The Blacklist 2.17 Review: No One Lives Forever

A scientist with links to one of the richest men in America is experimenting on the brains of patients with frontal lobe damage in the hopes of finding the key to immortality. Meanwhile Tom is on the run from his new enemies after Red’s gambit and saving Liz puts a target on his back.

by Mel BiJeaux / March 27, 2015
The Blacklist

With season finale time nearing, The Blacklist is ramping up the energy and at least, for the time being, giving the viewers more blacklisters that link in with the main story arc. We’ve been dealing with Liz’s memory problems and Red’s guilt (or survivor instinct) making him reveal more little truth’s about his motives in beautiful metaphor, and we’ve been dealing with Tom. I will admit that I am not Tom Keen’s biggest fan, but at least he’s become more interesting in the last couple of episodes. Now, there are a lot of whys that need to be answered with him.

But there is no question where Tom’s heart lies, not any more.

The A plot of this episode had a decidedly scifi feel, full of the grim and gritty shots we’ve come to expect from The Blacklist. A scientist cutting open the brains of brain damaged patients to what end. Is he just playing a really sick game of “operation” rummaging around in people’s brain tissue? His motives are a little bit more poignant that that.

The question is, why does Red want Team Lizzie involved? The backer for this Doctor Frankenstein is the show’s knockoff on Bill Gates perhaps, ultra rich and determined that death is beneath him. Of course, Red always has a game plan that reaches far into the future, and if there is one thing Red needs for the future is people backing him. The manipulation of this rich Blacklister is brilliant and subtle and everything we love about Red.

But it’s not all about getting the ubber-rich guy in Red’s back pocket. For a moment, when Red is with the scientist he tips his hand a little – wanting to know if the regenerative brain cell research this guy has been doing ( by injecting stem cells and jellyfish bits into living patient’s brains, uck!) could be used to help Lizzie get her memories back.

One can theorize as to Red’s real motives for that, I choose to believe that he both wants the Fulcrum information from her for his and her own safety, but he also just cares about her so much he wants to help her remember, even if that means she’ll despise him in the end. The mangled heart of Red Reddington is a wonderful thing to learn about.

And then there is Tom’s dilemma. After helping Liz and getting outted to his German gun runner buddies as a spy, Tom’s been scrambling to find some footing in a world where he doesn’t have his handler to back him up. And his handler wants him dead too (sucks to be you, Tommy boy)

There is little doubt that Tom is still very much in love with Liz, and I don’t have a problem with that. His love for Liz and Red’s obsessive passion for her well-being are going to mix like gasoline and a match in the upcoming episode, and I for one cannot wait to see it all blow up. The question will be, whose side will Liz be on? It may not work out so well for Red if he ever gets around to tell her that he hired Tom.

And I still want to know WHY he hired Tom!

Bless Ressler for trying to give a depressed and lost Liz at least something akin to a happy birthday. I really wish they would work on Ressler and Keen’s partnership, showing more downtime moments like this. It’s almost all work with them and we do not get enough moments to show how ultimately protective Ressler has become over Keen, when last season he barely tolerated the rookie. I’d like to see more moments where¬† Liz finally has someone other than Red to confide in about how screwed up her life has become.

Ressler and Keen have a somewhat stilted chemistry together, which is a shame, sine they could be really good, close partners.

I’m not wild about the show pushing Tom and Liz back together romantically, but again, if it leads to some explosive angst between Red, Liz and Tom in the end, I’m down. And if it pushes a few more truths into the light, the more the better!

Favorite bits:

– Aram and his cupcakes. And they were Red Velvet cakes at that! Oh Aram, you precious noodle.

– Ressler wanting Liz to be happy and bringing her birthday diner to her.

– Tom Keen on the run but taking time to call Liz again

– Red looking through old pictures of Liz as a kid at birthday parties. Did he get them from Sam?

– Red telling Liz that having the rich blacklister in his pocket when the time is right, because there is always something dark on the horizon with these two.



The Blacklist returns Thursday April 2nd at 9/8c 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.