This week brought its fair share of tension and drama to Liz, Reddington, and company. The Blacklist both started and ended with Liz in tears, and this is just the beginning of two giant story and character arcs: the search for Katarina Rostova, and Liz’s impending motherhood. However, the bad guys never sleep – therefore neither do the good guys – so it is business as usual for the task force and its assets. This week’s Blacklist-er is “The Caretaker.”
It’s a Baby! And a Wedding?
Yep! Liz finally answered Tom’s proposal from several weeks back with a proposal of her own. We will have (another) Keen wedding on our hands. With Liz’s decision to keep the baby comes some expected and unexpected obstacles. With the Keens’ relationship status out of the way, it’s time for Liz to tell Red. She eagerly relates the news that they are keeping the baby. Red even cracks a smile… until he hears the “we.” While he vaguely warns against the marriage, it is obvious he is pretty pissed. Rather than taking his anger out on Lizzie, he deflects to his patented “distract-Liz-and-also-myself-by-pulling-a-Blacklister-out-of-thin-air” technique and introduces The Caretaker.
The Caretaker – No. 78
The Caretaker is a non-threatening middle-aged man who keeps a pristine cemetery where not one blade of grass is out of place. Remember that this wouldn’t be The Blacklist if there wasn’t more brewing beneath the surface. For generations, The Caretaker’s family have been the secret keepers of presidents, politicians, and high profile people and companies, both stateside and internationally. Their reputation is one of secrecy and discretion – until one of these closely guarded secrets comes to light over in Asia. After the task force enlists Red’s help and brings in The Caretaker, they find that the man’s daughter has been kidnapped and he is being blackmailed. The kidnappers also have The Caretaker’s all-important ledger, and refuse to return either unless the man leaks major secrets.
The sassy Ms. Panabaker (she’s the one who intercepted Liz just before The Director had a chance to steal her) pays Harold Cooper a visit. She makes clear, in no uncertain terms, that the White House is not messing around, especially if their suspicion (that the task force leaked a contract incriminating the German government) is true. She demands that Cooper get Red in on the international secret action, and Cooper begrudgingly asks for his help. It is important to know that Red was actually giddy at the opportunity to have Cooper “owe him one.” When the task force finally locates The Caretaker’s daughter, Rose, she later admits she had her biological brother kidnap her, though she never really gives a straight answer. Upon hearing this, The Caretaker explains how he came to be Rose’s father. Long story short, he witnessed her bio dad’s abusive behavior and… took care of his attitude. Rose went with him willingly, and the rest, he says, is history.
Meanwhile, because the task force leaked the German government secret, two Germans on American soil take it upon themselves to steal a cargo truck and enough explosives to essentially detonate all of Manhattan. Through the task force’s savvy and Red’s assistance, Samar and Ressler foil the plan and disarm the giant bomb. So, even though there’s still so much going wrong, I guess there’s that…
The Elusive Katarina Rostova
In case you hadn’t noticed, Liz is pretty desperate to find her mother, despite Red’s insistence that she committed suicide in 1990. Still, Liz follows every lead she can find, including a visit to the man who was once tasked with tracking down the Russian spy. The older gentleman apologizes for wasting Liz’s time, claiming he does not know anything about Rostova. He asks one favor of Liz, though: to deliver a letter to his estranged daughter. Once Liz is out the door, the man’s nurse makes a phone call to – surprise! – Reddington, assuring him that the man didn’t tell Liz anything.
Disheartened by her conversation with the former agent, Liz eventually delivers the letter. She finds his daughter, who informs her that she speaks with her father every day, and the letter is actually for Liz. “It explains everything.” Inside, Liz finds detailed intel on her mother that leads to the conclusion she is alive somewhere. Liz also finds a photo of herself as a young girl; presumably a photo Rostova had carried with her.
Some Things Are Unforgivable
No matter how close these characters may be, this week’s episode drives home the point that there are lines, and these character often cross them. Liz says early on in the episode that she refuses to let mistakes of the past dictate her future, and Red remarks that not all mistakes are forgivable. Forgiveness, and this particular sentence, are a theme in Thursday night’s episode. On one hand, there is the lingering awkwardness and tension between Samar and Ressler. The two can barely work together, and Ressler even goes so far as to call her a bitch. Then, there is Aram, who perfectly plays the part of wounded puppy, regarding Samar and Ressler’s one night stand. Tom finds Gina and asks for her help in “getting out,” even though she tried to murder him. Red even speaks to Cooper about forgiving his wife and moving home.
Finally, there’s a Liz/Red showdown. “You lied to me,” she accuses. Red makes no move to confirm or deny if Rostova is alive, despite Dembe’s earlier urging. Liz is, to say the least, hurt and betrayed. She shows him the photo and when he offers another non-answer, she leaves. But, not before saying, “You were right. I guess some things are unforgivable.”
Later, when Red and Dembe are searching a “lot” (body) from The Caretaker’s ledger for Red’s secret, Dembe again tries to reason with his boss. Red ignores him, carefully inspecting a document. Red comments that he always expected to give it to Liz, but he doesn’t think it’s a good idea anymore, so he proceeds to burn it.
Well, well, well… It looks like some things are changing! Only time will tell if these not-so-subtle shifts will be positive or negative. What is in store next? Comment below and let me know what you think!
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