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The Blacklist Recap: Vow of Violence

The weirdest part of this week’s The Blacklist was the scene with the robot clowns. I’ve watched the episode twice now and I’m not sure why the writers decided to put that scene in there, unless they did it to draw attention away from the way Reddington died in the explosion or the scene where we found out Tom was a good guy after all. But I think they could have done it in a more subtle way, especially considering this was the series finale.

April Fools'!

Actually, tonight’s episode (which wasn’t, in fact, the series finale) was weird, but it had nothing to do with robot clowns. When a show opens with a scene in which a woman hails a cab that just happens to be driven by a taxi driver she knows, and that cabbie apologizes to her before slamming into a truck, killing them both, and that scene is followed by one involving the man who’d hired the cabbie to kamikaze, and the mastermind is seen drinking a gross concoction made in a blender while sitting in his underwear with blood on his body and then shown to be taking off his fake nose and putting it in a plastic cup, wouldn’t you call it weird? Yes, we’re in Criminal Minds territory again. Meet the Undertaker, who gets people to kill others (and usually themselves in the process). And he leaves their families money after each killing. The Undertaker approaches another guy, Danny, in a hospital. He’s dying and the Undertaker promises him a ton of money if he’ll do something for him.

Tom makes pancakes for Liz and then says he wants to renew their wedding vows. She accepts. He leaves for school and she throws things around the apartment and looks through his things. She then goes to a secret hideout and makes an evidence wall with his picture. Red explains that he has been monitoring Tom for a while. She wants to know more about him, but Red says he doesn’t know much more than she does, only that Tom or whomever he is working for started to meddle in his affairs. She wants to know why Tom came into her life because of Red and how they are connected, but Red tells her the only thing that matters right now is to find out who Tom really is and whom he is working for. Then everything else will come. They agree that they have to make it look like nothing has changed. Red says they need a new case, and tells her about the Undertaker and the deaths of the cabbie and the woman.

Meanwhile, the Undertaker gets a woman to kill a man at a gas station by dousing both of them in gas and lighting them on fire. Liz and Ressler talk to the cabbie’s widow and find out he was dying of a brain tumor. Cooper wants to find out everything about the man, including his financial records. While they’re trying to figure things out, the Undertaker goes to a hospital to talk to Danny, another man who is dying. If he does something for them he’ll make sure his family is rich after he is gone.

Liz gets a party together so she and Tom can renew their vows again, which surprises Tom. She invited his brother Craig to perform the ceremony. Of course, Craig isn’t really his brother, he’s involved with Tom and the organization too. He tells Tom that he thinks Liz is on to him, that she’s asking questions about their parents and the accident and Tucson. Tom tells him not to worry; he knows what he’s doing. Later, Liz spies on Tom via hidden camera and notices that he has hidden a key under a lamp in the living room.

Liz gives Dembe a glass with Craig’s fingerprints on it to give to Red. Red brings the glass to his scientist friend Vlad in El Salvador who specializes in getting DNA from fingerprints. Red slept with Vlad’s wife in the past, but Red says that he’s better off without her anyway. He agrees to do it, but only if Red lets him and his wife use his villa at some point.

Danny takes a gun and goes to a political speech to kill the politician’s assistant, but the team is already onto him, as they traced big money payments from a Cayman Islands account that went to him. The team gets there just in time to talk Danny out of it.

Red finds out that Craig’s real name is Chris and tells Liz to go get Craig/Chris because it’s time for the three of them to talk. She goes to Craig/Chris’s hotel room and, after a brief fight, apprehends him. She handcuffs him to the bathroom sink. Red and Dembe show up. Red takes Craig/Chris to a weird museum, and Dembe walks by pushing a wheelchair with a woman in it. The woman is Craig/Chris’s mother. It’s a subtle hint that if he doesn’t cooperate with them, something bad will happen to her. Red suggests they leave and talk at the hotel. Besides, he saw some yogurt pretzels in the minibar that looked really good.

The team finds out that the Undertaker knows about the victims’ health before he meets with them. They all had policies with the same insurance company. The team goes to the company, and yup, the Undertaker — a.k.a. Milton Bobbit, the perfect name for an insurance person — works there. Even his co-workers think he’s kind of odd because he’s obsessed with customers that are dying. The team goes to his apartment and finds his files. They find out a doctor is next on the list. But Bobbit is one step ahead of them, and goes to a hospital parking lot and kidnaps the doctor at gunpoint. Looks like this whole thing was more personal than the team thought. He’s dying of diabetes, and this is the doctor who was in charge of the clinical trials for new drugs. The other victims were involved too. Bobbit takes the doctor to a secluded place. He has a bomb strapped to his chest and he’s going to kill them both, but he talks to the doctor just long enough for the team to show up. Ressler tricks Bobbit by arresting the doctor and getting him out of there. Bobbit blows himself up. 

Red gets Craig/Chris to call Tom to tell him everything is okay and not to panic. But Tom isn’t convinced and says he’s coming over. Craig/Chris tells Red, Liz, and Dembe that nothing about Tom is real, though he’s from Chicago and sometimes meets with a woman named Nikki. There’s also a secret in Berlin, but he says he can’t tell them what it is. Red says they’re going to move their conversation to another place, but before they can, Craig/Chris stands up and jumps out the window to his death. Red, Liz, and Dembe calmly get the hell out of there before Tom and a million cops show up, but not before Red tells Dembe to make sure he grabs those pretzels.

Red meets with Cooper, who gives him Bobbit’s client list, which is what Red wanted all along. Liz puts more evidence up on the wall, including Tom’s mysterious key. Red and Liz look at the evidence board, which also includes a burnt piece of paper with the word “Berlin” on it. They’re not sure what it means. As the episode ends, Tom tells Liz that Craig had to go back home for work. He also reminds her that they’re newlyweds, which means it’s their wedding night, and you know what that means. She hugs him.

Random Notes:

— How, exactly, did Red know that the Undertaker was responsible for the deaths of the cabbie and his passenger? Couldn’t it have just been an accident?

— So Tom’s fake brother looks like he went to a hair salon and said, “I want to look like Wolverine.” And he married Tom and Liz the first time? I wonder if he really does have a certificate from the Online Universal Church. If that’s another lie, then Tom and Liz aren’t really married, which will make killing him a lot easier to do.

— Funny how during her wedding vows, Liz said she was happy to be in front of all of their friends. But I didn’t recognize any of the people in the room. Couldn’t anyone from the team make an appearance? It was as if they paid strangers to come to their second wedding because they don’t have any real friends.

— Liz’s evidence wall could turn out to be a good summary of the show so far, with various characters and events and cases listed and their connections lined up.

— One thing that this show doesn’t do particularly well is create satisfying resolutions to the main case of the week. The team always figures things out quickly, with the help of amazing computers and the quickest thinking of anyone on television, and races to rescue someone and always gets there just in the nick of time. It’s all rather mundane and ordinary, TV-plot-wise, although I was impressed that Ressler pretty much let Bobbit blow himself up.

— Red and Dembe watching the classic Three Stooges short "Disorder in the Court" is one of my favorite moments on the show so far.

— We all miss Bob Ross, don’t we?

— I looked and looked via Google, but I couldn’t find the recipe for Eartha Kitt’s Pimento Sandwiches. Sorry!

Quote of the Week: 

“I know a ravishing Dane who would adore you. She’s slightly cross-eyed, and there’s something very hypnotic about her gaze.” —Red, to Vlad, trying to set him up with someone

Photo: NBC