Edi Gathegi

All posts tagged Edi Gathegi

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 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 NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

How could the NBC series “The Blacklist,” possibly hope to meet fans expectations when the show returned from a two-month hiatus on January 7? The show concluded 2015, with an episode ending with the capture of fugitive Elizabeth Keen by her former FBI partner Donald Ressler. Both Ressler and Keen were fully aware that her arrest put her life in imminent danger as The Cabal wanted her dead as soon as possible. Donald promised Lizzie he’d keep her safe, however he had no idea what kind of a hornet’s nest he stepped into with that move.

For this viewer the series exceeded my hopes, airing possibly the best episode of the show since it began in September of 2013. It showcased the incredibly talented cast, that sometimes gets lost in the shadow of James Spader’s masterful portrayal of Raymond Reddington. With the extra time allotted to other series regulars besides Red and Lizzie, we saw facets of familiar characters never displayed before in the joint effort to clear Elizabeth Keen’s name and save her life.

The episode opens with Ressler coming to transfer Liz from the holding cell she’s locked in back to the task-force headquarters. Keen tells Donald she’s not ashamed of anything she did and Ressler replies through gritted teeth she killed the United States Attorney General. She responds that Tom Connolly was a bad man and would have hurt many innocent people if still alive.

The scene switches to a meeting between The Director Peter Kotsiopolus and Presidential adviser Laurel Hitchin as they’re discussing that The Director’s prediction that Keen would never get captured turned out wrong. Kotsiopolus shows a lack of concern for the development, telling her he’ll have CIA agents take her into custody. Hitchin tells him that the President’s counsel Cynthia Panabaker already had made plans with Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright for Keen to meet in a private session with Judge Trotter. She tells The Director he has three hours to gain control of Keen, he tells her he’s taken down entire governments in less time.

As Keen and Ressler get driven in an SUV back to the task-force building, Ressler gets a call from Raymond. Donald says he’s got every precaution in place and he’ll keep Liz safe. Red responds that the FBI agent has no idea what he’s up against, that a shadow government will use every resource to get custody of Lizzie. He tells Donald that he’s come up with a meticulous plan to clear Keen’s name but he needs a day to get it in place. Ressler tells him to go for it, however Reddington says that Ressler, Samar and Aram have to team together to keep Keen protected. Ressler tells Raymond that he dismissed Navabi from the task-force and hangs up.

Ressler and an FBI SWAT-Team bring Elizabeth into the task-force building and Laurel Hitchin congratulates him as he walks past her with the prisoner. Lizzie’s put into the glass-cell that Ressler and Red got locked in back in the show’s first season. He once again assures her he’ll keep her safe, she tells him that she doesn’t blame him for what will soon take place.

Aram’s in his office when his cellphone rings and Red’s on the other end. He tells Mojtabai that Lizzie’s life’s in danger and he’s the only person who can save her. Aram’s jaw nearly hits his desk hearing Raymond’s words and asks Reddington what he needs to do?

Ressler’s becoming concerned because he can’t contact Reven Wright. Just then the fox enters the henhouse as Kotsiopolus comes into the building with a squad of his men with documented orders giving him custody of Keen saying that she’s a Russian agent and Homeland Security has evidence of an imminent Russian attack on the United States. Donald tells him that Wright will never allow that to happen and The Director asks where Reven’s at, as people have been looking for her all day?

The Director says he’s opening the cell and Ressler tells him he won’t give him the code, however Kotsiopolus tells him he got it from the FBI Director’s office. When he punches in the code on the keypad the cell remains shut, he asks Ressler what’s going on and Donald says he didn’t do a thing. We then see Aram quietly smiling in a corner and we realize that he changed the code before The Director arrived.

As Kotsiopolus continues to try to open the glass cell, Ressler’s phone rings and he’s relieved to hear Red on the other end. Raymond tells him that everything’s fine as long as he doesn’t let the Director get Liz, he says that Karakurt should be in the city within an hour. Donald asks what he’s got to do with things and Reddington informs him that he’s going to confess to the FBI that he set Liz up and was working for the Cabal. He tells him that Cooper and Tom have him in a cabin in Yvonne, Maryland, they tried to tell Donald but he refused to listen.

Down at the cabin Tom chains up Karakurt so he can’t escape, Cooper tells Tom he’s taking Charlene to her sister’s house as the Cabal will be looking for Karakurt and he wants to keep her safe. He tells Keen to guard Karakurt until he gets back.

Ressler lets the frustration of not getting in contact with Reven get the best of him and he goes into the office that Laurel Hitchin’s occupying. He asks if she can order The Director to leave the building as she did in an earlier situation, she says that if Reven calls her she can intercede then asks if he knows where she’s at. Donald decides to trust his gut and the move backfires big time. He says to Hitchin that Reven said he could trust her and then tells her about Karakurt.

She looks intrigued and tells Ressler she’ll do some digging. She then says the last time she talked with Reven, Wright mentioned a young associate named Tommy Markin and asks Donald if he knows him? Ressler says he never heard the name before and then tells her needs to get back to work.

Reddington’s enlisted the services of Samar Navabi to get back his “care-package” that the Bureau took into custody when they arrested Keen and Dembe. She tells him that the package would be in an evidence vehicle taking the highway to Pittsburgh to bring it to a facility for storage. Red tells her they’re going to stage a drug-bust to divert the drivers so Samar can get the “care-package.” He also says he needs to meet that day with the Argentinian Foreign Minister.

Ressler realizes he messed up badly and grabs Aram and tells him that Hitchin killed Reven Wright. Mojtabai asks him why he believes that and Donald tells him that Laurel mentioned Tommy Markin, the most corrupt cop ever and he told Reven about him the last time he saw her. He tells Aram that Hitchin’s calling The Director as they speak and telling him about Karakurt and Kotsiopolus will send men to the cabin to take out Karakurt. Aram tells Ressler to head to the cabin that he’ll control things at the task-force then admits he changed the code.

Red unpleasantly surprises Rafael, the man who promised to set-up a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign-Minister when he delivered terrorist Zal Bin Hasaan. He tells Rafael that he needs to meet with the minister today but the man says it’s impossible as he’s traveling all day. Raymond then hands Rafael a wrapped package and wishes him happy birthday. The man responds his birthday’s in August and Red apologizes for being late with the present, then suggests that they go somewhere quiet to talk and head into Reddington’s car.

When the pair sit down in the backseat, Raymond points out Navabi with a 35mm camera and tells Rafael that she’s a stringer for UPI. He then says when her pictures show up in the Argentinian media things will look pretty bad for Rafael, consorting and taking gifts from a renowned criminal. Red’s promised a 15 minute meeting with the minister at 3:15 pm.

Ressler finally contacts Cooper on his cellphone and tells Harold that they’ve got to leave the cabin as the Cabal’s heading there to kill Karakurt. Harold tells Ressler he’s on the way to Charlene’s sister and they realize Ressler’s closer than Cooper to the cabin and has Harold text him the address.

Reddington take Navabi to a storage-facility he owns in West Virginia and tells Samar he has many of them in states all across the nation, with a couple in most Red-States. He breaks open a crate filled with kilos of cocaine and he explains he’s not a drug-dealer, but the only payment he could receive in a bad deal in Cartagena was the crate. They grab about a dozen kilos and leave the facility.

Raymond’s arranged for some of his associates to stage what looks like a two-car crash and the vehicle with the trunk filled with the coke’s all shot-up. He’s got two guys disguised as West Virginia State Troopers and Navabi calls the Bureau dispatch saying she’s been standing all day waiting for the evidence truck to pick up the cocaine. The dispatch tells her they’ll reroute the vehicle heading to Pittsburgh and says they should be there shortly.

