What Jenny's Reading

{October 3, 2014}   The Blacklist: The Stewmaker

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone has some fun plans for the weekend!  I will likely not have a Swatch Saturday for you tomorrow, but I will put up something.  Today I have the fourth episode of The Blacklist.

1. The episode opens with a super creepy guy checking into a hotel. He then does a bunch of super creepy stuff, like taking off his wig and dentures, taping a bunch of plastic sheeting to the walls, and showering with chemicals. He also meticulously cleans the room, but I don’t think that’s weird or creepy.
2. That room is really weird. It’s very red, and it has a large sunken tub that seems like it belongs in a “nicer” room than the crappy Motel 6 knockoff that Creepy Guy (I know, my nicknames are so clever!) is in. Like maybe the motel’s honeymoon suite or something.
3. Then Liz is breaking into some kind of FBI storage place. She finds the Angel Station file, and the date, but doesn’t get any further because the clerk at the front runs her off. Did she not have the date before? Maybe she didn’t.
4. Ressler and Cooper are meeting about Liz and her investigation into the incident. Cooper wants Ressler to shadow Liz for awhile. She’s going to be in court testifying against a drug lord she helped capture while she worked in New York, and he’s to go with her.
5. Ressler is not so good at the “being casual” thing. He asks Liz if he can come with her in such an obvious way that she instantly knows that he’s watching her. He owns it, and they have a short staring contest before Meera breaks it up and says that Red wants to talk to Liz.
6. Okay, I’ll admit it. I thought the staring contest was kinda sexy.
7. Red is dressed in some weird ass outfit with a weird non-fedora hat. Dembe is irritated because they are going to miss their plane, except the plane belongs to Red so I don’t see how that’s possible.
8. Liz is pissy about meeting Red. I guess you can assume that every time she meets him, she is pissy. It feels redundant to keep typing it. Anyway, Red tells her that her case is going to go bad, since the drug lord contacted him for a new identity and an escape. He doesn’t think her day in court is going to go well, which is probably not a sentiment that will fill her with confidence.
9. They are in court. Liz watches her witness testify. Ressler watches Liz, and also watches the drug lord, who is watching Liz too. Lorca? He has the worst hair of all time. Worse than Liz’s early episode wigs. Worse than Tom’s weird-ass hipster crap. Worse than Creepy Guy’s wig. Just the worst. You aren’t Fabio, dude.
10. One of the jurors has a heart attack just as the witness is going to finger Lorca as the man who killed his son. Liz hustles her witness out and hands him over to a couple of guys in “US Marshall” jackets. That is in quotes for a reason, because they are of course not real Marshalls but imposters who kill the witness before Ressler has a chance to tell Liz the heart attack was chemically induced.
11. Liz calls Red and interrupts him selling guns to criminals in Haiti. She yells at him and he tells her that he isn’t interested in helping her with her drug lord, sweetie, so just run along home and have a glass of wine and contemplate the futility of your life.
12. He is lucky he is not with her. She probably would’ve punched him. I know I would’ve.
13. He does perk up a bit when she says there were hundreds of victims, and none of the bodies were ever found, but doesn’t share his thoughts.
14. Liz heads home and plays on her computer, looking up the dates and Angel Station and so forth. Tom catches her, and makes a joke about his oozing sores, like WAY TO BE DISGUSTING, TOM. He also clues her in that they were in Boston on June 23, 2012, and there are tons of pictures on the computer of their trip. Liz is super relieved, because maybe Tom isn’t an evil spy after all.
15. Personally, if I were her, I would’ve packed up that box of spy stuff and trundled on over to Cooper with it while Tom was still in the hospital. But then, I am not emotionally invested in Tom or in their relationship.
16. Ressler calls her then, because they’ve found the witness, sort of. They’ve found the crime scene, but since there’s no sign of the witness I’m not really sure how they know it’s the crime scene they’re looking for, except for having to advance the plot.
17. Red calls Liz while she’s checking out the scene. He is psychic, you guys! I mean, if he’d call her twenty minutes before, she still would’ve been at home. Twenty minutes after, and she probably would have been gone. Psychic!
