Season Four Episode Nine

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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 ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We open to the forest outside Storybrooke. The Snow Queen admires her Curse of Shattered Sight as it builds in a menacing, glass-shards-filled cloud over the town. She’s joined by Rumpelstiltskin. He can’t resist a few taunts, but he wants to make a deal. He’s already dealt with Ingrid to make sure that he’ll be able to leave after Storybrooke tears its cursed self apart. But, now that he’s thought on it, he wants to take Belle and Henry with him as well. How in the world he’s going to explain why the three of them get to leave while their loved ones remain and suffer I don’t know. I hope I won’t have to find out, because hopefully everything will stop and Rumpelstiltskin won’t be able to make any more deals that will blow up in his face. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Across town, The Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust (minus Rumpel, because he’s too busy being a bad guy and ruining his marriage) is watching the cloud gather. They figure they’ll try to leave Storybrooke before the curse hits, since they don’t have much time. They all gather at the wall and Charming does his best to strike a hole into it, but that only makes the ice thicker. So, that’s going to be a no-go. They decide to split up and try to prepare for the curse in a different way. And, as luck would have it, the disturbance in the ice wall has made a conveniently placed crack that reveals Anna’s lost necklace. Elsa immediately sees it. She and Emma decide to go to the pawnshop to see if Gold or Belle can help them. Regina takes Henry to Robin Hood’s camp to warn them. Mary Margaret, David, and everyone else set out to alert the rest of the townspeople of their coming disaster.

Emma and Elsa are with Belle at Gold’s Pawnshop. Belle (looking very much the part of a knows-her-stuff antiquities dealer, behind the counter with volumes spread out in front of her), explains that, while she hasn’t found a way to undo the spell, she’s found a way to make a sort of vaccine against it. A potion the fairies make, that utilizes something from someone who has already been affected by the curse. With that, everyone can be inoculated. Since Elsa found Anna’s necklace, they can use the locator spell to find Anna, produce said potion saving the town! Belle agrees to assemble the fairies at Granny’s to get the potion started, and Emma and Elsa head out to find Anna.

Having all the fairies in one place could backfire, though. Gold is running short on time to gather magic to cleave himself of the dagger that controls him. But, he’s got Killian’s heart and the (still unnamed) Sorcerer’s Amazing Magic Stealing Dream Hat, so he’s got what he needs. He’s going to extract Belle from Granny’s, he tells Killian, and once Belle is out of harm’s way, Killian will use the hat to capture all the fairies and all their magic. Of course, this means that they won’t be able to make the cure that they’re all working on, thus certainly dooming the town to fall under the curse. Killian reminds him of this, but The Dark One scoffs. He’ll be able to save his wife and his grandson, and that’s all that really matters to him.

Okay, time out for just a minute.

RUMPELSTILTSKIN. HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN HOW YOU SACRIFICED YOURSELF TO SAVE HENRY AND THE ENTIRE TOWN FROM THE WRATH OF PETER PAN?! YOU WERE A HERO ONCE! WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED TO YOU!?!? You even had a tearful graveside confession with your dead son! You swore you’d make sure his death wasn’t meaningless! Then, in the next scene, you realize the Sorcerer’s Hat

has somehow fallen right into your lap, and you throw it all away?!? WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DONE WITH ALL OF THIS. THERE BETTER BE A DAMN GOOD EXPLANATION WAITING FOR ME AT MIDSEASON FINALE OR I AM GONNA BE SO MAD AT YOU.

Ok. Back to business.

The necklace leads Emma and Elsa to the town’s library’s basement, which meets up with the mine tunnels. They follow the necklace to a dead-end. Elsa wants to blast her way through the wall, but Emma convinces her to stop and return topside so they can look at some maps and make a well-informed plan. The Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust reconvenes, but the news isn’t good. The dead-end they got led to is in a tricky part of the mine that will be hard to reach. In the meantime, The Blue Fairy has discovered that there might be enough magic within Anna’s necklace itself to create a vaccine. So, they’ll be able to save the town anyway! Except, the potion will destroy the necklace, which means Elsa will be back at square one when it comes to searching for her sister.

