Season Four Episode Twenty

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Photo Courtesy Of Will Hart/NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

After exhausting all other options, the stage’s set for a two-hour “Battle Royale,” to conclude the fourth season for the NBC series “The Blacklist.” The mission’s clear, Team-RED, needs to keep their asset Raymond Reddington safe, and their Task-Force a secret. They now realize that they’re battling two obsessed opponents determined to derail their plans, discovering that a new actor’s entered the dynamic and adding a new unknown element to their fight. That unknown actor, FBI Special Agent Julian Gale, may prove to be the most dangerous opponent the Task-Force’s faced since its formation in 2013.

We’re not going to spend much time recapping “The Debt Collector,” a rather byzantine tale concocted by Reddington, so that he could meet face-to-face, with the woman he betrayed, Kate Kaplan. Raymond’s consumed with self-doubt, and he’s hoping that the waters have remained clear enough, that he can negotiate a truce with his former better-half.

The evening begins with Raymond and Dembe, stuck in Europe and desperately seeking a way to get back to the States. Reddington and Zuma, pay a visit to Baldur Magnusson, the underworld shipping magnate that Raymond threatened to kill earlier this season. Red convinces Magnusson, that at heart they’re both wheeler-dealers, always looking to buy low and sell high. Raymond pitches himself as a penny-stock, that will one day reward Baldur with huge dividends. Magnusson, responds that he can get the pair back in the steerage compartment of one of his ships.

Reddington calls Elizabeth Keen, and tells her that he’s gotten information that a Blacklist member known as the Debt Collector’s been hired to abduct her. He says that he’s stuck en-transit, so she’s got to take the information to Harold Cooper and the Task-Force.

The Debt Collector’s actually Edgar Grant, a high school janitor and admitted psychopath, who seeks recompense for his clients. He became a vigilante, after his wife lost her ability to walk as a result of getting hit by a man under the influence. Grant decided that the courts didn’t punish the driver harshly enough, so he mangled the man’s legs with a sledgehammer.

Grant enjoyed the experience and realized he’d found his calling, so he began hiring himself out to other’s seeking vengeance. He keeps mementos from all of his victims, in a bizarre trophy room down in his basement, ranging from a pair of hands taken from an abusive husband, to piles of cash and expensive works of art. Grant believes he’s working for Tyson Pryor, a disgraced sociology professor that Liz helped send to prison in 2012. Although given a life sentence, Pryor got released to a hospice in Baltimore, after receiving a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Grant’s instructed to abduct Lizzie, however to do her no harm until Pryor arrives.

In reality, the whole situation’s an elaborate ruse set up by Raymond to exploit Mr. Kaplan’s love for Elizabeth. Reddington gets her involved initially by identifying the Debt Collector, after examining the remains of one of his victims. He then implores her to set aside their differences in order to save Keen. Although we’ve believed that Raymond’s been setting things up while traveling in the cargo hold of a ship, he and Dembe have been lying in wait inside the cabin that Grant takes his victims to. Raymond and Dembe got back to the States, via a jet owned by a Prince, who owed Reddington a favor.

Tyson Pryor had no involvement in contracting Grant’s services, Red hired the vigilante to lure Mr. Kaplan. However Raymond doesn’t want to kill Kate, Lizzie’s pleas to spare Mr. Kaplan’s life caused Reddington to reexamine the situation. He sincerely hopes that he can arrange a permanent peace accord with Kate, allowing both of them to walk away and live out the rest of their lives without looking over their shoulders.

Let’s take a look at some key characters, and where they stand heading into the two-hour season finale:

Marvin Gerard: A rather surprising move by Raymond’s lawyer, when visited by Julian Gale and Donald Ressler. Gerard told the pair that he would only speak to Ressler, having watched him as the public face of the Bureau, when Lizzie and Raymond were on the lam. He states that Donald came off as smug, arrogant, and professional, while Gale strikes him as just smug and arrogant. Gale leaves the interrogation room, suspicious of a possible relationship between the pair.

Gerard then threatens to blow the whistle on the Task-Force to Gale, unless Donald arranges for his release. Ressler believes Marvin’s bluffing and would never give Reddington up. Gerard replies that there’s just one person he cares about more than Raymond, himself and his self-preservation instinct’s kicked in. However, does this move now put him directly in Reddington’s crosshairs?

