Warning: Spoiler Alert
The NBC series “The Blacklist,” returned with a new episode that revolved around a love story, between two people who couldn’t have physical contact and that couple’s desire to rectify the situation. That relationship caused some of the members of “TEAM RED,” to question their own romantic entanglements. Raymond also had interest in the case for his own reasons, revealed during the hour.
Our evening begins with a graphic, telling us we’re in Moldova 14-years ago, and we quickly realize we’re in the hospital room of a little blonde haired girl. She wakes up and calls out to someone, but receives no response. She grabs her rag doll from the night stand and ventures out into the hallway. We see that all of the staff and patients in the hallway died. Suddenly there’s the sound of a telephone and the little girl follows the sound, only to find the operator and all around her are dead as well.
The child starts exploring the hospital via the staircase, when we hear the sounds and see the lights from an elevator. The girl stops and waits to see who comes out, and it’s a team of men wearing hazmat suits. One of the men sees the little girl standing in the stairwell, and his eyes become as large as melons.
The scene changes and another graphic informs us that we’ve flash forwarded to just eight-days ago. The little girl’s now a beautiful young woman and she’s in a massage parlor, with a guy on the table. The guy’s lying face down and has a sheet covering him, he greets the woman with surprise, saying she must be new at the parlor. She asks him his name, and climbs on his back and starts massaging him. She then tells him to turn over, kisses him on the lips and leaves the room.
The regular masseuse enters the room and asks the man if he’s ready for his massage and he asks where the new girl went. The woman asks what new girl, when the man’s back and arms are suddenly covered in a purple rash. He then starts spitting out bile and quickly dies.
Raymond’s visiting his money launderer Abe and he tells him that Zach Smoll was dealing with $200 million of Reddington’s funds when he died. He asks Abe how much of that sum was lost and Abe replies all of it. Lizzie then arrives and Red tells her he’s going to need the Bureau’s help in finding out who was responsible for Smoll’s death. He believes that his rival Baldur Magnusson’s responsible, but he lacks any proof. He says if he can’t solve this, his reputation will be forever tarnished and his relationship with the Bureau would come to a screeching halt.
Keen brings Raymond’s request to the Task-Force, and it’s unanimously rejected. However a fly in the Vaseline quickly changes their mind. Turns out Zach Smoll’s the guy who died in the massage parlor and his body’s been claimed by the CDC. Smoll died from Luschen’s disease, he got infected from the woman’s lipstick. The virus is transmitted by physical contact or sweat. Now the Bureau’s got to track down that woman.
Back at the Post Office, Samar’s in another one of her moods which Aram quickly catches onto. She got Mojtabai’s check by accident and it turns out that Aram’s paid 32% more than she earns. She’s rightfully upset about not getting equal pay, but she’s taking it out on her hapless friend. Mojtabai soon shows Navabi and Cooper street cam footage of their suspect, she not only killed Smoll, she also killed and robbed a pawnshop owner a few weeks earlier.
We see the young woman lying on a table while a young man wearing a protective clear mask tells her that he’s sorry but this is the only choice they’ve got. The young woman with tears streaming down her face, nods yes and the young man injects a long needle into the base of her spine. She writhes on the table in pain.
We see a graphic that says Boston, and we get our first look at Baldur Magnusson, as Raymond calls him. Reddington asks his rival if he killed Smoll, and Magnuson responds it doesn’t matter what the truth is. What counts is the appearance of the truth, and right now all their peers believe Magnusson ordered the hit. That makes Reddington look weak that he’s yet to respond, which will lead to a standoff between the two men.
We’ve found out the young woman’s named Natalie Luca and the young man’s Malik Rounain, and they’re romantically involved. Rounain tells Natalie that the spinal tap didn’t yield the results he needed and she’s going to need to kill and rob again in order to buy the equipment they need. She reluctantly agrees.
Tom and Agnes, who’s got her grandmother’s red hair, are returning from a walk when Keen realizes the door’s been jimmied and he grabs his pistol. Raymond and Dembe are waiting in the living room and much to Tom’s surprise, Red came to see him.
Reddington asks Keen what he knows about Edward Lagate and Tom says that he’s a hitman with an impeccable resume. Raymond starts to laugh and he tells Tom that Lagate doesn’t exist, he’s actually a fictional character that Reddington invented. Raymond says he and some of his associates committed the crimes attributed to Lagate and now he wants Keen to portray the assassin. He wants Magnusson to try to hire Lagate, but in fact Tom will lead Raymond right to his rival.
Malik and Natalie’s target’s an armored truck, she pretends she’s a college girl trying to join a sorority. She tells the truck’s guards that she’s got to kiss two guys carrying guns and of course they allow her to. Minutes later they’re dead in the street and the couple’s got the money and flee the scene.
