Berlin, our bitter bad guy with a grudge, gave Red the finger on last week’s The Blacklist. Literally, in a box. He vowed to send Reddington’s ex-wife Naomi back piece by piece in a disturbing quest for retribution to avenge his daughter’s death. In this week’s episode, “Monarch Douglas Bank,” our FBI super cops investigate a hit on a money laundering bank with a Berlin connection, while Red has coffee talk with his enemy.
The implausible, fantastical and unbelievable combine forces once again in The Blacklist to give us another hell of a ride with Red at the helm. Fun is always the theme of an otherwise dull Monday night as we hang on tight waiting for the Red and Lizzie antics that are sure to unfold.
The Bank and Berlin Connection
“Monarch Douglas Bank” opens with guys in white Ghostbuster outfits robbing a bank. Red gets a phone call about the hit, with the caller reporting that they were “professionals.” Liz shows up to ask about Naomi, but all dad — I mean Red — wants to talk about is the bank hit. He says it was the last place anyone would want to rob; it’s a money laundering facility for criminals around the world. With his ex getting taken apart piece by piece, why all the interest in this bad bank? A Berlin connection, perhaps?
Later, we see Berlin threatening to “peel” the bank executive “like a grape” if he doesn’t get his money back. Connection confirmed. The bank bad guy assures body parts bad guy that his money is protected by “The Formula.”
Red shows that he has his priorities in check. While talking to Liz, he’s multi-tasking, getting a manicure from a former trauma surgeon. The look on Liz’s face when she finds out nail gal’s former profession is priceless. The chemistry between these two is always a highlight of any episode, although the pair doesn’t banter much in this one. Our other favorite couple, Ressler and Liz, spends much of the episode together, fighting bad guys, looking at each other longingly and letting a hand linger a bit too long. Oh, you two, just date or grab a coffee or clean guns together.
Ressler is apparently still battling a love of the pills and it starts to affect his work. He shows up late and Lizzie has that work wife look of concern on her face. He says he missed his train. Liz, they’re going to revoke your FBI card if you fall for lame excuses like that.
Through some surveillance video, the pair discovers that the heist was also a kidnapping. A bank employee, Kaja, was taken against her will. The scared look in her eyes tells our FBI agents that she’s being kidnapped. All that from one look? Maybe they’re not that good. When they rush in to rescue Kaja, she looks at them like they’re crazy. She says she wasn’t being held at all.
The Ressler and Liz Getaway
Ressler questions Kaja, who turns out to be the bank’s laundering genius. She memorizes all the information, even bank account numbers. While Ressler calmly interrogates her, Liz is battling it out with a corrupt Polish cop in the next room. Ressler finally snaps to when he notices the broken glass and gunshot resulting from the epic fight where Liz proves once again she can take a punch.
Kaja is shot in the battle, but Ressler’s got this one. He shows that a tampon is the new duct tape, using the female feminine product to stop that bleeding and save the money girl. The three have to hide out on a train, traveling to a Red-arranged Matrix phone booth rescue point. When the train suddenly stops, it looks like our heroes may be captured. Nope, it’s Reddington with a new escape route. He’s booked our dynamic duo first class tickets home, but the girl stays.
Berlin and Naomi Alone Time
Naomi proves she is one feisty ex (not really) when she throws a shoe at her kidnapper. Whoa, settle down girl. You could take an eye out. Berlin is not amused, telling her, “No more food.”
Later, Naomi makes a break for it, running to an upstairs room, breaking a window and sort of hiding. She must be thinking, “If I can just keep my eyes closed long enough.” Nope, doesn’t work. Berlin easily grabs her and is so mad he’s brought in some tooth extracting equipment. Did Red teach you nothing, Naomi?
Red and Berlin Finally Meet
Red rings up Berlin saying it’s about time for them to meet. Berlin is smarmy wonderfulness meeting the man he’s hated for killing his daughter all those years ago.
Berlin says it’s all about “revenge.”
“Revenge isn’t a passion. It’s a disease,” Red answers in his best counselor voice.
Berlin compliments, “Your wife is coming apart nicely,” and the smugness that is James Spader disappears. We’ve never seen Red look so desperate. Red has one more card up his sleeve, noting that he has Berlin’s money: “The one thing that means more to you than revenge.”
Ressler and Lizzie realize that Red has double-crossed them, using the money as leverage to free his ex-wife. Liz calls Red telling him she can’t let him use the money to save one life. Reddington is undeterred, vowing to go through with the Berlin trade anyways.
“You can’t hold up your end of the deal. He’ll kill you.”
“Wish me luck,” Red tells her.
The meet with Berlin is at night, of course, with Red living up to his part of the deal. He transfers the money (how’d he do that?), while Naomi is led out of the car and taken away by Red’s right-hand man.
In a surprising twist, Liz helps Red after all, giving him the money to protect the FBI’s asset — Raymond Reddington. In another surprising twist (it is The Blacklist), Red says he knows Liz got the Berlin bank intel from someone, perhaps a “Secret Santa” source? And in a final surprising twist, Mossad agent Samar Navabi begins working with the FBI, a plant of — wait for it — Red.
So what did you think of the Berlin wrap-up and Naomi’s rescue? Too quick or perfectly timed? More importantly, how long before Liz and Ressler hook up with Lizzie asking, “Tom who?” Are you ready for an all-new Berlin-free plot line next week involving black market transplant organs with a little Naomi/Red relationship drama thrown in?
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)