What Jenny's Reading

{February 6, 2015}   The Blacklist: The Judge

Happy Friday!  I finally tried an aviation cocktail!  Except I realized I hate gin (WHO DRINKS THIS SHIT ANYWAY?), so I substituted vodka.  Also, I couldn’t find any creme de violette, so I used elderflower cordial.  So I guess it’s not really an aviation cocktail after all.  Whatever, it is still delicious!

Today I have the next episode of The Blacklist.  I still haven’t watched, even though I heard the Superbowl episode was amazing.  I know!  I think I’m just storing them up so I can binge on them after the season’s over.  I think that sounds like an excellent weekend.  Maybe I will even go find some real creme de violette for that!

1. A guy dressed in a suit and carrying a paper bag walks by a sort of remote-looking highway. He’s got crazy hair and even crazier eyes.
2. Our traumatized friend is very lucky; a truck driver pulls over and, instead of stealing from him, gets him some help. We find out that he’s an ADA.
3. I don’t mean to imply that truck drivers are by their natures violent and untrustworthy. Sorry if I gave that impression.
4. Now we’re with a lady with awful hair who is this guy’s wife. She’s talking to an EMT who is explaining trauma etc. and we find out he’s been missing twelve years. Also, his name is Max Hastings. She freaks out all over him, while he’s prone on a gurney, because she’s the dramatic type. Also, her husband she thought was dead is back and not missing any vital body parts.
5. Red and a guy in a cowboy hat have a clandestine meeting. Red compliments Cowboy’s…uh, cowboy hat, and Cowboy in turn insults him. Well, that’s just rude. Anyway, Red wants Cowboy to investigate Lucy Brooks, but since he knows where she is, he wants to know where she’s been. Cowboy says fine, and they haggle over pricing.
6. Why do I keep typing “Cowbody”? That’s just weird.
7. Cut to Tom hanging out having breakfast with “Jolene” and a bunch of other teachers, having a boring conversation about banning books and a slightly less boring conversation about their co-workers’ sex lives. I certainly can’t imagine why Lizzie wouldn’t want to waste one of her vacation days to hang around these stimulating educators!
8. Of course, “Jolene” turns the talk toward adultery, and how people cheat because they’re unhappy in their marriages. Yeah, maybe, except also maybe those cheaters should try working on their marriages rather than running away to Florida after a having a pissy little argument with his busy wife, not that I’m thinking of any married guy in particular of course.
9. During all this, Tom ignores calls from Lizzie, because of course he does.
10. We leave this exceedingly stimulating scene to visit the PO, where Red is explaining about “The Judge”: a prison myth about someone who extracts justice for the wrongly accused. He thinks that Hastings was one of the Judge’s prisoners, because he was gone for twelve years, the same amount of time one of the men he convicted was put away for. Turns out the evidence was tampered with. They discuss many other Judge victims, like cops and other lawyers and judges.
11. Somehow, they’ve decided that all the pleas for the Judge go to a book depository for prisoners that’s in Virginia. One of the men who works there, Frank, is a convicted killer who is on parole.
12. Lizzie and Ressler head out and meet the very weird old lady who’s in charge of the book depository. She takes them down to Frank’s space, which is in the basement, surrounded by wire cages. There’s a bed there, so he apparently doesn’t just work there, he lives there. I get very creepy vibes from the old lady and wonder if maybe poor Frank is starring in her personal prisonyard sexual fantasies. Or maybe she’s making a skin suit, or something. Whatever floats her creepy boat.
13. It’s super dark down there, and old lady doesn’t want them messing with Frank’s stuff, since he’s not there. Lizzie and Ressler ignore her and head into the darker recesses of the cage with their flashlights. Lizzie calls for Frank, but it’s Ressler who gets ambushed. Frank jumps out of the shadows, knocks him down, and escapes.
14. Man, poor Ressler. Why’s he always the one who gets beat up? I mean, it was sort of funny at first, but with the number of times it’s already happened I’m a little worried about all the blows to the head he’s been receiving.
15. They recover and go through Frank’s files, finding all sorts of pleas from prisoners all over the country. One is for a guy called Alan Ray Rifkin, and there’s a post it note attached that says “Justice Granted.”
16. Okay, it was when they said his name that I knew he was guilty of something. You don’t have three names like that and not turn into a serial killer.
17. Rifkin, it turns out, is on death row and will be executed in a matter of days. He is former military and maybe turned Taliban while in Afghanistan? He helped murder a whole village of people. Oh, and guess what? The FBI agent in charge of Rifkin’s transport was Harold Cooper.
18. The prosecutor was a guy called Tom Connolly, who is now a candidate for Attorney General. He is a particularly oozy political type. Just you wait till we meet him.
19. Lizzie goes to see Rifkin to chat about whether or not he requested vengeance from the prisonyard’s answer to Nemesis. A lady, Ruth Kipling, is there as a spiritual adviser. Rifkin dances around the subject but then says that Cooper beat him up to extract a confession, on the orders of Connelly.
