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All posts for the month April, 2017

Photo Courtesy Of Will Hart NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Our most dangerous enemies always come from within our circles, former friends and confidants, turned foes. Battling strangers or those we’ve kept at a distance, quickly becomes a game of whack-a-mole, smacking indiscriminately and hoping to cause damage. Former allies know our strengths and weaknesses, exploiting our fears and zeroing in on our soft underbelly. The battle that could rightfully claim the title of “Mother Of All Wars,” escalated greatly on the latest chapter of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” opening with a sneak attack that left “Team-Red,” reeling.

Our evening begins in a bustling night spot, an attractive young woman sits alone at a table looking gloomy, when a waitress approaches with a drink. A young man sitting at the bar, tells the waitress to put the drink on his tab. He tells the young woman there are no strings attached, it appears she’s having a tough night. He joins her at her table, and he breaks the ice telling her that he knows the best bridges in the city to jump from. He introduces himself as Joe, and she tells him her name’s Philomena.

We soon join the couple in the midst of a make-out session in his car, and we hear some awkward giggling as the young woman says she’s stuck. The laughter ends quickly, when she puts a Taser against his throat and knocks him out. He awakens to find himself bound to a chair, with a bag over his head. The bag’s removed and Joe sees Mr. Kaplan standing before him. He gasps and says he thought she was dead, she replies that the reports were greatly exaggerated.

Raymond and Baz explore the woods near the spot where The Tracker’s cabin once stood, and Reddington discovers the hunter’s surveillance equipment. Scrolling through the images on the cameras, Red finds a photo of the pickup truck that picked Kate up on November 10, the night she left The Tracker’s cabin.

We head to the Post Office and check in with the Task-Force, as Lizzie congratulates Samar on being nominated for the prestigious Katai Fellowship. The mood quickly turns somber as Aram informs them that Cynthia Pannabaker, just arrived and she doesn’t look happy.

There’s not a trace of sweetness in Pannabaker’s Southern drawl, as she informs the Task-Force that an anonymous tip lead law enforcement officials to an ice-rink in Reston. They discovered 86 bodies on the ice, that according to the tipster are the remains of Raymond Reddington’s associates and opponents. Harold Cooper replies that none of the members of the Task-Force are responsible, as the group came together at the request of Dianne Fowler at Main Justice.

Pannabaker responds that the investigation’s already begun and the agent in charge is someone she describes as a “peach-orchard hog.” She tells the agents that if he’s able to find evidence that links the Task-Force to Reddington, Justice will disavow any knowledge of the operation, and the agents will find themselves behind bars.

We get our first glimpse of the investigation, and we hear a uniform complain to one of his peers about the stench in the air. A plain-clothes agent, tells the uniform that what he smells is injustice and the uniformed officer scoffs at the remark. He says that the corpses aren’t victims, they’re criminals who used to work for or against Reddington.

The plain clothes agent asks the uniform if that means that their wives don’t miss them, and their children are better off without their fathers? He then introduces himself as Special Agent Julian Gale, and tells the rest of the officers in the facility to get out. He then walks alone among the corpses, and apologizes saying this is all his fault.

Raymond and Baz have tracked down the owner of the truck, a mechanic named Carl. Raymond says that a witness informed the sheriff’s department, that they saw Raymond’s Aunt Kate, in the mechanic’s truck and he shows him a picture of Mr. Kaplan. Carl replies that she said her name was Sheila, and Reddington responds that she must be off her medication. He says that her car was found in a ravine, with her medication inside. Raymond tells the mechanic that she suffers from senility, and she quickly loses touch with reality when deprived of her medication.

Carl informs Reddington that he dropped Kate off at a motel, and we watch Raymond the motel office to speak with the manager. Realizing the manager’s visually impaired, Reddington identifies himself as a State Police Officer and tells the manager that he needs to inspect the room that Kate stayed in back in November.

Kate’s captured Joe Peracchio, the man who handles all of Raymond’s financial affairs. She tells Peracchio, that his life he knew is over, but she’s giving him the chance she never got. He can turn on Raymond and cut a deal with law enforcement to implicate Raymond and insure his freedom, or spend a long stretch behind bars. Peracchio tells Kate that he’ll never turn on Reddington.

Lizzie explains to the Task-Force that Raymond’s “Cleaner,” Mr. Kaplan, unearthed all the bodies and Cooper asks why she suddenly turned against him? Donald Ressler’s cellphone rings and he leaves the meeting to take the call, he’s taken aback to hear a familiar voice from his past on the other end of the line. Turns out that Julian Gale and Donald worked side-by-side, on the Task-Force formed to capture Reddington, and after some time away from the Bureau, he’s heading the investigation at the ice-rink. He tells Ressler to get his tail down to the facility, and help him finally put Reddington behind bars. Ressler tells him he’ll have to think about it and will get back to him.

Cooper realizes that Ressler appears shaken and asks if all’s well. Donald informs him that unfortunately, that’s not the case, as he just got off the phone with the “peach-orchard hog.” He tells Harold that Gale wants him to join his investigation, and Cooper thinks it’s a good idea, so Ressler can keep one step ahead. Donald says that Gale will eventually find the truth, and Harold replies that it’s better to find out things sooner, rather than later.

