The Blacklist 4×12 Review: ‘Natalie Luca’

Last night’s episode ‘Natalie Luca’ was chalk full of foreshadowing. Red gave a whole speech about how he feels that death is coming for him soon, something hovering around him that he can’t pinpoint. Tom completed the task that Red had given him and came back home to Liz, talking about how he wasn’t going anywhere and all he cared about was keeping their family safe. Both of these statements seem incredibly ominous and shouldn’t be take lightly. Especially if Red feels like death is coming for him, then you know something huge is about to happen. Hardly anyone threatens him and gets away with it, so something that has him this rattled is a big deal.

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One part of ‘Natalie Luca’ that I think is important to discuss was the interaction between Aram and Samar. Samar is finally starting to open up to him, and it has been a long time coming. She’s been taking him for granted really since the very beginning , and she’s just now finally starting to notice everything he’s done for her. The interaction between these two came in a really interesting way. Samar was upset because her and Aram’s paychecks had gotten mixed up in the accounting department, and she saw that Aram was making 32% more than her. She was upset, which I support if she should be getting equal pay, but I think the difference is that Aram is a tech agent, and they would generally be expected to make quiet a bit more than a field agent.

I would like to see Ressler and Samar compare paychecks to see if there is inequality there, because that would be an incredibly interesting plot point considering they are both field agents. It would be a great opportunity for the show to explore unequal pay for women. However, in this case the issue was really more of a catalyst for a romantic encounter between Samar and Aram. Aram believed that Samar should get a raise, and so he set it up with accounting to give her 16% of his pay in order for her to have a raise.

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Now this is a sweet gesture and made for a romantic moment, but I don’t really think that you can just give someone else part of your paycheck in reality, and it also kind of trivializes the issue of the wage gap. Suddenly the problem is solved because Aram offers to give her his pay? Really not an appropriate way to address the issue at all. If they’re going to address unequal pay, I really would like to see them do it properly later.

One thing that bothered me in this episode (once again) is how Ressler is basically ignored. It’s been a continuing pattern on the show for a while now, and it’s really starting to get to me. Ressler is the only one who isn’t being given character development or even hardly any lines. Samar and Aram are continuing to develop their relationship, Liz and Tom are developing theirs (which is another issue altogether, more on that later) and Red is dealing with the threat to his criminal organization and also going through some pretty intense emotional development.

All Ressler gets to do is stand in the background, and occasionally question and tackle some suspects. He hardly interacts with the other characters, and nothing about his personal life or emotions is discussed whatsoever. I really don’t understand why they’ve sidelined him, but as I do every week, I hope that something changes soon, because wasting the chance to develop such a complex and beautiful character would be a tragedy.

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Now this brings me to the relationship between Liz and Tom. Tom is obviously having a hard time not having the super spy lifestyle that he used to. He jumped at the chance to go on the mission for Red, and he later told Liz that that’s who he is. Liz is very uncomfortable with this, and I do think if Tom wants to have a family, he’s going to need to learn to adjust to being a father and give up that dangerous life. However, it kind of came out of nowhere, because in the last episode, she told him to keep his passports and that she was fine with him being a spy because she knows that’s who he is. Inconsistency aside, it looks like there’s some rocky times ahead for the Keens.

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Personally, I would much rather they spent time developing stories for the other characters, like Ressler, instead of focusing on the tiresome Liz/Tom drama so much.

This brings me to the main focus of ‘Natalie Luca’. There’s still someone out there trying to destroy Red. It turns out that that person is a woman named Isabella Stone, who targets people like Red and tries to destroy their reputation completely. Red is her next target, and it seems like she’s going to be a formidable opponent since this was Red’s reaction when he heard her name:

Do you mind if I sit here for a bit? I really don’t think I could stand up right now.”


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In the promo for next week it looks like we’ll get to find out whether or not Red can gain the upper hand against her. Watch the promo below, and I’ll see you all next Thursday!

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

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