Season Five Episode Four

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Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Sherwood/NBC


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

For those viewers that feared that the NBC series “The Blacklist,” had lost its edge since moving to the 8:00pm hour, the episode entitled “The Endling,” put those concerns to rest.  The fourth installment from season five, was a tough, gritty, unnerving and uncomfortable hour, starting with the open. This week’s Blacklist member killed with abandon to achieve her goal, however the darkness didn’t end there. As the hour concluded we realized that the darkness that pervaded the hour, altered the lives of some long-term characters, with one chilling event yet to be discovered by Team-Red and its extended members.

The evening began in a pastoral setting, but that mood wouldn’t last for long. A graphic informs us that we’re in Cork, Ireland, and we watch a magnificent steed galloping inside his pen. We join two people, an elderly Irishman named Malloy, the horse’s trainer, and a young Middle-Eastern woman, identified as Nirah. The horse’s named Fitzpleasure, and his owner ended his racing days early in order to make far more money in stud fees. The animal will fetch $150,000 per mating and will perform his services 150 times a year. The woman agrees to the costly stud fee, and hands her flask to Malloy as the couple celebrate their transaction with a toast.

Seconds later Malloy starts to gasp, realizes he’s ingested poison and falls to the ground inside the barn. Nirah pets Fitzpleasure and tells him he’s a beautiful creature, too beautiful for this world. She then starts a blaze inside the barn, the horse starts whinnying in fear. She says it will be over soon, sets the barn door and leaves as the structure’s engulfed in flames.

Lizzie and Tom make plans to have lunch together that day, and they’re extremely pleased to engage in an activity that’s normal for most couples. Tom’s cellphone rings and Nik Korpal’s on the other end, he tells Keen that Pete McGee’s recovered DNA from the bones in the suitcase, and the three of them will met up at McGee’s apartment at 2:00pm. Tom tells Liz that it’s a telemarketer, and she says that they’re on the no-call list. She shouts into the phone that the caller’s breaking the law, Korpal says to Tom that she’s right and he doesn’t know how they roped them into this.

Elizabeth discovers that Raymond and Dembe’s living arrangements have taken a drastic turn for the better since vacating the motor court, as she finds them staying in a well furnished upper-class home. Reddington’s amazed at the concept of a “BNB,” nd tickled that Dembe was able to secure a three-day rental of the house without ever meeting the owners.

After losing his game of Scrabble to Dembe, Red shows Liz a newspaper article on the fire that killed Fitzpleasure and his trainer Malloy. Keen asks Raymond when he developed an interest in race horse, and he responds that the horse and Malloy were murdered. He says the proof’s the fact that the horse only sired one foal. He says the murderer is the latest member of The Blacklist, known as the Endling. Raymond explains that an “Endling” is the term for the last of its species or kind. Fitzpleasure was a perfect steed and the owner of the foal now possesses the only other horse from that gene-pool, vastly increasing the horse’s value.

Nik and Tom meet with Korpal’s old medical classmate Pete McGee, who tells them that he’s hit a brick wall in his attempt to identify the bones in the valise. He says that the only way he can access the national data base is with the assistance of the Bureau, and they’ll never obtain it. Tom asks if they’d be able to access the database with Lizzie’s ID badge, and McGee says that would work. Against the advice of Korpal, Tom tells McGee he’ll get the badge.

The Task-Force get the alias that Nirah used to set up her meeting with Malloy, and quickly find the owner of the foal. The man’s named Caleb Hess, owner of a large security firm that’s undergoing financial difficulties. Nirah approached him about the horse, only telling him that she would greatly increase his horse’s value in exchange for some information.

Hess had set-up security protocols a few years earlier for Princess Sonya of Montenegro. (Montenegro, actually hasn’t operated under a monarchy since 1921. The nation has a President Filip Vujanović, and a Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, whom you might remember got shoved out-of-the-way in a photo-op by President Trump, earlier this year.)

Nirah’s stalking the Princesses’ party at the hotel she’s staying at in Washington D.C. She gains access to the floor that the party’s taken over by knocking out a room service attendant who brings champagne to her suite, and taking her uniform. She then brings the cart up to the floor with a bomb on a timer hidden within it. Ressler and Navabi arrive on the floor just before the bomb goes off. They’re able to secure the Princess, and escort her to safety, however Sonya wasn’t Nirah’s target. Instead she went after and captured Sonya’s “assistant” Ana, who had a hidden role known only by a select few.

