'The Blacklist' Weds, 'Vikings' Shocks 3 Times Over

The Blacklist – Season 3. Episode 17: “Mr. Solomon (No. 32)”

NBC’s thrilling series returned with rice and plot twists, firmly in hand for its spring premiere. The topic of the hour was Liz (Megan Boone) and Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) impending nuptials and what a topic it was, everyone from Red (James Spader) to Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) weighed in on whether Liz should go through with her second marriage to the same man.

Thank goodness Harold (Harry Lennox) offered his salient voice to the choir, prompting Liz to follow her instincts. In case she needed any more supporting proof to back her sentiment that Tom is a changed man, he came clean about the Major (Lance Henrikson) cornering him at their apartment, trying to kill him and the role Gina (Margarita Levieva) played in saving his life; immediately after it all happened. 

Honesty is the best policy, and Tom appears to have genuinely learned that lesson. So why is it that Red still refuses to trust him, going on an eloquent diatribe trying to convince Liz to forego their remarriage? At this point, Red’s opinion seems to be based on some deeply held and obstinate belief, not supported by any facts. If he had any, he would have certainly imparted them at this most pressing occasion. Call me an optimist, but by the episode’s end, I could have sworn there was a flicker of unspoken, mutual respect starting to develop between Red and his possible son-in-law. 

As for the episode’s Blacklister, Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi) was freed by an unknown benefactor, we can surmise to be none other than Liz’s long lost mother. Using the theft of a nuclear warhead as a decoy, Red figured out it was all a cover to kidnap Liz. Why Liz’s mom would not have her quietly abducted while she was out grocery shopping, instead of going all out with a spectacle of this magnitude, is debatable. It did make for outstanding television, though, and it is wonderful to have this top-flight series back in action. Episode Rating: 9/10

Side Notes/Burning Questions: It cannot be said enough what an important asset Aram (Amir Arison) is to this ensemble. His enthusiasm and contagious energy is tantamount to securing the show’s comedic stirrings. Are Liz and Tom legally remarried? Please let it be true.

Image by History

Vikings – Season 4. Episode 8: “Portage”

After Rollo’s (Clive Standen) crushing defeat of the Vikings in last week’s episode, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and the gang began their retreat back to Kattegat. Ragnar (realizing the hit his authority was taking as a result) devised a rather outlandish plot to carry their boats over land for a surprise attack on Paris. Putting aside the fact this plan would have realistically taken years to pull off, what made it all the more bizarre was its overall execution. Of all the places to begin, it was over a cliff face? Well, Ragnar is all about doing the impossible.

What was even more unexpected in this episode was the death toll. “Vikings” departed with three characters, total. The first casualty, Count Odo (Owen Roe) will not be particularly missed. The sadistic subplot involving his BDSM relationship with the scheming temptress, Therese (Karen Hassan) has been one of the more painful storylines of the past two seasons.

The second episode death was that of Yidu (Dianne Doan). Overestimating her drug’s value to Ragnar and underestimating the cost of her threat to spill his biggest secret led to her being viciously drowned by her one-time lover as his children looked on in absolute horror. It is not clear how much they saw, but the implication that they saw enough was there. Ragnar must now live with the eternal stain upon his children’s once perfect image of him as their father and a man. He deserves a lot worse.

The final death of the night was Queen Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey). Having lost her claim as Mercia’s ruler thanks to a scrupulous King Ecbert (Linus Roache), she attempted to get out of dodge with her son, only to be thwarted by the guards. Like a wily coyote, she skulked off to kill Ecbert, and this time, she was fatally stopped by Judith (Jennie Jacques).

As if viewers needed another reason to dislike the grating Judy, she added another mark against her by killing off a character far more interesting than herself. Kwenthrith had burst onto the series in the second season as a steely seductress, only to have her role fizzle out this year. One cannot help feeling it was a wasted opportunity for a promising character and actress. The same can be said of Yidu and her portrayer, Dianne Doan. They will be missed.

Back in Kattegat, Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) dealt with the aching reality that her lover, the vagrant Harbard (Kevin Durand), has become the willing object of every female in the community’s sexual desire. To say she was disappointed by his lack of loyalty would be an understatement. Her tantrum was hard to tolerate when you consider how she aided in the destruction of Ragnar’s marriage and family with Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). What is it they say? Oh yeah, what goes around comes around. Episode Rating: 8.8/10

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Helga (Maude Hirst) lives! Why was Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) standing on the boat, while people were trying to pull it up the cliff face? He just made their jobs unnecessarily more difficult. What is causing Torvi’s (Georgina Hirst) visions and who is taking care of her son, now that Lagertha’s gone? When Judith basically blamed her moral collapse on King Ecbert after she killed Kwentrith, she did remember that she had already committed adultery and sired a child with a man who was not her husband, correct? Glad we cleared that up.

If you are wondering why there is no rundown listed for "Bates Motel," it is because there was no new episode this week. Look for coverage to resume in the next column as the series returned the following week. You can catch up on the episode before the break by clicking here.

[Featured Image by NBC]