Shows like The Blacklist need episodes that help move the story along. Episodes where nothing capital-M major happens. Episodes where characters have a realization or learn a new piece of information but don't make bold choices. "The Third Estate" was one of these episodes.
That's not a criticism.
Every key ongoing story on the show progressed in small, meaningful ways. The task force case of the week was compelling and featured a nice, if predictable, twist to increase the stakes. This was a low ceiling, high floor kind of episode.
The case carried over from last week's episode. The Third Estate vowed to capture the wealth of the 1 percenters and redistribute it back to the 99 percent. All of this has been done before -- including The Third Estate's plot of kidnapping and ransom of the 1 percenters' children. But The Third Estate served as a cool little group mostly because of their newspaper-mâché masks. That's one of those simple-but-creepy flourishes that The Blacklist does well. The kicker, which revealed that the children were not hostages but actually the ones trying to extort their awfully wealthy parents, was good too.
The Third Estate's connection to Anna McMahon was ultimately revealed to be a misdirection, however. That turn exhibited McMahon's ability to be one step ahead of the task force. Eventually, though, the show will need to add some depth to the McMahon character and make her manipulation of the task force -- and the president of the United States -- mean something.
On the "people lying to one another" front, "The Third Estate" was a busy affair. While Reddington (James Spader) continued his revenge tour on people who could have possibly dropped a dime on him, Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) took a timeout at his favorite place of worship to think on his eventual difficult decision. Liz (Megan Boone), meanwhile, continued to awkwardly reference Reddington's anger over his prison stint, without making much of an effort to hide her obvious guilt.
Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) isn't so much as lying as he is working an independent investigation. Nonetheless, his extended deep dive into the real Raymond Reddington and Katarina's past paid dividends this week, sort of. An interview with Katarina's would-be step-father led Ressler to a P.O. Box, which eventually led to a photograph of Dominic Wilkinson (Brian Dennehy), Katarina's birth father and the KGB agent code-named Oleander. The last we saw Dominic, he was reminding Reddington that Liz would never give up her search for the truth about her past. About that!
Something has to give here. Dembe made as much clear to Liz before returning to Reddington's side. The show has gotten good material out of Reddington's rekindled anger, including two fun scenes this week that saw him torturing one guy by driving a Mercedes really fast and screwing with another by shooting his pillow, centimeters from the dude's face. Dembe might be inherently "good," but he's also too loyal to keep up the lie for too long. He won't let dozens of more people get killed so Lizzie can act as nothing happened a few months before.
As usual, unfortunately, the problem lies with Liz, who is so much of a non-factor in episodes at the moment. Reddington is investigating who screwed him over and trying to uncover Anna McMahon's plot against him (and the country). Dembe is struggling with his conscience. Ressler has taken up the Reddington investigation. Liz just seems to want to do her job and act like most of this season's events -- and really everything dating back to Tom's death -- didn't happen. Worse, the show isn't interested in exploring that apathy or regret in any real way, so Liz's perspective comes off poorly. This episode was a perfect example. Totally fine hour of TV, forward momentum everywhere. And the co-lead character had very little involvement in any of that momentum.
The Blacklist airs Fridays at 9/8c on NBC.
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It looks like the One Chicago franchise might be down a few familiar faces next fall. Deadline reports that Jon Seda is set to exit Chicago P.D. this season, while Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling will be exiting Chicago Med as series regulars. (NBC had no comment.)
This, of course, leaves room for all three to return for special appearances or crossover episodes (assuming they make it out of their respective series alive), but this is still a pretty big blow to both casts.
Seda, who plays Detective Antonio Dawson, started off as a guest star on Chicago Fire and then joined Chicago P.D. as one of its original cast members. He briefly ventured over to the unsuccessful Chicago Justice spin-off before returning to Chicago P.D. But now it appears he'll be departing for good due to what Deadline says are "creative reasons." There are no such details to explain Donnell and Kuhling's exits from Chiacgo Med, but Donnell took to social media Friday afternoon to confirm the exit on Twitter:
It's been an honor to be a part of such a great trio of shows and in the @WolfEnt family.— COLIN DONNELL (@colindonnell) April 19, 2019
I know that there's great things coming for Season 5 and I can't wait to see what they are along with all you fans.
So what do you think all these exits mean for One Chicago? Should we brace ourselves for more shifts in casting when the shows, which have all been renewed, return next fall?
Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. air Wednesdays at 8/7c and 10/9c on NBC.
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Romance is a hard thing to find on The 100 (and an even harder thing to keep), but the one couple who has managed to weather apocalypses, space travel, and even hostile invaders is Bellamy (Bob Morley) and Echo (Tasya Teles).
Season 6's new planet and all its lovely (read: deadly) quirks will test every relationship on every level though, and only time will tell if Becho can make it out the other side. Teamwork and compromise are going to be key in this dangerous new journey, but at least it sounds like those are two things Becho has got on-lock heading into Season 6.
"In Season 6 we're going to see the two of them -- they worked together well as a pair," Tasya Teles told reporters last fall on the set of The 100. "We're going to definitely explore that relationship but we also are going to see more of how the relationship strengthens each of them and what is it that each provides to the other within that. But they operate as a great unit."
Unity aside, the one person who has presented a major roadblock in their romance (and likely always will) is Bellamy's sister, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos). Ever since she and Echo fought to the death, which ended with Echo tossing Octavia off a cliff, the younger Blake sibling been... less than warm to her brother's girlfriend. It's an understandable grudge she's holding onto, but will it eventually be an insurmountable obstacle for Becho?
"There's some lingering things [between Echo and Octavia]," Teles said. "That's a tough one. Octavia does affect Bellamy and that in turn affects Echo because she worries and cares about him. It's always going to be a tricky one for her to navigate. She's always walking on eggshells around that because it's a very -- those two have such a loaded relationship, so Echo knows to not push too hard, but she does want to see Bellamy happy and in a good place."
When it comes right down to it, there are bigger issues between Octavia and Bellamy that need sorting out before we can even approach the Echo thing. There's that minor thing of him poisoning her and her throwing him in the fighting pits, after all. Still, we hope and pray for a Blake sibling reconciliation in Season 6, but that may be out of reach if Echo and Octavia can't mend the fence for Bellamy's sake.
The 100 returns Tuesday, April 30 at 9/8c on The CW.
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PHOTOS: The 100 Season 6 Premiere Photos
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