The first baddie of the week probably has enough about him to be a Blacklister in his own right, but he’s no more than an amuse-bouche: Rene LeBron, the go-to financier when the US government has frozen your assets and you need a quick but sizeable loan. Alexander Kirk is one of his clients, so Red’s operatives pick LeBron up; in return for a guarantee of immunity, he agrees to help trace Kirk.
Back at the Task Force, Liz is visibly and volubly sulking at having to work with Red; and Aram is grappling with the knowledge that he’s punching above his weight, romantically speaking, so something is probably wrong. (Mind you, I’ve been punching above mine for 25 years, so unless someone close to me is in very deep cover I might just be getting away with it.) And, finally, the storylines which have been bubbling away for a few weeks, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, lock into place with a satisfying click: Red summons the Task Force to a specially-shielded analogue-only building, where they can’t be bugged, to reveal that someone working for Kirk has hacked into the FBI system, that Kirk is listening in on the Post Office, and that the Red/Liz fight was a fake for the benefit of Kirk, who might thus be tempted to reach out to Liz. (Except Liz kind of isn’t faking it, but we can leave that to one side for now.) This week’s Blacklisters, a group known as The Thrushes, who “hack the unhackable”, are behind the surveillance.
So, uh, anyone perhaps in a new relationship with someone who might be a Thrush? Anyone? Aram? Anyone? The rest of the Task Force work out, at the same time as Aram, that his new squeeze has been using him, and not in a good way. Aram, of course, then has to go through the whole pretend-nothing-is-happening thing at a meal with his Thrush, so that Kirk doesn’t know that they’re onto him. Samar, in fairness, is actually supportive and sympathetic, promising Aram that she’s going to “mess that bitch up” if need be.
Kirk is finally caught, and slung into the Red Box of fond memory, which I suspect is entirely deliberate: on one view he’s another Red, a man with a paternal interest in Liz, now under lock and key, but who at least is now closer to her. Red continues to maintain that Kirk isn’t Liz’s biological father, and he’s so insistent about it that I believe him. Agnes is returned to her parents. Samar rescinds her application for a transfer, and she and Aram are nice to each other. The only thing which doesn’t quite work, yet, is the ongoing Mr. Kaplan’s Misery scenario playing out in the middle of a forest, but I’m still hoping that it’ll be linked into the main plot at some point, or it’ll have been a colossal waste of time. Otherwise, though, a very strong episode.