Princess Sonya’s pregnant and she has an extremely rare blood type, however Ana’s blood type is far rarer. She’s one of just seven people, out of over seven billion people on the planet, born with what’s known as “golden blood.” Her blood type is the only universal blood type on the planet, meaning her blood can be used for transfusions with any blood type. The Task-Force believe that Nirah kidnapped Ana to corner the market on “golden blood,” an almost priceless commodity. However they’ve got no idea what Nirah’s real motivation is.

One of the reasons that Raymond’s looking rather portly this season, maybe his nocturnal snacking, as he gets up in the middle of the night to raid the refrigerator. As he enjoys a tablespoon of peanut-butter, he hears some rustling at the outside doors. He quietly alerts Dembe, who quickly overtakes the two home invaders. Zuma and Reddington believe the two men were set to kill them, but they find out they’re on the wrong track.

It turns out that two that two other people with “golden blood,” have gone missing ion the last couple of months. The Task-Force locates the only other person in the States with that blood type, his name’s Ethan Isaacs, currently a patient in the ICU at Mercy Hospital. Cooper sends Navabi and Ressler to the hospital to talk with Isaacs.

Nirah’s already at the hospital and we find out that Ethan Isaacs’ a young boy dying from a heart condition, and Nirah’s been masquerading as his nurse at the hospital, who Ethan’s parents know as Alma. Since there’s no hope for saving the boy’s life, Ethan’s parents are taking their son home, to live out his final days in his own bed. Nirah tells the parents that she promised the nurses on the fourth floor that she’d bring him by for them to throw a going away party for Ethan. She tells his parents to gather his belongings and meet them on the fourth floor.

Raymond and Dembe torture the pair of home invaders and realize that they weren’t sent to take down the pair. They were hired by a man they refer to as The Mailman to rob the home. The Mailman’s an actual Post Office employee, who contracts thieves to rob homes of people who’ve had their mail service stopped when they go on vacation. Realizing the owners are away, makes the homes easy pickings for the thieves he contracts, he takes an upfront cut and the thieves keep everything they steal.

Ressler and Navabi arrive at the hospital too late, as Nirah’s kidnapped Ethan. The Task-Force obtain images from close circuit cameras and identify Nirah as a former Syrian rebel-fighter, and the birth mother of Ethan. She gave him up for adoption years before, so she should carry on her fighting in her country, but her priorities changed when she found out her son had contracted the deadly disease. The only way for Ethan to survive, would be for him to undergo a heart transplant, and he’d need plenty of “golden blood” for transfusions, and his heart donor would have to be one of the other six people on the planet with the rare blood type. That’s why Nirah’s kidnapped Ana and her two other captives.

Liz turns to Raymond for help tracking down Nirah, and she brings a photograph of the woman and her male associate. He recognizes the man, and he takes Lizzie to met one of his former paramours, Dr. Melissa Lomay, who operates an organization called Doctors Without Morals, an enterprise that caters to the underworld. The male associate’s one of Melissa’s staff members, and Raymond convinces the doctor to give up his location.

Keen, Reddington, and Zuma arrive at the facility as the surgeon’s preparing for the procedure. Raymond convinces Nirah to trust him, telling her that the Bureau would soon be raiding the facility, she’ll be put behind bars and Ethan will die. He says he has another way and tells her that a mother’s love’s capable of miracles. When Ressler and Navabi arrive Lizzie tells the pair that Nirah and Ethan were gone when she arrived. Meanwhile Raymond pays a visit to Nik Korpal, telling the doctor he required his services. Nik responds with a no, Reddington replies that he wasn’t making a request.

Liz arrives at the facility where Korpal will conduct the surgery, and she apologizes to her former fiancée that he got dragged into this. He says that she’s lying, that she’s become part of this world now, part of Raymond’s world. Melissa, who’ll also be involved in the procedure informs Raymond that the boy’s prepped for surgery as soon as the donor heart arrives, Reddington responds it’s already there, and he pulls out his pistol and hands it to Nirah. She says she always realized that someone with “golden-blood ” would have to die to save her son, but she never thought she’d have to take her own life. She take the pistol, holds it under her chin and pulls the trigger. Her heart saves her son’s life.

