Season Four Episode Fifteen

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Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Raymond Reddington’s watched his universe collapse before his eyes over the last few episodes of the NBC series “The Blacklist.” Red’s seen his organization hemorrhaging millions in capital and long-time friends and associates methodically killed, including his money launderer, and the man that ran his Mediterranean shipping operation  The man that courted death on a daily basis for decades, suddenly became concerned about his own mortality, and he’s vowed not to go gently into the night. Last week Raymond discovered that his enemy’s one of his own, when his banker David Levine, informed him that the money used to pay one of his adversaries came from Red’s own bank account.

The final episode before going on a nearly two-month hiatus, ended with a huge question for Raymond and the show’s fans. By breaking his own moral code, did Reddington alienate one of his oldest friends, to the point that his confidant felt they had no other choice but to take Red out? As we reached the final credits, all the evidence seemed to point in one direction, leading to a conclusion that would completely rock Raymond’s world. Have the creative staff of the show, once again pointed the fans in the wrong direction, or should we believe what we think we witnessed in the episode entitled “The Apothecary?”

Our evening opens with Raymond sitting in a hardback chair in his library, while Dembe pours him a Scotch. Zuma asks Reddington, if he believes it’s wise to gather eleven of Red’s associates in the same location? Raymond responds that one of the group’s a Judas and must be confronted, Dembe counters that Red’s putting himself in a dangerous situation. Reddington drinks his Scotch.

The scene suddenly changes, as a graphic informs us that it’s now nine hours later. Raymond’s lying in a makeshift triage unit, with a mask over his nose and mouth and a doctor telling him to breathe. Reddington asks what’s going on, and the doctor says his name’s Dr. Haverkamp and he’s part of Raymond’s emergency team (Should we take this as a sign that Reddington killed Dr. Nik Korpal, when he thought Lizzie died?) Red asks where’s Dembe, and the physician responds that he doesn’t know who that is. He then says that the man that brought Reddington into the facility, took off when his condition stabilized.

Haverkamp tells Reddington he got poisoned and unless they can identify the toxin, Raymond will die within 48-hours. Haverkamp gives him a bunch of steroids and an inhaler and says the combination will control the symptoms and Raymond unhooks himself from the IV and the monitors and asks for a cellphone. He calls Elizabeth Keen and asks her to gather the Task-Force together to solve a murder.

An ashen-faced and wobbly legged Reddington arrives at the Post Office and Ressler asks what’s wrong? Raymond responds that Donald’s prayers got answered, and he’s apparently dying. He tells the Task-Force members that he believes a member of the Blacklist, known as the Apothecary’s responsible for the toxin that’s killing him. The Apothecary’s a man that creates designer poisons specifically targeted to each victim. His toxins can mimic brain-embolisms, strokes and heart-attacks. Sometimes the poisons immediately kill the victims, while other strains, put the victim into a prolonged coma. He then informs them that a building contractor named Panetti, may have recently used the drug maker’s services, to put one of his employees into a coma.

We get our first view of The Apothecary, as he’s handling snakes and extracting their venom for his designer toxins. We then see him leave his lab, and enter his bedroom, where he takes off his lab-suit and strips down to a tank-top. We see a nearly comatose woman lying on their bed and the drug maker lies down next to her, and tells her all will be fine and he hasn’t given up on her. We see tears falling from the woman at the sounds of his words.

Reddington goes off in search of Zuma, while Ressler and Keen talk to the District Attorney about Panetti. The D.A. says that he’s been attempting to bring charges against the construction magnet for years, but he lacked the evidence. However Panetti got greedy and fire-bombed a competitor’s facilities and Panetti’s accountant Helen Dahle, agreed to testify against him, saying she wrote a check to the people that were responsible for the bombing. However with Dahle in a coma, he’s got no case. Liz tells the District Attorney that she and Ressler need to contact the victim’s doctors.

Raymond takes out a burner phone and tries contacting all those who were with him at the restaurant the night before, but he only gets their voice-mails. He then pays Dr. Haverkamp a visit, in the physician’s hospital and Haverkamp freaks out that somebody might see them together. He pulls them into a patient’s room and Red asks him about Dembe, Haverkamp responds that the only thing he remembers was that he drove a green station wagon that he parked outside the facility. Reddington finds the car, breaks into it and finds the registration. He then drives the vehicle to the address on the form.

The Apothecary’s keeping the woman, who we learn is his wife, sedated so she can’t run away again. However he gives her a way to call him, by tying a string on her finger that’s attached to a bell. When she moves her finger, the bell rings. He then puts an inhaler in her mouth, that puts her back to sleep.

