Warning: Spoiler Alert
It Works! No actually it works brilliantly, a realistic (Although perhaps a wee bit far-fetched) ending to the scenario of Elizabeth Keen’s run as a fugitive on the NBC series “The Blacklist.” In the words of Keen the deal that Raymond Reddington negotiated with Presidential adviser Laurel Hitchin’s “fair.” In the words of Red’s attorney Marvin Gerard it’s a good deal and a far better one than he expected to get. However before we discuss the terms of the deal, we need to break down exactly how the settlement got resolved and that’s quite a story.
The two-part episode that the series entitled “The Director,” evoked a retro feel that harkened back to the great “caper-vehicles” of the Sixties, such as the movies “Ocean’s Eleven,” “The Great Escape” and the old series “Mission Impossible.” Carefully choreographed plans that allowed zero-margin for error, if one aspect missed the mark Elizabeth Keen’s life hung in the balance.
The first image we see is Mr. Kaplan opening a sliding-panel on a door like the one’s that you’d see on old-time gangster films and she harshly spits out you’re late to Aram Mojtabai who then enters the room. He’s patted down by Reddington’s enforcer Baz and asks that his cellphone receive gentle treatment, Baz looks him in the eyes and smiles then callously chucks it into a plastic bowl. Soon to follow Harold Cooper, Marvin Gerard and Sameen Navabi, who exchanges uneasy eye-contact with Aram before looking away.
Once again the producers made great use of their soundtrack, with Johnny Cash singing “God Gonna Strike You Down,” as everybody got searched and Reddington and Dembe walked through a meat-packing plant to join his guests. Red then confessed to being a terrible bridge-player as he hates to share his hand with anybody. However he says unless they all band together that Lizzie won’t survive the next 24-hours, so he needs to play nice with others.
We join Liz, Ressler and another agent that are taking Keen to the Federal courthouse to meet with Judge Potter about her case. Keen seems more numb than scared, telling Ressler that if he hadn’t arrived when he did she’d be on her way to her execution. Donald tells her he’s got everything under control, after she meets with the Judge she’ll be held in custody at Fort Meade and the Cabal won’t be able to touch her. He will keep guard that night while she sleeps in her court-room cell sitting in a chair.
We return to find Team-Red somewhat incredulous and under-impressed Raymond’s plan, which he’s revealed involves kidnapping The Director. Harold lists the crimes they’ll all get charged with and then says to Reddington that he can’t possibly believe that the Cabal will clear Lizzie’s name in exchange for getting The Director back. Red smiles a Cheshire-Cat grin and tells Harold that’s not his plan at all. He then explains that beginning with the hostage situation at the diner earlier this season, Raymond and Marvin Gerard have executed a plan to take down the Cabal and force them into admitting Liz got set-up. The pieces are now in place and they just have to put things into motion.
He reveals that The Director and his wife Linda have a marriage counselling session every Wednesday at the Middleton Building and he’s got a minimum detail of just two agents with him. Linda and Peter meet in the lobby then one agent remains in the lobby while the other takes the elevator up to their marriage counselor’s office. Sameen says the fly in the Vaseline’s the fact that the following morning isn’t Wednesday. Red smiles again and says they think they found away around that.
At the same time Peter Kotsiopolus and Laurel Hitchin are meeting and she assures The Director that Keen won’t make it to Fort Meade alive. She says they’ve got a new agent installed in the courthouse who’s assured her he can eliminate Liz.
Lizzie wakes up the next morning to find Ressler wide awake but red-eyed in the chair next to the cell. She says he looks tired he says they’ll both have time to sleep after this ends. She asks him when the lawyer’s arriving and Donald tells her that the courthouse opens in half an hour.
Team-Red goes into action as we hear James Brown’s “The Payback,” as they enter the Middleton Building and get into an elevator. They get off on a floor that’s under construction and Aram asks if this is a mistake. Raymond told them the marriage counselor’s office is on the sixth floor and this is the eighth. Red tells Mojtabai that the layout for every floor’s the same, they’re recreating the sixth floor on the eighth floor. Aram’s mission’s to override the elevator so when the agent accompanying The Director pushes floor six it actually goes to floor eight.
After Raymond told Mojtabai at the conclusion of the previous episode that he’d be forever in the Techie’s debt, Aram’s trying to get chummier with Reddington. However those attempts are failing so far. Aram punches the air and says how cool sleight of hand and then smiles at Dembe and says he loves magic. Dembe just stares back at him as if he’s just a curious creature. Mojtabai then says the difficult part will be getting The Director to the building and Red says Agents Cooper and Navabi are working on that now.
Samar’s got Linda Kotsiopolus sighted and stands up at an outdoor café just as the women walks by and knocking her coffee out of her hand. Navabi apologizes and pleads to buy her another one to make up for it. Samar goes up to a stand and orders a new latte and at the same time Harold walks up holding another cup the same size. They switch cups and Harold walks away throwing the coffee in the trash. Navabi gives Linda the obviously spiked latte and apologizes once again.
