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Warning: Spoiler Alert
The latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” served up more red herrings than a Norwegian fishing trawler likely catches in a day’s excursion. What exactly is a “Red Herring“? It’s a clue given to readers and viewers from the author of the piece that purposely leads the audience astray. The show-runners loaded this chapter up with them, some easily detected by the viewer while others weren’t quite as obvious. The device led to an episode that had as many twists and turns as the road to Haleakala on the island of Maui.
The first person we see is Mr. Kaplan meeting with Raymond Reddington in an airplane hangar with corpses and blood all over the floor. Red tells Kate she’s got 30 minutes to clean up and document the evidence, Mr. Kaplan starts taking pictures of an apparently dead Elizabeth Keen lying near a pool of blood.
Suddenly we’re in somebody’s living-room as an excited teenage girl runs in with a huge smile on her face and telling her dad they got her. She turns on the TV and she and her father watch a breaking news-report from a network anchor announcing they’ve received reports stating former FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen died earlier the victim of a gunman who killed several people in an undisclosed area outside of New York City. We watch the report from a number of venues and we see Ressler’s reaction while he’s waiting for testimony to resume in a Presidential Committee hearing. We also see Samar, Aram’s and Harold Cooper’s reactions as they watch the report.
Kate turns to Red and she asks him if he’s sure this is what he wants? Red emphatically tells her to get the pictures to Sandquist at the Chronicle as he wants everybody to see these. Simple common sense tells us that Keen can’t be dead or the series ends with this episode. We then see a graphic that tells us we’re going back 12-hours to show us what lead up to this moment.
Tom Keen’s endeared himself to Asher Sutton, a trust-fund baby with a taste for the wild side and he informs Harold Cooper about their meeting. Sutton saw right through the con Keen put on at the underground gambling joint and that intrigued him. The two go out for some dinner and Sutton asks the guy he knows as Wainwright what’s his actual story. Keen’s utilizing a pretty convincing New York City accent and tells the rich-kid he used to make money cleaning toilets at Bronx University. He says he got raised by a single mom and he’s got a brother in prison then says he’s a townie, a nobody.
Sutton shakes his head and laughs and he says his great-grandfather was a hustler, a townie and just like Keen. He says the only interesting person in his family’s lineage was exactly like Tom then he invites him to his engagement party. Keen tries begging off saying he doesn’t want to impose and Asher insists on it saying he’ll be the only guy at the party he’ll look forward to talking to. Keen smiles and extends his hand and tells Sutton his real name’s Matt Buckley and he’s pleased to meet him.
Tom tells Cooper that Sutton’s paying some debt to the Russian mob and Harold says he’s been withdrawing 20 grand amount from his bank account. Keen plans to use Asher to meet his Russian connections then he can eventually meet Karakurt the spy that Cooper wants him to find.
Red returns to his friend’s theater where he and Liz are hiding and tells Keen they need to move. Lizzie asks if the Cabal’s tracked them down and Raymond says it’s worse than that Wendigo’s after you. Keen’s got no knowledge of who Wendigo is and Red tells her that he’s a nameless assassin and vigilante. Wendigo’s a lone wolf who dispenses “justice” to those he believes deserve it. Red says he’ll call her later and arrange for her to get picked up, she asks him where he’s going and he responds for help.
The AA support group that Donald Ressler attends is breaking up when Ressler feels a gun pressed to his back and a voice he knows all too well saying he needs Donald’s help. They walk to another part of the building and Reddington tells the agent he can turn around then tells Donald he’s impressed with his commitment to remaining sober. Raymond tells Ressler that he tried a stint with Alcoholics Anonymous, but he could accept that there was a more powerful being out there than him. Ressler smirks then takes out his cellphone and calls in an officer down report at the address they’re at. He tells Red that he’s got four minutes, Reddington replies he needs less than two.
Ressler’s back at the Task Force headquarters briefing Samar and Aram about Wendigo saying he’s allegedly responsible for some unsolved murders on the Bureau’s docket. Wendigo apparently executed a Guatemalan strong-man and some heinous character from South America. Navabi says the reason the cases aren’t solved is because both guys were monsters. Donald says as despicable as they were, both men became the subject of massive searches and no law-enforcement agency found them. However Wendigo found them and he’ll find Keen as well.
Reddington calls Lizzie to know that he’s got a car and two guys waiting for her downstairs. As she walks out of the building one of Raymond’s guys get picked off by a sniper, the other guy tries to take out the sniper but he never gets a shot off. Keen’s able to get to a car and hot wire it then pulls the rearview mirror from the windshield and holds it above her head so she can drive while lying down on the seat. She abandons the car ten blocks away and escapes.
