Ryan Eggold

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Photo Courtesy Of William Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” are probably still reeling from the two-hour bombshell, that concluded season four. The show runners have bombarded viewers with information, since they returned from hiatus on April 20, and the two-hour season finale followed in kind. With all the action that took place, including murders, betrayals, relationships dissolving , while new ones formed, there’s likely one revelation that shook long time viewers to their core. Apparently, Raymond Reddington’s the biological father of Masha Rostova, however the man that we’ve known as Raymond for the past four seasons, maybe an impostor.

The concept of the character that Spader portrays, actually being a man that adopted the identity of Raymond Reddington, had gotten bandied about by some of the show’s fans since the second season. This viewer never bought into that concept, however the show runners certainly left viewers with that conclusion heading into the summer. By taking the story down this path, it opens up a myriad of questions. Exactly who is this man, that the world knows as Raymond Reddington? Does this mean that four-year-old Masha Rostova, actually shot and killed the real Raymond Reddington? Did Mr. Kaplan realize that the man she worked for and loved, had adopted the identity of another man?

There’s a deep connection between the man we’ve known as Raymond, and Katarina’s father Dom, who returned to the series in the evening’s first hour. Raymond apologizes to him as he leaves his home, for not becoming the man that Dom hoped he would. The conversation sounded like a son apologizing to his father, could this man really be Dom’s son and Katarina’s brother? Is this man responsible for the suitcase filled with bones, that Mr. Kaplan unearthed? Perhaps even more importantly whose bones are in that valise, Katarina’s, or the real Raymond Reddington’s?

Should the show’s long-term fans feel cheated if the character we’ve invested four seasons into following, turns out to be an impostor? It’s a question that I’ve wrestled with since the final few minutes of episode 22, and I’ve come up with a rationale that I can live with. Whom ever this man that we’ve been intrigued by turns out to be, he’s the guy that’s kept us glued to our respective screens for 89 episodes. He’s the man who could end Diane Fowler’s life, with a bullet to the gut while telling her she talked too much. Yet he showed empathy and gentleness, when treating a young boy to three ice-cream sundaes, in order to obtain the name of his hematologist from his mother. This is the man filled with information on almost any subject, who can entertain you all evening with his anecdotes, and seems to get perverse pleasure out of emasculating husbands, in front of their wives.

If this man’s not Raymond Reddington, it doesn’t truly matter to me. If Red proves to be a phony, it just proves that the rabbit hole’s deeper than many of us previously thought. Was this man ever married to Naomi, or was the story he revealed about coming home to a Christmas Eve massacre, his true fate? If he’s not Raymond Reddington, then why would he have buried that suitcase full of bones at Tansi Farms? These are just some of the issues, that fans will be chewing over this Summer.

Can We Survive?

Team-Red’s on the ropes as the first hour opens, getting attacked on multiple fronts. Raymond finds out after surviving a shoot-out, that his suppliers have cut him off and his bank accounts drained. Trusted allies such as Brimley the geriatric torturer, and another crime-boss named Don Julio, are keeping their distance from Red, proving the old adage that nobody loves you, when you’re down and out. After asking Don Julio for help in locating his former driver now employed by Mr. Kaplan, he tells Red that the man just bought a Ferrari. Reddington tries tracking the driver through the dealership he bought the car from, but a shell-corporation’s listed as the legal owners.

Things aren’t going much smoother for the Task-Force, as Julian Gale’s gathered enough evidence for prosecutors to convene a grand jury. Aram Mojtabai’s been granted immunity to testify against his friends and colleagues. Because of the immunity deal, Mojtabai’s compelled to testify or risk being jailed for contempt of court. Aram’s warned that he’s not to share this information with any of his teammates.

Gale informs Donald Ressler, that he’s the guy that took the shot at Reddington, during their meeting with Kaplan. Ressler tries to explain the rationale of the Task-Force to Julian, but Gale’s disgusted at the concept of making a deal with such a heinous criminal, and refuses to listen. He then tells Ressler that he’s going to put him and each member of the Task-Force behind bars.

Kate’s morphed into the monster that Dembe said she’d become, in the previous episode. Her obsession with destroying Raymond, seems to have stripped her of her humanity. She’s so fixated with her mission, that she looks at anybody that gets into her way as collateral damage. Kate hires a master-thief named Mario Dixon, to break into the Stone Canyon facility, a government warehouse that contains all sorts of classified documents. In order to obtain the document that Raymond signed from the Justice Department, finalizing their agreement, she removes a man’s eyeball without anesthesia, to get past the facility’s security device.

Raymond realizes that his accountant Abe’s assisted Kate with cleaning out his bank accounts, and after getting Dixon’s name from a ledger, he repays Abe for his betrayal. Reddington gives the name to Keen and Navabi, who track down his younger brother in a correctional facility. Offering to take five years off his sentence for cooperating, the younger Dixon tells them he’d have given up his brother for free, and directs them to a store in Baltimore.

After threatening Dixon’s business partner, Reddington’s told that Dixon’s in Philadelphia. Navabi and Keen engage in a chase with Dixon, but they get help from a collection of government agencies, who got alerted when somebody from Stone Canyon informed them about the break-in. Dixon says he’s got no intention of talking, since he’s aware of the deal Reddington signed with the Justice Department. He tells the agents that he’ll start singing the moment he’s arrested. The agents inform him he’s not getting arrested, and instead leaves him in Raymond’s care.

Raymond and Dembe drive to Dom’s home, then Raymond and the old man head into his barn. He digs up a red strong-box that he buried there decades earlier, with strict instructions to Dom, never to dig it up. He then tells Dom about Kate, and how she’s destroyed his empire. However the reason he says he’s willing to give up the contents of the box, is to save Masha’s life. He says he thought he lost her once, and he’s not going to chance it again.

Dom’s enraged when he finds out his granddaughter’s alive, and he demands to know why Reddington didn’t contact him, instead of allowing him to grieve for the last year? Raymond replies that Mr. Kaplan knew every detail in Reddington’s life, except about Dom’s existence. He says he purposely stayed away from him, so that Kate wouldn’t find out about him. He then tells the old man, that if he fails to return Dom must find Masha and tell her whom he is.

Red offers the contents of the box to Dixon, in exchange for Kate’s location. He tells the thief that the box contains travel vouchers, and the deed and key to a 96-acre mansion, on an island near Dubai. When Dixon asks how can he be certain Reddington won’t kick him out once he takes residence, Raymond explains that the staff and the guards will pledge their undying loyalty, to whom ever holds the key. After obtaining the location, Raymond ends Dixon’s life with a shot at point-blank range.

Theaters seem to play a prominent part in this series, and Raymond and Dembe ambush Kate and her two henchmen in the theater she’d planned to meet Dixon in. After taking out the two henchmen, Raymond says he wants to end things peacefully and offers Mr. Kaplan all he’s got left, the contents of the box. Kate says the island would be her prison, Reddington agrees but says she’d be imprisoned in paradise. She refuses the offer, and suddenly we hear Julian Gale shouting out hands up this is the FBI.

Gale and his partner George start firing and go after Dembe and Raymond, but they lose them. They return to the theater to find Kate’s waiting for them. He says without the document that Reddington signed, the case he’s presenting to the grand jury will fall apart. Kate corrects him, saying she’ll gladly testify in open court, in exchange for immunity. She then asks Gale what he’s waiting for, and tells her to go ahead and arrest her.

Rising From The Ashes.

Lou Reed’s “Vicious,” brings us back for hour number two, as Raymond and Dembe sit in a seedy motel room, while Reddington destroys a fistful of phony id’s that Kate made invalid. At the same time Kate’s meeting with Federal Prosecutors, to see if her testimony qualifies giving her immunity. After a few minutes of conversation, the prosecutors agree to a deal, she informs them that she needs 24-hours to tie-up odds and ends, before she goes into custody. After the prosecutors initially refuse, she informs them that if she doesn’t get released she’ll remain silent, Kate wins yet another battle.

We see her next out in the country, and she walks up to a tree with the initial K carved into it. She then takes five steps from the tree, and removes a collapsible shovel from its carrying bag. She then says “Forgive Me Katrina,” and starts digging into the earth.

Raymond’s got one more card to play, and this move ends up tipping the balance of the game. He and Dembe pay a visit to the location of a nightclub, that former NFL player J.J. Brickman’s on the verge of opening. Raymond requests that Brickman contact his “Fixer,” Henry Prescott. When the former NFL player refuses, Reddington puts a slug into Brickman’s drug dealer, and tells him that he either contacts Prescott, or the dealer will bleed out there, which would end the club’s future that night.

Henry Prescott’s a man that rectifies situations, getting his clients out of scrapes with the law, and other assorted annoyances. Besides having Brickman among his clients, Prescott did a job for a highly placed member of the government, back on November 19, 2015. Henry’s got a warehouse where he stores all his “insurance policies,” and Raymond wants access to it. Prescott asks if Reddington’s going to kill him if he refuses, but Raymond informs him that’s not his intention. Instead he’ll make Prescott famous when the authorities find him along with Brickman and “Gun-Shot Wound.” Raymond says that will assure that Prescott’s client base will immediately dry up.

Aram goes to testify in front of the grand jury and he refuses to cooperate. After the prosecutor attempts to intimidate Mojtabai, he says that he’s proud of the work he’s done with Reddington. He then says that if she wants a trial, to give them a trial, let them show the American public all the good they’ve done. The prosecutor, tells the bailiff to remove him from the room and he’s to be held in contempt of court.

Raymond arrives at Prescott’s facility with Ressler, identifying him as his associate Frank Sturgeon. He tells Henry that Sturgeon needs to see the evidence, Prescott nods his head and tells them the facility’s arranged in chronological order.

The pair enter the warehouse and we see countless industrial size barrels, Raymond gives Donald a pair of rubber gloves, and when they arrive at the barrel marked 11-19-15, Reddington uses a crowbar to remove the lid. He then tells Ressler to reach inside, and Donald discovers Reven Wright’s body perfectly preserved. They remove the slug from her corpse, which Raymond predicts will match the bullets in the Glock that Hitchin keeps in her nightstand.

Ressler’s conflicted that after all this time trying to prove Laurel Hitchin murdered Reven Wright, he’s got to let her go now that he’s got definitive proof. Cooper and the Task-Force commiserate, however they tell Donald that he’s got no choice in the matter. He has to make the deal with Hitchin, guaranteeing her freedom, by her guaranteeing theirs.

