Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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S3 E21
May 06, 2016 at 05:53 AM EDT

Penultimate episodes are made for two things: They are the calm before the finale storm; or they are the storm that allows for a calming, resolute finale. I believe we’d classify Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist as the former. Don’t get me wrong: A lot of people died tonight — a handful of them with stationary stabbed into their chests.The Blacklist is never calm. But tonight was all about making stakes perfectly clear.

How far will Harold Cooper go to find the people who brought about Agent Keen’s death? Pretty far, folks. And what would Raymond Reddington do to avenge Lizzie’s death. Oh, whatever it takes; we couldn’t even imagine the lengths until he gets there. My assumption is that next week…he will get there. And with a new partner in literal crime, at that. See, I didn’t need to know that there were five episodes left in the season after Lizzie’s death to know that Red was going to go through the grieving process of losing the dearest person in his life.

But since I double checked, and the math added up, let’s just try this on for size: Surely no one would challenge me that “Cape May” was a big ‘ol bout of Denial for Raymond Reddinton. The man spent days in an opium den, then conjured a hallucination of Lizzie’s mother and ate canned-mushroom risotto at a table set for two. And I’d wager to say that his trip to Liz’s grandfather’s house in “The Artax Network” was a bit-O-Bargaining: trying to right something that was wrong during Lizzie’s life in the off chance that it helped, that it changed anything. And now?

Now Red is an angry man. (I should probably mention that Red is so angry the finale will actually be a two-parter, a real Blacklist specialty at this point. So while I’m referring to this as the penultimate episode, there are actually two weeks of Blacklist left.) A number of times tonight, Red reminds someone that “Elizabeth Keen is dead.” That statement could seem like Acceptance — but no, something tells me Red might not ever have to make it to Acceptance. It sounded more like a battle cry to me. Elizabeth Keen is dead, and someone must pay…


Why, hello there, Mystery Surveillance Footage Woman who’s new name is Scottie Hargrave. This week we’re officially introduced to Famke Janssen’s Scottie as she tries to talk a potential client named Samuel out of his nervousness over the measures she’s proposed to him. She does that by taking his hand, putting it directly inside her shirt, and asking him how long he’s been married (while I wonder if she only owns keyhole blouses in order to accommodate this maneuver): “Have you touched another woman’s breast in 23 years? How’s it feel? What are you feeling inside? Apprehensive?”

So, yeah, this one’s kind of a wildcard. Good thing, too, because she’s playing with fire now. After Aram showed Red the footage they had of Scottie, Red immediately identified her for the Post Office, and now both Cooper and Red have begun their individual hunts for who sent Solomon after Lizzie. So, Red is killing warehouses full of her operatives and pinning notes to them with daggers that say things like “We should talk” and are signed only with “R.” And Coops is finding out every single thing he can about Halcyon, the super secret government contractor Cynthia Panabaker told him to stay away from, which he now knows is run by Scottie Hargrave and her husband.

NEXT: Tom Keen, spy for hire…

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James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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