Mr. Kaplan tells Red that there’s a figurine in front of the mirror across from the elevator on the sixth floor and she can come close but can’t match it. Marvin suggests she steal it and Kate gives him a withering look and asks if she should smile for the security cameras. Red then says apples, and tells her to get a large crystal bowl and fill it with apples. Mr. Kaplan asks what happens if he notices and Raymond says he won’t, Marvin then says she asked you what if he does. Red fixes Gerard with a stare we haven’t seen since he took out Mr. Vargas and says he heard what she said and asks him why he’s still there. Marvin wisely turns around and leaves silently while Red says aloud that everybody loves apples.
The spiked coffee works quite effectively and we see Linda walking down the street dizzy and dazed and almost gets hit by a car. Harold playing Good Samaritan helps her to a bench and asks if he should call 911? She says she’s having trouble breathing and she’s dizzy and Cooper says he’s going to call an ambulance. She tries to take her phone from her purse but drops it on the street. Cooper picks it up and she tells him she gets panic attacks and her doctor’s number’s in her contact list.
Harold calls Dr. Huffnagel and says he’s calling for Linda Kotsiopolus whose having a panic attack. She speaks with her doctor who asks if she’s been taking her meds and she replies she has. He tells her to come down immediately and assures he’ll contact The Director. She thanks Harold and asks if he’d help get her a cab which he agrees to do with a smile.
We then see The Director enter the Middleton Building as one agent stays in the lobby as the other follows Peter up to the office. Aram’s switch of floor’s works flawlessly and they start to enter the office when Kotsiopolus walks over the bowl and picks up an apple. Dembe says he realizes it’s a trap but Raymond says let it play out. After verifying their edible and not plastic he grabs one and tosses another to the agent and they walk into the office. Red smiles and repeats that everybody likes apples.
Mr. Kaplan’s playing the receptionist and she tells The Director his wife’s in with the doctor. Peter asks where’s the regular receptionist and she replies that her daughter’s sick and her name’s Kate then opens the office door. When The Director walks in he’s grabbed from behind and Baz stabs him in the neck with a hypodermic needle. As he starts to black-out we hear Red’s voice sounding distorted saying his wife’s fine. He’s put into a body bag then on an ambulance stretcher and taken down the freight elevator to a waiting ambulance and peel off just before the two agents hit the street.
Lizzie meets with her attorney Allison Gaines who quickly tells Keen she doesn’t look like much. Liz gives her a what give’s look and Gaines says she represents monsters with fewer crimes than she’s charged with including 16-counts of Federal murder plus treason. All these acts are punishable by death and Liz says she’s been framed, Gaines asks if that includes the murder of Tom Connolly in front of two witnesses? Lizzie leans in and says that someone wants her dead before the end of the day getting the lawyers attention.
Peter wakes up dazed and confused with his head buzzing and hears somebody in another room talking in Spanish. The Director walks out of the room and realizes he’s on Reddington’s private jet, along with Raymond, Dembe and the Spanish-speaking gentleman. The Director scoffs at Red and says kidnapping, you think you’ll get away with this? Raymond then informs him that he’s not holding The Director at all, then introduces him to Minister Diaz the Foreign Minister of Venezuela.
Diaz informs The Director he’s under arrest and they’re on their way to the World Court in the Hague, where he’ll be tried for committing War Crimes under the Rome Agreement. Kotsiopolus laughs and says that the United States never signed that agreement and Diaz laughs back and says it doesn’t matter that Venezuela did and they’ve decided to press charges. The Director says that Venezuela will be severely punished by the United States Government and Raymond gets Laurel Hitchin on the phone.
Donald alerts Tom Keen that things are in motion and he’ll call back in the next few hours for Tom to deliver Karakurt to the courthouse. When Tom hangs up Karakurt says he maybe getting “cold-feet” about their agreement. Tom grabs the Russian by the back of the head and says you’ve got two choices, talk to the FBI and you might live. Refuse and Tom will kill him slowly and he also knows where Karakurt’s sister’s hiding and he’ll kill her as well then he knocks the Russian out by slamming his head against the table.
Liz and Gaines meet Judge Trotter and the Deputy-Attorney General in the courtroom and Trotter insist that all the names of the victims be read to Liz. He’s clearly not the sympathetic figure that she assumed that Reven Wright set-up to hear the case.
Laurel’s coming to grips with the fact that Raymond and Diaz have The Director and are actually flying to The Hague where he’ll go on trial in front of The World Court and causing the Government at the very least a volatile and embarrassing situation. She then asks Red hypothetically if they reach an agreement what are his terms? Raymond replies the same thing he’s asked for consistently complete exoneration of Elizabeth Keen. However if Lizzie suffers a scratch his offer changes drastically.