Aram goes over to the glass cage to console Liz and tells her she just needs to hold on for another hour, that helps on the way. Lizzie suddenly says she’s having trouble breathing just as Kotsiopolus walks over to talk to Aram. He says that he believes Aram changed the code of the cell and though he can’t prove it, he’s pretty certain that’s the case.

Lizzie calls to Aram with concern in her voice saying she’s having problems breathing. The Director says that it would be unfortunate if the cell’s ventilation system wasn’t working properly and Aram realizes his men shut off the air. He tells Lizzie that he’ll try to override the system from his terminal, but he’s denied access. Liz asks even if The Director stopped incoming air, why would the oxygen have depleted so quickly and Mojtabai realizes The Director’s pumping nitrogen into the cell to deplete the oxygen.

Back at the cabin Karakurt hears a car pull up and Tom goes to the door brandishing his rifle. Ressler knocks and identifies himself and Tom lets him in. He says the Cabal’s heading there and they’ve got to take off, he spoke with Harold and got the address. Keen says he’d rather wait for word from Cooper, but suddenly they realize the Cabal’s right outside the cabin.

The Bureau agents and the evidence car arrive to transport the coke to Pittsburgh, one of the fake cops distracts the agents with a question and Navabi’s able to nick the “care-package.” Before the agents hit the road she asks one of them if he can assure her that the drugs will arrive in Pittsburgh without incident and he tells her they will.

Lizzie’s gasping for air and Aram says he’s got to open the cell to save her life but she shakes her head no then falls to the floor. Mojtabai starts screaming into the surveillance camera that he’ll go to the media that they’re killing her. Watching on a monitor in her office Laurel asks The Director what happens next? Kotsiopolus replies if she dies in the cell they can blame it on equipment failure and nobody can prove otherwise. Hitchin asks what if Aram opens the door and The Director says they go back to the original plan. They take Keen to a remote facility and she’s shot to death when she attempts an escape.

Matias Solomon’s outside the cabin with lots of mercenaries, we hear a window crash and a smoke-bomb’s thrown into the cabin followed by two gunmen. Tom and Ressler quickly kill the two guys and throw the smoke-bomb out of the house. Ressler asks Tom if he’s okay, Karakurt still chained to a chair says he’s not.

Lizzie doesn’t appear to be breathing and rather than let her die he gives The Director the code, it’s Navabi. They open the cell and Aram performs mouth-to-mouth and gets Lizzie breathing again. He then apologizes for opening the cell as he realizes that Kotsiopolus and company will soon spirit her away.

Red greets the Foreign-Minister and thanks him for adjusting his schedule to accommodate Raymond. He asks about the country’s president and the Minister replies he’s got a bad stomach, because he just borrowed five billion from China. He then asks Reddington what’s this all about and Raymond says he wants to help put money into the Argentinian coffers.

Solomon yells to the trio in the cabin that they’ve got one chance to preserve the peace and quiet of the country and that’s to send Karakurt out immediately. Ressler says we’re not sending him out there likely to convince himself it’s the right thing to do. He then tells Tom that he’s the reason the Cabal found out they hid Karakurt in the cabin. He says his father was a cop and he died for not taking a bribe. He always believed in the principles his father stood for, but now he’s not so sure. Tom sarcastically says he never allows principles to figure into any decisions.

Karakurt says that if they’re going to engage in a firefight they best give him a gun, he can’t run away and Ressler tells Tom to unchain him and arm him. Then like a scene from a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti-Western the three men engage in a shootout with all the mercenaries outside the cabin. After no more gunfire comes from the cabin, Solomon tells his men to stop shooting and check the cabin for survivors.

When the men enter the cabin it looks like the trio-escaped as we just see the two dead mercenaries on the floor. Except it’s actually Ressler and Karakurt disguised as the dead men and Tom’s hiding around the corner and they take out all the invaders.

The Director and his men have Liz on an ambulance stretcher and are about to get onto the elevator when Aram stops them in their tracks as he aims his pistol at Kotsiopolus’ head. He says that he’s not taking her and if he tries he won’t get out. Laurel tells Aram to lower his weapon but he’s not backing down.

Lizzie calls out to Aram and tells him to lower his gun, they’ll shoot him without a second thought. She tells him to look at her face and then says she doesn’t blame him in the least. He saved her life and she realizes how much he cares. Aram looks at her and lowers his weapon and he’s quickly handcuffed by one of The Director’s men. However just then the President’s counsel Cynthia Panabaker arrives and says she’s got jurisdiction in this situation and then calls the National Intelligence Director and puts Laurel on the phone.

The Foreign-Minister and Reddington are in Raymond’s car and the Minister’s clearly displeased as he asks Red why he would agree to his plan. Reddington says to stick it to the USA, that they’ve hurt the regime for years. The Minister says that if he does what Red suggests the United States will impose more sanctions and his country will starve to death.

Samar arrives with the “care-package” and gives it to Raymond who thanks her and Navabi leaves. He says to the Minister that he told him he wanted to put money into the Argentine economy and them opens the package to reveal chromium plated master-printing plates for United States 100 dollar bills that are exactly like the ones the Treasury Department uses. Red’s been holding onto them since he captured them from Major Ludd in Season One. The Minister cagily smiles and says you son of a gun and Raymond says he’s been called far worse.

The trio leave the cabin and they find a car they can drive back when Solomon sneaks up on Tom and pulls a gun on him. Matias tells Donald if he doesn’t drop his weapon Tom dies and Keen says take him out, because if you drop the gun he’ll kill us all. Ressler agrees to drop his gun and Solomon cackles and says he should have listened to Tom, when Harold Copper arrives and knocks out Matias with a right to the jaw. He says he figured they could use some back-up.

Solomon regains consciousness and smiles and says good morning and Ressler says he should just kill him, he did so much damage to his friends and his country. Solomon laughs derisively and says he doesn’t care about his friends and he hates this country. Then he amends that and says he loves the fact within hours he’ll be processed freed and on a plane to France. Ressler says he’ll never see the inside of a court-room.

Cooper tells Ressler to lower his weapon, but Donald says he’s right if we bring him in he’ll just walk and he deserves to die. Tom says Donald’s right but not by Ressler’s hands. Donald asks Tom since when did he grow a conscience and Keen responds maybe since I’ve hung out with you. However if you want to know if your father died for something or not, that Ressler will decide that with whether he kills Solomon or not. Donald cuffs him and arrests him.

Hitchin gets off the phone and tells Panabaker she stands corrected and Cynthia does have jurisdiction. The Director says his agents are on the property and Panabaker cuts him off and says and they’ll remain on the property. Reven told me if Miss Keen was being taken into custody only one agent should do that, Agent Donald Ressler. The Director says Ressler’s not there and suddenly the elevator opens and Donald and Solomon emerge. He tells one of the agents to take Solomon into custody and then says to Liz he’s going to escort her into custody. She smiles and asks what took him so long?

Ressler gets into Laurel’s face and says I know about you, you killed Reven Wright and this isn’t over. He then sneers at The Director and says I want you out of here before I come back. Panabaker cheerily chirps she’s got to come around more often and follows Ressler. Liz kisses Aram on the cheek and thanks him before she leaves.

The Blacklist has always used music tastefully and they chose Ben Lee’s poignant and beautiful Gamble Everything For Love in a closing montage. We see Tom get a text and Karakurt asks if she’s alive and Tom smiles and nods. Harold and Charlene are discussing their broken marriage. Dembe’s released from a cell in task-force headquarters and then he stands face-to-face with Matias before he walks away and Solomon’s put into the cell.

