BWW Recap: Lizzie Confronts Tom and 'The Pavlovich Brothers' on THE BLACKLIST
We cold-open on a Chinese labor camp, where the WORLD Health Organization is running a vaccination clinic. Nurses are busy, but a couple of them are doing something surreptitious - are they switching needles? A woman who's just been injected sits down and collapses. In "The X-Files" this would have been an alien virus of some sort, but wrong series - she just appears to be dying. The nurses beg for an ambulance over the objections of some guards. As she's being loaded on, an American voice calls out "asset on board, en route." Guards are reviewing tapes and seeing nursely sneakiness; they decide they've been duped and try to get the ambulance back, but it's too late. The woman is on her way to Washington.
Meanwhile, in Serbia, a couple of scary-looking thugs answer the telephone only to discover that a woman - no doubt the one in the Chinese ambulance - is now on her way to Washington. Their Hezbollah clients can pound sand; they're on their way to Washington to get a package.
At the blissful Keen residence, Tom wants to know when the Jolene Parker investigation went from missing-persons to murder. Sure he does; he's the murderer. He's running late for school because he can't find his keys. That might be because Lizzie is planting a tracking device on the key fob. Makes you want to run out and get married right now.
At the office, Lizzie tells Red that she knows Tom killed Jolene, and Red confesses to finding Jolene's body. (Actually, the intrepid Mr. Kaplan did, but she's Red's right-hand... person.) He's still not sure who Tom and Jolene work for, and he wants to know. But wait, there really is work, and that's actually why he dropped in - the Pavlovich brothers, numbers 119 and 122 on the Blacklist, are in town. These guys aren't terrorists, they aren't anything but mercenaries, whose sole occupation is grabbing people for cash. They're kidnappers for hire with no political agenda, and we've met them before - they're the folks who grabbed the general's little daughter in the pilot episode with Ranko Zemani. Now they want themselves some Chinese scientist.
Back at the dark, dank Post Office meeting room, Meera announces that the scientist is the woman who got the bum vaccination so that she could be brought to the United States, because the labor camp prisoner is a big germ warfare biologist. And Meera knows this because, CIA. She's being flown in to Andrews Air Force Base within the hour.
Ressler and Lizzie go to meet her, only... shootout, during which nobody seems to get hit, which is good for Ressler's health. But in the confusion, naturally, the Pavlovich brothers abscond in a helicopter with the scientist. Conveniently, the Anne Arundel County police report a downed aircraft. Those sneaky Pavlovich boys.
Red calls. He claims he has a lead. He also claims Tom wasn't late for school because Tom called in sick and has been spending the day on various pay phones. Fortunately for Tom, he's able to find pay phones in the midst of the cellular age. Where are all The Burn phones, Tom? You're the only person left who can find a pay phone wherever you need one. Meanwhile, Red and Lizzie stake Tom out in Red's plush car, while a thousand now-employed actors are on the street as Red's eyes and ears; it looks like everyone on the whole street is working for Red. Maybe they are. He's rich enough and devious enough. Red explains to Lizzie that they're all working for her. Who's paying the payroll taxes here? But having an entire squadron of people following Tom isn't enough for Lizzie, woman of action, and so she jumps out of the car to chase Tom into that super-secret den of spies, the National Archives. Is Tom planning to Heist the Constitution?
Lizzie lacks the stealth of Red's band of henchmen. (How many henchmen and minions are on his payroll? He's got more loyal employees than IBM.) Tom spots her and tells his suited acquaintance in the Archives, "Not now." Acquaintance dashes out and grabs a cab while Tom sneaks out. Apparently Lizzie failed Tailing Targets 101 at the FBI Academy.
The Pavlovich boys and their team take the scientist to an uncomfy-looking stone basement-type room with a mattress. She uses a piece of metal to scratch into the wall. What are the chances she's leaving a coded message?
Lizzie comes home. Tom is there. So is the music box Red built for her. Tom says he found it in the basement. Tom is good at finding things mysteriously. Just like he found that box of passports, guns, and money under the floor after Lizzie found them. (The passports with his photo on all of them. Yeah, those passports.) Tom says he stopped by the National Archives to arrange a field trip, while he was Out Sick, and thought he saw her there. Meanwhile he's cooking dinner at home even though they were supposed to go out. He has a story about a student's adventures that day with a fruit roll-up. Which is interesting, since he wasn't at school. Lizzie gives him the stink eye, so he suddenly decides it's time to walk the dog. While dinner's still on the stove. Another pay phone pops up just where he needs it, so he can call in with the not-so-mysterious message, "She knows."
