Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Blacklist Recap: Dr. Covington, Episode 2.03

Repo Man:  And You Thought Coma was Creepy?
Written by Chompstick

We get a chance to breathe a bit easier this week with a slower pace on The Blacklist.  Just your average crime show with stolen organs, bloody bodies, the good guys on foot pursuing the bad guy on the motorcycle, little guns, big guns, school boy crushes, and sour grapefruit gushers.

A meeting at an outdoor cafe is not going so well. "You knew we'd find you," says one man, causing the other to nervously sprint from the table, run into the road and beg a motorist for help.  Bad goes to worse for the guy when the motorist jabs him in the neck with a tranquilizer. Our last view of the poor Mr. Wyatt is when he's being wheeled on a gurney and told by the doctor that he is out of time. In the early morning hours the police are clearing the homeless folk from their sidewalk crash pad when they find Wyatt's eviscerated body.

In the Heart Stopping Scene of the Week, Liz awakes and glimpses Tom's glasses sitting on the table in her motel room. She turns to see a ratty looking Tom(!) aiming her gun at her. Liz, shocked, tells Tom she'll scream.

Tom has seen better days.
T:    Don't. Listen to me. Reddington knows where I am.  He's using you.  He found me and he's coming here.  But you need to know that you can't trust him.  He's using you and when Berlin is dead, he will kill you.
L:    If you're trying to help me, why don't you put the gun down?
T:    Tom puts the gun down.  Has he told you? Has he told you anything about that night, about the fire?  You need to ask him, Liz, for the truth about why he turned himself into the FBI.
L:    No.
T:    It's not what you think.
Red bursts in the door and addresses Liz.  You should have killed him when you had the chance.
T:    Go ahead, ask him Liz.
R:    You should have finished him.
T:    Make him answer. You deserve to know the truth. Your father, Naomi Hyland.  Red doesn't want you to know that, that night of the fire ...

Time passes at the speed of snail for me when Red shoots Tom four times, directly into the heart. Nooo! Not Tom, I love Tom. He's a fab bad guy.

R:    What do you want Agent Keen?  What do you really want?

                         * * * *

Liz wakes up startled and checks that she does indeed have her gun under her pillow. Yeah, I knew it was a dream the whole time (wiping the sweat off my brow and attempting to control my breathing).

When Liz leaves the motel in the morning, she spots someone tailing her in the reflection of a car window. Bad Ass Liz confronts the nameless Motel Man (Hal Ozsan) and searches him and his bag but comes up empty.

Motel Man
Red meets with several men to discuss the Indonesian government finally deciding to turn over the day-to-day operations of  Port Tankulu to a private company. Red wants the company to be run by the Syndicate. The most vocal of these men is Niko (Joseph Siravo) who states that their logistics in the region are too small for such an operation.  He continues voicing his concern that Red shouldn't be expanding his business while in a war with Berlin. It will drag all of them down, he worries.

The Kwik-E-Mart of Illegal Organ Harvesting
Next up on Red's agenda is meeting with Liz. She is steamed that Red is hiding Naomi from her and he correctly guesses  she wants Naomi to answer some personal questions.  But then it's time for Liz to get the 411 on the criminal du jour.

Dr, Covington
Dr. James Covington (Ron C. Jones) was formerly a top cardiothoracic surgeon who brought an end to his legitimate career when he falsified the documents on a set of lungs (ie. stole them) to conduct an experimental operation on a 10 year old.  The Ivy-League educated doc is now running an illegal organ transplant operation for wealthy clients and criminals who don't want to wait in those pesky transplant waiting lines. The victim this time is Paul Wyatt.

At the Post Office, the team formally meets Samar Navabi and Amir regresses to a thirteen year-old boy:
"Whoa!  You're tall!"

The others all jockey for their place in the pecking order.
Ressler:  You're the one who found Red.
Samar:    Are those real-time NSA feeds?
Ressler:   I hunted the guy for 5 years, how long did it take you?
Samar:    Well, it was, uh, 74 days.  We were lucky. They would kill to see these in Tehran.
Liz:          How does an Iranian end up working for Mossad?
Samar:    How did the FBI end up working for Raymond Reddington?
Liz:          How did you find us in Warsaw?

Ressler later calls out Liz on her reaction:  "Sounds like someone's a little jealous Uncle Red's got a new crush."

They say money can't buy happiness, but it can buy a healthy liver.
Liz and Ressler meet with the medical examiner, Dr. Ryerson, who is coughing up a lung and should probably be on the fast lane to a transplant himself.  They discover that Mr. Wyatt had his heart removed, but it wasn't his original heart.  He had previously been the recipient of an organ transplant. They meet with Wyatt's widow who tells them Dr. Covington's organs are not for purchase, you rent them!  "This fine heart can be yours for just one easy payment of $500,000 (for every year of the rest of your life). Shipping and handling additional."  If you can't continue to pay for the "product", you have to return it.  Wyatt's heart wasn't harvested, it was repossessed! 

