Season Four Episode Eleven

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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: JoJo Whilden/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Photo: JoJo Whilden/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The CBS series “Person Of Interest,” has featured what the show-runners call a trilogy in seasons three and four. In the trilogy that took place last season, the team lost a valuable member as NYPD Detective Jocelyn Carter, died at the hands of a corrupt cop. In the second episode of this season’s trilogy, the crew may have lost another member at the hands of a Samaritan operative, although whether the character actually died, was left unclear at the episode’s conclusion.

Whether or not “The Machine,” lost one of its human operatives, this episode was incredibly complex, original and entertaining throughout, as Harold Finch’s creation went toe-to-toe with Samaritan, to save the world’s economy. The show bent the envelope of Television, showing that the creators have plenty of tricks up their collective sleeves in the fourth season.

The first thing we see are clips from news reports, from the New York Stock Exchange, that the market’s bleeding heavily, destroying people’s lives in the process. We see a crowd gathered outside the NYSE, watching the tale of the ticker, Finch’s in the crowd and Root joins him soon after. She informs Harold that the Cold War with Samaritan’s heated up and they’re attempting to control the NYSE.

As they leave the crowd, Finch notices Root’s carrying a briefcase, which she soon tells Harold contains a software fix provided by “The Machine,” the only problem’s that they need to install the repair on site. She tells him all hands are needed, but both realize Sameen Shaw can’t help as her cover got blown. Her job’s to get the security code from the head of security for the Exchange and Root tells Shaw what subway car the man will ride.

Meanwhile, back at Samaritan Control, John Greer’s chortling about the damage he’s caused and the fear he’s inflicted. His operative Jeremy Lambert calls Greer and asks if he’s concerned that this act will make Samaritan too public. Greer chuckles, says it’s part of the new world order and wants Finch and company to try to stop Samaritan, as they’ll find a very chilling surprise.

Root and Finch enter the exchange telling the security guard they’ve come to fix some of the security cameras. The guard says the cameras are working fine, but suddenly a monitor goes dark and he tells Harold to give it a shot. In reality Reese and Fusco disconnected the camera and reconnect it seconds later. Root then tells the guard they need to check the feed to make sure it’s getting back to headquarters.

Root and Harold get on a freight elevator and Reese and Fusco soon join them, they take the elevator to the floor the server’s on. They get down there and are ready to patch in the repair software, when “The Machine,” alerts Root too late that they’ve been trapped by Samaritan operatives. They take cover in the employee break-room, but the door’s soon riddled by bullets. Harold says they need a plan, Root looks at the close circuit camera and asks for a little help please. Reese says this is fine time for your machine to go on the fritz Harold, Finch responds give it a second, it’s got a lot on its mind. But the word mind comes out of his mouth in slow motion and we see the bullets hitting a coffee pot and some fruit in slow-motion, then the screen goes black.

When we return we see prompts from “The Machine,” saying:

Updating Decision Engine

Reviewing Training Protocols

Re-Evaluating Core Concepts

The Machine,” flashes back to 2003, Harold sitting at a chess table in Central Park and everything’s in slow motion, but then revs up to normal speed. A man approaches Harold asking to play a game and Finch says he’s sorry but he’s playing with a friend, the man says that Harold’s sat there alone for three-hours. Finch responds his friend’s shy and secretive and the man walks off shaking his head. Harold’s teaching “The Machine” to play chess, communicating via his cell phone. He talks about how many moves one could possibly make and “The Machine,” catches on quick, but loses the first game to Finch.

We’re back in the present and we hear, Root, Reese and Finch repeat themselves then “The Machine,” chooses scenario 336,742 and relays the info to Root. She says got it and Fusco asks who she’s talking to, she then says she and Harold will go to the server room and Lionel and John will go the other way and secure their safety, then cut the tension cord on the elevator.

Shaw’s on the subway with the Exchange head of security, but there’s a suicide bomber on the train wearing an explosive vest, so she can’t get the code. Root says they’ll have to use the old-fashioned method, shoots the scanner and the doors open. She shoots four terminal operators, the fifth runs for his life, they head into the server room.

Things aren’t running as smoothly for Fusco and Reese, as they find a squad of Samaritan operatives on either side of them, one squad headed by Martine. She and Reese exchange death threats and Shaw tries to contact John to ask him how to talk down the suicide bomber, but Reese cuts her off. She pulls out her gun and says he either disarms the vest, or she’ll put a bullet between his eyes, the guy’s about to hit the detonator when she shoots him dead. She’s arrested seconds later at the next subway-stop.

Harold hooks up the software repair and then tells Root, he thought they were done for, right then he sees Lambert and more Samaritan operatives and Harold get’s shot and dies in Root’s arms. Then we realize this is just a simulation “The Machine’s” concocted and they’re still in the room being shot at. Same conversation happens and when Harold says mind again, things go back to slow motion.