Raymond’s going over the motel room with a fine toothed comb, when his cell phone rings. It’s Marvin Gerard, who informs Reddington that Joe Peracchio wound up hog-tied in front of the ninth precinct, with a detailed financial statement pinned to his chest, connecting him to Red. Raymond says that Kate’s begun her war, and tells Marvin to spread the word to the troops for all to lay low and seek cover. He also tells Gerard to move to another location, but Marvin says he’s been on the lam for two-years and he’ll be fine.

Raymond checks the air vent in the room and finds a microphone. He heads back to the manager, puts the microphone in his hand and tells the manager he needs to listen to the tapes from Kate’s stay in the room. The manager’s clearly embarrassed and says he’s not a sicko, that he’s just fascinated with people. Raymond replies that he’s not there to judge, just to listen to the audio recordings.

The first few minutes of the recording’s mundane conversation, but Raymond hears a snippet of conversation that intrigues him, as he listens to Kate’s first meeting with a woman who calls herself Philomena.

Reddington informs the Task-Force that Philomena’s turned bounty-hunting into performance art. She captures her unwilling prey by befriending them and becoming part of her target’s life. Then when she earns their confidence, she swoops in for the capture.

As Raymond’s explaining this, we see Philomena in action as she’s working in her cover job as a waitress at a coffee shop. Her intended prey’s a woman named Alexa Feist, a rather average woman who among other things is a member of the PTA. However the reason that Philomena’s targeted her, is to get access to Feist’s brother, Marvin Gerard. She engineers a traffic accident, as she starts riding her bicycle as Feist starts to leave the parking lot, causing a collision.

Although the “accident,” was clearly the bicyclist’s fault, Feist immediately feels guilty and offers to pay for any damages to the bike and any medical bills the young woman may encounter. Philomena, tells her that she’ll be fine, but Alexa insists on exchanging information.

Raymond and Elizabeth go off to speak with somebody that Reddington says used Philomena’s services. The pair enter a synagogue, and hear a boy practicing his Bar Mitzvah prayers. Raymond startles the boy, his father and another man by chuckling and clapping. He then congratulates the father Congressman Edelstein, saying that his son will make his parents very proud. Edelstein asks Reddington if they’ve met, and Raymond comes up with an alias and says they met at another family event. He says that families need to uphold traditions, even if they have to hire outside help, such as Philomena. The member of Congress, then asks his son and the other man for some privacy, so he can talk with Reddington.

Edelstein hired the bounty hunter to break up a torrid affair between the Congressman’s wife and her tennis instructor. She did so by unearthing information that put the tennis instructor in a compromising position, forcing him to end the affair. Raymond tells the member of Congress that he just wants to find out how to contact Philomena, and Edelstein tells him to head to Randy’s Boot Emporium on 29th street. Go to the repair counter and ask for ticket 652. After he’s vetted, if he passes Philomena will contact him.

Aram walks into Cooper’s office and tells his boss that twenty seconds after Reddington left the boot shop, the man at the repair counter made a call. Mojtabai tells him he’s tried to trace the call but it’s too heavily encrypted. Samar then walks in and says they’ve recovered Peracchio’s car, and they found traces of cement mixed with copper on the floor boards, which likely emanated from an active construction site. Cooper tells Navabi to come up with a list of sites near the bar where he was captured, but Aram reminds Harold that Samar’s got her interview for the Katai Fellowship, and says he’ll generate the list.

Julian Gale’s clearly pumped to see his old associate Ressler, and greets him with a hug. He then tells Donald he should thank him, as they’ll finally get closure and put Reddington behind bars. He identifies a few of the corpses, Tiger Branson, Lou Capote, and Junior Wallace. Ressler gasps and says these were guys, that they tried to turn, Gale replies that instead they got them killed. Donald says that the Lou Capote’s of the world, won’t put Red behind bars. Gale then directs Ressler to his prize catch.

Julian informs Donald that they are looking at the corpse of Dianne Fowler, yes that Dianne Fowler! He tells Ressler that somebody actually hates Reddington more than they do, and they’re the beneficiaries of what he describes as a wet sloppy kiss. All their efforts over the years will soon be rewarded.

Baz drives up to Lizzie’s apartment, and Raymond asks about Agnes, she responds that her daughter’s doing fantastic. He asks if he can see her, and she replies if she does her a favor, and he says name it. She says that when she thought Kate died, she felt complicit. She says she’ll help Raymond stop her, but not harm her. She then asks Reddington to promise he won’t kill Mr. Kaplan, and he says he can’t make that promise. She replies then he can’t come upstairs and leaves the car.

Raymond’s refusal to adhere to Lizzie’s wishes, prevented what at best would have been a tense encounter, and likely would have been far worse. Keen opens her apartment door to find Kate sitting there with Agnes in her lap, and remarking how big she’s grown. (Who the Hell was babysitting Agnes? Are viewers supposed to accept that an infant would be fine left to her own resources, while Mommy goes off to work?)

Liz tells Kate that she wants to protect her, but the only way she can do that is if she can put Mr. Kaplan into protective custody. Kate puts Agnes in her crib, kisses the baby on the head and says “You are safe, you are loved, and you are wise” Elizabeth mouths the last words with her, and tells Kate she know that phrase, Mr. Kaplan responds that she used to say that to her many times every day, when Lizzie was a baby. She tells Keen, that she’s her nanny and Liz used to call her Katya, Katarina hired her and Kate vowed to protect Elizabeth with her life.