Raymond informs Lizzie that he had no ulterior motive in stopping the Endling, he just wanted to stop a vicious killer. Liz asks him what his thoughts are now that everything’s played out, he replies that a sinner can still be a saint. Keen asks Reddington if that description might describe himself, he replies that he’d like to think he could summon that courage in a similar situation.

Raymond thanks Korpal and tells him he’s in the surgeon’s debt. Nik asks if he can collect immediately, and Red asks him what he’d like. Korpal responds that neither he or Liz ever contact him again. Lizzie lets out a nervous giggle and says that Nik doesn’t mean that, Korpal responds that Reddington’s a wanted criminal. Keen replies that Raymond’s her father, and Nik replies that’s not justification.

Raymond summons Anthony the mailman back to the house he’s staying at, and the Postal worker breathes a sigh of relief when Reddington says he doesn’t want a cut of Anthony’s racket. However the relief’s short lasting as Red tells Anthony he’s taking over the operation and Anthony will now receive 10%. His mood brightens considerably when Raymond says they’ll soon be obscenely wealthy, as they’re not going to rob the homes, but instead rent them out as safe houses, on a nationwide business. It looks like the Concierge Of Crime’s on the comeback trail.

Tom contacts Nik, whose none too happy about Raymond and Lizzie involving him in their plot against his will. He says he’s on his way home and will stop by McGee’s on the way, to find out what kind of progress he’s made since accessing the national database. Tom tells Korpal he’s feeling hinky about Pete, but Nik tells him to relax.

Ethan’s put in an ambulance and he arrives back at Mercy Hospital for a joyful reunion with his parents. Cooper let’s Liz no that he’s irate with her for lying to her partners and colluding with Reddington. He tells her he loves her like a daughter, but he’s extremely concerned that she’s starting to fall under he father’s influence. He ends the conversation by saying “I’m watching you Elizabeth.”

Lizzie arrives back home and tells Tom that she fears she’s too much like Reddington. Tom attempts to console her, telling her that she’s good and kind and nothing like Raymond. She then shares her fear that Nik’s really upset with her and he’ll break off contact with the two of them. Tom hugs her and says that Korpal’s a big boy and can take care of himself and his anger won’t last for long.

Korpal goes to Pete’s apartment and he’s surprised that the front door’s ajar. He enters the apartment and calls for his old classmate, then starts looking at the computer. Somebody comes up from behind him and strangles Korpal to death with a wire. As Ni’s limp body falls to the floor, we see a hooded man grab the valise and leave the apartment. Was it McGee, an associate of Reddington, or possibly somebody that worked for Kate?

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

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Plunging straight into a totally different storyline is good enough for The Walking Dead, and it’s good enough for me.

Beth awakens in a hospital room. She’s got an IV drip in her arm, a well-dressed wound on her face, and no idea where she is. She staggers to the window to find the view of a cityscape—she’s back in Atlanta. She rushes to the door but finds it locked. Hmm. Locked doors in a hospital? There’s something amiss enough for her to instinctively rip the IV from her arm so she can stab someone in the eye with a needle. If she needs to. Like you sometimes do.

A uniformed cop and a doctor in a white coat enter the room, firmly and not exactly reassuringly telling Beth to drop the needle. The doctor introduces himself as Dr. Steven Edwards, and the cop as Officer Dawn Lerner. They explain that she’s at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. They found her in surrounded by “rotters” (interesting how many groups have had different names for the reanimated corpses trying to eat every living thing around them) and saved her. Beth doesn’t remember anything. She asks about Daryl, but they quickly inform her that she was alone. But, they did save her. And for that, Officer Dawn Lerner explains, Beth owes them.

The duties and expectations of “owing them,” it seems, involve keeping things nice and tidy and performing basic medical assisting duties. Beth isn’t there long before she figures out the expectations are way grosser than bedpans and bloody gauze. One of the officers who found her, a slimy douche named Gorman, explains to Beth as she’s fixing a plate for dinner that “thank-yous are expected around here.” No one takes without giving. Creepy, inappropriate leering. Beth suddenly isn’t hungry anymore.

She takes dinner in to Dr. Edwards. He clears away the work on his desk to make room for his food, bemoaning that he used to feel like he was “drowning in research” but now he’s “suffocating in boredom.” It takes a particular kind of experience to be bored during the zombie apocalypse, I think. Beth thinks that boredom is a luxury, and I think he’s right. He implores her to join him, but she refuses. She’s not interesting in “owing” any more than she already does. Edwards apologizes, offers Beth some food, and tries to engage her in maybe more pleasant conversation.

