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The Blacklist - Tom Connolly (No. 11) - Season Finale Review: "The Sin Eater"

"And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Ah, no no no
I'm a rocket man
Rocket man
Burnin' out this fuse
Up here alone"
- "Rocket Man" - Written by Elton John/Bernard Taupin - Performed by Elton John

Last Thursday, The Blacklist aired its season two finale, "Tom Connolly". I thought it an exceptional episode, which is what you want given how some other show's finales have been this TV season. It closed out most of the questions we were concerned with and paved the way for a season three that, based on that ending, will re-ignite my love for this series. I hope it does the same for other fans, as the ratings have dropped considerably. For a finale, you want more viewers than the premiere and last Thursday was over five million viewers short.

The events of the episode continued right where we left off from the previous one, 'Karakurt". Red informs Liz on her precarious situation as Tom Connolly discusses with Agent Cooper that he intends to arrest Liz. Liz is told she has been framed by the Cabal and after Connolly captures her she is interrogated by two agents who, of course, don't believe a word she says. They confirm her birth name as Masha Rostova (which was scheduled to be the finale's title, but changed before airing). Cooper stands up for Liz to Connolly before meeting with Red, where we learn his plan, facilitating Liz's escape from the "Post Office". I enjoyed this part of the episode as we see Red, once again, coming to Liz's rescue with the help of Agent Cooper, who knows the perfect way out of the building without getting caught - until Liz runs into Ressler. I, like many of you, predicted Ressler would let her go because a part of him believes every word she says is true (and he probably has a thing for her...maybe?). In any case, this was the first of the many high energy scenes The Blacklist gifted to us for the finale and it was extremely enjoyable to watch. Red's 'coolness' throughout was a great touch that we expect from his character in these situations and Cooper there to help was the icing on the cake.

Throughout much of season two of The Blacklist (mostly after the "Berlin-centric" episodes) we were shown how much Liz has been a beacon of light to Red; a ray of light to guide him out of the darkness. If you noticed in that scene, where Liz was escaping the "Post Office", Liz was in the dark and there was, literally, a 'red' light guiding her way to safety. He is as much her 'ray of light' as she is his.

Liz spends most of the rest of the episode trying to clear her name. She goes back and forth with Tom, contemplating whether or not to flee with him on his boat or stay and collect evidence to prove her innocence in the murder of Senator Hawkins. She shares a nice heart-to-heart with Agent Cooper as he comes clean about his involvement with Connolly and also has time for an intimate moment with Tom. It was enjoyable to watch the car chase scene that erupted when Liz and Tom went looking for Andropov and I'm glad she ended up not fleeing with Tom in the end.

It's at this point in the episode we get another incredible scene with Red explaining to Liz what he is capable of doing. He tells her he is a "Sin Eater", someone who absorbs the misdeeds of others. He goes on to say that he darkens his soul to keep the ones he is helping pure. As usual, Red quickly changes the subject whenever he doesn't like the line of questioning coming his way as Liz asks the most important question of the episode, "What sin of mine could you possibly have absorbed?". This question is answered before the finale is over. Many other questions are also answered, such as Agent Cooper and his terminal illness. Some of you have speculated that Cooper was never sick to begin with and it was all just a construct of the Cabal to get him to do their bidding. Although, he is now under arrest, I am glad his health is good shape.

Red outing the Cabal by kidnapping investigative journalists and informing them of the contents of The Fulcrum was something you would expect only the 'Concierge of Crime' to pull off. It was brilliant how he conveyed the seriousness of it's contents with dangerous situation that accompanies its publishing. "The truth will out, not all of us will live to see that day, but the truth will out" is what he leaves them all with as he hopes their stories about The Fulcrums's contents will save his, but more importantly, Liz's life.

The song "Rocket Man" is said to be based on a short story by Ray Bradbury titled "The Rocket Man". The story is about an astronaut who travels into space for three months at a time and comes back to Earth to visit with his wife and son. He wants to quit to spend more time with family. Despite making several attempts to quit, staying at home with his family and his constant absence has nearly destroyed his relationship with his wife. Before leaving for another three-month period, which the father intended to be his last mission as a Rocket Man, the father makes Doug, his son, promise he will never follow in his father's footsteps.

