BWW Recap: All the Little Birdies Go Tweet, Tweet, Tweet on THE BLACKLIST
Once upon a time, a network called NBC had a hit show with drama, intrigue, and badly matched leads. That was a plot device. Spying was involved. The bad guys were called THRUSH. Now that same network has a hit show with drama, intrigue, currently badly-matched leads, and spying. This week's bad guys were called The Thrushes. And so THE MAN FROM UNCLE morphs into THE BLACKLIST, with Spader and Boone standing in for Vaughn and McCallum, with just about as much snark between them.
Two questions permeate this episode. The first is, Can Mr. Kaplan be saved? The second is, can Baby Agnes be saved? The corollary to that one, though, is, can Liz and Red's relationship be saved?
In the case of Mr. Kaplan, things are looking grim. Her rescuer has determined that whoever shot her could come back, or she could leave and turn him in, and he doesn't like these things. She tells him - yes, she's still chained to the bed - that she tried to commit suicide. Turns out he's a tracker, and he decides to go back to check her story. He comes back with a digital camera found in a tree branch. It shows three, Red, Dembe, and herself, going into the woods, and only two, not including her, coming back. So he knows she lied. Problem: who had the camera, folks?
In the other cases, we begin in Minsk, where we find a group of various wealthy rogues whose American assets have been frozen by the government. A gentleman offers to give them all a huge loan, and a plane that someone can have, as well, in exchange for exorbitant interest when their assets are released. Shootings and an abduction take place in an elevator afterwards, and the abducting-and-killing businessman calls Red to tell him the kidnapping has taken place. Red reminds him to get Red's plane back, too. Red's kidnapping victim is Rene LeBron, who is a loanshark to the rich and asset-challenged. Alexander Kirk is using him for bucks because the US has frozen his assets. Red and Liz fight over the kidnapping. Cooper tells her to be compliant; she cops lousy attitude.
Aram and Samar flirt. Sort of. Kirk's people know that Red is behind the kidnapping and that "the seeds of doubt" are plainly in Liz's mind. How do they know?
Red's right hand militiaman Baz and company are taking LeBron to meet with FBI agents when he's gunned down in front of Ressler. But it's part of Red's plan! "LeBron's dead, right on schedule. Time to send out the invitations."
Aram and girlfriend Kate wake up together, with a pizza delivery at the door. The whole team has pizzas with secret notes inside. They're assembled and searched by Red's tech dude of orange, Chester, in Red's special, secret Low-Tech Den of No Wired Connections. No one in THE ROOM is a mole, who's leaked the plans they'd discussed, and Red and Liz's fight, to Kirk, but something connective has. Wait, the whole Task Force computer system has somehow been hacked, which threatens the entire FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and, worst yet, all World of Warcraft players everywhere in the universe. Also, Red plays Ms. PacMan. Who knew? Liz tells Ressler privately that the fight she and Red staged was real on her end. Who knew?
Aram says the system he had should be unhackable. Chester reveals the existence, using ancient slide projector tech, of the supersecret hack squad, The Thrushes (hello, UNCLE!), started by a Bulgarian and dedicated to taking down unhackable government tech for very rich people. What guy once named Konstantin Rostov has them in his employ? And how did they infiltrate the system?
Samar meets a Mossad buddy who shows her pictures of the thirty-eight engineers missing and presumed Thrushes. But Samar knows that one isn't missing and isn't an engineer... she's Kate, Aram's hot girlfriend! All is revealed, and, oh, poor Aram! Cooper doesn't want Aram to know, but Samar wants to "interrogate" her. I think that means maim her and hurt her badly. But Aram comes in having already puzzled out that his girl is the hacker, who did it at his place. Is Aram okay? Uh, no, but he's already figured out how to hack her right back! He's going to upload a hack on her laptop when she comes over for dinner.
Samar outfits Aram with audio equipment and a .357 in case of emergency, plus the panic word "Banana." Then she gives him a kiss for good luck. Unfortunately, Aram's bungling his way around pretending he doesn't know he's dating someone who has a bad case of Thrush. Just when things might work out, Kirk's assistant calls Kate to verify that everything is okay, and wants her to check her laptop. She finds Aram's hack uploading. Aram comes with her with the .357 but she fights pretty well. Banana! Banana! Samar and Ressler finally come in, as Aram grumbles, "what part of BANANA did you not understand?" Samar persuades Kate to tell Kirk's assistant that all is well. She probably used bamboo splints under her fingernails.
Liz gets told that she left a phone at a shoe shop she's never been to. She and Red go to the store. There's a burner phone with one number in it, Kirk's. He promises to arrange a meeting with Liz and Agnes. Liz tells everyone that Kirk wants to meet her at 5:30 in the morning in a closed-down subway station in Manhattan, but she calls him later, without anyone around, to tip him off, and he gives her a new location. Meanwhile, Red and Baz are making plans to break into a tunnel in Manhattan - is Red's team going to the wrong place? Liz meets Kirk on a rooftop. Agnes is nowhere to be seen, and Kirk says he'll produce her after his militia takes down Red at the subway station. Finally, Agnes is produced. And then Red and Baz arrive, with FBI, so apparently Red's militia is taking out Kirk's militia while he and Ressler come to rescue Agnes.
Kirk does the natural thing. He grabs Agnes and attempts to throw himself and the baby off the building roof so that she never has to be in Red's hands. Yep, Red stole his wife, so all's fair. (Buddy, you knew your wife was a honeytrap. Live with the consequences.) Liz finally manages to talk daddy dearest into handing Agnes to her, and as he bends down, the FBI takes him.
Samar tells Aram she's decided to revoke her transfer. Is she missing or ignoring his obvious Samar adoration right now? Whichever, she agrees to have leftover tacos with him in the office after work, which isn't a bad unintended first date. But "One Is the Loneliest Number" strikes up over Aram's sadness that she doesn't seem to realize how he feels, moves over Mr. Kaplan, and rests on Kirk's forced march down a Post Office corridor.
Liz lets Red in to visit Baby Agnes, accepting his thanks that she pulled off her end of the con brilliantly, and lets him play with Agnes. She's almost smiling - okay, has her bad attitude been a con too, or is she still conning Red? She tells him that she and Not-Tom need a place that's not controlled by Red, who says he knows.
We rest on a shot of Kirk being locked in the box that originally held Red. What goes around...
All righty! Is Mr. Kaplan getting out of this alive? Who's Liz kidding? Because she's kidding someone, right? And will Aram and Samar ever get it together? Has anyone noticed that this alleged drama/action series is actually the number one weekly nighttime soap opera on television? With Liz's and Aram's personal issues, Liz's continuing, obsessive hunt for The Truth About Liz, and Mr. Kaplan right now, the drama is taking second place to interpersonal dynamics. Where is this all going to go? Tweet @MarakayBWW or comment below on where the show is going to take us before the season break!
Photo Credits: NBC Universal