Warning: Spoiler Alert
Sometimes the best defense’s a strong offense and Raymond Reddington’s decided that’s the tactic he and Liz Keen need to adopt on the latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist.” Although they started the third episode of season three on a ship bound for Spain, Red changed his mind and decided that he and Lizzie would take a trip to the Midwest. Although the pair eluded the FBI manhunt and would’ve been able to stop looking over their shoulders had they continued on to Europe, Raymond decided that the chances of exonerating Lizzie would be greater if they remained in the States.
The episode opens in a cornfield as we watch four men in yellow hazmat suits spraying the crops. Suddenly one of the men stops spraying and bends down and grabs an automatic weapon, then takes out his three co-workers. The gunmen then heads to a chain-link fence secured by a keypad and opens the gate to let three men in from a truck parked outside the gate. The leader of the three men ask the gunman how many employees are on the grounds and the gunmen says there’s nine factory workers and three security guards. As the men head towards the factory, we see a sign on the gate identifying the field as property of Verdiant Technologies.
In the hallway of Donald Ressler’s apartment building, Ressler’s trying to figure out why Tom Keen’s come to see him. Tom says that Lizzie’s not a spy or an agent trying to harm this country and he says he knows Donald believes that. Ressler ignores his statement and asks why he’s there and Keen says he wants to help and he can do a lot of things. He says to Donald that he knows the FBI agent doesn’t trust him and the feeling’s mutual, but they need to team up for Liz’s sake. Ressler tells Keen to get lost and if he shows up again Donald will break his arm.
Lizzie asks Red why the shipping container they were traveling in got taken off the ship and put on a cargo truck and Raymond says it’s time to stop playing defense and to go on offense instead. She thinks he’s being foolhardy but Red says that the Cabal’s already lost a lot of faith in the Director, as he gambled Reddington didn’t have the Fulcrum. When Red released the documents to some of the biggest investigative reporters on the planet, it put some members of the Cabal in immediate danger.
Raymond tells Lizzie they’re going to wreak so much havoc onto the Cabal that they’ll agree to clear Lizzie’s name and hand the Director over to him. She asks him how he plans to do that and he says we’re starting right now as we’re in Iowa, home of Verdiant Industries. Red explains to Lizzie that Verdiant Industries is the biggest manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds on the planet and their two main seed-lines are for corn and soy two staples of the planet’s food foundation. He also tells Keen that he’s looking for one of their executives named Susan Hanover, she’s the Cabal’s conduit to utilize Verdiant for money laundering.
Raymond looks at his watch and says something’s terribly wrong, Dembe was supposed to rendezvous with them there and provide transportation. The only reason Dembe wouldn’t be there is if he’s hurt or in danger. Red calls the finder of missing-persons Glen who ignores Raymond’s first call. Reddington hangs up and calls again and Glen tells him he can’t talk to him as the FBI came to his office. When Glen refused to talk the FBI took him back to headquarters and locked him up and he tells Raymond he told the feds everything about him. Glen then starts giggling and saying he’s not a snitch, but he says that he nearly gave Reddington a stroke.
Red ignores Glen’s baiting and gets right down to business telling him that Dembe’s missing. Glen suddenly gets serious and tells Raymond he’ll get to work on locating him right away and he’ll call Reddington as soon as anything pops up on his radar.
Back at the FBI Task Force, Aram discovers that Reddington and Keen were traveling in a shipping container on a vessel heading for Spain, when the ship complained of engine trouble and headed back to the States. Aram says only one shipping container got dropped off and he’s got the plate number of the truck that transported the container. He soon informs Navabi and Ressler that the container’s in Iowa and the two agents get on a plane to try to capture Lizzy and Red.
We visit the warehouse that Mr. Solomon’s torturing Dembe in and Red’s right hand man’s right eye’s swollen shut. Solomon bends down to the floor to stare in Dembe’s face and tells him he’s a fool, he says with all the agony he’s going through to keep Raymond safe Red’s not coming to rescue him. Suddenly another man stands in the doorway and nods at Solomon. The Cabal’s enforcer tells Dembe there’s a price for his silence, someone he knows quite well will get tortured if Dembe refuses to talk. He stays silent and we hear a man screaming in pain from the other room, Solomon smiles and says it’s on Dembe’s head.
