A Blacklister from Cooper’s past returns with a deadly delivery.
The Blacklist - Season 2

In a prison cafeteria, the head of a gang is warned rivals are coming to get him. He seems nonplussed — for good reason, it turns out. The moment the shiv-carrying rivals appear, the prisoner pulls out a very large gun, shoots all of his would-be attackers plus some extra, and then calmly waits to get tackled by the guards. 

The question, of course, is where did a prisoner get an automatic weapon? 

Over in Cooper's (Harry Lennix) kitchen, Agnes is giving Red (James Spader) a rundown on the online game Among Us. When she leaves for school, Cooper immediately goes in on Red about the events of last week. In case you were unsure, he's still mad. 

Red is unapologetic about the way events played out, but does offer a Blacklister up as a nice gesture. Filling Cooper in on the prison shooting, Red explains he believes the gun was delivered by the Postman. The smuggler is known for being able to sneak contraband into prisons.

The Blacklist
James Spader on 'The Blacklist' season 10
| Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Cooper asks Red if he knows the Postman's real name, and Red says it's Lawrence Nelson (Robert Neary). Red keeps speaking but it's clear from the shock on Cooper's face that he's stopped listening. Flashback time! 

It's 1993, we're in a jury room, and we're about to watch a very weird production of 12 Angry Men

The case is Maryland v. Lawrence Nelson. Nelson has been accused of killing his boss at the convenience store and 11 members of the jury are immediately down to convict. There is one holdout — a very young Harold Cooper (Ruffin Prentiss). 

Cooper finds holes in the case, especially regarding some suspicious testimony from an ex-girlfriend, but over time is worn down by the others. He gets convinced of Nelson's guilt and the future Postman serves 25 years.

The Blacklist
Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper
| Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Back at TFHQ, Cooper fills the team in on their latest target. Ressler and Malik (Anya Banerjee) are also still mad about last week and complain about getting the mission from Red, but… that's where every mission comes from? For all their protesting, you'd think this is the first time Red lied to them and killed some people! Reader, it most certainly is not.

It will not surprise you that Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), who knows and loves Red best, says nothing during this exchange. I bet Dembe is mostly mad Chuck got to be at the showdown and he didn't.

Cooper explains the depth of Nelson's crimes, including outfitting an entire prison with secret wi-fi so drug cartels could operate from inside. Look, I want to hate bad guys and all, but that sounds so much better than dealing with Comcast.

Cooper is in the middle of pontificating about danger and protecting the world and whatnot, when an actual Skype call appears on the big screen. It's Herbie (Alex Brightman), of course, dialing into the meeting late on his first day working with the Task Force.

"Did I miss anything?" he asks. Cooper is not amused. "Just your first morning of your trial employment period?"

Malik is curious about this work from home option, but Cooper sends her and Ressler off to the prison to interview the shooter and leaves Dembe on Herbie duty.

At the prison, Lou Fernan (Jose Soto) refuses to give up the Postman, responding to Malik's threats with "Or what? You gonna lock me up for a long time?" Touché, bad guy!

Meanwhile, another prisoner is in his cell doing a full-on Bill Nye the Science Guy impersonation. He's got a dropper, a ventilator mask, test tubes, goggles… and when the experiment doesn't seem to work the way he wants it to, he's got a cell phone he uses to call the Postman.

Nelson is working in his own lab space when the call comes in. Eugene, the prisoner, says he needs more materials to get the "compound" pure enough. He needs another delivery. The Postman promises to deliver the next day. 

Okay, the Postman has already one-upped Comcast and now he's coming for Amazon. I'm impressed!

Malik is tracking down the payment for the gun and runs into trouble getting the bank to help. Red does a classic Red: Walks into the office of a low-level manager, mentions an astounding amount of detail about their personal life, and inserts a sly bribe (in this case, a quality nursing home for an aging mother-in-law). 

Usually that works beautifully. This time, the bank manager is too dumb to get it. So Red pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot his kneecaps. That works too! 

The banking information leads to the Postman's personal shopper, who reveals that there's been an awful lot of chemistry supplies on the to-do list recently.  

At Herbie's, Dembe drops by for a sandwich and some information on the security footage from the prison. Cranking up the sound, Herbie has cracked the case — the hum of a drone is in the background. The drone is high-tech enough to be undetectable and we get to see it in action delivering a vial to Eugene. 

Cooper visits the prison warden, learning that Nelson was inspired by his chemist roommate to earn his electrical engineering degree. He also always maintained his innocence. Cooper is unnerved. 

Herbie finally makes it into the office, so Baby Sue must be feeling better. He's gone over the list of supplies bought for the Postman and has some bad news to share - whoever is getting these supplies is making abrin. Which is 75 times more lethal than ricin, so that's fun!

Dembe figures out the numbers on the orders are actually inmate numbers. Since Cooper is already at the prison, he's able to put two and two together to get Eugene. It's too late, though; Eugene has already smuggled the completed abrin back out to the Postman. 

Luckily, while going through the trial files, Cooper remembers that 30 years ago Nelson claimed to be at a family cabin during the murder. It's a long shot, but it's what they've got, so Ressler and Malik head out.

They arrive just a moment too late to nab their suspect, but they do find the blueprints to a building in Baltimore. Back at TFHQ Cooper spots something in Nelson's file that reveals the target: the attorney general's office. 

The current AG was the prosecutor on the Nelson case and a document in the file makes Cooper certain Nelson was innocent and framed by a corrupt prosecutor. This is a revenge abrin-ing!

Knowing Nelson will have to sneak the toxin through the pipes or HVAC, Red volunteers to reach out to the plumbers and steamfitter's union. Red sets off to re-bribe whoever was pre-bribed to help the Postman deliver himself to the building. 

So when Nelson puts on a gas mask, gets into a large crate alongside his toxin, and expects to emerge inside of the AG's office building… he is instead unwrapped inside TFHQ. 

In interrogation, Cooper reveals what he learned in Nelson's file: the ex-girlfriend was threatened by the prosecutor and lied on the stand. Nelson was innocent. Cooper is going to get Nelson's conviction expunged and go after the prosecutor, but Nelson seems rightfully dismissive. Nothing is going to get his 25 years back.  

Malik congratulates Herbie on his first day of work, but she and Ressler are absolute grinches and turn down his offer of foosball and beer. Luckily, Dembe is smart enough to realize that sounds like a delightful time and our adorable duo head off.

The Blacklist
Sami Bray as Agnes
| Credit: Will Hart/NBC

We end on another adorable duo: Red and Agnes. He's sent her a chess board, all the better to learn strategy that will pay off in Among Us. Cooper warns her that "Pinky" can be pretty sneaky, but just like him, Agnes is still willing to play. 

The Back-list:

  • Ressler is now the AA sponsor for government employee Jonathan Pritchard (Mackenzie Astin). His recovery is rocky, but Ressler seems to be doing a great mix of encouragement/tough love. There is no way this relationship is not going to be the linchpin of a future episode.
  • Red's response to Agnes's concern about him beating her at chess: "Yes. I'll trounce you. It'll be very dispiriting."
  • Red claims members of Local 4809 cheat at bowling and for the life of me, I have no idea how that's possible. Fake pins? Vibrating floor lanes? Bowling balls with tiny firecrackers? You tell me. 

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The Blacklist - Season 2
The Blacklist

James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.

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