The Blacklist gave us the conclusion to the Season 7 premier, in Louis T Steinhill, Conclusion, that picked up right where episode 701 left us. Red (James Spader) bleeding out as Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins) demanded information from him.
It wasn’t clear why Katarina’s demeanor had changed with Reddington, until this episode. It centered on an incident that occurred in Belgrade. She had made a new life for herself with a family, until Red and Dom (Brian Dennehy) blew that up. In her mind, Dom and Red betrayed her. And now that questions had arisen regarding her, it was obvious she was alive. They initiated the Townsend Directive – the order from fellow spies to kill her. But information from Reddington regarding Belgrade could prevent her death. She needed that information. And when Red was unable or unwilling to give it, despite bleeding out, she turned to Dom.
The task force, meanwhile, had not been idle. They tracked down the costume outfitter who supplied the uniforms for the fake hospital. From there, they tracked Steinhill. With Steinhill barricaded in a room, Ressler demanded he open the door. But from inside the room, a single gunshot sounded. Bursting in, Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) saw the body of Steinhill, a gunshot wound to his forehead. As the medics carried away Steinhill’s body in a body bag, I couldn’t help but think this was just another illusion.
The nurse, Mila (Natalie Paul), helped Red again. This time, their escape attempt succeeded, but Red was in bad shape, and dying from massive blood loss. Mila retrieved the bag of blood during their escape, and hooked red up to an IV of his own blood. Before passing out, Red called Dembe to warn him that Dom was in danger. To prevent Katarina tracking them, Mila removed the chip embedded in Reddington’s neck, and they continued to Dom’s. On arrival, they armed themselves, and here Mila made a choice. She informed Red they had ordered her to assist his escape, so that Katarina could track them to Dom’s. Not by Reddington’s removed chip, but the one in Mila.
Red, who had killed people for less, asked who she was. Not Mila the timid nurse. She was former combat medic, Francesca Campbell, or Frankie. Katarina threatened to kill her if she did not helped Red ‘escape’. Not yet satisfied, Red gave her a rifle to help defend Dom. And in true Blacklist fashion, we got the big shoot out, shattering windows and exploding cars at Dom’s country home. Stunt coordinator (and episode director), Cort Hessler, excels at these scenes.
But Katarina’s men shot Dom in the chest during the shooting, and Red, Dembe, Frankie and Dom then took shelter in an underground safe room. Katarina almost had them, but she and her men left. And then it was clear why as Ressler and Liz (Megan Boone) arrived with SWAT. Dom needed urgent medical care, but they could not take him to a hospital. So we got another warehouse hospital, something The Blacklist is famous for. Near death, with the doctor still six minutes away, Red told Frankie to do what was needed to save Dom’s life. She did, and Dom survived. It would have been terrible to lose Dom at this point! But he wasn’t out of the woods.
Liz spoke to Red, asking what the heck happened. And Red let rip at Liz. She is what happened. Her and Ressler asking questions about Katarina Rostova is what happened. Despite Red telling her time and time again to leave it alone, she didn’t. “These questions of yours have gotten their attention, and now they will crawl out of whatever hole they were in, and they will hurt whomever they must just on the chance, just on the notion that she might still be alive,” Red told her. And this was the consequence of their questions – her grandfather lay dying in a lumberyard triage unit. Interesting point – Red never once told Liz that Katarina was alive, and the one who abducted him. He kept that secret.
Red spoke with Frankie. While she had saved Dom’s life, and his own, she was the reason their lives had needed saving. He had killed people for less. I was so hoping he was not going to harm Frankie. I like her character already. So with their business not yet concluded, Red was keeping her around. She wasn’t going anywhere. Which was a great move. When Red lost Baz (Bazzel Baz) in season 4, he lost his combat person. Frankie can fill that role to a certain extent. Red surrounds himself with the best.
Once Dom’s emergency was over, he lay comatose, the damage to his brain unknown. Liz spoke with Cooper (Harry Lennix) who told her this was not her fault. When Liz apologized for ‘her messy family’, Cooper responded, “Katarina Rostova is your relative. We’re your family.” Aaaww. Aram (Amir Arison) entered at that point, with news. Steinhill’s body had disappeared. Their own ME’s did not transport the body, after an Agent Gerald Host cancelled the call. G Host. Ghost. Steinhill faked his own suicide and escaped. Knew it all along.
The episode ended with Liz and Agnes (Katherine and Sarah Kell) meeting her new neighbor, Maddy Tolliver. And guess who it was. Yup, Katarina Rostova had moved in next to Liz.
This was a great episode with lots of action, great dialog and moments. This is how season 7 should have started! To be fair, if last week and this week had been shown as a double episode, it would have rounded out the episode(s).
I like Mila/Frankie. It’s looking like she is a new Team Red member, and I’m all for it. I liked the scene she had with Dembe, where they spoke of who she was, and how Red felt about her. Is Frankie a future love interest for Dembe? I’d be all for that, too!
One of the things the Blacklist has reinforced lately is the feeling of family. This episode was no exception, with Cooper reassuring Liz they were her family. Ressler also told her that he, Aram and Cooper were looking out for her and Agnes. This is such a great team. There are rumors of a new agent, perhaps a new task force member. I for one hope this does not happen. The team as it is, even minus Samar (Mozhan Marno) feels complete. There really is no need to introduce new blood at this stage of the game.
The Blacklist airs on Friday at 8/7c on NBC.
Images courtesy NBC Virginia Sherwood/Will Hart | Sony/NBC | 2019 NBC Universal Media, LLC