The Blacklist recap: 'Ian Garvey: Conclusion'
Ian Garvey attempts a double-cross, but you can't double-cross a double-crosser...especially when they have a literal double
And so concludes Ian Garvey, not with a secret, but with a death — which on The Blacklist, is a much less conclusive event. While I don’t love the idea that Ian Garvey is (maybe? probably? definitely?) gone, and with him, the truth of the bag o’ bones along with him when there are still three episodes left in this season, I do love that I had no idea we’d end this episode with Raymond Reddington’s two daughters standing in a protective stance in front of Ian Garvey, begging him not to kill the man who stands between them and the truth.
You would have to have been either thoroughly distracted by losing all your oxen in a game of Oregon Trail, or listening to “House of the Rising Sun” at max volume in noise-cancelling headphones to have missed all the reference to “The Truth” that preceded Wednesday night’s episode. Both of Raymond Reddington’s top priorities, Elizabeth (beloved) and Garvey (be’hated) are desperate to know the truth that Red is hiding inside that all-important bag o’ bones. What’s odd is that while they’ve told Red over and over that they need to know The Truth, Red himself can’t stop saying that the very best motivator…is Fear.
“Unhappiness motivates whimpering; action is motivated by fear,” Red tells Zarak Mosadek at the very beginning of a series-best switcheroo. And that might be true, but to be motivated by fear is to be motivated by logic: Assessing that you’re in danger, and reacting in opposition to that danger, is a logical instinct. What Red is failing to take into account is that some people are willing to be very illogical; how the need for something like the truth can override the need for something like self-preservation. Red thinks fear tops all other motivations because Red is motivated by fear — fear that Liz will find out the Whole Truth of what (er, who) is inside that bag. But the truth of what’s inside that bag is what got Tom Keen killed, and so the truth is what Liz will stop at nothing to find. That’s what we call in the business, a bit of a pickle.
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This might have been Ian Garvey’s conclusion episode, but the greatest faceoff here was one of father and daughter, fear and truth, self-preservation and “howling at the moon.”
You may have noticed that Garvey hasn’t gotten little mention in this recap thus far, and that’s because that evil troll of a man is on his last leg. He’s caught, and what’s worse, he thinks he can un-catch himself. Double-cross Raymond Reddington? I don’t think so.
But he’s going to try, and it is going to lead to a twist that I hope I was not alone in figuring out…well, only once it was explicitly laid out for me. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The episode starts with Red working everything out with his new ally Zarak Mosadek after saving Mosadek’s son in the last episode. Mosadek has cut off Garvey’s drug supply, and will not supply to the Nash Syndicate again until Garvey hands over the bag o’ bones to Raymond Reddington. Red and Mosadek arrange meeting to exchange the bag, and Red is on his way…
At which point Mosadek calls Ian Garvey and says that since Reddington knows too much about both of them, they’ll go through with their own plan at the meeting: Kill Reddington. Hey, best of luck, pals! (Recap continues on next page)
Over at Liz’s apartment, she’s trying to gently wake up the woman she basically kidnapped who then revealed herself to be her sister with a steaming mug of coffee. Lilly is like, thanks but no thanks, I would super like to leave now. Liz tries to convince Lilly to tell her where Ian Garvey is, but since Ian was like a surrogate father to Lilly, and protected her from the biological father she now thinks Liz is protecting, that’s a big, sisterly N-O. Liz hands Lilly her jacket and says she wishes that could just forget all this and get to know each other. “I think we both know it’s a little later for that,” Lilly says. So at least Liz doesn’t have to feel bad about that tracker she very obviously just planted!
At the former apartment of J. Edgar Hoover’s lover (just go with it), Liz finds out about Red’s plan to get his bag back, and she doesn’t love it, saying he’s doing it at the expense of hurting her by specifically not allowing her to know why Tom died. “I won’t tell you something that’s none of your business, that was none of Tom’s business,” Red says in a finally fatherly dressing down. “You may feel entitled to know what it is because he died trying to figure out what it was, but you’re not…be hurt, blame me, howl at the moon for all I care, but this is my problem. Not yours.”
Put a pin in that because it will come back, but right now, Aram has just heard via the device Liz planted on Lilly, that Garvey and Mosadek are planning to double cross Red. Whether Red knows explicitly they were teaming up behind his back is unclear, but he has a plan either way. Enter: Raleigh Sinclair, aka, The Alibi, aka, Worst Marvel Name Ever, But Very Good Blacklister. We knew these Blacklisters Red has been collecting favors from would come back around, but it’s still a thrill when they do. Especially this one: Red needs a double to be able to go into this meeting without being killed.
