Blacklist Season 2 Premiere Recap: The Cat in the Hat Is Back

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Photo: NBC

When we last left our heroes and antiheroes, Meera was dead, Tom had escaped, and Berlin had landed in the United States and was hunting Red. As season two opens, we see that Liz is in hiding (kinda), Ressler is having emotional problems because of the death of his fiancée and the attack on his team, and there’s a new evil mastermind connected to Berlin who may be after Red.

But we find out that Lord Baltimore isn’t a lord or a man at all, it’s actually a woman. Or two women, to be precise. Turns out that the woman is Nora Mills, and she killed her twin sister Rowan and is now having personality issues. If I’m doing the math correctly, she’s actually three people: Nora, Rowan, and Lord Baltimore. Lord Baltimore is a skip tracer who uses data analytics to find people, hunting the deep web to get as much information on people as possible. She’s also an assassin. Berlin has hired her to find Red’s ex-wife Naomi Hyland, who has been in hiding for 20 years with a new husband and a new family. 

Meanwhile, this whole data-mining aspect of the case is freaking out Liz because she’s been using aliases and hiding out in motels and feels like she’s being watched. And she is being watched. They all are, by someone wearing a hood in a car. They never show the face, but I’m just going to assume it’s Tom, who vanished in the first-season finale after being shot. At one point, Ressler says to Liz that she shouldn’t worry because Tom is dead. Why does he think that when they didn’t find a body? Just by the amount of blood left behind at the scene?

After Red goes to see Harold, not only to talk him out of retiring and to help solve the latest case, but also to give him the only copy of the evidence of the Kuwait caper, a mysterious team attacks the hotel where Red and Dembe are staying, and they kidnap Red. But just when we think it’s either Lord Baltimore or Berlin, we find out it’s not: It’s actually a female Mossad agent who has grabbed Red because he’s wanted all over the world. She’s also ticked at Red for something that happened in the past (naturally — there’s a never-ending supply of these people). Her younger brother and two others were killed in a bombing. She tracked Red by studying the type of ties that Red likes to wear (earth tones, maybe oxblood, rarely stripes) and basically putting a tracking device into every tie every man in the Northeast bought. An elaborate plan, but, evidently, a successful one.

The man whom the agent contacts about Red happens to be the new director of the FBI task force, and he shows up to take Red into his custody. But not before Red confirms to the agent the name of her brother’s killer.

The FBI goes to Naomi’s house to tell her they have a credible threat and they have to take her. She knows that Berlin is back, and she apologizes to her new husband. Berlin’s man makes Nora/Rowan/Lord Baltimore change her personality back into the killer/skip tracer by playing the song “We Three,” the song that was playing the night Rowan was killed. Her team goes to grab Naomi just when Ressler finds the decomposed body of Rowan in a van in her mom’s backyard.

Lord Baltimore kills the guards and her team gets inside Naomi’s house. They gaze Liz and the new husband and take Naomi away. Liz manages to kill the leader and outside grabs Lord Baltimore, who is just casually walking down the street because she has turned back into Nora. After the case is over, we see Ressler blowing off the FBI psychiatrist again, Ressler taking some sort of pills, Liz getting her annulment papers (but with a new haircut and keeping the last name Keen because it wasn’t Tom’s real name anyway), and Harold back as leader of the team.

Meanwhile, Naomi comes face-to-face with Berlin (the man with the hooked hand who takes ice baths). Her forces her on a bed but only takes her picture with a Polaroid instant camera (he’s old-school). In the final scene, a package is delivered to Red. Inside is a box. It contains a cell phone and a box with a finger in it. Naomi’s finger. Red uses the phone to call Berlin, who tells him he’s going to do to Naomi what Red did to his daughter, deliver her to him “piece by piece.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • This episode seemed really meaty. I don’t know if it was the fact that we now have several new characters on the show to give it a renewed energy or the fact that they seem to be beefing up the stories for the supporting cast (Ressler’s pills, the FBI psychiatrist, Harold’s illness, etc.), but it’s a welcome thing.
  • They never explained what Harold’s diagnosis is, which is yet another question this show brings up that will be dangled in front of viewers for at least a few weeks. We can assume it’s life-threatening, but maybe it will turn out Red knows this one doctor …
  • In my primer for season two, I mentioned how Red’s hat is the second most important character on the show, and this episode seems to confirm that. First we see the little rebel kid wearing it (“Tell the boy not to pull on the brim of the hat”), and then we see it on the ground next to Dembe when Red is kidnapped. They should really make the hat important later in the season. Maybe that’s where Red can keep a code or clue for Liz.
  • I liked Red’s little rant about how everyone is so concerned with the government spying on them but we’re all more than happy to tell our most personal secrets to big data companies. Think of Red the next time you post a status update to Facebook.
  • I also liked how Naomi’s new husband wasn’t completely freaked out by what was happening, and he even went to grab the bad guy’s gun after Liz shot the guy. But we never found out what happened. The last we saw was the bad guy reaching for the gun and Naomi’s husband reaching for the bad guy.
  • Liz sleeps with newspaper clippings and pictures and clues attached to the ceiling above her head. I used to have a star map that glowed in the dark.
  • I liked how Nora/Rowan/Lord Baltimore’s phone voice was taken over by Berlin. It was sort of like she had Evil Siri on her phone.
  • Quote of the week: "Things are at a tipping point, Harold. Your replacement has the unfortunate distinction of being both untrustworthy and incompetent." —Red