Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Nassar lies motionless, mouth foaming from inside his cell. Not really planting any flags here, but treachery is afoot. Atwood, pulls out all the stops trying to identify the mole inside the facility. The bigger issue at hand is that Atwood and Hannah are the only people aware of the name Nassar revealed before his untimely and intentional death.

The Kirkmans and McLeishs finally sit down to have that dinner. So far so good, just basic pleasantries and old stories at this point. Meanwhile Aaron and Emily converse in Aaron’s office. I could do without the unrealistic yelling at the tv that Aaron’s doing. Its a valiant effort by the writing staff, but sports fans don’t yell at the tv that way. Aaron gets a call that dramatically changed the mood in the room. Aaron bursts into the President’s dinner party, removes him to inform him that Nassar, who was in there custody is now dead. The President needs to excuse himself but not until McLeish offers his assistance in whatever has prioritized the President’s time.

Atwood is summoned to the White House, presumably to speak on the Nassar incident. Kirkman asks Atwood if he has any answers. He responds in the affirmative, not noticing Peter McLeish in the distance of the room. Atwood is cryptic and refuses to give any answers to Kirkman in McLeish’s presence. Kirkman can sense something’s off but he’s having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. Matters are not made better by the news that the US Track and Field team have been arrested in Russia on a suspicion of Performance Enhancing Drug use.

Seth enters the room and makes a formal request with Aaron for five minutes with the President. Aaron reiterates that the President has no time for personal matters. Seth has to clarify that he is not asking for Seth personal, he’s asking for POTUS personal. This is in regards to the reporter sniffing around about Leo not being the President’s son. The story is true and among his senior staff, the President doesn’t mince words. Its not an issue of infidelity, its an issue of poor timing. The problem comes in when Aaron reveals that Alex knew the father was stirring stuff up a week ago. While the surface, it looks innocent. Poor timing and all, but Tom Kirkman is way more uptight about this than he should be considering the surface.

Kirkman is escorted to the Situation Room where he is met by representatives of the CIA. Kirkman thinks this is about Al Secar, but they are there to speak about Westin, the “National Hero” former Olympian and current track coach. You guessed it, Coach Westin is a spy. Side note, my affection for this show is directly connected to its plausibility. Believing that a Michael Phelps type athlete turned Olympic coach turned CIA operative is a difficult sell. I hope its an outlier.

Hannah walks into a poorly lit bar to find a contact, later revealed to be CIA. He shrugs off her request as Atwood did what he does to get Nassar removed from CIA custody and placed in FBI custody where he would eventually die. An issue the CIA apparently gets their panties in a twist over. Outside Hannah tries again, then drops the name ‘Catalin’. This grabs the man’s attention immediately. He gives up very little except for one major detail.

CIA Agent: Here’s what I know. Stay out of it. And if you ask anyone else they’ll tell you the same just less politely. The man’s a mercinary…and a traitor.

Hannah: What do you mean? He’s American?

In a remote conference room within the White House, Kirkman and his CIA representatives meet with a Russian diplomat who brought his Defense Minister to a meeting about a coach and drugs. Both sides know exactly what’s going on. The Russians are using this as an opportunity to leverage US nuclear weapons out of Turkey. An idea that Kirkman will not consider.

The moment Hannah begins to spill what she knows now about Catalin, McLeish shows up. Atwood and Hannah put a pin in their discussion. McLeish has come to deliver paperwork that the FBI would likely dig up during his vetting process. What follows is a very uncomfortable ‘Justified-like’ stand off. Neither man saying what they really mean and both men holding their relative ground. As if to say, Atwood doesn’t trust McLeish and McLeish knows there is a great deal that Atwood doesn’t know.

Hannah: What the hell was that?
Atwood: What the hell do you think it was? A bunch of BS. The guy is going to walk in here and voluntarily give over ten years of papers that no one asked for? Now, why would he be so eager to do that?
Hannah: Because he’s got something to hide.

Westin appears on Russian television to make a formal apology. For the second time tonight, Emily tries to assert that men don’t know sports and provides a sports analogy to help with their Coach Westin problem. When two teams want to trade players but can’t agree on compensation, they illicit the aid of a third team. Kirkman purposes, Emily find out what the Russians want and seek out a third trade partner.

Alex visits the ex in prison. Another Justified like standoff. At first, it felt like a money play. Which isn’t really that far off. This person does have a motive but its not money. President Kirkman throws his weight around to get Leo’s ‘supposed’ biological father released, or he tells the world ‘his story’. Alex returns to report to Tom. He is naturally not inclined to grant his request. However, it does level with Alex that his decision to not get tested and find out for sure who Leo’s father is was a decision of emotional self preservation for Tom not Leo. And Leo has every right to know who his biological father is.

Hannah and Atwood try to make heads or tails of what McLeish’s latest actions mean when Atwood gets a frantic phone call from his wife. Their son never made it home from school. When Atwood arrives at the school, they have no new information and try to downplay the severity of the situation. Atwood directs his wife to go home in case he turns up there. Atwood, plans on finding his son the old fashioned way. And yes, you’re conspiracy theory concern meter should be going up.

The President’s new play to acquire a third trade partner includes Saudi Arabia. The United States return four Saudi agents being detained in the US for industrial espionage to Saudi Arabia as long as Saudi Arabia returns a Russian agents to Russia and Coach Westin is returned to the United States. An international three way spy trade. The situation room convenes to ensure the delivery of the respective spy trade. Westin doesn’t step off the plane. The Russians double crossed us. Brad Westin never made it on the plane. Hollywood never misses an opportunity to make Russia the cold war bad guys again. In short order, the CIA gets its hands on new intel. A photo of Brad Westin meeting with who the CIA believes is Westin’s contact and handler. Brad Westin is a double agent.

Hannah meets with her CIA contact again with a much more desperate plea for assistance. This time the contact is at least willing to eventually give up something on Catalin.

Seth meets with the reporter Lisa Jordan. Seth has something to deal, but before he reveals that, he tells her that she can run her Leo story but doesn’t think she should. He makes an appeal to her that Tom Kirkman is a good man with a good family who never asked for this job, but now he has it and everyone’s gunning for him. Seth offers an exclusive. First person accounts of Tom Kirkman brokering a deal to have a US citizen returned only to find out that the US citizen is not who he seemed. In a uniquely timed parallel, Aaron and Emily want to push through McLeish as VP with the Congressional elections coming up. Shortly after I yelled at my TV, Kirkman suggests that there’s not harm in waiting to see what the FBI has on him. Especially in light of the Westin situation. Now if they could only find Jason Atwood.

Hannah walks down a decline in a parking garage when she hears something. She pursues with her gun drawn. Her car appears may have been broken into. The driver’s door is open. When she gets there she finds a manila envelope with CIA documents inside. She views the Catalin file and remembers staring at one of the guards at the black site. The guard looks strikingly like the picture in the file. Hannah tries to call Atwood but he’s in find my son mode.

Atwood goes to his son’s baseball practice where the coach has no information. Before Atwood gets back into his car, a woman approaches assuring him that his son is fine. After I yelled the b-word at my television, the woman reveals herself as involved in the abduction in some way. Simple power play. They have Luke Atwood and can get Yvette Atwood whenever they want. No harm will come to them as long as Atwood does exactly as instructed. She hands Atwood a phone and tells him he will make an appointment with the President and do as instructed.

Speculation time: The obvious angle is to assume that Atwood will be instructed to convey to President Kirkman that the FBI found nothing of concern while vetting McLeish. However, I’m not opposed to considering that its something else entirely.

Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Nassan is in custody but not speaking. Aaron believes Kirkman has bigger fish to fry at this moment. A dinner for a ballroom full of governors. This is the first glimpse of the first family and senior staff for that matter, in full dress up mode. President and First Lady Kirkman as well Kirkman’s senior staff make their way around the room. Most intriguing of which might be a very short conversation between Aaron and Senator McLeish. As part of a hypothetical scenario, Aaron follows up on how McLeish can serve. He turned down Speaker of the House as it was too much politics and not enough actual service.

Emily: We might have another way for you to serve.
Aaron: Hypothetically, how does Vice President sound to you?
McLeish: Hypothetically, I would be honored.

Let me get this straight. A politician turned down Speaker of the House, arguably the most powerful position short of President. In favor of Vice President, a position considered by most to be the highest ranking political figure-head? So why is my brain going straight for “Assassination Watch” if this happens? This quote from Daniel Webster when he turned down the Vice Presidency in 1839 really drives the point home.

“I do not presume to be buried until I am dead.”

Kirkman makes his way to the podium but not before a Governor from Arizona jumps to the foreground to ask for time to discuss Governor Royce. She was disheartened to see one of her colleagues arrested. Well the measure of a well executed character we are supposed to dislike is directly related to how frequently and loudly I cuss at my tv in their presence. Congratulations Governor Nichols, you have made my “I hate you” list.

Kirkman delivers the speech we’ve been waiting for him to give. A speech that is direct, positive and helps to shape the perception of who Kirkman is. A registered Independent that no one voted for but shares the goals of all Americans, not just the politically motivated ones. Kirkman believes pretty strongly that he, as an independent, can bridge the partisan gap and that American post-Capital bombing can be stronger than it ever was before. A resounding speech that delivers exactly its ended response.

All is well until rapid gunfire is heard but not seen. Secret Service does not hesitate to get Kirkman out of there regardless. With the First Family safe in the residence, Secret Service begin to search for the shooter. Mike eyes the suspect and takes him down with two shots, but not before Mike takes one in the upper torso. Kevlar prevented one, but the other will require surgery. Moments before shooting on the White House, the assailant posted on social media his allegiance to Mashid Nassar.

In the situation room there is an argument over using conventional questioning tactics with Nassar or moving him to a black site for more ‘extreme’ questioning. It doesn’t take an avid viewer of this show to know that Kirkman is not going for a black site option no matter who presents it. Director Atwood convinces the President to let him begin more conventional questioning. On his way out, Atwood is approached by Emily. She’d like to start the vetting process on a VP. Knowing what Hannah is pursuing, Atwood has a very specific facial expression when he hears Emily say McLeish’s name.

Kirkman speaks to another Governor, this one from Florida. We still have a situation where Governors are circumventing previous United States laws under the cover of protecting their citizens. Fear taking the place of due process. It gets worse. Kirkman puts most of the Governors in a room. Nichols is the ring leader. They all but demand Kirkman answer all of their questions so they will ‘know him better’. As if any of that mattered. Then and only then will they approve his appointees.

Kirkman: With all due respect Governor Nichols, I’m not on trial here.
Nichols: You are now.

Hannah and Atwood make their way to interrogate Mashid Nassan. Simultaneously, President Kirkman makes his way back to a room filled with Governors to be subjected to his own interrogation. Hannah takes over essentially playing bad cop to Atwood’s good cop. She lays out the options. On one side, he speaks and tells US officials what they want to know. On the other side, he doesn’t and they turn him over to Pakistan in connection to a bombing there. And in Pakistan, human rights are optional. Nassan tells a quick story about an American missile hitting an apartment building full of civilians including Nassan’s wife and two daughters.

Ironically, the interrogation of Nassan is actually going better. Kirkman is getting attacked for everything deserved or not. Governors painting a picture that Kirkman is impulsive and removes anyone who doesn’t agree with him. They are trying to find any reason to have him removed as President. Except they are all forgetting one very critical detail. Like it or not, this is how the system works. You have a Designated Survivor for a reason. This was designed long before Kirkman came along. And Governor Nichols still has me cussing at my screen. In a stunning move, Kirkman stands up, looks over the room of Governors and gives them exactly what they are looking for.

Kirkman: Maybe you’re right. Maybe I shouldn’t be the President.

Kirkman has a politically bad tendency to consider that the mob at the gates might actually be right. It takes an Aaron get in his face moment to bring back Commander-in-Chief Kirkman back. Aaron reminds Kirkman that even he didn’t remember Kirkman’s name in the beginning, but in time, has learned to believe that President Kirkman is the only change this country has. At being a country again. Kirkman looks to Seth to see if Seth feels the same.

Seth (looks towards Aaron): What he said.

Hesitant, Hannah is at least will to accept that Nassar did this despite believing he’s too small time to pull this off. There is even a moment when she directs his attention to Peter McLeish as his focus. Can’t leave any survivors. Nassan’s aim is not Peter McLeish but to total amount. He wants “them all dead”. Hannah maintains that Nassan is taking credit for something he didn’t do. They lay out what actually happened concerning Nassan taking the fall and then both parties decide to end the interrogation. Atwood stands and asks Hannah about another name. She quickly responds that she “will do it”. Whoever that is concerns Nassan. He stands up abruptly, his body language suggesting he has a major problem with this.

Atwood (to Nassan): So. Now you know that we know about your other family. The one that wasn’t killed.

Hannah gives just enough information about his son and mother living comfortably in Dubai. Hannah and Atwood don’t make it out of the room before Nassan starts spilling it. He resists at the behest of a name, but quickly gives up that name. Before the agents can leave the room, Nassan mentions that if it comes back to him that Nassan gave up the name, the suspect will kill everyone that even knows.

Kirkman is back in the room of Governors to give his answer. My answer would have been “Because this is exactly what the Constitution had in mind when the Designated Survivor provision was created. Sorry you don’t like it but this is how it works”. But that’s a very un-Kirkman answer. He believes that he can do this job. He can rebuild the nation, but he will need help. He also lays out that he nor the country can spend any more time fighting with the Governors. So this place, this time, its their time to choose. Either they move forward together, or this will be the time where President Kirkman will need to step down and Just be citizen Kirkman.

His words this time are received well, but we aren’t there yet. Enough Governors will stand in his way preventing his appointments if he doesn’t suspend immigration. All immigration. Until such a time as the Governors and their people can feel comfortable again. Kirkman isn’t crazy about denying those who apply through the proper channels like students and scientists, but this might be the sacrifice needed to get the support that will lead to rebuilding the government. Side note: I love how real or fiction, Americans what to defer to the Constitution as if it is divine mandate, holding to the word as written regardless of circumstance, until they don’t like the result. This story line should never happen. Kirkman is President because that what the Constitution decreed.

Atwood and Hannah return to their offices. Hannah not gloating in the least is curious to find out who Kettalin is. Atwood is confident the terrorist data base will turn up information on that…until it doesn’t. Then Hannah floats the idea that perhaps this Kettalin has higher clearance that the director of the FBI.

The First Lady approaches the Oval with great news. The plane full of refugees that has been held up by the Governor of Florida has permission to land in a US city and that Governor will accept all refugees. But it’s too late. Kirkman has already made the deal with the Governors and now has to tell his wife. We have our first Oval Office fight. Alex Kirkman playing us against the world, humanitarian who thinks we can’t resist what America used to be even for a moment, is very disappointed in the decision. Not disappointed in the President, she’s disappointed in her husband.

