What Jenny's Reading

{March 4, 2015}   The Blacklist: Ivan

It’s the middle of the week.  I feel like it’s taking forever to get to Friday, don’t you?

1. Episode starts with some random guy in a secret location, working by himself in the near-dark. He gets spooked by a bunch of noises, and then finds out that he’s being hacked by someone called Ivan.
2. Rando calls someone else, says they’re compromised, and he’s moving the prototype to a secure location. He then gets a laptop, sticks it in a computer case, and then books it.
3. Maybe all this could have been avoided if you were working on your top secret project in an actual secure location? Just a thought.
4. We see Rando get into a car and then some security cameras watching him. Then Rando’s in an accident, because the lights changed when they shoudn’t. Someone in a dark hoodie runs up and steals the computer, leaving Rando to die. Serves you right for sucking at secrecy, Rando!
5. Woods. Mr. Kaplan meets Dembe and Red. She’s found the bodies of Jolene and the Cowboy. They decide to leave them where they are, since they know who did it, and Red calls 911 from a burner.
6. Now we’re back at the Keens’. Tom’s getting a silly gift from Lizzie, some sort of flashlight-butted hippo toy that’s I guess called Uncle Flippo? He has no idea what this is, and Lizzie busts him for sucking at being a schoolteacher.
7. Does Tom even go to school anymore? Like, what would be the point? He’s doing such a crap job of covering for his spy self, why bother with the cover story anymore?
8. Before they can really get into a conversation, though, there’s a knock at the door. Tom answers to find a cop who wants to talk about Jolene. Tom does his very best to look extremely suspicious.
9. Lizzie is oblivious, offering to help and telling the cop about the voice mail she got and so forth. The cop asks Tom about her, and he again does his best to look extremely suspicious, to the extent that even Lizzie’s like, the fuck?
10. Lizzie goes to meet Red at wherever he’s squatting that week. He’s in a sort of makeshift workshop, with tons of mechanical parts spread out. She picks up a piece and he tells her not to mess with it. She thinks he is maybe building a bomb, and seems very blasé about it. I guess she’s still distracted by Jolene.
11. She even asks Red about Jolene, and shows him a picture. He lies and says he has never seen her before.
12. I love how on television people always have giant pictures of the people they’re looking for. I mean, where on earth did she get that?
13. Red distracts Lizzie from her Jolene hunt with news about Ivan, a cyberterrorist from Russia who claimed responsibility for Rando’s death. Hilariously, Red thinks that he did this in a particularly dark corner of the internet populated only by teenagers and creeps. You and I will likely just recognize that as “the Internet.”
14. They decide to figure out why he attacked Rando since he’s always focused on Russia before. Red thinks he is gearing up for something with this attack in the U.S.
15. Also, Ivan stole from Red a few years ago. So you know he’s excited to get his money back. Lizzie rightly calls him on this, but she agrees that the PO should look into it.
16. At the PO, Lizzie tells them about Ivan and Aram says he can maybe find out if the car was tampered with if he looks at it. So he, Lizzie, and Ressler head to the impound lot.
17. Oh, before that, Lizzie asks Aram to pull Jolene’s phone records. Aram appears to have a crush on Lizzie, which is kind of weird. It’s never explicitly mentioned, and as far as I know, that potential storyline was dropped in the second season. Maybe the actor had a crush on the actress and it came across in the filming? It’s weird.
18. Lizzie asks Ressler why the hell he’s at work, considering his dead girlfriend and all. She’s less blunt about it than I am, though. Ressler tells her that work takes his mind off things, because he’s clearly the type who buries everything down deep and then lets it all out in the form of a drug addiction and cathartic crying on his best friend’s shoulder after being hunted like game. I mean, that’s what I do, too.
19. Aram interrupts this to say the car was tampered with. He’s got some sort of I don’t know what, techy thing, that can detect this. Also, there’s a binary signature in the car (…somewhere) that spells Ivan.
