BWW Recap: Who's Your Daddy (And Is He Alive)? NBC's THE BLACKLIST Finale Gives New Twists to Old Questions
Oh glorious season finale, you did not let us down. You gave us blood, death, mayhem, and some snappy Raymond Reddington dialogue, and even a few solutions wrapped in new mystery, as well as a cliffhanger or two. We cold-open on the debris of the plane crash from last week, as Matt Lauer of TODAY breaks the news of the crash on the banks of the East River. Various violent Russian criminals are climbing out of wreckage in various states of medical condition; one of the guards on the plane is dumped at a hospital as his hand was cut off by one of the Russian thugs.
FBI Agent of Evil takes Red to a cell - he's told he's not having a trial and he's simply going to be conveniently disappeared. Agent Evil asks if Agent Keen was worth all of this, and Red says, quite simply, "Yes." Not snappy, but sincere. Harold Cooper tells Agent Keen that their hands are tied as the task force has been decommissioned. Is she still willing to work with Red? Yes, she says - once this case is over, which it isn't, not with Russian thugs roaming the streets of Manhattan. Hasn't she realized? This is the case that never ends - it just goes on and on, my friends.
Some of the Russian prisoners are caught by the police. They were grabbed to be on the plane, don't know why they were chosen, and they didn't know this Berlin person. All they know is that someone who seemed to be in charge had Russian tattoos. Speaking of Russian thug types, Not-Tom is in a room somewhere with one. Is it Berlin? He has a list with all of the FBI task force members' names on it. There's a plan that's still to be followed.
Lizzie tells Agent Evil that they need to talk to Red. Cut to Red in his anonymous Cell of Disappearing, where he has a visitor - not Lizzie, but Fitch, Man of a Thousand Mysteries. Cut to Ryan Eggold's newest-yet Ford Mustang commercial in which he says Tom will still be a man of mystery for a while (just like Fitch, apparently). Because he's Keen. Tom Keen. Only he's really Not-Tom. Whatever. Sounds like he's back next season, though.
Fitch contemplates Red's problem, and determines that "this concerns me." He's in the intelligence community and this planeload of Russian bad guys isn't on record anywhere. He doesn't want Red in prison but can't have him freed - he can only arrange a transfer, he says meaningfully. Fitch says he wonders if this is the jam Red finally can't get out of, but wishes him luck. Apparently they're secretly as buddy-buddy as they can be given their respective positions. Red enters an unmarked FBI vehicle driven by Agent Evil, who is, somehow not surprisingly, working for Fitch today to take Red to his new holding facility. Red says he figured it would be him. Agent Evil explains how he's to be knocked out for Red to make his escape, and Red had better make it good because he's only got one chance. Red opts, instead of a blow to the face as directed, to go for choking and crashing the car. Once free, he calls Lizzie and warns her that the whole task force is in danger. Yes, even Aram, whom everyone loves. Those brutes!
Meera and Ressler can't be warned of their danger, though, because they're on assignment in a fancy night club where there are escaped violent Russian thugs hiding. While one of them attacks Ressler, because, hey, violent Russian thug, another comes up behind Meera and silently slits her throat. There will no doubt be those who might wish it had been the other way around, with Ressler bleeding out. Meera didn't do much, but she wasn't Ressler, Agent of Goof. At least he got roughed up a little, which is fortunate because he hasn't been abused physically lately. Lizzie gets to the club and finds Meera lying in a pool of blood.
She reports to Red. "You said we were all targets. Why?" "Because the work we've done has forced Berlin out of the shadows." He's made them all targets by association, he fears - but Lizzie says that if Berlin had all of their names it was thanks to Not-Tom. Then she asks Red how Sam was involved. "As your father," Red explains - nothing more than that. Lizzie says her only memory of her father is his walking her out of the fire. Red pauses before he says, "Yes."
