The show starts off with a gunfight between members of two warring mob families, the Erikssons and the Vaccaros, in an upscale cafe. One of the participants is shot and rushed to a hospital where an unknown, bowtie-wearing man approaches the grieving family members. The man, named Alistair Pitt (Tony Shalhoub) but known to his clients as “The Promnestria”, has a proposal for the two families: merger through marriage. Such a union would end the longstanding bloodshed between the Erikssons and the Vaccaros, in addition to guaranteeing Pitt a share of the resulting increased profits from combining their drug trafficking operations. It’s an ingenious plan, as the soft-spoken matchmaker gleefully confides to his two pomeranians, whilst he bathes no less. Pitt may be an eccentric and a dandy, but his ability to talk his way in and out of almost anything makes him one of Raymond Reddington’s (James Spader) most capable foes.
Funnily enough, while Reddington is determined to get his hands on Pitt, the FBI isn’t nearly as interested in him as it is in the mob families he is attempting to broker peace between. Task force leader Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) bickers with a Justice Department liaison over how to handle the situation, with the liaison urging them to storm the building where the marriage is supposed to take place as soon as possible and Ressler trying to stall until Reddington is able to locate Pitt, whom he does and promptly whisks away as law enforcement swarms upon the surprised mobsters. Friction between the two agencies is high even before the operation starts, with the DOJ agent repeatedly referring to Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) as “Comrade Rostova”, a reference to earlier suspicions that she was in fact a Russian spy. Agent Keen is understandably annoyed by this, but as viewers already know at this point, she has much bigger things to worry about.
After much deliberation and back-and-forth with her boyfriend, Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold), Liz has decided to give her baby up for adoption upon birth. The risks are just too high with all the enemies or, in the case of Reddington, friends she has made during her time with the FBI’s task force to raise a child, as she sadly realizes. For Liz, it is the latest in a line of events that have ruined any chance she had of living the normal life she once dreamed of with Tom. At least, before she found out Tom was initially a freelance operative hired by Reddington to keep an eye on her. Despite his assurances that he really does love Liz and is leaving his unseemly past behind him, the episode’s subplot tells a very different story.
Meeting with his old girlfriend and Season 1 Blacklister Gina Zanetakos (Margarita Levieva), Tom begs her to let him in on a job like the kind he used to do: a jewelry heist. Overcoming any distrust and resentment she held towards her ex, Zanetakos agrees to bring him in on the job. The heist goes without a hitch, and things seem to be going well for Tom when Zanetakos slaps him for hitting her “too hard” when trying to trick store security before passionately kissing him. When Tom asks her what that was for, she says “For the hell of it.” Knowing the wild twists and turns the show likes to take viewers down, it’s unlikely in the extreme that Tom’s old flame kissed him for such a non-consequential reason.
As you can tell, there is a lot going on in this episode. Indeed, this is only an abridged version of what all transpires over the course of it. When watching it however, you never get the impression that the producers have stretched their creative resources thin. Each subplot is given enough screen-time to advance their own narrative or the larger one to a satisfying point without ever detracting from the main story involving Pitt and the mob families or preventing it from being resolved. Nor does it feel like the rest of the events are put on hold when it transitions to a different one: the subplots flow seamlessly from one to the other so that the pace immediately picks up once the show returns to a specific segment. One can only hope that The Blacklist continues crafting complex and entertaining stories like this week’s.
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