This week’s Blacklister is Vanessa Cruz, whose thing is to frame members of the 1% for crimes they didn’t commit, sometimes killing them as well. I’d have preferred it had she not been an Evil Lesbian, tbh, but there we go.
As Team Red starts to find out what she’s about, though, there are other things going on: Red has promised to deliver The Fulcrum to The Syndicate (?) on pain of death, which means he needs to persuade Liz to hand it over. This might be a good time to admit that I’m not entirely on board with the whole Syndicate arc. It seems to consist of a lot of interchangeable middle-aged-to-elderly white dudes – Director, Jasper, Hobbs, Fitch (decd.), Red – shifting loyalties and taking votes, deciding whether or not Red’s going to live based on his possession of The Fulcrum. (Perhaps that is indeed all it is.) But now the issue is urgent, except if he dies there’s some sort of trigger which will release the contents of The Fulcrum. I may not have got this right.
And it looks as if Red’s asking Liz at a propitious time: she wants to be put in touch with a shelf-company broker (relevant to the Evil Lesbian plot) and Red offers to trade that for The Fulcrum. But Liz has another option: Tom is back, and he wants his passports so that he can disappear for good; this would mean Liz recovering them from an evidence locker, and to start with she’s not prepared to do that, but when she realises that Tom can also offer the broker thing she decides to go with Tom’s deal instead. So while Red continues to manoeuvre the old white guys around, Tom and Liz head off into the field, working together. I approve of this, because I am now officially shipping them, so there.
Cruz’s motivations turn out to be more personal than political – she was widowed by the machinations of some businessmen, and sought revenge. The question of how Ms Ordinary became a mega-criminal capable of a remarkable level of sophistication – framing people so thoroughly that there is no actual trace of the framing – is never really addressed. It might be in due course, though, because we may not have seen the last of her; she evades capture, and when Mr Kaplan approaches her, notes Red’s appreciation of her skills, and tries to recruit her, we find out why Red sicced the Task Force on her in the first place. (It also means that the show maintains its run of giving us Blacklisters who have an importance outside of their titular episode, and thus remain alive and uncaptured.)
But the episode still has a couple of major shocks to go, when Red tells Liz REDACTED, is given the REDACTED, and is then REDACTED. All of which probably means that the episode will leave more of an impression than it might otherwise merit.