The Blacklist Esteban (No. 79) Review
The Blacklist: Season 4, Episode 1: Esteban (No. 79) marks the smart, action-packed return of one of the best shows on TV today.
Given the major cliffhanger we were left on at the end of Season 3, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Season 4’s first Blacklister would be an afterthought to the drama unfolding between Liz (Megan Boone) and her father, the conniving Alexander Kirk (Ulrich Thomsen). After all, we should be used to it after episodes like The Troll Farmer and The Caretaker where what potentially could have been formidable adversaries for Liz and Red (James Spader) were basically cast to the wayside in order to make way for the show’s larger narrative.
But instead of falling into this old habit, Thursday’s show surprised audiences with the simply-named Esteban (Paul Calderon). Granted, the Chilean torture specialist was still somewhat of a supporting character in the grand scheme of things, but he still managed to make an impression on audiences and play a bigger role in the story’s drama than either of the Blacklisters in the aforementioned episodes did in theirs. Esteban also has the distinction of injecting, however briefly, horror elements into the program’s otherwise grounded, gritty world. Whilst interrogating a prisoner of his, the Blacklister pulls out the false eye covers he wears to conceal his lack of vision and placing them in her hands, momentarily making us think not so much Pinochet as, say, Pan’s Labyrinth.
Yet somehow, the grotesque Esteban isn’t even the most detestable character in the episode. That would be none other than one of the hitmen (Raoul Max Trujillo) who Kirk pays to kill Tom (Ryan Eggold). A callous, bloodthirsty soul, the man doesn’t think twice of threatening not just Tom but his infant child even though as Liz points out Kirk would have him and his partner killed if they harmed either of them. This makes it all the more distressing when Red’s car is hit by another another vehicle after he and his men rescue Agnes and we see him approach the wreckage and take the crying child away as an injured Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) watches helplessly. I don’t know about you, but I will be tuning into next week’s episode of The Blacklist to see if this thug gets his comeuppance.
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