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BWW Recap: Tony Shaloub Merges Mobsters on THE BLACKLIST

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Submitted for your approval: a tale of love found, and lost. For Raymond Reddington. For a young mob son. For Samar Navabi. Perhaps for Liz Keen. It's a tale of multiple betrayals, death, and lots of Tony Shaloub drinking champagne. For this is a journey not to the Twilight Zone, but to THE BLACKLIST. It's a place just as weirdly exotic and inexplicable, but with less paranormal content and more plot twists.

We open in New York, where a young Mr. Ericson is shown into a posh restaurant (most of this episode is set in posh restaurants). He walks in and starts shooting, apparently at people named Vaccaro, and is shot himself. It's crime family war time. Enter Tony Shaloub at the hospital, dressed like a ponce and carrying a Pomeranian. He promises family head Mads Erickson that he can make things right.

Cut to an even more posh restaurant in Paris, where Red sits with the beautiful Josephine, holding hands and being non-creepily besotted. He gifts her a priceless pre-war German glass giraffe figurine and holds hands yet more, while she tells him that she's getting married. Ready to be gracious in defeat in matters of the heart, he asks if she loves her husband-to-be. No! She loves Red! But she must marry to please the family.

Liz visits the adoption clinic, preparing to find a family for her baby. This is clearly not the Cyprus Agency; it's legitimate. However, the caseworker points out that Not-Tom must consent to the adoption, too. Could this be an issue? It might, or Not-Tom might die, because he's heading into a restaurant men's room only to be slammed into a wall by none other than Gina Zanetakos, who calls him Jacob (his most likely real name) and roughs him up a bit. Meanwhile, Liz walks into her apartment to find Red and Dembe there. She asks if her mother was alive when she was given to Sam - and the answer is yes. Very interesting, if true. But Red wants to talk about the Erickson/Vaccaro feud. Or, more likely, their merger, because Tony Shaloub and his tweed suits and dogs are the rulers of criminal business mergers, and they're hanging with the Ericksons and Vaccaros now.

While Samar asks if she can throw a shower for Liz, Shaloub bathes in a very fancy tub, drinking champagne with his Poms, praising one for a brilliant idea about romance, and offering them champagne. They're white, like Blofeld's Persian cat, but Shaloub, alas, is no Blofeld; he's painfully silly. Meanwhile, listening to Not-Tom whine, Gina asks why she should help him with "the mark you dumped me for." She's working for The Major, who is not happy with Not-Tom since first season's skinhead business. (Gina. The Major. Adoption. Red romancing a beautiful woman, much like Madeline Pratt. It's a giant allusion to the entire first season.) If Tom does join her team to get work, $22 million will be split six ways.

The DEA horns in on the task force, because the Ericksons and Vaccaros are the biggest drug syndicates in the East. The main DEA agent is a jerk who keeps calling Liz "Comrade Rostova". Somehow, none of the task force likes him. There's a joint stakeout, where they see fathers and heads of families Erickson and Vaccaro meeting at yet another posh restaurant with an unknown man who's swilling champagne. They can't hear the conversation, but it's Shaloub, proposing the merger, offering credentials and a client list, and suggesting marrying the youngest Erickson son to the youngest Vaccaro daughter to accomplish everything.

Not-Tom: "What you're talking about isn't a job, it's a suicide mission." That's what you get for working with your very hot ex, who clearly still has a thing for you. The suicide mission is a diamond heist.

Red's in Paris with Josepine. Another posh restaurant, another beautiful glass animal, and an offer to protect her from the upcoming situation she fears, though she has other ideas of what Red should do. James Spader strikes again, as American women are re-introduced to Spader doing the romantic thing on screen. Yeah, still got it.

Red and Dembe find Shaloub for Liz by passing his FBI stakeout photo to a hotel worker connection who will send it to hundreds of other New York hotel and restaurant workers. Sure enough, the task force is immediately introduced to "Maxamiliano Cartier", which they promptly conclude is, duh, a fake name. He's drinking more champagne in another restaurant, where the mob dads haggle over the wedding. The techs monitoring the conversation discuss Liz's pregnancy throughout. Back home, the Vaccaro family argues about the wedding. Mama doesn't like it, while Shaloub and Pa Erickson discuss that there will have to be some lying to his son to get the wedding to happen.

Ressler follows Shaloub in a conspicuous manner. Behind Ressler are Junior Erickson and a pretty girl. Look, it's his fiancée, Anne! See the black car. See the gun in the car window. See Anne get gunned down, maybe by a Vaccaro. See Ressler lose Shaloub as he runs to assist the dying Anne.

Gina introduces Not-Tom to the team, which has everything from a driver to a gemologist and a "guy on the inside," all equipped with FBI jackets. She offers him his traditional Glasses Disguise. "Such a pretty face."

Shaloub and Pa console Junior over the gangland hit that missed him and took out his woman, but Shaloub has a proposition to settle the war. Liz thinks she's found a family for Keen Junior. The task force needs to get inside the gang war to get to Shaloub, and of course Red has a plan, which involves Red. He drops in on Mads Erickson and reveals a planned DEA bust on Erickson's drugs. Erickson, grateful that Red helped him rather than horning in on his business, invites Red to the engagement festivities. DEA jerk suspects Red of being the task force's secret weapon.

The Vaccaro family thinks that the engagement party would be a fine time to knock off the entire Erickson clan. Harold is mad that Red hasn't been in touch with Liz and plans a bust of the party with the DEA goon. They have concealed cameras in the banquet room. DEA jerk wants to bust Red when Red walks in, but is told he'll ruin the FBI plan to round up everyone to question them about the shooting.

Gina looks at jewelry and boosts a ring, while FBI Agent Not-Tom and his team catch her and ask to interview her in a back room of the store.

Red and Dembe party with the mob. Shaloub talks to the mob kiddies to confirm the wedding. Dembe whispers to Red, who delivers a long, rambling, Red-anecdotal toast, clearly stalling something. Shaloub finally walks in, and the task force calls to go in just as the Vaccaros start shooting. Red tells Dembe to rescue the bride and groom while he abducts Shaloub. Liz and DEA slimeball find them, DEA guy calls Liz "Comrade Rostova" once too often, and Red, thank goodness, plugs him and whisks Shaloub off to his plane.

The phony interrogation of Gina results in Gina hitting Not-Tom. Can sex be far off? They plunder the diamonds, and Not-Tom feels cheated at the end. Drat. Samar is upset because Eli is now engaged to a woman he met a week after they broke up. (She slept with Ressler; she needs to quit whining.) Liz tells her to cancel the shower. Tony Shaloub's real name is Alistair Pitt, and he's from London. It doesn't matter. We didn't have any name but Shaloub until now.

In Paris, Josephine calls Red, agonized. He arrives at her flat to find her near death on the floor, and kills the man who enters the room. But wait - it's all been flashback! Josephine was the daughter of an illegal arms dealer, and Shaloub was having her married off to another criminal family as a merger. Everything is his fault, so Red shoots him.

The adoption agency is sorry, but the family Liz found won't agree to an open adoption. They've figured out who she is and they don't like her.

Red enters a flat in Paris, where a paralyzed woman sits in a wheelchair. He kneels and hands her a beautiful ANIMAL figurine. "Josephine, it's done." Oh Red, you shouldn't have. But we love you for it.

Will Gina and Not-Tom have wild monkey sex? What will Liz do about the baby? And does that woman next week eat kids, or what? Comment below, or tweet @MarakayBWW.

Photo credit: NBC/Universal


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