Season Two Episode Eleven

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Photo Courtesy Of The CW

Photo Courtesy Of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Coming out of the starting gates last season The CW series “The Flash,” became a hit for the network by combining a well executed story and a winning and charismatic cast. In it’s sophomore outing the show’s tightened its formula and produced a series that will earn it credibility with Fanboys and Fangirls, while adding just enough pathos to retain non-comic book fans. They pulled that formula off flawlessly in the episode entitled “The Reverse-Flash Returns,” as a face that “Team-Flash” thought they’d seen the last of came from literally from out of nowhere. The show-runners added in some heartache and some bonding winding up with a satisfying hour.

Barry Allen’s heartbroken over his splitting with his girlfriend Patty Spivot, who told him at the conclusion of the previous episode she decided to leave him and “go to CSI school” in Midway City. Allen realizes that a huge part of the reason she’s leaving’s due to his reluctance to reveal to her that he’s the Scarlet Speedster. However Harry Wells convinced him that if he let’s Patty get close to him she becomes a target for Zoom.

Keeping his mind occupied The Flash becomes the ultimate Good Samaritan, speeding all over Central City and performing good deeds. Suddenly Cisco gets an alarm, an out-of-control chemical truck’s speeding through the city. Flash gets to the truck and realizes it’s set-up to crash and the explosion it would cause could take out a city-block. The Flash sees a tire-iron in the cab and removes all the tires on the eighteen-wheeler and it harmlessly skids off the road.

As the superhero discusses what just occurred with some uniformed cops, we see Eobard Thawne hiding in the background. He summons his hand-held computer/A.I. system Gideon who asks Thawne if his trip’s a success and the Reverse-Flash breaks into a broad grin. He says he thinks so as he’s just determined The Flash’s point of origin, now he just needs to find a way back to his time period. If you’re late to the party, Thawne hails from our distant future about three centuries from now and he ceased to exist when his ancestor Detective Eddie Thawne killed himself in the first season finale. So how is he back in Central City? We’ll get to that soon.

Harry and Cisco are sitting in command central when Jay Garrick and Caitlin Snow enter as Garrick’s shooting daggers at Wells. Caitlin tells them they just discovered Meta-Human Russell Glosson dead in his cell according to the scanner he died of an acute brain aneurysm. Garrick believes that Wells’ maybe behind the mysterious and sudden death and though Wells realizes Garrick believes that, he refuses to admit he actually did kill Glosson and extract brain-tissue from him in the process.

We watch an uncomfortable scene play out between Patty and Barry, as she doesn’t want to leave and he wants her to stay but refuses to acknowledge that as it would stand in her way of leaving. (Young Love.) Iris comes in hearing the tail end of the conversation and tells Barry to stop Patty from leaving, but Barry says Patty’s wanted to be a CSI all her life. Joe then walks in and tells Iris that her mother Francine hasn’t got long to live and if she wants to say goodbye she should do it soon.

Cisco tells Wells that he needs his help in figuring out how to harness his “Vibe” powers and Harry agrees and tells him to meet him in the time-vault, the room that Wells/Thawne used to monitor the future from last season. Ramon enters the room which he dreads and starts calling for Wells but he realizes he’s alone.

Then Wells terrifies him by jumping out of the dark wearing the Reverse-Flash uniform. Harry tells him he realized that Ramon’s “Vibe” powers engage when he gets a rush of dopamine to the brain and the easiest way to do that’s through fear, then he grabs Cisco by the throat. Wells’ theory proves correct as Cisco goes into “Vibe” mode and he actually sees that Eobard Thawne’s in Central City and at Mercury Labs. However everybody’s obvious question’s how could Thawne be in Central City when they watched him disintegrate?

Harry says that the Eobard Thawne’s at Mercury Labs is actually a “Time-Remnant” and he then illustrates his conclusion with three circles. The circle to the left represents 2015 when Thawne ceased to exist, the middle circle represents the present and the circle on the right’s the future where Eobard Thawne’s eventually born. The Thawne that’s currently in Central City’s an earlier version of the man they knew, before he even killed Nora Allen. However because Barry’s mom’s death a fixed point in our timeline, stopping Thawne at this point wouldn’t prevent Nora’s death.

Barry arrives at Mercury Labs just after the Reverse-Flash knocks out two security guards and tells the Lab’s founder Tina McGee she’s coming with him. The Flash shows up and in shock he looks at his enemy and shouts Eobard Thawne, the man from the future’s shocked that The Flash knows his identity. Barry says you’re dead and Thawne says that’s good to know and even better, now he’s got the coordinate’s for The Flash’s time-period and says the speedster will soon be dead. He then lands a right on Allen’s jaw knocking him to the ground and when he gets up Thawne and McGee are gone.

Iris and Francine have their meeting in Francine’s hospital room and Iris tells her mother she forgives herb then has to leave the room as she breaks down into tears. Francine told Iris that Wally’s not been around to visit as he’s angry that she’s dying. Iris goes to her brother’s garage and tries to convince him to go see his mother and tell her he loves her before it’s too late.

Barry returns to STAR Labs and tells “Team-Flash,” that Thawne escaped and kidnapped Tina McGee. Wells realizes there’s only one man they can turn to, Cisco Ramon. Harry creates a pair of goggles that will harness Cisco’s “Vibe” power and he’ll soon access it at will. Once again Harry’s theory turns into reality as Cisco sees all sorts of memories and visions in front of him. Wells gets him to focus first on Thawne and then on him and McGee and Ramon witnesses Thawne killing McGee and escaping through some time-accelerator into the future.

Another uncomfortable scene between Patty and Barry as she basically tells him she’ll stay if he asks her to and he says he doesn’t want to cause her any regrets. Then we get an uncomfortable scene between Caitlin and Jay Garrick as she tells him she’s looked all over for his doppelgänger to try to save his life with a cell transplant. Garrick tells Snow he’ll explain everything to her the following day in a nearby park.

