Ana Nogueira

All posts tagged Ana Nogueira

Photo Courtesy Of Will Hart/NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Who is Ian Garvey, and what’s his connection to Raymond Reddington?

We’ll dive into that question a bit later, and we’ll most likely find out the answer to that query on November 15. However we’ve got many avenues to explore concerning the episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” entitled “The Kilgannon Corporation (48).” This chapter harkened back to the feel that the show had during its first three seasons, dividing our attention between just two subplots, unlike the byzantine structure we’ve seen unfold in the last few episodes. The hour concluded with the Task-Force successfully completing their mission, while leaving us salivating to witness how the cliffhanger plays out.

The hour revolved around this writer’s favorite character Dembe Zuma, masterfully portrayed by actor Hisham Tawfiq. Even when relegated to the silent brooding “Muscle-Shake” persona, of the first three seasons, Tawfiq found a way to make Zuma a three-dimensional character. He did more with a raised eyebrow, or his face registering amusement, than many actors could convey in a soliloquy.

Dembe’s the series’ most mysterious character, we know bits and pieces of his past, we’ve met his daughter and granddaughter. We’re aware that Raymond rescued him decades earlier, breaking him free from the grip of the Boko Haram. Since the show-runners expanded Tawfiq’s role last season, we’ve learned that along with his physical strength, and strong sense of compassion, Zuma’s quite an educated man.

Raymond called him a natural golfer, we witnessed his skills in the kitchen a few weeks back, and he blew away Aram when he revealed that he took the electrical engineering course at Khan Academy, and he’s fluent in eight different languages. Mojtabai gushed that except for the fact Dembe’s forced to kill people as part of his job, Zuma’s his role model.

The evening begins with a very abrupt cold open. We’re at a beach on the Carolina coast, watching Mom, Dad, brother and sister setting up for a picnic, while Dad’s on the phone with friends, giving them directions. The daughter who appears to be about nine, explores the rocks and shells at the edge of the water, when she suddenly sees a man floating just feet from her. She looks up and into the ocean and there’s about 20 bodies coming towards the shore. Dad tells his daughter to stay with Mom, and he goes into the water attempting to save people.

After the credits we find ourselves in Lizzie and Tom’s apartment, with Tom begging his new bride not to answer the call from Raymond, and take the day off. While sorely tempted to indulge her new husband, she says that Raymond insisted they meet that afternoon. Tom’s phone then rings and the display registers unidentified number, Liz jokingly says that’s mysterious, and Tom flings the phone to the other side of the room.

The “Concierge Of Crime’s” still rebuilding his empire, but his days of wearing hand me downs are behind him, as he nattily attired when Elizabeth arrives for their meeting. Lizzie tells Raymond that she and Tom got married the previous afternoon, and after a moment of silence he says that though he and Tom have had their differences, he knows that Tom’s got her best interests at heart. He kisses he on the cheek and congratulates her.

She tells Raymond that she can’t remember the last time she felt that happy, until she looks down at the newspaper on the table. The headline reads that 29 people died off the Carolina coast, and Keen shakes her head at the concept of human trafficking. Reddington corrects her, explaining that these people weren’t prisoners, they paid for transportation. He says they got packed like sardines in a freighter that couldn’t withstand the weight, and sank off the coast before making port.

Red says that before Kate destroyed his empire, he ran an international human smuggling ring. However some unscrupulous gang filled the void, and hundreds of people have died in similar incidents over the last few months. Raymond says that he needs the Bureau’s help in finding out who took over the operation.

We get our introduction to the new operators, as a hot-headed young guy with a thick Irish brogue, speaks to a man he calls Captain Zhang. Zhang owned and operated the ship that sank, and the young guy’s angry because the 29 people that died hadn’t paid the balance for their transport. Zhang replies that he’d simply followed the man’s orders, and the hotheaded guy responds by shooting him dead. He turns to his father and apologizes that he had to see the killing. The father says his son compounded the problem by killing a valued employee.

Cooper questions Reddington’s motives and Raymond explains there are far easier ways to make a buck. He says that his reasons for setting up his human smuggling network, had been simply because the void needed to be filled. He wanted to ensure that clients weren’t exploited or subjected to the conditions they’re facing. Harold commends Red for his noble reasons, but says all the Bureau can only aid in shutting down the new operators.

Raymond does insist however that rather than sending in an agent to infiltrate the network, that Dembe goes in undercover, posing as a Nigerian seeking passage to Germany. After getting fitted with a radio-transmitting cap on his rear molar, Zuma and the Task-Force head to Thessaloniki, Greece, where the new operators have a base. They smuggle people north through Macedonia.

Dembe heads into a bookshop that serves as a cover for the smuggling ring. He’s brought into a back room where he encounters Cornelius Goga, the head of the local operation. He identifies himself as Malik Charef, from Oran, but the smuggler thinks he’s a cop. After Dembe wins a game of chicken with the smuggler, he’s told to return the next day with three thousand euros, and he’ll be in Germany in a few days. He says the Irishmen now demand the entire fee up front. Lizzie relays the information to Red, who identifies the Irishman as Arthur Kilgannon.

