Peter Kramer/NBC
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TV Show
S3 E23
May 20, 2016 at 01:42 PM EDT

And everyone thinks I dodged a bullet

But I think I shot the gun

It’s not news that The Blacklist’s soundtracking team is one of the best in the biz. This has been established time and time again, often with Johnny Cash (and once with a George Ezra song that prompted me to create a Pandora station I basically haven’t switched from since I heard it rocked my Blacklist world months ago). But it will be quite some time before I get over the perfect inclusion of Greg Laswell’s “Dodged a Bullet” in the final scenes of Thursday night’s season 3 finale. Given that the chorus above could apply to just about any of our main characters — Red, Tom, Cooper, but most especially, Mr. Kaplan and her backfiring plan — it’s particularly fitting that it repeats itself about 30 times in Mr. Laswell’s track.

Over and over, the most important people in Elizabeth Keen’s life attempt to protect her — keep her out of harm’s way, shield her from her past, keep her off the FBI’s Most Wanted list, give her fancy DC lofts with more exposed brick than she could have possibly dreamed. And over and over again all they seem to do is endanger her more. Because whether it is because of Red or in spite of Red…because of working with the Post Office or in spite of it…because of having a baby with Tom Keen or in spite of it…Liz’s past is coming for her. Many powerful people have gone to many great lengths to protect Liz from a danger they may not even understand, and yet here she is…tied to a chair, looking into Alexander Kirk’s blue eyes that look so much like her own and hearing him say, “Masha — I’m your father.”

I’m not gonna try and make it even

You’re way ahead by now

I’m not gonna try and make it all even

Even though I know how

Oh, I should probably mention…Liz is alive. To which you all yell in unison, “I KNEW IT!!!” Of course we did! And some of us may have even guessed that Alexander Kirk would turn out to be her father (or her uncle or her brother or whoever he turned out to be, I would have assured myself that I knew it all along if the thought had ever spent a fleeting moment in my mind). So, I’m going to borrow a sentiment from the Mr. Kaplan School of Tricky Business here and say that “the how won’t change anything.” How we got to an alive Liz meeting her alleged father — that we had to navigate a real-life maternity leave with a fake-death maternity leave; that we were either shocked by its twists or smug in our correctness; whether we enjoyed being toyed with or were simply biding our time until that middle parted bob graced our screens once more — doesn’t really matter. It matters that we’ve gotten here at all: “Masha, I’m your father.”


Okay, but just as Mr. Kaplan concedes that, yeah, it does kind of matter that a few weeks ago she slowed Liz’s pulse down to nearly nothing then zipped her live into a body bag in order to trick Red into thinking she was dead…it similarly is important to note how we found ourselves watching Tom Keen arrive to his presumed dead wife in Cuba only to soon let her be kidnapped by the very same guy who’s been trying to kidnap her for about six episodes now. So here goes…

Thursday’s finale opened on the titular Alexander Kirk speaking with a handful of advisers about his current predicament: Raymond Reddington has stolen all the money he’d contributed to Senator Diaz’ presidential campaign and convinced the man to announce to the world that he’s putting said campaign on pause to go after Alexander Kirk, a man financing terrorism, and force him to answer for his actions. But here’s the real kicker: All this stuff about Kirk financing terrorism — totally false. Sure the guy’s bad news, what with all the baby kidnapping and what not, but he’s not buying oil from terrorists and bringing it into the United States like Diaz is telling people he is.

But if Raymond Reddington has anything to do with it, those false charges of transporting terrorist’s oil will be made true via a classic Tom Keen heist, a dummy oil tank switcharoo worthy of Fast Five, one super cute dog, and one sleeve of gas station powdered doughnuts.

NEXT: You’re a good man, Harold Cooper…

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