Raymond calls Aram and asks what’s going on and the tech-expert says that two bodies were found at the scene and Lizzie escaped. Red then asks what Aram knows about Wendigo and he replies he’s really not supposed to talk about that with Reddington. Raymond says he’ll give him five seconds and by the time he gets to three Mojtabai’s sputtering that they found the master gunsmith that creates guns for Wendigo. His name’s Zachary O’Toole and he goes by Zed, Raymond disconnects and starts researching the gunsmith. Amar’s asking if Red’s going to count down to zero unaware Raymond’s hung-up.
One of the best aspects of this series remains the people they bring in as guest-stars and reoccurring characters and another great choice appeared on the screen in this episode. Veteran Screen and TV actress Christine Lahti portrayed the President’s Chairman of National Security Laurel Hitchin, longtime friend of Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright. We meet Hitchin as Wright and Ressler arrive for Donald to testify in front of a Presidential Commission on trying to capture Elizabeth Keen. Hitchin tells Donald not to be nervous the commission just wants to hear the truth.
The President’s adviser asks Donald if he’s attempting to interfere in the search for Keen and Ressler responds absolutely not. She then asks him if he’s sharing information with the CIA and Ressler admits he hasn’t. She says after 9/11 the Intelligence Agencies in the United States adopted a policy of working in cooperation with each other and asks why Ressler’s not adhering to that policy. Donald says because the CIA Director’s rumored to be the head of the Cabal that could be the actual source of the attacks blamed on Keen. She responds that’s just rumor and asks if the Director deserves the benefit of the doubt and Donald asks her in return what about Elizabeth Keen?
Hitchin asks Ressler if he believes Elizabeth Keen’s innocent and he responds his job’s to capture her not to determine guilt or innocence. She says he’s avoiding the question and he goes back to saying his only thoughts on the case involve apprehending the fugitive. She stops and smiles and asks him to give her his honest opinion, he knows Keen does he believe she’s innocent. Donald looks her in the eye and says he does that Liz Keen’s not a terrorist.
Liz realizes Navabi’s likely scouring the scene of the shooting for clues and as she walks to the park to meet Red she calls Samar and tells her she believes the sniper fired from the roof of a certain hotel. Navabi and a forensic guy find the bullet inscribed on the back of the casing Psalm 1:1, she tells Keen that Wendigo found her once and he’ll find her again. Lizzie hangs up and keeps walking to the park. The forensic guy asks Navabi what’s Psalm 1:1 and Samar quotes “Blessed is he that walks not in the council of the wicked.”
Red picks her up and Lizzie’s terrified, she tells Raymond the bullets were so close she heard them whizzing past her head. He tells her he’s got good news that Dembe contacted him, Lizzie asks if he called and Reddington explains they’ve got a protocol set-up and Dembe’s put it into motion. He says Dembe will meet them later that day, but we know that it’s actually Vargas that responded instead of Dembe.
They drive over to Zachary O’Toole’s place and burst down the door both brandishing weapons. Red asks where’s Wendigo and the guy asks who they are. Red asks again and this time Zed says he doesn’t know. Reddington laughs and says would you look at that a 416 Rigby Mauser and fully loaded, he then says that weapon can take out an African Bull Elephant and it came in handy on a trip to Africa. Liz asks him if he shot an elephant and Red exclaims God no, he shot a poacher who tried shooting the elephant. Suddenly Zed provides them with an address that Wendigo stayed at before.
They head to the apartment and there’s a radio playing country music as Wendigo’s producing more of his unique bullets. Lizzie tries picking the lock and the assassin hears the sound above the music picks up his rifle and fires it through the front door then he climbs out the kitchen window and onto the fire-escape. Keen tells Raymond to take the stairs while she follows the suspect. He climbs up to the roof and starts running and he tries to use another door to escape but it’s locked.
He jumps down to a lower roof and Keen follows him, he then attempts to leap between two buildings and he’s got a tentative grip on the edge of the other rooftop. Red reaches down and braces him and tells the assassin to grab his arms. Suddenly the guy says I’m not the only one, there are lots of us and they’ll all be coming. Reddington asks him what he’s talking about and the killer says even if you kill me she still isn’t safe one of the others will get her. Raymond asks him whom he’s referring to and the vigilante just starts laughing and Red lets him fall to his death on the streets below.