Then we see Aram riding his bicycle with a helmet on at night in a cemetery and he meets Red there. Reddington tells him to come closer and Aram sees Raymond’s standing over an open grave with no body inside it. Red says he’s stood over the open grave of far too many loved ones beginning with his mother. He then says he wanted to remember that feeling distinctly so he could properly thank Aram for being a hero. He says you saved Elizabeth’s life today and I’ll be forever in your  debt. Then he tells Aram to gather his team for they’re about to take down the Cabal.

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

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Not all soldiers contain the qualities to become Generals. In fact the skill sets of an exemplary soldier and an effective General likely couldn’t be more at odds with each other. A good soldier never questions orders and does what ever it takes to fulfill the mission even if it means sacrificing their life in the process. An effective General or leader of any kind needs to be able to react to changing conditions and adapt their plans accordingly. There’s too much knowledge and experience within a leader to sacrifice easily. Soldiers are easily replaceable, however wise veteran leaders aren’t.

If you’re a fan of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” you’ve seen this dynamic in place throughout the show’s third season. FBI Agent Donald Ressler got pressed into running the FBI Task Force, formerly lead by Harold Cooper and Ressler’s first mission’s been attempting to capture his former partner, former agent Elizabeth Keen. Before the series took it’s winter hiatus in November, Ressler took Lizzie into custody and likely put her life in great jeopardy.

Ressler believes that his former partner’s innocent and has gotten set-up by the Cabal, a shadow government that secretly pulls all the strings that have caused the greatest catastrophes of our lifetimes. The group’s made up of leaders of governments and industries across the planet and lead by the CIA Director Peter Kotsiopolus whose usually referred to as The Director. The Cabal’s infested the halls of power in the United States Government, with the President’s NSA Director Laurel Hitchin’s among their ranks. She executed Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright, after Wright revealed she knew some potentially incriminating information.

Meanwhile Ressler naïvely sits back thinking he’s winning Hitchin’s confidence and she’ll soon start taking his side over that of The Director’s. Donald Ressler’s a good man who truly wants to the right thing, however he’s way over his head right now in shark-infested waters. Because he’s been trained his entire career to think within certain parameters, he lacks the skills he needs to think outside-the-box and being able to adjust strategy as the situation changes. Those skills are absolutely essential to being a good leader, we shall see if Ressler takes advice either from Raymond Reddington or Harold Cooper once the series returns on January 7.

That failure to adapt to the situation and to realize that sometimes you have to deal with the lesser of two evils to salvage a situation, has led Donald to feel betrayed by his former boss Harold Cooper. Both share a severe dislike of the man they know as Tom Keen, however only Cooper was smart enough not to turn an asset away in time of need. After Tom approached Ressler in his apartment building about helping clearing Lizzie’s name and Ressler told him to leave immediately, Cooper sought Keen out. Tom’s completed his mission capturing the Russian spy Karakurt and forcing him to admit that he’s responsible for all the crimes Lizzie’s being charged with.

Meanwhile Cooper’s got to be feeling pretty betrayed himself right about now, as his wife Charlene decided that in the midst of trying to get Karakurt to the proper authorities that it was the perfect time to reveal to her husband that she had an affair a couple of years before. Was this her way of getting back at her husband for involving her in the dangerous situation they’re attempting to complete? Or did Charlene simply have a nervous breakdown due to the stress of the situation and that just tumbled out of her mouth?

When the series does return to TV on January 7, reports have surfaced that the first two episode will revolve around The Director Peter Kotsiopolus. David Strathairn who portrays The Director’s a first-rate actor that came to my attention in the late seventies and he’s added several amazing performances to his resume since then. Having Strathairn just appearing along the sidelines for about the last year’s like having a Porsche up on blocks in the garage. I can’t wait to see what he does with all the time allotted to him.

The Director decided to take a gamble in season two that backfired badly. He decided to chance that Raymond Reddington was bluffing when he claimed to have access to The Fulcrum, a blackmail file that if released would put many members of the Cabal in certain danger. Red obtained the file last season and flew in the planet’s most renowned Investigative-Journalists and gave them each a copy.

Kotsiopolus and other Cabal members have attempted to discredit the information revealed in those documents ever since and the Cabal’s not happy that The Director’s gamble failed so badly. Enter one Matias Solomon, the hitman/enforcer/messenger for the Cabal, Solomon just enjoys killing it doesn’t really matter to him who the victim is. He’d just as soon slit The Director’s throat as he would Raymond Reddington, just depends on which way the wind’s blowing.

Elizabeth Keen will get imprisoned in that same glass cell that Ressler and Red got locked in during the first season, until Raymond agreed to surrender to save Lizzie’s life. Ressler’s promised his former partner he’d protect her while in his custody. How much help will he need from this bizarre lineup that now comprises Team-Reddington?

We’re well aware that Raymond would without hesitation trade his life for Lizzie’s, we’re also well aware that The Blacklist recently inked a contract for a fourth season. Without Lizzie and or Raymond there’s no longer a series, so we know going in that they’ll both survive. However this show’s already displayed they’ll sacrifice a regular cast member if they consider it necessary. They ended the first season with the death of series regular Meera Malik, killed by Reddington’s foe Berlin.

Could Ressler, Samar Navabi, Aram or Harold Cooper be sacrificed this season? Or what about Ryan Eggold who portrays good-looking bad-buy Tom Keen? The happy ending that Liz told Red about earlier this season, about her accompanied by her husband and child walking serenely through some small town square will never happen if she stays with Tom/Jacob. Which means more to her, those dreams or her former husband? We’ll start getting answers to those and other questions in just over two-weeks.

The Story Continues January 7, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Social Media was abuzz this past week as fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” expected their favorite show to exonerate FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen and put Harold Cooper back in charge of the FBI Task Force in this final episode before going on hiatus. Even Raymond Reddington stated early in this episode that her life on the lam beginning at the end of last season when the Cabal set her up would conclude very soon. Liz would be partnered up once again with Donald Ressler, while the Director of the Cabal bled-out in some field and Matias Solomon stowed-away on a tramp-steamer to Laos.

Now viewers will display concern for Lizzie until the show returns on January 7, as Ressler tackled her in the woods and arrested her in the episode’s final scene. Although her former partner will do his best to ensure her safety in Federal-Custody the Cabal’s got enough operatives in high-places in the United States Government, that keeping that promise will be challenging for Donald.

Reddington and Dembe speak on the phone as Red’s driving with Keen while Dembe’s waiting in what looks like an antique shop waiting for a package. Dembe says something feels wrong to him and he should be with Raymond right now. Reddington says they need their “Care-Package” and they’ll hook-up in about an hour.

Raymond pulls in to fill up the tank and Liz says she’s going to use the rest-room to freshen up. Red says he’ll get them something to eat in the convenience store that’s part of the station. Liz returns a few minutes later and there’s no sign of Reddington or the beat-up SUV they’re traveling in. She checks with the store clerk and Raymond never made it into the store.

Liz calls Dembe and asks if he’s heard from Raymond and he says he’ll start searching for him, but Keen tells him to wait at the store for the package. She then calls Samar Navabi and asks her if she gives her the information to track Reddington’s computer will she promise not to tell Ressler? Unfortunately Keen couldn’t  have picked a worse time to call Navabi as the agent’s lying in Donald’s bed while he’s showering. The morning after their unexpected “coupling” late in the previous episode.

Samar has to use Ressler’s laptop to conduct the search and she tells Liz that Red’s outside Davis Creek, West Virginia in what looks like an industrial building.  After she gives Keen the information she deletes the surfing information, a move that came back to haunt her.

