‘The Blacklist’ season 4, episode 2 review: Mr. Kaplan’s dedication and its lengths

The Blacklist logo any seasonIs Alexander Kirk really Elizabeth Keen’s father? From the onset of “The Blacklist” this particular season, this was a question that was front of mind.

By the end of tonight’s “Mato,” it definitely felt clear that Kirk wanted to give Liz something as close to a recreation as possible. Everything from the memories of her bedroom to even trinkets in the garden were there; Liz had no reason to think all of a sudden that this man, dangerous as he may be, may have actually been truthful in his claims that he was her father. Just when she started to have those memories settle in, though, the FBI arrived and stirred things up once more. Liz was taken from one perceived home to another, and in the process met up with Tom. The two were back together, but at the same time, they still had another problem in Agnes. Maybe she’s on her way to safety? Of course, we want to believe so, but the last thing in the world we ever want to do with this show is assume.

As emotional as much of that was, it wasn’t the most emotional moment of the episode. That came with Red and Mr. Kaplan. We commented early in the episode that she was one of our favorite characters, and therefore would feel pretty bad if she was to go. With that in mind, the show went ahead and killed her off tonight after Red determined that one betrayal too many had occurred. There was a certain element of Carol’s “look at the flowers” moment from “The Walking Dead” to it, and Mr. Kaplan knew before the gun was fired what was going to happen. She did what she thought was best for him, but in some ways you can argue that the nail was stuck into the coffin the moment that she assisted Liz last season in faking her own death. Her later actions were just further validation of that.

So in the end, we leave this episode with Liz perhaps more confused than ever, with Red still searching for answers on Alexander Kirk, and with a fan favorite sadly in the ground — albeit in a shocking, powerful way. Let’s rejoice that we ever had Kaplan to begin with, and we can consider this a further reminder of how far Red is willing to go to preserve his own perception of what’s right. Grade: B+.

Update: Had a little bit of an inopportune video glitch at the very end, and there was a suggestion that maybe Mr. Kaplan is still alive … maybe. You can argue that Red shot her with a blank, or that Dembe is coming to help her. The question we wonder is this: What’s the end game for it? Could she have made it out? It’s a cool twist and she finds a way to live, but here’s the question … what does it mean for Red long-term?

(Photo: NBC)

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