Wendigo spoke the truth with his last words, Keen’s problems were far from being over as there’s a bounty of over 700 grand on her head. Aram tells Samar that he was just sent a link from the NYPD that shows a Dark-Net site DeadNotAlive.Org is a crowd-sourcing site that’s funded by haters. The more hated a figure is the more crowd-funding they get for the bounty. He says every nut-job’s going to be trying to collect that bounty and Navabi asks how they get the money. Aram says that the killer has to give the time, the place and the method of execution plus leave a signature marker, Wendigo used Psalm 1:1 as his.
Keen’s sitting on a bench in the park with a laptop looking at the site and she looks around her and imagines everyone she sees is a potential assassin. Red puts his hand on her shoulder startling Keen and he says it’s time to meet Dembe. They walk towards the street and Mr. Vargas gets out of the car they expected Dembe to emerge from. Reddington asks where’s Dembe and Vargas somberly shakes his head and Raymond asks what happened?
We join “Matt Buckley” at Asher Sutton’s engagement party as Sutton’s fiancé Gwen Hollander says to Keen that he must be Asher’s new BFF. She says she fell in love with her fiancée at first sight and she puts up with him collecting unusual personalities even at her engagement party as long as she’s assured of one thing. That he’ll never cause any harm to the man she loves and Matt gives her his word. She gulps down her last sip of wine and says get started then I need a refill. He laughs and says she’s got it.
When he arrives at the bar to get Gwen her refill he sees Asher’s dealing with some low-level enforcer sent by the Russians. Sutton says to the guy he’ll get the money Friday and the goon responds the money’s due right then. “Matt Buckley” asks if everything’s alright and Sutton quickly says all’s good, the enforcer then says he said no problem. Keen smiles and says he heard him and it’s time for the goon to leave. He glares at Sutton as he walks away and says this not over. “Matt Buckley” says it looks like he made a friend and Sutton replies he wished he’d stayed out of the conversation.
Back at the park Mr. Vargas lies to Reddington saying he stayed with Dembe until the end and that if he attempted to bring back Dembe’s body they both have gotten killed. Camera strays from the three of them for a moment and we see a well dressed man appear to make eye contact with Reddington and leaves something among the flowers. Red grabs Vargas face between his hands and says we will avenge this good man’s death. Something seems off Red would be far more devastated if he truly believed Dembe died. Lizzie suddenly gasps and tells Red she’s seen the symbol from the website that’s got the bounty on her head.
They return to Zed’s the gunsmith’s place and Liz says he gave up Wendigo because he plans to kill her himself and she points to the doodle of the symbol on his desk blotter. He stammers and stutters and Reddington asks who created the website and he says he doesn’t know and Raymond shoots him in the thigh. He screams in pain and says all he knows is the creator goes by the name of Gavrilo Princip, Raymond politely thanks him and then shoots him dead.
The Task Force arrest Gavin Delgado, Princip’s actual name and confiscate his computers. He tells the agents they’ve got no right seizing his computers as their his intellectual property. It doesn’t stop the agents for locking up the laptops or Delgado.
Red gives Vargas the keys to the car and tells him to call Edward to get the jet ready. Vargas makes a call and says this is Mr. Vargas. Mr. Reddington would like you to meet us at Garden Avenue Airfield. Matias Solomon’s actually on the other end of the phone and says he likes the name Edward, then tells his assistant to get the car ready.
CIA Director Kotsiopolus give his testimony to the commission and Hitchin’s asks him why he believes that the FBI hasn’t shared information with the Agency. The Director replies because the case involves Special Agent Elizabeth Keen. She asks him if he shares Donald’s belief that Keen’s innocent and he almost chortles as he says she’s a Russian Sleeper Agent. He says she admitted as much to Ressler when she scaled the wall of the Russian Embassy and asked for asylum.
She asks Kotsiopolus about the Cabal and he says it’s a discredited relic and mentions an article debunking it in the Washington Post. Hitchin says she doesn’t rely on columnists for information, the Director says the Fulcrum got published by Raymond Reddington getting it to the media. He says Reddington lacks any credibility and says the attacks in Washington emanated from Russia and the cold-war has re-escalated. He says in times of trouble people look for simplistic explanations and the idea of the Cabal suits that purpose. He says he’s flattered to be accused of heading up a shadow-government that controls world events but that isn’t true. The Cabal simply doesn’t exist.
Vargas, Keen and Reddington arrive at the hangar and as soon as they leave the car Red asks Vargas where’s Edward and then asks him what he did as gunmen start to surround them. Once again this just feels wrong, Raymond Reddington didn’t elude capture from every law-enforcement agency on the planet by being this dumb.
