After a brief two week break, The Blacklist is back. This week’s episode an intriguing entry that moved along the main storyline concerning the Fulcrum and the newly branded “Cabal” and managed to do so entertainingly while keeping Raymond Reddington relatively sidelined. Could the FBI heroes of the show manage to save the day without the not-so-gentle nudging and snide commentary from Red? That was the question of the week, as The Blacklist aimed to provide answers while not really giving up too many of its secrets. The greater picture – the goals of the Cabal, Agent Keen’s importance to Red, and the true nature of their relationship – is still up for debate.
In case you had forgotten, Red has been shot! The Director, tired of Red’s nonsense, called his bluff and had a hit team dispatched to eliminate him, just as Liz was about to turn over the Fulcrum and cut all strings to Red for good after Tom confessed to being hired by Red in the first place. Naturally, Red has a contingency in the event he’s fatally shot, and Mr. Caplan puts out the Bat-signal to Red’s all-star surgical team who converge in an abandoned warehouse to save his life.
But first, Red has a mission for Liz: find the mysterious Leonard Caul. Caul, played by character actor Ned Van Zandt, is the man that Fitch referred Red to before he died, a man who’s key to the decoding of the Fulcrum and getting one over on the Cabal. Red may have found an empty apartment and a pool of blood when he went looking for Caul, but as these things go, there is no dead unless there’s a body there to confirm it. No, Caul survived the attempt on his life, granted with a large gash across his throat. Was it purposeful that they tried to kill Red’s informant by cutting across his throat, deep enough to require stitches? Get it? Deep Throat! Nevermind.
We learn that Caul is a former intelligence operative who, no matter how justifiably, is paranoid in the extreme. Need to look up something on the internet? Open a fresh laptop, do your search and erase the entire hard drive with a magnet. Caul is an interesting character with his old school film photography and his unparalleled skills at tracking a subject. He manages to make it out of the hour alive, but I almost don’t want him to return for future installments and ruin his mystique. We don’t get much of a reason as to why he would help Fitch, or Red for that matter, but the cypher meant to read the Fulcrum was his design, so maybe he just likes to be the reluctant center of an international criminal conspiracy.
On the other hand, maybe the enigmatic Mr. Caul got to hold on to his secrets because we were too busy learning more about Liz and Red. For instance, did you know that Liz almost married a guy before she met Tom? His name is Nick, and he’s a doctor, which is lucky because Red’s first surgeon gets killed in a follow-up attempt on his life. I’m not sure what the point of introducing Nick was, or whether or not he’ll be back, but the prick-ish way he demanded hundreds of thousands in cash to save Red’s life made Liz’s decision to marry an imposter seem like sane personal planning.