The Blacklist (S06E17) “The Third Estate”

This weeks episode of The Blacklist, The Third Estate, involved kidnapping rich kids for ransom. Red (James Spader) and Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) were also at odds, which is a place we have rarely seen them.

As we opened the episode, The Third Estate had a kidnapped girl on a medieval rack, torturing her. She was set free as soon as her father paid several million dollars in ransom. This was how the Third Estate operated, and had amassed some $300 million using this scheme. The rich parents all paid, without involving the police. Until they kidnapped Des Foy (Henry Ayres-Brown), the son of David Foy (Richard Thomas). David Foy refused to pay the money. Apparently, his money was more important than his son’s life.

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Despite knowing that Anna McMahon (Jennifer Ferrin) was involved with the Third Estate, the task force took the case. At the urging of Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Liz (Megan Boone), David Foy agreed to make the ransom drop. Foy still refused to give the kidnappers his  money, but this gave the task force the chance to track the kidnappers. But the kidnappers discovered that Foy was in contact with the FBI. The deal was off, and a horrified Foy watched as they killed his son, Des, on camera.

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Red, with the help of some fancy race track driving, tracked down information on the torture rack used by the Third Estate. Meanwhile, another kid had been kidnapped. Tyler Whitmore (Eric Freeman), son of a pharmaceutical heiress. Once again, Ressler and Liz persuaded the parents to pay the ransom in order to track down the kidnappers. With their help, SWAT stood by on the location Tyler had been taken to. Aram was taken, while attempting to hook up surveillance, and the FBI breached the building. And that’s when the tables turned. Des Foy was not dead. He was one of the Third Estate. As was Tyler Whitmore. Rich kids who blackmailed their rich parents.

But it wasn’t the entire story. The Third Estate was funneling their ransom funds to someone powerful. Turns out, it wasn’t Anna McMahon, but someone more powerful. It was a misdirect from McMahon. As Red told Cooper (Harry Lennix) “All we know for sure, Harold, is that Anna McMahon is a much worthier adversary than we thought.”

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Red and Dembe were having a ‘bit of a disagreement over Red’s methodology’ during this episode. Dembe went to his mosque and spoke to his Imam. Disillusioned at Red’s killing of Smokey Putnam and others to get answers, fiercely loyal Dembe was at a tipping point. Things were especially difficult for him, since Dembe knows Liz turned Red in. But Dembe’s word is his bond. And before he would break his word, he would give his life. Was there more to life than secrets and lies, murder, and protecting Reddington? And without Dembe, Red was vulnerable, as evidenced by his holding a gun while alone in his apartment.

Dembe returned to Red, after spending time at the mosque. Red, pleased that Dembe had returned, knew things weren’t completely right though. But, regardless, he pressed on with his need to know who had betrayed him. Dembe set up a meeting with Max Ruddiger (Dikran Tulaine), at Red’s insistence. Max was with him in New York on the day of his arrest. While Dembe reluctantly set up the meeting with Max,  he also spoke to Liz. If Liz does not tell Red she is the reason he was incarcerated, then Dembe will tell him. Talk about ultimatum time for Liz. Yet Liz appeared non-plussed. Does she really think she is immune to Red’s anger?

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Ressler kept on top of his private investigation into Katarina Rostova. Having discovered her mother, Virginia King, Ressler paid her a visit. But there he discovered she had died a few months prior. Ressler spoke to Ted King (John Cullum), who seemingly had no idea Virginia had a daughter from a previous marriage. Ressler left empty handed. But after a change of heart, Ted King called him back.  There he told Ressler that Virginia had been born in St Petersburg, and had a daughter. They had a falling out, and Virginia wanted to reconnect with Katarina before her death. She wrote Katarina a letter and Ted mailed it to a post office box in upstate New York.

At the New York post office, Ressler obtained a photo of the person who picked up the letter addressed to Katarina. He didn’t recognise the man, but we did. Dom Wilkinson (Brian Dennehy) picked up the letter. Ressler was closer to answers than he knew.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This wasn’t a great episode, but did supply some important revelations. Dembe and Red are reaching crisis point, and we know Dembe will walk away. The question now is, for how long? I don’t see it as a permanent split. Dembe will need some time to think, and leaving Red is the only way he can right now. Liz must tell Red what she did, and we can assume the consequences of that will be massive.

Ressler has found out more on Katarina Rostova in 3 episodes than we have got in 6 years. It’s refreshing to get some answers at last. It will be interesting to see if he pays Dom a visit. We know from promo pics for next week that Liz is with Dom. Is that because Ressler shows her the pic and comes clean on his investigation? And also, once again, The Blacklist shows it’s ability for faster than light travel. Ressler went from DC to Chicago, back to DC, to New York, back to Chicago, back to DC and still got to work on time. And without anyone noticing he’d been gone.

Anna McMahon has friends in high places, but it’s only a matter of time before Red and the task force bring her down. But I expect there to be some fallout from that. You don’t go after someone like McMahon and come out clean on the other side. Could be hard times ahead for our task force.

And let’s look at the HUGE reveal here. If Dom picked up a letter addressed to Katarina just weeks ago – Katarina has to still be alive. Alive and kicking, and certainly isn’t occupying Reddington’s shoes. Katarina Rostova is coming. Will she be the next big bad to face off with Red and the task force?

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

Images courtesy NBC Will Hart | Sony/NBC | 2019 NBC Universal Media, LLC