Ressler emerges from the interrogation room, telling Gale he couldn’t get info from Gerard. Julian blows up and accuses Donald of being in cahoots with Gerard and Reddington. The two nearly come to blows, as Ressler tells Gale never to question his veracity.

Donald Ressler/Julian Gale: The “Boy Scout,” starts out the evening under suspension, the result of his shooting a secret service agent while under the influence of Bogdan Krilov’s memory manipulation. Cooper assures him that the matter will get rectified soon, and says that it might be a blessing in disguise, as he can now devote all his time with Julian Gale and stay one step ahead of his investigation. Raymond and Kate keep referencing the Mary Howitt fable, “The Spider And The Fly.” However Gale seems to have entrapped Ressler in his web, culminating in him tailing Donald when Ressler’s summoned to the cabin where Raymond, Lizzie, Dembe, and Kate, plus their assorted teams are gathered.

Perhaps it’s because of all the Russian characters in this series, but Julian Gale reminds me somewhat of Porfiry Petrovitch, the criminal investigator in the Dostoyevsky masterpiece, “Crime And Punishment.” Petrovitch pursues Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished student who believes that he’s part of a race of Super Men, and thus above laws made for mere mortals. Testing the bounds of his self-instilled freedom, he murders two elderly women and immediately regrets it.

Petrovitch sincerely believes in the system that he’s dedicated his life to. Gale no longer trusts the system that he works for, put off by the concept of forming alliances with criminals, in order to snare other outlaws. While both men realize that the men they pursue are brilliant, Petrovitch believes that Raskolnikov can be reformed and turned into a productive member of society. Gale carries no such illusions about Reddington, and he’s determined to put him in prison or in the ground.

Although Julian originally recruited Ressler to help him capture Reddington, he’s realized that Donald’s actually part of the team that’s working with Reddington under the auspices of the Justice Department. Gale tails Ressler to the cabin where all are gathered, and attempts to take Reddington out with a rifle from long-range. His shot goes awry, allowing Kate and her goons to escape, and causing Raymond and Lizzie to realize that a new actor has entered the scenario. Gale doesn’t let Ressler know that he’s aware of anything, and Donald doesn’t suspect Gale of being the sniper. It doesn’t seem likely that Gale will survive season four.

Mr. Kaplan: If any hopes remained that Kate would survive her battle against Raymond, they got dashed on the rocks during this episode. After getting assurance from Raymond that he could co-exist with Mr. Kaplan, Liz asked her to make the same vow. Kate’s hatred, proved to be too big an obstacle for her to overcome, and she refused to agree to the treaty. Mr. Kaplan’s now officially a dead woman walking, the only question remaining’s the person who will take her out. More on that later.

Dembe Zuma: The once silent and brooding character’s gotten a voice this season, and he’s proven that he’s far more than Raymond’s muscle. His conversation with Raymond, reflected my perception of the situation at this point. He told Red that he was heartbroken when he heard the shot that Reddington fired at Kate, and when they went home without her. He said he loved Kate, but in her efforts to prove that Raymond’s a monster, she became one herself. She no longer can see things clearly.

When Reddington counters that perhaps he’s the one not seeing things clearly, Zuma tells him he’s wrong. He stresses that they can’t allow Kate to derail their mission, the reason that Raymond surrendered himself to the FBI. He then says that they’ve got to stop Mr. Kaplan, no matter what it takes.

Prediction: I made a prediction on social media, before the Debt Collector aired, and now it’s time to share it with you. I believe that in the final moments of Episode 22, Katarina Rostova will appear and kill Mr. Kaplan to save Raymond. While this is purely conjecture, there are factors behind my theory.

As you likely remember, Alexander Kirk was ready to end Raymond’s life when Reddington whispered something into his ear, that caused him to spare Red’s life. Kirk doesn’t have a sympathetic bone in his body, so Reddington told him something that would benefit him. I believe that Raymond told Kirk, that Katarina Rostov’s still alive and that he’s close to discovering her whereabouts.

When Kathryn Nemec met Annie Kaplan, she told her she just found out her friend had died. She then said she thinks she was her best friend. In a life filled with betrayal, wouldn’t it be poetic justice for Kate to die at the hands of the woman whose final words to Kate were that she loved her? Mr. Kaplan’s destined to die a tragic death, and I can’t think of one more tragic than that.