Wells and Allen figure out that Thawne had McGee build the accelerator out of tachyons and that they can detect them with their instruments had the machine been used. No readings show up on their scanners and they realize that Cisco’s actually seen into the future and they have 3:52 to stop the Reverse-Flash from killing Dr. McGee. At exactly 9:52 pm the tachyon levels are detectable and The Flash traces it to the source before Thawne can kill McGee. Catching his enemy by surprise he knocks him into a wall, tells McGee to run and destroys the machine and Thawne’s way home.

Thawne tells The Flash he’ll find another way home and Allen says he’ll need to get through him first. Thawne then challenges his enemy to catch him and takes off with The Flash in pursuit. Allen catches the Reverse-Flash and then starts pummeling him, Joe tells him not to kill him but to bring him to STAR Labs.

Thawne’s now in the cell at STAR Labs that they held Wells/Thawne in last season, he can’t phase out of the cell or escape in any fashion. Barry says he’s going down to talk with him and Harry tells him he’ll do no such thing as it will mess up the timeline in a major way. Allen agrees not to tempt fate and takes a phone-call. Cisco’s nose starts to bleed, a situation that any fan of “LOST” realizes is a very bad sign when dealing with the space-time continuum. Ramon passes it off as inconvenience, but we can see the look in Harry’s eyes he knows troubles brewing.

Cisco goes to the cell asks Thawne how he gets his suit to come out of his ring? The man from the future realizes that Cisco and he know each other in his future and that Ramon knows him very well. Cisco then tells him he wanted to inform the Reverse-Flash that he tracked him down and played a big role in his capture. Then he tells Thawne that he gave Ramon the power and tells him to chew on that while he’s in his cell. Cisco then leaves but his nose starts bleeding again.

Barry decides to pay Thawne a visit but he keeps his appearance hidden from his enemy. He asks Thawne just why he despises him so much. The man from the future said he was obsessed with him and wanted to be him so badly, he duplicated the accident and acquired the Scarlet Speedster’s powers. However once he became a speedster he had an epiphany, that his fate was to be the Flash’s mortal enemy and he did the opposite of what the original speedster did. For every person The Flash saved the Reverse-Flash killed just because he couldn’t be him. Caitlin’s voice comes over the intercom and tells Barry they need him immediately.

Allen finds Joe, Caitlin and Harry surrounding Cisco’s whose going through a bout of seizures. Joe and Wells struggle to hold Ramon still while Snow injects him with a sedative, the seizures cease but he starts to phase in and out making him see-through. Harry shows he’s actually human as he gets nervous and talks rapidly telling Barry that Cisco’s being effected by the change in the timeline. He tells Allen the only way to save Cisco’s by freeing Thawne and Barry has to push him through the time barrier back to his time period.

Wells releases Thawne from the cell at gunpoint and the Reverse-Flash asks Harry who he is and Wells responds nobody of consequence. Eobard realizes that Harry just told him an outright lie and lets the scientist know that. Wells then escorts the man from the future to the area that he’ll depart from.

Harry pulls Allen aside and tells him that this is the Reverse-Flash’s “Origin-Story.” This moment’s when he learns Barry’s identity and about STAR Labs and about Earth-Prime’s Harrison Wells. He tells Barry he can’t change any of that but he’s got the chance to save his friend’s life. Barry nods solemnly and then goes to Thawne who tells The Flash that he’s won yet again. Barry derisively informs him that he’s going to win in the end and that’s the only battle that counts. The pair speed away and we watch Barry nudge Thawne across the time-barrier and back to his time-period.

Turns out Patty Spivot’s a Hell of a detective as she determined by reading Barry’s incident reports on cases The Flash got involved in, that Allen’s indeed The Flash. She calls Joe on it and he tries his best to fib but she knows he’s lying. West tells Barry whose upset and still tells Joe he can’t admit it to her for fear of her safety. Barry goes to talk with her and she tells him she knows and realizes why he hid it from her. Just admit it and she’ll stay, he say’s he’s not The Flash.

Turns out that Garrick does have a doppelgänger on Earth-Prime, however his mother died in childbirth and he got adopted and has a different name. Jay then tells Caitlin that his DNA got altered when he became a speedster so the only way he can survive is for them to capture Zoom. Snow tells him they’ll do it.

Wally comes to visit Iris at Joe’s house and tells her he’s decided to take her advice and see his mom and his sister tells him she’s proud of him and his decision. Wally then asks if Iris will come with him to the hospital and she smiles and says she’d love to and they leave the house to visit their mother.

Joe and Barry talk about Patty being on the train to Midway City and West tells Barry that with all the great things he can do as The Flash, it takes sacrifice as well. Barry’s phone rings and Patty calls from the train and says there’s a man in the car with a gun, Allen says he’ll get her some help and The Flash arrives in the train-car asking if everybody’s okay. Patty stands up and says she’s sorry it was a false-alarm, Barry slows down enough that she can recognize that he’s in the suit. He says he just wanted to make sure everything’s okay before he leaves and she nods her head. As The Flash exits the train we hear Patty say goodbye to Barry.

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 8:00pm on The CW.

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/ FOX

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Normally a recap would be filling this space as the FOX network aired their final episode of “Gotham,” for 2015, as the show will go on hiatus and return with new episodes in February. Regular readers of these pages are well aware that I have a soft-spot for “Comic-Book Series” in general and I’ve written before that I believed that Gotham had the potential to be the best of the lot. Since the series is a prequel to Batman, the show’s creators and writers have been able to put their twist on a tale that first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939.