Regina, of course, pushes to convince Elsa to give up the necklace. Mary Margaret and David are uncertain they can ask Elsa to make such a sacrifice, but Regina has no time for their hope or their heroics. They’re more than heroes, she reminds them. They’re leaders, and leaders need to do what’s best for everyone, not just for the people they’re sentimental about. The Charmings relent, and Emma goes to tell Elsa that Anna’s necklace must get destroyed. Elsa looks stricken, but hands over the pouch that holds the necklace. The Charmings and Regina rush to deliver the necklace to Granny’s, where the fairies and Belle are working diligently and Gold is sitting in a corner, looking quite ill and trying to convince Belle to leave so that he can protect her. Killian is waiting just outside Granny’s with the hat, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Gold to leave so that he can ambush the fairies. He’s not happy about it, but when The Dark One has your heart, you don’t have much of a choice.

The Charmings open the pouch to give the necklace to The Blue Fairy, and it’s immediately discovered that Elsa has played a bit of a wild card. She couldn’t give up on finding Anna, so she gave them a pouch full of rocks and took off with the necklace back into the mines. Emma runs to go find her; the Charmings and Regina begin working on a plan to keep the rest of the town safe in case their potion fails.

Emma comes upon Elsa quickly in the mines. She’s at the dead-end again, ready to blast it with magic to see if Anna is waiting for her behind the wall. Emma tries to stop her, but she can’t. Elsa blasts the wall to reveal… the beach?

Maps must have been wrong, the women surmise, and they’re walking along Storybrooke’s shoreline as they try to figure out why the necklace lead them there, since Anna is nowhere to be seen. Where has she been all this time? Why isn’t the magic working? The light from the locator spell begins to fade. For whatever reason, it appears that hope is lost.

Well, back in Arendelle, Anna and Kristoff thaw from the spell Ingrid used to freeze the entire kingdom. Anna sees a piece of gold straw and guesses that Rumpelstiltskin came along and has taken the urn with him. Kristoff isn’t entirely convinced, but it’s at least a starting point. They agree to set out to Misthaven/The Enchanted Forest to find Rumpelstiltskin and save Elsa from the urn.

It’s a good plan, but one that’s interrupted by a very un-frozen Prince Hans. Elsa is missing, and he’s just heard Anna confess to locking her into an urn. He’s taken over as Diplomatic Protector of Arendelle, since all suitable heirs for the throne are currently compromised. A quick melee ensues as he and his guards try to capture Anna and Kristoff, but the two manage to escape.

Once they’re safely away, Anna confesses to Kristoff that she’s read more of her mother’s diary, and she maybe wants to change their plan. It seems that, regardless of any hooey Rumpelstiltskin might have thrown her way about looking for a way to remove Elsa’s powers, her parents were in search of a piece of fairy magic called a wishing star, and it’s possibly held by a pirate captain named Blackbeard. She thinks they should try to find that, maybe, instead of going back to Rumpelstiltskin. Pirates are easier to deal with, and probably The Dark One’s going to be mad at Anna for taking his hat and maybe that’s a battle that can be fought another day. Buying off a pirate seems like a much better plan than facing an angry wizard, doesn’t it?

The two manage to find Blackbeard (aboard the Jolly Roger, interestingly enough). They try to deal for the wishing star, but instead they’re ambushed by Prince Hans and his Doucheguards. Blackbeard, it seems, got wind of Anna and Kristoff’s intentions, and Hans was able to convince him to turn the lovebirds over for a great sum of gold. Since Hans wants to rule Arendelle and Blackbeard just wants to get paid, they sail to the middle of the ocean to dispose of the two things standing in their way: Anna and Kristoff. And, since Blackbeard is a villain, he can’t help but regale them with a tale as they travel. Once upon a time, he had a wishing star in his possession, but he already sold it to Anna’s parents, who couldn’t even use the damn thing because they weren’t pure of heart. And in that amount of time, they’ve managed to make it to the spot where Anna’s parents drowned.

