With The Director (permanently, one assumes) out of the game, and The Cabal (probably temporarily) on the back burner, The Blacklist needs a palate-cleanser of an episode to set us up the the next part of the season, and ‘Mr. Gregory Devry’ hits the spot nicely. Mr. Kaplan’s cleaners are gunned down while at work, with Mr. Kaplan himself left alive to convey, to Red, the message that the underworld knows that he’s been assisting the FBI. Red, therefore, needs a plan to clear his name, as it were, and to start with he alerts the Task Force to the existence of the Shell Island Retreat – it doesn’t take place on Shell Island, nor is it a retreat, but it is a gathering of some of the world’s leading criminals.
While pursuing this – sans Liz, who is no longer a member of the FBI, nor even entitled to carry her own personal weapon, being as she shot the Attorney General and all – the Task Force captures someone who claims to be Raymond Reddington. While no-one really believes him – although one or two bets are hedged; after all, there’s no evidence that Red is who he says he is either, apart from the unending stream of major criminals he grasses up – the team at least does him the courtesy of chucking him into the Red Box anyway, whereupon he displays an unnerving knowledge of Red facts. He claims – unlike “our” Red, who hasn’t been invited – to know the whereabouts of this year’s Shell Island Retreat. And once he correctly predicts the imminent abduction of an senior FBI official – someone who, not coincidentally, has access to details of confidential informants, such as Red – he’s done enough to win himself a trip to Shell Island, wearing a wire, so that he can be tracked by the Task Force.
To say more would be to risk spoilers, but it’s a well-constructed plot, and one which gets Red off the hook while confirming his reputation for ruthlessness. But it’s Tom’s storyline which might just give rise to optimism for the rest of the season. Liz turns up at the boat for a quickie, and is somewhat surprised when Tom proposes, at least in part because they were, of course, married before. (Sidebar – did they ever divorce? I can’t remember.) She deflects the proposal for now, but later Red warns Tom, in tones which brook no disagreement, that Tom is not to marry Liz; intriguingly, Tom’s response is defiant. I’ve said before that we need Ryan Eggold in this show, and that Nice Tom is better than No Tom. But in an ideal world we’d get Bad Tom back. And when Liz is assaulted in a car-park by some random who’s seen her on the TV and thinks she’s a traitor, she – and we – find out that she’s carrying a Little Tom. Which means that the show is going to address the ever-more-visible challenge of Megan Boone’s pregnancy by – unusually these days – actually writing it into the show.