Tag Archives: The Blacklist

The Blacklist: Red’s A Bargain At $18 Million

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

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Quite often we see series that take off strongly out of the gate, get renewed for a second season, then veer away from the elements that made people enjoy the show. The NBC series “The Blacklist,” has felt different in tone in many episodes this season, with FBI Agent Liz Keen and FBI asset and topping the Bureau’s Most Wanted List, Raymond Reddington, have rarely been on the same page. The rapport that grew between them last season, fell apart as a series of events have muddied the waters surrounding them.

The series went back to basics in it’s most recent episode “T. Earl King VI,” resulting in one of the most entertaining episodes of the season. Add in appearances by two familiar faces and the reveal of Task Force Director Harold Cooper’s medical-condition, lead to an exciting, well-paced, episode and perhaps the beginning of healing the relationship between Liz and Red.

We’re greeted with a graphic reading Two Years Ago, Somewhere On Jekyll Island. We see an elderly man in a tuxedo, in an electric wheel chair, an IV bag attached to his arm. We then realize there are three younger men in the room, all wearing formal evening-wear, one of them smiles and says good evening father, you’re looking sharp. The old man ignores him, then touches his throat activating an electronic voice box, he then says Mr. Valmont the tallies

The elderly man’s named Earl King, patriarch of one of the wealthiest families on the planet for generations, with him his two sons, Francis the oldest and his brother Tyler. Valmont’s apparently some sort of family accountant and reads the assets of both sons as the clock’s about to strike midnight. Tyler ends up with the larger ledger sheet, subjecting Francis to a game of Russian Roulette, he draws an empty chamber, then looks at his brother and sneers next time.

Back in New York City in 2015, we find ourselves in the company of the man we love to hate, Tom Keen as he meets with his handler Bill McCready. Keen tells the older man he wants to go back under and McCready says he doesn’t have a job that’s worthy of Tom’s skillset. He tells the man who tormented Liz Keen’s life, that he’s too classy to take the nickel and dime jobs he has, then he asks if he fell for Liz. Keen remains silent, but his silence is telling, McCready says if you really want to get back in the game, I’ve got something for you, if you speak German, Keen’s fluent.

Reddington and Dembe show up at Liz’s motel room and Red tells the FBI agent that a member of the Blacklist, they encountered last season, Madeline Pratt’s missing, it seems Raymond has a little thing for Miss Pratt. He then says she got kidnapped by the King family, who augment their already family treasure-chest with proceeds from auctions they hold. These auctions deal in human trafficking, stolen masterpieces, by artists like Van Gogh and uranium.

Liz informs the task force, as Ressler grumbles their busting one Blacklist member to rescue another. Aram tracks a South American kidnapper, who likely has Pratt to a place called the Palace. Keen calls Red and tells him of the location, he and Dembe beat the two agents to the Palace. They go in with guns at the ready, find the corpse of the kidnapper, and suddenly surrounded by about half a dozen gunmen, one holding Madeline.

Red asks how much they want for her and the guy holding her says here, take her and pushes her towards Dembe, who she knocks out with a Taser. She was in cahoots with King to capture Red, who’ll be the star attraction of their upcoming auction. Francis King’s the brother who engineered this scheme and he’s quite proud of himself.

Dembe contacts Keen and she and Ressler inform the Task Force, that Red got duped and now being held by the King family in preparation to sell him at the auction. Cooper asks Aram where the Kings could hold the auction and the tech-genius replies they’ve got hundreds of properties across the globe. Keen says let’s concentrate on possible guests and where they’re heading.

Aram gets success quickly with that search, a man named Alexey Koskov’s, known to have coveted the Van Gogh for a decade, although he’s on the no fly list, his attaché Josephine Sullivan’s in town. Cooper says to bring her in for questioning.

Samar and Liz intimidate Sullivan enough to reveal all the details she knows about the auction, she’s to register at a certain hotel and request a room with a view of the capital. That alerts the hotel’s staff that she’s part of the King entourage. Due to lack of a better plan, Liz take’s Sullivan’s place going undercover at the auction.

Liz leaves the meeting with Cooper and Navabi, when her cellphone rings and it’s Tom and she’s surprisingly sociable. He tells her he’s leaving town he’s got a new gig, she asks his new name and he says it doesn’t work like that. She tells him she’s going undercover, for a few hours and he advises her if she’s stuck for an answer to sneeze, that will distract the questioner. She thanks him and then basically says I don’t know why I’m talking to you and hangs up. Of course she knows why, she’s still in love with him.

Harold gets a visit from Tom Connolly, the senior FBI official, that got Harold into the experimental medical treatment program. He tells Cooper that an old friend of his will have all his assets seized and it would be nice if he had some warning so he could put aside some cash for his kids, then tells Harold to tip him off. Cooper’s appalled, but Connolly says he takes care of his old friends, then asks how the treatment program’s going.

Donald and Samar are in the lobby when Liz registers as Josephine Sullivan, she says she’d asked for a view of the capital and the desk clerk says that can be arranged. He tells her, that she’s in 1861 and she gets on the elevator, the attendant works for King, and asks for her purse, phone and jewelry. She’s then taken to a parking garage and she walks to spot 1861, a man comes out of the car and says good evening Miss Sullivan, she enters the car. He hands her a glass and says drink, she asks what’s in the glass and he repeats his instructions. She does and soon becomes unconscious.

Red’s gotten measured by a tailor for a tuxedo, now he’s getting a barber to shave him, when Earl wheels into the room, turns out that the pair are old running buddies, involved in a deal that turned bad in South America. Although Red took off and advised King to follow suit, Earl stayed and the beating he ended up getting from the local police put him in the wheel chair. King tells Reddington, this is strictly business and he believes the great Raymond Reddington will command a mighty price tag.

Liz wakes up in one of the mansion’s bedroom’s as Earl and a woman attendant enter the room, she’s holding a platter of jewelry and he tells “Miss Sullivan,” to pick anything she likes, to accentuate her beauty. He then kisses her hand and presses it to his face as he closes his eyes, creeping Liz out.

Tom starts getting ready for his new identity, he shave his head to a buzz-cut, then gets tattoos applied, including a quote in German at the base of his neck. He sees that the man he’s supposed to get close to is an elderly man with a thick head of white hair, he’s bristling with anticipation.

Cooper gets off the phone with Connolly’s friend, saying you didn’t hear this from me as he hangs up the phone. Aram walks in and says they’ve gotten the identity who greeted Keen at the car and got her to drink the liquid. Harold tells him to have Ressler and Navabi question him.

The auction’s about to get underway, people are milling around having cocktails, Keen spots a boy about 12-years-old as one of the auctioning lots. She goes over and says hello, when Francis intercepts her, the boy’s named Vincent Peretti, his dad’s a Serbian criminal turning into a witness for the state and young Vincent’s worth some big money to the right people.

Earl King tells his guests that they’ll have 30 minutes to look at all the lots, human and other commodities before the bidding begins and then strikes a triangle to signal the time’s begun. Tyler asks Liz if she’s representing Koskov and she says she is and then starts talking about the Van Gogh, saying legend has it in the right light you can see the grains of sand on the canvas.