Mr. Kaplan says that she’s provided enough evidence to put Reddington away for life, but the Task-Force needs to disavow any relationship with him. Liz asks if Kate did all that to protect her, and she responds that she already failed Lizzie, now she’s trying to protect Agnes. Keen says she can protect her own daughter, and Mr. Kaplan points out that wasn’t the case this time. She begs Keen to walk away, and don’t make the same mistake that Katarina did, by waiting until it’s too late.

Alexa Feist starts to fly too close to the flame, as she calls Philomena to find out how she’s doing. The bounty hunter invents a story about an ex-husband and a non-existent daughter. She says that if his lawyer’s found out she’d been in an accident, they’ll try to keep her daughter away from her. She asks Feist, to please forget about her and the accident, knowing full well she just ensnared Feist in her web.

Deep inside of the “Concierge Of The Criminal World,” lies the remains of the once proud Naval Intelligence Officer, Raymond Reddington. We’ve seen him emerge every so often, throughout the series. We last saw him when he first heard the name Kathryn Nemec, causing him to tell Lizzie that he received absolution through admitting all his most heinous sins to Mr. Kaplan. He returned in this episode, as he paid Dembe a visit to check up on him.

Raymond gives Zuma a wrapped package, and tells him it’s a parting gift. He then says that most of the people that work for him, are under the misimpression that they must always stay with Reddington. He says that’s not the case at all, he says he attempts to induce his employees to stay with him, by rewarding them handsomely. He tells Dembe, that he’s only got one friend and that’s him. He then says he can never attempt to apologize for misjudging him, and that his instincts should have kicked in and woken him up. He then says that when Dembe leaves him, whether it’s today, tomorrow, or ten-years in the future, that will be the time to open the package.

Liz and Samar have discovered Philomena’s hideout, but she’s not on the premises. Liz wonders how long she’s lived there and Navabi finds a scrap of paper on the counter, with the name Alexa Feist written on it. Finding no other clues, they send the name to Aram and wait for his response.

The Justice Department, put all of Dianne Fowler’s living room furniture in storage. Gale’s got it all assembled on the ice-rink, recreating the crime scene, save for the chair that Fowler sat in when she got shot. He even plays the record on the turntable, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown.” We then get a glimpse at what might have caused Julian to leave the Bureau. He literally envisions himself as Raymond, shooting at Dianne Fowler, in reality he’s taking aim at Ressler. His ability to actually see the crime scene play out in front of him, makes him a superb agent, but he maybe straddling the line between genius and madness.

Every inch of the crime scene’s devoid of fingerprints, except for one, the brush Fowler used for cleaning her albums. Mr. Kaplan missed it, and the brush contains fingerprints. Donald takes the print back to the Post Office, but he fears running it through the system, as it could lead to all of “Team-Red,” spending the next few years behind bars.

No Good Deeds Go Unpunished.” Alexa Feist’s about to learn that lesson the hard way, as she pays Philomena a visit at the coffee shop she works at. The two women sit down together, and Feist tells the younger woman that her brother’s a brilliant attorney, and he’s agreed to meet with her. Philomena asks if they can drive to his place right now, and Alexa says let’s go.

Just as Feist and Philomena enter Marvin’s apartment, Liz and Samar get the report from Aram containing the information about Feist. Keen realizes that Alexa’s Gerard’s sister and immediately calls Raymond, and head to Marvin’s apartment. Reddington calls Gerard, but it’s too late as Philomena’s already pulled out her pistol and she’s pointing it at Alexa. Marvin says he’ll do what ever she wants, as long as she doesn’t hurt his sister. She tells Gerard to put the Taser against his forehead and pull the trigger, he does and slumps to the ground.

Samar and Liz arrive at Marvin’s ten minutes after Philomena’s made her getaway. She remembers that the woman was driving a green SUV with a sticker on the window. Aram identifies the vehicle as a rental and through the GPS unit, Keen and Navabi are able to find the vehicle and force it off the road. They pull their weapons and order the woman from the car, but she’s alone.

Marvin’s strapped to a chair with a bag over his head and when it’s removed, he sees Kate standing in front of him. She tells him she wishes she could say it was good to see him. She then offers Gerard the same deal, that she offered Peracchio, and Marvin also refuses it. She says she’s sorry to hear that and puts the bag back over his head.

Keen talks to Philomena, now in custody. She pleads with her to tell her Kate’s location, as she wants to help her. She also says that if Reddington finds her first, Mr. Kaplan’s a dead woman. The bounty hunter asks Lizzie why she should believe that Keen wants to help her. Liz replies, because she just found out that Kate helped her when she was a baby.

Samar sits down with Scott Middleton, who heads the board that grants the Katai Fellowship. He asks her about her extensive writing, about what he refers to as the perceived bias that law enforcement officials have against Muslims. She replies, that she believes it’s not perceived, it’s fact. She then points out that America’s leaders instill fear in their citizens, while statistics show that there have been less than 100 deaths in the United States, since 9/11, that came at the hands of Muslim terrorists. She apologizes for her passion, and Middleton says no apology’s needed, and asks her about growing up in Iran.

