Susan Blommaert

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Photo Courtesy Of William Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

Can We Survive?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rising From The Ashes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy Of 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 Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Facing the threat of her team getting destroyed,  and her friends and allies going to prison, FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen, took matters into her own hands, at the conclusion of the second season of the NBC series “The Blacklist.” Acting purely on instinct and emotion, Keen eliminated the threat, killing United States Attorney General Tom Connelly, and plunging her life into chaos. As we reach the final episodes of Season Four, with “Team-Red” under attack, will she once again be forced into killing the person bent on destroying her team?

Actually the FBI Task-Force, set up to utilize the services of Raymond Reddington’s, facing threats on multiple fronts, including an obsessed FBI Agent, the corrupt and compromised National Security Advisor to the President, and a nutty scientist, who can manipulate memories. However the person orchestrating those attacks and more, was one of the original members of “Team-Red,” now bent on destruction.

What’s the simplest way for writers to transform a beloved character into an evil being? By taking away their humanity, a feat achieved in the episode entitled “Dr. Bogdan Krilov (29).” Kate Kaplan’s broadened her scope, she’s decided to take down everyone in her way in her mission to see Raymond destroyed. She’s now attacking the members of the Task-Force, after Lizzie rejected her overtures for the Bureau to cut ties with Reddington. With this move, she may have lost any remaining sympathy fans of the series felt for her. She had justification for going after Raymond, but not for going into scorched earth mode, and destroying those around him.

With so many battles going on simultaneously, we’re going to dispense with our regular format, and instead concentrate on the attackers. Two of the opponents, want nothing more than to see Raymond Reddington pay for all the crimes he’s committed, while the other two basically just want to cover their own behinds.

Mr. Kaplan: Kate Kaplan’s convinced that Raymond’s become a monster, beyond salvation. Unfortunately in her mission to take him down, she seems to have morphed into that creature herself. Realizing that the Task-Force’s existence impedes her plans to see Red brought to justice, she’s now targeting the members. In this episode she went after Donald Ressler, exploiting his desires to put Laurel Hitchin behind bars for the murder of Reven Wright.

After setting her plans in motion on the domestic front, Kate started a European skirmish, one she assumed would lead to the deaths of Reddington and Dembe Zuma. Mr. Kaplan paid a visit to one of Raymond’s most powerful allies, Werner Von Hauser, at his estate in Lucerne. Von Hauser’s delight at finally meeting the legendary Mr. Kaplan’s short-lived, as Kate explains his relationship with Reddington’s built on a lie.

Twenty-five years earlier, Raymond was in the midst of establishing his reputation in the hierarchy of the criminal world. Werner was an established Kingpin, greatly admired by Reddington, but the admiration wasn’t mutual, as Von Hauser perceived Red as a lesser being. Determined to form an alliance with Werner, Raymond coordinated a fake kidnapping of Von Hauser’s son Hans.

The kidnappers sent a note demanding four million dollars, for the young man’s return. Raymond would intercede in the situation, convincing the phony kidnappers that he wasn’t a man to be trifled with, and securing Hans release. The plan unfortunately went awry, as the Taddicken brothers, who Reddington hired to abduct the young man, got careless and Hans suffocated during the transport. Raymond never told Werner the truth, but Von Hauser was so pleased that Red obliterated the Taddicken brothers, that he established a strong alliance with Reddington.

After Kate informed Raymond that she was traveling to Lucerne, Reddington called Von Hauser and begged for a chance to explain himself. Dembe and Red, realized they’d stepped into a bad situation when Von Hauser’s Majordomo, Niklaus, relieved them of their weapons.

Von Hauser told Reddington that he underestimated Werner’s love for his son, and that mistake would cause he and Dembe to pay for it with their lives. Two of Von Hauser’s goons cocked their pistols against the pair’s heads, but Niklaus suddenly turned on his co-workers and shot them dead, eliminating the threat. Niklaus actually had been on Reddington’s payroll for the last twenty-five years, in preparation for the day Von Hauser discovered the truth. Raymond apologized for his role in Han’s death, and then apologized before he pumped two bullets into Von Hauser’s abdomen.

Niklaus tells Raymond and Dembe to hightail it out the backdoor and sneak through the woods. With Von Hauser’s men conducting an extensive search for the pair, their options for escaping are quite limited. Reddington tells Zuma that they’ll have to be comfortable with chaos. We see the duo escape the area in a truck transporting livestock.

Dr. Bogdan Krilov: Krilov has perfected the science of memory manipulation, he’s in fact the scientist that wiped Lizzie’s memory twenty-five years earlier. Krilov can erase memories and implant new ones, depending upon the situation. Kate shows up at his facility in Vienna, introducing herself as a friend of a friend, and invites Krilov out for lunch. Next thing you know, Krilov shows up at JFK, and books a room at the Winthrop Grand Hotel. Lizzie and Samar head to the hotel, and Liz’s able to confiscate a shipping invoice giving the agents the location of Krilov’s equipment, which they subsequently impound.

Krilov calls Kaplan and tells her he can’t do anything without his equipment. Kate gives him the address of our old friend Selma Orchard, who practices the same science. Keen realizes that Orchard’s now Krilov’s target and she calls her, but it’s too late as she’s overcome by Krilov’s henchmen. Orchard tells Krilov, she’s a great admirer of his work and had he asked she would have gladly given him her equipment. Krilov replies he wished he could have taken that chance, then knocks her cold with the butt end of her pistol, just before the FBI SWAT-Team arrive at her office.

Although Orchard’s clueless as to where Krilov fled to, she informs the team that her EEG machine’s tied into a communication network, and they’ll be able to track it once he turns it on. Elizabeth and Raymond, believe that Lizzie’s Krilov’s target, however the scientist’s after Donald Ressler, and he’s set up a scheme to trap him.

Donald receives a call from a Philadelphia Police Detective named Bell, who tells him he may have unwittingly discovered a witness in the Reven Wright murder case. The woman’s named Linda McFadden, a former neighbor of Laurel Hitchin’s, who fled to Philadelphia for her own protection.

Ressler heads to McFadden’s home in Philadelphia, and she says she saw three men exit Hitchin’s home carrying a rolled up rug. She then saw a foot sticking out of the rug, and packed up her stuff to seek safety with her sister in Philadelphia. Donald tells her that she’ll have to go back to D.C. with him, when an incendiary device crashes through the window. The explosion stuns Ressler and then the device emits a gas that knocks him out, as three goons kidnap McFadden.

After Ressler regains consciousness, he pulls his pistol and heads to the street hoping to catch the perpetrators. Instead a black SUV pulls up to him, and when the back window goes down, we see that Laurel Hitchin’s the passenger. She tells Ressler it’s time for them to have a heart-to-heart, and beckons him inside. Laurel tells Ressler that he’s to give up his investigation of Reven Wright’s murder immediately. When he flat-out refuses, she says that she’s got no choice but to eliminate McFadden. She throws him out of her SUV and tells him to shoo, that’s when we realize that Donald’s actually under the effects of Propofol and Krilov’s implanted this scenario into his brain.

