Previously on The Blacklist, ‘Quong Zhang’
On a college campus, a man passes out fliers to students, warning them about the dangers of the NSA, trying to get signatures for a petition. Bumping into a student, he drops his papers and they talk, the student signs the petition, they shake hands, and the student walks away. The man looks at his watch, the student stops, his hands shaking and eyes bleeding. And this is why I don’t talk to strangers or panhandlers. The student falls to the ground, while hacking up something God-awful, and the man leaves the area. He calls someone and says to initiate phase two. Yeah, I shouldn’t have been eating this late anyway.
Liz meets Tom at a diner. “Hello, Stranger” is playing on the radio. Get it? Liz tries that “Last night was a mistake,” line, but Tom interrupts her to apologize. Not to ask for her forgiveness, but just because he should have said a while ago. I don’t know how she can stay so stoic about it, because I melted into my couch with a dreamy sigh. He says there’s no catch, just a little hope. Maybe they can hop on his boat, and drift away, no looking back, get naked… She hasn’t packed yet?? Liz laughs and says she doesn’t know him—the real him. And he doesn’t know her either if he thinks she’s just gonna run away with him. Then the breakfast he ordered for her arrives, and it’s just the way she likes it. Girl, if you don’t get on that boat! Liz is so coy and playful with Tom. I love her this way, just as much as I love her being bad. A call from Red forces her to leave, but before she goes, he tells her to call him “Jacob”. Oh, these two!
A little torture never hurt anybody
At Red’s country house, Brimley, the torture guru, is putting the screws to a young man who works for the Cabal. I hope he isn’t putting actual screws to him. Liz walks in as Brimley says the guy doesn’t know squat; Red insists he does. Brimley goes back to the torture room, saying he’ll need dry ice and five feet of vinyl garden hose. Okay, so maybe screws aren’t so bad. Red tells Liz he has confirmation that Karakurt is in the country and they have this guy because he provided Karakurt with a go bag. As Red explains who Karakurt is and what he does, Liz tells him she wants more info about her mother. She tells him she gets what he’s saying and that it’s important, but it’s no more important than what she wants to know. How she figure? Red basically tells Liz to pull her head out of her ass and get it together so they can stop Karakurt and the Cabal.
Karakurt is a Russian terrorist, responsible for the death warrants issued by the SVR. Working for the Cabal, he sets up a bomb in D.C and plans to take out a high-level government official.
Back at HQ, tail firmly between her legs, Liz tells the team about how the Cabal wants them to think the SVR sent Karakurt to America, to commit an act of terrorism. Not trusting their security, Red won’t give up details about the government installation that Karakurt will hit. Maybe if they stop having sensitive conversations on speakerphone. Cooper says he knows a guy and sends them to the CIA’s Office of Russian and European Analysis (OREA). Because different government entities don’t know how to play nice, Liz and Ressler have a tense conversation with the head of the OREA, gathering no more information than they already had. Before they leave, one of the OREA agents tells them about a CI who gave them a recording that might help them. Liz asks the agent about Katarina Rostova, showing him her picture. The agent tells her Katarina Rostova is a myth, but he’ll see if his CI can help.
Come out, come out wherever you are!
Red and Dembe hit the address for Karakurt the tortured aide gave up. They find a workstation with tools and a receipt for ammonium nitrate; yep, he’s built a bomb. A neighbor stops by and tells them she saw Karakurt leave in a big, white truck. Red slips her his card with instructions to call him if he returns.
Destruction, terror, and mayhem
Liz shows Ressler the picture of her mother and starts to explain why she asked about the CI when they get a phone call from HQ. Navabi tells them about the bomb and gives them a description of the truck, with a plate number. As Aram tries to ping the truck’s location, Ressler tells Liz about the truck. She looks over her shoulder at the white truck beside OREA and heads toward it, just as Navabi says the bomb has been traced to that location. Everything goes kerplewie; all of the OREA agents are killed. Aram finds video of Karakurt leaving the truck bomb outside OREA, Ressler instructs him to send it out so they get an I.D. Red calls Liz to make sure she’s okay. She seems a little on edge; she tells him they have nothing on Karakurt, the Cabal killed an entire section of the CIA, they tried to kill Red…that’s quite the pep talk, Liz. She says she’s going to tell the AG the Cabal is always three steps ahead and that catches Red’s attention. Karakurt goes back to his apartment. The neighbor calls Red and Red calls the team with the location.
Connolly arrives, demanding to speak with Cooper in his office. Connolly tells him to divert Liz and Ressler. Cooper balks and this punk threatens his wife…again. He has to die. Cooper sends Liz and Ressler to Union Station as directed.
Fit the description
At Union Station, Liz and Ressler search the crowd for Karakurt. Liz sees a man in the outfit from the video of Karakurt and goes after him. The guy yokes her up and tosses her around like a rag doll before hoofing it.
Desk jockeys, 1; field agents, 0
Back at HQ, Cooper seems shocked that Karakurt was at Union Station. Seriously, no one notices how weird he’s been the past few weeks? Aram plays the recording they got from the OREA agent. Navabi and Aram figure out who the CI is, where his restaurant is located, and who met with Karakurt, a Dr. Andropov. Up top, Navabi and Aram. At Andropov’s place, they find a genotyping unit and notebooks of chemical compositions. Realizing he’s not building bombs, they suggest the doctor is instead creating biological weapons and a pandemic could be imminent. Okay, I’ll give the field agents a point, but only because Navabi is there.