Turns out that Aram’s on again/off again girlfriend Janet Sutherland, gave him up when she testified before the grand jury. We find this out when Navabi confronts her inside the courthouse, Sutherland says they promised to expunge her criminal record if she testified. Samar tells her that she’s going to let Aram know, but decides not to tell him when he says he’d never make it through the experience without Janet’s support. She tells Aram that Reddington’s attempting to squash the grand jury and not to give up hope.

Laurel Hitchin looks like the cat that swallowed the canary, when Reddington and Ressler enter her home, and inform her about the grand jury. Raymond tells Hitchin that she’s going to shut the grand jury down and she chortles, until Reddington informs her that they’ve met with Henry Prescott, and they now possess the bullet she killed Reven Wright with. If she wants to maintain her freedom, she’s going to make that grand jury go away.

The next morning, Hitchin struts into the room that the grand jury’s convening in, and informs the prosecutor and Julian Gale that she’s shutting them down for reasons of national security. Gale gets in her face and asks if Reddington’s gotten to her as well. She replies to Gale, that his career’s not completely destroyed, but if he makes another remark like that it will be.

Julian calls Mr. Kaplan and informs her that the Grand Jury’s been shut-down. She asks what that means concerning her immunity deal. Gale responds that its off the table, without the testimony, the government won’t give her immunity. She quickly hangs up.

Keen calls Kate and asks to meet with her, one on one. Kaplan responds that she can no longer trust her, and Lizzie responds that she trusts Kate. We soon see Liz walking in the street, when some of Kate’s men inform her that Mr. Kaplan wants to see her, and escort her into a black SUV. She’s dropped off at a beach, where she finds Kate sitting on a bench in a gazebo, she goes over and joins her. asking Kaplan if she’s okay.

Kate replies that she’s tired and she feels lost. She pledged to protect Lizzie with her life to Katarina, and she feels she’s let both mother and daughter down. She asks Liz if she wants to know the truth, the real reason Raymond came into her life. She tells Keen she can show her, but it must be Liz’s decision.

Now assured of their safety, Raymond and Dembe pay a visit to Julian Gale, surprising him in his car. After telling Gale that he looks fit, he says that they’re in search of Kate’s location. Julian asks how he expects to get that info, by threatening to kill him? Raymond once again says killing isn’t on his mind, he’s simply going to steal Julian’s phone to obtain the number from Kate’s burner phone. As they depart, Raymond says he’s sure they’ll bump into each other soon.

Harold’s able to track the burner phone from the number and tells Raymond where Kaplan and Lizzie are heading to, he says that agents are on the way. Reddington responds that his men are closer and they’ll track them down before Kate can harm Lizzie.

Kate’s SUV gets forced off the road by Reddington’s soldiers, she tells Liz that if she leaves the car she’s choosing Raymond, if she remains she’s choosing the truth. Although Liz told Mr. Kaplan on the phone that she trusted her, apparently this experience caused that trust to evaporate, as she leaves the vehicle. Baz walks over to the driver’s side window, and with his pistol drawn he asks Kate to shut off the vehicle and come out. Mr. Kaplan says oh Baz and then shoots him and drives off. Lizzie calls for an ambulance as the rest of the men start chasing her.

The final standoff takes place on a steel bridge, as Raymond and Dembe face Kate. She tells him that she won’t go to prison, and as soon as Raymond kills her, one of her men will present Lizzie with the secret they had buried at Tansi Farms. Reddington tells her that he’s not going to shoot her, and he regrets shooting her the first time. Saying once again she won’t go to prison, she climbs atop the bridge railing and plunges to her death in the water far below. There’s no doubt she’s gone as her lifeless body just floats on top of the water.

With the Task-Force’s problems rectified, Harold calls Keen into his office. He says that she deserves answers as to why Reddington came into her life in 2013, so he took matters into his own hands. He reveals to Lizzie that at one time he’d been considered a Golden Child, and he worked with Raymond in Naval Intelligence. He then says that Reddington got captured and beaten by his Soviet captors, and Harold recovered Reddington’s bloody clothes from an ancient evidence facility. He got a sample of Reddington’s DNA from the clothes and he sent in for testing, to find out if Raymond’s her father. He leaves her with the unopened envelope containing the results, and says he hopes she finds what she’s looking for.

Lizzie arrives at the seedy motel room that Raymond’s living in, and tells him that he lied to her. She then shows him the test results, stating that Raymond Reddington’s her biological father. Red tells Lizzie that she can walk away if she wants to, and she looks at him as if he’s crazy. She tells him they’re family and they belong together. She embraces Raymond, but there’s not the unconditional joy on his face, that you’d expect in that situation.

Laurel Hitchin summons Ressler to her home, as she wants to be the one to give him back his shield. She tells Donald that from this point forward, she’ll be calling the shots. Ressler says that’s not going to happen, and Laurel turns around angrily to yell at him. There’s a struggle and Laurel falls to the floor splitting her head open, her blood pouring from the back of her skull. We soon see Henry Prescott arrive, and tells Mr. Sturgeon that he should vacate Hitchin’s home.

We join Raymond and Dembe in conversation at Tansi Farms, Dembe questions why Raymond didn’t deny it? Reddington says because Liz believes that’s the secret that Kate wanted to share with her. He then says to Dembe they’ve got to find that suitcase. Zuma responds that he doesn’t think Lizzie’s ready to accept what Raymond did to her mother.

We get our first glimpse of Tom Keen on The Blacklist, since January, in the final scene. He’s on the phone with somebody and he says he’s following Mr. Kaplan’s final instructions. In his hand’s the valise, carrying the bones, and setting up season five.

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

We’ve witnessed the once unflappable Raymond Reddington, starting to question everything during the last few months, on the NBC series”The Blacklist.” The self-assured “Concierge Of Crime,” whose instincts seemed flawless, (Apples, everybody likes apples.) morphed into a man watching his empire crumble in front of him. Raymond now evokes comparisons with King Lear, and Tony Montana, like the protagonist in Scarface, he’s making rash and impulsive decisions, that come back to haunt him. Reddington feels his power slipping away, as the aging British monarch did, which eventually drove the King to madness.

Red’s concerns are many, the underworld’s abuzz with talk of his series of defeats. Death’s claimed many valuable members of his operation, including his money-launderer Zach Smoll. Smoll died in the middle of a monetary transaction, costing Reddington 20 million dollars, along with an old friend and trusted associate. Dissension’s reared its head within the Task-Force, as the “Boy-Scout” Agent Donald Ressler’s started to question Team-Red’s mission. Task-Force leader Harold Cooper shows his displeasure with Reddington, in an escalating power war.

The Immediate Threat:

When we last saw Reddington, his world had gotten rocked when Natalie Luca told him that Isabella Stone forced her to kill Zach Smoll. This week’s episode opens with the sound of a car crash and a graphic informing us that we’re in Paris, then we hear the AC/DC recording of “Shake A Leg,” on the soundtrack as we see the victim’s now dead body’s crashed through the windshield and his head’s now on his car’s hood. A man and woman emerge from the vehicle that slammed into the man’s car, the woman smiles and says they got him good.

We soon discover the victim wore a prosthetic leg, as the man reaches into the car and removes it from the corpse. The woman removes a cover on the top of the appendage allows several rolls of bills to hit the pavement, she’s after the bonds also stored within. She then tells her colleague she gets a kick out of their job and they flee the scene.

Turns out the victim was one of Reddington’s couriers and the bonds belonged to Red. We find this out as Raymond meets with an old and trusted associate Stratos Sarantos, during a meeting at a café. Reddington tries spinning it as a momentary setback, but his associate reminds him the loss is one of many recent defeats for Raymond’s operation and people have begun talking.

Reddington displays a forced smile and tells Sarantos that he’s got his eye on three cargo ships in France and wants his associate to evaluate them. He gives Sarantos tickets for Stratos and his wife Corina to Monte Carlo, and tells his old friend to romance his wife and enjoy the gambling. He smiles again and says they’ve been through worse, and then sees Elizabeth Keen arriving for her meeting. Sarantos leaves and thanks Raymond for the free vacation.

Lizzie asks Reddington the identity of the man, and he replies that he head’s Red’s Mediterranean shipping fleet. Keen’s surprised at the revelation that Raymond has shipping operations, but he quickly changes the conversation to inform her he’s got the latest member of the Blacklist for her. The Task-Force’s next target’s the person who engineered the murders of Smoll and the courier, Raymond says he only knows the woman by her alias, Isabella Stone.

Back at the Post Office, Keen explains that Stone’s a character assassin whose latest mission’s to destroy Reddington’s empire. Just at that moment, Ressler gets a call on his cellphone and he’s clearly shaken when he hangs up and rejoins the team. Cooper starts assigning his agents their roles in the case, but Ressler objects to doing more heavy lifting for Reddington. Cooper says he understands his agent’s mindset, but they’re pursuing the case.

Donald and Samar, reach out to a DGSE official, in an effort to get information on the car accident that killed the courier, but the official’s reluctant to cooperate. That’s until Ressler reveals that the victim in the accident was a courier for Reddington, suddenly the man agrees to give them everything they need in order to capture Reddington.

The French send a copy of a surveillance tape from inside a tavern that the courier visited just before the accident. Once again Aram Mojtabai puts the team on the right path, noticing a man keeping tabs on the courier, who then leaves the pub shortly after the courier departs. Using facial recognition software, Mojtabai identifies the man as Chip Murphy, a former NCIS Agent who fell off the grid after leaving his position. He’s got a storage facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Keen and Ressler head to.

The manager of the facility refuses to let Donald and Liz search the storage unit without a warrant, but Keen decides to bend the law and picks the lock of the unit. The unit’s filled with computers and filing cabinets containing information. Lizzie quickly finds a folder with pictures of Smoll, the courier, and Stratos and Corina Sarantos. She immediately calls Raymond and informs him about the file, when she mentions Sarantos’ name, Reddington abruptly says he needs to go and disconnects.

We find ourselves in the Sarantos’ hotel suite in Monte Carlo, Stratos wants to head to the gambling tables, while Corina wants to bask in a hot shower before joining him. Stratos puts on his white dinner jacket and kisses his wife goodbye, pleading with her to hurry as he needs his good luck charm.

