So if you're like me, you're getting a little frustrated with the pacing in The Blacklist, the torpid disclosure of clues that may offer some insight into the Reddington-Keen connection, that moptop someone clamped down on Megan Boone's head, and the repetitive story construction—oh heavens, the repetitive story construction. "We hear you," the producers behind The Blacklist have said. "To keep you intrigued by our show, would a little torture porn involving a vulnerable woman and a gangly, bald, naked monstrosity keep you sated?"
It most certainly would not. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
One of Keen's old cases is going to trial—a drug lord who would very much not like to go to jail. So the drug lord contracts with a killer-for-hire—a bald, sunken-eyed fellow who not only shares Walter White's hairline, but also his knowledge of chemistry. Unlike Walter White, who uses that knowledge to simply supply America with the meth it so badly needs—it is possible I did not totally grasp the morale of Breaking Bad—this bald chemistry ace uses his affinity for noxious chemicals to dissolve people who need to disappear.
Reddington takes quite an interest in our killer-for-hire, nicknamed The Stewmaker, quite possibly because a loved one once met an untimely demise at The Stewmaker's hands—or at least that's what the show implies at the end. Before that, we are treated to Keen and Reddington trying to get the drug lord to reveal the whereabouts of The Stewmaker, that caper going pear-shaped, and Keen winding up in The Stewmaker's clutches for the aforementioned torture porn. Keen shows she has some moxie under that appalling wig, however, and manages to briefly outwit The Stewmaker before Deus Ex Spader shows up and saves the day. Oh, and he pushes The Stewmaker into his own chemical trap. Because as Chekhov once said, never show the mixture of chemicals in Act One, unless you plan on using it to dissolve someone in Act Three.
As for the recurring plotline that's only a thousand rungs lower than Chekhov on the storytelling ladder, Keen now has a location name and an address for the incident that may have involved her husband and that mysterious handgun. Turns out it's the same place that he's taking her to a weekend getaway to take her mind off that whole being tortured thing. Which is nice and all, but where's my bed-and-breakfast?
This week’s episode of Bad Guy of the Week with James Spader begins in what I guess is a mid-range motel change, though judging by the elaborate light fixtures, it’s like a Motel 6 for hipsters. (“We leave the fancy overhead lights on for you.”) But the dude checking in is no hipster. He’s an older gent, dressed in a nice suit, who upon entering his hotel room with his dog. He removes his suit, along with the wig and false teeth he was sporting to throw any would-be witnesses off his scent. If you’re getting a “serial killer” vibe from this guy, that may be because he’s being played by Tom Noonan who has done this sort of thing before. The suitcase full of chemicals and implements of torture along with his scarred pale body might also be the tip-off. Anyhow, our bald, creepy ne’er-do-well sets about cleaning his motel room and then draping everything in plastic, which I know is supposed to make us think he’s up to no good, but honestly, seems like a sensible policy for anyone who’s ever stayed in a motor lodge.
From a guy who’s taken his wig off to a gal who sadly is still wearing her distracting wig, we jump to Agent Keen sweet-talking her way into an FBI evidence locker that she has no business poking around. She’s still trying to get the bottom of that gun she found in her husband’s go box, the same gun that was apparently used in an incident so incendiary that the ballistics report came back redacted. Keen is eventually chased out of the evidence locker by the dim-witted attendant but not before she has a date -- June 23, 2012 -- and a case name –"Angel Station"-- in the latest drip-drip-drip of details in this particular subplot.
Let’s get back to this week’s festivities, shall we? Keen is supposed to be in court today for an earlier case of hers involving a Mexican drug lord named Hector Lorca, but whom I have started calling El Sideburns Malo for reasons that will be apparent whenever he appears on screen. Ressler’s going to tag along, because the FBI wants to know just what Keen knows about this Angel Station business. But before they can go to court, there’s an urgent message from Reddington: The case against Lorca is not going to go well. Lorca’s people have contacted Reddington about transportation out of the country, a new identity, and a new passport by the next evening -- exactly the kind of stuff a just-about-to-be-freed drug lord would want on hand. Keen’s not buying it, but Reddington is insistent: "I don’t think you’re going to have a very good day in court at all." Not with that kind of pep talk, she’s not.