Category Archives: The Blacklist

The Blacklist: The Blacklist Halloween Special

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although the actual title of the sixth episode of the second season of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” is actually “The Mombasa Cartel,” it’s doubtful that you’ll find a network show with a creepier episode, this week of Halloween. And the episode concluded in rather shocking fashion, which we’ll discuss later on. Realize however, that of all the strange things we’ve experienced in the world of Raymond “Red” Reddington, you weren’t prepared for what you encountered in this episode, including a family that most likely would unnerve Morticia and Gomez Adams.

The episode begins in a flashback, as the graphic on the screen informs us that we’re in Koidu, Sierra Leone, 29-years earlier. We see a family working their land including a cute little boy, of about six-years-old. An open Jeep filled with men brandishing weapons, arrives and the men exit the vehicle, they ask the father if his name’s Samuel, he responds it is and he’s told he’s got a big mouth. The men start shooting his livestock, then all the men, finally Samuel’s wife and the boy’s mother. The little boy’s terrified, as one of the men picks him up and puts him in the Jeep.

Back in the present, we travel to Paris, where an African businessman’s served his meal by his waiter in his hotel room. When asked if he needs anything else, the businessman replies no, but the waiter accosts the guest, knocking him out on his bed, then putting a yellow clip on tag on his ear. Once again we change locations, this time in a small Russian seaside town as a boy and his grandfather stroll along the beach. The boy calls for his grandfather, who comes over to see a corpse washed in from the sea that’s skinless.

We’re now at Red’s apartment as Raymond and FBI Agent Liz Keen, watch a TV show about endangered species, Reddington shuts it off angrily, grumbling that soon tigers and lions, will disappear and thought of as mythical creatures like the winged Griffith of the Unicorn. He then tries to pitch a new number to Keen, the Mombasa Cartel, traffickers in rare and endangered animals, when the agent says the Bureau, may not find the case worth pursuing, Red weaves a tail of villages and individuals wiped out, and all sorts of heinous actions take place for profit, he says the cartel deals in blood-money.

Don Resller’s at a local pharmacy trying to get his prescription for pain pills replaced, as he claims they got stolen from his car, the pharmacist clearly thinks he’s lying, he finally says he’ll call his doctor and come right back, instead heads for his office. He’s late as Keen’s already telling the task-force about the Mombasa Cartel, and the amount of harm Red claims they’re doing to the planet. She gets a text message and tells the other’s it’s from Red and she needs to call him. Instead, she leaves the office and heads to a door with a keypad and types in the code, then opens the door, we see a man that appears dead on the floor of the room, then we see Red’s sniper whose been the tail she can’t shake. He says to her, are you telling Red or am I?

Raymond’s sitting outside the “Roach-Coach” operated by Zoe D’Antonio, the young woman Red got “The Tracker,” to locate in the previous episode, eating and reading the paper. He takes off his hat and puts it on a stool next to the table, then gets up and starts to walk away, but the woman shouts and gives him his hat back. Reddington, expresses his gratitude offering her money, but she tells him it’s not needed. He asks again and she says she’s good and Red smiles and tells her he likes that, then asks her name. She replies its Zoe and he introduces himself as Kenneth, then tells her it’s his favorite hat, she tells him to model it and compliments him.

We’ve joined Red and Liz in the park and he informs her, he’s set her up for a meeting with Jeff Pearl to have drinks. Pearl’s not only the 33rd richest man on the planet, he’s played in the series latest bit of out of the box casting, by “Easy Rider‘s” Captain America, Peter Fonda. Keen’s going to go undercover as a animal-rights blogger and try to obtain information on the cartel from Pearl. She doesn’t grasp the information as quickly as she usually does and Reddington asks if everything’s alright, (she’s nervous about the sniper) and tries to cover by saying she’s blown away that Pearl’s Red’s buddy. He snaps back he doesn’t have buddies, they share some interests including protection of endangered species.

Keen arrives at the club she’s meeting the magnate at and he’s playing drums with the band onstage, then heads to her table when he’s finished playing and tells her he likes her blog. He then says that his friend told him she’s looking to take on the Mombasa Cartel and tells her to take caution, as they’re insidiously dangerous. He says his foundation’s targeted them from the start, without success, but he mentions one guy she could investigate.

The next day the Task-Force learns about the body that washed up in Russia as well as one caught in a fishing net off Japan. Tech wizard Aram’s done a series of tests to find out where the bodies emanated from and he’s discovered its Sitka, Alaska, the former location of a group of Radical Animal Rights Activists known as the “Sitka Seven.” They got busted back in 1971, with one member doing a federal stretch and the rest broke up and moved on. There’s a camp that they lived in but the land rights’ owned by a corporation.

We meet the residents of the camp, Skye Kincaid and her two grown sons, Peter and Matthew. Turns out Peter’s the guy who knocked out the African businessman, whose body got dumped off the shore, after his brother Matthew skinned it. Matthew, then stuffed the body like any taxidermist would an animal, when he puts in the eyes his mother says that’s his best job yet. We find out the bodies are from poachers, that the boy’s father tells them to capture, kill and stuff and Skye tells Peter, that their work’s important.

Matthew’s played by Carel Struyken, Lurch from “The Adams Family,” movies and he’s what they used to refer to in the movies as “a bit touched in the head,” we’re not even sure he can talk until the last few minutes of the show. However, he’s gifted as a taxidermist, setting his victims up at a campfire scene not far from their camp.

The FBI bring in Lee Chung, the lead Pearl gave Liz for questioning then let him go, but he’s reported missing a short time later. Meanwhile, Ressler’s in Sitka, but out of his painkillers and going through withdrawal, so he purposely slams his thumb into his car doors hinge, breaking the bone and getting him a refill. Liz contacts him and tells him to check out the camp.

Donald drives to the camp and knocks on the door, but gets no reply, then gets startled by Skye Kincaid telling him it’s private property and he responds he’s an FBI agent and shows his badge. He asks if she knew the “Sitka Seven,” she replies they moved over forty years before. He asks whom she lives with and she said her son Peter, who soon shows up in his truck with a cage attached under a tarp. The two men introduce themselves and Skye tells her son that Ressler’s with the FBI. Don asks what’s in the cage and Peter says goats, Ressler says the “Sitka Seven,” kept goats and Peter laughs lots of people keep goats. The agent asks to have a look and Lee Chung’s in the cage, Peter whacks Donald over the head knocking him out.

Skye’s on the phone with the boy’s father, Jeff Pearl and tells him they’ve got trouble as an FBI agent’s there. Pearl tells Skye to make sure that Ressler’s not skinned and left in the forest. He then grumbles he should have stopped Matthew years before and Skye says he wouldn’t have lasted a day in an institution as Pearl hangs up.

