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The Blacklist 4×03 Review: ‘Miles McGrath’

In Thursday’s episode “Miles McGrath” the team and Red continued the hunt for Agnes. Red is still adamant about working on his own, and because of everything that has happened tensions are understandably high.

Let’s talk about Donald Ressler for a minute. He has done everything that has been required of him and more. Ressler has an extremely difficult tightrope to walk. He has to follow FBI protocol and do what his supervisors require, while also doing everything in his power to help Liz and Tom find their baby. He deeply cares for Liz (Tom, not so much, as long time viewers of the Blacklist know) and he, more than almost anyone, wants to see her baby returned safely to her. However hard he works, it never seems to be enough in the eyes of Liz, Tom, Red, and pretty much everyone around him. In “Miles McGrath” the criticism came mostly from Liz.

Now, to be fair to her for a second, she has been through a lot and being separated from her child is a traumatic experience. However, this does not give her or Tom the right to come into FBI headquarters and act like everyone is there to serve them and break whatever rules they need to. The way Tom and Liz acted like Ressler should be able to give them access to all of the files that were found at Kirk’s residence instead of just the few he had clearance for bothered me to no end.

Liz: “Some?! This is our case!”

Tom: “Well we need to see everything.”

Ressler: “Not gonna happen.”

Liz: “Ressler! Why not?”

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I loved that Ressler finally stood up to her demands in his response and wasn’t apologetic about it for once.

“Because you’ve lost your security clearance Keen. And technically both of you guys are victims in this case.”

Liz just looks at him, and I didn’t notice it at first, but Ressler is visibly frustrated and upset when he mutters “Jesus” under his breath.

Liz and Tom didn’t even stop and think for one second what a difficult position Ressler is in. As he said:

“You know what, dig in. As it is I’m violating federal code and I could go to jail for even showing you what I have.”

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I mean they couldn’t even give Ressler a simple “thank you for giving us what you could”? They should know that Ressler is doing everything he can to help them, as he always has even when it has put his life in danger, but FBI protocol still exists, and they wouldn’t be able to get any information if he didn’t follow the rules and lost his job.

I just hope Ressler continues to stand up to them until they realize how unfair they’ve been and how much they’ve been taking him for granted. All I know is they are going to have to give Ressler the apology of the century if I’m going to be able to forgive them.

Ressler wasn’t the only one that Liz and Tom had some friction with in this episode. Aram and Samar saw Liz for the first time since her death. And they had some pretty extreme reactions.

Liz: “We never meant to hurt anybody.”

Samar: “I think you didn’t care who you hurt.

I’m completely with Samar on this one. Some things you can just brush off and say you never meant to hurt anybody, but faking your own death and lying about it to people who have risked their lives to protect you is not one of those things.

Liz tries to justify it by saying:

“We knew what pain it would cause and we did it anyway to protect our daughter. I know you may not accept it, but I hope you can at least understand.”

Talk about an apology that’s not really an apology. There were so many other ways that Liz and Tom could have dealt with the situation besides Liz faking her death. The team could have at least been a part of it. Or honestly the best move would have been to tell Red that they needed to go into hiding to protect Agnes. Red would have understood completely, respected Liz’s wishes and helped her and Tom find a safe place to go with his skill and expertise.

Of course Aram’s reaction is to give Liz a hug, because he’s the sweetest guy on earth, but even he harbors some resentment towards Liz as he said later:

“I don’t hate you Liz, but I do hate what you did.”

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Liz came back expecting everyone to just be happy to see her and accept a simple “sorry” and move on, but she’s got a lot of work to do make those who loved her even like her again.

Now let’s talk about Samar briefly. I think her request for a transfer is completely justified. Liz’s betrayal hurt her deeply, and there are some things that you can’t move past with people. Samar realizes that working with Liz might hinder her ability to perform her job properly, so she decides to move on. However, I do have a problem with the writers making it seem that her final decision to transfer was made because she found out that Aram was sleeping with another woman. I mean, really? Samar is so much stronger than that. She wanted to talk to Aram about her decision to transfer, and she just sends the request because Aram was with another woman for one night?

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I’m proud of Aram for moving on and not waiting around for her anymore, but he obviously still has feelings for her, and for Samar to change her whole life and leave everyone behind based on Aram is completely unlike her. She has many valid reasons for wanting a transfer, but her relationship with Aram is not one of them, and shouldn’t be made to seem like it is.

Finally let’s talk about the plot twist that came at the end of the episode. After a lot of confusion over Kirk’s motivation for going so far to get Liz back to him, we finally know what his true motives are. Red imparts the revelation to Liz and Tom that Kirk is dying and the only way to extend his life is through the Rebowski Virus. In order to get this virus he needs a genetic donation from one of his biological descendants. That is why he worked so hard to get to Liz, and now that she escaped, that’s why he is holding on to Agnes.

Now, Liz finally realizes that she was beginning to put her trust in the wrong person, even when Tom, Ressler, and Red had all expressed doubts as to Kirk’s motives. Turns out all of the things he did to get to Liz were motivated by desperation to save his own life, not to get to know his daughter at all, just like we all thought. Hopefully after this statement by Red, Liz realizes that she shouldn’t have lied to him and tried to get away from him.

“That’s what you are to him. A collection of cells. This isn’t about saving you from me, this is about saving you for him.”

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Red and her friends in the task force are really the only ones who can keep her safe when they work together, and by faking her death Liz was throwing that all away. Maybe now, this revelation will be a wake up call for her.

It looks like Red and the team are getting closer to finding Agnes in the next episode, and hopefully this means more answers about Kirk. There really wasn’t much of a development with Mr. Kaplan, besides her being found by a man in the woods, so we can only assume he’s taking her to get help. Hopefully we get to see more of her recovery soon. Here’s a look at the trailer for Thursday’s episode.

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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