Season Five Episode Three

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Photo Courtesy Of Will Hart/NBC


This week’s episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” contained more twists and turns than a ride along the California coast, on US Highway 101. Although this installment featured some very funny moments, the tone in general was far darker than the first two episodes of season five, beginning with the opening sequence. The Task-Force spent the hour attempting top stop a very deadly member of the Blacklist, while Raymond, Dembe, and some friends both old and new, focused on acquiring Reddington some new assets.

Aside from the two main storylines, the bones inside the valise got closer to being identified, while Donald Ressler’s fixer started calling in favors, so he’d remain mum about the FBI Agent’s involvement in the death of Laurel Hitchin. Plus Raymond had to part ways with the Terra Vista Motor Lodge, after some criminals tracked his new location.

Rather than going with our usual play-by-play format in this recap, We’re going to change things up concentrate more on the bullet-points of the episode, and what they signify in the short-term, as well as how the season progresses. Although the Task-Force and Raymond and company, took two different paths throughout the evening, we saw the paths intersect as the hour came to its conclusion.

The Blacklist Members Of The Week

The Task-Force found themselves investigating what appeared to be a rash of “Killer-Cops,” uniforms paid to execute innocent victims, who had the misfortune to get scammed by a shady financial company. Waterday Financial made deals withy some plaintiffs in a class-action suit, that caused the plaintiffs brain-damage due to lead-paint exposure as children. Waterday took advantage of the plaintiffs limited mental capabilities and gave them a lump-sum payout, for far less money than they would have received through the original settlement.

The company took out six figure life-insurance policies on the plaintiffs, then coerced police officers in tight financial situations to kill the plaintiffs, while making it look like a good kill in the line of duty. We watched one of the executions play out during the opening sequence, as two young uniformed patrolman enter the apartment of a junkie on parole, with a  warrant for his arrest. The officers split up to search the premises, and one of the patrolman named McGinnis finds the suspect washing dishes.

The suspect asks for mercy because he’s been using and doesn’t want his parole officer to find out, but something’s hinky. McGinnis stands in front of the suspect Scottie Stansbury, shaking with his weapon drawn. He then whispers “Sorry Scottie,” and pumps a shot into his chest, killing Stansbury instantly. His partner Parker shouts for McGinnis, who quickly pulls another gun from his sock, fires two shots into the wall and puts the gun in the dead man’s hand. Parker assumes that McGinnis had no choice but to shoot the suspect, and McGinnis pretends that’s what occurred,

The patrolman’s questioned by his chief, who tells him he’s certain that McGinnis’ will get cleared by Internal Affairs, but he’s got to go home and get a lawyer. Instead we watch him meet a blonde attractive woman wearing dark glasses in his car. She informs him that the money’s gotten transferred into his account, and the patrolman says he didn’t think carrying out the execution would be that hard. The woman responds that the officer’s still alive, unlike Scottie Stansbury.

Raymond gives Lizzie Keen the heads-up that McGinnis executed Stansbury, and that the dirty cop would lead to the next member on the Blacklist. Keen informs the Task-Force, and Cooper send her and Ressler out to interview the two patrolman, with Keen getting assigned to interrogate McGinnis. She meets with Ressler after the interrogation, and tells her partner that the cop’s dirty.

Keen and Ressler go to speak with Scottie’s parents and their attorney, who identifies herself as Rebecca Thrall, but she’s the blonde that met with McGinnis earlier. We find out That Scottie suffered brain-damage due to the lead-paint exposure and that he made the deal to accept the lump-settlement without discussing it with them. The parents break down crying when they say that the officer murdered their boy, and that Scottie never had anything to do with guns.

Ressler’s cellphone keeps ringing while he and Keen are interviewing the parents, it’s Henry Prescott demanding that Ressler get a car out of the police impound immediately, or he’ll call his boss. Liz asks what’s going on and Donald says that a friend of his is in trouble and he’s attempting to help him. Keen tells Ressler that she’s got the situation handled and go help his friend. Ressler calls Prescott, and says he’s not his errand boy, Prescott replies that the agent’s his indentured servant. Donald says that if Prescott says anything he’ll implicate himself as well, the fixer says that Ressler doesn’t know if Prescott’s willing to do just that, then threatens the agent to call his bluff.