Aram does more digging and realizes that the plane’s that transported both victims to Sitka’s owned by the same corporation that owns the camp, so Liz calls Reddington to find out if he knows anything about the corporation. She tells him she’s heading to Sitka and meeting Alaskan agents from Anchorage to try to locate Ressler who’s out of contact. Red tells Liz to take caution.

Ressler wakes up in a field in a cage next to Chung, trapped in another cage, both having the yellow tag on their ears. Peter takes Matthew out and tells him to have fun hunting, but only kill the animals that got tags on them. They’re both released from their cages and Chung starts to run, when Don asks him where he’s running to. Ressler looks for his pills and Chung tells him the Kincaid’s took them, then asks if Ressler’s a junkie, and Donald responds no, Chung says that’s what all junkies say. Those are the last words he says as Matthew put an arrow through his heart. Don rips off the arrowhead and takes off.

Pearl arrives home and gets surprised to find Red standing in his foyer, Raymond figured out that Pearl’s behind the killing of the poachers and the Mombasa Cartel, as he owns the corporation that Liz asked him about. He then asks how Pearl had morphed from an idealist to a murderer and now stands for everything he once deplored. Pearl offers his explanation of controlling the monopoly saves the animals and the planet and Red tells him he’s full of guano.

Red then tells Pearl about the first scene we saw of the episode and the fate of the young boy taken away. At the age of 14, they left him to die tied to a pole, after serving them for eight-years, but Red found the teen and rescued him. After the boy got well Red educated the teen and the young man graduated college, speaks six languages fluently and has a working knowledge of a dozen more. The boy of course’s Dembe, who tells Red to let Pearl live, he’s past the pain, but Red’s not and shoots the billionaire dead.

Matthew takes a break from tracking Ressler and sits down with his stuffed “Friends” around the campfire and he listens to the music being played. Ressler’s disguised as a corpse but he’s holding a metal coffee cup, which starts shaking, so Ressler tries running. Matthew picks him up in the air, but Ressler slices open his chest with the arrowhead.

The agents arrive and stand outside the camp ready to burst in, when Matthew comes in with his chest a mass of blood and Skye screams. They burst in, take out Peter by gunfire then head to the bathroom where Matthew and Skye sit in a tub filled with water, turning red from the blood. Rather than surrendering, Skye throws the phonograph into the tub with them, electrocuting them both.

Loose ends; Liz shows Ressler his painkiller bottle showing she knows he’s got a problem and he breaks down. Liz gets Red’s sniper arrested so he can’t tell Red what he knows and Red realizes she’s hiding something.

Keen enters the door in the final scene and tells the occupant, she almost told Reddington, but changed her mind. If you have any doubts, the Halloween Episode concluded with a man back from the dead; Tom Keen, whose been her prisoner since she nearly killed him in last season’s finale, now with overgrown hair and an unruly beard. He tells her he’s answered all her questions and she starts to leave, but he says she can’t keep him imprisoned forever.

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

The Blacklist: Saving Earth By Killing Humanity

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

One of the great debates that divides our nation, centers around the argument whether or not “Global Warming’s” taking place on our planet. If it’s occurring because of toxins that we let into our air, than humanity’s destroying our home. The most radical, but most effective way of solving that problem’s eradicating every vestige of humanity, but nobody insane enough to dream up that concept, could possess the intelligence to actually accomplish that, could they? In the circles that Raymond Reddington travels in, people with mindset do exist as we witnessed in the latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” as an eco-terrorist group plans to wipe out humans across the planet, by releasing the plague that wiped out millions on this planet 700-years-ago.

The episode begins without the usual previous episodes  catch-up clips for the audience, going straight into this story. We see a woman in her late thirties, walking down a city street in Washington, DC, frantically talking to someone on her cellphone. The woman says to the person on the other end, that she needs to stop him and she’s going to the police. We see the caller on the other end’s a woman about ten-years younger, who tells her friend that she’ll come and meet her and go with her to the police, right then we notice the woman walking, has blood dripping down he side of her face. She asks the other woman to please come alone and hangs up.

Moments later the woman, now cleaned up waits for her friend who pulls her car to the curb. She gets out of her car, but we quickly see a man jump out of the passenger side and quickly we figure out this is the man she talked about on the phone. She’s got something he wants and he struggles to get it, she tries running and gets hit by a cab, throwing her up in the air, then slamming her to the asphalt. The man searches her handbag, finds what he needed and tells the crowd to call an ambulance, then he and the other woman run off.

Red and FBI Agent Liz Keen, talk on the phone and Keen’s rather upset that Red still has his sniper keeping her under surveillance, she tells him to get rid of him or she will. Reddington changes the subject to the reason of his phone call, an incident that took place in the city that morning, as a woman died after being struck by a taxi. What intrigues Raymond’s the woman’s identity, Carrie-Ann Beck, wife of Maddox Beck, part of a radical environment cult, who allegedly died in a blast a few years before. Red believe that Beck’s responsible for his wife’s murder and most likely planning something to shake people up. Raymond doesn’t realize how much he’s understating the situation.

Back at the FBI Task Headquarters, Keen informs all the agents about what she learned from Red, Task Force Chief Harold Cooper tells his agents, he wants them down at the morgue investigating cause of death. The group’s IT expert Aram Mojtabai, informs Cooper that Beck’s not in the morgue, she’s being kept on life support as she’s carrying a 30-week old baby, the hospital’s hoping to save. Beck’s brain-dead, she’s just kept alive for the sake of her child.

Aram also reveals that the hospital found ancient clay under her fingernails and he believes he knows the cause.  A museum held an exposition featuring 13-ancient paintings and one got stolen, ironically it was the least valued painting in the collection, a painting on loan from a church in Italy. But Aram’s got some clues as the museum scanned the painting with lasers and found a map hidden within the work. Cooper tells Aram to ask the woman whose the Bureau’s cartography expert to come take a look.

The woman arrives and tells Cooper, Agent Donald Ressler and Aram the lore of the painting. According to legend, the map contains how the plague got contained 700-years earlier, as Priests traveled to the ends of the earth to bury it. When Cooper starts pressing for information about where it could be buried, she informs Harold the whole thing’s a fake and the work’s worthless.

Lizzie heads to Red’s office and the same cartography expert’s there and he introduces her to Keen. The woman tells Raymond that the paintings worth a fortune and that it does show where the plague’s buried, turns out the ends of the world seven centuries ago, now’s known as the United States. Beck arrives at the spot before Keen and Ressler, but walked away empty-handed as the infected priest’s grave moved. There’s a stone plaque giving the new location in ancient Aramaic, which Aram translates. The body’s interred in an ancient church about 30-miles away.