Once again we’re back in Central Park in 2003 as Harold tries to impress on his creation, the amount of scenarios it has and if it makes a bad choice, it can correct it with another move. Were back in the break-room and this time Root’s told to do things the opposite way, so Lionel and Reese go to the server and she and Harold head to the elevator. Reese shoots the scanner, shoots the four operatives and they get to server room. Fusco tries to get the code from Finch but Finch sends him a text. Reese realizes Samaritan’s on their way, so he grabs Lionel and locks him in a room for his protection. John gets shot, then grapples with Lambert who shoots him three more times. He lies on the ground smiling and produces a hand grenade taking out the Samaritan operatives with him.

Roots grabbed an axe from a fire-box to chop the tension cord for the elevator, she calls Shaw and asks her when she’s going to admit she has feelings for Root. Sameen says she’s a psychopath and has no feelings, but she finally tells Root that if Samaritan destroys the world and they’re the only two left on the planet, they’ll talk about being together. She asks Root if that’s good enough and Root smiles says yes it is as she chops the cord, then gets killed by Martine and her squad. Simulation failed, back to the room, and the whole thing starts again.

Back in 2003 and “The Machine’s” become a chess grand-master in one afternoon. It asks if Harold wants to play again and Harold says no. When it asks why, Finch says he doesn’t like the game, it comes from a period when some people were perceived more valuable than others. He tells his creation not to make that mistake with people, every life’s just as worthy as any other.

Back to the room and Root’s told they should act as a team, first install the software then escape. This time when Root says ready to roll, Lionel grabs her and kisses her passionately. She asks why he did that and he replies, why the Hell not, it’s just a simulation.

Shaw talks down the suicide bomber and gets the code from the security guy from the exchange, they enter shoot four operators and the fifth runs off, they get the software installed then try to escape. We see Martine and a group of Samaritan operatives and the screen freezes, with the prompt saying this scenario has over a 97% chance of failure, but it’s the only option that gives them any hope for survival.

This time it’s real and Root announces they’ll do it all as a team, Shaw talks down the bomber and gets the code. They walk into the room, but instead of shooting this time Root tells them they need to borrow one of their terminals and the operators run away. They install the software and the market returns to normal. We see Greer watching the news and he says well all fun and games eventually come to an end.

They attempt to escape, but Reese takes a bullet, Root calls Sameen, but she shows up right next to her. Shaw says she crawled through 50 yards of an air vent but it’s not a good escape route. They get Reese on the elevator cut the tension cord but the elevator remains still. Shaw sees an override button across the room, she says she’ll press it while the others escape, Root starts to protest, but Shaw grabs her, kisses her, shuts the gate and presses the override button. Just then Martine arrives, shooting at Shaw, Sameen gets hit and falls to the floor but she’s still conscious. The elevator goes down in slow motion with Root weeping, they see Martine stand over Shaw, who stares Martine in the face, as the elevator drops from view we hear a gunshot. Is Shaw alive, or did Martine kill her. We’ll find out next week.

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on CBS.

Photo Courtesy of Showtime

Photo Courtesy of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After bouncing back from a rather listless and tedious third season, the fans have experienced a roller-coaster ride on the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” this go-round, which makes the episode entitled “Krieg Nicht Lieb,” really seem like they just attempted to fill an hour, without advancing the story, more than a few inches. The series ends season four on Sunday night November 20, and this episode came off as  out of place, with the solid, dramatic stories the series played out over the past few weeks.

Evacuating the United States Embassy in Islamabad’s running smoothly, the process began in the previous episode after Taliban leader Haissam Haqqani and his men took over the Embassy, killing some Agency members and wounding many. CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison, remains at the Embassy with a skeleton crew and a duel mission, following protocol in closing down the bureau and getting Agent Peter Quinn, whose gone rogue to head home with the rest of the Americans. Quinn’s out to assassinate Haqqani, a probable suicide mission that he tells everyone he’ll survive.

The episode opens on a busy street in Islamabad and we see ten foot banners of Haqqani hanging from every building, Mathison asks ISI bureaucrat Aasar Khan if he’s happy that the Taliban leader’s attained folk hero status and Khan replies he tried to stop it from happening. Carrie asks why he couldn’t and Khan tells her it was a coup.

The subject turns to Quinn and Aasar, tells her that the ISI search-teams have instructions to shoot to kill on sight. Carrie stresses how valuable Peter’s skill-set make him in the Agency and Khan laughs and calls him an assassin who set fire to a bazar. He tells Mathison that it’s Quinn’s head or his and asks if he’s pursuing Haqqani, she first says she doesn’t know then admits to him that he is.

Carrie heads back to the Embassy and talks to her staff, saying her most important mission’s to get everybody out safe including Quinn. Max asks why she’s not trying to help Peter and she replies it’s a suicide mission he’s going in alone unprotected, Max asks what if they protect him and Mathison dismisses the idea without thought.

