Though the primary antagonist of this week’s The Blacklist is an anti-corporate terrorist, the real action of the episode is in Liz’s increasingly complicated family situation. While Liz’s father lays dying in a hospital bed, Red reveals himself to be even more involved in her past than he previously let on — it’s almost as if he was there at her conception or something.
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The Sky is Falling
The episode opens with conspicuously CGI’d bits of an airplane falling out of the sky, the result of a bombing perpetrated by a masked terrorist organization named General Ludd. Reddington is willing to help with the case, though he isn’t particularly interested in it. The homemade explosive is traced to a master of disguise named Nathaniel Wolf.
Liz’s father, meanwhile, is undergoing some pretty heavy duty cancer tests. Though she’s concerned, she’s still on the case — while her father remains hospitalized, she jets off to Florida with Red so they can harass Wolf’s plastic surgeon; they very quickly learn that Wolf is likely operating under the identity of Bradley Holland.
The newly christened Holland is intercepted right as he’s trying to detonate another airplane bomb — wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly the time that Liz finds out her dad’s cancer is metastasizing. Poor Lizzy can’t catch a break: the airplane explodes, and only Red is there to greet her dad when he awakens.
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While Liz tries to catch a plane out to her father — she’s being kept on call thanks to a General Ludd manifesto — Red is catching up with him, the two apparently being old friends. Red mentions that he’s glad that Sam, Lizzy’s father, raised her as his own, all but confirming that he’s her real father and explicating one of the most obvious twists in TV history. Red smothers Sam, ensuring that the secret can be kept until fall sweeps, albeit only technically at this point.
Liz pursues the terrorist to a street demonstration, where he distributes a bunch of money to protesters who are apparently totally on board with massive highly publicized bombings, because that’s what TV writers got out of Occupy Wall Street. Though he manages to slip away, Red cuts him off before he can escape the country, robbing him and then turning him over to Liz. Only then does she learn that her father has died; Red encourages her to keep his memory alive by telling stories about him.
At this point, it’s pretty silly to try and pretend there’s any mystery surrounding Red’s obvious fatherhood of Liz — if that really is the big, bald twist of this show, then they need to just get it out of the way at this point. That said, the specifics could still be interesting: Red’s implied past with Liz’s adoptive father has mythos-building potential, if only we could cut the suspense and get down to business.
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)