The Blacklist s4 ep 12

This week’s Blacklister is Natalie Luca, and she’s come to the attention of the Red Task Force because she kills Red’s accountant, the one who went missing last week. And, as Red makes clear to Liz, the FBI has a duty, a responsibility to maintain his criminal empire as a going concern, otherwise he isn’t going to be able to help them. That line having been crossed years ago, Cooper and Liz are all, yeah, whatever.

Natalie, though, isn’t really a Blacklister: she’s carrying Luschen’s Disease, an unpleasant form of meningitis which is passed through touch and kills almost instantly, and she and her boyfriend are committing crimes to try and raise money so that he, too, can be immune to the disease, allowing them to touch and do all the good stuff. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde, were Bonnie the asymptomatic carrier of a fatal disease. Sometimes it’s just stealing, but on occasion it means working as a killer for hire, as with Red’s accountant.

Red is sure that this was ordered by a business rival in order to scupper his deal for a shipping line, and that the next step will be to order a hit on Red himself. Fortunately he has a plan: he’s already created a make-believe master assassin, Edgar Legate (I assumed that this must be a really clever anagram, but the best I can come up with is Get Red Algae, which isn’t exactly chilling), so all he needs is to find someone who can convincingly play a pay-for-play killer, then draw his rival out. Tom has his hand in the air to volunteer more or less before Red has started speaking, because the thing about Tom is that he lives for this kind of thing. They don’t even need to discuss terms; Tom would, one suspects, do it for the lolz.

And the plan works perfectly, except that Red’s rival didn’t order the hit; it was someone named Isabella Stone. Who I don’t think we’ve heard of before, unless it’s a cover name for Mr. Kaplan. The other problem is that Liz is now going to have to reckon with the truth of her marriage, which is that Tom isn’t going to be content as a stay-at-home dad.

There’s also a curious little subplot in which Samar is sulking with Aram for no obvious reason. It turns out that, as well as not being able to spot when a member of staff is working for a foreign intelligence agency, the FBI is remarkably lax about the confidentiality of its employees, and Samar has found out that she gets paid significantly less than Aram. Which isn’t even close to being Aram’s fault, but still. Also, of course, the real question is whether she gets paid the same as someone doing the same job, such as Liz or Ressler, rather than comparing herself to one of the FBI’s leading IT people. I’m guessing that there were two points to this: firstly, equal pay is good; secondly, Aram is such a romantic (or so pathetically needy) that he’s prepared to take a pay cut, and insist that the money goes to Samar, to ensure that they get paid the same, like that’s ever going to be a thing. I say again: how does this affect Ressler, who’s been there for longer and isn’t working for the Mossad at the same time? But I don’t intend to let that get in the way. Not quite as good as last week, but more than good enough.

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2 thoughts on “The Blacklist s4 ep 12

  1. CJ Cregg March 6, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    On the plus side, I thought Red’s scenes were particularly good. The weary, sad Red of the past couple of weeks is much more interesting than cackling anecdote Red (that dude has kind of outstayed his welcome).

    Also, I was struck by just how great the music was this week. It’s always good but I thought it kicked up a gear in this ep. The scene where the guy died in Natalie’s arms was particularly beautifully done, even if he was a legitimately appalling human being, turning his girlfriend into a killing machine like that, no matter the reason. Heads-up to Ressler and Navabi: Hawthorne Labs should have been the focus of suspicion the *second* they said they had no legal right to hold Natalie – there is no way they would be allowed to just release a walking fatal epidemic onto the street like that and just hope she doesn’t bump into any unlucky strangers on the way home. Surely the CDC would be ALL over it? Have none of these people watched Containment????

    Worse than that, though, the equal pay sub-plot was both stupid and deeply offensive. Equal pay is obviously fundamental, but as you said, Aram isn’t even close to being the appropriate comparator for Samar – no matter how many times they said it, no they do NOT do the same job. But that’s not even the worst thing about it. No, that would be that instead of Samar – a grown adult professional who could kill you with her little finger – securing her own pay rise from management with the force of both law and logic (and legal action if necessary), the show turned the question of equal pay for women into a storyline neither about equality nor women, but about another opportunity for a * man* to make a supposedly “romantic”, “magnanimous” but really patronising and sexist gesture and save the damsel in distress by sharing his pay with her instead. WTF?! I normally love Aram and I can’t bear Samar (she should be in JAIL by now, never mind getting paid at all), but on this occasion, he and the show can eff right off, and she should have told him so then and there. Heads-up to The Blacklist writers: neither Aram nor any other team-mate has any right to decide what a female co-worker gets paid, whether they fancy them or not – the whole idea and Samar buying into it is so GROSSLY insulting on so many levels, I feel like my head might explode.

  2. Jed Bartlet March 6, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    Well, yes. I actually cut down my remarks about the equal pay thing by 50% or thereabouts because I was saying more about that than the rest of the (I thought rather good) episode put together. But I agree it was grossly misconceived. It would be interesting to know whether Aram gets paid more than Patterson, mind you. I assume Ressler gets more than Samar, on the basis that he’s been there for longer and thus presumably is further up the pay scale. On the other hand, perhaps Samar gets an extra salary from the Mossad. She certainly should, given that she’s also working for them.

    Because I liked the episode, I was entertained by the way in which Big Pharma was ostensibly shrugging its shoulders about how it let the most dangerous woman on the PLANET go home unsupervised and then totally lost track of her.

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