Previously on The Blacklist, ‘Luther Braxton’
This week’s episode of The Blacklist opens in the aftermath of the missile hit. Ressler is on the floor of the torture room. One side of the beam that had been holding him, Navabi, and the guard is on the floor and the other is caught on wires hanging from the ceiling. With Navabi still dangling from it, struggling to stay alive. Ressler removes the chain from his throat and begins to stand.Brother Beard, uses the beam as a springboard, the beam Navabi is still chained to, and dives into him. The two tussle and hit the ground and BB grabs the gun laying next to him. He takes a right cross from Ressler, then shoots near Ressler’s head. The clip emtpies so the two decide to do this mano y mano. That is, until BB picks up a pipe and uses Ressler’s head for batting practice. He takes off after that swipe and I wonder why any of that just happened. Navabi continues to struggle against the chain on her neck. Ressler ducks under the beam and lifts her then gropes with the chain to try to disentangle her. Unable to remove it, because he doesn’t have super strength, Ressler grabs a knife off a dead body and cuts Navabi’s wrist ties. With her hands free, she tries to loosen the chains while Ressler walks up the beam to the wires holding her. Yes, the beam she’s still hanging from! He cuts the wires and down they both fall.
He picks up a dazed Navabi and they escape the torture room.
Back in the nest, Red pulls himself from the floor and surveys the damage. He pulls a dead cell phone from a dead body, then rifles around another for a walkie talkie.
At HQ, Cooper asks for an update and Aram basically tells him: facility go boom. Cooper wants Search and Rescue to save the survivors but Kat reminds him that the mission is off books, none of it happened, so no Search and Rescue. Cooper tells her if she doesn’t call, he will. She tells him that if he does that, he’ll be relieved of duty; she wants confirmation of survivors.
In the nest, Red is stringing together wires and cables, when Ressler and Navabi arrive. Not seeing Elizabeth, Ressler asks where she is; Braxton has her. Duh, where else would she be? Ressler asks if any of the comms are working. Navabi, in a voice not even a little hoarse from the pressure of the chain that was pressed against her throat, explains that the walkies have a short range, so…nope. Ressler gets all smarty pants and tells her the signal can be boosted with an antenna. Which is what Red is doing with all the wires. Red points out that if they don’t get a signal, they’re all dead. He’s like a coach with his motivational speeches. Ressler asks why Braxton took Elizabeth and Red gets tight lipped.
Elizabeth is strapped to a gurney on a chopper, asking dumb questions: “Where are Ressler and Navabi? Did they make it?” Braxton delivers a true annoyed parent answer: “don’t know, don’t care.” He asks her how it feels to have something people are willing to kill for in her head and she says she doesn’t know anything. He gives her a creepy, dead-eyed look and says they’ll see.
The chopper arrives at a hospital in Alaska, and a doctor meets the Brothers with the gurney in a hall. She tells them the hospital is closed to trauma, but that Glock in her face shuts her up quick.
At HQ, Aram tells Cooper and Kat about a medevac chopper that just entered Juneau airspace. Since the FAA doesn’t require flight plans or manifests for medevac choppers, that must be Braxton. Cooper tells him to notify a Tac team and give them Braxton’s mugshot. He tells Kat, “That shit didn’t happen, huh?” Braxton and the Brothers hijack an ambulance and get away. Cooper wants a search put out for Braxton. Aram gets an alert to an SOS coming from The Factory. Cooper gets all bad ass and tells Kat he’s making “the call”.
In the nest, Ressler is using the walkie/antenna thingamajig to issue an emergency message. A bloody Brother Beard comes up behind them with a gun and says they’re not going anywhere. Then why didn’t you kill them in the torture room?! Before he can shoot, he is shot in the back by Desmond. I wonder if he’ll stick that 50Gs. The survivors escape The Factory via chopper.
In an abandoned building, Elizabeth is being waterboarded. Because that’s just how Luther Braxton rolls. The waterboarding practitioner (who knew there was such a thing?) tells Luther he’s hit a wall; she’s talking but she only remembers so much. Braxton is all “so she wasn’t there?” And the practioner says “If she was, she repressed that shit. I torture, I don’t handle repressions.” Braxton goes to Elizabeth and asks where The Fulcrum is. Did he not hear the waterboard guy? Cold, wet, and possibly disoriented, Elizabeth doesn’t answer. Braxton tells her he envies her repression abilities; he needed help to do that. He says the person who helped him forget is going to help her remember.