Blackbeard and Hans begin to bind Kristoff and Anna for their plunge into Poseidon’s Graveyard (I assume that they didn’t call it Davy Jones’ Locker because the Pirates of the Caribbean already drove that into the ground), Anna is still sputtering a mile-a-minute, trying to make sense of these events. (I’ll be honest. At that point, so was I). In trying to answer her exasperating questions, Hans drops a bomb: All of Arendelle has been frozen since Anna trapped Elsa in the urn, and they all only unfroze a few days ago.

They’ve all been frozen for thirty years.

We aren’t watching a flashback. This is happening here and now as Ingrid’s curse only broke when she started casting the Shattered Sight curse in Storybrooke. As Kristoff and Anna are bound, loaded into a truck, and unceremoniously pitched into the ocean, Elsa’s on a beach with Emma, holding Anna’s necklace and grieving over her sister.

The trunk sinking and filling with water, Kristoff struggles to break free of his bonds. He manages, and sets to work to free Anna. It seems, though, Anna has lost all hope. She begins to recite wedding vows so that she can marry Kristoff before he dies. We’re also treated to a pull-away shot, which shows that their trunk has landed next to the message-in-a-bottle that Anna’s mother penned for her children just before she died.

And in Storybrooke, Elsa continues to clutch Anna’s necklace and wishes she could see her sister again. That necklace, if you’ll recall, got created by Elsa out of one of their mother’s jewels. Or, it wasn’t a jewel so much, as a wishing star. Elsa has just wished on a wishing star, people! Yes, it is as completely out-of-the-blue and abrupt as you think it is, but there is a lot of plot to cover and not a lot of time left to do it! The trunk pops up out of the water a few yards from where Emma and Elsa are standing, and Anna and Kristoff quickly break free. The barnacle-crusted bottle with Helga’s message to her children came along, as well. Convenient! Except no one notices it so they leave it in the water. Oh well, maybe they’ll get it later?

So, that’s that. Elsa and Anna reunite, everyone is ecstatic, and they all haul ass across town so that the fairies can use some of Anna’s hair in their curse vaccine.

It wasn’t ever going to be that easy, though.

The four arrive at Granny’s to find everything smashed to bits, and everyone missing. Gold managed to lure Belle away from the diner, and Killian seized the opportunity to trap all the fairies in the Sorcerer’s Hat (not that he had a choice, really). So, despite recovering Anna in what would have been the nick of time, there will be no potion and no cure for the town of Storybrooke. Time for Plan B, then.

Plan B is basically locking everyone away while Elsa and Emma try to work against The Snow Queen to break her curse. In the sheriff’s station, Anna and Kristoff share a brief reunion with David (and some jokes about how freakin’ awful David’s hair was when he met Anna) before they lock themselves away in the holding cells. Mary Margaret hands baby Neal to Emma, tearfully telling her that she believes that Emma’s magic will find a way to break the curse, and that she trusts Emma to take care of Neal until that happens. It’s a speech Emma needed to hear from her mother, especially considering this season’s “Mary Margaret Is Kind Of Being A Jerk To Emma” storyline.

Regina, who earlier took Henry to Robin Hood’s camp to warn him of the curse, decides to lock Henry in the Mayor’s office. Regina is full of regrets, but Henry still has his Truest Believer heart. The curse will pass, he assures her, and Operation Mongoose will be back, better than ever.

She seals him away just as Robin Hood rushes to her side. I could give you a breakdown of the adorable things they say to each other, but I won’t ever be able to do it justice. Regina’s terrified of the horrible things the curse will bring out in her. Robin’s convinced he’ll love her anyway. She doesn’t believe him, but she wants to believe him enough to share an extremely hot kiss before she rushes off to her vault.