Aram tells Donald that  Reven Wright’s waiting for him in Cooper’s office. Ressler’s screaming at the Deputy Attorney General that Harold Cooper sold them out and told Tom Keen that he was heading to Wing Yee’s to bust Keen and Liz. Reven’s not concerned with Harold and Tom but she asks Ressler some information about Matias Solomon. When he tells her he can’t answer her questions she says she’s going to do some digging.

Harold and Charlene Cooper get some unexpected house-guests as four assassins carrying rifles head towards their house to kill them Tom Keen and Karakurt. Keen and Cooper kill all four gunmen and the four of them get into the Cooper’s car and take off. They soon realize why Cabal operatives can find them so easily as Karakurt’s got a tracking chip they put into his chest. Keen tells Cooper they have  to get under concrete or cement to block the signal.

Raymond come’s to and realizes he’s gotten kidnapped by a gang of robber-barons that look like extras from My Name Is Earl. Three brothers, Cash the oldest and dominant, Pablo the middle-brother with authority issues and T-Bone who speaks with a stutter. They live with Jilly who seems to be Cash’s girlfriend, but she could have a friends with benefits relationship with the other brothers.

The group’s teamed up with a local named Jasper and they kidnap and rob seemingly affluent drivers when they visit the area. Although the brother’s go gaga over Red’s Rolex they complain that he’s only got $700 in his and doesn’t have credit-cards or an ATM card. Raymond says that if they can negotiate terms he’ll make it worth their while to release them.

Harold hides the car inside a tunnel and Tom starts to conduct surgery using what looks like the lid of a cat-food can to slice open his chest. On the other end of the tunnel Solomon and a crew are tracking Karakurt and the man holding the laptop says the signal’s weak but they still can track it.

Aram tells Navabi that  Ressler wants him to check out Donald’s personal laptop to find out how search information got deleted. Samar tells Aram he can’t say anything to Ressler as she promised Liz she’d keep it from him, the information she deleted gives Red’s location. Mojtabai asks why she used Donald’s laptop and she says it was on her work station. The tech-guru promises to keep Ressler in the dark.

Liz makes the connection between Jasper and the Kings Of The Road, the name the thieves use and she picks him up in this blue-collar bar. He suddenly looks at his watch and says he’s got to get back to work when she asks him how she’d like her to go back with him to his place instead? Work’s no longer a priority.

Cash says that if they hurt Reddington they might lose out on  getting some money, so he suggests that Jilly goes and talks with him. She brings a children’s tea-set with her and pretends to have a tea-party with Reddington. She asks him his first name and he replies Kenneth as it says on the driver’s license he carries. She says no your real first name and he responds the same. She says they’ll hurt her if he doesn’t tell her and Red says that he thinks Jilly likes getting hurt or she would have left long ago. She giggles and starts rubbing him and finds a bank-deposit bag containing 25-grand.

The three brothers and Jilly are whooping and hollering saying that they’ll each get over six grand apiece. Pablo asks what about Jasper and Cash says he’s hired help, he’ll get what they give him. That doesn’t sit well with Pablo who says Jasper’s family, Cash points to the four of them and says this is the family.

Mojtabai breaks his promise to Navabi and tells Ressler that Samar erased the information and gives him Reddington’s location. Donald stomps over to Navabi and starts screaming at her asking how she could have hidden this from him. He says first Harold plots against him and now she does, Samar tells Ressler that she called Liz and warned her about the raid. Donald sneers at her and says you’re out of here, gather your stuff and be gone by the end of the day. Aram looks like he’s about to get sick.

Red’s picked the lock on his handcuffs a while before, but he waits for the right moment to attempt his escape.  He decides the time’s best when T-Bone and he are alone at the house and the youngest brother threatens him with the pistol. Raymond grabs the gun and shoots his opponent in the gut then tries to drive away, but Cash smacks him in the back of the head knocking Reddington out.

Mojtabai goes up to Samar and says if he realized Ressler would fire her he would never have told him. She says he promised her he wouldn’t say anything and he says that she lied to him. He says you told me that his laptop was on your workstation but you did your search in his apartment in the wee-hours of the morning. Aram’s jealousy cost Navabi her job.

Pablo and T-Bone convince Cash to let T-Bone go to the hospital to get his wound treated. As soon as the youngest brother leaves Raymond starts telling Pablo that Cash and Jilly are going to kill Pablo and fly to Aruba. At first Pablo tells him to shut-up but soon Reddington’s gotten into his head. Suddenly there’s laughing and hollering coming from the other room and Cash yells he’s on TV.

They see a news-report identifying Red and Liz and Cash calls up Jasper to find out if he knows where Liz’s at and tells him about her. He hangs up his cellphone and starts attacking her but she soon gets the upper-hand and grabs his gun and now he’s her prisoner.

Wright heads to Task Force headquarters and Ressler tells her they’ve got a location on Red and he’s fired Navabi for trying to keep the information from him. Reven asks if he’s perhaps being too inflexible and Donald looks her in the eye and says Tommy Markin and Wright looks confused. Ressler says that when his father joined the police-force he befriended another young cop named Tommy Markin and the two pledged they’d clean up the department. When Ressler’s dad refused to take a bribe from corrupt cops his old pal Tommy Markin ended his life by shooting him.

The four head down a dirt-road and Cash says they’re going to kill Reddington, but Red tells Pablo if Cash wants any money he can’t kill him. Pablo says that must mean he’s going to kill me and Raymond asks if he trusts Cash with his life. Suddenly Cash’s cellphone rings and Lizzie’s on the other end, she says she’s got Jasper as her prisoner and proposes a one-for-one swap. Cash laughs derisively at her and says Jasper’s just dead weight and hangs up the phone.

Pablo’s so angry he’s ready to spit and he tells his brother that Jasper’s family and it’s not his decision to make. The phone rings again and Pablo tells his brother to pick it up and work out a deal and Cash just laughs. Pablo pulls his pistol and the older brother says he doesn’t have the stones to use it. Pablo blasts him twice then tells Jilly to answer the phone and put it on speaker. He says to Keen he’s willing to trade Red to Liz for Jasper and two million bucks. She agrees but says she’ll call back in two-hours after she sets things up. Jilly says to Pablo that was beautiful and Red shudders.

Ressler gets a call from a West Virginia State Trooper and meets him at the hospital that T-Bone’s getting treated at. The officer tells Donald the guy says he got hurt in a hunting accident, but who hunts with a 38? T-Bone walks out soon after and tells both men he’s feeling fine now and just wants to go home and sleep in his bed. Ressler tells the officer that the guy’s wearing Reddington’s coat and he’s going to follow him home.

Dembe’s finally addressed by the man behind the sales counter at the store he’s waited at. There’s a military looking  brief-case on the counter and the man tells Dembe that it’s heavier than it looks. Liz picks him up and tells him they’re trading the briefcase for Red and Dembe says they need it to clear her name. She says that Red’s life’s more important.

Reven Wright pays Laurel Hitchin a visit at the President’s adviser’s home and Laurel says what a pleasant surprise. Reven wants to discuss Matias Solomon and says he used to work for Laurel at the CIA and the Presidential adviser says she had lots of employees. Reven says he was a special attaché for you so you must have worked closely. Hitchin says he imagines that Wright’s discussed this with Ressler in great detail and Reven says she came right over to ask Laurel when she discovered the connection.

Laurel pulls out a pistol and fires it into Reven’s heart, when she falls to the floor in a heap Hitchin says she hated to do that. She then asks Wright if she has any last words and Reven looks Laurel straight in the eyes and says Tommy Markin then takes her final breath.