The Two-Hour Season Finale airs at 9:00pm next Thursday on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

As with last week’s installment, this week’s title, “Lily,” pretty much gives away what this episode is going to focus on. Maybe I would complain about spoilers in another show but there are so many damn possibilities about what could happen and be revealed about a new character in a soap opera about fairytales, that I ain’t even worried about it.

This week opens with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice conjuring The Sorcerer through a cauldron and pillar of smoke. The Sorcerer needs to be made aware of the terrible things The Author has done, and also of his punishment for his misdeeds. The Sorcerer doesn’t appear to be too fussed about the outcome of The Author’s meddling—the two girls’ fates have always been entwined. The important part now, is damage control. They must stay out of the way and allow events to unfold from this point on. And above all, The Author must never be permitted to alter another story.

Well, too bad that’s exactly what Gold is expecting him to do, even at Cruella’s burial. The two men stand graveside, but while Isaac wants to mourn Cruella, Gold reminds him that it all needed to happen to blacken The Savior’s heart. From just outside the graveyard, said Savior glares at the two.

Emma then storms into Granny’s, where the Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust has gathered to discuss recent events. Emma, now aware that she killed Cruella even though she wasn’t actually a threat, wants to seek out Gold and get to the bottom of his plans. Killian and her parents encourage her to proceed with caution, but she dismisses them. She is, indeed, being cautious. She regrets killing Cruella but it was an accident and she isn’t consumed by that. She just wants to get to the bottom of everything, she swears.

She’s interrupted as Maleficent (presumably no longer under Cruella’s sleeping enchantment, as Cruella is dead) strolls in and announces that she wants to get in on whatever they’re up to. She has no more allegiance to Gold—he resurrected her for his own needs, not to help her, and she won’t be his pawn any longer. Instead, she wants to enlist Emma’s services as a Lady Who Knows How To Get Things. And Maleficent really wants to find her daughter.

No one seems to think it’s a very good idea to leave town with so much going on and Gold shoving her towards darkness, but Maleficent disagrees. Keeping her away from Gold will be the best thing for her. She continues to divulge the history she’s learned from Gold, that her daughter was adopted in Minnesota, and her adopted parents named her Lilith.

Lilith. Lily. The name immediately triggers Emma’s memories of her long-ago friend (because names mean something. Also this might be the *only* useful, satisfying plot point from the entire Frozen debacle so eat this up, kiddies). Emma rushes to the sheriff’s station to pull a bunch of stuff on microfilm that might help her confirm or disprove her suspicious. She finds Lily’s birth announcement in a newspaper article, complete with a picture showing the star-shaped birth mark on her wrist.

Emma sits in front of the screen, stunned. “Ain’t fate a bitch,” Regina remarks, standing behind her. Emma isn’t amused. How is it even possible that Lily, her only friend from so long ago, was Maleficent’s

daughter, linked to her Enchanted Forest past all along? Regina assures Emma that some powers are beyond anyone’s understanding, and can’t help but add that it’s more likely considering that Emma’s parents messed with those powers so much. Emma becomes more despondent—her only friend wasn’t even her friend, she was just another part of Emma’s ridiculously complicated fate. Regina can sympathize, being that the child she adopted wound up being the son of The Savior and Rumpelstiltskin’s long-lost son. Fate pushes all of us, she explains as gently as someone who used to be The Evil Queen can. Maybe, she continues to suggest, it’s time to push fate back a little.

Emma isn’t sure they can, but Regina outlines the circumstances. Regina needs to get to New York to save Robin, and Emma knows New York. In addition, she can help Maleficent find her daughter, and maybe put to rights a little what Emma’s parents did on her behalf. Emma thinks this may be a good plan after all. The two begin planning what I am hoping to be a truly epic road trip.

Isaac and Gold watch the two explain their plans to their families from across the street. Isaac is incensed that Gold is allowing the two to leave, but Gold rebuffs him. It doesn’t matter where exactly The Savior turns dark, it just needs to happen. It just may be that this little road trip will turn her even faster than the two of them could if they tried. Gold sees Will and Belle walking along the street and excuses himself in the most menacing way possible.

