NJATVS Speculation

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

If I possessed the ability to predict the outcome of the stock-market, instead of the plot of a TV series, my wife and I could be comfortably retired on our own private island near Hawaii. Although Las Vegas offers wagers in a variety of areas, I highly doubt they have a book that’s devoted to TV show season finale outcomes. However as I wrote at the time, I put myself out on a limb a couple of weeks ago and I’m pleased I didn’t end up falling on my behind.

For the third straight year, fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” got treated to an exciting and action packed season finale, that provided some answers but left us waiting until October for answers to new questions. Once again we’re going to break format in order to summarize what we’ve learned in this campaign and hopefully provide some insight along with my opinions.

Elizabeth Keen’s Alive And Living In Cuba

Other than the fact that Kate Kaplan got Lizzie out of the country, no  real surprise here. If Megan Boone truly was leaving the show she would have gotten a far grander sendoff. As predicted Mr. Kaplan drew up a play in the dirt and left Raymond out of the loop. After picking up Tom and Liz outside of Mercy Hospital to transport them to a nightclub where Lizzie would give birth, Kate realized she needed to extricate the Keen family from Raymond’s life. So she convinced Nick to fake Lizzie’s death and Tom and Liz agreed to the plan.

Mr. Kaplan hired a small plane to transport Tom and Agnes to their new life in Cuba, but unfortunately Alexander Kirk’s operatives trailed Tom and Agnes and found out Lizzie’s waiting for her husband and daughter to their new home. The episode concluded with the Keen’s being held captive by Kirk and Raymond holding a pistol against Mr. Kaplan’s temple and asks “What are we going to do about you Kate?”

If anyone else had done what Kate did, their corpse would already be in a landfill dump in New Jersey. The fact that Raymond didn’t pull the trigger in that scene, lends me to believe that Red understands why she took the actions she did. The longer Raymond contemplates his next move the greater the odds he’ll forgive Mr. Kaplan.

Alexander Kirk Is Lizzie’s Father

Although there’s many fans that refuse to believe it, “Daddy-Gate” got resolved in the third season finale and Raymond Reddington’s not the Poppa. Alexander Kirk’s an alias for Konstantin Rostov, husband of Katerina and father of Masha Rostova. (The suffix “ova” is added to the “root-name” in many Eastern-European tongues, signifying wife of or daughter of.)

The purpose of Rostov wanting contact with his daughter and granddaughter’s unclear as the episode and season concluded. Is he simply trying to develop a relationship with a daughter he believed died in a fire as a child, or is he hoping Lizzie and Agnes can help him with his medical condition. Konstantin seems to receive frequent blood transfusions, which could be a result of a serious illness.

Raymond, Katerina’s father Dom and perhaps others went to great lengths to ensure that Rostov believed his daughter died as a child. They put her in Sam’s care and cutoff all contact with her, however Raymond was so confident he could keep her safe he broke the pact he had with Dominic. During episode 21, Red blamed Laurel Hitchin and the Cabal for exposing the name Masha Rostova to the planet. However if Raymond’s honest with himself, he’ll soon realize that it’s his fault the name surfaced.

Just before Liz shot United States Attorney General Tom Connelly in season two, Reddington revealed to Liz that her mother was a Soviet Spy named Katerina Rostova and her birth name was Masha Rostova. At the beginning of season three, Keen sought asylum at the Russian Embassy claiming she was a Russian spy. That act revealed her birth name which in turn revealed to Kirk his daughter hadn’t died.

Raymond Was Leaving The Task-Force

Raymond and Harold Cooper had a goodbye meeting just before Reddington left to try to assassinate Kirk and told Harold without Elizabeth being there his work was done, then told Cooper he appreciated him and his team and expressed his unabashed respect for Harold. He looked Cooper in the eye and said Charlene, inferring just with the mention of Harold’s estranged wife’s name they should get back together. He also begged Cooper to fix Aram up with somebody, comparing the Tech Wizard to a boy on a school bus with his first erection. However once they get Lizzie away from Kirk, look for them to both be back in the fold.

Ressler Chooses Justice Over The Law

Raymond’s plan was to have his sniper takeout Kirk, but Ressler found them before Kirk’s limo arrived and threatened to kill Raymond’s soldier. Reddington sent his man away and he grabbed the rifle and getting the scope ready as Ressler points his pistol at the back Red’s head while Dembe has his weapon on Donald. Raymond tells Ressler that if he plans to stop Red from taking the shot, he best shoot Reddington right now. But Donald pockets his weapon, Unfortunately Kirk doesn’t emerge from the limousine, it’s one of his lieutenants. Kirk’s flying to Cuba to meet his daughter and Granddaughter.

Senator Robert Diaz’s Campaign Song, I’m Your Puppet

Although Raymond told Senator Robert Diaz last week for politicians,  Reddington actually wants a favor from Diaz if he’s the next occupant of the Oval Office. He told the Senator he wants a full pardon for Elizabeth to clear her record even though he thought Liz was dead at this point.

What’s Up For Season Four?

Konstantin Rostov will become the designated  “Big Bad” at the beginning of next season. How long his storyline lasts remains to be seen. Lizzie and Raymond will return to the Post Office and the Task-Force will once again go after the names on Raymond’s list. Have a great Summer!!

Photo Courtesy of NBC

Photo Courtesy of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

{“The Blacklist,” which normally occupies this space will be preempted this week for the following special program.}

Welcome to the world of Halcyon Aegis, a corporation that exists as a result of the United States Government outsourcing more and more of their military budget to subcontractors. Picture if you will a cooler version of Halliburton, with a sultry and savvy woman running the operation. Halcyon Aegis undertakes tasks that the Government can’t publicly acknowledge, such as negotiating with foreign thugs to get American hostages released.

That just happens to be exactly what the corporation’s leader Susan “Scottie” Hargrave’s in the midst of when we join her in Indonesia. She’s there to negotiate a deal with a kidnapper named Karokaro whose demanding a million dollar deposit into his bit-coin account or he’ll kill his hostages. Scottie then gives Karokaro the routing number to make a deposit in her bit-coin account and she’s demanding three million.

We then see perhaps one of the reasons that Raymond Reddington’s never liked Hargrave, because she shares his talent for sharing anecdotes and verbal manipulation. She informs Karokaro that she’s already rescued the hostages and advises him to call his men to verify her story. While he’s making the call she tells the thug that she suffered a traumatic event years ago that she hasn’t recovered from. She normally leaves these type of meetings to staff members, but she’s doing this for therapeutic reasons.

We hear somebody on the other end of the kidnapper’s cell-phone talking rapidly and sounding distressed even though it’s in a foreign tongue. Scottie says her Indonesian’s rusty but the man on the other end likely just informed Karokaro that not only did she rescue the hostages, she kidnapped the thug’s brother in the operation. He asks her if she’ll accept cash.

This is our introduction to the Spinoff series that NBC has added to this fall’s schedule and called “The Blacklist: Redemption,” starring Famke Janssen in the role of Hargrave. Scottie was telling the truth about the traumatic event she went through (more on that later) and we immediately notice some of her eccentricities. She carries around some sort of seashell necklace, clutching it in her hand like rosary-beads. She’s also got a penchant for saying “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers,” almost like a mantra.

