Review: Mr. Kaplan Returns on ‘The Blacklist’ While Liz Looks for ‘Leonard Caul’

Liz Keen handles big decisions while Reddington fights for his life. Photo: NBC

Liz Keen (Megan Boone) handles big decisions while Reddington (James Spader) fights for his life. Photo: NBC

Caution: This review contains spoilers on “The Blacklist.”

The typically unscathed Raymond Reddington (James Spader) took a bullet to the chest in last week’s cliffhanger of “The Blacklist.” His death would mean the end of the show, but with the news of a third season, that outcome seemed unlikely. there was still plenty of suspense to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Agent Keen’s call for help is interrupted by Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), who gets her to dial *77. Their rescuer is none other than Mr. Kaplan, who is usually dispensed by Red to take away the dead bodies. In this case, she is at hand to gather the medical team at an empty warehouse. There’s also a sequence with a creepy fellow who has been keeping surveillance on Reddington, Liz, and Tom.

Red charges Liz with finding Leonard Caul (Ned Van Zandt), who can help with the Fulcrum. Dembe asks Liz to go to an apartment and find a metal case and a key. With Reddington out for most of the episode, Mr. Kaplan and Liz step in to fill that space. Susan Blommaert is quite brilliant as Mr. Kaplan and like Red, she is “prepared for all contingencies.” Additionally, her devotion to Red is clear despite her generally cool and calculating disposition. Megan Boone can sometimes be a hit or miss when the focus is on her. This week, however, she delivered a strong performance as Liz, making the tough, split second decisions sorely needed to protect Red after their secret locations are blown and a surgeon dies. She has to resort to assistance not from one ex this time, but two exes: predictably from Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) and bitter surgeon, Nick (Piter Marek). Liz was proposed to by a doctor before?!

Red’s lodgings are pretty interesting, with respect to his taste in art and furnishings. As an art history major, I couldn’t help but notice Pieter de Hooch’s “Woman Hands Over Money to her Servant.” It looks like there is a child on the far right of the Dutch domestic scene. The other important image in the room is a photo of a woman with a child. There’s a bit of sun glare but a perturbed Liz certainly recognizes the individuals and snaps a photo of it.

Liz Keen (Megan Boone) looks for a special key. Credit: NBC

Liz Keen (Megan Boone) looks for a special key. Note my blue arrows. Credit: NBC

Leonard Caul was a former government operative; how surprising, yet another secret task force! He arrives soon after with a gun on Liz. Thankfully, Caul is an ally of Reddington, there to reveal the contents of the Fulcrum: information all about the dirty work of the Kabal, the organization headed by the Director, and perhaps others. If it’s as big as everyone hints, is it another blacklist? They head back to Red’s location, only to find another deadly team ready to strike. However, it’s a very strong moment for Liz, when she asks Caul to drive her to Langley to interrupt one of the Director’s (David Strathairn) meetings with the President’s staff no less. The Director, like many others, has underestimated Liz Keen. Her big stunt forces him to call off the attack on Red just in time.

While the Director may has lost this round, he and the Kabal will likely hit back in full force next week. For starters, Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) appears to have lost an ally: soon-to-be Attorney General Tom Connolly (Reed Birney) has been tapped for the empty seat at the Kabal. Connolly’s move is rather predictable here; he’s always come off as an opportunist rather than a true friend for Harold. It may pose some problems for the team, but Harold is better off without Connolly in the end.

Aside from taking on the Kabal, Liz will probably continue her search for answers. Tom has offered to help, but things never seem straight forward with both Tom Keen and Raymond Reddington in the picture.

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