Emma has pulled her Bug in front of the mayor’s office, waiting for Regina to finalize her preparations (i.e., locking up Belle’s heart good and tight in her office with Maleficent to stand guard against Rumpelstiltskin). She bids goodbye to Henry. Mary Margaret and David try to offer their encouragement, but she refuses to reply. Instead, she cozies up to Killian for a very cute reaffirmation of Emma’s status as a hero, and also how much they mean to each other. Oh, and a really adorable kiss. Should pirate-kisses be adorable? Oh well. Anyway. As they pull away, Emma receives information about Lily from one of her contacts. It’s an address, but it’s five years old. And, it’s also the same small town where Emma was living five years ago. Fate, indeed, is freaky. Deciding to investigate the old address first, the pair depart on their trip, complete with The Snow Queen’s scroll, which they’ll use to regain entrance into Storybrooke once Robin is rescued and Lily is recovered.

At the pawnshop, Belle is debriefing will on how to look after things. She has to go watch Neal for Mary Margaret and David, and should be back in a few hours. She kisses him goodbye, and before the door can jingle closed, the camera turns and we see Rumpelstiltskin’s figure in the background.

Will notices him, and begins to give the cheeky remarks a cockney thief would give to the man whose ex-wife he’s currently seducing. Rumpelstiltskin is enraged, but he also has bigger things to worry about. Will is too thick to notice, of course, but Belle’s heart has been taken by Regina, and Gold needs a thief to get it back. A thief like Will. Will isn’t interested, but Gold makes it abundantly clear that he won’t take no for an answer.

Back on the road with Regina and Emma, they’ve found the dump of an apartment building where Lily had lived. Regina is disgusted by the squalor, but Emma is more concerned that her former friend had lived somewhere so terrible. They knock on the apartment door, but a nosy, half-dressed neighbor dude staggers across the hall, asking them what they want. They inquire about Lily, and the man informs them

that she died a few years back, using as much tact and sensitivity as he would have if he’d informed them that she stepped out for a cheese sandwich. He goes on. Ain’t no surprise Lily’s dead. She was a terrible loser, made horrible decisions, could never get her life together, and he’d probably continue except Emma grabs him by the throat and shoves him against the wall. Regina talks her down, assuring Emma that getting her hands dirty with a puke like this guy won’t be worth it. Emma is reeling, but she agrees with Regina. There isn’t anything more for them there. She turns and leaves.

The two continue driving towards New York. Emma continues to agonize over Lily’s ill fate. Regina tries to reason with her, but Emma can’t let it go. She feels guilty now that Lily is dead after such a terrible life. Regina continues to argue with her when Emma sees an obstruction in the road ahead and swerves to miss it.

In swerving, Emma runs off the road, flattening one of the tires. Before Emma can even get out to assess the damage, she looks back to the obstruction that caused the accident. It’s not just an obstruction. It’s a wolf who appears to be completely unfussed despite the fact that it had nearly been run over. It looks in the eye as she gets out of the car before trotting off into the forest. Seem familiar? It should. It’s how Emma wound up spending her first night in Storybrooke in the drunk tank after dropping Henry off and accepting a cocktail from Regina. Emma muses over the déjà vu, but Regina isn’t sure this is fate. It’s more like a traffic accident. A serendipitous one, maybe, since they’re right next to a diner/gas and repair station. Regina orders Emma to go get them some coffees while she sees about getting Emma’s car repaired.

Emma sits at a table and orders two coffees to go, so dazed that she barely recognizes that the waitress she’s been making small talk with has the same star-shaped birthmark that Lily did. Emma sees the waitress’ nametag reads “Starla,” but Emma isn’t fooled. Regina sits down as Starla turns away, and Emma tells her earlier guess about fate’s actions had been wrong. The waitress is Lily, and she was supposed to meet her here.

Emma goes to confront the server, who is no longer wearing her uniform and waiting in a parking lot adjacent to the restaurant, staring at her phone. Emma approaches her and confesses that she knows “Starla’s” real identity, and identifies herself as her long lost friend.

Lily is a little disbelieving and overwhelmed, but the conversation continues and she knows that Emma is who she says she is. Emma begins to apologize for abandoning her all those years ago, but Lily assures her that there aren’t any apologies necessary. She admits her life was messed up for a while, but she was able to make a fresh start. She likes her life in her little town. She has a husband, and a daughter, and hasn’t even thought of Emma in years. A school bus pulls up, and Lily excuses herself so she can fetch her daughter and walk her home.