The phrase “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers,” is a tongue-twister and a vocal exercise to help improve one’s diction. It might also be a phrase that a mother and her three-year-old son might share as a private joke. We’re never told the meaning of the phrase, but we’re aware that Scottie seems to get comfort from saying it in tense situations.

Joining Ms. Janssen in the new series are three familiar faces for Blacklist fans as Ryan Eggold  reprises his character of Tom Keen. Tom enters this episode wanting Hargrave dead in revenge for Lizzie’s “death,” he ends up becoming part of Scottie’s team so they can trap the man who hired Hargrave to abduct Liz, Alexander Kirk. Keen ends up working with Matias Solomon (Edi Gathegi) and Nez Rowan (Tawny Cypress) who both were involved in the attempted abduction of Liz.

Keen’s brought into the dynamic via Raymond, who informs Tom that Hargrave’s merely a sub-contractor hired by Alexander Kirk. Reddington has a meeting with Keen and the members of the Task-Force and gives them the lowdown on Kirk. Kirk’s actually an alias for an oligarch who struck it rich after the Soviet Union collapsed, by purchasing mining operations for just pennies on the dollar. Raymond explained that Kirk went off the grid in 2002, when he rubbed somebody wrong at the Kremlin.

Reddington tells them that Kirk’s survives due to politicians and leaders protection around the globe, in return for the one kind of gift everybody likes, money. We also see that Kirk’s suffering from some medical condition when he receives a blood-transfusion in his office. He then tells Cooper and the rest of the Task-Force that he proposes they work with Hargrave and Halcyon Aegis to capture Kirk and Harold expresses reservations. Raymond then tells them that the three American hostages that were held in Jakarta, are back home because Halcyon Aegis did what the US Government considers illegal.

Tom’s first meeting face-to-face with Hargrave isn’t exactly smooth as he walks into Agnes’ room at the hospital and finds her in the arms of Scottie, whose rocking back and forth whispering “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers.” Tom demands his daughter telling Hargrave she’s the only thing he cares about. After a snippy back and forth, Keen says that he’ll work with her to bring Kirk to justice. She sighs looking at Agnes and says that losing a child is absolutely the worst tragedy one can go through. She tells Tom she hopes he never has to experience that pain, then tells him Solomon will pick him up in ten-minutes.

Tom and Solomon take a private plane to the Halcyon Aegis facility and Matias informs Keen that the corporation deals in two types of cases. There are the escapades the American public’s aware of such as helping with security to fortify US troops in military conflicts, that they refer to as the black and white situations. Then there are the “gray-areas,” cases that are legally questionable but morally justifiable.

The Task-Force’s in the conference room when Tom and Solomon arrive and as soon as Ressler sees Matias he says he thought he could do this but he can’t and starts to get out of his chair. Navabi then sees Nez Rowan and starts to go after her, but Tom intercedes telling Samar if he can do this she can as well. Scottie enters the conference room acting like a teacher dealing with a rowdy junior-high class and tells them they’ve got work to do.

We switch to another meeting as Kirk meets with some European cohorts and a man makes some statement about Kirk’s protection in French. He responds in English that he doesn’t require any protection once the American Presidential election takes place he’ll be untouchable. His assistant walks into the office and whispers in Kirk’s ear that the child’s been located. The oligarch responds he wants the matter taken care of that day, of course that child’s Agnes.

Scottie tells those in attendance that the only way to get Kirk is through his bank account. Normally their target doesn’t deposit any money in the US, however he’s put together a Super-Pac for Senator Robert Diaz’s Presidential campaign and she believes there could be over $300 million in that fund. Hargrave then tells them that Solomon, Keen and Brown will rob the bank, but they won’t be able to access what’s in the account. Instead Ressler and Navabi will investigate the robbery and actually take the contents of the account at that point.

Harold responds that the FBI stops bank robberies, they don’t commit them. Scottie calls Cooper out on his sanctimonious attitude saying that they have a long-term working relationship with one of the most wanted criminals on the planet. She reminds them that during the three years they’ve worked together Raymond’s empire’s gotten larger, the Task-Force agrees to work with them.

Just before Nez pulls up in front of the bank in an SUV, one of the bank officer’s having a meeting with one of the bank’s customers. Zack Loescher needs to go to his car to get the paperwork the bank officer needs to see and tells his little girl Sadie to wait for him and he’d be back soon. Of course Solomon and Keen enter the bank just after Loescher leaves.

Matias and Tom have bandanas covering the lower half of their faces and are each packing shotguns. Matias gets everyone’s full attention when he fires a couple of rounds into the ceiling. He then goes up to a female employee and tells her to open the vault and though she’s terrified she refuses. So Solomon grabs the guy that met with Loescher and another woman from the bank took his chair to comfort Sadie.

Keen hears Sadie’s crying and he bends down to make eye-contact with her and tells her everything’s fine and she’ll be okay. No good intentions go unpunished, when Tom bends down to comfort the girl an off-duty cop pulls his weapon and tells Tom to drop his gun. His heroism was mighty impressive, but not really well thought out, Matias tells the cop to put his gun down and the two start screaming at each other, then Solomon shoots him. Tom takes a look at the cop and tells him that it’s only a flesh wound and he’ll be fine.

Unfortunately our worst fears for Sadie come to fruition as she got struck in the abdomen from a stray-bullet. Keen insists that they take her to a hospital or get her to an ambulance, as they leave the bank Zack tells them that Sadie’s his little girl. Tom grabs him by the arm and the four of them enter the SUV.

We get introduced to Operator 6-3, who seems to serve as dispatcher and coordinator for Halcyon Aegis. She informs them that an ambulance is heading towards the bank and then lets them know that it’s on the other side of the street. Tom channels Gene Hackman in the “French Connection” and somehow gets the SUV to the side of the road and they cut off the ambulance and get Sadie and Zack into the medical vehicle. After they’re safely inside the ambulance, they press the button on a remote and the SUV they used for the robbery explodes.

Keen heads for the hospital to see Agnes and he walks into a crime scene and his daughter’s gone. He then flies to Hargrave’s house as Susan’s holding a campaign financing dinner for Senator Diaz. After she’s done introducing the candidate to his audience she sees Tom’s standing at the door of the room the dinner’s taking place in. She gets one of her aides to tell Tom that she believes he’ll be more comfortable in her office.

Scottie storms into her office and starts ripping Keen a new one for coming to her home uninvited and for arriving at such an inopportune time. Tom takes the wind out of Hargrave’s sails when he wraps his hand around Scottie’s throat and asks where his daughter’s at. Suddenly there’s a knock on the office door and one of Scottie’s house-staff’s standing on the other side with Agnes safe and sound in her arms.

Susan tells Tom that she got wind that Kirk ordered a team to kidnap Agnes, so in a preemptive move she took her first. She informs him that Agnes’ receiving the best in medical care. Hargrave also lets Keen know that Sadie Loescher is in good condition after she arranged for a top surgeon to remove the bullet fragments from her abdomen. She’s resting comfortably in Mount Sinai Hospital.

