An engaging, surprising, mostly successful Ressler plot, and not a pill bottle in sight? Praise the (criminal over)lords on high!
In fact, Thursday’s episode is successful across the board at spreading the character love, and with good reason: Mr. Kaplan’s machinations to take down Raymond Reddington have officially reached self-propelled status. There’s plenty of room for everyone to get involved in his destruction. It’s not a great look for anyone on a moral or, I dunno, sanity level, but it is an opportunity for the audience to see just how deep Mr. Kaplan’s plans for revenge run. Mr. Kaplan might be the only person who can take Raymond Reddington down, but she can’t do it alone.
Of course she can hire people, bribe them, coerce them — but it turns out the fun (for us) is in finding people to work for her who don’t even know they’re doing it. Sure, the way The Blacklist deals with “the science of memory manipulation” is basically like asking us to believe that fairy dust is real and Ressler just added a heaping spoonful to his green smoothie. But that the Post Office story fits in so well with the Blacklister plot, which fits in so rationally with the Kaplan/Reddington war, which plays into the ever-evolving mythology of Elizabeth Keen nearly makes up for such logic-bending reaches.
As Red says of Mr. Kaplan’s attack on him, “The woman is an arsonist. She’s not going to stop until she burns me to the ground.” And as it turns out, Raymond Reddington’s empire is igniting less like the concentric castle he warned Kaplan of in the midseason premiere, and more like an ancient pyramid: It started with his broadest ring of associates (a base about the size of ice skating rink, you might say), and is sizzling its way upward and inward until it reaches the very top.
As we’re already reaching members of the Post Office and just a few episodes away from the season 4 finale, the question must be asked: Where will this all end?
DR. BOGDAN KRILOV, NO. 29
We’re dealing with a sub-30 Blacklister tonight, and that makes sense; Red and Dr. Krilov go way, way back. As he tells Lizzie, Krilov is “one of the few people who has mastered the science of memory manipulation,” and — you guessed it — the man Red hired 25 years ago to erase Lizzie’s memories of shooting her father. And he’s just been spotted in Vienna grabbing an Austrian coffee with one Mr. Kate Kaplan. Liz confirms that after that meeting, Krilov flew straight to New York, so as Red heads to Vienna to figure out what else Mr. Kaplan is up to, the Post Office tracks Dr. Krilov domestically.
Well, all except Ressler, that is. He’s still busy keeping tabs on detective Julian Gale, who is, coincidentally, still acting like a certified crazy person, stomping around that damn ice rink saying things like, “Why do you have empty hands, Georgie? You know how much I don’t like empty hands.” Well, Georgie (who is an adult man named George) has empty hands because he went in search of information on three of the bodies Gale managed to identify in connection to Red, but found all of their FBI files were sealed under a special classification, SC-17. He tells Ressler he thinks these three cases could be what he needs to prove that Elizabeth Keen has been tipping Red off.
And listen, this guy both has it wrong and lives in an entirely different show where it’s okay to wear sunglasses inside and slither around within three inches of people’s personal space while you talk to them, but I’m glad someone remembers that FBI Agent Liz once very publicly went on the run with FBI’s Most Wanted Raymond Reddington. The fact that she basically got recognized at the grocery store once, and then it was never mentioned again — I mean she went undercover with her regular face that had been all over the news — is a little silly. And this silly man agrees, or at least recognizes the easy connection, adding on the other thing we should never forget: she shot the Attorney General of the United States.
Ressler half-heartledly is like, Liz? What! Nooooo. But before he can really mount what I’m sure would have been an excellent defense, he gets a call from a detective in the Philly P.D. who says he came across a woman while randomly canvassing a neighborhood who might have a connection to the disappearance of Reven Wright that Ressler is currently working on. When Ressler meets the woman in Philadelphia, she’s scared, but he talks her into telling her what she knows. Apparently she used to be Laurel Hitchin’s neighbor, and late one night she saw two men carrying out a rolled-up tarp — a rolled-up tarp with a foot sticking out of it. And just as Ressler is telling her what a good thing she did in telling him, men storm the house with smoke bombs and grab the neighbor as Ressler hits his head on a counter and blacks out.