Recap: Alexander Kirk (No. 14) 3×22
The opening scene of this two-part finale kicks off with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave in the back of a cab in Indonesia saying rubber baby buggy bumpers over and over. She is there to negotiate a ransom demand, but the tables are turned and instead of making payment, she is there to accept payment for the kidnapper’s brother. Right away, this episode feels different from other episodes, and if you didn’t already know, let me be the first to tell you that this is actually the back-door pilot for The Blacklist Redemption. We can tell that Scottie is a competent woman as she details exactly why and how the former kidnapper will pay her the money she asks. He asks if she will take cash instead of bitcoin, and since cash is king, she obliges.
Red and Tom chat about Scottie. He is obviously uncomfortable with Red being so close to his daughter’s inner circle because he takes things meant for Agnes and puts them away from Red. Red says Scottie was just a hired hand and that it’s A. Kirk who is really responsible for what happened to Liz. Quick cut to the FBI task force debrief about A. Kirk and the best way to get to him. Red insists the best way is to talk to Susan Hargrave, even though the rest of the team blame her for Liz’s death. He defends her by telling them about a kid she saved because “your government” wouldn’t. He then meets with Scottie to determine the best way to get to A. Kirk, and Scottie agrees his finances are the way in. We then learn something interesting as Red admits he never liked her, even though he was just defending her to the FBI. He says that she makes his toes curl, which is a curious expression to use in this instance given what it usually means. The final scene of this first act finds Scottie repeating rubber baby buggy bumpers again as Tom walks in on her. She is holding Agnes. Understandably, Tom is disconcerted at the scene before him because he also blames Scottie for ruining his wedding day and killing his wife.
Solomon is back and Tom is not thrilled with his chummy attitude towards him; but not to be abashed, Solomon carries on as he usually does. The two teams meet and as expected, sparks are flying due to their recent conflict. Stealing a presidency (sort of?) makes for strange bedfellows! Agent Navabi is understandably upset because she was particularly fond of Liz, but Tom tells her, “If I can do this, so can you.” At this point, Scottie cruises in, tells them to quit wasting time and they get down to business. Quick cut to a scene with A. Kirk and a man speaking French to him; luckily for me, I understand a little French, luckily for you, so does A. Kirk. We get the gist of what he is saying based on Kirk’s response. While all of this foreign language speaking is going on, a gal with great gams walks through the room and tells A. Kirk that the location of the child is confirmed and he says he wants it done today. Back to the two worlds collide meeting, where Scottie uses the word bloviate, and they discuss how to steal the Senator’s money. Suddenly the episode turns into a bank heist episode!
I love a good bank heist, and they do a little bit of show and tell. During the telling, the task force balks at the suggested plan, but Scottie dresses them down and tells them that “It’s badges in the drawer time people. This is a revenge movie.” So it’s a bank heist, a revenge plot, and a backdoor spinoff pilot all rolled into one. What more could a girl ask for? We get to the show part and Solomon blithely fires bullets into the ceiling and instructs all of the people to slide their cell phones forward and do as he says. The bank manager demonstrates that he’s not a complete jerk by trying to hide the little girl, who Tom goes over to comfort. However there is a potential monkey wrench in the plan as an NYPD officer decides to foolishly take matters into his own hands and a stray bullet catches the little girl. Still smarting from his own loss, Tom won’t let the little girl die, so he carries her out to the getaway van with scared father in tow and they race to the oncoming EMT that wouldn’t have made it the bank in time to save her. Then they blow up the van.
Next, we check in with Ressler and Navabi for their part in all of this action, and Ressler asks Navabi to tell him she’s not okay with this. She responds that there is no better plan. The bank manager tells them that the thieves only took one item. Navabi excuses herself as Ressler deals with the manager and goes to a server room. Still adorably awkward, Aram instructs her to insert his…the dongle so that they have remote access to generate the necessary password. The newest geek on the show must show off his skills, so there is verbal sparring and mild competition.
