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The Blacklist – S2E17 – The Longevity Initiative (No.97)

Previously on The Blacklist, ‘Tom Keen’ 

Two men argue in a NYC lab, one telling the other that if he’s not more careful, someone will get wind of what they’re doing. Later, the man who wants to be more careful is pulled over by a NY state trooper on the highway. The trooper finds mutilated bodies in the back of the truck and the driver hits him, as they fight over the cop’s gun. The driver gets the gun and kills the trooper, escaping in the patrol car as other police arrive on the scene.

The Blacklister

Funded by tech billionaire, Roger Hobbs, The Longevity Initiative, a privately owned company, is dedicated to finding the key to immortality. As this is the human trial phase of an experiment, craniotomies are being performed on unwilling test subjects. Foreign cells, both fetal human stem cells and jellyfish cells, are introduced to the brains of the subjects. Cue horrified face. What the hell are these people doing?

The Blacklist


Bad guys are looking for Tom and he can’t find his handler. He’s talking to Liz about it like she gives a damn or she can do something to help him. Okay, we know she gives a damn. As they talk, The Major pulls up and tells Tom they need to go; his passports are burned and the Germans know he left Germany. Tom tells Liz he knows what day it is and to have fun at dinner. These two! He gets in the car with The Major, who tells him where to find a go bag and getting to London is his new goal. Tom tries to explain he doesn’t know how Red found him, but we do and The Major is keeping mum. Tom goes into his bag, looking for his gun, and realizes it’s missing. The Major has it, duh! Tom thought he was just gonna go gentle into that good night? Not bloody likely. The Major acts like he’s not the one who snitched out Tom and tells him he allowed him to turn on Liz, but going to the Feds to save her was the last straw. Before he can shoot, their car is cut off, the driver killed, and the Germans are all over their shit.


For Liz’s birthday, Red gives her a bottle of wine, cultivated from the vines she grew with Sam. I don’t know much about wine, but I’m not sure that’s gonna taste good. Red agrees, so just in case, he gives a better bottle. While he’s there, Red mentions the Longevity Initiative; what they’re working on and how they’re involved in the killing of the state trooper. I notice just about every story Red tells is somehow linked to the Blacklister he tells her to find. He’s a regular Verbal Kynt with these stories. Red suggests Liz speak with Hobbs, who he happens to know personally. Of course he does, why wouldn’t he?

The Blacklist


Liz celebrates her 31st birthday questioning Hobbs and investigating The Longevity Initiative kidnapping and experimenting on several disabled patients, all of whom had severe damage to the frontal lobe.

Seriously, who goes to work on their birthday?

The ME IDs one patient and learned he was being cared for at a local care facility. Liz and Ressler visit the facility and Liz uses her considerable charm and profiling techniques to gain information from a noncommunicative patient who was with the other patient when he disappeared. She asked him, like, two questions and he gave her a clue by way of a playing card. That’s hardly Sherlockian. On the way to find their suspect, Ressler admits he’s flagged all of Tom’s known aliases; he hasn’t left yet. He asks Liz if she’s spoken to him and she lies, because how do you tell your partner you’re still in love with your criminal, murdering, psycho ex whose number seven on the Blacklist?


Cooper is looking good and feeling good, Louis! He’s even walked a bit without his cane. At HQ, Callahan stops by and says he heard Liz and Ressler questioned Hobbs, a very important man and “friend”. This treatment must be giving Cooper bigger cajones, because he flat out asks Callahan if what he’s saying is supposed to impact the investigation. Callahan says no, but it’s obvious he’s not happy with Cooper’s new set. Later, he gets a call from his doctor, and Cooper lets him know he feels great. The doctor tells him that it’s possible that the age parameters for the trial may be lowered and Cooper could get booted. That asshole Callahan.

The Blacklist


Aram and Navabi have 31 cupcakes waiting for Liz, well 30 because Aram keeps snitching them; he’s so adorable, I can’t stand it. They let Liz and Ressler know that their suspect, a pharmaceutical rep, also visited another facility where a patient went missing. The suspect is at a bus station attempting to flee, so they alert the local authorities. And Aram can’t stop eating those cupcakes; Red Velvet is fairly tempting. Later, they find a link between the doctor doing the experiments and Hobbs. I like that Aram and Navabi find all of this great intel, but Navabi is being wasted at HQ. She’s Mossad; let her out in the field!