Niko and Red's other associates, Laskin and Russo, are meeting in some warehouse space. With regards to the Indonesian port, Niko is trying to convince the others that although the directorate general is their ally, it's Garong Sundri, the Department Minister of Transportation, who is really in charge, and he is against the Syndicate being put in charge of the port. "This could bankrupt us," Niko says.  And then in walks the incomparable Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) playing Mr. Vargas.  The angry Niko demands to know if Vargas knows where he is. "Yes Niko, I know exactly where I am and who you work with. Unfortunately for you, I work with the one man in the world who doesn't care. Berlin sent me with an offer. Think of it as a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Mr. Vargas

Back at the Post Office, Aram is working hard and has lots of screen time this episode, even aside from his bumbling attempts to impress the seductively voiced Ms. Navabi:

Samar: Where I come from, fear is the only deterrent.
Aram:  I'm from Delaware.

Reuben Soup
Liz and Ressler are off to see the medical examiner, Dr. Albee, who is connected to a non-profit where the Wyatts were sending their heart rental payments (do they use loan repayment coupon books?)  They find Albee at the scene of an unrelated hanging and confront him with their knowledge that he is on the Wellbright Fund's payroll to the tune of $200,000/year for "consulting".  At this point, Liz calls Red for help. Cut (sorry) to Mr. Kaplan slicing into a dead body in a dug up coffin as Liz struggles to hold down her hearts of artichoke salad (sorry again).

Mr. Kaplan  does some slice and dice.
Mr. K finds that all four bodies in question are missing hearts and lungs, with three also missing livers. Naturally, this all occurs in broad daylight.  Good thing no one is delivering flowers to a grave today.  Liz and Ressler present pictures of the gutted bodies to Albee who agrees to help them in return for protection. They set up a sting with a pig heart and a mock medical file and then wait for Covington's courier to come get it.  Liz sits in the waiting room talking into her sleeve.  Wouldn't it be a bit less obvious if she just used a cell phone? Unless it's in a shrink's office, talking to your clothes is uncommon and far from socially acceptable.

There is an odd bit of conversation between Red and Mr. Kaplan while she is honing her Ginsu knife skills. They discuss a coroner who made Reuben soup (until I saw the closed captioning I thought she said rodent soup) (and yes, I'm sure it was a play on Paul Reuben's name).  Mr. Kaplan chuckles that she could never forget him because she was sleeping with his sister. This raises even more questions about this mysterious character. 

Next, Red meets with Niko to discuss Laskin and Russo, who Niko claims are up to no good. Red displays disinterest until Niko shows him a picture of the two guys with a third man. "I gather this is Mr. Vargas, based on his sartorial splendor.  Does that even look like real hair?"  Niko asserts that the men must have taken Berlin's deal.  Soon, Red and Niko meet the two traitors in an alley. Red reveals that he knows they took Berlin's offer and orders his enforcements to haul them off.

On to this week's obligatory chase scene - Covington's courier is a former Army medic with a criminal background.  He exits Dr. Albee's office with Porky's ticker, and to Ressler's dismay, takes off on a motorcycle.  Ressler can't keep up in his Bureau issue SUV, but as luck would have it, traffic thickens so Liz and Ressler jump out of the vehicle and pursue the motorcycle on foot! And they appear to be keeping up until *splat* someone forgot to look both ways! The courier is a goner in a nasty accident with a pickup.

Are You Happy to See Me?
At the site of the accident, Liz finds the paperwork pertaining to the intended heart recipient, a criminal known as BB who has been charged with racketeering and murder. After Liz informs Red, he surprises BB in a diner where the man is enjoying the daily special with his side of pure oxygen. This man with a penchant for Hawaiian shirts is underwhelmed to see Red and disregards his request for Covington's contact info. "Strictly for emergencies," BB says, just before experiencing shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and tingling in the  .... nether regions? Ah, Red spiked his drink with the little blue pill that causes the thunder down under. Red points out two paramedics nearby and asks, "What do you think, BB?  Does this feel like an emergency?"

