Season Four Episode Two

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Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC

Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

While watching the final few minutes of “The Blacklist,” I realized that I really DON’T know Raymond Reddington, as well as I thought I had after spending the past three-seasons-plus with him. Although killing became as normal to Raymond, as breathing over the past 20-odd years, I allowed myself to believe what Raymond told Katarina’s ghost in the Cape May episode from last season. “I’ve never killed anyone who didn’t deserve to die.” If Reddington still believes in that code, then his definition of deserving and mine, aren’t in the same area-code.

The second episode of season four, entitled ”Matos,” will likely become one of the most controversial and polarizing chapters of the series, even if the show lasts another decade. The entire episode messed with our sensibilities and with the knowledge we’ve acquired since Raymond turned himself in to FBI Headquarters in 2013. Lizzie Keen, spent most of the episode unsure of what’s real and what’s fictional, her surroundings evoke memories, long since buried and forgotten. Could both sets of memories she has of her childhood, be true? Or was one of these ”realities” implanted in her brain as a child?

The action begins just moments after the conclusion of the previous episode, Constantin Rostov, Liz and a pilot, are escaping Cuba in a sea-plane. The pilot’s purposely flying low, trying to remain undetected by radar. After some back and forth sniping between Rostov and Keen, Liz attacks the pilot and attempts to crash the aircraft into the ocean. A gun appears and Keen gets possession, shooting the pilot and firing a shot into Constantin’s thigh. We never see the actual crash as the credits roll.

Back in Cuba, Tom locates the wreckage of Raymond’s car and they realize that the hitman took Agnes, when he T-Boned their car. We find out that the hitman’s named Matos, he’s incredibly proficient and has worked for Kirk/Rostov for years. He’s full-blooded Native-American, and legend has it that he’s a Shaman. Matos and Mr. Kaplan, also have a mutual friend, a bail-bondsman named Little Nikos, who operates out of Amarillo, Texas. Reddington, Dembe, Kate and Tom, hop on Red’s jet and head to the Lone-Star State.

The other plane in this scenario’s now floating on the ocean, the pilot’s dead, Rostov’s unconscious as Lizzie wakes-up to find the ship’s radio’s on the fritz and the aircraft’s taking on water. Constantin comes to and realizes that Keen’s got him tied up and tells Liz that he’s her father and she can’t let him die. Liz responds with an evil gleam in her eye, just watch.

Now in Texas, Mr. Kaplan begs Reddington to be allowed to talk to Little Nikos first. Turns out that decades before Kate had her skull bashed in and Nikos basically saved her life. Raymond agrees to allow Kate to try to convince her friend to give them Matos’ location.

Team-Red, could not have picked a worse time to land in Amarillo from Little Nikos’ vantage point, though Reddington perceived the timing as a strategic advantage. The bail-bondsman, had a surgical team in his facility in the midst of performing lap-band surgery. Reddington insists that he be revived immediately, the surgeon responds that could put Nikos’ life in jeopardy. Red flashes his pistol and tells the surgeon that his patient’s life’s already in danger, the question’s whether the doctor wishes to put his own life in jeopardy?

The plane that Lizzie and Kirk are floating on’s taking water on at an enormous rate, but suddenly Keen finds a flare gun and fires off a flare into the sky. Unfortunately, she forgets to keep her weapon on her and Rostov grabs the pistol and points it at Lizzie, he tells her the only way they can survive is to trust each other, then hands her back the gun.

The surgeon tells Reddington that the patient’s conscious, but in incredible pain, so the conversation needs to be brief. The bail-bondsman’s strapped to the operating table and there are four excavation sites on his torso. Kate tries talking to him first, telling her that Reddington’s with her, and he’ll kill Nikos unless he gives up Matos’ location. Reddington walks into the room and assures Nikos that he won’t kill him, he actually admires his loyalty.

Unfortunately Reddington says his associates don’t share his convictions and he invites Tom into the room and tells Keen that Nikos knows how to contact, the psychopath that kidnapped Agnes. As Reddington leaves, Keen picks up a drill like instrument and asks aloud what this instrument’s used for?

Kirk and Keen are now both in the water hanging onto the fuselage of the plane, Liz says help’s on the way. Rostov replies they’ll save her and that’s what’s important and then he lets go of the fuselage and sinks under the water. Surprisingly, Keen dives under the water and rescues him. Shortly thereafter a boat sees them and rescues them.