Back in the States, Tom meets up with Lena Mercer in Manassas, Virginia. Mercer got a call from a credit card fraud-protection team, saying they spotted unusual activity on her card at a convenience store in Manassas. While distracting the teenage clerk behind, the counter by stripping down to her bra and trying on a tee-shirt,

Tom sneaks into the backroom and checks out the surveillance camera footage. he finds the footage with Pete McGee on it and he’s able to zoom in on the name of the motel McGee’s crashing in, from his room key. They take off in search of the motel, with the mysterious Crespin following right behind.

Raymond and Dembe travel to Sofia, Bulgaria and pay a surprise visit to the home of Arthur Kilgannon. Reddington says that Kilgannon’s reputation precedes him, and the Irishman responds the same can be said for Red’s and mentions Reddington’s setbacks. Raymond mentions that they took over his smuggling network, and the old man says that Red needs to speak to his son, because he runs the operation.

Red says that his son’s over his head and that hundreds of people have died due to the shoddy operation. Arthur responds that the 29 deaths on the Chinese vessel, was an isolated incident, but Raymond tells him to do some digging. Reddington proposes a partnership, allowing him to handle the network and giving Kilgannon half the profits. The old man scoffs at the proposal, saying Reddington’s just trying to muscle his way in. Red responds that Kilgannon’s reputation’s one of a man that does everything top-notch, but now he sees that isn’t true.

After failing to negotiate with Kilgannon, the decision’s made to destroy the network in a bust. Zuma says because he’s already cleared for travel, he’s the obvious choice to infiltrate the network, but Reddington objects. Dembe says that he knows what it’s like to be seen as less than human. Raymond rescued him from that life, and now it’s his turn to rescue others from the same fate. Red grudgingly agrees, and says that the Task-Force will maintain contact with him, and if that fails Raymond will track him down and get him back.

Lena and Tom head to McGee’s room and force their way in. Pete swears that he didn’t kill Nik, that somebody tracked him down, after he hacked the Federal database. They ended up cutting off some of his fingers to give up who else he’d been working with, but he remained silent. He said he passed out from the pain, and when he woke he heard struggling and saw a guy strangling Nik, He used that opportunity to run away. Just then two beefy looking guys burst through the motel door, and knock Tom out.

Dembe meets with Goga and pays him the three thousand euros, he’s then brought into a facility with a few other people, including an Arabic couple and their young daughter. After having black hoods put over their heads the groups transported to a huge facility, and deposited into cages. The facility’s filled with cages each containing others searching for a new life. Dembe sees the fear in the little girl’s eyes and tries to comfort her, but her parents pull her away.

Arthur Corrigan angrily confronts his son Colin, after verifying what Reddington told him. He tells his son that he hoped by putting him in charge, Colin would rise to the occasion and mature. However he says he should’ve known better, that Colin always had a mean-streak, even as a child. He tells his son he’s no longer in charge, and Colin responds by choking the life out of his father.

Cornelius Goga announces that the trucks have arrived and the transport’s underway. People get divided into groups and loaded onto trucks, but the little girl’s been separated from her parents. Dembe tries to reason with Goga, but the smuggler socks him in the jaw, breaking the audio-link to the Task-Force. With their link down, Cooper refuses to allow the Task-Force to invade the facility. The Macedonia police arrive a short while later and engage in a shootout. Although they quickly subdue the smugglers, seven trucks escaped during the battle, including the one containing Dembe and the little girl.

Goga reveals to the authorities that he sent out a message to all the drivers to dump their vehicles in isolated areas. The vehicles are refrigerator trucks, which means they’re airtight, and the only time air circulates in the truck’s when the engine’s running. All the people imprisoned within those trucks have about two and a half hours of air remaining, so the race against the clock’s on.

Raymond heads back to Arthur Kilgannon’s home, where Kilgannon’s widow informs him her husband’s dead. Reddington demands to speak to their son, and when he connects with Colin he says that unless he gets the info on all the truck driver’s he’ll unfortunately be forced to shoot Colin’s mother. The young man laughs and says Reddington would be doing him a favor, and saving him the trouble of killing her himself. Raymond apologizes that Mrs. Kilgannon had to hear that, and she replies that if Red allows her to access her computer she’ll provide Colin’s exact location through the GPS unit in her son’s car.

The truck that contains Dembe and the little girl, pulls to a stop and the motor shuts off. The people in the back start to panic, so Dembe tries to reassure them that help’s on the way. However two guys pry loose a bar from the roof of the truck and try smashing through the walls to no avail. After the effort proves to be fruitless, Dembe grabs the bar and flings it away, telling the guy he’s using too much oxygen.

Tom wakes up to find that he along with Lena and Pete, are tied to chairs and facing an ominous looking bald man with horned rimmed glasses, that IMDB identifies as Ian Garvey. In yet another great choice of casting, Garvey’s portrayed by the fine character actor Johnny Coyne. He tells the trio that only one of them will live through this experience, the one that can connect him to Raymond Reddington.

McGee’s over come with fear to the point that he’s almost in tears. He tells their captor that he’s completely clueless, that Tom got him and Nik involved and he’s got no idea how to contact Reddington. The man responds that McGee just revealed he’s completely useless, and shoots him dead. Lena then begs the man to let her go, she promises she’ll never say a thing and she doesn’t even know where they are.

