Friday, April 14, 2017

The Blacklist Marathon You NEED Before S4 Returns

SPOILER WARNING: Yeah, so I'm not pulling punches. There are massive spoilers in here, up to the most recent episode. So if you haven't hit the season 4 halfway point, turn back now.
You have been warned.

I love The Blacklist. I hope I haven't been keeping that my little secret, because this show is FAN. FREAKING. TASTIC. (*chokesob* Dembe!) Riveting characters, great story, layers of intrigue and complexity -a thing of beauty!

So if you're looking forward to its return on April 20th, here's my list of MUCH WATCH episodes before we see the next chapter. Obviously, you want to rewatch the first half of season 4 -but to feel the true impact of that ton-of-bricks finale (Deeeemmmbbeeee!) requires a journey through yesteryear, so come with me, my friends, and let's revisit some of the most important moments of Red and Dembe's relationship.

The Freelancer (1x2)
Notable, of course, as Dembe's first appearance AND it has one of my favorite lines of the entire show to date:
But this is an important episode because of a fleeting scene at the end, between Ressler and Dembe, that speaks volumes about the relationship between Reddington and Dembe. All the way back IN EPISODE TWO.

Okay. Hang on. I might not be ready for this.
Excuse me while I rant and rave and regain my senses...
Okay. Now that I've got that out of my system, I should be good for the rest of the post. Let's continue.

Anslo Garrick (1x10)
One of the reasons this ranked in my Top Ten Episodes post was because of the heartbreaking goodbye scene between Red and Dembe. It breaks my heart. Every. Time.

The Good Samaritan (1x11)
This one might not fit in with my obvious Red/Dembe Theme -at least, not at first glance.
First question: Remember how far and how dark Red went to clean up house after the Anslo Garrick incident?
Second question: Remember this guy?
Oh, hello again, Mr. Theme! You mean you've been here the whole time?

Dr. James Convington (2x3)
Mr. Theme is working undercover again, because this episode is most notable for the introduction of Vargas as a double agent to root out anyone who might betray Red to Berlin -not to mention the powerful foreshadowing and irony at play in Vargas' disfavor.
But Mr. Theme is also slapping us right between the eyes too:

The Mombasa Cartel (2x6)
This is essential, but not just because it explores Dembe's past and the deep connection and loyalty he has to Reddington. What might be even more important about this episode is the moment Reddington confronts the villain behind it all. Red has every intention of killing Perl, but Dembe -Dembe whose entire life was ruined and overturned by this villain- tells Red not to kill him. "It serves no purpose to kill him now." And Red marvels at Dembe's goodness, admitting him the better man.
But Red will always be Red. He kills Perl, without even flinching.
There is a moment here, between Red and Dembe. A moment of separation and division, because Red has done what he felt had to be done, despite Dembe's objections. He pauses, face to face with Dembe, an apology on the tip of his tongue. But he isn't sorry, is he? Because he would do it all over again, because that's how he dispenses justice. Knowing the apology would be hollow, he swallows it back. And look at Dembe's face!

The Djinn (3x4) & Arioch Cain (3x5)
Eighteen episodes later, from The Troll Farmer to Arioch Cain, we get an incredible arc from Dembe who, captured by the Cabal, is tortured for information about Red. I still haven't decided whether the most important moment in this arc occurs in The Djinn or Arioch Cain, so I'll let you make your own call on that, but the entire arc is a testament to the strength of Dembe's character and his loyalty to Reddington.

Mato (4x2)
This is ground zero right here, the beginning of the end, though no one saw it coming. Even Dembe, when Kaplan tries to get a little sympathy from him, tells her he's no less forgiving then Red just then. Oh, how the tables turn...

Dr. Adrian Shaw: Conclusion (4x8)
This episode is important because of one moment: As Red is preparing to turn himself over to Kirk in exchange for Liz, he turns to Dembe and says: "Forgive me. For Kate."

Talk about your double entendres! If the font size didn't clue you in, yes, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT episode to rewatch. My initial watching of season 4, I had no idea who was behind the attacks on Red. The moment I rewatched this episode, however, I knew. If you only rewatch one episode, make it this one.

The Harem (4x11)
Notable for connections to Mr. Kaplan, but also that sly move of Dembe going behind Red's back and telling Liz about it (in the previous episode) because we see it for what it is -a last ditch effort to save Red's soul. And Dembe knows here that it's failed.

And last, but not least...

The Apothecary (4x15)

And that will get you well prepared for The Blacklist's return on April 20th! I hope you'll be watching right there with me.
What is your favorite Red and Dembe moment?
How are your emotions, coming up on the return?


  1. I've never seen this show so I kinda skimmed through the episode points, but I had The Blacklist recommended to me by a good friend who thought I'd like it, so clearly I need on the bandwagon w/ that! And I've always liked Spader...

    1. I adore this show. It's one of my all time favorites, so obviously I'm biased, but it's pretty well agreed upon that this is Spader's BEST role and he is a master at it. It's even better knowing they wound up casting Spader last minute; the show runners were so confident in his understanding of the character, they signed him THREE DAYS before filming started. 0.0
      So, yeah. Definitely watch. And I mean binge watch. The first three seasons are on Netflix and I guarantee, if you like the first two minutes of the pilot, you won't be stopping any time soon. XD