Donald heads back to the ice-rink and tells Julian that the print didn’t match any print in the system. Gale replies that the system’s fixed and Reddington’s the guy who fixed it. He then says Red must have somebody inside, that’s helping him out, and then asks about Lizzie. He says that’s going to be their next target, they’re going to find out what Liz knows.

Philomena tells Liz that Kate’s en route to Vienna, she lets Harold and Raymond know. Cooper says he’s going to get the Department of Homeland Security involved.

Donald and Samar talk about Ressler doing the right thing and running the print. He tells Navabi, that Gale’s an inspiration in his doggedness, and that he’s going to prove that Laurel Hitchin murdered Reven Wright. He tells Samar that he knows in his bones that she’s guilty.

A cruiser finds Marvin Gerard shrink-wrapped to a lamp-post. They cut him free and then take him into custody. A Federal Agent tells Joe Peracchio, that as he’s explained to Peracchio’s lawyer if he testifies against Reddington, he’ll get full protection, and then starts asking about their relationship.

A chauffeur greets Kate and welcomes her to Milan. She asks how long it will take them to reach Vienna, and he replies eight hours. She tells him to wake her when they are a half hour out.

Our final scene shows us Dembe arriving at the Post Office, and Raymond asking him why he’s there? Zuma responds he’s looking for Raymond, and Reddington says he should be resting. Dembe says he’s had his share of rest and now it’s time for them to find Kate. Raymond agrees, but suggests that they have dinner first.

The Story Returns, Next Thursday Night at 10:00pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Sherwood, NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Hopefully, you still have room for the main course after such a filling appetizer, as “The Blacklist,” followed up “Dembe Zuma,” with a rather mind-bending second episode. Entitled “Requiem,” the hour presented the history of Kathryn Nemec,  the woman fans of the series know as Mr. Kaplan. Long time viewers of the series, likely noticed some inconsistencies during the hour, from the stories we previously heard during the show’s run. I believe that some of the new wrinkles stem from seeing history through Kate’s perspective, while others got omitted or altered in Raymond’s recounting of the past to Elizabeth Keen.

The opening scene begins in 1962, as a man and a little girl stand over the open casket of a woman. The little girl asks the man if she’s in there, and says she can’t see her. The man replies that they’re looking at a skin-sack full of bones, and the woman abandoned her body due to all the sorrow and pain it absorbed. The man then tells the child, “What happens in life, writes a story in our flesh.” He then tells her to dry her eyes and say goodbye to her mother. The little girl puts on a very familiar pair of horned-rimmed glasses and says “Goodbye Momma.”

We return to the present, as we see Kate driving a pickup truck attached to an RV, while the Gloria Gaynor hit “I Will Survive,” provides the soundtrack. She pulls over to the side of the road, and takes some pills and makes a call on her cellphone. She tells the man on the other end she’s fine, but complications have risen. She’s cutting her trip short, but she’s got one more stop to make. The man asks her if she’s getting migraines and she once again assures him she’ll be okay. After finishing her call, she pushes her hair aside and we get our first glimpse of the horrifying scar she received when Raymond shot her.

Once again in the past, we rejoin Kathryn Nemec, now a young woman applying for a position as a nanny. Her prospective employer’s a woman we know quite well, Katarina Rostova. She tells Nemec that she’s very impressed with her résumé and references, then asks why she dropped out of the medical program at Northwestern University. Kathryn replies that she had an odd fascination with corpses, and decided instead to dedicate her life to child-care.

Rostova informs Nemec, that her duties revolve around taking care of her daughter Masha, when ever she’s not around. When Katarina’s in the house, Kathryn’s job is to observe exactly how Rostova treats her child, and to duplicate it when she’s not there, with one exception. She will not love her.

A graphic states that the next scene takes place three months later, and we join a conversation between the two women. Nemec informs Katarina, that she’d give up her life for Masha, and that they’d formed a pact. Every time that the child takes a bottle from her, or falls asleep in her arms, she shows Nemec that she trusts her.

We rejoin Mr. Kaplan in the present, as she turns into a motel parking lot, and then pulls out a fistful of phony licenses. She presents one to the motel manager and says she’s got a reservation for room eight. He gives her the keys for room twelve, and tells her the young couple in room eight, decided to extend their stay. She asks for the adjacent room.

Later that evening, Kate sits in her motel room listening to the young couple arguing, and it brings back a memory. Nemec’s upstairs, while Katarina’s arguing in Russian, with a man in the kitchen. The volume of the shouting increases, and suddenly Kathryn hears bangs and thuds, She runs downstairs to find Rostova and the man in the midst of a tussle. Nemec sees a steak knife by her feet, and kicks it over to Katerina, who uses it to slice the man’s neck.

Rostova then looks at he corpse and all the blood on the floor, and says that her husband’s on his way home and he can’t see this. Kathryn tells her employer to go upstairs and shower while she cleans up the mess. She pulls on the yellow rubber gloves, that will one day seem like part of her own anatomy, she does her first job as a “Cleaner.”

Returning to the present, we watch the young man from room eight, leave the room and start slamming on the locked front desk door. He starts screaming that all he wants is a pack of cigarettes, he’s surprised when he hears Mr. Kaplan’s voice behind him, as she tells him she’s got an extra pack in her trailer. The two enter the mobile home, and that’s the last we see of the young man.

