Peter Stormare

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Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The NBC series “The Blacklist,” concluded it’s Fall Season with one of the best episodes in the history of the show, filled with intrigue, espionage, strange alliances and multiple deaths. It answered lots of questions fans had throughout the series, while leaving them pondering new ones that arose in this hour, chief among them, what’s The Fulcrum? (More on that later.) The series goes on hiatus, replaced by “Katherine Heigl Saves The World,” then returns on February 1, following the biggest annual television event in this country, as NBC hosts the Super Bowl. That should lead to a lot of exposure for one of the finest shows on Broadcast TV.

The first thing on our screens, was a graphic stating four months earlier, then we watch FBI Agent Liz Keen, shoot her make-believe husband Tom, actually a spy for Red’s adversary Berlin. Reddington wanted to finish him off, but Keen said she needed to do it and told Raymond to leave. We ended the first season believing Tom had died, but in the opening montage, we find out what really occurred. Liz saved Tom instead of killing him, with a little help from her friends, a doctor who patched Tom up, a man who owned a boat sitting in a harbor unused and a heavyset man with an earing who babysat him. Liz kept him imprisoned on the boat for four months, his ankles manacled to the floor.

Using his knowledge to help track Berlin and his adversaries, Keen utilized the information for her own agenda, including setting up the meeting with Berlin in the previous episode. Tom supplied the name of an arms dealer for the Russian and Lizzie forced him to arrange a meeting, that Red showed up at, along with Berlin’s daughter, that he thought Reddington had killed.

That meeting was the first new scene in this episode as Berlin, attempted to overcome the shock that his daughter was standing next to him. Red then asked his adversary to explain why he believed Reddington had killed his daughter, nearly a quarter century before. Berlin then told Raymond that it began in 1991, as the Soviet Union started to collapse. He was a member of the KGB and attending a meeting of the senior brass, to come up with a plan to stem the revolt. While discussing their options, the building got hit by a bomb, killing 12 officials as well as any hopes of keeping the Soviet Union intact. They believed the bombing, was the work of an American and they thought Reddington masterminded the plan. His daughter went to jail as a dissident, he got shipped to a labor camp as her arrest tarnished his reputation. Then she got released from the prison and disappeared, Berlin started receiving body-parts, thinking they were his daughter’s.

Red asked Zoe what happened to her and she explained she got contacted by a man promising to give her a new life in the States and most importantly, keep her father from finding her. Red asked the man’s name and she told him she never met him, they just spoke on the phone, but his people referred to him as “The Decembrist.” Red tells Berlin, he may contact him soon about “The Decembrist,” and they all part company. Red contacts Lizzie and asks her to obtain any information on the mystery man.

The Task-Force techie, Aram Mojtabai’s an amazing man in my eyes, as each episode he finds a major clue that helps the Task-Force solve their Crime Of The Week. Mojtabai, impressed again in this episode as he found reports that “The Decembrist’s,” DNA was found on the recovered edges of the bomb that killed the KGB officials, but at the time the DNA database of this era didn’t exist. Aram ran the DNA against the database and found out that he’s an official for the Russian Government. Liz calls Red to give him the name of  “The Decembrist,” but puts him on hold when a call comes through from Tom’s babysitter, telling her to get to the harbor pronto. She tells Red, she needs to go, repeats the name twice and hangs up the phone. Reddington realizes something’s amiss.

Keen arrives at the boat and gets sick to her stomach, an elderly security guard for the harbor, who came checking on the boat earlier in the episode, but got intercepted by Liz, came back and discovered Tom, while the big guy went to have a smoke. He’s now tied up and the babysitter asks Liz what to do. The elderly man says this is FBI official business and he’ll keep his mouth shut, but Tom keeps insisting they need to kill him. Keen’s about to release the man, when Tom hoists himself up by some bars on the ceiling, wraps his legs around the old man’s neck and starts choking the life out of him. The big guy holds back Liz, until she grabs her weapon and shoots him in the foot. But the old man’s dead by the time she gets free.

Red meets with Berlin, who asks if “The Decembrist’s,” taken care of and Reddington replies not yet, then asks Berlin if he’d like to join him on a trip to Moscow? By the time they arrive, Berlin’s men ambushed the Russian official’s security team in an elevator and the pair meet the Russian as the elevator doors open. After some quick questions, Red realizes he’s not  “The Decembrist,” and asks who is? He reveals he’s United States Government official and Raymond’s partner in the cartel, Alan Fitch. Berlin then shoots and kills the Russian and even Red, thinks that’s too much. He then tells Berlin, it’s hands-off on Fitch and Berlin responds, yeah right! Raymond calls Dembe and tells him to call the florist.