20. Tom and “Jolene” meet in the bar and complain about various boring things. Why is a substitute teacher on this trip? What kind of a school does Tom work for that has all this money to send random people to Orlando on a teacher’s conference where they do no conferencing?
21. Of course, the talk turns to sex again, because “Jolene” is nothing if not thirsty, and soon Tom and “Jolene” are making out in a bathroom. They are interrupted by a kid, and Tom comes to his senses, but “Jolene” gives him her room key.
22. Frank and Ruth are at a farm, but instead of animals they have justice prisoners. What should I call this? Barn of Justice? That doesn’t have the same ring, and I used “dental chair of justice” a few reviews back. I don’t want to go repeating myself. Anyway, they feed the prisoners who all are very creepy and cult-like, and Frank says that Cooper and Connolly will be kidnapped if Rifkin is executed.
23. The PO sans Cooper investigates. Meera discovers that there’s a time discrepancy, and they decide it’s possible that Cooper did do what he’s been accused of doing. They confront him, but nicely, like hey this Judge person totally thinks you’re guilty so maybe watch yourself for a bit so you don’t get kidnapped to Cult Justice (…nope). Cooper overacts in a way that basically tells you he’s guilty of something, we just don’t know what yet.
24. Now the Cowboy is searching “Jolene’s” apartment, and it’s crazy clean with a whole cabinet of bottled water. What the fuck, “Jolene”? Why not put those in the fridge? Who likes room temperature water?
25. Lizzie goes back to see Cooper. Connolly is there, and he is both slimy and creepy at the same time. He’s crlimy? Sreepy? Whatever. Point is they tell Lizzie she’s right, but that none of it matters because all of Rifkin’s appeals are exhausted so he’s going to die anyway, no matter how the confession was obtained.
26. Oh, they also threaten Lizzie’s career. You know, I’m glad the Judge kidnaps these two later in the episode.
27. Lizzie still tries to save Rifkin, because she is principled. She finds out that Connolly is right, and bitches to Ressler about this. Ressler just sort of looks at her, maybe wondering why someone who works for the FBI doesn’t already know this information. I know that’s sort of mean of me, but I knew that. And I’m pretty sure I knew that before I went to law school. It’s not hard to find out.
28. Cooper and Connolly go to watch Rifkin’s execution. This is such a weird thing that I’ve never understood. I get family and friends, to be with their loved one in their last moments, but these dudes, why do they get to go? Oh: because power. So he dies professing his innocence, and tells Ruth “Goodnight Mother.”
29. Lizzie is there too, and hears this.
30. Later, Cooper and Connolly chat about Cooper’s new project. Connolly is obviously irritated he can’t know Cooper’s secrets, and tells him that one day Cooper will have to tell him, after he’s director of the FBI and Connolly is Attorney General. They giggle and suck and are almost immediately kidnapped.
31. Maybe you guys should’ve listened to Lizzie. But I guess this is fitting punishment for ignoring someone because she’s a girl.
32. Lizzie calls Red, and he tells her she has to get through to Hastings to find out where Cooper is located. Can I just say that I love they’re only concerned about getting Cooper out? I know he’s their friend and boss and all, but I enjoy thinking that Lizzie and Ressler are back at the PO going, fuck that Connolly guy.
33. Ruth brings Connolly and Cooper into the barn court and bitches at them about Rifkin’s death. Connolly is a total dick to her, because I suppose years of being privileged and protected make you immune to the idea that something bad can actually happen to you. Ruth goes pretty nuts here, and demands their pleas. Also the prisoners/cult members are making tons of noise, banging on their stalls and so forth.
34. Connolly pleads not guilty, and Cooper keeps his mouth shut, because he’s not a fucking dumbass (all evidence presented in this episode to the contrary). Instead of apologizing and letting them go, Ruth sentences them to death via creepy old timey electric chair. To heighten the suspense, she decides to off Cooper first, even though clearly Connolly is the better choice.
35. Red waylays his former Naval Academy roommate in what appears to be a federal building, because I guess everybody forgot he’s a wanted criminal. The guy’s name is Richard Abraham, and he is angry with Red because his career got trashed when Red turned traitor.
36. But I mean…the guy is an Admiral. Isn’t that the highest rank you can achieve in the Navy?
37. Okay, I checked. There are lots of kinds of Admirals, and we don’t know what kind Abraham is. But they are definitely the top of the food chain. Maybe he’s like an Admiral in name only, or something dumb like that? Or maybe he wanted to move to politics or some other area and wasn’t able to because of his association with Red.
38. Also, Red vanished in 1990. At the time, he was being “groomed for Admiral,” I remember Ressler saying that. And I think he started leaking documents four years later, so 1994. So the guy was totally disgraced twenty years previous, but managed to become an Admiral who clearly has a job doing something. Yeah, unless they’re trying to change the timeline of Red’s treasonous beginnings, I’m not entirely sure I buy what Abraham’s selling here.