Kate flashes back to her memories of the next morning, as Katarina greets her with a smile. She tells Nemec that she seriously considered killing her the night before. Rostova says that the nanny witnessed something that she’s kept hidden from her husband and their friends. Kathryn asks her employer if she works for Russian Intelligence, then explains that she saw some papers in the man’s pockets when she buried him. She informs Rostova, that she took ample precautions so that the body would never be found. She also says that her pact with Masha, includes protecting Katerina.

A sudden pounding on her motel room door, jolts Mr. Kaplan from her slumber. She opens the door and it’s the young woman from the next room, and she asks Kate if she’s seen her boyfriend? Mr. Kaplan says that perhaps he bolted, but the young woman says he left his car and his keys behind. She then scowls as she says she’s got to try to find him. We watch a cleaning woman leaving room eight and handing Kate the key to the room.

Nemec’s in the woods taking Masha for a walk in her stroller, when she comes upon a parked car. She quickly sees a couple in the throes of lovemaking, and realizes that Rostova is the woman in the car. She quickly turns the stroller around, and heads back to the house. Later Katerina asks Nemec, if she’s got any questions, and the nanny responds it’s none of her business. Rostova says the man was a target, and now she’s not sure what their relationship is. Nemec asks if the man’s American, and if she loves him. Katarina confirms that the man’s American, but she says the only person she know she loves is Masha. Kathryn then says that she should end the relationship.

Kathryn sees police cruisers in front of the house when she returns from an errand, and runs into the home. Katarina tells her that she broke things off with Raymond, and that he took Masha, as he believes the girl’s his daughter. Nemec asks if that’s true, and Katarina says she never checked, as she didn’t want to know the answer. She says she’ll find Masha on her own, and Nemec corrects her, saying she won’t be alone.

Mr. Kaplan pulls aside a bureau and a painting and starts marking the wall, as we hear the band Cake’s cover of “I Will Survive.” She then pulls out a chainsaw and starts cutting through the wall, revealing the body parts of a corpse she buried there, in 2006. She puts all the body parts into a large suitcase and drives away, the cleaning woman’s astonished when she goes to clean the room.

A traumatized Katarina, enters the home carrying Masha. She says they had escaped a fire, and then she tells Masha that he was a very bad man. We realize she’s talking about the man that the child shot, but we receive no explanation of the fire or the man’s identity. She tells Kathryn to take Masha to a motel, she needs to hide but will contact them soon.

Katarina calls Nemec from a phone booth, about a week later. She tells Kathryn that the KGB know about her affair with Raymond, which means US Intelligence, also knows or will soon find out. Nemec says that the child can’t stay in a motel, and suggests that she and Masha go to live with her sister in Chicago. Rostova, tells her that Masha wouldn’t be safe with her, and tells her to take the child to a friend of her and Raymond, named Sam Milhoan, who lives in Kearney, Nebraska. She also tells the nanny, that she needs to disappear so that nobody can question her about her relationship with Rostova. She tells Kathryn she loves her and hangs up.

Kathryn gets to Milhoan’s home, and he apologizes but says he can’t care for the child. He tells her that he’s a grifter, and he’s attempting to go straight, however he can’t provide a stable environment for Masha. Nemec pleads with the man, saying he’s their only hope. Masha then realizes that her nanny won’t be living with them, and Sam’s emotions get the better of him. He tells Nemec that the girl needs her mother, but she’s got him until the heat’s off. With that statement, Masha Rostova ceases to exist, the child become Elizabeth Scott, taking on Milhoan’s birth name, Scott, as her own.

A few weeks later, Nemec’s sitting in a bar reading a newspaper. She hears some of the men in the bar making some lewd comments about an attractive young blonde woman, and she looks up to see the woman selecting a song on the jukebox. Returning to reading, she starts to cry when she sees an article with the headline that authorities have ended their search for a missing Russian woman, Katarina Rostova.

The blonde sits down next to her at the bar, and says she hopes she’s not intruding, but she needed to get away from those guys. She then introduces herself as Annie, and asks Kathryn if she’d like to dance. Nemec’s rather shocked by the invitation, but Annie leads her to the dance floor. As the pair start to awkwardly dance, she asks Nemec what’s wrong? Kathryn replies that her friend died, then says she thinks she was her best friend. Annie hugs Nemec and shares her pain.

Later that evening, as the women share some beers at a table, Annie asks Nemec what her plans are. The former nanny says she’s unsure, she had devoted her life to Masha and her family. Annie says that she’s heading to Amarillo, Texas. Her uncle Nikos lives there, and he’s going to teach her how to become a bail bondsman. Kathryn asks what’s the job market like in Amarillo?

A few months later, Kathryn’s working in a morgue and living with Annie in Amarillo. Annie gets off early one night, and comes over to the morgue to meet Nemec, but she gets squeamish when she sees Kathryn washing off a table covered with blood and body tissue. She suggests that Kathryn find another line of work, and then the pair kiss.

Mr. Kaplan turns on a cassette recorder, and opens the suitcase. She then proceeds to give an autopsy report on the victim, who died from a blunt trauma to the head in 2006. The victim’s name was Everett Oldfield. Apparently he died at the hands of Raymond, or one of Reddington’s associates.