The agents arrive and a priest takes them to the chamber containing the remains but they see that the lock and chain securing the door’s cut, Ressler has the priest take him to the other entrance while Liz goes through the door into the chamber. She encounters Beck in a haz-mat suit, with a bag carrying the infected remains, Keen has her weapon drawn and tells Maddox he’s not leaving the room alive. He counters that she has a choice, let him leave or he’ll expose them both and they’ll both soon be dead. Liz contemplates her choices, when Beck’s accomplice sneaks up behind her and hits her on the top of her head knocking her to the ground and the two escape.

Red’s still working on his own private projects, having little to do with the cases he gives to the Task Force. Through the previous episode, Raymond became consumed with insuring the safety of his former wife, now with that resolved he’s moved on to search for a mysterious girl that he gives little information about. He deals with a man we’ll refer to as “The Tracker,” a tiny misshapen bald little man with coke-bottle glasses. (For fans of “Fringe,” he played the guy who owned the store that Peter Bishop got rare books from.)  The waiting room for “The Tracker’s” clients resemble a huge DMV, with a woman calling out numbers as if she worked in a bakery.

“The Tracker,” tells Red he’s got no new information on MS. Mysterious, mainly because Raymond’s provided him with little information. Reddington starts blasting the little man, but then notices something seems wrong with his old associate and asks what it is. The man responds its his mother, she’s got cancer and they’re running out of options. He mentions a few different procedures they’ve tried, then says the Flack seed diet and Red stops believing him. “The Tracker’s, ” invented fake illnesses for relatives for years and Red knows he’s pulling the same routine and he leaves the office.

Aram and Agent Samar Navabi are alone at the Task Force building when Reddington and Dembe enter the building and Aram tells Red that Liz isn’t there. Raymond tells Aram he came to speak to him, and the two of them and Dembe find a secluded place to talk. Red wants to see if Aram can track the girl and Mojtabai freaks, asking what Raymond did to the guys who couldn’t find her. Reddington gives Aram a sad smile and tells him finding this girl’s an important piece of his war with Berlin.

Keen and Ressler arrive back to headquarters and tell Cooper, Aram and Samar what happened. Navabi light’s into Liz for letting Beck get away with the remains and Lizzie defensively says, he was going to expose both of them. Samar shakes her head and talks about all the deaths that will occur because Keen allowed him to escape. As she stalks off, Aram pulls Keen aside and tells her he’s sure she made the correct decision, as he’s seen her under pressure and she always comes out on top. He then says Red asked him to do one thing and he froze, he soon realizes he should have kept his mouth shut as Liz badgers him for what Red wanted.

Beck and his associate ground up all the remains, turning it into a mist that will spread the plague through the air, he heads to his flock and tells them it’s time for their sacrifice, then picks one girl as patient zero. They infect her with the plague, then set her loose in the middle of the city, coming in contact with 2300 people before she passed. Those people get quarantined but only have hours remaining without an antidote.

Keen shows up at Red’s very upset, as she tells Red the FBI’s not looking for his daughter, who Liz believes is the mysterious girl. Red tells her that jealousy usually leaves him cold, but he finds it endearing in Keen’s case. She laughs at the accusation but Red says she’s just not ready to admit it to herself. Lizzie walks out in a huff.

Beck’s ready to introduce the next phase of his plan, having his entire group infect themselves, then take planes to every corner of the earth, insuring humanity’s destruction. Each of them get a mister with a mask attached and take the deadly disease deep into their lungs. Then go their separate ways to complete their mission.

The teams back together at headquarters, when Aram announces he’s figured out the plan and then describes how Beck’s group plan to take flights to 24 cities around the globe. All of the infected have boarded their planes except for one guy at Dulles. Keen and Navabi run off in tandem to stop the man from boarding his plane. The two agents arrive but can’t locate the suspect, but Amar spots him on the airports security cameras and direct the agents to where he’s standing. Samar locks eyes with the suspect and he breaks into a full run trying to elude her, he trips over some equipment and she tackles him, then the two roll on the ground into a small glass room. They struggle then the guy pulls out a mister and sprays it into Navabi’s mouth, realizing she’s infected she shuts the door, she’s also wounded as the guy shot her in the side. Liz sees her in the room but Samar tells her not to come in, she’s infected. Keen weighs her choices for a moment then enters the room, attempting to staunch Navabi’s bleeding with her jacket.

“The Tracker,” calls Raymond and tells him to get to his office. When Red gets into see him he tells the little man that his vending machine’s still broken. “The Tracker,” tells Reddington he found the girl, he used an application to make the picture resemble what she’d look like today and he found a 97% match. Red looks at the dossier and smiles saying her name, Zoe D’Antonio, then smiles at  “The Tracker.”  The little man looks through the window in his door and asks Red what’s going on, Raymond tells him he got him a new vending machine.

As Red and Dembe climb back into the car, Reddington receives a call from Aram and Raymond tells him the girls been located. Mojtabai congratulates Reddington, but tells him that’s not the reason he called, Liz and Samar got infected and Aram’s coming up short trying to locate where his compound is. He tells Red that Beck’s fallen off the grid and Red tells him that’s where Aram should start and hangs up the phone.

Later Mojtabai, comes into Cooper’s office and tells the chief he’s located Beck’s compound after receiving a tip from Red. He says the group would want a solar-energy powered location, not on the grid and only one property in the area meets those requirements. He gives Cooper the address but tells him not to get surprised if Reddington gets there first.

There are just two people at the compound, Beck and the woman who lied to Carrie-Ann, when Red strolls onto the property saying hello. Beck pulls out a knife and asks Reddington who he is and Raymond pulls out a pistol and tells him he’s the snake in the grass. He then tells Beck how he used to admire him for taking on polluters, but his message got distorted. Just then Dembe shows up with a tray containing vials of the vaccine. Red tells Beck that only two kinds of people would pull the stunt Beck did, saints or megalomaniacs and tells Maddox he’s far from a saint. He knew Beck wouldn’t sacrifice his life so he made a vaccine for himself and the woman. Red and Dembe take all the vaccine and leaves as sirens approach. By the time the authorities arrive the pair died from the plague.

The Blacklist’s a show that uses music quite effectively in all their episodes and the closing montage featured a very touching tune, serenading the scenes we watch as the episode draws to a close, Lizzie and Samar are both in hospital rooms passed out while receiving the antidote. Red sits with Liz, while Aram’s in Samar’s room when she wakes up and grabs his hand. The final shot’s Red on the street outside of a food-truck, selling food to customers on the corner. The young woman known as Zoe D’Antonio walks out of the truck, dumps some garbage and then heads back inside. Red approaches the “Roach-Coach,” as the episode concludes.

The Story Continues Next Monday at 10:00 pm o NBC.