The finale was an excellent episode that concluded the season perfectly. Many of our questions were answered, while leaving some for season three. The Cabal, and The Director, are still out there, but our heroes are a little scattered in the wake of finale's events. Liz is on the run with Red, her "Sin Eater", Agent Cooper has been arrested and Ressler is acting director of the Task Force. If there is still a Task Force in season three is something we will have to wait and see. Liz will most likely seek to get more information about her mother, from Red or other sources, but she is determined to know more. Season Three looks to be another great chapter for The Blacklist. Season Two's finale was most definitely a 'game-changer'.

After Liz and Cooper meet up with Connolly in the final moments of the episode, Liz finally remembers the night of the famous fire from her youth. She now knows what Red was trying to make her forget. Liz realizes then that Red is her light as much as she is his. Red and Liz talk about that night at the end of the episode as he explains that he never wanted her to be like him. It was a special juncture in their sinuous relationship. After a season of Liz fluctuating and wavering back-and-forth between loving and hating Red it appears she has finally accepted his role in her life, whatever that may be. It doesn't matter if Red is Liz's father or not - like the 'Rocket Man', Red is 'not the man that we think he is at all'. What matters to Liz now, is the harmonious relationship they share; Red is her 'Sin Eater' and occasional guide through life and Liz is his ray of light and beacon of hope in a tumultuous world.

"Mars ain't the kind of place
To raise your kids
In fact, it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them
If you did"
- "Rocket Man" - Written by Elton John/Bernard Taupin - Performed by Elton John

Red's Quotes

- "You're already in their hands. The only thing they haven't done is close their fist."
Red to Liz

- "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Red to Cooper

Music from the Episode

- "Black Eunuch" - Algiers
Red & Harold discuss the plan to extract Liz; Harold talks Liz through the escape until she runs into Ressler.

- "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time)" - Elton John
Red tells Liz he never wanted her to be like him; Ressler watches as Harold is arrested; Tom leaves on his boat; Liz's picture is put on the board for the FBI's Most Wanted List; Liz & Red head out of town.

Thoughts and Discussion

- I love the parallels that were drawn between Red and Liz's life this season. This is made even more apparent as Liz's photo is added right next to Red's on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Their relationship is truly a harmonious one and they are closer to each other than they (and we) think.

- After the events of the finale, will Red still work with the Task Force (if there still is one?)

- Will Agent Navabi still be on the Task Force as she was on loan from the Israeli government? Will she go back to her previous job? I like her character a lot so, I would love to see her stick around. Especially to see if anything comes of her and Aram.

- What will become of Tom and his boat, 'Jene II'? In what capacity will we see him in Season Three? I enjoyed his character this season and look forward to whatever story arc they have in store for him next season.

- Did you notice...Red's plan worked as The Director is seen staring at a newspaper with the headline indicating there is the existence of a shadow government.

- I am not sure why they changed the title of the episode, but now we know Tom Connolly is number 11 on the blacklist. This means 'Masha Rostova' (Liz) could be a potential blacklister in the future. It also means that we do not know who is number '6' and below on the blacklist with Tom being the lowest known blacklister.

- Did you notice...Liz shot Connolly with Tom's gun. She took it from his boat before she left. I wonder if this will play into the events of season three or if it's not going to be a big deal at all. Either way, I think it's neat so many of the people that care about her inadvertently helped her out in the finale.

- Did you notice...In the episode, "Leonard Caul", Liz tells Red she wishes he would just lie and say 'Yes' sometimes to the questions she asks to make her feel better. In the finale last week, Red says 'Yeah' when asked about why he blocked her memories from the night of the fire - not to protect himself but to protect Liz. I noticed (as well as some of you - thank you Ashley) he took a lengthy pause before answering her, which makes me think he only said 'Yeah' to Liz to make her feel better even though it was a lie and there is probably a lot more to the events of that night that he wishes to share with Liz at this moment. Hopefully we find out more in Season Three.

- What were your thoughts about the finale and the season as a whole? What do you look forward to in Season Three?

I want to thank all of you for checking out and reading my reviews all season for The Blacklist. I can't express how much fun I have had commenting and interacting with all of you throughout Season Two. If you all were not so kind, fun and involved I would not do what I do and write reviews for the show, so I want to say Thank You. The Live Discussions were amazingly fun as well. I know it's difficult sometimes to watch and pay attention to a discussion at the same time, but it was enjoyable for me and that is because of all of you. Thank you all again and I hope you all have a great Summer! Talk to you when Season Three starts in the fall! Actually, we will probably chat in the comments section below - but after that, see you in the fall! 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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