When Samar and Donald land in Iowa they interview a Verdiant executive about all the employees shot to death. The man tells the agents that whoever shot all the employees also stole some highly guarded computer files. The files contain all the information on their genetically engineered corn seed. He tells the agents that some local small farmers have banded together and formed a vigilante group and he thinks they’re responsible. Ressler tells the executive that they discovered the group had a man inside the company Gabriel Costa. The executive says Costa couldn’t be involved as he was spraying the fields when the robbery and killings occurred. Ressler suggests he left the field with the other group members.
Red and Lizzie find the headquarters of the vigilante group and they find out their leader Eli Matchett took off in a huff about a week ago. He told them they’re a bunch of losers and not as serious about damaging Verdiant as he is and he said he was going solo.
Matchett and the other three men have recovered all the data they stole from Verdiant and they’re debating what to do with the information. One of the men wants to share it with the world, helping other small farmers and causing Verdiant’s stock prices to tank. One of the others says they should keep it among themselves so they can recoup the losses they suffered at the hands of Verdiant. Matchett grabs a rifle and says he’s got other plans and shoots his three cohorts dead. He then walks into another room in the facility where a chemist sits in front of a computer, he tells Matchett it’s just a matter of time for him to create the virus Matchett wants.
Red and Keen check out Costa’s apartment and realize he’s not there so they look around for any clues that he might have left behind. Lizzie notices that one of the air vents high upon one of the walls sounds funny, they open the great and they find a box that contains all of Costa’s information. Raymond sees Ressler and Navabi pull into the parking lot and the two exit the building barely a second before the agents enter.
As the agents search the apartment Ressler’s cellphone rings and Donald assumes it’s Aram on the other end. Lizzie tells him she’s not Mojtabai and Ressler starts his usual refrain about Liz turning herself in. She says that not going to happen and if Donald really cares about finding out the truth, he’ll back off and let her clear her name. He suddenly realizes that Keen and Reddington had just left the apartment and notices the grate from the air vent’s askew. Liz hangs up.
Reddington and Keen hole up somewhere and open the box from Costa’s apartment. Liz realizes they downloaded files about a new project Verdiant’s starting named Genesis. She’s also determined that they forwarded the files to the computer at the facility where Matchett and the chemist are creating the virus. Red realizes that the seeds they’ve hacked are the corn seeds and they could cause a planet-wide food shortage.
Matchett heads back into the room where the chemist’s working and asks him how he’s progressing. The chemist hands Matchett a vial that he says contains 400 samples of the virus that can get released into the wild. Matchett starts grinning maniacally and says it’s hard to believe he’s got the means for humanity’s destruction in his hands.
Glen’s walking the streets and tracks down Dembe’s car outside of the restaurant he got captured in and the car’s got a stack of parking tickets on the windshield. Glen realizes Dembe must have gone into the restaurant and walks in through the front door. Glen tells the waiter he wants to get an order to go and asks if a chicken dish’s gluten-free, the waiter replies he thinks so. Glen says maybe the waiter should check, or Glen will come in very angry the next day after spending the night on the toilet. The waiter heads into the kitchen and Glen swipes the restaurant’s surveillance equipment.
Red and Liz have found Matchett’s lab and she puts a thumb-drive into the computer to copy the information. Unfortunately for them Navabi’s gotten hold of a picture of the pair from Costa’s parking lot and they get the plate number of the vehicle they’re using. They quickly track down the vehicle and they soon arrive in the lab’s parking lot in the middle of the download. Lizzie has to pull the thumb-drive with just 78% of the files downloaded, but they once again elude Ressler and Samar.
Tom’s sitting in a Chinese restaurant and the waitress asks him if he wants anything else. He tells her that he’s actually there because he had this arrangement with this girl he used to be with, that she’d call the payphone in the restaurant at 7:00 pm to contact him. He says it doesn’t look like she’s calling that night, but he gives the waitress his phone number and asks her to give it to the girl if she calls.
