Shared Custody? | The Blacklist “Esteban” Review

James Spader is back as Raymond Reddington, and Elizabeth Keen is finding herself torn between her supposed father, Alexander Kirk, and her father figure for the past few years, Reddington. Tom and Agnes are also caught up in this custody battle, and the FBI task force in DC is shocked at Liz’s betrayal.

After hearing of Liz’s survival, Red immediately heads to her new home in Cuba. Unfortunately Alexander Kirk has already gotten to her, Tom, and Agnes. Kirk is trying to speak with Liz and convince her that he’s her father. Liz is not swayed by anything he’s saying. Kirk even brings up the fact that he has proof that Reddington is not her father, despite having an affair with her mother. And once again, Kirk reminds Liz that he’s doing all of this to get her away from Reddington.

When will Red understand that he’s actually the problem in Liz’s life? Mr. Kaplan has tried to remind him of this fact, but he won’t hear it. Instead he mocks her when he says, “The cleaner suddenly fancies herself the strategist.” I’m afraid that Red won’t want to keep Mr. Kaplan around for much longer, especially if she keeps telling he that he has to let Liz go.

Photo from the episode "Esteban"

Photo from the episode “Esteban”

While Liz is already with Kirk, Tom and Agnes are still in route with some of Kirk’s men. Of course, Tom makes it pretty difficult on them and eventually escapes. He calls Kirk to tell him that he’s coming to get his wife and daughter, and he’s bringing an army with him.

The blacklister this week, Manuel Esteban, was actually more of a background character. Esteban is a Chilean spy master. Although the FBI database has him listed as being dead, he’s very much alive. It seems that the US government has put Esteban on the payroll. Red uses Esteban to get information on Kirk and Liz, since Esteban has his finger on the pulse of everything happening in Cuba. Meanwhile, Ressler goes down to Cuba to assist with gathering intel from Esteban. Red agrees to let Esteban go as long as his information on Liz pans out.

Sadly, Red and crew are too late to get to Liz and Kirk. They leave in a seaplane, without Tom or Agnes. Mr. Kaplan rescues Agnes from a woman hired by Kirk, and they leave hoping to find safety. But, safety never finds them. Out of nowhere, one of Kirk’s men T-bones their car and steals Agnes back. Mr. Kaplan and Red both appear to be pretty banged up. At this point, it’s unclear where Tom ended up, so hopefully he can help take down Kirk and be reunited with his family.

Photo from the episode "Esteban"

Photo from the episode “Esteban”

Liz’s friends at the FBI all have mixed feelings about her faked death. They had all mourned her at her funeral. Cooper tries to keep a level head knowing that they need to help Liz and her family get home safe. Aram is having the most difficult time understanding why Liz had to lie to him. Even when he helped Tom track Kirk’s men, he couldn’t help but ask if Tom knew. Tom was there for Aram after Liz’s death, and I’m worried that Aram feels like he can no longer trust anyone.

Samar finds herself on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. She refuses to go down to Cuba with Ressler and provide help to Liz and her family. Samar feels that Liz made her choices, and she needs to live with the consequences. I’m not sure if Aram’s infatuation with Samar will hold up after their discussion. Samar sounds harsh as if she doesn’t care about Liz and her family, but Aram knows better. He reminds Samar, “If you don’t help and something happens to Agent Keen or Agnes… I know you… You won’t be able to live with yourself.”

Editor's Rating

Overall 80%
The Blacklist came back swinging, but I’m worried that we will spend too much time watching Kirk and Red fight over Liz. Previews for the coming weeks promise to have one surprise after another, and I can’t wait to start seeing them. I really appreciated that Ressler couldn’t stand to let Esteban get away, so he called in an anonymous tip before Esteban could flee Cuba. What did everyone think of the season premiere for The Blacklist? What are you ready to see this season? Do you think we will find out who Liz’s father is once and for all?
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Jenny Lampe

Jenny Lampe

I'm a TV and movie enthusiast. I enjoy all genres and try to keep up to date on the latest hits. Follow me on Twitter at @JennyLampe.