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The Blacklist - Robert Diaz - Review


6.22 - "Robert Diaz”
Written by Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and Lukas Reiter
Directed by Bill Roe
Reviewed by KathM

I don’t think you get it. I am getting my team out of here. We are stopping the President from killing himself, and then I am going to the store for every princess pillow, comforter, backpack, toothbrush, and pajamas I can find so my apartment’s ready when Agnes gets home. Do you understand me?

Liz has a lot going on right now. While I personally prefer Dora the Explorer, Liz needs Relya to help her with the first two items on her list. Although I would love to see the depth and breadth of his knowledge of princesses and the marketing thereof.

The impression I get is that everyone liked the episode. To me it was more of a series of highs and lows, ending with an interesting development. It goes like this:

  • Cool - Evil Anna McMahon has the team (sans Liz) locked in various rooms throughout the Post Office. She’s feeling all smug, but she’s underestimated the kind of crew Relya can pull together with a little help from his friends. In this case we have Tadashi Ito (a prodigy with the scary mom from S5 ep12, “The Cook”) and Maxwell Ruddiger, the largely intoxicated explosives guy. Ruddiger has his own team assembled, a group of five extremely excited German men who can’t wait to blow their way through concrete and steel known as The Shadow Five (“These guys robbed the Banco Central!”). This is what I love; Relya drawing on these disparate people with incredible abilities and often vague origin stories. It’s why I loved so many of the early episodes, when everything Liz learned about how Rel worked and the people he utilized to help him was new to her and to us. And its why “Robert Vesco” is one of my favorites this season.
  • Still Cool - Liz gets ready to rescue Harold, Ressler, and Aram and lead them out of the building. Tadashi walks her through how to disable the locks on the doors where the team is being held and bring down the overall Post Office security feeds while attending the prom!!! You are a man among men, Tadshi Ito. Your date? You’re so out of her league. The team escapes and is being guided to an exit by Liz when they are recaptured by Anna’s minion, Sandquist. Anna figures that the safest place to imprison them is inside the cube/box thing they held Rel in when they thought he was Red in the first episode of the show. Oh no, right? Wrong. Because Liz, Relya, and the crazy Germans have a plan. The Shadow Five arrive at the Post Office with Rel and strong-arm their way past the guard, then begin to build a huge bomb. Tadashi switches the security cams from the loop they’ve been on to a live feed, which shows Anna that everyone will be going BOOM shortly. Sandquist and his goons run through the facility toward the bomb, which is all they need to do. Liz and Rel show up, ask Aram for the code to the cube/box, then release them and they all amble away. Red tells Ruddiger to cancel the bomb, and he and the Five take off. Anna is bewildered and pissed, because she told the President all was good and it just isn’t.
  • Calm and happy - Relya takes the team to a delightful underground dining room where a repast awaits them. You can’t foil a Presidential assassination on an empty stomach, and it’s been a trying day. Aram digs right into the French Toast Kabobs, and if I was there, I would not be far behind. During this time everyone is just eating and chilling and planning. All are safe for the time being. I like it. Harold gets Liz and Ressler temporarily assigned to the MPD outdoor security for the event, Vontae (!) gets from friends together to do a little rioting outside the debate (paid, of course). Aram poses as a student at the University where the debate is being held so he can hack the surveillance feeds to find the sniper and Harold will loom outside in a hat and sunglasses giving a play-by-play to Rel. Rel also takes Ressler aside to see if he knows more about the people who questioned him about Katerina. Ressler doesn’t know anything more than that the car has diplomatic plates, and tells Relya that Liz told him his secret and that he plans to keep it. Rel thanks him, then wanders off to let events take place as they will.
  • Interested - Who is that reasonably attractive man Relya is chatting with? I’m thinking a brother (his or Katerina’s) or possibly a cousin. Another person who knows the real story of Katerina and possibly who Reyla is (I just don’t care anymore) if he isn’t Relya. They chat and try to figure out why Grandpa Dom told Liz that story. Why didn’t he just tell her the truth? Relya is more relaxed than I may have ever seen him. He loves this man, and this man loves Rel. They say it to one another as if they've known one another all of their lives and it's a fact. Even though the whole idea of Katerina being alive looms over them, I’m hoping this guy is a nice addition to Rel’s story.
  • Concerned - The MPD is involved in the riot that Rel and the Team planned and Liz and Ressler get inside, ostensibly to help the guards defend the building but to really find and disarm the assassin (Sandquist). Aram is guiding them through the security feeds, and they stop the President from being shot. His wife, however, isn't so lucky, and is shot in the shoulder. Sandquist had Diaz in range several times, a clear head shot like Diaz wanted. Why didn’t he take the shot??? Oh, crap. Please tell me this isn’t one of those, “We decided to kill the First Lady instead” twists. Diaz is furious that he’s alive(?) and that his wife was shot. She’ll be fine, though. He’s not happy that things didn’t work out, but is as pleased as he can be about anything that the Team will take the fall. Sandquist and Anna are both reasonably sure that they didn’t know the real plan. Which I no longer care about.