Although Navabi was able to get the team to the halfway point of accessing the PAC fund account after the robbery, however the bank’s security system requires a retina scan of one Peter Pruitt treasurer of the PAC fund in order to enter the account. Pruitt’s attending a Big Eight Summit meeting in Berlin at the Turkish Embassy, one of Tom’s aliases is a criminal wanted by the Turkish Government. So by using that identity when he arrives in Germany he’s immediately apprehended and taken to the Turkish Embassy for extradition proceedings.

Keen of course overcomes his captors and escapes from the holding room and then disguises himself as a waiter serving champagne at the Summit soiree. Tom plays the old switcheroo on Pruitt’s cigarettes, substituting a pack with poison for Pruitt’s regular smokes. Pruitt lights up a square and seconds later he’s choking and lying on the floor. Nez and Solomon disguised as paramedics carry Pruitt to their ambulance on a stretcher, Tom jumps into the ambulance and the three make their get away.

I got the impression that if there will be a character from the original series who becomes a conduit between the two shows, Aram Mojtabai will fill that role. Sharing FBI information with Halcyon Aegis could be the connection between the two series and Aram seems to have found instant chemistry with his counterpart at Hargrave’s operation.

Dumond might become the breakout character in the new series, if you’re familiar with the CBS series Scorpion, picture a combination of Sylvester and Toby. He loves using nicknames; calling Aram “Cheesecake” and referring to Tom as “Sweet Cheeks.” Mojtabai’s become a favorite character on the original show because he’s the odd-duck, but he’s made a place for himself in the macho, testosterone world he lives in. Dumont could fill that same niche at Halcyon Aegis and I took an instant liking to the character portrayed by Adrian Martinez.

Turns out that Keen added a bit too much poison to Pruitt’s smokes and they can’t get a retina scan because his pupils were too small. Aram told Tom they needed a drug that optometrists use to dilate pupils and Solomon and Keen broke into a pharmacy where they found the liquid. However that’s when Matias pushed his luck too far.

Solomon says to Keen that he blames Tom for putting them in their current situation and Keen says if Matias hadn’t attacked his wedding they’d be somewhere else at that moment. Solomon concedes the point but then says to Tom that they both know Liz is in a better place right now. Keen grabs his pistol and shoots Matias in the abdomen telling him this is for Liz as Solomon falls to the floor.

Tom jumps into the ambulance and tells Brown to drive, when she asks where Matias’ at Keen responds just drive. Now Keen finds himself in a race against the clock as the president of Key Atlantic Bank realizes they’ve got Pruitt and he’s about to lockdown the account. The retina scan’s accepted and they get granted access to the account a heartbeat before the executive could lock them out. We watch as Halcyon Aegis and the Task Force break into cheers when they get into the account. Hargrave walks into the hallway and makes a call on her cell and says “Reddington, it’s time.”

Senator Robert Diaz walks into his home a very agitated man talking on the cell and saying he realizes Kirk got attacked by the same people who stole his money. He’s surprised to see Scottie sitting in his living-room and she asks if he had a bad day. Diaz asks her if she knows where his money’s at and Hargrave says of course she does as she took it. Diaz’s incredulous saying that Susan contributed 50 grand to his campaign, she smiles and tells Diaz you have to give to get. That’s when we’re aware Raymond’s also in the home.

Reddington tells Diaz that their move wasn’t personal and he’s ignorant about Diaz’s position on any issue. Diaz says he’s calling the cops and Raymond advises against it, telling him he’d be far better off calling Kirk. We then switch to Kirk’s office as his assistant tells him that Diaz is on the phone. Kirk picks up the phone and tells the Senator it’s an honor, but he hears Raymond’s voice instead. Reddington tells him that he’s got his money and his Senator.

Kirk responds by saying that he should have pulled the trigger that time he had a pistol in Raymond’s mouth in that house by the shore. He then says that Red’s got his money and his Senator but he doesn’t have Kirk and hangs up. Raymond tells Diaz if he wants his money back he’s going to temporarily suspend his campaign and subpoena Kirk to testify in front of the subcommittee that Diaz chairs. Diaz says he won’t be a party to murder and Raymond replies he will if he wants to become President. Diaz does as instructed.

The Task-Force arrives to the church for Agnes’ Christening and Keen tells them that they are the closest thing he and Liz had to family. Granted a dysfunctional family that’s tried to kill each other, but a family nonetheless and he says he knows Liz would have wanted them all to be God-Parents. While the ceremony takes place Tom looks up and sees Raymond standing in the doorway. However when he looks again Reddington’s gone.

After the Christening Tom decides that Scottie should die and he’s going to kill her. He walks into Hargrave’s home and when told she’s not there he says he’ll wait and walks into her office and then calls Raymond. Red tells him that he can’t kill Hargrave and Keen replies they no longer need her as they’ve got Kirk on the way to Washington.

Reddington then says that if Tom kills Susan he’ll never find out the unanswered questions about his childhood. Tom’s birth name’s Christopher Hargrave and he’s the son of Howard and Scottie Hargrave and got kidnapped at the age of three. He tells Tom that if he keeps his true identity from Hargrave he’ll be able to get the information from her to fill in the missing pieces of his life.

Tom’s holding a framed photo of Howard, Susan and Christopher when Scottie walks into her office and she smiles sadly as she starts to talk about her perfect boy. The picture got taken the last day they were all together, the shell necklace that she carries was around her son’s neck in the picture. Once again the beach plays into our saga, they had a wonderful day on the beach building sand-castles.

That night she and Howard drank too much and got into a huge argument. When they awoke the next morning her son was missing. She says that not a day has gone by in the last 28-years that she walks into a room without hoping her son’s in there. She then asks she hopes he didn’t show up to try to kill her again and Tom says that’s exactly why he came, but for his daughter’s sake he’s changed his mind. Once again Matias survives as the authorities investigating the break-in find a pool of Solomon’s blood but he had taken off.

As he starts to leave the office Scottie says you’re hired and Tom’s dumbfounded. She then tries to entice him rubbing Tom’s arm and saying they could do beautiful things together. Thankfully Tom doesn’t have a Oedipal fixation and he left after saying he’s sorry about her son.

The new series looks quite promising and hopefully we shall have some crossover between the two shows on an occasional basis, although Amir Arison could conceivably become a semi-regular on the new show. Matias Solomon will of course be back in top-form and in a few years the incident will just be a memory of how close the two of them have become.

Keep in mind the phrase that Matias used to describe the gray-area “Cases that are legally questionable but morally justifiable.” That’s likely to be the “sweet-spot” for this team and the kind of missions that they concentrate on. Frankly, I could have done without the family ties, but it’s not a deal-breaker for this viewer. Does this mean that eventually we’ll meet Howard and find out why he and Scottie haven’t shared the same bed in four years?

I’ve already expressed my theory about Alexander Kirk, so there’s no need to rehash it here. However one question that did arise from this episode, does Tom actually know that Lizzie’s alive? I’d originally thought that Keen was in the loop when Kate Kaplan suggest they fake Liz’s death, however what would be his motivation to kill Scottie if that’s the case? We’ll find out this Thursday in what should be yet another exciting season-finale for this incredible series.

 Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

I’ve decided to call my shot and swing for the fences in this column as the NBC series “The Blacklist,” airs the first episode of their two part season finale this Thursday. The show will have its hands full during the two episodes, as they deal with two issues that could change the series radically.

Their first challenge’s been well publicized over the last few weeks, the producers will incorporate a pilot for a new series, a spinoff starring some new and some familiar faces. The spinoff would star Famke Janssen whom we got introduced to in episode 21 as an old associate of Raymond’s named Susan “Scottie” Hargrave. Published reports have stated that Ryan Eggold (Tom Keen) and Edi Gathegi (Matias Solomon) will make the move with her if the series gets picked up.

This past episode served the dual purpose of introducing Scottie Hargrave to the viewers as well as setting up the action for the seasons two final episodes. Hargrave and her husband Howard are longtime associates of Raymond’s and the founders of Halcyon Aegis, a company that’s a subcontractor for the United States Government.

Reddington’s interest in Scottie however concerns a far different matter, turns out that Halcyon Aegis got hired by a client to deliver him Elizabeth Keen, alive and unharmed. They were of course unsuccessful in that mission and now Scottie faces the clients wrath for botching the job so badly. One of the first things that Raymond said to Hargrave when they finally met face to face was Elizabeth Keen’s dead, so that means you’re dead. Scottie took the statement as Red pronouncing he was going to kill her, but he was actually referring to her now unhappy client.

That client’s Alexander Kirk, whom NBC announced would debut near the end of Season Three to become the series new “BIG BAD.” The network and the show have done a great job so far on keeping most of the details about the character, who’ll be portrayed by Ulrich Thomsen a mystery. However, I’ve had a theory about the character over the last few weeks and seeing the expression on Raymond’s face after Hargrave revealed the identity of her client reinforced my belief that my theory’s correct: Alexander Kirk was the husband of Katerina Rostova and Lizzie Keen’s father.

Although Raymond told Laurel Hitchin that she and the Cabal were responsible for identifying Lizzie as Masha Rostova, I wonder how much he actually believes that statement? If Raymond kept his end of his pact with Dom and keeps his distance from Keen, would she be living an uneventful life as an FBI profiler possibly happily married to Dr. Nick Korpal? Or was Raymond aware that Kirk’s getting closer to finding his daughter and Red’s reason for coming into her life was truly to protect her?

After lots of pondering I’ve come up with what I believe is a viable scenario for what really went down in the late eighties. Katerina and her husband were both KGB Agents when the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving them both in a state of limbo. We’ve heard from Raymond that Katerina adjusted quite well to her new reality, while her husband descended into a downward spiral.

If Red and Katerina ever had an affair, this would seem to be the most likely time for it to have begun. Her life in turmoil with a husband growing more depressed by the day may have been the impetus that drove her to Raymond’s arms. A time for her to escape from reality, a relationship that she didn’t need to be the strong one in. Although if Raymond’s suppositions are correct and the only man Katerina truly loved was her husband, then her affair with Reddington was just temporary.

At the conclusion of Season Two after shooting United States Attorney General Tom Connelly to death, Keen had a flashback to a long-buried memory. She was four-years-old and her parents were arguing and Masha picked up a pistol and shot her father trying to protect her mother. Most viewers likely believed that the shot killed Masha’s father, but there’s yet to be any evidence or even a character’s statement that backs that theory up.

During the conversation Raymond had with the vision of Katerina after ingesting copious amounts of Opium, Rostova told Red that her life was in danger due to what she said to a man. It sounded as if she was referring to her husband, however she was unclear. She then told Reddington that she had a choice, to sacrifice her own life to save her daughter’s. She couldn’t live if she chose the opposite path. If Katerina’s husband did survive the shooting than we know he was the source of the information that Rostova regretted revealing.

If Alexander Kirk was indeed Masha’s father and Katerina’s husband, he would of course expect and demand full custody of his daughter. Which might be the explanation about the fire during Masha’s childhood that only comes back to Keen in glimpses. Was it indeed concocted so that Alexander Kirk believed his daughter perished in the blaze. Did Raymond, Dom, Sam and who ever else was involved that frightened of Kirk being part of Masha’s life that they faked the child’s death?

Has Kirk lived all these years believing his daughter died as a toddler, only to find out the truth when the name Masha Rostova appeared in homes across the planet? Raymond wasn’t surprised when Hargrave mentioned Kirk’s name, so if he’s indeed Katerina’s husband, Red’s known he was still alive. Kirk wanting Halcyon Aegis to kill Raymond as part of their contract, makes sense if Raymond’s what stood between Kirk and his daughter for nearly 30-years.

The answer to Kirk’s identity and his reasons for wanting Masha Rostova alive and unharmed will be revealed in less than two weeks. What ever the outcome however, for the third straight season the series will leave it’s fans with a huge cliffhanger that will cause at least some of them to hope that Summer goes by quickly.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” have found themselves sailing unchartered and rather choppy waters on a ship without a rudder over the last few weeks. The crew’s having difficulty maintaining coordinates for their destination as all their navigation equipment’s failing to operate including the compasses. Complicating matters even more, the ship finds itself enveloped in a thick deep fog every night so the crew can’t even look to guidance from the stars.

The cause of all this turbulence is “Hurricane Lizzie,” which touched down three weeks ago and we’ve still yet to determine how extensive the damage is. The answer to that question, is what’s kept viewers on the edge of their collective seats over the last few weeks; is Elizabeth Keen dead or alive? Did we actually watch the funeral of Elizabeth Keen in the episode entitled “The Artax Network” or was the service part of a brilliant scheme to save Lizzie’s life engineered by Mr. Kaplan?

Regular readers of these pages are well aware that this writer’s part of the camp that believes the former FBI Agent still lives and we’ll get at least a glimpse of her sometime during the final two episodes. So while my heart went out to the characters mourning her loss, I have to admit to having a feeling of detachment while watching the memorial service and ceremony at the graveside. There’s a Dan Hicks tune entitled “How Can I Miss You, When You Won’t Go Away?” I found myself in a similar situation while watching this episode, how can I grieve for Lizzie when I don’t think she’s died?

If my theory’s indeed correct and that Megan Boone’s absence’s temporary, then I tip my hat to the series creator  Jon Bokenkamp and his writing staff. Season three of this show had been an endless roller-coaster ride beginning with Elizabeth Keen on the run from the law and the Cabal with Red by her side. Even when the Cabal’s link to the United States Government got exposed Raymond told Keen they weren’t out of the woods yet and his words proved true.

I’ve looked at these last few episodes as a time-out, a chance to catch our collective breath and to find out some answers that have been just out of reach for almost three years. The last two episodes have opened up windows into Raymond Reddington’s past, giving us an entry way with a limited view. However those openings have been large enough that ghosts and memories that he buried decades before have returned to pay him a visit.