Tom also pleads with their abductor to let her go, and the man smiles and says that she can leave. Her hand restraints get cut off, and she starts to scurry towards the door, when the man plants two slugs into her back. He turns towards Tom and smiles once more and says “And then there was one.”

Raymond arrives at Colin’s hideout just as he and two associates are leaving, with Red taking two of them out before they realize he’s in the room. He then points the gun at Kilgannon and asks where he’s hidden the info on the truck drivers. Colin points top one of the dead men’s briefcase, and after getting the list he kills the punk.

With the air fading quickly, the gut that attempted to smash through the truck, says that if there were fewer people, the air supply would last longer. Somebody asks how that would be decided, and the guy says that they should start with the oldest. An elderly man asks if he wants to kill his wife, and the guy says that he would so more of them could live.

Dembe asks the malcontent if he could watch the life go out of the woman’s eyes as he choked her to death? The man responds that perhaps Dembe should be the first to die and takes a swing at Zuma, who flattens the dude with a blow to the jaw. He says that they’ll get through this together, and then tells the little girl to lay her head on his lap and sleep. When she awakens she’ll see her parents.

Raymond gets the location of the truck from the driver, and they get to the vehicle and release the prisoners. Dembe says the little girl’s pulse is weak and she can’t wait for an ambulance. He drives her to a hospital, where the doctors says she’ll be fine. When she’s released she’s overjoyed to see her parents waiting for her. After a tearful reunion, she runs over to give Dembe a big hug.

Ian Garvey’s patience runs out and he’s about to kill Tom, saying he should’ve realized that a little puissant like Tom had no connection to Reddington. Tom counters by saying that he works for Raymond and that he can arrange a meeting between the two of them. He says he’s got a wife and a baby, and has no intention of dying for Reddington.

The Fall Finale Airs Next Wednesday Night at 8:00pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy of Will Hart/NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Any thoughts that the NBC show “The Blacklist,” morphed into a “kinder and gentler“” series in season five, can officially be put to rest. Raymond Reddington, may have an extra bounce in his step, after ending up victorious in his battle against his former confidante turned deadly foe Mr. Kaplan, and he’s thoroughly enjoying rising from the ashes and rebuilding his once vast empire. The series added two new comical characters to Reddington’s band of misfit toys, and they appear to be welcome additions to Red’s motley crew, joining the ranks of Jellybean and Brimley.

However in Raymond Reddington’s universe, there’s always a sense as Bruce Springsteen would put it, of “Darkness On The Edge Of Town.” During the last three episodes, we’ve watched that darkness advance from the perimeters and invade the lives of the members of “TEAM-RED.” Some ramifications of bad strategy have already been felt, however it’s likely that over the next few episodes, far more damage will occur as secrets unravel. We’ll watch as relationships crumble and lives become endangered. We ended the evening with a bitter-sweet moment, hoping that two characters learned enough from past mistakes to ensure a happy future, but fearful that their relationship maybe doomed.

The installment entitled “The Travel Agency (No.90),” contained far too many interwoven plots, to recap in linear fashion, so once again we’ll concentrate on plot points. Before we continue however; let’s take a look at what might be plot trends that slip under the radar. For the third straight week, Raymond Reddington received no financial benefit or any kind of kick-back, when the Task-Force stopped a member of The Blacklist. An associate did reach out to Red, requesting his assistance but Reddington told the man he couldn’t help him. He instead turned the information over to Elizabeth Keen, and allowed the Task-Force to do their work unimpeded.

Long-time fans of the show realize that there’s always a method to Raymond Reddington’s madness, so why the sudden change of heart? Are these “Freebies,” being supplied to keep the new FBI Director off of Harold Cooper’s back, which in turn keeps him off of Red’s? Is he giving up this information to strengthen the bond between he and Elizabeth Keen, who now believes Reddington’s her bio-father? Or is Raymond simply collecting chips, so that the Task-Force will help capture a yet unknown member of The Blacklist, leading to a huge payday for Red?

The season opener concluded with a scene featuring a bloody Tom Keen, lying on the floor as Reddington and Dembe Zuma burst into the room with guns drawn. That scene became the subject of much debate, as fans wondered if Tom envisioned a worst-case scenario of the future, or if we actually witnessed a flash-forward. Many took for granted that Reddington and Zuma had beaten and tortured Tom, and returned to finish the job. I couldn’t believe that Red would jeopardize his relationship with Lizzie, by torturing her baby’s daddy, so I perceived it was a premonition when I first saw it.

My opinion changed during the most recent episode, and I now believe that we did see a glimpse of the future in that scene. However I don’t believe that Raymond and Dembe left Tom beaten and bloodied, nor do I think that they entered the room to kill Keen. I now believe that the path Tom’s currently taking will lead him into the hands of those who now possess the suitcase, and we witnessed Raymond and Dembe arriving to regain the suitcase and hopefully save Tom in the bargain.

The Blacklist Member Of The Week

This was an extremely entertaining and complex story, making us question whether the series adopted a sci-fi tone, and dealing with a character that could travel through time, along with an homage to the Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day.” If the old-school General Electric digital clock radio, wasn’t enough of a giveaway, the morning DJ announcing that Roxette finally knocked Janet Jackson off the top of the charts, made it clear that we were back in the late 1980’s. A thin, pasty-faced man sits on the edge of his bed and prepares for his day. He goes down to his kitchen to find his wife watching Tom Brokaw reporting on the destruction of the Berlin Wall. He asks if his daughters are still asleep, and his wife tells him that a friend already took them to daycare. He then provides her the answer for a crossword puzzle she’s working on.