Liz, Dembe and Jasper meet with Pablo and T-Bone and Liz and Dembe see Red on a cellphone and he tells her not to make the trade. Pablo says okay show us what you’ve got and Dembe opens the case revealing the contents to both men, although we see nothing. Pablo asks if it’s what he thinks it is and Keen says it’s worth far more than the reward money. Pablo tells Jilly to let Red go and he tells he she’s sick and needs to get help. She smiles to herself when he leaves.

After being on the run since the final episode of last season, Elizabeth Keen’s finally been captured. Ressler and a crew came seconds after the exchange and Ressler chased her down and finally handcuffed her in the woods. Will he be able to guarantee her safety under his charge? We’ll find out in January.

The Story Resumes January 7, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although we saw Elizabeth Keen and Harold Cooper gain ground in the effort to exonerate their reputations the latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” wasn’t as focused on Lizzie as the rest of the episodes in season three. Instead this chapter entitled “Zal Bin Hasaan” focused the spotlight on fellow Task Force agent Samar Navabi, a character that we know relatively little about. Navabi can be brusque and abrasive and doesn’t have any qualms about stating her opinion. While this episode didn’t expose a well-hidden soft and fuzzy side of her, we got at least a taste of what lead her on the path she’s chosen and her motivation behind certain decisions she’s made.

Before we forge ahead let’s take a minute to set the table and discuss what we do know about Samar Navabi. Raymond Reddington recruited Navabi to replace Meera Malik on the Task Force who got killed by Berlin at the end of season one. Samar was an operative for the Israeli intelligence/military agency Mossad, even though she was born and raised in Tehran, Iran an unusual pairing to say the least. We’re aware that she left Iran after killing a government official there and the murder charges haven’t gotten dropped. She’s remained an outsider since joining the Task Force, although events in the  closing moments of this episode might change that dynamic.

A graphic informs us that we’re in Tehran, back in 1992 and we watch a girl about twelve and her younger brother planting some flowers in front of  their home. A man briskly walks past them and into the house and seconds later we hear a woman scream. The girl runs in as the man leaves and she shouts for her mother but soon sees her parents got shot and lie dead on the floor. Her younger brother Shahin enters and asks her what’s going on and she blocks him from walking past her, not wanting him to see the carnage. She says to him it’s alright I’m here and will always be here. Shahin realizes his parents died and he breaks down crying in the arms of his sister Samar.

The doorbell rings at the Cooper home  and Charlene asks Harold to answer it. He’s unpleasantly surprised to find Tom Keen’s on his doorstep and Tom tells him he’s got Karakurt in the trunk of his car. Cooper tells Keen to get the car off the street and put it in his garage. Harold goes out to join Tom and Keen’s not exactly sure if Karakurt’s knocked-out or dead. Turns out he’s playing possum and tries strangling Keen to death with his bare hands until Harold whacks the assailant in the hand with a wrench. Charlene walks in at that point and drops her coffee cup on the garage floor as she takes in the scene.

Reddington, Dembe and Liz stand in the kitchen of an upscale restaurant and watch a breaking news report on the set mounted to the wall. Six employees from Lazarum Systems International based in Annapolis, got abducted at gunpoint and the government’s classifying the incident as an act of terror on United States soil. Red chuckles and says the tip was right.

The head-waiter enters the kitchen and asks Raymond why he’s there and Reddington responds he wants the man to set-up a meeting. The man says he told Red on the phone it’s impossible and Raymond replies that he told him that’s an unacceptable answer. The man says that in most situations he’d gladly accommodate him, but there’s far too much heat on Reddington and the other party and turns to leave. Raymond stops the man in his tracks and asks what if he gives them Zal Bin Hasaan in return?

The head-waiter smirks at Reddington and says the CIA, Interpol and Mossad have hunted him for years and  he thinks he can deliver him? Raymond responds he’s waiting for an answer to his question and the man replies sure you get us Zal Bin Hasaan and you’ll get your meeting. As he walks away Liz asks if that’s the tip  he got that the elusive terrorist’s behind the abduction and Red responds she’s correct and now they just have to find him. To help reach that goal Reddington calls Navabi.

Raymond tells Samar that Zal Bin Hasaan and his crew’s behind the abduction as Lazarum’s encrypting the defense shield for Israel and that he’s currently in or around Annapolis. She says that’s impossible and Raymond says you thought the same thing in Cairo as he stood right behind you killing your partner and leaving you in the ICU. He tells her she’s got another chance to capture him and this time she’s got a secret weapon  she lacked in their first go-round, him.

Remember how excited Ressler was in the previous episode when he acquired security-cam photos of Matias Solomon? They didn’t turn out to be the “smoking-gun” convincing Laurel Hitchin and Reven Wright that the Director had any connection to the Cabal. Peter Kotsiopolus says he’s never seen the man before in his life and Ressler says he’s your employee and he was on that plane to carry out your orders to kill Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington.

He says that Red and Keen have discovered information harmful to his organization. The Director laughs derisively and says his organization’s the CIA. Hitchin reaches her limit and shouts enough, then says it’s obvious that they can’t work together so they should work their leads separately. She looks Donald in the eye and says if she hears about subterfuge or lack of sharing information, she’s going to make that person regret it.

Ressler tells Aram and Navabi that he presented their case and he thinks he bought them some time. Samar then tells the men about Reddington’s information that Zal Bin Hasaan’s behind the Lazarum employees getting abducted. Then she tells them the story about Cairo and Aram mentions that it’s believed he’s behind the explosion in Pishin back in 2009 that killed her brother.

Aram gets a call on his cellphone telling him to turn on the TV and a news anchor reports that the following footage was mass-mailed to news organizations and it’s a tape of one of the hostages reading a statement written by his captors. He says his name’s Michael Hastings and he got taken due to his participation of  the Iron Dome project. He then reads we will find you and you will pay for  your crimes, we’ll contact you again in two-hours. That’s all that’s written and he looks around him with a confused expression until a bullet in the back of his head kills him. Ressler says they’re taking this case.

Mojtabai approaches Donald and tells him that the guy across the room from them wearing a sweater-vest works for the Agency and hacked a phone-number that Aram believes belongs to Reddington or Keen and he’s monitoring it. Aram however hacked the CIA guy’s hack and now he also has the number and he’s also monitoring it. Ressler tells him to be diligent so the Director can’t set-up a hit on Lizzie and Raymond.

Samar keeps looking at the tape for clues and finds a big one. When the gun fired the muzzle blast back-lit his glasses and she sees an energy-plant in the reflection. Aram quickly identifies it as Sellinger Power and the raid’s on. Samar tells Ressler that Mossad deserves to be in on the bust and he tells her to alert them.

Tom and Harold try to calm Charlene down in the Cooper’s kitchen and Harold tells his wife they can’t call the police. Keen says he’ll get him to talk soon and then asks if they have any power-tools. Suddenly they hear a loud bang in the garage and they run in to find Karakurt’s escaped from the trunk and poisoned himself by drinking a soy-based jug of soap. (Karakurt’s allergic to soy-products and can die from ingesting them like people with nut allergies.) Charlene runs to one of her neighbors and brings back an epipen which negates the toxins in the assailant’s body. They duct tape him to a lawn-chair when he recovers.

The Mossad agents that arrive to assist in the raid include many of Navabi’s former teammates including her former commander Levi. They decide to begin the attack with a concussion bomb that Mossad conveniently has on hand. Ressler starts to question why they’ve got one then shakes his head and says he doesn’t want to know.

The joint-force attacks the building and seemingly kill all of the kidnappers, but Levi informs them that Zal Bin Hasaan escaped through a secondary blast as all the men they killed are too young to be him. Suddenly  a Mossad agent tells Levi  and Navabi they have to see this and he leads them to a man caged in a cage that’s so small he can only sit. Samar looks at the man then sees his tattoo and her voice breaks as she asks Shahin? The man responds sister and it turns out that Shahin wasn’t killed in the blast in Pishin.

