Tonight, “The Blacklist” was all about setting up the endgame of the Alexander Kirk saga. Granted, this said endgame varied dramatically depending on who you are speaking about.
For Raymond Reddington, this said endgame revolved around figuring out a way to eradicate Kirk from the university. This would stop the wedge between him and Elizabeth Keen from getting larger, just as it would also stop any further machinations from the man he was certainly to be a force of greater evil than himself. Therefore, his plan revolved by and large around finding and securing Dr. Adrian Shaw, one of the few specialists in the world capable of properly treating his condition. Without Shaw, he would have nothing.
As per usual with “The Blacklist,” so much of the fun comes via getting there. For Reddington, that meant booking an appointment with Shaw’s partner, which led to him sitting in the waiting room with Dembe reading Highlights. Who knew that Red craved so much nostalgia for waiting-room kids’ magazines? A fun little slice of nostalgia thrown in here by the writers, as the average “Blacklist” viewer remembers these religiously.
For Red, things went from funny to serious the moment that he brought out the gun in the doctor’s office and made his threats clear. Unfortunately for him, what he failed to realize was that Kirk already had most of the tools at his disposal … including a donor in Liz to turn his condition around. While she may not for-certain want Kirk in her life, she doesn’t want to be responsible for his death. One powerful scene in here came via seeing the contrast between her and seemingly Tom on the subject of caring for less-than-stellar parents; he revealed to her in this moment the truth about Scottie Hargrave, and how he was quick to push her aside despite their blood tie. When Tom found her later in the episode in the hospital undergoing the transplant, he didn’t fight her on her decision … even if he disagreed.
For the first forty minutes or so, tension was at a high, so to have the momentum for Kirk’s transplant stalled by lab results felt a little bit like slowing things down for the sake of doing so for the purposes of assembling other people to the scene. We honestly thought when that nurse came in to “prep” her that it was going to be one of those situations where she went into another room and had a gun pointed in her face. From this point on, things got a little strange and harder to follow since we had the slow-pace of Liz’s pre-operation test reveal coupled with the FBI’s operation aboard the ship in hopes of securing Shaw’s whereabouts, something that Red had beaten them to the punch on.
As we neared the conclusion, we wondered what Kirk was planning all along with his minions, including of course his evil girlfriend a.k.a. the woman who hates Liz for obvious attention reasons.
For Kirk, everything fell apart when the call came in about the test results, where Liz learned that she was not only incompatible, but she wasn’t even his daughter. Who saw that coming? Probably everyone since we never bought the blood relationship. Hopefully the show explains at some point all of the tricks and turns that got us to this point (there was so much “proof” otherwise), since this otherwise is going to drive us berserk probably for the remainder of the season. Maybe Kirk knew all along that these results would come back this way, and this was all meant as a diversion so that he could execute what he was really setting out to do. If that’s the case, though, he’s a darn good actor — the way Kirk freaked out at the end of it suggests that he was blindsided. Red warned Liz to get out of the hospital immediately as a result of all of this (there was no incentive for Kirk to protect her now), and that was smart thinking: The operation was in place, and it could make him a free man soon.
Upon reflection, we figure that this plan must have been in place for Kirk either way, regardless of the test results. It’s still somewhat odd that he would think that Liz was his daughter when she was not, given that he came across for much of the season as all-knowing.
Overall – A somewhat confusing finish, largely because we’re still unsure as to what Kirk’s endgame truly is at this point — or how he wishes to achieve it. Still, the tension and the action sequences lift “Dr. Adrian Shaw” up as a solid, but incomplete, episode of the show. Grade: B.
Next week – To get some other insight setting up part 2 / the upcoming fall finale, be sure to visit the link here. (Photo: NBC.)