Although the series has been short on arrests over the last few episodes, we’re finding out answers to questions we’ve had since the premiere. The previous episode verified that Raymond had been truthful with Liz that her mother had died by walking into the ocean and subsequently drowning. However we also found out that she didn’t take her life due to overwhelming grief, Katerina Rostova killed herself to protect her daughter Masha. We get another connection to Lizzie’s past in this go-round, however we’ll explore that later.

The episode opens with Agnes displaying her unhappiness as her frustrated father Tom Keen tries to figure out what he can do to have her at peace with the world. We hear in a voiceover Harold Cooper addressing the mourners at the church holding Elizabeth’s memorial service. We then watch a montage of the mourners getting ready to go to the service, including Cooper picking up his estranged wife Charlene who attends the service with him.

As we watch the service unfold we see Liz’s teammates from the Task-Force sitting in the pews along with Kate Kaplan and Dembe, but Raymond Reddington is not among them. (Pardon me for this quick aside, did Samar Navabi get her dates mixed up and thought she was attending the Hell’s Angel’s convention that morning? Sorry I realize I’m a dinosaur, but show some respect for the dead and wear something more appropriate for the occasion. Yes I realize Tom Keen went tieless, but he’s the one who just lost his soulmate.)

Great musical selections once again as Ray LaMontagne with his song “Homecoming,” serenaded us through the service at the church while The Faces with a song from my youth “Ooh-La-La,” accompanied us to the graveyard. That drive provided one of the few humorous moments of the episode, as Ressler and Navabi become aware that Aram’s sparked up a joint in the backseat. He pleads with them not to judge, then Samar signals for Mojtabai to pass the Doobie so she can take a hit. Aram expresses his shock and Navabi shrugs and says it’s legal in Washington D.C.

The group at the graveside’s about to go their separate ways when Aram asks them to please wait and he pulls a sheet of paper from his jacket pocket. He reads a passage from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, then he says that Lizzie loved the Bard and Dr. Seuss as well. He starts mentioning other things she was fond of and then he breaks down and says he misses her.

We find out where Raymond’s been as we see him drive to a house in the middle of nowhere. He knocks on the door and an elderly man answers, when he realizes it’s Red his expression turns into a sneer as he asks what Reddington’s doing there? Raymond responds it’s your granddaughter and there’s no need for him to finish the sentence. This series has had an array of unusual casting choices with well-known actors, such as Peter Fonda, Christine Lahti, Jane Alexander and Lance Henriksen in guest-roles. In yet another piece of casting-magic, the legendary actor Brian Dennehy takes on the part of Katerina Rostova’s father.

Another layer of the onion gets revealed as the two longtime Frenemies start talking about the past. Apparently Raymond and the elderly man known as Dom entered into a pact, that might have included others, to keep their distance from Masha in order to insure her safety. Dom tells Reddington that he loved his granddaughter enough not to break the pact and contact her. He looks at Raymond and says you can’t say that, conveying that it was Red’s contact with her that cost Lizzie her life.

Raymond’s looking for solace and longs to bond with Dom, but the old man quickly clarifies that Red won’t find what he needs in Dom’s home. He then tells Reddington he wasn’t expecting him and he was on the way out for groceries when he arrived, Raymond smiles and says let me give you some money and you can pick us up a bottle of single-malt.

Cooper gets a visit from Government Bureaucrat Cynthia Panabaker who at first requests and then tells Harold that the Task-Force will allow another group to take over the investigation trying to track down Matias Solomon and the person who hired him. After finishing his meeting, he tells his agents what went down. Ressler asks if they’re just going to walk away from the case and Cooper assures him they’re doing no such thing, they’ll just be doing things in stealth-mode.

There’s a knock on Dom’s door and Raymond answers it, he’s more than a little surprised when he sees Aram standing on the doorstep. Reddington quickly realizes Mojtabai got his location from Dembe, Aram begs Red not to get upset with Dembe as he realized how important the matter is.

Raymond asks what the urgent matter is and Aram tells him they need his help in order to bring the people who led to Lizzie’s death to justice. Reddington tells Mojtabai that he’s sorry he traveled all this way to go home empty-handed but he’s not coming back and starts to shut the door. A year ago that’s when the conversation would have ended, but we’re now dealing with Aram Mojtabai 2.0. Aram wedged himself between the door and he told Raymond that wasn’t an acceptable answer.

The usually mild-mannered tech-genius then proceeded to remind Raymond of the night the two of them stood over an empty grave after he saved Liz’s life. Reddington told Aram that he’d be forever in his debt, so now it’s time for him to repay him. He tells Raymond to grab his stuff and head back with him to the post-office facility. Reddington apologized to Aram and told him he no longer has enough to repay his debt and says goodnight.

Although Mojtabai failed to get Raymond to return with him, the next day he realizes that the group that hired Solomon to capture Keen are using a defunct satellite network above our planet to monitor and keep track of their intended victims. They also determine that the group’s next target is a renowned economist Benjamin Stadler whose in the city to give an address that evening, Ressler and Navabi head to his hotel to question him.

They get to the hotel and realize he’s just been abducted. Navabi catches up with Stadler and the would-be kidnapper and discovers it’s Nez Rowan the woman she and Ressler arrested when she was working with Matias Solomon on the day of Lizzie’s wedding. Navabi’s able to stop Rowan from taking Stadler, but she escapes in a van that knocks Ressler to the pavement.

Cooper goes nuclear when Navabi informs him that Rowan’s been released from prison and barges into Panabaker’s office demanding an explanation. The bureaucrat says the decision got made by those higher up on the food chain but refuses to give Harold any more info. When Cooper leaves her office he calls Tom Keen and tells him he’s got a surveillance gig for him if Keen wants it. Tom’s assignment’s to become Cynthia Panabaker’s shadow and to photograph any clandestine meetings she might have.

After questioning Stadler at the post-office complex Navabi and Ressler let him go as his plane’s waiting to take him to Dubai. Unfortunately they find out after they let him go that he wasn’t completely truthful with them. Stadler said he’d never left the suite before getting on the elevator in which he was almost abducted from. Aram shows them security footage from the hotel and they see Stadler’s outside of the suite in the midst of a conversation with an attractive woman.

Raymond asks Dom how he’s been able to live for the past 30-years with the intense feeling of loss that Red’s feeling after losing Lizzie.  The old man scoffs at him and asks him if Reddington calls Dom’s existence living? He says that after losing Katerina he came to this place in the middle of nowhere like a terribly wounded animal. He gave up having any contact with his granddaughter to keep her safe, yet she still died.

He then refers to Aram as “that Arab boy” and says to Raymond that it seems like he’s got a bunch of good and decent people counting on Red to help them. He then chuckles and says God Help Them. However then he says to Reddington that Raymond has a reason to go on and walk out that front door. Red smiles sadly and says to the old man that Dom’s had plenty of reasons to do the same, but he never took advantage of them.

Dom comes back from another trip to the store with another bottle of single-malt and he calls for Raymond, but Reddington’s gone. However Red fixed Dom’s piano replacing the missing key and has the metronome ticking on the piano so the old man notices. Dom chuckles to himself and starts to play a beautiful but melancholy tune, that leads into the closing montage.

