Kevin McCormick

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Photo By: David Giesbrecht/NBC

Photo By: David Giesbrecht/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

 “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

 Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading the Tolstoy classic, I’d recommend it highly, for fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist.” A key component of the novel’s plot revolves around an aristocratic woman leaving her husband and children for a dashing soldier from the Russian Army, Count Vronsky. Don’t settle for a cinematic rendition, as none of them do the book justice. However as Tolstoy notes, each dysfunctional family has its own unique collection of baggage and the nuclear and extended family of Elizabeth Keen, certainly stands out from the rest.

We begin the episode however with a group of strangers, as we watch four paramilitary frogmen emerge from the water in the dead of night. The four operatives take out a power station that controls the electricity for Savannah, Georgia, they kill the three security guards on the premises and then set explosive charges. The blast destroys the facility and plunges the city into darkness.

Liz and Tom arrive at the Post Office with Ressler, and Liz asks why she can’t help in the investigation of her own daughter getting kidnapped. Donald, tells her that she’s lost her security clearance when she lost her shield, then out of frustration tells the Keens’ to check things out as he’s already broken laws by showing them what he’s already shared.

As Tom and Lizzie look through the documents, Aram and Samar walk into the Post Office and Mojtabai says you’re back and then walks over and gives Liz a hug and tells her he’s glad she’s okay. Keen says she’s sorry and she didn’t mean to hurt anybody, but Navabi responds she believes Liz failed to think whom she was hurting. Aram tries to make peace, but Keen owns up to it and says she was trying to save her daughter and hopes they can understand that. Liz receives a call from Reddington to set up a meeting.

Keen meets Dembe and Reddington in a cemetery, which strikes Liz as odd. Raymond muses who Mr. Kaplan has buried in a certain grave, when Liz asks where’s Mr. Kaplan. Red avoids the question and says that he’s doing his best to find Agnes and he hopes to return the infant to her mother. She asks Reddington if he has any leads, he confirms that he does, however he’s working this case alone. Keen says she understands that Reddington feels betrayed, but this involves her daughter and if Raymond has any information he has to share it with her, to which Red replies no he doesn’t.

However Reddington relents and tells Keen that he expected Kirk would go underground after the FBI raided his estate, but his sources tell him differently. Apparently Constantin Rostov contacted a young venture capitalist named Miles McGrath. McGrath’s what the tech world refers to as an “Incubator,” criminals pitch their schemes to him and if he believes there’s a profit to be made, he bankrolls the enterprise. He’ll be spending the night in London and Reddington intends on contacting him there.

Keen informs the Task Force what Reddington shared with her, and that he doesn’t want to work with the Bureau on this mission. Harold Cooper, decides he doesn’t like that strategy and he tells Aram to contact the London attaché office and to get eyes on McGrath. The decision doesn’t work out as Cooper expected.

We see glimpses of a London disco, then we join McGrath, his bodyguard and one of the frogmen, a guy named Dean Bradley. Bradley tells the tech genius that all went better than planned in their mission in Savannah, and Miles grins and says it appears they’re ready for stage two.

As Bradley leaves the hotel and gets into his car, two London detectives take photos of Bradley and start sending the images to the Bureau. However suddenly there’s a knock on the driver’s side window and the body-guard kills the two men plus another law enforcement official and destroys the laptop in the middle of the transmission.

We’re transported to the country and we start to hear the moans and groans of Mr. Kaplan. There’s blood on the ground and we see some on her face, but we really can’t see how much damage she suffered. Suddenly she stretches her arm out and grabs for her glasses, which has one of the lenses cracked.

Liz and Tom head to Bureau headquarters and try to get some information on Agnes and Rostov, the agent they deal with says that an Agent Sarvino’s working the case and that he’s tied up presently. Liz and Tom pull off a sting, palming the agent’s key card as Liz says she needs to get some air. She then calls Sarvino and pretends she’s the other agent’s assistant and asks for Sarvino to meet the Keens’ in a conference room. It’s a dodge to get Lizzie into Sarvino’s office, and she takes photographs of lots of files and absconded Katarina’s journal. She then gets Tom and thanks the agent for his time and they exit the building.

