The Blacklist: Dr. Linus Creel (No. 82)
October 14, 2014 12:07 PM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

A string of violent incidents turns out to have been instigated by a psychologist who worked on a secret genetic mind control project for the US Government. Meanwhile, Red works to keep his ex-wife safe and happy.
posted by Small Dollar (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yet again, I thought Paul Reubens totally stole the show chastising the mistress for not treating the dog well.

The bit with Lizzie's test results I thought was predictable.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:55 PM on October 14, 2014

The Reubens bit was indeed great, right up until he sat down in the chair. He had just told the woman he was taking her dog for a walk, and then he didn't. It is a small point but perfectly indicative of the difference between this season's writing and last season's. Last season, Reddington would have delivered that line and he would have taken the dog outside like he said. These small inconsistencies and flubs are annoying because they're new.

They are also getting markedly worse about obscuring and delaying. Last season, they used clever dodgy lines and great acting (Spader) to explain why Keen didn't just get her answers from Reddington. That scene between Boone and Parker was total movie-villain, question-for-a-question cliche. "Why am I here?" "Why do you think you're here, Mr Bond?"

And Parker's last whispered line to Spader? Maybe somebody here caught it. I rewound because at first I thought it was my own inattention, but nope, on second listen that was terrible audio. That's film school 101 and it drives me nuts when big-budget productions screw it up. Film lives or dies on its audio. Mic properly.
posted by cribcage at 3:23 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tom being locked in a room somewhere explains why Liz saw that haggard vision of him in that dream. At this point she's becoming less and less sympathetic. The entire FBI team is getting corrupted - Samar works for Red, Ressler lost his head that one time when his girlfriend got killed, Aram doesn't mind doing questionably-legal things for Liz, the entire operation is funded through a bank used by the Blacklisters - I'm sure this stuff is going to come back to bite them.
posted by Small Dollar at 3:32 PM on October 14, 2014

V2K shielding is against electronic and telepathic eavesdropping.

Naomi knows about Elizabeth, and knows something about her meaning to Red? We've confirmed that Elizabeth isn't Jennifer.
Red, the wine lover, says Chardonnay with such a sneer.

I agree that they're playing more games to prevent all the secrets from spilling out. A conspiracy pops up (Berlin) and is quickly, if not handily, dealt with. Questions are posed, interrupted, and never brought up again.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:31 PM on October 14, 2014

Honestly the show kind of went off the rails for me with this episode. BS mind-control experiments? Come the hell on. Red's wife, of all people, playing a piss-poor wannabe cat and mouse game with Liz? "I'm not going to tell you what you want to know, deal with it" would seem more in keeping with her character. Deus ex machina sniper employed by Red? Argh.

The only thing that's going to make me watch it next week is hoping Reubens shows up again. And yeah, that scene would have been way more effective if he'd just taken the dog.

Well, Reubens and watching Spader chew every piece of available scenery. And some that are off camera. Somewhere in New Zealand Peter Jackson is wondering where half the set of his latest movie went.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do the writers of this show even know what Keen's big secret is? Maybe they just don't know, and that's why they still haven't told us, because they know that when we do find out we're going to be really disappointed because Red turns out to be Keen's dad's best friend who also like murdered the whole family on orders or while going rogue or by mistake, which is the only answer I can think of other than, "You were grown in a lab and are a new kind of superhuman, and also this show is more sci fi than you previously thought."

Anyway, I think at this point the writers can't tell us anything about why Red picked Keen. Like, ever. Because if they do, the show will have to rely 100 percent on viewers watching solely because they have sex fantasies about James Spader.
posted by brina at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

They have to walk to jagged edge on this one. They can't reveal too early, but they do have to bank on revealing at some point and hopefully they won''t retcon and be all "Red THOUGHT this was the truth but REALLY..." to give later seasons more drama. I mean yes Red being caught off guard would be good but not on something so key to the original premise.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:15 PM on October 18, 2014

Agreed. The Netflix deal gave the showrunners freedom but it also removed urgency. We're getting episodes like this one, which was hamfistedly conceived to raise a bunch of questions, and an overall looser sense of direction that creates a loss of momentum. I don't believe they would be writing this way if they feared cancellation in December or May.

I honestly don't know what they could reveal that isn't either (1) Reddington is her father, or (2) a major disappointment. Going another direction—considering the doors they've closed—would turn both the show and Reddington's character on their heads. If they can do that successfully, I'd be pleased and impressed. But that's hard.
posted by cribcage at 11:11 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Writing oneself into a corner with this kind of show is pretty easy. Red as her father is TOO obvious. I mean, if they reveal that....that would be embarrassing for every single writer on the show. A different but still major disappointment? I can see that too.

However, they are opening up new doors with Liz: she's now willing to do things against the rules and use illegal means to get "justice." We also know now she has some "warrior" predisposition. Red may be playing a long game in transforming Lizzie into a part of his enterprise. Basically think of Walter White only the transformation being manipulated by someone.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:16 PM on October 19, 2014

I think there's a challenging line to be walked between too obvious and too unexpected (also known as, "No, shut up, you did not plan that in season 1"), and I think there's also risk of disappointment if you try to get too creative with the apparently obvious. There are ways to write Reddington as her father that wouldn't be anticlimactic. If something different has been planned since day 1 then so be it, but if not...I guess what I'm saying is that continuity matters. I'm sorry but no, Darth Vader was not Luke's father and Obi-Wan had never met those droids in Episode IV, and none of those five people were Cylons in the first season of Battlestar Galactica. For my money, there's nothing more annoying in a long-arc story than being blatantly lied to about its planning. Whatever the relationship between Keen and Reddington, I want to be able to go back and rewatch the first season and have it make sense. Otherwise is a major letdown.
posted by cribcage at 1:53 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Late to the party but grawr this show is disappointing this second season. They need to stop teasing us with the whole Red / Lizzie connection. Just tell us already, move on to something new and interesting.

But the worst thing about this show is the A plot, the primary procedural stories. Even David Costabile's remarkable walk-on talents can't save a plot as stupid as psycho psychiatrist. Also apparently the showrunners have forgotten that Lizzie is supposed to be a world expert criminal profiler, think if they'd managed to pull off a Clarice / Hannibal sort of duel of the minds. At least it's a little better than rehashing an organ rental plot from Almost Human.

We stick around because Spader is delicious and the ongoing serial plot is interesting. Paul Reubens certainly adds something outlandish, too. Maybe they can just kill the whole FBI office off entirely and have a more fun show about Spader's criminal escapades. Of course he can only be on screen a few minutes an episode lest he is overexposed, so Dembe would be the main protagonist.

Don't get me started on the Iranian Mossad agent.
posted by Nelson at 7:54 AM on November 3, 2014

Lizzie is a criminal profiler, but I've never really seen a moment on the show where she demonstrated even a bit of that ability.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:46 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

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