Corina starts to get ready for her shower, when she’s startled by two women standing in the suite, one holding a pistol. We recognize one of the women, as Chip Murphy’s partner in the murder of the courier, the other woman’s holding the pistol. Corina begs them not to shoot her, the woman clutching the firearm assures her she’s not getting shot, the gun’s to keep her quiet as her associate strangles her. She then grabs the gown that Corina had planned to wear, telling the corpse she needs to borrow it.

Sarantos finds himself having quite a run at one of the tables, when we see Murphy standing nearby disguised as a waiter. He pours a sedative into Stratos’ drink and then informs his associates. A crowd’s gathered around Sarantos’ table, so it’s too loud for him to understand Raymond when he calls to warn him. Murphy once again communicates to his associates, and the woman carrying the pistol storms into the casino in Corina’s dress and wearing her sunglasses. She then slaps Stratos face and screams she’s had enough of him and Raymond Reddington. Sarantos believing it’s Corina tries to find out what’s wrong, but she starts to walk off with Stratos in pursuit.

They get to the Sarantos suite and Stratos sees his wife’s dead body on the floor, and soon after falls to the floor himself as the sedative takes effect. The woman’s joined by Murphy and her female associate and they call the front desk from the room next door, saying that the couple in the next suite are having a terrible row. The other woman screams in mock-terror as they hang up. They position Stratos’ body right next to Corina’s now wearing the gown, and place his hands around his wife’s neck.

Raymond meets with Cooper and they discuss whether Stratos will give up information on Reddington, Red assures Harold that Sarantos’ loyalty’s not in question. He just doesn’t want his friend to disappear down some black hole, because he refuses to cooperate with French officials. Cooper sends Navabi and Ressler to Monte Carlo to try to bring Sarantos back to the States.

Samar’s excited about the assignment as she’s never been to Monte Carlo, but Donald’s almost comatose. He finally reveals to her that the phone call came from his mother, and his brother’s about to have bypass surgery. He wishes he could be by his brother’s side and he’s angry he’s on a mission for Reddington, instead of with his family. He says to Navabi that it’s like they work for Reddington, and he should sign their checks.

When the agents arrive in Monte Carlo, they find that their efforts to bring back Sarantos to the States, blocked by a French detective named Gautier. Sarantos keeps stating that he got set up but Gautier scoffs at his story, saying that there’s only one means of exit and that witnesses from the next room called security during his fight with his wife. Navabi realizes that the room next door has an adjoining door to the suite and asks for access to the room and the information of the former occupant.

Upon receiving the information, Aram identifies the woman who occupied the hotel room as Charlotte Hart, and finds a connection between her and Chip Murphy. They both worked for a well-known Washington socialite, Judith Pruitt, widow of a former high-powered CEO who got tried and convicted in a pyramid scheme in the nineties. Pruitt believed her husband Gavin was innocent and she was devastated when he was murdered by a fellow convict.

Keen believes that Pruitt’s motivation to destroy reputations centers on revenge for her believing her husband got unjustly convicted. So she goes after guilty individuals, exposing their sins to the planet, despite any collateral damage she causes. Pruitt’s scheduled to attend a function that evening honoring philanthropist Dr.Justin Sperry, head of the Justin Sperry Medical Foundation.

We find Raymond in Monte Carlo, going by the alias of Mr. Bloom and telling two officers that his gray Mercedes got stolen right in front of him. He describes the two car-jackers, saying the white one had a pony-tail and the black one was all bulked up and must drink a lot of muscle-shakes. He annoys the officers with his extended way of giving them the vehicle’s license plate number.

A woman named Joy welcomes the guests to the event honoring Sperry, and informs the audience that they’re donations have assured that they’ll be able to continue helping children around the globe. She then introduces Sperry who comes onto the stage in a motorized wheel-chair. His enthusiasm’s apparent as he asks the audience doesn’t it feel great to help others. The applause gets interrupted as news alerts on guest’s cellphones report that one of Sperry’s medical volunteers just got arrested in Nigeria, charged with trying to smuggle $22 millions in bonds, held by one of Raymond’s shell corporations. Sperry’s informed by Joy, excuses himself and gets wheeled off the stage.

The Task-Force realize that Stone’s behind the effort to discredit Sperry in order to hurt Reddington. Cooper tells Liz to assemble a SWAT Team and get over to the event. Stone’s sitting in the audience and informs her team that Sperry’s been wheeled off the stage and for them to get ready.

The Monte Carlo police arrested Dembe and Baz for stealing Mr. Bloom’s car and Raymond identifies the pair as “Pony-Tail and Muscle-Shake.” The officers ask Red for his passport again to finish up the paperwork, when Raymond socks one of the cops in the jaw, grabbing his pistol and pointing it at the two officers. He then grabs the other gun and instructs the officers to release Dembe and Baz. He’s about to lock them in the same room, when Gautier shows up, and gets locked up with the uniforms.

The trio then go and spring Sarantos from his cell, Stratos tells Red that he knew he’d come. The foursome start to run, but are soon confronted by prison guns with rifles and Sarantos gets shot badly in the back. Dembe tells Raymond they can escape, but Stratos wouldn’t survive. Sarantos tells Reddington to give him a pistol and leave him there. Raymond knows he’s got no choice and kisses his friend and tells him what ever happens he’s got Reddington’s support. The trio run off and we soon hear the sound of a gun and realize Stratos took his own life.

Liz arrives at the event and she’s informed that Sperry went home via the service that transports him and that Judith Pruitt insisted on following them, so Justin wouldn’t be alone. Joy says that Pruitt was the only sympathetic person in the hall, that most people had left the event screaming and cursing.

Pruitt and her team wheel Sperry into his home and he calls for his housekeeper Charlotte, but Judith informs him that Murphy slipped a sedative into Charlotte’s brandy. They’ve wheeled into the room containing an indoor pool and basically give him a choice, he can read a false statement implicating himself and Reddington, or be dropped into the pool strapped into his wheelchair. After initially refusing, Sperry agrees to do it after Pruitt rolls his chair to the edge of the pool.

Raymond contacts Harold and Cooper’s madder than a wet hen, chewing Red a new one for trying to break Sarantos out of jail. Reddington replies he did what he thought was necessary and Harold gets irate, telling Raymond that he lost a friend that he said would do anything for him, due to a rash decision. Reddington tries to change the subject to Isabella Stone and Cooper tells him that Navabi, Ressler and Keen are heading to try to stop her as they speak. Reddington says he needs to speak to her as soon as they take her into custody and then says that wasn’t a request.

Cooper nearly strokes out as he tells Raymond that he’s stood by him as his agents and his superiors have complained. He then basically tells Reddington that he’s gone way past crossing the line, and soon finds himself talking to air as Red hangs up. After Reddington hangs up, Dembe quietly says that perhaps they shouldn’t have gone there. He says that Raymond’s putting himself in more danger every year, every day and that people are dying around him. After a moment of silence Raymond says he doesn’t know how to respond to that.

Sperry starts to read the statement that Pruitt handed him, when the SWAT Team arrive. Pruitt pushes Sperry’s wheelchair into the pool and he sinks to the bottom. Keen gives her weapon to a SWAT Team member and dives into the pool to rescue Sperry. Murphy pulls his gun and gets shot to death, the officers arrest Pruitt and Charlotte Hart, Liz’s able to save Sperry.

Pruitt’s questioned by Ressler and Navabi about who hired her to go after Reddington, but she refuses to cooperate. She says to the agents she’s surprised that they don’t commend her for going after a member of their most wanted list, but the agents stay quiet. Ressler says that she’s facing a life sentence, but she could strike a deal if she’d be willing to tell them something. She smiles and says she could tell them a lot, but she won’t.

Pruitt’s being transported from the Post Office to a prison facility, but the vehicle she’s in gets ambushed and ends up crashing. Reddington’s team extract her from the vehicle bruised and bloody. Raymond says to her that it’s time for the two of them to talk.

The Build Up To Redemption:

I’ve purposely divided this recap into two sections, as the Tom Keen subplot will serve as the introduction to the Blacklist spinoff, that debuts on February 23, while the main series goes on Winter hiatus. Once again the writers have put a Red Herring into the mix, as we find out right after the credits, when Lizzie wakes Tom up, after he fell asleep on the couch.

She tells him that while she was feeding Agnes, she watched the news and saw a report that his father died. They turn on the TV and there’s an anchor giving a report stating that Howard Hargrave died after his private plane crashed. She starts talking about his career and his starting Halcyon Aegis, when Tom shuts off the TV. He gives off a rather blasé attitude, saying he’s not going to pretend to grieve for a man he never knew.

Lizzie’s surprised by his reaction and Tom says that when he met his mother, she offered him a job and he turned her down. He tells Liz that they’re his past and he wants to concentrate on his future, which revolves around her and Agnes. Lizzie counters that he can still have them while searching for answers, he replies the only answer he’s seeking is when he became the old guy that falls asleep on the couch?

Before we proceed, time to reveal the Red Herring to those who are still unaware. Howard Hargrave CAN’T be dead, as he’s scheduled to be a semi-regular character on Redemption. The man pictured is actor Terry O’Quinn and he’s scheduled to appear as Hargrave in some of the upcoming episodes. So unless we’re going to explore science fiction in the spinoff and Hargrave’s a ghost, we’ll find out in the upcoming weeks why Howard faked his death.

Tom starts watching the news reports about Hargrave’s death and his curiosity gets the best of him. He calls up Dembe and tells him that he needs to set up a time for him and Raymond to sit down and talk. Keen comes to visit Reddington as Red’s assembling some sort of mechanical device, which we find out later is a cuckoo clock for Liz and Agnes.

Tom starts asking Raymond for answers about his father, but Reddington says that he knew Howard Hargrave many years ago in a strictly business capacity. (Possibly, yet another Red Herring. How could Raymond possibly know that Tom’s Christopher Hargrave, if he had just a cursory relationship with Hargrave?)  He says he knows that Hargrave struggled against his own inner demons and that he didn’t even trust his own wife, Tom’s birth-mother Scottie Hargrave. Red goes onto say that he knows Scottie and finds her to be an unlikable creep and warns Tom to stay away from her.

Tom goes back to the apartment and starts digging through piles of newspaper clippings, he must have gathered after finding out his true identity last year. We see article after article, about both Howard and Scottie Hargrave and their son Christopher’s disappearance.

After doing some digging, Tom rings the bell of a former police detective Harold Kotchwar. The former cop almost slams his door in Tom’s face, but Keen catches his interest when he brings up the Christopher Hargrave disappearance. Kotchwar says that kid didn’t disappear he got killed, but Tom says that’s impossible as he’s Christopher Hargrave.

