The Blacklist recap: Bring Me His Head in a Box

Tom Keen gets crazy and Agent Ressler gets rampage-y on the hunt for Yakuza druglord Mako Tanida
Ep. 16 | Aired Mar 17, 2014


After the brutal death of his girlfriend, Ressler is now off the rails. He calls Red for information. And Red is surprisingly forthcoming, seeing himself reflected in Ressler’s pain. “Donald, I understand how you feel. Beneath the iron and rust exterior beats a heart filled with immeasurable grief,” says Red, describing them both. I really like Ressler and I want to love him. But as an actor, he just can’t call up the depth emotion necessary to make his lines believable in this Outlaw Josey Wales, you-killed-my-family-now-I’m-out-for-blood context. Red warns him, “Once you cross over, there are things in the dark that can keep your heart from ever feeling the light again.” And Ressler replies stiffly, “All I feel is hate.” Sure, okay. But then we get a brilliant clip of Red mashing snow into a snowball and throwing it at the sky.  He’s such a gleeful kid sometimes!

But seriously guys, Ressler is on a rampage. He teams up with Bobby, his ex-partner and best friend who is the other agent on Tanida’s list. They saddle up and head into an underground hospital to get some answers on the whereabouts of Tanida. I will say that Ressler is at his finest when he’s roughing people up and the music is (as usual) perfectly chosen for the moment. In this case, Jamie N Commons & X Ambassadors, “Jungle.” As they’re singing, “Won’t you follow me into the jungle?” Ressler is shooting people in the knee caps like he ain’t got time to wait around and break you. (Wasn’t this totally that moment in Gangster Squad when Ryan Gosling finally picks up the shotgun and just blows that mobster away in the street? The guy sneers, “You can’t kill me, you’re a cop.” And he’s like “not anymore.” Pow. That’s totally what Ressler is going through.) I love when he slams his gun onto another gun on the table, then palms both of them as they head out the door to track Tanida. Sexy. Ressly.

Carrying the momentum of that scene, we move to Midnight Cowboy, who’s been ordered by Reddington to capture Jolene. So he sneaks up on her and Tom sneaks up on him. Then things get very…hard to believe. Not only is Midnight Cowboy quite bigger than Tom and scarier than Tom and definitely more a killer than Tom, he’s also been hired by Red and Red doesn’t hire amateurs. Only an amateur would be this easily bested by Warby Parker. Tom is creepy. He’s eerie. And I get how he could be good at undercover work. But Midnight Cowboy would easily pancake Tom, so I just really had a hard time going along with this scenario. Yet somehow, by the end of this scene, Tom ends up putting a bullet in the cowboy’s head (sad to lose that character) and he suffocates Jolene with the sheet that covers his car (rude) after convincing her to call Liz and say she’s moving back to Ohio. Seems really unlikely that a woman this clever would be this supremely stupid… [Body Count: 5]

NEXT PAGE: Just what I've always wanted, a head in a box!

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