We watch Kate crawling on her hands and knees until she gets to a creek. She looks at her reflection in the water and gasps. I tried my best to get a visible screen capture of her image, but alas failed to do so, although there did appear to be damage on the right-side of her skull or face.

Aram’s able to get a partial photograph of Dean Bradley from the e-mail sent from London, unfortunately they’re unable to question the former Navy SEAL, as McGrath had one of his operatives take Bradley out while he was jogging. Miles tells Johan Halbeck, the paramilitary leader he couldn’t guarantee that Bradley would remain quiet about their mission. Halbeck asks where he’s going to pick up another guy on such short notice and McGrath says that’s Johan’s problem.

Ressler and Raymond start to put the pieces together during a phone call, once Bradley’s record as a SEAL becomes known. Donald tells Reddington about four frogmen attacking the power station in Savannah, and Red suddenly realizes the frogmen are likely operatives of his old associate Johan Halbeck. Reddington used Halbeck to recover a watch he lost during a romantic tryst.

Raymond and Dembe show up at Johan’s garage and Reddington attempts to convince Halbeck to dump his client for twice as much as he would collect from the client. Halbeck says that he really wishes he could, be he’s partners with this other guy on the deal and it’s turned into a nightmare. Raymond says it sounds like Martin and Lewis, and Johan has no idea Reddington’s referencing Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Halbeck then says that the partner killed one of his men and Raymond says that Johan should walk away from the deal. He says most times he’d try to find him a replacement, but he’s freaked out by this situation and tells Halbeck to contact him when he gets things straightened out. Johan then asks Raymond if he could possibly get a guy and Reddington replies it depends on what his cut would be. The new man joining Johan’s team’s Tom Keen, which Keen gets accepted to after winning a fight with one of the other crew members.

We rejoin Mr. Kaplan as she’s discovered by a dog and the animal’s owner, we never see the person we’re just aware of their presence.

Lizzie reads from Katarina’s journal and she finds out that Katarina’s mission was to seduce and betray Reddington, instead she fell in love with him. Suddenly sees a vision of Katarina writing in her journal at her dressing table and she walks towards the vision. When she gets off the bed, Tom wakes up and asks if she’s okay, she tells him of the irony of the situation, that Katarina had been assigned to Reddington and Tom was assigned to her. She then begs him to be careful, she says lost Agnes and couldn’t stand losing him as well. Tom says soon she’ll have Tom and Agnes back with her.

Halbeck tells his team there will be four security guards, guarding the payload they want to acquire, two in front and two in the back. Ressler and Navabi are tailing the paramilitary unit but then they lose them, the unit’s not going after a truck, it’s target’s a train. There are no trains scheduled to run in that time period, but this is an unscheduled event. The train’s filled with six vats containing samples of every Type A virus known to humanity, Ebola, HIV, Polio and at least 50 more strains of disease. That was why the frogmen took out the power in Savannah, knowing the government would ship it out of the city because they were only using generators for more than 72 hours.

Suddenly all communication they’re receiving from the train drops off and the train’s no longer visible, as if it just vanished into thin air. However Navabi and Ressler at the scene discover a split in the track and a warehouse set where the train’s unloading the deadly toxins. Halbeck give’s McGrath’s goon the sample he requested, the goon’s going to meet Miles at a drinking establishment called the Lodge. Johan then gives Reddington McGrath’s name and his location and tells him he should shoot the tech genius.

Raymond and Dembe surprise Miles and his enforcer at the bar and Raymond demands that McGrath hand over the sample. The arrogant nerd tells Reddington to screw himself and Raymond kills the enforcer with a bullet to the heart, then asks Miles, you were saying?

McGrath wisely chooses to give up Rostov and the sample to Raymond, telling the Concierge Of Crime, he deduced his best way of leaving the bar alive depended on giving Reddington what he wanted. Raymond tells Miles’ that his luck wasn’t as good as he hoped and handcuffs McGrath to the corpse and tells him the Bureau’s on its way.