Matias Solomon walks out of the jet and asks what’s the story with you too anyway, that’s what everybody wants to know? Some think it’s a daddy/daughter thing while others believe it’s a May/September romance, I like to think of it as a bit of both. Liz and Raymond are still holding their weapons though guys are encircling them with guns aimed at their heads. Mr. Solomon says that at best Red might kill one or two and Keen might do as well, but they’ll still both die. Raymond tells Keen to drop her gun and the second time he says it she does. Once again something seems wrong, Raymond Reddington’s going out with a whimper instead of a bang?
Navabi’s over her head trying to question Delgado so Aram goes into talk to him. He tells Delgado to take Lizzie’s name off the site and he refuses to saying the masses control the process. Aram threatens to knock out the site with a virus and Delgado laughs at him and says that people put millions into the site because he’s thought of every bad case scenario. Aram says they realize he can’t run with the money and suddenly realizes Delgado needs the person to put the bounty on Keen’s head to remove her name from the site.
At the airfield Matias has one of his thugs bring over a metal table and two other guys try putting Liz on it. She kicks one of them in the face but they finally pin her down. Raymond says to Matias to call the Director if he allows Liz to live he’ll give up all the incriminating documents on him that he possesses. Solomon’s eyes grow wide as he gets in Reddington’s face and says not to concern himself with the director any longer, he now belongs to him.
Back at the engagement party, Gwen and Asher are discussing his problems with the Russian’s when “Matt Buckley” comes over and wants to help with the situation. Sutton asks him if he know of underground boxing tournaments and Keen replies that’s like human dog-fighting and advises him to refrain from betting on that. Asher says he fought in one and was supposed to throw the fight but he won. Lots of bad people lost lots of money. Gwen then says Sutton paid them all back but when they found out about his family they demanded 20 grand a month. Asher says it will never stop but “Matt Buckley” says it ends now as I’ll stop them. Sutton says no, however Gwen tells him to shut-up and asks Keen his proposal.
Matias Solomon pulls out a long knife and says the reason people fear him so much as he keeps going more and more over the top in his crimes. He says he’s going to carve up Keen artistically, like a great chef would fillet a salmon. Lizzie screams and suddenly there’s the sound of machinery in the hangar. A dead man’s at the controls of a forklift which confuses everybody. Suddenly Dembe struts in carrying an automatic weapon in each hand and then either kills, wounds or scares away all the gunmen. Vargas sits on the floor with a bullet wound in his side and Red walks over to him and shoots him at point-blank range. Dembe’s shirt’s covered in blood and when he and Red embrace he sinks to the floor.
Next scene opens with Dembe on a stretcher with an oxygen mask on his face and paramedics are going to put him in an ambulance and Raymond gives them the address of a safe-house he secured to treat Dembe. He tells Dembe that they’re going to get him well and he kisses him on top of his head. Red calls Aram and asks if Lizzie’s names off the website and Aram responds that until the person that set her up as the target thinks she’s dead her name will remain on there. Hence the reason that Mr. Kaplan faked Lizzie’s death.
Raymond’s able to get the address and name of the person that put Keen’s name on the site, he’s Arioch Cain the father of the teenage girl we saw early in the show. Red and Liz arrive at his door and he looks at Lizzie and says your dead. She asks him why he put her name on the site and he’s totally clueless. Suddenly we hear his daughter Blair says she’s responsible that she wants Keen dead.
Blair’s mom died in the explosion that Karakurt created and pinned the blame on Liz last season. She promises the teenager that she had no involvement in the explosion or the death of Blair’s mom. She tells her that she lost her mother when she was a little girl and she still dreams about the sound of her voice and the way she smelled. She looks Blair in the eyes and says that she’ll do what ever she can to bring her mother’s killer to justice. Blair removes Lizzie’s name from the site.
The Russian enforcer drives up and Sutton gives him an envelope filled with cash. When he takes off “Matt Buckley” steps up to the drivers window and tells the thug that’s the last payment his people will get from Sutton. From now on they deal with him. The guy responds they will come for you and Keen says he’s counting on it, dude draws his pistol and “Matt Buckley” grabs it and kills the driver.
Reven Wright comes to get Ressler and Laurel Hitchin has also arrived. Donald says he hopes the President’s adviser’s stopped by with good news when we hear the Director raving about the lollipop that Laurel gave him. She says that from that point onward they’ll share information. Ressler says he disagrees with the way she’s resolved it and she smiles and says the President favors it.
Asher and Gwen go to meet with “Matt Buckley” and he says he took care of it. Sutton asks him if that’s blood on his collar and Gwen asks him for the keys to his trunk and he tells her please not to look in there. She takes the keys out of his hand and opens the trunk and sees the enforcer’s corpse, “Matt Buckley” says he told them he’d handle it.
The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on NBC.