The Blacklist Fall Finale

The Blacklist Fall Finale

Luke Bernstein, Staff Writer

Season five of The Blacklist ended with a bang last week with the end of a core character, a tense cliffhanger, and the most blood ever seen in one episode. Episode eight began with Tom Keen, a major player in the series from day one in a seemingly impossible situation. He was surrounded by captors led by the namesake of the episode, Ian Garvey, and was faced with imminent death by wood chopper while his wife Elizabeth frantically called his cell phone while being visibly distraught. This situation proved to be no problem at all for Tom, as he used the dog tags of his wood chopped friend to cut his handcuffs off and overpower the criminals who were holding him hostage. This escape set of the first of many firefights in the episode in which Keen was chased through the woods carrying the mystery suitcase, an item which had been at the center of a furious conflict through the season, as a hail of gunfire rained down on him. He managed to avoid death as always until Raymond Reddington miraculously drove by and picked up Tom, but not before Keen received a gunshot to the arm.  This was the beginning of a fragile alliance between the two criminals, a peace that would be tested many times throughout the episode.

With Tom tagging along, Reddington and his trusty sidekick Dembe began trudging through the woods looking for a safe place to treat Keen’s injuries and hide from Ian Garvey and his men. This search soon came to fruition with the discovery of an unoccupied villa that contained the necessary equipment for medical operations. While Reddington searched for supplies, Keen enacted a masterful switch, transferring the contents of the important suitcase into his own bag without Red realizing. After this duping, Keen was patched up by Reddington, an action that took too long as Tom’s captors soon began bombarding the villa. Thus ensued the second firefight of the episode, in which Dembe employed a car as a weapon, Reddington used a shotgun, and Keen stopped Garvey from following them by adding Molotov Cocktails to his captor’s automobiles.  

After barely escaping with their lives, the three compatriots journeyed to a gas station where Tom enacted his masterful plan. He ditched Reddington and Dembe by jumping out a bathroom window, escaping with his life and the contents of the suitcase. After a brief interlude where Elizabeth Keen and the FBI found where Tom had been held, the audience catches up with Tom again at Union Station where he finally calls his wife, relieving her of the worry that had been plaguing her throughout the entire episode. He instructs her to meet him at the family home where Tom will finally tell Elizabeth out the contents of the suitcase. However, this decision turns out to be foolish as Ian Garvey and his troop are already at the Keen House before the husband and wife arrive, setting an ambush that even the great Tom Keen cannot overcome.  He is captured upon arrival and Elizabeth is tied up as soon as she walks in with no chance of defending herself.  

This confrontation leads to one of the tensest, gripping, and bloody scenes in all of Blacklist history with Garvey torturing Tom by knife to entice him into calling Reddington in an attempt to capture him as well.  Tom does not comply, resulting in three tremoundly painful wounds while Garvey’s associates managed to find the contents of the suitcase and the information that came with it. With these items, Garvey and his bodyguard leave the scene, instructing the rest of his posse to “clean up the mess.”  These dimwitted captors attempt to do so, but not before putting on the record player and raiding the kitchen.  These delays were the only reasons why both Tom and Elizabeth did not die in their apartment, as Reddington and Dembe came to the rescue just in time, resulting in the third firefight in the episode.  Once the two villains had dispensed with Garvey’s troop, Reddington and Dembe rushed the couple to the hospital as they bled over the back seat of Reddington’s car.  Adding to the tension of this incredible scene was the addition of Distributed’s “The Sound of Silence” as a musical interlude in the background. This brilliant song captured the essence of the scene and filled the gaps as Tom and Elizabeth were rushed into the Operating Room over the watchful eye of every key member of the series  — or almost every character, as Reddington had to wait in the car and watch as everyone he cared about rushed in to check on whom he cared about most.

The show went to commercial just after doctors began operating on the couple, and it resumes 10 months later with Red reading what seems to be The Bible to Elizabeth just as she wakes up. Upon waking, she immediately asks how long it has been and then the question everyone was waiting for: “Tom?”. Once Reddington sees this, he regretfully and sorrowfully tells her that Tom died, demonstrated to the audience by scenes of him in the morgue as the episode ends. This dramatic ending leaves the viewer with many questions, notably wondering what has happened in the ten months since the injuries, what will happen to Elizabeth emotionally, and will anyone besides Reddington ever know whose bones were in the suitcase. Season 5, Episode 8 of The Blacklist was filled with many emotional, physical, and gut wrenching conflicts and turns that kept the audience on the edge of their seat for the entire show.

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