Rumpel manages to convince Belle to be sealed in a protective spell within the pawn shop. She’s terrified, of course, but he assures her that the curse will pass, and that they’ll be safe together once it’s all over. (LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE AND SHE IS GONNA LEAVE YOU WHEN SHE FINDS OUT, SIR.) She hides in the back room of the shop as he uses the dagger to cast an enchantment around the building. Killian arrives to deliver his hatful of fairies, but he isn’t happy about it. Rumpelstiltskin, being every inch

the Crocodile that Hook despises, tells Killian to run along and enjoy his last few hours on earth. Just a few more preparations to make before The Dark One crushes Killian’s heart to free himself of the dagger’s control! UGH. RUM. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?

Killian uses that time to find Emma at the sheriff’s station. Their tearful goodbye exchange is fairytale-perfect, except for the part where Emma notices that her mouth feels weird after he’s kissed her. (PROBABLY BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE A HEART).

And so, with Mary Margaret and David locked in their cells, Regina in her vault, Gold standing guard in front of the pawn shop, and Killian chained to a dock for some reason, the curse arrives and falls on Storybrooke.

There’s only one more episode until the midseason finale. Once Upon A Time, you have eighty-four minutes to tear the roof off of this piece and put it back on so that I don’t suffer some sort of emotional meltdown while you’re on hiatus. Get to it.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 8:00 pm on ABC.

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

As the previous episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest” concluded, we saw storm-clouds ahead on two fronts, one concerning Artificial Intelligence System Samaritan, the other with a rapidly growing New York street gang, known as The Brotherhood. Although the first situation needed a speedy solution, most of this episode revolved around the second, as the leader of The Brotherhood Dominic, challenged the Boss of the New York City underworld Carl Elias. Although both men get involved in criminal activities all over the spectrum, Harold Finch and John Reese prefer that Elias remain in power, as he’s cleared up the chaotic situation the city was, before he took over.

The open finds us watching Sameen Shaw and Samaritan operative Martine, staring down each other inside a high-end clothing store. Sameen’s boss picks the worst possible moment to criticize her countertop at the makeup center, as Martine pulls out her pistol and begins firing, Shaw getting her and the manager down below the counter before the bullets get close. Shaw reaches into a cabinet underneath her counter and pulls out an automatic weapon, that likely weighs more than she does and starts advancing and firing on her foe. She winds up behind a post, puts down the weapon and grabs her pistol engaging in a firefight, until she makes it to an exit that deposits her on the street.

Root rides up on a motorcycle, gives Shaw a helmet, tells her to jump on and off they go, while Samaritan loses their signal. Root rides the bike up a ramp and into a moving van, then covers the motorcycle with a furniture blanket, they hide behind some furniture and the movers close up the truck and take off to someone’s new home. Harold reaches them inside the truck and tells Shaw that her cover’s blown and she’s not safe on the streets, she needs to get back to headquarters. Shaw replies they’re in the back of a truck and have no idea where they are, but Finch tells her he’s got her GPS signal.

Reese’s following the number that “The Machine,” assigned them, Crime Boss Carl Elias, as Dominic stole every important document about Elias from the NYPD computer. Elias and his number one guy Anthony are walking the boardwalk when they meet up with another man, Bruce Moran, his childhood friend and the man who handles all of Carl’s money. Bruce tells him about a couple of crisis he averted and tells Elias he’s lucky to have him. Elias gives him a hug and he walks away.

The moving truck’s stopped and we hear the driver talking with a cop, who opens the back of the truck and it’s Fusco. He gets them out and then tells the truck-driver everything’s cool and he can take off. Using the shadow-map  that Finch designed they start following the trail that will take them back to headquarters, without being detected by cameras, and thereby Samaritan.