Tom arrives at the hospital in time to see police and FBI processing the room where his daughter should be, and another quick cut to him storming in on Scottie. She is introducing the bloviating senator from Missouri at a dinner. Fortunately, Tom doesn’t lose his cool because he wants his daughter, and so he waits in her office for her to finish. When Scottie strolls in a few minutes later, Tom unleashes his fury at recent events, but Scottie reveals that she is not just a hands off leader by detailing information about the little girl who got shot in the bank. Suddenly, there is a serious Oedipal vibe in the room before it is revealed that his daughter is being cared for in the next room. Scottie says she had to move her.
Back to the planning room with Scottie’s team as they discuss how to get the retinal scan they need. Tom volunteers to show off his grifter skills by getting purposefully nabbed by German authorities and shipped to the Turkish embassy where his mark is. After beating up a few Turks, he then poses as a waiter and proceeds to wind up one of the waitresses and spins her off straight at his intended. She spills champagne all over him while Tom swoops in and swaps out his cigarettes with the poisoned cigarettes. As the Turkish embassy guard with the busted nose races up the stairs, Nez and Solomon pose as EMTs and whisk Peter Pruitt away. Tom jumps into the driver’s seat with just enough time to smirk at the guard as they drive away.
Solomon is now driving the ambulance and they are racing through traffic as they attempt to collect the retinal scan. However, a slight snag prevents them from being successful, and they call in a ringer, aka Aram. Tom tells Aram that he drugged Pruitt, and they all determine that the pinpoint sized pupils are the cause of the failure. Tom replies that might be a problem because he just dosed him again, and that he doesn’t “even know if he’s got pupils right now.” Aram tells them of a drug that will dilate pupils, and Solomon and Tom break into an Apotheke to retrieve it. They finally have it out and Tom tells Solomon that they are in this situation because he attacked his wedding right before he shoots him “for my wife.” Yikes. Don’t piss off Tom! But by the time the police show up, there is no body, only a blood smear. Cooper calls Tom and informs him that Key Atlantic is aware of Pruitt’s abduction and that the bank president is on the way to reset the password and the race is on. Everyone is in on the action and it’s a battle of completing status bars; will the wire transfer complete first, or the lock-out protocol? The wire transfer makes it to 100% and everyone cheers; Scottie calls Red and tells him it’s time.
Quick cut to Senator Diaz on the phone trying to talk to Pruitt as he walks into his home. Scottie is on his couch and at first, Senator Diaz is grateful to see her, but then she tells him she took his money. Red is in the back room and tells Senator Diaz that taking his money has nothing to do with him. He wants the bloviating senator to call A. Kirk, and he does. A. Kirk is given a phone and told it is Senator Diaz, but in fact it is Red and he tells Kirk that he has his money and his senator. Kirk replies “but you don’t have me” and hangs up. Not to be discouraged, Red then strongarms Diaz into opening an inquiry against Kirk so that Red can get his hands on him. Diaz objects to being an accomplice to murder, but Red says he will if he wants to be president.
The final act of this first episode shows Aram running to tell Ressler and Cooper that Diaz is going to subpoena Kirk to get him to D.C., and they all realize that instead of Kirk controlling the next president, it will be Red. It seems like the action is over as the next scene is Tom with Agnes at her baptism where he declares that he wants all of them to be godparents. It seems like a happy scene, but Red is looking on in the background ominously. Next, Tom is at Scottie’s house about to do something very dumb, with a gun in his back waistband; but Red calls and tells him not to do it. He says that if Tom kills her, he won’t get the answers he’s been looking for his entire life. Tom asks what he’s talking about, but starts to put the pieces together himself and realizes that she is his mother.
Red tells Tom that if he pursues this, both he and Agnes will be in danger when Tom asks why he didn’t tell him. We find out that Tom’s real name is Christopher Hargrave, if Red is to be believed about it. He says that Susan Hargrave genuinely believes that her son is dead, and that if he wants answers he must conceal his true identity. The woman herself walks in on Tom holding the picture of her family with him in it and she tells him the story of what happened. Tom tells her that for his daughter’s sake he’s not going to try to kill her again, and Scottie says “you’re hired” and again we get that totally weird Oedipal vibe, only this time, Tom gets it too! He says he’s sorry about her son and walks away.