Nemec’s now back in child-care, and gets an unexpected evening off as the couple she works for decided to stay at home for the evening. She surprises Annie at the bail bond office, bringing some Chinese food that they can enjoy, while Annie finishes her paperwork.

Suddenly a guy bursts through the front door, holding a pistol, and demanding to see Little Nikos. Annie informs him that they’re closed, and that Little Nikos isn’t there. The guy starts screaming that he wasn’t in court, because he was at his father’s funeral, and that Little Nikos’ thugs broke his brother’s jaw, in an attempt to find him.

Annie’s flustered, and she offers to give him his money back, the guy gives her a dirty look, and says he doesn’t want her money. He then asks what her name is, and she relies Annie Kaplan. The gunman then says to Nemec “That must make you Mr. Kaplan.” He then shoots Annie in the abdomen, when Nemec tries to help her, he shoots her in the head and then shoots Annie once again, before he flees. Kathryn drags them out to the street, where Annie takes her last breath.

Kathryn wakes up in the hospital, with a doctor standing over her, he tells her that the gunshot didn’t cause any lasting damage, but they had to put her in a coma for three weeks, due to the swelling. Little Nikos walks into the room and tells her she got an upgrade, a metal plate in her head. She then asks about Annie, and the doctor says he’ll give them some privacy.

Little Nikos tells Kathryn that Annie died before the ambulance arrived, and she completely breaks down, letting out these primal howls of grief. Little Nikos takes her in his arms, and tells her that Annie was family, and he knows the way they felt about each other, so that makes her family as well. He says we’ll get through this together.

Kate gets another migraine attack, so she pulls over to the side of the road and parks there. She takes some of her pills, but the attack’s too severe for her to keep on driving. So she goes into her trailer and lies down in the bed to take a nap, until the pain subsides.

Kathryn’s taken over Annie’s old job, when one day a man she never expected to see again, comes to the office. Sam Milhoan quickly reassures her that Lizzie’s fine, however Raymond Reddington’s reaching out to her, due to his concerns about the girl’s future. Kathryn erupts into a ball of fury, saying that man destroyed the life she loved. She calls him an outlaw and a traitor, and says he had no regard for his own family. However Sam convinces her to meet with Reddington.

My curiosity had been piqued, as to how the show-runners would present the young Raymond Reddington. They elected to go with James Spader in the role, obscuring his appearance with lighting, so the only things we saw clearly were his eyes. He tells Kathryn that he’s built a criminal empire in order to protect Elizabeth, but he realizes he needs somebody by his side for counsel. She agrees to work for him, with the understanding, that if she ever has to choose between he and the girl, she’ll always come down on Lizzie’s side. He says he wouldn’t expect anything less.

Kate’s jolted awake by the pounding on her trailer door, she opens it to find a female State Police Officer, standing outside. She asks if Kate’s been drinking, and Mr. Kaplan replies that she gets severe migraines that make it impossible to drive. The officer says she parked illegally and she needs to see her license and registration. Kate accidentally pulls out two licenses, and the officer says she’ll have to search the trailer.

Kate refuses to allow her inside, and then begs the officer not to call it in. She says that she’s on the run from her husband, who abuses her badly. He’s a State Judge, so his word’s sovereign. The officer starts talking about a shelter, when Mr. Kaplan reveals her scar. The officer asks Kate if she’s got a gun, and Kate replies she does. The officer then tells her to high-tale it to a stand your ground state, and wishes her good luck.

We rejoin Kathryn and Raymond, in 2013, as he informs her that he’s made up his mind to reveal himself to Elizabeth. Mr. Kaplan says he can’t just waltz into her life again, and he replies that he’s got no choice. He hired Tom Keen to watch her, but he married her. Because of Katarina, there are too many dark forces swirling around Elizabeth, and he’s got to protect her.

The next scene takes place outside the Bureau headquarters, as Raymond sits on a bench before surrendering. A young man identified by IMDB, as the character “Grey,” sits down next to him. He asks Raymond if it’s good to be home? Raymond responds we’ll see about that, and heads towards the building, while Grey joins Kate and Dembe in the car. Grey says he’s in FBI custody. What could go wrong. We then see a series of images flash by, ending with Raymond shooting Mr. Kaplan in the head.

Raymond finally recovers The Tracker’s phone from the debris, and calls Mr. Kaplan. He says her friend put on quite a show, and Kate replies she told him it wouldn’t work. He then suggests that they talk, and Kate scoffs at the notion. She says she told him that when they first met, she’d always take Lizzie’s side, and he says she was misguided and betrayed him. She counters that she catered to his every whim for over 20-years, and he tried to take her out like a mad dog.

She says it took a bullet in the head for her to remember it, but her father was right. “What happens in life, writes a story in our flesh.” Raymond starts boasting about how impenetrable his organization is, when she interrupts him. She says I know where all the bodies are buried dearie, or at least where they were buried. Now I’ve got them all and they’ll end up putting you in the ground. The camera pans to a wide shot, and we see that Kate’s speaking from an ice-skating rink. There are dozens of corpses staying cool on the ice.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night, at 10:00pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Sherwood, NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

The Blacklist,” returned to television with a sprawling two-hour episode, jam-packed with revelations. The evening was split into two separate episodes, the first one entitled “Dembe Zuma, Number 10,” while the second episode’s titled “Requiem.” While the first hour took place in the present, the second episode centered around the past, revealing the history of an integral character in the series. The second hour, provided some answers to long-standing questions, however many questions that fans of the series have remain mysteries. Once again the identity of Elizabeth Keen’s biological father came up, and once again fans walked away from the two-hour extravaganza without a definitive answer.

