Season Four Episode Twenty One

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Photo Courtesy Of William Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

Can We Survive?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rising From The Ashes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The last episode before the double-episode season finale. I’m nearly sick to my stomach just thinking about it. THIS SHOW. IT IS DOING THINGS TO MY LIFE.

This week’s installment is entitled simply “Mother,” which would seem like it would give some clue as to what characters we’ll be dealing with, but really everyone in this show has serious mama issues so it really could be any one of them.

Or, well, it’s kind of all of them.

We begin in the Enchanted Forest, sometime after Regina has assumed the throne after killing her husband. She’s tearing around the countryside with her father in a carriage when she stops and sees a gathering of peasants beside the road. She halts her envoy and gets out to greet them. They all look so happy! It’s because they’re having a wedding! Everyone is so very happy indeed!

Except for Regina. The peasants are trespassing on royal lands, and she’s not having it. And, because she’s The Evil Queen, she rips out the groom’s heart to prove she means business. Her father tries to reason with her, reminding her that she’s only feeling sensitive because it’s a certain day. Dude, you had a wife and you have a daughter, how the hell do you not know that you *never* blame a woman’s mood or actions on a particular day? Regina, insulted by her father’s patronizing and condescending words, crushes the groom’s heart in anger. She then leaves him to walk home as she tears off in the other direction.

Of course, it is a certain terrible day for Regina. It’s the anniversary of her beloved Daniel’s death, suffered at the hands of her mother, Cora. So when Regina visits Daniel’s grave and finds Cora waiting there for her, she’s less than pleased.

Okay, but hold that thought, because this launches into a plot grinding episode early. In present-day New York, Regina and Robin have a very up-front and heart-wrenching conversation about their current predicament. Robin is completely thrown, and Regina is twice as bad. She’s having more trouble accepting that Robin was moving on with Marian than she realized. They’re both outraged that Zelena used Robin and Roland as pawns to hurt Regina. Robin, for all that he’s suffered, still has feelings for Regina that he doesn’t want to ignore. Regina isn’t ready to dive headfirst into a man who’s about to have a baby with her sister, The Wicked Witch of the West. Hard to blame her.

They decide their best course of action is to get back to Storybrooke, where they can lock up Zelena and reunite Lily and Maleficent. They return to the apartment to pack as much as they can and get back as soon as possible. Zelena is an obnoxious, mocking bitchface the whole time.

Back in Storybrooke, Gold and The Author are apparently just walking around like nobody would dare mess with them. They appear to be right. The two are in Granny’s having what appears to be a late breakfast when Killian enters and saunters over to their table. Gold looks less happy to see Killian than he usually is. Killian looks so delighted that he can only be bringing them bad news. And he is! He wants

to report that he’s heard from Emma about their road trip, and he knows that she didn’t turn dark, and now Gold’s whole plan is ruined and Killian is nearly giddy. He takes leave as abruptly as he entered.

The Author immediately begins panicking. They need the darkness in Emma’s blood (since she’s The Savior and therefore the supplier of happy endings) to give the ink the kind of magic it needs to work. Gold, obviously having a very magical heart attack, mumbles some things about loopholes and tries to walk out of the restaurant. He’s too weak, so he magicks himself and The Author away instead.

Meanwhile Emma, Regina and their magic refugees (and one prisoner) arrive in Storybrooke. Emma has an emotional reunion with Killian and Henry, but refuses to give her parents anything but a dirty look. Maleficent is waiting at the edge of the crowd, trying to get a glimpse of Lily. Emma leads Lily (who glares daggers at Mary Margaret and David, since she knows that they’re really Snow White and Charming and responsible for her entire terrible fortune) from the car to her mother. Maleficent, tearful, embraces her. Lily doesn’t look like she knows how to react, but tentatively returns her embrace.

The two have a rather uncomfortable, brief lunch at Granny’s. Lily wants to know about Maleficent’s plans for revenge against Snow and Charming, and is disappointed when Maleficent dismisses revenge as a waste of time. Maleficent tries to explain that she’s just so relieved to be reunited with Lily that she isn’t interested in anything but building a future with her. Lily, angry that her mother is being such a pushover, storms out.

Maleficent is despondent that her daughter isn’t interested in a positive relationship, and so she goes to Mary Margaret and David for help. Which is admittedly weird, since their own daughter isn’t speaking to them about the very reason that Maleficent is struggling with her own daughter, but Maleficent has witnessed how heroic Snow White and Charming were, even after they did that terrible thing to her daughter, and they kind of owe her anyway for doing that terrible thing in the first place. Mary Margaret is, of course, eager to help.

