Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The Blacklist

S5 E14
TV Show
S5 E14
March 01, 2018 at 02:59 AM EST

Doubles?!  Yes, give me all the doubles drama. Give me all the mirror imagery, give me all the Face/Off vibes, give me all the theories about why-oh-why Reddington would want a dopplelganger-doubler in his pocket.

Is hiring a man to find-slash-create your perfect doppelganger so that said doppelganger can take over the jogging route (complete with 45 friendly-waving appointments) you’ve cultivated for five months, all so you can get away with murdering someone you initially wanted to murder, like, half a year ago the most efficient way to get away with murder? Maybe not. But dealing with Annaliese Keaton doesn’t seem particularly easy either, so this is certainly one way to do it.

Perhaps more importantly to the Blacklist canon, this double theme extends to the dueling sides of Elizabeth Keen that have been developing over the course of this season. There are good parts to Liz and there are bad parts to Liz, just as there are in all of us; the longer she continues to compartmentalize those aspects of her humanity, the less control she’ll have over them. These revelations comes courtesy of a rather unorthodox FBI therapy session, which I’m not quite sure how I feel about yet, but I do always appreciate a good old-fashioned psychological reckoning. (And I definitely always appreciate Martha Plimpton on my TV!)

There’s even a duality to the name of tonight’s Blacklister. I thought it odd that the Blacklister had a nickname — granted, “The Alibi” isn’t going to win any Marvel contracts — but the title of this episode was his given name (which could win him at least a membership to Tony Stark’s country club). Perhaps this doppel-dude is long for this world…


John Noble is so weird and specific in his portrayal of Sinclair that the plot didn’t even need to draw me in right away — I just needed to know what was up with this weirdo. An older man in a very petite pair of readers (eat your heart out, Tom; also, R.I.P. Tom) waits for a younger man on a park bench in Manhattan. He fusses at the younger man for being five minutes late, saying that pattern and routine are the only things that will make this plan work. Then he very quickly transitions from a lesson on timeliness to a lesson on all-consuming rage. He tells the young man, Brian, to access the rage he felt when he recently spied his wife mid-coitus in their bed with another man, and hold on to it: “That malice you feel in your heart is more dependable than any contract killer.”

Then he gives him a list of supplies he needs to gather, including an apartment in downtown Manhattan, which is actually the most insane thing he says or does in the whole episode.

Red quickly breaks down this week’s assignment for Samar: There is “a master in the art of manipulation” known as “The Alibi” who somehow tricks multiple eye witnesses into providing alibis to killers. Most recently, a man named Sam DeMarco was suspected in connection for the untimely demise of his business partner, with whom he just so happened to have recently had a nasty falling out; DeMarco was the prime suspect until four independent eye witnesses placed him miles from the murder scene.

Relaying the target to the rest of the Post Office gang, Samar says that the Alibi only works with people who want to commit the crimes themselves (hence the patented rage-encouragement earlier) and somehow devises a plan that can allow that bespoke murderer to be in two places at once. “The Alibi can exonerate anyone from any crime” — I truly thought Samar was going to say, “by dinner time!” here — “by getting people to swear to things they’ve never seen.”

Cooper sends Samar and Ressler to talk to one of the DeMarco witnesses and they soon realize they have it all wrong. The clerk at the deli swears that she saw DeMarco at the store the morning of his business partner’s murder, and she would know: “The guy comes in every morning for coffee, paper, lottery tickets — you could set your watch by him.” On this particular morning, she says, he took $20 out of the ATM to get his lottery ticket, so Aram pulls the security footage and…finds DeMarco withdrawing cash at the time of the murder. Or, rather, someone who looks a lot like DeMarco. Facial recognition software only yields an 80 percent match between the ATM footage and a photo of DeMarco, so either the system’s wrong, says Aram, “or you are looking at an exceptionally convincing double who helped Sam DeMarco get away with murder.” That’s right…


But first, speaking of getting away with murder: What’s our fav revenge queen Elizabeth Keen up to? As you’ll recall, she’s in the midst of trying to get reinstated as an FBI profiler, which requires a “fitness for duty evaluation.” She’s planning on a 50 minute therapy session, which Red is fully in support of, but the first appointment with Dr. Fulton (Plimpton) turns out to be a little more…incendiary. Dr. Fulton talks to Liz about revenge, and about how anger can be a healthy emotion, and then she’s all, “Let’s talk about your father.” (Recap continues on page 2)

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