Valarie Pettiford

All posts tagged Valarie Pettiford

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

How could the NBC series “The Blacklist,” possibly hope to meet fans expectations when the show returned from a two-month hiatus on January 7? The show concluded 2015, with an episode ending with the capture of fugitive Elizabeth Keen by her former FBI partner Donald Ressler. Both Ressler and Keen were fully aware that her arrest put her life in imminent danger as The Cabal wanted her dead as soon as possible. Donald promised Lizzie he’d keep her safe, however he had no idea what kind of a hornet’s nest he stepped into with that move.

For this viewer the series exceeded my hopes, airing possibly the best episode of the show since it began in September of 2013. It showcased the incredibly talented cast, that sometimes gets lost in the shadow of James Spader’s masterful portrayal of Raymond Reddington. With the extra time allotted to other series regulars besides Red and Lizzie, we saw facets of familiar characters never displayed before in the joint effort to clear Elizabeth Keen’s name and save her life.

The episode opens with Ressler coming to transfer Liz from the holding cell she’s locked in back to the task-force headquarters. Keen tells Donald she’s not ashamed of anything she did and Ressler replies through gritted teeth she killed the United States Attorney General. She responds that Tom Connolly was a bad man and would have hurt many innocent people if still alive.

The scene switches to a meeting between The Director Peter Kotsiopolus and Presidential adviser Laurel Hitchin as they’re discussing that The Director’s prediction that Keen would never get captured turned out wrong. Kotsiopolus shows a lack of concern for the development, telling her he’ll have CIA agents take her into custody. Hitchin tells him that the President’s counsel Cynthia Panabaker already had made plans with Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright for Keen to meet in a private session with Judge Trotter. She tells The Director he has three hours to gain control of Keen, he tells her he’s taken down entire governments in less time.

As Keen and Ressler get driven in an SUV back to the task-force building, Ressler gets a call from Raymond. Donald says he’s got every precaution in place and he’ll keep Liz safe. Red responds that the FBI agent has no idea what he’s up against, that a shadow government will use every resource to get custody of Lizzie. He tells Donald that he’s come up with a meticulous plan to clear Keen’s name but he needs a day to get it in place. Ressler tells him to go for it, however Reddington says that Ressler, Samar and Aram have to team together to keep Keen protected. Ressler tells Raymond that he dismissed Navabi from the task-force and hangs up.

Ressler and an FBI SWAT-Team bring Elizabeth into the task-force building and Laurel Hitchin congratulates him as he walks past her with the prisoner. Lizzie’s put into the glass-cell that Ressler and Red got locked in back in the show’s first season. He once again assures her he’ll keep her safe, she tells him that she doesn’t blame him for what will soon take place.

Aram’s in his office when his cellphone rings and Red’s on the other end. He tells Mojtabai that Lizzie’s life’s in danger and he’s the only person who can save her. Aram’s jaw nearly hits his desk hearing Raymond’s words and asks Reddington what he needs to do?

Ressler’s becoming concerned because he can’t contact Reven Wright. Just then the fox enters the henhouse as Kotsiopolus comes into the building with a squad of his men with documented orders giving him custody of Keen saying that she’s a Russian agent and Homeland Security has evidence of an imminent Russian attack on the United States. Donald tells him that Wright will never allow that to happen and The Director asks where Reven’s at, as people have been looking for her all day?

The Director says he’s opening the cell and Ressler tells him he won’t give him the code, however Kotsiopolus tells him he got it from the FBI Director’s office. When he punches in the code on the keypad the cell remains shut, he asks Ressler what’s going on and Donald says he didn’t do a thing. We then see Aram quietly smiling in a corner and we realize that he changed the code before The Director arrived.

As Kotsiopolus continues to try to open the glass cell, Ressler’s phone rings and he’s relieved to hear Red on the other end. Raymond tells him that everything’s fine as long as he doesn’t let the Director get Liz, he says that Karakurt should be in the city within an hour. Donald asks what he’s got to do with things and Reddington informs him that he’s going to confess to the FBI that he set Liz up and was working for the Cabal. He tells him that Cooper and Tom have him in a cabin in Yvonne, Maryland, they tried to tell Donald but he refused to listen.

Down at the cabin Tom chains up Karakurt so he can’t escape, Cooper tells Tom he’s taking Charlene to her sister’s house as the Cabal will be looking for Karakurt and he wants to keep her safe. He tells Keen to guard Karakurt until he gets back.

Ressler lets the frustration of not getting in contact with Reven get the best of him and he goes into the office that Laurel Hitchin’s occupying. He asks if she can order The Director to leave the building as she did in an earlier situation, she says that if Reven calls her she can intercede then asks if he knows where she’s at. Donald decides to trust his gut and the move backfires big time. He says to Hitchin that Reven said he could trust her and then tells her about Karakurt.

She looks intrigued and tells Ressler she’ll do some digging. She then says the last time she talked with Reven, Wright mentioned a young associate named Tommy Markin and asks Donald if he knows him? Ressler says he never heard the name before and then tells her needs to get back to work.

Reddington’s enlisted the services of Samar Navabi to get back his “care-package” that the Bureau took into custody when they arrested Keen and Dembe. She tells him that the package would be in an evidence vehicle taking the highway to Pittsburgh to bring it to a facility for storage. Red tells her they’re going to stage a drug-bust to divert the drivers so Samar can get the “care-package.” He also says he needs to meet that day with the Argentinian Foreign Minister.

Ressler realizes he messed up badly and grabs Aram and tells him that Hitchin killed Reven Wright. Mojtabai asks him why he believes that and Donald tells him that Laurel mentioned Tommy Markin, the most corrupt cop ever and he told Reven about him the last time he saw her. He tells Aram that Hitchin’s calling The Director as they speak and telling him about Karakurt and Kotsiopolus will send men to the cabin to take out Karakurt. Aram tells Ressler to head to the cabin that he’ll control things at the task-force then admits he changed the code.

Red unpleasantly surprises Rafael, the man who promised to set-up a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign-Minister when he delivered terrorist Zal Bin Hasaan. He tells Rafael that he needs to meet with the minister today but the man says it’s impossible as he’s traveling all day. Raymond then hands Rafael a wrapped package and wishes him happy birthday. The man responds his birthday’s in August and Red apologizes for being late with the present, then suggests that they go somewhere quiet to talk and head into Reddington’s car.

When the pair sit down in the backseat, Raymond points out Navabi with a 35mm camera and tells Rafael that she’s a stringer for UPI. He then says when her pictures show up in the Argentinian media things will look pretty bad for Rafael, consorting and taking gifts from a renowned criminal. Red’s promised a 15 minute meeting with the minister at 3:15 pm.

Ressler finally contacts Cooper on his cellphone and tells Harold that they’ve got to leave the cabin as the Cabal’s heading there to kill Karakurt. Harold tells Ressler he’s on the way to Charlene’s sister and they realize Ressler’s closer than Cooper to the cabin and has Harold text him the address.

Reddington take Navabi to a storage-facility he owns in West Virginia and tells Samar he has many of them in states all across the nation, with a couple in most Red-States. He breaks open a crate filled with kilos of cocaine and he explains he’s not a drug-dealer, but the only payment he could receive in a bad deal in Cartagena was the crate. They grab about a dozen kilos and leave the facility.

Raymond’s arranged for some of his associates to stage what looks like a two-car crash and the vehicle with the trunk filled with the coke’s all shot-up. He’s got two guys disguised as West Virginia State Troopers and Navabi calls the Bureau dispatch saying she’s been standing all day waiting for the evidence truck to pick up the cocaine. The dispatch tells her they’ll reroute the vehicle heading to Pittsburgh and says they should be there shortly.

Aram goes over to the glass cage to console Liz and tells her she just needs to hold on for another hour, that helps on the way. Lizzie suddenly says she’s having trouble breathing just as Kotsiopolus walks over to talk to Aram. He says that he believes Aram changed the code of the cell and though he can’t prove it, he’s pretty certain that’s the case.

Lizzie calls to Aram with concern in her voice saying she’s having problems breathing. The Director says that it would be unfortunate if the cell’s ventilation system wasn’t working properly and Aram realizes his men shut off the air. He tells Lizzie that he’ll try to override the system from his terminal, but he’s denied access. Liz asks even if The Director stopped incoming air, why would the oxygen have depleted so quickly and Mojtabai realizes The Director’s pumping nitrogen into the cell to deplete the oxygen.

Back at the cabin Karakurt hears a car pull up and Tom goes to the door brandishing his rifle. Ressler knocks and identifies himself and Tom lets him in. He says the Cabal’s heading there and they’ve got to take off, he spoke with Harold and got the address. Keen says he’d rather wait for word from Cooper, but suddenly they realize the Cabal’s right outside the cabin.

The Bureau agents and the evidence car arrive to transport the coke to Pittsburgh, one of the fake cops distracts the agents with a question and Navabi’s able to nick the “care-package.” Before the agents hit the road she asks one of them if he can assure her that the drugs will arrive in Pittsburgh without incident and he tells her they will.