Suddenly his pager goes off, and he glances at it and sees the number 342. He tells his wife that he’s off to work, and she protests that it’s too early. He smiles and says “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.” He then kisses his wife who smiles back at him and he leaves the home and travels to the local post office, and opens up his PO box number 342 and pulls a folder out of it.

A graphic informs us that we’re now in York County, Pennsylvania, and the man goes through the contents in the folder. There’s a dossier and photograph of a white-haired gentleman, who appears to be enjoying good health in his early seventies. When we see the man in the photograph, he’s splitting firewood with an axe, until the man we’ve followed approaches him brandishing a pistol. He tries to run away, but he gets hit with the second bullet the man fires.

The man throws the axe at the gunman, but his aim’s off and the axe ends up embedded in a tree. The gunman looks rather shocked at first, but then shoots the man again and this time his victim falls to the ground. The gunman then pulls the axe from the tree and goes after his victim with it as the opening credits roll.

We start to realize that our gunman’s involved with this week’s Blacklist member, as Raymond informs Lizzie that an associate of his Mitchell David Dunning, contacted Red seeking protection. Although Reddington couldn’t provide the security Dunning needed, he found out that the furniture-importer believes he’s the target of The Travel Agency. Raymond explains that The Travel Agency operated as a murder for hire operation for 30-years, before going dark a dozen years back.

Liz informs Cooper and the Task-Force about the information Raymond shared with her, and Harold sends Keen and Samar Navabi to bring Dunning and his wife to the Post-Office for protective custody. When the pair arrive they find Dunning and his wife packing the car to leave town and head up their home in the country.

Keen says they’ve come to give the couple protective custody, but Dunning scoffs at the idea. Seconds later, two shots to the chest end his life, Keen and Navabi keep the wife safe. Samar finds a newspaper on the front seat of Dunning’s car, with the headline of an axe murder in York County, Pennsylvania. Dunning’s wife says she never heard of the victim from Pennsylvania. We see who killed Dunning, it’s the same man that killed the man with the axe.

The first victim’s named Knobbs, Lizzie and Samar, travel to the man’s property in Pennsylvania, and talk to his daughter. She says her father became somewhat of a hermit after closing his business the Seawall Travel Agency, and she’s never seen or heard of Mitchell Dunning. Keen asks if she and Navabi can look through her father’s company records, and find logs filled with details on all the murders committed by the agents of The Travel Agency.

It’s Deja-Vu all over again, as we watch the gunman shut off his radio alarm, go down to the kitchen to find his wife watching Tom Brokaw’s coverage of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. She asks for the same answer on the crossword puzzle she’s working on, and once again the gunman leaves right after his pager goes off while his wife protests that it’s too early. He responds once more “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.”

Aram does some digging and finds that Knobbs and Dunning were the principal owners of the Seawall Travel Agency, and there’s just one former operative still alive. Ressler and Navabi go searching for Argun Wright, who now works on a construction crew. They find Wright and tell him they’re bringing him for protective custody, when a gunshot rings out and wings Wright. Ressler sees the gunman’s driving a 1986 Oldsmobile, equipped with a high-powered rifle that’s hidden in a compartment in the car’s rear-end. The gunman leaves far too quickly for Donald to fire a shot.

Questioning Wright back at the Post Office, the former Seawall Travel Agency employee tells the agents that nobody knew the other operatives names, they all went by numbers. He does however remember an operative he knew as number five that had a car like the Oldsmobile that the gunman escaped in. He tells the agents that he used to leave dossiers for the operative at PO Box 342 in Seven Valleys.

Navabi and Keen talk to the postmaster and he tells them the PO Box belongs to Calvin Dawson, and he’s owned since before the postmaster started working at the branch. Dawson now lives in a local convalescent home, which the agents head to and talk to Dawson’s physician. He explains that Dawson suffered a traumatic brain-injury after a terrible accident. He can remember things perfectly until the late eighties, but he can’t retain any new memories. In his mind every day’s November 1, 1989. The physician then tells the agents that he’s currently at home with his wife, and he regularly spends a few days a week there.

Eleanor Dawson receives a phone call and she tells Calvin that their daughter Mia’s been injured and they have to pick her up at daycare. Navabi and Keen arrive at the house moments after the couple left, as they search the home they find a ladder leading to a floor above the kitchen, and they discover the elaborate system that Eleanor uses to recreate November, 1989 on a daily basis.

As Eleanor drives Calvin to their destination, she reveals the horrific details behind his brain injury. The couple and their two daughters were on a family vacation when Eleanor’s appendix burst and she underwent emergency surgery. Calvin left the hospital to carry out a hit, and foolishly brought his daughters’ with him, fearing they’d get traumatized waiting alone at the hospital. Dawson’s intended victim knew the hitman was coming and he got the upper hand, leaving Calvin near death in an alley.

