Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Blacklist: An Obsession

To all fellow Blacklist fans: Holy mackerel was that ("Anslo Garrick") great or what? It doesn’t bear thinking that now we have to wait until January 13th for the next episode of this brilliant new drama. Oh, the inhumanity! I will try to put this time to good use though and continue my Red-obsessed sleuthing.

As I mentioned in my previous Blacklist-related post (Seeing Red), I am determined to crack the Reddington code. I’ve been going back through previous episodes either OnDemand for the more recent episodes or on Amazon, where they are available for the rock bottom price of $1.99 each.

Where to start? First of all, despite this plotline’s obviousness and last night’s hesitant denial by Red, I still think he’s Liz’s dad, though I’m thinking maybe not biological. After all during last night’s episode Cooper said that lab tests confirmed the blood at the church where Garrick was found dead was Reddington’s; with access to Red’s blood and by extension DNA, why doesn’t Liz just send her own blood in for analysis to determine if there’s a DNA match?; she works for the darn FBI so it’s not like she has to wait for Maury Povich’s next “who’s my daddy” episode. I hadn’t thought of that before, but Red could still technically be telling the truth in saying he’s not her dad; maybe he’s not her biological dad, but he could’ve been her stepdad or been bamboozled by Liz’s mom into believing she was his until he learned otherwise; grasping at straws here I know.

We know that Red was part of his daughter’s life prior to his disappearance. Going back to the end of the “Frederick Barnes” episode, when Red visits his old home and remembers the little girl (I assume his daughter) running in the backyard, the last age and height mark on the wall hidden behind the beadboard paneling he rips off was 3, and Sam supposedly adopted Liz around the age of 4, the similarity in ages can’t be mere coincidence.

Another important key to the Red mystery will be determining the identity of the woman in the picture he took from the Stewmaker’s album; I mentioned her in my last post. Here’s a close-up of the pic.

You can see there is a date on the bottom of the Polaroid which says 12-90. According to Ressler’s spiel on Red during the Pilot episode, Red disappeared in 1990 when expected home by his wife and daughter for Christmas; another coincidence or maybe the reason behind his disappearance?

A potential clue or insight into Red, though not related to Liz’s parentage, also found in “The Stewmaker” episode was when Red arrives in the nick of time to rescue Liz, and shares with the Stewmaker the parable of the farmer (found in IMDB episode quotes).
“A farmer comes home one day to find that everything that gives meaning to his life is gone. Crops are burned, animals slaughtered, bodies and broken pieces of his life strewn about. Everything that he loved taken from him - his children. One can only imagine the pit of despair, the hours of Job-like lamentations, the burden of existence. He makes a promise to himself in those dark hours. A life's work erupts from his knotted mind. Years go by. His suffering becomes complicated. One day he stops - the farmer who is no longer a farmer - sees the wreckage he's left in his wake. It is now he who burns, he who slaughters, and he knows in his heart he must pay.”
Is this an allegory for Red’s own life? Liz was literally “burned” in the fire, hence the scar on her palm (more on that below); and later in the “Frederick Barnes” episode he says to Liz, “A man who is willing to burn down the world for the one person he cares about, that’s a man I understand.” Yet another revealing quote about Red's true character comes in this last episode, when he says "You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can by its first few chapters, and most certainly by its last", a statement that to me readily defines Red: a good man (which he was before he became the concierge of crime), who lost his way, and is now looking for redemption (hence the Blacklist).

As for Liz’s scar, I personally hadn't noticed this at all, but I found the picture below when searching Google images for The Blacklist. Kudos to whatever brilliant person discovered this! As you can see, Liz’s scar closely resembles, if not exactly matches, the design on the cover of the box Liz found with Tom’s fake passports, gun, cash, etc.; burn or brand? Not sure. The scar obviously bears considerable significance in the story for right upfront in the Pilot, Red makes a point of questioning Liz about it. Red says, tell me about the scar on your palm, and Liz responds, "It was a fire. I was 14" to which Red curiously asks "Someone tried to hurt you?" It's kind of a strange question to ask; I mean if someone says they got hurt in a fire, you wouldn't normally jump to the conclusion that it was a result of an intentional attempt to hurt them; usually you'd assume it was an accident.

Moving on to the crème de la crème “Anslo Garrick” episodes, I wonder what’s up with Red’s curiosity with Ressler and his ex-fiancée, Audrey Bidwell? Up ‘til now it seemed like Red’s sole focus was always Liz, and out of all things why be concerned about Ressler’s love life? More so, why was he so hell bent on saving him? I found it a little curious that they both have the same blood type. What’s up with that? Red even calls attention to the fact saying, what are the odds, after all only 2% of us have that particular type (B-). Hmmm? Food for thought, red herring, or paranoia setting in? I did love the back and forth between Red and Ressler; when Ressler questions doing a field transfusion, and Red is like "Oh, come now Donald. Think how much smarter you'll be afterwards." Love him.

Going back to Audrey, for a split second I thought she might be Lucy Brooks from the ViCAP search, but here they are next to one another, and there is definitely no resemblance there.

Lastly, Alan Alda’s character which I referred to in my last post as Mr. Crowley since that is the name TVGuide had reported, but whom NBC.com is now referring to as Mr. Fitch; anyway, I get a kinda clandestine government agency or CIA vibe from him. I guess it’s yet another question to throw into the mix; who is he, is he responsible for the apple-eating man and what does Red have on him and his organization? Ooh, and don’t you get the feeling that there’s something sketchy about Jane Alexander's character, Diane Fowler, Chief of the D.O.J. Criminal Division? She seemed extremely perturbed about the fact that she was under surveillance. Is she afraid of what someone might have seen her doing?

So many questions, so little time; actually, what am I talking about, we have plenty of time, six weeks to be exact until the next episode. In the interim, I’ll continue watching and rewatching episodes and Googling my way around the net to search for spoilers or bits of news and come back and share with you guys. I’ll leave you all with one bit of good and one bit of bad news about my beloved new show; first for the good, NBC execs aren’t so dumb after all, announcing today that the network ordered a full 22-episode second season of The Blacklist. Hip, hip, hooray! As for the bad news, we’ll only have a few episodes in January before we have to suffer through yet another hiatus when the network has to break for coverage of the Winter Olympics. Boo! Alas, we shall overcome.