18. That’s not the point of the call, though. He tells her the Stewmaker is in town, and makes her run her fingers in the bathroom drain to sniff for chemicals. So unsanitary, Liz. Those chemicals dissolved a body, and now they are all over her fingers, along with probably tiny bitty body pieces. Why don’t any of these people care as much about communicable diseases as I do?
19. Red is then explaining the Stewmaker to the team at the PO. He thinks the Stewmaker is gross, because he collects mementos from his victims. Hey, scrapbooking can be a very absorbing and relaxing hobby, Red. And who are you to judge him for wanting to preserve the memories of some of his best work? He’s got professional pride.
20. Meera and Liz chat with Lorca, who is all happy and smug. Ugh, he has total das backpfeifengesicht. If you don’t know what that means, Google it. I promise you won’t be disappointed! And then you will wonder why we don’t have a similar word in English.
21. The upshot is, they are dropping the murder charges, but bringing fake money laundering charges and turning him over to Homeland. He doesn’t bend on the Stewmaker’s identity, so Liz escorts him to a tarmac to board a helicopter. To absolutely no one’s surprise, the tarmac is blown up, Lorca escapes, and Liz is kidnapped.
22. Ressler is freaking out at the PO, because he secretly loves Liz. Okay fine. Because she’s an FBI agent who’s been kidnapped. Red says he will take the job with Lorca and try to locate Liz. Ressler hates this idea, but Red points out that they don’t have any other options. Well, he says it more hilariously, something about falling ass backwards into a pile of Christmas.
23. Ressler is going to come with him, which Red doesn’t like, but finally relents and says that he won’t save Ressler if things go bad. Also, Ressler isn’t going to be waiting in the car like some pansy, but coming in with Red. Ressler pouts and tells Red he will never trust him. Oh come on, you guys. Eventually you are going to metaphorically hug it out and you will be bros.
24. Red tells Ressler to be ready with a cover story, and then immediately blows it by telling Lorca that Ressler is with the FBI. Lorca’s men get ready to kill him, but Ressler flips one dude and recovers nicely: he is with the FBI, but also works for Red, and is the reason that Lorca has those snazzy new fingerprints and social security number. This is a really good story, and I hate to admit it, but I don’t know if Ressler is clever enough to have made this up on the spot. I mean, I love the guy, but I don’t think quick thinking is really his forte.
25. Lorca buys it, and Red gets him to tell him about the Stewmaker and that Liz is probably still alive. They get an address or a contact or whatever, because obviously Lorca doesn’t have the guy programmed into his cell phone.
26. Meera (and probably Aram) track a guy named Stanley as owning the PO box that Lorca led them to, and she and Ressler are on their way to talk to him. If the scenery flashing by the car is anything to go by, it appears he lives in the woods.
27. Ressler and Meera and a team bust into this Stanley guy’s house, totally freaking out his wife and kid. Ha. They talk to her, and find out about a cabin that he likes to go to all alone and very often, and that she has never been. Wow, lady, how unobservant are you? At the very least, I would think he was cheating on me.
28. Cut to a lovely little log cabin. It looks like a nice place for some R&R, or possibly to be murdered and have your body thrown in the nearby lake. Lucky for Liz, there will be no body-tossing. Because the Stewmaker has a huge vat of chemicals to dissolve her body! Okay, that is probably not so lucky.
29. Liz tries to establish some rapport with the Stewmaker, and he sort of takes the bait, but also stabs her with some sort of drug in her nerves to make everything very painful. You know, I am thinking that Lorca is kind of a pussy. He hates Liz because she caught him being an evil murdering drug lord, and he refuses to deal with the problem himself. So he hires this other guy to handle it, and hides away from the problem. I’d respect him more if he’d deal with it himself.
30. The Stewmaker also injects her with a drug that will slowly paralyze her. Nice. Poor Liz. This is creepy and horrifying.
31. Red is on the case, though, tracking down the Stewmaker’s dog through the microchip and getting the location.
32. Liz escapes, somehow, but the toxin starts to take effect and the dog finds her. The Stewmaker punches her and carries her back to the cabin.