The Blacklist: Stimulating The Warrior Gene

Photo Courtesy Of NJBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The United States Government’s conducted some barbaric experiments on some of it'[s citizens over the last 80-years or so. Back in the thirties, they introduced syphilis into Federal Prisons, without informing the convicts. In the fifties, the CIA and other Intelligence Agencies, experimented on soldiers with LSD and other hallucinogens, to test its effect as a mind controlling subject. It’s too scary to even contemplate what our Government’s doing in the current era, when elected officials show their constituents how little they care about them.

That’s one of the storylines introduced in the latest episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” as a scientist involved in “Black-Ops” for some branch of the Government, now’s working independently on experiments involving the “warrior gene”, an anomaly in some folks genetic makeup. Dr. Linus Creel’s found a band of subjects he’s experimented on, turning docile souls into killing machines.

The other story-arc in the episode, involved Raymond Reddington’s former wife Naomi Hyland, whom Red has kept imprisoned since he got her back from his adversary Berlin in the second episode of this season. Berlin planned on killing Naomi and sending her to Raymond in pieces, as he claimed that Reddington did to Berlin’s daughter, but Red got control of his enemy’s assets, returning them in exchange for Naomi.

Before we explore this installment’s plot, let’s take a moment to discuss the current state of  “The Blacklist.” The series rocketed out of the starting blocks last year, in its freshman season and maintained its velocity throughout the entire season, concluding with a no-holds barred finale, that got fans even more excited for season two. However, in this young television season, the series has yet to recapture the magic from the first season.

James Spader’s Red’s, a far toned down less grand version of the former Government Operative turned Master Criminal, we enjoyed last year. We’ve experienced a more brusque, less charming Reddington, so far this year.  That made Reddington a larger-than-life figure, showing a charm and sophistication of an earlier era, while able to switch gears to ruthless, without bating an eye. Even the childlike joy and laughter he displayed when he and Dembe laughed like six-year-olds over an old “Three Stooges” short, while holding a prisoner. These contradictions made Raymond Reddington a charismatic character.

Megan Boone’s Lizzie Keen, morphed from a sweet naïve girl, who thought she lived the perfect life, into a cynical, bitter, paranoid woman this season. The transformation’s understandable, given the year she experienced finding out her life was essentially a lie, however it makes for a far less sympathetic character and dampens the viewer’s desire to watch her succeed.

Mozhan Marnò’s former Mossad agent Samar Navabi’s joined the team and while she’s an attractive woman, so far we know little about her and she has yet to show her abilities as an asset. Former member Agent Meera Malik’s not a character that I enjoyed, as she sold out her team to Government bureaucrat Diane Fowler, but she served a purpose. Navabi’s yet to show any reason for the character to exist, other than as a place holder. The one character that’s improved from the first season’s Amir Arison’s techie Aram Mojtabai, the team’s techie and biggest team player. He’s incredibly loyal to Kean and follows suggestions without questioning.

The series has yet to find its cadence this season, starting with the strained relationship between Lizzie and Red, the secrets that have remained unanswered for the past year and the distrust that’s forming on both sides. Except for the deal he consummated with Berlin to get back Naomi, Raymond’s not played a prominent role in any of the investigations he’s given as leads to Harold Cooper’s Task-Force, instead working on his own separate agendas.

The show seemed to start finding it’s footing in this episode, although still not clearing the bar set last year. Red’s new name’s Creel, not only experiments on his subjects without their knowledge or permission, he seems certifiably insane complete with a fetish that causes him to pull out a patch of hair from the back of his head, every time one of his subjects commits violent acts. We first meet the scientist as he monitors one of his subjects, a formerly docile single mom that he’s turned into a ticking bomb.

Creel orchestrated her losing her job, her longtime boyfriend and she’s close to losing her home. After standing outside the bank that holds the loan on her home in a trance for a while, she walks into the building and deals with an unsympathetic loan officer. He says the bank’s got no choice but foreclosure and she leaves the building, upset, distraught and incredibly angry. She stomps to her car, grabs a revolver from her glove compartment, goes back into the bank and opens fire. After she’s captured she’s sent to a mental hospital to evaluate her.

Back at the cabin, Red’s holding Naomi in, he asks her where their now grown daughter’s at, but she refuses to tell him. He then tells her he’s gotten new passports and new identities for her and her husband Frank as they must leave Philadelphia, or face danger on a daily basis. Hyland argues at first then realizes Red’s right and just then Frank pulls up in his car to the cabin. He however refuses to give up their lives and start anew and convinces Naomi to return to Philadelphia with him.

Keen realizes that Red’s holding Naomi and she desperately wants to talk to her about what Hyland knows about Lizzie’s connection with Raymond. So she gets Amir to monitor the cell phone records of both Naomi and Frank, plus their frequent contacts to determine where Hyland’s being held.

Cooper calls Liz into his office and tells her that the rumors over the years about “Black-Ops,” are factual and he begins listing some incredulous sounding projects, he then pulls out an old photo from his desk of the “Black-Ops” team that worked on stimulating the “warrior gene,” before they lost their funding. Keen asks who a familiar face in the corner of the photo belongs to and she’s told the research assistant, Linus Creel. He gives her a classified document on the project but it’s almost totally redacted, making it impossible to derive info from.

A report comes in that another man with a connection  to Creel, went on a shooting spree, killing many until gunned down by police. Liz speaks of her frustration about the redacted document and Navabi asks if the Government employs a polyglot, a person who can determine what redacted documents actually say. She calls Red and asks if he’s aware of such a person and he laughs at the term and takes her to an old associate, who possesses a clean copy of the document. The experiment works in three parts, first reducing the subject’s self-esteem, then taking away important possessions and relationships, finally pushing them to the point of anger. They realize that’s what Creel’s doing with his subjects.

An old friend, whose opinion I greatly value told me that he got put off by Paul Reuben’s character Mr. Vargas, introduced in the previous episode, but I happen to enjoy the character and the out of the box casting choice. He returns in this episode, in a scene that begins with an attractive young woman talking on her cellphone as she enters her house. She’s talking to a man she’s having an affair with, who promised to leave his wife for her. She tells him she doesn’t care if it’s a bad time, either he tells his wife about them or she will, then hangs up the phone.

At that point the woman’s startled as Mr. Vargas marches over to her from the living room and starts berating her about the way she treats her dog, a white, pudgy, Lab mix. He says it’s shameful, leaving the poor animal locked in the house all day and having the choice to relieve himself inside the house or wait until his owner comes home. Mr. Vargas says, he’s cleaned up four messes in the last twenty-minutes, then demands the dog’s leash and tells her he’s taking the pup for a walk. She tells him no, instead she’ll call the police, until one of his enforcers pushes her down into a chair.