Red interrupts their conversation and “Miss Sullivan’s” surprised to see Raymond Reddington among the goods getting dealt, she says they met once before and Red says she’s changed her hairstyle. Tyler asks if she plans to bid on Raymond and she says he’s likely more trouble than he’s worth, then says she’s got her sights set on the Van Gogh. However there’s one very interested prospective buyer, Cameroon War Lord Yubari, whom we met in the Lord Baltimore episode last year.

The reason that I enjoy Yubari, is that he’s portrayed by an incredible actor named Sahr Ngaujah, a man who came to my attention a few years-ago, in an NBC series called Last Resort. Ngaujah played the local strongman, who attempted to play hardball with the commander of a United  states nuclear submarine. He’s also been a hit on Broadway portraying Fela, winning accolades for the role.

Surprisingly, some Federal Agency messes up big-time as they ignore Cooper’s orders and allow the real Josephine Sullivan to contact her attorney. That means within the next few minutes, Keen’s cover will get blown and they’ll realize she’s an FBI agent. Cooper decides that the matter needs some more of his hands-on attention.

He tells Navabi and Ressler to leave him alone with the man from the car and when they leave, Cooper sits down across the table from the guy. He then says that the man really doesn’t grasp the situation he’s in, right now he’s just a material witness and there are certain rights he’s entitled to. Then Harold puts his hands on top of the other man’s hands and says, but you don’t know me.

He then tells the man that his doctor found a malignant tumor, in the left hemisphere of his brain and he’ll be dead in weeks. He says however one of the vows he made to himself when he came to grips with his situation, was to ensure that none of his agents died on the rest of his watch. He says since he truly has nothing to lose, he’ll do anything to avoid that situation, so think carefully before he answers his question. Where is his agent?

The bidding starts on Raymond, at two million, Yubari, Liz and a couple of other bidders get the sum quickly up to ten million. Then Red starts bidding on himself until it gets down to just him and Yubari, the man from Cameroon bids $18 million, but Red bids 20 million. Tyler disqualifies Red’s last bid and Yubari gets his prize.

Liz figures out her cover got blown and runs downstairs to avoid King’s men and to locate Reddington. She gets down just as a guard lets little Vincent Peretti, out of his sell to go to the winning bidder. Keen knocks out the guard, grabs the boy and they find Red but Liz can’t figure out the keypad code. He tells her she needs to take the boy and go now, reluctantly she heeds his advice.

Yubari’s cackling when he gets possession of Red, Raymond tells him that if Navabi just listens to reason, he’ll make him a king. His captor responds that a man in Johannesburg’s set a 40 million dollar bounty on Red’s head, Raymond replies they’re a long way from Johannesburg. Yubari says that Reddington’s not listening, there’s a 40 million dollar bounty on his head, he then shows Raymond the bag he’s prepared to transport Red’s head in to South Africa.

Liz and the boy run for a while, then she tells Vincent to run through those doors ahead and run until he reaches outside. She then heads back to where she left Red. Yubari’s got Raymond in handcuffs and has him get in his knees, as he’s about to shoot him in the head execution-style. He’s about to pull the trigger and Red says Lizzie, then he hears a gunshot and watches as Yubari falls dead to the ground. He’s shocked to find Keen there, then tells her the key for the handcuffs are in Yubari’s pocket.

Valmont reads the tallies, this time Francis wins the event and Tyler has to take the pistol and play Russian Roulette. Suddenly Red and Liz burst through the door, gun’s aimed and Red tells Tyler to put down his pistol or he’s dead, he obeys the command instantly. Raymond then says Earl should have died generations ago and shoots him in the heart, we hear the SWAT Team sirens getting closer, Red tells the other three to be careful in prison.

Harold meets with the Assistant Attorney General and tells her about his Task Force’s successful day. She smiles and says she’s glad something went right that day. She then tells Harold a man she was on the verge of seizing his assets and charging him with embezzlement and other crimes, somehow got wind of it and skipped the country. Cooper realizes it’s the man he called.

Red and Liz are in a car heading back to the Task Force and he tells her never to do anything like that again, ever. She says she risked her life to save him, because she cares about him and he has to deal with that. She then says when someone does something nice you’re supposed to say thank you. Red thanks her then once again says don’t do that again, ever.

Tom’s in Germany in a pub and bumps into a guy who looks like a wall with a face, Keen calls him a lousy pig and the guy swings at him. But Tom takes him and his buddy out and then keeps the hitting the first guy till two guys pull him off. He feels a hand on his back and turns around ready to fight, when he sees it’s his target. The man says he doesn’t want a fight he wants to buy Tom a beer.

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

The Blacklist: Women Can Be Serial Killers Too

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The most entertaining episodes of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” tend to have an exciting crime of the week, accompanied by one or two long-term issues, that may get rectified as the hour concludes, and the most recent episode entitled “The Deer Hunter,” fit that mold well. It also continued a tradition that’s occurred periodically throughout the show’s second campaign, bringing in big name guest stars, who are past their prime to portray the villain. This time Broadway and Film star Amanda Plummer, filled the bill, almost unrecognizable as a woman with severe demons. As for the long-term story-arcs, one got resolved, while one’s in a definitive state of flux.

We see a person in a parka with the hood up, trailing this rather large man through an urban setting, interspersed with FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen, lecturing a college class on an ongoing serial killer known as the “Deer Hunter,” the murders started taking place in 2003, stopped for a while then resumed recently, with six new victims found within the last few months.

Keen tells the class that the killer’s incredibly patient, then tracks the victim, like a hunter tracks game, killing the victims with a crossbow. The victims are men, all large and tall and she tells the students, she believes the victim’s small and weak and the killings are in retribution for someone who fit the same body type as the victims, who brutalized the killer as a child. She also mentions that the “Deer Hunter,” takes a ceremonial bite out of the victim’s liver, removing all the victim’s organs with surgical precision and leaving them in a pile near the body. The victims, with their abdomen’s slit open, are then hung by their feet outdoors.

Turns out Liz’s friend who helped her guard Tom on the boat and has only been referred to so far as the Samoan (Kind of like the Haitian, in Heroes,) has a name and it’s Samuel. He’s worked out a deal with Metro PD Detective Wilcox, to testify that Liz and Tom killed Harbor-Master Ames, but it’s clear Wilcox wants to pin the murder on Lizzie. He tells Samuel, that if he changes one comma when he testifies to Government officials the next day, he’ll spend the rest of his life in the slammer.

Raymond Reddington picks up a payphone in the metro-area and the man on the other end of the phone says, he’s sorry he cut their first call short, but he was unsure the line was secure. Red asks who he is and the man replies, he can’t tell him yet, at this point we see the man from the back. He’s in an apartment overlooking the payphone Red’s on. Raymond says that Alan Fitch told him about the safe that had his number, why did he want them to hook up? The man says not now face to face, I’ll call you tomorrow at a payphone at 92nd and Broadway at 2:00pm, then hangs up the phone. We see the back of the man’s head, he’s got close-cropped gray hair.