They’re interrupted when the officers bring in a gravely injured man. He fell off a roof, the officers explain. Dr. Edwards doesn’t offer a hopeful prognosis, even after he punches an airway into the patient’s collapsed lung. Dawn is frantic for better news, but he points out signs of internal bleeding. Dawn demands that Dr. Edwards save the man, but he declares that the man isn’t worth the resources. Dawn becomes irate and strikes Beth. The implication is clear: save him or I take her.

The two manage to stabilize the man, identified as Gavin Trevitt from his wallet. Afterwards, Dr. Edwards redressed the wound on Beth’s face that Dawn tore open. She changes out of her bloodied scrubs and into fresh clothes at his insistence. Dawn, it appears, likes things neat. Or, she likes them to look that way, anyway. Beth discovers a lollipop in the pocket of her new top, but she doesn’t get a chance to change her clothes yet.

A woman’s brought in, bleeding and howling and bitten. The girl (we’ll find out her name is Joan) fights and screams to be left to die. Dawn, always in charge when patients get admitted, ‘s incensed. The girl had apparently been trying to escape, and Dawn’s outraged that anyone would want to leave the situation she’d put in place. The woman continues to flail and scream, accusing Dawn of not being able to control “them.” Beth’s horrified, but holds the woman’s legs down at command Dawn screams at her. Joan’s arm’s strapped to the bed, and Dr. Edwards begins to amputate.

Later, after Beth gets a chance to actually change, she returns her dirty clothes to the laundry. Noah, another orderly, is working in there. He confesses that he’s the one who snuck her the lollipop. He confirms what Beth has figured out—that Grady Memorial is a brutal system held in place by a woman who’s losing her grip and a bunch of abusive cops. He has a plan, though. They think he’s weak, but he’s strong. And he knows Beth is strong, too.

The next morning, Beth is working and refuses the breakfast Dawn brings for her. She isn’t interested in owing any more than she has to. Less food means she can work off her debt in a shorter time. Dawn invites Beth to join her on a bench with the impatient seat-tap of someone trying to summon a naughty child. Clearly, she’s no longer holding it together as well as she seems. She begins a long explanation of why her way of running things is right and just. The world is different now, she explains, and everyone has to do their part. Sacrifices. She’s trying very hard to keep everything going. It’s the speech a single mom gives to her rebellious teenager as she tries to explain how overwrought she is. Beth doesn’t buy it. She didn’t ask to be saved. No, Dawn replies, but she clearly needed to be saved. She insists that Beth eat anyway, as she’ll be useless if she’s weak. Neither of them asked for the situation they’re in, Dawn reminds Beth.

Humming absently, Beth mops up the blood that’s still staining the floor of the amputee’s room. The humming wakes the patient. Beth moves to get the doctor, but Joan asks her to wait for a few minutes. She warns Beth that Dawn could “control them if she wanted to, but she’s too much of a coward.”

If there was any room left to doubt that Dawn’s officers were sexually abusing the girls in the hospital, it’s removed when Gorman encounters Beth as she’s changing the linen in another room. She searches for the lollipop that Noah may have left for her, but Gorman approaches her, eating it. He again insists that Beth should “show some gratitude” for what he and the other officers do to keep the rest of them safe. He forces the lollipop into Beth’s mouth in the most abusive way possible when Dr. Edwards steps in. Gorman threatens to keep at it, but Dr. Edwards warns him that when he’s sick or injured, he’ll remember this moment.

Gorman stalks off. Beth, disturbed and angry, asks Dr. Edwards why he stays.

He takes her to the ground floor of the hospital, now gated  off but no longer an exit. He bangs the gates a few times, getting attention from some nearby walkers. As they drool and snap at the fence, Beth has her answer. He stays because the outside world is too horrific.

Inside, sure, is no picnic either. But Dawn took over for another man, Officer Hanson, who didn’t make good decisions once things went to hell. He’d wanted to save more people, but Dawn insisted that they

limit their resources, which is how the “work off what you owe us” arrangement was born. He looks ashamed, but Beth reassures him that he couldn’t have known she’d be so twisted. Grateful for a bit of sympathy, he tells Beth to finish attending to Trevitt and that she can be done with her duties for the day. Seventy five milligrams of clozapine, he instructs.

