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The Blacklist - Guillermo Rizal - Review


6.20 - "Guillermo Rizal”
Written by Noah Schechter
Directed by Cort Hessler
Reviewed by KathM


Recently we’ve seen a number of articles about climate change as well as the animals humans are driving to extinction. I believe them, and that our world does need to work harder to keep our planet thriving. However, I don’t think we’re at the point of genetic engineering quite yet, regardless of what our Blacklister may think.

Guillermo Rizal (No. 128) is a brilliant geneticist who developed gene mapping. He's the kind of brilliant person who should never be unsupervised because they may wander off and do something weird. And look, someone left him to his own devices.

Rizal thinks that with the right tweaks to a gene or two he could engineer people who will survive the coming trials of the near future brought on by climate change and other disasters. To create a test bed, he bribes an embryologist to switch the embryos of parents using IVF with those he has slightly genetically modified. He splits the eggs in twos and threes, then sends them out into the unsuspecting wombs of women throughout the country. Many of the eggs become actual children, twins and triplets who don’t know they’re “siblings” and who each have a very slight genetic variation. Rizal has a man kidnap each of the children, then tests them in a biodome he’s created to see how or if they adapt to the by exposing the sibling groups to various conditions (such as extreme drought). Some may survive while others begin to sicken but hey, that’s science.

When he is found in his lab testing the newest group of “subjects”, tv-adorable blonde triplets, it also comes to light that he’s managed to kidnap all of the surviving embryos as well. Now grown to children around 10 years old, they are found in bedrooms with their “siblings”. The sight of rooms with dead-eyed twins and triplets staring dully at Liz and Ressler is heartbreaking. I’m not sure what Rizal was going to do with them, and it boggles the mind to think about it. By the time Liz and Ressler arrive with a team to rescue the children and arrest Rizal and his team, he is crowing about how important Corinne, one of the newly kidnapped, is to the survival of mankind. When her sisters were possibly dying of intense heat exposure, Corrine didn’t seem to get too ill and even found that drinking saltwater quenched her thirst. I just wanted to backhand Rizal throughout the whole episode, particularlythe part where he was testing the triplets

Rizal is brought to the table by a tip from Relya. He found that the man kidnapping the children had also been meeting with Anna McMahon, and Rel wants to know what he’s doing. He able to get the man’s name, Cotton, from a wary Senator Rel questions while the former is dining with a colleague and finds out the Cotton’s job is finding things nobody else can. Now finding Cotton is more urgent for Relya, he needs to know what Anna wants/wanted to find, ideally before Cotton shares any information with her. He finds out where Cotton meets his “clients” and lures him in by texting him that he has something one of his clients (the Senator) wants to buy. Once he arrives he’s set upon by a couple of Relya’s goons to wait for the bright spot in the whole episode for me, Teddy Brimley! This time he’s accompanied by a beekeeper and a hive or two of bees and tells Cotton to take off his pants so the interrogation can begin.

While they’re waiting for some answers from Cotton via the beekeeper Teddy and Rel have a chat. Well, Teddy chats and Relya defends himself. First about Dembe, who Teddy thinks Relya fired, and then about his son, the beekeeper, who has been able to coax the name of the person who Cotton kidnapped children for out of him, but nothing about Anna. Junior says that Cotton is terrified of whoever Anna McMahon is and won’t talk about her. Teddy sighs and laments to Rel that it doesn’t look like he’ll have a family business after all before he decides to take over to get the information out of Cotton. Before he goes in Teddy whispers to Relya, “Nothing hurts so bad as when a child disappoints. Like being impaled by a unicorn”.

About that. I’ve decided that Liz is just crazy. She keeps wanting to talk to Relya about how she knows who he is and seems to dismiss everything he says about how he feels about what she’s done to him. They meet in a café at the beginning of the episode so that Relya can tell Liz about the kidnapping of the most recent child and Liz is all, “Hey stranger, let’s talk about our feelings!” It’s been a week since the last episode and Rel isn’t interested in chatting. He talks about his code, and how he handles people who betray him: largely by killing them. He killed Mr. Kaplan, after all, though I still hope she’s out there somewhere. But he can’t kill Liz, and because of that he’s conflicted because it goes against his own code. He just knows he can’t trust her now. Liz has also told Ressler that she knows the story of who Relya says he is, and that while some it sounds sugar coated and sweet and may not be true, she’s all satisfied for now. Ressler looks confused. We’re all confused by her right now.

At the end of the episode Liz asks Rel to meet her in a park where she’s watching Agnes on a carousel from a safe distance. As Relya looks at Agnes (riding on a unicorn, coincidentally) he does so with a smile on his face, a sense of wonder. And it makes me think that he must have looked at Liz like that at some point, long ago. Liz talks to him about her own code, which is “Love Wins”. She loves Rel before she knew who he was, and now that she does know who he was and what he did she loves him more. And now that she knows who he is, she doesn’t have to worry anymore because there aren’t any secrets any longer. Which means it’s safe to bring Agnes home! Relya looks like he’s seconds away from vomiting in horror at the idea but says nothing. Something tells me this is a very, very bad idea.

Oh, and Teddy got Cotton to admit that he’s looking for the dossier Bastien Moreau had with him on a thumb drive shortly before he was killed. Moreau put it in the backpack of a random boy walking down the street with his mother a few streets over from where he lived. The kid has no idea he has the thumb drive, and nobody knows who the kid is or where to find him. Now it’s a race between Anna and Relya (along with the Post Office crew) to find the dossier before the other does.


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