Lizzie’s gasping for air and Aram says he’s got to open the cell to save her life but she shakes her head no then falls to the floor. Mojtabai starts screaming into the surveillance camera that he’ll go to the media that they’re killing her. Watching on a monitor in her office Laurel asks The Director what happens next? Kotsiopolus replies if she dies in the cell they can blame it on equipment failure and nobody can prove otherwise. Hitchin asks what if Aram opens the door and The Director says they go back to the original plan. They take Keen to a remote facility and she’s shot to death when she attempts an escape.

Matias Solomon’s outside the cabin with lots of mercenaries, we hear a window crash and a smoke-bomb’s thrown into the cabin followed by two gunmen. Tom and Ressler quickly kill the two guys and throw the smoke-bomb out of the house. Ressler asks Tom if he’s okay, Karakurt still chained to a chair says he’s not.

Lizzie doesn’t appear to be breathing and rather than let her die he gives The Director the code, it’s Navabi. They open the cell and Aram performs mouth-to-mouth and gets Lizzie breathing again. He then apologizes for opening the cell as he realizes that Kotsiopolus and company will soon spirit her away.

Red greets the Foreign-Minister and thanks him for adjusting his schedule to accommodate Raymond. He asks about the country’s president and the Minister replies he’s got a bad stomach, because he just borrowed five billion from China. He then asks Reddington what’s this all about and Raymond says he wants to help put money into the Argentinian coffers.

Solomon yells to the trio in the cabin that they’ve got one chance to preserve the peace and quiet of the country and that’s to send Karakurt out immediately. Ressler says we’re not sending him out there likely to convince himself it’s the right thing to do. He then tells Tom that he’s the reason the Cabal found out they hid Karakurt in the cabin. He says his father was a cop and he died for not taking a bribe. He always believed in the principles his father stood for, but now he’s not so sure. Tom sarcastically says he never allows principles to figure into any decisions.

Karakurt says that if they’re going to engage in a firefight they best give him a gun, he can’t run away and Ressler tells Tom to unchain him and arm him. Then like a scene from a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti-Western the three men engage in a shootout with all the mercenaries outside the cabin. After no more gunfire comes from the cabin, Solomon tells his men to stop shooting and check the cabin for survivors.

When the men enter the cabin it looks like the trio-escaped as we just see the two dead mercenaries on the floor. Except it’s actually Ressler and Karakurt disguised as the dead men and Tom’s hiding around the corner and they take out all the invaders.

The Director and his men have Liz on an ambulance stretcher and are about to get onto the elevator when Aram stops them in their tracks as he aims his pistol at Kotsiopolus’ head. He says that he’s not taking her and if he tries he won’t get out. Laurel tells Aram to lower his weapon but he’s not backing down.

Lizzie calls out to Aram and tells him to lower his gun, they’ll shoot him without a second thought. She tells him to look at her face and then says she doesn’t blame him in the least. He saved her life and she realizes how much he cares. Aram looks at her and lowers his weapon and he’s quickly handcuffed by one of The Director’s men. However just then the President’s counsel Cynthia Panabaker arrives and says she’s got jurisdiction in this situation and then calls the National Intelligence Director and puts Laurel on the phone.

The Foreign-Minister and Reddington are in Raymond’s car and the Minister’s clearly displeased as he asks Red why he would agree to his plan. Reddington says to stick it to the USA, that they’ve hurt the regime for years. The Minister says that if he does what Red suggests the United States will impose more sanctions and his country will starve to death.

Samar arrives with the “care-package” and gives it to Raymond who thanks her and Navabi leaves. He says to the Minister that he told him he wanted to put money into the Argentine economy and them opens the package to reveal chromium plated master-printing plates for United States 100 dollar bills that are exactly like the ones the Treasury Department uses. Red’s been holding onto them since he captured them from Major Ludd in Season One. The Minister cagily smiles and says you son of a gun and Raymond says he’s been called far worse.

The trio leave the cabin and they find a car they can drive back when Solomon sneaks up on Tom and pulls a gun on him. Matias tells Donald if he doesn’t drop his weapon Tom dies and Keen says take him out, because if you drop the gun he’ll kill us all. Ressler agrees to drop his gun and Solomon cackles and says he should have listened to Tom, when Harold Copper arrives and knocks out Matias with a right to the jaw. He says he figured they could use some back-up.

Solomon regains consciousness and smiles and says good morning and Ressler says he should just kill him, he did so much damage to his friends and his country. Solomon laughs derisively and says he doesn’t care about his friends and he hates this country. Then he amends that and says he loves the fact within hours he’ll be processed freed and on a plane to France. Ressler says he’ll never see the inside of a court-room.

Cooper tells Ressler to lower his weapon, but Donald says he’s right if we bring him in he’ll just walk and he deserves to die. Tom says Donald’s right but not by Ressler’s hands. Donald asks Tom since when did he grow a conscience and Keen responds maybe since I’ve hung out with you. However if you want to know if your father died for something or not, that Ressler will decide that with whether he kills Solomon or not. Donald cuffs him and arrests him.

Hitchin gets off the phone and tells Panabaker she stands corrected and Cynthia does have jurisdiction. The Director says his agents are on the property and Panabaker cuts him off and says and they’ll remain on the property. Reven told me if Miss Keen was being taken into custody only one agent should do that, Agent Donald Ressler. The Director says Ressler’s not there and suddenly the elevator opens and Donald and Solomon emerge. He tells one of the agents to take Solomon into custody and then says to Liz he’s going to escort her into custody. She smiles and asks what took him so long?

Ressler gets into Laurel’s face and says I know about you, you killed Reven Wright and this isn’t over. He then sneers at The Director and says I want you out of here before I come back. Panabaker cheerily chirps she’s got to come around more often and follows Ressler. Liz kisses Aram on the cheek and thanks him before she leaves.

The Blacklist has always used music tastefully and they chose Ben Lee’s poignant and beautiful Gamble Everything For Love in a closing montage. We see Tom get a text and Karakurt asks if she’s alive and Tom smiles and nods. Harold and Charlene are discussing their broken marriage. Dembe’s released from a cell in task-force headquarters and then he stands face-to-face with Matias before he walks away and Solomon’s put into the cell.

Then we see Aram riding his bicycle with a helmet on at night in a cemetery and he meets Red there. Reddington tells him to come closer and Aram sees Raymond’s standing over an open grave with no body inside it. Red says he’s stood over the open grave of far too many loved ones beginning with his mother. He then says he wanted to remember that feeling distinctly so he could properly thank Aram for being a hero. He says you saved Elizabeth’s life today and I’ll be forever in your  debt. Then he tells Aram to gather his team for they’re about to take down the Cabal.

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

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Not all soldiers contain the qualities to become Generals. In fact the skill sets of an exemplary soldier and an effective General likely couldn’t be more at odds with each other. A good soldier never questions orders and does what ever it takes to fulfill the mission even if it means sacrificing their life in the process. An effective General or leader of any kind needs to be able to react to changing conditions and adapt their plans accordingly. There’s too much knowledge and experience within a leader to sacrifice easily. Soldiers are easily replaceable, however wise veteran leaders aren’t.

If you’re a fan of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” you’ve seen this dynamic in place throughout the show’s third season. FBI Agent Donald Ressler got pressed into running the FBI Task Force, formerly lead by Harold Cooper and Ressler’s first mission’s been attempting to capture his former partner, former agent Elizabeth Keen. Before the series took it’s winter hiatus in November, Ressler took Lizzie into custody and likely put her life in great jeopardy.

Ressler believes that his former partner’s innocent and has gotten set-up by the Cabal, a shadow government that secretly pulls all the strings that have caused the greatest catastrophes of our lifetimes. The group’s made up of leaders of governments and industries across the planet and lead by the CIA Director Peter Kotsiopolus whose usually referred to as The Director. The Cabal’s infested the halls of power in the United States Government, with the President’s NSA Director Laurel Hitchin’s among their ranks. She executed Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright, after Wright revealed she knew some potentially incriminating information.

Meanwhile Ressler naïvely sits back thinking he’s winning Hitchin’s confidence and she’ll soon start taking his side over that of The Director’s. Donald Ressler’s a good man who truly wants to the right thing, however he’s way over his head right now in shark-infested waters. Because he’s been trained his entire career to think within certain parameters, he lacks the skills he needs to think outside-the-box and being able to adjust strategy as the situation changes. Those skills are absolutely essential to being a good leader, we shall see if Ressler takes advice either from Raymond Reddington or Harold Cooper once the series returns on January 7.

That failure to adapt to the situation and to realize that sometimes you have to deal with the lesser of two evils to salvage a situation, has led Donald to feel betrayed by his former boss Harold Cooper. Both share a severe dislike of the man they know as Tom Keen, however only Cooper was smart enough not to turn an asset away in time of need. After Tom approached Ressler in his apartment building about helping clearing Lizzie’s name and Ressler told him to leave immediately, Cooper sought Keen out. Tom’s completed his mission capturing the Russian spy Karakurt and forcing him to admit that he’s responsible for all the crimes Lizzie’s being charged with.