When you decide to reboot an iconic story, there’s certainly room for some flexibility in the new version. We’ve seen Jimmy Olsen morph from a freckle-faced ginger-haired photographer into a Black Man in the CBS show “Supergirl,” and the change got accepted eagerly by the fans. Jeri Hogarth is a shark in stilettos in the new Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” even though the character’s a man within the pages of Marvel Comics. These are minor changes that leave the big picture unchanged and even the staunchest traditionalist won’t be bothered by moves like that.

However over the last decade or so, we’ve seen the creative community expand their visions of familiar tales by breaking continuity with what should be hard and fast rules. You can set Robin Hood in ancient China populated by Shaolin Monks or in Alaska with a cast of Eskimos, as long as you stick to the constant. Robin Hood takes from the rich and gives to the poor, want to change those parameters then give your story and characters other names.

Back in 2013 director Zack Snyder released “Man Of Steel,” the reboot of the Superman series and broke continuity with every other version of the tale ever told. One of the changes was relatively minor and likely scoffed at by the casual fan, the fact that the Son Of Krypton grew a beard on Earth. Kal-El/Superman’s beard not growing on Earth’s been a constant through comic-books, Radio and TV shows and in movies since the character’s creation.

The second deviation from the “Superman Bible,” however altered the character and made this version of Kal-El different from all his predecessors. Kal-El broke the neck of his Kryptonian opponent General Zod, killing him and violating one of foundation blocks of tale of Superman. Superman Never Kills. There’s no room for negotiation in that statement. Zack Snyder’s creation can never truly be Superman in my eyes.

Which brings us back full-circle to the subject at hand, the final episode of Gotham for 2015.  The creators of this series can play as hard and fast with the characters as they choose to, however when the series airs its final episode when ever that occurs certain paths have to remain unchanged. Selina Kyle will grow-up to become Catwoman, Alfred Pennyworth will live to see Bruce Wayne go deeply into his adult years. Of course Bruce will either be on his way or actually donning his cape and cowl in the series finale and Jim Gordon will become the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department.

Everything else is up for grabs, they can throw a fake Joker on the screen and the fans will accept it. They can give young Bruce a doomed romance that forever affects his heart. They can have Harvey Bullock turn on Gordon and fall back into the corrupt cesspool that Jim first found him floating in. However they can’t alter those four tent-pole storylines, otherwise it’s a different tale.

The majority of the episode entitled “Worse Than A Crime,” was fast paced, gripping and entertaining as it all came down to a battle between Theo Galavan and the Brothers from the Order Of The Dumas and Jim Gordon, Alfred, Harvey, Cat, Penguin and his crew to save Bruce Wayne from imminent execution. Galavan sneaks away as Team-Gordon takes out all their opponents, culminating in the death of Father Creel as Harvey finally reaches the battle after struggling with the stairs.

At this point the story turned sideways and though it seemed puzzling one could make sense out of it. The only ways out for Theo, his sister Tabitha and his niece Silver are by greeting the police or by parasailing out of their penthouse window. Problem’s they only have two chutes and three people who need to escape. Theo expresses his disappointment in his niece and goes to choke her but he’s stopped as Tabitha comes up from behind and knocks him out with a blow to the top of his skull. Suddenly a devoted sister turns on her benefactor brother, without any real indicators? Strange but acceptable.

However what came next was not as Gordon finds Galavan in his office and tells the Mayor that he’s under arrest and to cuff himself. Galavan smiles and says you scared me there for a minute I thought you were going to shoot me. Gordon says this time he’s not getting away and Theo asks the detective if he’d like to wager on that, as that’s what Jim thought the last time he arrested him. The detective glares at Theo and says maybe he’s right and perhaps he should guarantee that Galavan never sees freedom again and puts his service revolver against the billionaire’s head. Galavan goes into begging mode quickly saying he was just talking big.

Just then Gordon’s commander Captain Nathaniel Barnes arrives on the scene with a uniform and orders Gordon to step away from Galavan. Barnes earlier in the episode issued a warrant for Gordon’s arrest, not knowing where his detective was located and he’d been charged with assaulting Galavan, still the city’s mayor. Barnes tells Gordon to put his service revolver on the floor and to put his hands on his head until Barnes gets the stories straight. Seconds later Barnes hits the floor as Penguin’s snuck up from behind him and hit him in the head knocking him out.

Cobblepot tells Gordon they can’t just let Galavan go through the system again and once again get set free. He reminds Gordon that he’s got all the judges in his pocket and he’d soon be back in his penthouse and running the city. We then see Gordon opening the trunk of a car and helping Galavan to his feet. Theo says you’re a moral man Jim, you’ll regret this and Gordon says he has greater things to regret than him. Penguin raises a baseball bat over Galavan as he lies on the sand near the ocean and says this is for his mother and beats Theo until the mayor pleads for his death. Gordon lets Oswald hit him another couple of times and then screams enough. He then pulls out his service revolver and executes Theo Galavan.

Gordon meets Lee Thompkins in a park, he sent her out-of-town just before the gunfight. She told him she’s carrying his child and he was about to leave Gotham City with her when he found out Bruce Wayne got kidnapped by Galavan. She sits on a cement bench and he walks over to her  and says it’s all over then asks her to marry him.

Do the creators of Gotham expect the audience to accept this brutal execution as part of the baptism by fire that helped shape James Gordon into the man who’ll become Commissioner of the GCPD. Gordon killed a man earlier in the season when he did a favor for Penguin to get reinstated on the force, but that was in self-defense. This was a premeditated act of execution and I don’t know how the character or the series recovers from this move.

I’m certain that there will be plenty of discussion from the creators of the series as well as from other observers. I’m hoping that there’s a rational explanation behind this event that allows us to forgive and to root once again for Jim Gordon.