In the final scene of the evening. Liz comes home and tells Tom that she thought about what he said and he should leave his past alone. Then she sees the police tapes that he got from Kotchwar. There’s a tape on pause that Tom was watching when Liz came home, it’s the videotaped confession of the man that says he killed Christopher Hargrave.

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The NBC series “The Blacklist,” returned with a new episode that revolved around a love story, between two people who couldn’t have physical contact and that couple’s desire to rectify the situation. That relationship caused some of the members of “TEAM RED,” to question their own romantic entanglements. Raymond also had interest in the case for his own reasons, revealed during the hour.

Our evening begins with a graphic, telling us we’re in Moldova 14-years ago, and we quickly realize we’re in the hospital room of a little blonde haired girl. She wakes up and calls out to someone, but receives no response. She grabs her rag doll from the night stand and ventures out into the hallway. We see that all of the staff and patients in the hallway died. Suddenly there’s the sound of a telephone and the little girl follows the sound, only to find the operator and all around her are dead as well.

The child starts exploring the hospital via the staircase, when we hear the sounds and see the lights from an elevator. The girl stops and waits to see who comes out, and it’s a team of men wearing hazmat suits. One of the men sees the little girl standing in the stairwell, and his eyes become as large as melons.

The scene changes and another graphic informs us that we’ve flash forwarded to just eight-days ago. The little girl’s now a beautiful young woman and she’s in a massage parlor, with a guy on the table. The guy’s lying face down and has a sheet covering him, he greets the woman with surprise, saying she must be new at the parlor. She asks him his name, and climbs on his back and starts massaging him. She then tells him to turn over, kisses him on the lips and leaves the room.

The regular masseuse enters the room and asks the man if he’s ready for his massage and he asks where the new girl went. The woman asks what new girl, when the man’s back and arms are suddenly covered in a purple rash. He then starts spitting out bile and quickly dies.

Raymond’s visiting his money launderer Abe and he tells him that Zach Smoll was dealing with $200 million of Reddington’s funds when he died. He asks Abe how much of that sum was lost and Abe replies all of it. Lizzie then arrives and Red tells her he’s going to need the Bureau’s help in finding out who was responsible for Smoll’s death. He believes that his rival Baldur Magnusson’s responsible, but he lacks any proof. He says if he can’t solve this, his reputation will be forever tarnished and his relationship with the Bureau would come to a screeching halt.

Keen brings Raymond’s request to the Task-Force, and it’s unanimously rejected. However a fly in the Vaseline quickly changes their mind. Turns out Zach Smoll’s the guy who died in the massage parlor and his body’s been claimed by the CDC. Smoll died from Luschen’s disease, he got infected from the woman’s lipstick. The virus is transmitted by physical contact or sweat. Now the Bureau’s got to track down that woman.

Back at the Post Office, Samar’s in another one of her moods which Aram quickly catches onto. She got Mojtabai’s check by accident and it turns out that Aram’s paid 32% more than she earns. She’s rightfully upset about not getting equal pay, but she’s taking it out on her hapless friend. Mojtabai soon shows Navabi and Cooper street cam footage of their suspect, she not only killed Smoll, she also killed and robbed a pawnshop owner a few weeks earlier.

We see the young woman lying on a table while a young man wearing a protective clear mask tells her that he’s sorry but this is the only choice they’ve got. The young woman with tears streaming down her face, nods yes and the young man injects a long needle into the base of her spine. She writhes on the table in pain.

We see a graphic that says Boston, and we get our first look at Baldur Magnusson, as Raymond calls him. Reddington asks his rival if he killed Smoll, and Magnuson responds it doesn’t matter what the truth is. What counts is the appearance of the truth, and right now all their peers believe Magnusson ordered the hit. That makes Reddington look weak that he’s yet to respond, which will lead to a standoff between the two men.

We’ve found out the young woman’s named Natalie Luca and the young man’s Malik Rounain, and they’re romantically involved. Rounain tells Natalie that the spinal tap didn’t yield the results he needed and she’s going to need to kill and rob again in order to buy the equipment they need. She reluctantly agrees.

Tom and Agnes, who’s got her grandmother’s red hair, are returning from a walk when Keen realizes the door’s been jimmied and he grabs his pistol. Raymond and Dembe are waiting in the living room and much to Tom’s surprise, Red came to see him.

Reddington asks Keen what he knows about Edward Lagate and Tom says that he’s a hitman with an impeccable resume. Raymond starts to laugh and he tells Tom that Lagate doesn’t exist, he’s actually a fictional character that Reddington invented. Raymond says he and some of his associates committed the crimes attributed to Lagate and now he wants Keen to portray the assassin. He wants Magnusson to try to hire Lagate, but in fact Tom will lead Raymond right to his rival.

Malik and Natalie’s target’s an armored truck, she pretends she’s a college girl trying to join a sorority. She tells the truck’s guards that she’s got to kiss two guys carrying guns and of course they allow her to. Minutes later they’re dead in the street and the couple’s got the money and flee the scene.

The Task Force identifies Luca, and discovers she was a patient for years at Hawthorne Biologics. Rounain had been a researcher for the facility and the couple fell in love. The facility found them a place to live, but the administrator tells Ressler that she just found out they moved months before. She says that the facility had no legal right to keep her locked up and had to adhere to her wishes. She expresses her concern for Natalie, but Donald says she best be worried about her next victim.

Raymond sets Tom up as Legate, by arranging a fake murder of one of Magnusson’s associates, at Magnusson’s flagship hotel. Soon Tom heads out of the hotel and gets greeted by one of Magnusson’s enforcers, who puts a gun to Tom’s back and he’s told that the man’s employer wants to meet with him.

Malik’s elated as he gets the equipment they needed with the money from the robbery, but his joy quickly evaporates as he realizes the cops have raided their apartment. They’ve lost everything they had, meaning Natalie’s got to pull one last job to pay for their lost equipment. She makes Rounain promise this will be their last job.

Turns out the folks from Hawthorne aren’t on the up and up, as they want Luca for their own nefarious purposes. The female administrator we saw earlier, meets with two men who say they must get Natalie back. The man who appears to be the leader says they’ve got to be there when the FBI find her.

Aram searches through Rounain’s computer files and finds that the researcher had large caches on three very wealthy people. Lizzie calls Raymond and finds out that all three are guests of Xavier Holcomb’s poker party, which takes half a million dollars just to sit at the table. Malik and Natalie plan to attend the party disguised as caterers.

Liz asks Raymond why he hired Tom to portray Legate, and says they were just starting to have some semblance of normalcy. Reddington says that Keen’s been aching to get back in the game and that better he work for Red, than for somebody else who’d betray him.

The Bureau come to realize that Malik wasn’t looking for a cure for Luca, he was trying to become like her so they could finally have physical contact. They’ve got Holcomb’s party staked out and when Natalie and Rounain enter, they’re not far behind. Luca had tried to serve dinner to one of the guests, but Ressler started chasing her.

Navabi traps the young woman who says she’s not going back to a cage and that Samar will have to kill her. Suddenly we hear a crackling sound and Ressler’s knocked out Natalie with his Taser.

Edward Legate’s brought up to Magnusson’s hotel suite and the crime boss offers Legate a claw from the lobster he’s eating. Legate declines and the two men get down to talking business. He asks Legate about one of his celebrated crimes and Legate says he never reveals his methods. Magnusson compliments his discretion and says he’s looking to hire him.

Raymond and Dembe burst into the room and Magnusson says that Reddington’s going to kill him. However Red tells Dembe and Tom to take away his rival’s henchmen, as he wants to talk to Magnusson privately. He then says he’s been thinking about what his rival talked about, truth versus the appearance of the truth.

He says that he long ago stopped worrying about death, as it could be lurking around any corner at anytime. However recently he’s smelled death everywhere. He says his death’s slouching towards him from the corner of the room and inching closer.

Magnusson tells Reddington that he didn’t kill Smoll. He says that Raymond’s deal with the cruise ship line was falling apart, so he came in and grabbed it. Red thanks his rival for the truth, then says that he almost wishes that Magnusson had been behind it, as it would have made things easier.

Malik’s gotten away, but the Bureau apprehended Natalie and put her in an ambulance that will take her to a hospital isolation ward. Except Aram informs Navabi and Ressler that the ambulance hadn’t arrived yet, they actually gave Luca back to her captors at Hawthorne. The pair drive after the ambulance, but they’re not alone in the chase as Rounain tries to force the ambulance off the road.

Malik rams the other vehicle off the road and Natalie jumps out of the back of the ambulance. She starts to run towards her boyfriend, when a man emerges from the vehicle and shoots Rounain. The FBI SWAT team soon arrive and subdue the Hawthorne people.

The wound Malik suffered is fatal and he knows time’s short. For the first and last time the couple make contact and then kiss just before Rounain takes his last breath. Natalie tells the agents that Malik was the only person who ever cared for her and Hawthorne was trying to engineer her disease into a bio-weapon. The Hawthorne team are taken into custody.

Earlier Samar told Aram that Cooper offered her a 16% raise but she turned it down as an insult. She comes back up to Aram at the Post Office, and tells him she realizes he gave up some of his salary to get them at the same pay grade. He tells Navabi that he’d do anything to keep her happy and she responds that she’s figuring that out.

Tom comes back home and Lizzie asks him how it felt to get back in the game. He tells her he loved it, but that their relationship’s still the most important thing in his life. Liz says she realizes Tom’s got to do what fulfills him but she’s afraid of what he’ll turn into. He says she’s looking at it.

Cooper brings Reddington To Luca’s hospital room so he can question her about Smoll’s death. He tries to console her over her loss and she responds to his words. She asks who he is and he reveals that Zach Smoll was his associate and he wanted to know why she killed him. Natalie replies that the woman said she’d turn her and Malik over to Hawthorne unless she killed him. She tells Raymond her client’s Isabella Stone and Raymond’s dumbfounded. He thanks her, then says he needs to sit there for a moment as he can’t move.

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Megan Boone got most of the spotlight in the latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” as we watched FBI Agent Liz Keen, go undercover with an elite all-female team of criminals, known as “The Harem.” Perhaps the show-runners decided to air a small screen version of the upcoming film “Ocean’s Eight,” a female reboot of the Ocean’s Eleven series.  (Sorry, I’m a purist and have only seen the original movie starring the Rat Pack.)  However, there’s a subplot that’s not given much attention in the episode, but it’s ramifications are much larger in the long-term.