Now armed with Covington's phone number, Aram goes to work tracing the source, and manages to get through a scene without embarrassing himself. The number is a digital VoIP line that's bouncing all over the globe to keep itself concealed.  Finally, Aram narrows its location down to a five block area. After canvassing the area, Liz and Ressler end up at yet another abandoned building.  They break in and find a hidden access stairway to a lower level, and plunge into the dark with no back up. They proceed through swinging doors and find themselves standing in a makeshift children's hospital corridor, flanked with hospital rooms occupied by sleeping children and a colorful waiting room filled with toys.
The "Children's Hospital"

As they advance into the surgical room, Dr. Covington has his back to the door while he operates on a young boy. Liz orders him to step away from the table, and rather than being afraid, Dr. Evil is incensed and yells that they don't know what they're doing.  Au contraire, dear doctor, I think they know exactly what they AND you are doing, and Liz progresses to tell him so.  But Covington counters with, "I'm not trying to hurt the boy, I'm trying to save him.  If he doesn't get these lungs in the next 24 hours, he won't survive." The boys parents turn their desperate eyes upon Liz.

She debates with Ressler and a struggle of ethics ensues - when does the loss of one life justify saving another?  "There will be no tomorrow for this boy if I don't do this transplant. The donor material is already here." Covington pleads, "If we don't use it, it will die, just like he will."  Despite Ressler telling Liz that she's way over the line, they agree to let the transplant continue and arrest Covington afterward.  Ressler remarks that "the fact that you're even thinking about what trade-offs you'd make, what rules you'd ignore ... the Agent Keen I met a year ago would have never done that." There's more than a little irony in this scene when juxtaposed with Liz's accusations last week against Red choosing his wife's life over countless others that would indirectly die at the hands of Berlin. There is a lot of thought-provoking dialogue that can be read on the episode's transcripts.

Chrome is So Out of Style

Red enters the warehouse room and is met with Niko and the other associates.  Niko wastes no time in telling Red that he's viewed as a liability by everyone and they want him gone. "I may have misled you," says Niko.  "Someone did take Berlin up on his offer, but it wasn't Laskin and Russo.  It was me."  Mr. Vargas enters with his gun on Red, who as always, never shows fear when his life is on the line. Niko orders Vargas to kill him, but Red approaches the outstretched gun and dryly says, "I find chrome to be a bit ostentatious."  Mr. Vargas apologizes to Mr. Demakis, telling him that he was the one who was misled. Laskin and Russo enter stage left.  Nice play Red!!  Red puts a slug through Niko and we're treated to my pick for the most amusing conversation of the episode, from Mr. Vargas:

V:  Honestly, how many times have we discussed this? 
R:  What? 
V:  You know I don't like being around the bloody s-stuff 
R:  Ohhhh.
V:  I need to be allowed to leave the room before the blood.  You know I don't have a strong constitution.
R:  Give him his seat.  He's gonna faint.
V:  Oh, my.

Fink's Pilgrim ushers in the last few scenes...Come a long way, not to work it out ...
Right, and Wrong, and Right
Samar congratulates Liz on the case and offers to buy her a drink, but Liz begs off.  "All you know about me, " Samar says, "is that I found Reddington and whatever you might have read in a slim dossier.  And now we're working together with all that implies. I'm sure you don't know what to think."
L:  You're wrong.
S:  I'm not wrong. You're right not to trust me.
L:  Oh, you're right about that. You're wrong if you think you found Reddington. If he was found, it's because he wanted to be and he wanted you to find him.
S:  Maybe I'm just good at what I do. Is that so difficult to believe? 

L:  If he wanted you here, he has a reason.
That's why I don't trust you because I don't know what the reason is, and I'm guessing neither do you.

Come a long way not to ask the question that's been on your lips.

Back at the motel, Liz encounters the smoldering British bad boy again in the parking lot and apologizes for The Frisking Incident.  "So is that your thing, unprovoked frisking?" he asks.  And as all people with top secret security clearance are taught to do, she tells the complete stranger that she's a federal agent.  Did anyone not groan at the implausibility of that?  It gets better ... she goes into her room and doesn't bother to bolt the door. And we see that she left her curtain open, offering a view of her "Tom and Red Wall" to anyone interested. 
Motel Man's got some big guns.

The music ramps up. From small beginnings come big endings. 

Liz's new friend enters his room hurriedly and retrieves one heck of a fierce gun from a bag on the bed.  I'd hate to see how loud the housekeeper would have screamed if the Do-Not-Disturb sign had blown off the doorknob during the day.

Finally, Dembe is driving Red and they stop at a house outside of the city. Red walks into the unlocked house (really, do they not teach FBI agents and criminals that DC has been known to suffer from crime?) to find Naomi, looking nervous and unsure, with rage simmering just below the surface. "You look so different," Red remarks. "Not as different as you," she replies, and hits him hard across the face. (The rage is no longer simmering.)

So what have we learned this week?
Red works for a syndicate.
Tom is alive.  
The glasses from Liz's dream look like the same ones in the stalker's car.
Aram is love struck.
Mr. Kaplan may not be everything she appears to be.
Who is Motel Man working for?
Hudson is absent from the motel room.
And, what does Liz's dream tell us about her?  

Share your thoughts on the Episode 3, Dr. Covington Discussion page.