The Blacklist Episode (1×17) Review – “Ivan”
A season long mystery has finally been laid to rest and will set up the story for the remaining episodes.
Episode would have been better if sole focus was on Liz's hunt for Jolene's killer, instead of lame teen hacker.
The Truth About Tom Finally Came Out on This Week’s Episode of The Blacklist
This week’s episode of The Blacklist had the team chasing after a teenaged cyber terrorist, but the real story was about Liz discovering the truth about her husband. All season long Tom has been under suspicion, but it was killing Lance Reddick and fellow spy Jolene Parker/Lucy Brooks that got Tom caught. Finally the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally happened, and it will be great to see what Liz does now that she finally knows the truth. While this plot point was fantastic, the main story of the lovesick hacker was a complete waste of time. So let’s discuss episode 117, “Ivan.”
“My job isn’t to settle your grudges.” The Blacklister of the Week (#88) was cyber terrorist “Ivan,” a man who liked to go after the Russian government. This guy was crazy enough to steal $5 million from Red, but it turned out he wasn’t crazy enough to kill an NSA agent and steal a weapon from the US government. Who was so stupid? A teen named Harrison Lee who wanted the “Skeleton Key” to help him woo a fellow student in the hopes she would return his love. He didn’t, and in the process of trying to get her attention he accidentally killed NSA Operative Nathan Platt and put national security at risk. This story might have worked if it wasn’t paired with the big Tom/Liz reveal. However, with the other more interesting and long-awaited story on hand to be interwoven throughout the episode, it was hard to focus on this lame Blacklister. Boys murder, theft, and creepy stalkerish behavior are never a turn on, so if you’re interested in a lady buy her flowers.
“Don’t beat yourself up. You never could have known this. You never really know people, do you?” Red never did tell Liz the truth, but it’s no matter. Liz found out what she wanted to know all on her own. After a police detective showed up on her doorstep to ask Tom about a missing Jolene Parker, Liz decided to do her own investigation. She’s been through a lot lately, and learning a woman you’ve let into your home is a violent criminal can put a person’s guard up. Liz’s investigation didn’t run up any leads, at first, and only served to make her appear like a bad detective. Not only did she give Tom all the information he needed to stay one step ahead of her, but she walked into Jolene’s lair without drawing her gun and failed to look behind doors and check the corners. True, Liz is fresh out the academy and is still getting used to the field (I guess), but isn’t every cadet in any academy (be it police, FBI, military, etc.) is taught to do these things? Even if you excuse her phone calls to Tom relaying every scrap of evidence she’s learned to her being clueless that he’s the bad guy, but the poor way Liz “secured” the crime scene isn’t excusable. Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of C.S.I. can tell you that.
“You said there’s always something you’re not telling me. Just once I’d like to hear the whole truth from you.” Just when it seemed Liz’s investigative skills had taken a nosedive, Liz discovered the evidence she needed to unmask Jolene’s killer. This is what we’ve been waiting for. The tension that filled the Keen home after Liz discovered the toy she’d given Tom earlier at the crime scene as she tried to hide her shock from a suspicious Tom. For a moment it actually seemed that Liz would look up to find Tom standing in front of her with a knife. He didn’t, and this cat and mouse game between them will continue on based on next week’s promo. Despite the stupidity of some of the things that happened in the episode, it was a very enjoyable one, but this scene was only surpassed in quality by the one that followed.
Red: I have never lied to you.
Liz: How the hell would I ever know?
“You were right.” The best scene of the episode and one of the best of the season came when Liz went over to tell Red what she discovered about Tom. Despite many mistakes Liz made when she investigated Jolene’s lair, Liz is usually a pretty good agent. So much so that she was smart enough to realize that Jolene was most likely spying on her because of her ties to Red. That’s why it was frustrating for Liz to ask for Red’s help and watch as he denied her to make some gadget. By the end of the episode Red reveals he had made a 1940’s music box just for Liz, playing the song her father played her as a little girl whenever she had a nightmare. Now Liz’s nightmares are real, and Red was armed with just the thing he knew would offer her solace.
Liz: I know this song. When I was a little girl I had these terrible nightmares. I remember flashes of fire and smoke. God, so much smoke. My dad would lie in bed with me, hold me in is arms, and hum that song. He’d tell me I was safe. Tat everything was going to be ok. You spend days building that damn thing, you knew about the song, my father, you knew I’d find out the truth and you wanted me…
Red: To know that everything is going to be ok. You’re going to be ok.
Now that Liz knows the truth she can either turn Tom in to the cops or play along and find out who it is Tom is working for and why he’s spying on her. Now that this secret is out, maybe we’ll finally learn what the connection between Red and Liz is, and why Liz’s past is a mystery. Many things are still left unknown, but one thing is certain – Red and Liz’s relationship has reached a whole new level, and through this new possible phase in their relationship we may learn the answers we’ve been seeking.
Blacklist File #88…
- Lance Reddick and Lucy Brooks’ bodies weren’t discovered until 8 days after Tom killed them.
- Skeleton Key: An electronic device that can break into any secure network.
- Tom works for “Phantom Finance” (LOL!) and his account number is DS451.
- Red claims he’s never lied to Liz, but also told her in the first episode that he should never be trusted. Hmm… so, was he lying when he told Liz he wasn’t her father? For a guy who claims not to be the dad, he sure knows a lot of intimate details about her.