This week's episode of The Blacklist, titled "The Judge," shows us that even some blacklisters can live in a grey area. The episode also proves that Cooper can have a dark side, and the show finally reveals the truth about Tom.
The episode starts with a crazy looking man walking down a snowy road with a paper bag. At first, he ignores the cars around him, but a man gets out of his car and approaches him. He drops his bag and a wallet falls down. The man sees an ID that says 'Assistant District Attorney.' A woman named Donna comes for him and calls him Mark. Apparently, he's been missing for 12 years.
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An Eye for an Eye
Red approaches Lizzie about Mark Hastings. He believes Hastings has been held captive and that "the Judge is real." You go to the Judge after all your legal options have run out for your last appeal or a "demand of justice." Your plea is passed among inmates until it gets to the Judge. If the Judge thinks you're innocent, he or she will get even for you "eye for an eye" style.
Lizzie and Ressler go to interview a man named Frank Gordon about the underground appeals process, but they can't find him. Ressler keeps looking and is attacked from behind. Gordon gets away, but Lizzie and Ressler find a bunch of the pleas. Gordon was reviewing them for the Judge.
Cooper's Not-So-Clean Past
One of the pleas that the Judge believes comes from a man on death row named Rifkin and implicates Cooper. Lizzie goes to talk to Rifkin, who denies going to the Judge, but he does say that he only confessed because Cooper beat him under the orders of Tom Connelly. Rifkin is with a woman during Lizzie's interview named Ruth Kipling, who says she's advocating for him on behalf of the Amnesty Collective.
We later see Kipling with Gordon in a remote building with people in cells talking about going through with Cooper and Connelly's sentence. Meanwhile, Lizzie talks to a man who said he came forward with information that proves Rifkin's telling the truth, while Cooper approaches Connelly to tell him that they have a problem.
Lizzie confronts Cooper about Rifkin, but Cooper and Connelly shut her down. She finally asks Cooper if he beat Rifkin, and Cooper admits to it but is not sorry about it. Rifkin's time is running out and he's about to be executed, and Lizzie frantically works to get him out of it, to no avail.
Cooper and Connelly and Kipling are at the execution when he once again claims his innocence. Kipling tells Cooper and Connelly that God won't forgive them, and as he's executed, Rifkin says, "Goodnight, mother."
After the execution, Connelly asks Cooper about how he's been taking down all these terrible criminals lately and what his secret weapon is, but Cooper doesn't answer. They go outside and are immediately taken, because they weren't warned enough.
"Justice, Not Revenge"
Kipling turns out to be the Judge and she finds Connelly and Cooper guilty.
Lizzie questions a very traumatized Hastings. She gets nowhere until he says, "Goodnight, mother." This leads Lizzie to find Cooper just in time for his execution. However, Red calls her with new information on the Rifkin case that he got from a man named Richard. They've known each other for a long time and Richard is very bitter because Red ruined his career.
Kipling sits down with Red. He has a file that shows that Rifkin really was a bad guy after all. Red knows that she'll let Cooper go because this has always been about justice and not revenge. He knows that she always knew she would be caught and he convinces her to surrender.
Cooper and Connelly are let go and Cooper tells Lizzie to send the leftover pleas to the Justice Department.
"A War is Coming"
Red and Cooper talk and Red tells Cooper that a "war is coming." He's going to ask Cooper for help at some point and Cooper will have to remember what Red just did. He also asks Cooper to help Richard.
Tom's Not-So-Random Hookup
Red asks a man to find out about a woman who calls herself Jolene Parker. The man says that he'll find her, but Red already knows where she is. Instead, he wants to know where she's been. They apparently have a history and it hasn't been a great one. In fact, she's already faked her own death to avoid him. It turns out that she happens to be the same Jolene as Tom's mystery woman and they have become quite flirtatious.
Things quickly become more than flirtatious between Tom and his lady friend, but a child in the bathroom rudely interrupts them. That doesn't stop them, though, and Jolene gives Tom a key to her hotel room.
The man Red hired goes snooping. He tells Red that Jolene's been tracking someone and she either has a lot of little targets or one big one, and in a shocking twist, it looks like Red's the big target. Red goes back to the man and says Jolene's "finishing an operation" and he wants to see how it plays out.
Tom goes to the hotel room to tell Jolene that he can't be with her and that he loves his wife, but this just pisses her, off and for the first time in a long time, The Blacklist pulls off a shocker. She tells him that Lizzie's not his wife, she's his target and Tom finally owns up to what he really is.
It looks like we're finally going to find out what Red's been warning Lizzie about and Red will feel vindicated. Hopefully, next week's episode of The Blacklist will show us more of Tom's true identity.
The Blacklist airs Monday nights at 10pm on NBC.