The BlacklistThe Longevity Initiative Minions

The pharmaceutical rep is found before he can flee the country. He gives up a doctor, Julian Powell, who he says asked him to find test subjects. Dr. Powell, the ME, has been working on transgenic research—the transferring of genes from one species into the genome of another—using the Immortal Jellyfish. (It’s a real thing; I Googled it!) I could go on and on about the scientific stuff said here, but I won’t, because science. Dr. Powell used to work for a biotech company owned by, drumroll…Roger Hobbs. Dr. Powell left the company and went off the grid, doing his experiments off the books. Powell calls Hobbs, who tells him to come in, but Powell refuses. Red is with Hobbs during the phone call and Hobbs asks him to find Powell and take him out. Isn’t this beneath Red?

Get a grip:

Tom and The Major are kidnapped by the German gang, held, and tortured. They demand to know who they work for and when they don’t speak up, the leader carves into Tom. He still refuses to talk, so the leader mentions Liz and pulls out an ultrasound? Shook, Tom says he’ll tell them who hired him and why if they promise to not touch Liz. Damn, he really loves her. The Major makes some empty threats while Tom, and everyone else, ignores him. Tom tells the German that Liz is FBI and they need to let him go. They all agree having the FBI on their backs is not the way to go. Well, everybody except The Major.

The Blacklist

It’s going down!

Hobbs is brought to HQ for questioning regarding Dr. Powell and as Catherine Tate would say, he is not bovvered. He denies knowing anything about what the good doctor has been doing. Liz and Ressler know their evidence is circumstantial, but Cooper tells them to find real evidence or kick him loose. That’s not typical Cooper. Aram alerts them to another possible victim, so Liz and Ressler rush out to get her before Dr. Powell can.

“I’m happy to discuss the day’s events, but not if you insist on doing so at this volume.” – Red

Dr. Powell gets to the care facility before Liz and Ressler, and makes off with the patient, who happens to be his fiancé. Red and Dembe nab the doctor, but leave the fiancé; kind of like The Godfather. Liz and Ressler get there in time to see Dembe and Red drive off with the doctor.

Dr. Powell tells Red he’s not motivated by the promise of immortality; he just wants to fix his fiancé. Red asks him if his findings can help someone (ahem Liz) regain lost memories but the doctor says no; his research is fake and the experiment is a failure. He takes Red and Dembe to his fiancé’s house and tells them he’s responsible for her condition and he can’t fix it. He shoots himself before Red can stop him. Later, Red admits to Liz that he used the FBI to create a problem for Hobbs, so he would be in debt to Red. He tells her Hobbs is the kind of person you want on your side when it goes down.

Callahan comes back to HQ to talk to Cooper about Hobbs, well to clear the air about their earlier conversation. Insert side eye. Cooper asks him if he knows anything about him possibly getting cut from the trial. Callahan denies it but says he’ll make a phone call. “That’s what friends do.” I don’t like that guy.

Liz is still at the office and didn’t go out to celebrate her birthday, so Ressler brings the celebration to her. He’s such a good guy. They eat dinner and drink that awful bottle of wine. I promise I’m not a wine snob. Liz goes back to her hotel room and is surprised by Tom, who says he had nowhere else to go. Mmmhmmmm.

  • Score | 6/10This episode was only okay; not enough Red for me and the story jumping left a little to be desired. The doctor, the billionaire, Tom, The Major, the Germans; it felt like a weird episode of The Love Boat. Red’s stories are so good, but I’m no longer finding them believable. He has a story for every situation.
  • I’m expecting to hear about a barbershop quartet from Skokie soon. I’m hoping at some point, the Blacklist numbering system is explained. Tom is seven but The Longevity Initiative is 97?I always love seeing Tom and I hope they find a way to have him stick around for longer.
  • Red looking at childhood pictures of Liz got me a little choked up.
  • I don’t know a lot about adoption, but are the adoptive parents’ names put on the ultrasound? 
About Teanna W (61 Articles)
Teanna is a self-proclaimed library goddess, who loves to talk about cataloging techniques as much as she loves to talk about her geek obsessions. She spends her leisure time painting her nails, watching too much TV, playing too many video games, and shaking it too much on the dance floor…sometimes all at the same time!
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