Our opening scene takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, as two black SUVs pull up in front of what appears to be a large mansion. The vehicles’ doors open and a bunch of Goons come out, all being directed by some guy with slicked-back hair. The boss nearly bumps into a young pregnant woman, who suddenly appears as if she’s in distress. She moans a few times, but she then tells the guy that she’s fine. She also pocketed the key to one of the SUVs and she and another woman head for the vehicle. She ditches her “baby,” actually a basketball, and though a guard starts to reach for his weapon, he’s gunned down by yet another woman on a roof with a high-powered rifle.

As the women steal one of the SUV’s, the boss and one of his guys give chase in the other. After a high-speed chase that dings up the vehicle, they lose the guys by ducking into a parking lot. We then see them meet with two other women in a warehouse, and we see that the vehicle’s passenger’s side headrest’s loaded with 73 diamonds.

After the credits, we join Raymond and Dembe at Red’s money-launderer Zach Smoll. Reddington tells Smoll, that he wants to invest in a luxury cruise-liner, and instructs him to get the funds ready for the transaction. Keen arrives and she’s not in the best of moods. She tells Smoll and his crew that she’s an FBI Agent, and while she has to look the other way when Reddington breaks the law, the rules don’t apply to them. They get the message and quickly scatter.

Raymond informs Liz that the government’s witness protection list’s been stolen, and though he doesn’t know who has the list currently, he knows who will get it next. Reddington then informs the agent about the Harem’s heist of ten million dollars, worth of diamonds in Atlanta. He tells Lizzie that the Harem only steals from other criminals, and they’ve got their eyes set on this list.

Back at the Post Office, Harold and his team discuss the case and they agree to try to get Keen to get accepted by the Harem. Ressler suggests they use one of their criminal informant’s Craig Gaynier, to say that he pulled a heist with “Liz Crawford,” down in Florida.

Liz disguises herself as a hotel clerk and knocks on the door of the Harem’s leader Margot Roche, and says she needs to check the minibar. Roche lets her in and Keen scurries to the part of the suite where the minibar’s at, she however goes into Roche’s suitcase and steals the pouch with the diamonds, leaving a note to meet her in the bar in its place.

Roche asks why she shouldn’t beat the stuffing out of her, Liz gives her back the pouch and says she wants to join the Harem. She tells Margot that she reads people, then she tells them what they want to hear, so they do her bidding. Liz then goes down her list of scams and says she worked with Craig Gaynier. Roche tells her associate to keep an eye on Liz as she’s going to do some checking. We see that Ressler and Navabi are also in the bar.

Keen and the two women go for a ride with Ressler and Navabi trailing them. Another one of the crew, meets them at their warehouse with Craig Gaynier tied to a wheelchair. He says he’s worked with Liz Crawford, that they stole 2.1 million down in Florida, and his banter with Liz convinces Roche they worked together.

She tells Liz that there’s just one boss, Liz does as Margot says and no questions asked. Liz says okay and then Margot tells her to shoot Gaynier. Liz refuses, saying that Roche doesn’t want blind followers, she values loyalty. Liz worked with Craig, so she’s loyal to him, if Roche brings her on board she’ll be loyal to the Harem. Margot smiles and says that Lizzie’s good. loyalty’s everything. However she then shoots Craig herself, because of some episode in Majorca.

Raymond’s traveled to Sydney, Australia, to talk to Carter Wilson, CEO of Whistler Cruise Line, using the alias Mr. Lockhart. He tells Wilson he’s well aware of all the financial problems the corporation’s suffering and he’s willing to bail them out, in return for the cruise line’s shipping his goods. He tells Wilson when it comes to his shipments, the less the executive knows, the better for all involved.

After Roche kills Gaynier, the women engage in some heavy drinking and Liz wakes up in the middle of the night dazed and confused. She’s soon joined by Emma, who offers a glass and says that Lizzie’s a chatty-drunk. Liz says she hopes she wasn’t too embarrassing and Emma, says instead she was quite revealing. She then tells Liz to get some rest as they’ve got a big day ahead. Of course, Liz’s paranoid about what she revealed and wonders what Emma knows?

Raymond, somehow gets back to Washington from Australia by warp-speed and informs that the first person murdered whose name’s on the WTTSEC (the witness protection list,) got killed by a Jersey gangster named Tony Gianussa. Gianussa also owns the SUV, that the Harem stole containing the 73 diamonds, the Harem’s planning on offering to give him the diamonds back in return for the location of the WTTSEC. Margot starts talking about some complicated plan to get to Gianussa, but Liz says she’s got it covered.

Liz goes to Gianussa’s strip-club and sits down in front of one of the dancers. The woman slithers over to Keen and asks if she’s looking for anything special? Liz drops one of Gianussa’s diamonds into her hand and suddenly, all of the dancers are abuzz. Tony comes out to investigate and goes ballistic when the dancer shows him the diamond.

The gangster throws Keen to the floor and asks if she knows who he is? She says she knows he’s got another 72 stones that he wants to get back. Gianussa puts his pistol in her face and Lizzie tells him unless she walks out in 30-seconds, he’ll never see his diamonds again.

Gianussa sends his crew to the Harem’s warehouse, but he and a goon stay behind with Liz. When the crew arrive at the warehouse, Jessica tells them they best call their boss. Tony gets a call from his guy, telling him the diamonds aren’t at the warehouse. He asks Liz what’s going on, that she said the diamonds were at the warehouse? Liz corrects him and reminds him she said if he went to the warehouse he’d get the diamonds. Since he didn’t go, they’ll have a private conversation.

The goon gets shot and Margot and Sasha step out from the shadows. She says that she’ll give Gianussa a key and the locker number where the diamonds are stored, in exchange for who has the WTTSEC. Tony informs them that the list’s got stolen by the hacker Helldritch, who just got granted asylum in Hong Kong.

Keen’s still suspicious of Emma and starts tailing her, she follows her to a restaurant where Emma meets with Reddington. Liz immediately realizes that Emma works for Red, and though she stays hidden, she’s soon in Raymond’s car asking what’s going on.

Reddington tells Liz that Emma’s former MI-6 and he’s had her undercover with the Harem for some time, as she keeps him informed on what they’re going to steal next. However she had stopped contacting him, so he needed to get Liz on the team as well. Raymond tells Liz that she can trust Emma, however Keen’s not too certain Raymond’s instincts are correct.

Roche sends Emma and Liz on an errand together and Emma tells Liz that she’d been a low-level MI-6 agent, when Reddington recruited her, eight years before. She says she got star-struck, that he made her the center of his universe and it was exciting. However she crossed too many lines along the way, her work, her family and now it was too late. Keen says it’s never too late, but Emma scoffed.

Reddington’s deal with Whistler Cruise Lines, falls through as Red’s been unable to contact Zach Smoll and the money didn’t get sent to Wilson. Instead the CEO says he got the money from Baldur Magnusson, and Raymond wishes Wilson the best of luck. Dembe says quietly to Red that seems like a strange coincidence.

The Harem’s heading to Hong Kong, where Helldritch lives in a fortress like suite in a hotel. The women plan on how they will gain access to the suite and then to extract the chip with the WTTSEC list, embedded in the hacker’s palm. In order to retain the list, they need to simulate the environment of Helldritch’s palm, Emma’s got a plan.

Sasha’s disguised as a hotel maid, hacks the Helldritch’s suite and Emma, Jessica and Liz enter the suite. Liz approaches Helldritch and tells the hacker she wants to talk about the WTTSEC and asks if there’s someplace they can talk. The three women overcome Helldritch and they get the chip and put it in device to keep it safe. Then suddenly Emma takes the list and runs off.  Liz attempts to stop her, but when she realizes she can’t she kills Jessica and then calls Margot saying that Helldritch killed the Harem member.

When Liz returns to the Post Office, she tells the Task-Force that Emma had nowhere to go. She betrayed the Harem and Reddington and she’d have nowhere to turn. However she suddenly realizes just where the former MI-6 agent went to.

Raymond figured it out as well and joins Emma as she watches her teenage son Will play soccer at his boarding school. Emma tells Reddington she wants out and she realizes what that means. Raymond tells her he’s going top set her up with a cabin on a lake in Vermont and send her a monthly stipend that will keep her comfortable and pay for her son Will’s education. He then asks her, that if she wanted out, why didn’t she just come to him? She said she didn’t realize that was an option and Raymond said he’s sorry.

Reddington meets with Elizabeth and she guesses that he got to Emma before the FBI could. Red says that he did and he gives Keen the list. She asks him if he killed her like he killed Mr. Kaplan and Raymond looks Dembe in the eye. Zuma maintains eye contact with Raymond and then looks away.

Reddington tells Lizzie that many years ago, a woman from Wisconsin named Maureen Rowan, was out in the middle of a freezing cold night, as her dog Dodger needed to relieve his bladder. While she was out there she witnessed a Russian gangster’s crew move a corpse from a basement to a car trunk.

She testified against the gangster and that turned her life upside down, Maureen Rowan’s on the WTTSEC. She’s also Mr. Kaplan’s sister. Raymond didn’t need to find her, but he needed to make certain nobody else could. Lizzie says that doesn’t make up for all the other terrible things he’s done and he agrees. When she leaves, Dembe says to Reddington that he just felt Lizzie had the right to know about Kate. Raymond says he understands.

Raymond and Dembe head back to his money-launderer, and he’s told that Zach Smoll dropped dead of a heart attack. He never sent the funds and right now the money’s sitting in an unknown account. Raymond thanks the assistant Abe and he and Dembe leave. However Reddington doesn’t believe Smoll died of a heart-attack, this was the opening salvo of a war, waged by an unknown attacker. Could Kate be involved?

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

It’s Extremely tempting to skip recapping this episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” and jump right to the final scene. After all, that’s what the fans will be buzzing about at the conclusion of “The Forecaster.” However, the writers concocted an interesting tale, involving two separate story-lines, one of which lead to the rather surprising conclusion. So, I’ll restrain my impulses and go with a rather abridged synopsis.

Our evening opens with the sound of buzzing and static, as we see a bunch of rapidly changing images. We keep seeing one blue eye, and somebody working with clay. The sculptor forms and then paints a woman, we also see a table and chairs, already formed.

