The Blacklist 2.01 Review: Berlin’s Gambit

by Mel BiJeaux / September 23, 2014

The Blacklist spared no expense on explosions and over-the-top kidnappings in their season premiere. When last we saw Red Reddington and Liz Keen, they were facing off with Liz’s ex husband and super spy Tom, who was obviously hired by Berlin to flush Red out of hiding. Berlin managed to escape by crashing a plan and losing an arm, all in the pursuit of Red. And Liz’s world came crumbling down as Tom revealed that her father, whom she thought died in the fire that scarred her hand, is still alive.

Then of course we got the infuriating little scene of Red’s horribly burned back and the titillation that maybe he’s her father, or he at least pulled her out of that fire. Please, for the love of all great writing, let this whole “Red is her father” angle die a fast death this season.

The situation with Liz in the beginning is a little confusing because she’s acting like she’s on the run with Reddington. She’s obsessing in her hotel room, she pulls a gun at the drop of a hat and for a moment I wasn’t even sure she still worked at the FBI. All of this paranoia is stemming from the information she got out of Tom before he supposedly died ( don’t believe that for a second), that she is part of some bigger conspiracy either formulated by or surrounding Red. And yet, Red is about the only person she’ll trust at this point.

The new baddie in this episode is someone named Lord Baltimore, a tech genius who finds people who don’t want to be found. The story surrounding Baltimore centers on a girl named Rowan, who is definitely not what she seems and leads the team on a nice goose chase for a while.

Meanwhile Red is trying to suss out who Berlin has out there looking for him. Hellfire missiles are a nice negotiator when guns for hire won’t talk. And then the Mossad actually managed to capture him in the most outlandish way possible – a helicopter missile attack on an upscale hotel in the middle of D.C.? Yeah, I’m sure that went over really quietly. Very subtle, Mossad.

This episode was a little bit all over the place, where you weren’t sure what exactly Red was doing half the time and then trying to figure out if Rowan’s twin sister is really Baltimore or not. Turns dissociative identity disorder is at the heart of it, as Rowan and Nora are the same person and also Lord Baltimore. I have to admit, that was pretty cool.

The best part is all of the tail-chasing int his episode is not to actually find Red at all. Berlin is after an ace in the hole to flush Red out and get a little revenge. It seems that Red’s former wife, Naomi Highland (played by Weeds star Mary Louise Parker), is the real target. Maybe through her we can find out exactly what happened when Red abandoned his family that fateful day?

Watching Peter Stormare play a truly despicable bad guy is always a treat. He can play it light or he can scare the Hell out of you, either way you know he will rule the screen time he’s given. And since Berlin is after revenge for his daughter, he isn’t going to pull any punches – as we see when he sends Red Naomi’s fingers in a box with the promise of more bits to come.

It was nice to see Cooper back and on his feet, and Red needs all the people he can influence on his side in the FBI. I really liked the moment Liz and Ressler took to acknowledge that the last year really effed them both up psychologically. I look forward to seething the two of them build on their partnership.

My favorite parts included:

– The home invasion with tasers and Liz being awesome.

– The Mossad lady not being impressed with Red at all. Sometimes I like to see his ego taken down a peg but it doesn’t happen often.

– Peter Stormare being generally terrifying in a bathtub.

– Liz’s new haircut!

One thing I gotta ask is PLEASE don’t kill off Naomi Highland too soon because I want some Red back story from her!

The Blacklist returns with “Monarch Douglas Bank” on Monday, September 29 at 10/9 on NBC


Mel is a writer, blogger and TV fanatic whose work and celebrity interviews have been seen on and She fears no fandom or social media platform and you can follow her on Twitter @Melapaloosa.