But where could Lily be? And what could they even tell her when they find her?

Maleficent and the Charmings aren’t the only ones looking for Lily. Regina has kidnapped/absconded with The Author from the pawnshop where he and Gold had been looking for dark savior blood alternatives. She arrived on the scene just as Gold was in the midst of another magical heart attack and left him collapsed on the floor, taking the magic quill with her as she left. After The Author explained why they need The Savior’s darkness for the magic ink to work, Regina has an idea. Emma doesn’t need to turn dark, she just needs some of The Savior’s potential for darkness. And Lily is that, in the flesh.

Regina tracks her down at the sad joke of a bus stop, waiting for a ride out of town. She greets Lily, and Lily promptly tells her that she holds Regina as responsible for her damaged fate as she does Snow White and Charming and that she doesn’t want anything to do with her, so she can shove off. Regina knows these bad-girl tirades when she sees them. She’s had enough of them. Unfortunately for Lily, Regina is Queen of Sass in Storybrooke and won’t deal with an immature smartmouth with a chip on her shoulder. Lily warns her off again, but Regina has her exactly where she wants her.

See, with The Savior’s darkness all riled up within Lily, all Regina needs to do is slice her palm with a dagger, smear some blood on the blade, and scrape that blood into the inkwell to complete the magic ink The Author needs for her happy ending. Striking quickly, that’s exactly what she does. Before Lily can react, Regina has summoned The Author, completed the ink, and vanished. Lily’s eyes flash yellow.

Cause, yeah, Lily is Maleficent’s daughter. Which means she’s got that dragon-thing going on as well. She transforms and begins tearing around the forest, presumably trying to figure out how to leave Storybrooke. Mary Margaret, David, and Maleficent catch up with her on the edge of town. There’s a tense confrontation, and Mary Margaret gets thrown head-first into a rock. Satisfied with that bit of havoc, dragon-Lily takes off over the trees but appears to be injured.

Luckily, David had the sense to call Emma and Killian away from the cuddle-and-talk-about-forgiveness-date they were on and in as backup before they confronted the dragon. Emma arrives as David is clumsily trying to attend to Mary Margaret’s head wound. She rushes in and heals her mother. The two go back and forth but Emma eventually admits that she can’t do anything but forgive her parents because she knows they were trying to do the right thing. And also because she loves them so much. There’s a lot of hugging and crying.

Maleficent didn’t stick around to watch the reunion. She figured Lily couldn’t have gotten far, and she was right. She comes upon Lily as she’s transforming back into a person. Lily is aggravated to see her mother—she’s not the badass dragon bitch that she expected her to be, and it’s just another terrible disappointment in her miserable failure of a life. Maleficent refuses to hear her daughter say such negative things. She assures her daughter that she doesn’t mind her dark streak, as she has one of her own, but reminds her that their darkness doesn’t mean that they have to hurt other people. They have a chance at a great future. There is more hugging and crying.

So. Many. Mama. Issues.

Back in town, Regina has taken The Author to pay a visit to her pregnant sister, who’s being kept under magic, lock, and key in Storybrooke’s rather grim psychiatric ward. She really has the chance for her happy ending. She has The Author. The Author has the enchanted quill, and Lily’s blood has done the trick to make the ink enchanted as well. She wants Zelena to witness what she’s gonna do.

And what’s she gonna do, Zelena taunts. She’s carrying Robin’s baby! She’s the mother of his child and he’d never ever forgive Regina if she did something to harm her. Well, Regina explains, that won’t matter, because she’s gonna have The Author rewrite the story and eliminate Zelena entirely. Poof! She’ll be gone and no one will even remember her.

Zelena, more incensed that her sister is getting one over on her than she is at her own demise, continues to taunt Regina, accusing her of acting just like their mother and throwing away whatever was inconveniently in the way of whatever selfish things she wanted.

We were talking about mama issues? These two sisters have the market cornered. And this all reminds Regina of the time that Cora came to visit her at Daniel’s grave, once upon a time.

