As of one television-hour ago, Raymond Reddington is officially onto Elizabeth Keen, his maybe-fake-not-daughter. But hey! His maybe-fake-not-daughter is onto him too…
Sort of. This episode tackles a topic that’s been coming into focus ever since Reddington first hit Judge Wilkins’ court room: his innocence. We have always known Raymond Reddinton to be a criminal; guiding set of noble principles, or no—the man is a capital-c-Criminal. So for six seasons, there hasn’t been much questioning as to whether the crimes that got Red on the FBI’s Most Wanted in the first place were crimes he was actually guilty of. Not until Reddington was finally caught at the beginning of this season, at least.
Now, after eight episodes of watching Red piece together a mysterious puzzle of Blacklisters in order to obtain key evidence, the question of Raymond Reddington’s guilt is finally asked in earnest. And more importantly, it’s answered.
We leave this second episode of Friday’s two-parter with a lot more information than when we started, and yet it all feels rather tenuous. Unproven. Sure a jury of Red’s peers decide that he is innocent (!!!) of this first treason charge, but there are about 1000 Netflix docuseries that can tell you that ours is not exactly a foolproof legal system. After all is said and done, and Reddington has presented his winning evidence about Katarina Rostova to the court, he tells Liz that now she knows the truth. “I know a truth,” she corrects him.
Liz still doesn’t know who this imposter is, or why he would have claimed the identity of a man wanted for treason, or why her mother would have helped him…
But she certainly has a few more puzzle pieces to work with. And, now—so do we.
MINISTER D, NO. 99
After the pulse-pounding drug bladder delivery of the first hour, this episode offers a welcome return to confusion-but-chill-about-it. A man sits in a basement surrounded by antiquated technology, moving plugs around on a switchboard, seemingly at random. Somehow, he’s listening in to phone calls all over the world, until finally, he stops on one: “Listen, I think we might have a situation—it’s about the body.”
Red gets right to assigning this Blacklister to the Task Force because his federal trial for treason starts in an hour, and after tracking him for the last five episodes, Red has finally arrived at the man who holds the key to his innocence. Liz still doesn’t know what that key is, just that “Minister D”—who takes very Blacklist-y name from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Purloined Letter”—has it.
Minister D is a serial blackmailer; he gathers information and then uses it to extort people, and as Reddington tells it, he could have compromising information on anyone and everyone. A man named Shaw who Reddington loaned money to pay off Minister D in 2006, tells Liz and Ressler that he came to his office one day and there was a letter sitting on his desk. Inside it was a transcript of a phone call he’d made detailing “a certain business arrangement” he’d made, and a few days later, there was another letter instructing him to deliver $400,000 in cash to a certain location. Shaw hired a team to investigate, and they found what looked to be a phone tap inside his home.
At the same time as Shaw is explaining, we see Minister D typing up a transcript of the call from the cold open on his typewriter, which he delivers to the office of Peter Dereamer, along with a handwritten note reading: “I know you killed your wife.” So that’s a yikes all around!
But at least the Post Office is moving quickly. Aram is able to trace the device Shaw showed them to a phone company that only had a few technicians who could have planted it. After some filtering, the one that makes the most sense is Elijah Bailey whose name is an alias and whose taxes filed under a stolen social security number. Oh and also, once the FBI raids his house, they don’t’ find Minister D himself there, but they do find thousands and thousands of recorded phone calls.