Aram does some digging and discovers that Waterday, not only paid out the lump settlement to Stansbury, they also recently gave a substantial loan to Officer McGinnis. Keen and Samar question Waterday Financial executive named Johnson, who tells the agents that the situation’s just circumstantial. He says that the company’s granted a large number of loans this year, and quite a lot of them were granted to police officers. He also tells the agents that they only got reimbursed for $62 thousand of the $100 thousand they paid to Stansbury, so they lost a substantial amount of money when he died.

Keen asks to look at the company’s records, and Johnson asks her if she’s got a warrant? She responds that she could get one, and he scoffs at her and says good luck trying. He tells her it’s far more difficult to secure such a warrant than she imagines. He tells her and Navabi to come back when they get one, and he’s correct as the court refuses the request.

Rebecca Thrall’s in the midst of recruiting a female State Police Officer to execute their next victim. The officer’s sister needs a life-saving operation, and her getting involved with Thrall’s her only means of having the funds to pay for the surgery. Still the officer hesitates about crossing the line, but Thrall makes it seem as if the officer will actually be carrying out an act of mercy. The intended victim’s named Robert Urwiller, he’s suffered brain damage due to the lead-paint exposure and has quite a lengthy rap-sheet. Thrall says that Urwiller suffers from constant physical pain as well, and the officer would be doing a good deed by taking him out of his misery.

Thrall heads back to her apartment, and we see that she’s got a kinky side, as there’s a man waiting for her tried up and encased in a black rubber suit, with what looks like an elephant’s trunk that allows him to breathe. Rebecca asks her plaything if he’s happy to see her, and the man nods his head enthusiastically. She smiles and starts to get undressed, telling the man she’s glad to see him too.

After the court refuses to grant the warrant, Aram does some more digging and comes up with some very damning information on Waterday. Turns out the company took out a $5 million life insurance policy on Scottie Stansbury, and three other plaintiffs in the class-action suit. The other three also died at the hands of police officers, and the three officers in the other cases all got substantial loans from Waterday just before the deaths. He’s also determined that the next victim will be Robert Urwiller.

The Task-Force gets the warrant and access to Waterday’s financial records. Turns out that Johnson’s, Thrall’s rubber-suited lover, as we find out when his assistant calls him while the couple are playing. Johnson tells his assistant that he’ll return to the office immediately, and then tells Rebecca to release him, that they’re in deep trouble. She tells her playmate that they’re not in trouble, the Feds are in his office going through his files. She then closes up the rubber suit and suffocates him inside it.

While Liz and Samar try to find Urwiller, before it’s too late, Ressler’s down at the impound yard getting Prescott’s car. The vehicle’s got a flat so Donald opens the trunk to pull out the spare. Just then Cooper calls and tells Ressler that they need him in helping to stop the cop from killing Urwiller. He says he’s got the situation handled, but then sees a corpse in the car’s trunk. He tells Cooper he’s on his way.

Urwiller goes into a convenience store and asks for two scratch tickets, as the officer sits in her cruiser looking at a picture of her sister. When Urwiller gets into his car and drives off, she follows him. Aram keeps trying to reach Urwiller on his cellphone, but the man doesn’t answer, however Liz and Samar are in pursuit. The officer sounds her siren and flashes her lights and Urwiller pulls over to the side of the road. She asks him for his license and registration, but he suddenly looks up in horror as the officer’s got her weapon pointed at his head. Navabi and Keen arrive just in time to stop her.

Donald arrives a short time later driving Prescott’s car and proceeds to tell Liz that the car’s his buddy’s and there’s a corpse in the trunk and he’s going to dump the body for him. Liz apparently believes he’s kidding as she responds sarcastically. Navabi says that the cop refuses to talk and Ressler asks if he can give it a try.

He tells the officer a parable about a poor Mongolian man’s brought into a wealthy man’s office, and he’s offered $1 million if he pushes the red button on the wealthy man’s desk. If he pushes the button, an old man in Mongolia will die, he’s not told who or why, only that it will be good for the people. The man pushes the button and receives the money and goes home, but he never spends the money and eventually kills himself. He then says a friend recently told him that everybody has a Mongolian peasant in their lives, something we’re ashamed of, and as soon as somebody finds that secret they can make you do or say anything, either to cover it up or atone.

The officer confesses and then she calls Thrall and tells her she didn’t kill Urwiller. Rebecca says they still have time and she asks to meet with the officer. Thrall arrives at the designated meeting spot, sees the cruiser and attempts to shoot the cop through the driver’s side window, but her bullets don’t penetrate the bullet proof glass. Ressler comes out of hiding and cuffs her, recognizing her as the Stansbury’s attorney.