33. I feel like I should say something about the gratuitous violence against a woman. But others have said things better than I could. I will only say, the show doesn’t seem to be gleeful about this, in the way that other shows have been.
34. Remember those episodes of Supernatural where they tied up the girl demons with that weird contraption that made them essentially naked, and tortured them for half an episode? That’s the kind of violence against women that seems gleeful to me. The violence against Liz in this episode is brutal, but it doesn’t feel like torture porn.
35. In the meantime, Ressler has mustered every FBI agent in the history of forever to search the countryside of Maine or wherever the fuck they are.
36. The Stewmaker has stripped down naked now. I would make a joke about torturing Liz even further, but that seems mean. He is covered in weird scars and burn marks, and I don’t know why. We never learn why.
37. Red shows up and punches the Stewmaker into unconsciousness. Liz is fully paralyzed now, and the look he gives her when he’s helping her in the wheelchair is just…I don’t know. He looks so, so relieved that he got there in time to save her.
38. The Stewmaker is tied up and sitting on the edge of his boiling chemical bath. Red tells him a story about a farmer who destroys everything around him because he loses the things he loves. Clearly this is a story about Red. It is very good.
39. When Liz tells him “he couldn’t help it,” I think she is referring to the farmer in the story, not the Stewmaker. That would make sense. I think she knows what he’s going to do, and wants to stop him.
40. Nope! Red tosses the Stewmaker into his bath. Literally a second later, the FBI bursts in. Red distracts Ressler by telling him that Liz needs a medic. Ressler then, hilariously, feels her glands and looks into her eyes, like maybe in his spare time he’s a fucking doctor or something.
41. Red uses the confusion to go through a photo book of all the Stewmaker’s victims. He steals a picture of a girl from December 1990. Hmm.
42. Ressler helps Liz out to the ambulance. She is wrapped up in a blanket and about halfway there just crumbles into sobs. Ressler holds her while she cries. It’s a very nice moment between these two characters, and again I say, poor Lizzie.
43. All cried out, Liz accuses Red of being a monster. I mean, okay. I guess she hasn’t had the chance to update her personal situational ethics, but I still haven’t seen Red do anything onscreen that would make me think that. He killed Compo, who was a horrible person and deserved it. The Stewmaker also deserved it. Red has no hard feelings and gives her the book, to try to find the victims and give their families some peace.
44. As the ambulance drives away, Ressler and Red chat about Lorca. Ressler proves he knows Red pretty well here, and mentions that he knows that Red will turn him in, since Lorca was a dick to Red, and Red didn’t like that. I think associating with Red is actually really good for Ressler.
45. Liz is recovering from her ordeal in the bathroom, wearing a pretty robe and sitting at the edge of an empty bathtub. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to take a bath anytime soon after that either, Liz. Tom interrupts her reverie because I guess she isn’t allowed even a couple of minutes alone to think without him barging in, and says he booked them a weekend in Boston, where they stayed before, as a romantic getaway. I guess the FBI lets you take time off whenever you want.
46. I’d be annoyed if my husband booked a vacation without consulting me first, but Liz is delighted, at least till she sees that the hotel is called “Angel Station.” Dun dun DUN! Doesn’t she have enough to deal with at the moment? I mean, it’s been what, a couple of hours since her latest near-death experience?
47. You know, I really feel bad for Liz. She has no one to confide in. She can’t tell her husband about her job, because it’s classified. She can’t tell her friends for the same reason. She and Ressler are still locked in the butting heads phase of their relationship. She hasn’t been written much with Meera or Aram, so it would be weird for us to see a scene with her confiding in them. Cooper is her boss. She doesn’t trust Red. Wow, she doesn’t have anyone at all. That depresses me.
48. Oh, and I’ll share my theory about Liz’s paternage now. Originally I thought she was Red’s daughter, but now I don’t think so. Remember in the last episode, when Berlin has the picture of the girl that is the same picture Red pulled from the album in this episode? I think that Red was the person that Berlin’s daughter fell in love with, and that he fell in love with her, too. I think Liz is the daughter’s child, but that Red isn’t her father. Red is invested in her because he loved her mother, and he believes that her mother is dead.


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