What Jenny's Reading

{February 19, 2015}   The Blacklist: Mako Tanida

Sorry I haven’t posted as much recently.  I’ve had some stuff going on at work and so forth that have taken a lot of my time.  But I have the next episode of The Blacklist today.  It’s a good one, I promise!

1. We open in Japan, at a prison where an escape is happening. Then we head over to a house, also in Japan. A man comes into a bedroom where a woman is watching two children sleep. He is FBI. The man has a short conversation with his wife and tells her he has some case files to go over. This is a lie, as he goes to the kitchen and stares at a bunch of overdue bills.
2. I don’t know what the point of the bills were. He’s about to be dead and it’s not like they mention it again.
3. Anyway. He is taken by a mysterious person, who turns out to be the man who escaped from the prison earlier. You know, this is a time where that app of Lizzie’s about serial killers and so forth would come in handy.
4. The mysterious person tells the agent that he’s there to extract justice for his brother’s death, because the agent helped cause the death. This FBI guy whose name I can’t remember was on Ressler’s Red hunting task force, and they captured everyone in the world except Red, including this guy.
5. The angry former prisoner tells the FBI agent that he’s going to kill his family, unless he “does the honorable thing” and kills himself with a giant samurai sword. The FBI agent agrees, but honestly, I don’t think the Japanese prisoner was all that trustworthy. How does FBI agent know that he’ll keep his word?
6. You know, when I tested for my green belt, I was required to research the term “bushido” and give an explanation. I will not go into all of it here, but suffice to say that it’s a code of ethics and involves several virtues, such as honor and frugality. Oddly, none of these virtues involve kidnapping people and forcing them to commit ritual suicide. But then, I didn’t get deep into the research. Maybe that part comes later?
7. Okay, probably not.
8. Now we’re back in the States, at Tom and Lizzie’s. Jolene has stopped by to chat with Lizzie about needing a new apartment. Tom freaks and Jolene pretends not to know him. Lizzie gives her a realtor’s card and Jolene departs. Lizzie is psyched that she has a friend, because she, psychological profiler, apparently couldn’t pick up on the tension between Tom and Jolene.
9. I’m done with the “Jolene” thing, by the way. It wasn’t all that funny to begin with and it was hard to remember to keep doing the quotes.
10. Also I find these Tom parts so boring that I literally forgot they existed till I went back and watched this episode again.
11. Ressler is hanging out in a nice house, chatting with his friends Jonica and McGuire, who were also on the task force. This is their friend’s funeral or maybe wake. They all think that the guy committed suicide, but Ressler thinks that’s really out of character. Ha. Okay, maybe the bills were because of the suicide, to give a reason that people wouldn’t investigate too much.
12. Why not just sell this really nice house, then? I get the impression that this is the FBI guy’s American home.
13. Audrey is there! I like Audrey. I mean, I know I keep saying I think Ressler and Lizzie belong together, but I don’t hate her. If she’d lived, I would’ve been okay with him being happy with her.
14. Um. Spoiler?
15. Jonica mocks Ressler and sarcastically calls him “Mr. Emotional Support.” This is funny to me, because for the last several episodes, we have seen Ressler actually be Mr. Emotional Support for Lizzie and her crumbling marriage. Clearly Jonica doesn’t know his friend as well as he thinks!
16. Jonica also thinks Red is responsible for the guy’s death. So Ressler heads into work and asks Lizzie if she can contact Red for him. Lizzie is surprised, since Red is looking for Ressler too. Synchronicity, people!
17. Okay, so not really synchronicity. I’m just looking for an excuse to use one of my favorite words. (The other one’s “serendipity” if you were curious.)
18. Red is at a ballet theatre, chatting with a lady who is probably the head ballerina or something, about some sort of donation or show or whatever. Then Dembe comes up and says they found Agent Ressler, like this is an achievement. I mean, how hard could it have been to find him? He probably goes only three places regularly: work, home, or Audrey’s. Start with those first, then act like you did something special by finding him.
19. Red and Ressler have a secret meeting out in the snow. You know, this scene is really beautiful. It’s so bright and the snow looks so clean! Red assures Ressler that he did not kill Ressler’s friend, and that he thinks he knows who did: Mako Tanida. (He’s right.)
20. Ressler mocks Red and says something about getting Tanida’s head in a box. Let’s stick a pin in that one. We’ll be revisiting it later on.
