Will Hart / NBC

The Blacklist Still Wants To Know: Are You Liz's Father?

It's a simple question. Are you Liz's father? Are you Liz's father? Well, are you? Somebody has to be, right?

When last we left Liz and Alexander Kirk, they were in the hospital, and the "extraction of Alexander Kirk" was about to begin. Of course, as Red warned, that might also include Liz getting killed, so maybe she should consider getting out? I don't know, maybe she's as tired as I am of this daddy business and will just lie down and let the bad men come and finish her. But I might be projecting. The extraction force of similar-looking bald men with well-groomed facial hair come and kill a bunch of people. Tom and Cooper do their best to thwart the extraction, but the bad guys still escape with Liz and Kirk.

Kirk's plan remains locked in on using Liz's blood to save his own life. But he's having a really hard time acknowledging that multiple DNA tests show she's not his daughter. Even though Red coerces Dr. Adrian Shaw into finding a Patient Zero to cure Kirk (I guess), he can't get ol' PZ there in time to save Kirk, so Red offers himself up in trade for Liz. While torturing Red, Kirk -- as some sort of audience proxy, I'm guessing -- repeatedly asks Red, "Are you her father?" Red won't answer the question, and won't answer the question, and then says, "It doesn't matter." Yes! So correct! It doesn't matter. We're miles beyond that now. Let's just move forward with the show, for the love of Oprah! But then, because torture is proven to work (everybody knows that), Red admits that he is Liz's father. Kirk decides to kill Red anyway, and says there is nothing Red could say that would change his mind. But then as he's sticking a hypodermic needle into Red's neck, Red whispers something into Kirk's ear, Lost In Translation-style. As a result, Kirk spares Red. Red and Liz reunite and, for today, they're on good terms again.

Mr. Kaplan Update: as we last saw her, Mr. Kaplan is still in the cabin with the weirdo, healing very nicely from her near murder. In what represents an obvious recalibration of his character from a few episodes back, the weirdo decides just to let Mr. Kaplan go because, as he says, he can't keep her and he can't kill her. Women, right? Mr. Kaplan makes him soup, laments that there are no crackers for it, and then disappears from the cabin while he's out gathering wood. But before hitchhiking away, she makes her bed. Aww, what a sweetheart.

How can we appropriately measure the Blacklist-iness of this episode of The Blacklist? Let's run the numbers.

Blacklist-y Element Present?
Stupid government agents! Always ruining everything! Ressler and Samar are pretty much on point this episode. And Ressler's not even an asshole about it. Is this what we really want from Ressler? Competence and kindness? I don't think so.
Red is one step ahead of everyone at all times! Red gives himself up to Kirk, but doesn't have a secret escape plan in mind? Disappointing.
This Blacklist-er should totally be on Red's list! Same as last week. Dr. Adrian Shaw uses humans as guinea pigs, but that sounds like something you might find on a regular list.
Does the show still have a boner for torture? You bet it does! Ressler and Samar torture one of Kirk's men to get (incomplete) information out of him. Later, Red himself is tortured by Kirk. In both cases, it results in useful intel! Like magic!
Plot is immaterial! Despite murdering literally every living thing in the hospital wing they encounter, Kirk's extraction force only knocks Cooper unconscious.
Red's hat symbolizes his cool mastery of his surroundings! Even though Red holds his hat in his hands while getting the name of Patient Zero from Dr. Adrian Shaw, it still does its job. I'm sure Dr. Shaw gets the message that, should the hat go on, it would be lights out for her.
Dialog by ClichéBot 3000 "I've never killed anyone," Kirk's assistant/girlfriend says. "And I've always wondered what it would feel like."
Something deadly/dangerous is given a name equally suited to an improv theater or troupe The term "crisper" is thrown around: it's either the blood disease Kirk has, or the cure, or the treatment. Or it's just the place where you keep the veggies in the fridge. I honestly lost track. Whatever the case, it doesn't qualify.
We get one more crumb about Red's obsession with Liz Maybe Red told Kirk the truth when he said he was Liz's father. But then again, he was being tortured and people admit to things that aren't true under torture. Way to keep riding that fence, show! It's not annoying AT ALL.
5 / 9
Final Score
A question asked during torture
An answer whispered in an ear
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