A woman in her house yells for her son, Max announcing they’re going to be late. Braxton says her name and she turns to find him in her hall. “You remember me?” How you could forget a murderous sociopath is beyond me and she must agree because she does, in fact, remember him. Brother Beard, Jr. comes from around the corner with her son, Max, gripped up with his hand over his mouth. She tells him everything will be okay and Braxton tells her that depends on her. Do people on TV just not lock their doors?
Braxton takes her to Elizabeth and explains that she has a repressed memory that he needs. She made him forget Khafji so, she should be able to bring Elizabeth’s back. Doc: “hmmm, that’s not how it works.” Braxton threatens her son again. From across the room, Elizabeth goes on about how people are looking for her. She gets some more water for her trouble. The doctor is taken a way to make a list of what she needs. Red calls Luther letting him know that he’s alive. Luther starts a trip down memory lane, talking about Belgrade and the kid, Heinkel, who ran point for Red. The kid Luther killed by hanging him in a closet with Red’s necktie. Red tells him he’s out of his depth; he’s a good thief but he’s not good at thinking. Oh, the shade of it all. He tells Braxton that he will make a mistake and when he does he will tell him “I told you so.” Braxton tells him he better hurry because he’s found a way to get what’s inside Elizabeth’s head and he breaks the phone. Navabi tells Red that they’re going to say he’s presumed missing so he can go do his thing. He tells her they need to look for anyone in Braxton’s past who has psychiatric medical training. Because Red ain’t a fool and he knows what Braxton is about.
In D.C., the Director is getting his ass handed to him by the clandestine group. The missile attack on The Factory is now public knowledge. The Director calms their worries and says the blame will be put on an inmate uprising that got out of control; a missile was the only way to stop it. The German delegate asks about Red and The Fulcrum. The director says he will have The Fulcrum soon.
Ressler and Navabi are meeting with Cooper when Aram enters with an update. When he sees Navabi and Ressler, he gets all up in his emotions and hugs Navabi for a long ass time. Then he hugs Ressler and I can’t help but think this dude bet’not ever go into the field. Aram found Dr. Selma Orchard, a neurologist, who was part of a team that discovered a gene that makes it possible to erase memories. Eternal Sunshine, y’all! She was an attending at Walter Reed when Braxton was there during the first Gulf War. He needed help forgetting a friendly fire incident in, you guessed it: Khafji.
In the abandonded building, Dr. Orchard is getting ready to drug Elizabeth, but first she wants to explain what she’s doing is combination of hypnotherapy and pharmaceuticals and that there may be risks because she usually blocks trauma. Ooh, when is MY session? Elizabeth takes this chance to tell her she doesn’t have to do this. Did you not hear her son on the phone or the doctor pleading for his life?? Dr. Orchard begins the session to take Elizabeth back, 26 years in the past.
Ressler and Navabi are at Dr. Orchard’s house and although there’s no sign of forced entry or foul play, neither she nor her son arrived at work or school. Ressler concludes that Braxton has them. Again, duh.
Dr. Orchard is using her best soothing voice to take Elizabeth back to that night, 26 years ago. After enough soothing words, Elizabeth sees a little girl.
She’s hiding in a closet, where she was put by her father, with a bunny. Both Lizzies overhear an argument between a man and woman, the man being her father.
In a bar, Red has gathered several shady looking individuals and tells them he called them together because of their dealings with Braxton. Red tells them Braxton has gotten in over his head in his latest venture and will likely ask one of them for help. They will let Red know if that happens. Everyone at the table looks scared except one dude, Mr. Cocky, who is bold enough to ask what’s in it for them. Red’s answer: “Life.” ‘Nuff said.
At HQ, Cooper and the gang are trying to figure out the whereabouts of Dr. Orchard and Braxton. A policeman from a nearby suburb saw Braxton get into a van an hour after the doctor was snatched. Cooper wants everyone knocking on every door in the area to find out who Braxton was meeting. As everyone scurries, Cooper gets a phone call. He asks about results and meeting at someone’s office.
Elizabeth remains hypnotized, as she thrases about with Dr. Orchard and Braxton looking on. The doctor tells Braxton what they’re doing could be killing Elizabeth. As if you can reason with a psycho. Braxton tells her to amp it up or her boy is dead. See, I told you. The doctor administers more drugs and Elizabeth calms down.