21. Ressler also doesn’t really believe Red, and Red essentially tells him to avoid committing suicide via samurai sword. This is great advice, and I think everyone should follow it.
22. The very next scene was the other agent, McGuire, killing himself via samurai sword. I guess he didn’t listen to Red’s advice. See how practical it was? McGuire is found in the snow. This episode is so brightly lit.
23. You know, it was really sweet of Red to warn Ressler about the whole thing, even though Ressler didn’t believe him. See, they really do love each other.
24. Ressler finds out about McGuire, and decides he and Audrey need to head out somewhere safe. He has a place upstate, or maybe his parents do, but anyway, he is going. He leaves the safety of the PO to go find Audrey.
25. Then we cut from the interesting scene with characters I like to the boring scene with characters I could not possibly care less about. Tom and Jolene meet at his Super-Secret Spy Warehouse, Now With Extra Guns And Stalker Photos of Lizzie.
26. So they bitch at each other about how Tom is Berlin’s special snowflake who was handpicked to stalk and marry and then apparently do NOTHING ELSE to Lizzie’s life but now his feelings are all hurt because of the stabbing from the first episode and then his subsequent “going dark.” Nobody came to help him! He complains about seeing Red at the hospital and not being allowed to murder him right there. Jolene’s like, chill, jackass, you are really uptight.
27. Tom has a handwritten map of the PO. I guess maybe after his release Lizzie took him on a tour or something? I mean, he did see parts of it, but I would hope that Meera and the others didn’t take him to the break room and point out where the armory is.
28. Okay, enough with those fools. Back to the interesting story of the evening: Ressler’s headed over to find Audrey.
29. It’s really not all that surprising what happens next. He goes home, picks her up (she was in the process of moving into his place), and they get into his car and drive off. I don’t really know why he thought she was in danger. Even in the first scene, Tanida didn’t hurt the guy’s family. If anything, she would’ve been used as leverage to make Ressler kill himself.
30. While I was thinking this, they are in a car accident because Tanida’s men found them, of course, and there’s a shootout. Audrey somehow finds herself in the middle of this, and is shot several times. Inexplicably, Tanida’s minions flee at this point rather than choosing to shoot Ressler in the head while he’s cradling his dying girlfriend’s body.
31. That was sad. I do feel bad for him, even though it was kind of his fault.
32. Cooper tells Ressler he needs to take some time off, but Ressler refuses, since I guess that’s an option. He goes to see Red again and find out where the minions went. Red tries to talk him out of it, but Ressler wants blood, so Red tells him where Japanese minions usually go to get patched up after being in shootouts with pissed off FBI agents.
33. Ressler recruits Jonica, and they head into the basement hospital and threaten to shoot everyone unless they tell him where Tanida is. These minions suck, because they cave instantly. Ressler and Jonica leave the place a huge mess and take off.
34. Sometime later, Lizzie and Meera are processing the scene. Lizzie realizes that Red told Ressler where to go.
35. She interrupts his phone call with the ballerina girl, and bitches to him about helping Ressler go over to the dark side. She says Ressler is a good person, not like Red, and that killing Tanida will change him.
36. I mean, I guess. But again, Tanida’s not a great guy, even before the forced suicide thing started happening. He was a drug lord who escaped from prison after Ressler caught him. Is killing him really the thing that will send Ressler over the edge? Is it really that bad that they want him dead?
37. Situational ethics. I guess mine are different from Lizzie’s. Maybe she’s just more worried about Ressler’s state of mind rather than Tanida’s death.
38. Oh yeah, I forgot: Tanida had a brother who is suspected of taking over Tanida’s criminal syndicate, but Red tells Lizzie that the brother died the night Tanida was arrested.
39. Ressler and Jonica have found Tanida through the power of montage, and they’re currently in route to Ressler’s vacation hideaway in Whereverthefuck.
40. While the PO is trying to figure out what happened to Ressler, they’re also chatting about the brother. Aram is able to deduce really quickly that the brother is actually dead, and the guy in the car with his so-called alive body? Bobby Jonica, a/k/a the guy who’s currently with Ressler. Yikes.
41. The PO scrambles to find them, and Cooper finally remembers about the vacation hideaway. The PO books it.
42. You know what’s funny? I think Ressler mentioned the vacation place is off the grid, like he’s totally the type of guy who would have a cabin in the middle of nowhere with no running water or central heat and air.
43. I would make a joke here about Audrey maybe being okay with being dead, if it meant she doesn’t ever have to go there, but I think it’s too soon.
