Previously on The Blacklist
Red is still pissed at Kaplan, so much so she’s not allowed to help him, and Dembe is not on her side. After a quick inspection of the house where the Keens were staying, Dembe tracks down the guy Tom shot; since he’s dead, he can’t talk, Red cuts off his head and uses it to get an ID on who hired him. Okay, he’s still mad about Kaplan’s betrayal, but, not even letting her help find Liz and Agnes is senseless. Why keep her around? Just to kill her at a later date? Been there done that, Red. He quips about her not knowing her place, but sloppily works out ways to rescue Liz; leaving dead bodies here, there, and everywhere. Accepting her help might make things go a little smoother, since she IS the cleaner. His anger is palpable in every scene, as is his sense of urgency to find Liz and Agnes. It is Liz and he’s been lightweight obsessed with her forever, but this isn’t the first time she’s been in danger. It seems he would be a bit calmer and more rational, just to get the job done.
The Hitman has Tom and Agnes, but he must not have done his homework on Mr. Keen. In the trunk of the hitman’s car, Tom busts a taillight, prompting a stop by the police and the policeman’s eventual murder. No matter, Tom is more than a pretty face. At con man school he learned how to rewire old tube radios to turn the FM transmitter into a tracking device. (See, not just a pretty face) After taking out the man who was left to get rid of him and getting Aram to track Liz’s location, he promises Kirk he’ll find him.
Everybody at the Post Office is upset that Liz is a lying liar who faked her death, but they’re still willing to help her. Well, everybody but Navabi, who’s just not feeling it. She’s mad because Liz’s poor decisions led to all this, yet they have to help clean it up—again. She’s not wrong.
Liz spends quality time with Kirk, reluctantly learning more about the man who says he’s her father. During their possible daddy-daughter time, Kirk tells Liz that Red took her after her mother broke off their affair, and he hasn’t seen her since. Nice story, bro, but that doesn’t match up with Liz’s memories of that day. Kirk seems earnest in his desire to get to know Liz, but he doesn’t pay attention to her not so subtle cues. She wants nothing to do with him, at least not until she gets her baby and husband back. And while Kirk should want to get rid of Tom –because he’s a beast– how does he think that will endear him to Liz? She keeps asking about him, so she’s bound to be mad if he ends up dead. Watching Kirk emotionlessly talk about missing his opportunity to be a father, yet eagerly offer up the fact that he’s dying makes his sense of fatherly duty questionable. Does he really want to get to know Liz or is he just after her blood? He can drain Liz all he wants, but he bet’not hurt that baby.
Manuel Esteban, a Chilean spy/torturer/kidnapper—you name it. Esteban has currently set up shop in Cuba, acting as an enforcer for all sorts of nefarious people and groups. Oh yeah, and he’s a double agent, working for the CIA. Red and the team use him to find Liz, and after seeing his operation, Ressler helps put him out of business. It was hard to figure out what kind of bad guy Esteban is, because once he took out his eyes, the captions became harder to follow.
Best line: “Wisdom is learning the boundaries of one’s designated lane.” ~ Red
Second best line: “I informed the Bureau that Elizabeth Keen has risen from the dead. They said three Hail Marys and they’re on the lookout for the zombie apocalypse.” ~ Navabi
Won’t Liz go to jail for faking her death?
Red tells Kirk Liz was never his to raise. What does that even mean?
The Blacklist S4E1
This season premiere was lackluster, though that’s not surprising, considering the previous season finale. The show picks up exactly where the finale ended: The Keens missing, Red and his team on the hunt, and the Post Office crew in shock about Liz’s “rebirth”. A time jump, even a few hours ahead, might have made for a more interesting story, but that could just be optimism on my part. This was a meandering episode that played like a visual Frommer’s guide to Cuba, complete with a pasty Ressler grinning like a dumb, American tourist.
The things that matter about this show, finding Blacklisters and making the world a safer place, are all but lost in the mystery of who fathered Liz. What does it matter? In the beginning, it was intriguing to figure out why Red wanted to work with her, but I’m over it. Will knowing who her father is make the show better or the writing tighter? It’s highly doubtful. The writers need to get back to basics and what made this show so enjoyable in the first season. At this point, the best thing about The Blacklist is the guest stars. Paul Calderon (Esteban), Ulrich Thomsen (Kirk), and Raoul Max Trujillo (Hitman) were great, but three bad guys is overkill. This Liz kidnapping needs to get wrapped up sooner, rather than later.