How does the devil in you contend with the angel? I would have kicked her out long ago.
*So, this episode opens with Red at an FBI black sight that is cleverly concealed on a fake freight ship.
*Sympathy for the Devil playing over montage: check.
*So, we get Lennix meeting his superiors and this appears to be taking place on the Charlie Rose set. The camera just keeps circling and it’s just like four people at a table and a totally black background.
*Though when the big boss shows up, she’s wearing a lime green shirt and I couldn’t decide if that was stupid or hilarious.
*So, we get a pretty artful crosscut sequence between Lennix talking to his boss, Red taking a lie detector test and Liz being questioned about her history.
*So, Red sends everyone to an industrial park; he says he knows that some sort of “incident” is going to happen there, but has no more details. It turns out to be a really, really obviously CGI train crash.
*Red & Lennix bond: “Sixty people are dead because of you.” “Sixty people are dead because you don’t return my phone calls.”
*So our Blacklister here is the Freelancer. He’s an assassin that kills his targets via large scale tragedies, ie. The train crash, which was aimed at killing one particular woman. He hides his assassinations in the headlines, Red says, and, with his rather strange methods, he’s racked up an understandably high collateral damage body count. In order to kill his targets, he’s also killed over 3,000 innocent people.
*I dig this. This is pretty compelling, the idea of someone so evil that he’s willing to just murder innocent people willy-nilly just to get a handful of actual targets.
*So, Red and Liz head to Montreal to meet with a contact that can get them the information on theFreelancer’s next victim.
*So, they’re meeting this guy at a fancy restaurant, so Red starts instantly going into classy date mode; ordering Liz a bright blue cocktail that “tastes like Spring” in French, asking her how her work’s been going, etc. This guy.
*Spader & Boone have definite chemistry. This scene plays well, despite the rather tired dialogue. Yes, Liz ends up giving Red her profile of him. “You need me and you hate yourself for that because it makes you vulnerable.” “What if I tell you that all the things you’ve come to believe about yourself are a lie?”
*That last one though . . . I’ve discovered that is not actually a good line to bust out on a first date.
*So, Red escapes via the time tested method of telling Liz that he’ll be right back and then pulling the fire alarm and going out the back door in the chaos.
*I wish I could tell you that I’ve never ditched on a date like that. I wish I could tell you.
*Somehow, I feel like Liz shouldn’t have just let him get up and walk away. I bet Ressler’s going to throw a hissy fit about that one.
*So, yes, Ressler really reams her out and then he turns and opens the door to the FBI van to find Red sitting calmly inside it.
* “Now he’s gone. Because of you.” *open* “Hi, guys.”
*It’s all in the delivery.
*So, anyway, the Freelancer’s next target is Floriana Campo, a human rights advocate played by a rather weary Isabella Rossellini.
*Oh, Jesus, Liz wrote her damn senior thesis on Campo, so she’s all doe eyes and reverent tones. Boone is not good at this version of Liz. Seriously, the “hero worship” thing on these shows is always terrible. Mulder and the damn astronaut that wouldn’t shut up had the same thing going in Space and that’s easily one of the very worst X-Files episodes. It’s a strange trope, but it rarely works.
*I can assure you there isn’t a person in this facility that doesn’t want to see that shuttle go into space, complete its mission and come back like winged Victory herself. And in about ten hours, God willing, you’re going to see just that.
*I really need to get back to that X-Files project. Maybe I’ll restart that after this one. Writing that Space review is some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
*Back to the trope, given that part of it is the disillusionment when the object of the worship reveals feet of clay or whatever, this pretty blatantly telegraphs that Floriana is going to turn out to be corrupt or something.
*She’s been on screen for less than a minute and the writing is so ham-handed that the twist is already basically blown.
*So, her husband was previously murdered by a brutal human trafficking ring and then the leader of the trafficking ring was also murdered; some one new has taken over the cartel, someone even more brutal than the previous leader and it’s likely he’s the one who hired the Freelancer.
*So, Red’s deal with the FBI demands that he be able to have his own security detail. This consists of, natch, a beefy African dude and a petite Asian. And the FBI director (or whoever this lime-green wearing lady is) demands that a CIA agent be brought in to assist, so she can be kept in the loop. This CIA agent is, naturally, a hard-core Indian lady rocking the pant suit and the British accent.
*If The Good Wife did nothing else for me, it convinced every show that they needed a butt-kicking Indian lady in the cast, and I am absolutely fine with that.
*So, yeah, we’re clearly building our supporting cast.
*So, the FBI takes Red to a benefit Floriana is hosting because Red has seen the Freelancer once before. Of course, Floriana refuses to cancel because she’s raising money to help stop human sex trafficking and all, so she just can’t cancel.