Photo Courtesy Of FX

Photo Courtesy Of FX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The mythical Middle-Eastern nation of Abbudin depicted in the FX Network’s Original Series “Tyrant,” has turned the tide in their war against the Caliphate Army, destroying the invaders central command post in a joint effort with the Red Hand. The mission that seemed doomed to failure, succeeded due to the efforts of two women Molly and Leila Al Fayeed, who put aside their personal differences to save Abbudin and Molly’s husband Barry. The penultimate episode of the show’s second season, moved quickly. The first ten episodes provided plenty of explanation to what led us to the decisions that determined the moves made in this chapter, hence a lean, tight and satisfying night that set-up the season finale to end the season in strong fashion.

We start out at the safe-house that the Caliphate Army leadership are hiding out, Ihab Rashid’s looking at photos of members of the Red Hand, that got killed in the attack by the Caliphate. Abu Omar walks into the room and asks Rashid what he’s doing and Ihab replies he’s trying to see if Khalil’s among the dead. Omar tells him to stop obsessing about Khalil and to get his mind focused on the big picture, defeating Jamal and taking over Abbudin.

Rashid responds that perhaps Abu would feel differently if his wife got killed by Khalil, Omar ignores the reply and tells Ihab Rashid that he’s going to visit his brother for a few days. This leaves Rashid in charge in Omar’s absence.

Jamal meets with Colonel Mahmoud about the military situation and Mahmoud says that things don’t look good for the home-team. He says the Caliphate Army’s bringing in reinforcements and Abbudin sits with less than half the soldiers they need to defeat the invaders. He then tells the President that he’s had conversations with his counter-part in a neighboring country and that nation’s President offers Jamal and his extended family political-asylum. Jamal asks the Colonel if he’s suggesting that he run away and Mahmoud says he’s just offering an alternative solution.

Other than having the ability to follow orders, it’s difficult to figure why Mahmoud chose a career in the military, as the man’s practically afraid of his own shadow. The thought of him being a brave leader on the battlefield’s rather ludicrous and if military strategy’s his strength, he’s yet to display it for the viewers. Perhaps his sense of self-preservation has led to his leadership position, causing him to smother any internal moral qualms and carry-out any orders given to him.

Jamal tells Mahmoud that he’s not a coward and they are staying in Abbudin. His secretary calls from the intercom, informing him that Molly’s here to see him. He tells the secretary that Mahmoud will show her in, the Colonel leaves the office as Jamal’s sister-in-law walks in.

Molly cuts straight to the chase and tells her that Barry’s alive and he’s the man that Jamal believes is Khalil. They are on their way to the Caliphate command center, to knock out their anti-artillery weapons. He needs to release Rami and send forces over to help Barry and the Red Hand. Jamal doesn’t believe her, even when she tells him that he substituted another man for Barry in the hanging and left Barry in the desert. He starts choking Molly and asks how General Said’s spreading these lies from his prison cell?

Leila walks into the midst of this and screams to her husband to let Molly go, which he does immediately. Molly storms from the room and starts to leave the palace when Leila pulls her into an office and asks if Barry’s really alive. She quickly convinces her sister-in-law that Barry’s still alive and then asks if Leila can get Rami released from his cell. Jamal’s wife starts to tear-up but she says she thinks she can, then realizes she doesn’t have the funds to pay Colonel Solomon’s soldiers. Molly says she’s got the solution to that problem.

Barry and the Red Hand get to the Caliphate Army command center and they overtake the guards at the base camp and are ready to take out the anti-aircraft artillery, when Barry gets a radio message from Halima. She tells them the military’s not coming to back them up, so return to camp. Unfortunately it’s too late to do that as they find Caliphate soldiers on all sides of them.

The soldier in charge of the base camp calls Ihab Rashid and tells them about the Red Hand attack and Rashid tells him to stand-down until he arrives. The soldier disagrees with Rashid’s tactics, but Ihab insists they stop shooting until he gets there. Abu Omar’s wife overhears the call and asks if Rashid should call her husband and ask his advice, Ihab Rashid says they don’t need to trouble him.

Molly heads to the military airport and talks to Colonel Solomon, whose in the process along with his men of leaving Abbudin and heading to their next mission in Africa. She presents him with a money-wire for ten million dollars, to pay for him and his soldiers to take out the Caliphate Army and save her husband. Solomon says as much as he’d love to take her money, with Rami Said in jail they lack a commander. Right then a car pulls up and Rami and Mahmoud come out, Solomon puts the money-wire in his bag and tells Molly it looks like he’s working for her.

Barry gets another radio message from Halima, this time telling him that Molly fixed everything and the military’s on its way. Sammy gets on the radio and tells his father he’s glad he’s safe and that he loves him, Barry has to get off the radio as Siddiq summons him. Ihab Rashid’s shown up at the base-camp and he calls out for Khalil to surrender and the Caliphate Army will spare the rest of his men.

Barry says if he gives himself up, perhaps he can buy some time for the military to arrive. Siddiq tells him that for them to succeed they need a leader and Marwan stands up and identifies himself as Khalil. He comes down to Rashid, who questions that such a young man could be a military leader. Marwan replies his generation wants to dictate their own fate, not have it dictated to them by barbarians.

Rashid grabs Marwan by the hair and pulls a knife out and says that Khalil killed his wife and left her to die alone and he dare call him a barbarian? Rashid realizes at that point that Marwan’s pretending to be Khalil, right then Abu Omar steps out of a car and asks Rashid what’s going on? He asks if Marwan’s Khalil and Ihab responds that he isn’t and Omar shoots Marwan in the face and has Rashid taken to a jail cell. He then orders the soldiers to resume fighting.