Harold drops Charlene off at their home after taking her out to dinner. She asks him to come in but he begs off and asks if they can dine again the following evening and she agrees. We see Tom taking pictures of Cynthia Panabaker and an unknown woman. We see the sorrow in the faces of Samar and Donald as they think about how much they miss their fallen comrade. Tom comes back to Harold with the pictures and the woman with Panabaker’s the same woman talking to Stadler at the hotel. Keen says he believes it’s Katerina Rostova but we know that’s not the case.

Aram’s sitting in his apartment when there’s a knock on the door. He opens it to see Raymond standing there and Red tells him he’s arrived to repay his debt. Aram practically beams as he says your back, Raymond smiles for likely the first time in days and tells Mojtabai to strap on his bike-helmet as they’re going to work.

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We’ve dispensed with our normal recap for the last couple of weeks for the NBC series “The Blacklist,” mainly because these last two episodes have been far from the norm for the show. Last week the series told us that one of the show’s co-star’s Megan Boone, who portrayed former FBI agent Elizabeth Keen died. This week we watched the protagonist Raymond Reddington take an indefinite hiatus and took a cab to Cape May, New Jersey as he attempted to go off and lick his wounds.

The episode opens with a conversation between Reddington and Dr. Nick Korpal the physician who allegedly failed to save Elizabeth Keen’s life in the previous episode. Nick gives Red a play-by-play of how he delivered Lizzie’s daughter Agnes and then explained how some of the amniotic fluid had gotten into her bloodstream and he didn’t have the proper equipment to save her life.

Raymond’s face is a mixture of disgust and disdain as he tells Korpal to stop talking, however Nick says one more thing in his own defense. He says he kept Lizzie alive long enough to save the baby, Reddington basically says that Nick’s grabbing for straws. Korpal looks terrified as he tells Raymond he doesn’t want to die, Reddington responds that we all die eventually.

We never find out how their conversation ended, instead we now see an elderly Asian woman waking Reddington up from a deep sleep. Raymond says he needs more rest, but the woman refuses telling “Mr. Red” that it’s Friday and he needs to leave. She then hands him his fedora and a pistol, Raymond takes the hat but leaves the gun behind.

Raymond then makes a call to one of his associates, telling them he’s taking an indefinite hiatus and to put any projects they’re working on hold. He says that if they require any funds during his absence, Dembe’s got power of attorney and can write a check from Raymond’s accounts.

Lost in thought, Raymond crosses the street without checking and a cabdriver slams on his brakes to avoid hitting him. The driver opens the window and asks Reddington if he’s looking to get himself killed? Red opens the back door of the cab sits down and tells the driver he wants to go to Cape May, New Jersey. The cabbie says it’s 200 miles away and Raymond reaches into his pocket and peels off six Benjamin’s and hands the wad to the driver who naturally agrees to take the fare.

Red keeps reliving the last few moments he had with Lizzie throughout the trip. Cape May’s a Summer Resort Village on the ocean’s edge and it’s pretty much a ghost-town off-season, giving Raymond the solitude he desires. He then purchases the drivers taxi, so he’ll have transportation if needed. Raymond’s about to embark on a journey through time and to explore what would have happened if he chose to try to save Katerina Rostova instead of her infant daughter.

It’s at this point of the episode that the line between reality and fantasy started to blur. Raymond goes into a diner and sees a young attractive redheaded woman sitting in a booth and looking rather pensive. Suddenly a vehicle pulls into the parking lot and she gets out of her booth and leaves the diner through the back door. The man who pulled into the parking lot, enters the diner looks for her and then leaves. Raymond realizes immediately what’s going on but when he tries to find the woman she’s vanished.

Raymond grabs a lounge-chair from the resort and sets it up on the beach, when he suddenly sees the redhead sitting about 50-yards away on a blanket. As he settles into his chair he notices an elderly beach scavenger looking for hidden treasure under the sand with a metal detector. He then looks over and sees the woman’s now standing up and takes off her coat and folds it neatly on the blanket. Then when she removed her jewelry it started to become quite clear what we were witnessing.

Reddington described this exact scenario to Liz a few weeks ago when he told her how her mother died. Raymond however didn’t realize the real motivation that caused Lizzie’s mother Katerina Rostova to take her own life. This was Raymond’s chance to alter the scenario and save Katerina from drowning. As he sees her enter the ocean he sprints after her and pulls her limp form back onto the sand saving her life. She lies on the sand her body heaving as she cries.

Red helps the woman make it to the boarded-up resort and then sets up a makeshift bed for the woman on the floor. After he gets her setup and covered, he crawls under the covers next to hear and asks her what pushed her into trying to take her own life. She starts babbling that she’s being hunted because of the things she said to a man just before he died. Is she referring to Lizzie’s father and did this conversation take place just before the four-year-old shot him? Also what possesses Raymond to climb under the covers with a woman he believes at this point’s a stranger?

Red sets a fire and turns on the hot-water heater, he tells the woman they should have hot water within hours. The woman asks Raymond what brought him to Cape May in the middle of the winter and he opens up to her. Reddington tells her the story of two women, both were doomed and both would die. He could either let them both go or choose to save one of them and he chose the child.

However as hard as he tried to protect that child, she too would go through a life filled with misery that eventually led to her death. She gave birth just before her passing, but the child’s father (Tom) made it quite clear that Raymond would have no contact with the infant. He’d been cut-off from his remaining connection to Katerina and Lizzie. The woman suggests she make them both dinner, saying there’s plenty of wine and she can make risotto.

Raymond raves about the meal, although the woman apologizes for the canned mushrooms. Suddenly there’s a knock on the door and then the front buzzer starts ringing. Red opens the front-door to find the local sheriff standing there, he says he got some calls from some of the local neighbors after they saw lights on in the resort. Raymond tells the lawman that he was close friends with the owners and has a standing invitation to use the place anytime during the offseason. After presenting a phony ID to the sheriff, the lawman leaves and apologizes to Mr. Donnelly for disturbing him.

She tells Raymond that he’s got to leave, there’s a band of assassins heading to the resort to take her out. He says he won’t leave without her, but she tells him she can’t leave. She then tells Reddington that she’s got a daughter whose being raised by others and that every breath she takes means her daughter’s one step closer to death. Apparently that was the true motivation behind Katerina taking her own life, as long as she lived her daughter would be in constant danger.

However the scenario that was taking place was what would have occurred had Raymond prevented Rostova from drowning. The pair then go about setting up the resort with traps, that will negate the advantage their adversaries have in soldiers. Just before the enemy’s about to raid the resort, Red says to the woman that she never told him her name. She looks at him as if he were daft and says don’t be ridiculous Raymond. If you’ve yet to realize that this woman’s Katerina Rostova, this eliminates all doubts.

The mercenaries arrive and although the pair’s vastly outnumbered, they take out the entire team. Raymond says they have to clean up and get out, the woman tells Red to get the car and she’ll meet him out front. Raymond goes out to the garage and the only vehicle in there looks like it hasn’t been used in a decade. He runs back into the house only to see the woman through the window running back towards the ocean. Raymond suddenly realizes that the resort’s not damaged, as the battle he just fought took place only in his mind.