McFadden and Bell actually work for Krilov, and they concocted the whole scheme so that Ressler will go after Hitchin. They transport him to right outside her house, and when he comes to he’s sitting in his SUV believing McFadden’s imprisoned in Laurel’s home. He bursts into the home as Hitchin’s meeting with a foreign minister. After drawing his weapon, he forces the minister to leave and Hitchin to take him on a room by room tour of her home. Obviously Donald’s search’s fruitless, which makes him even more determined to find where she’s got McFadden hidden.

His mind clouded by the drugs, Ressler appears ready to take Hitchin out, when Liz arrives and after encountering resistance, she finally convinces Donald, he’d been drugged and the false memories got implanted in his brain. She tells Ressler that he’s the victim, causing Hitchin to scoff. Lizzie responds by calling Laurel a murderer and telling her one day soon she’ll pay for her crime. Unfortunately it’s Ressler, whose taken out of the home in handcuffs and placed under arrest.

Krilov tells Keen that he last saw her two-years earlier, as Reddington hired him to remove some information she discovered about Raymond. He says that he’ll gladly clear Ressler’s name and tell Keen the information he removed from her memories as a child and an adult, in exchange for full immunity. Keen of course refuses, then places a call to Reddington, demanding an explanation. Raymond denies Krilov’s accusation and says he hasn’t seen the scientist for twenty-five years.

Laurel Hitchin: The “Ice Princess,” returned to the series in dramatic fashion, with Krilov’s version of Laurel, even more cold and capricious than the genuine article. Hitchin in reality, didn’t do anything wrong in this episode, but she gloated when the one man that may take her down got arrested. Laurel’s the only member of the Cabal, that we can identify, however Raymond’s assured us that the shadow organization’s still thriving. With that knowledge, it’s likely that other major players in the government, also belong to the Cabal.

It’s rather strange that Hitchin’s still in her position as National Security Advisor, under a new President. We don’t know if President Diaz and his predecessor hail from the same party, but none the less, it’s rather out of the ordinary that Diaz decided not to put a new person in the position. Could President Diaz, be a member of the Cabal, and if so will that story figure prominently in Season Five? Whether the writers explore that story line or not, I’ve got the feeling we’ll see lots more of Laurel, in upcoming episodes.

Julian Gale: There’s a faction of the series’ fans that believe Special Agent Gale’s crooked, or he’s got an ulterior motive. I don’t subscribe to that theory, I strongly believe with Julian, that what you see is what you get. That may make Gale the most dangerous of all the Task-Force’s foes. I previously stated, that I think Gale straddles the line between genius and madness. Last week we saw some of the madness emerge, when he watched Raymond shooting Dianne Fowler in his mind, and he aimed his pistol at Ressler.

This week we saw his brilliance at work, in the episode’s final encounter. After a non-stop barrage of calls to Keen throughout the episode, Liz finally arrived at the ice rink to meet with Julian. Gale tells Lizzie that he finds dates incredibly useful in his investigation, and dates have led him to all the answers he’s searched for. Julian then recounts the day Liz got transferred from her role as an obscure profiler and put on a classified mission. He then states that the Reddington Task-Force, that he’d been apart of, started to fall apart a week later. Shortly after that a series of arrests commenced, which seemed to come out of nowhere.

Julian informs Liz that he’s figured out that she’s part of a Task-Force that’s working with Reddington, providing him protection in exchange for information leading to this slew of arrests. He then says Keen’s the agent that Reddington deals with. She asks him if he’s got any questions, and he tells her he didn’t call her down to the ice-rink for information. He told her he’d already apologized to all the victims on the ice, and now it’s her turn to apologize.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Sherwood, NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Hopefully, you still have room for the main course after such a filling appetizer, as “The Blacklist,” followed up “Dembe Zuma,” with a rather mind-bending second episode. Entitled “Requiem,” the hour presented the history of Kathryn Nemec,  the woman fans of the series know as Mr. Kaplan. Long time viewers of the series, likely noticed some inconsistencies during the hour, from the stories we previously heard during the show’s run. I believe that some of the new wrinkles stem from seeing history through Kate’s perspective, while others got omitted or altered in Raymond’s recounting of the past to Elizabeth Keen.

The opening scene begins in 1962, as a man and a little girl stand over the open casket of a woman. The little girl asks the man if she’s in there, and says she can’t see her. The man replies that they’re looking at a skin-sack full of bones, and the woman abandoned her body due to all the sorrow and pain it absorbed. The man then tells the child, “What happens in life, writes a story in our flesh.” He then tells her to dry her eyes and say goodbye to her mother. The little girl puts on a very familiar pair of horned-rimmed glasses and says “Goodbye Momma.”

We return to the present, as we see Kate driving a pickup truck attached to an RV, while the Gloria Gaynor hit “I Will Survive,” provides the soundtrack. She pulls over to the side of the road, and takes some pills and makes a call on her cellphone. She tells the man on the other end she’s fine, but complications have risen. She’s cutting her trip short, but she’s got one more stop to make. The man asks her if she’s getting migraines and she once again assures him she’ll be okay. After finishing her call, she pushes her hair aside and we get our first glimpse of the horrifying scar she received when Raymond shot her.

Once again in the past, we rejoin Kathryn Nemec, now a young woman applying for a position as a nanny. Her prospective employer’s a woman we know quite well, Katarina Rostova. She tells Nemec that she’s very impressed with her résumé and references, then asks why she dropped out of the medical program at Northwestern University. Kathryn replies that she had an odd fascination with corpses, and decided instead to dedicate her life to child-care.

Rostova informs Nemec, that her duties revolve around taking care of her daughter Masha, when ever she’s not around. When Katarina’s in the house, Kathryn’s job is to observe exactly how Rostova treats her child, and to duplicate it when she’s not there, with one exception. She will not love her.

A graphic states that the next scene takes place three months later, and we join a conversation between the two women. Nemec informs Katarina, that she’d give up her life for Masha, and that they’d formed a pact. Every time that the child takes a bottle from her, or falls asleep in her arms, she shows Nemec that she trusts her.

We rejoin Mr. Kaplan in the present, as she turns into a motel parking lot, and then pulls out a fistful of phony licenses. She presents one to the motel manager and says she’s got a reservation for room eight. He gives her the keys for room twelve, and tells her the young couple in room eight, decided to extend their stay. She asks for the adjacent room.

Later that evening, Kate sits in her motel room listening to the young couple arguing, and it brings back a memory. Nemec’s upstairs, while Katarina’s arguing in Russian, with a man in the kitchen. The volume of the shouting increases, and suddenly Kathryn hears bangs and thuds, She runs downstairs to find Rostova and the man in the midst of a tussle. Nemec sees a steak knife by her feet, and kicks it over to Katerina, who uses it to slice the man’s neck.

Rostova then looks at he corpse and all the blood on the floor, and says that her husband’s on his way home and he can’t see this. Kathryn tells her employer to go upstairs and shower while she cleans up the mess. She pulls on the yellow rubber gloves, that will one day seem like part of her own anatomy, she does her first job as a “Cleaner.”

Returning to the present, we watch the young man from room eight, leave the room and start slamming on the locked front desk door. He starts screaming that all he wants is a pack of cigarettes, he’s surprised when he hears Mr. Kaplan’s voice behind him, as she tells him she’s got an extra pack in her trailer. The two enter the mobile home, and that’s the last we see of the young man.