44. The boys are in the car, just chillin’, in what could possibly be the world’s most awkward road trip. Tanida starts chatting, telling the guys that he’s really just angry about his brother’s death. He’s okay with them arresting him, because it was their job. Ressler is confused about all of this. I could make a “Ressler is confused a lot of the time” joke, but again, too soon.
45. Jonica is pissed, though, and doesn’t want Tanida to keep talking. Tanida has figured out which one of them killed his brother and took over his business, and basically tells Ressler this. Jonica shoots him, and Ressler, who is driving, reacts with surprise and also some fighting, so the car goes off the road.
46. Again, cut to the boring stuff. The Cowboy is stalking Jolene to I guess murder her on Red’s orders. Tom stops this and they drag Cowboy into his super secret lair which I guess wasn’t so secret if first Jolene and then the Cowboy found it.
47. Tom is bitching (do I need a “Tom is bitching” macro as much as I need a “Ressler is hot when he’s doing X” macro?) that Jolene needs to disengage from Lizzie. The Cowboy’s all, don’t because then he’ll kill you, but she’s I guess the trusting type as most spies are, and does exactly as he asks.
48. Shockingly, Tom then totally murders her, and the Cowboy.
49. Back to the stuff we care about. Jonica is out of the car, trying to escape. I have no idea where he is going in that snowy wasteland. And look! Ressler’s found him. He’s got a gun and a sword. Ressler looks really different in this scene. Maybe it’s the clothes. But he also looks way hotter than usual. Like, this is the episode that made me go, Whoa. That dude’s HOT.
50. You know, with the whole “Ressler is hot when he’s torturing and/or killing people” thing and the “Tom was hotter when he went evil” thing, I really have to wonder about myself.
51. Anyway. Ressler threatens Jonica, because he thinks it’s his fault Audrey died. Which: valid. They scream at each other and I have to say, I find the acting pretty impressive. Then Ressler tells Jonica to “do the honorable thing” and stab himself with the katana. I love it.
52. They yell at each other a bit more and then Ressler says fine, I’ll just kill you so whatever, but Lizzie’s there and talks him down. Jonica’s changed tactics, wanting Ressler to shoot him because he’s a cop and he’ll be tortured or worse in prison. There are a couple of tense minutes, but then Ressler shoots out all the bullets in his gun near Jonica but not into Jonica, hands over his gun to Lizzie, and refuses to let her hug him.
53. Jonica kills himself with the katana, like seriously you could’ve done that awhile ago and saved everyone the trouble, evil fake Japanese drug dealer.
54. They all head back to Ressler’s destroyed car, and Tanida has escaped. Oopsie. I’m going to give Ressler a pass on that, though, because he’s been under some extreme emotional stress the last few days.
55. Tom buries the bodies in the woods. In the middle of winter. Yeah.
56. Now Red’s at the ballet, and the ballerinas are chatting about their mysterious donor who makes them do this once a year and how his daughter used to dance this ballet. It’s Swan Lake, and we watch Red in the audience, holding a program from I think 1987, watching the girls dance and imaging he’s watching his little daughter. That is very, very sad.
57. Tom’s at home in the shower, washing off the blood from his fight with Jolene. Lizzie hops in with him and tells him about Jolene’s message, and they make out. I guess she doesn’t see the hugely conspicuous blood running down his legs and the scratches.
58. Ressler’s at home, cleaning up and going through the things Audrey had left there. He finds a pregnancy test and is very sad, but is interrupted by a knock at the door.
59. Dembe’s there with a gorgeous carved wooden box. He hands it over and books it. I bet he’s a huge fan of Swan Lake and didn’t want to miss the rest of it.
60. Ressler sets the box down and finds a note, where Red has written a condolence to him about being sad and knowing what it’s like to have your life fall apart around you. While Ressler’s reading this, we see Red again, watching the ballet.
61. Ressler opens the beautiful box, and inside, on a bed of something, is Tanida’s head. His HEAD, you guys. In a box! Just like Ressler asked for earlier. You know how we all have that one friend or family member, who is awesome at giving gifts? They’ll remember something you said or did and months later surprise you with something so perfect, that you didn’t even know you wanted? Red is that friend, you guys. Too bad his daughter didn’t get to grow up with him, he probably was awesome at giving Christmas presents.
62. Now I can’t help but wonder what Ressler will do with the head. It’s never mentioned again.


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