Reddington heads to the Task Force and talks with Liz privately, saying he needs to talk to her about the Fulcrum and her saying she doesn’t know anything, Red calls her out for lying. He says he’s studied body language and facial expressions for decades and she’s not even putting on a good act. He says how’s this I’ll help you find your serial killer then you tell me about the Fulcrum.

Raymond has nothing but sheer disdain for serial killers, lumping them in the sewer of the criminal pool, along with rapists and pedophiles. However Raymond says the Task Force’s main problem’s their searching for a man, while the killer’s obviously a woman. He then goes through a litany of reasons why it has to be a woman instead of a man.

Ressler and Keen get contacted by the Medical Examiner to see the body and he says that the killer’s been exact in everything they do to the body in the last six murders, no variations what so ever. As they walk to morgue, a guy bumps into Liz, they enter the room and the Medical Examiner says he left the body covered, Liz realizes the guy who bumped into her was at her lecture. They stop him from leaving on the elevator.

Turns out Red’s correct, the serial killer’s a woman in her mid-fifties, with dark rimmed glasses and unkempt hair and she lives on the planet Xenon. She has a canary in a cage and a cat, cleaning itself on a chair, we hear Cass Elliot on her stereo singing, suddenly she looks up at her canary.

She says not to look at her like that, I’m fine, I’ll be fine. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but somebody’s got to do this. She then grabs a manila folder, from a stack of them and says to the bird, Mommy’s got to go cross town now and take care of Chad Henry, then shows the canary the picture her next victim. I won’t be long.

The man’s named Chuck Kruse and he’s a writer for Metro Crime Daily, that’s why he attended her lecture as well and all he was doing was taking pictures of the corpse. He then literally laughs at the pair, for believing their chasing the “Deer Hunter.” He says the “Deer Hunter,” was an artist, the last six murders, were committed by a copy-cat.

Liz gets a call from Detective Wilcox who tells her that Samuel’s singing more than the serial killer’s canary. He’s testifying the next day to Federal Officials, he places you at the scene and says you and your husband are cold-blooded killers. He then says he’s certain once Samuel testifies, he’ll easily get a court order to check on any case she was working on when she met Ames. Liz says this conversation’s over, Wilcox counters with I believe it’s just beginning.

A gray-haired uniform enters Reddington’s car, it’s clear they’ve got along history, the officer named Edgar tells Red that Samuel’s being transferred the following day between two and four in the afternoon. Raymond says he need’s it moved, Edgar says he’d do anything in the world for him, but the time’s set, he then gives Red a brown paper bag containing his wife’s coffee cake for Raymond. Red thanks him and his wife and the officer leaves.

Donald’s poring over the evidence when she walks into the office he’s working in. He says he really thinks Kruse’s correct that the last six killings got murdered by a copycat, but he can’t prove it. He looks at Keen and asks what’s wrong, she says nothing, then closes the door and tells him about the call from Wilcox. Ressler says go to Cooper and have him go to the higher-ups, who’ll nip the investigation in the bud. They don’t want this Task-Force split up.

He then says Tom killed Ames, but the headlines will read FBI Agent arrested for murder, they’ll take a bite out of you Liz. At that point the light-bulb goes off over his head and he realizes, he can prove or disprove his theory. Forensics soon supplies, the evidence the first six murders, had a larger bite taken out than the last six, the killer’s a copy-cat.

We see a graphic telling us that we’re in Silver Springs, Maryland. We’re at the home of a young woman named Mary, who’s hired the serial killer, whose named Tracy to murder her husband, as he’s abusive. She’s worried about her son and herself and Tracy says, she’s tried going through the system and it’s let her down. She then asks if she has evil in her life and Mary says yes, she asks shouldn’t she be free of the evil and Mary responds yes again.

Tracy then says, she needs to know if Mary’s in or out, because if this comes back on Tracy, it will lead back to Mary as well. Mary looks Tracy in the eyes and says she’s in, Tracy claps Mary on the back and says good it’s done then. The next morning as Mary’s taking her son to school, he stops heading towards the bus staring at something, it’s daddy, hanging from a wire on their lawn, upside down with his abdomen slit open.

Liz and Donald head over to Mary’s house and question her, Mary says she knew something was wrong, as her husband worked construction and she didn’t hear from him. She says he’s normally home early, she then mentions if they believe her husband got killed by the “Deer Hunter” and Ressler says he does.

Mary says you folks really haven’t a clue about him and Keen says that some recent evidence has come to light, that’s given them new leads. Mary looks very uncomfortable and the agents soon leave. Ressler asked Liz why she told the victim’s wife that and Keen says she thinks Mary’s covering. Ressler agrees and they head back to headquarters.

The phone rings at 2:00 pm that afternoon, but Dembe answers it as Red’s not there. The man asks who he is and why he’s carrying a gun. Dembe apologizes for Mr. Reddington, but he had urgent business he needed to attend to and wants to reschedule. Again we see inside the apartment as the man chuckles and says that’s not how this works, then hangs up the phone.

Samuel’s getting transferred in a paddy-wagon with a cruiser in front, when suddenly both vehicles pull over. Edgar tells Samuel to hang loose, lets Red inside the wagon and tells him he’s got 70 seconds. Raymond then tells Samuel about a guy he went to high-school with who was the best dancer he’d ever seen. The next time he saw him was in 1988 in a grocery-store and the man was totally gray, he had a bad valve and was on the waiting list for a new heart until the day he died.

He then asked Samuel how long Isaac’s been on that list and Samuel asks how he knows about his brother? Raymond ignores the question, and says six-months, a year, possibly two and when will he get a heart and Samuel says they won’t say. Red says I can get your brother a new heart within a week, the finest doctors and the best rehab team on the planet and it won’t cost you a dime. Samuel asks why Red would do that for him and Raymond replies, because what Samuel’s going to do for him.

Aram and Samar come up with the commonality in all the cases, they all abused their significant other. The connection’s a service used by abuse victims called White Town Shelters. They go to the local branch and the branch manager promises to cooperate fully, however Tracy’s in the reception area and hears the conversation.

Back at her apartment Tracy’s talking to her assorted birds and cats, at first she says she’s overreacting, then says if Mary talks it would endanger the rest of the women. She’s not worried about herself, but she must protect the other women. She heads over to Mary’s but Ressler and Keen are heading there as well as Mary called them.

Tracy gets their first and she tells Mary the FBI’s figured it out and asks if Mary talked. She says they were over in the morning but she said nothing, they then pull up in the driveway and Tracy hits Mary in the head with a cutting board. Ressler goes to help Mary, while Liz runs after Tracy jumping a fence and seeing her, but then Liz get’s knocked out as Tracy hits her in the head with a shovel.

Keen come’s to in Tracy’s garage, she has Liz in a harness and is ready to kill and gut her. Keen head-butts the woman, but then she raises the harness and Liz’s suspended in mid-air. She tells Keen that her husband was the original “Deer Hunter,” but she caught him and he was going to kill her, but she killed him instead with his crossbow. She then thought there are other women living in the same situation she was in and it’s up to her to save them. She knows she’s sick and it’s a dirty job but she needs to do it.

