Warning: Spoiler Alert
Why did Raymond “Red” Reddington elude authorities all over the planet until he struck a deal with the FBI last year and why’s he remained one step ahead of all his adversaries on both sides of the law for so many years? Reddington’s intelligence’s a major factor, the man’s virtually a walking Wikipedia of knowledge, but there are plenty of really smart bad guys who get caught. The gift that Raymond possesses, that sets him apart and above all who challenge him, is his ability to take emotion out of the equation, it unnerves his opponents when Reddington starts spinning one of his tales to a man who’ll probably die within minutes.
That wasn’t the case when we first encountered the former government operative who shed his skin and turned into a master criminal in the second episode of the second season of the NBC series “The Blacklist.” His emotions frayed due to his adversary Berlin holding his former wife prisoner, Red’s lashing out and not finding out anything by his actions. However, we jump ahead. Let’s get back to the beginning of the episode.
We find ourselves in Warsaw, Poland, witnessing the robbery of a branch of the Monarch Douglas Bank. A group of men enter the bank in haz-mat suits and carrying automatic weapons. They scream to all the occupants to get down on the ground, then one of the crew gets on a laptop and apparently disabled all the electricity in the facility. One shouts to the others they have six minutes and the crew swarm through the facility emptying safety deposit boxes and most likely cash. As time gets close, the same man tells the others it’s time to go and they escape the bank undetected.
Now’s when we get our first glimpse of Reddington and he’s without his usual charm and good humor as “The Cleaner,” (Think of Harvey Keitel’s character the Wolf in “Pulp Fiction“) the oddly named Mr. Kaplan, (odd because Mr. Kaplan’s a woman whose first name’s Kate and played by Susan Blommaert) shows up to clean up the mess from Raymond’s latest temper-tantrum. She tells him that since his wife got kidnapped he’s been going in directions she’s uncomfortable with and he snaps at her telling her to just do her job.
As Mr. Kaplan goes about erasing evidence of the three men Red just killed, he receives a call telling him about the bank robbery in Poland. The news seems to put things in perspective for him and he apologizes to Mr. Kaplan, telling her that he’s pretty far out on a limb right now. Reddington calls his liaison with the FBI, Agent Liz Keen and tells her about the robbery and says they’ve got to meet and discuss the ramifications of the event.
When Reddington sits down with Keen, he explains that Monarch Douglas Bank’s headquartered in New York, which puts them under FBI jurisdiction. He tells Liz that the branch that got robbed is the biggest laundering center on the planet, that underworld kings, dictators and powerful people all over the world use the facility. He also says that the bank will attempt minimizing the event, she asks Reddington how much is the bank reporting being stolen and Red replies nothing. When she asks him how much he believe they lost in the robbery he responds everything.
Task Force Director Harold Cooper, limping but back in command orders Keen and agent Donald Ressler to Warsaw to investigate the robbery. When they arrive they meet an FBI agent stationed in Warsaw, whose been on the scene since the robbery got reported, they also meet a man named Strickland, the Vice President of the bank who flew out from New York, after receiving the news on the robbery. He apologizes for the original report from branch management that nothing got stolen, he says the bank got hit hard by the crew that pulled the job. He walks away with the bank manager and they speak in Polish; Strickland berates him for issuing the report that nothing got stolen. The manager says the only thing their customers only concern is “The Formula.” The executive agrees but tells him “The Formula’s” gone.
Although the crew disabled the banks video cameras Liz and Don discover there are city cameras on the corner directly in front of the bank and they get Amar to send them the video feed. The odd thing they notice, is while five crew members enter the bank, six exit and when they’re able to zoom the camera in on the added member, they realize it’s a woman who appears scared.
Reddington’s heading to Warsaw with Dembe, however before checking out he receives another present from Berlin, this time one of his former wife’s teeth. On the plane he checks in with Keen and Ressler and they tell him their latest discovery, Red replies that he’ll be there in three hours and for the two agents to keep digging.
They realize the woman who joined the crew on the way out’s a bank employee named Padra, as she’s the only one who punched in for work but neglected to punch out. The bank manager quickly says she had left the bank earlier as she got sick, but the local FBI agent shows his disdain with what the manager says. Ressler and Keen investigate the apartment building where Padra lived and spoke to the building manager, he told them she seemed nice but was always accompanied by guards. Donald’s phone rings and he’s informed authorities found the getaway van.
