The Blacklist recap: Jolene, Jolene

This week's Blacklister seeks justice for those who are innocent, while Tom and Jolene turn out to be pretty guilty.
Ep. 15 | Aired Mar 3, 2014

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Agent Keen meets with a witness who confesses that he doctored the entrance logs to Rifkin’s cell, so that Cooper could go in there and beat him into self-incrimination. When she confronts Coop about it, he threatens her career with his superior officer, Tom Conway, in the room as backup. My, oh my. Even though Keen doesn’t buckle under (Way to go, Liz!), she fails to get the execution stopped – so Rifkin gets a lethal injection. In return, Judge Ruthie nabs Conway and Coop and takes them back to her horse-barn-prison where she has MacGyvered a homespun electric chair. What the hell, it will be weeks before I go into a barn again.

There would appear to be no reasoning with Ruth. She seems like a woman of conviction. Luckily, we have a secret weapon – Red Reddington, the real Judge, Jury and Executioner. Once Liz has the FBI surround the farm, she send Red in to negotiate. “Of course,” he says. “A woman.” I hope he means, of course, justice is a blind lady… and he’s not making some “woman scorned” jab. Well, he goes on to present evidence exonerating Agent Cooper (kind of) because Rifkin was actually guilty, even though it did take Cooper beating him to get the confession. As everyone does when faced with one of Reddington’s monologues, Ruth caves. She surrenders. “Harold, don’t look so glum,” Red laughs as he waltzes past Coop gagged and tied to a wheelchair in a water bucket with a live wire draped precariously in the shadows. Classic Red.

Back at the Post Office, brushed off and suited up, Harold tries to deflect his embarrassment by accusing Red of setting this up to gain leverage. But Red silences him with this ominous news: “There’s a war coming… Things will get considerably worse before they get better.” He says that he’ll want Cooper’s help later and he wants him to reach out to Admiral Richard Abraham, his Navy friend who slipped him the classified evidence on Rifkin. Juicy. Where’s that connection going to go?

So the moment we’ve been building to: JOLENE. Dolly Parton’s classic comes on as a pensive Tom sits at the bar and slowly removes his wedding ring. Even though it sounds like a man singing, it’s actually Dolly’s original version slowed down to 33 rpms instead of 45 rpms. Mind blown. Another perfect call from The Blacklist music crew. As Dolly warbles, “Jolene I’m begging you/please don’t take my man,” Tom walks in slow-motion down the hotel hallway in ill-fitting jeans and a cardigan (painfully awkward teacher-wear), but Jolene herself is lying on the bed perfectly styled with “flaming locks of auburn hair/with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green.”

Tom enters and Jolene turns with a self-satisfied smirk, knowing the sad sap teacher couldn’t resist. She goes in for a gloating kiss, but Warby Parker pushes her away, saying he loves his wife. Jolene’s bristles and shoots back: “Wrong answer. She’s not your wife. She’s your target.” A shiver comes over Tom and he changes from lonely loser to calculating killer. “Did they send you?” He says angrily. “To what, test me? I told you that I was in love with her because that is exactly what I’m supposed to be. That is my job.” Warby Parker – you sicko! You really are a killer! And from the looks of the preview, he goes full Bourne Identity crazy.

It doesn’t get any better than this, kids. Who do you think he’s working for? And what are his motives? Who is Jolene working for? When is Sexy Ressly going to take off his shirt and fight bad guys during a rainstorm? We need more answers!

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