Aaron and Emily arrive at the Oval to give their optimistic view on the vetting of VP candidate Peter McLeish. The FBI will take a while (understandably and with good reason) to properly vet McLeish. In the meantime, Aaron believes its solid enough to move forward. Famous last words. Then, Kirkman asks if would be possible to get Mr. and Mrs. McLeish over to the White House for dinner. Aaron asks about Mrs. Kirkman and Tom hesitates.

All night, Seth has been resisting his own urges to begin a social relationship with a reporter. Those instincts to resist probably should have been listened to more directly. Before escaping to have a drink said reporter asks him directly to comment on the story that Leo Kirkman is actually not Tom Kirkman’s son.

Tom Kirkman returns to the residence to get ready for the McLeish’s. He finds Alex reading. He treads lightly and even offers up an out for Alex so that she won’t have to attend that dinner. She rejects it and confirms that she will happily attend. Domestic crisis averted.

Atwood and Hannah arrive back at Nassar’s holding facility when Atwood gets a call. Something’s wrong and its related to Nassar. By the time they arrive in Nassan’s cell it’s too late. . Medical is trying to revive him but the foaming mouth is a dead giveaway that it’s a lost cause. Further suggesting that there is at least one person on the inside. As Hassan appears to have died from cafeteria food.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert:

 Isn’t this where we came in? After watching the creative team and writers for the NBC series “The Blacklist ,” build a pretty convincing argument over the last ten episodes that Elizabeth Keen’s the biological daughter of Constantin Rostov, we found out that once again we got lead down a dead-end road. That information divided into two-forks, the long-term question, just who’s Keen’s father? The other fork’s of a more pressing manner, how long will the casualty list run, after Rostov’s extraction team springs him from the hospital he’s a patient in?

With two episodes remaining until the conclusion of the Fall campaign, we realized that even though Alexander Kirk’s in Federal Custody, his story wasn’t near conclusion when he got taken into custody. Far too many questions remained unanswered in Lizzie’s mind and she thought Rostov could provide the answers, a situation she couldn’t leave untapped.

However before we explore that avenue, let’s return to the beginning of the episode. We join an elderly man with a mottled face, laboriously breathing, as he sits next to a woman in a lab-coat. The man’s coughing uncontrollably and asks the woman what’s wrong with him? She says he’s suffering a rare and serious side-effect of the medicine he’s taking. He says he thought they could help him and the woman apologizes, and says he knew the risks going in, however if there’s any solace, his results will help future patients. She then leaves the room and we watch the patient through a glass portal, beg for help and then collapse.

Alexander Kirk’s placed inside the glass vault inside the Post Office, as Cooper goes through the perfunctory reading of what Rostov’s charged with. He asks the Russian Oligarch, if he’s got any questions and Constantin remains silent. Liz’s going through an emotional roller-coaster, ecstatic over her family’s unification, yet full of regrets that her father sits in prison with an incurable disease, that grows worse each day.

Lizzie receives a call from Raymond, and in his usual round-a-bout manner, Reddington asks Keen if she’s even been spear fishing, before he introduces the subject he actually wants to discuss. He tells Liz that Rostov’s an imminent escape-risk and she asks how that could be, since the Bureau discovered and ended Constantin hacking their computer system and arrested their mole? He responds that Rostov will manipulate her feelings and enlist her help, which she quickly dismisses.

Reddington, sits down with Samar and Ressler, and tells them he’s got another member of the Blacklist, who goes by The Coroner. This man’s ability revolves around maintaining the identity of dead people, that he utilizes to give his clientele new lives. Raymond directs them to a woman who utilized The Coroner’s services and they use the woman to contact the Coroner.

Navabi makes contact with The Coroner in a rather upscale bar, while Ressler monitors the action a few tables away.  Just as Samar begins to start a conversation, we hear a very familiar voice speaking loudly and adopting an accent that would have fit perfectly in Dublin. Raymond and guest are sitting at the next table and Reddington suddenly gets up from his seat and joins Samar and The Coroner at their table.

Although the Blacklist member lacks interest in helping Reddington, The Coroner becomes far more cooperative after Raymond points out the man remaining at Red’s old table, hopes that he won’t help, as The Coroner killed the man’s brother. If he won’t aid Reddington, then the Concierge Of Crime will allow the brother to have his way with the Coroner. Raymond tells him he’s looking for a former client’s new identity, The Coroner divulges the woman he knows as Sonia Bloom’s now Dr. Adrian Shaw.

Lizzie has a heartfelt discussion with Cooper and decides to talk with Rostov while he sits in the vault. He asks her if she truly believes that he’s her father and she affirms that she does. Constantin then asks why she chose Reddington over him and Liz replies, the decision she made was for herself and her family. She didn’t want to be under either man’s control. Suddenly blood starts streaming from Rostov’s nostrils and he collapses on the floor, she has the vault opened and when she realizes that Rostov’s unconscious calls for 911.

When they get to the hospital, the doctor assesses them on Rostov’s condition and things look bleak. She informs them of his blood disorder and his history of blood transfusions and she fears that if she attempted another transfusion he could go into shock. She says that the patient’s chances of survival rest on the outside chance that a family member would donate stem-cells in the next 24-hours.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of levity during Season Four, perhaps because of its scarcity,  I treasure those moments. Raymond and Dembe are sitting in a pediatrician’s waiting room and Reddington decides to utilize his time solving the puzzle in current Hi-Lights magazine. The receptionist announces that the doctor’s ready to see them, but Red wants to find the last hidden item. In order to speed the process, Zuma points out the sailboat that’s eluded Reddington and the frustration in Raymond’s voice when Dembe points it out’s palpable.

The physician they meet is the partner of Dr. Adrian Shaw and he makes it clear to Shaw that Raymond knows everything about her past. She agrees to meet with Reddington in exchange for the release of her partner.

Lizzie’s going through an internal battle, whether she should try to save Rostov, or allow his condition to end his life. Tom’s adamantly against the idea of her helping him, Rostov endangered both his wife and his daughter and doesn’t believe that Rostov deserves Keen’s help or pity. We can see by the expression on Lizzie’s face that she’s less than satisfied at the end of their conversation.

Cooper realizes that Lizzie’s in distress and she tells him she’s torn between allowing Rostov to succumb to his illness, or if she should try to help save his life. She says that Tom would hate her for helping Constantin and Raymond predicted she’d help Rostov. Harold responds that from his perspective, she shouldn’t be as concerned with Reddington and Tom’s feelings, but to decide on what she feels is the right choice.

She walks over to Constantin’s room and he asks her if she had all the money in the world, what would she do with it. She says that she’d travel around the globe, twice. Rostov says choices like that will soon be open to her as he’s leaving all his money to her. Lizzie says he’s going to have a while to decide what to do with his assets, as she’s decided to help him. He puts his hand on top of hers in gratitude, but she quickly moves her hand from his.

Turns out that Dr. Adrian Shaw and her partner Dr. Taylor Rayburn, are conducting a trial on critically ill patients on a dilapidated ship, which Navabi and Ressler search when the ship pulls into port. The patients nearly go undetected by the agents, until Samar notices something amiss. We see the patients lying in hammocks, in varying degrees of health, some appear to be doing well while others lie there with blistered skin. The treatment’s based on the patient using their own healthy cells to cure their bad ones and while some have succeeded, others died painfully.