Elizabeth and Donald, meet with Helen’s doctor, who tells the pair she thought that Dahle reacted from a nut allergy, but the medicine she used to treat her patient made her worse. Liz notices Helen’s husband and parents sitting outside her room and the two agents go and talk with them.

Helen’s husband Robert says that his wife had dinner with a friend from college, and then lapsed into a coma. He says that the police already cleared the friend, so they believe Panetti’s behind her poisoning. He then says that Helen’s parents had kept a constant vigil outside his wife’s room, but that he had gone to a hotel in Sarasota Springs last weekend on his own to get away and sort things out. He then begs the agents to find the person responsible.

Samar meets with Panetti and his attorney. The builder denies trying to murder Dahle and says her testimony wouldn’t have hurt him in court. Helen did indeed write a check to the people responsible for the fire-bombing, but the attorney says the check got cut so that Panetti’s business didn’t suffer the same fate. Panetti then says that he likes Helen, and if Navabi and the Bureau don’t find the ones responsible for her being in a coma, he will.

Raymond arrives at the address on the registration and finds the home’s front door’s ajar. He pulls out his pistol and calls out hello, he then sees signs of a scuffle, and his fedora on the floor. He puts on his hat and walks into the garage, where a car’s parked and we hear someone whimpering in the trunk. Reddington opens it, and finds a young woman inside, bound with duct tape over her mouth. He asks her who put her in the truck, and she responds by asking him if he’s playing a sick joke? She then informs Red, that he put her in there.

Aram tracks Panetti’s check and finds out it went to a non-existent charity, and then got sent through an elaborate money-laundering setup, making it untraceable. Liz did some digging and finds out that Robert Dahle, wasn’t alone in Sarasota Springs, as surveillance footage of him at the front desk of the hotel show him getting cozy with what appears to be his mistress. Cooper tells Ressler and Keen, to track down the girlfriend and try to get her to talk.

Raymond tries to get information from the young woman he took prisoner, after apologizing for his actions. She tells him that he’d been very polite given the circumstances. She then says that Red and his friend had broken into the apartment across the hall from her, and she called the cops. She then told the duo what she did and Reddington told her she was coming along with them in his car’s trunk. Red then nearly passes out and the young woman, named Lulu tries to escape, but Raymond gets to the door and asks for her help.

Ressler and Keen bring in Robert’s mistress, a woman named Brooklyn in for questioning. Ressler says that Dahle told them she poisoned Helen, but she denies it and says she wanted nothing to do with it. She says that the only thing she knows, is that he gives her the toxin twice a week. We see Robert in the hospital, opening Helen’s eye and putting drops from the Toxin into it. The mistress says she can tell the agents where the toxin’s hidden.

Liz and Donald, head to Robert’s home with a search warrant and find their suspect’s taking a bath. He stands up and Keen says that he best get dressed, unless he wants to go to jail naked. They find the poison, and inform Dahle they’re aware of the prenuptial agreement he signed, that keeps him from getting any money until their tenth anniversary, coming up in two weeks.

Raymond and Lulu, break into a pharmacy in search of steroids and another inhaler. Lulu finds both and Raymond takes some of the pills, but before he can use the inhaler he collapses on the drug store’s floor. Lulu doesn’t abandon Reddington, instead she brings him back to her apartment. After she gets some pills in him he returns to lucidity and thanks her for saving his life. She tells him that while he’d been comatose, she discovered the owner of the apartment across the hall, is Red’s attorney Marvin Gerard.

The apartment actually belongs to Gerard’s fiancée Becky, when Lulu and Red enter the apartment, it appears the couple left the place in a rush. Raymond notices there’s a message on the answering machine, he plays it to hear his own voice, telling Marvin that everybody’s gathered at a restaurant called John’s and are waiting for him. Lulu says she knows where the restaurant’s located and can take Raymond there, but he says he’s caused her enough trouble and tells her to take off. She wishes him the best.

The Bureau’s lab analyzes the toxin and it contains the venom of a very rare breed of snake. Aram’s located the only known member of the breed in the States, it’s the property of a defunct reptile farm in Pennsylvania. Aram tells Keen and Ressler, that records show the former operator, Asa Hightower still lives in an apartment on the property. The two agents head to check the facility out.