Alexander Kirk (No. 14) cont’d. 3×23
The next episode starts almost where this one left off with Senator Diaz announcing the inquiry he has started into A. Kirk. He watches the announcement on TV. He gets a blood transfusion, and the process appears incomplete as blood drips from his hand. He tells the people he hired to tell Diaz he isn’t coming. Diaz gets into a car with Red where Red tells him that when he is elected president, he will offer a full pardon to Elizabeth Keen. Two men meet together. They are arranging the kidnapping of Agnes. Tom Keen will be killed. Red and Mr. Kaplan are in the same room with Agnes, and Kaplan tells Red all she cares about is Agnes’s well-being. Tom arrives and they discuss A. Kirk, Tom’s parents, and the job offer he received.
Red debriefs the task force about his plans with A. Kirk. He tells them he hijacked the oil (in the episode “Susan Hargrave”) because he’s a criminal, but that he’s parting with it because A. Kirk needs to be killed, and he’s willing to plant evidence to do it. He tells them he doesn’t need them to dirty their hands, but that he wants them to arrest Kirk’s people after they take possession of it. Red goes to see a fake preacher in the middle of his sermon, but he hustles his parishioners out so that he can meet with Red. He says he knows Red likes to know what’s moving where, and Red says he wants to know about a gas company called NexaCo. Tom receives a phone call from a doctor who tells him that Agnes has a clean bill of health. It is then revealed that the doctor is actually being pressured by the man hired to kidnap Agnes. The doctor is killed. The man receives a phone call telling him the triangulation is complete and that they have Tom’s location.
The task force is meeting to discuss Red’s plan to swap out tankers of a NexaCo gas truck with the one that has the contraband oil; a driver of one tanker likes to stop at a particular sandwich shop where they will make the switch. Red’s voice is heard inquiring about the difference between sandwiches as the driver walks into the shop, and one of my favorite scenes with Red follows. Tom starts the switch and finds a dog sitting in the passenger seat. He feeds the dog powdered donuts. They proceed to switch out the tanker while Red becomes one of the most annoying customers known to man in front of the driver to give them the extra time they need. They barely get the switch made and Tom slips out the passenger side, telling the dog to go easy on those donuts while the driver is on the other side, presumably none the wiser. He drives off with the stolen oil right into the awaiting arms of the FBI where he is arrested. A. Kirk is advised of the actions of Red and the FBI, and they encourage him to show up for the hearing or else he could lose billions of dollars. He is finally hit in the pocketbook where it counts.
Aram talks to Ressler about what will happen now that the plan worked and Kirk is flying in; he says you know what Reddington is going to do, and Ressler nods. Aram says he’s not okay with this, “are you?” They both look up to see Dembe, where Red is meeting with Harold. Red tells Harold that he will kill him, and that they both know that nothing else will protect Agnes or avenge Elizabeth. He also tells Harold that he doesn’t expect them to become further involved; Harold says he went into this agreement with his eyes open. Red says he admires Harold’s courage, and that it’s been a privilege to see firsthand why the people he leads love him the way they do. Red tells Harold that their time together has come to an end, not just for this case, but for all of it. With Elizabeth gone, there is nothing more for him to contribute. He tells Harold to take care of himself and the others, and tells him set Aram up with someone “for God’s sake, he’s like a kid with his first erection on a school bus.”
Tom is in a supermarket with a nervous looking Mr. Kaplan and some other heavies; she tells him to be quick. Tom picks out formula and has an interaction with another mom and a baby. In the next scene, Tom has spit up on his shirt and tells one heavy that he needs to go clean up. The heavy responds that Red told him not to let the child out of his sight. Mr. Kaplan tells the heavy that she will take Agnes while Tom goes to clean up. Tom leaves and the mom with the baby shows up and declares that Mr. Kaplan has her baby. Mr. Kaplan says that there’s no way the baby is her child until she looks at “Agnes” and realizes it’s the boy with the bow tie that we saw Tom admire earlier. Mr. Kaplan says she is so sorry and doesn’t know how this happened. Tom gave them the slip.
