We gave it an A-
Aram is skeptical, but he says he can access the log of who has opened the safe. And he does get the data — but it would take him days to figure out who that data actually points to. So Dembe tells him he’s free to go and asks Aram to please forgive him. Then he slumps down against the wall like a downtrodden middle schooler and it is just the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. It must be for Aram, too, because after confirming that Dembe is really trying to help (“I have three people in my life: my daughter, my granddaughter, and Raymond”), Aram says he has an idea on how to crack the data.
I should mention that while the epic duo of all-time heart-eye favorites Dembe and Aram is forming, Red and Liz are out on the road trying to find Dembe a different way. And while it is an interesting Blacklister plot featuring Glen being all kinds of extra, Dembe’s cute daughter and granddaughter, an “underground railroad for miscreants,” and a woman wearing a shirt made of bees, it ultimately doesn’t matter. Because Red and Liz aren’t the ones who track down Dembe and Aram, and they’re certainly not the ones who get the most interesting bit of information in their quest.
That would be dream team Aram and Dembe, who talk their way into the Bureau of Data via a badge flash, a little confidence, and a truly silly song-and-dance where Dembe has to act like a regular Forgetful Freddie. Once inside a conference room, Aram is able to hack the Bureau’s system and expedite the process of tracking the date he uncovered in the safe’s digital lock back to an actual person: Kathryn Nemec. Dembe looks horrified when he sees the name (if I say “like he’s seen a ghost,” will I lose my recapper’s license?) and even more frightened when Aram informs him that Samar and Ressler have just entered the building. Ressler takes off after Dembe on foot, but Aram — now in full BFF territory with his fellow sensitive spirit — sits tight in his hacking room, locking Samar out electronically and strategically opening and closing automatic doors for Dembe until he’s able to trap Ressler and help Dembe escape.
By the time Red is able to get through to Dembe using a burner phone he’d mailed his daughter, Dembe is running through the woods looking for something. On the phone, Red asks Dembe what he’s doing because each new move is making him look guiltier. “We’re both guilty, Raymond,” Dembe tells him. “I came here to see for myself: She’s not here.” And then — BOOM! — Dembe is shot in the leg by… Mr. Kaplan’s former frenemy, the creepy Hunter! The Hunter knows who Dembe is and knows that his “slick-suited friend” can’t be far behind. And as he’s offering all this exposition, Dembe rips the arrow out of his own leg and stabs it into the Hunter’s!
But as far as Red knows, Dembe just told him he was guilty and then was attacked in some form or fashion. So he calls Aram demanding to know what they uncovered together. So Aram tells him the name: Kathryn Nemec.
That’s how Red finds himself pulling up to the woods where he attempted to put an end to Mr. Kaplan’s life… apparently, unsuccessfully. Red tells Liz, “Man’s greatest enemy is the dark forces pent up inside himself. But not for me; my dark forces had a name: a person I trusted with the most heinous offenses of my life. Every trespass I committed — expunged, cleansed as if it had never happened. My confessor, who doth condemn me.”
It’s a little dramatic. But to be fair, Red did just find out that his traumatizing murder of one of his greatest confidants was a total failure and now she’s probably after him, as is her henchman the Hunter, who just shot Boz in the side with an arrow from afar. But when he gets up close, Red and Boz have apparently switched jaunty caps to trick him, and they’re able to get the jump on the Hunter. They take him back to his cabin and try to shake out of him where Mr. Kaplan is. He tells Red, “Kate’s also very dangerous and absolutely relentless. I guess she learned that from you.” Indeed, she did, as we shall find out. But first, Red holds a gun to the Hunter’s head so that he’ll dial Mr. Kaplan on his satellite phone. But instead…
It sets off a bomb under the cabin. Boz and Red make a break for it and narrowly escape, as we see Mr. Kaplan, looking fiercer than ever, listening to a voicemail the Hunter left for her just after he shot Dembe: “Your friends, they’re here… If this is the last time you hear my voice, know that I didn’t give you up, and I didn’t go down without a fight. You told me if he ever figured out you’re still alive, he’d come at you full-boar. Well, lock and load, Katie — your war has come.”
EPISODE 2: REQUIEM
Let’s take a minute to dive into the word requiem, which can mean a few different things. In the Roman Catholic Church, a requiem is a mass for the souls of the dead. More broadly, it’s an act of remembrance for the dead. By the end of Thursday’s second hour, this episode of The Blacklist has seen those definitions through in surprisingly conflicting ways. And right from the start, it touches on the word’s final meaning: a solemn musical composition for the repose of the dead. In this case: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
The episode opens in 1962 as a little girl and her father look at the open casket of her mother. The little girls asks why her mother didn’t take her body when she left. And if the question didn’t indicate a certain level of maturity, her father’s response certainly does: “On account of all the pain and sorrow it soaked up. What happens in life writes a story in your flesh… They’ll take this body and bury it deep.” It’s a pretty heavy statement as is, but as we move through the episode, this cold open (literally — sorry) resonates on deeper and deeper levels. Cue the music as the little girl dries her eyes, puts on her glasses, and then fades into the older version of her be-spectacled self we know and love…
At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinkin’ I could never live without you by my side
Then I spent so many nights just thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along