Meanwhile Cooper’s got to be feeling pretty betrayed himself right about now, as his wife Charlene decided that in the midst of trying to get Karakurt to the proper authorities that it was the perfect time to reveal to her husband that she had an affair a couple of years before. Was this her way of getting back at her husband for involving her in the dangerous situation they’re attempting to complete? Or did Charlene simply have a nervous breakdown due to the stress of the situation and that just tumbled out of her mouth?

When the series does return to TV on January 7, reports have surfaced that the first two episode will revolve around The Director Peter Kotsiopolus. David Strathairn who portrays The Director’s a first-rate actor that came to my attention in the late seventies and he’s added several amazing performances to his resume since then. Having Strathairn just appearing along the sidelines for about the last year’s like having a Porsche up on blocks in the garage. I can’t wait to see what he does with all the time allotted to him.

The Director decided to take a gamble in season two that backfired badly. He decided to chance that Raymond Reddington was bluffing when he claimed to have access to The Fulcrum, a blackmail file that if released would put many members of the Cabal in certain danger. Red obtained the file last season and flew in the planet’s most renowned Investigative-Journalists and gave them each a copy.

Kotsiopolus and other Cabal members have attempted to discredit the information revealed in those documents ever since and the Cabal’s not happy that The Director’s gamble failed so badly. Enter one Matias Solomon, the hitman/enforcer/messenger for the Cabal, Solomon just enjoys killing it doesn’t really matter to him who the victim is. He’d just as soon slit The Director’s throat as he would Raymond Reddington, just depends on which way the wind’s blowing.

Elizabeth Keen will get imprisoned in that same glass cell that Ressler and Red got locked in during the first season, until Raymond agreed to surrender to save Lizzie’s life. Ressler’s promised his former partner he’d protect her while in his custody. How much help will he need from this bizarre lineup that now comprises Team-Reddington?

We’re well aware that Raymond would without hesitation trade his life for Lizzie’s, we’re also well aware that The Blacklist recently inked a contract for a fourth season. Without Lizzie and or Raymond there’s no longer a series, so we know going in that they’ll both survive. However this show’s already displayed they’ll sacrifice a regular cast member if they consider it necessary. They ended the first season with the death of series regular Meera Malik, killed by Reddington’s foe Berlin.

Could Ressler, Samar Navabi, Aram or Harold Cooper be sacrificed this season? Or what about Ryan Eggold who portrays good-looking bad-buy Tom Keen? The happy ending that Liz told Red about earlier this season, about her accompanied by her husband and child walking serenely through some small town square will never happen if she stays with Tom/Jacob. Which means more to her, those dreams or her former husband? We’ll start getting answers to those and other questions in just over two-weeks.

The Story Continues January 7, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Social Media was abuzz this past week as fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” expected their favorite show to exonerate FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen and put Harold Cooper back in charge of the FBI Task Force in this final episode before going on hiatus. Even Raymond Reddington stated early in this episode that her life on the lam beginning at the end of last season when the Cabal set her up would conclude very soon. Liz would be partnered up once again with Donald Ressler, while the Director of the Cabal bled-out in some field and Matias Solomon stowed-away on a tramp-steamer to Laos.

Now viewers will display concern for Lizzie until the show returns on January 7, as Ressler tackled her in the woods and arrested her in the episode’s final scene. Although her former partner will do his best to ensure her safety in Federal-Custody the Cabal’s got enough operatives in high-places in the United States Government, that keeping that promise will be challenging for Donald.

Reddington and Dembe speak on the phone as Red’s driving with Keen while Dembe’s waiting in what looks like an antique shop waiting for a package. Dembe says something feels wrong to him and he should be with Raymond right now. Reddington says they need their “Care-Package” and they’ll hook-up in about an hour.

Raymond pulls in to fill up the tank and Liz says she’s going to use the rest-room to freshen up. Red says he’ll get them something to eat in the convenience store that’s part of the station. Liz returns a few minutes later and there’s no sign of Reddington or the beat-up SUV they’re traveling in. She checks with the store clerk and Raymond never made it into the store.

Liz calls Dembe and asks if he’s heard from Raymond and he says he’ll start searching for him, but Keen tells him to wait at the store for the package. She then calls Samar Navabi and asks her if she gives her the information to track Reddington’s computer will she promise not to tell Ressler? Unfortunately Keen couldn’t  have picked a worse time to call Navabi as the agent’s lying in Donald’s bed while he’s showering. The morning after their unexpected “coupling” late in the previous episode.

Samar has to use Ressler’s laptop to conduct the search and she tells Liz that Red’s outside Davis Creek, West Virginia in what looks like an industrial building.  After she gives Keen the information she deletes the surfing information, a move that came back to haunt her.

Aram tells Donald that  Reven Wright’s waiting for him in Cooper’s office. Ressler’s screaming at the Deputy Attorney General that Harold Cooper sold them out and told Tom Keen that he was heading to Wing Yee’s to bust Keen and Liz. Reven’s not concerned with Harold and Tom but she asks Ressler some information about Matias Solomon. When he tells her he can’t answer her questions she says she’s going to do some digging.

Harold and Charlene Cooper get some unexpected house-guests as four assassins carrying rifles head towards their house to kill them Tom Keen and Karakurt. Keen and Cooper kill all four gunmen and the four of them get into the Cooper’s car and take off. They soon realize why Cabal operatives can find them so easily as Karakurt’s got a tracking chip they put into his chest. Keen tells Cooper they have  to get under concrete or cement to block the signal.

Raymond come’s to and realizes he’s gotten kidnapped by a gang of robber-barons that look like extras from My Name Is Earl. Three brothers, Cash the oldest and dominant, Pablo the middle-brother with authority issues and T-Bone who speaks with a stutter. They live with Jilly who seems to be Cash’s girlfriend, but she could have a friends with benefits relationship with the other brothers.

The group’s teamed up with a local named Jasper and they kidnap and rob seemingly affluent drivers when they visit the area. Although the brother’s go gaga over Red’s Rolex they complain that he’s only got $700 in his and doesn’t have credit-cards or an ATM card. Raymond says that if they can negotiate terms he’ll make it worth their while to release them.

Harold hides the car inside a tunnel and Tom starts to conduct surgery using what looks like the lid of a cat-food can to slice open his chest. On the other end of the tunnel Solomon and a crew are tracking Karakurt and the man holding the laptop says the signal’s weak but they still can track it.

Aram tells Navabi that  Ressler wants him to check out Donald’s personal laptop to find out how search information got deleted. Samar tells Aram he can’t say anything to Ressler as she promised Liz she’d keep it from him, the information she deleted gives Red’s location. Mojtabai asks why she used Donald’s laptop and she says it was on her work station. The tech-guru promises to keep Ressler in the dark.

Liz makes the connection between Jasper and the Kings Of The Road, the name the thieves use and she picks him up in this blue-collar bar. He suddenly looks at his watch and says he’s got to get back to work when she asks him how she’d like her to go back with him to his place instead? Work’s no longer a priority.

Cash says that if they hurt Reddington they might lose out on  getting some money, so he suggests that Jilly goes and talks with him. She brings a children’s tea-set with her and pretends to have a tea-party with Reddington. She asks him his first name and he replies Kenneth as it says on the driver’s license he carries. She says no your real first name and he responds the same. She says they’ll hurt her if he doesn’t tell her and Red says that he thinks Jilly likes getting hurt or she would have left long ago. She giggles and starts rubbing him and finds a bank-deposit bag containing 25-grand.

The three brothers and Jilly are whooping and hollering saying that they’ll each get over six grand apiece. Pablo asks what about Jasper and Cash says he’s hired help, he’ll get what they give him. That doesn’t sit well with Pablo who says Jasper’s family, Cash points to the four of them and says this is the family.

Mojtabai breaks his promise to Navabi and tells Ressler that Samar erased the information and gives him Reddington’s location. Donald stomps over to Navabi and starts screaming at her asking how she could have hidden this from him. He says first Harold plots against him and now she does, Samar tells Ressler that she called Liz and warned her about the raid. Donald sneers at her and says you’re out of here, gather your stuff and be gone by the end of the day. Aram looks like he’s about to get sick.

Red’s picked the lock on his handcuffs a while before, but he waits for the right moment to attempt his escape.  He decides the time’s best when T-Bone and he are alone at the house and the youngest brother threatens him with the pistol. Raymond grabs the gun and shoots his opponent in the gut then tries to drive away, but Cash smacks him in the back of the head knocking Reddington out.

Mojtabai goes up to Samar and says if he realized Ressler would fire her he would never have told him. She says he promised her he wouldn’t say anything and he says that she lied to him. He says you told me that his laptop was on your workstation but you did your search in his apartment in the wee-hours of the morning. Aram’s jealousy cost Navabi her job.

Pablo and T-Bone convince Cash to let T-Bone go to the hospital to get his wound treated. As soon as the youngest brother leaves Raymond starts telling Pablo that Cash and Jilly are going to kill Pablo and fly to Aruba. At first Pablo tells him to shut-up but soon Reddington’s gotten into his head. Suddenly there’s laughing and hollering coming from the other room and Cash yells he’s on TV.