Creel’s programmed 18-subjects over the previous 18-months and all have carried out his plan except for one young man he’s held back for this occasion. He invented a beautiful girl on Facebook, that seduced the hapless teen online, then told him there’s somebody else and she and he are deeply involved. The teen starts to lose it and heads down to a question and answer session conducted by a US Senator, he believes the fictitious Amanda Palmer supports. Creel’s talking to the Senator about the “warrior gene” and that he can stop subjects from acting on the impulses in their heads, but the Senator cuts him short. Linus then reveals he’s attempted to contact the Senator for over a year and the Senator’s refused to speak with him.

Back at the cabin, Red asks Frank to take a walk with him, when they reach a parking lot, Mr. Vargas and crew drive up with the woman’s dog. The woman’s named Monica and Frank’s the man she’s having the affair with. Raymond tells Frank the affair’s over and that he and Naomi will relocate and assume new identities. He then picks up a sharp stick and holds it to Hyland’s jugular vein and says the only reason he’s still living’s the fact he makes Naomi happy. Keep her happy he says.

The teen and the Task-Force arrive at the Q&A session at the same time and the kid starts looking for Amanda, but Creel tells him he set the whole thing up. He purposely tricked him and broke his heart so the teen would kill him, make him a martyr and cause people to study and eventually adopt his work, but Liz and Ressler attempt to talk the kid out of it. But the boy’s confused, finally shooting Creel but just winging him. Liz goes to him and tells Ressler to call for a medic, but Linus rises, grabs Keen and holds a pistol to her head. Ressler tells him to let her go but Creel says if he shoots Liz they’ll kill him, but Ressler tells him he won’t get killed, just injured. Just then a shot rings out striking Linus in the back killing him instantly, the agents look up and see a sniper who then disappears.

Frank and Naomi talk and he tells her he thought things through and the biggest priority in his life’s her safety, so he believes they should move and start over again. Although she’ll never realize it, Red saved her marriage and probably both hers and Frank’s lives. Lizzy gets some info from Amir on being able to triangulate the phone calls of the Hyland’s and he’s located where Naomi’s at. Keen drives to the cabin to find Naomi alone, Hyland starts to talk about Berlin and her being held by Raymond, but Lizzie cuts her off. She says she came to talk to see if Naomi can shed light on her connection with her former husband. Although Naomi’s got the info Keen wants, she feigns ignorance, then tells her Red’s just using her until she’s no longer an asset. Red’s been standing at the door listening and chooses to come in the cabin at that point. He says something disparaging both of them then tells Naomi it’s time to leave.

As she’s leaving she tells Red she’s got no idea where their daughter is, the girl knew Raymond would attempt to find her and lives off the grid. Reddington clearly appreciates  her telling him that and kisses her on the forehead, then her and Frank take off for their new lives. We can see that Raymond’s more than perturbed at Liz for trying to get info from Naomi, driving them just a bit more apart.

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

The Black List: Repo Surgeon

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Always remember when you watch the NBC series “The Blacklist,” that every criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington gives up to the FBI, get turned in to help Reddington in some way. Sometimes it takes a while for Red to reap his reward, however in the third episode of this young television season, Reddington reaped the benefits immediately. The former Intelligence Operator turned Genius Crime Lord, multi-tasked quite well in this episode, that also showed some of Raymond’s partners, showing their true colors.

The episode began in the motel Elizabeth Keen’s staying in, trying to keep her paranoia in check that her former husband Tom’s searching for her to kill her. She wakes up and see’s Tom’s glasses on her night stand, then looks up to see him standing at the foot of her bed, his pistol aimed at her head. Tom says that Red’s aware he’s there and he’ll be there shortly, but she can’t trust him. He says that as soon Red kills Berlin, he’ll eliminate Liz. She tells Tom she’d be more inclined to believe him if he wasn’t pointing a pistol at her, and he puts the weapon on the counter. Seconds later Reddington comes through the door and fires multiple shots at Tom, making sure this time he’s truly dead. He then walks over to Lizzie and says she should consider herself warned, which is when she wakes up from her nightmare clutching her service revolver.

We see a middle-aged prosperous looking man sitting at an outdoor café, when a younger man with a shaved head joins him at his table, and the first man’s mood changes radically. The bald guy tells the other man, his time’s up and the man replies he didn’t contact the police. The other guy responds that was smart otherwise they would have hurt his lovely family. The man asks if there’s another way and the bald guy responds, that’s the way they do things. The older man tips the table on his companion spilling everything on the other guy and makes a run for it.

He almost gets hit by an SUV and the driver comes out to find out what’s wrong with him. The man tells the driver he needs to save him, but the bald guy arrives, injects the older man with a sedative and then takes him to an ambulance. The man regains consciousness as he’s strapped to a gurney in a hospital hallway and he starts pleading with anyone and everyone. He’s wheeled into the operating room and the surgeon smiles at him and tells him he’s afraid his time’s up.

The next morning in the Bowery, the cops start to rouse the homeless from their slumber on the streets, when one cop sees a man lying face-down on the pavement in a pair of pants without a shirt and asks the guy what happened to his clothes. The uniform finally gets a clue and turns the man over, it’s the man who was the patient, lying there with a gaping hole in his chest and missing his heart.

Liz contacts Red and he identifies the man behind the surgery as Dr. James Covington, once a renowned heart and lung surgeon who got disbarred performing an illegal operation on a child. Prosecutors weighed pressing charges, but he fell off the grid. Raymond tells her that he now harvests organs for his clientele, people of means, many of them criminals. Others who’re too far down on a waiting list for a new organ, they pay a premium and Covington keeps them alive.

Meanwhile Red and one of his partners in the syndicate a middle-aged Greek man named Niko Demakis,  talk about Raymond’s desire to get the rights for a port that would earn the syndicate lots of money. Niko responds that they don’t have enough of a presence in the area to present themselves as credible candidates, but Red says they’ll just make a deeper investment. Niko tells Reddington that the local official’s not aligned with the syndicate, he’s fighting a war against Berlin and the other partners have concerns, but Red says he’ll handle things.

Later that day Niko meets with two other members of the syndicate, who also voice concerns over Red’s plans. Just then a slight man walks into the room and approaches the three men. They believe he’s stumbled into their meeting accidentally, but this man who looks like a yellow raisin in a Beatles wig, says No Niko, I’m exactly where I want to be. Turns out he says he’s a representative of Berlin named Mr. Vargas and he’s there to offer them a deal. However, before I continue, I need to reveal that the role of Mr. Vargas’ performed by Paul Reubens/AKA Pee Wee Herman.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Vargas tells the three men that Berlin would like them to join his operation and leave Reddington. None of the men from the syndicate seems comfortable in the situation, but they listen to what he has to say.

Back at headquarters, Keen and Don Ressler learn from their medical examiner, that the man’s heart wasn’t his to begin with; he had been the recipient in a heart transplant. He tells them he’s able to determine that from all the foreign tissue remaining in the victim’s chest cavity. The two agents go to see the man’s widow and they ask how there are no records for her husband ever receiving a heart transplant. The woman starts tearing up, saying they’ll kill her if she talks, but Liz tells her they can’t protect her unless she does.