20. Look, I’m not really great when it comes to technology. I am lucky I can figure out how to turn on my computer. I keep wanting to put an “about” page on this blog and can’t figure out how to do that. It keeps posting my posts several hours into the future and I have no idea how to get back on the correct time zone. It took me three days and my brother’s help to figure out my phone. And I’m not even an oldster, I just don’t get this stuff at all. Suffice to say that Aram performs magic to make these findings. Oh, and they find the empty computer case.
21. Then a bunch of other guys show up and order our heroes away from the car. They have badges and guns and look serious.
22. There’s a break, and now Cooper and a bunch of other people are there. He and the other guy in charge get into a pissing match that ultimately ends with Cooper winning, mostly because he’s really tall and kind of scary looking, and the other guy is short and intimidated. The other guy, Galarza, works for the NSA and takes them to a repair shop, explaining that dead guy from the beginning worked for them.
23. Ressler needs a lot of help to follow this plotline. Just pointing that out now for later.
24. Galarza invites the PO into their secret workshop space and introduces them to his head scientist guy, Fisher. It is called “Project Skeleton Key” because you always want to name things exactly what they are, even when “Project New Bathrooms for the NSA” would’ve sounded less suspicious to possible hackers I think.
25. You know, it’s interesting because I know they are cutting a lot for the sake of moving the storyline along, but why does the PO get to know this stuff? Galarza bitched about a specific type of clearance they would need, which I’m sure they don’t have. Did Harold make a call? Did Galarza get to decide if it’s okay? Did he at least verify that the PO were actually FBI and not super skilled hackers pretending to be FBI who wanted information on his project?
26. Maybe I am too suspicious. But that is probably what I would’ve thought.
27. So anyway. Fisher tells them Ivan stole their prototype, which is designed to override infrastructures. Why, might I ask, would you need to do that? Doesn’t that kind of power automatically make you behave like a Bond villain? It’s probably written into the computer code somehow.
28. Also it seems like a shitty thing to do. The ones affected by the infrastructure shutdown are probably people who have nothing really to do with the war, like just cities and so forth, rather than soldiers.
29. Lizzie goes back to see Red, who is still working on his project, to tell him about the theft and the prototype. He pats himself on the back for not paying his taxes and thereby not helping contribute to this incompetence. You don’t pay taxes, Red? How has the IRS not descended from on high to lock you up for a million years and/or levy all your stuff? You have a jet! I am so mad at the IRS right now. I bet if they took all of Red’s back taxes and interest owed they could pay off the deficit.
30. Oh, and Red knows that Ivan is in Minsk, so it’s international caper time!
31. Red finds Ivan at some restaurant and bitches at him about his stolen $5 million. He tells him that he will help him if Ivan just pays him back, with interest. Because I guess when it comes to money Red is owed, rather than money he owes to other people, it is important that it gets paid back.
32. Ivan’s totally uninterested. It’s kind of fun to see someone not star-struck by Red. I mean, Red is very cool of course, but I like how this guy’s all, Eh.
33. Red tells Ivan that the feds have found him because of the stunt with the NSA agent and stealing the prototype. Coincidentally, a bunch of cop cars pull up right then, and Ivan suddenly decides Red’s not so bad a guy. They leave through the kitchen, and Red makes him transfer the money back before they can go. Ha!
34. On the street, Ressler rushes them, and Red pretends to shoot him dead and then he and Ivan get away.
35. This is a really weird way of working through the death of a loved one, Ressler. I mean, we all know what roleplay therapy is, of course, but I think this is taking things to the extreme.
36. Meera apparently agrees with me.
37. But just you wait, because this isn’t anywhere even close to the most batshit crazy thing he’s going to do this season.
38. Lizzie either didn’t go on this little caper or she’s already home. I’m betting she didn’t go, because we didn’t get a tedious scene of Tom bitching at her for doing her job.
39. It’s night, and she’s researching Jolene. She finds her in ViCAP and sees the Lucy Brooks stuff.
40. Tom creeps down the stairs, creepily, and Lizzie explains that Jolene was a criminal and says she’s sorry for bringing her into their lives, because she of course doesn’t know that all of this is Tom’s fault. Tom, for his part, does a really shitty job of pretending he has no idea what’s happening.
