There was only a handful of passing references to the rogue agent on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 8.
And yet, the episode still worked.
Instead, it was the Harold-and-Red show as they debate shades of gray versus black-and-white situations.
For the briefest of times, Harold pondered a world in which he could be more than the good angel on Red’s shoulder.
Who’s Reddington’s bad angel? Raymond doesn’t need one anymore, considering the life he’s lived.
Senator Cooper does have a nice ring to it. Only Harold was correct to look this gift horse in the mouth.
He was also right to consult with Red about the offer. That man has made a very good living weighing all the alternatives.
Naturally, a group of morally flexible politicians would assume Harold also leaned that way based on the Task Force’s connection to Raymond.
When the sleazy retiring Senator Warwick told Harold that he would have to agree to vote for the “Black Budget” if he accepted the appointment, it was evident that something stunk about the whole setup.
So Harold did the right thing and contacted one of the few people who could lay hands on a detailed “Black Budget” — Reddington.
As a result, he discovered that Warwick stood to make a fortune after the budget was approved and turned down the appointment.
Too bad. The Senate could stand to have a few politicians with scruples.
So Harold goes back to attempting to match wits with Raymond. That’s challenging enough for anyone.
I felt bad for Charlene. She was looking forward to a more exciting life as a Senator’s wife.
But no. It’s back to a quiet suburban existence for the Coopers.
Meanwhile, Red was contemplating a more normal life which, alas, wasn’t meant to be.
First, Anne has to be a plant, if not Liz’s, then someone else’s.
It can’t be a coincidence that this charming older woman shows up in the park which Reddington frequents.
Still, it’s nice to dream, and that’s exactly what he was doing.
It was amusing to watch the country’s top fugitive serve as a tour guide to New York for a Kansas tourist. For hours.
At least Dembe was there to serve as the voice of reason, pointing out that Anne risked becoming collateral damage whenever she spent time with Raymond.
It was heartbreaking that he felt it necessary to stand her up after she had changed her plans to attend “North By Northwest” with him.
It was the right thing to do, even though it didn’t feel that way to Red.
The interesting thing is to see if Anne actually disappears now or not. That would prove that she was either a civilian or a plant.
What an odd Blacklister this episode!
Ogden Greely warns those in the intelligence community with whom he worked about the satellite defense system’s vulnerabilities.
Apparently, no one took him seriously, so he decided to show them while making a tidy profit at the same time.
Raymond brought the case to Harold for the Task Force to investigate then he wandered off to spend time with Anne. He had some big-money deal going, but it was fairly fuzzy what that was about. I assumed he was trying to track down Liz somehow, yet again.
Meanwhile, Harold took advantage of actually working with other intelligence agencies instead of operating alone in the shadows as usual.
That allowed the Task Force to quickly identify Greely’s Russian spy girlfriend and where they were staying. Ressler and Park were unusually efficient at apprehending Nina and playing a good cop-bad cop with her to find out some of Greely’s plans.
When things got interesting, Harold proposed using a drone to kill Greely in an enemy location.
That seemed out of character for him. In the end, we found out why Harold pushed that option to flush out Greely’s buyer.
Whoever expected that buyer to be Reddington? And who would have expected he had the nation-sized resources necessary to pull off that deal?
That left Cooper scrambling to keep both Red and Greely alive. He sparked debate just long enough to allow the deal to be completed indoors.
Did Raymond plan to sell the data back to the U.S. government the whole time? Probably that was why he sicced the Task Force on Greely in the first place.
But Harold was a step ahead and, since he saved Red’s life, was able to drive his price down considerably.
It was touching when Reddington and Cooper debated their impact on each other while working together.
Harold’s position is that working with Red had made his agents more morally ambivalent. Since Liz is now on the run for multiple crimes, that’s true.
But Raymond felt that working with Harold had made him a better man, which likely is also true.
Finally, where’s Liz?
She was barely mentioned, and the episode was better for it. Instead, we were treated to the spotlight on Harold and Red rather than Liz’s vendetta to gain revenge for a mother she barely knew.
That was so much better.
To locate Liz, watch The Blacklist online.
How soon did you know Harold was being set up?
What’s the deal with Anne?
Did you suspect Red was Greely’s buyer?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.
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