The Blacklist, Ep. 3.09, “Anslo Garrick, Part 1” is exciting, but feels like a stall

The Blacklist - Season 1


The Blacklist, Season 1, Episode 9: “Anslo Garrick, Part 1”
Written by Joe Carnahan and Jason George
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Airs Mondays at 10pm ET on NBC

In the first of two episodes, “Anslo Garrick, Part 1” has everyone’s favorite international criminal Red (James Spader) in need of protection from Anslo Garrick, a spurned colleague from Red’s past. Garrick somehow knows that Red is working with the FBI and knows precisely what they’d do with Red if word got out that someone wanted Red’s head on a silver platter. Just as the FBI realizes what’s happened and their stupendous blunder, Garrick arrives, bringing with him chaos, bullets, and pure hatred for Red. Elsewhere, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), on her way back from seeing her recently deceased father, sneaks into the FBI’s secret base to save the day.

“Anslo Garrick, Part 1” is effective in the singular capacity that it puts Red, who is perpetually a man in control of every facet of his life, into a box where he’s at the very least going to be forced to make compromises of some kind. He’s going to have to make tough choices that probably go against his grand plan. Too often we see surface-level Red as opposed to getting the deeper look at the character that the audience deserves. After all, he’s the lead character and far more deserving of a primary glimpse than Keen is. Something exactly like this is what needs to happen to prompt character development from Red and the crumbling of his master plan.

The episode is also great at giving Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Red some interesting interactions when Ressler is critically shot and locked into the cube-of-safety with Red. Too often Ressler just glares at Red from across the room and leaves Keen to deal with him personally. This time, Ressler is forced to associate with Red and the result brings about some really engaging conversations between the two. It’s easy to forget that Ressler was hunting Red long before Keen ever entered into the equation. This episode does a good job of digging deeper into that history and exploring the significance it holds for both Red and Ressler.

The Blacklister this week, Anslo Garrick (Ritchie Coster), might be as uninteresting and subtle as a grenade, but he makes up for it with vigor by being one of the most menacing villains so far on the show. With a scar that makes it look like he’s always scowling, Garrick is a character that demands to be taken seriously because he’s one that will mess up your entire world. Like a Weeping Angel fromĀ Doctor Who, if you’re not paying close enough attention to Garrick, he might do something crazy that will shake everything up. The effectiveness of Garrick is equal parts make up and the terrific performance that Coster gives throughout the episode.

A big wrinkle that the show faces in this episode, but never addresses, is the fact that Red’s involvement with the FBI is now, apparently, common knowledge throughout the criminal underworld. If that isn’t the case, how then does Garrick know that Red is working with them? A good deal of Red’s usefulness with the FBI is that the Blacklisters don’t know he’s switched sides. Does this mean that aspect of Red’s usefulness is done now?

This is only the first of two parts and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough story to go around for two episodes. Fall finales are special for some reason though, and two-parters must be endured. It does seem, however, that the show could have made this only episode. In any case, so far “Anslo Garrick, Part 1” makes for an enthralling episode and that will hopefully continue to the second part.

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