Due to a large-scale bus accident in the area, the hospital’s unable to get the information confirming that Liz and Rostov would be a compatible match for the procedure. There’s a set of 16 DNA signposts that must be an exact match and they must share the same blood-type. The procedure hits another snag, as it turns out that in order for them to get enough stem-cells from Keen, the hospital team would need to drill into her bones. Although the procedure’s low-risk, side-effects could develop later in life and Tom’s against the procedure, although he realizes Lizzie’s going through with it. Keen’s prepped for surgery, awaiting the confirmation call, the call’s received but we don’t hear the results.

Elizabeth goes to visit Rostov in his room and he says he thought she was in surgery and she confirms he was. He smiles and tells Masha she saved his life, she says she tried to but all did not go as planned. She reveals to Constantin that not only did they fail to produce a match, according to the DNA screening, Rostov’s not her father.

Red and Dembe meet with Shaw and Rayburn, and Rayburn’s quickly told he can go home once he meets Dr. Shaw. He brings the hematologist into a spanking new facility and she asks Reddington if he’s sick. Raymond gives her a rather sardonic smile and replies that she’s got no idea.

Lizzie walks back into Rostov’s room and sees that he’s back in his suit. She asks why and he responds since they can’t cure him he might as well leave. He then says he believes that Reddington faked the DNA results, Keen says she thought the same but she had the hospital rerun them and the results came out the same. The façade of civility that Rostov keeps so meticulously in place, crumbles at that point as he starts raving about Reddington and how he destroyed his family.

In the midst of a conversation with Dr. Ryan, Raymond steps away to take a call from Keen. She asks Reddington if he faked the tests and then tells him what’s going on. Raymond says now that Constantin realizes Lizzie’s not his daughter, she’s of no use to him. He tells Keen to inform Harold and get out of the hospital immediately. Unfortunately the extraction team already in place, Lizzie’s going to have a hard time escaping with her life.

Courtesy of NBC

Courtesy of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Today is an early morning in the Kirkman White House. Kirkman, Aaron and Admiral Chernow meet in the Oval to discuss the impending attack we knew was coming. Chernow attempts to put Kirkman’s concerns of collateral damage as Seth enters the office. Aaron introduces Seth to the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Chernow.

Seth (extends his hand): How are you sir? Seth Wright, Press Secretary.

Chernow: It’s going to be a busy day for you today. (Look toward Kirkman) I’ll be at Command Ops.

Kirkman (to Seth): I had to clear my entire schedule today, wanna know why?

Seth: If I know why, am I going to have to lie to the press all day?

Aaron: Yeah.

Seth: Ok, then let’s just assume that maybe somewhere there will be a military strike against the terrorist bombed the Capital. (Slowly turns to walk away) And I’ll just know more when I know more.

Kirkman spins the variables and potential casualties when Chernow reminds him of the time sensitive nature of F-18s flying toward the target. They don’t exactly have the time or fuel to wait. Kirkman takes one last look at the board, “It’s a go. Strike the enemy.” The order isn’t a go for 15 seconds before a station chief reports that the target is no longer in the compound. “We lost Majid Nassar”. The news gets worse, as intelligence suggests that someone inside tipped off Nassar who fled in a motorcade.

Hanna invites herself to Kirkman’s ceremony celebrating MacLeish. There is absolutely something very off about MacLeish. I’m not planting a flag anywhere with that comment, just reiterating. Atwood looks over at Hanna glaring at MacLeish as if she’s working on something in her head. “Just hope you never look at me like that.” As the event breaks up Hookstratten corners Seth. She wants to know when Kirkman plans on retaliating…AGAIN. Seth sees right through it, plays dumb and removes himself from the room.

The military brain trust meets with Kirkman in the Oval. Nassar’s location has been identified as a hospital. That makes the mission a little more complicated. At present, an airstrike is not an option. To get Nassar, they will need to be assets on the ground. This creates a new dynamic. Chernow wants to take Nassar alive. Kirkman is not willing to take Chernow’s word at face value regarding the confidence of the mission and request to speak to the commander on the ground and even asks for his location. Chernow give a great and at this point typical response.

Chernow: Sir. There is a chain of command. He comes to you.

Kirkman: I’m going to ask these men to lay down their lives, I’ll go to him.

With what should be the last ‘appointment’ before the President travels to the Navy Seals Training Facility at Little Creek, Hookstratten is all but demand stuff again. She lays out his ‘erratic’ behavior. Firing the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs. He was a man with his own agenda and circumvented the President’s authority. He should have been fired. Not erratic. Arrested the Governor of Michigan. Are you paying attention Hookstratten? He basically rejected the President’s authority, ceded from the Union, and arrested American citizens for being born the wrong ethnicity. Also, not erratic. She even pieced together the details of parking lot H at the Pentagon. Which would place high-ranking generals/admirals at the pentagon at 3am. She says all of this to suggest that the President is not consulting enough with Congress (i.e. her). Kirkman responds exactly how I wished he would.

Kirkman: Article one section eight. And I will notify you when it becomes appropriate.

Kirkman meets with the Seal’s Commander getting to know his men. Eventually Kirkman gets to the issue at hand. Kirkman is interested in the odds. The ‘odds’ are regrettably only 50/50, but the commanding officer gives the only response I would need.

Commander: We don’t know if they’ve wired the place. We don’t know if they have local militia. We don’t know a lot of things. The odds are 50/50, but we do know that Nassar is there. So we have to do it now. And may God have mercy on them, because the U.S. Navy will have none.

Kirkman meets with MacLeish and Hookstratten together in the Oval. This is where President Kirkman informs the current sitting members of Congress that he has deployed a seal team into Algeria to remove, dead or alive, Majid Nassar. MacLeish immediately conveys his support of this tactical decision. Hookstratten’s support is shrouded in her ulterior motives. She is a tiger laying in the tall grass waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. Aaron wants to look into putting Kirkman’s support to MacLeish for Speaker and not Hookstratten. There are bigger problems now. One of the Seal choppers has gone down.

The chopper had to perform a combat landing and Petty Officer Denton was injured, but no need to change the plan or abort. The Seal Team will proceed as scheduled. Meanwhile, Seth’s powers of disarm and deflect will be tested as the White House Press Corps has sources too.

Reporter: All of this adds up to a potential military strike. What’s the real story? You can’t keep pivoting to talking points.

Seth (stone faced): Watch me.

Kirkman accompanied by MacLeish watches from Comm Ops. Simultaneously, Hanna all but begs Atwood to listen to what she has to say about MacLeish. The seal team is efficient through the first floor. Once they make it to the basement floor the video feed is intermittent at best. Once the team gets to Nassir, the lighting changes and the picture clears. Nassir has a gun pointed on a child demanding the Seal Team lower their weapons. His words get louder and shots ring out. Communication with the seal team is lost.

All Capitol renovations are classified. However, Hanna convinced Hookstratten to assist in this. What Hanna has feels like its straight out of the Cold War Playbook. THe men in charge of making the renovation, specifically to room 105 (where MacLeish was found) are dead. First one ot a heart attack. Second to a car accident. All eight men who worked on room 105 are dead. All accidents or natural causes. Putting that on hold for a moment, the bigger elephant in the room is what were they renovating? Room 105 was transformed into basically a bomb shelter. And why would there be a need to build a bomb shelter in the Capitol two months before the State of the Union. MacLeish survived because he was supposed to survive.

A new concern arises. When Aaron dangled the potential of making Peter MacLeish the next speaker of the house, he declined. Opting for a position within Congress that isn’t simply bureaucracy and politics for politics sake. Now we feel fairly clear and certain that MacLeish was in on this from the jump. And now he is in a room with the President and military council overseeing a Seal operation aimed to take out the terrorist responsible. Right about the moment, Kirkman has the worst idea yet. Maybe Cochran was right. Just then Chernow announces that they have Majid Nassar. Amidst the celebrating, Chernow has to report that Clarkson, the seal team leader was lost in the assault.

