After last week’s explosive episode of The Blacklist, Thursday’s episode of NBC’s hit drama got a little less violent and a lot more creepy. It starts with a nursery rhyme about unwanted children, but turns out to be more of a rural horror story. The team’s focus this week is on a young autistic boy named Ethan who was presumed dead years ago but mysteriously appears in a convenience store, dazed and uncommunicative. This week’s Blacklist-er is Lady Ambrosia.
Despite Red’s hesitation to accept Liz’s pregnancy in previous weeks, her maybe-father seems to have come around to the idea. Offering her a trust he set up for the child, Red is trying to make amends, but Liz is not having it. She is secretly interviewing couples that could potentially adopt her and Tom’s baby.
The reappearance of Ethan, who is found with paint all over his face and a fixation on butterflies, brings many questions. Ethan’s case is strikingly similar to two other cases of young boys who were presumed dead in recent years: their bodies were not found until years later, they had some type of mental disability or illness, and they were all found with face paint of the same pattern.
At Cooper’s request, Ressler and Liz visit the hospital to perform a psych evaluation on Ethan. The boy, who, again, is autistic, will not speak to anyone, including Liz or his parents. After Ethan is reunited with his parents, Liz and Ressler learn that just before his disappearance, Ethan’s parents tried to give him up for adoption.
Then, things get pretty creepy and uncomfortable. In the woods, a group of children are playing and singing with a kind-looking woman. Behind them, a man drags a very large… something. The group stops at a well and discuss how Matthew will become a butterfly. They are giddy as the man drops the load into the well, and butterflies fly away. When the camera pans down, we see the remains of too many human bodies to count.
Red is off on his own again and business is as usual. That is, until he gets hit on by Leslie Jones (from SNL) in a waiting room. When he sees his colleague Len, he demands he find a woman by the name of Vasilia Patinka. Red eventually receives the address and visits his old friend, Vasilia. There, he asks for access to specific files in exchange for information on her daughter.
Elsewhere, Ethan’s mother calls what we discover is an adoption agency that places “difficult” children. She meets with the director, Mr. Schuester, when, out of nowhere, the man from the forest, Theo, comes up behind her and suffocates her.
Liz receives a call from a rowdy Tom, telling her not to worry. After hearing nothing more from him, we see that he has fulfilled his mission with Gina. Tom refuses when Gina asks him once more to be with her – and then her men open fire on Tom and a van full of accomplices. Luckily, Tom (barely) makes it out alive, despite multiple gunshot wounds.
Back at the hospital, Ressler confronts Ethan’s father with the news that the day after Ethan disappeared, $25,000 was transferred from the couple’s account to Schuester’s. Ethan is released to Liz’s care, and maybe it isn’t such a bad idea for Liz to consider adoption. She almost sets her apartment on fire, and the fire alarm draws a huge response from Ethan, who is terrified.
After the ordeal, Liz asks Red to call off the security detail. When she admits she is giving the baby up for adoption because her life is too dangerous, Red surprises her. “You think your life is too dangerous for a child,” he repeats. “But what is your life without one? I can tell you from experience, not much.” Touched, she mentions that Red and Tom finally agree on something, and it hits her.
The key to the abductions is parental consent, as Ethan’s father maintains he never wanted to give the boy up. Liz figures someone is taking the unwanted children. Back in the woods, Mr. Schuester and his son find his wife and the children. Mr. Schuester wants to call off their game, and informs his wife that the FBI visited his office. “Unwanted children feel loved here,” she convinces him, “until we have to let them go.”
When Aram discovers that Schuester has found Ethan’s temporary location, he calls Liz to warn her. As they try to leave, Schuester and Theo meet them at the door. After a struggle, Ethan and Liz are both safe, if a little shaken, and Ethan is taken from Liz’s care. They finally made a connection, though, and Ethan asks to see Liz to show her his detailed butterfly drawing. Aram comes to the rescue again to make the connection between the butterflies and Lady Ambrosia.
Red has Schuester in his care, and it does not take much for the man to rat out his wife. He details how they prepare children on their twelfth birthdays to be born into a butterfly. The children are not scared or in pain, and the others help with the ceremony.
It does not take Red long to get to “The Colony” where he confronts Lady Ambrosia. He tells her story and how she wishes both her sons had died many years ago. When Red departs, Theo overpowers Lady Ambrosia and takes her to the well. After dropping her in, he jumps in himself.
Liz and Ethan are at the post office, where he and his dad have a tearful reunion. Red makes good on his promise and delivers Anya to her mother, Vasilia. Samar and Cooper speculate the purpose for Reddington’s involvement in the case. And, finally, Reddington receives the Rostova file while Liz reads to her unborn child.
Lots happened in this episode, and it feels like we are getting closer to answers! However, things are never as they seem with Reddington, so we’d better not hold our breath. What did you think of Lady Ambrosia and her butterfly ceremony?
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