They see a news-report identifying Red and Liz and Cash calls up Jasper to find out if he knows where Liz’s at and tells him about her. He hangs up his cellphone and starts attacking her but she soon gets the upper-hand and grabs his gun and now he’s her prisoner.

Wright heads to Task Force headquarters and Ressler tells her they’ve got a location on Red and he’s fired Navabi for trying to keep the information from him. Reven asks if he’s perhaps being too inflexible and Donald looks her in the eye and says Tommy Markin and Wright looks confused. Ressler says that when his father joined the police-force he befriended another young cop named Tommy Markin and the two pledged they’d clean up the department. When Ressler’s dad refused to take a bribe from corrupt cops his old pal Tommy Markin ended his life by shooting him.

The four head down a dirt-road and Cash says they’re going to kill Reddington, but Red tells Pablo if Cash wants any money he can’t kill him. Pablo says that must mean he’s going to kill me and Raymond asks if he trusts Cash with his life. Suddenly Cash’s cellphone rings and Lizzie’s on the other end, she says she’s got Jasper as her prisoner and proposes a one-for-one swap. Cash laughs derisively at her and says Jasper’s just dead weight and hangs up the phone.

Pablo’s so angry he’s ready to spit and he tells his brother that Jasper’s family and it’s not his decision to make. The phone rings again and Pablo tells his brother to pick it up and work out a deal and Cash just laughs. Pablo pulls his pistol and the older brother says he doesn’t have the stones to use it. Pablo blasts him twice then tells Jilly to answer the phone and put it on speaker. He says to Keen he’s willing to trade Red to Liz for Jasper and two million bucks. She agrees but says she’ll call back in two-hours after she sets things up. Jilly says to Pablo that was beautiful and Red shudders.

Ressler gets a call from a West Virginia State Trooper and meets him at the hospital that T-Bone’s getting treated at. The officer tells Donald the guy says he got hurt in a hunting accident, but who hunts with a 38? T-Bone walks out soon after and tells both men he’s feeling fine now and just wants to go home and sleep in his bed. Ressler tells the officer that the guy’s wearing Reddington’s coat and he’s going to follow him home.

Dembe’s finally addressed by the man behind the sales counter at the store he’s waited at. There’s a military looking  brief-case on the counter and the man tells Dembe that it’s heavier than it looks. Liz picks him up and tells him they’re trading the briefcase for Red and Dembe says they need it to clear her name. She says that Red’s life’s more important.

Reven Wright pays Laurel Hitchin a visit at the President’s adviser’s home and Laurel says what a pleasant surprise. Reven wants to discuss Matias Solomon and says he used to work for Laurel at the CIA and the Presidential adviser says she had lots of employees. Reven says he was a special attaché for you so you must have worked closely. Hitchin says he imagines that Wright’s discussed this with Ressler in great detail and Reven says she came right over to ask Laurel when she discovered the connection.

Laurel pulls out a pistol and fires it into Reven’s heart, when she falls to the floor in a heap Hitchin says she hated to do that. She then asks Wright if she has any last words and Reven looks Laurel straight in the eyes and says Tommy Markin then takes her final breath.

Liz, Dembe and Jasper meet with Pablo and T-Bone and Liz and Dembe see Red on a cellphone and he tells her not to make the trade. Pablo says okay show us what you’ve got and Dembe opens the case revealing the contents to both men, although we see nothing. Pablo asks if it’s what he thinks it is and Keen says it’s worth far more than the reward money. Pablo tells Jilly to let Red go and he tells he she’s sick and needs to get help. She smiles to herself when he leaves.

After being on the run since the final episode of last season, Elizabeth Keen’s finally been captured. Ressler and a crew came seconds after the exchange and Ressler chased her down and finally handcuffed her in the woods. Will he be able to guarantee her safety under his charge? We’ll find out in January.

The Story Resumes January 7, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although we saw Elizabeth Keen and Harold Cooper gain ground in the effort to exonerate their reputations the latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” wasn’t as focused on Lizzie as the rest of the episodes in season three. Instead this chapter entitled “Zal Bin Hasaan” focused the spotlight on fellow Task Force agent Samar Navabi, a character that we know relatively little about. Navabi can be brusque and abrasive and doesn’t have any qualms about stating her opinion. While this episode didn’t expose a well-hidden soft and fuzzy side of her, we got at least a taste of what lead her on the path she’s chosen and her motivation behind certain decisions she’s made.

Before we forge ahead let’s take a minute to set the table and discuss what we do know about Samar Navabi. Raymond Reddington recruited Navabi to replace Meera Malik on the Task Force who got killed by Berlin at the end of season one. Samar was an operative for the Israeli intelligence/military agency Mossad, even though she was born and raised in Tehran, Iran an unusual pairing to say the least. We’re aware that she left Iran after killing a government official there and the murder charges haven’t gotten dropped. She’s remained an outsider since joining the Task Force, although events in the  closing moments of this episode might change that dynamic.

A graphic informs us that we’re in Tehran, back in 1992 and we watch a girl about twelve and her younger brother planting some flowers in front of  their home. A man briskly walks past them and into the house and seconds later we hear a woman scream. The girl runs in as the man leaves and she shouts for her mother but soon sees her parents got shot and lie dead on the floor. Her younger brother Shahin enters and asks her what’s going on and she blocks him from walking past her, not wanting him to see the carnage. She says to him it’s alright I’m here and will always be here. Shahin realizes his parents died and he breaks down crying in the arms of his sister Samar.

The doorbell rings at the Cooper home  and Charlene asks Harold to answer it. He’s unpleasantly surprised to find Tom Keen’s on his doorstep and Tom tells him he’s got Karakurt in the trunk of his car. Cooper tells Keen to get the car off the street and put it in his garage. Harold goes out to join Tom and Keen’s not exactly sure if Karakurt’s knocked-out or dead. Turns out he’s playing possum and tries strangling Keen to death with his bare hands until Harold whacks the assailant in the hand with a wrench. Charlene walks in at that point and drops her coffee cup on the garage floor as she takes in the scene.

Reddington, Dembe and Liz stand in the kitchen of an upscale restaurant and watch a breaking news report on the set mounted to the wall. Six employees from Lazarum Systems International based in Annapolis, got abducted at gunpoint and the government’s classifying the incident as an act of terror on United States soil. Red chuckles and says the tip was right.

The head-waiter enters the kitchen and asks Raymond why he’s there and Reddington responds he wants the man to set-up a meeting. The man says he told Red on the phone it’s impossible and Raymond replies that he told him that’s an unacceptable answer. The man says that in most situations he’d gladly accommodate him, but there’s far too much heat on Reddington and the other party and turns to leave. Raymond stops the man in his tracks and asks what if he gives them Zal Bin Hasaan in return?

The head-waiter smirks at Reddington and says the CIA, Interpol and Mossad have hunted him for years and  he thinks he can deliver him? Raymond responds he’s waiting for an answer to his question and the man replies sure you get us Zal Bin Hasaan and you’ll get your meeting. As he walks away Liz asks if that’s the tip  he got that the elusive terrorist’s behind the abduction and Red responds she’s correct and now they just have to find him. To help reach that goal Reddington calls Navabi.

Raymond tells Samar that Zal Bin Hasaan and his crew’s behind the abduction as Lazarum’s encrypting the defense shield for Israel and that he’s currently in or around Annapolis. She says that’s impossible and Raymond says you thought the same thing in Cairo as he stood right behind you killing your partner and leaving you in the ICU. He tells her she’s got another chance to capture him and this time she’s got a secret weapon  she lacked in their first go-round, him.

Remember how excited Ressler was in the previous episode when he acquired security-cam photos of Matias Solomon? They didn’t turn out to be the “smoking-gun” convincing Laurel Hitchin and Reven Wright that the Director had any connection to the Cabal. Peter Kotsiopolus says he’s never seen the man before in his life and Ressler says he’s your employee and he was on that plane to carry out your orders to kill Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington.

He says that Red and Keen have discovered information harmful to his organization. The Director laughs derisively and says his organization’s the CIA. Hitchin reaches her limit and shouts enough, then says it’s obvious that they can’t work together so they should work their leads separately. She looks Donald in the eye and says if she hears about subterfuge or lack of sharing information, she’s going to make that person regret it.

Ressler tells Aram and Navabi that he presented their case and he thinks he bought them some time. Samar then tells the men about Reddington’s information that Zal Bin Hasaan’s behind the Lazarum employees getting abducted. Then she tells them the story about Cairo and Aram mentions that it’s believed he’s behind the explosion in Pishin back in 2009 that killed her brother.

Aram gets a call on his cellphone telling him to turn on the TV and a news anchor reports that the following footage was mass-mailed to news organizations and it’s a tape of one of the hostages reading a statement written by his captors. He says his name’s Michael Hastings and he got taken due to his participation of  the Iron Dome project. He then reads we will find you and you will pay for  your crimes, we’ll contact you again in two-hours. That’s all that’s written and he looks around him with a confused expression until a bullet in the back of his head kills him. Ressler says they’re taking this case.