Back in Amarillo, we join Reddington and Mr. Kaplan in a room, as we listen to Nikos’ screams of pain and cries of agony. Kate tells Red, that she betrayed Nikos for the same reason she betrayed Raymond, to keep Lizzie safe. She recalls the first time she met Lizzie, when Raymond put the infant in her arms. Just then Tom enters the room and he’s got the way to contact Matos. Nikos text messages the mercenary with a password and Matos heads to Nikos’ storefront within two-hours. They text the message to the kidnapper, who when he receives the message heads North.

The captain who rescues them speaks Spanish and apparently can understand English but doesn’t speak it. Keen attempts to get the seaman to alert the local authorities about Rostov, but Constantine figures out what’s going on and shoots the Captain.

Waiting for Matos to arrive, Kate and Tom are in a car in front of Nikos’ building. Tom apologizes for what he did to Nikos’ blaming his concern for Agnes for showing no mercy. Mr. Kaplan asks Keen why he’s telling her that and Tom replies that Nikos’ is Kate’s friend. Kate then says that Tom wants her to grant him absolution for his actions, then says people count on her to make their lives happier. To make others lives “cleaner” hence her job title. She says Keen and Reddington want her to make things easier for them, but she won’t grant their requests.

Mr. Kaplan steps out of the car, telling Tom she needs some air, but her timing was terrible, stepping out of the car at the exact moment Matos pulls up. He steps out of his car and looks around, then he sees Kate and starts to run in the opposite direction. Dembe and Tom chase after the mercenary, but Kate ends the chase knocking him the ground with the car.

Raymond decides he doesn’t want to play his usual game of cat and mouse with Matos’ so he cuts right to the chase. He tells Matos that he realizes his prisoner has no fear of pain or death, but he’s fully aware that members of his tribe possess a fear of being stuck on earth surrounded by rotting flesh with his soul trapped for eternity inside his coffin.  The threat works and Matos says they’re heading to the Summer Palace, a location Reddington remembers quite well. He calls Harold Cooper and requests that Cooper send a team to raid Rostov’s complex in Nova Scotia.

Keen and Rostov, arrive at the Summer Palace and Constantin tells Keen he needs to meet with his doctors, but tells Liz to explore. Lizzie starts checking out the house and soon discovers a room that bring a flood of memories into her head. Rostov walks into the room and Keen says this was her bedroom, but it’s impossible as she remembers a fire and shooting her father. Rostov says those memories were just lies concocted by Reddington, he was in love with her mother and he’s obsessed with her.

Keen looks out a window and sees a child’s swing hanging from a tree. She runs downstairs and onto the grass, but we see Masha Rostova as a toddler when she appears. Suddenly she runs over to Katarina and sees her mother working in the garden. Mother and daughter speak to each other in Russian, Katarina’s burying a coffee-can into the ground and tells her daughter, that the can’s a time machine and one day when Masha’s older, she can return and dig up the treasure. Katarina take the yarn bracelet to her daughter and the toddler puts it the can and buries it. Back in the present, Keen finds the can containing Katarina’s bracelet and puts it on her own wrist.

The idyllic moment’s shattered as an FBI SWAT-Team invades the “Summer Palace,” killing most of Kirk’s guards in the process, while Rostov makes his escape. Ressler who accompanied the SWAT-Team hugs Lizzie when he sees her while Keen breaks down and cries, as Agnes’ whereabouts are still unknown.

Keen’s transported back to the States. Raymond stays just long enough to verify that Lizzie’s safe then he and Dembe drive away. She’s reunited with Tom who assures her that they will get Agnes back safe and sound.

Dembe drives Reddington and Mr. Kaplan out into the country when he finally pulls over, Reddington asks Dembe to stay with the car. Kate’s fully aware these are her final moments and she’s determined not to go out meekly into the night. She calmly and coolly explains to Reddington that she devoted her existence to him, but she realizes that Reddington now perceives Kate as a liability, as she knows too much about him. Red responds that even if he could put aside his anger and betrayal, he’d never be able to trust her. He says when he looks at her it’s like seeing a stranger. He then fires a shot at her from about 20-feet away and she collapses to the ground. Showing no signs of remorse or guilt, Reddington walks back to his car, unaware that Mr. Kaplan’s alive.

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Season Four of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” premiered with back to back episodes, featuring familiar faces, but many in some very strange places. Let’s start with old friend Carrie Mathison who begins the episode as the CIA Chief Of Station in Kabul and now’s known by her staff as the “Drone Queen,” after a series of successful strikes taking out high-profile targets.

