Normally, when we get a new Blacklist name, and this week it is Mako Tanida, we start to wonder what their deal is and how they fit into the picture. This week? All we care about is Tom Keen! So of course they start the show with Tom and start giving us all the tea right away. Oh, come on. You know that never happens.
Instead we start in Japan at Abashiri Prison where someone has escaped and a search is on. Could it be, Mako Tanida? If it is, then Mako Tanida is sort of the Japanese version of The Rock. A big, bald muscular Japanese dude.
Next we are in Tokyo where an unfamiliar FBI agent is living with his Japanese wife and kid. He seems to be very behind on his bills. As he is looking over the bills, the escapee, presumably Mako, sneaks up and holds a knife to his throat, which convinces the FBI guy to go outside and have a little chat. Mako is not a very nice person. Mako was apparently arrested in an FBI sweep when they were trying to pick up Red. His incarceration has made him a bit angry, yet he maintains his since of honor. He gives the agent the opportunity to disembowel his own self, or he will do it for him, and kill his entire family. The FBI guy chooses option A.
Meanwhile back at Liz and Tom’s place, they are entertaining a guest, Jolene. This is a surprise to Tom who walks into his kitchen to find Liz and Jolene having a girl chat over coffee. They just happened to bump into each other outside while Jolene was looking for a place in the neighborhood. Jolene is fucking with Tom asking him about the art exhibit they went to and why he didn’t invite his wife.
Next, we are sent to the funeral for the FBI agent back in the good ole USA. The agents were told it was a suicide but they don’t believe it. A retired agent at the party immediately tells Ressler that he suspects Red is involved. Ressler goes looking for Red, who is coincidently looking for him as well. But first, Red drops by a ballet rehearsal where he appears to be purchasing some sort of private performance he will attend on the 22nd. Because, I mean, who doesn’t like a good ballet performance to distract one from all the killing and such.
Red and Ressler meet out in the snowy wood for some reason. Lighting perhaps? They exchange barbs over the dead agent. Ressler is accusatory. Red points out his ineptness. The usual. Red tells Ressler that Tanida has escaped and is likely the killer. He also says that Ressler is in danger (girl!) he needs to watch his back. Next we see a very cleaned up and civilized version of Tanida clearing customs in order to “reunite with some old friends.” The good news there is that we have at least avoided a land war in Asia, I suppose.
And just like that, no fuss no muss, Tanida has killed another FBI agent. This gets the post office worked into a frenzy. Tanida is a big time drug lord. His empire flourished even while Tanida was in jail. They think his brother stepped into his place.
OH! It’s Tom! I had almost forgotten about him. He is strolling through a rough hood looking all bad ass in his black leather jacket. He’s meeting with Jolene. He is pissed she came to his house. He tells her she is not his handler. She says Berlin is having doubts. He says Berlin doesn’t have a clue. Tom is pissed. Tom says there were a lot of candidates for his position and the chose him because he is the best. It’s been two years undercover, he married the women and he hasn’t heard a thing from them. Jolene says they sent word four months ago. Tom says that four months ago he had to go dark because Reddington (ah, he knows all about Red) sent a psychopath with a knife into his house who cut him like a totem pole. Because of that, Liz found his go bag with his passports. He’s been a little busy straightening that mess out. Jolene says Berlin wants information. Tom says, someone put cameras in their house and has been watching them and it wasn’t the FBI. He wants to know who did that.
I have rewound a couple of times to look at the warehouse since I was so busy listening to the words the first time. There is all sorts of computer technology, at least one long range rifle, and a car. There is also one of those crime scene walls TV detectives use to map out timelines. It looks like Liz’s life, from childhood possibly with pictures of the fire. Lots of information is about Liz but Red is up there too. So are some shady looking female criminal types, perhaps Asian. There are floorplans and classified documents. It’s a big wall.
Ressler’s on again off again girlfriend is back. Why? Don’t we have enough to deal with? Perhaps they needed someone close to Ressler to kill, just not Ressler this episode? They gave her a little back story so we would feel bad when she gets killed by an Asian drug lord this week? Who knows? But Ressler is nervous.
Suddenly we are back with Tom and Jolene. He is looking at the wall with her telling her that Liz and Red have crossed paths a few times in the last twenty years, in Quantico, in Baltimore. He also thinks that Red has been funneling money to Liz for years through her adoptive father without Liz knowing. He has a hand drawn map of the blacksite that he drew from memory. He says “it’s the unit Keen works for.” The unit Keen works for? Why would he say it like that? Isn’t he Tom Keen? The he says, “Show and Tell is over, I have detention at four.” That was kind of clever. Oh! Cowboy is out there and has them both under surveillance. Excellent!
Wow! I was so right about the girlfriend thing. Ressler was taking her to a safe house, but Tanida rams their vehicle and starts shooting into their car. So much for that Japanese honor code. This whole scene was fast and weird. Tanida misses the driver but hits the passenger while shooting into the driver’s side? UPDATE: Rewatching there was no shooting at that point, the girlfriend’s head just smashed into the passenger side window. Then Ressler gets out and runs up to the truck like a big ole dummy and shoots a dude in the back of Tanida’s truck but neither he nor Tanida exchange bullets? Then the two of them wrestle like little girls over a gun before Tanida shoots the dumbass girlfriend who is already bleeding profusely from the head, yet gets out of the truck and walks up to the shooters so he can shoot he? And within a minute of all of this cops arrive? Very odd scene. Looks like she is dead. We shall see.
