Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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April 29, 2016 at 05:41 AM EDT

“I think we’re staring at Katarina Rostova.”

Oh do you, Tom? Well let. me. tell. you. what: I stared at a hallucination of Katarina Rostova for nearly an hour last week and… Yeah, okay, I could see it, actually. But that’s at the end of the episode — we haven’t even gotten to the hotbox yet.

It’s pretty incredible that in an episode that had us attending Elizabeth Keen’s funeral, meeting her biological grandfather, and seeing Aram challenge the hell out of Raymond Reddington that this episode felt kind of like a break from all the madness — and a much-needed one, at that. It was — shall we say — a healthy part of the TV audience’s grieving process to get back to a bit of the Blacklist norm while focusing on something that felt productive. We’re living in a post-numbered-Blacklister world, sure, but that doesn’t mean everything has to change. There are still cases to be solved, Blacklisters to be found. At the top of the list: whoever attacked Liz.

Last week, we saw Red’s grieving process — opium, Russian spies, and imaginary risotto — and this week we see how the folks at the Post Office are handling Lizzie’s death. It’s hitting Aram hardest of all, and listen, I would never wish grief upon that sweet, sweet man, but the fact that his immense humanity necessitated him carrying this life-after-Lizzie episode while Red is still stuck in a mental abyss…well, I’ll take it. Because not only is he always the key to cracking these cases, but this time he happens to be the key to bringing this team back together in the name of finding out who was after Lizzie.


The episode opens on Liz’s funeral, and whether you have questions about the permanency of her passing or not, with Harold Cooper at the helm of eulogy perfectly deploying voice-cracks, a recapper’s bound to get emotional, y’know? He tells the story of the first day he met her — the day Reddington came into their lives and changed everything, for Liz especially — and she asked him, “Why me? I’m nobody special.” Cue one of those aforementioned brutal voice-cracks: “I think we all know different. She was humble, self-effacing, and very, very special.”

And then I don’t know how they did it, but The Blacklist made exiting a funeral seem both sad and highly badass. Actually I do know: It was 50 percent music cue — the perfect deployment of Faces’ “Ooh La La,” switching from the more somber music of the church as soon as the doors opened and the sun hit Liz’s (very much closed) casket — and 50 percent Tom’s shades. The man can wear a spectacle. And this wasn’t just a shift for shifting’s sake; the grieving process continues on, but it’s time to get to work on finding out who exactly was after Liz before her death…

With or without Red. I was just as shocked as Samar to see that he wasn’t at Liz’s funeral, but color me a whole new shade of bug-eyed at finding him on guest star Brian Dennehy’s doorstep saying, “Your granddaughter… She’s… I’m sorry.” I think I speak for all of us when I say: SAY WHAAAAAAT?!

Because Dom’s doorstep was in a secluded area somewhere within driving distance of the capital of the United States, I first assumed that he would be Liz’s paternal grandfather. But no — that’s a road we continue to get a firm orange detour arrow on, and this man has a hint of a Russian accent beneath his gruff tone when he responds to the news that Liz died during a pregnancy complication: “Mash had a child?” Dom is Katarina’s father, of course, and while he invited Red in for that plate of bacon and eggs that he never quite got to in Cape May, he doesn’t seem thrilled to see him. Like his daughter (or Red’s vision of his daughter), Dom plays the piano, but where his piano’s C-sharp key went, he tells him he doesn’t play much anymore. And then he leaves to go get groceries; so whether he likes Red or not, he must somewhat trust Red. But he probably shouldn’t because Red immediately goes to his outdoor workshop and starts rooting through all his stuff. He’s merely looking for memories though — sifting through drawings and dolls that could have been done by either one of the girls taken from Dom’s life.

NEXT: All that glitters is gold…

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