From The Blacklist this week we get “stealth eco-terrorist” Gaia, who when we first see him is… no. I’m trying to think about something else. Anyway, Gaia is a proper Blacklister, rather than a minor criminal: his MO is to disguise his attacks as environmentally disastrous accidents, and his next target is a gas pipeline which, if he blows it up, will turn a nearby nuclear power station into an American Fukushima. Also, he has some sort of connection to Alexander Kirk, the nature of which Red doesn’t feel inclined to divulge.
So the task force sets to work trying to find Gaia, but it isn’t a happy working environment. Liz seems to be back as a full-time member: look, I don’t really care, and as far as I’m concerned this show was at its best when the Red Squad was knocking off a Blacklister every week, so I’m fine with her wandering around the FBI as if she’s never left, or never been convicted of treason, or whatever. But I think we need some sort of justification for her return, even a spurious and unconvincing one.
The real problem this week, though, is Samar, who is nothing short of insufferable throughout; particularly to Aram, who presumably got fed up waiting for her, and has had the temerity to land himself a hot girlfriend (adjective confirmed by Ressler). Samar: you could have been hitting that from every angle for the last couple of seasons at least, and you didn’t want to, so how about putting in your transfer request, leaving the Task Force, and SHUTTING THE EFF UP? I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.
Meantime Kirk has set up a live TV feed so that Liz can check in on Agnes whenever she wants. “I never wanted you to be apart from her”, he purrs, despite the fact that he’s, well, keeping them apart. But wait, says Tom – a live link? Couldn’t we use that to trace Kirk? No, says Liz: he’ll have thought of that, and if you try to do it he’ll shut the link down. Undaunted, Tom goes ahead anyway without telling Liz, at which point we kind of know that it’s going to go wrong in exactly the way she predicted.
And Mr. Kaplan, who survived one attempt on her life – or was it? – has been taken in by a mysterious wood-dweller. Admittedly, the faintest of alarm bells should be ringing because on seeing a woman of a certain age with a bullet wound he’s not, all, OMG! You’ve been shot! Let’s get you to a hospital! Instead she ends up chained to a bed. And yet… I can’t help but wonder whether there’s an outside chance Red is using her as bait, and the wood-dweller is, perhaps, a high-value Blacklister?
Anyway. Gaia is identified, nuclear meltdown is averted, Aram finally loses his temper with Samar, and Red edges closer to finding Kirk and Agnes, in the best episode of the season so far.