Will Hart/NBC
TV Show
S3 E13
February 05, 2016 at 06:36 AM EST

Did anyone else, just for a moment, think that the woman Red was slowly gifting a personal glass menagerie to all episode long was…Katarina Rostova? I know, I know — she was too young, too Parisian; there was no chance she was the legendary Lizzie Sr. But for just a moment, I wondered…

I also wondered if she was another Lizzie-type to Red (no, she likes him too much); for, like four seconds I wondered if she could be his daughter (that quickly turned to “no, no, no, no, ew, no, no, sorry I even thought it); I wondered a lot of things about that Josephine, and not just because Stephanie Szostak was utterly lovely in the role. No, it was because, in the story of Raymond Reddington, we don’t get many Josephines.

We know that Red that was in Naval Intelligence. We know that he was married to Naomi. We know that there was a fire. But we know little about what those things meant to Red’s life: when they were — how they came and how they went. Now, we didn’t learn how Red met Josephine in tonight’s episode, how he found her, or fell in love with her. But we know how he lost her; we know how he loved her (his Love Language is Gift-Giving, color me shocked); we know the lengths he went to avenge what was taken from her…and from him. That’s a much fuller story than we’ve learned regarding just about anything in Raymond Reddinton’s personal history, including his connection to Lizzie or her mother. And that it came in a particularly procedural episode of The Blacklist, makes me hope that Josephine continues to color The Blacklist‘s future with the depth that she’s colored Red’s past.


And that’s not a knock on the more episodic plot of this episode, either, which I found to be plenty engaging. And look, ma, no creepy cults! Just a whooooole buncha murder. Like, a whole bunch. Because tonight, we’re dealing with crime families; two crime families, to be exact, the Erikksons and the Vacarros. In the opening scene, an Erikkson son is shot by the Vacarros and eventually dies. Enter Tony Shalhoub.

And, oh boy, does he ever make an entrance, wearing a bowtie and man-scarf carts and carting around two tiny Pomeranians at all times, as anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a villain should. He arrives at the hospital where the whole Erikkson clan is gathered to offer his services to the patriarch, Mads, to help him save his other sons. And what kind of services can Tony Shalhoub offer to a crime family who’s being targeted by another crime family? Well, as Red explains it to Lizzie (in one of their patented conversations where they’re talking about two different things at the same time and just pretending like the other isn’t ignoring everything they say), there’s a legend of a man who works as a sort of matchmaker/negotiator to bring warring crime families together when it becomes evident that there’s more profit in friendship than in being sworn enemies, a profit of which he takes a large chunk once he successfully joins the tow.

Lizzie’s response to this new Blacklister assignment? “My mother, was she still alive when I was placed with Sam?” And a follow-up: “How did my mother die?” On task as always, but we can give Lizzie a pass this time as she’s particularly concerned with motherhood right now, and not just because she recently learned that her mom is probably more “waiting in the wings” than “dead in the ground.” No silly, did you forget? Lizzie and Megan Boone are pregnant! And as decided last week, Liz is seeking to give the baby up for adoption, but she’s hoping it can be an open adoption and that she’ll still be able to be involved in the child’s life. She’s also hoping that there will be some hopeful adoptive parents out there who won’t mind that she recently had an extended stay on the FBI’s Most Wanted list and once murdered the Attorney General of the United States.

NEXT: Pomeranian plans… 

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James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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