Will Hart / NBC

The Blacklist Sees Enemies All Around

Mysterious people keep coming after Red's business, but at least we stopped talking about Liz's dad.

We begin in Paris, France, where a couple of bad guys have just caused a car wreck, sending the driver through the windshield. He's dead, so they remove his fake leg, to the strains of AC/DC's "Shake A Leg," ignore the rolled up bundles of cash inside, and steal some other documents of some sort. Stateside, Liz wakes Tom up to tell him she saw on the news that his father, Howard Hargrave, died in a plane crash. Since the picture shown of his father is character actor Terry O'Quinn, we know he's not really dead. Although that's probably what I would have guessed anyway.

Tom claims his father's death doesn't mean anything to him. That's part of his past and he's only interested in the future -- which begins on February 23rd with The Blacklist: Redemption. Er, I mean the future with Liz and Agnes, of course. Naturally, the "death" of his father motivates Tom to want to reach out to his mom, Scottie Hargrave, for answers about his past. Ugh, with the past on this show. Red tells Tom to stay away…but viewers should TOTALLY TUNE IN to The Blacklist: Redemption on February 23rd to find out more about Tom and his mom!

Red still finds his "business" is under siege, but he's not showing the stress, outwardly anyway. The fake-leg guy from the cold open was one of Red's couriers. Red tells Liz that the person responsible, the next Blacklist-er, Isabella Stone, is "literally a character assassin." And her next target is Red. She doesn't just want to kill her targets, she wants to obliterate them professionally as well.

One of Red's associates, a guy named Stratos, goes to Monte Carlo on Red's dime, to celebrate his wedding anniversary with his wife. While he's at the tables gambling, Isabella Stone shows up in his hotel room to murder his wife. "Don't shoot," his wife says. Isabella says, "I'm not gonna shoot you. The gun is just to make sure you stay quiet while Charlotte strangles you." It's a pretty solid bad guy moment, maybe the best of the season so far. For some reason, Isabella and Charlotte take the dead lady's dress. Hey, whatever floats your boat, ladies.

Liz and Ressler go to a storage unit that belongs to one of the two people who killed Red's courier. For some reason, they show up there without a warrant. Liz decides to break into the unit, despite Ressler's reluctance. Inside is what Liz calls "a pop-up safe house." Sounds very trendy. Can't wait to read more about these in Vanity Fair! Liz breaks into a locked file cabinet inside as well, because she's an expert lock-picker now, I guess? Anyway, she finds a dossier that contains pictures of his courier, his dead accountant, and Stratos and his wife. Red tries to warn Stratos, who's in the midst of being drugged and framed for his wife's death. So, you know, he's busy.

Samar and Ressler head to Monte Carlo. Ressler, who's been having misgivings about "working for Reddington," remains pre-occupied by the family drama he's in the middle of: His brother is going in for bypass surgery. I'm as interested in this subplot as last week's drama about Samar's pay inequity. Aram connects the dots to reveal Isabella Stone's identity as Judith Pruitt. Tom, in the meantime, tumbles down the rabbit hole of researching his parents. He has a bunch of articles clipped from newspapers in a file. Articles with headlines like, "Private Military Group, Halcyon Aegis, Wins Pentagon Contract" and "Halcyon Aegis Company announces 3rd QT Profits up 24%." I won't go into the unnecessary comma usage or random capitalization of "Profits" or that a newspaper would use "3rd QT" instead of "Q3." But I do question why anyone would save either article. I mean, even if you are curious about your parents, what the fuck would you learn from a third-quarter profits article?

Red breaks Stratos out of the Monte Carlo jail, but he gets shot during the escape. Red leaves Stratos with a gun, and then seems surprised to hear Stratos use the gun to commit suicide. Come on, Red, we all knew that's what was going to happen. Meanwhile stateside, Isabella Stone attacks Red (I guess) by ruining the career of the wheelchair-bound head of a medical charity. It kind of makes sense, I suppose. Luckily, Liz and a SWAT team arrive in time to prevent that. They capture Isabella Stone/Judith Pruitt and try to get her to tell them who she's working for, but she won't help the Task Force. That's okay, though, Red's guys shanghai the Marshals transporting Isabella/Judith and bring her before Red. Red's got a few questions to ask her.

So how Blacklist-y is this episode of The Blacklist anyway?

Blacklist-y Element Present?
Stupid government agents! Always ruining everything! When the guy from the DGSE asks who the Task Force thinks the one-legged man was a courier for, Samar says, "We're not at liberty to say." Ressler immediately chimes in, "Raymond Reddington." Way to be on the same page, guys!
Do the writers find a new way to make Aram even nerdier? Yes. He's also a hacky-sack enthusiast who believes in the cardiovascular benefits of hacking.
Red is one step ahead of everyone at all times! Red spends the episode playing catch-up with Isabella Stone. He might not be back in full Red-Knows-Everything form until the season finale.
This Blacklist-er should totally be on Red's list! Isabella Stone's unusual desire to destroy the reputations of her targets before killing them might seem, to some, like "overdoing it." But that's exactly what makes her List-worthy.
Does Liz essentially do nothing to help herself or her situation? Surprisingly, Liz takes action. She goes into the field with Ressler and breaks into a storage locker and a locked file cabinet inside. Who is this version of Liz and what has she done with Eeyore?
Do time and distance essentially have no meaning? Ressler and Samar go to Monte Carlo and arrive mere hours after the murder of Stratos's wife. Isabella Stone flies back from Monte Carlo in time to destroy a fundraiser. Ressler and Samar also return in time to pursue Isabella on her way to Falls Church, Virginia.
Red's hat symbolizes his cool mastery of his surroundings Red wears his hat while he plays the part of a flustered foreigner whose car has just been stolen in Monte Carlo. It's a surprising use of the hat's power, but effective nonetheless.
Dialog by ClicheBot 3000 The lady with the mic at the fundraiser says, "Ladies and gentlemen, our fundraising efforts have once again exceeded our goals allowing us to continue to help needy people in every country on earth." And I'm still laughing about it.
Do we get any new information about Mr. Kaplan? Nope. Seems like the show could use her particular set of skills. Not sure what they're waiting for.
6 / 9
Final Score
67%
The Blacklist
33%
Hour-long promo for Blacklist: Redemption
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