Previously on The Blacklist, ‘Leonard Caul’
In a cemetery, two men search for a burial plot and begin digging up a grave. An unsuspecting guard approaches one man, not realizing the other is in the ground and is killed. In what looks like a medical examiner’s room, a third man arrives and asks to see the body. The dead woman is Marjorie Lin, who died of a heart attack, with no history of illness or STDS, as requested. He asks how much; the grave digger names a price to which he agrees. Hmmmm, what the bloody hell is going on?
Quon Zhang is an international smuggler who worked with the Cabal on at least two occasions. His unmarried brother died years before and haunted his family from the grave. Because he didn’t have a ghost bride for the next life. Their family home caught fire and both parents died as a result. He stole the body of a young girl from their village to appease his brother.
Liz and Tom, sitting in a tree…
Well, lookie here; Tom and Liz are meeting up… again. Liz tells him that she enhanced the photo, but it’s still hard to tell who the woman in the picture is. She’s run the picture through FBI databases and whatnot, but nothing. Tom interrupts and says he can buy the boat he just found online, and they can run away together. This is the point where I start singing ‘Runaway’ by Janet Jackson. I guess boats don’t float Liz’s… boat, because she reins him in fast and tells him there are 51 million images in that database and none of them are her. Because she’s the little girl in the picture, she tells Tom she thinks the lady is her mother.
And Tom says what we’re all thinking: “Maybe Reddington is your dad.”
If looks could kill, Tom would be a mushy pile of goo; Liz rejects his statement, saying her dad died when she was four. Reddington was there and maybe her mother, too. Helpful Tom tells her to just ask Red, but she says Red won’t tell her; he doesn’t want her to know and he bullies anyone who will. Tom suggests that the fear people have for Red can help them find the truth. Looking closer at the picture, he notices the ring the woman is wearing bears a Russian inspection stamp, and it’s similar to a ring Berlin wore.
Liz suggests Tom reach out to people who worked with Berlin. Liz lies to the team about meeting Red and instead meets Tom so they can tap his Berlin associates and get some intel on Red.
Uneasy on his feet, Red meets with Caul to discuss the Cabal and The Fulcrum. That could be a pretty cool band name. Caul tells him he’s found a way to make hard copies of The Fulcrum. Even though much of the information is obsolete, many of the same players are still in the game. The Cabal planned to do whatever nasty business they’re up to in 2017, but The Director is getting antsy, so according to Red, he’s advanced the timeline. With Red’s inside man, Roger Hobbs gone, there’s no way for him to stay updated. Red tells Caul they need to find Kenneth Jasper, you know, the guy whose tongue he threatened to cut out. It seems he’s gone into hiding. Well, I wonder why, Red. Liz shows up at his country estate and they trade a few barbs about his taste in homes. Red is a little bitter about Liz going to his flat.
One deep sigh and eye roll later, Liz looks over the documents Red has out for her; faked official documents for a woman named Lien Mah, used to fool the state department to ship a fictitious corpse back to China. Smartly, Liz asks for Red’s angle up front in leading her to the body smuggler. The Blacklister has ties with the Cabal, of course. Liz tells Red that it’s all good because she met with The Director and they reached an agreement. Wiping the wetness from behind her ears, Red tells her that all she did was pin a target to her chest and they need the smuggler to help them remove it. Finding out Jasper escaped on his gulfstream, with a bogus flight plan, a few days prior, Red instructs Dembe to call on a cohort who can pass for Jasper. In Key West, they take Jasper’s yacht out for a spin then blow it up. To save his company, Jasper holds a press conference to prove he’s alive. Yahtzee, you bastard! Red has Dembe set up a surveillance team to keep track of Jasper.
With friends like these
Days away from being sworn in, the incumbent AG visits Cooper…again. And Cooper throws some shade about how often he’s there. Connolly says he’s been fielding calls about the shooting, because there were witnesses. He needs the rumors to go away because it’s making him look bad, so he tells Cooper to leak something to a reporter; something that makes it look like the AG’s office is handling the Reddington case. Even though Cooper is hip to the game, he asks Connolly if he’s asking him to fake then leak a “classified” document. This asshole says yes with a straight face! Cooper meets his wife and tells her what Connolly wants him to do, and that he thinks his participation in the trial in contingent upon doing it. Her answer, “And??” I’m a little concerned with the fact that his wife can tell him he’s decent, but urge him to do something so indecent so he can be in that trial. She tells him he knows her feeling on the subject and he says she knows his. Welp.
When a woman’s fed up
At a health club, Liz waits in the lobby while Tom chats up someone from his days with Berlin; we’ll call him Hairy Back, because reasons. Tom shows Hairy Back the picture of Liz and the mystery woman, but Hairy shoots down his curious ass. But Tom is Tom and won’t stop, so Hairy swings on him while a nearby observer holds him. Why can’t they fight fair?
Another observer goes to the lobby for help and Liz follows. Seeing the fight, she pulls out her gun on Hairy and she asks the question. Hairy says he swore on his life he wouldn’t tell, so Liz asks to whom? She finds her answer in the visitors log in the lobby. Back at Red’s flat, Liz starts rifling through his things, while yelling questions—presumably at Red. Zeroing in on a camera in a clock, Liz tells Red she saw the alias he used at the health club on his mailbox. Note to self, don’t put your alias on the mailbox of your secret lair.
