Will Hart/NBC
TV Show
S4 E12
February 03, 2017 at 02:22 AM EST

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance

With the stars up above in your eyes

A fantabulous night to make romance

‘Neath the cover of October skies

No, that’s not a song from Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist — may have seemed a little insensitive as a young Romeo-type died in a young Juliet-as-a-biological-weapon-type’s arms. And yet, it seems an appropriate opening sentiment for what must be the most romantic episode of The Blacklist ever.

But since The Blacklist isn’t exactly made for romance, that amounted to a kind of mixed bag: While the stuff with Red trying to find the criminal mastermind seeking to take him down is intriguing… and the thing with the girl who kiss-kills people like Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin because she’s in luv is moving… and the stuff with Tom trying to figure out how to apply his life’s passion of hunting people down and killing in them in an occupational capacity is interesting… it all amounts to a little too much to be able to fully engage in any one of those novel plotlines. That makes for a somewhat muddied episode that also manages to contain a handful of exceptional scenes. I’ll take it.

Interested? Good. There’s a lot going on here, try to keep up — I haven’t even mentioned the equal pay in the storyline yet…


The episode opens in a truly creepy fashion that belies the Shakespearean/feminist romance ahead. Fourteen years in the past, a little girl wakes up in a hospital room and starts wandering around to find that every single other person in the hospital is disfigured with sores, foaming at the mouth, and quite dead. A team in hazmat suits storms the hospital and seems rather shocked to find one little blond girl alive among the diseased wreckage.

In present day, we see a blond young woman walk into a room where a man is waiting to get a massage from her. She mounts him; he is surprised, but game. She kisses him; he seems surprised, then disfigured with sores, then foaming at the mouth, then quite dead.

Red informs Lizzie that the man was, in fact, his accountant Zach Smoll, who turned up dead in the last episode. His associates heard Smoll died of a heart attack, but Red knew something more nefarious was at play considering the amount of his financial transactions. He tells Liz he believes a longtime rival, Baldur Magnusson (see? nefarious), is trying to wage a criminal war with him, but that doesn’t explain why Smoll was killed via an aggressive form of meningitis called Luschen’s disease. It can be contracted through minor physical contact, and symptoms like a violent rash and respiratory failure present themselves and kill any victim immediately. Well — almost any victim. You know where this is going…

Aram first finds another death similar to Smoll’s and pairs two matching surveillance captures to find out what the killer looks like: blond and constantly bundled, presumably to keep from giving anyone Luschen’s disease who isn’t her specific victim. Then he finds the first known outbreak of Luschen’s, when an entire family in Moldova was wiped out… except for one daughter. That little girl was taken to a local clinic, but when the outbreak was deemed too much for them to handle, a company called Hawthorne Biologics came and got the girl to bring her back to Alexandria for further treatment

That girl’s name was Natalie Luca, and a woman at Hawthorne Biologics wearing glasses distinct enough to make you know you can’t fully trust her says she can’t imagine sweet, kind Natalie would be capable of wielding her disease against people. How might a young woman with an incurable and deadly-upon-contact disease be roaming the streets, you might be wondering. Well, Ressler is wondering that, too, and I guarantee he’s doing it more smarmily than you are. The woman tells him that they had no legal right to hold her there, and you see… she fell in love. The woman tells Ressler that she and a promising young bio researcher fell in love and he agreed to take responsibility for Natalie’s quarantine if they could live independently, and they didn’t assume anything was wrong because Malik’s reports had still been coming in.

It’s, of course, revealed that the people at Hawthorne Biologics don’t really have Natalie’s best interests at heart, and they’ve been trying to track down Natalie and Malik, as well.

NEXT: Bad Romance…

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