Liz then says can I ask one last favor and Tracy says yes, Keen says if you’re going to kill me do it now, as I’m sick of your self-righteous lying. You’re a sicko and just like your husband you enjoy killing, you get a thrill each time you do it. You enjoy the buzz, you try to justify, what you’re doing, but you just enjoy killing.

Keen’s tactic worked and Tracy rushes to attack her, but she wraps her thighs around Tracy’s neck and starts choking the life out of her. She’s flashing back to Tom killing Ames, when suddenly Ressler busts through the door and tells Liz to stop. Keen let’s go and Tracy staggers away.

Detective Wilcox is in his glory, as he asks Samuel to tell the two Federal Officials what he told him about Agent Keen and her husband. Samuel says nothing, then Wilcox reminds him he’s under oath, the big man says he forgot. Wilcox then asks if he told him that FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen and her husband Tom killed Harbor-Master Ames and Samuel says, that’s what you want me to say. Wilcox chance to bust Liz is lost.

Red and Liz meet for coffee in an official building, Liz tells Red that he was right, the killer was a woman, he says she was right as the original was a man, then says together they were both right. Keen says she has the Fulcrum and will give it to Red if he tells her what’s on it. He says he’s already told her everything he can, if she finds out more her life will be endangered.

She says you don’t have to protect me and he says, on the contrary. If he hadn’t interceded earlier that day she’d be under indictment and she asked him what he did. He says nobody got hurt, actually a young man’s live was saved by the circumstances. She says, she’s leaving, but Red says the reason she’s holding onto the Fulcrum, is she believes if she gives it to him, she’ll never see him again, then he leaves.

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

The Blacklist: Cult Compound Massacre And Finding Fitch’s Safe

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The NBC series “The Blacklist,” would never qualify as light viewing. Nor could it qualify as a family show for anybody other than the Manson Family, however this week’s installment’s one of the creepiest episodes since the show began airing. Once again the show combined two storylines, one concerning the fate of a religious cult, the other revolving around Red’s search for Alan Fitch’s safe, containing information on the Fulcrum. Add to that the ever-increasing disdain, FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen has for Raymond Reddington and you get the ingredients of this episode’s plot.

We start things off in a church as the Reverend a man named Justin Kenyon, gives a sermon to his congregation. It is a strange tale of two daughters of the only man left in their land. In order to reproduce and keep their society going, each daughter got their father drunk and had sex with him and both daughters conceived. Suddenly Kenyon steps from behind the pulpit, as a woman takes his place, presiding over Kenyon’s marriage to a young-girl who looks no older than ten. Suddenly one of the windows of the church breaks and a canister of some sort of gas is thrown into the room. The congregants try to escape but the church doors are blocked by a scythe, holding the double doors together.

Task Force Director Harold Cooper’s driving with his wife, asking what she wants to have for lunch, but eating’s not on Mrs. Cooper’s mind. She wants Harold to enter a clinical trial, which is his best chance to beat the disease that could claim his life. She tells him whether he gains weight or goes bald doesn’t matter to her, as long as he’s alive. Cooper tells his wife he’ll call the doctor once he gets to the office.

Red meets Liz at the DMV, as he’s keeping tabs on his associate “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.) Reddington tells Keen that he’s a loathsome little man, but he can find anybody, anywhere. He then tells Liz that Justin Kenyon disappeared about a week ago and the religious cult leader’s used his land to hide shipping containers for a vast array of criminals, hailing from around the planet. The shipping containers contain all matters of contraband, from drugs to rocket launchers and their owners are getting nervous.

Cooper’s informed and attempts to get clearance to search the compound from the Assistant Attorney General, but she denies the request. She tells Cooper that Kenyon has the three best Civil-Rights attorneys in the country on retainer and the government’s struck out twice trying to prosecute him. She questions Red’s information and tells Harold no-dice.

We see Red in “The Tracker’s” office and the little man refuses to assist Raymond until Reddington loses his composure. He then asks whose the subject and Red tells him it’s Alan Fitch, the former Assistant Director of the NSC, killed by terrorists earlier this season. He says’ he’s looking for a safe of Fitch’s located in St. Petersburg, on the second floor of some building. “The Tracker,” says he’ll be in touch.

A graphic tells us we’re on Interstate 65 in Huntsville Alabama, as two state police officers check on a van with Tennessee plates pulled over on the side of the highway. Dispatch informs them the plates were stolen off a Jeep and the two officers approach the van. The first cop lowers his gun as he starts to tell his partner it’s only a…. The van blows up, killing both officers and the vehicle’s occupant.

Cooper gets a call from his doctor and leaves Tech-Wizard Aram, to take the call privately. Harold’s face reflects his fading hopes, as his physician tells him he didn’t qualify for the trial experiment. He tells his doctor there’s nothing to apologize for, then hangs up, calls his wife to share the bad news.

The Tracker’s” located Fitch’s safe, but he insists on accompanying Red to Russia on Raymond’s private jet, or he’ll keep the information to himself. Red rejects the terms outright, but “The Tracker,” plays on Raymond’s sympathy, saying he’s never traveled outside the State’s and he thinks he and Reddington would have fun. Red gives in and the little man says he’ll pack a suitcase and to pick him up at 5:30 pm.

The van bombing get’s traced back to Kenyon’s compound and Cooper gets the search warrant he requested. He sends Ressler and Keen to search the property, while assigning Samar Navabi to keep tabs on another van that’s headed to DC.

Navabi and an FBI SWAT team locate the van, and Samar says they can stand down, as the vehicle’s occupant’s only a kid. As she says the phrase, she realizes that’s what the Alabama State Trooper was saying jus prior to the explosion. She tells the team to stay put and approaches the van. Sitting in the driver’s seat’s a grime-covered eight-year-old boy, with his finger on the trigger of the bomb inside the van. Samar tells the child he’s too far away from the he other agents to harm them, only she and the boy would get killed by the blast, then talks him out of the vehicle.

Ressler, Keen and the local sheriff lead an FBI SWAT Team in a raid on the compound, they get to the church and find all the congregants dead. All the children of the cult are missing, save for one little girl named Amy. The sheriff, the two agents and the girl get into the sheriff’s vehicle, Liz notices Amy staring out the window and she asks the girl what she’s looking at. Amy replies Watchers and when Liz repeats the phrase, Amy puts her finger to her lips and says it’s supposed to be a secret. As the vehicle drives off we see a young man running through the woods.

In St. Petersburg after “The Tracker,” has them search the wrong apartment, they find Fitch’s safe. When it’s opened the only thing inside it’s a business card containing only an international phone number. Red gives the card to Dembe and tells his trusted friend to get the number to one of Raymond’s underlings.

Aram tells Samar and Cooper, that 53-bodies were found in the church, not one shot was fired. All the victims, were, pummeled, stomped, stabbed or strangled to death. He also tells them that a former cult member named Dawn Weston says the little boy that Samar talked out of the van is her son.

Navabi interviews Weston and she tells her the problems that went on in the cult, Kenyon’s decree was that each man was to have three wives, but when the women started giving birth, they produced far more boys than girls. So Justin invented the walkabout,  taking eight to ten year-old boys out into the woods in the winter and leaving them to die. His only explanation was there were too may boys.