Raymond heads to John’s, and finds the kitchen door’s been barricaded with a coat rack. He removes the wooden rack and opens the kitchen doors, to find ten of the associates he summoned inside. While they are angrier than a bunch of wet-hens, Red’s banker David Levine and his money launderer Abe, try to fill in the blanks in Reddington’s memory. Raymond was in the midst of telling the group a parable about betrayal, when he realized that Marvin Gerard, wasn’t among them. He then sent the restaurant staff home and demanded his associates go into the kitchen.

Levine starts to pour himself a glass of wine, but Red slaps the glass from his hand. He informs his associates that he got poisoned, and asks the group if the wine he drank came from one of the bottles on the table? A young attractive woman tells  Reddington, that the waiter poured his glass from another bottle and gives it to Red. There’s a note on the bottle, apologizing for not being there, signed by Marvin Gerard.

Ressler and Keen arrive at the Hightower’s apartment, but Asa’s not there. They do however hear a bell ringing and they follow it to the bedroom and discover Mrs. Hightower. They call paramedics to treat her, as the two agents look around the facility.

Raymond calls Keen and tells her he’s sending the wine containing the poison to her. Elizabeth tells Reddington that he’s going to be fine, but suddenly Raymond goes into a coughing jag and collapses on the floor while he’s on the phone with Lizzie.

Mrs. Hightower’s become more lucid since the paramedics treated her and she starts talking to the two agents. She informs them that her husband raped her, while she was comatose and got her pregnant. She tells them that she believes her husband’s at a baby-supply store, to find a mobile for the nursery he put together. Lizzie phones Aram and she and Ressler travel to the nearest baby-supply shop. After Hightower tries to take the sales clerk hostage, Keen knocks him to the floor with a table made for toddlers.

Navabi and Ressler question Hightower and he tells them he’s willing to cut a deal. Take the death-penalty off the table and he’ll tell them how to cure Reddington. Navabi asks The Apothecary if he’s afraid of death, and Asa responds that he’s not, however now he’s got something to live for. Even in a prison cell, he’ll still be a father.

Raymond’s being treated with the antidote back at the triage unit. Haverkamp comes out and tells Liz, Cooper and Aram, that he doesn’t want to raise false hopes, but Reddington’s stabilized and the antidote seems to be working just fine. Keen asks if they can go and see him, but Haverkamp says they should give him a few minutes to recover.

We see Raymond coming to, and in through the back door slip Baz and Glen. Reddington asks if they found Gerard, and Glen says they found “the little weasel,” at the airport with Becky, heading to the South Seas. Raymond asks about Dembe, but Baz gives him a look that Red recognizes as he’s still M.I.A. He gives Baz an address and tells him to bring Marvin there and he’ll meet them later.

Lizzie gets a call from the Bureau’s lab, telling her that the wine Raymond sent to her didn’t contain any of the toxin. She goes into the triage unit to inform him, only to find that Reddington left the facility without informing anybody that he took off.

Raymond’s back in his library , this time joined by one of his goons and a bound Marvin Gerard. Red’s lawyer asks what’s going on, and Reddington replies he’s not falling for Marvin’s innocent act, and asks where Dembe’s at? Gerard says he hasn’t seen Dembe, and he’s got no idea what’s bothering Reddington. Raymond tells him that he knows all about The Apothecary, and that Marvin’s the one who hired him and Isabella Stone. Red then talks about being held in a South Seas prison for 47-days, thinking he’d die there. On the 48th day, the gates swung open and Raymond was given two tins of Beluga caviar, that Marvin had somehow gotten to him, even though Gerard was also in prison.

Reddington says he’d been so touched by the gesture, that he arranged for Marvin to get released from prison. Gerard says he realizes all of that, hence he’d have no reason to betray Red. Reddington says they’ll get to Gerard’s motivation later, but right now he wants to know Dembe’s location and pulls out his pistol.

Just then Raymond’s goon comes back into the room and gives Red the cellphone, telling him Elizabeth’s on the other end. Keen tells Reddington that the wine didn’t contain the poison, and the toxin would need a higher alcohol content than wine to get released within Raymond’s system. She asks if he might have had some whiskey that day, and Reddington’s mind flashes back to the Scotch he had at the beginning of the episode. Raymond says that’s impossible, that only two people had access to that bottle, and he was one of them.

The scene shifts one last time, to a busy city street as Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower,” plays on the soundtrack. “There must be some way to get out of here, said the joker to the thief,” plays in the background as we watch Dembe Zuma enter the subway, pulling the hood of his coat over his head.