Red runs back down to the ocean’s edge and he sees the elderly beach scavenger’s still looking for treasure. He asks the man if he just saw a woman run past him and into the water and the man says no. He asks him if he’s certain and the guy looks Raymond in the eye and tells him that Red’s the only person he’s seen on the beach in the last two weeks. Suddenly he finds a locket buried in the sand and Raymond knows exactly what it is, he asks the man if he can have it and pulls out a wad of bills. The scavenger says it’s not worth that much but Raymond insists it is to him.

Red goes to the edge of the water and washes the sand off the locket and he sees Katerina’s name inscribed on the back. Suddenly she’s standing next to him and she tells Raymond he ended up saving her after all when he saved Masha. She then disappears. Red decides to head back to civilization.

So where do we stand after the information revealed in Cape May? Apparently Raymond had been truthful with Liz that her mother was dead, although the reasons behind it seem to differ from what he told her. We also learned that Red’s visit with Tom and Agnes ended with Tom telling Raymond he wants Reddington to stay out of his daughter’s life.

The episode also ended without our knowing the fate of Dr. Nick Korpal, although Raymond may have revealed Nick’s fate in his conversation with Katerina. She asked him if he ever killed anybody and he responded that he’s killed many, but every one of them deserved to die. Although Raymond’s mind’s clearly affected by overwhelming grief, he realizes that Korpal doesn’t deserve to die.

I certainly didn’t expect Lizzie’s fate to be revealed in this episode. We have three episodes remaining in this season and I don’t expect to see Elizabeth Keen among the living until this season’s final episode, or possibly the final moments of Episode 21. We don’t have any idea whose behind Matias Solomon attempting to kidnap Masha Rostova. It could be the new BIG-BAD that the series is promoting, a man named Mr. Kirk who may take the place of the CABAL as Raymond new nemesis. Or it could be another character that we’ve met earlier in the series, right about now I’m enjoying the ride too much to worry about our final destination.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alerts

Allow me to escort you back to my childhood in the Mid-Sixties, an era in which TV series were far less complicated.  One of my favorite shows in my tween-years was an ABC series called “The Mod Squad.” The premise of the show revolved around three teenagers who ran afoul of the law and were given the choice of serving prison sentences, or becoming undercover cops. Needless to say the two young men and one young woman chose to serve the police and their commanding officer a no-nonsense cop named Captain Greer.

I clearly remember an episode in which one of the characters Lincoln Hayes gets shot in the opening scene and most of the hour consisted of flashbacks and the young man fighting for his life. Perhaps that hour remains embedded in my memory as it caused me to have a minor revelation. Hayes would naturally pull through as he co-starred in the series and the show had gained a loyal following. Of course in the final act of the episode Hayes opens his eyes and the team’s back at full strength by the next week.

The medium’s evolved over the past fifty-years and characters have gone from being these one-dimensional beings, many with little to no back-story. Each episode was self-contained, it was like playing a videogame that reset at the beginning each time you played it. Claire and Cliff Huxtable went from being the parents of four children in the first season of the “Cosby Show,” only to discover they actually had a full-grown daughter they somehow forgot about. Perhaps even stranger, Marion and Howard Cunningham completely forgot about their oldest son named Chuck on “Happy Days.” (I’ve always theorized that Chuck Cunningham left the States for Havana and became a right-hand man to Fidel Castro.)

We’ve also seen that the medium’s no longer as predictable as back in the era I grew up in as main characters now leave series to go onto other projects while others have passed on during a series run. Viewers and fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” have been on the edge of their collective seats after watching FBI informant Elizabeth Keen apparently die after giving birth to a daughter. The Internet’s filled with promotional photos displaying Liz’s funeral and headstone that will take place in the next episode. However in a series that’s utilized the fake-out and sleight of hand moves through its history, I firmly believe that the reports of Elizabeth Keen’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Matias Solomon’s a “Super-Soldier,” however the operative word here’s soldier he’s a man that’s been trained to follow orders. He’s a mercenary in the truest sense of the word, his services belong to the highest bidder and he’s not saddled with baggage such as a conscience or values, that could cause him to turn down an assignment. His debut in the series showed us that he lacked mercy even for infants, infecting Dembe’s granddaughter with a deadly virus, which he eventually gave her the antidote for.

He’s not a bureaucrat he’s an extraordinarily intelligent killing-machine, a guy who if he possesses any emotions likely feels a high when he snuffs out a life. While he maybe at the top of the game in his profession, he’s not setting the agenda. The person who hires him does that and while watching Solomon die an excruciating death maybe cathartic for the fans, it still doesn’t stop the mission from advancing. Somebody wants Masha Rostova alive and unharmed and even if TEAM-Red could have stopped Solomon, somebody would soon take his place.

Let’s go back to the scene when everything went South, Lizzie had just given birth to her daughter Agnes via an emergency Caesarean procedure. Raymond asked permission to enter the makeshift operating room to see Tom and Lizzie’s little bundle of joy, but she refused saying she wanted Reddington to stay away from her daughter. The normally unflappable Red was in pure meltdown mode, having failed Lizzie and breaking the promise he made to keep her and her child safe.

As we approach the conclusion of third season of this series, we’re still pretty much clueless about the relationship between Kate Kaplan and Raymond. There’s been speculation that she could be his sister or another relative, others believe they formed a professional and personal bond while he still worked for the Government. What ever their bond is, we’re now aware that she’s among the few human beings that could give Reddington a tongue-lashing without repercussion. She also struck a nerve within him as he realized that it was indeed he who had let Liz and Agnes down.

Quickly seeing how Elizabeth reacted when Raymond entered the operating room, Mr. Kaplan ordered him to leave and then she talked with Liz, Tom and the surgeon Nick. Reddington likely feeling powerless for the first time in decades told Dembe he was going to get some air and apologized for yelling at his surrogate son earlier.

Just then an alarm sounded and Nick said that Liz was going into shock as some of the amniotic fluid had gotten into her bloodstream. Could it really be just a coincidence that this woman perfectly healthy before the conversation suddenly found herself fighting for her life? Or did Kate Kaplan suddenly concoct a scheme to make the world believe that Elizabeth Keen died? Did Mr. Kaplan react like a quarterback shaking off the play from the sidelines and draw a new plan in the dirt?

Solomon’s orders were to bring Keen to his new employer unharmed and alive, so if Liz died she’d obviously be of no use to the person who hired Matias. Even if TEAM-Red killed Solomon and every member of his squad, it would just be delaying the inevitable. Soon a second wave would arrive and they’d keep coming, condemning Lizzie and Agnes to a life always looking over their shoulders and always on the run. However if the employer believes Keen died the chase ends at least in the short-term.

If my theory’s correct, then only Mr. Kaplan, Liz, Tom and Nick know the truth, leaving Red, Dembe and the Task-Force in the dark. The less that know that vital information, the easier it will be to keep it contained. It also might explain why Tom didn’t attempt to rip Raymond’s head from his neck when he returned to the night-club.

