The Blacklist (S06E16) “Lady Luck”

This weeks episode of The Blacklist, Lady Luck, gave us Red (James Spader) out for answers among his associates. The case of the week, a woman who paid off gambling debts was a means to an end. Red on the warpath was the name of this game.

After basking in his freedom for a couple of weeks, Red got down to business this week. It was time to find out who among his associates turned him in to the police. Joined by Smokey Putnam (Michael Aronov), Red embarked on his jet to interrogate several business associates. His first meeting was short. The associate had taken advantage of Red behind bars, but had nothing to do with it.  Satisfied, and with an extra 15% in his pocket, Red headed to the next meeting.

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This one did not go so well. Martin Walcott (Laurence Mason) had done well and made a profit. Too much profit. Assuming Red was out of the picture permanently, Walcott had used Red’s resources and good name to run drugs. And if there is one thing we know about Red, it’s that he abhors the drug business. Reddington was livid, and when Red is angry, heads roll. Walcott had not turned Red into the police, but Red shot and killed him.

Back on the plane, Red asked Smokey how he knew Walcott had kids if he’d never met him. And suddenly, the tables turned. Our loyal, dependable Smokey Putnam was in the crosshairs. A furious Red, his temper barely held in check, questioned Smokey. And the former carny folded. You cannot lie to Red. And I had hoped Red might be lenient, but no, Smokey had done more than Walcott. He had provided the transportation to ship Walcott’s new drug business. When Red asked Smokey if he’d ever had a flying dream, or a falling dream, we all knew. In Red’s jet, and talking of falling, you knew what would happen.

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Meanwhile, the blacklister of the week involved another of Red’s associates, Henry Morris (Max Casella). Henry had a problem. A gambling problem. But suddenly that problem was all set to go away, in the form of Lady Luck. A woman who would pay off all of Henry’s debts, in return for murder. A terrified Henry, face masked, drowned a woman in her bathtub. And just like that, someone paid his gambling debts. Turns out, the woman he drowned was also a gambler who had just had her debts paid off.

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Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Liz (Megan Boone) visited Henry’s wife, who arranged to meet Henry. As the task force watched from afar, Henry met his wife in a park, telling her of his luck. But there was a problem. Lady Luck had given another man the same deal. If this man killed Henry Morris, it would clear his own gambling debts. That was how Lady Luck operated. One killer became the next victim, and each time, it wiped the debts clean. The families who had lost everything suddenly had money in the bank. The question was, why? Who would do that, and where did those funds come from?

Tracking the victims, Aram soon came up with the blacklister’s name. Agathe Tyche (Mary Pat Gleason). Decades ago, her husband had won $87 million on the lottery. But on the day he won, he was in a car accident. He was paralyzed and their young son was killed. And on that same day, Agathe was giving birth to their daughter. Her family was destroyed. When the task force visited the daughter, she had no idea. She said her father had died months after the accident and her mother had given away the money.

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Turns out that the husband had not died. Kept alive in an iron lung, Agathe held him prisoner, and used the $87 million to rid the world of gamblers. Gambling had ruined her family, and she was setting things right. As Ressler and Liz stormed her home, Agathe caused a power failure, which turned off the iron lung in an attempt to kill her husband. Taking her into custody, Agathe spoke with her daughter, who had no idea her father was still alive. Now the daughter had the remaineder of the lottery winnings, and custody of her disabled father. And she got right to work, taking over the family business. Like mother, like daughter.

Ressler, meanwhile, had not been idle. His investigation into Katarina Rostova was assisted by the CIA’s MJ Ward (Sullivan Jones). Ressler looked into the manifest of ferry passengers back in 1991, after a witness sighting of Katarina, two weeks after her alleged death. But Liz was not happy, not wanting Ressler to pursue it. She no longer wanted to know. And Ressler lied, and kept on investigating. MJ had found something – Katarina Rostova’s 81 year old mother. His investigation was getting somewhere.

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And after waiting forever (or so it seemed) we finally discovered Smokey’s fate. Red had indeed tossed him from the plane. RIP Smokey. Red, meanwhile, was done with his whistle stop tour, and paid a visit to Janet MacNamara (Marsha Stephanie Blake). She was from way back in Season 3. A former music teacher who Red made disappear. She was happy, teaching music again, and safe. The message was clear. If you cross Red, you end up dead, while loyalty is always rewarded.

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Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), Red’s trusted friend, bodyguard, mentor and pseudo son is in turmoil. He knows who betrayed Red, and Red is killing people to find the answer. How much more can he take?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Red was scary in this episode. We have seen him focused on a goal before, but not like this. It appears he will stop at nothing to find out who betrayed him. Walcott and Smokey had nothing to do with Red’s incarceration, but are now dead. We know Liz was the one, and that Dembe is holding that secret.

According the NBC’s ‘two truths and a lie’, Dembe will walk away from Red. And you can see it coming. The only way he can remain loyal – and alive – is to leave. He  will not tell Red about Liz (though he could insist Liz confess).  And judging by what happened to Walcott and Smokey, Dembe is well aware Red would kill him. He did it with Mr Kaplan. Things are heating up!

Ressler’s investigation is getting results, and it’s about time. 6 years in, with possibly just one last season to go, we NEED answers. There is a Katarina flashback episode coming in 2 weeks. What Ressler finds out appears to lead into that episode. What happened to Katarina, and why did Red became our Red as a result? And no, Katarina did NOT become Red. Seriously, that ‘theory’ has garnered far too much attention! A familial relationship is too easy. Show us the man who is not related and why he cares this much for Liz.

While I hate the thought of Season 6 ending in a few weeks, I’m looking forward to the answers that are sure to be coming.

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

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