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It’s been months since Tom Keen died — on the show, it’s been more like a year — but The Blacklist has found a way to sustain momentum in the ongoing search for his killer. For the most part, the unrelenting pursuit of “Damascus” and the mysterious web he weaves has temporarily taken over the serialized nature this series normally reserves for figuring out The Deal between Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington. It’s a fun temporary detour, and it was a wise move on the show’s part to transition the search for Tom’s killer from just Lizzie’s solo quest to the motivational tie that binds all the lead characters together again.
If Red and Liz and Cooper and Ressler and Aram and Samar are interested in occasionally pushing everything else aside to find Tom’s killer — well then, I’m interested too. Plus, that Ian Garvey guy still gives me the major creeps. And now he’s killed my favorite new character just as he and Liz were becoming best friends? Oh, it is on.
Wednesday’s episode shows that, with everyone working together, they can actually achieve a little work/side-hustle balance, which is doing good things for the episodic nature of the series. In fact, this episode solidly keeps even more balls in the air than normal. Red is both evading the IRS and bringing in his new fire fixer from a few episodes ago; when she’s not assisting the Post Office with their current Blacklister, Liz is running stakeouts with Detective Singleton; and when they’re not assisting Liz with tracking Damascus, the Post Office is tracking the Blacklister who’s shut down half of lower Manhattan with casual biological warfare.
It’s fun to burn it all down to ashes a couple of times a season, but it’s also fulfilling to see this team working together to tackle a handful of smaller issues (you know, like biological warfare and IRS auditing) as they arise. As our returning resident arsonist Earl Fagan says to Red at one point: “Men plan; God laughs.” In the case of Wednesday’s perhaps overly passionate, but not entirely homicidal Blacklister, whoever’s up there at least paired the laughing with a satisfying result.
PATTIE SUE EDWARDS, NO. 68
In the world of The Blacklist, biological weapons are released about as often as a Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale, but it is always a quick ticket to TerrorVille, so I see why it’s a deep well. While a woman gets her check at a diner in Manhattan, her waitress starts coughing and soon collapses, a rash covering her body. As everyone tries to figure out how to help the waitress, her customer takes a puff of an inhaler and quickly exits the restaurant just as all the other patrons begin coughing themselves.
As it turns out, nine months ago, Red declined to help a black market trader who came to him looking to secure a pathogen with maximum contagion capabilities for a client. Judging by the recent outbreak in New York that the CDC has quarantined four city blocks for, that pathogen was ultimately found without Red. But since the trader was killed a few months ago, they don’t know who the client, a.k.a. the Post Office’s newest assignment, was. Around the time the CDC sends video footage of the woman who managed to leave the diner just before everyone else contracted the virus, we see that same woman dropping a smoking briefcase into the elevator of New York General Hospital. So, not great. Except…
The agent in a hazmat suit who opens the briefcase only finds a bunch of inhalers and a note that’s labeled “treatment protocol.” It’s not another attempted outbreak of the pathogen: it’s the pathogen’s cure.
But the CDC won’t use the alleged antidote on the victims until it’s been vetted, and the only way to figure out why someone would contaminate a bunch of people and then offer them a cure is to identify that someone. Using the security footage, Aram finds that her name is Captain Patricia Sue Edwards, a former biochemist for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease. So, y’know, pretty qualified for what she’s up to these days, which is definitely not sanctioned by the U.S. government. It seems Captain Edwards was released from her position in the Army about a year ago when her husband, a Navy SEAL stationed in Syria, was killed by another SEAL who caught him stealing a truckload of opium. The judge ruled that the man who killed Edwards’ husband was acting in self-defense. (Recap continues on next page)