There were seven children in the room. Clarkson shielded 2 with his body after the shots began. The seal team returned fire and captured Nassir. Clarkson took 8 rounds in the back and 1 in the neck. He was killed instantly but the children he shielded survived. Clarkson died but he died a hero. Due to his actions, there were no civilian casualties.

The President quietly makes his way into (what looks like the mural room?) unnoticed as his ‘senior staff’ discuss MacLeish turning down Speaker. This of course is news to Kirkman. Kirkman then offers up, maybe we offered him the wrong job. How about Vice President. So let me get this straight. MacLeish turns down Speaker because it’s purely political and doesn’t think he can actually get anything done from that perch? And you want to give him VP as if that’s better? Let’s disregard that MacLeish is probably as dirty as they come, Speaker to VP is downgrade move.

Aaron has been doing opposition research on Kirkman in an attempt to see the pitch before it’s thrown. In that digging we’ve discovered that there was infidelity on Mrs. Kirkman’s behalf. All of this is not new information. What is new information is that the other party in this is in prison and telling anyone who will listen that Leo is his son not Tom Kirkman’s. From her reaction, this is both startling and potentially true.

Jason Atwood is finally coming around to believing Hanna’s theories. However, he is not ready just yet to impune a sitting Congressman not to mention all the other names likely to be brought light. Not yet at least.

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

With two episodes remaining in the Fall Season for the NBC series “The Blacklist,” the show’s close to wrapping up the Alexander Kirk/Constantin Rostov, story-arc. However, plenty of questions remain unanswered, concerning Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington’s past and Lizzie’s relationship to Rostov, and the future of our characters and the Task-Force. Although the episode concluded with Agnes back with her parents and Constantin imprisoned in the glass cell in the Post Office, we’re really not more informed about our characters’ history, then we were before the former FBI Agent faked her death last spring.

This episode did remove some layers and showed us the dynamic will change once again, as new loyalties get formed and some established ones look tenuous presently. Whether next week’s episode provides more information for the characters and the fans remain to be seen. We’ll also find out if the show gives us a preview of the next upcoming adventure, or simply decides to let our cast catch its collective breath and enjoy the moment?

For the second straight week, the characters in the opening scene are all strangers to us. We’ve landed in a rather posh conference room in Minsk, Belarus, as the host tries to entice his four guests into a business proposition. The man’s named Rene LeBron and the four men are criminal bosses that had their assets seized by the United States government.

LeBron tells the four criminals that the President of the United States, isn’t God and his decisions aren’t final. He says that although the government perceives these men as drug-traffickers, violators of human rights and impediments to democracy, he’s got a different point of view. LeBron says he sees the men as businessmen, who got their money seized and he’s willing to help them out. The four men collectively are out $760 million, LeBron offers to give them $600 million in cash immediately, in return for the $160 million balance and market rate interest on the loan. Although the senior member of the guests voices objections to the deal, his companions are hot to make the deal.

LeBron gets into the elevator after completing the agreement, with two other men and a woman alongside him. Two floors later, three Asian women and one Asian man enter the car, looking like nondescript tourists. We find out they’re assassins shortly after the doors close, as they eliminate LeBron’s companions and hold him at gunpoint. The loan-shark tells the man that he’s got close to three-quarters of a billion dollars nearby and the man responds that he’s already taken possession of the cash.

The man makes a call from his cellphone and it turns out that Oscar and his crew are contractors for Raymond. He’s told to take his fee from the cash he recovered and to donate some cash to a Belarus charity. He also tells Oscar that he wants the plane.

Raymond meets with the Task-Force at the Post Office and tells the team of his capturing Rene LeBron and Baz and some of Reddington’s men will hand off LeBron to Ressler and Navabi. Liz’s far from happy, especially with Red and she lets it be known without a hint of subtlety. She’s angry with the fact that this case won’t help them recover Agnes and Raymond informs her that Rostov’s a client of LeBron’s. He’s willing to give up Constantin, in exchange for a promise that he won’t get prosecuted. Cooper says he’ll need to get clearance from Cynthia Panabaker. Harold dismisses his team but asks Keen to stay with him.

Cooper says to Keen he can only imagine the pain and the pressure she’s feeling, but he says he believes Reddington’s doing his best to recover Agnes. Lizzie starts breaking down and tell Harold that she got a hold of a DNA report and Rostov’s her father and Red wants to kill him. However she states that she’s enough of a professional to work with Reddington.

After a week of being M.I.A., we rejoin Mr. Kaplan and her captor the Hunter. He comes inside with his dog and he says to Kate we’ve got a problem. He says the guy who shot her will kill somebody else and dump the body where he shot Kate. When he realizes she’s not there, he’ll come sniffing around. Or somebody will report her missing and the cops will search for her and they’ll come looking for her. He says he could let her go, but she’d tell somebody about him. He says he doesn’t like company, so he’s not sure what to do with her.

Kate tells the Hunter she tried to commit suicide and he asks her where’s her gun? She says she dropped it but she’s not sure where. The Hunter says she left a trail and he’s a tracker, so he’ll go out looking for the gun.

Harold calls Panabaker and tells her about the situation. Although she’s not happy about granting LeBron immunity, she tells Cooper to pick up the loan-shark and bring him in.

What Harold fails to realize is his phone’s tapped by some of Kirk’s contractors and the man monitoring the call contacts Rostov’s number one, Olga and passes on the information. She calls Rostov and tells him that Reddington’s the one that captured LeBron and asks Constantin if she should take him out? Rostov tells her to go ahead and Olga says to him that the seeds of doubt he planted with Masha have taken root. Constantin says he should reach out to her but they should take adequate precautions. Olga calls him a fool and says she doesn’t trust Masha. Rostov smiles and says Olga doesn’t trust anybody, but he’s asking her to trust him on this.

Baz releases LeBron from his bonds and then puts a white-hood over his head as he prepares to pass the loan-shark over to Donald and Samar. As we watch the exchange take place, we see a sniper putting together his rifle and he takes out LeBron. Raymond looks at Dembe and says the loan-shark died right on schedule and now it’s time to send out the invitations.

Welcome To The Past: The next morning, Aram, Samar, Ressler and Cooper receive pizza deliveries from Nick’s Pizza. Inside the box is a formal invitation stating their cars will arrive at 7:30 am and their discretion’s appreciated. The four get greeted by Reddington’s newest employees, Sweater-Vest-Man, whose name’s Chester. He maybe Mr. Kaplan’s replacement as he has the four agents deposit their cellular devices and then puts them through an airport type body-scanner.

Once they’ve passed the inspection, they’re sent deeper into the building and Raymond greets them saying welcome to the past. The building they’re standing in can’t be penetrated by any digital signal and all the equipment in the facility’s analog. Cooper asks why they’re in a museum and Lizzie enters and says because they’ve been breached. Aram can’t believe it, saying their system’s unhackable. Raymond smiles and says exactly and that’s why Rostov hired the Thrushes.

The Thrushes were formed in 1982 by a man named Plemen Radkov. Radkov got arrested in 1986 and died in a Soviet gulag a few years later. That’s when the Thrushes went underground and they’ve taken on jobs based on degree of difficulty and the money offered. They’ve been involved in some high scale operations over the years and many lives were lost due to their activities. Cooper tells Navabi and Ressler to find out what they can about the other incidents and tells Aram to contact the NSA.