Emma watches Lily walk towards the children streaming from the bus. Safely out of earshot, she kneels before a little girl with dark hair. She smiles at the girl. “You know me from the diner, right?” she asks. The girl nods. “Well, free burgers for a week if you hold my hand and walk around the corner with me. You gotta decide right now, though,” she offers with a smile. The girl gives her a grin, and the two walk away.

Emma may not have been in earshot, but she always knows when someone is lying to her. She’s certain that Lily’s troubles have continued to follow her to her new life as Starla. She’s equally certain that she bears some responsibility for her terrible life. Why’s that exactly? Well, turns out, the last time we saw Emma and Lily together (when Lily’s father had come to fetch her from their lake house) wasn’t the last time the girls saw each other, even though Emma swore she never wanted to see Lily again.

Not so long ago, in a land not very far away (Minnesota, actually), Emma has finally landed with a good foster family. They’re absolutely gooey over each other, planning a family camping trip. Emma seems to be on top of the world, until she goes to the garage to fetch a sleeping bag and finds Lily hiding in there. Lily! What in the world is she doing here?! Before Lily can explain further than “I am in so much trouble for real,” the foster parents walk in. Lily immediately spins a nonsense story about knowing Emma from a group home and just moving to the neighborhood herself, and gets invited to stay for dinner.

As the evening progresses, it’s clear that Lily is still Bad News Bears, and Emma is panicked about her sudden presence in her otherwise-maybe-going-okay life. And Emma has every reason to be concerned. Turns out Lily is wanted in an armed robbery of a convenience store. Lily tries to explain that it all happened before she could stop it, and that it was her boyfriend’s idea and he made her do it, but Emma isn’t having it. She wants Lily gone immediately. Lily agrees, but begs Emma to retrieve her birth mother’s necklace from the place where she and her boyfriend have been squatting. Emma isn’t happy, but, assuming that it’s the fastest way to get Lily out of her life, agrees and goes to the flophouse to retrieve the necklace.

She returns home, expecting to find Lily, but instead, she finds her foster parents, and they are super mad. It seems that Lily broke into her foster dad’s desk and stole their vacation money. Upon finding both the money and the girls missing, they called Emma’s social worker and found out that Emma and Lily had been arrested together. Emma, realizing that everything has unraveled, grabs a pack next to the door and storms out.

She’s waiting at a bus stop when Lily approaches her. Emma is irate, but Lily tries to explain. She’s saved Emma from a really boring life, and with the money Lily’s just stolen the two of them can go anywhere. Emma won’t have it, but Lily pleads a little. Everything’s gotten so much worse for her since Emma came into and then left her life. No decisions work out. She can’t help but make terrible mistakes no matter how hard she tries not to. She wants to start over again with Emma. Emma, enraged that Lily has cost her another chance at happiness, presses her mother’s necklace into her hand and storms off, swearing she never wants to see her again.

So, Emma has to do something to help Lily, and she wants to start with tracking her down and reuniting her with her mother. She manages to get Lily’s address from her timecard at the diner, and she drags Regina off to investigate where she’s now living. They pull up to a run-down trailer that isn’t any better looking inside. There are no signs of a husband or a child inside, confirming Emma’s suspicions.

What neither woman can account for, though, is the bulletin boards all over the walls in a back room, outlining all the events from Regina’s curse-threat to Lilith’s banishment to this land without magic.

LILY. KNOWS. EVERYTHING.

I can only assume that the writers are making up for the dumb, barely-existing plot twists in the Frozen arc. I also heartily approve of this.

Okay, so Lily knows everything and by the looks of her serial-killer bulletin-boarding she wants revenge against Snow White and Prince Charming for dooming her fate. And she’s been waiting for Emma and Regina to show up. And they’ve just walked right into her trap.

There’s a crash and tires squealing outside. Emma and Regina rush onto the porch just in time to see Lily take off in Emma’s Bug (which has Regina’s purse, which has the scroll that she can use to enter Storybrooke.)