She tells Red if he doesn’t answer her questions, she’s going to find all of his secrets. Red tells Liz what she already knows about the picture; she’s the girl and the woman is her mother. Katarina Rostova, was a KGB agent, and yes, Liz was born in Moscow. I swear if she turns out to be a Russian sleeper agent, I’m quitting this show. Liz asks if Red is the one who blocked her memory of the night of the fire and Red admits that he did. She asks why and he refuses to tell her. In his silence, Liz fills in the blanks with conjecture, asking if he was in love with her mother and is that why her father died. One last time she asks him to tell her what happened and he says he won’t. Fed up, she tells him she’ll find out on her own then leaves. I love this Liz!
At HQ, the team discovers that seven Chinese women who died and whose bodies were shipped back to China, had forged passports, like Marjorie Lin. The bodies of all seven women were stolen from their graves. Based on the fact that the Blacklister blew up a few things for the Cabal, Liz tells the team he’s most likely smuggling explosives in the caskets. The plan is to wait for the paperwork for Lien Mah, so the team can seize the caskets.
Aram informs Cooper that the casket is at the airport, ready to be shipped. Cooper orders the rest of the team to make sure the casket doesn’t leave the cargo hold and they have an explosives team meet them. Using a robot, the explosives team finds no trace of explosives; Navabi suggests the items are inside the body. The bomb squad is not about that life, so the M.E. is called; nothing is found in the body. Navabi suggests that since there were no drugs or explosives being transported in the bodies, maybe it’s just the bodies. Aram points out that Marjorie Lin’s dead body has new veneers and gives Liz and Ressler the address for the doctor who made them. At the doctor’s office, Liz finds two papier mache women, in Chinese garb. I ask again, what the bloody hell is going on?
Aram explains that the paper women are ghost brides, a Chinese form of ancestor worship. An unmarried woman is needed to be buried alongside an unmarried male family member, so he won’t be alone on the otherside. Mmmmkay. There aren’t a lot of young, unmarried, female corpses in China so they have to mail order them. There are two paper brides because another bride has been selected to steal. Ressler finds a briefcase of a whole lot of cash in a vent. What they thought was about a hundred large is actually worth more because they’re prosperity notes, which are worth $5 to every $1. They trace the purchase of the notes to a man whose son, Jin Ha, committed suicide after his fiancée left him at the altar, then emigrated to the U.S. Even though the bride is usually already dead, the family blames the fiancée for the son’s suicide and plans to have her killed and buried alongside their son. Liz and Ressler head to the fiancée’s home to warn her.
Here a grip
Red and Dembe show up at Jasper’s hotel and snatch him before he can disappear again. Red calls Navabi and asks for her expertise in handling the delicate matter that is Jasper. Navabi unrolls her pack of tools, pulls out a syringe of Novocaine, and goes to work on his gums as Red taunts him. Red waxes poetic about the interrogation scene from Marathon Man, his delivery scarier than what Navabi and Dembe are doing to Jasper.
Seriously, the glee in Red’s voice as he describes the torture of Dustin Hoffman’s character is chilling. Navabi pulls out pliers and Red tells Jasper that he’ll answer their questions or lose all his teeth. That Novocaine must have made Jasper forget his situation because he starts spouting crap about how Red doesn’t understand loyalty because he has nothing to be loyal to. Did he not see those pliers? Red and Dembe leave the room and Navabi releases Jasper, saying The Director sent her to help him. Dembe catches them trying to escape, so Navabi shoots him in the chest.
This is where I started wailing, rocking back and forth. This better be a trick! In the getaway car, Jasper tells Navabi that she needs to tell The Director that he didn’t spill not one drop of tea, otherwise he’s dead. Navabi leads him to reveal what Red needs to know, then takes him back to Red’s country estate.
There a grip
Aram calls the next ghost bride victim, to tell her she’s in danger but the police are on the way. Too bad she didn’t close her door before talking to him, because the Blacklister grips her ass up and chokes her out.
The police arrive but no one answers the doorbell. The Blacklister drives through the closed garage door and runs down one officer. Ressler and Liz arrive just in time for Ressler to use their big ass, gas guzzling SUV to stop the sedan’s retreat. I guess that’s a good reason for the government to keep increasing its carbon footprint.
Sisters are doing it…
Liz and Navabi interview the Blacklister and he tells them that because they didn’t let him kill the fiancée, Jin Ha will haunt not only his family, but also those who stood in the way of him getting his bride. They bring up his connection to the Cabal and he says he doesn’t know what that is; because they’re the only assholes running around calling it that. They refresh his memory of the group by mentioning the bombings in Jakarta and Taiwan. They tell him they know there will be an attack on U.S. soil and he was contracted to smuggle something instrumental to the attack into the country. He tells them he arranged delivery of an agent called Karakurt, and it’s already in the U.S.
Behind every decent man
Cooper meets with Connolly and tells him he’s done. He won’t be leaking classified data for nobody! Cooper lays into him about how Connolly leveraged the treatment for his illness over his head and used it to get what he wanted. Connolly finally comes clean and says he didn’t get leverage for his own gain but for…Dun-dun-DUN… the Cabal. Connolly mockingly laughs and says that’s a term no one involved would ever use. Like I said! He goes on to say they own Cooper and lists all the shit Cooper has done to help Keen, because shit always comes back to bite you in the ass. Cooper still refuses to go along and Connolly tells him it doesn’t matter because his wife already did it. This chick. There’s no other play, according to Connolly, and if Cooper keeps acting up, the group won’t hesitate to hurt either of them.
The Director receives a package and a phone call from Red, telling him he had chat with Jasper. In the box, is Jasper’s tongue. Later, a casket arrives at a garage, with a man inside wearing an oxygen mask. He opens his eyes and is welcomed to American by his henchman.
Liz and Tom Redux
Avoiding Red, a wet and bedraggled Liz goes to see Tom. He invites her in to talk, but she just wants to be held in the rain.