The episode opens with Mathison in an embassy car with a driver and two Marine guards, riding through the streets of the city, when she asks to walk the last few blocks to the embassy. Both Marines leave the car with her, automatic weapons at the ready, one walking in front of her, the other behind. Her cellphone rings, it’s the embassy and she’s needed back pronto, so all climb back into the car.

When Carrie arrives, she’s informed that sources have located a wanted terrorist, number four on the Agency’s most wanted list. The event just got reported and the only way to take out the terrorist’s by rockets launched by an F-16 bomber. They have visual contact with the target, it’s a farmhouse near Islamabad and a vehicle owned by the terrorist’s out front of the barn. Mathison’s bothered by the last-minute nature of the information and wants to talk with Islamabad Chief Of Station Sandy Bachman.

Carrie and Bachman videoconference and she asks her counterpart the source and Sandy tells her it’s the same unidentified source that has given them a string of good information. When she tries pressing harder for a name, he replies that the source requested anonymity for good information and so far everyone’s happy. Mathison expresses her concern on quickly they’re launching the mission and Bachman responds that’s the way it goes with high-profile targets, you take them when you see that window of opportunity.

Mathison returns to the command center and gets told that all’s on hold pending her permission and she tells her assistant to get things started. He calls the pilot and tells him its play time, and the pilot acknowledges the order. Seconds later on the video monitor, two bright flashes light up the area and then the barn’s nothing but rubble. After the mission’s completed, Carrie’s crew dim the lights and present her with a birthday cake. She thanks them and blows out the candles.

Back at her apartment she pours herself a glass and a half of white wine to wash down some Ambien, then Skype’s her sister. The call was for Carrie to see her daughter Frannie, who’s being cared for by Carrie’s sister Amy, but because Mathison ran late her father had taken her daughter to the park. We can sense tension between the sisters, as Amy definitely disapproves of the mother/daughter separation, but Carrie can’t care for the baby in a war-zone, which Amy believes is the way her sister purposely arranged things.

Carrie’s not only taking Ambien to help her sleep, she puts in ear-plugs and an eye-shade before she lies down. Her sleep gets interrupted however, when her phone rings and CIA Director Andrew Lockhart’s on the other end in a rather edgy mood. Forty civilians got killed in the bombing and he wants Mathison to get to Islamabad and talk with Bachman, to manufacture a cover story for the bombing.

Sandy’s assistant in Islamabad’s another familiar face, with operative Peter Quinn sits down with Bachman and the American Ambassador to discuss the civilian casualties. Bachman to Quinn’s horror blames it on the civilians, saying they realized they put themselves in danger when they invited the terrorist. The Ambassador says that explanation won’t cut it with the American people or the world community and the meeting concludes in a standoff.

The barn held a wedding and only one person escaped alive, a young medical student Aayan Ibrahim, who lost his entire family in the bombing. Ibrahim was recording the celebration on his cell phone, first taking video of the room with the men in it, then entering the doorway of the room the women gathered in. There were women and little girls dancing joyously, Aayan started filming his mother who took the camera from him and started shooting her son on the camera as he took a courtly bow, then took the camera back and kept filming. Seconds later smoke appeared in the house and the camera stopped recording.

Carrie arrives in Islamabad and Quinn comes to pick her up and she asks to sit down and discuss the bombing before heading to the embassy. Peter tells her he’s no idea who Bachman’s source is, but it left them in a smoking hole this time. Mathison surprises Quinn by touting the company line, that they’re bullet-proof in this situation.

Ibrahim returns to medical school after he recuperates and his roommate implores him to upload his video to the Internet, to get justice for his family, but Aayan outright refuses. He doesn’t want the trouble the attention would get him, but his roommate goes behind his back and has his cousin upload the footage. Hours later the tape’s gone viral across the globe.

Back in Washington representatives from an arms manufacturer come to meet with some military brass, one of the reps is former CIA Chief Saul Berenson. However instead of pitching the weapons system his boss brought him over to discuss, he tries to engage a General in a conversation on the United States had fought 14 one-year-wars since putting boots on the ground in Afghanistan in 2001. His boss Aaron asks to speak to Saul privately, but Berenson tries pressing the General for a response.

Aaron gets him in the hallway and tells him he’s now in the private sector and his discussion won’t help get sales. Saul realizes what Aaron’s saying makes sense, but the sentiment doesn’t pacify him, or ease his longings to go back and work for the agency.