Emma realizes that Lily has destroyed every chance of happiness she had as a child, and she’s not about to let her interfere with her family again. She grabs a wrench and hotwires an SS Chevelle that happens to be sitting in a neighbor’s parking space. Regina, horrified but unable to stop Emma’s dramatic response, hops in as they go tearing off after Lily. Emma drives exceedingly fast, determined to stop Lily before she can reach Storybrooke and hurt her parents. Regina pleads with her to think things through. Emma won’t have such advice coming from someone who was on her way to New York to rip her sister’s heart out if need be in order to save her boyfriend. It’s not about heroes and villains right now, she snaps. They’re in the real world where real people have real problems, and she’s gotta put a stop to Lily.

They catch up with her and, after engaging in a longer car chase than necessary when pitting a Chevy Chevelle against a Volkswagen Bug (seriously, between these two cars, Cruella’s Roadmaster, and Gold’s Cadillac, I’m only assuming that someone on the writer’s staff has a car thing going on. I heartily approve), Emma pulls ahead and beaches her car ahead of the Bug. The three women get out.

Emma demands to know if Lily knew about their fates when they were children. Lily learned later, she confesses, but what does it even matter now? Lily has exactly what she needs to get into Storybrooke and seek her revenge, and without magic there’s nothing The Savior can do to stop her!

The two women scuffle. Energy crackles and a headlight on the Bug bursts. The scuffle ends when Emma pulls out her gun and draws it on Lily, who’s kneeling before her.

Lily goads Emma. Lily’s whole life has been nothing but pain and mistakes, and no good can come of Emma allowing her to live, since she’s just going to go to Storybrooke to destroy her family. Emma, shaking, doesn’t respond, but keeps the gun trained on Lily as Regina again tries to act as the voice of reason. It’s a tense confrontation, but eventually Emma lowers her gun. Lily is too stunned to move or run away. The two women sit on some nearby discarded drainage pipes and try to process what’s happened.

How, indeed, did Lily know everything? After being abandoned by Emma with only her mother’s necklace and a wad of stolen cash, Lily hopped on a bus to get out of town and beat her armed robbery rap. She’s on a bus to Pittsburgh (which made my little heart sing, being a Pittsburgh native myself, and everyone knows everyone from , the Burgh gets excited when we’re on TV), staring at her mother’s

necklace, and maybe mourning her fate a little. Then, there’s a man beside her, calling her by name, offering to tell her all about her mother and her origins. It’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice! Because, lord knows that a teenage runaway girl will totally not be freaked out by a scraggly-bearded man confronting her on sketchy public transportation, especially if he claims to know everything about her. 100% normal. Well, maybe it would bother other girls, but Lily (even though she doesn’t know it) is the daughter of a dragon and a yet-unnamed probably-magical baby-daddy, who has crossed realms and had had destiny stacked against her since before she could even talk. She has seen some shit. She allows the man to continue. Maybe we’ll find out what happened in that conversation next episode?

Back in Storybrooke, Will has successfully stolen Belle’s heart from Maleficent (with the help of a diversion by Rumpelstiltskin). He doesn’t hand it over to Gold, but rather meets Belle in the shop with it. He shows it to her, and she’s overwhelmed. Before Will can finish explaining, Rumpel emerges from the back. She tenses, but he assures her he means her no harm. He again professes his love for her, but, even as he places her heart back in her chest, admits that he’s unworthy of her. He won’t continue to hurt her with his presence. If Belle wants a future with Will, he won’t stand in her way. And, for the fourth? Fifth? Millionth? time this series, Bobby Carlyle says, “Goodbye, Belle,” and breaks my heart into itty bitty pieces.

He walks out the front door, and Belle turns to watch him leave, clutching her chest. Will grabs for her hand. She doesn’t turn to look back at him.

So! Belle’s heart being back in her chest means that Regina has lost her leverage with Gold, and Maleficent calls Regina to let her know what’s happened. Lily and Emma were having a very soul-affirming conversation about bad things happening even when it’s nobody’s fault, but Regina insists that they leave to find Robin immediately.

And find him, they do. Marian happens to be at the store, which is perfect because now Regina can rapidly debrief him about Marian being dead all along, and Marian really being Zelena, and everything being a trick. Robin is overwhelmed, as one would probably be. Marian, of course, returns just as he gathers the words to tell Regina that he and Marian have started a new life together. Marian first proclaims to have no idea what Regina is talking about, but Zelena can’t ever keep a secret when she knows she can drop a bomb. She transforms into her true self before Robin’s very eyes.