Who’s The Mole?: Navabi finds out first as she meets with another intelligence operative about the incident they were involved in, in Jaipur. The operative brings a book with pictures of all the Thrushes operative and says all 38 were engineers and perished in the incident. Samar going through the pictures realizes that the agent’s incorrect, one of the people’s not an engineer and is still alive. Although she’s identified as Kate Bond, she’s in reality Aram’s new girlfriend Elise.

Navabi tells Cooper and Donald and both men tell her they’ve got to keep this from Mojtabai, that he’ll be heartbroken and will blow their cover. Just then Aram walks into the Post Office looking desolate, he’s been working on the problem for the last 18-hours and he realized that Elise’s the mole. He’s hurt and angry, but he wants to get involved in her capture. They’ve got a date that evening at his apartment and he’s going to download a virus on her laptop.

Samar sets up Aram for the sting in a van that’s right below his apartment, she gives him a pen that’s also a wire and then hands Mojtabai a pistol. He asks if she wants her to shoot his girlfriend and she adamantly says she’s not his girlfriend. She also tells Aram that if he gets into trouble, to say the word banana and the cavalry will burst in.

Elise realizes something’s up with Aram but he keeps saying he’s fine and then he goes to the refrigerator and pulls out a bottle of wine he bought for her. As he pulls the cork out, he spills wine all over the front of his shirt and says he’s got to change. He goes into his bedroom and takes her laptop out of her bag and inserts the thumb drive into it, but she enters the room before he can put it back in the bag. She enters the room and she tries to seduce him as he’s shirtless, but he rebuffs her advances, saying they’ll have a fire on the stove.

Now Elise knows something’s wrong with Aram and demands to know what it is. Ressler’s ready to charge into the apartment, but Mojtabai says that he’s actually in love with somebody else. Elise says that it’s Samar but Aram denies it, just then her cellphone rings and Olga’s on the other end. She tells Aram she’s got to take this work call and walks into his bedroom.

Olga asks her operative if her laptop’s secure and Elise responds it is. Olga replies she best make sure of it as her life could depend on it. She gets off the phone and goes into her bag for her laptop, but sees it’s missing. She lifts up Aram’s shirt and sees it and the thumb-drive Mojtabai installed, he walks in with the pistol drawn, but she knocks it out of hand.

The two start fighting and Aram says banana, about six times before the SWAT-Team and Donald and Samar burst in. Elise is about to hit Aram with a piece of wood, when Ressler tells her to drop it. At gunpoint, Elise calls back Olga and tells her all’s well.

Mr. Kaplan And The Hunter: The Hunter goes to the area where he first found Kate and checks out some old camera’s he’s got set up monitoring the area. He opens the third camera and shakes his head. He heads back to the camera and tells Mr. Kaplan she lied to him. She denies it, but then he shows her the camera and says three went in but only two came out.

Perhaps seeing the pictures gave the Hunter sympathy for Kate, as the last time we see them, they’re sitting at a table and the Hunter’s feeding Mr. Kaplan with a spoon.

The Capture Of Constantin Rostov: Liz receives a phone-call from a shoe-repair shop that she’s never visited and the owner says she left her cell phone there. She realizes that Rostov’s attempting to contact her and she picks up the phone. When she brings it back, she sees just one number on the burner-phone and calls it. She immediately asks about Agnes and Constantin replies she’s in good health but wants her mother.

Lizzie tells Rostov that she got ahold of his records and she saw a DNA report confirming that Constantin’s her father. He asks if she, Agnes and he can meet, she says she’d agree to that and Rostov says he’ll call her back with arrangements. When she gets off the phone Raymond asks her why she believes the lies Constantin’s told her, she says when she went to the Summer Palace, she recognized things and had memories of her childhood. Reddington replies just because he was married to Lizzie’s mother, it doesn’t make Rostov her father.

Keen gets a call from Constantin and sets up the meeting at an abandoned station on the Bowery Line. Reddington tells Cooper that his men will handle capturing Rostov. However Liz calls back Constantin and tells him it’s a trap, Rostov asks if she’d still be willing to meet him and gives her a new location.

Reddington sets up his plan of attack, but it appears he and his crew are heading into a trap. When Liz arrives at the new location, Rostov and some of his soldiers meet her but Agnes’ isn’t there. Constantin says that she’ll join them soon, but first he needs to kill Reddington. Lizzie reacts horrified, that Rostov’s set a trap for Raymond, but in reality Reddington and his team are right downstairs. As Raymond’s soldiers arrive, Rostov summons the woman who traveled with Matos and she’s cradling Agnes in her arms.

Rostov grabs the infant and stands on the ledge of the roof, he says if he can’t have his granddaughter, he’ll take her with him. Raymond tells him that’s insane and Masha says please father give her back to me. Constantin puts down his pistol and gives Agnes to Liz. Rostov’s taken into custody.

For the first time this season we get a pleasant montage ending the episode as Harry Nilsson’s version of One plays in the background. Raymond goes to visit Tom and Liz and he asks to see Agnes and Lizzie invites him in. She says to Raymond now that Rostov’s been captured the three of them will find a new place, Reddington nods and says he realized that.

The final image of the evening’s Constantin Rostov locked away in the glass cage inside the Post Office, a broken and defeated man.

Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC

Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We’ve now concluded five episodes of the fourth season for the NBC series “The Blacklist,” and this viewer’s found myself, feeling rather lost and dissatisfied. The show, coming off what could arguably be labeled as the series strongest season in the 2015-2016 campaign, as former FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen kept one step ahead of the law and the Cabal. Keen killed the United States Attorney General Tom Connelly, when the Cabal member threatened her and all those she cared for. When she finally cleared her name with the help of Raymond Reddington, she found herself going from the frying-pan and into the fire.

Lizzie found out that she carried Tom’s child and the annulled couple planned to get married and raise their baby together. Reddington, made it clear that he disapproved of the reconciliation, going as far as to putting the kibosh on Tom getting a job in Boston. However, other problems lurked in the background, as somebody kept trying to kidnap Elizabeth. Keen with the help of Mr. Kaplan and Dr. Nick, faked her death so she, Tom and their baby could have a life without Reddington in it.

While Tom knew that the mother of his daughter Agnes, actually lived, he played the part of the grief-struck widower and helped track down the man who attempted to kidnap Lizzie, Alexander Kirk. Kirk and Reddington, knew each other well and likely consider each other mortal enemies. When Kirk believes Liz passed, he sets his sights on kidnapping Agnes, which happens in the final episode of Season Three.

However Agnes, wasn’t the only one that Kirk’s operatives captured. Tom and Agnes had fled to Havana, to join Lizzie in their new life. Kirk introduced himself to Liz, (or Masha, as he called her) as her father Constantin Rostov in the final scene of the season. Lizzie’s capture revealed that Kate Kaplan thought up the plan that gave Liz, Tom and Agnes their freedom, Raymond felt betrayed.

While the third season rocketed out of the gates, picking up minutes after Liz killed Connelly. Dembe drove them to the first of many stops that Raymond and Keen to help clear her name. This season opened with a restaging of the previous episode, likely to get Megan Boone, who missed the last third of last year on maternity leave, integrated back into the action. Some fans’ describe this still young season, as dragging along on Social Media sites, if that’s true that might figure into the dynamic.