Cora came back and talked a bunch of reconciliation nonsense with Regina, even going so far as to divulge that she knows of Tinkerbell and Regina’s potential soulmate, the man with the lion tattoo. Regina remains suspicious, but when Cora appears a few days later, magicking Regina into a beautiful pale slate-blue-and-white gown (in which Lana Parrilla looks STUNNING. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.) and leading a man with a lion tattoo into the room. Regina, not knowing that it’s The Sherriff of Nottingham and not her potential true love, because didn’t see Robin Hood’s face when Tinkerbell tried to show her, is overwhelmed. And beautiful. The two go for a fairytale courtship type walk around the garden. Lana Parilla looks beautiful. The Sherriff begins to reveal what a jackass he is. Regina, beautifully, grabs him by the arm and realizes his tattoo is magic. Panicked, Nottingham spills the truth—Cora hired him to pretend to be her true love because Cora wants Regina to have a baby.

Regina is disgusted, but not surprised. She throws Nottingham in the dungeon, changes back into her (also-dead-sexy) Evil Queen wardrobe, and stews in her chamber. Cora enters and demands to know why Regina looks so unhappy. Regina confronts her mother and accuses her of only wanting Regina to have a child so she could then murder Regina and become Regent to Regina’s child’s throne. Cora denies wanting to assume the throne herself, but she’s also Cora, so she of course admits that she has been trying to manipulate Regina into being happy with her power and positon. Regina is sure this is part of a power-grab, and produces a potion to make her sterile so that her mother will never be able to use her children against her. Cora begs her to reconsider, but Regina drinks it.

Cora, who might be the closest thing to distressed as a narcissistic greedy witch can be over seeing Regina’s painful reaction to the potion, leans down to try to explain to Regina one last time—she wanted Regina to be happy, and she was just a terrible failure at doing so. But Regina, in reacting to whatever she assumed her mother was up to, became her own worst enemy and only hurt herself in the end.

Cora goes back to Wonderland.

And so that’s the kind of mother that Regina and Zelena are dealing with. Zelena might resent being abandoned, but Regina resents being raised by that psychopath. And then Regina has a villainous moment of clarity.

Their mother was a monster, but their worst enemy is truly themselves.

She doesn’t want Zelena to be written out of the picture entirely. She will just believe that she and Robin (who has shown up, for some reason) will be strong enough to handle whatever the future will bring. Her happy ending isn’t about being with Robin or any man. It’s about finding her own place in the world, where she fits in and has relationships with people, including her son and her son’s biological family. And Robin, too.

So there’s Regina’s self-proclaimed happy ending. And she didn’t even need The Author for it. And, The Author notices this, and promptly peaces out with his magic quill and ink, returning to Rumpelstiltskin, who is barely breathing on the floor of the pawn shop.

Gold is stunned to see Isaac, but doesn’t even want the details of how he’s managed to return to him with the necessary tools to write these happy endings. But, Isaac has done so, so Gold bids him to start writing on a book that appears before him on the counter.

The book, similar in dimension to Henry’s storybook, but bound in black leather with silver lettering, is entitled “Heroes and Villains.” The author opens to a blank page, and begins to write, “Once Upon A Time…”

THE END. NOT EVEN KIDDING, THAT’S JUST THE END RIGHT THERE.

So Emma hasn’t turned dark, and has forgiven her parents, and Gold doesn’t even need her to go dark now that the ink has been enchanted by other means. Lily’s plans for revenge have at least temporarily been derailed by a possible bad-ass mama-and-daughter relationship that she never thought she’d have. Regina realizes that she can’t keep letting other people’s mistakes cause her to act badly, and takes responsibility for her own happy ending. Possibly finding out that it wasn’t exactly fate and an Ice Queen that ruined her happiness, but her crazy-ass sister plotting against her the whole time, has emboldened her to take control of her own fate. At any rate, NONE OF THIS ADDRESSES WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO RUMPELSTILTSKIN AND BELLE, AND IF THEY DON’T GET BACK TOGETHER I MIGHT ACTUALLY DIE.

Next week!!!

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We might be just a little over a week away from a brand new world, run by an Artificial Intelligence System named Samaritan, which will teach we lowly humans exactly what’s best for us. That is unless “The Machine,” can stop Samaritan from taking over the planet. This week’s episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” set the table for a reckoning to occur next Tuesday night, during the finale for the show’s fourth season. The stakes are extremely high, putting the lives of the team in danger and “The Machine” itself could get destroyed by its rival, a system created without any moral code.

While that fire blazes, John Reese and Lionel Fusco are handling the double numbers given to the team. The numbers are familiar faces, Dominic the gang leader of The Brotherhood and Carl Elias the head of the Five Families and Crime Lord Supreme in New York City. A simmering feud heated to a boil, as Elias took out four of the Brotherhood’s soldiers and Dominic’s ready to take down Carl and take the title as the head of the Five Families.