The jig is up
Red dresses down Cooper for going along with Connolly, as if he’s above reproach. Oh, Red. Cooper explains why he did it and how it got to this point—his wife—his voice filled with self-contempt for what he’s been doing. Red ponders why Connolly would have Liz and Ressler misdirected if Karakurt would be there anyway. Unless it wasn’t him and Liz was ambushed by a stranger. Red tells Cooper to continue following Connolly’s orders, so they can build a case against him. Liz interrupts to tell them what was found in Andropov’s apartment; stuff they can’t use unless they have a microbiologist who can translate Russian. Not to worry, Red knows someone.
Like a dog with a bone
While waiting for the microbiologist, Dr. Lauren, to translate Andropov’s notes, Liz tells Red about the CI who may know something about her mother. Does she think she’s telling him stuff he doesn’t already know? Oh, I forgot; she’s new. Red ignores her and tells her about Dr. Lauren. Finished with her investigation, Dr. Lauren tells Red and Liz that Andropov created a customized, supercharged rotovirus that will affect one individual with a specific genetic code.
Never gonna give you up
Tom—er, Jacob Phelps calls Liz, leaving her a message, asking her out to dinner…or not.
By Jove, I think you’ve got it!
Red and Liz talk out all they’ve learned, trying to figure out who the victim of the virus will be. The government is on lockdown because of the OREA bombing and deaths of the agents, creating a public event where a high level target would make an appearance. Liz realizes the target will be at the funeral for the OREA agents. Okay, I don’t know a whole lot about funerals, especially funerals of CIA agents, but isn’t this funeral a little soon. Maybe two days have passed and they were able to coordinate a funeral of this magnitude in that time? And Liz hasn’t changed clothes? Mmmmkay.
Setting up the board
Liz and Ressler show a picture of Karakurt to a policeman outside the funeral venue. It’s not much to go on, there are too many people around, and anything can happen. The policeman suggests canceling the event. Gee, why didn’t they think of that. Just when you think it couldn’t get any more ridiculous, main justice says the funeral will not be canceled because they need a show of strength. A little “rah rah sis boom bah, yay, America!” to show everyone we won’t be cowed. Although Aram is working to reverse engineer the virus, he doesn’t have enough time to do so before the funeral and possible infestation. Karakurt assembles his disguise, complete with a new dye job that he doesn’t rinse out. Hope his hair doesn’t turn green.
Thinking out loud
Red runs through what’s been happening and what The Director could be up to. A terrorist known to work for SVR, bombs a CIA section. The next target has to be a critic of Russia and someone people would believe Russia would want to take out. Given what the virus does, Red thinks it had to have been tested first. He calls Aram and has him search emergency room admissions for anyone with symptoms of this virus. Jackpot, he finds the student and Navabi visits his mother. The student was the love child of Senator Hawkins, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and he’s the intended victim.
It’s go time
Senator Hawkins hasn’t arrived at the funeral, so Liz and Resser are on the lookout for both Karakurt and Hawkins. Karakurt arrives with legit press credentials and makes his way to the press corps. Red calls Cooper and advises him to spill the beans to Connolly, letting him know that they know Hawkins is the target. He reasons that it will make Cooper look good and it may make Connolly call off the attack. On the phone with one of the Senator’s aides, Navabi explains that there is a confirmed attack planned, though she can’t reveal her source. Senator Hawkins arrives and begins the ritual of shaking the hands of everyone present. Cooper tells Connolly that the team knows everything. Connolly is suspicious, as he should be, and Cooper tells him he wants him to call it off so he can stop lying to his team. Connolly refuses to call it off and makes the comment that nowadays, all you have to do is answer questions and shake someone’s hand to get got. Cooper calls Liz and tells her Karakurt is in the press corps. Liz spots Karakurt as he is about to shake Hawkins’ hand and tackles Hawkins. She and Ressler rush him to a waiting car to take him to a safe location. In the car, Hawkins begins having convulsions, on to the bleeding eyes, then the God-awful vomit. I wasn’t eating this time but it was just as bad.
The tea gets spilled
Red meets with the OREA CI, Anton. Since the OREA agents were killed, Red wants Anton to help him. Anton tells him the U.S. government may not be done with him because he was contacted by Liz; she wanted to meet to talk about Katarina Rostova. And she wasn’t the first; a while back two men from the Justice Department asked him questions about Katarina. He was asked about her KGB contacts, her address, and her child. Anton told them he heard she had a daughter.
It all comes down to Liz
At HQ, everyone is flummoxed because Karakurt didn’t get a chance to touch Hawkins, who is in critical condition. Liz and Ressler take a run at Karakurt in the interrogation room. They present the picture of him outside OREA and the recording of him talking to Andropov about the virus meant for Hawkins. Liz tells him they know he’s infected; his blood can’t lie. They need to know how the virus was delivered if he didn’t touch Hawkins. Karakurt continues to deny who he is. Aram interrupts the interrogation to tell them that Karakurt’s blood is not infected. Red calls Liz and though she tries to tell him she’s busy, he tells her to leave HQ. He tells her she’s been setup. The Cabal has been digging into her past, they sent Karakurt to bomb OREA while she was there, and they sent him to the funeral where she would be in a position to save Hawkins. She’s infected with the virus. She infected Hawkins. She’s the daughter of a KGB agent. She’s the patsy. She needs to get out of there.
Jacob is waiting for Liz at their dinner date, stood up. I hope he doesn’t take it too hard; she’s had a rough day.
This episode was amazing! Finally, the payoff has been delivered. Hopefully we’ll get to see badass Liz for the finale. I wonder if that collection of people Red gathered to help him with the Cabal will come into play for the finale or if they’ll show up next season.