Mojtabai approaches Donald and tells him that the guy across the room from them wearing a sweater-vest works for the Agency and hacked a phone-number that Aram believes belongs to Reddington or Keen and he’s monitoring it. Aram however hacked the CIA guy’s hack and now he also has the number and he’s also monitoring it. Ressler tells him to be diligent so the Director can’t set-up a hit on Lizzie and Raymond.

Samar keeps looking at the tape for clues and finds a big one. When the gun fired the muzzle blast back-lit his glasses and she sees an energy-plant in the reflection. Aram quickly identifies it as Sellinger Power and the raid’s on. Samar tells Ressler that Mossad deserves to be in on the bust and he tells her to alert them.

Tom and Harold try to calm Charlene down in the Cooper’s kitchen and Harold tells his wife they can’t call the police. Keen says he’ll get him to talk soon and then asks if they have any power-tools. Suddenly they hear a loud bang in the garage and they run in to find Karakurt’s escaped from the trunk and poisoned himself by drinking a soy-based jug of soap. (Karakurt’s allergic to soy-products and can die from ingesting them like people with nut allergies.) Charlene runs to one of her neighbors and brings back an epipen which negates the toxins in the assailant’s body. They duct tape him to a lawn-chair when he recovers.

The Mossad agents that arrive to assist in the raid include many of Navabi’s former teammates including her former commander Levi. They decide to begin the attack with a concussion bomb that Mossad conveniently has on hand. Ressler starts to question why they’ve got one then shakes his head and says he doesn’t want to know.

The joint-force attacks the building and seemingly kill all of the kidnappers, but Levi informs them that Zal Bin Hasaan escaped through a secondary blast as all the men they killed are too young to be him. Suddenly  a Mossad agent tells Levi  and Navabi they have to see this and he leads them to a man caged in a cage that’s so small he can only sit. Samar looks at the man then sees his tattoo and her voice breaks as she asks Shahin? The man responds sister and it turns out that Shahin wasn’t killed in the blast in Pishin.

Samar leaves the building and calls Red and asks if he knew her brother was alive and being held by Zal Bin Hasaan? Red says he’s happily surprised by the news and assures her that had he known he would have informed her. She tells  him that Zal Bin Hasaan escaped and Raymond responds if he’s in country he must have gotten smuggled in as contraband. He says he’ll put out some feelers.

Shahin’s taken by ambulance as they all go to a nearby Mossad safe-house. After Shahin’s examined and given medical clearance, brother and sister sit down along with Ressler for Shahin to explain where he’s been for the last six-years. He goes back to that day telling Samar that he’d been filled with hope as student demonstrators had finally gotten government officials to meet with them in a meeting open to the public. He says he’d been with the demonstrators but the government set them up to make the people believe students were terrorists and they planted a bomb killing most in attendance. Donald asks why the Iranian government would sacrifice high-ranking officials and Shahin responds that’s how badly they wanted to destroy the student movement.

He says the regime hunted him so he was afraid to contact her. He moved to England and started a new life but got wind that the regime tracked him down so he came to the States. However shortly after moving here Zal Bin Hasaan sent some men to his apartment to capture him and had been there for six months.

Tom tells Karakurt the bad news is he’s going to live but if he exonerates Liz Keen will make him a soy-smoothie. Karakurt says something softly in Russian and when Keen leans in to try to hear him his prisoner head-butts him. Tom laughs and then we see Charlene and Harold sitting in the kitchen when they hear a bunch of  banging. Charlene starts to get up but her husband holds her hand firmly and she sits down and sighs.

Kean beat his prisoner  bloody with a medal-stool which is now badly bent and Karakurt’s lying on the floor on his side and breathing heavily. Tom says to him here’s your choice, we can let the Russians know you’ve framed them for the murder of the CIA agents and a United  States Senator and deposit him at the Russian Embassy. He says we both know how that ends up, or you can cooperate with me.

Raymond and Liz visit a dry-cleaner named Farzin whom Red found out helped smuggle Zal Bin Hasaan into the country. He says that he must know where he’s hiding when he escaped from the FBI and Mossad. The elderly man says he knows nothing and Reddington says he better speak quick or Red’s going to shoot him in the knee-cap. Suddenly the dry-cleaner has an address for Reddington and they bid him goodbye.

We find out that it’s Tom’s cellphone that sweater-vest tapped as he calls Lizzie and tells her he’s got great news and to meet him at Wing Yee’s. Liz tells Reddington she’s going to meet him and Raymond tells her he  thinks it’s a bad idea. Aram then calls Ressler and tells him about the call and Ressler tells Navabi he’s got to leave and get down there to keep Liz alive. As he leaves we see there’s trouble at the safe-house as one of the hostages is actually one of Zal Bin Hasaan’s men and he arms a bomb placed under a table.

Cooper calls Ressler to talk to him about Karakurt but Donald says he’s on his way to bust Liz and Tom. He says they’ll soon restore Liz and Cooper’s reputation and says he’ll speak with Harold later. Although we don’t find out until later Harold then calls Keen and he and Liz meet at another restaurant.

He tells her he’s got Karakurt and he’s going to cooperate and soon Liz will be able to walk freely again. He then says he made a huge mistake getting on his boat and leaving her when she was in trouble and promises to make it up to her. He then says he needs to head back to Karakurt.

Ressler and company arrive at Wing Yee’s to see that Liz and Tom aren’t there but Matias Solomon is and Donald recognizes him from the photograph. He pats him down and finds he’s carrying a Glock and Solomon says he’s got a permit to carry the gun as a concealed weapon. When he takes it out of his wallet Ressler drops it in Solomon’s soup and says it’s illegible and they’re heading to the Task Force.

Red and Dembe go the apartment and once inside split-up and start searching for Zal Bin Hasaan. Dembe heads into the bathroom and sees the sinks filled with whiskers. He opens the shower curtain and the man inside tries attacking him but Dembe soon subdues him and he’s on the floor when Raymond enters. Red’s expression shows us that something’s amiss and he asks the man who he is and he says he’s Zal Bin Hasaan.

Reddington says the man’s lying as Hasaan suffered third-degree burns all over his back as a result of a bomb he set-off a couple of years ago. He once again asks the man his name and once again he says that he’s Zal Bin Hasaan. Time for Raymond to call his buddy Brimley.

Samar tells Shahin since he entered the States illegally he’s going to get deported. Her brother says then he can return to England but Navabi tells him that he entered England illegally as well and they won’t allow him to stay there, they’ll deport him to Iran. Shahin says the regime will kill him and she tells him she’s already applied to try to get him political asylum as she won’t lose him again.

When it comes to Reddington’s menagerie of odd-ball sidekicks, Glen finder of lost persons is my personal favorite and I also have a soft-spot for Mr. Kaplan. That being said, it’s always a treat when ever the senior-citizen Marquis De Sade, Brimley pays a visit. We watch Raymond and Dembe standing in the hallway as we hear a loud whooshing of air coming from the bathroom. Brimley emerges holding a propane-torch and breathing heavily he says well he’s not Zal Bin Hasaan. Reddington asks him who is he then and Brimley says he could care less. He says the guy’s singing like Ethel Merman, he’s ready for you now and says he needs some air. Then Brimley straps his oxygen mask onto his face and slumps against the wall as Raymond and Dembe go to question the man.

Navabi’s in one of the back room’s of the safe-house when her phone rings. Red tells her to get all the hostages out and secure the safe-house Zal Bin Hasaan’s there and he planted a bomb. Just then the bomb explodes and the two terrorists in the room start shooting Mossad agents. Navabi’s able to hide and she watches as they take the hostages outside and shoot them. We then watch the man who planted the bomb pull back  a curtain revealing Shahin and he says Zal Bin Hasaan the hostages were shot. He smiles and says that’s good and asks his soldier if he’s seen his sister. Navabi hears the conversation, she now knows the truth.

The Mossad agents are held at gunpoint as Zal Bin Hasaan walks into the room and says imagine all  the money resources and manpower Mossad spends just to try to capture him. We then find out the real purpose of his operation, to obtain the hard copy of all the addresses of every Mossad agent, that’s locked in the safe in the house.

After they kill one agent, Hasaan asks whose the commander and Levi says he is. One of the men drags Levi to the safe and demands he punch in the code. Levi says none of his people will give it up and as the guy raises his weapon to kill Levi, Samar comes in and shoots him. They open the safe and set fire to the files but as they’re burning in the wastebasket Levi gets shot. Zal Bin Hasaan are too late to save the documents but they grab Samar and head to the docks.

Ressler starts interrogating Matias and he says he’s got diplomatic immunity and he was operating as an agent of the German government looking for one of the victims when he was on the plane in the previous episode. Suddenly the Director and one of his aides walk into the office and Peter says to Matias that Ressler believes they work together and he wants to prove they don’t. Ressler leaves and reminds the Director he’s being monitored as Wright and Hitchin are watching a close-circuit feed. Peter pulls out a multi-pronged fishing hook and he says to Solomon he’s going to swallow it. Wright wants to stop the Director, but Laurel tells her to allow him to proceed.