We’ll be splitting the two episodes into two separate recaps, as there’s far too much information to absorb in just one sitting. The recap of “Requiem.” will soon follow.

Our evening begins with a glimpse of the Metro-DC skyline, before taking us into the shower of Aram Mojtabai. As we see Aram through the glass doors, we watch an unidentified character come into his apartment, and open the bathroom door. Despite the ominous music, we soon realize his guest’s his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Janet Sutherland, who soon joins him in the shower. He asks how she got into the apartment, and she replied he left his front door unlocked. This doesn’t sit well with Mojtabai, as he’s certain that he locked the door, so he puts on his robe to investigate.

Aram’s instincts served him well, discovering he’s got an uninvited visitor. Dembe Zuma tackles him to the ground and soon has him hogtied on the floor. Janet hears a commotion emanating from the living room, so she slips on a towel to investigate. She discovers Aram’s bound and gagged on the floor, then she turns around to see Zuma, who orders her to remain quiet.

Next scene begins with Samar Navabi entering Aram’s apartment, as Donald Ressler and the police are doing a sweep of the premises. She asks Donald if they know where Aram’s at, and Ressler replies they’re still trying to piece things together. He escorts Navabi, into the bedroom and she sees Sutherland sitting on the bed. Jumping to the conclusion that Janet’s involved in Aram’s abduction, she starts to attack her, only to be stopped by Ressler as he explains Sutherland’s a victim and not a suspect.

We find ourselves in Harold Cooper’s office, joined by Raymond and Lizzie. Cooper asks Raymond the status of his investigation into Zuma’s location, after his month-long search. Harold tells Reddington that he and the Bureau are getting involved, as Dembe abducted Aram the night before. Red tries to assure Cooper, that Mojtabai’s not in danger, and that Dembe took a calculated risk, because he needs Aram’s help. Raymond wants to search for Zuma by himself, but Harold insists that Keen accompany him and report back to Cooper.

To avoid detection Dembe switches cars, taking Aram from the trunk of one vehicle, and then ordering him to get into another vehicle’s trunk. Zuma then takes the plates off of the car he abandoned and drives off to parts unknown.

Navabi and Ressler question Sutherland at the Post Office, about the abduction but she’s unable to provide much information, as she got stuffed into a closet. She says that she can track Aram, as he’s got a key-finder on his key ring, which she can access from his work station. Despite her innate distrust of Janet, she convinces Cooper and Ressler to allow Sutherland to use Mojtabai’s computer, as she truly believes the woman’s on their side.

Baz’s replaced Dembe as Raymond’s driver, and Reddington explains to Lizzie that they’re in search of the Sanctum Corporation. He explains to Keen, that it’s “an underground railroad for miscreants.”  Criminals that need to elude the law, or former allies turned enemies, utilize Sanctum Corporation’s services to escape the country and obtain a new identity. Liz asks if Dembe used the services, and Raymond replies that he used them last year, to hide his daughter and granddaughter, after Mr. Solomon poisoned Zuma’s grandchild.

As Raymond and Elizabeth attempt to track down a former client of Sanctum Corporation, Dembe takes Aram to a warehouse district, opens a garage type door revealing one of Reddington’s multitude of lockers stashed across the country. Mojtabai assumes that Zuma wants him to crack the code, so he can steal from Reddington and refuses to do it. Dembe punches in the code and opens the empty locker, and tells Aram he needs his help to find out who stole the contents, as that’s the identity of Raymond’s true enemy.

Aram asks him if he’s trying to help Red, and Dembe acknowledges the fact. He says he gave Raymond the poison drink, but he didn’t poison it. He can’t go back to Raymond until he finds out the identity of that person, who tried to kill Reddington, and sabotaging his operation.

The first man that Liz and Raymond attempt to question Richard Fickman’s been abducted in a bloody skirmish by the time they arrive. Which leads to our first encounter with Glen “Jellybean” Carter of the evening, who promptly tells Reddington that he’s not surprised Dembe went rogue. He said he never bought the strong, silent, brooding act and his fake African accent. He also tells Red that he found their relationship to be “a little Edgar Rice Burroughs”  (creator of Tarzan.) Reddington quickly cuts Jellybean off, and he gets the information he came for, the identity of Fickman’s abductor, an ex-con named Chuck Shaw.

Shaw admits killing Fickman, as repayment for Dr. Sophia Gallup, his prison therapist gaining him parole. Keen checks with the Prison hierarchy and confirms that Gallup’s in charge of the system’s prisons in the Northeast, however the only contact information’s a post office box. They’re able to access the last guy she paroled, Dennis Cauley, who now lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Aram’s only able to access a proprietary address, and tells Dembe that it would take him days to find out the person behind it. Zuma puts the safety on the pistol and tells Aram he can leave and asks forgiveness for his actions. He then slumps to the ground and sits in the alleyway, a defeated man. Mojtabai asks if he’s truly trying to help Reddington, and Dembe responds that he’s got three people in his life, his daughter, his granddaughter, and Raymond. Aram breaks into a grin and says he’s got an idea.

