The Blacklist recap: Where Curiosity Inevitably Kills the Cat

The cat's out of the bag on Tom's deception and Jolene's secret identity, meanwhile a young boy tries to impress his crush with a cyber-weapon.
Ep. 17 | Aired Mar 24, 2014

Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

Liz has finally mustered up enough suspicion to search Jolene's name in the ViCAP database of violent criminals and discovers that "Jolene" is an alias for Lucy Brooks, who has been convicted of a handful of felonies and most recently ditched her parole officer in Santa Fe two years ago. We still don't know how Jolene/Lucy fits into the larger puzzle of Liz and Red's lives, but in case we need these down the road, her other listed aliases are: Molly Paplow, Kara Lewis, and Erin Lissel. Then to the surprise of us all -- Liz apologizes to Tom for bringing a crazy killer into the house. "You never really know people, do you?" Tom croons as he rubs to Liz's back. (Get me outta here. This is so gross.) Liz is fired up to track down Lucy though, so she's super pleased when Aram tells her he managed to dig up Lucy's cell records and find an address from where she placed her last phone call (i.e. Tom's lair, but Liz doesn't know that.) "Aram, you're amazing," Liz cries and Aram smiles the cutest, widest, most adorable grin. Get him more screen time.

So Liz charges off to check out the address, but for reasons that are entirely inexplicable, she calls Tom before walking into the building. She calls Tom because one would make sure to notify one's 4th grade teacher husband and not one's FBI partner that she's scoping out a known criminal's potential hideout. #ClearHeadedKeen move right there. Then comes a wicked intense scene where Liz walks through Tom's lair always one step away from him, but never able to see him. I was biting my nails off. Right when it seems like she'd leave without seeing him, he makes a noise and when she turns toward it, he bashes her with the door he's hiding behind and then beats her in the back of the head before he runs off. All she catches is that he was about six feet tall, slim and dark-haired -- still she is unable to make the connection. When the police get to the scene, she asks them to forward her the evidence photos, so she can check them out later.

Meanwhile, the Feds have traced the skeleton key to an old lady's house because the hacker had increased her monthly Social Security benefits. Turns out it's her high school-aged grandson, Harrison Leigh, who is the fake-Ivan super-hacker. So why the criminal masterminding? Because he is stalker-level obsessed with a girl in his class who happens to be the daughter of David Fisher, the skeleton key engineer who is moving the family to Colorado next week. But not if Harrison steals the prototype! Or at least that was how his thought-process worked.

You know, usually I'm pretty freaked out by stalker characters (appropriately so, I would say) but this little guy captured my heart. (All I heard was, "Call me. Stalk you.") He seemed sad, not psychotic. I mean, he's obviously a super-genius, of course he's going to be socially awkward. He lured daughter Fisher out of her house once he killed the power to all of Washington D.C. (Life Free Die Hard!) and using Harry Potter's lamppost trick he lit her way into a subway tunnel where he professed his love for her. Unsurprisingly, she recoiled from his intensity and the lonely subway tunnel that she was now trapped in, but the Feds were already there. They chased poor Harrison into a subway car and Liz shot her way into the window of the moving train, which was probably the most badass thing I've ever seen her do. Too bad it was on such a nonsense mission. Liz just barely managed to talk him into saving them from driving off the rails (Taking Pelham 123!). She opened with "It all ends here," the kind of thing you should never say to a suicide case. But she got the job done. (*We never find out what happens to Harrison, but I hope Red hired him and took him under his wing.*)

After it's over, Liz asks Ressler if he wants to get dinner, since she can see he's sad and lonely. But her invitation is for him to third-wheel at a family dinner that Tom is cooking. Lizard, do you think a man who just watched his ex-fiancée bleed to death wants to join you for an intimate couple's dinner??? Obviously not. Why wouldn't she have done the polite thing and offered to skip family dinner and get some casual Chinese take-out with him instead? #ClearHeadedKeen

At the end of the episode Liz goes through a number of tantrums and revelations. First she asks Red for help finding Jolene and he says no. Presumably because he wants her to come to her own conclusions. But we know how Elizabeth Keen's reasoning works (read: faulty), so she accuses Red of bringing Jolene into her life and says, "Before you, my marriage was great. Thank God I have Tom. At least I always know the truth with him. All you ever do is lie to me." Red just says, "I've never lied to you." (If that's a true statement then he can't be her father because he told her point blank that he wasn't.) God, Liz -- I want to punch you in the face. Wake up and smell the lying psychopath. He's not your coworker, he's your husband!! "Have fun with your project," she spits as she storms out of the room. He is still working on the same metal device.

Then she goes home to Tom and he brings up "Jolene's apartment" a.k.a. his hideout. He actually asks about her beating -- or his beating her, rather. How sick is this guy? She tells him that she was knocked down and he goes, "The thought of someone doing that to you... some stranger..." while stroking her face. My skin was crawling off my body.

But then as Tom goes to get a bottle of wine for Liz to drown herself in, she checks her email and finds the photos from the crime scene at Tom's warehouse. One picture in particular shows what was in the trash can and guess what it was? The Uncle Flippo toy she had given Tom that morning.

And right then comes the bolt of lightning. After all this time, after all the clues, this is the final one that clicks it all into place for Liz. Tom is a spy and a killer. Tom is the person that his fake passports and money said he was. Tom is the person that Red said he was. Tom is not at all who she thought he was. "After two years of marriage, I know that face means you're upset," he says looking at her. All I heard was, "You slept with a lying psycho-killer for two years."

She tries to put on a show and cover her facial expression, and he must have bought it because the next thing you know she's out of there and knocking on Red's door. Red was expecting her. He places a shiny wooden music box from the 1940s on the table in front of her, the thing he's been working on all day, and it plays a song she knows from her childhood. She recalls the flashes of fire and smoke from her earliest memories the same flashbacks we've seen before of someone in a black coat carrying a stuffed rabbit through a burning house. Her father used to hum her this song when she was having nightmares, Liz says as she breaks down crying. "You spent days building that damn thing. You knew about the song, about my father. You knew I'd find out the truth and you wanted me..."

Red finishes for her: "To know that everything is okay. You are going to be okay."

Television, does it get any better than this?


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