Samar says to her brother there’s nothing noble about what he’s doing and their parents would be ashamed. He says their parents were cowards and tried to weaken the government. She asks him if he planted the bomb in Pishin and he laughs and says that’s the day he became Zal the Warrior. As they head towards an old steamer, Raymond, Dembe  and two of Red’s henchmen appear on the docks and take out the three of Hasaan’s men.

Raymond calls down to  Samar and he tells her the decision’s hers to make. They can turn Shahin over to Mossad and he’ll die rotting in some hell-hole, or she can let Red take him and make his death count. She asks him what he means and he says saving Elizabeth Keen. She says take him and Shahin says  Samar you promised to always protect me. She says I made that promise to my brother and he died in Pishin.

Donald heads to Harold’s and he finds out about Tom’s involvement and that Harold tipped him off about the set-up. Ressler and Keen start fighting in the street until Cooper breaks it up saying he’s got to live there. Ressler gets in his car and drives back to the Task Force headquarters.

Ressler and Navabi both disgusted with the world and life seek comfort in each other and start making out. They head to her place and are about to get intimate when the screen fades to  black.

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

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Season Three of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” picks up seconds after the conclusion of season two as former FBI Agent Liz Keen and Raymond Reddington, attempt eluding capture by a manhunt that’s shut down all of Washington D.C. Lizzie’s former partner Donald Ressler heads the effort, coordinating law-enforcement agencies to catch the duo before they get out of the city. Ressler’s attempting to ignore his personal feelings for Keen and trying to focus on the fact she’s a fugitive from justice. He’s addressing the team assembled around him, emphasizing that they have to capture the pair before they leave the city, or they’ll be chasing ghosts.

Back at the Task Force headquarters Aram Mojtabai tells Agent Samar Navabi that he believes Keen’s innocent, then reveals he’s found the vehicle they’re trying to escape in. Navabi and Aram get a visual image of the silver van they’re in and they watch it go into a tunnel, but it doesn’t come out the other side. Rewinding the video-feed they realize that the van went onto a truck carrying new-cars in the tunnel and eluded capture.

Ressler heads back to the Task Force center and starts questioning the Task Force’s former director Harold Cooper about Liz shooting United States Attorney General Tom Connolly. Cooper tells the agent that Connolly worked for the Cabal and tried to make Harold believe he was dying, to put Cooper in a compromising position. He tells Ressler however, he ordered Liz not to shoot the Attorney General. She wouldn’t listen however as Connolly threatened to take down everybody on the Task Force, including Donald.

The pair get out of the van at a trucking facility, each wearing police uniforms and they jump into a Metro-Police cruiser. They then drive to a bar owned by a longtime associate of Red’s, but there’s a wildcard Reddington wasn’t expecting. The guy’s sister Tiffany’s now living with him, after her husband died in Denver about a month before. The guy tells Red that his sister’s trustworthy and Raymond gives her the benefit of the doubt. That turns out to be a rare mistake on Reddington’s part. They go into the bar’s kitchen step down into an underground bunker, hidden beneath a trap-door. Red tells Kean this is where they’ll wait until the Troll Farmer’s ready, she’s got no idea what he’s referring to.

Young woman’s in her kitchen fixing a meal when she hears a strange man’s voice on her baby monitor. She grabs a kitchen knife and runs in, seeing a strange man holding her infant. He asks her which toy Ellie would like to take on her trip and decides on a panda. The woman asks the man what he want’s and he replies he wants her father and he’ll text her instructions. She tries to attack him with the knife, but he easily pushes her to the ground. We’ve just met the “BIG BAD” for season three, a man who works for the Cabal named Mr. Solomon.

Down in the bunker Red and Lizzie watch a newscast on an old black and white TV, the newscaster says although the Government accuses Keen of being a Russian spy, several major newspapers claim that’s not the case. We then cut to a press-conference being held by the Director. Liz suddenly realizes that Red gave the Fulcrum to journalists and the Director’s attempting to put these reports to rest.

He tells his audience that in the 65-years that the CIA has had a Director of National Clandestine Services, the Director’s identity’s never been revealed during their tenure. However he received permission from the President to reveal himself and to challenge these irresponsible accusations, that not only smear his name but threaten National Defense. He then asks whose word will you believe, two fugitive criminals or him. Liz shuts off the set and says if she didn’t know better, she’d believe him.

The press conference didn’t sit well with the other members of the Cabal and Mr. Solomon pays the Director a visit. He reminds the Director he convinced the other member Red was bluffing about possessing the Fulcrum and he was very wrong. He says that puts our plans in jeopardy, the Director corrects him and says my plans. Solomon tells him they were his plans, but no longer as he’s lost the Cabal’s confidence. He then tells the Director he’s dancing on the edge of a razor-blade, as the Cabal control just how long he’ll remain breathing.

Red hears Tiffany and her brother arguing upstairs and Raymond grabs Tiffany’s cellphone and hits redial, reaching the FBI Tip-Hotline. Reddington tells Lizzie they’re leaving but the FBI have arrived, he grabs the brother and tells Tiffany to get rid of them or her brother dies. They head to the bunker as Ressler and a SWAT Team burst through the door.

Tiffany denies calling the FBI and the SWAT-Team announce the house’s clear, Donald heads into the kitchen but doesn’t notice anything amiss. They’re about to leave, when Ressler tells one of the officers to call back the number that left the tip and Tiffany’s phone rings from beneath the bar. Donald tells them to come up and when they don’t respond he throws a smoke-bomb down into the bunker. The agents climb down into the bunker only to realize Red and Lizzie escaped through a grate.

The pair reemerge on the street and open a valet parking box and grab the keys for a two-seater Porsche. Lizzie figures the owner lives alone or maybe with a girlfriend and his apartment’s likely empty. They can get his address off his registration in the glove compartment.

Turn’s out the young woman’s Isabella, Dembe’s daughter and Ellie’s his granddaughter. He asks her to describe the man and then asks what he wanted. Isabella tells her father that the man wanted him, Dembe swears to his daughter that he’ll get his granddaughter back to her safe and sound.

Red and Lizzie hideout in the Porsche owner’s apartment and Keen dyes her hair honey-blonde, causing the usually loquacious Reddington to start stammering. She suddenly remembers the picture of her mother on Red’s desk and that she’s blonde in the photograph and she looks like her mother. Red then tells her they’ll have to change their plans and go see the Troll Farmer now.

Raymond explains that the Troll Farmer’s a master manipulator of social-media and creates events to hide other situations. Red claims that among the Troll Farmer’s accomplishments, he invented an Ebola plague in Atlanta to raise the price for a drug manufacturer’s stock. They’re about to leave when the housekeeper enters, Raymond assures the woman they won’t hurt her. They’re just going to take her cellphone and lock her in the bathroom.

Back at Task Force headquarters, Navabi tells Ressler she scoured all of the footage of the shooting of Connolly at a hotel and Cooper’s not complicit. She says that she knows Ressler helped Liz escape from the Task Force center, which lead to Connolly’s shooting. She says she doesn’t know why he won’t admit it, but she’s wary of him.

The Troll Master’s a young Asian guy and none too happy to see Red and Liz at his door a week earlier than he expected. He tries sending them away, but Red convinces him to let them in. Once inside we see the large-scale hacking network, that the man whose real name’s Chang operates.

Keen starts walking around the facility and bumps into a double of herself as a brunette, wearing a police uniform. The woman’s posing s Keen to try to redirect law enforcement officials and suddenly recognizes Lizzie and acts like she’s meeting Lady GAGA. She asks if Red’s there as well and practically squeals when Liz tells her he is. Then she asks what’s it like being a fugitive?

Ressler tells Harold that Charlene’s been released and he’s getting released as well, pending future questioning. Cooper says he’s glad Donald doesn’t think he’s complicit in Lizzie’s crime, but Ressler corrects him and tells him they’re both complicit as he allowed Liz to escape. He says he’s going to catch her though, because his job isn’t going with his gut. His job’s to enforce the law.

Lizzie tells Reddington when she was a little girl she fantasized that her mother was a prima-ballerina and would one day come for her. She then asks Red what happened to her and Raymond says at one time he thought he knew, but as the years have passed, he realized he had no idea where she is or what happened to her. Chang comes in and tells them that in an hour they’ll either be free, or in prison on charges of treason.

Liz and Red each are transported in a separate van to double their chances of one of them escaping and clearing Keen’s name. Chang tells Red that their business relationship’s over and tells Raymond he’s a crazy old man. Reddington and Liz are each hidden in secret compartments in each vehicle and they head north, while the Troll Farmer’s network sends out pictures over social media having them in five different locations in the south. Ressler realizes it’s a set-up and redirects all officers to the north.

Reddington gets past the perimeter and it appears Lizzie has too, as a radio-dispatcher tells all officers to stand down, as the duo’s in custody. However seconds later Ressler shows up and the search resumes. Raymond calls Liz and tells her that he’s made it out but she won’t make it, so she has to hide. She tells the driver to take her to 2650 Wisconsin Avenue.