The scene changes and gives us our first look at Liz and Tom’s new apartment, filled with boxes containing all their belongings. Lizzie apologizes to Tom, for leaving him to unpack so she can get to work, he says it’s fine and he and Agnes will rock-out to the Romantics. Tom then opens an envelope that contains all his fake passports, Liz asks if he’s really ready to give up his old life? He smiles and assures her, that he is as he throws them in the wastebasket.

Agent Keen opens her front door and sees a miniature recreation of a scene, known as a diorama. The scene depicts an indoor pool, with a woman lying face down in the water. We also see the table now contains a glass filled with some green liquid.

Turns out it’s a green smoothie, as we find out in the next scene. We’re suddenly at that indoor pool, as a middle-aged woman takes a sip from her drink, drops her robe and dives into the pool. She starts doing laps when suddenly she’s gasping for air. She’s able to reach the safety rope, but too late and she drowns, her body floating on the water recreates the diorama.

Liz enters the Post Office with the diorama in tow, they’ve identified the victim as Federal Judge Tricia Culpepper. Keen received the recreation, ninety-minutes before Culpepper drowned, leading the team to believe that the killer’s taunting Keen. Cooper orders Lizzie to contact Reddington, to find out if he has any insight in the case.

Raymond, Dembe and a real-estate agent named Pamela, are checking out a pristine white apartment. Reddington says to the agent that if he took the place, he could only drink white wines, and he’s not certain he could do that. Pamela whispers to Dembe that he should drink it in the kitchen, seconds later Raymond announces he’s had a revelation and he can drink it in the kitchen.

Red will take the apartment on a month-to-month basis, Elizabeth arrives and Pamela leaves. Lizzie thanks Raymond for getting her the pardon. Reddington says in the words of his grandmother, it’s good to have friends in low places. Then they get down to the reason they’re meeting, Culpepper’s drowning. Raymond says that Keen’s dealing with a member of The Blacklist, somebody taunting her who knows where she lives. Turns out Reddington’s correct, in an indirect way.

Back at the apartment, Tom’s opening boxes and singing to Agnes, when he sees a shadow in front of his front door. He picks up a box-cutter and runs to the door, he sees another diorama in front of him, then hears a door bang shut. He runs out to the street and sees a figure in a hoodie, who starts to sprint away. The person in the hoodie appears to be a woman, as she seems small to be a man.

Tom loses them in the crowd, and suddenly realizes he left Agnes alone with the door wide open. He sprints back to the new place and more to console himself, than his daughter, he picks her up and reassures her that he’s got her. Keen realizes that he can’t just chase trouble any longer, he’s got new responsibilities.

The new diorama, depicts a man lying dead on the sidewalk of a park, the victim of a gunshot wound with blood splattering the sidewalk. There’s also a bike and a building that Aram recognizes as the old post office. Donald says they’ll catch the killer this time, and keep him from coming near Liz again.

Raymond’s putting together a jigsaw puzzle, when he and Dembe are joined by a man with an African accent named Geoffrey Keino. Keino says that he’s surprised that Reddington wanted to see him, Red asks the well-dressed man what he knows about cobalt. The African says that every cellphone battery contains at least three grams of cobalt, computers use even more.

Reddington responds that he’s heard that Keino’s boss Iniko’s investing in cobalt mines and he wants in. Geoffrey asks if Red wants him to set up a meeting with his boss, but Raymond says he wants to make a deal with Keino. He says he won’t deal with Iniko, as he recently murdered a close friend of his. Keino says if he goes against his boss, he’ll get killed. Reddington replies that Iniko will only keep him around as long as he’s useful, so Geoffrey should strike first.

The Task-Force members are down at the park in front of the old post office, not knowing who they’re looking for. They see a guy on a bicycle, but Aram quickly realizes the shooter’s on a motorcycle. Keen tackles the intended victim, saving his life, the guy on the bike gets away. Liz however gets told that the print they recovered from her doorway, during the drop of the second diorama, belongs to Fiona Driscoll.

Red and Dembe drop by a restaurant, where Iniko’s dining and Raymond proceeds to tell him that he’s got an employee that’s out to betray him. He says since he got betrayed by a former employee, he couldn’t allow Iniko to fall in the same trap. He then says that Keino offered him a share of the cobalt mines, if Reddington killed his boss. Iniko asks Raymond to join him for the rest of his meal, but Red begs off.

As they walk away from the table, Dembe takes Reddington to task for using Mr. Kaplan in his story. Red tries to dismiss him, but Zuma says that Kate deserves more respect than that. Raymond doesn’t respond to Dembe, who clearly can’t get over not stopping Reddington from killing his friend.

Ressler and Keen bring Fiona Driscoll into custody, she’s a little slip of a woman in her thirties. However they’re questioning her as if she’s the killer. Driscoll tells them that she’s not involved in the crimes, she just gets prior knowledge through premonitions. She tells the agents that the premonitions have been occurring for the last two-years and she takes them to her apartment to show Donald and Liz, more dioramas.

There are 42, in total and they depict tragedies, from around the globe. Then Fiona reveals that she’s not the one receiving the premonitions or creating the recreations. She introduces Ressler and Keen to her nine-year-old special needs daughter Maggie.

Raymond’s still working on his puzzle when Keino returns to the apartment. He’s terrified as Iniko closed the deal on the cobalt mines, without his assistance and he won’t return Geoffrey’s phone calls. Reddington tells Keino that the time to strike’s now and that Geoffrey should take out his boss with a car bomb.

Aram realizes that Maggie’s picking up cellphone conversations on her hearing aid, as they broadcast at the same frequency. Maggie’s been hearing the calls between Chris Farnsworth, CEO of Jasek Financial and his hitman Ben Charnquist. The Task-Force heads to the Driscoll’s apartment as Mojtabai attempts to track the signal. He loses it, but tells the others he’ll catch them on their next phone call.

Keino shows back up at Red’s apartment carrying a gun, which Dembe takes possession of before Geoffrey’s allowed in. He tells Reddington that Iniko discovered the car bomb and he thinks Raymond betrayed him. Red says that Keino got sloppy and either the bomb maker or the mechanic tipped off Iniko. Raymond tells Geoffrey that he’ll call Iniko and Keino can be prepared with the magic bullet.

Mojtabai’s able to pick up the conversation perfectly this time and they hear that Farnsworth and Charnquist found out about Maggie’s involvement and that’s how the Feds broke up the attempted shooting. The hitman tells Farnsworth to get a name and address and he’ll rectify the problem, just then Charnquist and Liz look out the window at the same time and realize what’s going on.

Liz and Donald run to the hitman’s apartment but just miss him, as he’s at the Driscoll’s. He’s knocked out Aram and taken Maggie. He encounters two uniforms and shoots them both, then takes one of the officer’s uniform and badge. He gets Maggie outside and puts her on a school-bus, as he attempts to hide from the agents, but quickly realizes they’ve got to get out of the area.

Mojtabai tells the pair that the walkie-talkies are broadcasting on the same frequency as Maggie’s hearing aid and if they crank the gain, they can cause Maggie to hear feedback. Charnquist and the girl exit the bus, when she drops to her knees in pain and starts screaming. The hitman starts to shake her and ask her what’s wrong, when he realizes all the mothers are staring at him and he takes off. Keen and Ressler, lower the gain and rescue the girl.

Keino’s pacing back and forth in a hallway, when Dembe arrives. Geoffrey says he can hear Iniko’s voice and Zuma hands him a gun with a silencer that he says is untraceable. Geoffrey asks Dembe if he could betray his boss, and after a second Zuma responds that he doesn’t know.

Keino bursts into the apartment and pulls the gun on his boss, but the chamber’s empty. He screams to Iniko that Reddington set him up, the boss replies they both did and kills his employee with three shots. Blood’s splattered all over the white apartment, Iniko calls his cleaners and Raymond and Dembe pull their weapons.

Farnsworth and Charnquist are back on the phone and Farnsworth says that the hitman’s got one more victim before they can escape. One of Farnsworth’s employee’s who apparently has been in on their crimes. Maggie hears the call and starts creating a diorama taking place at Jasek, showing a man dying in an elevator. Farnsworth meanwhile escapes just before a swat team enters his office to arrest him.

Iniko begs Raymond to spare his life, trying to tempt him with the riches Reddington could acquire through the cobalt mines. Raymond then reveals to Iniko that he’s looking for vengeance in the death of Cyrus Choi, who Iniko had murdered two-months before. Red says that he doesn’t believe that Choi would approve of the venture, as the money will come from using children as slave labor.

There’s a knock upon the door and Iniko says those are his cleaners. Raymond says that he’s going to hire them and the Crime-Lord says they work for him. Reddington says not anymore and shoots the African dead. He opens the door and the cleaners tell him they’ve arrived to meet Iniko and Raymond informs them that he’s dead. The female member of the duo’s pleased as she says he was a tool.

Aram informs them that the elevator was built prior to having emergency pneumatic back-up, so unless they stop Charnquist, the guy’s a dead man. A man in a tuxedo enters the building and the elevator and presses his floor, Charnquist’s busy cutting through the elevator cable. Ressler takes Charnquist out as he shoots him through a window, but the cord’s cut through. Keen saves the man with the emergency stop.

The Cleaners get the apartment back to pristine shape and Reddington’s amazed. He tells the pair that he wants to hire them and he’ll pay them twice what they got from Iniko. The woman tells Red that they only moonlight, as their regular job’s working for the Metro Police Department.

The male part of the pair asks Dembe what happened to their former cleaner and Zuma replies she was murdered. The guy asks if they were close and Dembe says very, he asks if the killer’s been caught and Zuma responds no. The guy asks if they know who did it and Dembe says they do, the guy says then it’s just a matter of time, right? Zuma remains silent.

When they leave Dembe glares at Reddington and asks if that’s what this was all about, replacing Kate? Raymond responds that there is no replacing Kate. Dembe’s glare remains as he says not as far as he’s concerned. Elizabeth comes to the apartment and it turns out that a member of The Blacklist was involved. Farnsworth’s known as the forecaster, Raymond never bank-rolled him as Red wasn’t controlling the venture.

The Keens are enjoying dinner when there’s a knock at the door and Tom asks Liz if she wants to get it? She’s surprised to see a pensive looking Dembe, who tells her he’s worried about Raymond. He says he’s not himself and he can’t reach him, the only thing Raymond cares about is Lizzie and Agnes. He then brings up the couple that were leaving the apartment as she arrived and Keen says Red wouldn’t tell her who they were.