  • Sighing - Liz, Aram, and Ressler are captured, handcuffed and stuffed in a security van which then drives away. Oh please, please don’t be one of those “it’s the end of the line for you, we’re going to say that we killed you when you tried to escape” things. Dammit, it is. Annnd my interest is waning, because I know the team will survive and several "bad" agents will die.
  • Props - Harold calls Red and tells him that the others have been arrested so Red and his newish bodyguards zoom after them and ram his car into the side of the van, flipping it through the air and onto its side. Points for originality. There is a huge shootout which includes a flash grenade being thrown at the van where the team was being kept (and which is naturally leaking gas) and causing a big explosion. Ressler kills Sandquist hard, which I’m sure felt as good to him as it did to me. The others kill the other…agents (this whole agents killing agents thing is just wrong on so many levels), and both of Reyla’s men are shot.
  • Concerned - Anna has Rel on the ground, a gun right against the back of his skull. The team says they’ll kill her if she kills him, but she doesn’t care. “No more games! No more cheating death!” she shrills at Relya, and I honestly thought she might shoot him and he’d end up in coma with a bullet in his brain when…
  • Unadulterated Joy - Dembe. DEMBE! DembeDembeDembe!!! He comes out of nowhere and shoots the absolute hell out of Anna. Off with her head! Or at least, a large portion of her skull. I'm amazed that Rel's lovely suit and hat aren't covered in her. I just...Dembe. I did a fist pump when he appeared onscreen and shouted his name so loudly my husband came to see if I was all right. The crew loads Relya's bodyguards into the car and take them to the hospital. Dembe.
  • Happy and Foreshadowing - The gang is back in their underground dining room and Relya is on the phone. He tells Dembe that one of his men will be all right but the other, Morgan, is still touch and go. Dembe says that Morgan is strong, then tells Red that their “friend” in Miami says that the Townsend Directive is in play. Apparently it’s critical, but not as critical as Dembe coming back. Dembe tells Relya that he had to follow his own path, and that path led back to him. So now we can feel a bit teary and get an idea of what an episode next season will be about.
  • Not. Happy. - By using bottles of condiments Ressler determines that the assassin wasn’t aiming for the President but the First Lady. Okay, please don’t let this be one of those “she was the target/the President wanted her out of the way” tropes.
  • Time to brush my teeth - Yes, yes, it is. A slightly longer than two-minute conversation with FLOTUS tells us that the President killed a woman and her child while driving drunk. The money POTUS took from Constantine Rostov (the $$ Relya blackmailed him about) wasn’t used for the election to buy the presidency, but for a fixer to make sure that his reputation remained spotless. His wife has a soul, however, and she wanted him to turn himself in. In a twist that surprises me, FLOTUS goes to the fixer to get documents and recordings about the accident. Because of this, POTUS tries to kill her.
  • Hours of my life I’ll never get back - So, was the Dossier just a well-thought-out work of fiction? Was he ever planning to kill himself? Why was she okay with it? Well, okay, I guess I know why. All we get in the end is a loser who tries to kill his wife because he doesn’t have a conscience. I’m baffled, yet disinterested.
  • Whatever - The President resigns, and I assume will shortly be served with divorce papers. Harold reminds him that the FBI will then open a criminal investigation. Diaz nods. He tries to blame Reddington, but he did it all to himself.
  • This will not end well - Agnes is home! I still this is an incredibly bad idea, but she sure is cute. I’m anticipating that at some point in S7 she’ll be used as a pawn and kidnapped or something.
  • Katerina lives - Again, duh. How could Relya not know that? The stranger guy (who calls him Raymond, which I guess everyone does in his world. Even old friends with toy trucks.) finds out all about her and confirms she’s alive in like ½ a day, and Rel never bothered to have him check before??? She’s in Paris, so off Relya goes to find her. This might be good.
  • Huh - For some reason Relya finds Katerina meandering down a Paris street, seemingly alone. He shouts out her name and comes running up to her (is he high right now? What is he DOING??) and they embrace. She wants to know if it’s safe, and Relya tells her she isn’t safe. They kiss some more, then she stabs him and has him stuffed into a van that is apparently at her disposal with a couple of men who are never far from her. Now I’m interested. I figured that someone would get stabbed, and it was 50/50 that she’d be the one who stabbed first. Interesting.
Given the great beginning, I think we were robbed by not having the Dossier mean anything (or maybe it does) and that this ended up being the husband tries to kill wife thing. It sounded like an interesting concept, and I honestly think that whatever the Dossier was that Anna believed in it. For whatever reason, she and others thought they were doing the right thing by helping Diaz kill himself. The lack of a Vice President character (who theoretically should have been in on the whole scheme, since they would be the one who'd have to do whatever came after the assassination) should have raised a red flag. There were some great, heart pounding moments in this episode, but the end left me feeling unfulfilled. And wanting french toast.

I’m interested in what will happen with Relya and Katerina, and what parts of what Dom told Liz were true. But I hope we don’t spend all season on it. Let’s have some episodes like this in the Fall, but with surprising endings. Please, please, let’s let Elizabeth be an agent for a while.

Take care!


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