The Blacklist Review: Tom Bond or School Teacher?

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Who is Tom? And why was that box under the floorboards? 

From the final moment of The Blacklist season premiere, those have been of two of the many mysteries on the show. Even after the box was brought into the open and investigated by the FBI, there aren't clear answers to either of those questions. There's only speculation.

Though, The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 6 did provide insight into both, while causing problems for Red with the FBI and especially with Liz. Will he be able to sweet talk his way out of this one? Probably. He is Raymond "Red" Reddington after all.

The Mystery Box

What do we know about Tom and the box? He was set up. The box wasn't his and it was most likely planted there by Red, at his request, or to frame him. The gun had Gina Zanetakos' print on a casing, the money was traced back to one of Red's bank accounts, and the passports were all fakes.

My first thought was that Red was involved in planting the box, but that shouldn't be taken as a given since all the evidence points directly to him. Why would Gina have a casing with her fingerprint on it in a gun she used in a murder? She wouldn't. And, Red wouldn't have used money that could be traced back to him. 

As unlikely as that seems, that could have been the plan all along. According to Gina, Red hired her to kill the FSB defector to protect his supply lines for his illegal trading business. This was months before Red turned himself into the FBI. And, Tom was set up to take the fall.

Tom had a fake interview with Red's right hand man, he was at the hotel, there was a picture taken of him (though Gina was in it too!), and then the gun that was used was found in his house. Perhaps, Red just underestimated the FBI. Or, he didn't want Tom to be the fall guy in the end, but did want Liz to have doubts about her husband. 

I can only lead you to the truth. I can't make you believe it.


That quote seems to be the key to understanding Red's motivations. He knows something about Tom and it's probably not that he's a Fourth Grade Teacher. Ever since Red first appeared in Liz's life, he's wanted to get Tom out of the picture.

He helped set up Tom's stabbing and when Red's life was on the line, he told her, "But, if I die, you'll never know the truth about your husband.

In addition to the box, Red told Liz that Gina was Tom's lover. And, then Tom's picture just happened to be found by her bed. Not proof of any wrongdoing, but both provided a connection between Gina and Tom. It's always possible that the box was planted to lead Liz to the truth about Gina and Tom. Their relationship could be the truth in all of this. Just because Gina denied knowing him, doesn't make it true.

For the first time, Red's manipulations seemed to have gone awry. Up until this point, he's been able to get Liz, the FBI, and his criminal associates to act to his will. And, now Liz has pushed him away and it's unclear whether the FBI will continue to play his game or not.

The oddest part of this whole situation is that Red actually seemed sincere with Liz. He changed his tune from telling her she shouldn't believe him because he's a criminal to holding her hand and telling her, "You can trust me." And, when she cut him off and told him to go to Hell, he genuinely looked hurt.

One answer does seem to have legitimacy and that's regarding the Apple Man and the Other Guy doing surveillance on the Keen household. They are convinced that Tom's not working for Red, but that he's working for someone. That goes along with everything else we've learned. Though, who's signing their paychecks?

All the answers that were revealed really just led to more questions and muddied up the situation. At least, they were able to protect Houston from a dirty bomb attack and put Gina Zanetakos out of the corporate terrorism business. The rest will have to work itself out over time. 

One thing is guaranteed, Red is not going to give up on his plan for Liz ... whatever that plan may be.

Did Red plant the box? Was it all a set-up? Or did Tom and Gina have a relationship? Should Liz trust Red?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Did I miss something? How did Tom even find the spy-kit box, unless he knew where it was to begin with? We know how Liz found it--taking up the carpet, after it was too bloody to clean--but I can't remember anyone saying how Tom found it.

@ Kathie

That's right! I had completely forgot about that part of the episode. How did he know to look there? Interesting...


If you remember, the picture of Tom in Gina's box was of him only. There was a female arm around him, but that may not have been Gina next to him. I believe Tom is up to something, though it will remain one of the big unknowns for most of the season or beyond. Now, I'm suspicious of Ressler. Why did he shoot Gina (twice) when he knew she was the link to the location of the bomb? Could he be a plant? Was he outing himself when he told the drug dealer in the Stewmaker that he wasn't the one for criminals to kill, but the one they should pay? That would be a huge twist, considering the show is based on questions and mysteries at every turn.


I also (like Boo) think that Red is Lizzy's father. It makes sense. He could have learned that Tom's school teacher identity is a cover up and that he's dangerous. He came out of hiding to talk to, get to know, and protect his daughter. In doing so, he began helping the FBI with individuals on his Blacklist specifically to get immunity to watch over his daughter. Thoughts?

@ Steve

I think your speculation ties things together -- by which I mean that it might be right. The hangup I have figuring things out is that I cannot imagine Red is such an evil character that we viewers will hate him in the end, that anti-heroes are common enough, but that they are always finally likable rogues (as far as the audience is concerned). So, since I can't think that Red is the bad guy (in any storyline or the overall series), it leads me to distrusting Tom as just too snarky goody-two-shoes.


I think Red did plant the box, but that Tom was aware of it for awhile, at least prior to this episode. I think the people watching Liz and Tom are enemies of Red and want to kill/kidnap them to get to Red.


Does anyone else think Red is her father?

@ Boo

I sure hope not, it's too easy.

@ Boo

Yes...see my other post above.


Ressler (the Male Agent) is a fool and a loose cannon. They want to capture Gina Zanetakos yet he shoots her (risking her life) instead of using a Taser on her. I know that it was for dramatic purposes but that does not justify the non-use of the non-lethal Taser Gun.


I don't believe that Tom is innocent.


This is not the end of "reveals" for Tom. There is more there than we know or Liz knows right now. However, there may be another element at work here, one that is opposed to "Red's" plans for Liz, probably whoever is behind the surveillance of Liz and Tom's apartment. One thing for sure, this show does keep you guessing!


This show has so many twists and turns. Red has me completely fooled even though he wants us to know he can't be trusted. Great show.

Sarah silva

I still think Tom is innocent. I think Red had his guy (the one that Tom said interviewed him) go to Gina's apartment and plant that photo to make Liz really think she is his lover as he has to back up the story he told Liz. He also set Tom up by having that guy meet Tom and interview him at the same hotel that Gina killed the FSB defector. Red is obsessed with Liz and tried to set Tom up so that the only person Liz could turn to is him, which worked for a little while.
Now I could be wrong and it could be the total opposite and Tom really is bad and Gina is his other wife and she is protecting Tom. However I really do not want that to be the case.
We will see as the season unfolds what is the true story!
It looks like the guys that set up surveillance are working on there own.

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The Blacklist Quotes

Is it just me or is the human race armed with religion, poisoned by prejudice, and absolutely frantic with hatred and fear, galloping pell-mell back to the Dark Ages? Who on Earth is hurt by a little girl going to school or a child being gay?


You see, this is why I don't go to family reunions. Aunt Lucille is always arguing with Buddy, Uncle Scott is drunk by noon, and someone's hand is always in the wrong cookie jar.