Kate flashes back to her memories of the next morning, as Katarina greets her with a smile. She tells Nemec that she seriously considered killing her the night before. Rostova says that the nanny witnessed something that she’s kept hidden from her husband and their friends. Kathryn asks her employer if she works for Russian Intelligence, then explains that she saw some papers in the man’s pockets when she buried him. She informs Rostova, that she took ample precautions so that the body would never be found. She also says that her pact with Masha, includes protecting Katerina.

A sudden pounding on her motel room door, jolts Mr. Kaplan from her slumber. She opens the door and it’s the young woman from the next room, and she asks Kate if she’s seen her boyfriend? Mr. Kaplan says that perhaps he bolted, but the young woman says he left his car and his keys behind. She then scowls as she says she’s got to try to find him. We watch a cleaning woman leaving room eight and handing Kate the key to the room.

Nemec’s in the woods taking Masha for a walk in her stroller, when she comes upon a parked car. She quickly sees a couple in the throes of lovemaking, and realizes that Rostova is the woman in the car. She quickly turns the stroller around, and heads back to the house. Later Katerina asks Nemec, if she’s got any questions, and the nanny responds it’s none of her business. Rostova says the man was a target, and now she’s not sure what their relationship is. Nemec asks if the man’s American, and if she loves him. Katarina confirms that the man’s American, but she says the only person she know she loves is Masha. Kathryn then says that she should end the relationship.

Kathryn sees police cruisers in front of the house when she returns from an errand, and runs into the home. Katarina tells her that she broke things off with Raymond, and that he took Masha, as he believes the girl’s his daughter. Nemec asks if that’s true, and Katarina says she never checked, as she didn’t want to know the answer. She says she’ll find Masha on her own, and Nemec corrects her, saying she won’t be alone.

Mr. Kaplan pulls aside a bureau and a painting and starts marking the wall, as we hear the band Cake’s cover of “I Will Survive.” She then pulls out a chainsaw and starts cutting through the wall, revealing the body parts of a corpse she buried there, in 2006. She puts all the body parts into a large suitcase and drives away, the cleaning woman’s astonished when she goes to clean the room.

A traumatized Katarina, enters the home carrying Masha. She says they had escaped a fire, and then she tells Masha that he was a very bad man. We realize she’s talking about the man that the child shot, but we receive no explanation of the fire or the man’s identity. She tells Kathryn to take Masha to a motel, she needs to hide but will contact them soon.

Katarina calls Nemec from a phone booth, about a week later. She tells Kathryn that the KGB know about her affair with Raymond, which means US Intelligence, also knows or will soon find out. Nemec says that the child can’t stay in a motel, and suggests that she and Masha go to live with her sister in Chicago. Rostova, tells her that Masha wouldn’t be safe with her, and tells her to take the child to a friend of her and Raymond, named Sam Milhoan, who lives in Kearney, Nebraska. She also tells the nanny, that she needs to disappear so that nobody can question her about her relationship with Rostova. She tells Kathryn she loves her and hangs up.

Kathryn gets to Milhoan’s home, and he apologizes but says he can’t care for the child. He tells her that he’s a grifter, and he’s attempting to go straight, however he can’t provide a stable environment for Masha. Nemec pleads with the man, saying he’s their only hope. Masha then realizes that her nanny won’t be living with them, and Sam’s emotions get the better of him. He tells Nemec that the girl needs her mother, but she’s got him until the heat’s off. With that statement, Masha Rostova ceases to exist, the child become Elizabeth Scott, taking on Milhoan’s birth name, Scott, as her own.

A few weeks later, Nemec’s sitting in a bar reading a newspaper. She hears some of the men in the bar making some lewd comments about an attractive young blonde woman, and she looks up to see the woman selecting a song on the jukebox. Returning to reading, she starts to cry when she sees an article with the headline that authorities have ended their search for a missing Russian woman, Katarina Rostova.

The blonde sits down next to her at the bar, and says she hopes she’s not intruding, but she needed to get away from those guys. She then introduces herself as Annie, and asks Kathryn if she’d like to dance. Nemec’s rather shocked by the invitation, but Annie leads her to the dance floor. As the pair start to awkwardly dance, she asks Nemec what’s wrong? Kathryn replies that her friend died, then says she thinks she was her best friend. Annie hugs Nemec and shares her pain.

Later that evening, as the women share some beers at a table, Annie asks Nemec what her plans are. The former nanny says she’s unsure, she had devoted her life to Masha and her family. Annie says that she’s heading to Amarillo, Texas. Her uncle Nikos lives there, and he’s going to teach her how to become a bail bondsman. Kathryn asks what’s the job market like in Amarillo?

A few months later, Kathryn’s working in a morgue and living with Annie in Amarillo. Annie gets off early one night, and comes over to the morgue to meet Nemec, but she gets squeamish when she sees Kathryn washing off a table covered with blood and body tissue. She suggests that Kathryn find another line of work, and then the pair kiss.

Mr. Kaplan turns on a cassette recorder, and opens the suitcase. She then proceeds to give an autopsy report on the victim, who died from a blunt trauma to the head in 2006. The victim’s name was Everett Oldfield. Apparently he died at the hands of Raymond, or one of Reddington’s associates.

Nemec’s now back in child-care, and gets an unexpected evening off as the couple she works for decided to stay at home for the evening. She surprises Annie at the bail bond office, bringing some Chinese food that they can enjoy, while Annie finishes her paperwork.

Suddenly a guy bursts through the front door, holding a pistol, and demanding to see Little Nikos. Annie informs him that they’re closed, and that Little Nikos isn’t there. The guy starts screaming that he wasn’t in court, because he was at his father’s funeral, and that Little Nikos’ thugs broke his brother’s jaw, in an attempt to find him.

Annie’s flustered, and she offers to give him his money back, the guy gives her a dirty look, and says he doesn’t want her money. He then asks what her name is, and she relies Annie Kaplan. The gunman then says to Nemec “That must make you Mr. Kaplan.” He then shoots Annie in the abdomen, when Nemec tries to help her, he shoots her in the head and then shoots Annie once again, before he flees. Kathryn drags them out to the street, where Annie takes her last breath.

Kathryn wakes up in the hospital, with a doctor standing over her, he tells her that the gunshot didn’t cause any lasting damage, but they had to put her in a coma for three weeks, due to the swelling. Little Nikos walks into the room and tells her she got an upgrade, a metal plate in her head. She then asks about Annie, and the doctor says he’ll give them some privacy.

Little Nikos tells Kathryn that Annie died before the ambulance arrived, and she completely breaks down, letting out these primal howls of grief. Little Nikos takes her in his arms, and tells her that Annie was family, and he knows the way they felt about each other, so that makes her family as well. He says we’ll get through this together.

Kate gets another migraine attack, so she pulls over to the side of the road and parks there. She takes some of her pills, but the attack’s too severe for her to keep on driving. So she goes into her trailer and lies down in the bed to take a nap, until the pain subsides.

Kathryn’s taken over Annie’s old job, when one day a man she never expected to see again, comes to the office. Sam Milhoan quickly reassures her that Lizzie’s fine, however Raymond Reddington’s reaching out to her, due to his concerns about the girl’s future. Kathryn erupts into a ball of fury, saying that man destroyed the life she loved. She calls him an outlaw and a traitor, and says he had no regard for his own family. However Sam convinces her to meet with Reddington.

