The Blacklist: 1.09 - Anslo Garrick part 1

Spoilers ahead for episode 9 of The Blacklist

Now, in our last review of The Blacklist, we caught you up to Episode 7 and we now need to let you know that in Episode 8 Elisabeth Keen's father is revealed to be dying in hospital whilst she is wrapped up in the case of General Ludd and unable to see him. Red, of course, knows the news first and makes his own visit to the patient, where it becomes clear that he has been an important figure in Keen's past. It's also clear that Daddy wants to tell his daughter the truth about Red, and with her dodgy husband en route to visit his father in law, Red does what he does to hide this secret. imageNow, in Episode 9, Red is "rescued" by Agent Ressler after a direct threat to him is uncovered by the FBI's intelligence. Taken to their top secret bunker, Red learns that the threat comes from one Anslo Garrick and he immediately understands that this is a trap. He tells the agents that they will shortly be under attack from Garrick, who specialises in brutal assaults in impossible locations. Cue the electrics dying, the telecoms going down, and Keen getting stuck in the lift. Red smells danger when Ressler is trying to get him to his bomb proof cell, and takes over once the agent is shot, getting them both to the cell as a violent siege ensues.

Scripted and directed, like the pilot, by Joe Carnahan (The Grey, Smokin' Aces) this was the episode that took the series by the scruff of the neck and eschewed the madman of the week format for a full blooded flip where characters are expendable and Red is at his most vulnerable. Setting up the next episode's mid season finale, Anslo Garrick turned out to be a proper old fashioned monster, a former partner of Reds who survived Red's bullet in the head to turn the tables now.imageRitchie Coster's Garrick is reminiscent of a younger Ben Kingsley and the body count is disturbingly high. Locked in his glass cell, Red is faced with the summary execution of FBI personnel as Garrick pressures him and the wounded Ressler into opening the door. Meanwhile, Keen is playing at being John McClane until she is the last agent captured. As the episode closes, a second execution happens in front of Red with him powerless to act.

It's a testament to how tense the action is that you fear for every one of the agents and Red as the first episode of this two-parter concludes. Garrick's blood-lust seems unstoppable and rescue from outside is a distant possibility, whilst Red is never less than suave, this is the first point in The Blacklist when we can see he is truly sweating and not in control. With episode 8's revelations and the capture of Keen, how can he remain protected from Garrick?

Danger, peril, uncertainty and a lack of formula. Crikey, we have now got a proper high quality TV show after one of the best TV episodes of the year. Here's hoping that courage continues for the finale, I urge you to catch it as well...

Sky Living show The Blacklist on Fridays at 9pm

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