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The Blacklist - T. Earl King VI (No. 94) - Review: "Survival Of The Fittest"

For the second week in a row, ratings for The Blacklist have increased very well. Not that anyone was worried about the state The Blacklist has been in, but it's always good news to know the program you enjoy and follow has a viewership increase on a weekly basis. When you combine DVR viewing on a 3 and 7 day time period after the episode airs, The Blacklist ends up doing extremely well in the ratings department.

Last week's episode introduced an interesting blacklister with the name of T. Earl King VI, played by Jeffrey DeMunn (Mob City; The Walking Dead) and his two sons, Tyler and Francis. The King family supplement their family fortune with profits from illegal auctions for which they conduct. The items up for sale, however, were not your usual items up for bid. Included was anything from pilfered paintings worth millions to contraband and even people. This, of course, is where Red comes into play as he becomes one of the prime lots in the auction up for grabs. As Red is groomed for the crying of his lot at auction, he receivrs visits from different members of the King family. In true Red fashion, he mocks each one, playing off their belief of 'family'. Red ponders out loud to Tyler King at one point how they have managed to retain their Dynasty and their wealthy stature through so many years. Throughout the episode we see the infamous King Family, and how they truly don't care for each other, mirroring Red's relationship with Liz and what the words 'care' and 'family' represent in their lives.

Some familiar faces emerged in the episode as well. Madeline Pratt was the catalyst of the main event. We all remember Madeline Pratt from season one, episode fourteen; Red tricked her into giving up precious information regarding the location of an important item by playing on her emotions. Now, she desires payback for what he did to her by helping the Kings capture him for the auction. One can't help but wonder if and when we will see Madeline again. I am certain Red will want retribution for what she did, however, I can't imagine she will receive another episode all to herself. Needless to say, Red is going to be very angry when he crosses paths with her the third time.

From the promos released earlier in the week we knew Tom would once again surface in last Thursday's episode. I had the idea his return would have more of an impact on the main characters. I was curious as to why Liz would answer the phone from the man who ruined her life, however, it did turn out to be helpful when Liz took his advice and sneezed to cease the potential wave of questions from Tyler King. Now in Germany, Tom is certainly far away from Liz. I wonder how he will return back into the fold. He appeared eager when speaking with his handler about receiving a new undercover assignment. I imagine the German man that bought him a beer at the end of the episode will most likely be a blacklister in the near future.

The famous scene where Red was about to be shot by General Yaabari where Red whispers Lizzie's name became most discussed and created a polarizing debate. Some fans believed he knew Liz was there while some fans, myself included, chose to believe Red had 'Lizzie' as his final thought and 'famous last words' before he would have been killed, not knowing she was there. I truly believe Red's final word and thought was going to be none other than Liz. My reasoning is this - Why would he say her name if he knew she was there and destroy the element of surprise that would ultimately save his life? - How could he have possibly known she was there when he was facing the opposite way? - And lastly, why did he appear surprised when Liz shot Yaabari as he turned to see who it was? This is also why I included the photo above. It shows Red the moment after Liz shoots Yaabari dead to save him. Red appears in shock because he didn't know Liz was standing there. I would love to know what everyone's opinion is about this particular scene - please comment below.

Last Thursday's episode was one of my favorites this season. My most liked scene was watching Liz and Red's conversation in the back of the FBI vehicle. Liz obviously has strong feelings of camaraderie for Red and you can clearly see his feelings for Liz lean towards the paternal side (I am not saying he is her father, I am just conveying his feelings were 'fatherly'). Liz and Red work great as a team and, whatever their true relationship is, make The Blacklist much more enjoyable to watch. When one of them is in a dire situation (which usually is Liz) the other always comes to the rescue. When we see how Tyler and Francis King compete and are fine with the other dying in front of the other, Red and Liz want nothing more than to go the extra mile, risking their life to save each other. We have seen this many times with Red going into extremely dangerous situations just to save Liz and now, this past episode in particular, Liz goes to potentially deadly lengths just to save Red. Together, they are greater than the sum of their parts. Combined, they are the embodiment of 'survival of the fittest'.

Red's Quotes

- "I've always found fear to be the most valuable sense"
Red to King

- "Careful there, boys! You don't want to bruise the merchandise"
Red to Francis King after Red gets captured

- "Your insistence on not speaking is making a tedious exercise ever so much worse"
Red while getting measured for a Tuxedo

- "I haven't even begun to try"

- "Avoid the yard. Be nice to your cell mates. And by all means, don't eat the franks and beans."
Red to the King Family

Music from the Episode

- "Major Tom (Voellig Losgeloest)" - Peter Schilling
Tom prepares for his next assignment

- "String Quartet No. 13 IN B Flat Major, Op. 130 - IV. Alla Danza Tedesca (Allegro Assai)" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Liz mingles at the auction then stops to admire a Van Gogh painting; Red saves Liz when she can't answer a question about Princeton from Tyler

- "Spring (Among the Living)" by My Morning Jacket
The FBI raid the auction; Red tells Liz to never risk her life for him ever again.

Thoughts and Discussion

- Here are some of the items that were up for auction: "Three Dollar Bill - Bank of Cape Fear - 1853"; "Radioactive Material"; "Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius - which was reported stolen/missing in 1995" (red mentions this as an auction item from auctions past); "Van Gogh painting 'Sea at Scheveningen'"; "Drawing by Leonardo DaVinci"; "A Columbian girl";

- Did you notice...Red knows his Ming Dynasty vessel's. When he says the "Cat's Eye" chrysoberyl's are supposed to be brown, not green, he is right.

- In keeping with the Russian theme we have seen in regard to Liz's past, one of the people Red mentions that was up for auction was Raoul Wallenberg. He was a Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat and humanitarian, who was presumed dead in 1947 in Moscow. A memorial to him stands in the courtyard of the Russian Rudomino Library of Foreign Languages in Moscow. In Saint Petersburg, the Institute of Special Pedagogy and Psychology bears Wallenberg's name.

- We still do not know what happened to the man that was abducted from the apartment that Red was supposed to go meet, but instead went to take care of Liz's problem in 'The Deer Hunter' episode. He was the man that was on the other end of the line from the number Red retrieved from Fitch's safe.

- Did you notice...Tom's new name for his new identity in Germany is "Christof Mannheim". During the scenes when he was getting his tattoos (translated: Germany for Germans) the song playing for the montage was "Major Tom" by Peter Schilling. The song is about an astronaut (Major Tom) who leaves on a space mission and while in orbit has some trouble with the ship he is controlling. No one on Earth believes he will make it home, but he eventually does. I wonder when our Tom will make it home.

- Who is the man from Johannesburg General Yaabari referenced? He was supposed to take Red's head to him so this man obviously wants Red dead.

- Did you notice...When Tom is getting his tattoo's, flanking his back are two lions standing on their hind legs. If you take the silhouette of the lions it very much resembles the scar on Liz's wrist as well as the symbol etched into Tom's (and Gina's) spy box from Season One. I don't think that is a coincidence.

Thank you for checking out my review! Please comment below so we can discuss the episode and the series some more. Have a great week everyone!

About the Author - Geo N
Geo N is from Detroit, MI. His favorite shows include The Blacklist, Hell On Wheels, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, LOST, The Leftovers, The Strain, Sons Of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow and countless others. When he's not watching tons of TV, he enjoys reading, playing hockey, comic books, weightlifting, and writing. Thanks for checking out my post.
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