My curiosity had been piqued, as to how the show-runners would present the young Raymond Reddington. They elected to go with James Spader in the role, obscuring his appearance with lighting, so the only things we saw clearly were his eyes. He tells Kathryn that he’s built a criminal empire in order to protect Elizabeth, but he realizes he needs somebody by his side for counsel. She agrees to work for him, with the understanding, that if she ever has to choose between he and the girl, she’ll always come down on Lizzie’s side. He says he wouldn’t expect anything less.

Kate’s jolted awake by the pounding on her trailer door, she opens it to find a female State Police Officer, standing outside. She asks if Kate’s been drinking, and Mr. Kaplan replies that she gets severe migraines that make it impossible to drive. The officer says she parked illegally and she needs to see her license and registration. Kate accidentally pulls out two licenses, and the officer says she’ll have to search the trailer.

Kate refuses to allow her inside, and then begs the officer not to call it in. She says that she’s on the run from her husband, who abuses her badly. He’s a State Judge, so his word’s sovereign. The officer starts talking about a shelter, when Mr. Kaplan reveals her scar. The officer asks Kate if she’s got a gun, and Kate replies she does. The officer then tells her to high-tale it to a stand your ground state, and wishes her good luck.

We rejoin Kathryn and Raymond, in 2013, as he informs her that he’s made up his mind to reveal himself to Elizabeth. Mr. Kaplan says he can’t just waltz into her life again, and he replies that he’s got no choice. He hired Tom Keen to watch her, but he married her. Because of Katarina, there are too many dark forces swirling around Elizabeth, and he’s got to protect her.

The next scene takes place outside the Bureau headquarters, as Raymond sits on a bench before surrendering. A young man identified by IMDB, as the character “Grey,” sits down next to him. He asks Raymond if it’s good to be home? Raymond responds we’ll see about that, and heads towards the building, while Grey joins Kate and Dembe in the car. Grey says he’s in FBI custody. What could go wrong. We then see a series of images flash by, ending with Raymond shooting Mr. Kaplan in the head.

Raymond finally recovers The Tracker’s phone from the debris, and calls Mr. Kaplan. He says her friend put on quite a show, and Kate replies she told him it wouldn’t work. He then suggests that they talk, and Kate scoffs at the notion. She says she told him that when they first met, she’d always take Lizzie’s side, and he says she was misguided and betrayed him. She counters that she catered to his every whim for over 20-years, and he tried to take her out like a mad dog.

She says it took a bullet in the head for her to remember it, but her father was right. “What happens in life, writes a story in our flesh.” Raymond starts boasting about how impenetrable his organization is, when she interrupts him. She says I know where all the bodies are buried dearie, or at least where they were buried. Now I’ve got them all and they’ll end up putting you in the ground. The camera pans to a wide shot, and we see that Kate’s speaking from an ice-skating rink. There are dozens of corpses staying cool on the ice.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night, at 10:00pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Sherwood, NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

The Blacklist,” returned to television with a sprawling two-hour episode, jam-packed with revelations. The evening was split into two separate episodes, the first one entitled “Dembe Zuma, Number 10,” while the second episode’s titled “Requiem.” While the first hour took place in the present, the second episode centered around the past, revealing the history of an integral character in the series. The second hour, provided some answers to long-standing questions, however many questions that fans of the series have remain mysteries. Once again the identity of Elizabeth Keen’s biological father came up, and once again fans walked away from the two-hour extravaganza without a definitive answer.

We’ll be splitting the two episodes into two separate recaps, as there’s far too much information to absorb in just one sitting. The recap of “Requiem.” will soon follow.

Our evening begins with a glimpse of the Metro-DC skyline, before taking us into the shower of Aram Mojtabai. As we see Aram through the glass doors, we watch an unidentified character come into his apartment, and open the bathroom door. Despite the ominous music, we soon realize his guest’s his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Janet Sutherland, who soon joins him in the shower. He asks how she got into the apartment, and she replied he left his front door unlocked. This doesn’t sit well with Mojtabai, as he’s certain that he locked the door, so he puts on his robe to investigate.

Aram’s instincts served him well, discovering he’s got an uninvited visitor. Dembe Zuma tackles him to the ground and soon has him hogtied on the floor. Janet hears a commotion emanating from the living room, so she slips on a towel to investigate. She discovers Aram’s bound and gagged on the floor, then she turns around to see Zuma, who orders her to remain quiet.

Next scene begins with Samar Navabi entering Aram’s apartment, as Donald Ressler and the police are doing a sweep of the premises. She asks Donald if they know where Aram’s at, and Ressler replies they’re still trying to piece things together. He escorts Navabi, into the bedroom and she sees Sutherland sitting on the bed. Jumping to the conclusion that Janet’s involved in Aram’s abduction, she starts to attack her, only to be stopped by Ressler as he explains Sutherland’s a victim and not a suspect.

We find ourselves in Harold Cooper’s office, joined by Raymond and Lizzie. Cooper asks Raymond the status of his investigation into Zuma’s location, after his month-long search. Harold tells Reddington that he and the Bureau are getting involved, as Dembe abducted Aram the night before. Red tries to assure Cooper, that Mojtabai’s not in danger, and that Dembe took a calculated risk, because he needs Aram’s help. Raymond wants to search for Zuma by himself, but Harold insists that Keen accompany him and report back to Cooper.

To avoid detection Dembe switches cars, taking Aram from the trunk of one vehicle, and then ordering him to get into another vehicle’s trunk. Zuma then takes the plates off of the car he abandoned and drives off to parts unknown.

Navabi and Ressler question Sutherland at the Post Office, about the abduction but she’s unable to provide much information, as she got stuffed into a closet. She says that she can track Aram, as he’s got a key-finder on his key ring, which she can access from his work station. Despite her innate distrust of Janet, she convinces Cooper and Ressler to allow Sutherland to use Mojtabai’s computer, as she truly believes the woman’s on their side.

Baz’s replaced Dembe as Raymond’s driver, and Reddington explains to Lizzie that they’re in search of the Sanctum Corporation. He explains to Keen, that it’s “an underground railroad for miscreants.”  Criminals that need to elude the law, or former allies turned enemies, utilize Sanctum Corporation’s services to escape the country and obtain a new identity. Liz asks if Dembe used the services, and Raymond replies that he used them last year, to hide his daughter and granddaughter, after Mr. Solomon poisoned Zuma’s grandchild.

As Raymond and Elizabeth attempt to track down a former client of Sanctum Corporation, Dembe takes Aram to a warehouse district, opens a garage type door revealing one of Reddington’s multitude of lockers stashed across the country. Mojtabai assumes that Zuma wants him to crack the code, so he can steal from Reddington and refuses to do it. Dembe punches in the code and opens the empty locker, and tells Aram he needs his help to find out who stole the contents, as that’s the identity of Raymond’s true enemy.

Aram asks him if he’s trying to help Red, and Dembe acknowledges the fact. He says he gave Raymond the poison drink, but he didn’t poison it. He can’t go back to Raymond until he finds out the identity of that person, who tried to kill Reddington, and sabotaging his operation.