Ressler questions another escaped violent Russian thug, getting the same story the police got. Cooper thinks it's time for their good buddy Red to pay one of his charming social calls to the Russian ambassador in order to get information on this unlisted flight. Red drops in unannounced and uninvited, while the ambassador's been napping; he's at the dining room table, enjoying some freestone peaches he brought as a gift, as well as snuggling with the unadorable ambassador's pricelessly adorable puppy. How adorable this puppy is cannot be conveyed in mere words. And it loves to give Red wet, drippy puppy smooches. Surely Red is a better dog owner than the ambassador. Nonetheless, the ambassador, who seems to fear tea and conversation with Red, says that Red had better not harm his dog. What? Red harm one hair of Adorable's head? "I'm not a monster. I wouldn't hurt a dog." Adorable knows - more puppy kisses follow. Boy, those peaches must be tasty. "You, on the other hand..." He throws a knife into the ambassador's leg. Dog lover, judger of fresh peaches, knife thrower - Red is a true Renaissance man.
Lizzie gets the plane manifest from Red and gives it to Cooper. Three Russian convicts are still at large - one must be Berlin. Cooper gives Lizzie the bracelet that the general's daughter gave her in the pilot to encourage her. "It might remind you of all the good we've done."
The guard in the hospital, missing his hand, tells Ressler and Liz the story of Berlin. He was in the Red Army, a colonel, who moved to the KGB. His daughter fell in love with a political dissident and was sent to Siberia to "rot with his enemies." Then his enemies started to send his daughter back to him, in bits and pieces. He determined to wreak revenge, even carving a knife out of one of his daughter's Bones in order to exact his own kind of justice. Swell story, buddy - but how does it tie in with Red, and who is Berlin? "Ask Mr. Hood." That was the guy on the plane in the hooded sweatshirt last week.
Agent Evil is having a Super Secret Meeting with Cooper. Evil doesn't want Red on the street, "but people do. Get Keen and Reddington back." Cooper demands to know what people want them back, but to no avail. He gets in his car without an answer but with a Russian thug in the back, who garrotes him.
Ressler goes charmingly postal on the thug who killed Meera. The thug demands American justice - Ressler sneers. He explains that sometimes the rules suck - he's learned this. Sometimes you have to do things a different way. Then he tries choking information out of the guy. Ressler has learned a thing or two from having his enemy's head delivered to him in a spiffy box. Now he's learning to be charmingly spontaneous with tea and conversation, just like Red.
Red and Fitch meet. Fitch, in his infinite wisdom, declares that "Berlin makes Putin look like a Christmas elf." He wants to know why Berlin is after Red, but Red still has no idea. He asks Fitch to do some super-secret intelligence magic to look into the plane and to find Berlin.
Lizzie and Red meet in a car. She wants to know more about Red's association with Sam. "The way Sam told the story," Red says, "was that one day an old friend showed up at the door." That friend needed someone to take a small child because her father had just died in a fire. The friend was in danger himself, and presumably couldn't take her with him. He killed Sam because of Sam's pain and misery, and his desire to die. Plus, he needed to protect her from the real truth Sam wanted to reveal. "I loved Sam, Lizzie. Taking his life - of all the difficult things that I've done... that may - that may be the most. But I did it to keep you from finding out the identity of your real father." Who is it? It's still too dangerous for her to know. Yeah, yeah, maybe you, Red, or maybe Berlin, somehow? Maybe Fitch? Is that one of Fitch's secrets? Speaking of Fitch, he's calling with an address.
Red goes to that address, shooting everyone outside on sight. He's slick. Gotta love Red's way of dispatching a crowd. Red faces off with Berlin as Berlin is instructing others to have the rest of the task force killed. Ressler says that "I don't care what the manifest said, there's an eleventh prisoner" that was on the plane, as Lizzie visits with a presumably dying Cooper in the hospital. Back to Red, who's tying Berlin up. "I have no idea who in the Sam Hill you are." In fact, "I don't even recognize your face." Berlin announces that he searched for a weakness in Red, and found it in Elizabeth Keen. How could Red be so careless?
