The Blacklist (S06E13) “Robert Vesco”

The Blacklist gave us a double episode this week. The first, Robert Vesco, was a barrel of fun. Stacy Keach guest starred as the titular blacklister, and he and Red (James Spader) made a great duo.

After escaping the bonds of captivity, Red celebrated in style. The lavish party to open the episode had everyone there loyal to our Red. Except for one – Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) was grave robbing in Havana, Cuba, At Red’s insistence, Dembe, flew the decomposed body back for examination. The morning after the party, Red told Liz (Megan Boone) of Robert Vesco, his mentor. Vesco taught Red everything he knows, before swindling Red out of everything. Red never got his revenge, because Vesco up and died in 2007. How inconsiderate of him. Or did he? While in prison, Red got word that Vesco was still alive.

The exhumed body confirmed that the man in Vesco’s grave was Anderson Mount. Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Liz figured that if Mount was in Vesco’s grave, Vesco could be in Mount’s life. And he was, living in Truro, Nova Scotia. Road trip time. Ressler and Liz tracked down Vesco in Truro, but Vesco gave them the slip, aided by the local police department. And who should be in the police car, but Reddington. Once again, Red used the FBI to find the man he wanted. And why did he want Vesco? Seems Vesco had information on the De La Cruz treasure, now buried beneath the New Orleans Opera House. A quick trip to the Library of Congress, and Red and Vesco had the map. With Red’s many resources, the heist was on.

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The heist was so much fun. Honestly, Red has the best and most eclectic team ever. From Heddie (Aida Turturro), a drunk Max Ruddiger (Dikran Tulaine) and newly paroled prisoner, Vontae (Coy Stewart). But his team member who stole the show was Glen ‘Jellybean’ Carter (Clark Middleton). It was fun. It was hilarious. With the plan to execute the heist in time with the music of the live performance on stage, the explosives had to go off at exactly the right moment. But a drunk and morose Max was too tearful to meet that deadline. With seconds to spare, Red gave Glen the order – make some noise! And he did. Oh, Jellybean, only you could yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre and get that reaction.

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With the audience in an uproar, the explosion sounded, As the dust cleared, the treasure gleamed. Bars and bars of gold. A fortune worth over $100 million. Stage two of the heist went off flawlessly as Team Red ferried the gold bullion away in trucks. After the excitement, Red and Vesco sat in a cafe, reminiscing. With a last hug to Red, Vesco then walked away, giving the gold to Red. It was never about the gold for him.

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As Ressler and Liz came on the scene, Red was still smiling. The gold was safe, and he was giving it to the FBI. With a flourish, he opened the door to reveal the gold. But there was no gold. In a flash, Red knew Vesco had conned him AGAIN. He’d taken the key and absconded with the gold, leaving Red with nothing, much to the delight of Liz and Ressler. Taking a photo, an amused Liz memorialized the moment Reddington had egg on his face. Hilarious!

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While all this was going on with the treasure hunt, Samar (Mozhan Marno) informed Ressler and Liz that she was leaving. And not just the FBI, but the Mossad too. While the FBI were fine to let her go, the Mossad conducted an exit interview. Samar’s high level of clearance concerned the Mossad that someone had compromised her. During the lie detector test, when asked if she had any health issues, Samar hesitated. We know she has vascular dementia. She did not want the Mossad to know that, so told them she was pregnant.

Later, Levi Shur (Oded Fehr) of the Mossad met with Aram (Amir Arison). Samar had failed her polygraph, concerning the Mossad. What was Samar hiding? In an effort to protect Samar, Aram told Levi of Samar’s accident and the resulting brain damage. Levi assured Aram that would be enough to clear Samar with the Mossad, and he congratulated Aram on Samar’s pregnancy. Aram, of course, was thrown, but covered. Levi gave him his business card should he need anything.

Back with Samar, Aram was jubilant that they were expecting. But of course, they weren’t. It had just been the cover story for the Mossad. With her vascular dementia, Samar was not able to give Aram children, and returned his ring. But Aram would not accept it, promising her everything would be okay.

This was such a fun episode. I thought the heist on the 100th episode was good, when they robbed the Denver Mint, but this was so much better. A Spanish galleon, hidden treasure, a drunk Ruddiger, hilarious Glen, and finding the map in the Library of Congress. It was very much like the movie National Treasure. Red’s team are  hilarious, and yet each member has skills that are necessary.

The story with Samar is ramping up and the writing is on the wall. Chances are now very high (spoiler alert) that she will be leaving for good in the next episode. The question is, how will they handle Mozhan Marno’s exit? As long as they don’t kill her off, all will be ‘good’.

It is great to see Red enjoying life again, and doing what he does best. So he got swindled again in this episode, but in the end I don’t think he even minded. He had a ball doing it all, and his joy was infectious. When Red’s happy, so are we.

The Blacklist airs at 9/8c on Fridays on NBC.

Images courtesy NBC Virginia Sherwood | Sony/NBC | 2019 NBC Universal Media, LLC