What Jenny's Reading











{October 30, 2014}   The Blacklist: Frederick Barnes

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  I haven’t forgotten about you, though!  It’s been crazy busy lately.

Today I have the next Blacklist episode.  I am going to try and get up another Little House review tomorrow, if I have time.  I’m out of town again on Friday/Saturday, and then family is flying in on Saturday evening.  I know it seems like all I ever do is go out of town for the weekend, but that’s not the case.  It’s just been a weird month.

Anyway, have you been watching the new season?  I have to admit that, till last night’s episode, I was less than thrilled.  It’s not like the episodes have been bad or anything, but I felt like we were treading water with the second to last one, and also I wasn’t sure what the Red’s wife plotline was adding.  I kind of almost want to wait till the end of the season and watch everything from there.  I have a feeling that some of these earlier episodes will make more sense in that context.  But I enjoyed last night’s, probably because it focused a lot on Ressler and his problems, and also revealed that Red is something of an animal activist.

1. Dude gets on a subway train. He’s wearing a grandpa hat. I say this, because my grandpa had a hat just like that one, except in beige. However, this dude is not my grandpa. He’s that guy from House whose name I can never remember. Robert Something Leonard? The good looking one.
2. Anyway, Grandpa Hat sits down next to a girl who looks like she’s college aged. She has really pretty red hair. She’s also overly friendly with her seatmates, which makes me think she’s probably new to riding a subway. I mean, I don’t take public transportation very often (the “benefit” of living in near a major metropolitan area that refuses to upgrade its transport systems), but I would think chatting with your seatmates might lead to a sudden case of death.
3. Well, Red Hair has spotted the cap, and asks if Grandpa Hat bought it in a certain place. Grandpa Hat is embarrassed, thinking he left a tag on. No, she bought one just like it for her dad. And she’s not my mom, either. I know, because my mom does not have red hair.
4. Her hair is really pretty. It makes me want to dye my hair red again.
5. Grandpa Hat is distressed to hear that Red Hair has a life outside of riding this subway car. He asks her overly familiar questions about when she last saw her family and her faith, which she answers in the affirmative. I wonder if he’d have changed his mind if she’d been all, “Family? Haven’t talked to them in years! Maybe someday we’ll make up, though. Also, I am an atheist.” Probably not.
6. He gets off the train and leaves his briefcase, which Red Hair sees. She tries to return it, but Grandpa Hat just stares at her and then pushes a remote control, which causes white smoke to spew out of the case. This makes Red Hair cough. People back away till they all start coughing, too, and soon they’re all dead. Grandpa Hat calmly walks away.
7. The lesson here, obviously, is don’t chat with your seatmates on the subway.
8. Keen home. Lizzie is in the dining area where Tom was so fatefully stabbed. She’s got furniture moved all around and has paint chips on the wall. Tom comes in, thinking perhaps she has gone insane. She says she’s just redecorating, since the room has a bad feeling to it. Well, yeah. Having your husband stabbed and almost murdered in a room will probably make you feel icky about it.
9. Also what makes me feel icky? The print on the walls. Is that wallpaper? What the FUCK is that pattern? I agree, Lizzie. Paint away!
10. Lizzie’s more concerned with how Red made her think Tom’s a monster. You know, she uses that word a lot. She’s called Red a monster, I think more than once now. Tom is massively cool with the whole thing. Red flag, Lizzie.
11. Ressler interrupts this boring scene and calls to tell Lizzie to turn on the TV. She asks what channel, and he says, any channel.
12. They find a news program talking about the subway murders. I love how on TV, you always can find the right channel immediately, and also the news program or whatever you’re looking for has just started so you can see the whole story. Nobody ever tunes in and the news is all, “And that’s it for today! Now, the weather…”
13. Anyway, Lizzie gets ready and heads out to meet Ressler at the scene. A cop is all, you can’t park here, but Ressler rescues her and they swan off, chatting about the massacre.
14. Why are they there? The PO task force is specific, I thought. They’re to go after the criminals Red points them at. At this point, we don’t know that Grandpa Hat is one of Red’s criminals. Maybe Ressler got bored?
15. I wish we had a better understanding of how much time passes between episodes.
16. Aram is there, with his laptop. He shows Ressler a video of Grandpa Hat walking up the subway steps and they decide based on the briefcase thing that he’s their suspect.
