Red and Lizzie work together to dupe Kirk into giving back baby Agnes, but they're still totally annoyed with each other

By Jodi Walker
October 28, 2016 at 07:06 AM EDT
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Consider Alexander Kirk officially in FBI custody. Consider Agnes returned from her spy-baby adventures. And consider Lizzie as clueless about her past (…and future…and present) as she’s ever been. And, while we’re at it, go ahead and consider Aram officially switching his relationship status to “It’s Complicated” on whatever The Blacklist’s generic version of Facebook would be.

The Box is back in play, Lizzie has to choose between various dads, and someone who was getting an odd amount of screen time turned out to be a mole: Yes, all is as it should be in Blacklist’s world. And, honestly, there’s so much going on, what with Liz being mad at Red, Liz pretending to be mad at Red to trick Kirk, Liz pretending to be all-in on Kirk being her biological father, and Liz actually seeming to think Kirk is her biological father — with 1,000 answers he’s ready and willing to give her, just as soon as he stops dangling her baby off a roof — that Thursday night’s episode left me a little confused on where, exactly, everyone stands.

And yet, we finally have one person standing exactly where we need him to get some answers: THAT’S A. KIRK IN A BOX! Of course, Lizzie seems to already think she has the answers we’ve been waiting for all season — she dug up a charm bracelet in a coffee can and had a couple hallucinations after reading a diary, like she’s freakin’ Ginny Weasley. But something tells me… Now that Kirk is trapped in plexiglass and Red and Liz are kind of back on the same page (are they? Like I said, the emotional waters are murky,) Liz is about to get some answers for real. Whether they’re the truth she’s hoping for remains to be seen.

THE THRUSHES, NO. 53

Liz points out he offers up these Blacklisters with six degrees of separation from Kirk, whom he can conveniently profit from. I did notice Liz was being particularly petulant in this scene, but then I remembered petulance is one of her defining characteristics — along with bold hair choices and a faulty memory — so nothing seemed too out of the ordinary. That is, until Cooper calls Liz into his office, where she tells him about the alleged DNA proof showing that Kirk is her father and Red has been lying to her for three years. He follows up their meeting with a call to Panabaker to tell her about capturing LeBron, and we see someone has the call bugged… That someone, of course, is Kirk, who immediately has LeBron shot during FBI transport. To which Red responds: “LeBron is dead. Right on schedule. Time to send out the invitations.”

TWIST! LeBron wasn’t the Blacklister at all — he was just bait, caught with your hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Red, of course, explains everything straightforwardly to the Post Office staff. Just kidding… He sends them all “Nick’s Pizza” deliveries containing mysterious invitations to a room where they hand over their electronics so a man named Chester can perform back-alley airport X-rays on them. Once through security, Red explains they’re going full analogue: The Post Office’s system has been hacked, and they can’t risk any digital connections. In fact, as Lizzie slithers out of a dark corner to explain, their whole fight at the Post Office was an act — they knew Kirk was listening, and wanted him to think she’s pissed at Red and coming around to the idea of a Rostova family Sochelnik (Russian Orthodox Christmas). She later tells Ressler those are her real sentiments, but it’s important to note she was being that annoying earlier on purpose.

NEXT: A thrush…that’s like a bird, right?

So, who hacked the FBI’s seemingly impenetrable system? That would be The Thrushes, a crew that hacks the unhackable for two reasons: The technical challenge of the hack itself and cold, hard cash. Poor Aram is distraught he didn’t notice someone has had full access to the office’s digital transmissions, but the Thrushes’ specialty is cracking systems without leaving a trace of evidence behind. Cooper rightly notes they should probably tell someone that, y’know, national security has been breached — but Red and Liz are all, “Nah, let’s keep using this to our own personal advantage so we can find this baby, k?” And everyone gets onboard with that reasonable plan pretty quickly.

But even though Red and Liz are on the same page about giving a terrorist organization access to the nation’s most sensitive information (and even though they were faking their fight for Kirk’s cameras), they’re still totally mad at each other. When Red checks in on Liz and Tom at their creepy warehouse nursery to see if Liz has gotten any word from Kirk, she spits, “You mean my father?” Red tells her she shouldn’t be won over by something as easy to fabricate as DNA samples — but Liz, ever the master debater, shoots back that she has rock-solid proof: recovered memories from her traumatic childhood containing exactly zero images of her purported father. Red tells her, “Just because he was your mother’s husband doesn’t make him your father,” which sounds like a riddle that ends with, “the doctor was the mother,” but is also perhaps true of the Kirk situation.

Then Red rolls out his signature line: “I have never lied to you.” OKAY, RED. You’ve also literally never told her anything, ever, so maybe don’t get too high up on your truth horse, pal. And right on time for the paternal spat, someone sends a cell phone to Lizzie programmed with one number that leads to Kirk. She tells him she knows he’s her father — and she’s ready to cut Red out of her life in exchange for Agnes — so they arrange to meet.