41. Anyway, so Red and Ivan are on his jet, and Ivan tells Red he didn’t steal anything, because he DGAF about the U.S. and would rather screw around with Russia. He also says that some other hacker is pretending to be him and it’s pissing him off.
42. I have no idea what happens to Ivan after this. Does he get away? Is he mysteriously arrested once on U.S. soil? It’s his episode and they never tell us.
43. I mean, I assume that someone other than Ressler arrested him and now he’s in jail. But I don’t really know, because the story doesn’t bother to tell us.
44. Aram gives Lizzie the information on Jolene’s phone, and Lizzie tells him he’s amazing. Again with the weird crush. Lizzie’s got Tom’s crap and Ressler’s crap and Red’s crap to deal with, Aram. She doesn’t need yours, too, no matter how cute and helpful you are.
45. So anyway, now that the PO knows that Ivan wasn’t the hacker, they investigate and discover this unknown hacker has been working for about four months. He hacked porn sites, gift card sites, and I think the Pentagon. I have no idea how they discovered this information. A wizard did it, maybe.
46. I told you, I’m not techy at all. They figure out that our intrepid hacker also hacked the Social Security database and raised someone’s benefits, so they decide to go chat with her.
47. The lady is called Mrs. Lee. She is kind of bitchy to Ressler and Meera, and complains that she had no idea how this happened, and didn’t realize it happened because she doesn’t bother to look at her statements and everything’s direct deposited. She does say that her grandson helps her with her computer (and her thermostat, like I can even figure that out, geez lady), and a lightbulb appears above Ressler’s head.
48. High school. Noooooo!!!!! Man, the only good thing about getting older is you get further away from fucking high school. So a kid is in class and staring creepily at a pretty girl next to him, and also acting like a baller with his math test. He finishes almost immediately and then spends the rest of the time looking at the girl, who is somehow oblivious even though he’s literally five feet away from her.
49. Read The Gift of Fear, pretty girl. Also, I’m so happy that this whole thing wasn’t portrayed as some romantic sweet gesture, but as a sick creepy thing, because that’s totally what it is.
50. Now we’re back with Tom and all his guns. Ugh, fuck off, Tom. Lizzie calls him and lucky for him, he answers, and she’s all, hey, I’m following up a lead on Jolene, and I’m RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DOORWAY.
51. Tom freaks right the fuck out, and starts burning documents and so forth, then hides behind a tarp like he thinks he’s Harry Potter and it’s an invisibility cloak or something. He startles Lizzie and then punches her in the face, and takes off.
52. A short time later, Lizzie and a bunch of cops are investigating the scene. Ressler calls Lizzie and tells her he’s about to invade a high school and fuck up a teenage boy’s potential social life, and she decides this is way cooler because eh, teens suck sometimes. She secures a promise from the head cop that he’ll send her the photos of the scene, and bolts.
53. I love how she meets Ressler and the others at the scene even though he never gave her the address.
54. Oh, and Tom calls a fake bank which I guess is his contact point, and says something about bona fides in question and that he’s terminating or liquidating or whatever. You know, Tom, if you had that phone number the whole time, why didn’t you call them after you got out of the hospital? Why did you just sit around like a pissy, annoying baby and pout about how your spy friends don’t call or write?
55. Again with this bullshit faux-Twilight garbage. Our stalker watches the pretty girl, named Abby, eat her lunch. He has brought the exact same lunch, and eats it the exact same way as she does. She is chatting with her friend about how she has to move to Colorado with her dad because of his work, and how it’s a total drag, even though the weed is legal. You think her last name is Fisher? Me, too.
56. Ressler and Lizzie and their SWAT team (…yeah) bust up this creepy scene, because Ressler and Lizzie are my heroes and you know they’d tolerate ZERO of this Twilight bullshit. Harrison Lee (that’s his name) runs off and pulls the fire alarm with his magical prototype device, causes a commotion, and escapes.
57. Now Lizzie’s back with Red, who is still building his device. Red wants this kid on his payroll, which…well, yeah. He seems both highly intelligent and totally insane, which I think are the prerequisites for being Red’s employee. Lizzie presses him about Jolene, and he refuses to answer, and then she blows up at him about how nuts he is and how happy she is that Tom is totally always at her back, like forever and ever you know. Red just sort of looks at her, because he’s waiting for her to realize what a useless fucker Tom is, and he loves her so much he won’t even say I told you so.
