiple people say multiple times that they are connected doesn't inherently make them connected. The FBI just going along with that makes them the stupidest they have ever been on this show.