Her husband’s heart was failing and too far down on the waiting list to use conventional channels, so he contacted Covington and got himself a new heart and a new lease on life. Unfortunately, business went down hill then he started swindling his own company, he faced criminal charges and they filed for bankruptcy. However the widow revealed that Covington doesn’t sell organs, he rents them at a fee of 500 grand a year, when money kept flowing no problem, but he couldn’t pay them this year and Covington ripped out the heart as an example to others thinking of avoiding payment.

The woman revealed that they sent all their payments to a charity, that was a front for Covington’s organization. They search the files and find a doctor that got paid a hefty sum from the charity and track him down. Turns out the doctor’s a medical examiner and he’s been the one harvesting organs for Covington. He tells the agents he’ll do what ever they ask if they’ll protect him. He tells them that he calls the facility when he gets a suitable organ and they send over a courier.

They setup a sting using a pig’s heart, which the medical examiner says would fool most people that it’s a human heart. The bald guy’s the courier, he looks at the heart calls the facility grabs  the case the organs enclosed in, jumps on his motorcycle and takes off. They start to prep their new patient, whose a crime lord known as BB. The guy on the bike spots Ressler and Keen and tries to escape, but gets slammed into by a truck and bites the dust. Although they lose the lead they find out about BB from the paperwork and Red happens to know him quite well.

Niko shows up at Red’s office with some pictures of the other two partners with Vargas on the street, he tells Raymond they accepted Vargas’ offer while he remained loyal to Reddington. He thanks Niko for the information and suggests they take a trip and confront the two men. Red, Niko and Dembe travel in Red’s SUV, while four of Red’s soldiers follow in another vehicle. Red and Niko approach the two men and ask why of the three of them, only Niko told him about the offer from Vargas. He then nods to the soldiers and both pairs of men grab one of the partners, while they beg Raymond not to do anything.

Niko and Vargas meet together, the plan was setup by Niko to rid Red of his allies and now he wants Vargas to eliminate Reddington. Vargas shouts that if Berlin wanted Red dead he would have killed him, but Niko says now the equations changed since he turned in two men who were loyal to Reddington. Vargas, snarls that he’ll get it done.

Red finds BB at a local bar and grill courting death with every bite. He approaches the gangster’s table and sees the pretty young girl whose his companion. Reddington brings up the operation and BB tells the sweet young thing to take a powder. Red tells him he wants to contact Covington and BB says he’s got a number for emergencies and he’s not about to give it to Red. All of a sudden the gangster starts grabbing at his chest and says he can’t breath. That’s due to the act that Red kept sending over free drinks to BB, that the gangster thought were from the house, but Raymond added a little something special to each cocktail, Viagra. Red shows BB the two paramedics that will help him as soon as he calls the doctor.

Aram’s able to track the call somewhat, but can only narrow down the signal to a five block radius and Liz and Don go out searching. They finally track down the right building and they burst in on Covington performing an operation, but it’s a lung-transplant on a 12-year-old boy. Children don’t get offered adult lungs on the normal waiting lists, but Covington’s saving this young boy’s life with this procedure. They allow the surgeon to conclude the surgery before arresting him and they boy will live.

Red shows up at Niko’s with Dembe and asks him what’s so important that they had to rush down. Niko tells him that he wanted to look Raymond in the eye when he tells him he’s out of the syndicate, then admits he accepted Vargas’ offer not the other two partners. Vargas then shows with two henchmen and all have guns pointed at Red. Raymond walks over to Vargas, says chrome’s so flashy in describing his pistol then takes the weapon from his hand. Vargas turns to Niko to inform him that actually he’s the one who got fooled and the other two partners come out in perfect health. Red then tells all they won the rights to run the port he was seeking, the local official that held things up, was due to get a heart transplant, but the operation got cancelled and the man died. The man who replaced him is totally aligned with the syndicate.

With that announcement Reddington shoots Niko in the heart killing him instantly. Mr. Vargas screams, how many times do I have to ask you to not shoot anyone until you clear me from the area. Red tells his soldiers to get Vargas a chair before he faints.

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

The Blacklist: The Formula

Photo Courtesy Of  NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Why did Raymond “Red” Reddington elude authorities all over the planet until he struck a deal with the FBI last year and why’s he remained one step ahead of all his adversaries on both sides of the law for so many years? Reddington’s intelligence’s a major factor, the man’s virtually a walking Wikipedia of knowledge, but there are plenty of really smart bad guys who get caught. The gift that Raymond possesses, that sets him apart and above all who challenge him, is his ability to take emotion out of the equation, it unnerves his opponents when Reddington starts spinning one of his tales to a man who’ll probably die within minutes.

That wasn’t the case when we first encountered the former government operative who shed his skin and turned into a master criminal in the second episode of the second season of the NBC series “The Blacklist.” His emotions frayed due to his adversary Berlin holding his former wife prisoner, Red’s lashing out and not finding out anything by his actions. However, we jump ahead. Let’s get back to the beginning of the episode.

We find ourselves in Warsaw, Poland, witnessing the robbery of a branch of the Monarch Douglas Bank. A group of men enter the bank in haz-mat suits and carrying automatic weapons. They scream to all the occupants to get down on the ground, then one of the crew gets on a laptop and apparently disabled all the electricity in the facility. One shouts to the others they have six minutes and the crew swarm through the facility emptying safety deposit boxes and most likely cash. As time gets close, the same man tells the others it’s time to go and they escape the bank undetected.

Now’s when we get our first glimpse of Reddington and he’s without his usual charm and good humor as “The Cleaner,” (Think of Harvey Keitel’s character the Wolf in “Pulp Fiction“) the oddly named Mr. Kaplan, (odd because Mr. Kaplan’s a woman whose first name’s Kate and played by Susan Blommaert) shows up to clean up the mess from Raymond’s latest temper-tantrum. She tells him that since his wife got kidnapped he’s been going in directions she’s uncomfortable with and he snaps at her telling her to just do her job.

As Mr. Kaplan goes about erasing evidence of the three men Red just killed, he receives a call telling him about the bank robbery in Poland. The news seems to put things in perspective for him and he apologizes to Mr. Kaplan, telling her that he’s pretty far out on a limb right now. Reddington calls his liaison with the FBI, Agent Liz Keen and tells her about the robbery and says they’ve got to meet and discuss the ramifications of the event.

When Reddington sits down with Keen, he explains that Monarch Douglas Bank’s headquartered in New York, which puts them under FBI jurisdiction. He tells Liz that the branch that got robbed is the biggest laundering center on the planet, that underworld kings, dictators and powerful people all over the world use the facility. He also says that the bank will attempt minimizing the event, she asks Reddington how much is the bank reporting being stolen and Red replies nothing. When she asks him how much he believe they lost in the robbery he responds everything.