Dembe and Reddington head to the location but nobody from Rostov’s group is waiting, they’re about to leave when a payphone in the parking lot rings. Raymond picks it up congratulating Kirk and he in turn congratulates Reddington. Raymond offers to trade Rostov the virus for Agnes, but Constantin says he’ll die before he allows his granddaughter to be back in Raymond’s arms.

While Liz awaits word from Reddington, she reads further into Katarina’s journal and discovers her mother’s entry confirming that her husband has the blood disorder that’s plagued the Rostov clan for generations. Katarina says the only saving grace is Masha won’t inherit the disease as it’s only passed from father’s to sons. She once again envisions Katarina in front of her and grabs for her mother’s hand, when a knock at the door brings her back to reality.

Raymond enters and tells Liz and Tom that Rostov was after a sample of the Ribowski virus which causes Leukemia. Apparently the one male member of the Rostov family that lived the longest had contracted the virus and the Leukemia basically counteracted his blood disorder and lived far longer than other family members.

Raymond then says to Liz that she kept asking why her father wanted physical contact with her and the only reason was for her to give him the bone marrow transplant to cure his disease and save his life. He says Kirk didn’t want Lizzie to keep him from Reddington, he just wanted her for his own purposes. He only thinks of her as a collection of cells. She says well Rostov doesn’t have her, but Tom reminds her he’s got Agnes.

Our last vision is seeing Kate being dragged on a makeshift stretcher as the dog and the dog’s owner appear to be trying to help Mr. Kaplan.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night At 10:00 pm EDT, on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Never have the words “You Can’t Fight City Hall,” carried the amount of weight that’s come down on former “Gotham” City Police Detective Jim Gordon’s head, resulting from the detective failing in his effort to clear out corruption in Gotham. One of Gordon’s main targets, corrupt Gotham City Mayor Aubrey James, punished him with a demotion, as Jim’s now guarding inmates at Arkham Asylum. Although the asylum needs major renovations, before it can run effectively, the city shortsightedly decided to house the criminally insane in the facility, before improvements came about, resulting in barely controlled chaos.

The episode opens on a rainy night in Gotham, as we first head inside the asylum, to see some of the inmates performing one of Shakespeare’s works for their fellow patients, although most of the audience seems lost in their own little universe. A tall man with glasses and a mop for a wig’s apparently the leading character, with another inmate costumed with gloves that have metal talons on them. The man in the glasses gives a cue and the on-duty nurse Dorothy Duncan, (Allyce Beasley, who played the receptionist on the Eighties hit series “Moonlighting“)supervising the play turns on a boom-box and another patient sings to the music.

While he sings, we first watch Gordon listening to him, then we head to an alley where Selena Kyle’s attempting to stay dry, in a caged area. Then we see Harvey Bullock reading the paper at the station and taking a nip out of his flask, then over to Renee Montoya’s where Barbara Keane’s passed out in bed while Montoya broods, an empty prescription bottle on Keane’s nightstand.

When he starts to sing, it agitates one of the patients in the audience Robert “Frogman” Jones, who huffs and puffs then rises from his seat, darts to the stage, picks the singer up over his head, then drops the man to the ground and begins to pummel on him. Gordon subdues Jones, while Duncan sounds the alarm. Gordon, Duncan and two orderlies bring the singer to an exam room on a stretcher, and Jim’s new boss, Arkham Director Robert Lange immediately tries to pin the blame on Gordon. He says it’s the fourth patient outburst in the four weeks he’s been assigned there. Dorothy tries taking the blame, saying the play was too sad and they’ll perform comedies from now on.

Lange says that the play had nothing to do with it, that Gordon seems incapable of handling his job and asks his guard what he has to say about that. Gordon says the patient needs medical attention and Dorothy chimes in to say he needs a doctor. Lange puts on an icy-cold smile and says he’ll send one over then walks away.

We’re introduced to another new character, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, played by Morena Baccarin, whom you may remember as the Alien leader in the Reboot of “V,” a few years back, as well as playing Brody’s wife in the first three seasons of  “Homeland.” Although she’s played rather unsympathetic characters on those series, Thompkins comes across as a genuinely good character and a probable romantic partner for Gordon, as he attempts to rebound from a broken heart.