Dembe reveals that the pair were cleaners and Liz asks what’s happened with Mr. Kaplan? She then asks if this has anything to do with faking her death? Is Kate being punished and being replaced by the couple. Dembe responds that they’re not replacing her, Raymond killed Kate. Fade to black.

How will this affect the dynamic of the series, for the short-term and the long-term? How’s Raymond going to react to the fact that he’s now been betrayed by yet another he’s trusted his life to? Will it cause an unrepairable rift between the pair, or will this cause Reddington to see the light? Just when Liz and Reddington have established some mutual-trust, she finds out he killed Kate. Can she ever forgive him?

Will this lead to them discovering that Mr. Kaplan’s indeed alive? Will they find the Tracker and will he once again enter the story. Will we find out who was driving that silver pickup truck that picked Kate up on the road? Will we find out the fate of Dr. Nick? Raymond’s past has caught up with him, how will this play out with those closest to him?

The Story Resumes Next Thursday Night at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

That melancholy air, that hovered over Season Four of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” lifted like the morning fog, as the show returned from its Autumn vacation. The distrust that kept the characters at arm’s length, and constantly angry with each other, casting a rather oppressive shadow through the first eight-episodes, appears to have departed along with Constantin Rostov. Of course we needed some conflict in at least one relationship, but not concerning either Lizzie or Raymond. We’ll get to that down the road, however let’s start at the beginning.

Our night begins at Lipet’s Seafood Company’s warehouse, as a truck backs into delivering the catch of the day. As the fish are getting unloaded, special attention’s given to one fish, with blood near its mouth. The fish is put in its own tray of ice, and carted over to three men dealing with technical equipment. One of the men, cut open the fish and pulls out a clear plastic pouch with a piece of tech inside it. He pulls it out of the sleeve and puts it into the machine in front of him.

Suddenly, we hear shouting and gunfire and one of the men, tells the other two, to take the tech and run. We soon see the attackers, covered from head to toe in black, and all sporting machine-guns. They get the tech and then throw a couple of grenades as they yell fire in the hole.

When we return from the opening credits we see Agnes and Lizzie, as Keen’s taking a video-selfie, while talking to a future version of Agnes. “When you were a baby, we lived inside a warehouse and we had body-guards. (Say hello Baz.) Inside the warehouse, was a fake apartment. Here’s your daddy, inside your fake living room.” She shuts off the camera, saying it should provide their daughter an interesting college essay. Tom and Liz, briefly discuss Kirk’s status and Lizzie’s ready to let it go. She says their priority right now’s finding a new place to live.

Harold Cooper, provides a bit of comic relief in this go-round, doing a whole lot of huffing and puffing, but going no further than that on two separate occasions. The first one takes place in his office, as he chews out Raymond. Cooper’s livid that Reddington, had the bureau chase down Alexander Kirk for months, costing agents their lives and he let him go. Red tells Harold that he’s got to stop living in the past and tells him about the attack at the seafood warehouse.

He tells Cooper that law-enforcement believe that they were running a dope-ring out of the facility, but they got it wrong. It’s actually been used by the “New Martyrs Brigade,” a terrorist based in Libya. He then shows Harold a photo of the corpse of Algerian Terrorist Hassam Arkani. Raymond says when he gets any more info, he’ll contact Agent Keen, which sends Cooper off on another tirade.

Harold says that Keen losing her badge’s a stain on her reputation, one that Reddington’s responsible for. Cooper growls that since Red entered Liz’s life, he’s caused her nothing but pain, grief and regret. A fact that Reddington seems obviously oblivious to, and helpless in how to rectify it. Raymond gets up from his chair, squeezes Cooper’s arm and says Good Talk Harold, then walks away.

Cooper informs the Task-Force about the NMB and the attack on the warehouse, and assigns his team roles. Navabi finds out that Aram’s getting formally questioned by the Justice Department, as to how his phony girlfriend Elise got access to his laptop. Samar says he’s got nothing to worry about, as he was clueless about the situation. Aram says he’ll come out of the situation looking like a traitor or a moron, Navabi says he’s a moron and he’ll be fine.

Ressler and Navabi head to the warehouse and interview the manager, he says two of the deceased had worked for him for a couple of months, but he didn’t recognize the rest. He says that the crew disabled the cameras at about 9:00pm, so there’s no surveillance footage. One of the agents sifting through the debris, finds a timing chip which Ressler brings to Mojtabai.

A graphic informs us that we’re now in Tripoli, Libya and we see two men having a conversation in Arabic. One man informs the other that Arkani’s dead and the project he was overseeing maybe over. He says that those responsible must be found and the technology recovered immediately. The bald-headed man he’s talking to smiles widely and responds consider it done.

The Task-Force’s summoned to the Post Office, for some urgent meeting. Aram’s been obsessed with the timing chip since he received it. He tells the other’s the quality’s far too good for the NMB, or some other group to have produced. He says the only ones who could make something of that quality, is the United States Government, then identifies the piece as being created by government contractor Blackthorn/Kincaid. Cooper sends Navabi and Ressler to the contractor and tells Aram to start getting ready for his interview.

Harold pulls Lizzie aside, and tells her that he’s going to ask Cynthia Panabaker to restore Keen back to agent status. Liz gets very excited and asks Cooper if he believes it’s possible? He replies that he’s surprised they hadn’t already done it on their own. She’ll be the one conducting Aram’s hearing, and he’ll ask her then.

Ressler’s a little stingy on diplomacy when he and Navabi question the contractor. After a brief spitting match, they identify the piece as being created four months earlier and likely handled by about eighty employees. When Ressler tells them he’ll need a list of all the employees involved, one of the executives hands him a dossier on a former employee, James Maddox. He was one of their top programmers, but developed a drinking problem and they terminated him. Ressler takes the file, but says he still wants the list of the other employees.

Raymond’s in his car when he receives a call from a woman named Wendy, who says she’s got some information on the NMB, and that they’re heading into the country. She says that her intelligence says they’ll be sending about six agents, lead by the bald-headed guy we saw earlier in Tripoli, Farouk. As they’re talking we watch as Farouk al-Thani’s passport’s accepted and he enters the States.

Farouk has the seafood warehouse manager, brought to him with a black bag over his head. The manager apologizes and doesn’t know what went wrong, but he informs al-Thani, that he’s got the surveillance footage that he convinced law-enforcement officials, didn’t exist. Farouk then shoots the manager and makes a call, saying we have to meet immediately. The man on the other end of the phone’s the executive from Blackthorn/Kincaid, that gave Ressler the dossier on Maddox.

Raymond’s dining out, when Dembe suddenly walks over and tells Red that someone’s arrived. A man joins him at the table and says that he’s not there and this meeting never took place. The other man’s Marlin Heiden, Legal adviser to President-Elect Robert Diaz, and Raymond laughs heartily at Heiden’s statements. He then states that Diaz made Reddington a campaign promise and he just wants it granted, he finishes his meal and says that Heiden should tell Diaz, he’ll be in touch.

Farouk meets with the executive and demands that he replace the technology that got stolen. The man from the contractor informs al-Thani that’s not going to happen, but he believes he can identify some of the attackers on the security tape, as Blackthorn/Kincaid has a program that can see through cloth masks.

Keen questions the former programmer Maddox, who says he ran from Ressler and Navabi, because he thought they were process-servers. He’s going through a nasty divorce, and doesn’t want to spend more time in court. He says he knows nothing about the timer chip, but Ressler then walks in with a burner phone and a bank passbook that were found in a search of Maddox’s home. He says he’s being framed, and we can see Lizzie believes him.

The executive gets the tape rendered and they’re able to identify one of the attackers, it’s Navabi. She was part of a Black-Ops attack conducted by Mossad, to keep the technology that could pierce Israel’s defense. Just as they’re discovering her identity, Navabi meets with the other Mossad operatives and tells them that Aram had suspicions about one of their members and they have to get back to Israel.

Aram survives a humiliating interview with Panabaker, and gets cleared of any wrong-doing. Navabi and he make a date to celebrate his name getting cleared after work that evening. Samar gives Mojtabai, a congratulatory hug, before she and Ressler head out to interview a Blackthorn/Kincaid programmer, who claims he saw Maddox with the timing chip.

Cooper tells Keen that despite his best efforts, Panabaker said that Liz won’t be reinstated as an agent. He tells Lizzie that the only way she could gain clearance to get her shield back, would be if the new Attorney-General gave his okay to the arrangement. Harold tells her that’s not about to happen.

Marlin Heiden’s been pulled over by a cruiser and soon he’s joined by Reddington and Heiden realizes the cops who busted him are working for Red. Raymond informs him, that the really bad news is his toxicology report shows him way over the legal limit. This time Heiden laughs as he informs Reddington that he’s been sober for 12-years. Red says and that’s exactly why the President-Elect will have to terminate Marlin, as that’s not a good image for the new administration. Reddington says he can make the charges disappear, if Heiden gets Raymond that meeting with Diaz.

Turns out that the programmer was really a trap set-up by the NMB, Farouk and his crew kidnap Samar, leaving Ressler in the dust. Ressler calls the Post Office and tells them about Navabi, Lizzie calls Reddington and sends him everything they have on the NMB. Raymond recognizes the man that Aram had flagged as a Mossad agent named Ezra, and says he was part of the Black-Ops team that attacked the seafood warehouse.

Farouk puts Samar up on a hook and smiles at her, then says she should save herself a lot of needless pain and suffering and just reveal where the tech’s hidden. Navabi smiles back at him and says she’s good. He soon realizes she’s not going to break and suggests to the Blackthorn/Kincaid executive, that they use Samar’s cellphone to try to track down her Mossad teammates. He says that they can trade her life for the tech. The executive says she saw his face and she can’t leave the room. Farouk says that the executive won’t leave the room then shoots him dead. His instinct serves him well, as the number he hits connects him to Mossad agent Levi. However Ressler and the FBI discover the Mossad agents.

Levi absconded with the tech, and heads to Cornerstone Park, with Ressler in pursuit. Farouk directs Levi to a push-cart vendor, but the agent demands to hear Navabi’s voice before he gives the vendor the tech. She tells Levi to destroy the tech, but the agent gives the package over to the vendor saying that the tech’s not leaving the park until Samar’s returned. Just at that moment Navabi’s released from a white van and Aram tells Ressler and the other agents where the push-cart’s located.