Elias set up shop in a former bank, connected to the pneumatic tube system that still connects most of Manhattan. Elias’ men use the tubes to send weapons to locations, so they are at the ready when the men arrive. That’s the way Carl undermined the Brotherhood’s security system, getting the rival gang pretty steamed.

However, the episode opens farther down the East Coast, in the DC Metro area to be exact, as we watch a female school teacher driving to work, while talking to her husband on her cellphone. She goes to pump the brakes and find they aren’t working, she crashes into a cement embankment off the highway. Seconds after she crashes, a SUV pulls up, a man emerges and puts a black hood over the head of the teacher and transfers her into his vehicle. Suddenly we see United States Security official Control in the back seat of the SUV, she tells the man to grab the body and he takes a dead woman out of his car and puts her in the teacher’s vehicle along with a bomb. They drive off as the teacher’s car’s blown to bits.

She’s taken to a facility and strapped to a chair, before the bag’s removed from her head. Control asks the woman if she recognizes the man tied to another chair? Control claims that the man’s one of her agents, who also worked for Samaritan and claims the teacher’s his handler. The teacher replies she doesn’t know what Samaritan is, she says she’s a teacher and mother who just wants to get home to her kids. Control shows the teacher her future, if she fails to cooperate, as she puts a bullet between the eyes of her agent. She tells the teacher to talk, or soon she too will be just a spot on the wall.

We leave Washington for a New York City court building, the scene of the murder of the four Brotherhood soldiers. Reese and Fusco are at the scene and John tells Finch he found some sort of plastic canister in a garbage can. Harold informs Reese that it’s a pneumatic tube and tells John that Elias recently purchased the former bank. Reese and Fusco head to the bank to pay Carl a visit.

Just as Harold’s about to end his conversation with Reese, Root’s cellphone rings. Sameen Shaw’s on the other end of the line, she asks if Root’s there then says she’s in trouble and needs her help. The team’s assumed for the last few months that Shaw got killed by Samaritan operative Martine, but the viewers have been aware she was being held captive by Samaritan.

Root’s ecstatic and angry at the news Sameen’s alive, angry at herself, Harold and “The Machine, ” for believing Shaw was dead and that they stopped looking for her. Although she agrees with Finch that the phone call’s likely a trap, it doesn’t dampen her desire to rescue her friend and comrade. Her plan is to force “The Machine,” to reveal where Shaw’s held, by risking her life.

She leads Finch to the top of a skyscraper, then looks into a surveillance camera and tells “The Machine,” they’re going to play a game of “Chicken.” Root’s going to walk along the ledge of the roof with her eyes closed, until the Artificial Intelligence System reveals Shaw’s location, or Root falls to her death on the street below. Root’s gamble pays off, as she’s given the location.

John and Lionel get to the bank and Carl tells Reese, that he warned him not to interfere with his conflict with the Brotherhood. However the sound of gunfire above them, is enough to convince Elias to take off with Reese and Fusco. Their escape’s thwarted, as Dominic and his right hand man Link, along with some other soldiers stop them in their tracks.

Root and Finch are at Steiner Psychiatric Institute, which is where the call emanated from. Root tells Harold that a couple of months earlier, this second-rate facility acquired a fiber optics system, far too rich for their budget. The system’s Samaritan’s and Harold’s able to hack into the feed, before receiving a message on his laptop, reading all forces on alert, we will soon isolate “The Machine.” They quickly disconnect and head towards the facility.

John, Lionel and Elias are all tied to chairs with zip-ties. Turns out that Dominic’s hired himself someone with knowledge of the team, as our friend Harper Rose tells Lionel and John that the Brotherhood’s offer was too good to turn down.

Back in Washington, Control asks the teacher how a girl from Greenwich that went to a prep-school, ended up working for Samaritan. The teacher once again states she’s just a teacher and mother and wants to get home to her kids. Control smiles, saying that the teacher’s trying to gain the security official’s sympathy because Control lost her mother at a young age.

She then shows the teacher some surveillance photos of herself, one with the agent that just got shot and one in a coffee shop. The teacher says the pictures are just coincidences, Control then shows the woman a picture of herself, roaming the White House halls. The tears suddenly stop, the teacher’s face turns had and she tells Control, she has no idea what’s coming for her.