Dembe’s outside a restaurant he knocks out the doorman, then heads inside and takes out two goons. He sees Mr. Solomon eating a shellfish dish and Solomon motions for him to sit down. After he finishes his meal, he takes out his cellphone and calls Isabella, he tells her to go to her front door and open it. Ellie’s in her little travel seat, he tells Isabella to take a picture with her phone and to send it to him. When the picture arrives, he thanks Isabella and shows the picture to Dembe.

Dembe asks what’s keeping him from ripping Solomon apart with his bare hands and the Cabal operative, explains he’s infected Ellie with a deadly toxin and if he dies, she’ll die a painful death within three weeks. He then gives Dembe a small gas mask attached to a vial and tells him to breath deeply. After about three breaths, Dembe’s knocked out.

Samar and Donald drive around trying to figure out where Keen’s headed, when they seize on the fact she’s accused of being a Russian spy and they head to the Russian Embassy. They get there just in time to watch Lizzie scale the fence and then tells the soldier’s her name’s Masha Rostova and she’s a Russian agent. She asks for immunity as the screen fades to black.

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

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

In the end it all disappeared under the guise of National Security, blunt words from a very powerful man, ended  a Superior Court Judge and a Metro Homicide Detective’s quest to take on the United States Government’s Intelligence agencies, trying to prove FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen killed Harbor Master Eugene Ames. Actually, two powerful men made everything vanish, FBI Criminal Informant Raymond Reddington and the man who believes he’ll become the United States Attorney General, Tom Connolly. The NBC series “The Blacklist,” once again showed that perhaps this country’s greatest enemies, are Government Operatives, willing to make heinous crimes just go way, by eagerly waving the banner of National Security.

The show’s previous episode ended with Metro Homicide Detective Martin Wilcox, presenting Superior Court Judge Richard Renner, with a shell casing found on the boat she hid her ex-husband Tom Keen, trying to obtain the information to insure Red’s enemy Berlin’s demise. Ames wandered onto the wrong boat at the worst possible moment, paying with his life, strangled to death by Keen to protect Liz.

We start the episode off in Dresden, Germany as Keen’s infiltrated German racist gang “The Disenfranchised,” as the old man Tom’s impressed and two of his thugs, race after a dark-haired young man. The old man pushes the younger guy into a chain link fence and tells the man he wants his product and his money. He may live in the old man’s country, but he won’t allow immigrants to deal drugs in his territory.

Suddenly Keen runs at the guy and kicks the stuffing out of him, he tells the guy he’s got 30-seconds to give up his stash and cash, or the old man will kill him. The other guy responds he’ll die anyway, but Keen assures him if he gives them what they want he’ll live.

The man gives up his drugs, then Keen pats him down and takes his bankroll. The guy says I thought you said if I cooperated, you’d let me walk away, Keen says he told him he’d live, he never said walk away, then shatters the man’s leg.

Renner brings Liz into his chambers, shows her the bullet casing and tells her Samuel Aleko’s blood’s on it. She tells the judge she didn’t kill Eugene Ames and Renner says unless you tell me more, I’ll indict you for murder tomorrow morning. Liz refuses to talk and Renner says he’ll see her the next morning.

Red shows up at the Task Force headquarters and reveals to Samar and Aram that Keen’s still alive and tells them about Liz’s imprisoning her ex-husband to get information on Berlin. He then tells them that Tom’s new assignment’s working for “The Disenfranchised,” a gang he describes as racists masquerading as patriots to keep Germany pure. However their true agenda’s dealing drugs and according to Interpol, may have killed a dozen foreign-born competitors in the last year.

He tells them he’s heading to Germany to bring Keen home and to confess that Tom killed the Harbor Master. Ressler says he’s coming with him and Red says that’s not happening, but Tom promises to keep his mouth shut and stay out-of-the-way. Just then Liz arrives and Donald tells her what he and Red are doing, she asks to speak to Raymond privately.

He tells her he’s doing what ever he can to keep her safe, she cries if Red brings Tom back he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison and Raymond says one step at a time. Then she says Keen won’t come back, Red assures her he will.

The next scene takes us to Munich as Reddington’s visiting an old associate at a rehab-center. The man named Max tells Raymond he’s never worked with “The Disenfranchised,” but an old friend was a gun-runner for them. Unfortunately he’s unavailable to talk to as they killed him last year, but he says they’ve got a new guy on board that hooked them up with Austrian arms-dealer Franz Becher. He says if Red puts some money in Max’s canteen fund at the Rehab Center, he’ll get him information.

The next day Ressler and the BMI raid where Becher’s weapons are stored, the German organization impound the weapons, making Red a critical figure in the Austrian getting his shipment back from the BMI.

Reddington visits Klaus who’s covered in body piercing’s and getting a tattoo applied, Raymond tells Becher he heard about his snafu at the airport and Klaus tells the Tattoo Artist to give them privacy. Red then tells Klaus he can get the weapons back from the BMI, but he wants a 35% cut, he then tells Becher they’re now partners and he’ll go talk with “The Disenfranchised.

Back at Task Force headquarters, Liz calls her financial planner to close an account and have it transferred to another account. She says she realizes the amount of money she’s dealing with, then tells him to close the account and transfer the funds that afternoon.

Cooper walks into her office and chews her out, after he tells her he perjured himself to protect her. She apologizes for forcing him to do that, but she said with Meera dead and him near death, she did what she believed to be right. Cooper says he doesn’t recognize her or himself any longer, his nose starts to bleed, he passes out and has an intense seizure, as Liz calls for help.

Keen and the old man are waiting for Becher and the old man gets nervous, that the Austrian won’t show, seconds later a car pulls up and he says he’s going to get Elias. Tom approaches the car and his jaw drops when he sees Red and Ressler and Reddington says good evening in German.

Charlene Cooper meets Liz at the hospital, Dr. Harper tells Harold’s wife he’s still unconscious and had an intense seizure, it’s too early to tell how he’ll come out of the episode. Charlene then tells Liz that Harold’s got a brain-tumor, but he’s in a trial-program and appeared improving until, this incident. She then begs Keen to keep that between the two of them and Liz says of course.

Tom tells Red and Ressler to leave before Elias and the old man come out, but Ressler says he’s coming home with them, to confess killing Ames, are Liz will go to prison for the murders. Tom says tell her she’s on her own, when she put me down in that hole, that was it. I’m not going down for her, or for you.

The two men come out and Elias asks if there’s a problem, Red says yes, then introduces himself. He then tells them that Becher’s weapons got seized by BMI, but he can get them released in exchange for Keen. He says that Keen’s either an idiot or was setting them up and he wants to find out which is true. Elias says he can kill him out back and Red says that’s splendid, Keen shoots the man who approaches him then runs from the building. Dembe, Ressler and Red kill all the remaining members of “The Disenfranchised.” Donald says they have to go after Keen, but Red says they sent their message.

Cooper’s fine he had a bout of hypoglycemia, that caused him to black out and the trial-treatment seems like it’s slowed the tumor’s progression. He says the seizure may have been a side-effect of the meds, he says it’s too early to call but things are looking brighter for Harold.

Tom calls Ressler from a burner-phone and tells him to put Red on. Raymond asks if he can live with himself knowing Lizzie will spend her life in prison for a murder he committed. Tom shows his internal conflict, but once again tells Reddington he’s not returning to the States.

Renner is about to issue an indictment on Liz, when the Deputy Attorney General asks for a sidebar, saying this is coming from the Attorney General. She tells the Judge that the Attorney General’s representative will soon arrive and asks for him to recess until they arrive, but Renner refuses. He’s about to indict Liz, when a court officer tells the judge there’s a man in the hallway saying he killed the Harbor Master.

It’s Tom as Liz gasps when he enters the courtroom, he tells the judge he killed the Harbor Master and Renner asks his name, he replies he’s Tom Keen. Renner smirks and says he’s relieved to hear that as someone told him he died.

The judge brings Keen into his chambers and listens to his story. Renner says he’ll dismiss murder charges against Liz, but still will indict her on perjury and accessory after the fact. Tom says he’ll give Renner a full-blown confession, but only if Liz gets her name cleared, a man walks in and says you’re not testifying. It’s Cooper’s old friend Tom Connolly and Renner has his officers escort Tom from his chambers.

Connolly proceeds to rip Renner up, down and sideways, telling him he’s a Superior Court Judge and not authorized to hear matters of National Security, that they have a branch of justices for that reason. He says he should get him arrested and locked-up, but he tells him instead, Renner’s going to dismiss the case on grounds of National Security.

Renner addresses the court and says after reexamining the evidence, he’s decided for National Security purposes to throw the case out. Wilcox first insults Renner and then Liz, telling her that he’s got to go to his wife and daughter now and tell them they won’t receive justice. Connolly tells Wilcox that’s enough and he walks out of the court-room, Keen then asks Connolly what happens to Tom and he asks Tom who? He then tells her he’s never met him, or is he in Federal Custody.