Abu Omar walks over to Rashid’s cell and Ihab apologizes for exceeding his authority and going after Khalil when Omar told him to ignore him. He says he won’t do something like that again and Omar confirms that he’s correct. Ihab gets nervous at that point and starts talking about his importance in any victory the Caliphate Army have in Abbudin. Abu Omar and his aide leave the cell as Rashid starts screaming, the aide says that most of the men support him. Omar smiles and says he’ll release him as soon as Rashid remembers whose in charge.

We arrive at one of those magical scenes, when we have to give the show-runners some creative license. Barry and Siddiq are alone in the remains of a shelter, with their backs to each other, wiping out battalions between the two of them, without even dodging a bullet. Lets remember that Barry’s a doctor from Pasadena approaching middle-age and Siddiq doesn’t resemble a soldier, but they look like skilled marksman. Barry falls backwards for a couple of seconds and then suddenly hears aircraft engines, choppers are overhead and knocking down Caliphate soldiers like bowling pins.

Leila meets with Ahmed and begs her son to forgive her for the way she’s lived her life. Ahmed at first wants nothing to do with her, but she reveals that Barry’s alive and she went behind Jamal’s back and got Rami released. She says she needs his help and wants Ahmed to replace Jamal as the President of Abbudin.

Abu Omar and his aide prepare to leave the base camp and they are about to release Ihab Rashid, when bombs start dropping all around them. The two men get back in their vehicle and leave, Rashid’s cell gets hit with a bomb seconds later and all we see is smoke and debris.

A plane lands and the first two men to exit are Rami and Solomon. Rami goes straight to Barry and says that they should regain control of the country by the following evening. Barry smiles sadly and says he arrived with 40 men and women and there’s just four of them left, so it doesn’t feel like a victory. He tells Rami he’s going to set-up a field-hospital to treat the wounded and have Sammy join him.

Jamal’s ignorant of all that’s transpired over the last few hours as he meets with Mahmoud and another high-ranking military official, who advises the President that Abbudin can hold on against the Caliphate Army for three weeks tops. Leila and Ahmed walk into the meeting and excuse themselves for interrupting, but tell Jamal they need to talk to him privately.

Leila tells her husband that Molly wasn’t lying and Barry’s still alive. Ahmed hands his father a cellphone with a message from Barry to Molly and Sammy in case he died in the battle. We hear Barry telling his family that when he decided to join the Red Hand, he realized that he couldn’t remain as Khalil, he’d have to reveal that Bassam Al Fayeed’s still alive.

Leila tells her husband that he didn’t kill his brother, but the guilt he felt poisoned his mind and kept him from trusting anybody. She then tells Jamal about releasing Rami and the battles they’ve won and soon Abbudin will be at peace and under his rule once again.

When Leila and Ahmed leave Jamal, Leila says they did a great job. She then tells Ahmed that it’s time to get Jamal out of the mix and for Ahmed to rule Abbudin. She tells her son she’ll come up with a plan.

Barry and Sammy are treating patients at the field hospital, when they bring a man in on a stretcher that looks near death. He’s lost an arm and an eye and he tells Barry to keep his hands off him. It’s Ihab Rashid and Sammy says they should just let him die, for all the people he slaughtered. Barry looks at his son and says they’re going to save him, he says I’m through with killing.

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

Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen and asset Raymond Reddington, are in the midst of another squabble, however that did nothing to detract from the NBC Series “The Blacklist” episode’s quality, entitled “Ruslan Denisov, Number 67,” by the network. This was non-stop action from start to finish, it also showed us the first signs of the past catching up with Liz Keen. Without Red in her corner, things could get rather sticky for the agent over the next couple of weeks.

Our story starts according to the graphic, in the village of Khumhara, Uzbekistan, which we get a breathtaking view of from the sky, showing the village surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the ocean. We see the prominent building in the village’s a Catholic Church. We go inside, see the flame of a candle, a man singing in prayer and the Priest about to eat the host and drink the wine.

Suddenly the church’s invaded by gunmen, the priest hides something in his podium and all the gunmen head straight for him. He begs the men saying he’s a simple man of God, when the leader Ruslan Denisov, slaps him in the face and says the man’s no more a priest than he is. They quickly find what the man hid, an overseas phone to contact the CIA, as the Priest’s actually an Agency operative. Denisov, says there’s your burning bush, talk to your God, the agent named Burk calls the Agency and says he “has a situation.”

Back in the States, we see an elderly woman sitting in her kitchen with a female uniform, when the doorbell rings and in enters Metro Detective Wilcox. He tells the woman Mrs. Ames, they’ll do their best to find her husband. She tells them her husband got the scare of his life a couple of days before he disappeared as he ran into a female FBI agent who had her gun pulled. We realize, this is the harbor-master that Tom killed earlier in the season. Liz gave her card to Eugene Ames, which his wife gives to Wilcox.

At the Task Force headquarters, Liz gives Tech-Wizard Aram Mojtabai, the piece of tech she found in her childhood stuffed bunny last week, she believes that’s connected with the Fulcrum. Aram says that there are many more qualified to inspect this, but Keen says none that I know and trust, then asks him to let her know what she finds.

Reddington walks in on them and Keen’s like an iceberg towards him, believing his only interest in her is finding the Fulcrum. She says she only wants to deal with him on business matters and he says that’s why he’s there. He shows her a newspaper article, about a Priest taken hostage in Uzbekistan and she looks back at Red blankly. He tells her that the Priest’s actually a CIA agent and taken hostage by an associate of his, Ruslan Denisov. He then tells Liz that the Agency will attempt to interfere.

We enter a meeting in Task Force Director Harold Cooper’s office, he’s talking with a man and a woman. We soon find out the man’s named Hayworth, Director of the CIA and the woman’s the Deputy Attorney General. Hayworth won’t confirm or deny that Burk’s his agent, so the Deputy AG, puts Cooper’s Task Force in charge. Keen and Agent Donald Ressler, fly to Uzbekistan that evening.