"My husband is gone." "Your husband never existed." Red's truth is cold comfort to Lizzie, who proceeds to reveal that it's been pretty gross having sex with Tom lately knowing he's a menace of some sort and a murderer to boot, and it makes her feel filthy. We all have that conversation with James Spader sooner or later, don't we? Red assures her there's going to be a lot more filth before she gets to the other side. He sounds less than disgusted by this fact. But Lizzie wants a lead on the case, too. Red gives her a fortune cookie lead: "To find out where they are, you need to find out where they've been." He's got a million of these cryptic solutions to all FBI cases.
Red finds a cab driver, the one who took Tom's acquaintance from the National Archives. Oh, look - acquaintance is in it. Red and Dembe invite him to tea and conversation, in order to find out just what he knows and what he does with it. The third-degree produces the information that he just picks up and drops off information. There was a calculus book involved this time. Red reminisces about Cindy the calculus tutor. It's one of those Red reminiscences. Yes.
This obscure advice puts the team on hyper-drive. It's time to analyze the downed chopper to find out everything about it and whatever and whoever's been in it. They Need to Know where it's been. As always, Aram has the answer in about fifteen seconds while everyone else is running around with their heads in dark places. There's pesticide in it. Traces of tobacco. Traces of sweet corn. He's now an expert on gas chromatography, which he learned in order to solve this. Only a handful of pesticide companies in the area have agri-chemicals for tobacco and sweet corn, and only one is within the flying radius for the chopper. It's in Falls Church, not that far away.
The Pavlovich brothers are moving the scientist from their Falls Church hideout. In a shipping crate, with a gas mask and Oxygen tank. Icky. Red shows up and introduces himself formally. Sounds like he wants to do business.
Ressler and Lizzie get to the same place Red was, only to walk into a shootout with the brothers' goons. Ressler is again unscathed, which is good because he's been the punching bag for several episodes. They get inside and find the Chinese scientist gone. But there's a coded message scratched into the wall. Ressler figures, as usual, that Red has played them, as usual. He wanted his own germ warfare biologist and now he's got one.
But away from Ressler there's a radio message: "Asset en route. Keen is in the lead." There comes the best car and motorcycle chase the show's had in a while, as the Pavolvich boys and their friends race after Tom. Red isn't kidnapping scientists, he's hiring the Pavloviches to Heist Tom! Lizzie, needing a lead, goes home to find the brothers seated on her couch, drinking, announcing "A gift from Reddington. Enjoy." Tom looks pretty good trussed up with duct tape over his mouth. Lizzie untapes Tom's mouth so they can argue and so she can explain how he's ruined her life. He explains it was just his job and that he felt sorry for her once he realized she'd fallen for him.
Amir is back to geniusing. That coded message wasn't any old coded message - it was Archimedes' formula, which a scientist would know, and it involves water displacement, which means she's being shipped out by... ship. Red explains that to smuggle anything out of the Chesapeake, you Need to Know Rolf Cisco. Who tells Ressler everything Ressler might want to know, thank you. He may be a smuggler but he's a pretty great guy. With loose lips.
"Is daddy coming over? Is he going to make me talk?" Tom is a creep. No news. "No, I am." That is news. Lizzie's learned a few lessons from Red about the place of tea and conversation in extracting confessions.
The scientist is rescued by Ressler, after another shootout, this time by a ship, in which Ressler is once again uninjured. It's a good week for Ressler.
Not so much for Tom, who's had his thumb broken with a wrench by his wife. He whines. She reveals that she hates his pancakes. Apparently these are comparable levels of torture. Because his thumb's broken, though, Tom can get out of the handcuffs. He and Lizzie unleash the giant economy size can of whoopass on each other and the Ikea furniture. Before he runs off, however, Tom reveals, "I'm one of the good guys. Reddington's not who you think he is." Amazing. No one knows who Raymond Reddington really is, and they know they don't know who he is. But Tom, do good guys shoot Jolene and the Cowboy and bury them in the woods? You're the school teacher - how do you define "good"? Tom also tells Lizzie that the infamous Blue key leads to a box at Radford Bank that will tell her everything.
Red tells Lizzie there's a tail on Tom -- and that he never wanted the scientist as he doesn't bother with germ warfare, at least not this week. Ressler tells Cooper that Lizzie's having trouble at home. Lizzie opens a safe deposit box and finds an envelope - is that the same symbol on it that was on the box with Tom's passports? The one that might match her weird scar? She doesn't like what she sees - and we don't see it. It's obviously something to do with Red. Smart money says it's from when Tom and Red were in Nebraska with her now-deceased father, Sam. But we won't know for sure for another week - if they tell us then. Stay tuned for the revelation.
Photos: Nicole Rivelli/NBC