The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16 Review: Helen Maghi

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This new Task Force setup should prove an intriguing arrangement.

Despite Harold’s legal troubles, the Task Force still had to move ahead with Red’s investigation into Liz’s death on The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16.

Cooper’s choice of Aram as his temporary replacement was well-conceived. After all, Aram has the least dirt on him among the Task Force members.

Chasing Down a Lead -- Tall - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

Granted, that’s an exceedingly low bar. But Ressler is a recovering addict, Park is a former assassin, and Dembe is the new guy who was the bodyguard for the most wanted fugitive in the world.

Aram made the selfless choice to leave behind millions in tech dollars to resume his thankless government service. So, yes, Aram is the closest to Harold in temperament.

Aram's Choices - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

Surprisingly, Panabaker kept the team functioning after Harold felt the need to fall on his sword repeatedly. It would have been easy for the powers that be to make the dirty little secret that is the Blacklist Task Force disappear.

Someone internal, somebody who knew the Task Force’s history, had to take over. Thus it was Aram, the best of these not-great options.

Aram didn’t come off well as a leader at first, begging Cooper to take back the title of leader.

Let’s credit Dembe, Park, and especially Ressler for trying to prop up Aram, even though they had their doubts about his leadership qualities.

Unhappy Raymond - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

While all this drama was going on within the squad, Raymond, assisted by Weecha, was doing the illegal heavy lifting, as always. Some things don’t change, no matter who’s in charge.

An odd-looking key in a dish of tchotchkes gave Reddington all he needed for the next step in his pursuit of whoever arranged for Elizabeth’s death.

Once again, Red found a new way to use the blacklist to his benefit. After all, protecting Helen from a federal case was the only method for him to get inside Cole’s vault at Mount Bastion.

That was such a Raymond arrangement: you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. He’s such a wheeler-dealer.

Bemused Park - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

 One major problem: Helen neglected to mention that she hired the captured heist crew to steal weapons for a terrorist faction. There’s just no putting lipstick on that pig.

Still, Aram appeared to be obsequious as ever with Reddington, even as the rest of the team hesitated about the idea of making Helen’s case go away.

As always, the best part was the heist sequence at Mount Bastion. The tension that now exists between Red and Dembe was obvious. But they had to work together as they were the only ones in the group with security clearance there.

What a crack security team at Mount Bastion! Two new guards, Ressler and Park, wander in, and the previous pair take their word and leave, not bothering to check out their story.

Back With Red - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

What was strange was that the only thing Raymond and Dembe found was the box of DVDs that Reddington had prepared for Liz, his successor. Wouldn’t a flash drive have been easier to hide? I guess he prepared it several years ago.

That had to be put there for Red to find. Which leaves a few questions: Who stole it from him? And what was the purpose of drawing him to the box?

A bigger question would be was Liz’s murder meant to end his legacy, or was there some deeper motivation?

Another critical moment was when Aram ordered Helen arrested despite the previous arrangement that Raymond had made with her. Sure, Aram was trying to show his leadership ability by standing up to Red for what he thought was right.

Heavy is the Head - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

But Aram is smart enough to know that’s not how the Task Force works. Reddington brings them a high-level criminal or criminal organization that they can take off the street. In turn, he benefits in some way that they may or may not recognize.

Red attempted to get Aram to view any action through the framework of moral relativism. Harold got that and also tried to get Aram to take that approach.

Aram was too rigid in his thinking: woman arming terrorists is evil. Once Helen explained how her tragedy influenced her actions, Raymond forgave her lies and decided to honor his promise to help her disappear.

One scene illustrated the relationship between Red and the Task Force. Aram defied him. So he sent in fake agents to spirit away Helen. The team realized what he did and face-palmed.

Passed Over - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

While this was happening, Harold was paying for his honesty, again and again, and again. After a little taste of Aram, Red was determined to get Cooper free.

First, he paid Harold’s bail. Then he blackmailed Panabaker to get her to use her influence on his behalf. Now, Harold, the agent, has another month to solve Liz’s murder.

It will be interesting to watch the dynamic between Aram, the supervisor, and Cooper as his subordinate.

And, for all the grousing Red did about Aram, he’ll come around. He needs the legitimacy which the Task Force gives him.

Following a New Leader - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 16

To revisit Aram’s career, watch The Blacklist online.

What did you think of Aram as a leader? Should it have been one of the others?

Who is baiting Red?

Will Raymond get over himself and continue to work with the Task Force despite Aram’s actions?

Comment below.

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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