That was a whole lot of wheel-spinning without much narrative traction.
So soon after she was taken into FBI custody, Liz found herself on the run again on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 19.
How hard was it just to drive to the task force office after arresting Liz? Why not just stick her in Red’s old glass enclosure?
Why did such a production have to be made out of it? I must have missed something.
I suppose because, without a target for Townsend’s men to ambush, there would have been no episode.
Instead, we got more of Red keeping the Task Force in the dark and the Task Force not trusting Red. Cause, meet effect.
And poor Ressler once again got caught in the middle. That’s what, twice this year that Donald has been wounded by or because of Liz.
That’s not counting the multiple times that she’s used his feelings for her own benefit, with him oftentimes turning against the Task Force to protect her.
Still, it’s hard to fault Ressler alone. Harold can’t decide if Liz is a Blacklister who must be stopped at all costs or just a poor little lamb that has lost her way. Bah, bah, bah!
Or should she be shipped to an institution to deal with that psychotic break that she appeared to have on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 14, only to have it not come up again? Maybe killing Anne, one of the few innocents on this series, cured her.
First, Liz has to survive long enough for the courts to decide what exactly her status is.
What did Stepanov whisper into Townsend’s ear on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17?
Whatever it was, now Liz is definitely at the top of Nigel’s enemies’ list.
I think Reddington nailed it during his explanation to Harold, despite Cooper’s “What the hell are you talking about?” look.
Townsend thinks Red, aka Agent N13, killed his family. Thanks to Stepanov, he now knows that Liz is the most important person in the world to Raymond.
I mean, why else would he be putting up with all the crap she’s put him through this year?
Anyone else would be in a barrel of chemicals by now.
So Townsend wants to kill her in front of Reddington so that he could feel the same pain Nigel did.
It was simple to understand why Bino turned partway through this episode. People should be more afraid of Townsend than Red. That’s because Nigel’s certifiable, probably because of all those medications he takes. He has a guy just to sort those pills when he really needs a pharmacist.
Townsend saw no problem with blowing up a Kansas town just to flush out Red on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 14. So compared, sending fake cops to ambush Liz’s convoy was child’s play.
No one saw a flaw in the plan of transporting the No. 1 Blacklister being hunted by one of the world’s most dangerous criminals (two if you count Red) in a handful of SUVs?
And having a handful of unknown cop cars just showing up unannounced made sense? Really?
For that matter, why would Cooper send his least trustworthy agent (when it comes to Liz) along for the ride? Send Park. She hates Liz.
Talk about your ambush waiting to happen.
You have to give Liz credit. Despite the ineptness of her federal travel agent, she came back for the wounded Ressler.
She proceeded to drag him about a not-so-nice part of town and patched him up with duct tape.
After watching Harold proceed to insist on going through leaky channels again, the same people who set up the transfer, you can’t blame Red for doing things his way.
It was great to see Mike Starr, one of TV’s favorite gangsters again, playing facilitator Bino. He also had a fascinating system set up when one person didn’t know what the next was doing.
With Bino’s network, Raymond had to know that he would find out, likely sooner than later, who was pursuing Liz. And by choosing to cut the Task Force out of the loop, it was difficult to promptly employ Cooper’s federal resources.
At least Liz finally admitted to Ressler how she felt about him, although mainly when he was semi-conscious or unconscious. So she wasn’t only using him, just mostly.
That should make him feel so much better when he’s recuperating in another hospital bed.
And, as the Task Force’s only contribution, Aram and Park were able to get to Donald in time before the discredited doctor injected him.
It will be intriguing to see what, if anything, happens between Liz and Ressler after this mess of a season ends.
So what did we have to show for this 45-minute interlude, beyond Raymond mansplaining to Liz that he’s lying to her for her own good?
Red, Liz, and poor Dembe (ever the victim of Red’s wrong moves) stuck in Bino’s chess club with Townsend and his forces ready to storm the palace.
The cavalry isn’t coming, but Reddington didn’t trust Harold enough to tell him where Liz was being held. Unless, of course, Ressler wakes up and spell things out for them.
See what happens when you don’t play well with others?
To revisit this meander of a season, watch The Blacklist online.
How much of this episode made sense to you?
Can Red and the Task Force get back on the same page?
Do you truly believe all of Raymond’s secrets will spill out next episode when there are three remaining?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.