We see Peter in an alley, rummaging through a garbage bin and grabbing two rags, which she then wraps around the palm and knuckles of each hand. He jumps over a stone-wall, breaks into a house and puts his hand over the mouth of the blonde woman sound asleep in her bed. Although this woman’s new to us, she knows Quinn and realizes the mission he’s on. She tells him he needs a shower, then tells him they’re still some of his clothes in the drawers.

The woman’s a member of the German Consulate in Islamabad and she agrees to trace the burner phone he found on the member of Haqqani’s crew he shot in the previous episode. She also agrees to help him construct a pipe-bomb made from C-4 explosives. She returns later to see Peter’s acquired a large quantity of C-4 and she tracked down the newest generation of the burner phones, thus tracking down Haqqani and his followers.

Max opens a safe and pulls out a black leather gym-bag, Carrie as Station-Chief gets immediate notification once the safe’s opened and she asks Max what’s in the bag. She opens it to find a large amount of cash and Peter’s passport, she asks Max where Quinn’s hiding and he tells her he doesn’t know. She finally convinces Max that Peter’s mission’s doomed to fail and he’ll get killed in the attempt and he gives up Peter’s location.

Quinn’s finishing his shower when he hears the doorbell ring, then someone knocking and of course he doesn’t respond. The German woman arrives home right then and asks if she can assist Carrie and she replies she’s looking for Quinn. The woman smiles says she’s not heard from him months. Carrie asks to leave her contact info, at first the woman demurs, then finally agrees. Mathison notices the water on the floor from when Peter stepped out of the shower.

Carrie’s in the garage about to get into her car, when Quinn comes down and congratulates her for finding him, but he tells her he’s still going through with her plan. At that point two men from Mathison’s security team come into the garage and attempt to bring Peter back to the Embassy. However Peter immediately over powers one of them, then grabs the second man’s pistol and shoots the guy in the leg. He puts his hand around Carrie’s throat and says if she wants to stay alive, listen, then he drives off.

Back at the Embassy, Mathison receives a call from CIA Director Andrew Lockhart, whose biding his time until he gets replaced after the Embassy takeover. He asks Carrie if something’s going on in Islamabad, as all these meetings are going on that he’s left out of. Mathison replies that if something’s going on, she’s out of the loop as well and they promise to inform the other of any updates.

We head to the hospital that Aayan Ibrahim’s girlfriend Kiran works at and she finds a manila envelope with her name on it, and enclosed are three photographs and a note. The pictures show Ibrahim talking with his uncle Haqqani, the second shows the Taliban leader shooting his nephew and the third shows Aayan dead on the dirt road. The note asks that she meet the person who left the photos in the hospital’s room number 37.

Peter’s there waiting and Kiran asks how can she know the pictures are real, Quinn shows her a flash drive and says she can watch the entire tape, that’s just a few frames. He tells her Haqqani killed a bunch of his friends as well and he wants to make the Taliban leader pay, but he needs her help.

Back at the Embassy, one of Carrie’s staff informs her that the video of Haqqani shooting Ibrahim’s gotten leaked to the Internet and gone viral immediately. There’s a message calling for a protest against the Taliban leader in the next hour at the exact location Haqqani’s at. Carrie gets a car to drive her to the protest, certain this is the attempt on Haqqani’s life that Peter’s planning.

Quinn’s put the C-4 in a metal pipe with a receiver in it, that he’s got the transmitter for, he then attaches a large cardboard sign with Aayan’s picture on it to the pole, this is how he’ll get the pipe bomb into the rally. The protest takes place in a rather narrow area, making the good-sized crowd appear enormous. Police are on the sidelines getting ready if needed and the crowd gets louder and more agitated.

Carrie’s car’s stuck four blocks away, she puts a wrap around her head then swipes a traditional Pakistani dress to slip over her clothes, so she doesn’t stand out. As she gets closer to the rally, Peter drops the pipe-bomb down a sewer grate that’s directly in front of the driveway, Haqqani’s car will use minutes later.

Carrie arrives and realizes where Peter’s stashed the bomb so she stands on the grate. Quinn calls her cellphone and she tells him she won’t move, as he’d be shot seconds after the bomb exploded. She tells him she can’t lose him, he curses her, hangs up the phone and puts the transmitter in his pocket.

Seconds later as all the Anti-Haqqani protesters got driven away, a Pro-Haqqani crowd screams his name in adulation. The limo’s sun roof opens and the Taliban leader stands up in the car waving to the crowd, which causes Carrie to snap. She pulls a pistol and is just about to shoot the terrorist, when Khan stops her pointing out one of the occupants of the car, longtime CIA bureaucrat Dar Adal.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 9:00 pm on Showtime.