Through one of Raymond’s connections in Warsaw, they’re able to track down the apartment where Padra’s at and bust down the door with a SWAT Team, while she asks the agents why they are there? They tell her they came to rescues her, but she explains that’s what the crew did, they rescued her from being the bank’s prisoner. Padra’s “The Formula.”
Liz and Donald transfer Padra to a safe-house and tell Cooper that the FBI agent stationed in Poland’s going to meet them there. Padra tells the agents that if the police know where she’s hiding, Strickland will as well. The Vice President’s in New York while she’s being shuttled, as he’s meeting with Berlin, whose afraid he’s not going to access his funds for a pending deal. Strickland assures Berlin nothing will interrupt the transaction and the one-armed man responds, that if anything goes awry, he’ll peel Strickland like a grape.
Padra possess a gift, a truly photographic memory, she demonstrates it to the agents by having them pick a random date and she tells them what happened to her and what events took place in the world on the day. The bank uses her brain instead of having a paper or digital trail, she’s able to memorize every transaction and account number for the bank. The only place the information’s stored is in her brain, there’s no backup, so eventually she went from being an employee to a prisoner of the corporation.
Liz monitoring the conversation in a separate room gets joined by the FBI agent stationed in Warsaw and he tells her he’s turning Padra over to the local police. Keen starts arguing with him and the other agent slugs her in the jaw, the two pummel each other, then the other agent pulls out his weapon. Liz bites his hand holding the pistol and he accidentally shoots out the one way mirror between the two rooms, finally alerting Ressler. They stop the agent, who says they don’t understand this involves national security. Mossad agent Samar Navabi (Mozhan Marnò) who we met in last week’s episode suddenly shows up, tells the agents they’re outgunned but she’ll hold off the attackers while Liz, Donald and Padra flee the house and jump into a taxi, however Padra gets hit with shrapnel in the abdomen and starts bleeding heavily.
They soon realize the cab’s stuck in traffic and will not help them escape. They run out of the cab and Red and Dembe meet them, take Padra with them to get medical assistance on his private jet and tells the agents they have first-class seats back to the States with the airlines. When the agents return to Washington and meet with Cooper, they realize Red engineered everything to get his former wife back from Berlin. At that exact moment, Red calls Berlin from his plane and tells him it’s time they meet.
When Red met the man claiming that he was Berlin in last season’s finale, he told the man although he prides himself on his memory for faces, he couldn’t place the man. He doesn’t make the same statement to the real Berlin, instead he asks him if all the killing and bloodshed was worth it and his adversary responds, yes as it fueled his passion, revenge. Raymond told him that revenge was a disease not a passion, that eventually it would kill him. Berlin then glares at Red and tells him his wife’s coming apart, very well.
We can see Red just about to start to lose it and give into his temper, but he masters the moment, allowing just his lips to move slightly, before telling Berlin they’ve got a common enemy, the person who told Berlin that Reddington killed his daughter. He then tells Berlin that he’s going to give Red back his wife and Berlin starts to smile and asks why he believes that. Raymond informs Berlin that he’s got “The Formula,” and right now Red’s controlling all of Berlin’s assets in an account where he can never access them. So Berlin can release Red’s former wife and the two can keep fighting each other, or Berlin can kill the former Mrs. Reddington and wind up dead broke. Berlin agrees to make the deal.
Red finally contacts Lizzie and she tells she knows his plans, they’re with Padra right now and they’ll freeze all of Berlin’s assets rather than allow him to get them back. She tells him that his former wife’s life’s not worth all the people that will get killed by Berlin’s actions. Red says he’s still going to the meeting, but Keen yells that Berlin’s going to kill him when the money’s not there, however Raymond already hung up.
Red and Dembe meet Berlin and his men, they release Red’s former wife and Dembe gives them the laptop with all the routing information and the transaction completes. Red’s former wife’s blindfolded, so she doesn’t see him, he just stares at her for a few seconds then gives her to Dembe to return her to her husband. Berlin blows Reddington a kiss and gets in his vehicle and off they go.
Liz and Raymond meet in the final scene and he thanks her for transferring the funds. She responds, he’s a Federal asset and her job’s to protect him, but anyone killed by Berlin’s actions will be on Red’s head.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00pm on NBC.