I’m betting on the long play. The future.
Your future’s arriving now.
*So this episode is going to have an uphill climb to get back on my good side because it opens with Liz confronting Tom about the murder at Angel Station and then he starts strangling her and then she wakes up.
*That’s right, it’s a dream sequence cold open. This episode is on my nerves already.
*So, Tom’s going to an ultrasound to see the baby that he and Liz are going to adopt.
*So, this guy named Seth Nelson has been kidnapped apparently and the kidnapper makes a proof of life video and then Seth stabs his kidnapper in the chest and the kidnapper’s just like “Whatever, bro” and just keeps filming.
*So, I think this is the first reappearance of the guy that was with Red outside the FBI building just before he turned himself in. He appears to just be like a second in command or something.
*Great exchanges: “The seller hired the Courier to make the exchange. The last time we attempted to intercept him . . .” “I’m well aware of the men & resources we lost in Cairo.”
*Ressler and Liz bond: “Have I told you yet I don’t place much stock in profiling? And by ‘much,’ I mean ‘none.’ It’s never once helped me solve a case. You know what has?” “Hm?” “Facts.” “Yeah. I also prepared a profile on you. ‘Uptight, fueled by an inner rage.’”
*The whole “you know what solves cases facts hard evidence etc” thing is pretty lazy as characterizations go.
*So, Red waxes on about the Courier. “The next target on the Blacklist is a physical embodiment of both [fear & the threat of violence]. He’s known as the Courier & his involvement in a transaction virtually guarantees success. Once he’s hired to make a delivery, he can’t be bribed. He can’t be stopped. If either party attempts to double cross the other, he kills them both.”
*Wait a minute; if one party pulls a double cross, he kills EVERYONE? That does not sound like a good idea. For anyone in the scenario.
*What it essentially means is you hire this guy and you can be certain that either your package will be delivered or you will be horribly murdered. And nothing you do or don’t do will have any effect on which outcome you get. Maybe you do everything right, but the guy on the other end does something wrong. Well, you’re dead, through no fault of your own.
*And exactly how does the Courier make a living doing this? I wouldn’t imagine you would get a whole lot of jobs, for one; for two, if you kill everyone else involved in the transaction how do you get paid? Though I guess you do have whatever the package is. So, if you’re transporting, say, an incredibly valuable painting and then you kill everyone, well, you don’t get paid for the job by anyone, but you do have an incredibly valuable painting to do with as you please.
*Regardless, I think this business plan is deeply flawed and I have no idea why anyone would ever hire this person.
*So, all Red knows is that the Courier is working on delivering a package worth $20 million and that he’s going to deliver it to an Iranian spy at a farmer’s market in two hours & forty-five minutes.
*So, everyone goes to the market and Liz spots the guy. A kid does a brush pass and gives the spy a cell phone. “When it rings, pick it up.”
*Yeah, I know how to work a ******* cell phone, kid. I’m a ******* Iranian spy. What are you, ten?
*So, anyway, the Courier spots the FBI and assumes that he’s been sold out. He shoots the spy in the head and takes off.
*So, see, not only will the Courier murder everyone if he is actually betrayed, but if he just THINKS he might have been betrayed. Once again, why would anyone hire this guy?
*He’s like, “Hmm, that car down the street looks vaguely suspicious I wonder if . . . hmm. *murders everyone*”
*So, there’s a big car chase/gunfight.
*I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it. The action in this show is not just good; it’s not just super-good; it’s damn great. GREAT.
*So, the Courier manages to briefly hide from Liz and Malik and he hides a memory card inside the knife wound in his chest and then straightens out a broken bone in his arm. This guy’s hardcore.
*Okay, I’d just like to say that Parminder Nagra who plays Malik is . . . like, I’m sorry, I know that I’m playing right into the hands of the show creators here, but I find her quite compelling.
*She’s 5’3”, Indian, British accent. And she’s charging around in a pant suit with disheveled hair, waving a gun around. I have rarely felt so much at the mercy of my sexuality.
*Good Lord, she’s over forty. I would have put her an easy ten years younger. Those dark skinned women just don’t age normally. See Also: M.I.A.
*Great James Spader lines: “You’re not telling us everything.” “Let me put your mind at ease *beat* I’m never telling you everything.”
*Okay, so this guy is horrifically scarred all over his body as we find out when the doctor examines him. It seems that he has congenital anhidrosis, which means that he can’t feel physical pain. That sounds made up, but I’ve heard of weirder things.
*That poor Tree Man who had that HPV disorder so his body couldn’t regulate the growth of keratin so his hands and feet were just covered in these crazy like horn-like growths? That’s weirder. And it happened. Really sad too. I think he’s dead now.
*I actually think everybody should see those pictures of the Tree Man just because it’s one of the craziest things you’ll ever see. But be warned, it’s got some real elements of body horror to it; it’s one of the most graphically obvious cases of being betrayed by your own body and you will never forget the pictures. But again, I think you should look at them. But you know your own limits on things like that. Just Google tree man and it’ll come up.
*So, the package that the Courier is responsible for is the kid we saw at the beginning, Seth Nelson. He’s a very, very high-up NSA analyst, so he obviously has a lot of secrets. They see the video that the Courier made of Seth. So, he’s locked in a box with an oxygen mask that will last for several hours. The Courier tells them that at the moment, Seth has about fourteen hours of air left.
*It’s a Race Against Time™!