17. Back at the PO, they are trying to get the briefcase from the CDC as evidence, but the CDC said no because it’s testing positive for something radioactive. Meera says there was no chatter indicating a possible biological warfare attack prior to the massacre. Then there’s a call on the tip line. I ask again, why are they investigating this?
18. Lizzie takes the call, and of course it’s Red. He tries to be playful about her clothing choices, but she’s not having it. She’s pissy and wants nothing to do with him till he mentions he knows who’s responsible.
19. I agree with Red, though. That blouse is doing her no favors.
20. She goes to meet him but takes Ressler too. Red tells them about Frederick Barnes, who is Grandpa Hat from earlier (if you couldn’t guess). He was a government scientist and went into the free market awhile back. Meaning, bomb making, terrorism, etc. No reasoning for this change is ever given.
21. Ressler and Lizzie then talk to a CDC doctor whose name I can’t remember. We’ll see her again later this season. She tells them that all the people in the subway had Kurz disease, a vascular disorder that typically results in death. But they got it and succumbed very fast. Typically it takes ten years to kill someone.
22. I looked up, and it doesn’t appear to exist. There’s a Kurz syndrome, but the symptoms are different.
23. The CDC doctor also says whoever set the biobomb has access to something called stromium, a radioactive isotope. Lizzie tells this to Red, and he says he knows one of the only people in the world who supply it. He says he’ll go visit him. He wants Lizzie to go, but she’s going to interview Barnes’s old research assistant instead. He is sad about this, and tells her that maybe he’ll just disappear if she doesn’t want to work with him anymore.
24. Red stalks off into his car, where Luli is waiting. She tells him that something’s come on the market, which perks him right up.
25. Lizzie and Ressler go chat with the research assistant, whose name I can’t remember. She’s a pretty blonde with a husband and a son who is showing signs of Kurz disease. Lizzie confronts her about this out of her family’s earshot, and she confirms that Barnes is the kid’s father, and that he’s probably doing what he’s doing to drum up research funding to save their son’s life. Ressler thinks this is insane. Not the saving the kid’s life, just the general idea of drumming up research money this way.
26. I’m really interested in how she knows that her son is Barnes’s, and not her husband’s. She specifically says she kept it a secret, so…did she run a secret DNA panel or something? If her husband thinks the kid is his, it stands to reason they were having regular sexytimes around the time he was conceived. So if she was having sexytimes with her husband and Barnes, how does she really know?
27. I get it’s easy exposition for the episode. I just think there could’ve been better ways of explaining it.
28. Cuba! Red goes to talk to his contact and eats something that I guess the contact’s mom made. The contact says he doesn’t have any more of the isotope, but Red convinces him he’ll make it worth his while to buy it back from the person who bought it. He plants a bug in the contact’s office and takes his leave.
29. Luli calls Dembe to let him know the purchase will be moving forward.
30. It’s a house. Luli meets the realtor outside, who tells her it’s in escrow so they’re only accepting backup offers. Luli offers twice the asking price, in cash. The realtor looks uncertain, but come on. Obviously the house will be Red’s by the end of the episode.
31. Red and Dembe listen in on the contact calling Barnes, and discover he’s in Arlington, at the courthouse. Red tells Lizzie and she and Ressler rush off. They burst through security, waiving their badges around. Man, I hate courthouse security. You know how awesome it would be to be able to do that?
32. Barnes is headed to jury duty, or so it would seem. He has his trusty briefcase (were those things on special or something at Bioterrorism “R” Us?) and pretends he forgot his summons. He uses a ziptie to lock the doors and remotes his device.
33. Ressler pulls the fire alarm. The people in the jury room try to get out, but the device has activated and they all start to cough.
34. Lizzie and Ressler get separated. Ressler makes his way up to the jury floor and finds the ziptied door. He takes some masks and stuff from the recently-arrived firefighters and tells them to clear out.
35. Lizzie spots Barnes in the chaos. She chases him and he takes a hostage on the courthouse steps. She gives in and hands over her weapon.
36. Yes, you read that right. She HANDS OVER HER WEAPON TO THE TERRORIST. But more on that in a second. Barnes shoots out some windows and gets away in the confusion.
37. Ressler’s making his way through the jury room. He finds a survivor and impatiently, hilariously tells her to calm down. The survivor is taken to the hospital.