We’re going to dispense with our usual play-by-play format, this go-round, instead we’re going to discuss the episode entitled “The Lindquist Concern,” as one piece of what we’ve witnessed so far in season four. The relationships have radically evolved since Raymond Reddington turned himself in to Bureau Headquarters, to forge a professional and personal relationship with Elizabeth Keen. Despite pushing the envelope throughout this series’ the writers have retained the elasticity, to bring the regulars back into the fold, even after committing some rather heinous acts.

Those relationships have been in a constant state of flux, throughout it’s run and we’ve witnessed once bitter enemies become allies. We’ve also watched a long time partnership, undergo irreparable damage and the ripples of that action are just beginning to occur. As word filters through TEAM-RED, what will be the fallout and reaction of the Task-Force?

RED AND MR. KAPLAN: We might as well tackle the 800-pound gorilla in the room first, as it shocked and disappointed many of the long time viewers. Although Kate certainly didn’t go softly into the night, the question among the fans remains, was Raymond justified in shooting her for her betrayal. Although many viewers believe Reddington had ample justification to turn on Mr. Kaplan, I reside in the opposite camp.

Red’s a self-admitted psychopath and we’ve watched his face turn to stone and his eyes become steely, often over these three-plus seasons. However we’ve also seen the depths of Raymond’s kindness, a perfect example’s his interaction with Skyler Ayers, a special-needs child with a rare blood disease. Reddington’s likely the first person to talk to the youngster, like he’d talk to any other boy. It’s difficult to believe that someone with that big a heart, could callously turn on the woman he described as his better half.

Dembe started feeling the ramifications of his actions in this installment, as he sat in the pews of the church that Reddington and Dembe are residing in. (Raymond told Liz, that he normally has a devil of a time falling asleep, but he sleeps like a babe in the manger in the church.) He tells Red that forgiveness won’t come, for Kate and what he did. Reddington replies that Dembe did nothing and the man Raymond rescued as a teen, confirmed that was his sin. He denied Mr. Kaplan when she came to him for help and he allowed Raymond to kill her without voicing his regrets.

Teddy Brimley, the geriatric Marquis De Sade, mentioned her in this episode as he informed Raymond and Dembe he’s getting hitched on the 16, and to extend the invite to Mr. Kaplan. Lizzie’s already asked Reddington where Kate’s at and Red avoided answering her, but how will she handle it when she finds out?

Despite Raymond’s proficiency with a pistol, Reddington failed to kill his “Cleaner” in the middle of the wilderness, instead just damaging her cheek. Although Kate’s situation’s far from comforting, as she finds herself shackled to her bed by some old guy who lives off the grid and has only been identified as The Hunter, what’s in store for her future? She knows all of Reddington’s weaknesses, will she eventually turn into Raymond’s greatest foe?

WHO, EXACTLY’S CONSTANTIN ROSTOV?:  Reddington, specifically stated that although Kirk believes he’s Lizzie’s father, he believes otherwise. Keen stormed into the church clutching a DNA report, stating that Rostov’s indeed her father, why does Red continue to believe other wise? Although Rostov’s repeatedly said that he just wants his family together again, his considering using Agnes as a bone-marrow donor, shows his true desire. Rostov wants to live longer and he’s considering risking his granddaughter’s life to fulfill that wish. Unless Elizabeth Keen’s not the person who provided the DNA for this report, Rostov appears to be her biological father.

IS THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, COMPLETELY CORRUPT IN THE BLACKLIST UNIVERSE?:  Although Raymond got the Task-Force involved in the capture of Silas Gouldsberry and The Lindquist Concern, allegedly because he’d lead them to Agnes, that didn’t come close to fruition. Instead Ressler and Navabi saved the information from going public, only to see it wind up in the hands of Laurel Hitchin. She in turn gave the information to Reddington, to see what inventions he desired, before selling them to among others the Cabal. Reddington will get 45% of any money that Hitchin receives. Is the planet truly better off with the way things went down?

Although it appears that Constantin Rostov will remain with us for at least a few more episodes, it’s time for the writer’s to progress this season’s plot. Can Raymond be forgiven for his actions, or will he like Dembe keep seeking salvation that’s never arriving?

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“Woke up this morning my house was cold
Checked out the furnace she wasn’t burnin’
Went out and hoped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain’t turnin’
We’ve given each other some hard lessons lately
But we ain’t learnin’
We’re the same sad story that’s a fact
One step up and two steps back.”

Bruce Springsteen One Step Up

Tempers flaring, patience running thin and we’re witnessing long-term relationships hitting the danger zone. That could be an accurate summary, for Season Four of the NBC hit-drama “The Blacklist,” but that level spiked in Episode Four, entitled “Gaia.” When Aram Mojtabai let’s the fur fly, we know we’re traveling in unchartered waters.

Our episode begins out in the woods as we see the speaker horn of an old Victrola and sound of Classical Music fills the great outdoors. We then see a man who appears to be in his mid-thirties and as the camera pans to a long shot we see that he lives in an old school bus and he’s raising his own potted crops. He starts looking at his tomatoes, when blood starts dripping from his nose and he goes inside the bus. He grabs a pair of surgical scissors and extracts a large wad of blood-soaked cotton gauze out of his nostril.

He then picks up a radio phone and we hear him talking to a woman named Maya, he tells her he’s got two new targets and that she has to get her and someone else out of the state. The call doesn’t last long, as she either hung up on him or he reached her voice mail.

We follow the man to a retirement party, for a man who owns a helicopter charter service. The man retiring pokes fun at his head mechanic for being a Cubs’ fan and the man from the woods, puts a beer down in front of the mechanic and says he’s from Wrigley Ville. The mechanic nods in appreciation for the free beer.

The next scene, the mechanic and the guy from the woods run into each other again and start making small-talk, but the mechanic’s unaware that the guy from the woods laced his beer with poison and he dies of what the coroner believes was a heart-attack.

Liz Keen’s sitting on the floor, scouring through documents that she hopes will lead her to the location of her infant daughter Agnes, when her laptop emits a tone informing her somebody’s attempting to contact her. She opens her computer and she’s getting a video-feed from Constantin Rostov, he says he wanted to speak to her when she was alone and Lizzie only wants to know how Agnes’ doing. Rostov adjusts the camera to show Keen her cooing daughter and though she’s relieved her child’s safe, she tells Rostov she’s on to him and his plans.

The former FBI Agent tells Rostov that she’s aware of the blood disease he suffers from and that’s the real reason he’s been searching for her and Agnes. Rostov admits that his health’s at stake, but tells Lizzie that he just wants his family reunited and he says the only way that can happen is for her to cut ties with Reddington. He then tells Masha that the link will remain open, so she can check in with Agnes at any time. There’s an unspoken agreement that she won’t try to trace the link, or he’ll cut off contact.

Rostov’s getting another transfusion and Constantin asks if he has six-months, the doctor replies possibly less. He says Rostov always realized that the transfusions were only a temporary fix and a young dark-haired woman says that Rostov’s got to use the child. The doctor vehemently disagrees, saying even if Agnes’ and Rostov are a genetic match, the procedure would put the infant in mortal danger. The young woman scoffs at the doctor’s words and says that he’s not the one who’s dying.

Tom heads back to where he’s staying with Liz and she tells him about her conversation with Kirk and the link he’s set-up so she can see Agnes. Keen immediately wants to trace the link, but Lizzie begs him not to. She says that she can play on Rostov’s ego and gain his trust and then they can rescue Agnes and ensure her safety. Tom remains silent on the issue, so naturally Liz assumed he’d follow her wishes, you’d think that after all this time she’d realize that Keen always believes he knows best.