58. Aram has discovered that Harrison has all sorts of creepy stalker pictures of Abby, including photos of her sleeping (!!!!!!!) and also has downloaded her whole music collection. They chat about what he maybe will do next, and Lizzie decides to call Fisher and warn him about his daughter’s hacker stalker.
59. Of course, right in the middle of this, Harrison decides to go full-on emo Twilight stalker and shuts down the whole fucking city. Like, right in the middle of Lizzie’s conversation. RUDE, HARRISON.
60. Okay, so the PO descends into chaos, and while they’re trying to figure all this out, Ressler sort of stands there, looking hot and confused, till he finally asks the question that halts everybody: he wants to know how this all happened.
61. I know it sounds dumb, and maybe Ressler’s not smart enough to realize how smart that question was, but still! This causes the PO to realize that Harrison is pulling from a power source, and they figure out where from, too. Yay, Ressler!
62. During all this, Harrison is fake texting Abby like he’s her bestie (seriously, he’s pretending to be her best friend Jackie) and draws her out of the house to a train station, where he tries to win her over.
63. Abby, displaying the kind of maturity and self-preservation we don’t often see in televised teenage girls, realizes how fucked up this is and tries to escape. Somehow, she gets hurt – I think her head hits the stair railing? To his credit (the very little I’ll allow), I don’t think that Harrison did it. He runs.
64. Meera and Lizzie and some others rush down the stairs. Meera takes over caring for Abby, and Lizzie takes off after Harrison.
65. Harrison and Lizzie end up on a train, that he somehow decides to speed up, I guess to commit murder-suicide? Lizzie manages to talk him down and he stops the train. Back at the PO, we see Fisher, Cooper, and Ressler, quietly freaking out the way that repressed men sometimes do. They aren’t sure whether Lizzie is okay. Aw!
66. Lizzie does radio Meera, who is relieved.
67. And now, THE MOMENT. Whatever, this was a big moment! Lizzie and Abby get back to the PO. Abby runs into her dad’s arms, and Fisher tells Lizzie thank you for saving his daughter. Then she walks up to Ressler, and you can tell he wants to say…something, probably about how happy he is that she wasn’t crushed to death by a giant train, but he just tells her good work. It’s the LOOK, people, I’m serious here! Go back and watch it. Savor it, because we won’t see anything like it again till the second season episode when Lizzie thinks Ressler is dying.
68. Okay, I’ve stowed my inner fangirl. Lizzie tries to get Ressler to come have dinner with her and Tom, and he says no, but politely. Probably because he knows Tom sucks.
69. Now Lizzie’s home, and Tom is cooking something. She requests some wine because her day was difficult, and says that she was attacked. Tom pretends to care, and then asks whether she saw the guy. Lizzie says no, and pulls out her computer while he goes to look for some wine.
70. The cop, true to his word, emailed all the pictures to Lizzie. And she sees that Tom has callously tossed away her Uncle Flippo gift in the trash. FUCK YOU TOM, SHE WORKED HARD ON THAT GIFT!
71. Okay, maybe she’s pissed and upset that now she has proof he’s a spy.
72. She manages to cover when he asks her what’s wrong, and then I guess makes some excuse to leave, because we next see her at Red’s, where she tells him he was right.
73. They sit in front of a beautiful old music box, which he turns on. Lizzie cries and tells him a story about when she was little, and a fire she remembers, and how her dad Sam would hold her and hum this song, and she would know she was okay. This makes her realize that Red built it for her, so that when she found out about Tom, she would know she would be okay. She cries and he holds her, and it’s very sweet and very sad.
74. I hate to crap all over this lovely scene, because I did love it, but I don’t think they needed all the dialogue they included. I think it was pretty clear what Red was doing, and they probably just needed Lizzie to tell the song story without explaining that she knew what Red was doing, if that makes sense.
75. Anyway, the games are now afoot!


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