The Blacklist
Season 4, Episode 1 Recap


James Spader | Image copyright NBC

"What I desire is to raise my child, to watch her grow, and to have back the 26 years of being a father that you took from me. But you can't give me that, can you?"
"No. Because she was never yours to raise."

Project Intro:
Well, things have not gone to plan. I gave myself a project for the 2016-2017 TV season. I was going to tweet every episode of my five favorite dramas and then gather those tweets into post form, sprinkling in more commentary here and there. The only one I managed to finish was The Walking Dead S7E8, which took weeks, as is the usual for me when I get hung up on one amazing episode. So, the whole summer passed me by and I had nothing to show for it, and now season 5 of The Blacklist starts tonight. But I'm not giving up on this project. I'm just turning it in past due, and making sure I don't have a two-season pile up by next May. Good luck to me.

Esteban Opening Track

For no reason at all, our DVR decided to skip The Blacklist premiere! Had the room, had the tuners, there were no conflicts, it was set to record, and it just never started. So, I started (the intense as ever) season 4, by missing out on the first 14 minutes of important details. I caught up six days later, but that's where my troubles keeping up with this season of TV began, right at the beginning.

With all the scenarios imagined since day one, those first 14 minutes is where we finally got that scene I wanted most: Elizabeth's "father" and Red facing off. Alexander Kirk is so sure little Masha was his own that he's kidnapped his daughter not to finally be with her again after all this time, but so she can be forced to save his life. Father of the year, folks. By design, we've never been given an answer to whether her dad was alive or dead, nor who he really was, just hints and misdirections; Red's evasiveness is legendary. But by the end of this season, there is an answer (unless that, too, was a lie, but the emotion in the moment indicates it was not).

In this premiere, we're closer than ever to the truth. Alexander Kirk, the Blacklister of the previous season finale, tells Liz that Red had an affair with her mother. He had always been unsure about who was her father, but now he has proof that it's him, not Red. I should go back to my season one thoughts to see how close I came to guessing this scenario. Keep in mind, though, Kirk could be mistaken.

Even if Red was just trying to be, maybe had promised to be, merely a guardian angel to the child of a woman he loved, he still had those paternal instincts. We found out early on that he had been a father and something terrible had happened: elaborated on in "Madeline Pratt" in heart-rending fashion, but we're still unclear as to who they were. We were shown for certain last season in the haunting "Cape May" that Red had a relationship with Liz's mother. That there was a deep connection was always evident, even if it was mysterious. No matter who her father is (writing hours before the fifth season premiere, knowing the answer...or part of it), it's been a hell of an emotional journey to get here.

But is Kirk lying for some reason just to hurt Red and Liz, and will Red ever answer Liz directly and honestly? We'll find out this season. We did find out this season. Did you watch it? I hope you did before you read any further.

So, besides all my rambling preamble up there, this one is thankfully short, seeing as how I have a full season of this show and four other shows to finish. If I hadn't missed the beginning at first, there would have been more. I must mention the opening scene, though. It was wonderfully tense and, as always, set to music that fits the action and Red's mood.

Normally, I'm not too judgmental, but this is a creepy bad guy who just pulled his fake eyes out. He looked so much better on Fear the Walking Dead.

I remember a time I wanted Tom to get what was coming to him. Wasn't too long ago. I was happy when Liz had him locked up. Now I see him not only as a manipulative killer, but as a flawed person and a loving father. How strange and how great that the writers were able to do that and how Ryan Eggold made that slow transition from someone who's motivations were quite muddy to showing he really did fall in love with Liz and wants to protect his family.

I can hardly believe Mr. Kaplan isn't dead...yet. And the preview for next week didn't bode well. Red isn't good with people he can't trust. I would hope their long relationship counts for something and rather than kill her, he would let her go. I love Red, but I know him, and I kind of doubt he would do that.

"I have a blood disorder."
"I'm dying."
"Even better."

I'm with Liz. The sooner the better, unless Kirk can give me a backstory that will make me feel something for him. Didn't want anyone thinking I'm not loving going wherever this crazy ride takes me. This is one of those rare shows where I always trust the writers to get me to their destination with only a lifetime of emotional scars along the way.

No way these pathetic thugs have a chance of taking out Tom.

For a second I wanted to say, "Oh, Liz, no whining. Just kick ass, like ya do." But I tamped down that rare impatience, because I want to hear everything that needs to be said and I don't want things to be rushed through.

I've never heard anyone say "devil of the day." Love it.

That would be such a shame. Aram is a wonderful character, and that's something I have said quite a bit and will continue to say for literally ever.

I mean, it makes for a great story, tense TV viewing, but still. And now we've come to the end. Only an entire season left to go here while this new one starts.

Esteban Closing Track



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