This week’s episode of NBC’s The Blacklist closed the chapter on The Director and the Cabal, only to give viewers a brief look at a few new chapters. When we last saw Liz, Red, and the gang, Liz was in Ressler’s custody awaiting arraignment, barely escaping the clutches of Director Kotsiopolis and Laurel Hitchin. Tons of amazingness happened this week, including – in true Reddington fashion – a major character death!
The conclusion of the two-part arc titled “The Director: No. 24” opens with Mr. Kaplan and her team greeting and patting down Red’s dream team. With Aram, Cooper, Marvin Gerard, Samar, and Dembe in attendance, Red explains how the events of the last several months have led to this moment. His plan involves taking down the Cabal and forcing them to publicly clear Liz’s name.
As Ressler and Liz arrive at the courthouse, the media frenzy has started. Once in her cell, Ressler pulls up a chair and takes his post as Liz’s guard. He wasn’t kidding when he said he wouldn’t let her out of his sight.
Not surprisingly, Red’s plan includes breaking many laws, including ones of the international variety. The goal is to give the Director’s wife a panic attack, intercept the Director on his way to her, and then kidnap him. The scheme is elaborate and everyone is vital to its success. Here it is. Samar and Cooper drug the Director’s wife, prompting her to visit her doctor’s office. Red’s team has remodeled the empty eighth floor of the doctor’s medical building to look exactly like the sixth floor doctor’s office. When the Director arrives, Aram rigs the elevator to take him to the remodeled floor. The Director walks into the office and bam – Dembe wastes no time in sedating him.
While this is going down, Laurel Hitchin meets with a hit man/federal marshal. She and other powerful government figures convince him to make the hit, telling him he will have some very powerful allies.
At the courthouse, Liz meets with the best defense attorney in the country. The attorney seems convinced of her guilt, but Ressler assures Liz that Reven Wright arranged for her to have a fair hearing with a judge who will play fair. When the arraignment doesn’t go in Liz’s favor, Ressler reminds her that he said “fair,” not a pushover.
Elsewhere, Tom Keen and Karakurt have been waiting all day for the signal from Red and/or Ressler to bring in the Russian assassin. When the time is finally right, Tom delivers, and Ressler announces the new development to the reporters he tipped off, and finally says publicly that the FBI believes Liz was framed. The best part was when he called her “Agent Elizabeth Keen”!
Remember the Venezuelan foreign minister from last week? Well, the Director wakes up on his private jet, flying over international waters. Red, the Minister, and the Director are en route to Venezuela where the President is waiting to charge him with war crimes. Red always offers another option: the one that gets him exactly what he wants. This particular option includes a call to one Laurel Hitchin.
During another transport though, things get a little messy. After submitting to Red, Laurel tries to call off the hit, but is unable to contact the hit man. Instead, she frantically calls Ressler and tells him to stop the transport. Unfortunately, she was a second too late, and the hit man fired. These are FBI agents, though, and they successfully dodge the bullet. Back at her cell, though, Ressler and Liz anxiously await word from Red.
Through some threats and a series of phone calls with Laurel, Red arranges for Liz’s plea deal that clears her of all but one charge. When Laurel publicly announces Liz’s innocence, Red agrees to release the Director. Then, in the most badass betrayal I’ve seen in a long time, Laurel Hitchin says the following words: “Peter has become a liability. If we take care of this problem for you, we would ask that you take care of that problem for us.” There is one more “catch” to the deal, but what that is remains to be seen.
Marvin Gerard and Ressler give Liz news of the deal, and as she reads over it, she realizes something. “They’re taking away my badge,” she laments. “If I sign this, I’ll never be an agent again.” During a tearful phone call with Red, Liz debates signing the deal. “I won’t be an agent; I’ll be an asset like you.” It is during these few moments that we see Liz’s struggle has not ended. While she may be safe and free, her entire life will change yet again. While she is one strong leading lady, she is still fragile, and I think that is an important part of her character.
In a closing montage, we see the Blacklist world somewhat return to normal. Laurel holds a press conference to exonerate Liz, and Ressler attends. Tom Keen watches the press conference from a seedy hotel with a proud smile. The Director falls through the roof of a foreign family’s home, brutally murdered. Cooper returns to the post office to head the task force, and he and Ressler share a moment. Red has a meeting with Laurel (What!).
But what about Liz? As she collects her possessions, Liz is given the handwritten will she gave to Ressler on the way to the courthouse – just in case. He promised to return it to her when “this [was] all over,” and Liz was more than happy to tear it up. Exiting the courthouse, she finds a deserted, quiet evening. After a bus passes, she sees him. Red. She crosses the street to him and the episode ends with a hug.
This episode was a wonderful conclusion to this particular storyline. Every aspect was so carefully plotted out; I don’t know how these writers do it! So, now that Liz is free, what happens? What repercussions will we see, and how will she cope? Luckily we are just getting started on the second half of this season, so we won’t have to wait long to find out! Tune in next week with me!
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