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January 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM EST

Welcome to EW Recaps of The Blacklist! I can’t promise you I’ll speak with the elegance of Red Reddington, or be as right as Red Reddington is all the time, and I definitely won’t wear a fedora like Red Reddington. But I can promise you that I’ll make fun of Tom a lot and not rest until Lizzie is given a decent haircut (so, never).

Last we left The Blacklist, Lizzie had gone full Die Hard and then back again, Red had disappeared after telling Lizzie he wasn’t her father, Ressler had survived blood loss that should have killed him about 12 times over, the FBI had developed a pesky mole problem, and Alan Alda was wearing a scarf in a manner that suggested he would be important come January. The midseason finale didn’t tie up every loose end, but it did answer one of the most looming questions it had created: Is Red Lizzie’s father? A mumbled “no” settled that little predicament. Kind of.

After all, in Red, The Blacklist has managed to build a character who knows the answer to just about every question that could be asked of him, but will only tell the truth when it serves his purposes, or Lizzie’s well-being. And it’s up to his discretion how that truth is delivered. Starting with Monday night’s episode, discretion doesn’t seem to be something in which Red is taking a lot of stock. I guess seeing your bodyguard be killed right in front of you while you’re giving a manual blood transfusion to a man who’s made it his life goal to ruin you can do that to a guy.

The episode begins with a very Law & Order: SVU feel about it as a mother and son we’ve never seen before walk into a child’s birthday party. Someone is definitely about to get kidnapped, that much is immediately clear; enter unassuming, but definitely dangerous man, stage right. The man says he’s one of the children’s uncles and offers the mother some “strawberry punch,” which really should have been her first clue, because strawberry punch is not a thing that people drink. But it is a thing that crazy people put drugs in, because the mom is passing out and waking up tied down to an operating table in no time. He looks over a chart and tells her he’s going to start by collapsing her lung and, man, a tiny hammer has never looked so imposing. After an untelevised torture session, he leaves her in her minivan, almost dead but not quite, and calls 911: The Good Samaritan, #106.

Tom the Angelic and/or Evil Mastermind is hanging out under surveillance with Lizzie in their kitchen when he informs her again that he thinks they should move. We get it, you don’t want your wife to die at the hands of one of the many psychotic killers she’s currently entertaining as an acquaintance! OK, actually, that is a very logical reason to want to move, but ONLY if Tom isn’t evil. And, wait, there’s an elementary school in Lincoln, Nebraska with the funds to fly a second grade teacher out for an interview? That has me more suspicious than anything.

NEXT: Checking back in on that whole “mole inside the FBI” thing…

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James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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