The Blacklist recap: Agent Park gets the spotlight as her past is revealed
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It's an Agent Park-centric episode!
When season 9 returned, we thought our favorite angry agent managed to stay out of trouble during those two years while teaching at the Academy. But, with the latest episode, we find out that's not the case. Instead, Park (Laura Sohn) harnessed her rage into killing bad guys for the government, which, in hindsight, makes sense for her character. So it was exciting to see her have her own episode this season.
There is a lot to talk about! Let's get to it.
The Conglomerate (No. 142)
The episode opens with a flashback showing Park escorting Liz's (Megan Boone) body to the morgue and gathering her belongings ahead of the autopsy. Before leaving with Liz's things, Park sends up a quick prayer for the deceased.
Cutting to present day, Red (James Spader) is going over the intel that Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) found regarding Vandyke, the assassin who killed Liz. It all leads him to a woman named Helen Fields (Leah Loftin). Red says he'll handle it from here, as Dembe needs to focus on the next Blacklister on the list: The Conglomerate. Red also tells Dembe that Park should know more about it.
Meanwhile, Park is waiting for her husband Peter (Colby Lewis) at a restaurant nearby. She's greeted by an old colleague of hers, John Ritcher (Will Stout), who extends an offer to join his agency, The Conglomerate. Clearly uncomfortable, Park tells him to leave, but not before he bumps into Peter. Peter, who is still upset about Park being back in the field, begrudgingly accepts her opaque answer when asked who Ritcher is.
We find out The Conglomerate is an organization of contract killers who previously worked under government contracts but are now working for whoever can pay them. Dembe tells Park that Red suggested she would know more about the group, but she quietly denies it. She later confronts Red about looking into her past and tells him she's not going to work for The Conglomerate. Fearing that Park would, Red explains that's why he decided to put them on the list.
Park was at a low point in her life after Liz's death. So low, we learn, that she was recruited by Ritcher to assassinate horrible people for the government. She finally felt like she had a purpose again. We also find out that Park and Ritcher had a sexual relationship at one point, which was kind of obvious, given his gross attempts at flirting earlier. She tells the Task Force about her life as an assassin-for-hire during the two-year time jump and how The Conglomerate tried to recruit her again. Cooper tells her to accept the job so they can shut the whole thing down.
While being watched by Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Aram (Amir Arison), Park meets with Ritcher at a parking garage, because he is apparently a multitasker and has to do a hit at that same location. He leaves their meeting to find his target, but the target ends up having the upper hand. Park ultimately kills the target to save Ritcher, therefore, sealing her a meeting with The Conglomerate.
In that meeting, we learn The Conglomerate is laid out like a pyramid scheme for assassins — each recruited assassin gives a cut to their recruiter. Park reveals she got out of the assassin business because she met and fell in love with Peter, whom she chose over Ritcher. After Park's successful meeting with the leaders of The Conglomerate, which included former top agents in their fields, Park bids Ritcher goodbye, allowing the Task Force to come in to make arrests.
Unfortunately, Ritcher is able to escape, and Park finds him holding Peter hostage in their apartment. Ritcher taunts Peter, telling him his wife is a natural-born killer. She proves Ritcher right by brutally killing him — right in front of Peter. Park decides, to save her marriage, she's going to tell Peter EVERYTHING — including about Raymond Reddington.
Listen, I don't blame the guy for being disturbed by the fact that his wife felt nothing towards beating a man to death. This is some Dexter-level craziness. She exhibited no emotions afterward, either. As much as I love relationships between agents and their normal partners, Park needs to work on herself before she could fully take on a normal, healthy relationship with Peter. I'm more shocked that he decides to stay and work through it, but who am I to get in the way of love?
We also learned in this episode how Park and Peter met — she was set up with him by a friend who suggested she needed a boring, regular guy, because "Boring is good. Boring is 2.2 kids, a dog, and a pension." Corny, but cute. I think Park knew internally she needed that stability in a partner. It's just unfortunate that I don't feel like the characters have that much chemistry with each other.
Red's on the Right Track
Red finds Helen Fields and brings her to what appears to be a camel barn. There's literally a camel being milked by our buddy Glen (Clark Middleton). Helen tells Red she knows nothing about Vandyke's life, but she'll give Red everything she does have, including a laptop.
Red has Aram investigate Vandyke's laptop to find any clues. Aram finds new coordinates from the day that Liz was murdered — coordinates that they find out were Liz's location. Somehow, Vandyke slipped a tracking device on her that very day. They believe the device was on her clothing, so Red requests to examine the clothing she wore that day.
As Liz's clothing is laid out, blood stains and all, Aram says that if there had been a device on her, he'll be able to find it. Red responds, "Not her. Her clothes. She's in the ground. I presume wearing something nice." During this scene, you realize just how much pain Red is in. Even Aram could feel the tension and hopes that Red finds some kind of peace. Unfortunately, Aram, using his tech expertise, finds nothing on the clothing.
After consulting with Park, the person last seen with Liz's things, Red finds out the final location of the tracker was the cemetery Liz is buried in... and they realize they must exhume Liz's body to find it.
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