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We gave it a B+
Welcome, everyone, to The Blacklist’s Centennial episode (or as I’d prefer to call it, The Blacklist‘s Multiplatinum Jubilee)! One hundred episodes is a huge achievement, and so, in honor of such a momentous occasion…Raymond Reddington is going to steal the Declaration of Independence.
Just kidding! If The Blacklist can have a little fun on its 100th episode, then so can I. I mean, sure, Elizabeth straight-up killed a dude and turned him into a 300-pound batch of biological bisque, most definitely turning an irreversible corner in her descent into darkness — but other than that, this episode was just a jolly good time. Even better, it was a treasure hunt. A treasure hunt that had Red, Aram, and daggum Nathan Lane acting like a bunch of little boys who just found out they’re going to Disney World.
And what a perfect way to celebrate, because on The Blacklist, there’s nothing better than when Red is having a good time, except perhaps James Spader having a good time depicting Red having a good time, as he told EW that he did: “I’m very pleased with this particular episode, not because of what number it is, but it just is a very fun story.” Well, if it’s good enough to entertain Spader, and good enough for Spader’s “great friend” Andrew McCarthy to direct, and good enough for his “other friend” Nathan Lane to guest star in, then it’s certainly good enough for me. Plus, there’s secret spy gadgets, supersonic suction, heart-shaped bathtubs, and did I mention…? A real, bona fide, hidden-within-a-historic-national-artifact treasure hunt!
ABRAHAM STERN, NO. 100
It’s rare that a cold open features one of our main characters, but it’s Raymond Reddington who first gets in the crosshairs of our Blacklister tonight. We see Red riding along with Dembe, gazing at a 1943 penny in a ring box while Dembe teases him about loving mysteries. It’s one of those fast-paced scenes that’s light-hearted on the surface, but it also kind of feels like maybe everything being said is important. Raving about Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Gold-Bug,” Red says, “It has everything: the delirious search for treasure, the descent into madness, along with cyphers, bugs, a skull nailed to a tree!” Thesis statement much, Blacklist?
Then, BOOM, T-boned by a van! Red and Dembe’s car is flipped on its top, men are jumping out of the van with rifles, and shoes are walking toward Red’s car. But they stop amongst the broken glass, and we see hands pick up the 1943 penny. Going in and out of consciousness, Red sees the face of the thief…
It’s James Spader’s good friend Nathan Lane, of course.
Back to reality: As you might recall, Elizabeth Keen recently killed a guy. The episode opens back up on Liz in Robert Navarro’s apartment, where he is currently dead on the floor. Liz has a pretty gnarly piece of glass through her torso, which she attempts to put pressure on with a rag while going full Mr. Kaplan on Navarro’s apartment. She’s scrubbing, she’s bleaching, she’s stuffing his body in a large-man-sized duffel bag he happens to have lying around. She’s just about done, holding a bloody rag to her stomach wound when there’s a bang on the door: “Robert Navarro, MPD, we need you to open the door.” And for some reason, Liz grabs the paper towels and bleach to run into the closet, but stuffs that rag o’ DNA down the dispose-all.
Someone called in a domestic disturbance complaint on Navarro’s apartment, but when the police go in and everything looks fine (‘cept for that large-man-sized bag with a hand sticking out of it behind the couch), they leave unperturbed. And Elizabeth leaves with a roll of paper towels, a 300-pound cadaver, and no blood-rag. So later, when Detective Singleton, the detective investigating Tom’s death, comes to inspect why Robert Navarro had the cops called on him and orders a full and thorough sweep of that apartment…you know things aren’t looking great for our li’l budding criminal.
Things aren’t looking great for Red either, who was recently robbed, and now has Harold Cooper laughing in his face: “It’s just the irony caught me by surprise!” Red explains that the very rare 1943 Lincoln penny he “liberated” from Greyson Blaze at the beginning of the season has now been liberated from him, and he needs the FBI to help him get it back. Naturally, Cooper passes on helping Red steal this stupid penny twice. But — if you can believe this — Red talks him into it using the foolproof But This Guy IS a Criminal method. Red tells Cooper the man who stole the penny from him is on a quest: “He has killed in service of it, and unless we stop him, he will again.”
Because what Red knows is that there are three other rare 1943 Lincoln pennies just like this one, and they’re part of a Treasure(y) legend. In the last few years, Federal Reserve Notes have been popping up in other countries stating that the U.S. will “pay the bearer on-demand $100,000.” Red says that the government and the U.S. treasury deny the creation of any such Federal Reserve Notes, but there are four bronze pennies, minted in 1943, that prove their existence. Collectors think the value is in the fact that they were one-off bronze pennies, instead of copper. But Red says what makes them valuable “is not that they’re a mistake, but that there is a code put there by the man who minted them.” A map to a “financial holy grail” of lost Federal Reserve Notes, redeemable upon request…
The Task Force is going to steal the 1943 Bronze Lincoln Pennies! (Recap continues on page 2)