The first man that Liz and Raymond attempt to question Richard Fickman’s been abducted in a bloody skirmish by the time they arrive. Which leads to our first encounter with Glen “Jellybean” Carter of the evening, who promptly tells Reddington that he’s not surprised Dembe went rogue. He said he never bought the strong, silent, brooding act and his fake African accent. He also tells Red that he found their relationship to be “a little Edgar Rice Burroughs”  (creator of Tarzan.) Reddington quickly cuts Jellybean off, and he gets the information he came for, the identity of Fickman’s abductor, an ex-con named Chuck Shaw.

Shaw admits killing Fickman, as repayment for Dr. Sophia Gallup, his prison therapist gaining him parole. Keen checks with the Prison hierarchy and confirms that Gallup’s in charge of the system’s prisons in the Northeast, however the only contact information’s a post office box. They’re able to access the last guy she paroled, Dennis Cauley, who now lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Aram’s only able to access a proprietary address, and tells Dembe that it would take him days to find out the person behind it. Zuma puts the safety on the pistol and tells Aram he can leave and asks forgiveness for his actions. He then slumps to the ground and sits in the alleyway, a defeated man. Mojtabai asks if he’s truly trying to help Reddington, and Dembe responds that he’s got three people in his life, his daughter, his granddaughter, and Raymond. Aram breaks into a grin and says he’s got an idea.

Baz, Liz, and Raymond drive to Cauley’s place, but he’s not there. A quick search of the apartment reveals a dossier on Gallup’s next victim, Alex Soto. Raymond looks at the file and says the man’s real name’s Daniel Nakamoto, a master forger of antiquities that ran afoul against a very powerful gang leader 13-years earlier. Cauley’s notes reveal that he’s usually at a museum at that time of the day.

Raymond sits next to Nakamoto on a bench in the museum, and after a quick round of you’ve got the wrong guy, Reddington reveals that his life’s in danger from the Sanctum Corporation. Nakamoto replies that if they’re truly after him, not even Raymond can help him. He starts to walk away and nearly gets stabbed by Cauley, however Baz takes the ex-con out. In Reddington’s car Nakamoto reveals that the couple behind Sanctum Corporation, Tony and Maria Lopez, ran a honey company in Ohio. They had set up safe houses in various bee colonies they owned. However they died nearly a year before. Raymond thanks him and tells him to pack up his belongings and Red would soon be in touch.

Aram comes up with the name of the person who robbed Reddington, just as Navabi and Ressler arrive on the scene after using the key-finder to track them down. Mojtabai says the woman’s named Kathryn Nemec, and we can see the shock register on Dembe’s face. It’s pretty easy to determine that Kathryn Nemec’s, actually Mr. Kaplan. He says he needs more proof, and Aram helps him elude Ressler and Navabi.

Our second meeting with Glen takes place in a car, as he’s performing his day job as a driving instructor. He tells them to climb into the backseat, and Raymond expresses his disgust at the situation. Jellybean tells them they can speak freely, as his student Ms. Vasquez doesn’t understand a word of English. We soon find out her driving skills are also non-existent. We find out that the Lopez’s died in a fire nine months before, they sold most of their bee farms, but their daughter Vanessa still owned one. Glen says that she’s a therapist, and Liz and Reddington realize that Vanessa Lopez and Sophia Gallup, are the same person.

Lizzie and Raymond head to the bee farm and walk in on Gallup, shirtless and bra-less with bees covering her entire upper torso, looking as if she’s wearing a bee-sweater. Raymond does his best Mr. Spock, as the only thing he can say is fascinating. He soon collects himself and apologizes for barging in, but says time’s of the essence. She assumes Reddington’s one of her parent’s clients, but he corrects her and says he’s looking for a friend.

She tells them that her parents were living a good life running their honey company, when a friend came to them asking for help. Soon another man arrived, and then another, and suddenly their income from Sanctum Corporation, dwarfed the money they made from their legitimate company. They stored all their money in a Vulcan safe in their basement, only the criminals they assisted knew it existed. Nine months earlier, somebody tried cracking the safe with an acetylene torch, burning down the house and leaving her as the only survivor. The bees seem to be the best way of healing her scars from the fire, as their stingers help her skin heal. After Liz calls the Bureau to inform them to arrest the therapist, she and Raymond head to Dembe’s daughter’s new home.

Dembe drives to the spot where Reddington shot Kate, and finds her gone. The burner-phone that he gave to his daughter Isabella, to contact him in case of emergency, rings. He picks it up and Raymond’s on the other end. Red tells him that his activities are making him look very guilty, Zuma counters with we’re both guilty, Raymond. He says she’s not here, and then screams in pain and drops the phone. Our old pal The Tracker’s carrying a crossbow and shot an arrow into Dembe’s calf. He steps on the phone, crushing it and continues after Zuma.

The Tracker finds Dembe on the ground writhing in pain, and he tells him he knows his identity. That he and the fellow in the hat left Kate for dead, but she survived and now he’s going to kill the two of them. He asks where’s his slick-suited pal, and Dembe pulls the arrow out of his calf and jams it into The Tracker’s thigh. As he stops to patch himself up, he calls Kate and leaves a message on her voicemail.

As Liz and Raymond drive off from the bee farm, Keen receives the information that Aram’s safe and that Dembe’s trying to help him. She then tells Reddington that Aram came up with a name, Kathryn Nemec, but she’s listed as disappearing 25-years earlier. Her words cause Raymond’s face to turn stone gray, and he tells Lizzie that’s Mr. Kaplan’s real name.

They soon arrive at the place where they left Kate, and Dembe comes out of the bushes, bleeding badly. Raymond tells Liz to get Dembe to a hospital, while he and Baz hunt for The Tracker. He shoots Baz in the leg with an arrow, but the duo outsmart the hunter, and take him prisoner. They take him to his shack for questioning.

Reddington orders The Tracker to call Kate, but he says it looks like he’s dead either way. Raymond says he truly abhors violence, and only uses it out of necessity. He then jams his pistol up against The Tracker’s forehead and says that this is one of those times. The Tracker hits speed dial and hands the phone to Red, saying that Kate knew he’d underestimate her.

Suddenly Raymond hears a cellphone ringing below them, and through the floorboards he sees it’s connected to explosives. He and Baz get out of the shack just before it erupts in a blaze of glory, The Tracker going out with a huge grin.

Our final scene takes us to Kate walking on a street at night and listening to The Tracker’s message. He tells her he didn’t give her up and refused to go down without a fight. However her war has arrived, so lock and load.

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Photo by: Will Hart/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

With two episodes remaining in the Fall Season for the NBC series “The Blacklist,” the show’s close to wrapping up the Alexander Kirk/Constantin Rostov, story-arc. However, plenty of questions remain unanswered, concerning Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington’s past and Lizzie’s relationship to Rostov, and the future of our characters and the Task-Force. Although the episode concluded with Agnes back with her parents and Constantin imprisoned in the glass cell in the Post Office, we’re really not more informed about our characters’ history, then we were before the former FBI Agent faked her death last spring.

This episode did remove some layers and showed us the dynamic will change once again, as new loyalties get formed and some established ones look tenuous presently. Whether next week’s episode provides more information for the characters and the fans remain to be seen. We’ll also find out if the show gives us a preview of the next upcoming adventure, or simply decides to let our cast catch its collective breath and enjoy the moment?