She goes into the room her son’s contained in, sitting in a chair, rocking back and forth repeating the same phrase endlessly. Dawn enters the room and asks her son if he knows who she is and he says he doesn’t. Weston starts to cry, which must have evoked a memory for the child as he cried Mama and got up and hugged her.

Turns out the figure running in the woods had a rifle and shot out the sheriff’s tires causing the vehicle to smash into a tree. Liz and Amy, sitting in the back seat are unharmed, the sheriff’s banged up but she tells Liz, Ressler’s pinned. We see that a small tree crashed through the windshield, wedging Donald into his seat. Liz says she’s going to look for help and tells the sheriff to watch out for Amy.

Harold gets a visit from an old friend whose about to become the new Director of the FBI and he wants to promote Cooper on his first day on the job. Cooper thanks him but says he has health problems, then tells his friend that he was rejected as a candidate for a trial treatment, that would have been his best chance to beat his illness.

The sheriff hears noises and pulls her gun, but gets attacked from behind. A group of teenagers surround the vehicle, pulling Ressler and Amy out and kidnapping them both. Donald’s dragged by a chain attached to a motorcycle to the groups hideout, hitting every rock and stick in his path.

Turns out this group of teens are led by David Kenyon, Justin’s son and the first boy cast out into the woods. David adapted to the elements and helped many other boys survive as well, building them into an army. David told his followers that Justin’s a phony, so they wiped out the adults and tortured the elder Kenyon to death, Liz finds him upstairs with branches sticking out of his mouth and eye sockets.

Red and Dembe go to visit an Asian woman named Ruth, whose henchmen are torturing some guy. Raymond says he needs her undivided attention for a few minutes and she has her men take her prisoner outside. Reddington then asks her for the coordinates for the three Hellfire missiles she’s got hidden on the Kenyon compound.

Red calls Navabi and says he’s activated the cameras on the missiles and he sees the teens hunkered down in their hideout, then gives Samar the coordinates of their location. Navabi gets a SWAT Team to meet her to take down the teens, and rescue the two agents and the children.

Liz gets captured as well and asks to talk to David, whose interrogating Ressler and just about to strike the agent, when he’s told Keen wants to talk to him. She asks where Ressler’s at and the younger Kenyon wheels her partner into the room. Liz slips her bonds on her hands and grabs a rifle, taking control, seconds before the SWAT Team storms the hideout.

David slips out and gets into another van loaded with explosives and threatens to pull the trigger. Liz talks him out of it, saying David’s a far better man then his father, but one of Kenyon’s soldiers, kills his leader with a rifle blast, then gets killed by the FBI. Everybody’s safe and the missing children are all found.

Dembe tells Raymond that they couldn’t recognize the voice at the number on the card and gives Red a brand new phone to call the party. The man on the other end answers the phone by saying Yes, and Red tells him he’s calling on behalf of Alan Fitch. The man says you found the safe, and Red responds who the hell is this?

The previews for next week’s episode showed us a familiar face will return to the show.

Photo by: Nicole Rivelli/NBC
Photo by: Nicole Rivelli/NBC

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

The Blacklist: Poisoned Water Leads To Hostage Taking

Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC
Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen and asset Raymond Reddington, are in the midst of another squabble, however that did nothing to detract from the NBC Series “The Blacklist” episode’s quality, entitled “Ruslan Denisov, Number 67,” by the network. This was non-stop action from start to finish, it also showed us the first signs of the past catching up with Liz Keen. Without Red in her corner, things could get rather sticky for the agent over the next couple of weeks.

Our story starts according to the graphic, in the village of Khumhara, Uzbekistan, which we get a breathtaking view of from the sky, showing the village surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the ocean. We see the prominent building in the village’s a Catholic Church. We go inside, see the flame of a candle, a man singing in prayer and the Priest about to eat the host and drink the wine.

Suddenly the church’s invaded by gunmen, the priest hides something in his podium and all the gunmen head straight for him. He begs the men saying he’s a simple man of God, when the leader Ruslan Denisov, slaps him in the face and says the man’s no more a priest than he is. They quickly find what the man hid, an overseas phone to contact the CIA, as the Priest’s actually an Agency operative. Denisov, says there’s your burning bush, talk to your God, the agent named Burk calls the Agency and says he “has a situation.”

Back in the States, we see an elderly woman sitting in her kitchen with a female uniform, when the doorbell rings and in enters Metro Detective Wilcox. He tells the woman Mrs. Ames, they’ll do their best to find her husband. She tells them her husband got the scare of his life a couple of days before he disappeared as he ran into a female FBI agent who had her gun pulled. We realize, this is the harbor-master that Tom killed earlier in the season. Liz gave her card to Eugene Ames, which his wife gives to Wilcox.

At the Task Force headquarters, Liz gives Tech-Wizard Aram Mojtabai, the piece of tech she found in her childhood stuffed bunny last week, she believes that’s connected with the Fulcrum. Aram says that there are many more qualified to inspect this, but Keen says none that I know and trust, then asks him to let her know what she finds.

Reddington walks in on them and Keen’s like an iceberg towards him, believing his only interest in her is finding the Fulcrum. She says she only wants to deal with him on business matters and he says that’s why he’s there. He shows her a newspaper article, about a Priest taken hostage in Uzbekistan and she looks back at Red blankly. He tells her that the Priest’s actually a CIA agent and taken hostage by an associate of his, Ruslan Denisov. He then tells Liz that the Agency will attempt to interfere.

We enter a meeting in Task Force Director Harold Cooper’s office, he’s talking with a man and a woman. We soon find out the man’s named Hayworth, Director of the CIA and the woman’s the Deputy Attorney General. Hayworth won’t confirm or deny that Burk’s his agent, so the Deputy AG, puts Cooper’s Task Force in charge. Keen and Agent Donald Ressler, fly to Uzbekistan that evening.

When they arrive they’re met by a Uzbekistan Army Commander, who has two moods;  nasty and nastier. He tells them they’re working for him and they won’t negotiate with Denisov, they’ll negotiate with him. They’re then driven to their hotel, when they hear a familiar voice holding court, Red’s telling a tale to some businessman. He excuses himself to talk with Liz and Donald.

Keen asks Reddington why he’s there, he replies he can’t help them from thousands of miles away. He then tells them that Denisov finances a movement called SRU, to bring political change to Uzbekistan, by kidnapping American executives and holding them for ransom. A CIA agent’s not usually his target, but he tells them to go to their room and get cleaned up and join him for dinner.

They get into the elevator to head to their rooms, when the elevator stops and goes black, a back panel opens and men grab both of them putting black-hoods on their heads. They’re taken for a forty minute drive, when the bags get removed Denisov welcomes them to Uzbekistan.