Protesters rapidly gather in Islamabad after the video goes viral and Bachman decides to leave the Embassy without informing anyone. Just as he gets out on the street Peter and Carrie see Aaron’s face on a local newscast, his covers been blown as he’s revealed as the CIA Chief Of Station involved in the bombing. Quinn calls Bachman who lies at first and says he’s in the embassy and Peter informs him he’s been made. He finds out where Aaron is and he and Carrie plus a  team of soldiers attempt to rescue him.

Bachman attempts to flee then hides inside a building seeing a group of men gathering outside the doorway. Two men come down the stairs and exit the building, then tell the others the agent’s in the lobby. As they enter the building he runs through a series of hallways and doors escaping to a seemingly  safe street, but soon three men approach him from each direction, just as Quinn and Carrie arrive in Peter’s car. Bachman gets into the vehicle and Quinn attempts to drive away, but the force of the crowd keeps the car standing still.

The crowd starts rocking the car then banging on it with sticks and polls, finally breaking the passenger window next to Bachman, but Quinn shoots the man trying to grab Aaron in the head. They then break the back side window and try to attack Carrie and Quinn once again kills the attacker. The crowd’s far too large to combat and they eventually pull Bachman out of the window and pummel him to death on the street. Peter realizing Aaron’s dead, shoots out the car’s back window and escapes by driving backwards.

They get to the Embassy and Carrie wants to run inside and inform the Ambassador, but Peter’s visibly shaken by the incident and asks Mathison for a minute to compose himself. Carrie says they also have to come up with a story for the Ambassador, as she says they could have done more to save Bachman. Quinn looks at her as if she’s insane and asks her what’s wrong with her and she turns the question back on him, then tells him she’ll meet him inside in five minutes. When Carrie asks to speak to the Ambassador at the reception desk, the young woman tells her Carrie’s got blood on the side of her face, the blood that spurted from the head of the man who tried to attack her in the car.

Lockhart orders both agents back to Washington immediately, then Carrie’s informed her worst nightmare’s come true. She’s been recalled back to Washington permanently, meaning she’s going to have to deal with being a mom and trying to raise her infant daughter. Mathison seems terrified and resentful at the prospect and her sister Amy trying to force that responsibility on her only makes things worse.

Lockhart’s feeling quite vulnerable and he believes having Mathison by his side during the upcoming Senate committee hearings will be a huge asset for him Mathison however tells the director, that she should get the assignment for Islamabad so she can straighten out whatever situation Bachman got the Agency into.

Amy finally shames Carrie to spend a day with Frannie and after feeding and changing her daughter she takes her for a drive. She take the infant to the house Brody lived in when they first met. She tells her daughter, that although she’s a terrible mother Brody would have made a terrible father. But he was glad when Carrie told him she was on her way. She tells Frannie she wants to feel happy also, but she just can’t do it.

She takes the baby home to bathe her, then gasps when her head almost goes under the water. However she then contemplates drowning the baby until Frannie starts to cry and she picks her daughter up and cries alongside of her, realizing in that moment she can’t raise her daughter. She gets Frannie dressed and then drives over to the CIA archives building, where an agent that served in Islamabad got buried by Lockhart.

The agent Jordan Harris doesn’t want to talk with her at first, but then realizes she’s indeed searching for the truth. Harris came back from Islamabad to inform Lockhart about Bachman’s shady dealings, the Director not only ignored the information but put the agent in a thankless meaningless new position. Carrie tells him she’ll get the information out there and will try her best to get him back in the field.

Dar Adal who worked with Saul at the Agency, comes to discuss the current environment with his old friend. He says there were rumors before Islamabad that Lockhart’s stock’s falling in certain corners and since the attack there’s blood in the water, which could lead to Saul coming back as Director of the CIA. Berenson says, on the record I’m happy in the private sector, but both men realize Saul’s fibbing.

Carrie confronts Lockhart over Harris’ allegations and tells him he’s guilty of treason. He asks her what she wants and she tells him Islamabad, he replies that’s impossible. She tells him he has two choices, she gets her transfer or she goes public. He begrudgingly agrees to her terms. She meets Quinn later that day and tells him they’re heading back to Pakistan, but Peter declines the offer. She asks him how he could do this to her, Quinn gets up looks her in the eye and tells her it’s not all about her and leaves.

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

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although “The Machine” provided a number in the second episode of the fourth season of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” the case came off as secondary in many ways throughout the hour. The true focus of this episode was about whether the machine’s creator Harold Finch would end his 13-year mission to protect ordinary Americans, due to the danger of a new Artificial Intelligence system that eventually take over the planet, or refuse to give up? Although Reese, Shaw and Root want to continue their mission, Finch’s taken a more cautious approach since Samaritan received an unfiltered feed of all United States intelligence. Unlike Finch’s machine which the Government controlled through the Northern Lights  program, Samaritan decides what it will share with the Intelligence Bureaus and the White House.