For the second straight week, the characters in the opening scene are all strangers to us. We’ve landed in a rather posh conference room in Minsk, Belarus, as the host tries to entice his four guests into a business proposition. The man’s named Rene LeBron and the four men are criminal bosses that had their assets seized by the United States government.

LeBron tells the four criminals that the President of the United States, isn’t God and his decisions aren’t final. He says that although the government perceives these men as drug-traffickers, violators of human rights and impediments to democracy, he’s got a different point of view. LeBron says he sees the men as businessmen, who got their money seized and he’s willing to help them out. The four men collectively are out $760 million, LeBron offers to give them $600 million in cash immediately, in return for the $160 million balance and market rate interest on the loan. Although the senior member of the guests voices objections to the deal, his companions are hot to make the deal.

LeBron gets into the elevator after completing the agreement, with two other men and a woman alongside him. Two floors later, three Asian women and one Asian man enter the car, looking like nondescript tourists. We find out they’re assassins shortly after the doors close, as they eliminate LeBron’s companions and hold him at gunpoint. The loan-shark tells the man that he’s got close to three-quarters of a billion dollars nearby and the man responds that he’s already taken possession of the cash.

The man makes a call from his cellphone and it turns out that Oscar and his crew are contractors for Raymond. He’s told to take his fee from the cash he recovered and to donate some cash to a Belarus charity. He also tells Oscar that he wants the plane.

Raymond meets with the Task-Force at the Post Office and tells the team of his capturing Rene LeBron and Baz and some of Reddington’s men will hand off LeBron to Ressler and Navabi. Liz’s far from happy, especially with Red and she lets it be known without a hint of subtlety. She’s angry with the fact that this case won’t help them recover Agnes and Raymond informs her that Rostov’s a client of LeBron’s. He’s willing to give up Constantin, in exchange for a promise that he won’t get prosecuted. Cooper says he’ll need to get clearance from Cynthia Panabaker. Harold dismisses his team but asks Keen to stay with him.

Cooper says to Keen he can only imagine the pain and the pressure she’s feeling, but he says he believes Reddington’s doing his best to recover Agnes. Lizzie starts breaking down and tell Harold that she got a hold of a DNA report and Rostov’s her father and Red wants to kill him. However she states that she’s enough of a professional to work with Reddington.

After a week of being M.I.A., we rejoin Mr. Kaplan and her captor the Hunter. He comes inside with his dog and he says to Kate we’ve got a problem. He says the guy who shot her will kill somebody else and dump the body where he shot Kate. When he realizes she’s not there, he’ll come sniffing around. Or somebody will report her missing and the cops will search for her and they’ll come looking for her. He says he could let her go, but she’d tell somebody about him. He says he doesn’t like company, so he’s not sure what to do with her.

Kate tells the Hunter she tried to commit suicide and he asks her where’s her gun? She says she dropped it but she’s not sure where. The Hunter says she left a trail and he’s a tracker, so he’ll go out looking for the gun.

Harold calls Panabaker and tells her about the situation. Although she’s not happy about granting LeBron immunity, she tells Cooper to pick up the loan-shark and bring him in.

What Harold fails to realize is his phone’s tapped by some of Kirk’s contractors and the man monitoring the call contacts Rostov’s number one, Olga and passes on the information. She calls Rostov and tells him that Reddington’s the one that captured LeBron and asks Constantin if she should take him out? Rostov tells her to go ahead and Olga says to him that the seeds of doubt he planted with Masha have taken root. Constantin says he should reach out to her but they should take adequate precautions. Olga calls him a fool and says she doesn’t trust Masha. Rostov smiles and says Olga doesn’t trust anybody, but he’s asking her to trust him on this.

Baz releases LeBron from his bonds and then puts a white-hood over his head as he prepares to pass the loan-shark over to Donald and Samar. As we watch the exchange take place, we see a sniper putting together his rifle and he takes out LeBron. Raymond looks at Dembe and says the loan-shark died right on schedule and now it’s time to send out the invitations.

Welcome To The Past: The next morning, Aram, Samar, Ressler and Cooper receive pizza deliveries from Nick’s Pizza. Inside the box is a formal invitation stating their cars will arrive at 7:30 am and their discretion’s appreciated. The four get greeted by Reddington’s newest employees, Sweater-Vest-Man, whose name’s Chester. He maybe Mr. Kaplan’s replacement as he has the four agents deposit their cellular devices and then puts them through an airport type body-scanner.

Once they’ve passed the inspection, they’re sent deeper into the building and Raymond greets them saying welcome to the past. The building they’re standing in can’t be penetrated by any digital signal and all the equipment in the facility’s analog. Cooper asks why they’re in a museum and Lizzie enters and says because they’ve been breached. Aram can’t believe it, saying their system’s unhackable. Raymond smiles and says exactly and that’s why Rostov hired the Thrushes.

The Thrushes were formed in 1982 by a man named Plemen Radkov. Radkov got arrested in 1986 and died in a Soviet gulag a few years later. That’s when the Thrushes went underground and they’ve taken on jobs based on degree of difficulty and the money offered. They’ve been involved in some high scale operations over the years and many lives were lost due to their activities. Cooper tells Navabi and Ressler to find out what they can about the other incidents and tells Aram to contact the NSA.

Who’s The Mole?: Navabi finds out first as she meets with another intelligence operative about the incident they were involved in, in Jaipur. The operative brings a book with pictures of all the Thrushes operative and says all 38 were engineers and perished in the incident. Samar going through the pictures realizes that the agent’s incorrect, one of the people’s not an engineer and is still alive. Although she’s identified as Kate Bond, she’s in reality Aram’s new girlfriend Elise.

Navabi tells Cooper and Donald and both men tell her they’ve got to keep this from Mojtabai, that he’ll be heartbroken and will blow their cover. Just then Aram walks into the Post Office looking desolate, he’s been working on the problem for the last 18-hours and he realized that Elise’s the mole. He’s hurt and angry, but he wants to get involved in her capture. They’ve got a date that evening at his apartment and he’s going to download a virus on her laptop.

Samar sets up Aram for the sting in a van that’s right below his apartment, she gives him a pen that’s also a wire and then hands Mojtabai a pistol. He asks if she wants her to shoot his girlfriend and she adamantly says she’s not his girlfriend. She also tells Aram that if he gets into trouble, to say the word banana and the cavalry will burst in.

Elise realizes something’s up with Aram but he keeps saying he’s fine and then he goes to the refrigerator and pulls out a bottle of wine he bought for her. As he pulls the cork out, he spills wine all over the front of his shirt and says he’s got to change. He goes into his bedroom and takes her laptop out of her bag and inserts the thumb drive into it, but she enters the room before he can put it back in the bag. She enters the room and she tries to seduce him as he’s shirtless, but he rebuffs her advances, saying they’ll have a fire on the stove.

Now Elise knows something’s wrong with Aram and demands to know what it is. Ressler’s ready to charge into the apartment, but Mojtabai says that he’s actually in love with somebody else. Elise says that it’s Samar but Aram denies it, just then her cellphone rings and Olga’s on the other end. She tells Aram she’s got to take this work call and walks into his bedroom.