This isn’t even the first time this season that the show attempted to fake Lizzie’s death. While Raymond and Lizzie were on the lam an episode opened with a flash-forward as Raymond had Mr. Kaplan take pictures to send to the media showing Keen’s seemingly lifeless body at the scene of a shootout. Last season contained a two-part episode in which Raymond got gunned down at the conclusion of the first episode and a sizable segment of the fans thought he might die.

Elizabeth Keen does have her detractors among the show’s fans, I’ve seen comments on Social-Media sites stating they hope the character actually died. She’s criticized for being whiney, ungrateful and always complaining and those attributes are certainly part of the character’s DNA. However for a character to have undergone the psychological damage that she’s endured since childhood and still become a profiler for the FBI is pretty impressive in this man’s opinion. She’s far from a perfect character, but each of these people we spend our Thursday nights with, have truckloads of baggage.

Although the series doesn’t get the ratings it did when it occupied the Monday night at 10:00 pm slot, it’s done what NBC hoped it could accomplish in their new time slot. The show derailed the former ABC juggernaut “Scandal,” as it came in ranked at 35, while the first installment of Mr. Solomon wound up in the 27th slot. The network announced weeks ago that the show’s been renewed for a fourth season and they will even attempt to launch a spinoff series revolving around Tom Keen.

Although Season Three has shaken up the dynamic, the series is still based around the premise that one of the most wanted criminals on the planet turns himself into the FBI in order to share information with a rookie profiler that he has some bond with stemming from her childhood. Without Liz Keen that equation vanishes, Raymond never turns himself in without Liz being involved. What ever their actual relationship turns out to be, Raymond thinks of Lizzie like his own daughter which is why his pain’s so intense. He looks at this as his greatest defeat, but he’ll realize why Mr. Kaplan did what she had to do when the truth gets revealed.

We would greatly miss many of the characters that we’ve grown to enjoy over the last three seasons, but there are just two characters that are integral to the plot. Without Raymond Reddington and/or Elizabeth Keen “The Blacklist,” simply doesn’t exist.

Photo: Courtesy Of FOX

Photo: Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.”

For What It’s Worth-Stephen Stills

Utopia: The perfect society; a place devoid of all the troubles that plague humanity; a land of contentment, free from  want and hardship and filled with friendship and love for each other. People have strived to reach or create such a society since the dawn of creation, but they never last for long. Are imperfect creatures capable of building a perfect society?

With just two episodes remaining in the FOX miniseries “Wayward Pines,” we’ve become aware that a sizable segment of the town, don’t truly feel they reside in “The Friendliest Place On Earth.” During episode eight, viewers found out that characters such as Ruby from the coffee-shop and Tim Bell the manager of the Wayward Pines Hotel, aren’t the compliant and passive people we assumed they were. Both were actively involved in the plan designed by Kate Hewson, to disable the electric fence surrounding the town and escape.

Dr. David Pilcher, the architect of  the ark that contains the only remaining humans in the year 4028, now finds himself fighting twin battles. The first being a growing segment of the residents of Wayward Pines that want answers. However the more pressing problem’s the one he’s not aware of yet, the fence has been breached and it’s just a matter of time until the Abbies cross that divide.

Pilcher realized that humanity would cease to exist within the next few hundred-years, back in the nineties and he set a plan in motion to repopulate the planet in Wayward Pines, Idaho. He then spent the next 15-years kidnapping people  and then putting them into a state of suspended animation, so they woke up over 2000 years later without physically aging a day. The new residents thought they’d been unconscious for hours, or perhaps as much as a day and most of them believe they still live in the 21st century.

When the residents awoke they found themselves with new lives and a fresh start, a needed second chance for many of them. They got new homes, new careers and even in some cases new significant others. In many ways it was a paradise, as long as the resident followed the rules, prominently displayed throughout the town:

Do Not Try To Leave.

Do Not Talk About The Past.

Do Not Discuss Your Life Before.

Always Answer The Phone If It Rings.

Work Hard And Be Happy

And Enjoy Your Life In Wayward Pines.

Those rules were not part of David Pilcher’s original vision for Wayward Pines. The current residents of the community, are referred to as “Group B,” because the people from the first group that got revived, couldn’t accept their new realities. The knowledge that they were the last survivors of humanity and the world they knew, ceased to exist two-thousand years earlier, created mass-panic. Residents either fled in panic and quickly became meals for the Abbies, or took their own lives. Determined that the second control-group not suffer the same fate, Pilcher established his wall of secrecy and eliminated anyone who threatened to peek behind the curtain.

There’s a different set of rules in effect for the children of the community, known as the First Generation Of Wayward Pines. They’re informed about their new realities by the Director of the Wayward Pines Academy, Dr. Megan Fisher. A hypnotherapist in our era, Fisher’s masterful in her ability to connect with disaffected teens such as Ben Burke. A young man that spent his lifetime on the outside looking in, he now feels loved and popular. There were no smiles for Theresa or Ethan Burke from their son, when they visited him in the hospital, however he met Megan’s arrival with an ear-to-ear grin.

Ben’s not only accepted his new life, he’s embraced it joyously. He’s got an adorable girlfriend named Amy and Fisher told him in the last episode, that he’s a hero having survived a terrorist attack and people are going to want to hear his opinions.

It’s further reinforcement of the bond she’s creating between the children and the state, further alienation of the child from the people who raise them. Your parents can’t handle the truth, we have your best interests at heart, the state in effect becomes the parent. It’s the same principles used in totalitarian societies throughout history, the Nazis, Stalin’s Soviet Union and the Cultural Revolution in China utilized the same tactics. If the people raising you are enemy’s of the state, then turn them in.

Megan quickly turned Ben against his father partially by picking at an old wound, surmising that Ethan may have been less lenient, had the suspect not been married to Kate Hewson. Fisher realized that Ben felt his father chose Hewson over his family when he had his affair with her. Fisher inferred that Ethan’s feelings for Hewson, nearly cost Ben his life.

We’re aware that Pilcher and his associates care deeply about the town’s children, but how much do they care about the adults. Pilcher wants compliance and things to run smoothly, his concerns with adults seem to be less about happiness and more about acceptance. To keep the placidity he’s trying to maintain in his town, he’s shown us that no measures are too extreme.

David’s sister Pamela interviews the staff of 24 volunteers that regulate the surveillance feeds. Although 23 members of the crew have no problems with the concept of eavesdropping, one man named Reggie Hudson admits to erasing comments that he attributed to fear. Then he looked Pamela in the eyes and said.

“These people are scared. I see them sobbing in their rooms, holding each other. They just don’t understand what became of their lives. It’s just human nature to ask questions.”

Surprisingly, the ever loyal Nurse Pam didn’t share that conversation with her brother. While she’s the first to call for a reckoning, she thinks it will send a bad message to the other volunteers if Reggie gets punished. David ignores her advice and buries the man, filling the tube he’s encased in with soil.

Whether Pilcher wants it or not, that wall of secrecy has collapsed now that the fence got disabled by the 30-foot dump-truck. It appears that the residents of Wayward Pines are going to find out the truth about their situation, sooner than later. Can they band together and defeat the Abbies, or is humanity doomed once again?

The Story Continues Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on FOX.