The Blacklist 1.13 "The Cyprus Agency" & 1.14 "Madeline Pratt"
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This week we’re catching up here. The last two episodes to air were “The Cyprus Agency” and “Madeline Pratt.” “The Cyprus Agency” was also the last episode to air before the Olympic break. I think they chose a fairly good way to end before a pause. The individual plot for this episode was intense and attention grabbing. Keen finds and brings down an adoption agency illegally breeding children through kidnapping young women, rendering them unconscious, then impregnating them.
At the same time the running issues from previous episodes only add to the intensity of this installment. Elizabeth and Tom’s relationship is going through a crisis and Reddington searches for — and finds — the real mole inside the FBI black site with the help of Meera Malik.
There wasn’t much in this episode that stood out as questionable. While Elizabeth and Tom prepare to adopt a baby, Elizabeth has second thoughts. Whether it is due to her own doubts or those voiced by Reddington, she confronts Tom at the end of the episode admitting she is unprepared and unwilling to bring a baby into what she sees as a broken relationship.
In regards to Tom, why is he so devastated about losing the adoption if this is all possibly a deception, as Reddington suggests? Furthermore, after the discussion between Elizabeth and Tom takes place, he leaves to find solace with his fellow teacher friend who is really Lucy Brooks. What part is Lucy Brooks playing and what does she want with Tom? I’m dying to find out what role she will play in the long run.
As for Reddington, once he discovers that Diane Fowler is the mole at the FBI black site “the post office,” he decides resolve the issue himself, by “removing” her from the black site. Before Red eliminates her she says, “We came into the post office to make a point.” What point? And who is “we”? Finally, in Fowler’s last moments she claims to know what happened to Reddington’s family which is interesting, not only because it adds to Reddington’s complicated history but we also discover that there is information out there that even Reddington does not possess — implying that this blacklist could, in fact, all be one big “means to an end.”
Before her exit Diane says “I know the truth, Red. about that night; about what happened to your family. Do you want to know the truth?” Red responds “More than anything in the world. But if you know the truth Diane, then somebody else does too.”
And that is the last we see of Diane Fowler.
The episode following the Olympic break, “Madeline Pratt” was less intense, however it added more depth to Reddington’s history. Madeline Pratt, a woman from Reddington’s past, contacts him to acquire help in a heist to steal an artifact presumably containing the location of nuclear bombs hidden in the United States. At the same time, Tom and Elizabeth’s relationship only becomes more strained.
First I must say, fantastic choice in the actress for the villain, Madeline Pratt. Jennifer Ehle is a brilliantly talented actress who excellently portrayed Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC’s version of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. She’s also made appearances in such works as The King’s Speech (oddly again with Colin Firth), A Gifted Man (a short run but well written TV series), The Ides of March, and Contagion. I can only sing higher praise to the writers for not killing her off like Robert Sean Leonard’s character, in the hopes that she may return in future episodes.
Moving on, in continuation of the last episode, Assistant Director Harold Cooper is suspicious of Diane Fowler’s disappearance. He confronts Reddington, who neither provides information nor admits any crime. Unsurprisingly Cooper isn’t convinced and orders Agent Meera Malik to investigate. At the end of the episode however, he is ordered to cease the investigation by Special Agent Walter Gary Martin from the D.C. Bureau. I’m hoping this storyline continues, because discovering the truth about Diane Fowler could also uncover who her alliances were.
As for Tom and Elizabeth Keen, while trying to patch their teetering relationship, Tom suggests a weekend away. Elizabeth agrees but then has to cancel due to work. At the end of the episode Elizabeth says to Donald Ressler “I think he’s going to leave me.” The camera then cuts to Tom checking in at the teacher’s conference alone and running into the curious Lucy Brooks.
One aspect I always enjoy about this show is the way the audience is given tidbits about the history of our major characters. This episode provides brief glimpses into the past of Reddington (not just involving Pratt) and Keen. When meeting Pratt for the heist, Red tells Keen to tell the story about “Frank.” The story is about robbing a drug store.
It’s hard to tell whether or not the story holds any truth but there must be something in it because Keen later asks Red “How did you know about Omaha?” Reddington responds with “I didn’t” and calls her story “heart-warming.” Keen responds with “I made it up.” Whether or not this story is a complete fabrication or not, one thing stands out – Keen has a past which we are not yet privy to. Where did she learn how to palm a phone, pick a pocket, or swipe an I.D. badge? These skills are not developed overnight. They require a certain delicacy. This definitely adds intrigue to Elizabeth Keen.
Additionally, when Reddington and Pratt are later captured in this episode, Reddington answers Pratt’s question, “What happened in Florence?” with a story.
This story involves the Christmas Eve when he allegedly left his family, though Red’s version is different from that of the FBI. He claims he ran out of gas, had to walk for miles and when he finally arrived at home his family had been slaughtered. Of course, Reddington tells the story much more poetically. However, is the story actually true?
For Reddington, this story was a manipulation. He used it to get the information from Pratt to locate the artifact, and acquire the information that it contained. Although the audience is inclined to believe there is some truth in it. Again, in the last episode during Fowler’s final moments, she states there was something that happened to Reddington’s family.
I can only hope that next week will yield more into the past of these intricate characters. Perhaps we’ll even learn more about Harold Cooper.
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Natalie Amato is a ninja cappuccino-slinging barista by day, undercover freelancing graphic designer, photographer, and writer by night (…and sometimes during the day).