The Blacklist Review: Why Me?

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The Blacklist shook things up a bit this week with a case that fell into Red's lap.

The first two investigations Red gave to the FBI were targets that he selected and presented to them. This time, the mysterious Chinese spy, "Wujing," reached out to Red for help decrypting a stolen CIA message and Red wanted Liz to go undercover to bring Wujing down.

Red's New Mission

I'm not sure if the origin of the case is the reason or not, but this investigation wasn't nearly as engaging as the previous pair. There weren't any unexpected twists in the end. Perhaps my disappointment comes from the expectation that Red would always be using the FBI to complete his own angle.

In this case, when he told Liz to leave the decryption box behind, I thought the device was being exchanged. Red made a payment with a bomb in the series premiere, so why not a decryption device? It wasn't. It was just about revealing the CIA asset's name, so the Chinese could kill him.

Red's motivations continue to be intriguing. He will only work with Liz. He's willing to put her life at risk, but he also will kill to protect her. He could have turned Wujing's request for help down, instead he brought it to the FBI. Whether or not he wanted Wujing caught or not is questionable, since it was Liz's quick thinking to leave her tracking patch on Wujing's car that led to his capture. 

The FBI took down a dangerous criminal who they didn't even know existed and Red got his payment from Wujing for a job well done. This is where the twist -- a mild one -- was revealed. Red's payment was six digits: 042983. They could mean anything, but at first glance they look like a date. April 29, 1983. They could just as easily be the combination to a locker full of cash or a password.

It's just another mystery to be added to the many that involve Raymond "Red" Reddington. The major question that both Liz and viewers have is why is Red interested in Liz. What is their connection? A telling clue was revealed.

Red: What's the question?
Liz: Why me?
Red: Because of your father. | permalink

Many viewers believe that Red is Liz's father. While I believe it's possible, I doubt the answer is that obvious or simple. And, I hope that he isn't her father for that reason, though I'm sure the writers could find a way to make even that answer shocking. My guess is that he's either a family member or someone that knew her criminal father. Or, was responsible for what happened to her father.

Liz seemed content with his response ... for now. She's not going to be patient for long, unless she becomes distracted with the other mysteries and lies in her life. She doesn't understand her connection to Red, but even more worrisome is the truth about her husband. Who is Tom? And, did he marry her out of love? Or, some hidden reason?

Tom presents himself as a teacher, but there's clearly much more to the story. Given that the gun was used in a classified homicide, it's still unclear whether he's on the right or wrong side of the law. Of course, there's always the possibility that Tom's being set up. 

Red was involved in the attack on Tom, so it wouldn't be far-fetched to believe that he put the box under the floorboards. That would be an ideal way to isolate Liz from her husband and push her closer to Red. 

The situation has become even more complicated now that an unknown person and/or entity has bugged the Keen household to watch and listen to their every move. Who's responsible for that? The FBI? Agent Ressling proved that he's suspicious of Liz, so he could have ordered it. Or, is it Red wanting to keep an eye on his beloved Liz? 

Even though the Chinese spy case wasn't all that compelling, "Wujing," overall was riveting due to the secrets, lies, and mysteries surrounding the main players. With each new answer, more questions are raised. I'm not sure there's anyone that Liz should trust right now besides herself.


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (146 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Balaji I don't know what is going with Tom/Liz/Red but I am loving it. Will be interesting to see what it is. Red did make Liz wonder about Tom: maybe had Tom stabbed or shot on rug so that Liz would have to remove the rug and find the box. Which means Red has been to Liz and Tom place before and does know Tom as well as Liz! I love shows that have great writing and don't dumb down their audience. The writers on Grimm could take a lesson! Oops didn't mean to get on my Grimm soapbox. Next weeks show looks awsome.


I had a couple thoughts (1) I think it would be fine if he is her father and she finds out and couldn't tell her, or, and what seemed possible from the previews from next week, he tells the FBI team to save her and demands as part of his deal they not tell her (2) he suspects he could be her father, but is really just not sure or (3) the guy with the apple who is running the surveillance on either Tom or Liz, or both, is her father. I am guessing in the next couple episodes someone asks about her memories about her father and she only remembers a few things but that he always smelled like apples.


It will be really interesting to see how long they can keep this intrigue up, without coughing up some answers. But this show's long-term success definitely hinges on that, and how little of Red they reveal from time-to-time. He's the reason to keep coming back to this show. Spader has the role nailed down to a T.


Grimm, What if Tom was planted by Red to protect Liz? That sounds dumb alright, but would explain why Tom hasn't been checking out the box, because he knows that Liz already knows about it. As I said last week, everybody in this show has something to hide, and that is what makes it so compelling. Everybody knows a lot about Liz and her past. She's like an open book. But she knows absolutely nothing of value about everybody she knows. Plus, there's also Red's assertion last week, "What if I told you everything you knew about yourself was a lie?" How much of Liz's past is actually true? What connection does Red have with her? I am pretty sure he's not the father, because that would make this show a one-trick pony, and they have a lot more to it by the looks of it. So it cannot be "that" simple. It will be really interesting to see how long they can keep this intrigue up, without coughing up some answers. But this show's long-term success definitely hinges on that, and how little of Red they reveal from time-to-time. He's the reason to keep coming back to this show.


I don't think Red is Liz's dad. It is interesting to see what is the connection. Tried to get a good look at apple eating guy in computers at the end but did not. Ok if Tom is super spy like they tring to say why did he get beat almost to death. If he is super spy I think he would have been a better fighter. Loved the fight scene with Agent Ressling. I agree the name on the blacklist wasn't that great this week but other parts of the show made up for it. One other thing Liz kepts looking and Tom box but Tom never looks at the box to see that someone has been in it. Not very super spy to me.


@ Mrs Alex - I don't think Tom is being set up anyway, but if he is, it couldn't be Red doing it (I think) because (why I think) it would be unforgivable, so that he would alienate Liz when the show is suggesting he has some past tie to her (hinting, so probably a red herring, that he's her father -- but at least through her "real" father as, I think, her real father wouldn't have burned her). I mean, he killed somebody to protect her, would he go after her mate (when my experience is if I even say, "It's possible you have a point" to one of my female relatives when she's complaining or crying about a male friend or mate they explode on me in defense of him!).

Sarah silva

This was a decent episode.
This is what I think is going on, Tom is a teacher and is innocent, someone (Red perhaps)is setting him up, the guy that stabbed him planted the box and the contents in it. Full well knowing that Liz will confront him sooner rather than later, he will say he is innocent she will not believe him and kick him out of the house and then the only person she will be able to turn to is Red.
So we will see how the season plays out.


"With each new answer, more questions are raised" ............and that is why this show is so compelling .........the opening sequence of this episode had me going WHOAAAAAAAAA....... I, too, don't know if I am buying yet that Red could be Liz's father.....I have a feeling the season finale will have us on the edge of knowing the exact reason why Red is so obsessed with Liz........ Now her co-worker is suspicious of her.......I think he is behind that surveilance ...... Can't wait to see what happens next..........and I am glad they present this with limited commericals..............

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The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Red: What's the question?
Liz: Why me?
Red: Because of your father.

I have you.