Previously, on The Blacklist: Tom (Ryan Eggold) is not dead, dammit, and is being held prisoner by Lizzie (Megan Boone) with the help of some guy. That’s it: Just some guy. Red (James Spader) has been hanging around with some young woman who runs a food truck, so let this be a lesson to women everywhere: If a guy old enough to be your father just shows up at your place of business and then makes several return visits, all friendly and charming, no good can come from it. He doesn’t just want to share stories about his hat with you. I get pissed off when someone cuts across my lawn, if they showed up trying to be all chummy at my work, I’d call security.
This week’s The Blacklist comes with some very sage advice: If you want to be an international man of murderous mystery and build a reputation on your assassin’s skills, don’t get your hands tattooed. Or your face. Don’t get your hands or your face tattooed (this week’s Blacklister, The Scimitar, a dashing man around killer-town, did not have face tattoos; I’m just throwing that in there as good advice; you can have that for free).
If you are going to tattoo your hands, especially with swords and other tools of your criminal trade, invest in some better make-up that won’t rub off on any surface you touch. That’s what you get for shopping at Dollarama, Scimitar, instead of heading to a department store for the good stuff. Maybe he’s trying to make a point, or it’s his signature; “This the last thing you see before you die…” then he garrotes you with piano wire. Who knows?
“The Scimitar, No. 22,” is ostensibly why we’re all here today, but he’s rather secondary to the really juicy stuff going on. Liz has Tom holed up in a boat (basically, she threw him in the brig, which is awesome) and even though he’s at a distinct disadvantage (he’s freezing and probably very hungry), he’s still attempting to manipulate her.
He tries to play on the affection she used to have for him, asserting he’s cold and going to die (GOOD), that he’s telling her the truth now, asking if she brought him the special dish they used to have on their anniversary (only if there’s ground glass in that Passion Fish, pal) and entreating her to at least look him in the face when she finally decides to kill him (again: Liz is only concerned with making you pay. The sweet release of death is not in your immediate future).
Tom, sweetie, Elizabeth doesn’t care if you’re suffering from hypothermia, or have rats gnawing at your extremities; she just wants to make you suffer for what you did to her. If Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, what do you think Hell looks like compared to a woman you betrayed, lied to, cheated on and tried to kill? Even Hell won’t touch that; Hell is all, “Awwww, heck, no. Too much…” Brother, you haven’t begun to suffer.
The episode really is all about the manipulations the male characters indulge in regarding the women they know. Even though Tom is at a distinct disadvantage, he’s still trying to play Lizzie. Red, the undisputed king of manipulations, maneuvers Samar (Mozhan MarnÃ³) into betraying Mossad protocol while getting her involved with The Scimitar (Waleed Zuaiter) and telling her his real name, which she recognizes as that of the man responsible for the death of her brother. Reddington then sits back and watches all his dominoes fall into place when Samar kills the assassin. Why does Red want The Scimitar dead? Does it even matter? He’s Red. This is the shit he does.
And, of course, Red manipulates poor, unsuspecting Zoe (Scottie Thompson) into a false sense of security and the closest Red gets to friendship by being charming and bringing her food before drugging her and returning her to her father (I knew it!) Berlin (Peter Stormare).
Lizzie had tried a little manipulation of her own, still lying to Red that she killed Tom (which he absolutely does not believe. Reddington conveys more with a twitch of his cheek than everyone else does with their whole entire being) and by pointing Red towards Berlin in the hopes Reddington would kill the man responsible for murdering Meera (Parminder Nagra), almost killing Cooper (Harry Lennix) and introducing Tom into her life. It’s like watching a mouse try to toy with a cat; it just does not work. Red reunites Berlin with his daughter, Not-Zoe, and proves to him that despite Berlin’s assertion to the contrary, Red did not kill his daughter. Suck on that, Berlin. Red does not seem at all concerned that he forcibly returned a woman to the man from whose orbit she had tried extremely hard to disappear, but, you know, as long as Red gets his way, that’s what really matters.
â€¢ Lizzie’s underwear is getting almost as much air-time as Red’s hat this season. Filling out the underpants remains Megan Boone’s greatest contribution to her role. I like how her underwear is completely representative of Elizabeth Keen: It’s utilitarian, not at all flashy and is basically just there to get the job done.
â€¢ Lizzie continues to get the crap kicked out of her at every opportunity. It’s my favorite thing about this season. Throwing explosives into the car in which she’s riding was pretty good, but inserting giant upholstery nails into her arm to mimic the pain of an injury under that cast was the cherry on the sundae of awful that is Lizzie’s physical well-being. She bounces back, though. I’ll give her that.
â€¢ Red knows everything. Absolutely everything. How did he know The Scimitar ordered the suicide bombing that killed Samar’s brother? It’s witchcraft. He’s a warlock. A warlock advanced in the craft of outing evil doers.
The Blacklist airs on Mondays at 9/8c on NBC.
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