BWW Recap: The Search for 'Zal Bin Hasaan' is on at THE BLACKLIST
On a bright sunny day in Teheran, 1992, a young woman and a boy plant in a garden, not seeing a man with a gun go into an apartment. When the young woman looks inside, the family -theirs -is dead. She protects her brother from looking in, and promises to protect him always. She's a young Samar Navabi, and that is her now-dead brother, the one she went after Red for. It's a Samar episode, folks! Maybe someday we'll get that Mr. Kaplan episode. Maybe.
Not-Tom drops in on Cooper, but Charlene doesn't realize he's not there for coffee until she sees him struggling with Karakurt in the garage. Crash goes the coffee mug.
Red and Liz are in a restaurant kitchen watching the television. Some employees of Lazarum International have been kidnapped. Red quotes TS Eliot while stealing the fruit from a Bellini. The manager asks them to leave but Red wants a meeting. He offers to produce Zal Bin Hasaan in order to get it. Liz doesn't think he can do it; Hasaan is responsible for the kidnappings and is dangerous. But Red has a secret weapon -Samar. She doesn't think Hasaan is in the States, but Red knows better.
Solomon drops in at Not-Tom's Chinese restaurant and the waitress says yes, Not-Tom's been there. She has his number and cheerfully gives it to this total stranger on a flimsy story. Ressler is looking at video footage of Solomon from last week, but the Director, Justice Queen, and Security Bitch have no idea who he is. Especially the Director.
Samar and Aram brief Ressler on Hasaan. Hasaan put Samar in the ICU, killed her Mossad partner, and makes Osama Bin Laden look friendly, so she personally wants him down for the count. A video feed shows a Lazarum hostage reading a note and being shot, but Aram, the Mystic Oracle, determines the location of the hostages from the reflection in the hostage's glasses. He also warns Ressler that the CIA's best computer geek is playing with their system but that Aram has already locked him into an endless loop of Candy Crush because Aram is better than the other guy.
Karakurt has an anaphylactic shock reaction to something in the garage, but Charlene Cooper calmly asks the neighbor whose son has a peanut allergy to borrow the epi pen. Charlene's nobody's fool.
Samar and Ressler, a SWAT team, and a Mossad team are in Bethesda prepared to raid the building where Hasaan has the hostages. Military tech seems necessary; Ressler asks not to know how Mossad has all of it right there, waiting. Ressler, you are so naïve it hurts. They blow things up and rescue a whole crowd of hostages, not just the Lazarum crowd, but can't find Hasaan. Who do they find? Samar's supposedly dead brother Shaiid! Uh, Pinky, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Because right here, I'm thinking it. Samar calls Red, but even he didn't know Shahin was alive.
Samar questions her brother. The government, he explains, was behind the explosions, to cause his student activist group to be labeled as terrorists. He went to hide in England, and did not tell Samar because he didn't want to cause her any trouble. He came to the States, but Hasaan captured him. Uh, Pinky? You thinking it yet?
Red questions a drycleaner named Farzin in his own special way. Farzin first says everyone's named Farzin, it's a mistake to visit him, but Red and his natty Panama hat and his stylish pistol are very convincing. Farzin has smuggled for Hasaan, and he has an address for him. Meanwhile Not-Tom calls Liz. Red says that meeting with Not-Tom wouldn't be a great idea at the moment.
Aram alerts Ressler that Not-Tom has secretly arranged a meeting with Liz and that the Director knows because of the sneaky computer jerk. Ressler plans to raid the restaurant. Cooper knows and just may be tipping off Liz.
Samar is with Shahin at Mossad's local outpost. The government wants Shahin deported. If he goes back to Iran, he says, he'll be killed. Samar says she's filing for asylum for him, but he's acting hinky. Pinky, Samar is not thinking what I am definitely thinking. Isn't Red thinking this? Why isn't Red thinking this?
Well no, because he goes to the address Farzin gave him, where a young Iranian is shaving. Dembe takes the guy down, but he must not be Hasaan because Hasaan's back looks like Red's, from when Hasaan bombed an Argentine synagogue because he is appallingly evil, and not from saving a little girl from a fire as Red did, because Red might not be horrendously evil.
Not-Tom and Liz meet. Not at the Chinese restaurant. Not-Tom offers Liz a normal life. She says it's not possible. He says he has Karakurt. They talk and get far too mushy. He says he's sorry he left. He wants back. She wants him to follow his dreams, but he says they're about her. Ressler storms the Chinese restaurant -not where Tom and Liz really are but where Solomon is. He finds Solomon's gun and hauls him in for questioning.
Red tells Samar to run. His getting information from Not-Hasaan elicited that Hasaan is hiding among the hostages. As he tells her, Hasaan's men blow up the building. She plays dead and hides long enough to see -yes, Pinky, Shahin IS Hasaan, just like we've been guessing all along. He finds her destroying secret Mossad files he wants and kills another Mossad agent who's kissing her pretty hard, apparently channeling Aram who would do the same thing if he saw it. He drags her off, but not in the way Aram would like to.
Ressler gets nothing from Solomon, who's claiming German diplomatic immunity. Agent Wright and Security Advisor are frustrated until the Director tries his own line of questioning involving forcing wire hooks down Solomon's throat. What's revealed to the Director is not revealed to the audience.
Ressler gets to the Mossad HQ guns blazing, and finds Samar has been abducted. Ressler orders everyone to find her with three times the energy he puts into telling people to find Liz. Hasaan, aka Shahin, has dragged her to his escape boat, only to find that Red has claimed it for the Empire and that Dembe is back to his gun-to-your-head ways. Red tells Samar she gets to decide what happens to Hasaan. Shahin/Hasaan begs sis to protect him, but she announces that her brother is dead and that Red can take Hasaan because it might help Liz.
Aram tells Ressler that Samar is fine. Security Advisor and Justice Queen tell Ressler that the Director's team is out for their mishandling of information. Ressler then goes to Cooper's and has a fistfight with Not-Tom until Cooper tells them he has to live in that neighborhood.
Red delivers Hasaan to the restaurant manager. "You'll have your meeting." Then he calls Cooper.
The Director apologizes to Solomon over drinks and a fire in the fireplace. Solomon says it's not the worst thing that will ever happen to either of them. They plan to extract Karakurt from Cooper's garage.
Liz thinks about the husband and child she longs for. She pictures them. Not-Tom is not the husband. This is her biggest scene in the whole episode. Why is she even here now? She hasn't done anything since she was at the agribusiness bombing! Let's just make this a video game -oh, say, Legend of Liz, where everyone goes around to rescue the Liz but you never see the Liz till she's rescued.
Ressler and Samar grouse and mourn. Ressler opens up about Audrey. They have a moment. Then they wind up in a "we're-about-to-have-sex-so-we-know-we're-alive" cliche clinch. The ripped clothing and frenetic mouth-to-mouth resuscitation also say they're about to have sex. Don't tell Aram. Please. And why, oh why, when you have characters of both sexes working together in a show, must they wind up shagging? This is annoying. Putting these two together is annoying. I know Aram would be annoyed, too.
Will Karakurt help clear Liz? Will Liz actually do something involving plot and dialogue in the mid-season finale, rather than merely appearing behind Red occasionally? Will Aram find out about Samar and Ressler? And what's happened to this show this season? Has it jumped the proverbial shark? If you have answers to these and many other questions, please tweet @MarakayBWW or comment below!
Photo Credit: NBC Universal