Regina orders Robin to escape with her as soon as possible, but Robin can’t bring himself to move. He can’t leave. He just can’t. “Why?” Regina demands.

Zelena giggles and encourages Robin to share their happy news. She’s pregnant.

ZELENA IS PREGNANT.

BECAUSE IT’S NOT A DAMN SOAP OPERA WITHOUT A DRAMATIC PREGNANCY.

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Are we stuck with a predestined future, failing to alter our fate even if we change our ways? That question’s been posed for over a hundred years, the subject of Charles Dickens’ classic story “A Christmas Carol,” as Ebenezer Scrooge, evolved into a kind and generous man after getting visited by three spirits, on a Christmas Eve, long ago. The latest episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” examined that subject, as John Reese realized with a little help, that he needs to let people into his life. However, Reese unlike Scrooge was very familiar with the spirit that visited him.

Once again, the show-runners of Person Of Interest, bend the envelope of the format, this time keeping the viewers on their toes, determining, fact from fiction. It’s a cold open, already unusual for the show, known for their opening and the ominous words “We are being watched.” The screen’s black but we hear the sound of banging, screaming and sirens, then we see Reese sitting behind the wheel of a car, while Harold Finch sits in the back and complains about Bear. Finch’s upset that the dog’s digested two rare books of his, Reese offers to buy him a new one, but Harold says John doesn’t get a large enough salary.

The passenger door opens and Detective Joss Carter enters the car, with coffee. We know it’s a flashback as Carter got killed in the middle of the previous season. They’re staking out a number a guy named Benny Belasco, whose on bad terms with HR. Reese and Finch are unsure if he’ll get knocked off by a corrupt cop, or Belasco will shoot a member of the NYPD. Harold asks if they’ve got this handled, as he needs to walk and feed Bear.

He leaves and Carter remarks she’s not used to arriving so early, Reese asks what she means. She responds she’s in homicide, usually the people she deals with are dead. She then shakes her head as she looks at Belasco, saying he’s totally unaware he’s in danger. Reese replies, he should realize it, stealing from crooked-cops, Carter says she’s seen a lot of dead bodies, not one of them looked like they knew it was coming.

Back in the present, Reese comes back to reality when Fusco calls him Wonder Boy and tells him two members of the Brotherhood are dead, one of Carl Elias’ men’s still alive. Reese wonders why “The Machine,” didn’t pick it up and Harold says it may have been a crime of opportunity, meaning all at the same place, same time by coincidence. Finch explains “The Machine” doesn’t predict those kinds of crimes.

He tells Reese that a new number’s come up, nothing to do with Elias or The Brotherhood, the number’s named Chase Patterson. He’s 25-years-old, comes from a Park Avenue Family that got murdered back in 2008, his mother, father and two sisters got killed, he claimed he was out that night. It’s a cold case as Patterson left the United States for France, shortly after the murders. This is his first time back in the States since.

Reese says he’ll take the number, so Finch, Fusco and Root have to keep Elias and the Brotherhood from starting a gang war. Root shows up, soon after wearing a wedding dress and veil, Finch confused wishes her congratulations. She tells him to save it, this was a plan to find out “The Machine’s” location, that went South. Finch asks how would she feel about stopping a gang war, she enthusiastically comes on board.

John in his guise of Detective Reilly, requests the Patterson file from the desk sergeant, he’s given a box from the evidence room, as the Detective handling the case got murdered. That detective was Joss Carter and the box contains all of her personal belongings. John looks through the box, finds an envelope with To John written on it, it’s a picture of Reese and his former fiancée Jessica, from happier times.

We head back to March 8, 2008, the day the Patterson’s got killed. Carter’s a rookie detective, her partner’s Raymond Tierney,  who was heavily involved in HR. He tells her they got a big one, a Park Avenue home invasion, leading to a quadruple homicide. Tierney’s pretty confident that Chase, a kid with drug problems killed his sisters and parents.

They head to the building, Tierney says they have to play this one by the book and let him do the talking. Joss stands and watches as her partner interviews the household staff, he’s told there was friction between Chase and his parents. He’s ready to arrest Patterson, but Carter asks if he killed them and stole their stuff for drug money, why didn’t he take a Jade figurine, he could have gotten 20 grand for. Tierney tells her to ask him herself, we find ourselves in an interrogation room with Chase and Joss.