Olga asks her operative if her laptop’s secure and Elise responds it is. Olga replies she best make sure of it as her life could depend on it. She gets off the phone and goes into her bag for her laptop, but sees it’s missing. She lifts up Aram’s shirt and sees it and the thumb-drive Mojtabai installed, he walks in with the pistol drawn, but she knocks it out of hand.

The two start fighting and Aram says banana, about six times before the SWAT-Team and Donald and Samar burst in. Elise is about to hit Aram with a piece of wood, when Ressler tells her to drop it. At gunpoint, Elise calls back Olga and tells her all’s well.

Mr. Kaplan And The Hunter: The Hunter goes to the area where he first found Kate and checks out some old camera’s he’s got set up monitoring the area. He opens the third camera and shakes his head. He heads back to the camera and tells Mr. Kaplan she lied to him. She denies it, but then he shows her the camera and says three went in but only two came out.

Perhaps seeing the pictures gave the Hunter sympathy for Kate, as the last time we see them, they’re sitting at a table and the Hunter’s feeding Mr. Kaplan with a spoon.

The Capture Of Constantin Rostov: Liz receives a phone-call from a shoe-repair shop that she’s never visited and the owner says she left her cell phone there. She realizes that Rostov’s attempting to contact her and she picks up the phone. When she brings it back, she sees just one number on the burner-phone and calls it. She immediately asks about Agnes and Constantin replies she’s in good health but wants her mother.

Lizzie tells Rostov that she got ahold of his records and she saw a DNA report confirming that Constantin’s her father. He asks if she, Agnes and he can meet, she says she’d agree to that and Rostov says he’ll call her back with arrangements. When she gets off the phone Raymond asks her why she believes the lies Constantin’s told her, she says when she went to the Summer Palace, she recognized things and had memories of her childhood. Reddington replies just because he was married to Lizzie’s mother, it doesn’t make Rostov her father.

Keen gets a call from Constantin and sets up the meeting at an abandoned station on the Bowery Line. Reddington tells Cooper that his men will handle capturing Rostov. However Liz calls back Constantin and tells him it’s a trap, Rostov asks if she’d still be willing to meet him and gives her a new location.

Reddington sets up his plan of attack, but it appears he and his crew are heading into a trap. When Liz arrives at the new location, Rostov and some of his soldiers meet her but Agnes’ isn’t there. Constantin says that she’ll join them soon, but first he needs to kill Reddington. Lizzie reacts horrified, that Rostov’s set a trap for Raymond, but in reality Reddington and his team are right downstairs. As Raymond’s soldiers arrive, Rostov summons the woman who traveled with Matos and she’s cradling Agnes in her arms.

Rostov grabs the infant and stands on the ledge of the roof, he says if he can’t have his granddaughter, he’ll take her with him. Raymond tells him that’s insane and Masha says please father give her back to me. Constantin puts down his pistol and gives Agnes to Liz. Rostov’s taken into custody.

For the first time this season we get a pleasant montage ending the episode as Harry Nilsson’s version of One plays in the background. Raymond goes to visit Tom and Liz and he asks to see Agnes and Lizzie invites him in. She says to Raymond now that Rostov’s been captured the three of them will find a new place, Reddington nods and says he realized that.

The final image of the evening’s Constantin Rostov locked away in the glass cage inside the Post Office, a broken and defeated man.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“Woke up this morning my house was cold
Checked out the furnace she wasn’t burnin’
Went out and hoped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain’t turnin’
We’ve given each other some hard lessons lately
But we ain’t learnin’
We’re the same sad story that’s a fact
One step up and two steps back.”

Bruce Springsteen One Step Up

Tempers flaring, patience running thin and we’re witnessing long-term relationships hitting the danger zone. That could be an accurate summary, for Season Four of the NBC hit-drama “The Blacklist,” but that level spiked in Episode Four, entitled “Gaia.” When Aram Mojtabai let’s the fur fly, we know we’re traveling in unchartered waters.

Our episode begins out in the woods as we see the speaker horn of an old Victrola and sound of Classical Music fills the great outdoors. We then see a man who appears to be in his mid-thirties and as the camera pans to a long shot we see that he lives in an old school bus and he’s raising his own potted crops. He starts looking at his tomatoes, when blood starts dripping from his nose and he goes inside the bus. He grabs a pair of surgical scissors and extracts a large wad of blood-soaked cotton gauze out of his nostril.

He then picks up a radio phone and we hear him talking to a woman named Maya, he tells her he’s got two new targets and that she has to get her and someone else out of the state. The call doesn’t last long, as she either hung up on him or he reached her voice mail.

We follow the man to a retirement party, for a man who owns a helicopter charter service. The man retiring pokes fun at his head mechanic for being a Cubs’ fan and the man from the woods, puts a beer down in front of the mechanic and says he’s from Wrigley Ville. The mechanic nods in appreciation for the free beer.

The next scene, the mechanic and the guy from the woods run into each other again and start making small-talk, but the mechanic’s unaware that the guy from the woods laced his beer with poison and he dies of what the coroner believes was a heart-attack.

Liz Keen’s sitting on the floor, scouring through documents that she hopes will lead her to the location of her infant daughter Agnes, when her laptop emits a tone informing her somebody’s attempting to contact her. She opens her computer and she’s getting a video-feed from Constantin Rostov, he says he wanted to speak to her when she was alone and Lizzie only wants to know how Agnes’ doing. Rostov adjusts the camera to show Keen her cooing daughter and though she’s relieved her child’s safe, she tells Rostov she’s on to him and his plans.

The former FBI Agent tells Rostov that she’s aware of the blood disease he suffers from and that’s the real reason he’s been searching for her and Agnes. Rostov admits that his health’s at stake, but tells Lizzie that he just wants his family reunited and he says the only way that can happen is for her to cut ties with Reddington. He then tells Masha that the link will remain open, so she can check in with Agnes at any time. There’s an unspoken agreement that she won’t try to trace the link, or he’ll cut off contact.

Rostov’s getting another transfusion and Constantin asks if he has six-months, the doctor replies possibly less. He says Rostov always realized that the transfusions were only a temporary fix and a young dark-haired woman says that Rostov’s got to use the child. The doctor vehemently disagrees, saying even if Agnes’ and Rostov are a genetic match, the procedure would put the infant in mortal danger. The young woman scoffs at the doctor’s words and says that he’s not the one who’s dying.

Tom heads back to where he’s staying with Liz and she tells him about her conversation with Kirk and the link he’s set-up so she can see Agnes. Keen immediately wants to trace the link, but Lizzie begs him not to. She says that she can play on Rostov’s ego and gain his trust and then they can rescue Agnes and ensure her safety. Tom remains silent on the issue, so naturally Liz assumed he’d follow her wishes, you’d think that after all this time she’d realize that Keen always believes he knows best.

Raymond and Liz meet and he says he’s got a kind of, sort of clue that could lead them to Agnes. Reddington says that he’s searching for an eco-terrorist known only as Gaia, which is Mother Earth in Greek. Raymond explains that the eco-terrorist disguises his attacks as accidents, so that the people force Government Agencies to fix the problem.