Gordon enters the exam room and sees this woman in a white lab coat examining the singer Royston and asks if she works there. She quickly tells him she’s not an inmate, then introduces herself, telling him she works in the women’s ward but helps out in the men’s ward when they’re shorthanded.

She knows who Jim is though, without an introduction, calling him the famous Detective Jim Gordon, who got struck down trying to overtake City Hall. He says that he’s not sure famous applies, she then asks infamous and he says that’s near the mark. She says all the girls are talking about him and she admires what he’s doing, in not quitting. She says the patient’s fine, just sleeping off his meds and the two say so long.

Selena comes out of her cage as the rain stops and starts to leave the alley, when she hears what sounds like a child coughing. After scouting around, she finds it’s Ivy, Kyle suggests she needs a doctor but the girl refuses to see any more doctors. Selena says she has a place they can go and takes the girl to Barbara Keane’s apartment, she breaks in from the balcony, notices the dust that’s accumulated and a spoiled smell and realizes that Keane’s not been there for a while. She lets Ivy in the front door and tells her to lie down on the sofa and she’ll find a blanket.

We check in with our old friend The Penguin, who arrives at the docks with one of his henchmen, trying to get two older fisherman to give him a cut of their profits. One of the fishermen says they won’t give Cobblepot a cut and he asks him if they know who they’re dealing with, he’s The Penguin. The old man says he’s already paying Sal Maroni and Oswald says he’s tiring of them. The fisherman says he called the cops, and Cobblepot tells him that won’t do them any good as they control the police covering the waterfront. At that point a cruiser pulls up and two veteran uniforms emerge. Penguin says why the long faces Boys, and the cop punches him in the eye knocking him out cold.

Back at the asylum, Gordon’s checking the cells and sees Jones just sitting in his chair staring straight ahead. Jim tries to get his attention by calling his name, but Jones remains still. Gordon goes into the cell and Frogman’s just sitting there in a catatonic state, with two burn marks at the front of each temple. Jim taps him and Jones falls to the floor.

Leslie examines Jones in the next scene and says that Frogman’s the victim of a crude form of electro-shock therapy and his brain’s fried. Lange comes around the corner just then and once again tries to pin the blame on Gordon, but this time Jim throws it back on him. He says they started too early, they don’t have nearly enough staff to conduct a proper investigation and suggests calling in the GCPD. Lange tells him they’re keeping this in-house, then asks Thompkins if Jones is still breathing, she replies he’s breathing but he’s brain-dead. But Lange says if he’s breathing on his own he’s alive, then tells Gordon to investigate and he wants a copy on his desk Friday.

Gordon realizes if a patient did this they’d need to have keys to the cells and he confronts another guard named Steve and asks if he knows anything about missing keys. After trying to bluff his way out, he admits his keys were stolen during the fight at the end of the play. Gordon tells him to walk away, as he seethes with anger.

We meet up with Fish Mooney, her main henchmen Butch Gilzean and two of Falcone’s gang-leaders. The dominant guy, named Jimmy’s talking about how they need to take out Falcone, before he turns on them. Fish asks if God Forbid something happened to Falcone, who’d take over and Jimmy says he would. Fish expresses surprise at that and Jimmy says he’s next in line due to seniority. Mooney says it’s a new city and that calls for fresh, new, ideas. Jimmy asks who would she have in mind, as if he couldn’t guess, then the other gang-leader asks Jimmy who she means and he’s told she’s talking about herself. He says that’s fine with women’s lib, but Jimmy does have seniority. They then leave, but not before Jimmy and Butch exchange a look.

Back at Arkham Jim and Dorothy start interviewing the inmates in an attempt to find the missing keys. The first man he interview’s Jack Gruber, the star of the play. Gruber’s clearly unbalanced, but he’s extremely bright and very eloquent. Gordon says that Jones’ ruined Gruber’s play and that Gruber hated Frogman, however Gruber denies having any feelings about Jones. He’s named Frogman, because he believed a giant bull-frog lived in his abdomen controlling his thoughts. In Gruber’s mind Frogman had already died. Gruber then denies, taking or possessing the keys and Gordon sends him to his cell.