Unfortunately the girls were locked in the car and something occurred that caused fatal damage to the girls’ hearts, and they died from heat failure before they got discovered. Eleanor then went on a mission to find out the truth about the man she was married to and discovered he was a monster. Once she put all the pieces together, she manipulated Calvin to kill the remaining members of the Seawall Travel Agency.

They’ve stopped at a cemetery and Eleanor leads her husband to the graves of their daughters. She tells him that she’d hoped to feel some sort of closure after Calvin killed his associates, but it never came. She then pulls out a pistol, just before Liz, Samar and a SWAT team arrive at the graveside. Lizzie pleads with Eleanor to put the gun down, and tells her that she too is a mother. Eleanor says then Keen will understand what she must do and pumps multiple shots into her husband’s abdomen. Seconds later she’s taken out by a member of the SWAT unit, and the four Dawson’s are finally together in death.

The Continuing Suitcase Saga

There was no game of cat and mouse, nor a little dance between Raymond and Tom, instead Red cut right to the chase after he and Dembe trailed Keen to the DC Court Of Records. Reddington told Tom that he knew Kate gave him the valise, and that he enlisted Nik Korpal to identify the bones, leading to Nik’s murder and the theft of the suitcase.

Raymond goes onto say that the murderer discovered the identity of the skeleton, and realizes their value, especially to Red. He says he’ll make himself known to the thieves, and then kill them and rebury the bones which will then be lost in the sands of time, and keeping the identity a secret. Tom then proceeds to get all high and mighty with Raymond, telling him secrets put people in harm’s way. A rather hypocritical statement coming from the man whose responsible for his friend’s death.

Reddington basically tells Keen to stand down, but we realize Tom’s not going to take the advice. Raymond then asks him the contents of the envelope that Keen was holding when he came out of the court of records, to which Tom responds, what envelope?

Pete McGee’s fiancé Lena Mercer’s surprised by an uninvited guest in her apartment, carrying a baton and saying he hopes nobody needs to get hurt. He then tells Mercer to say aloud that she doesn’t know Pete McGee, and she should forget he ever existed. She asks the man named Crespin, if McGee sent him there, but he ignores her question and repeats his demand that she say she doesn’t know Pete McGee. She does so and he leaves saying he hopes they’ve got an understanding.

Tom arrives at her apartment a short time after and tells Lena that he’s got all sorts of info on McGee, that he obtained from the Court Of Records. Scared because of her earlier visitor, she tells Tom to go, but she changes her mind after Keen informs her McGee’s never been married. So his excuse of waiting for his divorce to become final was just another scam.

She leaves her apartment with a suitcase, and Crespin calls his superior and tells him the message was delivered and the target stood down. He’s unaware however that she’s gone to the medical lab she works at to access and download all of McGee’s files.

She and Tom meet later on a park bench, and Tom tells her that the reason Pete’s not leaving a trail’s because he’s using Lena’s identity. The camera pans and we see Crespin talking on his cellphone while he spies on the pair, saying that apparently he’ll need to deliver the message again.

Harold’s Fight For Justice

Task-Force Director Harold Cooper’s life outside of the Post-Office, remains pretty much a mystery after five-years. We’re aware that his marriage to Charlene survived a rocky-stretch, after she admitted to infidelity, because of Cooper’s devotion to his work. We found out earlier this season that Harold’s got at least one grown son, as he told Lizzie he learned some tricks raising a teenage boy.

We’ve witnessed his wisdom, loyalty, and his anger, but we’ve never been provided with any insight into what shaped this man, until this episode. We find out that Cooper’s reasons for joining the Bureau, weren’t solely based on feelings of patriotism and service to country. Part of his motivation stems from what he witnessed as a child.

Harold asks Donald to oversee the Task-Force, shortly after Elizabeth shares the info about The Travel Agency. He tells Ressler that he needs to attend to a personal matter. He’s searching for the son of a friend, a cop that died unjustly, and his son reacted to his father’s death by attempting to numb himself with a combination of alcohol and drugs. The young man’s mother, Cooper’s wife Charlene, and Harold staged an intervention to put Isaiah Hill back on the path of sobriety, a year earlier. However Harold received a call from Hill’s mother, as she believes he slipped back into his old vices.

Cooper heads to Hill’s apartment, but finds another man living there. He says he needed a place to crash and Isaiah handed him the keys. After initially denying he knew anything about Hill’s whereabouts, he eventually provides Harold with some information. Cooper then brings the information to Raymond, who provides him the name of a drug-dealer, and an offer for he and Dembe to be his backup. Harold sincerely thanks Reddington for the offer, but says he can handle it on his own.

Cooper heads to a drug-den, and knocks out the guy guarding the door, who resembles a wall with a face. He then grabs a junkie to lead him to the dealer Castro, and becomes embroiled in a shootout. It appears that Castro’s about to escape, but as he runs out the door, he runs into Dembe’s fist. Harold complains that Raymond and Dembe didn’t adhere to his wishes.

Castro wakes up to find himself bound to a chair, and Raymond standing over him with a syringe filled with a fatal dose of Fentanyl. Reddington says that unless Castro tells them where Isaiah’s hiding, a toxic dose of the substance will soon be flowing through his veins. Castro’s incredulous that Cooper would allow Reddington to kill him, but he says that unless Castro talks he dies. the dealer tells them he sold Hill a gun and gives them the address of where Isaiah’s living in Ivy City.