38. Back at the PO, Lizzie and Meera chat. Meera thinks that maybe this is about random experiments, rather than just drumming up interest in the disease to get funding. Lizzie is called away from this by Cooper, though, who berates her for giving up her weapon and letting Barnes go. He says she’ll be subject to administrative review and maybe sanctioned, but don’t worry about that, because we’ll never hear about this incident again.
39. Lizzie is pissed and confronts Ressler. He tells her that he turned her in because he doesn’t think she’s cut out for field work. He tells her he likes her and knows she’s new, but that’s no excuse. Lizzie tries to get all self-righteous about the hostage’s life, but Ressler shuts that shit down hard. And he is 100% correct, and I’m not just saying that because I love him.
40. Lizzie calls Red, who bitches at her that she can’t just get information from him whenever she wants without treating him like a human being. He mocks Ressler, thinking it’s his fault that Barnes got away. Oh, Lizzie feels the burn on that one. She admits it was her, and Red tells her to check the survivor, as it’s hard to say why Barnes would leave her alive.
41. Why the fuck do they need Red to tell them that?
42. At the hospital, the CDC doctor chats with the survivor. She seems to be doing well. Barnes slips into her room, posing as a nurse, and changes out her IV. We’re thinking something awful is going to happen to this girl.
43. The PO break into the room, and she’s still there, sleeping but looking okay. The CDC doctor is pissed about the chaos, but then discovers the patient was subjected to a bone marrow biopsy.
44. This seems less than sanitary, even at a hospital. Would they perform a bone marrow biopsy at bedside? I realize Barnes is a terrorist and was pressed for time and all, but maybe they should treat her for possible infection or whatever.
45. Meera was right, it would seem. Barnes was looking for someone with immunity to the disease, to create a cure. We see him doing this while it’s discussed. Lizzie realizes that he’s going after his son.
46. I guess they didn’t have the spare staff to park a lookout vehicle outside the family’s house while a notorious terrorist with ties to them was on the loose? That seems like a rookie mistake to me. How do you know the woman wasn’t lying and in on it with Barnes? Maybe the whole PO should be subject to this administrative review thing.
47. Lizzie calls the mom, and while they’re on the phone Barnes arrives. He accidentally knocks the mom out, and tries to reason with his son, who isn’t having it because he saw the attack on his mom. He runs to his bedroom, with Barnes in pursuit. Barnes catches him and chloroforms him. You aren’t off to a great start at building a relationship with your kid, Barnes.
48. Barnes has the kid laid out on his bed and his so-called untested, non-peer-reviewed “cure” at the ready. Lizzie comes in and he acts all cocky that she won’t stop him, because she didn’t earlier. But nope! Lizzie learned from that past mistake, and shoots him totally dead.
49. Outside, she finds Red a distance from the melee. He gives her a guava turnover that he’s apparently been carting around for hours in a paper bag. Hopefully she doesn’t get food poisoning or anything. They chat about the day’s events, and Red says he understands Barnes, who was willing to burn down the world to save someone he loved. Lizzie’s offended somehow, and asks if he’s referring to her. The conversation progresses and she admits she needs him to do her job. Well, duh. Without Red, you’re back to profiling.
50. I’m just going to assume Red threatened Cooper somehow about Lizzie’s review, and that’s why we never hear about it again.
51. Anyway. Back to the PO. Ressler is psyched because he’s going home. Oh, I know that feeling! He and Lizzie talk about her killing Barnes, and she expresses a little regret about not letting Barnes try to cure his son before she killed him. But, in the end, she agreed with Ressler: Barnes needed to be stopped, and she had to do it.
52. See, now that Lizzie and Ressler have bonded over their mutual distaste for random children and love of shooting people, they are friends. Hooray!
53. At some point in here, we get a scene of Red, Dembe, and Luli at the house. Red says it’s the house he raised his family in, which neither of them seem to know. He looks at family stuff in the house that was hidden (I think his daughter’s height chart?) and has a memory/hallucination of a little girl in the back yard, blowing giant bubbles. They leave, and the house explodes. Well then. That’s totally going to kill the property value. I’m sure the surrounding owners are super happy about this. Thanks a LOT, Red!
54. Lizzie heads home, and finds that Tom has totally cleared out their dining room and is waiting for her with Chinese takeout. They have a really boring conversation about something I can’t remember because zzzzz. Sorry, Tom fans, but he’s more interesting when he’s evil.
55. Uh. Spoiler?

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