Raymond and Liz meet and he says he’s got a kind of, sort of clue that could lead them to Agnes. Reddington says that he’s searching for an eco-terrorist known only as Gaia, which is Mother Earth in Greek. Raymond explains that the eco-terrorist disguises his attacks as accidents, so that the people force Government Agencies to fix the problem.

When Keen informs the rest of the task force, they review some of the accidents that Gaia engineered in the past and that some of the incidents took innocent lives in order to save other innocent lives. Harold sends Navabi and Ressler into the field to see what they can find on Gaia, however Aram stops Samar and apologizes that he basically blew her off the previous evening on the phone.

Mojtabai, asks Samar if she’d like for them to talk about her possible transfer later, but she informs him that she already decided to request a transfer and that its being processed. Although shaken, Aram congratulates her on her upcoming move and she says she’d better not keep Donald waiting.

As Donald and Navabi search through records trying to find some info on Gaia, Ressler tells Samar that he Googled Aram’s new girl-friend. She asks why he did that and he responds that he wanted to see if Elise was hot and Donald says she’s quite hot indeed.

The Gaia poisons a second victim an inspector for Borron Energy Service. He lambasted the inspector for allowing environmental dangers to exist, the guy replied that just about everything in this world can kill you. He takes his laced coffee back to his vehicle and shortly thereafter as the inspectors taking his last breaths, the eco-terrorist goes out to the guy’s vehicle and says that he was right about so many dangers out in the world. He then grabs the guy’s clipboard and hard hat.

We find ourselves in a shack and see Mr. Kaplan lying on a cot with a piece of cloth covering the wound on her cheek. Suddenly the door opens and we see the dog and it’s owner enter the cabin, however without Kate having her glasses the shapes are too blurry for her to identify and she falls back to sleep.

Aram tells the rest of the Task Force that he might have identified their suspect, as he’s been pretending to be an inspector doing spot inspections in energy plants. Aram’s tracked him to an energy facility he’s doing a spot inspection on at that moment and Navabi and Ressler head to the plant to apprehend the suspect. Security informs them where the suspect’s at, but he eludes them and steals a security vehicle with Donald and Samar in pursuit.

The Gaia thinks he’s made his escape but then he’s cut off by police vehicles in front of him and when he attempts to back up, he realizes he’s boxed in by law enforcement. The Gaia then goes forward and slams against the two police vehicles and escapes.

They recover his forged ID card and Keen tells Harold that Raymond’s in contact with one of his guys to track down the Gaia. Dembe and Raymond arrive at a bowling alley and Red shouts to our old friend Glen Carter, finder of lost people, that he needs his services immediately. Jelly Bean says he’s off the clock now and Dembe starts giving Glen pointers on how to improve his game. Raymond shows Glen the badge and he immediately recognizes it as the work of Ji Ming a Chinese associate of his.

Dembe, Raymond, Glen and the Asian fellow meet in the next scene and apparently the Chinese man only speaks Mandarin, which Jelly Bean happens to speak. Reddington tries to hurry the conversation along and tells Glen he just needs an address. The Asian gentleman looks at Red and then speaks in Mandarin and walks away. Glen says the guy doesn’t like Raymond, as Reddington looks like his third wife. At this point Raymond realizes that Glen’s just yanking his chain and he already acquired the address.

Liz, Raymond and Dembe head to where Gaia’s made his base of operations. They find a picture of Maya who’s pregnant in the photo and Keen starts talking about missing babies and now she’s consumed with Agnes. Raymond realizes what’s going on and tells Lizzie that they’ll soon have Agnes back safe and sound.

Tom gets in contact with a former associate named Krantz and the mercenary agrees to gather his crew and to locate Rostov’s link and help Keen recover Agnes.

They’ve identified the eco-terrorist as Owen Ayers, a highly decorated military veteran who retired for medical reasons a few years before. Ayers final mission was Fukushima, Japan, which suffered a catastrophic accident inside a nuclear plant. Ayers inhaled toxic-gas while on the mission, making him a dead man walking and he and his toddler son Skyler share a blood disease, that caused the child to be born with a disfigured face.

We’re back at the shack with Mr. Kaplan, when we finally see who carried Kate away on a make-shift stretcher. So far he’s only been identified as The Hunter, but he’s portrayed by veteran actor Leon Rippy,  who played the school janitor in 11/22/63. The Hunter resembles a retired roadie from the Allman Bros. Band, circa early Seventies, with silver hair hanging down to his shoulders.

He tells Kate that she’s been on her back for too long and he’s going to put her into a sitting position. He then puts his arm behind her neck and although she screams in pain, she’s able to sit. He asks her if she can understand him and then asks if she can nod, which Mr. Kaplan does. He then asks if the men who did this to her will be coming back and she shakes her head no. He starts feeding her some soup, but he realizes she wants to say something to him, she croaks out thank you and The Hunter smiles.

Aram and Liz realize that Ayers is planning a gas explosion in the Hudson River, dangerously close to the biggest nuclear facility on the Eastern Seaboard. Ayers intends to create a Fukushima on the Hudson and when contacted by Ressler on the radio he says there’s no way they’ll be able to stop him as he’s piloting a chopper over the Hudson.

Mojtabai attempts to hack into the helicopter’s controls but he’s unable to do anything. Cooper then asks if Aram can shut off the rotor and the Tech Guru realizes he can, but he says he’s already taken one life and couldn’t take another. Cooper then pushes the button that stops the rotor and Ayers crashes and dies in a field not far from where some kids are playing football.

Keen’s back at her home and she’s singing Rock-A-Bye-Baby to Agnes, just as Krantz, Tom and the other mercenaries are about to break into Kirk’s hideout. Unfortunately Rostov sees them before they can rescue Agnes and Constantin tells Masha that he’s disappointed in her for tracking the signal. She breaks down crying and says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, then Rostov shows Tom on one of the camera feeds. Constantin says that he’s cutting off contact and cuts off the feed.

Maya and Skyler are sitting in an ice-cream shop when Raymond and Dembe join them in their booth. Red tells Skyler that he’s been looking forward to meeting him and right then the waitress puts down three ice-cream sundaes on the table, chocolate, strawberry and caramel.  Reddington says that he’s always found caramel’s a great lubricant in awkward introductions. Turns out that Raymond just wants the name of Tyler’s hematologist, which Maya gives up willingly. She asks if Raymond also has a special-needs child and Reddington says that an infant’s life’s in danger.

When Tom returns to the place he and Liz are staying at, Lizzie gets in his face about not respecting her wishes and she says she knows Reddington’s involved. Tom says that Raymond had no knowledge of what Keen did, that he got in touch with a former associate. Liz asks him if the associate’s from his skinhead days or when he was Berlin’s goon. Tom responds that nobody’s sorrier than he is that he failed, but Liz replies their daughter feels worst of all where ever she is.

Raymond and Lizzie meet again and Reddington explains that the reason he went after Owen Ayers, was that he Skyler and Rostov have the same doctor. That they’re very close to finding him and then they’ll be able to get Rostov and rescue Agnes. Lizzie tells Raymond she lied to him earlier and that Kirk did reach out to her with the link, but in Tom’s effort to rescue their daughter, Rostov escaped with their child.

We end this episode with two quick scenes. Raymond visits Dr. Sebastian Reifler and he recognizes Reddington. He informs Red that Skyler Ayers, has done well and Red says he’s aware of that. However he needs to accompany the doctor the next time he has a house call for Kirk.

Kate wakes up in the cabin and after calling out hello, she realizes she’s alone. She gets up from the bed and realizes that one of her ankles has a shackle around it. Apparently The Hunter is not just a nice guy.