The trio arrive at Hill’s apartment and Harold knocks on the door, and somehow escapes getting injured from the gun blast that blows a hole through the door. Isaiah’s shocked when he sees “Mr. C.” enter his apartment. After he finishes his tirade about dirty-cops, he admits to them his life’s in danger. After trying to score some Fentanyl from his usual supplier, he tried copping some from a dealer named Zeke Wilson. Unfortunately Hill’s timing was terrible, and he arrived just as Wilson killed a guy. He’s been running ever since. Cooper says he’ll take care of that matter.

Harold’s about to give in to the Dark-Side, planning on executing Wilson with an unregistered handgun. In a scene reminiscent of Tom talking Donald out of killing Karakurt, in season three, Raymond reasons with Harold. He tells him that his position will allow him to walk away from the execution unscathed, his conscience will haunt him for the rest of his days. He then says just in case Cooper’s emotions get the best of him, Dembe will accompany him.

Harold finds Wilson at a table in a club, accompanied by two attractive women, who quickly scatter when he identifies himself as a Special Agent of the FBI. Wilson smirks at him and asks what makes him so special? Cooper says he’s special because he’s arresting him for threatening a witness, and as soon ass Isaiah Hill completes his statement he’ll be charged with murder.

Wilson sneers once again and says that snitches tend to find themselves victims of accidents, and he can’t arrest somebody in an accident. He says to Cooper that he’s not that special an agent, and Harold says he maybe right, but he’s still going to put him away for life, and connects with an uppercut to Wilson’s jaw.

We find out that Isaiah’s father had been a cop and was pulled over one night while off-duty. A white cop said he pulled him over for expired tags and for Hill to remain in his vehicle. However Hill knew he recently put on the new tags and climbed out of his car. As he reached for his badge to identify himself, a white cop shot him to death even though Hill was unarmed. The officer was acquitted on all charges.

Harold tells Isaiah that one of the main reasons he joined the Bureau, was due to the treatment his father received after attending marches organized by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Cooper’s father got branded as a revolutionary, and the Bureau opened a file on him and hounded him for years. Harold tells Isaiah that was his main motivation for working for the organization that mistreated his father. To protect other African-Americans to be branded unjustly.

As stated earlier, this episode concludes with a bitter-sweet ending. After watching Calvin and Eleanor Dawson get shot to death, Lizzie realized just how fragile life is. She brought Tom down to City Hall, and asked if they could get married right then. Tom of course agreed, and we watched a magistrate pronounce them husband and wife. Will this attempt at happiness survive, or will events separate Lizzy and Tom once again?

The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 8:00 pm on NBC. 

 

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT:

During its five season run, the NBC series “The Blacklist,” has featured some extremely disturbing and unnerving scenes and plotlines. The show’s never flinched while showing graphic images, or taking a beloved character and turning them into monsters. The characters are multi-dimensional and the show runners and story writers have shared “TEAM-RED’S,” flaws and shortcomings. Jon Bokenkamp and company, have shown us from the start that Raymond Reddington, doesn’t occupy a black and white universe, it utilizes a color palate composed of different shades of gray. An angel can easily be lead astray, while no demon’s ever beyond redemption.

We’ve witnessed mortal enemies develop a grudging respect for each other, as well as a decades old alliance get dashed upon the rocks. We’ve seen the old bromide that there’s “Honor Among Thieves,” disproven countless times, as loyalists of Raymond Reddington’s have turned against and paid the prices with their lives. We’ve met a rogue’s gallery of ghoulish Blacklist members, including “The Stewmaker,” a giant taxidermist who enjoyed setting up tableaus filled with his human trophies, and a man who drugged and raped his wife to produce a child.

The first three seasons of “The Blacklist,” prominently featured a notorious organization known as “The Cabal,” a virtual shadow government comprised by powerful people from across the globe. Loosely based on the Tri-Lateral Commission, and other fantasies courtesy of paranoia and fiction, this group of people secretly ran the planet behind the scenes. Lead by Peter Kotsiopoulos, known as the Director, The Cabal had infiltrated the upper echelons of our Government, including Tom Connelly, the Attorney General of the USA.

With the deaths of Connelly and Kotsiopoulos, and the release of the contents of the Fulcrum to an All-Star panel of prominent global journalists implicating most of its leadership, The Cabal seems to have gone into deep hibernation if it still exists. One of the last members ensconced in the government Laurel Hitchin, died in the season finale last May, cracking her skull open during a tussle with Agent Donald Ressler.

Although The Cabal may no longer be a factor, we’ve seen that political leaders in Raymond Reddington’s universe, are no more paragons of virtue, than those that occupy the real world. The current POTUS in Reddington’s universe Robert Diaz, had a deal in place to take campaign contributions from Alexander Kirk, until Red interceded and bankrolled the politician himself. That contribution forced Diaz to ask his predecessor to pardon Elizabeth Keen, allowing her to rejoin the FBI.

The series introduced a new storyline involving the government, in the episode entitled “Ilyas Surkov (No. 54),” one that this viewer believes will play out through the course of this season. It touches upon a subject that plagues this nation currently, the inherent distrust we have for our officials from both sides of the aisle. America suffers from “Institutional Distrust,” giving many of us a jaundiced view of the media, elected officials, and those in charge of the very agencies established to protect us.