Aram contacts Ressler and Navabi and tells them he just realized that Matchett’s trying to destroy the corn crop by releasing a virus and if he succeeds the food shortage will endanger the planet. The two agents then realize that Matchett’s going to release the virus on a farm owned by Verdiant which includes a parcel of land that used to be his farm.
Liz and Red hide out in a diner as they contemplate their next move. There’s one other patron, a bald man sitting at the counter whose talking on the cellphone and keeps glancing over at them. Keen realizes the guy’s after them, she tells Reddington she’s going to sneak out the back and tells Raymond to wait a couple of minutes and then walk out the front door. Red waits then starts to head to the door when the guy pulls a pistol, Lizzie comes in through the front door and has her gun aimed between the guy’s shoulder blades. Raymond tells him to put down the gun and the guy looks like he’s about to lay it on the counter when he pivots and aims at Keen, but she shoots him first.
When the guy hits the ground his shield falls out of his pocket and they realize he’s a cop. Raymond says they need to leave and Keen says they’ve got to get him help. They grab his keys put him in his car and drop him off at the emergency-ward of the local hospital then take off.
Donald and Samar have a road-block set up just outside the field that Matchett’s going to release the virus. He gets into the line for the checkpoint then hangs a U-turn and heads the other way with Navabi and Ressler in pursuit. Ressler rams Matchett’s truck off the road and the farmer jumps out of the truck and starts running, the two agents split up and approach the farmer from opposite sides.
Ressler catches him and the two start wailing on each other. Finally the two just collapse and Matchett grabs the vial and he’s about to open it when Samar stands on his arm with her pistol aimed at his head. She asks if the boys are done playing and Ressler says he’s all yours.
We see a woman talking on her phone on her country estate watching her young son playing on the swing-set, when suddenly Red strolls up to her. She says you’re Raymond Reddington and he replies she’s Susan Hanover, chief of tech for Verdiant and corporate shill for the cabal. He shows her his pistol and says let’s not worry the boy and the two sit down at her outdoor table.
Raymond tells her that he knows she hired Matchett to spread the virus and she indignantly denies the accusation. Red then reveals he knows all about Project Genesis, Verdiant’s already developed a new strain of corn that won’t succumb to the virus. Verdiant will appear to be the planet’s savior and make a handsome profit once the crops start dying. Hanover says she knew she shouldn’t have trusted Matchett. Reddington tells her the FBI’s already aware of the situation and she’ll be in federal custody in hours.
She asks Red why he’s there and he says that he wants her to share a message with the Cabal, this is just the beginning and he’ll make the Cabal’s members lives a nightmare until they exonerate Keen and give him the Director.
Aram tells Navabi they’ve received information implicating Verdiant in the virus situation. He tells her the information got faxed over and he believes Agent Keen sent it. He also says that Keen shot a cop in self-defense but it looks like he’ll pull through.
Donald meets with Harold Cooper, who didn’t take the retirement deal offered by the bureau and he’s stuck in some office as a pencil-pusher. He gets Cooper up to date on everything that’s happened and tells him about the meeting with Tom. Cooper says he doesn’t trust Keen either but he could be a valuable asset. Ressler says his gut tells him to stay away from Tom and Harold tells him to follow his instincts.
Dembe’s passed out on the floor when Solomon rouses him and points to the limp figure with his back turned to Dembe lying a few feet away on the floor. Solomon says that’s the price of silence and leaves the room. The other man starts to moan and then sits up, it’s Mr. Vargas who takes off his Beatle-wig revealing a full head of hair underneath. He glares at Dembe and says we’re going to die in here.
Keen’s back in the Chinese restaurant and gets ready to leave when the waitress says if he gets tired of waiting and gives Keen her phone number. As he starts to get up from the table Cooper walks in and tells him to sit back down. Cooper says he doesn’t like or trust Tom, which likely means he’s the best person for this assignment and hands Keen the Bureau file on Karakurt.
The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on NBC.