The Blacklist, Season 1, Episode 22: “Berlin Conclusion”
Written by Richard D’ovidio
Teleplay by John Eisendrath & Jon Bokenkamp & Lukas Reiter & J. R. Orci
Directed by Michael Watkins
Airs Monday nights at 10 pm EST on NBC
The Blacklist finale answers the one question audiences care about and because of that, many unhappy viewers can now sigh for relief. The conclusion of the Berlin story from last week opens with the aftermath of the plane crash. While the visuals aren’t impressive for the crash, the intercut interrogations demonstrate the intensity the show is well known for.
The scene that no doubt has people talking is the one involving Reddington disrobing after being shot. James Spader plays the scene with such guilt that you almost feel bad for Reddington even though he is a man after his own means. People should not be surprised when Reddington lies to Liz about whether her father is alive, as Reddington is looking out for both of their lives. What makes the criminal element of this episode so engaging is that Berlin has no ties to Reddington that he knows about.
The big shock of the episode, outside of Reddington’s reveal, is Berlin’s systematic take down of the task force. The fact that Meera is the first to die is an impressive twist. The lighting in the club scene is expertly done, though I’m sure many people hoped Meera would be smarter about canvasing an area than she was. The intensity is definitely amped up when Harold Cooper is attacked next. The fear that Berlin would get to Liz is definitely palpable, but Tom being the one to end up capturing Liz is only fitting.
The acting by Megan Boone and James Spader is world class, but in this episode they outdo themselves. The frankness with which Keene demands answers is more assured than it had been in past episodes. Audiences no doubt notice confidence in Boone’s performance, as she is finally given more emotional material to work with. Boone is stronger when dealing with her character’s past and a large part of that is due to most of that past being undiscovered by the audience. Spader, on the other hand, thrives in intense situations because they allows him to be both a showman when he needs information and direct when he is being threatened.
The two actors balance out each other well, but viewers should also be offered more opportunities to see the supporting cast shine. Ressler gets his moment but Meera is really only used as the mole in the task force. The supporting cast needs more to react to than just the information they get on a Blacklister.
The major problem with The Blacklist has always been that it asks more questions than it answers. The same is true for the finale. The show sets up several new questions and doesn’t answer enough of the ones we already have. For example, we still don’t know what card Reddington is holding that the government is scared of. We have no idea what Berlin’s motive is. How does Liz change her life after she leaves the apartment she shared with Tom? My personal favorite: Who is number 1 on the Blacklist? Leaving so many holes unfilled in such an intense finale is an odd choice, but hopefully the showrunners will ramp up the story in season two, building off this gripping finale to since season one.