Friday, November 15, 2013

Seeing Red

NBC, The Blacklist, Episode 9, "Anslo Garrick", Air November 25, 2013

As many of you know, patience is not my virtue, so despite all plans to the contrary, I’m embarrassed to admit that I am completely obsessed with The Blacklist and dedicating an inordinate amount of time to solving the Lost-like riddle which is Raymond “Red” Reddington. Like I told my friend who said to just wait for the mysteries surrounding Red to be revealed…where’s the fun in that?

This week’s episode titled “General Ludd” was par for the course in regards to the blacklist target story; not much meat on that bone and relatively dull, but the storyline surrounding the meeting between Liz’s adoptive father, Sam (played by William Sadler aka Sheriff Valenti from Roswell), and Red was oh so juicy. We got to see the two proud papas together for the first (and last) time, and we got the big reveal that the two men obviously know and care about each other; and as they reminisced about old times, though it wasn’t said outright, it was heavily implied that Liz is Red’s daughter. Probably the closest the directors/producers are willing to go at this time.

Red tells his friend, “You gave her an incredible gift, Sam, taking her in and loving her as your own.” Sam confesses that he’s been given only 6 weeks to live, adding “I need to tell Lizzie,” to which Red replies “I can’t let you do that.” The implication is that he wants to fess up to Liz’s true parentage, but really Sam never comes out and says what he wants to tell Liz, so it could be that Red is her dad, but it could also be maybe that her mom isn’t really dead, or that there are aliens in Roswell, who knows. We’ll never know what he was going to say, because a few scenes later, after ending a phone conversation with Liz (she couldn’t get away from the General Ludd case to travel home) in which Sam shares the true extent of his illness, Red sits at his bedside and consolingly tells him that he can only hope to love and protect Liz as well as he has. “You will always be her father,” Red says…and then suffocates him with his pillow. Ugh…that scene was just eerie, because in one instance you have Red brutally killing his friend, holding the pillow down despite Sam’s struggles, and then when the deed is done, he gently and almost lovingly brushes Sam’s hair back off his face and then kisses him on the forehead. While I know most viewers will see this as a cold-blooded murder by Red in an effort to prevent his friend from talking to Liz, in all honesty, it could equally be viewed as a mercy killing; after all Sam was dying of cancer and just before Red kills him, he did say he wished he could die quickly.

So after all that, we’re still no closer to knowing definitively whether Red is Liz’s father or not. It seems a moot point at this time, but then I think it’s too obvious; they’ve been spoon feeding us that since episode one, so there’s got to be more there. That can’t be the big reveal.

Like we don’t have enough questions to answer with the enigma which is Red, Liz’s history, Tom’s mystery box, and the surveillance apple-eating guy, we got a new puzzle piece added to the board. Near the start of the episode, we see Red negotiate a tit for tat trade with Agent Cooper in exchange for his help on the General Ludd case, and as the episode neared its conclusion we see Cooper bring Red into an office with a laptop at which Red logs into the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) database, and punching in the code he received from “Wujing” (episode 3), he brings up someone’s record. Below is a screen grab from the episode video.

Who is Lucy Brooks? Initially I thought it might have been Liz’s mom, but her age is listed as 30, so that’s definitely out. I went back to “The Stewmaker” (episode 4), to determine if it was the same girl as in the picture he took from the album, but I couldn’t really tell, which means we have yet another question to ponder.

All in all, I still know nothing, but I remain hopeful. In other news, in an interview on with Ryan Eggold (Tom), they asked about the apple-eating surveillance guy and when we might find out what is going on there, to which he replied “Something dramatic was going to happen with the Apple Man at the end of this week’s episode, but then they changed it… We’re changing it up until the moment it airs, which is fun, but also: Where are we going?! [Laughs] So, the plan for the Apple Man is shifting, but I do know that they’ve said to me that Tom and Liz are going to find out who is watching them soon — I think within the next few episodes.” Very interesting. In addition, reported that Alan Alda will be appearing in an upcoming episode of The Blacklist as a man by the name of Mr. Crowley, a nemesis from Red’s past.

Sadly, NBC will not be helping to fuel my obsession this coming week, because for some unknown (and undoubtedly poor reason), they have decided to preempt The Blacklist’s November 18th episode, and air episode 9, “Anslo Garrick” on November 25th instead; and it sounded so good too, very dramatic…"the hunter becomes the hunted." Anyway, I will continue my sleuthing and hope to beat the show’s reveal with an incredibly satisfying Aha! moment of my own.