We then watch a montage of Jim interviewing the other inmates, and each one got crazier than the next. One dude starts making faces and sticking out his tongue and even Nurse Duncan starts to laugh. He then interviews Aaron who also performed in the play and Dorothy says that Aaron’s incapable of lying he doesn’t even grasp the concept. Gordon says but he killed his entire family with a hatchet and Duncan replies he never hurt a fly before or since. Aaron then says I said I was sorry and Gordon sends him back to his cell.

Back at Mooney’s club, Fish and Butch talk about Jimmy, she says she can get the other gang-leaders inline but Jimmy’s a different story. Butch says that he and Jimmy grew up together, he’ll arrange for the two of them to talk. Fish asks Gilzean if he’s turning on her and Butch gets totally flustered, asking how could she even joke about that. She replies every once in a while a girl gets insecure.

As we head back to Arkham, we see that Royston’s scared to death, then we see his heads wired with electrodes and someone in black rubber gloves, turns up the juice and zaps him. Gordon minutes later hears a rattling sound from one of the gates, it’s Royston shaking the gate now sporting the same marks on his head as Jones. He can speak, but only the lines from the play, they recently performed.

Leslie examines Royston and tells Gordon he underwent the same procedure, but got a lower dosage of electric current. She then says, she doesn’t understand why one patient would attempt to scramble another patient’s brains and we can see the wheels turning in Jim’s head. He tells her to stay on the women’s ward for the next few days, he thinks it’s a staff member involved and there’s going to be a lot of drama.

Gordon tells Lange that a member of the staff’s behind the attacks, Lange blows it off saying it’s an inmate and then tells Jim he can’t investigate staff members as a lowly guard. The director then says, you’re trying to force my hand and call the police, Jim says he already called.

Renee walks into her bedroom, Keane’s still in bed with her back to her looking at her cellphone, then hides it under her pillow and feigns sleep when she hears Montoya. Renee wakes her up and gives Barbara a coffee, then she says she made a terrible mistake, they are a toxic couple. When they’re together its pills and booze all the time, she straightened out once and doesn’t want to get back there again.Barbara, of course freaks out and tries to gather her stuff and leave but Montoya says she’ll leave and Barbara can stay there for a few days and leaves.

There are some incredible characters and actors and actresses that portray them on this series, but I have to admit to having a soft-spot for GCPD Detective Harvey Bullock. When we first met Bullock at the start of the series, Harvey was a formerly idealistic cop, turned bitter and corrupt, because that’s all he saw around him. But Gordon inspired him and Bullock morphed back into one of the good guys.

He enters Arkham and first encounters Frogman, then Royston timidly approaches him and Bullock says hey buddy, how you doing? Royston answers back with a line from the play and Harvey replies, Okay, That’s Cool Man, I can dig it!

At that point Lange and Gordon come out to greet Bullock and though Lange speaks first, Harvey yells out Jim, pushes Lange aside then hugs Gordon and kisses him on the cheek. As he’s telling Gordon how good he looks, Lange says the call was a misunderstanding and Bullock says that Officer Gordon did the right thing. He points to Frogman and says that’s at least third-degree assault and this case is now being investigated by the GCPD.

Lange tells Gordon that his career in law enforcement’s through and Bullock starts leaning hard on Lange asking the Director if he did this terrible thing? Lange’s sputters for seconds then says he didn’t, but Harvey says he has all sorts of questions and they should conduct the interview, at the station. He then asks Officer Gordon to investigate the staff files.

We’re back at the water-front, this time at the meeting between Butch and Jimmy.  They talk about growing up and then Jimmy gets down to business. He says Fish will fail and he asks his old friend to join his team, offering a very nice incentive package as a signing bonus. Butch says he wants to think about it, and Jimmy says just don’t take too long.

As Harvey and Lange enter the station, Penguin sees him from his holding cell and calls for him. Bullock walks over and tells him it’s nice to see him. Cobblepot then says this is a mistake and asks Bullock to call Maroni for him, but Harvey replies he likes having Oswald there.