The vendor attaches the tech to a drone and it flies off into the air. Donald tells him to make it come down, but the guy just smiles and says he’s not controlling it. Ressler tracks it down and sees Farouk about to check out of a hostel. A chase ensues and then the two men fight, but Farouk’s hit and killed by a car that hits him. Ressler takes the bag and leaves the corpse in the street.

Samar’s recovering in an ambulance, when Levi comes over to her. She says that he risked Israel’s security to get her back, she doesn’t know whether to hit him or hug him. Levi informs her that he broke off his engagement, Navabi says she’s sorry to hear the news. However Levi smiles and says Samar should be happy about that.

President-Elect Diaz and his wife arrive to have a dance lesson, but he finds that Raymond’s waiting for him. Diaz says that he and Reddington are through, he opened up an investigation into Alexander Kirk, and suspended his Presidential campaign. Red reminds him that Diaz got compensated for that, however he promised Raymond something else. He then says that the current President will want his image burnished by his successor, and that granting Diaz this favor will ensure that.

Cooper finds himself chewing out Navabi, as the episode draws to a close. He says that her actions were unacceptable, and she replies that she was out to save her country. Cooper explodes as he says as long as she works on the Task-Force, her job’s to protect the USA. Samar, replies she was able to save both with her actions. Harold tells her that she can never lie to him, or take on a mission without his authority. He then tells her to go home and get some rest.

As Harold leaves, Aram says that she should go home and they’ll do dinner another night. She thanks him for the rain-check, but he says that he’s not really giving her one. He recounts his interview with Panabaker and says he got embarrassed. He says that he needs to know that the woman he’d raise a family with and grow old together, isn’t a spy. He walks away and we can see the pain in Samar’s face.

In the fake apartment, Tom asks Liz if he understood that Panabaker said she couldn’t be reinstated, then turns on the TV newscast. The anchor’s talking about the surprising move that the out-going President had made earlier that afternoon, granting a full pardon to Elizabeth Keen.

Navabi meets with Levi, to talk about what he said to her earlier. She says as much as that’s what she always wanted, that she’s now in love with another man. How this will affect her relationship with Aram, now remains to be seen.

The final scene of the evening, has Liz saying to Harold that Raymond Reddington got her a pardon from the President of the United States! How does he do these things? Cooper smiles and says he doesn’t know or care, right at that moment. His only concern is doing something he’s long wanted to do. He gives Lizzie back her gun and her shield and says, Welcome Back Agent Keen.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 10:00pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert:

 Isn’t this where we came in? After watching the creative team and writers for the NBC series “The Blacklist ,” build a pretty convincing argument over the last ten episodes that Elizabeth Keen’s the biological daughter of Constantin Rostov, we found out that once again we got lead down a dead-end road. That information divided into two-forks, the long-term question, just who’s Keen’s father? The other fork’s of a more pressing manner, how long will the casualty list run, after Rostov’s extraction team springs him from the hospital he’s a patient in?

With two episodes remaining until the conclusion of the Fall campaign, we realized that even though Alexander Kirk’s in Federal Custody, his story wasn’t near conclusion when he got taken into custody. Far too many questions remained unanswered in Lizzie’s mind and she thought Rostov could provide the answers, a situation she couldn’t leave untapped.

However before we explore that avenue, let’s return to the beginning of the episode. We join an elderly man with a mottled face, laboriously breathing, as he sits next to a woman in a lab-coat. The man’s coughing uncontrollably and asks the woman what’s wrong with him? She says he’s suffering a rare and serious side-effect of the medicine he’s taking. He says he thought they could help him and the woman apologizes, and says he knew the risks going in, however if there’s any solace, his results will help future patients. She then leaves the room and we watch the patient through a glass portal, beg for help and then collapse.

Alexander Kirk’s placed inside the glass vault inside the Post Office, as Cooper goes through the perfunctory reading of what Rostov’s charged with. He asks the Russian Oligarch, if he’s got any questions and Constantin remains silent. Liz’s going through an emotional roller-coaster, ecstatic over her family’s unification, yet full of regrets that her father sits in prison with an incurable disease, that grows worse each day.

Lizzie receives a call from Raymond, and in his usual round-a-bout manner, Reddington asks Keen if she’s even been spear fishing, before he introduces the subject he actually wants to discuss. He tells Liz that Rostov’s an imminent escape-risk and she asks how that could be, since the Bureau discovered and ended Constantin hacking their computer system and arrested their mole? He responds that Rostov will manipulate her feelings and enlist her help, which she quickly dismisses.

Reddington, sits down with Samar and Ressler, and tells them he’s got another member of the Blacklist, who goes by The Coroner. This man’s ability revolves around maintaining the identity of dead people, that he utilizes to give his clientele new lives. Raymond directs them to a woman who utilized The Coroner’s services and they use the woman to contact the Coroner.

Navabi makes contact with The Coroner in a rather upscale bar, while Ressler monitors the action a few tables away.  Just as Samar begins to start a conversation, we hear a very familiar voice speaking loudly and adopting an accent that would have fit perfectly in Dublin. Raymond and guest are sitting at the next table and Reddington suddenly gets up from his seat and joins Samar and The Coroner at their table.

Although the Blacklist member lacks interest in helping Reddington, The Coroner becomes far more cooperative after Raymond points out the man remaining at Red’s old table, hopes that he won’t help, as The Coroner killed the man’s brother. If he won’t aid Reddington, then the Concierge Of Crime will allow the brother to have his way with the Coroner. Raymond tells him he’s looking for a former client’s new identity, The Coroner divulges the woman he knows as Sonia Bloom’s now Dr. Adrian Shaw.

Lizzie has a heartfelt discussion with Cooper and decides to talk with Rostov while he sits in the vault. He asks her if she truly believes that he’s her father and she affirms that she does. Constantin then asks why she chose Reddington over him and Liz replies, the decision she made was for herself and her family. She didn’t want to be under either man’s control. Suddenly blood starts streaming from Rostov’s nostrils and he collapses on the floor, she has the vault opened and when she realizes that Rostov’s unconscious calls for 911.

When they get to the hospital, the doctor assesses them on Rostov’s condition and things look bleak. She informs them of his blood disorder and his history of blood transfusions and she fears that if she attempted another transfusion he could go into shock. She says that the patient’s chances of survival rest on the outside chance that a family member would donate stem-cells in the next 24-hours.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of levity during Season Four, perhaps because of its scarcity,  I treasure those moments. Raymond and Dembe are sitting in a pediatrician’s waiting room and Reddington decides to utilize his time solving the puzzle in current Hi-Lights magazine. The receptionist announces that the doctor’s ready to see them, but Red wants to find the last hidden item. In order to speed the process, Zuma points out the sailboat that’s eluded Reddington and the frustration in Raymond’s voice when Dembe points it out’s palpable.

The physician they meet is the partner of Dr. Adrian Shaw and he makes it clear to Shaw that Raymond knows everything about her past. She agrees to meet with Reddington in exchange for the release of her partner.

Lizzie’s going through an internal battle, whether she should try to save Rostov, or allow his condition to end his life. Tom’s adamantly against the idea of her helping him, Rostov endangered both his wife and his daughter and doesn’t believe that Rostov deserves Keen’s help or pity. We can see by the expression on Lizzie’s face that she’s less than satisfied at the end of their conversation.

Cooper realizes that Lizzie’s in distress and she tells him she’s torn between allowing Rostov to succumb to his illness, or if she should try to help save his life. She says that Tom would hate her for helping Constantin and Raymond predicted she’d help Rostov. Harold responds that from his perspective, she shouldn’t be as concerned with Reddington and Tom’s feelings, but to decide on what she feels is the right choice.

She walks over to Constantin’s room and he asks her if she had all the money in the world, what would she do with it. She says that she’d travel around the globe, twice. Rostov says choices like that will soon be open to her as he’s leaving all his money to her. Lizzie says he’s going to have a while to decide what to do with his assets, as she’s decided to help him. He puts his hand on top of hers in gratitude, but she quickly moves her hand from his.

Turns out that Dr. Adrian Shaw and her partner Dr. Taylor Rayburn, are conducting a trial on critically ill patients on a dilapidated ship, which Navabi and Ressler search when the ship pulls into port. The patients nearly go undetected by the agents, until Samar notices something amiss. We see the patients lying in hammocks, in varying degrees of health, some appear to be doing well while others lie there with blistered skin. The treatment’s based on the patient using their own healthy cells to cure their bad ones and while some have succeeded, others died painfully.

Due to a large-scale bus accident in the area, the hospital’s unable to get the information confirming that Liz and Rostov would be a compatible match for the procedure. There’s a set of 16 DNA signposts that must be an exact match and they must share the same blood-type. The procedure hits another snag, as it turns out that in order for them to get enough stem-cells from Keen, the hospital team would need to drill into her bones. Although the procedure’s low-risk, side-effects could develop later in life and Tom’s against the procedure, although he realizes Lizzie’s going through with it. Keen’s prepped for surgery, awaiting the confirmation call, the call’s received but we don’t hear the results.

Elizabeth goes to visit Rostov in his room and he says he thought she was in surgery and she confirms he was. He smiles and tells Masha she saved his life, she says she tried to but all did not go as planned. She reveals to Constantin that not only did they fail to produce a match, according to the DNA screening, Rostov’s not her father.

Red and Dembe meet with Shaw and Rayburn, and Rayburn’s quickly told he can go home once he meets Dr. Shaw. He brings the hematologist into a spanking new facility and she asks Reddington if he’s sick. Raymond gives her a rather sardonic smile and replies that she’s got no idea.

Lizzie walks back into Rostov’s room and sees that he’s back in his suit. She asks why and he responds since they can’t cure him he might as well leave. He then says he believes that Reddington faked the DNA results, Keen says she thought the same but she had the hospital rerun them and the results came out the same. The façade of civility that Rostov keeps so meticulously in place, crumbles at that point as he starts raving about Reddington and how he destroyed his family.

In the midst of a conversation with Dr. Ryan, Raymond steps away to take a call from Keen. She asks Reddington if he faked the tests and then tells him what’s going on. Raymond says now that Constantin realizes Lizzie’s not his daughter, she’s of no use to him. He tells Keen to inform Harold and get out of the hospital immediately. Unfortunately the extraction team already in place, Lizzie’s going to have a hard time escaping with her life.