This week you can quench your thirst with white wine- or red if you drink it in the kitchen- and occupy yourself with an infuriating, pure white jigsaw puzzle or, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, you could carry on reading…
The girl with second sight
As is often the case in The Blacklist, there is a child. A special child. This particular little girl has a constellation of issues, including deafness, due to foetal rubella. Two years before we meet her- or her eye initially- she starts to have premonitions. She conveys what she ‘sees’ through modelling clay and other materials, creating detailed dioramas; plane crashes, bus and train wrecks, factory explosions…It is when she sees the death of a judge (a superhero of sorts) in a swimming pool that her responsible adult decides to leave a diorama of the scene outside the front door of Liz Keen’s new apartment. (You may have thought that leaving Liz time to at least unpack a few more of her possessions would have been polite… and how exactly did the woman know exactly where a newly instated FBI Special Agent lived? Anyway, I digress). Another thing to consider is why on earth is the room containing the dioramas padlocked?
It transpires that the girl’s ability to predict future events is not due to any sixth sense but rather to her hearing aid tuning into nearby telephone conversations conducted by men-who-are-up-to-no-good.(Or is it really totally explained by that? The details shown in her dioramas…how does she know those? The interiors of buildings. What clothes people are going to wear. Worth a thought, isn’t it).
Cutting to the chase (there’s always a chase) and one of the men-who-are-up-to-no-good ends up walloping Aram on the head and kidnapping the girl. Finally the boss of the men- who-are-up-to-no-good is apprehended, although the other MHAUTNG escapes. (Did you catch the photo in the office of the boss MHAUTNG though? Consider why that happy, family photo is focussed on here).
Conclusion: that perhaps, just perhaps, the predictions of the little girl cannot be totally explained by the hearing aid. Is the little girl the same one as in the photo in the office?
Pure White Hell
Completing a jig-saw made entirely of white pieces must have seemed like such a good idea at the time. As good an idea, perhaps, as taking revenge for a murdered friend as an ideal opportunity to make a point to another friend/colleague about why you had to murder another friend/colleague.
Not only a pure white jigsaw but a pure white room, stylish, modern, tasteful in a somewhat stark way. At first we think that Red may be renting a ‘place of his own’. Pretty quickly however it becomes clear that this is not his motive for taking the monthly rental on this particular apartment (who would have guessed…).
Red: One spill of red wine on this heavenly sanctuary would look like a crime scene. (Foreshadowing)
and later about the murdered friend:
Red: Imagine, all that blood on this very carpet. Amazing. It’s like it never happened, as if he never existed…like my dear friend who bled all over this white carpet.
When Reddington meets with the bad bad man who was ultimately responsible for his dear friend’s death is when he explains his need to kill Kate Kaplan to Dembe.
Red: You’ve been betrayed by a trusted employee. I recently experienced a similar betrayal, so I know it’s a bitter pill. Especially since in our line of work betrayal requires swift and decisive (looks at Dembe) retribution…I have recently felt the sting of duplicity and I simply couldn’t bring myself to facilitate such a betrayal of someone else, even someone so loathsome.
We’ll take a look at the whole Red/Dembe point of contention over Kate Kaplan a little later.
It is clear why Red uses his personal situation here, it gives his story complete credibility. What he says, is what he truly believes but, as Dembe is fully aware, he is using this veracity as a basis for a grand deceit. The deceit upon which he plans to exact a very specific and poetic and personal revenge upon those responsible for his friend’s death. This is Dembe’s reason for complaining to Red~ he is using his murder of Kate Kaplan as an instrument to get what he wants. As is Reddington’s way he creates a situation to knock his enemies off-balance, to deeply damage their judgment.
As far as Red is concerned the death of his friend ‘a good man’ is not the only reason his targets deserve to die. These are bad men, very, very bad men. The first is prepared, with encouragement from Red, to betray his boss, and not just betray but to murder him and take his place. He is also ‘paid a salary in the lives of women and children…every bit as responsible for committing atrocities as he (the boss) is.’ This man is prepared to set off a car bomb at Red’s suggestion: ‘It’s a cliché…clichés work. That’s what makes them clichés.’ The irony of giving the ‘magic bullet’ cannot be lost here. And the first bad guy ends up dead, with a splatter of blood up one, pristine, white wall.
The boss has a list of crimes against him that Red runs through apart from murdering his friend: atrocities, conflict, groups using mass rape, mutilation to control people in the villages around the mines. As Red says, money made on the backs of children given enough money to eat but not enough to ever leave. This was a man who had worked in the mines himself but, having got out, chose not to help those who suffer but to profit from them.
Red: I’m a bad man Inicho but not that bad.
What follows is the shooting of the big bad by Red and yet another splatter of blood up a different, pristine, white wall. Plenty for the cleaning team to clean up. Poetic justice.
No he didn’t replace Kate, he killed her
The conversation on the way out of the restaurant is the focus of the first point of contention that Dembe expresses to Red. Dembe has already shown grief at her death, then he has shown personal guilt for doing nothing and now has moved on to blaming Red (understandably, under the circumstances).
Dembe: You shouldn’t use her like that…a story to get what you want. It’s disrespectful. Kate doesn’t deserve that.
And after the double shooting, before the cleaners arrive:
D: That’s what this is all about, replacing Kate.
R: Kate is irreplaceable.
D: To me she is.
We then have the (possible) foreshadowing conversation between Dembe and one of the cleaners (with Red pointedly and deliberately ignoring it while studiously using the ultra violet blood detector thingy- of course he knows full well what is being said).
This is followed by more possible foreshadowing (or are the writers just playing games with us, naughty, naughty writers! How do you guys sleep at night?) when the lady cleaner talks of the last two years not being kind to the people they work with (2 years note, just when the little girl’s (remember her?) premonitions started).
Club soda anyone?
The irony of Red’s comment to Liz about her Pyrrhic victory should be noted for that, ironically, is what Red has also likely just achieved but is not yet aware of, for Dembe pays his visit to Liz at the end of the episode. Here he expresses his deep concern about Red as he is now, at this moment, following Liz’s fake death, the Kirk situation, his murder of Kate Kaplan and his torture.
D: I’m worried about Raymond. I don’t think he cares about anything or anyone in the world right now other than you, or Agnes. I don’t recognise him. I can’t reach him.
And we all know exactly how this conversation ends. The real question is that now Liz is armed/gifted with this information what exactly will she do about it?
Thought for the day:
Red: I had bullets, he had words. But when he was done talking, for the first time, I truly understood which of those were more powerful.
Let me know what you think especially about the questions posed.
(I’ve deliberately omitted Tom, as I think it’s pretty obvious what is happening with him at present).