Not-Tom jumps into Lizzie's car. "Hey, babe." He should be killed just for that, thank you.
Red asks "who on God's green earth are you?" and why Berlin wants him. He shoots Berlin in the hand for an answer. He's a bit sorry, as "being shot in the hand is an absolute bitch" - the worst part is trying to navigate the fly in your pants. "Tell me your story. I'm not leaving here without a story." More tea and conversation, in the form of shooting Berlin in the hip. "What'd I do to you?" Finally, he threatens a kneecap, and Berlin responds, "Beirut, 2010." Just then, in comes Not-Tom with Lizzie, and a gun at her. Berlin screams to shoot her right then. So Red kills Berlin - "that settles that." Lizzie struggles, and manages to shoot Not-Tom herself. Good agent! Red tells her she can't leave him alive - he'll kill Not-Tom for her. But Lizzie has gumption - it's her fight with Not-Tom; she'll do it and Red should go on. Tom says he's sorry - oh, lovely! - and slumps down after trying to whisper in her ear. Is he dead yet?
Ressler tries his new powers of angry rule-breaking to tell a Russian that he'll hold him indefinitely. He, Liz, and Aram discuss Cooper's shooting. Aram's magic powers don't even need a computer to work at the moment - he recalls the Russian tattoo in one photograph. Berlin isn't the man Red confronted - Berlin is the one who cut off his hand to hide a tattoo; it's the guard!
"The man you killed wasn't Berlin." "I know." How? Because Red was having problems before the Beirut incident in 2010; Berlin was active before that. He still has no clue why Berlin wants him taken down. Red and Lizzie talk more. "When Sam took you in, he made a difficult choice that changed the course of his life." He says she's at a similar point now. She can turn away from it and he'll go, or she can choose to follow it. He's ready to take a plane out of there that night, if that's what she wants.
Lizzie's seen loaded with bags, leaving her now-empty place. Where's the dog? He keeps getting lost. Ressler sits with Cooper in the hospital - but wait, his finger moved! He may regain consciousness! Or not. Depends on what they want to do with him next season. Dembe readies Red's car for departure... as Lizzie arrives in a taxi to talk to him.
"Tom told me something before he died." If he's dead - and that Mustang commercial makes me BET he isn't. "'Your father's alive.'" Red disagrees. "Your father's dead. He died in that fire." "Berlin - he's out there." She just noticed? "Yes, and we'll find him." Could we please have Internationally Wanted Criminal and Renegade FBI Agent Seek Their Enemy next season? As they run around the world on Red's jet chasing Berlin? It might improve the story line.
Berlin checks a pocket watch with a picture of someone - his daughter, it seems - in it. Red checks the photo he took from The Stewmaker's album of victims. Are they the same young woman? They look much alike. Who is she, or who are they? Then he shrugs out of his ridiculously expensive dress shirt to reveal a mass of scars on his back... ones that look suspiciously like those on a man who might have had to make his way through a major fire.
Did Lizzie kill Not-Tom or hide him somewhere to recover - and if so, why? Is the girl in the photo the same girl in Berlin's pocket watch, and who is she? Why is Berlin after Red, and does this girl have something to do with it? Will Cooper survive? Do you care if Cooper survives? If Cooper dies, who takes over the task force, or will Agent Evil try shutting it down again? Will Ressler please continue his delightful slide to the Dark Side? Is Lizzie starting to forgive Red? Is he her father, or is he the one who rescued her from the fire, rather than her father? Is her real father alive, as Not-Tom says? Why would Lizzie believe anything Not-Tom tells her now - is she that desperate for belief?
Let's see what answers we get in September... before the huge break in November. And before the change in nights in the winter - NBC is moving it mid-season to Thursdays at 9:00.
Photo credits: Virginia Sherwood/NBC