That lack of faith whether earned or unfounded, puts us in a collective mindset that makes the fantastic seem credible. What we might have perceived as the creative musings of a fertile mind three or four generations ago, suddenly doesn’t seem that implausible in our current era. Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean somebody’s not out to get you!

This episode does not lend itself to our usual linear format, instead we’re going to concentrate on plot point, some of which will overlap. It’s worth speculating if we are witnessing the birth of a trend, for the second straight week Raymond received no benefit from “TEAM-RED,” capturing those whose trail he sent the Task-Force after. His motivation in apprehending The Endling, was simply to rid the world of a heinous criminal. Whether Reddington knew where the information he gave to Lizzie lead to its eventual source, or just to satiate his curiosity, Red’s fortunes and fate weren’t altered.

The Blacklist Member Of The Week

Our evening starts out in a posh neighborhood of Leeds, England at a lemonade stand in front of one of the handsome homes. Inside the house the mother’s preparing more lemonade while talking to her husband, when her son Ethan, excitedly enters the home and tells her it’s snowing on a beautiful autumn day. She comes outside and indeed at first it appears to be snowing, however they soon realize the sky’s filled with ash. Not just any ash, but the cinders emanate from a nearby chemical explosion, and a dangerous looking brown cloud’s heading straight for them. The mother yells for everybody to enter her home, before the cloud reaches them.

Headlines around the globe blame notorious terrorist Ilyas Surkov for the destructive blast, however Raymond informs Lizzie that can’t be the case. Raymond knows the physician that treated Surkov when he died from pancreatic cancer 15 months before. However Surkov’s been blamed for two other attacks, aside from the episode in Leeds. Cooper sends Keen and Ressler to Leeds, to talk with local officials.

Liz and Donald confer with an MI-6 agent Liam Gladstone, and he’s convinced that Surkov’s very much alive. He tells the pair that he put chemical markers inside the C4 used by Surkov’s arms-dealer Raagan Ghaffari, and those markers showed up at the remains of the chemical plant. Ghaffari lives in Belgrade and speaks French and Arabic, Navabi’s dispatched there to make contact with the arms-dealer, and her concerned boyfriend Aram, tags along.

Samar heads into Ghaffari’s hangout the Bruttka Club, and convinces him that she’s Surkov’s agent, after she tells him that MI-6 tracked the C-4 used in Leeds to him. The pair leave the club, but they’re kidnapped and put into an SUV by a team of four. Ressler and keen reach the street just in time to watch the vehicle drive off and they engage in a high-speed chase that ends when the SUV slams into a barrier. Guns get drawn from both sides, but soon holstered once the other team identifies themselves as a CIA Black-Ops unit.

The team’s lead by a man known as Tobias Reuther, played by one of my favorite character actors, Boris McGiver. There are two other men and woman named Calhoun, who left the Agency to start a family, but got enticed back into the game by Reuther. The family thing didn’t turn out like she planned.

Reuther’s team try torturing and interrogating Ghaffari for hours and the arms-dealer remains silent. Lizzie says to them now it’s her turn and she and Samar head into the room to talk to Ghaffari. Less than a minute later, she tells the Black-Ops force that the arms-dealer’s ready to talk.

Ghaffari tells the agents that Surkov’s next target’s in Virginia, and he supplied the terrorist with an explosive far more powerful than C-4, so he could rip through Kevlar. Just then Lizzie receives a phone call from Cooper, who has the Director of the CIA Leon Cox in his office, and Cox says that the team doesn’t exist and the agents are impostors. Reuther shoots Ghaffari at point-blank range, he and the other two guys escape but the Task-Force captures Calhoun, and bring her back to the Post-Office.

Calhoun and the two men that escaped with Reuther, are listed in the Agency’s records as former agents, but no record exists for Tobias Reuther. Calhoun’s incredulous, she says she saw documentation and that Reuther maintained contact with the Director. Cox enters the room and tells Calhoun that Reuther’s actually Brian Osterman, a former top-echelon agent that the Agency dismissed in 2008. Cox tells Calhoun that Osterman suffers from incredibly dark delusions, and that he actually used their team to carry out incidents, and blame it on the deceased Surkov.  Calhoun tells him that they have a staging area in Ivy City, but when they arrive with a SWAT team, they find the facility’s been ransacked, save for an empty file marked cyclone.

With the help of Raymond, Keen realizes that the target’s code name’s Cyclone and that it’s a military target composed of Kevlar. Aram determines that it’s a naval vessel docked in Virginia, and Liz heads there to stop Osterman. She finds him with a rifle on a tripod, his scope aimed on a sailor carrying a black backpack that he says will blow up the naval vessel. As he prepares to take the shot after refusing to stand down, Lizzie shoots Osterman in the shoulder, keeping him from making the shot. seconds later we hear the explosion emanating from the backpack.

The target wasn’t the naval vessel, instead a communications line between the United States and China, that the Agency wanted to get rid of without causing an international incident. So Cox’s actually been using the identity of Ilyas Surkov to cover Agency missions. they set off the bomb at the chemical plant in Leeds, to take-out the foreman, who they realized was a double-agent.