Reese approaches and Elias says it’s an unexpected pleasure to see him so soon and John responds it’s not a social call. Elias asks who he’s playing Guardian Angel for this time and Reese tells the Crime Boss it’s him, Dominic’s coming after him hard, and he stole all sorts of info from the Department’s computer. Carl thanks John but tells him he can handle this young lion on his own, when he and Anthony leave, one of Elias’ men tries to shoot them in the back, but John shoots him first.

Reese tries to talk Elias into leaving the city for a while and he flat-out refuses, but he appreciates John providing him extra protection. The trio head over to one of the gang leaders that work for Carl, a guy named Gino. Elias tells him about the attempted hit and Gino says he’s shocked, but looking at Carl’s face he realizes that Dominic turned him. He asks Gino if Dominic got to Bruce, and Gino responds he honestly doesn’t know but he’s on his way there right now, Reese tells the other two guys they need to leave and they get out in plenty of time.

Martine calls the head of Samaritan John Greer and tells him that she lost Shaw, that somehow Samaritan developed a blind spot, which puzzles Greer. He tells her to keep digging and he’ll investigate further into what happened with Samaritan.  She decides to talk to the cop that stopped the truck, to see if he knows anything.

As Shaw and Root walk they start talking and she asks when “The Machine,” will provide her with a new identity, and Root gives her a pitying look. Shaw’s truly ticked off, she says that Root goes through a dozen identities in a week sometimes, she only gets one and done? Root tells her she doesn’t make the rules but if she doesn’t go into seclusion she’ll put all their lives in danger.

Dominic heads to Gino’s who told the leader of the Brotherhood he tried to stall with Elias, but they took off and they realize Gino got turned. Dominic asks what else did they discuss and Gino mentions they discussed his accountant Bruce. After they leave Gino’s Dominic tells his second in command that this Bruce must run all of Elias’ businesses, when he was in jail and living off the grid.

Bruce’s office’s located in the penthouse of a dilapidated building that Carl owns and he’s only restored the penthouse. When they reach the floor it looks like a totally different building. Elias needs to get something from his safe and starts punching in the combination, when the Brotherhood start shooting through the door. Reese grabs Elias and they go out through a secret passageway, Anthony starts to join them, but gets shot, so he tells Reese to get Carl out. Elias tries to go back, but John stops him, then attempts it himself, but there’s too many guys. The two of them hide in a room that Carl says he never liked.

Harold contacts Root and Shaw and tells them he’s off to help Reese and Shaw can’t join them, for fear of Samaritan seeing her. She says she thought that the Artificial Intelligence System can’t see them and Root agrees but tells her their operatives can. Sameen asks Root if she knows where Reese is and she nods, but won’t tell her. Shaw says she won’t move unless Root takes her there and for once Root’s bested.

Back in the room Carl dislikes, Dominic calls Elias on his cell and tells him he’s got a chance to make one deal, if he turns himself in he’ll allow Anthony and Detective Reilly to go free, Elias says he needs a better deal than that and hangs up the phone. As soon as he does though, we see the regret on his face and he tells John that he’s been friends with Anthony forever, they met at a Juvenile Detention Center when they were kids, Anthony got sent there as his father beat his mother for years, until one day Anthony slit his father’s throat. He then asks John if he ever wonders how long he can keep things going, Carl’s quite melancholy and Reese realizes he may struggle to get saved.

Reese gives Carl a gun and then says as soon as he gets Elias safe he’ll go back for Anthony, the reach the street and Elias comes out second, then points the gun at Reese and tells him he’s sorry, but he can’t let John go back in that building, they’re too much even for him. He then slams the door behind him, and there’s no knob on the street side of the door. Finch calls Elias and tells him he shouldn’t do this, he’s the one that brought back order to the streets, Carl tells him he’s touched with John and his efforts but he must go and we see Dominic and two of his men directly in front of Carl.