Samar leaves the building and calls Red and asks if he knew her brother was alive and being held by Zal Bin Hasaan? Red says he’s happily surprised by the news and assures her that had he known he would have informed her. She tells  him that Zal Bin Hasaan escaped and Raymond responds if he’s in country he must have gotten smuggled in as contraband. He says he’ll put out some feelers.

Shahin’s taken by ambulance as they all go to a nearby Mossad safe-house. After Shahin’s examined and given medical clearance, brother and sister sit down along with Ressler for Shahin to explain where he’s been for the last six-years. He goes back to that day telling Samar that he’d been filled with hope as student demonstrators had finally gotten government officials to meet with them in a meeting open to the public. He says he’d been with the demonstrators but the government set them up to make the people believe students were terrorists and they planted a bomb killing most in attendance. Donald asks why the Iranian government would sacrifice high-ranking officials and Shahin responds that’s how badly they wanted to destroy the student movement.

He says the regime hunted him so he was afraid to contact her. He moved to England and started a new life but got wind that the regime tracked him down so he came to the States. However shortly after moving here Zal Bin Hasaan sent some men to his apartment to capture him and had been there for six months.

Tom tells Karakurt the bad news is he’s going to live but if he exonerates Liz Keen will make him a soy-smoothie. Karakurt says something softly in Russian and when Keen leans in to try to hear him his prisoner head-butts him. Tom laughs and then we see Charlene and Harold sitting in the kitchen when they hear a bunch of  banging. Charlene starts to get up but her husband holds her hand firmly and she sits down and sighs.

Kean beat his prisoner  bloody with a medal-stool which is now badly bent and Karakurt’s lying on the floor on his side and breathing heavily. Tom says to him here’s your choice, we can let the Russians know you’ve framed them for the murder of the CIA agents and a United  States Senator and deposit him at the Russian Embassy. He says we both know how that ends up, or you can cooperate with me.

Raymond and Liz visit a dry-cleaner named Farzin whom Red found out helped smuggle Zal Bin Hasaan into the country. He says that he must know where he’s hiding when he escaped from the FBI and Mossad. The elderly man says he knows nothing and Reddington says he better speak quick or Red’s going to shoot him in the knee-cap. Suddenly the dry-cleaner has an address for Reddington and they bid him goodbye.

We find out that it’s Tom’s cellphone that sweater-vest tapped as he calls Lizzie and tells her he’s got great news and to meet him at Wing Yee’s. Liz tells Reddington she’s going to meet him and Raymond tells her he  thinks it’s a bad idea. Aram then calls Ressler and tells him about the call and Ressler tells Navabi he’s got to leave and get down there to keep Liz alive. As he leaves we see there’s trouble at the safe-house as one of the hostages is actually one of Zal Bin Hasaan’s men and he arms a bomb placed under a table.

Cooper calls Ressler to talk to him about Karakurt but Donald says he’s on his way to bust Liz and Tom. He says they’ll soon restore Liz and Cooper’s reputation and says he’ll speak with Harold later. Although we don’t find out until later Harold then calls Keen and he and Liz meet at another restaurant.

He tells her he’s got Karakurt and he’s going to cooperate and soon Liz will be able to walk freely again. He then says he made a huge mistake getting on his boat and leaving her when she was in trouble and promises to make it up to her. He then says he needs to head back to Karakurt.

Ressler and company arrive at Wing Yee’s to see that Liz and Tom aren’t there but Matias Solomon is and Donald recognizes him from the photograph. He pats him down and finds he’s carrying a Glock and Solomon says he’s got a permit to carry the gun as a concealed weapon. When he takes it out of his wallet Ressler drops it in Solomon’s soup and says it’s illegible and they’re heading to the Task Force.

Red and Dembe go the apartment and once inside split-up and start searching for Zal Bin Hasaan. Dembe heads into the bathroom and sees the sinks filled with whiskers. He opens the shower curtain and the man inside tries attacking him but Dembe soon subdues him and he’s on the floor when Raymond enters. Red’s expression shows us that something’s amiss and he asks the man who he is and he says he’s Zal Bin Hasaan.

Reddington says the man’s lying as Hasaan suffered third-degree burns all over his back as a result of a bomb he set-off a couple of years ago. He once again asks the man his name and once again he says that he’s Zal Bin Hasaan. Time for Raymond to call his buddy Brimley.

Samar tells Shahin since he entered the States illegally he’s going to get deported. Her brother says then he can return to England but Navabi tells him that he entered England illegally as well and they won’t allow him to stay there, they’ll deport him to Iran. Shahin says the regime will kill him and she tells him she’s already applied to try to get him political asylum as she won’t lose him again.

When it comes to Reddington’s menagerie of odd-ball sidekicks, Glen finder of lost persons is my personal favorite and I also have a soft-spot for Mr. Kaplan. That being said, it’s always a treat when ever the senior-citizen Marquis De Sade, Brimley pays a visit. We watch Raymond and Dembe standing in the hallway as we hear a loud whooshing of air coming from the bathroom. Brimley emerges holding a propane-torch and breathing heavily he says well he’s not Zal Bin Hasaan. Reddington asks him who is he then and Brimley says he could care less. He says the guy’s singing like Ethel Merman, he’s ready for you now and says he needs some air. Then Brimley straps his oxygen mask onto his face and slumps against the wall as Raymond and Dembe go to question the man.

Navabi’s in one of the back room’s of the safe-house when her phone rings. Red tells her to get all the hostages out and secure the safe-house Zal Bin Hasaan’s there and he planted a bomb. Just then the bomb explodes and the two terrorists in the room start shooting Mossad agents. Navabi’s able to hide and she watches as they take the hostages outside and shoot them. We then watch the man who planted the bomb pull back  a curtain revealing Shahin and he says Zal Bin Hasaan the hostages were shot. He smiles and says that’s good and asks his soldier if he’s seen his sister. Navabi hears the conversation, she now knows the truth.

The Mossad agents are held at gunpoint as Zal Bin Hasaan walks into the room and says imagine all  the money resources and manpower Mossad spends just to try to capture him. We then find out the real purpose of his operation, to obtain the hard copy of all the addresses of every Mossad agent, that’s locked in the safe in the house.

After they kill one agent, Hasaan asks whose the commander and Levi says he is. One of the men drags Levi to the safe and demands he punch in the code. Levi says none of his people will give it up and as the guy raises his weapon to kill Levi, Samar comes in and shoots him. They open the safe and set fire to the files but as they’re burning in the wastebasket Levi gets shot. Zal Bin Hasaan are too late to save the documents but they grab Samar and head to the docks.

Ressler starts interrogating Matias and he says he’s got diplomatic immunity and he was operating as an agent of the German government looking for one of the victims when he was on the plane in the previous episode. Suddenly the Director and one of his aides walk into the office and Peter says to Matias that Ressler believes they work together and he wants to prove they don’t. Ressler leaves and reminds the Director he’s being monitored as Wright and Hitchin are watching a close-circuit feed. Peter pulls out a multi-pronged fishing hook and he says to Solomon he’s going to swallow it. Wright wants to stop the Director, but Laurel tells her to allow him to proceed.

Samar says to her brother there’s nothing noble about what he’s doing and their parents would be ashamed. He says their parents were cowards and tried to weaken the government. She asks him if he planted the bomb in Pishin and he laughs and says that’s the day he became Zal the Warrior. As they head towards an old steamer, Raymond, Dembe  and two of Red’s henchmen appear on the docks and take out the three of Hasaan’s men.

