BWW Recap: DNA Fireworks on NBC's THE BLACKLIST
It's the episode before the season finale, and not only are Great Things in store, but we got a few of them tonight. Let's check the list this way tonight...
Kaplan Watch: No action. The producers say that something that will bigly (sorry) impact her relationship to the main story for the foreseeable future happens next week. Fans hope it doesn't involve That Which We Shall Not Suggest, especially because the show's already killed her once this season. Don't make it permanent, production team. Kaplan, Dembe, and Aram are the fan favorites on this show. Danger for them is good. Anything more is a fan riot waiting to happen.
Aram and Samar Watch: Aram is disturbed at the discovery of a false ID Samar had before she was in the Task Force. No, no one can ever fully know Samar Navabi, woman of mystery.
Liz and Not-Tom Watch: Strain's showing, folks. Next week may spin off Not-Tom. Not-Tom is upset that Liz wants to donate stem cells to save Kirk. Liz is upset that Not-Tom has met his long-lost mother and doesn't consider her more than a person from his past who means little or nothing to him personally.
Liz/Kirk/Reddington Watch: Reddington warned her about Kirk. He warned her again this week, adding that Kirk will escape and she'll have helped. This is partly because tonight he collapsed in the Box during questioning, Liz got him help, and Kirk is now at Walter Reed Hospital, under armed guard, but his assistant has an extraction program about to break him out. His young, cute assistant. Who is in a relationship with him and hates Liz. The Red/Kirk fight over Liz is about to blow, by the way, and expect an ugly confrontation thanks to this week's big reveal. Did Red, by the way, know the truth about the Big Reveal all along? Smart money says yes.
Big Reveal of the Week That Is No Surprise: Liz is not Kirk's daughter. At first Kirk isn't upset to hear that her stem cells aren't compatible, because all parent/child pairings don't match well. But the tests show he's not her biological father at all. He goes ballistic and blames Reddington (who's been busy all episode with another matter) for interfering with the tests. Red warns Liz that Kirk's BELIEF that she is his daughter is the only thing that's protected her from Kirk, that Kirk will have people coming in, and she needs to get out of the hospital yesterday. (Promos for next week show that she won't get out in time.) Expect the "Who's your daddy" fan argument to explode on the Internet this week, and a possible semi-reveal next week, based on promos showing Red being tortured with power tools - ha, Red sneers at deadly torture - to disclose whether he's Liz's father. Since there's been no rumor yet that the show won't go to a Season 5, expect an answer of extreme non-clarity.
Best Moment of the Week: A true BLACKLIST classic moment. Red and Dembe are in Dr. Rayburn's clinic waiting room (more on Rayburn below). Red has a "Highlights For Children" magazine in hand and is busy with a hidden picture, insisting Dembe not show him where the hidden fruits are in the picture. They get called in by the receptionist. Dembe attempts to speed Red up by pointing out the last hidden fruit. Red is unhappy and complains loudly. We can only wonder which one of the two read that month's The Timbertoes installment out loud to the other before they got to the hidden picture. Red Reddington and a copy of "Highlights For Children," not a left-over Financial Times or Investors Business Daily. Who knew?
Blacklisters of the Week: The Coroner and Dr. Sonia Bloom, a.k.a. Dr. Adrian Shaw. Bloom, a research physician, lost her research partner Michael in a corporate warfarish murder. The Coroner is a criminal "witness protection" generator, and Red has lost business to him. Red gets Samar and Ressler to lure The Coroner to a restaurant as Samar goes under cover. The FBI thinks this is so they can catch The Coroner and get the names of the criminals he's relocated. But no, Red's also there, and used them to flush The Coroner out so he can get the new identity of one of The Coroner's clients... Sonia Bloom. Ressler vows not to rest until he figures out why Red wants Bloom, despite his having handed The Coroner over to them on a silver "you shouldn't complain" platter.
Arm figures out Bloom's back story. The Task Force sets out to find Bloom/Shaw before Red does. Where she is, is on a merchant ship with a hidden surgical suite and patients there, working on hematology-related illnesses and trial medications, with a full shipboard morgue and patients still dropping. Is she someone Kirk would hire to rescue him?
While the Task Force looks for her, Red is interviewing her current research partner, Dr. Rayburn, and apparently taking care of some other business. His one question: "Does the ship have a helipad?" Rayburn calls Bloom/Shaw and tells her that Red knows all (there was ever a doubt?) and to trust him. The FBI raids their offices and then heads for the ship, whose crew doesn't know any Shaw or Bloom. A search of the ship yields no medical staff... but an empty lab/medical suite and a corridor with a double row of bunks running down it full of unwell experimental patients who are still currently alive.
Samar calls Red begging him not to kill Bloom, so the FBI can bring her to justice and still keep her away from Kirk. But this doesn't seem to be anything like what Red has in mind. In fact, Rayburn assures Bloom that Red has avenged late partner Michael's death, and that he's good people; Red informs her that she owes him for it, and she'll work it off. He takes Bloom/Shaw through what looks like an antiques auction warehouse (is all of it Red's?) to the back, where there's a spiffy, shiny lab for her. "Are you sick?" A Red grin. "You have no idea."
That's around the time that Liz calls to demand to know if Red tampered with the hospital's lab results on her DNA. She's not Kirk's daughter, and Kirk is hysterically blaming Red for interference. Red doesn't say what he's been doing, but he wouldn't seem to have had time. He warns her that the only reason she and Agnes are alive has been that Kirk thinks she's his bio daughter, and now she's in danger.
Which brings us to the following: Bloom/Shaw is a hematology expert - is Red going to help Kirk? Samar believes he's trying to prevent Kirk from accessing her, possibly by killing her, but Red wants something. What? A cure to dangle in front of his deadly enemy? Why has Red gotten Shaw for himself and put her in a lab?
So, here are the issues of the week: What's in store for Mr. Kaplan, and can producers stop both a fan riot if she dies and a red-hot mad Red if she lives? Will she move to the spin-off with Not-Tom or become Baby Agnes' secret nanny? If Kirk isn't Liz's father, then who is... and if it's not Red, what does Red know and when did he know it? Will we ever resolve the unresolved sexual tension of Aram and Samar? And how will the mid-season finale spin Not-Tom into the spin-off? And please, will Liz for once just grow a spine rather than live in a miasma of passive-aggressive tendencies?
Perhaps most importantly, is Red Reddington a Cubs fan?
If you have answers to these or any other questions, shoot 'em off to @MarakayBWW or post them below!