When they arrive they’re met by a Uzbekistan Army Commander, who has two moods;  nasty and nastier. He tells them they’re working for him and they won’t negotiate with Denisov, they’ll negotiate with him. They’re then driven to their hotel, when they hear a familiar voice holding court, Red’s telling a tale to some businessman. He excuses himself to talk with Liz and Donald.

Keen asks Reddington why he’s there, he replies he can’t help them from thousands of miles away. He then tells them that Denisov finances a movement called SRU, to bring political change to Uzbekistan, by kidnapping American executives and holding them for ransom. A CIA agent’s not usually his target, but he tells them to go to their room and get cleaned up and join him for dinner.

They get into the elevator to head to their rooms, when the elevator stops and goes black, a back panel opens and men grab both of them putting black-hoods on their heads. They’re taken for a forty minute drive, when the bags get removed Denisov welcomes them to Uzbekistan.

They’re at Denisov’s facilities that he holds the hostages in, he explains that the reason they kidnapped a CIA agent’s to get the United States Government to pay attention to what an American corporation Anneca Oil’s doing to his country. Twenty-five-years earlier the Government of Uzbekistan sold the land rights to Anneca, for a fortune, which barely trickled down to the citizens. However, Denisov’s not upset about that, the pipeline that Anneca built, sprung a leak and is killing villagers. Hundreds have died, with hundreds more critically ill, the company won’t do anything and the American Ambassador ignores them. The CIA agents are plentiful reporting on any interference with American interests, so he took one.

He then tells the two agents he talked with a Vice President for Anneca, who assured him the water’s fine, he pulls up a cage with a man immersed in water. It’s the Anneca executive, with holes all over the top layer of his skin. Denisov says he’ll release him on good faith, he’s taken to the hospital and the doctor says he’ll survive. Some petroleum products caused the damage to his skin.

They tell the Uzbekistan Commander that Denisov, abducted and talked to them and he blames them for the conversation. They’re now prisoners in their hotel, via the Commander’s orders. Red has dinner with Donald, Liz chooses room service.

Red asks if they need help getting to their meeting with Denisov in the morning and Ressler says they’ve got things figured out. The next morning they get in the elevator, pull out the emergency stop button and they get handed their black-hoods again. Denisov says he’s not going to negotiate himself, he’s brought in a professional and who appears but Reddington himself, who proposes they go on a field trip.

Denisov takes the pair on a tour of some of the local villages, where they see the results of the toxic water. People are contracting cancer as well as a rash of kidney and liver failures. Ressler says the United States Government, wouldn’t tolerate this from an American corporation, Liz counters unless the information’s kept from them. She says she’ll contact the State Department and Red says, he’s pretty sure he can secure the release of Burk. Everybody wins.

Liz gets a call from Detective Wilcox asking about Eugene Ames, she said she lied to him about the case, due to national security and can’t comment on it now for the same reasons. She asked who filed the missing persons report and he responded his wife. She says good luck finding him and hangs up, but she knows this is Trouble.

Cooper meets again with Hayworth and the Deputy Attorney General and Harold informs them Burk’s alive, that Keen and Ressler were at a facility, but didn’t see the operative. Hayworth asks the location and Cooper says they approximate it’s in the Southeast quadrant, the CIA Director says he can have Black-Ops there in minutes. The Deputy AG warns Hayworth to stand down with negotiations going so well.

Hours later Liz comes to the restaurant to talk to Red, when he makes her watch the tango performed by the evening’s entertainers. It’s been a while since Raymond showed his appreciation of culture and he describes to Liz, that the tango’s the perfect analogy for negotiations.

It’s all give and take, the man can only do what the woman allows, eventually that line gets larger and larger, until they almost become one. At the same time we watch the Commander and his soldiers kill all of Denisov’s men at the facility, but a soldier tells the Commander, there are no hostages. Suddenly Red’s face turns ice-cold, as he sees a CIA operative in the restaurant, Keen asks if everything’s okay, Raymond responds everything’s terrible.

Keen and Ressler are on the phone with Cooper, when Red walks in and asks Harold why he told the CIA Director where the location was when he told him not to? Cooper says let me deal with Hayworth, Red replies deal with this, negotiations over. Then leaves to join Denisov.

Liz and Donald look out the hotel window and see troops lining the streets, Ressler says he think’s they’re now hostages. Keen tells her partner she thinks she’s in trouble, then tells Donald about Tom killing the harbor-master aboard the ship, she tried to stop him but couldn’t. Ressler asks if there were witnesses and Liz replies, there was one.

Back in the States we’re in Detective Wilcox’s office, as we see he’s found the one witness, as the man known as the Samoan’s sitting there answering questions. He says they can’t hold them and Wilcox says he’s right but tell him about Agent Elizabeth Keen.

Ruslan screams at Reddington, he should never have trusted him, Raymond responds we moved the hostages, just for that reason, all your assets are safe. One of Denisov’s men bring over one of the Uzbekistan soldiers, alive but injured, left to rot by his Commander. Red says he’s worth more dead than alive, but Denisov shoots him in the head.

He then pulls CIA Agent Burk out of his cell and points a gun to his head and Red says, you don’t want to do this Ruslan. You kill a corporate executive, you got one company upset with you, you kill a CIA agent, you’ll get boots on the ground and drones over head.

He then says to Burk that his friend’s too upset to see the big picture, tell us about Javin. The agent says he won’t and Red says that his friend’s still deciding what bed to lie on, but his bed’s been made for years and it includes a wide spectrum of events, now tell us about Javin. When the operative refuses again, Reddington asks for the gun and the operative sing’s like a canary.