Although Osterman’s arrested, Cooper tells Cox that he’s informing his superiors about his antics and he hopes that they hold the Director and his methods in as much disdain as he does. As I wrote earlier, I expect that we’ll be seeing far more of Leon Cox over the next few weeks and months.

Liz, Tom, Nik, Pete, Raymond, And It’s Complicated

Nik Korpal’s body showed up in an empty lot, miles away from his home or any hospital. Lizzie instinctually blamed Raymond for Korpal’s murder, thinking that because he wanted to cut off contact with them, Reddington perceived him as a threat and disposed of him. Tom discounted her suppositions, mainly because he realized that Nik’s death was likely a result of their joint investigation into the suitcase.

Does it strike anybody else as odd that Korpal, who escaped death after helping Liz fake hers, and having started over again with a new fiancée, risked everything to help the man Lizzie dumped him for? If you’re Tom Keen, don’t you feel the least bit hinky, that this surgeon still carries a strong enough torch for your Baby’s Mama, that he’s willing to risk it all just to help her? That was actually th first thought that came into my head when Korpal died of strangulation in the previous episode.

Elizabeth pays Raymond a visit and Korpal’s death comes as a surprise to him. He tells Keen that he supposes somebody with a connection to him could have killed Nik, but he’s unaware of any connection. He promises Lizzie that he’ll do his best to find out whose responsible for his death.

Tom heads to Pete McGee’s apartment and of course McGee’s long gone. after some exploration he finds that McGee’s employed by a medical facility that uses paid volunteers as human guinea-pigs, to test some pretty dangerous substances. After filling out the paper work, Tom’s informed that he’ll receive an extra fifty dollars as he’s going to get injected with some heavy-duty stuff.

After the attendant Carly, starts pumping the drugs into Tom’s veins and leaves the room, Tom disconnects himself from the intravenous tubes and starts exploring McGee’s work-space. The only clue he discovers is Carly’s heart-tattoo reflected in Pete’s eyeglasses in a photo in the work area, leading Tom to the conclusion that Pete and Carly are romantically entwined. He confronts Carly with that when she comes to check on him, but she refuses to talk to him.

Raymond pursues a far more direct route for information, as he and Dembe track down a little fire-plug of a man named Lou, as he’s out walking his bulldog Coco. Lou’s the evidence clerk at the facility that Korpal’s body’s in, and Raymond tells the bespectacled man he has 24 hours to get Reddington Nik’s last effects. He tells Lou that he’ll be holding Coco for collateral, and she’ll be spending the day at a doggie-spa.

Lou returns the next day with Korpal’s possessions and Raymond gives him back Coco along with some assorted ointments to cure a skin ailment. Within the envelope containing Nik’s stuff, Raymond discovers the keys to the suitcase, leading Dembe to believe that Kate entrusted the suitcase with the doctor. Raymond also finds a burner phone, containing several phone numbers.

Tom’s contacted by Carly and the two meet on a park bench. Keen tells the technician that he believes Pete killed his friend, but regardless he possesses something that’s putting his life at risk. Carly doesn’t believe McGee’s capable of murder, his divorce become final the following month, and they’ve got plans to get married. However he hasn’t been to work in weeks and she hasn’t heard from him, so she’ll help Tom try to locate him. We then see Pete his hand in a cast and he’s just shaved off his long hair.

Tom and Elizabeth attend Nik’s funeral, but Liz can’t bring herself to even make eye-contact with any of the other mourners, until she sees Raymond standing in the distance. Raymond says that Nik saved his life, and did other services for him, and he grieves his passing. Elizabeth asks him if he’s found out any info on Nik’s killers and Reddington nods.

Liz meets back up with Tom and they agree that it was a nice gesture that Raymond came to pay his respects. She says that Raymond seemed to infer that he had a lead, but when Tom tried to pursue the conversation, she said she believed Meera was buried nearby and wanted to visit her grave. When he asked if she wanted company she replied she wanted to do it alone.

Raymond and Dembe are still at the cemetery and Reddington starts exploring the burner phone. He calls one of the numbers from his own cellphone, and Tom picks up on the other end. Tom says hello, and then asks who it is and Raymond quickly disconnects.

Raymond And Hawkins Excellent Adventure

This week there was very little interchange between “TEAM-RED,” and Raymond, in fact except for his meetings with Lizzie, they didn’t enter each other’s airspace. As expected, Reddington wasted no time and had Anthony The Postman’s safe-houses turning a tidy profit, of 45 Grand in a week. Hawkins got so excited that she said if she felt the least bit of physical attraction to Raymond, she’d bare his child. Reddington told his financial chief that next week they’ll expand their base from two lists to eight, and Hawkins nearly chortled in glee.

Reddington however didn’t share her excitement, as they had no plan on how to launder the money. However in aiding Elizabeth, Red discovered the perfect vehicle for introducing the money into circulation. The dog grooming center that he treated Coco to, serves as groomers for all the area’s pounds to freshen up the pups and make them more presentable for adoption. Although they do some grooming on the side for cash, all the money goes back into the business, and they’ve got branches in cities throughout the country. Best of all the organization’s a non-profit, so it provides a perfect cover to launder their funds. Looks like Raymond’s on his way back.

The Story Continues Next Wednesday at 8:00pm, on NBC.