Beth is finishing the injection as Noah passes, leaning in to smile at her. Soon after the injection, the patient experiences a violent seizure. As usual, Officer Dawn is on the scene, demanding to know what happened. Noah jumps in to say that he must have unplugged the patient’s respirator while he was mopping. Or something. Dr. Edwards attempts to save the patient, but the seizure proved fatal in an already heavily broken body. Dawn drags Noah across the hall and begins to work on his face. Beth is shaking with terror, but Dr. Edwards attempts to comfort her. “You gave him the clonazepam like I asked?” he prods. Beth nods, but stammers, “Clozapine?” They’re two different drugs (clozapine is for psychosis, clonazepam is an anti-anxiety and anti-seizure drug), but they can all sound the when you’re first starting out. Did Beth make a fatal rookie mistake?

Dawn confronts Beth the next day. Noah’s smart, she admits, but he’s not much of a liar. Beth demands to know why Dawn beat Noah if she knew that he wasn’t at fault for Trevitt’s seizure. Dawn explains that she needs Beth to learn some lessons and cooperate better if she’s going to live with them. She’s really trying to induce Stockholm Syndrome, but Beth wants nothing to do with it. Dawn taunts Beth that she’s weak and will always be a burden. Dawn lifts Beth’s arm, revealing the scar on her wrist. The scar proves that Beth is weak, she proclaims. Silly Dawn. Beth had Daryl Dixon to teach her how to survive. She’s not going down that easily.

Beth finds Noah, and they begin their escape. Beth needs to retrieve the elevator key from Dawn’s office. She searches through the filing cabinets but doesn’t find much except for an interesting ID card and a picture of Dawn and the former Officer Hanson. Then she finds a pool of blood on the floor, Joan’s corpse, and the “*UCK YOU” Joan scraped into the floor with a pair of surgical scissors. Beth continues to ransack the office. Just as she finds the key, Gorman comes into the office. Beth flounders for an excuse, but Gorman has her caught and he knows it.

He begins to advance on her, pulling at her shirt and pressing his body down on hers against the desk. Beth seems to freeze for a moment, but before another breath can be taken, she smashes Gorman over the head with a jar of lollipops and hurls him to the floor, where the now-turned Joan is waiting to eat his neck out.

Beth departs the office, finds Noah, and they begin their descent down the elevator shaft. They’re using sheets tied together as rope, because in this universe, nothing is cliché. They barely make it out of the building, as Noah’s injured in the fall, but they fight their way across the parking lot. Beth has lifted Gorman’s gun, and she’s wasting walkers as fast as they approach. Or at least, she is for a little while. She gets tangled up in a group of them as she was covering for Noah to reach the outer fence of the parking lot (filled with cars with white crosses on the back windshield). More walkers advance. Noah slips free, and Beth’s saved by the officers, who drag her back into the hospital.

Beth’s taken to Dawn. Dawn continues to preach her gone-from-reality system of roles. It’s to keep everybody safe, she insists, until they’re rescued. There’s no rescue, Beth knows, and tells her such. Dawn snaps, and begins to work Beth’s face with a leather strop.

Dr. Edwards is stitching Beth’s face in his office. She’s split open in a few places, swollen and mottled with bruises. He’s pleased with her progress. They share a quiet moment alone.

But Beth knows the difference between clozapine and clonazepam. She knows that Dr. Edwards told her the wrong drug so Trevitt would die and it would look like an accident. She just wants him to tell her why.

Trevitt was a doctor, Dr. Edwards explains. And, while Edwards might hate his life and everyone in it, he knows that he’s expendable the minute another person who knows how to stitch people up comes rolling around. The lousiest kind of job security, he admits, but he had no choice.

Beth isn’t buying his bullshit, either. This girl has had her family farm overrun, survived on the road, taken care of a baby, eaten squirrel, seen her father decapitated, and survived on the road again. She has no time for Dawn’s delusions of rescue, and she definitely has no time for Dr. Edwards’ sickening justifications. Beth Greene is a girl who shakes things up. This world makes tough bitches out of even the most guileless of us all. She’s marching towards Dr. Edwards with another pair of surgical scissors tucked against her forearm. The officers begin wheeling another person in.

It’s a woman. She seems unconscious, but she’s not bleeding out anywhere. Her face looks peaceful. Familiar.

It’s Carol.

Officer Dawn Lerner, you’re officially on notice.

The Story continues on Sunday Nights on AMC