Last night's episode of The Blacklist was hands down one of the most intense of the show's third season. If you haven't watched, be forewarned there are MAJOR spoilers ahead, so proceed at your own risk.
Liz and Tom's wedding was over before it really got started. Mr. Solomon and his men surrounded the church, and at the end of last week's episode, Tom and Liz fled in that really cool car that used to belong to Aram's grandfather.
I say used to because it smashed into the back of a box truck. It was this mishap that caused Liz to go into early labor and need an emergency C-section in the back of an abandoned nightclub.
However, as only Reddington could provide, she was surrounded with the best medical staff and equipment as well as a team of armed men ready to prevent Solomon and his mysterious benefactor from kidnapping Liz and her soon-to-be-born child.
Little Agnes Keen was born and we got to see the Keens happily cooing over their baby for a hot second before all hell broke loose.
In the week leading up to this episode, The Blacklist teased us that one of these two wouldn't make it out alive: Liz or her baby. Not for one second did I think that it would be Elizabeth Keen to take her last breath. But it was, and the Blacklisters in the twittersphere were rocked.
In a heart-pounding (and heartbreaking) scene, the decoy ambulance carrying Liz, Raymond, and Nick (her doctor ex-boyfriend who is now on Red's payroll) is surrounded by Solomon's men; Raymond is frantically trying to keep Liz alive. As the task force and FBI arrive and take out Solomon's group, they make it to the van and open the back doors to Raymond grieving over Liz's body.
As the news spreads out across the task force, Samar, Ressler, Aram, and Cooper all have their moments of breaking down. Whether it was subtle like Ressler, or shaky like Samar's, nothing could touch the way Raymond Reddington said goodbye to his Elizabeth. James Spader is something else — it was superb acting.
Elizabeth Keen wasn't killed off The Blacklist for no reason. In fact, I really don't think she will stay dead very long. While most may feel this is a cheesy soap opera tactic having a character rise from the dead, let me explain why The Blacklist needed her dead — at least for now:
1. Megan Boone's Pregnancy
Sure, most actresses can easily get written off their show for a pregnancy hiatus; it is a very common practice. However, when the female lead needs maternity leave on a show like The Blacklist, you have a unique opportunity to include it in the show to further the plot. Killing off Liz gives Megan time to have her own baby and the show a chance to use her absence to build mystery. Red promised to tell her everything when things were OK. With her dead, things won't be OK, so Reddington doesn't have to spill his secrets — yet.
2. Someone wants Liz and/or her baby
Not knowing who freed Mr. Solomon to go after Liz is the big question here. Red insists it was NOT Katarina Rostova (Liz's mom). So if not her, who? If Liz's death is fake (which I truly believe it was), going this far to present her as deceased could certainly throw off her potential kidnapper from abducting her. But what about the baby — who will make sure little Agnes Keen doesn't get taken by the same crazy person?
3. Raymond Reddington's revenge plan & Tom Keen's spin-off
We all know Reddington won't idly sit by after Liz's "death." I don't believe he was in on the plot to fake it. In fact, I think it was partially done to not only get her away from her kidnapper, but Raymond too. Hiding Liz from both of those forces, will pit them against each other. If they take each other out, so be it. Really it is the best solution to protect Liz and Agnes in the long run. However, that doesn't address the issue of Tom Keen and Mr. Solomon being the two new main conflicting characters on the upcoming spin-off from Jon Bokenkamp. Liz's death gives his character an out, but will Tom have Agnes in that new world with him, or will he leave the baby in more capable hands? I doubt it would be Red, but would Tom give her up for adoption to protect her?
Regardless of how you spin Liz's death — real, not real, who knows — it was a very powerful episode. The Blacklist delivered on its promotional tease in a way that I never thought they would. I think Liz's death is a great plot point and I'm excited to see how the rest of the season plays out!