We see the man hired to kidnap Agnes and he’s on the phone with someone who will find Tom. Cut to Red and Dembe and Baz who are looking for the best spot to get A. Kirk on his route. Next we see Tom at an airport getting on a plane. The hitman-kidnapper shows up in the background and gets the flight information for the plane. They are on their way to Cuba. He calls Pastor Tim, er I mean Benjamin Stalder, and they discuss kidnapping and murder. Red, Dembe, and Baz go to a building under construction and clear it out so that a sniper can set up shop. Ressler shows up and tells Red not to do this, but Red tells him it’s gonna happen in about ten minutes.
So much happens so fast in this act. Stalder tells A. Kirk where Agnes and Tom are in Cuba. Harold and Navabi talk about crossing the line of killing in the name of justice and vengeance. Ressler and Red argue about whether or not Red should have the sniper kill A. Kirk, and there is a mexican standoff. Red tells the sniper to go find Baz, and he steps up to the sniper rifle. Red tells Ressler that he knows Donald will shoot him, but is he willing to die in the process? They have a philosophical discussion about justice and vengeance, and Red asks him to decide between a bullet in Red’s head, or one in A. Kirk’s head. Ressler lowers his gun, but it turns out that Kirk isn’t the one in the car after all.
Tom arrives in Cuba with Agnes, but he has caught a tail. Aram confirms that Kirk was supposed to arrive, but that he changed his flight plan to Cuba instead. Red asks Aram to look for another flight plan, one that could be Agnes and Tom. Red uses the information Aram gives him to go see a man at a driving range about the flight to Cuba. The man says that he assumed Kaplan came to him at Red’s behest. Mr. Kaplan faces Red’s wrath and says she did help Tom and Agnes leave. She points out some of his mistakes and tells Red that she didn’t betray him, but that she did what she’s always done. She protected him, this time from himself.
Red tells her this time she’s wrong because A. Kirk tracked them all the way to Cuba. This news surprises Kaplan, and Red tells her that he knows she did it to protect Agnes, but now they are in grave danger. Mr. Kaplan says not just Agnes is in danger, and it’s Red’s turn to be surprised. As Tom arrives, we see that Liz is alive, that’s right, LIZ IS ALIVE!! What an awesome twist, that you may or may not have believed was coming. Liz asks if they are okay. Tom tells her it’s over, no one is coming after them, that’s it’s just the three of them now, they are free.
Red is fast and furious on his way to Cuba with an abashed Mr. Kaplan. He asks how and she tells him “how won’t change anything,” but she says she supposed she knew what she would do on the drive to the mobile CU, that it wasn’t just about her any more that the child was already paying the price. As she explains, we see flashbacks from the previous episode where Liz died. Mr. Kaplan asked Liz how far she was willing to go to protect her, and we see Kaplan’s plan. Red asks if it had really come to that, and Kaplan confirms that Liz loved her daughter that much and that it had come to that. She is clearly upset about what has happened and what might happen with Kirk on the way.
Tom returns home and sees signs of a struggle and finds a man about to take Agnes. He tries to kill the man to death while looking at his daughter, knowing that he is her last hope; he turns around and gets TKO’d by the hitman-kidnapper. Ressler talks to Harold about almost letting Red kill Kirk. He reveals to Harold and presumably the rest of the team that Liz is alive. Red, Dembe, and Mr. Kaplan arrive at the house, but too late. They also see the signs of a struggle and the empty baby crib. Mr. Kaplan is obviously distraught about the situation, and Red angrily presses a gun against her face and asks “What am I going to do with you, Kate?” The final scene shows Liz tied to a chair asking where her daughter and husband are. Kirk arrives and calls her Masha and says he’s been imagining this moment for the past 25 years. He says that once he was Constantin Rostov and that he’s her father. And SCENE!