The Story Resumes Thursday, April 20, at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Something’s been missing from the fourth season of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” it took me until moments before the network aired the fifteenth episode, entitled “Q&A,” for me to figure out exactly what that missing ingredient is. The answer is “hope,” something that’s been in short supply on the show this season, our heroes rarely end an episode, this season with a decisive victory. Many episodes, such as this one end in what Harold Finch referred to as a draw.

Rival Artificial Intelligence System Samaritan’s emergence, has put the POI team on the run since season three concluded. It’s impeded the team’s mission, to either save or stop the numbers “The Machine,” provides for them and they’re totally clueless about whether their friend and colleague Sameen Shaw’s even alive. (Shaw is alive, although she’s held captive by Samaritan, apparently a special project of Samaritan’s Administrator, John Greer.)

Although the team’s down to a skeleton crew of Finch, John Reese and NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco, their resources were split even further, as Reese and Fusco watched over the latest number, while Finch got involved with a young woman he tried to dissuade from joining Samaritan, earlier this season.

Our first scene takes place at the headquarters of the planet’s hottest search engine, Fetch And Retrieve. Reese’s moonlighting for extra money, under his guise of NYPD Detective John Reilly, working security for the firm. Finch’s there to attend a meeting with the company’s head of software Calvin Mazer and the young woman whose the company’s CEO. Apparently they’re interested in bringing on Harold’s other identity, college professor Harold Whistler aboard for some special products.

It turns out that both men are in the right place at the right time, as the latest number a young woman named Anna, works for Fetch And Retrieve, helping design the company’s voice activated search engine they call VAL. Harold syncs cellphones with the young woman and Reese monitors activity, while Harold has his meeting.

She gets a text message from a man named Alek, asking if she’s set for 9:00pm that evening. She sends back an unenthusiastic response, causing Reese to think she’s in an abusive domestic relationship. Meanwhile, Finch on the way back to their headquarters after the meeting, sees a new leaflet for the Nautilus scavenger hunt, that Samaritan used to recruit Claire Mahoney, the young woman Harold tried to convince not to join Samaritan earlier this season. He rips the poster down and takes it with him study it further.

Anna’s quite distraught over what appears to have been a system malfunction with VAL that cost a user his life. The user wanted a suicide hotline and VAL sent him a series of articles on easy and painless ways to take your own life. She speaks with her associate and friend Naresh Gupta and he dismisses it as a fluke, a one time occurrence that will never happen again.

Harold intently studies the Nautilus poster, he realizes the phone number given are coordinates, but he suddenly becomes aware that there’s an embedded image in the picture. The image’s a message saying, You Were Right, he realizes it’s Claire contacting him and the coordinates are where she wants to meet. He tells John he’s going to have to handle Anna without him, suggesting he might want to bring Fusco in to help.

Reese follows Anna after she leaves the complex, down to a warehouse type building, a guy opens the door when she knocks, tells her to hurry in. John can’t enter the door, but finds another entrance and he’s in the middle of a crowd waiting for an MMA fight. It’s two women, one’s a redhead and the other fighter’s Anna, Reese realizes the bruises he saw on her arms aren’t from an abusive boyfriend, it’s from her matches. Anna’s the aggressor from the start and she kicks the spit out of her opponent, quickly taking the match.

Harold gets to the meeting place, softly calls out Claire and she pops up freaking out saying they’re searching for her. Suddenly we hear a shot and Mahoney gets hit in the shoulder, Harold moves her out of the line of fire and soon the shooting stops. Finch tells her they’ve got to take care of her wound.

Reese goes to check out Anna’s house, where she lives with her sister Jill, what John finds out when he searches the house, is Jill’s suffering from cancer and is receiving chemo treatments. He speaks with Finch who tells him that Anna went to college on a judo scholarship, which likely lead to her joining the MMA circuit in New York. Unfortunately New York State, bans MMA competition, so the matches are held secretly and organized crime, profits from the gambling on the fights.

Harold hacks the camera system in a mortuary, then treats Claire there. She wakes up and starts telling him he was right about the company she works for. They say they’re out to make the world a better place, but she found out all the information she’s gathered for them has led to deaths of ordinary people. She said a man named Charles Wynn was poisoned in the hospital, right after his granddaughter entered the world.

Finch tells Claire about Samaritan, that it’s an Artificial Intelligence System, that’s attempting to reshape the world according to its wishes. Claire pulls out a flash drive, she says just before she ran off she took the flash drive filled with source code from someplace called Samaritan. When she realizes Harold has the cameras on a loop she says that the two of them can use the source code to defeat Samaritan.