Root takes Shaw into a building, but it’s not where John, Elias, The Brotherhood and Finch are at. Instead Root sticks Sameen in the neck with a syringe filled with elephant tranquilizer, Shaw tries choking Root, but passes out first.

Elias asks Dominic where’s Anthony and Dominic tells him the deals terms have changed he needs to give up the safe’s combination, before he releases Anthony. Elias now gets angry and says how do I even know he’s alive and the leader of The Brotherhood calls up to the penthouse and they put Anthony on the phone. Anthony says that Elias should give up the combination and Carl says he’s waiting for him to get released, but Anthony says he doesn’t think that’s happening. Elias gives the guys in the Penthouse the number, but he kind of smiles at the end, something’s up.

The guys upstairs get to the last digit and Dominic screams stop, but it’s too late, the safe’s wired as a bomb and detonated upon that code’s entry, the entire penthouse blows up, the only person to escape, Dominic’s right-hand man. Dominic said he still won and Elias asked him how come he’s not smiling, then Reese shows up and Dominic slips away. Elias tells John and Harold that he appreciates their support, but a day’s coming when Dominic will pay for Anthony and advises them to stay out of his way.

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

The Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” takes a one week hiatus next Sunday, so the show-runners left their viewers with an episode busting at the seams, successfully fitting in lots of developments, in the 46-minute broadcast. The episode concluded with an ending I doubt any viewers saw coming, a two-pronged attack by the Taliban, staging the first event to pull off the second part of their plan. Meanwhile the American Embassy in Islamabad’s rather clueless to the entire situation, getting second-hand information on the initial attack and totally unaware what’s about to take place directly below them.

The show opens with the camera fixed on an older, gaunt-looking man, wearing an orange prison uniform, a voice off camera states the man’s name and the camera pans to the next man, all the way to the fifth, by then we realize these are the prisoner’s getting exchanged for the release of former CIA Director Saul Berenson. The man stating the names, hands off the prisoners to Peter Quinn, who signs for them, then transports them to the American Embassy.

Back at the Embassy, Carrie Mathison’s debating CIA Director Andrew Lockhart on whether Aasar Khan’s truly an ally of the United States. The Islamabad CIA Station Chief, says that Khan saved her life and gave up Dennis Boyd, but Lockhart grumbles that he’s yet to give her any names to watch out for on his side. Carrie tells the Director, that Khan’s not going to turn on his own people, but he’ll let her know if something’s amiss.

I wrote earlier in the season that Carrie’s assistant John Redmond’s the biggest asset the Islamabad bureau’s blessed with, at times seemingly the only agent that knows how to handle a situation properly. Though Redmond, attempts to come off as the embittered veteran, just putting in his time until retirement rolls around, he knows how to quickly get to the heart of the matter, demonstrated so well in this episode. He asks the Ambassador’s husband and American traitor Dennis Boyd into his office, to ask him a couple of questions and Boyd doesn’t have any idea what will take place in the next couple of minutes and how it’ll change his life forever.

Redmond starts off low-key talking about murdered Station Chief Sandy Bachman, and it’s come to light that Bachman traded US classified information to a Pakistani source, in return for getting locations of highly valued targets. He references Boyd and Bachman’s friendship and asks the professor if he knew anything about that. Dennis denies any knowledge and then John asks him if he’s certain as the stolen documents emanated from his wife Martha’s laptop. Boyd asks Redmond if he believes the Ambassador got involved and the veteran agent, shakes his head no. Dennis then asks if John believes he gave Sandy the documents, and Redmond say’s he doesn’t know, then asks him if he did. Boyd vehemently denies involvement and Redmond keeps it low-key, telling him that’s fine, if he thinks of anything further, to let John know, Dennis walks out with a false sense of security.

We get our first appearance of Saul in the next scene, as he’s sleeping on the dirt floor of his cell, when two guards wake him up and pull him over to a chair, once he’s seated a woman enters wearing a full veil. She takes off his glasses, and proceeds to wash all the dried blood off his face with a bowl of water and a wash-cloth. When she finishes, he’s taken and put into an old panel van and driven away.

