Warning: Spoiler Alert
Although the actual title of the sixth episode of the second season of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” is actually “The Mombasa Cartel,” it’s doubtful that you’ll find a network show with a creepier episode, this week of Halloween. And the episode concluded in rather shocking fashion, which we’ll discuss later on. Realize however, that of all the strange things we’ve experienced in the world of Raymond “Red” Reddington, you weren’t prepared for what you encountered in this episode, including a family that most likely would unnerve Morticia and Gomez Adams.
The episode begins in a flashback, as the graphic on the screen informs us that we’re in Koidu, Sierra Leone, 29-years earlier. We see a family working their land including a cute little boy, of about six-years-old. An open Jeep filled with men brandishing weapons, arrives and the men exit the vehicle, they ask the father if his name’s Samuel, he responds it is and he’s told he’s got a big mouth. The men start shooting his livestock, then all the men, finally Samuel’s wife and the boy’s mother. The little boy’s terrified, as one of the men picks him up and puts him in the Jeep.
Back in the present, we travel to Paris, where an African businessman’s served his meal by his waiter in his hotel room. When asked if he needs anything else, the businessman replies no, but the waiter accosts the guest, knocking him out on his bed, then putting a yellow clip on tag on his ear. Once again we change locations, this time in a small Russian seaside town as a boy and his grandfather stroll along the beach. The boy calls for his grandfather, who comes over to see a corpse washed in from the sea that’s skinless.
We’re now at Red’s apartment as Raymond and FBI Agent Liz Keen, watch a TV show about endangered species, Reddington shuts it off angrily, grumbling that soon tigers and lions, will disappear and thought of as mythical creatures like the winged Griffith of the Unicorn. He then tries to pitch a new number to Keen, the Mombasa Cartel, traffickers in rare and endangered animals, when the agent says the Bureau, may not find the case worth pursuing, Red weaves a tail of villages and individuals wiped out, and all sorts of heinous actions take place for profit, he says the cartel deals in blood-money.
Don Resller’s at a local pharmacy trying to get his prescription for pain pills replaced, as he claims they got stolen from his car, the pharmacist clearly thinks he’s lying, he finally says he’ll call his doctor and come right back, instead heads for his office. He’s late as Keen’s already telling the task-force about the Mombasa Cartel, and the amount of harm Red claims they’re doing to the planet. She gets a text message and tells the other’s it’s from Red and she needs to call him. Instead, she leaves the office and heads to a door with a keypad and types in the code, then opens the door, we see a man that appears dead on the floor of the room, then we see Red’s sniper whose been the tail she can’t shake. He says to her, are you telling Red or am I?
Raymond’s sitting outside the “Roach-Coach” operated by Zoe D’Antonio, the young woman Red got “The Tracker,” to locate in the previous episode, eating and reading the paper. He takes off his hat and puts it on a stool next to the table, then gets up and starts to walk away, but the woman shouts and gives him his hat back. Reddington, expresses his gratitude offering her money, but she tells him it’s not needed. He asks again and she says she’s good and Red smiles and tells her he likes that, then asks her name. She replies its Zoe and he introduces himself as Kenneth, then tells her it’s his favorite hat, she tells him to model it and compliments him.
We’ve joined Red and Liz in the park and he informs her, he’s set her up for a meeting with Jeff Pearl to have drinks. Pearl’s not only the 33rd richest man on the planet, he’s played in the series latest bit of out of the box casting, by “Easy Rider‘s” Captain America, Peter Fonda. Keen’s going to go undercover as a animal-rights blogger and try to obtain information on the cartel from Pearl. She doesn’t grasp the information as quickly as she usually does and Reddington asks if everything’s alright, (she’s nervous about the sniper) and tries to cover by saying she’s blown away that Pearl’s Red’s buddy. He snaps back he doesn’t have buddies, they share some interests including protection of endangered species.
Keen arrives at the club she’s meeting the magnate at and he’s playing drums with the band onstage, then heads to her table when he’s finished playing and tells her he likes her blog. He then says that his friend told him she’s looking to take on the Mombasa Cartel and tells her to take caution, as they’re insidiously dangerous. He says his foundation’s targeted them from the start, without success, but he mentions one guy she could investigate.
The next day the Task-Force learns about the body that washed up in Russia as well as one caught in a fishing net off Japan. Tech wizard Aram’s done a series of tests to find out where the bodies emanated from and he’s discovered its Sitka, Alaska, the former location of a group of Radical Animal Rights Activists known as the “Sitka Seven.” They got busted back in 1971, with one member doing a federal stretch and the rest broke up and moved on. There’s a camp that they lived in but the land rights’ owned by a corporation.
