Raymond Reddington may have just lost his last chance at avoiding trial for multiple capital offenses, but his fate isn’t exactly sealed yet. It’s already snuggly inside the envelope, sure — but as Dembe told his boss following some pre-verdict good fortune, “Sometimes you make your own fate, and sometimes fate makes you.” And while this particular case was a rare example of the latter for Red, he’s typically more of a make-your-own-fate, create-an-elaborate-message-in-a-rat-communication-system-on-your-first-day-of-prison kinda guy. Lizzie on the other hand…
She’s seeming less and less in control of the Reddington situation with each new episode. She has seemed regretful basically since the moment she and Jennifer landed Red in jail. And if that regret ever causes her to confess, or worse, get caught, I’m not sure what that would mean for Reddington’s continued and repeated promises to get revenge on his betrayer. At the end of the episode, after Red’s request to have his super illegal gun thrown out as evidence is — spoiler alert! — rejected, he tells a very upset Liz that once he’s able to listen to the police tip-off phone call, he’ll know for certain who turned him in: “And at that moment, no matter where I am — on the street, in a solitary cell, or on the receiving end of a firing squad — at that moment, whoever set me up…his fate will be sealed.”
So, not sounding good for Elizabeth Keen!
But it is interesting that Red promises his betrayer’s fate will be sealed in the moment he finds out who they are, rather than their fate being sealed from the moment that person decided to work against him in the first place. Could Red’s affection for Lizzie save her from his unique ability to manipulate fate in favor? It’s not like this is the first time Liz has turned against him. And as Dembe reminds us in Friday’s episode when he rolls out his signature catchphrase — “You need to tell Elizabeth the truth, Raymond” — it’s not as if Red isn’t keeping a huge (HUGE!) secret from her too…
Maybe a leveled playing field is just what Liz and Red have always needed to truly align their fates — or as Dembe might put it, to “save their souls.”
ALTER EGO NO. 131
Ooh, this cold open is good. Not only because it features an incredibly creepy Purge-style home invasion, but because it incorporates both the Blacklister-of-the-Week and the Reddington-Series-Shenanigans (trademark pending). The episode starts with a billionaire associate of Red’s named Warren Van Ness complaining to Dembe about Red’s capture on behalf of the other partners in some mysterious, vaguey criminal collective. But whereas Van Ness trusts that Red won’t cut a deal and throw them under the bus, the other members have called for a vote to disavow their business from Red.
Van Ness swears to Dembe that Red can count on his vote, but when Van Ness arrives home to his mansion, he finds his wife and two dinner guests with their mouths hanging open at the dinner table, dead. Uh-oh…
As Vera Lynn’s sunny “We’ll Meet Again” plays overhead, three people in monkey masks converge on Van Ness in the dining room, open a thermos of some smoking liquid, and silently suggest that he drink it. He gives a valiant effort to get away, but they force the liquid down his throat, clean up any sign they were there, sit him at the table, turn on all the burners on the stove, and then — BOOM! — the whole center of the house explodes just as the monkey murderers make it outside.
Reddington may have a trial to determine his literal livelihood happening literally right now, but he insists on a recess to talk to the FBI’s Agent Keen, because he has bigger concerns. He tells Liz that Van Ness wasn’t killed in a house fire, as was reported, but murdered because of his association with Red: “There are no accidents around me — not unless they’re on purpose.”
Cooper sends Ressler and Liz to the reading of Van Ness’ will to see if there’s anything suspicious…and indeed, there is! Even though the snarky young man who seems to be organizing tells them they should let these people mourn in peace, the FBI agents aren’t the ones causing the disruption. No, that would be Van Ness’ letter included with his will that announces the remainder of his fortune after charitable donations will go to his son, Timothy Peterson. The thing is: Timothy Peterson never knew he was Van Ness’ son, and neither did anyone else.
James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.