They’re at Denisov’s facilities that he holds the hostages in, he explains that the reason they kidnapped a CIA agent’s to get the United States Government to pay attention to what an American corporation Anneca Oil’s doing to his country. Twenty-five-years earlier the Government of Uzbekistan sold the land rights to Anneca, for a fortune, which barely trickled down to the citizens. However, Denisov’s not upset about that, the pipeline that Anneca built, sprung a leak and is killing villagers. Hundreds have died, with hundreds more critically ill, the company won’t do anything and the American Ambassador ignores them. The CIA agents are plentiful reporting on any interference with American interests, so he took one.

He then tells the two agents he talked with a Vice President for Anneca, who assured him the water’s fine, he pulls up a cage with a man immersed in water. It’s the Anneca executive, with holes all over the top layer of his skin. Denisov says he’ll release him on good faith, he’s taken to the hospital and the doctor says he’ll survive. Some petroleum products caused the damage to his skin.

They tell the Uzbekistan Commander that Denisov, abducted and talked to them and he blames them for the conversation. They’re now prisoners in their hotel, via the Commander’s orders. Red has dinner with Donald, Liz chooses room service.

Red asks if they need help getting to their meeting with Denisov in the morning and Ressler says they’ve got things figured out. The next morning they get in the elevator, pull out the emergency stop button and they get handed their black-hoods again. Denisov says he’s not going to negotiate himself, he’s brought in a professional and who appears but Reddington himself, who proposes they go on a field trip.

Denisov takes the pair on a tour of some of the local villages, where they see the results of the toxic water. People are contracting cancer as well as a rash of kidney and liver failures. Ressler says the United States Government, wouldn’t tolerate this from an American corporation, Liz counters unless the information’s kept from them. She says she’ll contact the State Department and Red says, he’s pretty sure he can secure the release of Burk. Everybody wins.

Liz gets a call from Detective Wilcox asking about Eugene Ames, she said she lied to him about the case, due to national security and can’t comment on it now for the same reasons. She asked who filed the missing persons report and he responded his wife. She says good luck finding him and hangs up, but she knows this is Trouble.

Cooper meets again with Hayworth and the Deputy Attorney General and Harold informs them Burk’s alive, that Keen and Ressler were at a facility, but didn’t see the operative. Hayworth asks the location and Cooper says they approximate it’s in the Southeast quadrant, the CIA Director says he can have Black-Ops there in minutes. The Deputy AG warns Hayworth to stand down with negotiations going so well.

Hours later Liz comes to the restaurant to talk to Red, when he makes her watch the tango performed by the evening’s entertainers. It’s been a while since Raymond showed his appreciation of culture and he describes to Liz, that the tango’s the perfect analogy for negotiations.

It’s all give and take, the man can only do what the woman allows, eventually that line gets larger and larger, until they almost become one. At the same time we watch the Commander and his soldiers kill all of Denisov’s men at the facility, but a soldier tells the Commander, there are no hostages. Suddenly Red’s face turns ice-cold, as he sees a CIA operative in the restaurant, Keen asks if everything’s okay, Raymond responds everything’s terrible.

Keen and Ressler are on the phone with Cooper, when Red walks in and asks Harold why he told the CIA Director where the location was when he told him not to? Cooper says let me deal with Hayworth, Red replies deal with this, negotiations over. Then leaves to join Denisov.

Liz and Donald look out the hotel window and see troops lining the streets, Ressler says he think’s they’re now hostages. Keen tells her partner she thinks she’s in trouble, then tells Donald about Tom killing the harbor-master aboard the ship, she tried to stop him but couldn’t. Ressler asks if there were witnesses and Liz replies, there was one.

Back in the States we’re in Detective Wilcox’s office, as we see he’s found the one witness, as the man known as the Samoan’s sitting there answering questions. He says they can’t hold them and Wilcox says he’s right but tell him about Agent Elizabeth Keen.

Ruslan screams at Reddington, he should never have trusted him, Raymond responds we moved the hostages, just for that reason, all your assets are safe. One of Denisov’s men bring over one of the Uzbekistan soldiers, alive but injured, left to rot by his Commander. Red says he’s worth more dead than alive, but Denisov shoots him in the head.

He then pulls CIA Agent Burk out of his cell and points a gun to his head and Red says, you don’t want to do this Ruslan. You kill a corporate executive, you got one company upset with you, you kill a CIA agent, you’ll get boots on the ground and drones over head.

He then says to Burk that his friend’s too upset to see the big picture, tell us about Javin. The agent says he won’t and Red says that his friend’s still deciding what bed to lie on, but his bed’s been made for years and it includes a wide spectrum of events, now tell us about Javin. When the operative refuses again, Reddington asks for the gun and the operative sing’s like a canary.

Leonid Javin, former Cabinet Minister, ran the country during the last years of the Soviet Union, negotiated the deal with Anneca and is responsible for all the sickness. He’s turned religious, possibly insane, punishing himself for his past crimes. We watch the elderly former leader whip his own bare back in front of a fireplace until he bleeds.

We see the Samoan talking with Wilcox again and he asks if they have a deal and Wilcox says if the information you give us is pertinent to the case we can negotiate a deal. The Samoan asks if leading him to Eugene Ames’ body’s pertinent enough, because he can take him right to it.

Javin goes to church and slips into the confessional booth and asks why the Lord shields his face from him, Red opens the window and says maybe he doesn’t like you. Denisov pulls the former leader from the booth and Red says that Javin’s not getting absolution that easily.

Red tells the old man that he needs all the details on the deal with Anneca and he refuses, they drag him over to the sink filled with Holy Water and dunk his head under. Red nods to Denisov to pull him out and says the American Government doesn’t consider this torture, how about you? When Javin doesn’t talk they dunk him again, this time he comes up sputtering and says he’ll talk.

They arrange a meeting with Keen, Ressler and Dean Walker, the Anneca executive who tried earlier to say that Denisov sabotaged the pipeline. Javin tells all about the negotiations for the pipeline, but then reveals there was a first pipeline Anneca installed that killed thousands of people in 1988. When the Soviet Union fell apart, Javin helped cover it up, but he still has all the documentation. Walker says that Anneca will pay reparations, to family’s that lost members, but Denisov says that’s not his terms. He says Anneca will close off the pipeline and leave Uzbekistan. Walker laughs at him until he says they’re going on a field trip to one of the mass graves unless Anneca agrees.

The next morning Walker gives a press conference saying that Anneca’s leaving Uzbekistan and as a parting gesture they’re going to build schools. We watch the Commander shake his head and leave the room, he’s trapped in a stairwell by Dembe and Red.

Ressler get’s a call while he and Keen are watching a TV report about a French company coming into Uzbekistan and building a new pipeline, he tells her they’ve got to leave as Burk’s getting released a few miles out-of-town. As they start to leave, they see Red with an executive for the French oil company that’s coming into the country, it was one of the men he talked with when Liz and Donald arrived. Liz says he planned this whole thing out, knowing he’d make money from the French. Everybody wins.

Liz and Donald are to meet Dembe, Red, Denisov and Burk for the release, Hayworth’s on the phone with operatives, with orders to arrest Reddington and kill Denisov, when Keen and Ressler have Burk. Cooper boosts in his office and rips him a new one for storming the facility and tells him to expect a call from the Attorney General. Hayworth tells his agents to stand down.

