The Gambler, Part One
During a rally, a man named Ryan is shot by officers, in front of a protesting crowd.
Two hours before the shooting, Elizabeth Keen is at the FBI Academy. As she spars with Ressler, she tells him that she’s been ordered to do a field test—something she didn’t do prior to doing field work. That actually explains a lot. As she is summoned to the obstacle course, Red is visiting the grave of Alan Fitch at Arlington National Cemetery. In typical Red fashion, he waxes poetic about grapes, while studying a picture of Liz from her FBI graduation. He tells Fitch he’ll one day get caught; he wonders when he does, if he will leave any answers or more questions.
At the obstacle course, Liz is reacquainted with a former classmate; he’s the one who flagged her for not having taken the field test. Hatin’ ass.
With an hour to complete the course, Liz falls behind, but makes it to the sniper alley with minutes to spare. Mr. Hater 2015 tells her to get moving, because no one is going to help her. She disappears and a few paintballs to the chest later, Mr. Hater sees her on the roof with the sniper’s gun, asking if she passed. I’m thinking not.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ryan Dupont speaks to a crowd about the state of their city. A man watching from a room full of monitors declares it’s time to begin and Ryan is roughly pulled off stage and put into a police truck. From the shadows, a man grabs him, plunges a syringe into his neck, and then forces a liquid down his throat.
Dupont stumbles out of the truck towards the officers on the scene as they try to get the protesters under control. With guns drawn on Dupont, the crowd and officers watch as he screams for help and bleeds from ruptures all over his body. As the man who poisoned Dupont slips away, the crowd attacks the officers and FBI agents and carries away Dupont’s body. Red tells Dembe to call Liz.
Liza and Red meet at the Lincoln Memorial to discuss the new Blacklister, Leon Kiklinksi (No. 148).
With the current trouble the FBI is in for Dupont’s death, Red offers to spirit Liz away on his boat, where they can hunt down Blacklisters together; and that fool turns him down. Back to the business at hand, he asks if she’s heard of Leon Kiklinski (No. 148), and she hasn’t. One day, Red won’t even bother asking. Kiklinski, a terrorist-for-hire, specializes in media manipulation to the benefit of his employer(s).
At the taskforce HQ, Liz gives the team details about Kiklinksi; he’s responsible for the deaths or ruined careers of many people the world over. Red believes that since Kiklinski just entered the country, he may be responsible for Dupont’s death and the public outraged directed toward the FBI. But who benefits from either of those things?
Liz learns she failed the field test, and I’m not sure what she expected. She shot that dude to shit with that paintball gun! Ressler suggests she tell Cooper so he can handle it, but she refuses. Dupont’s body is no longer in the ME’s office; turns out the FBI Director ordered his body to be cremated. Unable to join Ressler in the lab to review the tests on Dupont’s bodily fluids, Liz takes a call from Red. He knows the body was cremated, and somehow this surprises Liz; it’s like she doesn’t know he’s always one step ahead.
Red is at the racetrack with Mr. Kaplan and she wants to know why he’s being a punk and not asking Liz the real question he wants to ask. Red seems a wee bit verklempt about the situation and says he never thought about how Liz would feel if he were gone. Now that he and Liz have a relationship, he’s rethinking his plans. I guess Fitch’s death hit him harder than I thought.
The overseer has Kiklinksi on the streets of B’More, eyeing a group of guys, ready to do damage. Meanwhile, Aram and the gang are going through footage of the incident, hoping for a sighting of Kiklinski. Though he isn’t there, they find that one onlooker filmed the entire incident, keeping the FBI as his focus. With a geotag, they find the cameraman’s name, Jake Francis Donovan. He’s a local student, so they proceed to bring him in for questioning. On the way out, Liz tries to give Cooper her gun, because she failed the field test. Really? Now is the right time? Like the goody-goody she is, she balks when he offers to fix the situation. Cooper refuses to take her gun so she gives it to Aram. Sometimes she’s such a drama queen.
With the help of a tactical unit, Liz, Ressler, Navabi clear Donovan’s building and enters his apartment, only to be welcomed with an explosion. That’s the Liz and Ressler I know and love. Inside the apartment, they find Donovan’s dead body trussed up on a wall.
Navabi points out that the explosion should have burned them, if not kill them. Yeah, I was wondering about that. Liz tells Red it seems like Kiklinski knows what they’re going to do and that catches Red’s attention. A note with a picture of the Governor’s mansion is found, stating they have 45 minutes. As they realize Cooper and all in attendance at the dinner at the mansion are the next targets, Lizzy finds a camera watching them, and Red tells her he thinks he knows who hired Kiklinski. The overseer is revealed.
I’m not a comic reader; this is only the second comic I’ve ever read. My love for The Blacklist helped me finish this. Not that it wasn’t good, just me and comics don’t mix well. I have to say though, I loved this. I love that the actors’ likenesses are used and since it’s written by a writer from the show, the characters’ personalities shine through. It’s like an extension of the show. I’m eager to see what unanswered questions we may find in the comics; and if Tom shows up, LAWD!