Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


The Blacklist recap: 'Dr. Linus Creel'

The Post Office team investigates who’s inducing psychotic breaks in D.C. while Red protects Naomi by threatening her husband with a stick.

Posted on

The Blacklist
David Giesbrecht/NBC

The Blacklist

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
James Spader

Alright, everyone get ready to share your Myers-Briggs type in the comments, because things are about to get mental, and if you’re the manipulative type, don’t go getting any crazy ideas.

Tonight was a well-made and well-placed, if not totally frustrating, episode of The Blacklist. It raises 1,000 questions, sure; it doesn’t answer any, alright, yes; and no one is really trying to deal with that cliffhanger of an ending, absolutely not. But the way this episode aligns with last week’s in terms of character development (Is Lizzie going bonkers?), furthers the show’s mysteries across the board (What’s in that room? Is it Tom? It’s Tom, right? Is Tom in that room? Also—if there’s time—what does Naomi think Red should tell Liz?), and serves up an interesting one-off Blacklister plot (so, the warrior gene is a real thing) is a fine display in balance on a show that tries so very hard not to become a procedural each week.


That the last two Blacklisters have been doctors and close to each other in number is the least of the comparisons between Season 2’s third and fourth episodes, although the concept of playing god, Red’s history with doctors/surgeons, and the way he’s using the list right now probably mean something. But no, unlike Dr. James Covington with his scalpels and his questionable grasp on “finders, keepers,” Dr. Linus Creel (an excellently disturbed David Costabile) is a doctor of the psyche. Remember last week when we were treated to a little trip into Lizzie’s-mind-on-Red? And how she seemed to be scared of Tom returning, but more scared of what he told her at the end of last season that may or may not have been about Red, who also happened to be in her scary dream, putting out maybe hopefully not sexual vibes (yeah, I saw the uncomfortable leg shot too), and insisting that she tell him what she wants.

And remember how she was so on edge that she jumped a guy in the street for being near her, then apologized and told him she was a Federal Agent, and her instincts were totally right, but her actions were, uh, crazy?

Yeah, well, bear all that in mind while I introduce you to Dr. Linus Creel, fierce believer in the warrior gene and its capabilities. The episode opens on a woman at a bank being told that she’s going to lose her house and there’s nothing she can do about it. She can’t pay the mortgage, she can’t stop sweating, she can’t control the volume on my TV from fluctuating ever two seconds. So, she walks out to her car—where a man in glasses is watching her from his own car because men in glasses watch people from cars—grabs a gun, walks back in, and shoots up the bank.

As is becoming the standard pattern of Season 2, Lizzie tries to talk to Red about some questions she has re: why you so obsessed with me, and he instead tells her about a random news story that needs immediate investigation. But as Red has this guy at #82 on his Blacklist, and surely knows exactly what’s causing the spike in random D.C. citizens going on killing sprees that he’s suggesting needs investigating when the FBI seems to be happily ignorant to them, then I’m going to have to side with Ressler (ugh, he’s such a square now that he probably stopped popping pills) that Red is probably just trying to distract them.

If Red is keeping track of random murder spikes in DC, buying ports in Indonesia, discovering lazy pet-owning adulterers, enacting swift justice on those who betray him, and employing a vast array of weirdos known for their cleanliness and title-surname-combos, then could these federal agents possibly focus on more than one thing at a time? Maybe look at the case that Red is sending them chasing and figure out how it’s going to be helping him, or affecting their barely-passing-psych-eval agents, while also investigating the case itself?

Or rather, they could just follow this man blindly forever, occasionally wondering if he has less than pure intentions with their special little task force. After all, he does lead them to Dr. Linus Creel, a former lab assistant on the now disbanded Sub Project-7, a black ops government operation that researched people they believed to be naturally predisposed to killing—people with MAO-A R2, the warrior gene—and how those people operated under extreme stress. Blacklist Tip: Keep an eye on doctors who seem really passionate about stuff that eventually proves to be dangerous enough to not be practiced anymore… they’re 100 percent likely to keep experimenting on it and kill a bunch of people.

NEXT: Warrior Pose #4 can be a bit too advanced for some…