Leonid Javin, former Cabinet Minister, ran the country during the last years of the Soviet Union, negotiated the deal with Anneca and is responsible for all the sickness. He’s turned religious, possibly insane, punishing himself for his past crimes. We watch the elderly former leader whip his own bare back in front of a fireplace until he bleeds.

We see the Samoan talking with Wilcox again and he asks if they have a deal and Wilcox says if the information you give us is pertinent to the case we can negotiate a deal. The Samoan asks if leading him to Eugene Ames’ body’s pertinent enough, because he can take him right to it.

Javin goes to church and slips into the confessional booth and asks why the Lord shields his face from him, Red opens the window and says maybe he doesn’t like you. Denisov pulls the former leader from the booth and Red says that Javin’s not getting absolution that easily.

Red tells the old man that he needs all the details on the deal with Anneca and he refuses, they drag him over to the sink filled with Holy Water and dunk his head under. Red nods to Denisov to pull him out and says the American Government doesn’t consider this torture, how about you? When Javin doesn’t talk they dunk him again, this time he comes up sputtering and says he’ll talk.

They arrange a meeting with Keen, Ressler and Dean Walker, the Anneca executive who tried earlier to say that Denisov sabotaged the pipeline. Javin tells all about the negotiations for the pipeline, but then reveals there was a first pipeline Anneca installed that killed thousands of people in 1988. When the Soviet Union fell apart, Javin helped cover it up, but he still has all the documentation. Walker says that Anneca will pay reparations, to family’s that lost members, but Denisov says that’s not his terms. He says Anneca will close off the pipeline and leave Uzbekistan. Walker laughs at him until he says they’re going on a field trip to one of the mass graves unless Anneca agrees.

The next morning Walker gives a press conference saying that Anneca’s leaving Uzbekistan and as a parting gesture they’re going to build schools. We watch the Commander shake his head and leave the room, he’s trapped in a stairwell by Dembe and Red.

Ressler get’s a call while he and Keen are watching a TV report about a French company coming into Uzbekistan and building a new pipeline, he tells her they’ve got to leave as Burk’s getting released a few miles out-of-town. As they start to leave, they see Red with an executive for the French oil company that’s coming into the country, it was one of the men he talked with when Liz and Donald arrived. Liz says he planned this whole thing out, knowing he’d make money from the French. Everybody wins.

Liz and Donald are to meet Dembe, Red, Denisov and Burk for the release, Hayworth’s on the phone with operatives, with orders to arrest Reddington and kill Denisov, when Keen and Ressler have Burk. Cooper boosts in his office and rips him a new one for storming the facility and tells him to expect a call from the Attorney General. Hayworth tells his agents to stand down.

Aram tells Liz that the tech’s circa late seventies/early eighties, but he can’t figure out how to operate it and suggests she asks Reddington. She not only nixes that idea, but asks Aram to promise to keep it secret from Raymond, and Aram agrees.

The Samoan brings Wilcox and some uniforms to Ames’ body and asks if he’ll get immunity if he testifies. Wilcox replies, tell me about Agent Keen.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The tension among the housemates on the USA Network Original Series “Graceland,” over the last few episodes has been as thick as pea-soup, as all the agents’ had secrets and personal agendas that they hid from each other. This episode saw many of those secrets exposed and possibly irrevocably damaged one special relationship. However there was positive news in the episode as well, concerning the Solano Cartel’s mole in the Los Angeles Police Department, as Lieutenant Sid Markham, opened up to undercover agent Paul Briggs and the money from his safety deposit boxes is currently unavailable for him. That development could cause the detective to get involved in the Solano’s new smuggling operation and give agent Mike Warren a chance to catch him with his hands dirty.

The episode opens on the same scene that closed the previous episode, with Briggs listening on his cellphone to the tape that FBI agent Juan Badillo recorded the night he was accidentally shot in a scuffle with Briggs. As the tape ends and the caller hangs up, Charlie walks back into the kitchen and Paul fakes finishing up a conversation. He’s visibly shaken and Charlie asks him what’s wrong, but he plays it off and tells her it was Markham saying they’d talk in the morning.

Mike sees Paige tinkering with the ballerina music-box he gave her earlier in the season and asks what she’s doing. Paige replies that she got the ballerina to spin around once more, but realized she preferred it when it didn’t spin. Warren tries to spin the last few weeks positively, talking about getting the foreign young women out of Sulla’s sex-trafficking operation, Briggs getting tighter with Markham and Solano choosing Johnny and Jakes to “smuggle” his guns and drugs over the border to the USA. Arkin, brings up Lena, the young woman who Sulla murdered and Mike burned her remains in a blast furnace to cover it up. He tells Paige that they’ll find her and Arkin tells him that she’s writing a letter to her parents and asked if he’d like to help. Mike readily agrees and they say they’ll talk about it that evening.

Briggs meets with Jakes on the beach and tells him about the tape, he believes that Markham was the caller as the call came on the phone he uses in his cover of LAPD detective Paul West. He anticipates having to take the cop down to protect himself from blackmail and gives Dale a credit card and tells him to use it to buy two breakfasts at a local diner for an alibi.

Paul drives over to Markham’s home and waits for his wife and son to leave, before he rings the doorbell. Markham answers the door all smiles and glad to see him, then invites him to the backyard so they can talk. Briggs quickly figures out that Markham had no knowledge about the tape, he wanted to bring Paul into the know about his relationship with Carlos Solano. He tells Briggs, that he first encountered Solano right after he made detective, 20-years earlier, when he busted him on a narcotics charge and the Cartel boss served a ten-year sentence. However, he had a rapport with the criminal and Solano started giving him information on rival gangs. This served a two-fold purpose, getting Markham on the map with a string of huge busts, while eliminating Solano’s competition in the bargain.

