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Headscratchers / The Blacklist

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Reddington throwing No.38 under the bus

Don't know if it's necessary considering it was the first episode of season three, but SPOILERS.

So Red calls up Ressler when Keen is about to be arrested and offers The Troll Farmer, someone who he has dealt with, someone who held up his end of the deal, someone who worked for him and risked his ass to help him, someone who other people probably depend on, in exchange for Ressler... agreeing to give Keen "the benefit of every doubt." Red completely screwed over Bo Chang so that Ressler would work within the system as best he could? What he was going to do anyway? It didn't help Liz, it didn't save anyone, it was just an Ass Pull to close off The Troll Farmer. It just felt like there was no reason for it.

Keen's Idiot Ball against No.47, and FBI Protocol.

So, let me see if I understand this: The FBI task force is willing and able to watch one security guard die, essentially suggesting that Law Enforcement doesn't care for the lives of individual citizens, in order to catch one man? The fact that Ressler ratted her out also feels odd, but I do see the logic there. I would wonder if that means he's willing to shoot the guard and Frederick Barnes just so he'd catch the Blacklister, which would put an end to their manhunt. Way I see it, Keen made the right call at the courthouse, only to get it ruined later for Barnes' child.

  • It's not just the task force, one of the first things you learn when training to become an FBI agent is to never EVER relinquish your firearm. Ressler would not shoot the guard; it goes completely against his character. As it stood, Barnes and Keen were at a standstill and Barnes' threat to shoot the guard was most likely a bluff because if he did then Keen would be allowed both according to law and her own morals to shoot Barnes dead. By giving up her gun, she not only went against protocol, she also placed herself and the rest of the bystanders in danger instead of just the security guard because there isn't much to stop Barnes from doing whatever he wants after that. Although it turned out all right in the end, it could have gone in a very different direction.

Who is behind who?

Diane is against Reddington's long leash and insists that he be arrested; Cooper has to talk her into it. Red has a history, and arrangement, with Fitch. Fitch hires Garrick to hunt down Reddington. Garrick needs inside info from both Newton Philips and Diane. If Garrick or his employers could get to Newton, couldn't they get to Red in the open, without having to storm the castle, thus obviating the need for any info from either Newton or Diane?

Then, soon after this, we discover that Diane knows, and perhaps works for Fitch. Fitch by this point must know that Red was in an FBI dark site. Especially considering that the CIA (Malik) knows it too.

So hold on. Fitch hired Garrick who got insider intel via Diane. Fitch apparently doesn't know this? He chews out Diane over not having found all the moles. Does he not know it was her? And why does he care anyway if it was *his* mole?

Finally, Malik uncovers the mole is Diane, thus handing Red all the reason he needs to kill Diane, meaning a CIA agent working for the FBI just instigated the killing of a federal official (or whatever Diane is).

And then we learn that Red and Diane know each other. And Diane knows Red knows Fitch. And Red knows Diane gave Garrick (who was working for Fitch) the information to hunt Red down. (This means Diane authorized a leak that led to the death of a ton of FBI agents, too.) So... Why didn't Fitch just go directly to Diane all along? Why launch a violent attack on an FBI dark site, not to mention a few civilians, just to get to Red, when he could just pull Diane's string?

  • Fitch explains this- he shows photographs to Red of him and everyone who works on the taskforce (including Diane, to throw him and the Feds off) to demonstrate that they could have killed any of them at any time they chose. They hired Garrick to attack the Blacksite to make the point to Red extra-clear- there is nowhere that he can hide from them, so he better start explaining himself. Probably the reason they used Newton was just to cover their bases, and maybe he gave them some other piece of info. That, and it helps to hide their tracks if everyone thinks the mole was Newton and has been caught. You could of course also imagine a situation where Fitch tasks Diane with setting the operation up and Diane, knowing that the thread could be traced back to her, brings in Newton solely to have a patsy even if he told them nothing they didn't already know. When Fitch chews out Diane over not finding the mole in the task force, he does so while heading a senate committee that is investigating what happened, so its easy enough to handwave that he did this for show as well and they other two people he was sitting with (whom we never see properly, but are clearly there) were not part of his conspiracy. It might be born in mind that just because Red knew Diane doesn't mean that he knew she was part of Fitch's conspiracy, or (though much less likely) he might not have known that she was the one running the taskforce.
    • Basically all of this implies that the reason (or a reason) that Red has escaped justice all this time is that he has enjoyed protection from Fitch and whatever government conspiracy he is running/ is a member of, possibly in return for favours. But Red has his own agenda and turn himself into the FBI in order to pursue it. When he does this, Fitch and co. are understandably spooked as He Knows Too Much, but since he hasn't exposed them yet (to the best of their knowledge) they decided to give him a chance to explain himself- after reminding him of what they are capable of by tearing through the blacksite and his new FBI friends just to show that they can, hiring Garrick to twist the knife further since Garrick has a grudge against him. Diane, as head of Criminal Division and thus the person the taskforce ultimately answers too, is in the best position to carry this out, but to avoid tracing it back to her and to make sure that they have all the information they need, they force Newton to co-operate and frame him as the only mole. Red wasn't convinced and pursued it further, and Diane failed to properly hide her involvement, leading to her death.
    • It seems that the Alliance/Cabal was responsible for the events that happened in the first season.

"How long was I out?"

  • In "Lord Baltimore", it turns out that the eponymous criminal is Nora Mills, who has a Split Personality. Sometimes she shifts into the personality of her sister Rowan, whom she murdered. When Ressler suggests that Nora and Rowan are working together, Keen points out that this isn't possible, as the two personalities don't know about each other and so are incapable of conspiring. When Nora wakes up from the Rowan personality, she asks "How long was I out" in a tone that implies she's not only aware of what's going on, but used to it. Also, Rowan received a threatening message from Nora on her answering machine. If Nora doesn't know about Rowan, how can she threaten her?
    • She most likely doesn't even know about her split personality case.

These bones

  • Tom tries to get the bones he got from Mr Kaplan identified but can't cross-reference the DNA with the FBI database since, well, he isn't an FBI agent, which in turn kicks off that particular story thread. However, Mr Kaplan mentioned that those bones would be something for which Liz wouldn't forgive Red, which is basically shouting it from the rooftops that those bones are from Liz' mother. Even if she didn't tell Tom, the fact that she left them to him with some very specific instructions should be enough for him to get the same idea. Which begs the question why he tries to go through the hassle of identifying the bones instead of just, well, narrowing their identity down to "Liz' mother" / "not Liz' mother"? Because for that he certainly wouldn't have needed the database, merely a DNA sample from Liz to verify maternity. Now of course they didn't do it for dramaturgic reasons because it's one of the biggest questions of season 5, but it's still weird that Tom doesn't get that idea himself.

Why did "Red" even keep the bones? Wouldn't destroying them from the get-go have kept the secret the safest?

What's gonna happen to Dominic Wilkerson and Glen aka Jellybean now that their actors who played them (Brian Dennehy and Clark Middleton, respectively) have passed away?

  • I wonder what would become of Glen and Dom now the actors who played them are no longer with us. Also RIP Clark and Brian.
    • They're written out as of Season 8 as deceased. For Dom, Ron Raines is replacing Brian Dennehy.