Root and Harold sneak into the Steiner Institute, by pretending Root’s a doctor and Finch a homeless schizoid. A doctor questions him and Harold says you’re not paranoid if they’re really coming after you. The doctor asks Finch whose after him, he says an Artificial Intelligence System, the government and a New York City gang for starters. Asked his name, Harold replies he goes by many names all derived from species of birds, that’s enough to convince to admit Harold for 72 hours of observation.

Once Finch gets checked in, he’s taken to the patients common area and he asks one of the patients to point out Lenny. The man points him to a bald giant of a man, Harold goes up to Lenny as he’s working on a puzzle and tells the man, that the two orderlies stole Lenny’s spaceman. Lenny goes after the two orderlies as if he were King Kong, Finch uses the distraction to sneak into an office and access a computer.

He tells Root that Shaw’s likely on the ninth floor, as that’s where they house the most dangerous patients. He then tells Root that a compact female Persian sociopath’s in room 914, that maybe the way they’ve labeled Shaw. Root sneaks in a door and then her mouth drops open. She tells Harold to evacuate immediately, the facilities Samaritan’s base of operations, they’re in the belly of the beast.

Dominic tells Elias that if the older man declares that Dominic’s now head of the Five Families, he’ll let Elias, the two detectives and Carl’s men live. But suddenly that deal’s put on the back burner, as Dominic gets informed that there’s evidence that one of the Brotherhood members actually works for Elias. Dominic gives Carl an option, reveal the mole, or the Brotherhood will wipe out all of Elias’ men.

Root sneaks into room 914, finds Shaw’s coat, but she sees Shaw’s outside being put into a car, she hears Martine’s voice saying that Root just missed her. The two women square off, just when it seems Root’s got the advantage, two male operatives overpower her. She’s strapped to a hospital bed as Harold’s brought in. John Greer greets Finch, telling him he’s just in time to see them cut Root’s head open. Samaritan has determined that the ear implant that Root received has “The Machine’s” location on it. Greer tells her that she’ll be brain-damaged as a result of the surgery, but she’ll still be able to dress and feed herself.

Dominic tells Elias his time’s up and he’s going to take out his men, Carl relents and gives his rival the bank routing number of the Brotherhood member that Elias pays. Seconds later Dominic’s phone rings and he ends the call with a troubled expression on his face. Link comes over to ask him who the mole is and Dominic replies that he needs Link’s advice in how to handle the situation. His right-hand man tells Dominic he knows what he needs to do, put the mole in the ground, then asks who it is. Dominic replies with his gun, pumping five shots into Link.

Carl starts laughing saying the rival gang leader may have his title, but he can’t hold onto it. He says you can’t trust anybody and now his man’s dead. Dominic starts calling Link a rat and Elias admits that he may have misled his rival. There wasn’t a mole in the Brotherhood, Carl just tricked Dominic into thinking there was one, Link was loyal to the end.

Back at the Steiner Institute, Samaritan’s operatives are about to dissect Root’s head. She says Finch shouldn’t have to witness the carnage. Martine offers to kill Harold first, Root says if she lays a hand on Finch she’ll kill Martine. The Samaritan operative leans close to Root and Root grabs the former blonde and kills her. When Martine hits the floor, Root says now she’s ready to surrender.

Greer tells the pair that Samaritan’s making a final offer to save “The Machine’s” human operatives. Root screams out to the Artificial Intelligence System that Harold was right, that each of them are interchangeable. She tells “The Machine,” that she has to live and it can find new human operatives. Suddenly the facility’s power goes out, then we see a computer screen flicker and “The Machine” sends Finch and Root a message.

YOU ARE WRONG HAROLD

YOU ARE NOT INTERCHANGABLE

I FAILED TO SAVE SAMEEN

BUT I WON’T FAIL YOU NOW.

RELEASE THEM FIRST

THEN YOU’LL KNOW MY LOCATION.

Greer tells his operatives to release the pair. He then bids Finch farewell until the next time they meet. Root tells Harold that they have to get to The Machine before Samaritan does. He asks her if she knows where it’s at and she says she doesn’t but they need to find her.

The teacher tells Control that Samaritan’s planning a correction, Control looks through the woman’s day-planner and realizes the correction’s set for Wednesday, May 6. The teacher then talks of the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah and mentions Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt, for looking behind her as they fled the city.

She tells Control that she can survive the correction, by not impeding Samaritan’s plans. She says that Control’s good at closing her eyes to the truth, soon the planet will be on fire, so Control best look away. The teacher says that Samaritan’s creating a new age with the correction, Control tells the teacher it’s too bad she won’t be around to see it, then shoots her in the head.

The Season Finale Airs Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on CBS.