Raymond Reddington learned an important lesson when he was 15-years-old: “Value loyalty above all else.” Because one doesn’t get to the crux of the darkest circles in the world without becoming a pretty good judge of character.
Tonight saw a dream sequence, a fake betrayal, a real betrayal, a bearded Tom, a New Tom, and Paul Reubens in a Paul McCartney circa 1964 wig. That’s right: The wigs are back. “Dr. James Covington” might not be the most unpredictable story they’ve ever told, but sometimes, being able to anticipate Red’s next move makes us feel like we’re on his team. And when it’s almost entirely unclear who else is on that team, other than Elizabeth Keen, that’s a comforting feeling in a world where people are getting vital organs on layaway.
Season 2 of The Blacklist and Red seem to be trying to work out the same issue: Can Raymond Reddington control every aspect of everything ever all the time? Last week the answer was no—he admitted to Mr. Kaplan that he was at the end of his limb, and ended up depending on Lizzie to keep him alive after striking a deal with Berlin that he didn’t quite have the means for. That’s about as desperate as it gets. But this week the answer is, “Yes, of course, I employ enough spies to fill a small liberal arts university, so it’s impossible to slip anything past me, especially you, Nico. I see you, Nico!”
We may be back to Red at his most omnipotent tonight, but one thing is for sure: The more of Red’s personal life that’s revealed, the more his vulnerabilities are exposed, and tonight we finally got a glimpse behind the curtain at Raymond Reddington, LLC. And there’s a little bit of internal shuffling going on over there. Dealing with some internal issues of her own is little Lizzie Keen, who awakes in her motel bed to find Tom (with a beard, without his Warby Parkers) pointing a gun at her and warning her that Red is just using her and will kill her once Berlin is dead. But just as he’s about to tell her why Red ever contacted her in the first place, the man himself steps in, shoots Tom, and approaches Lizzie reeeeeeal predatory-like: “What do you want, Agent Keen? What do you really want?”
But it’s totally fine, you guys, because—you will not believe this—it’s all just a **dream sequence**. Apparently, Liz sleeping with her gun in her hands isn’t exactly acting as the dreamcatcher/security blanket she thought it might. It’s mostly just exposing her subconscious fears and insecurities, which is super helpful for us in the audience. Shortly after accosting a handsome man in the motel parking lot because she thinks he’s following her, Liz goes to meet up with the creepy man who’s actually been following her for the last year or so (or, y’know, her whole life, maybe). Red is just finishing up a business meeting with his syndicate of villain partners who aren’t keen on his plan to invest in an Indonesian port or his recent dealings with Berlin. Seems reasonable. That guy is cutting off fingers like he’s Denzel Washington trying to protect a young girl.
But Liz is kind of over Berlin right now, she’s more concerned with Paul Wyatt, the man who was found with his heart cut out of his chest at the top of the episode.
JAMES COVINGTON, NO. 89
Although the bulk of the episode’s time is spent on the Blacklister of the week, the most interesting twists are happening on the big picture periphery, and somehow, Red manages to juggle both. He is, in fact, the one who brings the case of Paul Wyatt and his Y-front chest cavity to the attention of the Post Office team, telling them it could only be the work of Dr. James Covington, surgeon to the sinister stars. Formerly one of the top cardiothoracic surgeons in the country, after being disbarred for stealing a pair of lungs from the donor pool and performing an unauthorized experiment on them with a 10-year-old, Dr. Covington went into the business of performing OnDemand transplants for criminals who either can’t get on the transplant list or just don’t want to wait.
So, Covington was probably just getting his hands on Paul Wyatt’s heart to harvest it for a transplant, right? Wrong; at this point, I’m not even sure Liz would consider that a crime. No, it turns out that a quick look at Wyatt’s heart by a coroner who was weirdly coughing a lot, showed that the missing heart wasn’t even his original ticker. He had received a heart transplant in the past, even though his records didn’t show it. When Liz and Ressler go to talk to his wife, she tells them that it was Dr. Covington’s work, and his transplants aren’t available for purchase, they’re rented for $500,000/year, and if you stop being able to pay… Wait, is she saying—no—yes, “My husband’s heart wasn’t harvested. It was repossessed.” Yikes.
NEXT: That is exactly who you think that is…