*So, Liz brings in the Courier’s brother once they figure out who he is; Courier’s real name is Tommy Phelps. Turns out that Tommy’s dad figured out when he was a little kid that whole thing with him not being able to feel pain. So, presumably in the interest of science, he started entering him into dogfights.
*It seems like that would be against the rules.
*Reddington & Cooper bond: “We’ve gotten off to a rocky start.” “You’ve killed three people.” “I’m not perfect.”
*So, Tom calls Liz and tries to get her to come home. He says he has something important he needs to talk to her about. She puts him off, of course, but then we see what Tom wanted to talk to her about. He’s got the box out from under the floorboards, sitting in front of him. This should be good.
*So, they decide to contact the seller in the Seth exchange; it’s a French woman named Dechambou. They send in Ressler to pretend that he’s the Courier to tell her the deal’s off and she can pick up Seth where she gave him to the Courier. Then they’ll follow her back to that place and hopefully be able to find Seth from there.
*God, Ressler in casual clothes is just brutal. Yeah, there’s a LOT of hair gel in this scene.
*So, Ressler has to beat up the bouncer at Dechambou’s club, of course. Meera indulges herself: “That was hot.” “You know he can hear you, right?” “Yup.”
*I admit I was rolling my eyes at the “that was hot” line, but then they won me over with that little self-aware follow-up.
*Of course, Dechambou wants proof that he’s the Courier which leads to a hilarious bit of business. “They say you can’t feel pain. Prove it.”
*The look on Ressler’s face . . . I swear.
*So, Ressler does this super intense little monologue about how he’s lost everything he’s ever cared about and so he loves his job and then he cuts himself with a bottle.
*So method. Ressler needs to get into Community Theater. He’d be great in Wait Until Dark.
*So, anyway, there’s a big action sequence because it still doesn’t fool Dechambou, so the FBI ends up arresting her, but they still don’t know where Seth is.
*Red convinces them to release her so he can approach her on his own.
*This scene is just chock full of dialogue worth chewing. “If this is about that incident in Paris . . .” “Oh, we’ll always have Paris.” “What do you want?” “So many things.” Plus: “The Iranian is dead, and you’re next. You know that.” “I did nothing wrong.” “The world is rarely a fair place. That’s why it needs people like me.”
*So, meanwhile, the Courier has escaped via the time tested method of having a tool concealed inside his own body and pulling it out.
*Okay, so he doesn’t feel pain. He’s still injuring himself quite gruesomely. And not just the skin. The internal bleeding on this guy must be insane. You can’t just insert a hammer or whatever into your sternum and then pull it out of your stomach without killing yourself.
*So, the Courier’s brother tells them that the family used to own a cabin up in the woods or whatever, so Meera and Ressler head up there. Meanwhile, Dechambou has given Red some information about where Seth might be, so he and Liz and Dembe head up there.
*So, Ressler and Meera find the Courier and it is like the least climactic thing ever. He shoots at them a couple of times and then he just walks out of the cabin, collapses and dies.
*I mean, this does suggest that the writers realize that the guy would not be able to survive just shoving things into his torso and then yanking them out willy-nilly and so they had him just bleed out or whatever. But still, I’m honestly not sure why he even needed to escape. This whole bit is just filler really.
*Meanwhile, Liz and Red find Seth in a buried refrigerator at a junk yard that is entirely filled with refrigerators.
*Dembe has to resuscitate Seth as he’s stopped breathing. Red looks on and only James Spader could sell this line: “I died for a two-and-a-half minutes in Marrakesh. You wouldn’t believe the things I saw on the other side.”
*Oh, boy, there’s a scene where Liz is all doe-eyed and she asks Ressler if that melodramatic speech he made about how he had nothing left and everything had been taken from him was actually true and he’s all stoic and shifty and like, “I was undercover.”
*Great. Great. Can’t wait to find out what secret tragedy is driving Ressler. This should be hilarious.
*So, Red gets Seth to give him one time access to some classified stuff and he sends Liz the unredacted version of the file on the murder she thinks Tom committed.
*So, Liz goes home with the file and she’s like, “We need to talk.” And Tom’s like, “I was just gonna say the same thing.” And then he’s like BOOM *********** CHECK OUT THIS BOX WITH GUNS IN IT.
*Okay, nice ending. This seems to promise some actual answers next episode. We’ll see about that.
*I wish they’d had some awesome music cue on this one. Like that first episode and the 99 Problems cue after the final line? Something just totally out of left field, but that actually worked perfectly. Like *puts the box down* IF YOU GOT GIRL PROBLEMS etc. Actually, maybe 99 Problems should just be the music cue that ends every episode of television.
*Let me just say that I hated the opening of this episode, right? Well, if next episode reveals that this final scene is another dream, I am going to lose my ****.
*Okay, well, anyway, this one was just kind of okay. It has a really flawed premise in the whole idea of the Courier; I mean, I’ve talked at length about it, but no one would hire this person. As Dechambou says in her final scene in the episode, she’s now a target even though she didn’t do anything. And she says that’s not fair, but it’s the ******* deal she made when she hired the dude. So, the whole premise is stupid.
*This is also RIGHT after the Stewmaker and we have another horribly scarred villain. This is hopefully not going to be a trend.
*And that whole sequence with Ressler pretending to be the Courier. I mean, that is eye rolling stuff.
*The show still does great action.
*And, yes, my crush on Parminder Nagra is fully activated after the chase scene in this episode and I KNOW this is just a rip off of Archie Panjabi on The Good Wife and I still can’t help it. Damn you, Blacklist.
*Eh, distinctly average.