In addition to all the other problems it’s caused—death, economic instability, political strife, etc.—the COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be pretty damned inconvenient for TV production, shutting down a number of series just as they were getting ready to film their spring season finales. Different shows have responded to the lockdowns in different ways, mostly by cutting those seasons short. (Riverdale, Superstore, and more struggled to get last-minute plot movements in place under extreme circumstances.) NBC’s long-running crime thriller The Blacklist has gone a very different way, though: Taking existing footage, merging it with animation and new voice work from the show’s cast, and producing, well, this:
Call it A Scanner Blacklist-ly. (Or don’t.) The effect is definitely interesting, in a “cutscenes from a Blacklist PlayStation 3 game” sort of way, even if we don’t envy whichever animator had to spend hours of their lives capturing every crevasse and archipelago of James Spader’s angry criminal face. The actual content of the episode sounds like every episode of The Blacklist we’ve ever seen—should Megan Boone’s FBI agent trust Spader’s Red, a nigh-pathological liar played by, again, James Spader? (No!) Meanwhile, we’ll have to overcome our own flashbacks to that one episode of Fringe where they animated everything because Leonard Nimoy wasn’t healthy enough to be on the show in person—sorry for the digression, we just like thinking about Fringe—when the Blacklist finale airs on NBC on May 15.