Where we left off, more or less. Liz has been abducted by Alexander Kirk, who claims to be her father. He says he wants to protect her, which he’s going to do by holding her captive. Meantime Red – also casting himself as protector – is trying to find her, using his usual tactics. Actually, I take that back: the severed-head-to-show-willing thing is new here, although Jack Bauer did it once.
What it all adds up to is that Liz – a highly trained FBI agent, let’s not forget – is reduced to being squabbled over by two powerful and dangerous men. Meantime, a third man – less powerful, perhaps, but still dangerous – with his own interest in her wellbeing, is in the boot of a car being driven by two of Kirk’s people. Tom – for it is he – was captured along with Agnes, and spends most of this episode in danger without there being the slightest chance that he’s going to be killed.
Red reaches out to someone who might be able to help him find Liz: this week’s Blacklister, Esteban, a semi-retired Cuban torturer who is also working on the downlow for the CIA. As it happens the CIA has no further use for Esteban, meaning that it would be optimistic of him to use the season record function on his TiVo. Red offers to protect him in return for some Liz info, while wasting no opportunity – “The cleaner suddenly fancies herself the strategist” – to have a peevish swipe at Mr Kaplan. Back home, mind you, Samar and Aram are both also incredibly sulky about Liz having deceived them, to the point where it quite overwhelms any pleasure they might have in discovering that a valued friend and colleague they thought to be dead is, as it turns out, alive. Samar, in fact, puts her foot down and says that she’s not gonna be part of Operation Find Liz. Cooper – inexplicably – accepts this, which means that Ressler has to head to Cuba on his own.
By the end, after one or two rescues, escapes, and car crashes, we’re not much further forward. It’s good to have The Blacklist back, but in all honesty I thought this… dragged a little? And if this season is going to be about Red using Blacklisters to try and find various combinations of Liz/Tom/Agnes, I might not be entirely happy about that.