Butch meets with Fish at the club and says Jimmy’s stubborn but give him some time. She nods her head and repeats his words. Then Butch says he feels optimistic and Mooney smiles and says good.

Harvey opens up his investigation of Doctor Lange, by asking Lange to pretend he’s an ignoramus, which shouldn’t be hard for Lange to do. He then asks to explain electro-shock therapy to him and Lange says that highly skilled surgeons can use the procedure to either induce or remove certain behavior in their patients but nobody on their staff has the skills. Bullock says that Lange does, and Lange says he hasn’t been at work on a body since medical school.

Gordon’s poring over the staff records back at Arkham and then starts looking at the hospital’s blueprints. Nurse Duncan stops in with a cup of coffee and says Jim looks pale and asks him if he’s had any luck? He replies that the records are incomplete and asks Dorothy if there could be records in the basement. Duncan responds the basement’s closed off, banned chemicals are down there and nobody’s been down there in ten-years. He asks her if she knows a way down there, she smiles puts down the coffee and starts leading Gordon.

They run into Leslie who greets them both and Dorothy says they’re heading to investigate the basement and asks if Thompkins wants to join them. Leslie says sure, but Gordon says remember what I told you before, you should go home. We quickly realize that Duncan’s up to no good, she pushes Leslie then runs away.

Bullock calls an instant later telling Jim that Duncan’s an inmate not a nurse, Gordon says he knows and tells Harvey to get down there. Dorothy pushes a button which opens all the cells and all the inmates chase after Thompkins. Duncan’s pushed to the ground in the stampede and she’s trampled to death. Gordon gets to the locked-gate, seconds after Thompkins and the inmates arrive, he punches one in the face and gives Leslie the keys. He then starts yelling at the inmates, telling them this wasn’t a game and to head back to their cells immediately. It stunned the inmates long enough for Thompkins to open the lock, the two escaped and then padlocked all the inmates on the other side.

Jim and Harvey head to Captain Essen’s office and she’s glad to see him, Bullock tries lobbying to get him back and the Captain says if she could she’d do it that second. But she congratulates him on the victory and pulls out a bottle, for a celebratory drink. Just then the medical examiner walks in and says that Duncan also had the electrode burns on her head. So whose doing the zapping?

Steve’s sitting in his locked in office, when Aaron comes by and Steve asks him how’d he get out of his cell? Aaron then pulls out the keys opens the door to Steve’s room and breaks his neck. We then hear the voice of Jack Gruber telling Aaron he’s his best work yet and we see the electrode burns on Aaron’s head. Then Lange turns the corner, seeing the two inmates free and his guard dead on the floor, his jaw drops.

Jim and Harvey reach Arkham, just after Gruber and Aaron have escaped and mortally wounded Lange, he spits out Gruber’s name and dies, clutching a goodbye note from Gruber to Gordon. He admits that he’d been experimenting on the patients for a while and he thinks he finally has gotten the results he wants with Aaron, he signs off until we meet again.

Sal Maroni comes to the station and asks if Cobblepot knows why he’s in a cell, then tells him it’s due to hubris. How dare he try to shake down fisherman, who risk their lives on every expedition and to do it without asking Maroni’s permission first. Penguin apologizes and promises he’ll never do it again and Maroni has him and his henchman released. He tells Cobblepot, he’s a smart monkey, but that he’s the zookeeper.

Jimmy and Butch meet once again at the waterfront, Butch’s sitting there listening to Doo-Wop as Jimmy pulls up, he leaves his car and jumps into Jimmy’s. The gang-leader asks Gilzean his decision and Butch says he’s in and Jimmy pumps his hand in the air and asks what Gilzean wants. Butch then brings up a heist they did as kids, they robbed a meat market and split the meat. Gilzean then tells Jimmy, he ripped his old friend off, he kept the choice meat for his family and gave Jimmy the lesser quality meat. Jimmy says that’s ancient history, forget about it, but Butch says he’s always felt bad about that. Jimmy says he forgives Butch, Gilzean thanks him, then blows out Jimmy’s brains, gets back in his car and drives away.

Gotham Will Return Monday January 19, at 8:00 pm on FOX.