Quinn drives up with the SUV filled with the five Pakistani prisoners and Carrie’s waiting on the loading dock when he arrives. Peter says to Carrie to please tell him they’re doing the right thing and Mathison responds that getting Saul back’s the right thing. Redmond brings Boyd into an interrogation room where Carrie’s waiting, we hear  him on the way in saying he already told John he has no knowledge. Carrie’s facial expressions tell us, she’s not going to utilize her diplomatic skills in this interchange.

She pulls out a bunch of different documents and lays them in front of them, then asks Boyd if he recognizes the documents, he first replies he doesn’t then asks if he should. She takes the gloves off and says these are the documents Redmond told him about earlier, the one’s he stole off his wife’s computer and of course he once again denies everything. Mathison at that point blows any restraints that held her back and tells Boyd that he poisoned her. She pulls out a prescription bottle and asks him if he knows what he gave her, the pills are hallucinogens, twice as powerful as LSD.

He tries to leave and finds the door’s locked, he says he wants to speak to his lawyer and Carrie laughs at him.  She tells him there’s no lawyer coming, she’s got complete authority to do whatever she pleases, she tells him if he refuses to cooperate he’ll be end up in a black-ops site. He says they’ve been repudiated and closed and Mathison, says officially, letting the word hang in the air. She then tells him she’s got the authority to shoot an American citizen on foreign soil. Suddenly the door opens and Ambassador Martha Boyd’s standing there looking incredibly angry. She asks Carrie what’s going on and the Station Chief says they’re questioning her husband. Boyd tells her she’s out of line talking to Dennis without clearing it through her. She tells Mathison she’s through, in Islamabad and the CIA, then tells her husband they’re leaving.

The Boyd’s head back to their living quarters and Martha asks Dennis what that was all about and he replies that Mathison accused him of stealing classified documents and giving them to Bachman, and she responds with saying You, as if that were outlandish. But then she says something must’ve triggered their investigation, could there be a colleague or student at the university that might have tarred him. He says of course not and she tells him she needs to leave to take care of the prisoner exchange. She tells him to stay in their quarters and if Carrie bothers him again to call her.

Martha leaves her quarter, going straight to a conference room with Carrie in attendance and we figure out quickly that Martha’s a co-conspirator trying to get Boyd to admit his guilt. She says she was unsuccessful, but she’ll keep prodding. Carrie starts to head out to where the prisoner exchange will take place and Peter attempts to join her, but she tells him she needs Quinn to stay in the War Room and to keep his eyes open for the least bit of suspicious activity.

Saul got moved the evening before to Islamabad where he receives a greeting from boy, no older than ten and the boy keeps staring at Saul and Berenson meets his gaze, but it soon ends. That night Saul and the boy sleep in the same room and the child starts trembling in his sleep, as a result of a nightmare, Berenson softly whispers something in Arabic, then made shushing sounds and the boy got comforted. The next morning the boy wakes Saul up with a glass of water, whether it’s a result of Saul’s actions the night before is unknown.

Boyd attempts to leave the Embassy and a Marine Sergeant stops him and seconds later Martha’s rushed to the parking lot in a car. She asks him what he’s doing and he says he wanted to get to the University to bring back term papers to grade. Boyd asks her husband what’s in his bag and he says papers, and she has the Marine take the bag from Dennis, she opens it to find it filled with clothes, his passport and cash. She tells the sergeant to put her husband in one of the cells in the Embassy.

Saul’s put into another panel van, but this time the boy joins him, which confuses Saul until the child straps on a suicide-vest. Berenson calls the guard a coward for sending a child, but the guard replies the boy wants to do it, as a drone killed his father and brother when Saul ran the Agency. Berenson’s handcuffed to a bar in the back as they head to the exchange.

