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The Blacklist recap: Bring Me His Head in a Box

Tom Keen gets crazy and Agent Ressler gets rampage-y on the hunt for Yakuza druglord Mako Tanida

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Blacklist Mako Tanida Recap

The Blacklist

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
James Spader

Two words: killing, spree. Everyone is on one in this episode. What a body count! Three federal agents, two spies, one Yakuza druglord, and one possibly pregnant ex-fiancee. Ressler is now widowed and on Team Red. Liz is still on Team Tom, but what was once an annoying farce of a marriage is now a skin-crawling sham. Midnight Cowboy has been axed and so has Jolene. Cripes! And this is only episode 16 — I can’t imagine what they’ll have left to do in the season finale.

We start off in Tokyo with a lovely scene of a father tucking his two kids into their bunk beds while his wife reads to them. We know he’s an FBI agent because he is conveniently wearing his FBI windbreaker in his home. But the family time gets interrupted by a newly escaped convict with a daisho set of samurai swords. The convict turns out to be Mako Tanida, a Yakuza mob boss who runs heroin up and down the Silk Road. Tanida takes Dad outside and tells him he can die one of two ways: commit hari-kari (disembowel himself) or get run through by Tanida and have his family murdered too. Dad takes the honorable route and carves his own stomach out. So that’s how we begin, and it’s all downhill from here.

Tanida reveals that his arrest was collateral damage from the FBI’s investigation of Red Reddington, which Agent Ressler was working on with the disemboweled agent and two other Feds we meet at the funeral. One down, three to go on Tanida’s killing spree. [Body Count: 1]

Meanwhile, Reddington is at the ballet. He just reeks of culture and class, doesn’t he? He looks so at home standing in that opulent old theater, gazing down on the ballerinas. “What do they do for lunch?” he wonders aloud. “Do they order in? Do they eat salad out of those Tupperware bowls?” (The mind of Red Reddington, folks.) “They smoke cigarettes,” the head ballerina replies curtly. Red laughs a rich, throaty laugh like he derives real pleasure from these little moments.

Dembe breaks into Red’s little tête-à-tête with the prima ballerina to inform him that he’s set up a meeting with Agent Ressler. And so begins the blooming friendship between Reddington and Ressler, or Donald as Red likes to say. “Dahn-ald,” Red drawls like he’s saying “darling” in a patronizing tone. Ressler — whose instincts generally fail him — accuses Reddington of having a hand in the murder of the FBI agent in Tokyo, as payback for his capture in Vienna. “I’m the one who reached out to you, Dahnald, and it wasn’t to revisit all the times I eluded your little coterie of door-kickers who pursued me with such fervored zeal,” Red snaps. For a second time, Red looks out for Ressler. (Remember he dug shrapnel out of Ressler’s leg in order to save his life in “Anslo Garrick!”) He clues our little red head into Mako Tanida and warns him that the Yakuza boss will be hunting all the agents involved in his incarceration. In response, Ressler lets slips this portentous line: “Let me guess, he double-crossed you and now you want his head in a box?” That will come back to haunt you.

NEXT PAGE: But tell me who Tom Keen is!