Anna’s walking down the street when a vehicle stops and two big men emerge wearing ski masks, grab her and put a black hood over her head. Reese suddenly appears and says he doesn’t think the lady wants the ride, removes her hood and starts beating on one of the guys. Anna takes on the other guy and they jump back in their vehicle and take off, she starts trying to hit John when he says look at me don’t you recognize me? She stops and says the security guy from work, he flashes his shield and tells her he’s a cop.

Lionel and John question her and she tells them about the victim of VAL and wonders if that has something to do with her attack. Reese asks why she’s so interested in this incident, she replies a few months ago someone close to her asked the same question to her. If that person had asked VAL instead of her, that person would have died, John realizes she’s referring to her sister Jill.

Lionel gets a call from Finch asking if Fusco could look into the official death records of someone. Lionel says no problem and asks Harold the name, he replies Charles Wynn. Finished with his call he goes back to Mahoney and she asks him if he’s checked out the flash drive yet and he responds no. She says lets plug it into your laptop and check it out. Harold suddenly asks her what if she’s a spy for Samaritan and the flash drive will actually release a virus giving Samaritan all his info as well as his friends. He says he checked out Charles Wynn, the only man by that name that died in the tri-state area, died in a car accident after suffering a heart attack.

She says the poison caused the accident and the Medical Examiner didn’t find the poison, due to believing Wynn, who had a history of heart trouble suffered a heart-attack. He didn’t look for the poison. She then tells him he’s leaving her there to die, she reached out to him as he was the only one who told her not to take the path she did. He told her when they first met she was incapable of killing. Harold replies, that was before I lost someone close to me recently and I won’t lose any others. She plays on his sympathy and wins back his trust.

Anna thought her friend Naresh got fired or possibly killed, but Fusco finds him in his own office. He made a call to his superiors, reported VAL had a glitch and they appreciated his gesture so much they promoted him. Lionel tells Gupta, that those same people are looking to hurt his friend Anna, or worse, then convinces Naresh to help him look for possible problems with VAL.

Fusco calls Finch tells him they’ve come up with a document and they’re sending it to him. Harold studies the document and calls back Fusco and Naresh and says the source code got tampered, VAL now directs clients to paid advertisers for Fetch And Retrieve. Naresh checks it out and realizes Finch’s correct, he and Fusco go to break the news to the CEO.

Harold’s laptop shows an image of a security guard who just entered the mortuary and he sees blood on the keyboard down in the lobby. Finch says he’ll soon be there and they need to do something. When the guard enters the room he sees nobody, Finch sneaks up behind him and knocks him out with a vase. He then opens a coffin that Mahoney hid in and tells her they’ve got to leave.

Claire starts giggling saying she never realized he’s that resourceful the first time they met. No wonder that Samaritan’s after him and wants to silence him. Then she says you’re quite a man Harold. When he turns around to ask how she knows his name, she has her pistol aimed at him, saying she really blew it. She then tells him she’s taking him to Samaritan.

Gupta and Fusco tell the CEO about the problems with VAL’s source code, she asks if he’s sure and he says there’s no question it’s gotten tampered with, he’s curious who did it. He gets his answer seconds later as the head of software Calvin Mazer walks into the office with three big guys holding guns. He tells Naresh and the CEO he called an audible as he knew she’d never approve the plan. Suddenly Reese and Anna enter from the back door, each taking out a gunman and Fusco knocking out the third.

Claire takes Finch to a school and says welcome to Samaritan, they step inside and it’s a charter school for impoverished children that Samaritan built. This is how they’re making the world better, by working on projects like these. She pleads with Harold to join Samaritan and help them achieve their goal, the bell rings dismissing the students and Finch asks what if he says no? Four gunmen come out to answer Harold’s question. He says while he’s impressed with the school, he can’t help but wonder, if Samaritan shot Claire to convince Harold, what lengths would they go to, to reach the children. Claire nods to the gunmen it’s time to leave and the six walk onto the porch of the school. We hear gunfire ripping through the air, then all four gunmen fall dead, we then see a familiar face and realize she’s responsible for it all.

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Root says it’s nice to finally meet you Claire, then shoots her in the arm, Claire drops her cellphone and runs into the school. Root says let’s get you out of here Harry and takes him back to headquarters. John’s there when they arrive and asks Root’s back? She responds only for eight seconds then grabs a metal valise and leaves.

The last scene’s back at Fetch And Retrieve as John Greer has a meeting with the company’s CEO. He tells her he’s sorry to hear about their recent setback, but perhaps they can move even further by working together.

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