In “The Front,” our team of Blacklist FBI agents have ditched their search for crazy docs and moved on to crazy eco-terrorists (like bio-terrorists who care about the environment). Liz and Ressler need to find these radicals who are on a search of their own, looking for a killer plague. Red is searching for something as well: his long-lost daughter. It’s a night of quests in the vein of National Treasure, letting us catch a glimpse of a vulnerable Liz, a determined Red and an Amar who has us asking, “Just how smart is this guy?”

The Search for a Killer Plague

Our case of the night is set in motion with a desperate-looking lady on the phone saying she’s going to the police. A woman on the other end says she’ll meet her “to help” but shows up with a bad guy who purse-wrestles her, flinging phone girl into oncoming traffic. The battle for the purse is over.

It turns out all that fighting over the bag was really a fight over a stolen painting that has a secret map on the back. And here’s our National Treasure connection.

Red, who knows everything, tells Lizzie that the woman hit by a car was a radical founder of The Front, an extremist environmental organization. The woman and her husband created the group, but Reddington suspects hubs of landing her in the hospital. They discover she’s pregnant, brain-dead and possessing dirty fingernails. She has clay under her nails that was over 700 years old. What? The agents uncover a clay/painting connection.

Cut to creepy husband, Beck, looking at the map under UV lights in some kind of a lab. Now our agents need to discover where that map leads. I’m thinking it’s not to Oz.

Me and My Shadow

Liz looks outside her window spying her little shadow, the guy Red has tailing her/protecting her. We know she’s not putting up with this for long. 

Liz ends up paying a girl with the same haircut to pose as her so she can ditch her “guardian.” She tries to reason with Red about her hired shadow, but he’s not having it. The protection must stay.

Later, Red calls the Lizzie tail, telling him to be wary, be on your toes: “She may try to manipulate the situation.” During the conversation, Liz does a strip tease. Oh, yeah, manipulate away, girl! Wait, it was the lookalike. Bummer.

The Search for Red’s (Other) Daughter

Red waits for over 45 minutes at the DMV, so you know it’s got to be important. Do they not know who he is? He is searching for a girl, but not just any girl. His daughter! Glen, his awkward but cute DMV connection, confesses his mother is dying to distract from his daughter-tracking failure. Red’s not buying it. He really needs to find her. 

Our DMV cutie finally gets a hit. He calls Red, saying, “I found your girl.” Reddington shows up complaining about the vending machine still not working, and “the woman grading the written tests needs to shower.” When Red discovers the whereabouts of his daughter, he is pleased, so pleased he buys a new vending machine for the place.

Plague, Plague, Come Out and Play

Ressler finds out that the map on the back of the painting points in the direction of the pneumonic plague — like the bubonic plague, only better. Red discovers that all plague roads lead to Staten Island. I was banking on New Jersey as the strain’s final resting place.

Liz and Ressler get a lead of Beck’s whereabouts, showing up in some dark and scary tunnels. They’re hot on the trail of the deadly strain and find the husband with it. He’s in a homemade-looking hazmat suit threatening to set the plague free. Before Liz can act, she’s knocked out from behind and the plague is gone!

Liz gets accused of hesitating, letting the strain run away. Amar says I know you did the right thing. He also lets it slip that Red tasked him with a little help in the daughter-tracking department. She confronts Red, who says green is not a good color on you; don’t worry, our relationship is solid. Liz counters with her own change of subject: “Lose my shadow or I will.”

Drinking That Kool-Aid

Crazy husband is selling his Kool-Aid to some cult followers, telling them they need to “make the ultimate sacrifice.” I think that plague is getting its freedom soon. Later, he’s shown giving the strain to a follower who quickly dies, sending 2,300 into quarantine. The race is now heating up to find the extremists and their strain of killer virus.

Flash to Beck preaching to his followers again. “The disease is humanity; we’re the antidote.” He says their sacrifice will usher in a new beginning, and passes out inhaler masks that hold the plague. They all drink the water, or breathe the strain. The infected are boarding planes to spread the plague quickly and all over the world. Liz and Samar search for a plague spreader at the airport, with Samar spotting him first. She’s infected and shot (in that order), shutting a door to keep the virus contained. Liz enters anyway, not able to watch her bleed out. 

Vulnerable, Liz confesses how a year ago she was married and going to adopt a baby. She also says she’s been feeling jealous of the girl Red’s trying to protect, his daughter. The flashbacks of Tom show us our girl is not over her ex-husband just yet. Hmmm, I wonder if the evil ex could be behind mystery door number one? 

The Race for the Cure

With Liz and Samar infected, the quest for the cure hits desperation level, with Red leading the way. He figures out where Beck and girlfriend are, finding them in the woods, enjoying nature, relishing in their evil plan. Red tells them, “You two out here playing grab-ass in the woods smacks of something Biblical.” He pulls a gun, saying we all know you have a vaccine. He suspects that these two are more than willing to let others die for the cause, but they’re not going down with the plague. Beck’s girlfriend gives up the antidote.

The final scenes are a montage of Lizzie recovering in the hospital, with Red watching over her. He holds her hand and looks very much like a concerned dad. We also see flashes of him watching old movies of his daughter, smiling. Amar is with Samar (say that three times quick) holding her hand too. Another scene of a vulnerable Liz shows her wandering down to the baby floor and thinking about Tom. Insert lump in my throat right here. 

The final scene of “The Front” shows Red tracking down his daughter, watching her take out the trash from a food truck. C’mon, Red, go order something.

We’ll have to wait until next week for that daddy/daughter reunion (maybe).

What did you think of this look at a vulnerable Liz struggling with her many demons? Wasn’t it priceless when she got a little jealous of Red’s search for his daughter? Most important, any guesses on what’s behind the mystery door? Next week is sure to be an action-packed Monday, with the promo promising a big reveal and the opening of that door, Ressler looking like he’s in trouble and Lizzie appearing mighty worried.

The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Lisa Casas

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV