The Blacklist 4×08 Review: ‘Dr. Adrian Shaw: Conclusion’

So last night was the fall finale. “Dr. Adrian Shaw: Conclusion” seemed to answer most, if not all of our questions, but did it really? At the end of the episode Kirk, while torturing Red, asks if he is Liz’s father. Red answers:

“What do you want me to say?” “Yes. She is my daughter.”

Now, in any other circumstances I would have said that this finally gave us the answer. But because Red started this revelation with “What do you want me to say” I’m not so sure. He could have just been saying whatever he thought Kirk needed to hear in order to get the torture to stop. Later, when Liz says, “You told me my father died when I was a little girl…I just…I guess i didn’t want to believe it.” he doesn’t correct her. You would think after all of this, Red would finally tell her the truth. Now that everything has happened with Kirk, wouldn’t he want to make sure she knows who her father is once and for all so something like that never happens again? It just doesn’t seem to add up to me.

So technically, I guess they gave us the answer in “Dr. Adrian Shaw: Conclusion” but I’m still not really satisfied.

Also, what happened to Kirk? When Liz and Ressler get to the warehouse where Red was being held, he and Kirk have both disappeared. Red shows up to Liz and Tom’s apartment later, and when Liz asks if Kirk is dead all Red says is :

“He’s gone.”

Image result for what? gif

What does that mean? Did Red let him go? Did he disappear?

Well, whatever it is, I honestly hope we never see Kirk again, because he was really starting to get on my nerves. He was so obsessed with Liz that he didn’t take Red’s offer to save his life. Red gave him a possible cure for his fatal disease, and he refused it in order to torture Red and find out who really was her father. Why does it matter so much? They were separated for years. Liz didn’t remember him, and all he’s done since they met again was make her life miserable. Why does he keep acting like he cares? Red has been the one protecting her this whole time, and whether or not he’s her father biologically that makes him her father.

And another thing. Why is everyone so obsessed with Liz? She’s just a person, and she’s gotten through her life up to this point just fine without knowing who her father is. She doesn’t appreciate everything that Red has done to keep her alive and safe, and she doesn’t respect her friends on the task force either. They all risk their lives over and over again for her, and all she usually focuses on is what they didn’t do or didn’t tell her. Red let Kirk kidnap and torture him just to keep Liz safe, and she didn’t seem to think much of it. She did say “I’ll come for you.” and got Ressler to help her find the warehouse where he was being held, but again it just seems like she takes his sacrifice for granted. The whole season up to this point she has spent her time calling Red a liar, calling him names and saying she doesn’t ever want to see him again. Then he endures torture and near death for her, and they just go back to normal.

This has to stop at some point, because Red isn’t the only person she does this to. She does it to the entire task force. Every time she needs help with a personal problem, she asks the task force to help her, and they do. Because Ressler, Aram, Samar, and Harold all care about her. Even after she made them believe she was dead, and all of the times they have risked their lives for her, they still continue to help, with little or nothing given in return. When was the last time Liz helped any of them with a personal problem? I can’t even remember, because the focus is always on her.

Now I get she is the main character and the focus of the show, but in order to make the show strong as a whole, the other characters need to be developed. We hardly know anything about Ressler’s background besides the one story about his father that he told last season, and the one time he was struggling with pain pill addiction after the death of his girlfriend. Those were both very interesting and moving story-lines that haven’t been touched on since. Last season we learned about Samar’s brother and a little bit of her background in that regard, but again, nothing since. Harold had a great story arc last season when the leader of the Kabal convinced him that he was dying of a brain tumor, which turned out to be a complete fabrication. He has also had trouble with his wife, which hasn’t been touched on this season so far at all. We don’t even know if they are still separated or if they have reconciled. Finally, we don’t know anything about Aram. His backstory has never been focused on. Besides the one story line with his girlfriend this season, we don’t really know anything about him.

Just a side not to all of this. I really do love James Spader and Megan Boone and Liz and Red’s relationship, I just think it really needs to be balanced with the other characters. It’s time for Dembe to have a lot more lines, it’s time for Ressler to stop standing in the background and just  being the agent who does everyone’s work when they need it. It’s time for Liz to remember that they used to be partners when she was on the task force, and they owe their lives to each other. As soon as it was convenient, she just abandoned him for Tom, even after everything they had been through. It’s time for Samar to stop standing in the background, with her only character development being her relationship with Aram. This show used to be so good at developing all of their characters. There’s a reason Ressler became my favorite, and it wasn’t because he stood in the background looking gorgeous. All of these characters had depth and development, and the show has lost sight of that just to focus on the Liz and Red drama.

I’m hoping that the second half of this season will focus on the stories of the other characters now that the drama over “Who is Liz’s father” is over. Some fans stopped watching the show after the episode last night, and I understand why. They are tired of waiting for answers, and the same worn out story lines being revisited over and over again. They are tired of having characters overlooked, and plot developments that don’t make sense. Now, I am not one of those people who has become so disillusioned with the show that I am not going to watch it anymore. I still love the characters, and a lot of the writing, and I think there is still a lot of value left in it, and a lot of good stories still to be told. Yes, it has had it’s weak moments, but I think if they can go back to their roots and focus on what made this show great, it can have the quality and be just as thrilling as it used to.

The preview for the second half of the season looks promising. It turns out that there’s a mole on the team who has been secretly feeding information to enemies of the FBI and enemies of Red. This means that one of our main characters, Ressler, Samar, Aram, Liz, or Red has been lying all along. Now, after watching the preview, my money is on either Samar or Red. Ressler looks too scared and confused about what is happening to have done it himself, and I couldn’t imagine Aram every doing anything like that. He just doesn’t have the personality, and he’s terrible at lying, but it would be quite the plot twist if it was him.

Image result for that's it i quit gif

If something wild and crazy happens and it does turn out to be Ressler, that would be the final straw for me, because it would go against everything his character has always stood for. It could be Red, because he always works according to his own agenda, and it could be Samar because she considered leaving the task force and expressed displeasure with almost everyone on the team, but that could be just how the preview makes it look. Scenes are sometimes taken out of context and made to look a certain way in order to confuse viewers before they see the episode. So we’ll just have to wait and see!

Also, Mr. Kaplan’s kidnapper finally let her go, so we’ll see how all of that plays out with her and Red. It turns out he wasn’t really that weird, just trying to make sure no one came after him once she left. He did still chain her to the bed, but never had an intention of harming her. He just helped her to get better and sent her on her way. I actually ended up feeling sorry for the guy. He seemed really sad when left, after they had had dinner together the past couple of nights. However, he did choose to live in the middle of the woods by himself, so he could change that if he really wanted to.

Anyway, here’s the preview for the episode that airs on January 5th. It’s going to be  along hiatus, but watch the preview yourself and let me know, who do you think is the mole?

The Blacklist returns January 5th at 10/9c on NBC.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.