39. Red manages to convince Abraham to give him classified information about Rifkin, so I guess at this point the career trashing is just water under the bridge. Did the writers of this episode forget that it’s top secret that Red works with the PO? So from Abraham’s perspective, he just handed out classified information to a known fugitive because he asked nicely.
40. Oh, wait. So Red managed to convince Abraham that the people who need the information could help Abraham’s career. Again, from Abraham’s perspective, the dude is a wanted felon. What kind of help was he expecting from this?
41. I think I have joked about this before, but maybe Red is an actual wizard. How else would he be able to make these things happen?
42. Lizzie manages to get in to see Hastings, who is for some reason at home with his wife rather than being evaluated for psychiatric issues and given in house treatment. Anyway, his wife is super bitchy, which I guess I can understand, but this family isn’t our main characters, Lizzie is, and I’d rather the PO find Cooper than Hastings be okay. Also, it’s shallow, but I hate the wife’s hair a lot.
43. So she doesn’t get anywhere, but as she’s leaving Hastings says the Goodnight Mother thing. She decides that, since Rifkin said the same thing to Ruth, obviously Ruth is the Judge.
44. Aram and Lizzie deduce that she’s currently living in Pennsylvania. Why would she register the Barn Court (…nope) in her name? Or her charity’s name? If it were me, I’d go with shell corporation and all sorts of untraceable stuff.
45. Red calls Lizzie and tells her he’s got all sorts of good info for the Rifkin case. He’s going to meet them at Ruth’s place and talk to her.
46. Lizzie and Ressler and a SWAT team descend on the Cult Court (…yes!) before Cooper can be murdered. Lizzie calls Ruth and says they want to send someone with new information on the Rifkin case in.
47. Red saunters in and allows them to search him for weapons. He’s got the file from Abraham, and tells Ruth that what really happened was, Rifkin was Taliban or at least buddies with them, and they massacred a whole village in Afghanistan because they’d found out an American undercover agent was hiding there. The government had extracted the agent before the massacre, and because they didn’t want any bad publicity, they covered up the whole thing and beat Rifkin into his confession.
48. Okay. I have many problems with this story. Well, not the storytelling side, but just the happening of this event. So Rifkin did what he was accused of, and was lying all this time, but because of the doctored time logs the Judge decided he was innocent? And we’re supposed to be all, well the US are the good guys in this scenario because they covered up a massacre to protect the agent? I just…yuck.
49. Also – when did this happen, again? Why do I get the feeling that Red was the American agent? I mean, how else would he have known Rifkin’s story?
50. Red shows Ruth the classified Pentagon file he got from Abraham, and she believes him, even though they totally could’ve mocked up that file to look real to convince her. She decides to surrender because she wants justice, not revenge, and lets everyone go.
51. Connolly is released, and by this time Red has already gone. He tries to get Cooper to tell him what happened, but Cooper refuses. Sadly, Connolly lives to ooze another day.
52. Red meets with the Cowboy, who tells him that he thinks “Jolene” has lots of little targets or one big one. Wow, I wonder who her big target could possibly be? Red tells the Cowboy not to take her out, because he wants to see what she’s going to do.
53. Lizzie’s gathered all the Judge’s files and has them at the PO. Cooper tells her to send them to the Justice Department, to see if maybe any of them are innocent. He also tells her he understands if she were to turn him in, but she declines. Turn in to whom? All the people at the top apparently okayed this whole thing.
54. Red chats with Cooper, and tells him to remember what Red did for him that day, since soon he’s going to need Cooper’s help. Also, maybe he could help out Abraham’s career, since he was so helpful that day to them. Um, again, the dude handed over classified information to a known fugitive in exchange for some shadowy “help” he might get with his career. And he also didn’t call the cops or FBI about his meeting with said fugitive. In the real world, I wonder if Abraham would lose his job and rank entirely. But this is TV, so Cooper promises.
55. And now for the so-called huge “reveal.” Tom uses the key to get into “Jolene’s” room (ha, I just typed “Holene” by mistake) and tells her that he can’t have an affair with her because of Lizzie. She gets pissed, and tells him that Lizzie’s not his wife but his target. “Jolene” works for the shadowy secret whatever that Tom also works for, and Tom gets mad and wonders if it was a test, because his job is to love is wife. Well, and also to pick fights with her about her reluctance to be a mother and her reasons for working so much and not telling him what she does. I guess that falls under “loving her” too, according to the Spying Playbook of Tom Keen.


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