And that can only mean one thing… Aram is going undercover. If you thought you liked blogger-hoodie Liz or sexpot Samar, just wait ’til you get a look at wine-opening Aram. Even though Samar loads him up with a gun, a safe word, and a cheek-kiss for good measure before he heads to a home-cooked dinner with Elise, Aram is still a nervous wreck. Elise can tell something’s up, but after he manages to spill wine all over his shirt, he goes to the bedroom to change…and slip his own rubber ducky into her laptop (still not a euphemism). Elise keeps asking what’s wrong, and finally Aram cracks and tells her: There’s another woman (cut to Samar in the lookout van). Elise guesses it’s Samar and Aram swears it’s not, but the two are interrupted when Elise gets a phone call.

It’s Kirk’s scary sidekick Odette, calling to make sure there’s no way the Thrushes’ tap has been hacked before they arrange the meeting with Liz. Elise says no way…and then notices her laptop under Aram’s wine-covered shirt with a thumb drive sticking out of it. That’s when Aram puts a gun to her head and, bless his heart, attempts a sassy line: “Quack quack, bitch.” Oh, sweetie. Elise proceeds to beat the hell out of him all over his apartment, but Samar and Ressler bust in and save him.

NEXT: Never double-cross a double-crosser

Liz wonders if Kirk will be suspicious now that his mole has been busted, but Cooper says they forced Elise at gunpoint to confirm the tap was still secure. Liz says she could have easily been relaying a message, but when she weighs her options, her no. 1 concern is getting Agnes back and there’s only one avenue through which to do so: Kirk.

The meeting is set and Red tells Cooper he’ll be handling Kirk on his own. As we see Red preparing his men to bust in the arranged meeting at an abandoned New York subway station, we see Liz give Kirk one final call: “Stop — we can’t meet, it’s not safe.” She tells him the FBI and Red know about the mole, but Kirk tells her they can meet at a separate location. When she arrives on the rooftop, though, Agnes isn’t there. Kirk says she’s nearby, but he needs to deal with Red first. Liz looks horrified, telling him, “I picked you over him. I lied to everyone for you and now you want to kill him? You can’t do that!” He brings out Agnes, but then…

TWIST! Lizzie never double-crossed Red at all, because he and his men are busting onto the rooftop ready to take down Kirk. The bad news? Kirk has Agnes and now he’s on the roof. (I think Liz needs to try the whole faking-her-own-death thing one more time, because these men are stone-cold bonkers.) Kirk yells to her, “This man, he took your mother away from us, took you from me — he will not have my granddaughter.” But Liz begs him, “If you love me, if you ever loved me, just give her to me. Please. Otets.” She follows up the Russian with English — “Please, father” — and it sounds very much like a little girl saying the words. He relents.

Kirk hands over Agnes and Red’s men take him away to Post Office custody. As “One is the Loneliest Number” plays, we see Kirk make the oh-so-familiar walk from the Post Office freight elevator to The Box. We see Aram and Samar finally sit down for his perfect date-night food: Paco’s Tacos. And we see Liz’s little family finally become whole again. She even lets Red come to their nursery prison to see the baby. But as he coos, she tells him they won’t be living under his guard anymore now that Kirk is captured. Ominously, he responds, “I know,” and bids them goodnight.

A few loose ends:

  • Kaplan’s Korner: We get a few more tidbits from Kaplan’s savior/captor tonight: He’s a tracker/hunter (fantastic) with motion-detecting cameras all over the woods that prove Mr. Kaplan is lying when she tries to tell him she killed herself. She tells him she killed herself because he says he’s worried that a) whoever shot her is going to come back, see she’s not there, and come looking for him; b) the cops are going to come looking for him; or c) he lets her go, she tells someone about him, and that person comes looking. And he does not like visitors. (But he loves feeding Mr. Kaplan soup by hand.)
  • You know how sometimes you splurge on a really nice pair of shoes you think about endlessly before finally buying them, but then you feel totally vindicated when you end up wearing them all the time and getting your money’s worth? That’s what I think The Box is for the Post Office.
  • I always love an Aram-heavy episode, and tonight, I didn’t hate his constant need to change his shirt.
  • “What part of banana did you not understand?!”
  • A little Panabaker jargon: “Let ’em run out some line. But you best keep your thumb tight on the drag or you’re like to find a bird’s nest on your reel.”
  • What is with that Odette woman? She’s got a very Natasha-from-Rocky-and-Bullwinkle thing going on, and I don’t like it.
  • In an uncharacteristic display of emotion-sharing, Cooper and Red sit down for a father-figure coffee sesh. Red says that when he first turned himself in, he never could have imagined things would turn out this badly. How did you think this would all go down, Red?
  • Kirk is now at the whim of Red, Lizzie, and the Post Office — so what’s their first move?

Episode grade: B

Episode Recaps

The Blacklist

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