Yep. She’s dead alright. Cooper says for him to go home and grieve and they will go get Tanida. Ressler calls the retired agent who has been looking into things for him. He has nothing. He says the person who knows is Reddington.
Cowboy meets with Red to update him on Jolene. He shows him the pictures of Jolene and Tom. Red asks if she is still in town. He says no, she is at the Corn Palace in South Dakota. Which I suppose is a joke. Red tells Cowboy to bring him the girl.
Red and Ressler meet again. Ressler wants Red to tell him where Tanida is, or he will burn the whole town down. Red says, “There are few that understand love and loss more than I.” Which I found interesting. He tries to get Ressler to go home, but he won’t. So Red tells him where an underground hospital where they may have taken the guy Ressler shot. Red tries to tell Ressler that once he crosses over he may never be able to feel the light again. Ressler says all he feels is hate. At the hospital Ressler and the retired agent torture the injured guy until he gives up Tanida. Liz and Agent Malik get called to the scene later. I have no idea why. No cops. No injured people. Just those two blathering on about stupid stuff.
Ressler is feeling all badassy and vengeful. He goes to Tanida’s hideout and takes Tanida out for a drive.
Liz goes to Daddy Red to ask for help. He tells her that the brother they are looking for is dead and has been. This means someone else was running the drug empire. Turns out that person is the retired agent that is working rogue with Ressler right now. So is he on Tanida’s side or Ressler’s ? Ressler, GURRRRRLL YOU IN DANGER! Again.
Cowboy goes to pick up Jolene. Tom is there and he overpowers Cowboy and knocks him out. Or did he kill him? Either way, these two take the body off somewhere together. I guess detention got out early. Yay! Cowboy is not dead. Tom is interrogating him asking him who hired him. Jolene is freaking out a little bit. She says this isn’t right. She has a bad feeling it would seem. Tom says that Red chose all the blacklisters (He names Wu Jing and The Alchemist) to get to her so she would get to him. WAIT! HOW DOES TOM KNOW WHO IS ON THE BLACKLIST? He tells her to call his wife and tell her that her fiancé got a great job and they are moving to Dayton. The Cowboy tells her not to do that. He says Tom will kill them both the moment she hangs up.
She calls. Tom immediately starts beating the shit out of her. They go into prolonged hand to hand combat. He eventually suffocates her with a pillowcase. It was all very brutal. Why? Cowboy who is laying on the floor still tied to a chair gets the courtesy of a single fatal bullet.
Meanwhile, the retired agent is driving the truck with Ressler and Tanida inside. Tanida taunts Ressler asking how long it took his girl to bleed out. Which is normal if you are about to be taken out behind the barn to be shot. But it is not normal for what he is about to do. He is about to tell Ressler that it was his friend the driver who killed his brother and took over his drug business. Tanida says that he is about to kill them both. He is trying to get Ressler on his side. He should have probably not mocked him about killing his girlfriend before letting out that bit of information. Now Ressler needs to think fast, and we all know he is not very good at that. Does he believe his friend the retired FBI agent? Or the known drug lord? It sort of plays to Ressler’s wheelhouse here because the dumb choice is actually the right on this time.
A violent argument breaks out in the truck causing it to crash. When Ressler comes to, he sees his friend limping off into the woods. Where is Tanida? Ressler goes to his friend and tells him that his greatest enemy (Red) brought Audrey back to him and his best friend (guy he is about to kill) took him away. He gives him a sword, which I suppose he just happened to have with him in case he wanted someone to disembowel himself, and tells him to do the honorable thing.
About that time the girls show up, literally. Liz and Agent Malik come and start squealing like little girls. Don’t Do It Ressler! Ressler is screaming at the guy to do the honorable thing but he won’t. Ressler unloads his gun about a foot wide from the dude’s head. As Ressler walks off dude picks up the knive and pokes himself in the belly. Dude needs to die because Ressler ran his mouth to him about working with Reddington. If this is just some dumb flesh wound, Ressler is fucked.
Ressler goes back home finally and finds a positive pregnancy test from his dead girlfriend. Because? We needed that information in an already jam packed episode?
Meanwhile, Tom is out burying bodies in the snowy wood. By himself. With a flashlight.
Across town at the ballet, it must be the 22nd. The ballerinas are gossiping. Red is one of their biggest donors. The same show on the same day every year. He never comes to other performances. They say his daughter was in the show once.
Next. a creepy shower scene where Liz joins Tom in the shower seconds after the last bit of Jolene and Cowboy’s blood washes down the drain. She tells Tom that Jolene moved and that she is glad because she saw the way she looked at him. Then she pretends to be her and kisses him.
As Red enjoys his solitary performance of Swan Lake, his trusty assistant takes a gift to Ressler. In a note, he tells him that he is truly sorry for his pain and that eventually he will find a way to live with it. Ressler opens the wooden box, and it’s Mako Tanida’s head. Red’s note continues, “There will be nightmares and when you wake up it will be the first thing you think about. Until, one day it will be the second thing.” The music swells and Red clutches the original program dated March 22, 1987. For a moment, all he sees on stage is his daughter. His eyes filled with tears.
Oh God. Next week, Liz is on to Tom. She goes to confront him at the warehouse where he is trying to ditch his crime wall. It’s SHOW TIME!