The Blacklist 2.04 Review: The Warrior Gene

by Mel BiJeaux / October 14, 2014

I have to say, this episode of The Blacklist infuriated me in a very good way. It made me question everything, right down to the editing of the scenes. Which is probably exactly what they wanted but still, I was pulling my hair out at the end of this.

There seems to be a plethora of wackadoo doctors on Red’s blacklist, one right after another. And like Liz discovered last season, most, if not all, of the blacklist numbers correlate to Red’s master plan of clearing the chess board for his and Berlin’s showdown. Now it seems that some of these blacklisters have something to do with Liz’s past and her future. No wonder Liz spends most of her days raging into the wind at Red’s forethought because if this guy is that far ahead of the game, she’ll never catch up.

Let’s talk about how Red maneuvers Naomi and her philandering husband into Red’s Witness Protection program. I have no doubt the reason he wants to spirit Naomi away is half because he knows Liz will find her eventually, but also to protect her from being used by Berlin again. And it was a true testament to Red still caring deeply for the woman that he didn’t just kill her husband right off, after discovering the reason he won’t leave is because of his mistress.

The case revolving around Dr. Linus Creel’s (David Costabile) research on how to turn ordinary people into super killing machines was all kinds of MK-Ultra in a brave new world. Costabile is compelling and almost vulnerable as Creel, and as far as the wackadoo doctors on Red’s list, he almost inspires empathy. Until you see how he pushes people with the “Warrior Gene” to the brink and watches them take out as many innocents around them as they can.

You can argue that Red put Liz on Creel’s case because he wanted her to discover somethings about herself and perhaps her marriage to Tom. It is hinted that she’s got the warrior gene, which isn’t surprising at all.

What is surprising is all the innuendo about Liz and Red’s relationship in this episode, whether from character’s mouths, or from the editing of the shots. Red wants to know where Naomi’s daughter is – never does he say “our daughter” and Naomi is careful to point out that this Jennifer person is HER daughter. Interesting. And the fact that Naomi knows about Liz and knew about Liz long before she and Red parted ways years earlier. Naomi talks like Liz was even a part of their lives in some way when she and Red were married!

Then Creel talks to Liz about her possible warrior gene and “the sins of the father” and why she’s taking the route she’s on in life, as if it’s being molded by her birth parents – and then they cut to a scene of Red. Okay Show, enough with the foreshadowing.

As far as that aggravating last scene with Liz and the locked room, I think she gave us a hint about that when she was talking to Creel about what she’d like to do to Tom. Yeah, I actually think she may be keeping Tommy-boy locked up behind that door. And wow if it’s true! That would be a whole new level of twistedness that Liz has achieved and also a very Red-like thing to do.

Namoi and Liz’s interaction, however brief, was probably my favorite of episodes. I love how Naomi reminded Liz how manipulative Red is and reminded her that all she could be is a pawn in his long con, and he’s a master at “making a woman feel like she’s the center of his universe” (which is a pretty apt description of the way Red is with Lizzy). I prefer Liz to stay wary and distant with Red because it causes all kinds of great reactions out of him and allows her to keep some sense of self in her world that has been flipped upside down.

Favorite bits:

– PeeWee Vargas threatening the mistress and then stealing her dog

– Overweight dog does not do fetch

– Liz and Creel’s discussion about nature vs nurture

– Aram being generally adroable

– Hot Sniper dude saving Liz in the end.

– Everything about Naomi – the way she stands up to Red, the way she set’s Liz straight. Everything.

Will Red discover what Liz is hiding behind that locked door? Do you think it’s Tom?

The Blacklist returns Monday October 20th at 10/9c on NBC

Mel is a writer, blogger and TV fanatic whose work and celebrity interviews have been seen on and She fears no fandom or social media platform and you can follow her on Twitter @Melapaloosa.