Virginia Sherwood / NBC

The Blacklist Gets Hacked

With Liz mostly doing nothing (surprise!), it's Aram's time to shine!

So, Red has "Isabella Stone" tied to a chair in a meat locker of sorts. Hey, one man's romance, right? He wants to know who hired her, and she blames him for her husband's death. Meanwhile, Cooper is mad that Red stole Isabella Stone from him. Red promises to hand her over after he's done with her, but that doesn't placate Cooper. Cooper wants a "big name" off the Blacklist, not someone lame like Isabella Stone. Really, Cooper? Stone is the one you think is lame? Have you already forgotten about the Kings of the Highway, that hillbilly biker gang from last season?

Anyway, after a couple seconds of thought, Red offers up The Architect, a man whose expertise is designing and constructing "perfect crimes." The first step to finding The Architect is finding the location of a hacker competition known as Black Mass 13. Liz and Ressler go to Philadelphia to locate the Black Mass with the instruction, "Guys, look for anything out of the ordinary." Good direction, Aram. Maybe they should also "Be on the lookout for bad guys"? I don't know. Just spit-balling here. I'm not in the FBI, you know.

While this is going on, Tom tries to uncover the mysteries of his childhood. Like why did people think he died? Why did some guy named Richard Game confess to killing him? Why is Richard Game dead now? Is Tom maybe dead, and this is like an elaborate Sixth Sense situation? Better hurry up, Tom, you've only got one week to put together the pieces before you jump over to Blacklist: Redemption.

Naturally, the best man for job infiltrating Black Mass 13 is Aram, who is nervous because the last time he was in the field he got beat up by his fake girlfriend. He does the job anyway, which is too bad, because the hacker thing is like totally embarrassing, like a dad trying to prove he's still cool by wearing skinny jeans. "Nut up and get your hack on!" says the Nerd Michael Buffer. Oy! Speaking of Aram's fake girlfriend Elise/Janet, she's there, not in jail as Aram expected. Of course, because she's such a good hacker, she was recruited, or she says she was, by the NSA. As Aram wins the competition, The Architect arrives, and Aram and Elise try to escape. While the Architect has the other hackers begin executing his plan, his thugs find Aram. Ressler and Samar break up the hacker party, but The Architect escapes with Aram, whom the Architect uses to break some Aryan Nation guy out of prison. Ressler and Samar arrive, but The Architect escapes. But only as far as the end of the road, where Aram blows up his car with a high-tech gun. Good work, Aram, you've now done more active "agenting" than Liz Keen. Now, virtually every character on this show is better at their job than her.

Red's freezer trick works its charms with Isabella Stone. Of course, she doesn't have a name for who hired her. She was hired anonymously, like so many people on this show. That's normal, right? To take a job from someone you've never met for reasons that are obscure to you? Seems like a pretty solid business plan. She does give Red a clue, but when Red de-crypts the clue, he finds out that somehow she was paid through one of his own bank accounts. So that's probably not good news.

So how Blacklist-y is this episode of The Blacklist anyway? Let's run the numbers!

Blacklist-y Element Present?
Stupid government agents! Always ruining everything! So, the Task Force sends Aram to Philadelphia for Black Mass 13 and they try to surveil him from DC? And then they're surprised when they lose track of him? Guys, you're terrible at your jobs.
Do the writers find a new way to make Aram even nerdier? Sure. He's the best hacker in the world. That seems to qualify.
Red is one step ahead of everyone at all times! Still no. He remains in the dark, but he does find out that his business has been even more compromised than he thought.
This Blacklist-er should totally be on Red's list! As preposterous as The Architect's artisanal "perfect crime" business may seem, it's just the sort of preposterousness we've come to expect from the List.
Does Liz, essentially, do nothing to help herself or her situation? Other than briefly going into the field with Ressler, Liz literally does nothing else in the episode. Not that I'm complaining.
Do time and distance essentially have no meaning? Liz and Ressler travel 140 miles to Philadelphia, search around Philadelphia for an hour, then travel back to DC, then Aram goes to Philadelphia to infiltrate the hacker competition, all in an afternoon.
Does the show still have a boner for torture? I don't know, is trapping someone in a meat locker considered torture, or is it just fun romantic foreplay? It's torture? Okay, good to know. Note to self.
Red's hat symbolizes his cool mastery of his surroundings Red wears his hat while threatening Isabella Stone with freezing to death and/or suffocation in the big meat locker. He could be wearing it just to keep warm, but I think we all know that's nonsense.
Dialog by ClicheBot 3000 As the chaplain brings him a Bible, the guy on death row says, "A little late for saving souls, ain't it, Preacher?"
Something deadly/dangerous is given a name equally suited to an improv theater or troupe Have you ever seen thirteen people on-stage at the same time performing a completely improvised show? A show where all thirteen people remain on stage for the entire hour? If the answer is no, then you have to see Black Mass 13. You've never seen an improv show like this, and afterwards, you'll wish you hadn't. Is it any wonder that: Tickets are still available!
8 / 10
Final Score
The Blacklist
The Net, only dumber
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