In the present Detective Reilly’s duplicated her movements, checking out the now vacant penthouse and bringing Chase in for questioning. He asks Patterson where he was the night of the murders, he says he already gave his statement to the woman detective, Carter.

Patterson told Carter, he’d been in the family’s cabin in the Catskills relapsing. He’d been clean for six months, before he lost his fight. He then told Carter that the last time he relapsed, his mother found him in his room unresponsive, she held his hand until he regained consciousness in the hospital. He went to rehab and his mother was at every meeting. He told her she was treating him like a child, she said he was one, her child. He said he planned on begging his mother for forgiveness for his latest back slide, but when he got home she was gone, they all were. Carter believes him.

Back in the present John asks who killed his family, Patterson says either charge me or let me go, he’s released as Reese has no evidence to hold him. Back in 2008, Tierney asks Carter why she thinks Chase’s innocent, she says she looked in his eyes. She says he’s damaged but didn’t slit his mother’s throat, Tierney’s cellphone rings, when he hangs up he says the murderers DNA showed the killer was a family member. Joss says she’s heading to the Catskills to check out the cabin.

She heads to the cabin, hears somebody inside, but they escape without her seeing them. Her phone rings and it’s Tierney, she says she thinks Chase just left the cabin, Tierney tells her Patterson left the country from JFK two hours before heading to Paris. The case’s closed and they’re onto a new one.

Reese heads to the cabin, he sees two baggies of weed and some pill bottles on the coffee table, he hears something, pulls his gun then realizes it’s Chase. Patterson says somebody else put the drugs on the table, they’re not his, a shot rings out and Reese is shot in his abdomen, the wound’s bad, he falls to the floor in a heap. Turns out that the Patterson’s doorman’s Patterson’s father’s illegitimate son and he killed the family.

He tells Chase that Patterson senior, dated his mother in high school, got her pregnant and dumped her. Years later he found Patterson, and the man gave him money to stay away. He got fed up with the “new family,” and killed them out of anger, he planned to kill Chase, but he left for France too quickly.

He aims at Chase’s head and tells him to take some of the pills in the bottle, after he swallows them, the doorman says he’s got eight hours to live. Reese tries to reach for his service revolver, inches from his hand, but the doorman kicks it away. He says seven years earlier Carter scared him away, but he’s ready to kill a cop at this juncture. He drags Reese through the snow, then goes to get a shovel, when he returns John’s sitting there holding his backup weapon, aimed at the doorman.

We’re back at the stakeout, Joss tries to get John to open up about why he ended things with Jessica. He tries avoiding the question, but finally says he didn’t think he’d come home alive and she deserved better. He wanted her to be happy, although her marriage lead to her death. Joss says you can tell your friends and your police psychiatrist that, but I’m not buying it. How does Joss Carter know that John will see a police psychiatrist, when she died before he saw her. We find out that John’s dying from blood loss and hypothermia, Joss is just a hallucination.

John’s actually in the Catskills, he killed the doorman but he’s sitting in his car with a broken window and without the keys. Carter’s image pushes him to crawl to the doorman’s corpse, grab the keys and crawl back to the car. However the engine’s frozen and the motor won’t start.

He tells Carter that Finch, Root or Fusco will soon arrive, she reminds him he never told them where he was going. His keeping people out has led to this situation, with his life hanging in the balance. He tells her he misses her and she says if you miss me, then I left an impression on you which is good.

She then insists that he tell her why he left Jessica, he responds on his first tour of duty, he cleaned up after a firefight between US Rangers and the Taliban, all were killed. He noticed each of the men had pictures in their wallets of loved ones, he felt if he didn’t have a picture he could focus fully in his job. She tells him that’s what lead him to dying all alone.

He starts to fall asleep, but Carter tells him to wake up if he sleeps he dies. He thinks he sees headlights on the road, but it’s just the moon. He tells her she’s right about him not letting others in, but says that wasn’t the reason he didn’t share this with the team. It made him feel close to her again and he wanted to keep that to himself.

She tells him that there are people who want to love him, but he needs to tear down his protective wall and allow them in. He tells her she’s right and asks if she’ll stay with him. She takes his hand and says of course. John starts to fall asleep again, but we start hearing music and his eyes open, there’s a car coming to save him, he says I did it Carter, but he looks to see he’s alone.