Donald meets Liz back at her cell and he’s ready to transfer her to Fort Meade. However he’s unaware that one of the court employee’s a man named Iverson’s waiting for Keen’s transfer as he’s a paid assassin for Laurel Hitchin. Hitchin tries calling Iverson to tell him the hit’s been cancelled but he won’t pick up his phone. She then calls Ressler and tells him there’s danger in the hallways. Iverson’s handcuffed before he can get a shot off.
Laurel gets back on the phone with Reddington and says his girl got a temporary reprieve. She then asks exactly what are the terms Raymond wants and he says his attorney Marvin Gerard has all the details. Just then Laurel’s assistant opens the door and says Marvin Gerard’s arrived and he said she’d be waiting for him.
Donald gets Lizzie back to her cell and says he’s got the floor sealed off and they’re not moving until they get the all-clear from Reddington. Liz asks what happened back there and he said that Laurel called and said there’s danger in the hall and Keen asks why she called off the hit she planned? Donald realizes that Red’s negotiating must be working.
Hitchin and Marvin have gone back and forth over the deal and Gerard tells Raymond that he’s getting almost everything he wants but one glaring omission. They’ll drop the charges on the deaths of the agents and the United States Senator, but Liz must plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Connolly. Laurel says she’ll see no jail time but Red declines the offer. Hitchin says she can’t get the charge against Connolly dismissed and Red tells Marvin to pick up the receiver and he goes into the room The Director was in before.
He asks Gerard his thoughts and Marvin says it’s a really good deal and frankly better than he ever hoped of getting. Raymond says get it done and then gets on the phone with Hitchin and tells her she’s got a deal and they’ll drop The Director somewhere safe. She then asks if they could talk privately and says that Peter’s become a liability and asks Red to dispose of him. Raymond allows a cold smile to cross his face and says I thought that’s what you’d want.
Marvin comes down to Lizzie’s cell with the deal for her to sign. She hesitates because she’s still pleading guilty to a homicide and they’ll take away her badge and she can’t be an agent any longer. Donald says however if you sign it the Task Force stays intact, you’ll clear Cooper’s name and he’ll be back in charge and you’ll work for the Task Force as a paid asset to work with Red and lockup bad guys. He then gives her his cell phone and says this is for you, as if the Wizard Of Oz was on the other end. Perhaps in a way he was.
Red asks Lizzie if she’s seen the deal and she says she has. He says he realizes it’s not all he hoped but she’s safe and she’s free. She responds that now she’s an asset like him and he reminds her that he told her when she pulled the trigger she crossed a threshold from her world into his. She says that the deal’s fair and he responds sometimes fairness is overrated, but tells her to sign the deal.
Tom delivers Karakurt to Ressler and an alerted press contingent see him taken into custody. Ressler says he’ll give a brief statement and that the man taken into a custody’s a Russian agent known as Karakurt and he’s admitted to setting Elizabeth Keen up.
Laurel Hitchin hold a press conference and announcing that Elizabeth Keen’s been exonerated of all of her crimes except in the case of Tom Connolly’s death. She then says they’ve got Karakurt in custody due to a successful search headed by Special Agent Donald Ressler. She then reveals the existence of the Cabal that she says is an organization that’s tried to create a new Cold-War with Russia.
She then says that members of the Cabal infiltrated the United States Government and the evidence’s overwhelming that Attorney General Connolly belonged to the Cabal and had threatened and tried to coerce Keen and that’s why she shot him. She then says that The Director’s also a member and says he’s fled the country to places unknown. Peter sees her says that while he watches the conference on the TV set on the plane. Laurel then issues a public apology to Elizabeth Keen and what the Government put her through. She finishes her speech by saying she hopes Keen can get solace in knowing the system works. Tom watches on his TV and raises a beer. Red looks at The Director and says the plane’s been decelerating for a while looks like they’ll drop Peter off before dinner.
We find ourselves in the living room of a Dutch family with the Television on a newscast of Liz’s release. The father yells at his two teenage daughters that they should put down their phones and watch the news. He then asks what he needs to do to make them pay attention? His question’s quickly answered as something crashes through the roof and lands on the living room floor. It’s the corpse of The Director his eyes wide open, one of the daughters glances at the TV and sees the man lying on their floor’s the guy on TV and nudges her father.
One more great song to take us out as we hear Andra Day sing “Rise Up” over the closing montage that includes a meeting over drinks in Laurel Hitchin’s house with Red. She says she figured part of his end plan was getting a seat at the table. Harold Cooper takes back the reins from a relieved Donald Ressler who says he’s a field-agent and kicks down doors. He’ll leave politics to the pros.
Lizzie gets released and she exits the courthouse into the night air she’s alone. However a city bus drives by and as it passes she sees Red and Dembe waiting outside the car for her. She smiles walks over looks at Raymond then hugs him. Red’s eyes are closed and he looks like he’s at peace with the world. (BTW, yes counting Karakurt, Minister Diaz and Raymond, Reddington’s eleven was indeed eleven.)
The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on NBC.