Raymond calls down to  Samar and he tells her the decision’s hers to make. They can turn Shahin over to Mossad and he’ll die rotting in some hell-hole, or she can let Red take him and make his death count. She asks him what he means and he says saving Elizabeth Keen. She says take him and Shahin says  Samar you promised to always protect me. She says I made that promise to my brother and he died in Pishin.

Donald heads to Harold’s and he finds out about Tom’s involvement and that Harold tipped him off about the set-up. Ressler and Keen start fighting in the street until Cooper breaks it up saying he’s got to live there. Ressler gets in his car and drives back to the Task Force headquarters.

Ressler and Navabi both disgusted with the world and life seek comfort in each other and start making out. They head to her place and are about to get intimate when the screen fades to  black.

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

Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC

Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The porcupine’s a pretty tough meal for a predator to take down as long as the creature remains on all four feet. They’re covered in razor-sharp quills to keep them protected, likely causing many bigger animals to pass them by and look for an easier alternative for dinner. Wolves however realize that if they can knock the animal off its feet they can feast on the porcupine’s soft pink underbelly, filling their stomachs long before they get to the hide.

Raymond Reddington  emulates a wolf when going after his prey, realizing that ever person, organization and situation’s got that soft pink underbelly. No matter how big the odds appear against him, Red always manages to find that underbelly and defeat his adversary. That’s why he’ll eventually defeat the Cabal, exonerate former FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen and have Harold Cooper back as head of the FBI Task Force by season’s end on “The Blacklist.”

Despite the powerful people and their endless supply of personnel, weapons and assets and that their leader’s the Director of the CIA, Raymond Reddington’s not only survived all six battles he’s fought in this still young TV season, he’s come out victorious.  The Director Peter Kotsiopolus puts up a false bravado while conversing with others but  the flop sweats starting to become noticeable for viewers. The man whose spent his entire lifetime feeling supremely confident is starting to feel that hot breath on the back of his neck, taking him out of his comfort zone. Those that call the shots for the Cabal have made their displeasure known and Matias Solomon’s not a man you want out to get you.

This week’s number on the Blacklist is number 86, with a bullet (more about that later) Sir Crispin Crandall a reclusive billionaire who lives in the air. He spends his entire existence on board an A-380 aircraft that remains constantly in the air except when it needs to refuel. By remaining constantly in the air makes it impossible for any law agency to attempt to arrest him.

Crandall made much of his fortune founding a cryogenics corporation, cryogenically freezing patients to get thawed out in an age when medical advances will have discovered cures for the deadly diseases they suffer from. Although people have gotten cryogenically preserved for decades, the end results remain theoretical as nobody’s gotten revived at this date.

His latest projects not voluntary for the participants, for about the last six months Crandall’s people have kidnapped and frozen some of the greatest scientific minds of our society. It seems that they’re building a futuristic Noah’s Ark as they are kidnapping a man and a woman from every field of science. Crandall’s latest victim’s a Dr. Richard Kucera a brilliant mathematician that seems to suffer from the same condition that Dr. Stephen Hawking lives with. Crandall tells Kucera that he’ll soon belong to a magnificent existence where his brain will get freed from his body and he’ll find it easy walking and talking. He tells Kucera he admires his intellect and that’s why Crandall chose him to be one of his special few.

On board Reddington’s jet Lizzie finishes bandaging up Dembe’s torso wound and tries to get him to drink some tea with extra antioxidants. Dembe smiles and says don’t worry Elizabeth he will keep you safe. Raymond joins the two in the main compartment and asks Keen if she’s ever heard of an Andras Halmi and she asks if he’s a French economist? Red tells her he’s a Belgian Econometrician and he’s gotten abducted, problem’s that Halmi’s the guy Raymond says they need to help exonerate Lizzie. The reason that Halmi’s so important is that he’s Peter Kotsiopolus’ most trusted adviser.

Reddington knows all about the Ark except whose behind it and where it’s located, for that he needs the assistance of Frenemy and FBI Task Force Director Donald Ressler. Once again problem’s arise as Red makes it clear that the Director can’t find out that Halmi’s involved while the CIA Director’s taken up a semi-permanent residence in the building.

Kotsiopolus walks into Ressler’s office prompting Donald to hang up the phone. The Director says he’s gotten proof that Ressler’s been in contact several times with Keen and Reddington and Ressler admits to it and that Raymond still  supplies them with numbers from the Blacklist. Peter tries to turn it around that Ressler and his team’s advancing Reddington’s agenda instead of trying to capture the pair. Donald says that every case he’s given them has led to the downfall of somebody connected with the Cabal. The Director blows off Donald’s remark and says they’ve got a full briefing on the new case in 30-minutes.

Tom’s gotten in way over his head in the Asher Sutton situation and Harold Cooper lets him know loud and clear. Keen wants to meet Karakurt’s brother-in-law Charlie Volkens, Harold  informs him that’s going to happen and Tom’s not going to like the result. Cooper asks what if Tom put Asher Sutton’s life in danger and Keen responds if it clear’s Lizzie’s name he’s fine with it. (No wonder female fans love Ryan Eggold in this role. That attitude and ladies always go for the good-looking bad-boy.)

Aram discovers that the latest person kidnapped for the Ark’s Dr. Richard Kucera and he says the only  female mathematician of his caliber’s Dr. Anna Neehoff and she lives in Arlington. Ressler and Navabi try to get to her apartment before the kidnapper’s do and Samar leaves her a message telling her to lock all her doors on her cellphone. Neehoff listens to the message just as the three-man crew arrives and she hides under her sofa, she might have gotten out if her cellphone didn’t buzz. One of the guys drags her out and they put her into a van with Donald and Samar in pursuit. They rescue Neehoff, kill two of the kidnappers and Ressler captures the third.

Dembe, Reddington and Keen have landed in Montreal and then go to a building Raymond’s having renovated. His construction foreman tells him he can’t get any work done because he’s dealing with a pain-in-the-neck building inspector. Red offers the inspector named Max a substantial bribe to turn a blind-eye and Max basically tells him to shove it.

Our favorite disbarred former-attorney Marvin Gerard’s also in the building and he tells Reddington to forget about Max, if they can’t locate Andras Halmi they can’t carry out their plan. Red tells Gerard to dig up what ever he can use to put Max in a compromising position and he’ll carry on the search for Halmi.

Ressler brings the third-kidnapper to the Task Force headquarters and the perp demands a lawyer. Peter Kotsiopolus asks if that guy’s the kidnapper and Ressler tells him he is but he demanded to get an attorney before he utters a word. The Director smiles and says he’ll talk to him.

Gerard calls Raymond and tells him that Max’s a choirboy, even his ex-wife loves him. However he does have one weakness, the young woman he’s in love with an aspiring pastry-chef named Lisa. Unfortunately Lisa’s far from being Betty Crocker in the kitchen messing up all her creations. Raymond finds her at her latest job that doesn’t look promising and mentions Max and says he has some things to discuss with her. After showing her samples of wall colors and counter-tops she asks what’s this all about and Reddington says her restaurant. Lisa says she doesn’t have one and Raymond suggests they take a drive.

Tom shows up unwanted at Asher and Gwen’s place and although they tell him to leave Keen informs them that some dangerous people are coming and the two of them have to grab their passports and cash and beat feet immediately. Unfortunately they don’t heed his advice so Tom can only save Gwen telling her to hide and remain hidden despite anything she hears.

Peter Kotsiopolus enters the interrogation room and it doesn’t take long for us to realize what makes him such an effective CIA Director and leader of the Cabal. He tells the perp his birth name’s Michael Karpos and he’s done some missions for some of the Agency’s sub-contractors. He then says Karpos has an ex-wife and a grade-school aged daughter who attends St. Bartholomew’s Academy in New Jersey. He then asks Karpos if he’s studied the Bible, the Director tells him he considered the priesthood at one point. He then quotes a Psalm Exodus 20:5.6.