When Keen informs the rest of the task force, they review some of the accidents that Gaia engineered in the past and that some of the incidents took innocent lives in order to save other innocent lives. Harold sends Navabi and Ressler into the field to see what they can find on Gaia, however Aram stops Samar and apologizes that he basically blew her off the previous evening on the phone.

Mojtabai, asks Samar if she’d like for them to talk about her possible transfer later, but she informs him that she already decided to request a transfer and that its being processed. Although shaken, Aram congratulates her on her upcoming move and she says she’d better not keep Donald waiting.

As Donald and Navabi search through records trying to find some info on Gaia, Ressler tells Samar that he Googled Aram’s new girl-friend. She asks why he did that and he responds that he wanted to see if Elise was hot and Donald says she’s quite hot indeed.

The Gaia poisons a second victim an inspector for Borron Energy Service. He lambasted the inspector for allowing environmental dangers to exist, the guy replied that just about everything in this world can kill you. He takes his laced coffee back to his vehicle and shortly thereafter as the inspectors taking his last breaths, the eco-terrorist goes out to the guy’s vehicle and says that he was right about so many dangers out in the world. He then grabs the guy’s clipboard and hard hat.

We find ourselves in a shack and see Mr. Kaplan lying on a cot with a piece of cloth covering the wound on her cheek. Suddenly the door opens and we see the dog and it’s owner enter the cabin, however without Kate having her glasses the shapes are too blurry for her to identify and she falls back to sleep.

Aram tells the rest of the Task Force that he might have identified their suspect, as he’s been pretending to be an inspector doing spot inspections in energy plants. Aram’s tracked him to an energy facility he’s doing a spot inspection on at that moment and Navabi and Ressler head to the plant to apprehend the suspect. Security informs them where the suspect’s at, but he eludes them and steals a security vehicle with Donald and Samar in pursuit.

The Gaia thinks he’s made his escape but then he’s cut off by police vehicles in front of him and when he attempts to back up, he realizes he’s boxed in by law enforcement. The Gaia then goes forward and slams against the two police vehicles and escapes.

They recover his forged ID card and Keen tells Harold that Raymond’s in contact with one of his guys to track down the Gaia. Dembe and Raymond arrive at a bowling alley and Red shouts to our old friend Glen Carter, finder of lost people, that he needs his services immediately. Jelly Bean says he’s off the clock now and Dembe starts giving Glen pointers on how to improve his game. Raymond shows Glen the badge and he immediately recognizes it as the work of Ji Ming a Chinese associate of his.

Dembe, Raymond, Glen and the Asian fellow meet in the next scene and apparently the Chinese man only speaks Mandarin, which Jelly Bean happens to speak. Reddington tries to hurry the conversation along and tells Glen he just needs an address. The Asian gentleman looks at Red and then speaks in Mandarin and walks away. Glen says the guy doesn’t like Raymond, as Reddington looks like his third wife. At this point Raymond realizes that Glen’s just yanking his chain and he already acquired the address.

Liz, Raymond and Dembe head to where Gaia’s made his base of operations. They find a picture of Maya who’s pregnant in the photo and Keen starts talking about missing babies and now she’s consumed with Agnes. Raymond realizes what’s going on and tells Lizzie that they’ll soon have Agnes back safe and sound.

Tom gets in contact with a former associate named Krantz and the mercenary agrees to gather his crew and to locate Rostov’s link and help Keen recover Agnes.

They’ve identified the eco-terrorist as Owen Ayers, a highly decorated military veteran who retired for medical reasons a few years before. Ayers final mission was Fukushima, Japan, which suffered a catastrophic accident inside a nuclear plant. Ayers inhaled toxic-gas while on the mission, making him a dead man walking and he and his toddler son Skyler share a blood disease, that caused the child to be born with a disfigured face.

We’re back at the shack with Mr. Kaplan, when we finally see who carried Kate away on a make-shift stretcher. So far he’s only been identified as The Hunter, but he’s portrayed by veteran actor Leon Rippy,  who played the school janitor in 11/22/63. The Hunter resembles a retired roadie from the Allman Bros. Band, circa early Seventies, with silver hair hanging down to his shoulders.

He tells Kate that she’s been on her back for too long and he’s going to put her into a sitting position. He then puts his arm behind her neck and although she screams in pain, she’s able to sit. He asks her if she can understand him and then asks if she can nod, which Mr. Kaplan does. He then asks if the men who did this to her will be coming back and she shakes her head no. He starts feeding her some soup, but he realizes she wants to say something to him, she croaks out thank you and The Hunter smiles.

Aram and Liz realize that Ayers is planning a gas explosion in the Hudson River, dangerously close to the biggest nuclear facility on the Eastern Seaboard. Ayers intends to create a Fukushima on the Hudson and when contacted by Ressler on the radio he says there’s no way they’ll be able to stop him as he’s piloting a chopper over the Hudson.

Mojtabai attempts to hack into the helicopter’s controls but he’s unable to do anything. Cooper then asks if Aram can shut off the rotor and the Tech Guru realizes he can, but he says he’s already taken one life and couldn’t take another. Cooper then pushes the button that stops the rotor and Ayers crashes and dies in a field not far from where some kids are playing football.

Keen’s back at her home and she’s singing Rock-A-Bye-Baby to Agnes, just as Krantz, Tom and the other mercenaries are about to break into Kirk’s hideout. Unfortunately Rostov sees them before they can rescue Agnes and Constantin tells Masha that he’s disappointed in her for tracking the signal. She breaks down crying and says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, then Rostov shows Tom on one of the camera feeds. Constantin says that he’s cutting off contact and cuts off the feed.

Maya and Skyler are sitting in an ice-cream shop when Raymond and Dembe join them in their booth. Red tells Skyler that he’s been looking forward to meeting him and right then the waitress puts down three ice-cream sundaes on the table, chocolate, strawberry and caramel.  Reddington says that he’s always found caramel’s a great lubricant in awkward introductions. Turns out that Raymond just wants the name of Tyler’s hematologist, which Maya gives up willingly. She asks if Raymond also has a special-needs child and Reddington says that an infant’s life’s in danger.

When Tom returns to the place he and Liz are staying at, Lizzie gets in his face about not respecting her wishes and she says she knows Reddington’s involved. Tom says that Raymond had no knowledge of what Keen did, that he got in touch with a former associate. Liz asks him if the associate’s from his skinhead days or when he was Berlin’s goon. Tom responds that nobody’s sorrier than he is that he failed, but Liz replies their daughter feels worst of all where ever she is.

Raymond and Lizzie meet again and Reddington explains that the reason he went after Owen Ayers, was that he Skyler and Rostov have the same doctor. That they’re very close to finding him and then they’ll be able to get Rostov and rescue Agnes. Lizzie tells Raymond she lied to him earlier and that Kirk did reach out to her with the link, but in Tom’s effort to rescue their daughter, Rostov escaped with their child.

We end this episode with two quick scenes. Raymond visits Dr. Sebastian Reifler and he recognizes Reddington. He informs Red that Skyler Ayers, has done well and Red says he’s aware of that. However he needs to accompany the doctor the next time he has a house call for Kirk.

Kate wakes up in the cabin and after calling out hello, she realizes she’s alone. She gets up from the bed and realizes that one of her ankles has a shackle around it. Apparently The Hunter is not just a nice guy.