Task Force Director Harold Cooper, limping but back in command orders Keen and agent Donald Ressler to Warsaw to investigate the robbery. When they arrive they meet an FBI agent stationed in Warsaw, whose been on the scene since the robbery got reported, they also meet a man named Strickland, the Vice President of the bank who flew out from New York, after receiving the news on the robbery. He apologizes for the original report from branch management that nothing got stolen, he says the bank got hit hard by the crew that pulled the job. He walks away with the bank manager and they speak in Polish; Strickland berates him for issuing the report that nothing got stolen. The manager says the only thing their customers only concern is “The Formula.” The executive agrees but tells him “The Formula’s” gone.

Although the crew disabled the banks video cameras Liz and Don discover there are city cameras on the corner directly in front of the bank and they get Amar to send them the video feed. The odd thing they notice, is while five crew members enter the bank, six exit and when they’re able to zoom the camera in on the added member, they realize it’s a woman who appears scared.

Reddington’s heading to Warsaw with Dembe, however before checking out he receives another present from Berlin, this time one of his former wife’s teeth. On the plane he checks in with Keen and Ressler and they tell him their latest discovery, Red replies that he’ll be there in three hours and for the two agents to keep digging.

They realize the woman who joined the crew on the way out’s a bank employee named Padra, as she’s the only one who punched in for work but neglected to punch out. The bank manager quickly says she had left the bank earlier as she got sick, but the local FBI agent shows his disdain with what the manager says. Ressler and Keen investigate the apartment building where Padra lived and spoke to the building manager, he told them she seemed nice but was always accompanied by guards. Donald’s phone rings and he’s informed authorities found the getaway van.

Through one of Raymond’s connections in Warsaw, they’re able to track down the apartment where Padra’s at and bust down the door with a SWAT Team, while she asks the agents why they are there? They tell her they came to rescues her, but she explains that’s what the crew did, they rescued her from being the bank’s prisoner. Padra’s “The Formula.”

Liz and Donald transfer Padra to a safe-house and tell Cooper that the FBI agent stationed in Poland’s going to meet them there. Padra tells the agents that if the police know where she’s hiding, Strickland will as well. The Vice President’s in New York while she’s being shuttled, as he’s meeting with Berlin, whose afraid he’s not going to access his funds for a pending deal. Strickland assures Berlin nothing will interrupt the transaction and the one-armed man responds, that if anything goes awry, he’ll peel Strickland like a grape.

Padra possess a gift, a truly photographic memory, she demonstrates it to the agents by having them pick a random date and she tells them what happened to her and what events took place in the world on the day. The bank uses her brain instead of having a paper or digital trail, she’s able to memorize every transaction and account number for the bank. The only place the information’s stored is in her brain, there’s no backup, so eventually she went from being an employee to a prisoner of the corporation.

Liz monitoring the conversation in a separate room gets joined by the FBI agent stationed in Warsaw and he tells her he’s turning Padra over to the local police. Keen starts arguing with him and the other agent slugs her in the jaw, the two pummel each other, then the other agent pulls out his weapon. Liz bites his hand holding the pistol and he accidentally shoots out the one way mirror between the two rooms, finally alerting Ressler. They stop the agent, who says they don’t understand this involves national security. Mossad agent Samar Navabi (Mozhan Marnò) who we met in last week’s episode suddenly shows up, tells the agents they’re outgunned but she’ll hold off the attackers while Liz, Donald and Padra flee the house and jump into a taxi, however Padra gets hit with shrapnel in the abdomen and starts bleeding heavily.

They soon realize the cab’s stuck in traffic and will not help them escape. They run out of the cab and Red and Dembe meet them, take Padra with them to get medical assistance on his private jet and tells the agents they have first-class seats back to the States with the airlines. When the agents return to Washington and meet with Cooper, they realize Red engineered everything to get his former wife back from Berlin. At that exact moment, Red calls Berlin from his plane and tells him it’s time they meet.

When Red met the man claiming that he was Berlin in last season’s finale, he told the man although he prides himself on his memory for faces, he couldn’t place the man. He doesn’t make the same statement to the real Berlin, instead he asks him if all the killing and bloodshed was worth it and his adversary responds, yes as it fueled his passion, revenge. Raymond told him that revenge was a disease not a passion, that eventually it would kill him. Berlin then glares at Red and tells him his wife’s coming apart, very well.

We can see Red just about to start to lose it and give into his temper, but he masters the moment, allowing just his lips to move slightly, before telling Berlin they’ve got a common enemy, the person who told Berlin that Reddington killed his daughter. He then tells Berlin that he’s going to give Red back his wife and Berlin starts to smile and asks why he believes that. Raymond informs Berlin that he’s got  “The Formula,” and right now Red’s controlling all of Berlin’s assets in an account where he can never access them. So Berlin can release Red’s former wife and the two can keep fighting each other, or Berlin can kill the former Mrs. Reddington and wind up dead broke. Berlin agrees to make the deal.

Red finally contacts Lizzie and she tells she knows his plans, they’re with Padra right now and they’ll freeze all of Berlin’s assets rather than allow him to get them back. She tells him that his former wife’s life’s not worth all the people that will get killed by Berlin’s actions. Red says he’s still going to the meeting, but Keen yells that Berlin’s going to kill him when the money’s not there, however Raymond already hung up.

Red and Dembe meet Berlin and his men, they release Red’s former wife and Dembe gives them the laptop with all the routing information and the transaction completes. Red’s former wife’s blindfolded, so she doesn’t see him, he just stares at her for a few seconds then gives her to Dembe to return her to her husband. Berlin blows Reddington a kiss and gets in his vehicle and off they go.

Liz and Raymond meet in the final scene and he thanks her for transferring the funds. She responds, he’s a Federal asset and her job’s to protect him, but anyone killed by Berlin’s actions will be on Red’s head.

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

The Blacklist: Berlin’s Revenge On Reddington

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) started the second season of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” in Cameroon, lying down in the back of a jeep as two vehicles filled with teenage soldiers (one with him in it) engaged in a firefight down a jungle road. Thankfully for red the youngsters in his vehicle blew up their rivals with a rocket launcher, taking him to the camp of a warlord with whom he shared a “bumpy past,” which we realize when he tells Red that he told him the next time he’d see him he’d kill him.