Back in Elizabeth’s memory-dreamworld, little Lizzie continues to listen in on the argument outside the closet. Just as the conversation is getting good, the bunny hops off and Lizzie gives chase. Elizabeth follows her and since this closet is Narnia, they end up on a Christmas tree lot, looking for the bunny. The bunny continues to get away from them, to the delight of Lizzie and Elizabeth, who laughs out loud in the present. Luther asks what’s going on, because apparently happiness is something he’s never heard of. Dr. Orchard explains that she may be having a good memory to block the bad one. A man in a black coat steps out of the Christmas trees and calls Lizzie. She runs to him and Elizabeth calls her back and they both end up back in the closet. The arguing outside the closet continues, so Elizabeth asks what they’re fighting about and who is Masha. Lizzie tells her it’s a secret and she is Masha. Elizabeth decides to leave the closet even though Lizzie tells her not to and Lizzie learns what we all know: Elizabeth isn’t good at listening. She leaves the closet and heads down the hall towards the arguing. Lizzie tries to stop her and pull her back to the closet but Elizabeth shakes her off. Lizzie screams and runs back down the hall. In the present, Elizabeth goes into v-tach or v-fib, or some term I heard on ER. Dr. Orchard says it’s too much, she’s going into v-tach and tries to get get drugs to bring Elizabeth back to the real world. I was right; v-tach, thank you, Nurse Hathaway. Braxton tries to stop her and she tells him he won’t get any info if Elizabeth dies. Big dummy. As she’s getting the shot, Elizabeth comes to and says her father was there that night.
Back at the bar, Red meets with Mr. Cocky to find out what he has on Braxton. Mr. Cocky tells him that Braxton contacted him, then he pulls out his iPad and puts it in front of Red. It’s wiring instructions to an offshore account, because he wants to be paid for his intel. Red tells him Braxton has a hostage he’s trying to save, but Mr. Cocky demands to be paid.
Navabi and Ressler are out in the streets trying to track down whoever Braxton met. Turns out it’s a med student with access to some pretty cool drugs.
Now lucid, Elizabeth asks Dr. Orchard about her son and apologizes for them being pulled into this situation. The doctor asks about Elizabeth’s father being in the dream and whether she remembers anything else. Elizabeth tells her little Lizzie stopped her, as if she had a secret. The doctor tells her the little girl is a piece of her subconscious, trying to keep her from remembering. Elizabeth admits she doesn’t remember her mother or father. But her father gave her that nice scar on her wrist.
At the bar, Mr. Cocky gets much more cocky as the transmission of his money completes. After the transfer, Mr. Cocky tells them that Braxton was looking for a place to meet someone. Red takes the address and hands it to Dembe, then proves why he’s not to be fucked with. He punches Mr. Cocky in the face until his knuckles bleed. Dude should have just given him the information.
Braxton calls Dr. Orchard with Max on the phone. He tells her she has until 9:00 to get the information. Elizabeth tells her everything will be okay, even though it’s dangerous she needs to know what happened that night for herself.
Braxton meets the Director at a small church and what we already know is revelaed: these two are in cahoots.
Braxton will have The Fulcrum by 9, but the price has gone up because of those missiles. The Director tries a smarmy threat about the power of the people who hired him but Braxton tells him if they’re so powerful they can afford an extra 10%. He does have a point. He leaves the Director looking a little uncertain. Outside the church, Red is waiting for Braxton by his car. As he pulls out a gun, Dembe steps behind him with a gun aimed at his head.
Red delivers his best mini-speech so far:
“Luther, I never thought I’d enjoy having anything in my mouth as much as Petty Officer Virginia Sherman. But this, my God! It tastes so good, I hesitate to swallow and I certainly don’t want to spit it out. Oh, what the hell? I told you so.”
Red asks where Elizabeth is and Braxton says he doesn’t know; maybe she’s dead. Mabye Red is too late like he was for the kid in Belgrade. Red tells him that he barely remembers Belgrade, he never met Heinkel, his name probably wasn’t Heinkel, but he will remember this. For the first time, Braxton looks a little worried. Red and Dembe encourage him to get in the car.
Back under, Elizabeth follows Dr. Orchards voice and ends up back in the closet. Her parents are still arguing and she realizes they’re arguing about The Fulcrum. Her father says, “It’s the only thing keeping me alive.”
