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Last Night's 'The Blacklist,' As Explained By Someone Who No Longer Watches 'The Blacklist'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 20, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 20, 2016 |

Like a lot of people, I watched the first season of The Blacklist and stuck with it the entire year because of James Spader’s brilliant depiction of Red Reddington, as well as the overarching mystery behind the relationship between Reddington and Elizabeth Keen, played deftly by a vanilla popsicle stick. For a network drama, it was modestly intriguing, but when it became apparent that the answer to the relationship between Reddington and Keen would not be resolved anytime soon, I bailed. I had no interest in enduring another 23-episode season that works primarily within a procedural framework with a glacially-paced serialized plotline that seems to be heading in one ultimate direction: Reddington is Elizabeth’s father. It’s the only way to satisfactorily explain why Reddington is so protective of Keene.

I haven’t watched The Blacklist since the first season, but by piecing together recaps and Wikis, I can tell you this much: The so-called mystery behind the relationship between Red and Lizzie has not yet been solved. It probably will not be until the end of the series.

In fact, that relationship has been further confused. If you haven’t seen The Blacklist since the opening season, let me fill you in. Remember Tom Keen, the school teacher with the mysterious past who Lizzie was set to marry, but who Red had concerns about? It turns out, Tom Keen is not actually Tom Keen. He’s a man named Jacob Phelps, recruited as an orphan by The Major (Lance Henrickson) to work as a deep-cover infiltrator. Red bought out Tom’s contract and hired him to keep an eye on Lizzie. Tom ultimately fell in love with Lizzie, which didn’t sit well with Reddington. At one point, in fact, Lizzie was framed for a murder committed by Tom, but that eventually resolved itself, as these things do in network television.

I should also mention that Lizzie is not actually Lizzie, either. She was born in Russia under the name Masha Rostova. When she was four, she (allegedly) shot and killed her biological father, and her mother was presumed dead in the house fire that followed (Burn scars on Reddington’s back suggests that he was also there). Turns out, Masha/Lizzie’s mother actually didn’t die in the fire, either. She is a Russian spy and presumed alive, although her whereabouts her unknown.

As of the season three finale, Tom and Lizzie are happily together. Or they were happily together. Remember from the first season how Tom and Lizzie were going to adopt a baby? That didn’t happen. But Megan Boone — the vanilla popsicle stick who plays Lizzie — got pregnant in real life, and they wrote that into the show. She got pregnant with Tom’s kid, and about a month ago, Lizzie was killed off the series when she died in childbirth.

But, this being the season of fake deaths, viewers found out last night that Lizzie was actually alive. In fact, she faked her death so that she could escape from the watchful eye of Reddington and live a happily ever after in Cuba with Tom and her baby. (Lizzie’s fake death, by the way, was orchestrated by Mr. Kaplan, who is not actually a mister but that older lady some of you may remember from the first season who cleaned up Red’s crime scenes.)

Only Lizzie and Tom didn’t live happily ever after in Cuba, either, because without the eye of Reddington watching over her, a man named Alexander Kirk entered the picture. He’s an ambiguously bad person, which we know because he’s played by a named Ulrich Thomsen, who is Dutch but looks evil and Russian enough. He’s been tracking Lizzie. Red tried to kill him, but missed his chance in the season finale. Kirk then followed Tom and the baby to Cuba, where Tom reunited with Lizzie, who viewers learned was still alive (and back from her maternity leave in real life).

However, their reunion was short-lived, because Kirk kidnapped Lizzie, separating her from Tom and the baby (also kidnapped), and he informed Lizzie that he’s her father. The episode ends with Reddington menacingly considering killing Mr. Kaplan in one scene, and Kirk telling Lizzie, “Masha, I am your father,” in another scene.

Here was her look:

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.40.23 AM.jpg

That basically catches you up with the last two seasons of The Blacklist, give or take a Famke Janssen character who is getting her own spin-off next season (that the Tom Keen character interestingly will also be joining).

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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