The Blacklist recap: One bad acid trip
Red (James Spader) is still coming to terms with the idea of Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) possibly still being alive. Like I did last week, he questioned how she could have survived the fall – even though her body was never recovered – and how she could have had the resources to exact her revenge on him. Also, Kaplan loved Liz – there is NO way that she would have had her killed. It just didn't make sense.
Red visits Kaplan's sister Maureen (Susan Pellegrino), who is in the Witness Protection Program for testifying against the Russian mafia years ago. Believing Kate and Red were still on good terms, Maureen greets Red warmly after not seeing him since he told her of Kaplan's untimely passing. Red reveals that Kaplan may still be alive and asks Maureen if she had any type of contact from her sister. Maureen tells him she did not, but asks him to find Kaplan's associate/protégé and former lover, Clara Moore (Winsome Brown). Oh, Kaplan had a protégé and lover before her death? Good for her.
Of course, I want to touch on this some more, but I need to go into this week's Blacklister first.
Laszlo Jankowics (No. 180)
At a pharmaceutical company meeting, Dr. Wallace Avery (John Rothman) tells his team that they will manufacture LSD into a drug form that will revolutionize science. Just then, they are attacked by LSD drug lord Laszlo, who kills everyone there but Avery, who manages to escape.
Cut to Red visiting Cooper (Harry Lennix), with Laszlo Jankowics as the next Blacklister. If the last name sounds familiar, Laszlo's father Marko was a previous Blacklister from season 6, who ran the LSD drug trade and was eventually killed by Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff). Laszlo is a bit more manic than his father — having taken so much LSD himself, it left some permanent brain damage, causing him to think a pet lion is following him around. For real, they CGI-ed a lion into the scenes.
As the task force discusses the crime scene left by Laszlo at the pharma company, Ressler tells the team he's obtained a search warrant for LaCroix's home. Cooper and Ressler will work on the LaCroix case, while the others focus on getting Laszlo.
At the pharmaceutical company, Avery lies to the Task Force about seeing the men who attacked him. Fortunately, the lab was able to pull the bullet from the scene and found prints belonging to a felon on parole, Sebastian Grant (Ben Thompson). Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) and Park (Laura Sohn) bring him in for questioning, and he reveals that Avery had previously worked for Laszlo's father and left to sell Laszlo's product as a pharmaceutical drug. This enraged Laszlo, and is why he attacked Avery.
Dembe calls Red to find Avery, who has now gone into hiding from both Laszlo and the FBI. Red contacts Rogelio (Gerardo Rodriguez), who is preparing to take his citizenship test in the next two hours. In a cute scene, Red offers to help Rogelio study while he connects with his network to track down Avery. Rogelio's network locates Avery, who is holed up in a motel.
Red doesn't alert the task force. Instead, he goes and questions Avery about Laszlo's "cleaner" — none other than Clara Moore. Avery tells him only Laszlo can contact her, which causes Red to call Laszlo up and hand Avery over. When Laszlo arrives, Red notes he heard Laszlo may be dealing with some product issues. Laszlo says his business is doing fine and that he's expecting more product in the port later that day. Avery begs Red to spare his life. Annoyed with Avery's pleas, Red shoots him, leaving a bloody mess in the hotel room. Laszlo is upset with the ordeal, especially the mess left by Red. Red offers to call his "cleaner" but is told it may take hours for them to arrive. Frustrated, Laszlo calls Clara, as he is fleeing the scene. Once the coast is clear, Avery gets up in what looks to be a complete set up by Red.
Dembe, Park, and a team of agents arrive at the port and attempt to arrest Laszlo. A gun fight ensues. Park chases Laszlo into a freight container where they fight, causing a gun to blast next to Park's ear, resulting in her headache returning and losing Laszlo in the process.
Follow the Money
While searching the LaCroix home, Ressler uncovers documents proving LaCroix and Reginald Cole were working together bribing several people, including tech billionaire Stanford March (Christopher Gerson). They visit March, who reveals that LaCroix and Cole were extorting him for money by threatening a criminal lawsuit from a former nanny accusing him of sexual assault. March paid them off to avoid any further legal trouble.
Back at the Post Office, Ressler discovers that March's former nanny had never even heard of Cole or LaCroix. The entire extortion on March was a scam set up by the deceased duo. Ressler is shocked at the ingenuity of the scam, which causes a disheartened Cooper to yell at him for not taking this seriously, as his life is at stake. Later on, Cooper apologizes to Ressler for his outburst and thinks the scam that Cole and LaCroix were running might actually be the key to solving this case.
The Return of Kaplan
Red and Weecha (Diany Rodriguez) greet a shocked Clara as she enters the motel room, expecting to clean a dead body. She recognizes Red, who tells her that Kaplan is still alive. Clara knows nothing about Kaplan's return and even if she did, she would never tell Red. Red calls Brimley (Teddy Coluca) to get the truth out of her.
Brimley tells Red that Clara didn't know about Kaplan's return until two days ago — when she left Clara a note with instructions to meet at an abandoned building that night. Red calls Cooper, revealing the entire thing about Kaplan, and together, they go to the building. Red sees Mr. Kaplan, clearly alive, from the window of the building. Weecha and his men decide to go in and retrieve Kaplan. But, as they enter the building, they are ambushed — revealing the entire thing to be a trap. Suddenly, the building explodes. I had to zoom into the screen of the building to make sure it was really Kaplan and not a possible look-alike. I can't be certain, but it also looks like it could be Maureen. This whole thing feels so fishy. Red visits Maureen, who is honestly the most endearing character ever, and then Clara is contacted by Kaplan days later, AFTER Maureen mentioned her name to Red. I have a theory and I have a feeling that Maureen may know more about Kaplan's life of crime than she's letting on. Kaplan could be alive, or they're having Red believe she's alive, to further mess with him. Whoever is playing Red knows everything Kaplan did and his biggest regret — aside from Liz's death — is allowing his relationship with Kaplan to go under. They're using his guilt and I need to see more on how this plays out.
James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.