Virginia Sherwood / NBC

The Blacklist Cleans Up Real Nice

While Red auditions new cleaners, Liz solves crimes with help from a disabled girl's dioramas.

As we open, Tom throws away his big stack of passports because he’s definitely getting out of the nefarious business he was working in and definitely going to be a stay-at-home dad instead. Definitely. Of course, domestic bliss makes for awesome TV, especially on spy shows! But on their doorstep, someone drops off a childish diorama depicting a drowning in a pool. Later that morning, a federal judge drowns in a pool at her country club. This becomes an FBI concern, I suppose, because of the "federal" part of the judge title. Later that same day, another murder diorama gets dropped off. Tom chases a hoodied suspect out of the building and partially down the street, while leaving the door to the apartment WIDE OPEN with baby Agnes inside. This is a perfect example of Tom's Terrible Parenting.

This time, the Task Force correctly deciphers the murder diorama and foils the murder it depicted. They bring in a suspect, but she claims the dioramas are just illustrations of premonitions. Oh, she doesn't have the premonitions. Her nine-year-old daughter Maggie does. Of course there's an explanation for this: radio conversations from nearby bleeding into her hearing aid. When Liz sees the bad guy in a window of the next building, and he sees her, she and Ressler rush over to the next building to get him. That leaves no one but Aram with the little premonition girl and her mom, because no matter how many times it bites them in the ass, no one on this Task Force believes in backup. The bad guy waltzes into the apartment, injures Aram, and kidnaps the little girl. I'm assuming Liz left the door wide open, just like Tom did earlier. You know, it's a family thing.

The Task Force manages to get the girl back, but the trigger man and the financial whiz (or whatever he is) behind all of the killings remain at large. Somehow these two guys perpetrate these killings as a way to manipulate the markets and make money off them. It's not explained terribly well, and it's preposterous to boot, so it's best to move on. In the end, Ressler offs the trigger man with one fatal pistol shot from a hundred yards away and through a murky window. Seems like something that's totally feasible, at least according to the Warren Commission. But the financial whiz -- The Forecaster of the episode title -- gets away.

During all of this, Red gets an all-white apartment and begins making trouble with some guy named Iniko who controls a bunch of cobalt mines. Ultimately, Red kills Iniko in the all-white apartment, partially as revenge and partially so he could be introduced to Iniko's "cleaners," whom he wants to hire. It's a position he's needed to fill since he (thought he) killed Mr. Kaplan.

Speaking of which, that particular business decision still doesn't sit well with Dembe, who confides in Liz that Red killed Kaplan. Dang it, and Red and Liz just started getting along again. Now we're probably right back to "I don't know if I can trust you." Ugh. I'm sure this will drag on for weeks.

Oh well. Let's assess exactly how Blacklist-y this episode of The Blacklist is!

Blacklist-y Element Present?
Stupid government agents! Always ruining everything! When they've narrowed down that the bad guys are in an adjacent building, nobody thinks to be clandestine about surveilling the building. So both Liz and Ressler stand in the window, in full view, with high-tech binoculars. Naturally, the killer makes them and bolts.
Red is one step ahead of everyone at all times! I guess Red has the drop on the cobalt mine guy, but that doesn't feel like it counts.
This Blacklist-er should totally be on Red's list! The Forecaster is an unscrupulous stock market genius, but I feel like his trigger man deserves much more respect from Red's List, considering all the different ways he has to orchestrate killing people or causing plane crashes, bridge failures, and other accidents. He was a real innovator and he will be missed.
Does the show still have a boner for torture? There is no evidence of that this week. In its place, murder dioramas. So many murder dioramas.
Plot is immaterial! Even though he indiscriminately kills two police officers, the bad guy doesn't kill Aram or the mom or the little girl. Also, after killing the cops in the hallway, the bad guy somehow finds the time to steal a cop's jacket and hat, which fit him, and change into them without the little girl getting away. I guess what I'm saying is: he's good. He's very good.
Red's hat symbolizes his cool mastery of his surroundings While Red buys the all-white apartment, his hat sits on a nearby table. He doesn't wear it or even hold it during the episode. It's like he thinks he's more powerful without it or something. Which is ridiculous!
Dialog by ClichéBot 3000 "Her name is Maggie. She’s nine," the mom says about her daughter who has premonitions. "I call it her Terrible Gift." Also: “Maggie's mind is...different.”
Something deadly/dangerous is given a name equally suited to an improv theater or troupe Nothing here this week. Move along.
We get one more crumb about Red's obsession with Liz Not really, though we do find out that the only things Red seems to care about any more are Liz and Agnes.
6 / 9
Final Score
The Blacklist
A very disturbing elementary school science fair
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