Claire’s about to head to the exchange when her cellphone rings and it’s Mira Berenson, Saul’s wife, asking for assurances that her husband come out of the situation alive, she knows what the Agency’s like and they’re willing to sacrifice their own. Carrie says not to worry, as she’s handling the operation and Mira replies that’s what worries her. She says she’s turned into an exceptional agent that Saul’s so proud of but she loves her husband and she believes Mathison does as well, her voice sticking in her throat she says she does then promises that Saul will come out unscathed.

Carrie, Redmond and a soldier comprise the United States delegation, while the Pakistani Foreign Ambassador, Nasneem and Aasar Khan as usual represent their country. Nasneem tells them that after they’ve identified the prisoners, Haqqani’s men will bring Saul out and then the exchange can take place. Carrie picks up her cellphone and responds Yes Sir, then walks away from the group, she’s actually calling Khan to tell him this doesn’t feel right to her and he confesses to have gotten left out of the loop on the planning of this operation, a very unusual move. He hangs up and she waits a minute or so before she finishes her make-believe call.

The five Pakistani prisoners get taken to the meeting area, taken from the vehicle and lined up in a row as they’re chained to one another, the Pakistan representatives give Haqqani’s the green light and the panel van with Saul in it pulls up, the two guards get out of the front seats to take Berenson out of the van, but he fights his hardest to stay in there. They bash his head against a metal pole and he goes limp, so they pull him from the van. Then the boy comes out as well and all see that he’s wearing a suicide vest. Carrie calls Nasneem, who contacts Haqqani and says the boy’s insurance, as soon as the exchange takes place he’ll depart with the prisoners.

Both sides prepare to make the exchange, the Pakistani prisoners head towards Haqqani’s men but Saul takes a deep breath then sits down on the road, refusing to rise or move, halting the prisoners from Pakistan, from going further. The man who possesses the detonator for the vest threatens to blow them up and Berenson tells him to do it, egging him on to push the button. Carrie and Nasneem exchange messages, Mathison suggests they send some of the troops to carry Saul and the ISI agent says Haqqani would blow them up. She then suggests she go alone and Nasneem gets the okay from Haqqani.

She tells Saul to get up but at first he ignores her, then tells her she betrayed him. She admits she did but it was to keep him alive and he replies he can’t live with this, that our country gave up five terrorists for him. She tells him that Mira called and she promised to bring him home alive and she’s not leaving without him. He tells her then they’ll  both die, but she asks what about the  boy, Berenson responds they strapped it on him, it’s their responsibility not his. She then tells him he sounds just like the Taliban, that’s not the may she knows or the way he reacts, then  she smiles and says I want to go home, he smiles back and the exchange’s completed, Carrie picks Saul’s glasses up off the road.

A three-vehicle convoy, escorts Saul, Carrie and John Redmond back to the Embassy, Saul’s sitting in the back still attempting to come to grips with what’s happened. Redmond’s phone rings and he turns to Saul and tells him it’s Mira. Carrie hands him his glasses, he puts them on pulls the phone to his ear and says it’s me. Suddenly the lead car in the convoy explodes, causing the other two cars to pull over, a drone or missile destroys the second car.

Lockhart’s in the Embassy and hears the explosion, then asks what’s going on and the agents quickly determine the convoy got attacked. The CIA Director orders all the Marines from the Embassy to the scene. Martha Boyd heads into the cell Dennis’ held in and asks how did they wind up here. He tries blaming the CIA, but she stops him. A knock on the door and a guard assesses her of the situation, she tells her husband all the Marines went to respond and Boyd freaks out. He says that’s why Nasneem wanted to know and Martha asks about what? He told her about the tunnel that the CIA use to get in and out of the Embassy undetected.

We head to the tunnel just in time to watch Haqqani and his men enter the tunnel in droves, will he truly succeed in driving the United States out of Pakistan?

The Story Continues on Sunday December 7, at 9:00 pm on Showtime.