Ressler meets up with Henry Prescott and asks whose the corpse? Prescott, responds that Ressler’s mission was to recover a car, nothing more. The fixer tells Donald that he’ll be in touch soon with details about his next favor. We’re left to wonder how long Donald will suffer his Mongolian peasant.

Raymond’s Latest Scheme.

While the Task-Force were in the midst of stopping Waterday’s execution plans, Raymond and Dembe attempted to pay off an outstanding debt, that put Reddington in considerable danger while trying to gain something for themselves in the bargain. Unfortunately Red had to leave his beloved Terra Vista Motor Lodge, after three goons ransacked his room. Raymond came back to the room to find a note left by the trio saying Rivera wants you.

Raymond and Dembe easily tracked down the goons and ambushed them. The leader of the trio told Reddington that he owed their boss Rivera a shipment of guns for a couple of months, and either Red delivered the weapons, or Rivera’s gang of assassins would take him out. Raymond told the leader that he’d have his weapons within 36-hours. Dembe asked Raymond how he could pull off a seemingly impossible task, Reddington replied that the task was merely improbable.

Tom and Nik meet up with a former classmate of Korpal’s who gave up medicine and got involved with criminal activities, but Nik says the dude’s brilliant and he can help identify the bones inside the suitcase. Nik’s friend Pete and Tom don’t hit it off, but Korpal convinces the two of them to work together.

Usually when Raymond pays Glen Carter a visit at the DMV, Reddington will get stuck there for hours as his foil loves to watch Red’s agitation reach extreme levels. However this time the diminutive finder of lost persons, felt nothing but pity for the former Concierge Of Crime, and brought him into his office promptly. Raymond asked Jellybean to borrow $1 million for 48-hours, Carter gave him a hard time at first, but then broke into a grin opened up his arms and said “Who loves you baby?” Reddington managed a weak smile in return.

Reddington met with Smokey Putnam and Heddy Hawkins at a diner, to come up with plans to either build or acquire an airstrip. The two former partners-in-crime, that Raymond rescued from prison to utilize their services, were too busy arguing to formulate a plan. Red told the pair that he was leaving the project in their hands and asked them not shed each others blood while working together. Tom arrived at the diner just as the conversation was concluding, and Raymond told him that he had a role for him in his latest business venture.

Reddington, Keen and Dembe paid a visit to Adika Buhari, a second-rate gun-runner, previously the object of Raymond’s disdain, a man Red once referred to as a walrus. Reddington introduced Keen as Heath Edwards his munitions expert, he said that he wouldn’t accept any guns without Edwards inspecting them first. Buhari asked about the money and Raymond replied that wouldn’t be a problem, However the gun-runner responded that word on the street’s money’s Raymond’s biggest problem.

Just then we hear Jellybean’s voice, as he apologizes for arriving late. Buhari asks who he is and Glen gives an alias and says he’s the money guy, then opens up his briefcase revealing the million in cash. Buhari demands that he hold the money for collateral, Reddington says he can hold Edwards for collateral. The gun-runner agrees and they take Tom as their prisoner.

Hawkins and Putnam find a great plot of land for the airstrip, however the lands covered in trees and shrubbery. That’s not a problem for Smokey as he brings a crew of men with chain saws, and two former circus elephants to help clear the land. The pachyderms drag trees behind them like toothpicks and the landing strip’s finished just moments before the gun-runner’s jet appears on the horizon.

Although Buhari complains of the rough landing, the plane lands safely and after Edwards’ checks out the weapons, money’s exchanged and Raymond starts talking about a fruitful long-term partnership. Suddenly sirens are heard in the distance and Reddington asks Buhari what he’s done. The area’s soon filled with vehicles as the ATF arrive to bust the entire crew.

Raymond and Tom get put together in a paddy-wagon and Keen goes nuts, incredulous that he came to help Red because Liz asked him to and now he’s heading to prison for life. He says his only consolation’s knowing that at least Red will no longer have any involvement with Liz or Agnes. He says that Raymond tells Liz he never lies to her, but he knows better.

A short time later, Keen and Reddington get released from the paddy-wagon. Raymond set-up Buhari, and the gun-runner and Blacklist member, now was in government custody. Raymond wound up with the jet which Harold knew about, and the shipment of guns to alleviate the debt to Rivera, which Harold didn’t have knowledge of. Tom gets a call from Nik, Pete was able to get DNA from a tooth. Tom thanks him and asks him to keep him updated.

