The Blacklist Recap: And the Mole Is …

The Blacklist

The Alchemist
Season 1 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

The Blacklist

The Alchemist
Season 1 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Will Hart/NBC

Here we go again. In the ever-growing list of creative, kooky Blacklist villains, we’ve had the Stewmaster, who put people in a tub and poured lye on them to make them dissolve and disappear. We’ve had the Freelancer, an assassin who killed people to make them disappear. And now comes the Alchemist, who can not only change the way victims look but actually change them into someone else through plastic surgery and blood transfusions and synthetic DNA. How long until this show unveils the Thighmaster, who is impossible to catch because he can run really fast, thanks to excessive leg workouts? Or the Odor Assassin, who kills using the strongest BO known to man?

This Alchemist will kill anyone — mothers, fathers, infants — whatever the job calls for. He’s protecting a mob family in this case. After changing the looks and DNA of a man and a woman, he puts them on a plane and jumps out with a parachute. This is a rather elaborate and cinematic way of killing two people, more complex than seems necessary, but it looks really cool.

But the good guys have smarts and computers and labs, too, and they figure out what happened by examining the bone marrow of the victims. This leads them to another guy who — you guessed it — is killed by the Alchemist before he can tell the FBI what he knows. The Alchemist poses as one of his lawyers and just walks into HQ to talk to his “client.” One poisoned piece of nicotine gum later and the guy is dead. The Alchemist escapes.

Meanwhile, Red has his people working hard, too, trying to find evidence on who the real mole is that helped with the invasion of HQ a few episodes ago. They’re going through dozens and dozens of trash bags filled with shredded documents. He tells them to go through all of the documents and put them together, telling them, “I hate sarcasm and I love puzzles,” though that’s easy for him to say because he doesn’t have to go through all of these bags. This seems like an incredibly hard task, so I hope they’re getting overtime.

Tom didn’t go to the job interview, though he did go all the way to Lincoln. (Liz, this is where the alarm bells and red lights should be flashing. He went to Nebraska but didn’t go to the interview?) They talk about her career and wanting to have Jenny’s baby. He doesn’t want Liz to quit the job, he just wants her to take something safer. He also watches Real Housewives, which proves he can’t be trusted.

The team finds out who the Alchemist is and talks to his wife. They determine that the guy is into science and is a little crazy and thinks that the family is still together. The daughter is diabetic. While Liz is talking to them, he gets another victim, via a fake casting call. But who is this body for?

Tom seems like so much fun during the baby shower and/or party with all the teachers, or whatever that scene was. Speed diaper-changing games and blindfolded baby food tasting? I guess this is something potential parents do that might seem odd to others, though it gets extra points for including “The Doodlin’ Song.” Tom and Liz go into another room to argue but they’re interrupted by substitute teacher Jolene, who was in the bathroom. But her name isn’t really Jolene. She had a file on Tom and is pretending to be a teacher to get close to him. We don’t know why yet (or at least I don’t) but she starts flirting with Tom. With Liz busy at work all the time we can see where this is going to go. She invites him to a weird photography exhibit but he seems to decline.

Through TV show magic, the team finds out where the Alchemist does his work, but he’s one step ahead of them and is killing the people who can lead to him. This includes his wife and daughter! Of course, if you were watching this you were probably one giant step ahead of Liz & Co.: The bodies were replacements made to look like his wife and daughter (remember, he’s called “the Alchemist”). He’s abducted them.

The team figures it out while the Alchemist and his family are at a convenience store. He realizes that the team is going to find him because they’ll trace it through the kid being a diabetic (for some reason he completely forgot his daughter was diabetic, even offering her a candy bar). But it’s too late. The girl’s picture is on TV and the place is quickly surrounded by the cops. The Alchemist is trying to negotiate to save his daughter’s life (and get witness relocation for them in exchange for telling them where hundreds of supposedly dead but very much alive people are), but the wife grabs the victim’s gun and shoots him in the back. Luckily, the FBI finds his list of names on his computer (hey, that was easy!). Liz gives the list to Red, and it seems that’s one of the reasons why Red gave her the name: He wanted the list, too. But he can’t talk about it. He has “unfinished business” with someone.

Ressler meets with Audrey at a restaurant to talk to her about her marriage to Tassles (Tom’s nickname for the guy because of the preppie shoes he wears), but she tells him that they broke up. After Ressler was in the hospital she couldn’t stop thinking about him. They leave the restaurant all happy and laughing. Tom and Jolene are all happy and laughing too. Tom decided to go to the photo show with her after all. Liz was working late again. In the final scene, Red confronts the mole in her home. It’s Meera.

Some random notes:

— Survival tip: Never stand on a giant plastic tarp that just happens to be on the floor of a mysterious room, especially while you’re talking to a total stranger who you know has killed several people.

— For a scientific genius, the Alchemist doesn’t seem too smart. Ever single one of his elaborate schemes — changing DNA, covering his tracks — is figured out rather quickly by the FBI. I think needs the Alchemist needs to go back to alchemy school.

— At the risk of sounding like a Monday-morning quarterback — or in this case, a Tuesday-morning one — I’d just like to say that I KNEW THAT MEERA WAS THE MOLE THE WHOLE TIME. I don’t know how I knew this, but she seemed to be so “ordinary” and so “trustworthy” and a so much of a well-known TV name to be just a secondary member of the team.

— Tom’s potential cheating on Liz actually has me thinking that he might actually be innocent of all the spy stuff. I say might because I still believe something’s up there, but it’s a curious plot to throw in if he already has a secret second life.

— I’m not sure I care about Audrey and Ressler unless it ties into the bigger picture somehow. It doesn’t seem like it will, though. It seems like a plot from Parenthood NBC decided to use on this show instead.

— I have to admit I’m a little confused by the whole plot with Jolene. Who is she, exactly, or is this one of those plots they haven’t explained yet? Maybe she’s connected to the people who were watching Liz and Tom from across the street? And who is the Lucy Brooks in the obituary that Red had in his hand? That was Jolene, wasn’t it?

— Interesting that the show uses the real name Netflix but made up the name of a dating site (Meet Spot) instead of using the name of a real one. It’s also interesting that Liz and Tom’s last name is spelled “Keen” and not “Keene” or even “Keane.”

Dialogue of the Week
Red: Just out of curiosity, which number am I on your speed dial?
Liz: Seven.
Red: Who’s six?
Liz: Chinese takeout.

The Blacklist Recap: And the Mole Is …