Aram tells Liz that the tech’s circa late seventies/early eighties, but he can’t figure out how to operate it and suggests she asks Reddington. She not only nixes that idea, but asks Aram to promise to keep it secret from Raymond, and Aram agrees.

The Samoan brings Wilcox and some uniforms to Ames’ body and asks if he’ll get immunity if he testifies. Wilcox replies, tell me about Agent Keen.

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

The Blacklist: Guess Who Found The Fulcrum?

Photo: Courtesy Of NBC
Photo: Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Blacklist: The Fight For The Fulcrum

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert:

It’s nearly three-months since NBC has shown an episode of “The Blacklist,” waiting to showcase it’s return after the airing of the most viewed TV broadcast of the calendar year, as the network hosted Super Bowl XLIX. Raymond Reddington and company, surely must have gained a large quantity of new viewers in their return, as the show lacked any slow moments and lots of questions that have intrigued viewers  from the start of this series, got revealed or are tantalizingly close to getting discovered.

The Blacklist,” roared out of the gates last season, as the freshman entry combining an intriguing story of the number one wanted man by the FBI, who turns himself into Federal authorities, with an outstanding performance by the series lead James Spader. The show lacked the spark, the excitement, the chemistry, that made it a ratings hit last year in the first few episodes, though it found it’s footing in the fall finale.

The show-runners built on that momentum in their return, as we came out of the game seeing a supposed news bulletin, with the graphic reading “Reddington In U.S. Custody.” A series of talking-heads inform us that Raymond got captured in Hong Kong and they had no reports of where he would get taken to. Red’s looking dapper in a tuxedo sans tie, handcuffed, when a soldier puts a black-hood over his head and tells him, from that moment forward he cease’s to exist, Red responds with that’s a load off and gets whisked into a helicopter.

We approach what looks like an oil-rig, but the graphic tells us we’ve arrived at a Black-Ops Site, somewhere in the Bering Sea. Red’s taken off the chopper, with the hood still over his head, then his hands get shackled to opposite walls and the hood’s removed. As soon as it comes off he says to the guard 202-555-0511, then repeats the number. The third time he repeats it, he tells the guard to ask for Housman and $50,000 will get wired into any account the guard requests. He leaves the cell remaining silent.

At FBI Task Force Headquarters, Tech-Wizard Aram Mojtabai, tells Assistant FBI Director Harold Cooper that Reddington’s fallen off the grid, they check reports and find he’s gotten arrested by the CIA. Reddington’s partner FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen, asks why they can’t just get him back and Cooper informs her that only 41 Intelligence Agency Officials are in the loop about Red’s status. So Don Ressler, starts working the phones working on his contacts.

Back at the Black-Ops Site, the Warden comes into question if Raymond offered the guard a bribe and Red replies that within 12-hours, a prisoner Luther Braxton will escape from his cell and steal a Classified Intelligence Package, that will put United States national security at stake. He says the plan’s already in action and the Warden laughs him off, saying that Braxton’s in solitary confinement.

What the Warden was unaware of was that Braxton was getting electro-shock therapy and some guard slipped Luther a piece of electrical wire, that Braxton swallowed. After he got the wire back, he somehow rigged his cell so that the door became electrified and when the guard put his metal key in the door, he got fried. Braxton, aware that the guards would use tear gas, covered his nose and mouth with a bandanna, then came out of his cell with a flamethrower, burning a couple of guards, then grabbing a machine gun and wiping out the rest.

Ressler’s found out that they’re holding Reddington at a Black-Ops Site called “The Factory.” Mossad and FBI Agent Samar Navabi, exclaims they’re in trouble, Aram asks if it really exists and Keen asks what it is. Cooper reveals that it’s a level-10 Black-Ops Facility, known as a Spy Slaughterhouse. It’s said when they’re done with you, you’re just an empty husk, ready to serve out existence lost and forgotten, or killed immediately. Keen says they’ve got to get Raymond back and Ressler says, it’s going to get tough, pulling off that stunt.

Suddenly the Director of the NSC (the now deceased’s Alan Fitch’s boss,) and his Liaison, enter the Task Force Headquarters and the Liaison asks what’s Red’s status? Cooper, hems and haws and she responds that the NSC is well aware of the ongoing arrangement they’ve got going on with Raymond and Cooper, tells her where he’s at, but states he lacks the authority to get him back. She says that Cooper now has that authority and send a team to extract him.

Back at the Black-Ops Site, the Warden asks Reddington how he knew what was going down and Raymond says the conversations useless, that Braxton’s already got control of the prison. The Warden says that they’ve sent a chopper in to extract Red and he tells them to tell them to turn it around. Ressler, Navabi, Keen and the helicopter pilot land just then, all but Keen get caught and imprisoned, she hides in the shadows.

Braxton’s got a crew of eight in place in order to complete every angle of the mission he intends to complete. He’s after the Fulcrum, the object that Fitch talked about with Red prior to exploding in the fall finale. We now realize, why Raymond’s gotten in there, to assure that Braxton, doesn’t gain possession of the Fulcrum and that Red does, although we’re still in the dark to its identity.

After Braxton takes control of the facility, he calls in on one of the FBI agents phones and gets attached to a Bureau Hostage Negotiator, Luther says he wants to speak to someone higher up the food chain. The Negotiator attempts to form a bond with Braxton and says everything’s okay and he just needs to speak to the Warden and Luther says no, The Negotiator, asks again and the prisoner puts the warden on the phone with the Negotiator, after Braxton takes back the phone, he kills the Warden and says give me someone with authority.

Cooper grabs the phone and identifies himself as the FBI Assistant Director and Braxton tells Cooper, he knows how it works, either Harold gives him what he wants or someone dies. From now on he’s the Warden. Keen’s sneaking around, when Reddington, grabs her from behind and asks what she’s doing there. She says she came to rescue him and he tells her to turn and run, but she tells him about the other three held hostage and says she won’t leave without them or him.

She then asks Red’s purpose in being there and he reveals that he’s there to stop Luther from finding and stealing the Fulcrum, which she’s never heard of. Red tells her it’s a blackmail file, proof of the existence of an extremely powerful clandestine organization. If their activities get made public some of the most powerful people on the planet, will get sent to prison or executed. He explains, that this cartel believes he has the file, hence he still lives. She asks how they’ll stop Braxton and Red says that sadly he knows at least one person on every prison on Earth.

Braxton calls back Cooper and says he’s aware that when security gets breached, all computers go offline and he’s provided with a code-number to reboot the machines. Cooper says that’s true and he’ll look into what he can do to provide Luther information, Braxton shoots a hostage and tells Cooper his reflexes are slow, he’ll call again.

Keen and Reddington joined in the Warden’s office by the guard, and three prisoners, that Red knows. One guy’s on a laptop searching the ship’s schematics and tells Red where the facility’s server’s located, but he says they can’t access it due to Braxton’s lockdown. However the guy referred to as the German says that if they can access the boiler room, they could cause the boiler to explode, knocking out the server. The rub’s that the only access is a 24 inch single air-duct that only Keen’s small enough to crawl through. She’ll get into the boiler room, let Red and the German in. The other prisoner asks what’s his job and Red shoots him in retaliation for killing some of Reddington’s soldiers.

