The Blacklist recap: That's How Blackmail Works, Sweetheart

Who is Berlin and why is Reddington so afraid of him? We're about to find out because he's just landed stateside.
Ep. 21 | Aired May 5, 2014

Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Meanwhile, Tom Keen is in full Bond mode. He's kidnapped one of Reddington's tails, a man with a spider tattoo that becomes a grisly memento later. He throws the tail into a room, where he proceeds to beat the crap out of him, then scare the crap out of him, only to reveal that he had no use for this man other than as means to send Red a message. Tom obviously speaks Red's language; Red is a big fan of gifting dead human flesh as a token of his appreciation. It really shows you went the extra mile to get something personal, you know? Tom's torture scene is epic. Ryan Eggold really sells the coiled-violence-lives-inside-me-just-waiting-to-burst-out routine. "You don't choose Berlin," he tells the doomed man. "Berlin chooses you." That second line was so conflicted with pain, anger, hate. Nicely done.

When Red gets the news that the tail is out of play, he is miffed. He's double miffed because he's also in the middle of decoding Tom's "calculus book" from "The Pavlovich Brothers," and it's not good news.

Keen is resigning from the FBI. While I can't blame her, watching her try to get out of the biz is incredibly annoying in the heat of current events. Things are nowhere near resolved, Liz, and now you're bailing at the worst possible moment? Luckily, it takes very little convincing at all to get her to change her mind. (People will die? Oh, okay. Fine.) And she agrees to help with this final case of the contagion outbreak at the bank.

The culprit appears to be the Cullen virus, not to be confused with the disease you get from watching the later Twilight movies. It's one of the most deadly diseases on the planet, so lethal that most countries have forbidden research on it. Red thinks that the dead man was "a foot soldier in a biological army," and the death was an attempt at striking out against Reddington. The FBI seems baffled by this (when don't they seem baffled?), but they go along with it. A rep from the CDC confirms that the disease must have been injected directly into the victim and designed specifically to attack only the host -- so it's not the pandemic that it could be. They need to find out who is tampering with this strain of virus and, surprise, surprise, Red knows a guy.

Red's guy looks exactly as a mad scientist should -- and it turns out he's also living in an insane asylum. Liz agrees to meet the scientist with Red, and while they're all on his jet, Red tries to talk some sense into her. "If you give up on this, everyone's lives will go back to normal -- except yours," he warns her. But she doesn't listen. He offers her an olive branch, a copy of the decoded info from Tom's calculus book. "There's surprisingly little about me and my organization," he says. "But it contains speculation about our cases and a great deal about you." She's still sulking and makes Dembe trade seats with her. Hahaha. Very petty, Keen.

We see another man get infected with the Cullen virus, and with it he gets a video of a man informing him that he will get an antidote injection every 24 hours if he follows orders. That's how that works.

NEXT: A much needed trip to the mental hospital

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