At the end of this week's episode, The Blacklist gave us a glimpse of a Red Reddington (James Spader) we haven't seen before: a contrite, dare we say ashamed, Red. Is the world's most dangerous criminal turning over a new leaf?
After a list of people who are in the Witness Protection Program gets stolen, Red and the FBI coordinate to have Liz (Megan Boone) infiltrate "The Harem" — a group of Robin Hood-esque female thieves who steal from other criminals — in order to recover it. As Liz later discovers, Red already has another plant in the group, but she seems to have turned on him, so he calls Liz up from the bench.
When all is said and done, and a number of people have been arrested or killed, Red gets the list back and safely returns it to the FBI via Liz. But Liz is starting to have moral qualms about the FBI essentially enabling Red to commit heinous acts of violence week after week. She assumes he engineered the theft because he wanted to exact revenge on one of the people on the list. "I'm just supposed to look the other way, right?" Liz asks, before playing her trump card and accusing him of killing the member of the Harem who betrayed him, "just like you killed Mr. Kaplan."
Her words land like a punch to Red's gut, but actually, she's got it all wrong. Red explains that one of the names on the list was Mr. Kaplan's (Susan Blommaert) sister, who was put in Witness Protection after her "wrong place, wrong time" eyewitness testimony brought some Russian criminals to justice. And, yes, he was trying to recover the list — but to protect her, not harm her. "I didn't need to find her," he earnestly explains to Liz. "I just needed to make sure no one else can."
Liz is less than moved, however, pointing out that this doesn't absolve Red of all his past misdeeds, and he agrees. After Liz leaves, Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) confesses to Red that he told Liz about Mr. Kaplan's (supposed) murder because he felt it was important for her to know. Red seems unfazed and even amenable to this notion.
But before he can go to deep into his Man in the Mirror moment, Red learns that he may have more pressing problems on his hands: One of Red's accountants has suddenly dropped dead, supposedly of a "heart attack" (yeah, right), and a large chunk of Red's money has gone missing. In the words of Mr. Reddington: "Someone killed him — someone determined to start a war."
Looks like it would be in Red's best interests for his vengeful side to stay intact for the time being.
The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.