In the city, Navabi and Ressler have caught up with the med student and want to know how he helped Braxton. First the med student denies knowing anyting then faster than a sorority girl can flip up her top at Mardi Gras, he gives up the goods, naming the drugs Braxton wanted. Navabi gets handsy and demands an address for where he took them.
Red and Dembe arrive at the building where Elizabeth and Dr. Orchard are and make fast work of dispatching the guards inside. He asks how Elizabeth is, since she’s still under hypnosis. Red calls Ressler tells him to send a unit to get Dr. Orchard’s son. Red asks the doctor if Elizabeth has remembered anything from the past and she tells him that pieces were remembered; arguing, her parents, The Fulcrum. Does she remember where The Fulcrum is? Dr. Orchard says no, but she was close. He asks would it hurt her to continue, the doctor says no, if the therapy is done right. Red begins asking Elizabeth questions about The Fulcrum, trying to keep her from going towards the people fighting. In the dream someone holds her back and Red says she doesn’t want to see it. She lashes and thrashes. He tells her what she needs to find is The Fulcrum. When she begins to thrash more, he tells her to go back.There’s a gunshot and little Lizzie runs back to the closet. Smoke begins to enter the closet and Elizabeth tells her she needs to scream so she can be rescued. Both of them scream and someone opens the closet and helps them out. A fire rages around them as they are being led out of the house.
Ressler and Navabi arrive while she’s under and demand they stop whatever they’re doing. Dr. Orchard tells them it’s not safe.
In the dream, Elizabeth watches everything burn except the stuffed bunny in the hands of her savior. She sees a man laying on the ground and little Lizzie yells for her daddy. Men come into the house and pull her savior away from her and rush him out of the house. Elizabeth is left in the room, looking down at her burned wrist. She opens her eyes in the real world and says to Red, “You were there.”
After a paramedic checks Elizabeth, Red approaches her and she asks if he was there back then; yes he was. She tells him there were people with a woman looking for The Fulcrum and he was one of them. He tries to tell her it’s not that simple but she continues, in usual Elizabeth fashion, and says he was only in her life then for The Fulcrum and that’s why he’s there now. He tries to tell her about her memory but again, she stops him and says she remembers leaving her father on the floor of a burning house. Her father died because of The Fulcrum and he can stop pretending to care about her because she doesn’t know where it is. Elizabeth gets up to leave and yells at Red when he tries to help her. She wallks away on her own, up and down the many stairs, as Red stares after her.
The Director arrives home, on the phone, telling someone about the upcoming meet with Braxton and he notices a shoe on the floor. He looks up and sees Braxton hanging in his living room. Red and Dembe step into the room and Red urges the Director to sit. The Director tries that punk ass beaucratic, “do you know who I am?” and Red tells him to sit his ass down. With Braxton’s body swinging behind him, the Director throws shad and idle threats while Red looks unimpressed. The Director says he doesn’t think Red has The Fulcrum and Red tells him to call his bluff.
The news conference about the prison uprising airs, while Cooper and his wife get some sad news. In her hotel room, Elizabeth goes through a box, and she remembers a recent meeting with Dr. Orchard. The doctor told her that based on her responses, she thinks someone may have blocked her memories when she was younger. The people she remembered were the same, but their roles were probably different. She tells Elizabeth that the only people who can tell her what happened that night are the ones who want her to forget. Waking up from her daydream, Elizabeth pulls out her dirty bunny. While clutching it, she realizes something is sewn inside the lining. The Fulcrum. Or something that leads to it.
A few things bothered me this episode, which is not typical of The Blacklist.
- Why did Brother Beard not kill Ressler and/or Navabi in the torture room? Then he comes back later to try to kill them? I mean, he had a lead pipe! He could done some damage.
- There were a couple “No shit, Sherlock” moments: you’re chasing Braxton from ship to shore and you still have to ask where Elizabeth, Dr. Orchard, and her son are??
- How the hell does Elizabeth just get up and stroll out of the building after being blown up, waterboarded, and heavily sedated for several hours?
Ron Perlman was excellent as Luther Braxton. I’m disappointed that he’s already gone; I was so hoping he would get a mutli-episode arc, at least five episodes long. An actor of his caliber with the ability to be so menacing, could give Red a real run for his money. Braxton made Clay Morrow look like Mr. Rogers.
When will Elizabeth figure things out? Does she need to call a lifeline or something? I’m tired of her thinking she knows everything and not listening to Red. I can only imagine how she’ll be now that she has The Fulcrum.