The Blacklist 1.06 "Gina Zanetakos"

A tv review article by: Natalie Amato

Week six! The answers we’ve been waiting for! This episode basically picks up from where the last one left off. An argument ensues between Elizabeth (Megan Boone) and Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) about the box containing fake passports with his name on them, the gun connected to the murder of a Russian, and thousands of dollars.

Keen finally involves the agents at the FBI blacksite and begins an investigation into the murder and evidence. Elizabeth is taken off the case and placed on leave because of her close potential or suspected involvement, but Reddington (James Spader) offers to deliver a corporate terrorist, Gina Zanetakos (Margarita Levieva) and threatens to stop providing the names of criminals if Elizabeth is not let on the case. Keen is reinstated and begins the investigation into Zanetakos while Meera Malik (Parminder Nagra) interrogates her husband.

While Meera investigates Tom Keen’s alibi for the murder in Boston, Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Elizabeth pursue Gina Zanetakos, which results in her escape and the subsequent discovery of her connection to a Turkish diplomat (whom she assassinates) and the multinational corporation, The Hanar Group. Upon raiding Zanetakos' apartment, they find a familiar-looking box, pictures of the murdered Russian, along with a photo of Tom Keen.

Meanwhile, a phone message is discovered implying that Zanetakos intends to detonate a nuclear bomb. Reddington finds the bomb maker, Maxwell Rudiger (Dikran Tulaine), who reveals that the bomb is in a car, and will detonate in nineteen hours. He also helps Red find Zanetakos. She is captured by the FBI team after a struggle with Elizabeth and takes two bullets to the chest.

Unable to interrogate Zanetakos while she is in hospital, Elizabeth, through quick thinking and help from Reddington, deduces that the target for the bombing is Houston Harbor, the direct competition of The Hanar Group. They make it to the harbor with only minutes before the detonation, and in a dramatic climax, Ressler drives the car bomb off of the docks (jumping out just in time) where the water contains the majority of the explosion and the radiation. (Editor's note: WTF???)

As for Tom Keen, he is set free. Despite the minor evidence against him, Zanetakos claims not to know him and clears him by admitting to murdering the Russian. She also accuses Reddington of having hired her to commit the murder. It is also revealed that the man who was supposed to be Walter Burrows, the head of the school Tom Keen interviewed for in Boston, is really Reddington’s lackey.

Throughout this episode, Elizabeth has leaned heavily on Reddington for support. During one of their meetings, she even holds Reddington’s hand while admitting she doesn’t know whom she can trust. Of course, Zanetakos' confession allows Elizabeth to once again trust her husband, but effectively destroys her trust in Reddington.

What I didn’t like about the episode is minor but still relevant enough to mention. For one, a friend of mine was kind enough to mention the lag time when Zanetakos is shot. I can’t tell if it’s bad acting or bad editing but it was apparent enough to make the scene feel cheap and unrealistic. Also, when the car bomb detonates under the water, it is so incredibly easy to see that it was computer generated and unreal because the water falling from the explosion in the harbor doesn’t create a ripple.

It literally looks like they simply filmed the harbor and then placed a computer created minor explosion of water in front of it without trying to connect the two. I feel like this is something simple that could have been rectified within an extra hour or so of graphics and editing time, yet leaving it the way it is detracts from the realism of the threat and the episode overall.

What’s interesting about this episode is that while it addresses the issue of the hidden box, it raises more questions than ever. At the very end of the episode, the shady men who have been watching Keen’s home once again make an appearance. Although the conversation between them is brief, it reveals pertinent information.  Referring to Tom Keen one of the men states “The only thing that’s clear to me is that he doesn’t work for Reddington.”

“Well then who the hell does he work for?” the other one asks. Good question.

Who does Tom work for? Is he guilty or framed? It's obvious Reddington is hiding many, many things but is he actually manipulating Keen, or are his enemies framing him as well? Is Reddington being manipulated? And, going off topic slightly, what is Reddington referring to when he says “...we could always reminisce about that unfortunate incident in Kuwait” to Assistant Director Harold Cooper? What incident? Do Cooper and Reddington have a past? Or does Reddington just have dirt on everyone?  

My brain hurts after this episode. Till next time...

Natalie Amato is a ninja cappuccino-slinging barista by day, undercover freelancing graphic designer, photographer, and writer by night (...and sometimes during the day). 

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