The Task Force identifies Luca, and discovers she was a patient for years at Hawthorne Biologics. Rounain had been a researcher for the facility and the couple fell in love. The facility found them a place to live, but the administrator tells Ressler that she just found out they moved months before. She says that the facility had no legal right to keep her locked up and had to adhere to her wishes. She expresses her concern for Natalie, but Donald says she best be worried about her next victim.
Raymond sets Tom up as Legate, by arranging a fake murder of one of Magnusson’s associates, at Magnusson’s flagship hotel. Soon Tom heads out of the hotel and gets greeted by one of Magnusson’s enforcers, who puts a gun to Tom’s back and he’s told that the man’s employer wants to meet with him.
Malik’s elated as he gets the equipment they needed with the money from the robbery, but his joy quickly evaporates as he realizes the cops have raided their apartment. They’ve lost everything they had, meaning Natalie’s got to pull one last job to pay for their lost equipment. She makes Rounain promise this will be their last job.
Turns out the folks from Hawthorne aren’t on the up and up, as they want Luca for their own nefarious purposes. The female administrator we saw earlier, meets with two men who say they must get Natalie back. The man who appears to be the leader says they’ve got to be there when the FBI find her.
Aram searches through Rounain’s computer files and finds that the researcher had large caches on three very wealthy people. Lizzie calls Raymond and finds out that all three are guests of Xavier Holcomb’s poker party, which takes half a million dollars just to sit at the table. Malik and Natalie plan to attend the party disguised as caterers.
Liz asks Raymond why he hired Tom to portray Legate, and says they were just starting to have some semblance of normalcy. Reddington says that Keen’s been aching to get back in the game and that better he work for Red, than for somebody else who’d betray him.
The Bureau come to realize that Malik wasn’t looking for a cure for Luca, he was trying to become like her so they could finally have physical contact. They’ve got Holcomb’s party staked out and when Natalie and Rounain enter, they’re not far behind. Luca had tried to serve dinner to one of the guests, but Ressler started chasing her.
Navabi traps the young woman who says she’s not going back to a cage and that Samar will have to kill her. Suddenly we hear a crackling sound and Ressler’s knocked out Natalie with his Taser.
Edward Legate’s brought up to Magnusson’s hotel suite and the crime boss offers Legate a claw from the lobster he’s eating. Legate declines and the two men get down to talking business. He asks Legate about one of his celebrated crimes and Legate says he never reveals his methods. Magnusson compliments his discretion and says he’s looking to hire him.
Raymond and Dembe burst into the room and Magnusson says that Reddington’s going to kill him. However Red tells Dembe and Tom to take away his rival’s henchmen, as he wants to talk to Magnusson privately. He then says he’s been thinking about what his rival talked about, truth versus the appearance of the truth.
He says that he long ago stopped worrying about death, as it could be lurking around any corner at anytime. However recently he’s smelled death everywhere. He says his death’s slouching towards him from the corner of the room and inching closer.
Magnusson tells Reddington that he didn’t kill Smoll. He says that Raymond’s deal with the cruise ship line was falling apart, so he came in and grabbed it. Red thanks his rival for the truth, then says that he almost wishes that Magnusson had been behind it, as it would have made things easier.
Malik’s gotten away, but the Bureau apprehended Natalie and put her in an ambulance that will take her to a hospital isolation ward. Except Aram informs Navabi and Ressler that the ambulance hadn’t arrived yet, they actually gave Luca back to her captors at Hawthorne. The pair drive after the ambulance, but they’re not alone in the chase as Rounain tries to force the ambulance off the road.
Malik rams the other vehicle off the road and Natalie jumps out of the back of the ambulance. She starts to run towards her boyfriend, when a man emerges from the vehicle and shoots Rounain. The FBI SWAT team soon arrive and subdue the Hawthorne people.
The wound Malik suffered is fatal and he knows time’s short. For the first and last time the couple make contact and then kiss just before Rounain takes his last breath. Natalie tells the agents that Malik was the only person who ever cared for her and Hawthorne was trying to engineer her disease into a bio-weapon. The Hawthorne team are taken into custody.
Earlier Samar told Aram that Cooper offered her a 16% raise but she turned it down as an insult. She comes back up to Aram at the Post Office, and tells him she realizes he gave up some of his salary to get them at the same pay grade. He tells Navabi that he’d do anything to keep her happy and she responds that she’s figuring that out.
Tom comes back home and Lizzie asks him how it felt to get back in the game. He tells her he loved it, but that their relationship’s still the most important thing in his life. Liz says she realizes Tom’s got to do what fulfills him but she’s afraid of what he’ll turn into. He says she’s looking at it.
Cooper brings Reddington To Luca’s hospital room so he can question her about Smoll’s death. He tries to console her over her loss and she responds to his words. She asks who he is and he reveals that Zach Smoll was his associate and he wanted to know why she killed him. Natalie replies that the woman said she’d turn her and Malik over to Hawthorne unless she killed him. She tells Raymond her client’s Isabella Stone and Raymond’s dumbfounded. He thanks her, then says he needs to sit there for a moment as he can’t move.