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.