“For I The Lord Thy God Am A Jealous God, Visiting The Iniquities Of The Father Upon The Children.”

He walks out of the interrogation room moments later and tells Ressler that the man they’re hunting for is Sir Crispin Crandall and the kidnap victims have gotten deposited at a complex near the Boston/Manchester Regional Airport. Seconds later Aram informs them that Crandall lives in the air in his A-380, the only times he lands is for refueling. Samar and Donald along with a SWAT Team to raid the facility.

Matias Solomon summons the Director for a meeting and asks him to tell him about Andras Halmi, he’s the person the FBI have kept hidden from him. After chiding Peter that he knows everything, usually long before he finds out the Director says that Reddington’s reaching out to the billionaire to forge a deal. He says as soon as he determines where the meeting will take place he’ll contact Solomon.

Navabi, Ressler and the FBI SWAT-Team raid Crandall’s facility and find the building they’ve raided is a legitimate company. It’s Crandall Cryogenics and all the scores of cryogenic tubes contain paid patients, who utilized the service with the hopes of eventually getting revived and cured. They suddenly realize that Crandall’s got the Ark stored with him on the A-380 and they try to determine where their next fuel-stop will be.

Tom Keen wakes up battered and bruised in an alley with a dog collar around his neck attached to an iron-chain. He’s woken as a little man shakes the chain and Keen says he wants to speak to the Russian and that Asher Sutton’s not  involved in this. The man tells him that Sutton’s now deeply involved as he and Tom will fight to the death in the main bout later that day. He leaves and Keen pulls on the chain and find’s Sutton’s on the other end and still out cold.

Raymond brings Lisa over to the building and Lisa tells Max she can’t believe he’s building her own restaurant and starts talking about all the events she wants to have. She kisses and hugs him and then runs off to explore. Reddington tells him that he just needs the property for a 24-hour-window then it’s his free-and-clear. Max asks him who he is and Raymond responds he’s the man that’s making the woman he love’s dream’s come true.

Reddington’s set-up a meeting with Sir Crispin and the Task Force gets a report that Crandall’s plane will set-down for refueling near Halifax, Canada. Ressler, Navabi and company head to Halifax, however they’re relying on false information disseminated by Peter Kotsiopolus. He calls Solomon with the correct info that the plane’s landing in Pittsburgh and Matias is to terminate Reddington and Keen and retrieve Halmi’s corpse. Solomon asks why Reddington would want Halmi’s body if he’s dead and Peter says that if Matias kills Red and Liz all the loose ends will disappear.

The main bout’s taking place in an alley as Sutton and Keen still chained together are surrounded with all the extras from the original Road Warrior movie. The little man acts as ring-announcer telling the crowd that this is a no-hold-barred grudge match. All rules are thrown out the window in fact biting, scratching and gouging are encouraged. The last man breathing wins. Keen doesn’t want to fight and all he does is block Sutton’s blows. Asher says that if Tom doesn’t fight they’ll both die. Keen looks at the little man and says he doesn’t want to fight he came to see the Russian.

The ring-announcer asks the crowd what should happen and they explode into a cacophony of jeers and hissing. The little man gives Sutton a switch-blade and Keen says to Asher he doesn’t want to go this route. Sutton tries slashing Keen a few time, then Tom forces the preppie to the ground and says he’s sorry before he slits his throat.

Aram calls Ressler and Navabi and tells them the plane’s touching down in Pittsburgh and Donald quickly realizes that the Director purposely misled them. He says that Kotsiopolus has his own team to meet the plane and they’re going to kill Lizzie and Reddington. Samar heads to the cockpit to inform the pilot to change course.

Raymond and Elizabeth step on-board Crandall’s aircraft and Sir Crispin asks Reddington why his payment hasn’t been accepted for him to re-fuel. Red responds he’s changed his fee for this transaction, he wants Andras Halmi, Crandall says he’s not getting Halmi and Raymond says he will get the parts of him he requires.

He asks the billionaire if he’s a betting man and Crandall responds he detests casinos. Raymond laughs and tells him he agrees with his statement, but asks Sir Crispin if betting on situations interest him? He says that because of Crandall’s egomaniacal flawed vision that humanity’s chances of survival are far less than before he began as he’s robbed of us some of the planet’s greatest minds.

Crandall says the planet’s doomed and that society’s coming to an end shortly. He says that he and the others on his voyage will awaken to a wondrous planet of the future without any of modern humanity’s ills. Crandall says that death occurs in stages, that as long as the information of a person’s life’s retained that person remains alive.

Raymond says that the toxic-air will keep any of them from ever being revived. He tells Sir Crispin that the future’s a sucker’s bet. The only thing that has any certainty’s the here and now and that Crandall’s dramatically lowered humanities chances of surviving because of his plan. Red says cryogenics will be an abject failure.

Crandall says I’m willing to bet that’s not the case. Raymond smiles and says so you are a betting man Mr. Crandall, here’s your bet then he pulls out his pistol and fires a bullet into the old man’s heart. Crandall’s aide and a nurse run in as the aide says I heard a…. The nurse asks if he’s dead and Raymond replies oh pish-posh death comes in stages then he and Keen break into the cryogenics chamber then close the door behind them. Lizzie finds the tube containing Halmi’s corpse and Red opens it up and snaps off one of Halmi’s fingers and wraps it in a handkerchief.

They exit the plane after engaging in a shootout with Solomon’s men taking all of them out except for Matias. Solomon’s cellphone rings and the Director asks if he’s got Halmi and Solomon says well most of him he’s missing his thumbs. Kotsiopolus nearly passes out when he hears that.

The Director calls a bank in Montreal and he tells the manager he’s from the Justice Department and a Canadian judge’s ruled that the contents of a safety-deposit box at the bank belonging to Andras Halmi’s now property of the United States and to make certain that no third-party gets access to it.

That’s the reason Reddington needed use of the building in Montreal for 24-hours as its next door to the bank and Red’s lowered into the safety-deposit vault by a rope tied around his waist. He picks the lock, uses Halmi’s thumbs to open the container within and a huge grin breaks out on his face. The Director arrives to find the box empty except for Halmi’s thumbs.

Back on his jet Red calls the Director to gloat and Peter congratulates him for besting him. Raymond says the time’s come for him to exonerate Elizabeth Keen and the  Director tells him he’s not getting that. Reddington contradicts Kotsiopolus, saying the only question that remains is whether the Director will live to see that day.

Raymond says that he just took  away  Peter’s escape fund that he kept for when the Cabal turns on him. Red says without his golden-parachute he’s out-of-luck when his time runs out. He then says he’s going to make everything fall down on top of the Director. His own people will beg Raymond to kill Peter to stop the bleeding.

Ressler thinks that he can convince Laurel Hitchin that the Director’s got his own agenda with the footage they got of Solomon and company on Crandall’s plane. Whether things are just that simple remain to be determined.

Tom’s taken to meet Charlie Volkens and he says it takes a hard man to kill his buddy with a blade, then says he hears that Keen wanted to see him. Tom points to Karakurt and says he’s the one he wants and Karakurt asks him who he is. Keen replies he’s the guy that’s going to drag his tail back to DC for him to testify to what he did and clear his wife’s name.

He then tells the four men in front of him he’s about to kill three of them leaving just him and Karakurt, then does exactly what he said he’d do. Karakurt pleads for Tom not to kill him, Keen smiles and says not yet then knocks him cold and starts dragging Karakurt’s limp body in the dirt.

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