The final scene featured an unusual pairing, as Raymond and Donald told each other they didn’t have much respect for each other before they teamed up on the Task-Force. However Raymond said that Ressler’s earned and won his respect over the years, and if Donald ever found himself in a bind, Reddington would gladly rectify the situation. Ressler smiled and said not a chance.

The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 8:00pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Gareth loves the sound of his own voice. So much so that he can’t stop talking, even as he’s eating Bob’s leg.

After Terminus fell, he explains, the group struck camp “here” (outside a building that’s filled with walkers). They marked their way across the woods as they searched for Rick’s group. They’ve been planning to hunt and eat them since their home (or, gross cannibal slaughterhouse) burned down. They’ve planned to exact revenge and eat their enemies from the beginning. Maybe the group should have listened to Rick and gone back to finish them off, after all.

Bob weeps. Gareth tries to justify the prospect of Terminus. It was sanctuary at first, and then it wasn’t, and so they would give people a choice: either join them, or feed them. Bears in the wild will eat their cubs if they’re starving. They’re going to destroy Rick and company because they attacked them. Blah, blah, blah, Gareth. It’s hard to believe anything you have to say, even with your natural, no-nonsense, white-boy demeanor, when you’ve got a greasy chunk of human flesh hanging out of your mouth. It’s all very richly shot—hazy waves of firelight catches the filthy, self-loathing faces of the Termites (I’m falling in line with Hardwick’s nickname for the group). It reflects on the window panes of the adjacent building, obscuring the dozens of walker hands that paw at the glass. Bob’s weeping turns to choked sobs. Then, the choked sobs turn to laughter. They sickening haze of smoke from Bob’s fire-roasted leg hangs in the air as he laughs and laughs. It seems they’ve made a mistake.

He rips open his shirt to reveal the bite wound he received earlier, at the food bank.

Termites, I wonder, were any of you concerned about pink slime hamburger meat before the zombie apocalypse?

Everyone begins vomiting, but Gareth is confident that, since they cooked the meat, they won’t be infected. Such a cool head in a frenzied storm, that one. I suppose once you start eating human flesh, all your other problems seem small enough to manage.

Back at the church, Sasha has noticed that Bob is missing and is in the woods looking for him. She wastes a few walkers, and she’s possibly in over her head, but she’s backed up by Tyreese and Rick in the nick of time. She insists that she saw someone stalking the camp through the night-vision scope on her gun, but Rick corrals her back inside.

They’ve noticed that Carol and Daryl are missing as well, and Sasha has had exactly enough of all of this shit. Between Gabriel’s trembling and strange behavior that nearly got them all killed, Bob nearly dying at the food bank, and the message carved into the church, she wants to know Gabriel’s story. He begins to sob, and explains: He locked the church doors at night as he always did. In the early hours of the morning, his congregation convened on the church, seeking refuge as the walkers began to overrun everything nearby. But, Gabriel became terrified of their screams, and remained hidden inside the church.

His congregation was subsequently ripped apart by a passing herd, and he’s constantly haunted by their screams.

And he kinda should.

The group seems satisfied to know the truth, but the three missing among them is still a problem. There’s a noise outside. The Termites have left Bob, unconscious, just outside. He’s hustled inside, and reveals everything—Gareth’s plan to kill everyone, the fact that Daryl and Carol drove off, and that he’s been bitten.

They lay Bob out to die on the sofa in Gabriel’s office, but there’s never much time to mourn in this world. Gabriel says that the school that Bob described is a ten minute walk away. Abraham, of course, wants to bail immediately and head to DC in the bus. Rick refuses to leave with so many missing. The confrontation is very Alpha Male vs. Alpha Male, as Abraham wants to take the bus since he got it running, and Rick is unwilling to let it go. Abraham insists that getting Eugene to Washington is more important than waiting around for anyone else. Glenn eventually intercedes, saying that it’s foolish to set out in the dead of night anyway. Eventually, they compromise. At noon, Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, along with Tara, Glenn, and Maggie, will set out to DC. In the meantime, though, there’s some Termites that need to be exterminated.

The group assemble at the altar of the church, preparing weapons and their plan of attack. Abraham admits that Rick’s plan (which involves surprising them somehow) is ballsy but questions their chances of success. Rick insists that it’ll be the way to go. He, Michonne, Sasha, Glenn, Maggie, and Abraham set out into the woods. They leave Rosita, Eugene, Carl, Gabriel, and Tyreese behind to look after Judith and Bob.

