24
Nov
14

2:7 Scimitar: Is Red beyond redemption? (11/4/2014)

Something like 15 million people watch this show, either live or on DVR, so I think we need to be cautious in assuming it is only intended for those of us who work canons or timelines or scripts or Amazon Prime.

When Red told Liz in the pilot “if anyone can give me a second chance, it’s you,” I took it to mean he was looking for redemption. The story of the farmer he told to the Stewmaker laid it out:

“A farmer comes home one day to find that everything that gives meaning to his life is gone… Everything that he loved, taken from him. His children. One can only imagine the pit of despair, the hours of Job-like lamentations, the burden of existence. He makes a promise to himself in those dark hours. A life’s work erupts from his knotted mind. Years go by. His suffering becomes complicated. One day he stops. The farmer, who is no longer a farmer sees the wreckage he’s left in his wake. It is now he who burns. It is he who slaughters. And he knows, in his heart, he must pay….

“Maybe he could change. Maybe he’s not damaged beyond repair. Maybe he could make amends to all those that he’s hurt so terribly… Or maybe not.”

I think the question posed is the premise of the entire series: is Red, too, utterly beyond redemption? I am surprised at how many people here see him as entirely cynical and manipulative. I see him as having mastered the “art” of the criminal, but he is now turning the criminal world upside down in ‘the long game.’ To accomplish this he must continue to function as a familiar in that world. He holds to a morality tempered as much by realism as by cynicism. It’s the morality of anyone who has reached middle age without having gone totally numb to the world’s cruelties and absurdities. He is Champion of the notion of the “lesser evil.”

If Red’s devotion to Liz is authentic, he is going to have to help her get past the revenge path she is on. He did it for Ressler, by killing Tanida so Ressler would not need to go down “that path.” If he cares for Liz, he will need to intervene to keep her from her own self-destruction. There are major bad guys out there to confront โ€“ especially the Fitch “Alliance” (http://bit.ly/1DRwEVD) โ€“ and scores of other miscreants to outwit. Is Liz going to be Red’s partner against them or will she devolve into becoming a “player” in that dark world?

[Cross-posted at WSJ Speakeasy]



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