We meet the residents of the camp, Skye Kincaid and her two grown sons, Peter and Matthew. Turns out Peter’s the guy who knocked out the African businessman, whose body got dumped off the shore, after his brother Matthew skinned it. Matthew, then stuffed the body like any taxidermist would an animal, when he puts in the eyes his mother says that’s his best job yet. We find out the bodies are from poachers, that the boy’s father tells them to capture, kill and stuff and Skye tells Peter, that their work’s important.
Matthew’s played by Carel Struyken, Lurch from “The Adams Family,” movies and he’s what they used to refer to in the movies as “a bit touched in the head,” we’re not even sure he can talk until the last few minutes of the show. However, he’s gifted as a taxidermist, setting his victims up at a campfire scene not far from their camp.
The FBI bring in Lee Chung, the lead Pearl gave Liz for questioning then let him go, but he’s reported missing a short time later. Meanwhile, Ressler’s in Sitka, but out of his painkillers and going through withdrawal, so he purposely slams his thumb into his car doors hinge, breaking the bone and getting him a refill. Liz contacts him and tells him to check out the camp.
Donald drives to the camp and knocks on the door, but gets no reply, then gets startled by Skye Kincaid telling him it’s private property and he responds he’s an FBI agent and shows his badge. He asks if she knew the “Sitka Seven,” she replies they moved over forty years before. He asks whom she lives with and she said her son Peter, who soon shows up in his truck with a cage attached under a tarp. The two men introduce themselves and Skye tells her son that Ressler’s with the FBI. Don asks what’s in the cage and Peter says goats, Ressler says the “Sitka Seven,” kept goats and Peter laughs lots of people keep goats. The agent asks to have a look and Lee Chung’s in the cage, Peter whacks Donald over the head knocking him out.
Skye’s on the phone with the boy’s father, Jeff Pearl and tells him they’ve got trouble as an FBI agent’s there. Pearl tells Skye to make sure that Ressler’s not skinned and left in the forest. He then grumbles he should have stopped Matthew years before and Skye says he wouldn’t have lasted a day in an institution as Pearl hangs up.
Aram does more digging and realizes that the plane’s that transported both victims to Sitka’s owned by the same corporation that owns the camp, so Liz calls Reddington to find out if he knows anything about the corporation. She tells him she’s heading to Sitka and meeting Alaskan agents from Anchorage to try to locate Ressler who’s out of contact. Red tells Liz to take caution.
Ressler wakes up in a field in a cage next to Chung, trapped in another cage, both having the yellow tag on their ears. Peter takes Matthew out and tells him to have fun hunting, but only kill the animals that got tags on them. They’re both released from their cages and Chung starts to run, when Don asks him where he’s running to. Ressler looks for his pills and Chung tells him the Kincaid’s took them, then asks if Ressler’s a junkie, and Donald responds no, Chung says that’s what all junkies say. Those are the last words he says as Matthew put an arrow through his heart. Don rips off the arrowhead and takes off.
Pearl arrives home and gets surprised to find Red standing in his foyer, Raymond figured out that Pearl’s behind the killing of the poachers and the Mombasa Cartel, as he owns the corporation that Liz asked him about. He then asks how Pearl had morphed from an idealist to a murderer and now stands for everything he once deplored. Pearl offers his explanation of controlling the monopoly saves the animals and the planet and Red tells him he’s full of guano.
Red then tells Pearl about the first scene we saw of the episode and the fate of the young boy taken away. At the age of 14, they left him to die tied to a pole, after serving them for eight-years, but Red found the teen and rescued him. After the boy got well Red educated the teen and the young man graduated college, speaks six languages fluently and has a working knowledge of a dozen more. The boy of course’s Dembe, who tells Red to let Pearl live, he’s past the pain, but Red’s not and shoots the billionaire dead.
Matthew takes a break from tracking Ressler and sits down with his stuffed “Friends” around the campfire and he listens to the music being played. Ressler’s disguised as a corpse but he’s holding a metal coffee cup, which starts shaking, so Ressler tries running. Matthew picks him up in the air, but Ressler slices open his chest with the arrowhead.
The agents arrive and stand outside the camp ready to burst in, when Matthew comes in with his chest a mass of blood and Skye screams. They burst in, take out Peter by gunfire then head to the bathroom where Matthew and Skye sit in a tub filled with water, turning red from the blood. Rather than surrendering, Skye throws the phonograph into the tub with them, electrocuting them both.
Loose ends; Liz shows Ressler his painkiller bottle showing she knows he’s got a problem and he breaks down. Liz gets Red’s sniper arrested so he can’t tell Red what he knows and Red realizes she’s hiding something.
Keen enters the door in the final scene and tells the occupant, she almost told Reddington, but changed her mind. If you have any doubts, the Halloween Episode concluded with a man back from the dead; Tom Keen, whose been her prisoner since she nearly killed him in last season’s finale, now with overgrown hair and an unruly beard. He tells her he’s answered all her questions and she starts to leave, but he says she can’t keep him imprisoned forever.
The Story Continues Next Monday at 10:00 pm on NBC.