As the group slips away from the church, a silhouette emerges from the woods down the road. And another. And another. The Termites are moving in for an ambush, led by always-prepared, always-focused Gareth himself. (I can’t decide if his personality is creepy-Boy-Scout-gone-psycho, or business-frat-dudebro, or marketing-major-slimeball. Any thoughts?)

The Termites enter the church slowly, and Gareth again narrates his plans. They know who is in the church and who has left already. And if they give themselves up, they might be able to die quickly instead of horrifically and painfully. Carl and crew wait in the office with guns drawn. An ill-timed cry from Judith gives away their location. Gareth gives the order to two of his people to blow the door of the room.

Their heads explode.

Rick advances from the back of the church, firing silenced bullets into the Termites, blowing off Gareth’s trigger fingers in the process. The rest of the group descend on the Termites, and when it’s clear that they’re outgunned, Gareth begins to plead for mercy. You haven’t killed us yet, he begs, you want us to live otherwise you would have killed us by now! No, Rick explains. They just didn’t want to waste

the ammo. Plus, he promised Gareth that he’d chop off his head with a machete. Rick Grimes is a man of his word.

And the bloodbath ensues. (I’ll admit, after the totally powerless rage I felt during the attack on the prison, this season has some pretty sweet revenge scenes so far). Sasha, Abraham, and Michonne join Rick in executing the Fine Young Cannibals (yeah everyone is making that joke and now so am I). Many of the others, notably Glenn and Maggie, watch on. As the last bit of bone is ruptures the last bit of brain, Gabriel decries that this “is the Lord’s house” and seems to suggest that the carnage that happened within is of some especially grave consequence. But Maggie soberly declares that it’s “just four walls and a roof.” “The Lord’s house” was an idea that humanity could afford before they started killing and eating each other while seeking shelter through hordes of infectious, reanimated corpses. That’s not the world they live in anymore.

But even on his deathbed, Bob won’t admit to this world’s nightmare. He explains to Sasha that he didn’t want to tell her that he was bit, because once he did, their relationship would become about the end and he “was really enjoying the middle.” Bob dies slowly in the peaceful morning, as the bodies of the Termites get cleared out of the hall of the church. He reiterates to Rick that the world is still worth something as long as they’re able to retain their integrity and respect for humanity. Rick, cradling a dozing Judith in his arms, agrees.

In the end, Sasha is sitting with Bob. He wakes, looks up at her, and smiles. If he weren’t dying, I’d feel like his optimism would begin to exasperate Sasha. But she indulges him, and asks him why he’s smiling. He was dreaming, he supposes, and in his dream, Sasha was smiling at him, so he smiled back at her. Smiling like only someone with their heart breaking can smile, she asks Bob what good will come of the loss of him in her life.

He doesn’t answer.

Sasha pulls out her knife, but Tyreese comes in and takes it from her. He won’t let his sister be the one to put a blade in the temple of the man she loves. Tyreese pauses, and trembles, but sinks the blade into Bob’s brain before he begins to turn.

Abraham sets out for Washington in the bus with Tara, Maggie, and Glenn, as agreed upon. He gives Rick a map with their route highlighted, hoping that they’ll catch up to them once they find Daryl and Carol and get on the road. He’s written a note on the map, as well. Seems even Alpha Males with ridiculous facial hair can admit to being assholes. Washington, he continues, will need Rick Grimes.

Across the thick, weedy lawn, Tyreese is digging a mass grave to dump the Termites’ bodies in. Rick helps him. He asks Tyreese what happened before he reached Terminus. Tyreese confesses, wide-eyed, that what happened has killed him. Rick disagrees. The men continue to dig.

That night, as Michonne (who has plucked her sword back from a Termite corpse’s knapsack) sits on the steps of the church. Gabriel joins her, giving another trembling confession of grief. Michonne’s nonplussed, but offers that the horrific memories may fade over time.

There’s a noise in the woods. Gabriel scurries inside while Michonne stands to investigate. It’s definitely a noise, definitely in the darkest part of the wood’s edge. A figure emerges.

It’s Daryl? But he’s not alone. “Come on out,” he urges.

And then the credits roll.

It’s just enough carnage for closure, since assuredly next week we’ll be finding out what has happened to Beth.


The Story Continues Next Sunday At 10:00 pm on AMC.