Picking up where we left off: Mr Solomon is chasing Liz, who with Red’s assistance is doing her best to hide, starting with – I think? – a retirement home. She’s injured after a car accident, putting her unborn child at risk, so is taken to hospital, but then has to leave in a rush with Team Solomon a minute behind. Fortunately Red has turned a nightclub into an ER – I know – and still has Nik on the payroll. So Nik, with the help of some disco lights, is able to treat Liz and deliver her baby daughter Agnes. But then something goes wrong, so it’s back into the ambulance, where Liz – gasp! – dies.
There isn’t a huge amount of plot this week, but it’s well done. James Spader, in particular, has a great week: my view has always been that his acting in The Blacklist, although deliberately big and bold, also contains more subtlety than many people would allow. In this episode Red has to confront the logical conclusion of his interference in Liz’s life, and it’s truly haunting.
Liz’s death, though, immediately raises a couple of issues. The first is whether it’s an altogether wise move on the part of the show: whatever you think of Liz the character, or Megan Boone the actor for that matter, her relationships with Red and Tom have underpinned the show since the start. On top of that, since there are plans for a Blacklist spinoff with Tom and Mr. Solomon – and this week, as ever, Edi Gathegi provides a feline, compelling screen presence – The Blacklist would be losing quite a lot of key personnel in a fairly short period of time.
But that, of course, presumes that Liz is actually dead. And here I’m going to say unequivocally, and at the risk of looking foolish, that I don’t think she is. Assuming I’m right about that, I should say that I’m not delighted with the increasing use of the “dead character comes back to life” trope. It’s worth remembering that when Dallas did it with Bobby Ewing, 30 or so years ago, it exposed itself to ridicule from which it never really recovered. These days, though, it seems that everyone on TV has access to the slows-your-pulse-until-it’s-undetectable drug. In this case, the mechanics aren’t really the point: Mr Kaplan, Nik, or Tom could have done it. (Possibly also Red, but that would be a hell of a fakeout.) But since we know Boone to be heavy with child, and presumably wanting some maternity leave, it seems entirely plausible to me that the writers would want to make her onscreen hiatus into An Event. Whether they should have chosen this particular Event – again assuming that I’ve called this right – is, of course, another matter.