Legendary actor Alan Alda, has portrayed Fitch for the show’s two-seasons a very shady and mysterious character, who viewers realize is an official with the U.S. Government, but the series never revealed what his position was, until this episode. Turns out the man involved in a secret global cartel’s the Assistant Director of National Security, as we find out during a meeting he’s part of. He then sees a delivery boy holding a large potted white flower, apparently a signal to meet with Red.

The two allies meet and Red asks Fitch if he let Berlin believe, that Raymond kidnapped and murdered his daughter and the explanation sounds like Alan got really ticked off when Red left the Intelligence Community. He also said that they had yet to hammer out an agreement, so this didn’t count as betrayal. Red offers Alan protection, but Fitch feels pretty secure with his Government security. He should’ve accepted Red’s offer.

Fitch and an aide, exit a building talking business, when a motorcade approaches, two men step out of the lead car, identify themselves as Secret Service Agents and ask the two men to enter the vehicle. They keep speaking when the “agent” in the passenger seat shoots the aide. The driver then says to his contact on the other end of the phone line, they have the package in Russian. Berlin’s men kidnapped Fitch.

They find where they’re hiding Fitch surprisingly easily, and quickly kill all the guards, then they see the bad news, Fitch has an incredibly complicated bomb, strapped around his head and neck. The bomb squad arrives and they’re stumped by the device, they transport Alan to the Task-Force headquarters, as they have a case that can contain the blast of a bomb. Fitch’s put inside with three men from the bomb squad and as time ticks away without progress, it’s down to one man. Alan’s aware the squad member can’t disarm the bomb and tells him to leave the container, then asks Harold Cooper to get him Red.

He tells Reddington, that with him dying, Red’s in tough shape with the cartel. Fitch then says many in the group doesn’t believe he has it, then he asks Raymond if he’s got the Fulcrum, Red remains silent, but Alan says they’ll want proof. He then gives him the combination to his safe, 8-30-44, his wife’s birthday. He says the safe’s in St. Petersburg in the wall of….. the bomb detonates. Red picks up Zoe in his car and asks if her father’s contacted her and by the glare she aims at him, we realize the answer’s yes.

So, what’s the Fulcrum? Well, Wikipedia’s first two references are a Marvel Comic Book Series and the English language paper for the University of Ottawa, both doubtful that’s what the cartel’s searching for. However, digging a bit deeper the Mikoyan MiG-29, a jet manufactured by the Soviets in the early eighties is also known as the Fulcrum. It’s described as an “Air superiority fighter, multirole fighter,” could this plane be the item the cartel covets? Most likely not, but it’s sure to prove an intriguing question when the show returns.

Liz heads back to the boat where it’s just Tom and the old man’s corpse. Tom starts playing with her mind saying her only choice’s freeing him. That could’ve been the moment when she realized she couldn’t kill him, so she makes a deal that if Tom gets an address for Berlin, she’ll set him free. She tells Ressler about what’s going on and he mildly flips out, telling Keen how wrong this all is. Tom calls his old contact number on a payphone but the operator tells him his codes obsolete, he tells the woman to tell Berlin to call Tom Keen. Seconds later the Russian’s on the phone telling Tom he thought he died, Tom replies he needs to get brought in, but Berlin’s hesitant until Tom starts inferring threats. Tom gives Liz the number, she removes his ankle bracelet and Ressler threatens to track him down.

At that same moment Berlin’s elated as Zoe’s joined him for lunch and he’s beaming like a school boy. He sees his daughter’s uncomfortable with his security guards, he sends them outside. She says she needs to leave, but he pleads for her to stay a while longer. Dembe and Red walk in, Red gives Zoe a passport and money and wishes her a happy life, as the pain registers on his face due to his daughter’s betrayal. Red pulls out a fifth of vodka and the two men drain it. As soon as Berlin puts his glass down Raymond unloads a round of shots into his chest killing him instantly.

Red enters the Task-Force headquarters and says Elizabeth we have to speak, a name he hasn’t used since the pilot. We see the anger in his eyes as he asks why she lied about Tom being  dead. She begins to make an excuse when he cuts her off and tells her if she told Red she’d need to admit, she still loved Tom. She breaks down and asks what’s wrong with her and Raymond responds nothing, then kisses her forehead.

The final scene we follow a cleaned up Tom into a bar, first we see Dembe, then Red sitting alone in a booth. Tom sits down and Red gives him an envelope and Tom explores the inside making sure he got what he wanted, then rises and starts to leave. Reddington says Tom’s never to see Liz again and Tom says gotcha. Raymond grabs his wrist and tells Tom to look at his face, then repeats himself. Tom says Lizzie held him prisoner for four-months and never talked about Tom and Red’s relationship. On that bombshell we now wait until February 1.

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.