Sinclair doesn’t like that he’ll have to push what’s usually a year’s worth of methodic planning into 16 hours, but once he starts thinking through the details of the meeting, he gets excited. And, not clued in on the double, Cooper doesn’t like the idea of sending Red to his death, but Red tells him he’s confident: “God doesn’t want me and the devil isn’t finished yet.” Excuse me while I knit that on a pillow…
Okay, I’m back. So, the plan is for the FBI to surround the place and catch Garvey in the act of trying to kill Red. There’s a fantastic montage I cannot do justice of Sinclair doing his thing, using Tony the Mailman who owes Red a favor as the foundation for his double. And it all ends with the three men pulling up to the meeting place, Red getting out, and giving a particularly Tony-like shrug when Mosadek asks him to confirm that he’ll hand over the incriminating intel he has on him once Garvey gives him the duffel bag. Shrug verified, Garvey steps forward with the duffel…and pulls a gun out of it. But before the FBI can shoot from above, Garvey turns the gun on Mosadek, kills him, a shootout ensues, and Garvey runs to his car where we hear Sinclair saying, “Get out of there, son!”
Because the double wasn’t for Red…it was Garvey. Altogether now: TWIIIIIIST!
As Red explains it to Garvey himself when Garvey is coming out of a drug-induced sleep, Red kidnapped the real Garvey, put him to sleep, made a plaster mold of his face that ultimately got Red through a meeting in which he was supposed to be killed, and finally pinned a crime on Garvey in the form of murdering an Afghan official. Two birds — one Tony. (Recap continues on next page)
Now all that’s left for Red to do is retrieve the bag from wherever Garvey is hiding it. So Dembe, Red, and Garvey hop in the car where they’re having a wonderful conversation about hair products for bald men, when Garvey lunges at the wheel, causing the car to crash, and Red to lose Garvey. When he wakes up Garvey is gone, and Red’s sure he’ll be headed to whoever her source was that was close enough to Garvey to know he was planning to double-cross Red. And he’s right: Garvey is headed to Lilly’s bar. And, knowing that Red’s lost Garvey, so is Liz. Why wouldn’t she bring backup or try to let Red help? Because the woman has lost it…she has to know the truth.
The truth arrives at Lilly’s bar first in the form of Garvey, with Liz just behind him. She sneaks her way in and overhears Garvey explaining to Lilly why he’s risking so much to find out the truth behind this duffel bag: “Everything you believed the last 30 years has been a lie,” he tells her. “You spent a lifetime hiding for no reason.” That’s when Liz bursts inside, telling Garvey he’s under arrest. Garvey tells her she doesn’t want to do that, but she can’t think of anything she’s ever wanted more. “I can,” he tells her.
Garvey tells Liz that if she arrests him, she’ll never find out what Red’s secret is. Then Red busts in, because this bar’s happy hour specials just cannot be missed. He tells Garvey if he tries to spill the figurative contents of that duffel bag, he’ll shoot him. Liz says that won’t be happening…because if Red shoots Garvey, she’ll shoot him. “You’re right,” she tells Red. “I am unwilling to accept that I’m not entitled to know why my husband died. I am hurt, I do blame you, and pulling this trigger — something I definitely do not want to do — is me howling at the moon!” It’s an excellent performance by Megan Boone that made me momentarily understand just how illogical Lizzie has been. This is not a woman motivated by logic or fear or anything except getting the truth.
But now there’s an additional woman who’d like in on the truth train, and she’s ready to put herself in this good old fashioned shootout. Lilly throws herself in front of Garvey, looks her real father in the eye and asks if abandoning a daughter on Christmas Eve 28 years ago is ringing any bells. “Jennifer,” he says, seeming truly shocked. But while Jennifer Reddington is raging at the father who (allegedly) abandoned her, her surrogate father is reaching in his pocket for a gun…
Garvey turns it on Reddington and shoots. Lizzie immediately shoots Garvey three times in the chest, but apparently didn’t intend to kill him because she tells him he can’t die until he tells her what’s in the bag. Liz and Lilly, sisters, ride with Garvey to the hospital, and watch him take his last bloody breath without ever getting the Truth.
Oh mother, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun
A Few Loose Ends:
No answers for the Sisters Rostova/Reddington means we don’t get any answers either. The last two episodes have been excellent but…fear, truth, and not being dragged on endlessly are great motivators for continuing to watch a series.
And why are Samar and Aram breaking up?! Why can’t we have nice things? If they make Ressler get addicted to pills again, so help me…
That final view of Liz and Lilly watching Garvey in the hospital made me really appreciate the casting of Fiona Dourif as Liz’s (maybe) sister…especially when you add Mary Louise Parker into the facial mix!
And speaking of casting, Bernard White was great as Mosadek, and I love that it came right in the middle of his character returning to Silicon Valley…crossover episode, please.
“With a butterfly kiss, and a honey bee hug, sleep tight little one, like a bug in a rug.”