One of Braxton’s people see a security breach in the Warden’s office, so Luther calls the extension and Raymond responds the Warden can’t be reached can he take a message and Braxton remains silent as he immediately recognizes the voice. Red says nothing, a hello, how are you and Luther spits out his name, to which Raymond responds it’s him. Braxton immediately brings up Belgrade, a previous battle between the two that Luther claims to have won, but Raymond says that his opponent, chewed and clawed his way into his pockets and killed innocent people.

Braxton, says they both know it takes guts and someone willing to run the gauntlet, to take him out and after Belgrade, Red showed he lacked what it takes and asks what’s he going to do?

Reddington: A Wise Man Can Learn More From A Foolish Question, Than A Fool Can From A Wise Answer.

Braxton: Who said that, Nietzsche?

Reddington: No, Bruce Lee.

Luther calls Cooper again and demands the code and Cooper tells him he’s not giving it to him. Then Braxton tells him that he’s got his agent Samar Navabi, chained up and unless he gives him the code in ten-minutes, he’ll be down one agent. Aram asks Cooper if he’s going to give Braxton the code and Harold and the Liaison enter his office. He says he’s got three agents on the ground and he’s not going to let them die over a code. He says that if Braxton escapes they can recapture him, then she tells Cooper that it’s information that Luther’s trying to obtain that’s the problem.

Braxton calls again and he’s hanging Navabi and as Cooper hears her groans he gives the prisoner the code. Braxton sends his team down to the server to reboot it and get what he wants. The Liaison fires off a text to the Director of the NSC and the following scene’s the Director meeting with the organizations members. Although some think that Reddington will release the Fulcrum if killed, the Director says that this incident, proves Red doesn’t possess it.

The National Security Director meets with his liaison in his car and he tells her to send two air fighter jets to destroy the facility. She tries convincing him otherwise due to the three agents, but he says he can’t take the risk that Braxton can have that power over so many important people.

The German can’t override the computer settings, says the boiler needs to get overridden manually and he’s not taking that risk with his life. Liz says that she and Red can do it and the other two prisoners high-tail it out. As they’re overriding the boiler, Liz asks why Red’s obsessed with stopping Braxton and Red says that if Braxton gets the information he’ll realize the only way he can get the Fulcrum’s through Keen. The boiler’s about to explode and they run out, both knocked out by shrapnel.

The Liaison tells Cooper and Aram that the order’s sent to have the Black Site Ops Site destroyed, Aram says that two fighter jets just took off heading for the target. Cooper asks how far out are they and Aram responds that the jets will reach the facility in 24-minutes.

Liz wakes up and finds Red not breathing, she gives him CPR, getting him breathing again, but he’s still knocked out. She hears voices, hides him under some rubble and quickly gets caught, she gets taken back to Braxton who whacks her and asks where Reddington is, she responds he’s dead.

Red’s found by the guard and he takes him back to the Warden’s office, they don’t know where Liz’s at. All the prisoners escaped when the server exploded and they’re rioting. Red loads up a shotgun and tells the guard he’s getting her back. Reddington struts like Al Pacino in Scarface, taking down anyone and everyone in his way, he shoots Braxton, but he tries to fight when Liz pulls a pistol on him. Amar tells Cooper that the fighter jets just released their missiles.

Raymond tells Braxton’s he’s not getting a golden ticket, all he’d gain’s a target on his back. Luther says he knows the stories, about the fire and the girl and he looks over at Liz and his jaw drops. Braxton says that’s her, that’s the girl and Raymond shouts to Keen to shoot him now, when we see the bomb start to hit the facility.

The Story Continues, Thursday, February 5, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

The First Annual NOTTIE AWARDS

Collage Created By Jason Jones
Collage Created By Jason Jones

It’s that time of year, when everybody’s coming out with their “Best-Of Lists” and we are adding yet another list to the pile. Welcome to The First Annual NOTTIE AWARDS, our version of the numerous Awards shows that get televised across the planet. Our list varies from other awards, in the fact that we cover the entire year of 2014. The NOTTIE AWARDS, breaks down the year starting with the 2013/2014 season’s conclusion, going through the summer shows as the first half of the year. The second half of the year covers the 2014-2015 Television season, making sure that all performances throughout the year, receive the recognition, they deserve.

As you peruse the list, you’ll notice that all categories have four names, except for two categories; Most disappointing series of the second half’s vacant. The other category that breaks the rule’s the Best Supporting Actor, in the second half, there were far too many outstanding performances to limit that category to just four actors. In all categories, the name listed first and in blue, won the category, the runner-up’s listed second and in red, the third and fourth names are just randomly listed.

All choices were made by Jason Jones and I, all decisions by the Judges are final (Although, We’d Love Your Feed-Back.)

And on to the Awards:

First Half

Best Actor: James Spader-The Blacklist, Tom Mison-Sleepy Hollow, Lee Pace- Halt and Catch Fire, Sean Bean-Legends

Best Supporting Actor: Peter Capaldi-The Musketeers, Walton Goggins-Justified, Jon Voight-Ray Donovan, Tom Felton-Murder in the First

Best Actress: Mackenzie Davis- Halt and Catch Fire, Joelle Carter-Justified, Kerry Bishe- Halt and Catch Fire, Kathleen Robertson-Murder in the First

Best Supporting Actress:  Amy Acker-Person of Interest, Tamla Kari-The Musketeers, Sarah Shahi-Person of Interest,  Marissa Neitling-The Last Ship

Most Disappointing Show: The Leftovers, The Black Box, Resurrection, Power

Best New Show: The Blacklist, Legends, Halt and Catch Fire, Murder in the First

Most Underrated Show: Justified, Supernatural, The Musketeers, Halt and Catch Fire

Best Show: The Blacklist, Person of Interest, Legends, Justified

Second Half

Best Actor: Jeff Daniels-The Newsroom, Ioan Gruffold-Forever, Elyes Gabel-Scorpion, Matt Ryan-Constantine

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Waterston- The NewsroomJohn Noble- Sleepy Hollow, Judd Hirsch-Forever, Misha Collins-Supernatural, Jesse L Martin-The Flash, Mark Sheppard-Supernatural, Michael James Shaw-Constantine, Robert Patrick-Scorpion, Mandy Patinkin-Homeland, Robin Lord Taylor-Gotham, Sean-Pertwee-Gotham, Donal Logue-Gotham, Rupert Friend-Homeland

Best Actress: Claire Danes-Homeland, Anna Gunn-Gracepoint, Emily Mortimer-The Newsroom, Alana De La Garza-Forever

Best Supporting Actress Olivia Munn-The NewsroomJacki Weaver-Gracepoint, Elizabeth Henstridge-Agents of SHIELD, Chloe Bennett-Agents of SHIELD

Most Disappointing Show: None Applicable

Best New Show: Forever, Scorpion, Constantine, Gotham

Most Underrated Show: Constantine, Forever, Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow

Best Show: The Newsroom, Homeland, Person of Interest, Forever

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.