Reddington, ever the charmer told his host that he had actually found him, because he had a business proposition for him. He told his old mate that an operative known as Berlin’s doing his best to kill him. Berlin had one bounty hunter working for him in Tom Keen and Reddington knew there were more. He showed his host the box he brought with him contained three million dollars, the warlord had 30 seconds to accept the money to reveal the name of others working for Berlin. The man laughed and asked what would happen if he didn’t accept the offer in time and Red replied he’d make it rain fire around them. Once again the man started to laugh, but it got caught in his throat when an area about 500 yards away exploded. Raymond told his host he possessed three Hellfire missiles and unless the warlord gave him his phone they would come closer and closer. Seconds later the second missile hit and the man said the person went by a Royal title, such as Prince or Duke. Red realized that the person that Berlin sent after him was Lord Baltimore, whose talent’s finding people on the internet that don’t want their location discovered.

Meanwhile back in the states Liz Keen’s living life on the run, moving from hotel to motel, all under aliases trying to keep Berlin from tracking her whereabouts, as well as her former husband Tom, whom she may or may not have killed in a struggle in the first season finale. She meets Red in a park and he tells her that Lord Baltimore’s in town and after him. However when Liz discusses the case with her colleagues, their tech guy Aram Mojtabai, (Amir Arison) knows of Lord Baltimore as his feats of tracking people are legendary in tech circles, but he tracks people by their digital footprint, something Reddington’s made sure he’s never acquired. So Aram suspects that Lord Baltimore’s looking for somebody close to Red, such as any member of their task-force. Agent Meera Malik got killed by Berlin’s people last year and Task Force director Harold Cooper’s (Harry Lennix) still recovering from the attack on him.

Aram checks local data security companies in the area and finds an analyst for one of the firms had her account and her computer attacked on two separate occasions. Keen and Agent Don Kessler, (Diego Klattenhoff) go interview the analyst a young woman named Rowan Mills. Rowan and her company verify that she hadn’t hacked her account on either occasion, they in fact have proof the hack came from an outside computer. She tells the agents she has no idea why she’s being targeted. Kessler and Keen believe her and start exploring other possibilities.

Once again Aram gets closer to whom Lord Baltimore’s tracking, he tells Liz that it’s a woman with very specific traits including subscribing to the Wall Street Journal and Cat Fancy Magazine. Keen contacts Red and seconds later he tells Liz that the woman they’re looking for is Naomi Highland, when Keen asks how Reddington can know it’s her, he tells Liz that’s his former wife.

Keen and Kessler find that Rowan’s got a second apartment she’s been hiding from them, but the analyst says she’s never been to the apartment before. When they ask how could there be photographs of her on the walls, she informs them of her twin sister Nora, who supposedly got killed seven years earlier. With all these strange occurrences she questions whether Nora really died.

Nora got molested by their male cousin from about ages seven through twelve but although she confided in Rowan, her sister thought she was making it up. After a while she told her entire family but nobody believed her. The sisters had a falling out and Nora took a job out of the country and was reportedly killed, but her body was never recovered.

In a home in the suburbs three middle-aged couples are enjoying their evening together when one of the wives, Naomi Highland (Mary Louise Parker) realizes something’s terribly wrong as there are federal agents outside her house flashing their badges. She opens her door and the first words out of her mouth are “Is He Back?”

Liz interviews her and she’s indeed Raymond’s ex-wife whom he left when he left working for the Government and became an operative for hire. She tells Lizzie that the agencies thought she was lying about her lack of knowledge concerning her former husband for the longest time. When she finally convinced them she was innocent they moved her and their daughter into relocation with new identities. Her current husband has no idea about her former life.

Rowan’s at home when a vaguely familiar looking young man comes into her home and tells her he’s not there to hurt her, he just wants her to listen to something. He puts an LP on her stereo and an old song starts playing, at first Rowan’s confused and disoriented by the music, then suddenly turns into another person, her sister Nora. Nora never died, in fact she came back and killed Rowan and tried to take her places as the good and happy sister, however the trauma of killing her twin was too much for her mind to accept. So she had compartmentalized Nora and Rowan, with Nora being awaked by that song.

Nora’s an expert marksman and setup across the street from the Highland’s house she’s able to stun all the occupants with Tasers. Liz pulls the spikes out of her arm in time to capture Nora and her handler, but Berlin’s people kidnap Naomi. While incarcerated Liz connects with Nora after playing the song, but by the time they find the last location she knew Naomi was the trail got cold.

Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) and Red are staying at a new hotel when Dembe answers the door and there’s a package for Raymond. He opens it and out drops a cellphone, he hits redial and he’s connected with Berlin (Peter Stormare.) His nemesis tells Reddington he’s going to send his wife to him just like Raymond sent Berlin’s daughter to him, one piece at a time. Red opens a box and the top third of Naomi’s index finger’s inside a box.

The Story Continues Next Monday Night On NBC.

NJATVS Preview: The Blacklist

Photo: Courtesy Of NBC
Photo: Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Perhaps one of the biggest injustices of this past Summer, was the choice of the people in charge of the nominations for the Emmy Awards, who decided that James Spader’s performance in the NBC series “The Blacklist,” wasn’t worthy of a nomination for best lead actor in a Dramatic Series. The decision was truly laughable, as Spader in the guise of Raymond “Red” Reddington, owned the screen whenever he was on it. Spader got blessed receiving the role of a lifetime and he’s played it perfectly. The first season was one of the few freshman hits of last season and season two may reach new heights over the next few months.

Reddington’s a former United States Intelligent Agent, who went rogue years ago and became a mastermind in the criminal world. Eluding capture and with authorities clueless about his whereabouts, he turned himself in at FBI Headquarters in Washington in the series pilot. He was willing to join forces with the Bureau, giving them information from his Blacklist, some of the most dangerous criminals on the planet. He did however have one condition, he would only work with rookie agent Elizabeth Keen, fresh out of the Academy. When contacted Keen had no knowledge of Reddington but agreed to join the task-force and be the interface with Reddington.

We would find out that there’s a connection between Reddington and Keen, although we don’t know what it is. The show has led us to believe that he’s Keen’s birth-father, but he has denied it twice. We do know however, that Red had a longtime friendship with Lizzie’s adopted father, who was dying of cancer last year. He wanted to tell Lizzie the truth of her existence, but Reddington smothered him with a pillow to keep the information secret.

Lizzie’s seemingly idyllic home-life’s just an illusion as the man she’s married to who she believes is a school teacher named Tom Keen’s actually an agent for a criminal named Berlin. He made Keen fall in love and marry him, so that he could exploit the connection between Lizzie and Red. The agent starts the season blissfully unaware, but events occur throughout the season that reveals who the man she married really is. We thought that Lizzie killed Tom during a physical battle in the season finale, but later found out he survived and escaped.

Berlin’s out to kill Reddington, ostensibly in retaliation for the death of his beloved daughter, but that story maybe concocted. However he most likely will be at least a part of the second season premiere, as Red attempts to elude death and eliminate Berlin as a threat. The first season was a wild and exciting ride and season two promises to bring more of the same.

The Blacklist Premieres Monday September 22, at 10:00pm on NBC.