Baz, Liz, and Raymond drive to Cauley’s place, but he’s not there. A quick search of the apartment reveals a dossier on Gallup’s next victim, Alex Soto. Raymond looks at the file and says the man’s real name’s Daniel Nakamoto, a master forger of antiquities that ran afoul against a very powerful gang leader 13-years earlier. Cauley’s notes reveal that he’s usually at a museum at that time of the day.

Raymond sits next to Nakamoto on a bench in the museum, and after a quick round of you’ve got the wrong guy, Reddington reveals that his life’s in danger from the Sanctum Corporation. Nakamoto replies that if they’re truly after him, not even Raymond can help him. He starts to walk away and nearly gets stabbed by Cauley, however Baz takes the ex-con out. In Reddington’s car Nakamoto reveals that the couple behind Sanctum Corporation, Tony and Maria Lopez, ran a honey company in Ohio. They had set up safe houses in various bee colonies they owned. However they died nearly a year before. Raymond thanks him and tells him to pack up his belongings and Red would soon be in touch.

Aram comes up with the name of the person who robbed Reddington, just as Navabi and Ressler arrive on the scene after using the key-finder to track them down. Mojtabai says the woman’s named Kathryn Nemec, and we can see the shock register on Dembe’s face. It’s pretty easy to determine that Kathryn Nemec’s, actually Mr. Kaplan. He says he needs more proof, and Aram helps him elude Ressler and Navabi.

Our second meeting with Glen takes place in a car, as he’s performing his day job as a driving instructor. He tells them to climb into the backseat, and Raymond expresses his disgust at the situation. Jellybean tells them they can speak freely, as his student Ms. Vasquez doesn’t understand a word of English. We soon find out her driving skills are also non-existent. We find out that the Lopez’s died in a fire nine months before, they sold most of their bee farms, but their daughter Vanessa still owned one. Glen says that she’s a therapist, and Liz and Reddington realize that Vanessa Lopez and Sophia Gallup, are the same person.

Lizzie and Raymond head to the bee farm and walk in on Gallup, shirtless and bra-less with bees covering her entire upper torso, looking as if she’s wearing a bee-sweater. Raymond does his best Mr. Spock, as the only thing he can say is fascinating. He soon collects himself and apologizes for barging in, but says time’s of the essence. She assumes Reddington’s one of her parent’s clients, but he corrects her and says he’s looking for a friend.

She tells them that her parents were living a good life running their honey company, when a friend came to them asking for help. Soon another man arrived, and then another, and suddenly their income from Sanctum Corporation, dwarfed the money they made from their legitimate company. They stored all their money in a Vulcan safe in their basement, only the criminals they assisted knew it existed. Nine months earlier, somebody tried cracking the safe with an acetylene torch, burning down the house and leaving her as the only survivor. The bees seem to be the best way of healing her scars from the fire, as their stingers help her skin heal. After Liz calls the Bureau to inform them to arrest the therapist, she and Raymond head to Dembe’s daughter’s new home.

Dembe drives to the spot where Reddington shot Kate, and finds her gone. The burner-phone that he gave to his daughter Isabella, to contact him in case of emergency, rings. He picks it up and Raymond’s on the other end. Red tells him that his activities are making him look very guilty, Zuma counters with we’re both guilty, Raymond. He says she’s not here, and then screams in pain and drops the phone. Our old pal The Tracker’s carrying a crossbow and shot an arrow into Dembe’s calf. He steps on the phone, crushing it and continues after Zuma.

The Tracker finds Dembe on the ground writhing in pain, and he tells him he knows his identity. That he and the fellow in the hat left Kate for dead, but she survived and now he’s going to kill the two of them. He asks where’s his slick-suited pal, and Dembe pulls the arrow out of his calf and jams it into The Tracker’s thigh. As he stops to patch himself up, he calls Kate and leaves a message on her voicemail.

As Liz and Raymond drive off from the bee farm, Keen receives the information that Aram’s safe and that Dembe’s trying to help him. She then tells Reddington that Aram came up with a name, Kathryn Nemec, but she’s listed as disappearing 25-years earlier. Her words cause Raymond’s face to turn stone gray, and he tells Lizzie that’s Mr. Kaplan’s real name.

They soon arrive at the place where they left Kate, and Dembe comes out of the bushes, bleeding badly. Raymond tells Liz to get Dembe to a hospital, while he and Baz hunt for The Tracker. He shoots Baz in the leg with an arrow, but the duo outsmart the hunter, and take him prisoner. They take him to his shack for questioning.

Reddington orders The Tracker to call Kate, but he says it looks like he’s dead either way. Raymond says he truly abhors violence, and only uses it out of necessity. He then jams his pistol up against The Tracker’s forehead and says that this is one of those times. The Tracker hits speed dial and hands the phone to Red, saying that Kate knew he’d underestimate her.

Suddenly Raymond hears a cellphone ringing below them, and through the floorboards he sees it’s connected to explosives. He and Baz get out of the shack just before it erupts in a blaze of glory, The Tracker going out with a huge grin.

Our final scene takes us to Kate walking on a street at night and listening to The Tracker’s message. He tells her he didn’t give her up and refused to go down without a fight. However her war has arrived, so lock and load.