*I like that the show doesn’t just instantly turn Liz into some kind of sultry vixen the moment she has to dress up. She wore a fashionable black dress to the restaurant earlier and she’s wearing the same one at this fancy benefit. I like that the show doesn’t try to convince us that Liz owns more than one fancy dress because I wouldn’t believe it. Also, the dress is fancy, but not too fancy; she still looks underdressed. And they also don’t do much with her hair. I like Liz as a kind of rough and tumble hero and I already talked about how glad I am she’s not some statuesque blonde. The show seems dedicated to not turning her into some kind of super-gorgeous goddess and I really like that.
*So, wait a minute, they relocated this benefit because of the security concerns. But they relocated it to an OUTDOOR location. A ROOFTOP OUTDOOR location. I don’t know, it strikes me that if a guy who caused disaster wanted to kill me that I would not be hanging out on the roof of a sky-scraper. Just me? Okay, just me.
*So, there’s the Freelancer dressed as a waiter. Cue epic chase scene.
*This is beautifully shot. The chase goes down an exterior staircase at this big fancy hotel and the lighting is just beautiful. And now some nice Bourne shakycam.
*This show does good action. I mean, way better than I figured it would. It’s quite visceral.
*Anyway, Liz commandeers a cab and hits the Freelancer with it. As you do.
*So, our badass Indian chick, Meera, since she’s from the CIA, is a bit less principled than Agent Ressler. So, Ressler stands in the corner looking uncomfortable while Meera leans on this guy’s broken leg for a while.
*I mean, obviously broken. Bone actually sticking out.
*But he cracks and says that he was hired by . . . RAYMOND REDDINGTON?!?!
*So, during all the stuff in Montreal, as it turns out, Red wasn’t actually finding out from his contact who the Freelancer’s target was. He was TELLING his contact who he wanted the Freelancer to hit. That’s clever.
*So, Floriana goes back to her hotel room, but of course, Red’s in there.
*And we get the big twist: Floriana is actually a big human trafficker herself. Her husband’s murder? She did that. The takeover of the big trafficking cartel? That was her. The mysterious new, incredibly violent leader of the cartel? Floriana Campo.
*Okay, I’ll admit I didn’t see all of that coming. They dropped the obvious clue earlier that the head of the cartel had been murdered and someone new had taken over, but I didn’t leap that far in my suspicions of Floriana.
*Can I just say? I mean . . . okay, Blue Velvet. And Rossellini was just a goddess earlier in her career. She’s . . . not good here. She’s really awful actually.
*I mean, she’s just overacting really horribly here and it just feels really cheesy. All she needs is a mustache to twirl.
*So, anyway, Liz comes in and Floriana tries to play it off like she’s innocent and Red has broken in to try to kill her, but she slips and accidentally reveals that she knows Red.
*Horrible acting from great actresses, Part 1: “You know him?” “EVERYone knows this SONOVABEECH.”
*So, she collapses from the poison that the Freelancer slipped her. Red has the antidote and he says he’ll give her the antidote if she confesses.
*Liz does a tracheotomy to try to keep her breathing. “What is it with you and hotel rooms and pens in people’s necks?” Red wonders.
*So, Floriana admits that it’s all true and Liz gives Floriana the antidote only to discover that it wasn’t even a real antidote. So, Floriana dies. So, this was all personal for Red; he just despised Floriana because of her duplicitousness, so he set this all up so that she would both be exposed and die. Hardcore, Red.
*So, Tom wakes up at the hospital and Liz just takes him home as if she knows nothing.
*While he’s asleep at home, she goes through his clothes and finds a flash drive. It’s a recording of Tom telling the adoption agency people about why he thinks Liz would be a good mother.
*So, Tom says that it’s a moral decision for Liz. She won’t have biological children while there are so many children in the world already who need a home. Interesting. But what was the stuff with her father in the last episode? She was maybe a foster child herself? I forget.
*Anyway, that’s how this one ends.
*I liked this one quite a bit more than the Pilot. It had, again, some really great action sequences. I liked the premise of the Freelancer and then I really liked the twist at the end of the episode of Red doing it all in order to expose Floriana. Like I say, it was pretty obvious that Floriana was corrupt one way or another from the jump, but I liked seeing Red’s plan unfold.
*Particularly the bit with him using the promise of the antidote in order to get her to confess and then just casually revealing that there isn’t an antidote. That was cold. That was a great character moment for Red.
*I just wish . . . I just wish someone else had played Floriana. I’m not sure what was up with Rossellini here, but she was just pretty bad. I mean, I get that she’s older, but . . . I don’t think it’s just a case of her getting to old to act. I dunno. If someone better had played Floriana, this episode would have been better.
*As it is, it still gets a good rating.
3 ½ stars.