The episode began as we watched somebody with a blow-torch, wearing a welder’s helmet, stop work to answer his cellphone and it’s Harold whose just received a text message from Reese inviting him to a diner for a late night snack. Finch goes to the diner, but sits in his booth alone when the phone rings, and John tells him he’s too tied up doing paperwork in his cover role as NYPD Homicide Detective John Reilly, to make it. Harold says it’s a shame the food’s going to waste and Reese responds that he should give it to his new number, whose sitting just a few tables away in the diner.

Finch expresses his frustration to Reese that he and Shaw keep attempting to get Harold back on board, but John says that he’s contacted Harold because Finch and the young lady named Claire Mahoney, seated in the diner have so much in common. She’s a math major with a 4.0 GPA and a chess prodigy at 16, beating three computer programs simultaneously. However since she came to New York from her college in Ohio, she’s acted abnormally, buying a pistol and doing some breaking and entering in the last 48-hours. Reese forwards the information to Finch if he’s interested.

How can a compassionate person suddenly stop caring for their fellow human beings? The answer at least for Harold, is he can’t so he starts following the college student. Finch starts to detect a pattern of her actions, she’s involved in some sort of game or contest, looking for clues and attempting to crack a code. However, Mahoney’s also observant, as she pulls her gun on Harold and asks if he’s trying to beat her in the game and of course Finch’s clueless to what she’s referring to. She tells him that she’s noticed him stalking him for some time and she thinks he’s cheating by following her.

He tries to explain he just wants to help her, but she thinks he’s lying. Just then a Porsche drives by and she says he can keep playing the game but she’ll get a big head start and shoots out the car’s back window. Two large men come out of the car and Claire plays the scared victim saying Finch just tried to shoot her then runs off. The two guys approach Harold menacingly, but just then Detective John Reilly shows up and says he’s taking Finch into custody on another matter. The driver asks what about his window and Reese says that he’s sure the man will pay for it. Harold takes the cash out of his wallet and the driver grabs it all.

We soon find out the “game” got put into play by Samaritan as a recruiting tool for possible operatives. However, Samaritan put Mahoney in mortal danger as they had her hack the website of military contractor Silverpool and she stole secret documents that the contractor doesn’t want the public to know about. So while Claire’s playing the game a group of mercenaries are hot on her trail trying to take her out, although Mahoney’s unaware Reese and Shaw have stopped a bunch of operatives whose mission’s to end Claire’s life.

Reese, Shaw and Finch track Mahoney to the to of the New York observation center on top of the Empire State Building. While Shaw and Reese are busy subduing potential assassins, Harold talks to Claire on the observatory deck. He tells her that her life’s in danger by Silverpool and the game she’s playing’s designed by an Artificial Intelligence System bent on ruling the world. She talks about the death of her parents in a car accident on Thanksgiving and they died in a meaningless way. Harold tells her that many times the world stops making sense but we need to keep going. She asks why he’s helping her and he looks in the distance for a moment and says because he believes in having a choice. He looks back and Claire’s gone, left for the Octagon building where the clues tell her to go.

She gets to the building and once again deciphers a code that spells out “SWYCH,” she goes up to the roof and finds a power junction and pulls the switch but nothing happens. Then she looks up and sees she’s surrounded by gunmen from Silverpool, but from out of nowhere it seems someone or something shoots them all to death. Claire then hears a phone ring and notices a smaller box under the junction circuit and opens it. Inside’s a phone displaying a text message from Samaritan saying I will protect you now.

Reese apologizes to Harold about involving him in a case that ended without satisfaction, but Finch stops his apology and tells him he has something to show him. The scene’s almost light less as we hear Harold apologize as he’s yet to turn the power on, then flips a switch and we see that he’s turned the Panopticon that The Machine sent him to in the previous episode into a new command center for their operation. Shaw arrives just as Harold starts showing John around and asks if he’s back and Finch confirms he is.

Person Of Interest always contained Orwellian undertones, after all the show’s premise from the start was about  an ever-present Government surveillance system, long before many Americans realized that the system they evoked truly existed. However, this episode may have hiked the stakes higher than they’ve been portrayed in this series, as Finch had the epiphany that standing up for all Americans rights is a job none of us can shirk.

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