Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Jodi Walker
October 14, 2016 AT 04:42 AM EDT

The Blacklist

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
James Spader

When Agent Ressler asks Agent Samar Navabi why she’s put in for a transfer from the Post Office in Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist, she tells him it’s not just because she now knows Liz is a whiny traitor who took advantage of them by faking her own death after they helped her family over and over again. No, she says it’s bigger than that: “It’s this place. You never know where you stand with anyone… whether they’ll be there for you when you need them.”

Indeed, the footing is unsteady around The Blacklist these days. The opening episodes of this fourth season, tonight’s hour included, have felt like we’ve been building and building toward a plot precipice, but where we’ll land once it’s finally time to make the jump is just as much of a mystery now as it was at the end of season 3. Kirk could be the kind of guy who, y’know, murders a baby for her stem cells, or he could not. Said baby could be his biological granddaughter or she could not. Mr. Kaplan’s caretaker could be keeping her until he could nurse her back to health, or he could be fattening her up, Hansel and Gretel style. And Lizzie could be naïve for trusting Kirk when he says he’s just trying to protect her… or she could be naïve for trusting Red when he says he’s just trying to protect her.

I can see why Samar wants out. But not me. Oh no, I’m digging in deep — chaining my ankle to the metaphorical bed Kaplan-style (too soon?) and sticking this one out until we get some answers. Because that’s what The Blacklist is asking us to do: invest in the build-up with classic procedural episodes like tonight’s for what will hopefully be an insanely gratifying pay day (I promise, no more Shark Tank references) a little further down the road. And that’s how Red and Lizzie find themselves on the hunt for…

GAIA, NO. 81

The episode opens on a handsome-outdoorsy looking fella sketching around in a repurposed school bus in the middle of the woods… it’s all very Into the Wild. That is until he pulls a wad of cotton about six inches long covered in blood out of his nose. But we’ll have to figure out what’s up with that later — for now this guy is crashing a local going away party and poisoning a very non-threatening middle-aged mechanic in the bathroom. Never drink a drink you didn’t watch the bartender pour, folks (that means you too, middle-aged mechanic).

And all this, as Red tells Liz, has something to do with finding Agnes. You remember Agnes… the newborn baby who’s been separated from her mother for, like, weeks. Yeah, well she’s still with Kirk, but he hits her up with that paternal-hotline-bling video chat and says he’s set up a feed where she can watch her daughter anytime. Y’know, like one of those Shiba Inu puppy cams… but for her daughter who he is keeping from her. Liz tells Kirk that she knows he only tracked her down because he needs her or Agnes to cure his genetic disease. But Kirk swears, “Yes, the blood is what I need but it’s not what I want. What I want is for us to be together, and that can’t happen until Reddington is out of your life.” Hmm, kinda seems like you want the blood too though, pal.

But Lizzie thinks she knows how to handle Kirk. Tom wants to trace the video feed, but she says that he has to trust her on this and not trace it: “What does Kirk want more than anything in the world? For me to trust him, to care for him. And because it’s what he desires the most, it’s the easiest way to deceive him.” And I’m all for Lizzie being independent and coming up with her own plans, but maybe this is why Red usually handles this stuff — because what proof does she have that her trust is his number one priority? Is it that he kidnapped her child or that he never told her why he did it in the first place? I guess it’s just some of that “not knowing where you stand” that Samar says is going around.

And speaking of probably-unnecessary secrets, Red says he has a lead on finding Agnes, but Lizzie doesn’t need to know what that connection is, only where they can find it. And it all starts with ol’ bloody nose from the cold open: He’s a “stealth eco-terrorist” known only as Gaia (“earth mother” in Greek), who’s devoted to “protecting the earth from the greatest threat to its existence as we know it: us.” Apparently, this guy makes his intentional acts of eco-terrorism seem like accidents so that the public’s attention is on the danger that exists within toxic economical practices instead of the criminal who exposed them. Or as Samar puts it once the news is delivered to the Post Office, “He kills innocent people to make the point that innocent people are in danger.”

NEXT: What the frack is up with this guy?

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