After Solano got released, the relationship continued, but Markham told Briggs that every once in a while Solano gets too greedy and needs to get slapped down, hence the reason his squad shot all the employees of the sex-trafficking operation in the previous episode. He told Paul he couldn’t turn a blind-eye to the operation and his squad killing all the employees sent Solano a message.

Paul meets back up with Dale and tells him that Markham’s not the guy with the tape and now he’s sure Warren’s got possession of it. Jakes replies that if Mike had the tape, Briggs would already have handcuffs on, but Paul responds that Warren still needs him to take out Markham and he set him up to kill the detective, then pin two murders on him. Dale realizes that Briggs wants to gun down Warren and tells his housemate he’s on his own. As Jakes leaves he sees a bunch of posted signs announcing they’ll be filming in the area he’s in for the next few nights. One conversation with the location director later, he’s got the shoot moved to right in front of the bank Charlie and Amber plan to rob.

The serving of Charlie’s grandmother’s marinara sauce usually is a time of celebration and connecting for the housemates; this time however it served as an appetizer to a screaming match, as Briggs and Charlie, Mike and Paige and Jakes and Johnny unloaded on each other with both barrels. Perhaps the only reason punches weren’t thrown was a call from Amber to Charlie, telling her about the movie shoot in front of the bank, shutting down their robbery attempt.

The crisis causes the team to work together to come up with an alternative to giving up robbing Markham’s safety-deposit boxes. Briggs suggests that they do it during the day and Charlie responds they’d need a crew to pull that off. Warren says they can be the crew and the lot of them drive over to Amber’s so she can meet them. After they are all introduced the bank robber says that they’ll be called animals from then on and produces a bunch of animal Halloween masks.

There’s some bickering between Mike and Paul over who’ll bring the money to the van, when Amber says that Paige will carry the cash. She then points a gun at Briggs and Johnny and Paige immediately draw weapons and point them at her. The bank-robber tells the agents she’s impressed with their reflexes and tells them to go home and learn the layout of the bank backwards and forwards.

Mike and Charlie didn’t want Briggs involved in the robbery, but Amber insisted that there’d be four people to cover the hostages. Briggs standing on the landing above them hears their conversation but disappears by the time they look up. Paul goes into bed alone and tries to sleep but he hears the tape being played elsewhere in the house, he gets out of bed and walks to Warren’s room, where the noise emanates from. He forces open the door and Mike closes his laptop, that had played the recording. Briggs asks Mike if he’s doing this just for fun or for a purpose and Warren responds both, he wants Markham dead. Paul tells him that he’s not a killer, but Warren responds that Briggs is. Paul then tells Mike he knows he hasn’t shared the tape with headquarters, because Warren needs him.

The two then go at it like Ali and Frazier, trading blows and kicks, with each combatant gaining then losing the advantage. They tumble over the railing to the wood floor down below, then Briggs drowns Warren in the house’s indoor pond. We start to realize it’s a dream sequence as Briggs digs a grave in the living room floor with a pick-axe and drops Warren’s limp body inside it. We get confirmation that it’s indeed a dream when Charlie appears in the room in a long black negligée carrying their baby, who was just conceived six weeks earlier. Paul wakes up in the living room with Charlie wearing the same negligée, he apparently had gone sleep-walking and Charlie takes him back upstairs.

The following morning Briggs shows up early for the heist, which unnerves Amber, but he tells her he came early to share some info. He then says that the Rabbit (Mike) has a bad reputation, his buddy pulled a job with him and the Rabbit split with the cash. Amber tells Paul that Charlie hired him and she trusts Charlie and Briggs responds that he was also hired by Charlie.

The seven pull up in a truck each wearing masks and carrying automatic weapons. They quickly subdue the bank’s security officers and bring all the hostages into a room. Johnny then takes off his mask and flashes his FBI credentials, he tells the hostages to stay quiet and calm and they’d be alright. Charlie and Amber blow the safety-deposit boxes and gather the money and Paige starts to leave the room to transport the cash, but Briggs stops her telling her to keep an eye on the bank’s security guard.

He steps out of the room and tells Warren the hostage situation’s tight and Paige can’t leave, so either Briggs or Mike needs to grab the money. Warren says he’ll get it, walks into the vault and grabs the money saying he’s taking it to the van. Amber believes Mike’s about to take off with the money and goes after him, but locks Charlie in the vault. Amber’s about to shoot Warren in the back when his phone rings and it’s the tape, causing Briggs to realize Mike doesn’t have the recording and shoots towards Amber to stop her from killing Warren and she runs out of the bank.

Out in the bank parking lot, all of Markham’s cash sits banded on tables, Briggs sees Markham arriving and tells Charlie they have to leave. Warren’s being dressed down by an FBI superior, because he never got clearance from the bureau for his escapades. Just then Mike sees Markham approaching the table his money’s on and Warren leaves the superior telling him he just needs to trust him. Mike tries to get the detective’s goat by chiding him for putting the safety-deposit boxes under his own name, while Sid counters that he’s still not wearing handcuffs.

It’s later that evening and Briggs and Charlie are in the Jeep, when she notices Paul missed their turn. Briggs informs her he’s taking her to the desert to show her the truth, when he accidentally hits a deer. He jumps out of the Jeep and sees the animal’s still alive and tells Charlie to call animal control, but Charlie tells him to drive her home. Paul says the animal can be saved, but Charlie pulls out her pistol and shoots the deer in the head killing it instantly. She then screams to Briggs that he lit the match, causing him to realize that Charlie has the recording.

She asks why he couldn’t be honest with her and she tells him she realizes he was trying to get Warren killed by Amber. She makes it clear their relationship had ended and when Paul asks her what she’ll tell their child one day about its father, she spits out the words he’s a coward and drives away in the Jeep, leaving Briggs stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.