Liz sold the apartment that Red bought for her and sent the money anonymously to Ames’ daughter for her college fund. Red comes into the college study room, where Liz watches the young lady talking with classmates. Raymond then tells her to watch out as this could end up as a long-term relationship, then with little pretense explains to Liz what he’s done for her all these years, but the satisfaction wears off. Suddenly you realize you’re doing this for yourself, not the person you’re attempting to help.

Liz looks at Red and smiles, then says you knew that if Tom came back here to testify, they’d throw the case out because of the task force. She says you saved someone you hate, so you could save me, Raymond and Lizzie’s relationship seems to have gotten better in the last few weeks.

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

Photo: Courtesy Of NBC

Photo: Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The NBC series “The Blacklist,”coming off its largest audience ever on Sunday night, settled into its new time-slot on Thursday nights, with the episode broadcast after the Superbowl’s conclusion. We pick up moments after two United States fighter-jets, fired upon a Black-Ops Site, somewhere in the Bering Sea, by order of the Director of the National Security Council with three FBI Agents and Raymond Reddington in the site.

Our first image’s watching Agent Donald Ressler, fighting one of the men holding him and fellow agent Samar Navabi, captive before the airstrike. The two men battle to a draw, then Luther Braxton’s man runs off and Ressler frees Navabi from the chains that imprisoned her. They soon find Reddington, who just regained consciousness and he tells them Braxton escaped, taking Liz hostage.

Back at Task Force Headquarters, Aram Mojtabai tells Assistant FBI Director Harold Cooper, that they’ve received no radio contact from the site and are clueless about any survivors. Cooper wants to send a search and rescue team out there, but the NSC Director’s Liaison Kat Goodson, says that the site doesn’t exist and without any signal from survivors she’s unable to do that.

Liz wakes up in a chopper and asks if Agents, Ressler, Navabi and Red are okay and she soon sees she’s talking to Braxton, who says he could care less. He asks her how it feels she has information worth dying in her pretty little head and Keen says she doesn’t know a thing. Braxton tells her she knows and he’ll get the answers.

Red’s able to rig an SOS signal from the Black-Ops Site, rescuing Raymond and the two agents as well as two of the facilities guards, including the one that helped Reddington earlier. Aram’s able to get some sightings of Braxton and they’ve narrowed down the vicinity he and Liz are in. While Ressler and Samara follow Aram’s info, Reddington breaks off on his own.

Braxton landed the helicopter on the helipad of Grace River Hospital, Keen’s strapped to a gurney with one of Braxton’s men’s hand’s over her mouth. The gang come in with weapons raised, they get the drugs they came for and head off for Braxton’s hideout. Braxton tries waterboarding Keen to get the answer, but his Minister Of Pain says, if she’s got any memories, they’re deeply repressed, Luther knows just the women that can help.

The phone rings and Braxton thinks it’s one of his men, instead it’s Raymond and Luther starts laughing saying this is the second time he’s going to defeat the great Raymond Reddington. Red compliments him on his skills as a thief, calling him meticulous, however Luther has problems improvising and that’s what he has to do now and that’s how Red will catch him.

The NSC Director meets with the extremely unhappy members of the extremely powerful clandestine organization, whose lives would turn chaotic if the Fulcrum’s released. Many say that the Director assured them that by taking out the Black-Ops Site the problem would get eliminated and ask where’s Reddington. He apologizes for the failure of the air-strike and admits Reddington’s whereabouts are unknown, but once again assures him he’s got the Fulcrum situation under control.

Braxton kidnaps the child of a hospital psychologist that’s involved in blocking traumatic memories and replacing them with pleasant ones. The doctor, Selma Orchid treated him when he returned from the Gulf War and blocked some of his worst memories. He tells the doctor her son’s life depends on her extracting memories from Keen.

Red gathers together all of Luther Braxton’s business associates in a conference room and tells them that their working relationship with Braxton’s ended. He also says that, he will reach out to one of them in that room and when he does, they’re to call the number he’s provided, asks any questions and starts to turn away. There’s always one dimwit, in every situation and this one says, what’s in it for us? Reddington brusquely spit out your lives and left the room.

The drugs that Braxton obtained at the hospital are given to Liz and Dr. Orchid talks her back 26-years, to the traumatic night when she was just four-years-old that she’s blocked-out. The doctor tells her they’re going back and Keen starts to cry she doesn’t want to, however Orchid eases her fears. She puts her through an exercise and takes her back 26-years, we see four-year-old Lizzie standing there with her eyes closed and as the doctor counts down from three we see her open them.

The doctor asks Keen what she sees and she responds a little girl, whom she acknowledges is herself at four-years-old. A man says to the little girl it isn’t safe and stay here and he puts her in a closet, we see the adult Liz sitting next to her and the little girl’s holding a live bunny. She asks the toddler if he hears her and the little girl clasps her hand, we hear a man and woman talking, but it’s distorted, however, the man’s voice’s not Reddington’s.

All of a sudden the rabbit jumps out of little Lizzie’s hands and she runs to the back of the closet to get it and Keen chases her, suddenly they’re in the snow laughing and the little girl looks all excited as she sees her father, but Liz misses his face. They’re back in the closet when Keen decides, to go out through the closet’s front door, Little Lizzie, tries pulling her back in then finally runs back into the closet herself. Keen starts seizing and Orchid has to give her a shot to bring her back, when she awakens, she’s wide-eyed and said my father, I saw my father.

Of course the guy who hears from Braxton’s the wise-guy from the previous, meeting and he hands Red a device containing information about an off-shore bank-account that he wants Reddington to pay him a finders-fee, for turning in Braxton. Raymond says that perhaps he doesn’t understand, but Braxton’s holding a hostage that he wants to save. The guy looks at his girlfriend, then tells Red that another 15-seconds won’t hurt anything, Raymond gives Dembe a nod and seconds later he tells Red it’s completed.

The man tells Red that Braxton needed a place to meet an important person in a safe spot and gives him the address, Reddington looks at it, puts it in his pocket, then pummels the man’s face while his girlfriend groans. Raymond looks at her and says he’s right another 15-seconds won’t hurt and hits him again.

The room where Liz’s treatment’s taking place just has three occupants, Keen, Orchid and Braxton’s guard, when Orchid’s cellphone rings and it’s her young son, Luther soon gets on and says the doctor’s got until 9:00 pm. After Braxton hangs up, Orchid says that’s too soon but Liz says she wants to get the information, for herself, so she finally knows what went on that night.

Braxton shows up for his meeting and lo and behold it’s the Director, who’s trying to obtain the Fulcrum from him. Luther tells the Director that his price went up ten percent, after the artillery attack he survived. He said to the Director to have the money and get ready to meet at 9:00 pm.

As Braxton walks out to his Mercedes, he sees Red there, waiting for him. He pulls out a pistol, but quickly hears the click of Dembe’s gun behind him, his shoulders slump and he just says Son Of A B. Red then tells Braxton he barely remembers Belgrade, but this will be engraved in his memory for the rest of his days.

Red and Dembe take out the two guards on the stairs and then kill the guard in the room. Raymond tells Dr. Orchid she’s in no danger and asks how Liz is and what she remembers, Orchid says bits and pieces but we were so close. Reddington asks while she’s still under the drug can she go any further and Orchid says if they’re cautious and don’t push her. Raymond starts talking to Liz inside the closet and suddenly we hear a gunshot in the house that little Lizzie’s in and then smoke starts to seep through the closet. Keen tells the little girl she knows she just saw something awful, but there’s a fire and she needs to scream for help and they both scream together, we’re rushed through a blurry room and there’s nobody recognizable. Suddenly Liz wakes up looks at Red and says you were there.

Red and Liz talk as she starts to regain her bearings and she says they were arguing about the Fulcrum. Then she says you came in with that woman and those people looking for the Fulcrum, then you left my father to die in a burning house. Red’s eyes fill-up and he says a four-year-olds memories can be complicated, but she cuts him off. She says you came into my life because of the Fulcrum and you came back into my life for the Fulcrum, you’ve never cared for me, just the information I had. Then she said that all his charm and pretend caring didn’t work because she knows what he is, then tells him to leave her alone.

Red meets the Director and the NSC chief quickly loses his smugness, when he sees Braxton hanging on a hook like a side of beef. Red tells him you sent a thief to get what I had all along and you can see what I did with him, the Director asks if Reddington has any idea who he’s talking to and Red tells him all too well, the tells him he possess and has always possessed the Fulcrum. The Director says he believe Raymond’s bluffing and he’s going to hunt him down and skin him alive. Red just looks the Director right in the eyes and says, please call my bluff, PLEASE, call my bluff, then chuckles.

The next scene’s Ressler and Navabi in a room with a TV set and Donald says check this out, as Kat Goodson’s conducting a press-conference about the air-attack on the Black-Ops Site and Raymond Reddington’s whereabouts, are once again unknown.

Liz back in her apartment goes through the precious few possessions she’s got of her childhood and she pulls out the charred stuffed bunny, we’ve seen off and on throughout the past two seasons. However, this time, Liz notices something stuck inside her childhood toy, the Fulcrum.

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