The Blacklist recap: To Catch a Thief

Madeline Pratt enlists Red to help her with some Indiana Jones plot to steal an Egyptian relic
Ep. 14 | Aired Feb 24, 2014

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Cooper isn’t the only one with a bee in his bonnet over that embarrassing heist failure. Reddington doesn’t like to be played either. So he catches up with Madeline, hoping to strong arm some information out of her. Well, she starts to lose it on him, yammering about how he stood her up in Florence and how dare he? This woman is an international thief – would she really jeopardize a deal this big because Reddington slighted her once? Before we have time to be annoyed by this conversation, some Syrians whip out stun guns and kidnap both Red and Maddie.

Cut to them in cells, Reddington lying in a heap on the floor after being tortured for information. Sweating and bleeding, he begins to tell Madeline the long, sad story of how he came to lose his family. It was Christmas Eve and he was stranded on the side of the highway when he ran out of gas after doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. Forced to walk five miles home in the snow, he opened the door to his house to find blood everywhere. He works his jaw around as he thinks about it, like he’s chewing on glass to revisit these memories. Spader knocks these growled monologues out of the park.

“I can still feel her little fingers on my cheek,” he says thinking about his lost daughter. “That’s why I didn’t show up in Florence. That’s why I don’t show up a lot of places.” We watch Madeline’s face through a square grate in the cell wall as she hears this story. Tears stream down her cheek. When the Syrians come to grab Reddington again, she breaks down and says she’ll tell them what they want to know and writes the effigy’s location on a pad of paper. Reddington miraculously appears from the next room in a perfectly pressed suit, like he’d just stepped out for lunch. Gotcha b**ch. But I feel a little bad for Madeline. She obviously really loved him. When she asks if any of it were true, the story about his family, he doesn’t reply. What do you think? I think it was true, obviously only a small fragment of a much larger story, but still a true moment.

The FBI shows up at the site Madeline had written down, just as her boyfriend the Russian Mafioso is making the effigy pick-up. Gunfire ensues and they get the statue, but the figurine is filled only with sand, not coordinates. Hey, wait a minute…that tricky Reddington. He has the nuclear bombs list because he sweet-talked them out of Madeline before he spirited her out of the country. So he offers Cooper a trade, the nukes for the effigy. He wants the pretty gold statue for his mantle. It really ties the room together.

As STRFKR, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” plays, softly chanting “all my life/there you go/oh please stay/just this once/anyway,” Liz calls Tom and gets his voicemail. He’s left early for Orlando after announcing that some time apart is what they really need right now. Finally some sense-talking from Warby Parker, except that “time apart while in Orlando” is a recipe for disaster, sure enough Jolene is also at this Florida conference.

But there was a really sweet scene, when Agent Ressler sticks around the office to give Liz some emotional support after she tells him that Tom is probably going to leave her. When can this relationship happen??? Sexy Ressly is the best. What a turn-around from his early days as the annoying ginger who had to do everything by the books. To finish the montage, Liz works on her sleight-of-hand by hiding and revealing the ultrasound picture of the maybe baby. Deep thoughts.

We close with poor Coop getting paid a visit from Special Agent Walter Gary Martin, whose nickname on the force is definitely “Scary Gary.” Scary Gary tells Coop that he needs to stop looking into Diane Fowler. He drops some pretty heavy bureaucratic spy jargon on him. “I’ve been cleared level four. I’m going to need all your case files. The D.C. Field Office is running point. It’s protocol.” Yowza. Well, if it’s protocol then I’d better do it.

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