A cult leader preaches an unpleasant sexual morality to his followers, before a child is produced in front of the congregation, dressed as a bride and apparently about to be married to an adult. The wedding can’t take place because an unknown group storms the cult’s compound, killing most of them, while the leader, Justin Kenyon of the Kenyon Family – this week’s Blacklisters – goes missing. It’s a creepy opening to a supremely creepy episode, in which the corruption of children will recur as a theme – some of them are driving vehicles loaded with explosives, and others were cast out of the Kenyon cult at an early age and went feral as a result.
Red advises the FBI that the Kenyons make their money from storing weapons for baddies in buried shipping containers, which brings Keen and Ressler into the picture. Armed with a warrant, they lead a raid on the compound, although as usual they’ll be kidnapped. Also as usual, there’s something in all of this for Red; once the dust has settled, he goes into one of the underground bunkers, where he finds a vehicle which looks like a 60s Presidential car of the sort in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Whether it’s actually supposed to be that car isn’t discussed, although I can’t imagine that the fact that the real vehicle is in a museum will get in the way of The Blacklist’s writers if that’s the road they decide to go down. Anyway, there’s a McGuffin-holding briefcase in the boot of the car, which Red retrieves. He then phones a number picked up from Alan Fitch’s St. Petersburg safe, and a mysterious person – presumably a new Big Bad – answers.
It could be argued, and I probably wouldn’t disagree, that this episode still didn’t come close to the highpoints of season 1. But it managed to establish and maintain a genuinely nasty and unsettling atmosphere throughout, and I mean that as a compliment.