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The Blacklist recap: The Director, Conclusion

Finally, it’s time to exonerate Elizabeth Keen…Ocean’s Eleven style

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Peter Kramer/NBC

The Blacklist

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

The folks over at The Blacklist are so incredibly skilled at curating music for their show that at this point, the selections speak their own language. Considering the precedent set by Red’s epic murder walk to the score of “The Man Comes Around” in season 1, if the screen had been black for the entirety of Thursday night’s opening scene, I would have still been filled with anticipation the minute I heard the first notes of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” But the screen wasn’t black…

Go tell that long tongue liar

Go and tell that midnight rider

Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter

Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

That opening scene was anchored by the visage of one Mr. Kaplan, bringing the kind of stern excitement that only she can to the back bar of some random restaurant. And soon, fulfilling my ultimate #TrueDetectiveSeason3 dreams, she was patting down Aram for weapons and communication devices. And then Aram was joined by Harold Cooper; and Cooper by Samar; Marvin Gerard showed up because he’s always down for a good time; and finally, Raymond Reddington showed up (by way of a meat freezer, at he’s wont to do) with Dembe at his side, until nearly every person in the world has any concern for the wellbeing of Elizabeth Keen was contained in one little room.

After more than a season of Cabal build-up, through weeks of traipsing through cornfields and hanging around shipping containers, side-stepping peril at the hands of Russian assassins and random roadside hill people gangs, Red is finally ready to let someone else in on his plans. A lot of someone else’s, in fact: If I were the type of recapper to make obvious comparisons and employ cheap puns, I might call them “Red’s Seven.” (That gray-haired bodyguard finally got a name tonight — it’s Boz. He’s kind of a combination Casey Affleck/Scott Caan in this scenario.)

Red admits that he’s not really a group sports kind of guy: “Oh my god, this is why I’m a terrible bridge player… Sharing my hand with anyone goes against every instinct I have.” But he does it — he tells his crew the puzzle pieces of his plan to exonerate Elizabeth Keen that the audience has been collecting all season long: how he knocked the Cabal’s finances through Verdant Industries; how he cut off that dude’s thumbs to ensure the Director couldn’t run away; why Fisher Stevens Marvin Gerard is in the room; and the Venezuela-shaped window that Zal Bin Hasaan opened up. And with all the pieces finally in play and Liz in transit to her cell at the court house, where she’ll await her trial for 16 counts of capital murder…it’s time to cut down some long tongue liars.


I’ll admit that following last week’s sneak peek at the second Director installment, I was expecting this entire hour to be a total caper, and that team-assembling team felt like a confirmation. And while they did ultimately assemble a replica bank vault psychologist’s office, this episode ended up being much more than just a little bit of mischief from a bunch of fan favorites. After all, Liz’s life is at stake, something that that these past two episodes have done an excellent job of keeping at the forefront, and even after she evaded the Cabal last week, there was no rest for the weary here either. You want to talk about stakes? Let’s talk about Liz looking Ressler in the eye minutes from arriving at the courthouse while he assures her that he wouldn’t have brought her if he didn’t think he could keep her safe — heard that one before — saying, “I don’t have a will,” and then scribbling one out on a legal pad.

So what’s the plan to make sure Liz doesn’t need that will? Why, abduct the CIA’s Director of Clandestine Services. And how does Red expect to do that? Well…drug his wife into a panic attack, switch the horse statue for a bowl of apples, and switch a few elevator wires. Isn’t that what you would do?

NEXT: The real plan…