Reconvo: The Blacklist S1 Ep. 3 Dr. James Covington

by L.T. Milroy and Veruca Salt

Oh no, Red is in trouble!! Whatever will he do?? I’m sure he’ll think of something…

Yes, we’re presented with a scenario of Red in intense danger and his future with The Syndicate in question. At least, that’s what we’re supposed to believe. It’s fun to watch Spader chew the scenery, as always.

And Lizzie continues to be haunted by her probably-not-dead ex. She’s still living a shadowy existence, drawing the concern of her coworkers, and the FBI shrink. But she’s still the most awesome-est, kickass Fed this side of J. Edgar Hoover’s ghost, so have no fear. All will be fine, with crack Agent Keen on the job!

Now, on with the show!

LT: There’s lots of grossness this week, starting with the first scene. Mr. Wyatt is out of time, and that’s meant quite literally.

V: Yes, some dude stops to help him as he’s being chased down by one baddie, and by that I mean shoot him up with something, so he wakes up handcuffed to a gurney.

 01 strapped to a gurney

 Not the way I’d wanna wake up from a nap.

LT: After his operation his body is dumped, and we get to see it in all its bloodiness. More gore to come, kiddies, get used to it.

V: Looks like someone was turned into the Tin Man.

01.1 tin man

 LT: Liz dreams that Tom is back.

03 tom

But instead of trying to kill her, he has some advice: Don’t trust Red!! He says Red will just use her and throw her away. Then he starts to tell Liz there’s something Red doesn’t want her to know about the night of the fire and why he came to the FBI, but Red busts in and shoots him.

 04 red shoots tom

 Why must Lizzie’s dreams be so cryptic?

Lizzie is still living in seedy motels. Doesn’t the FBI pay well enough for her to afford a place that doesn’t require bed bugs to be on a leash?

 05 seedy mottel

V: Perhaps it’s some self-imposed punishment for being so crappy at her job? For being the most gullible profiler in history?

Oh, Red just tapped me on the shoulder and informed me I should correct that to the best profiler, who is the most proficient at her job.

LT: As she’s walking to her car, she thinks a guy is following her and rousts him and looks through his backpack.

05.5 liz rousting

She finds nothing, so apparently believes he’s harmless.

V: Of course he’s harmless! Did you not hear that lovely British accent?

LT: The “B” plot involves Niko, who is supposedly an ally of Red’s.

06 niko

 V: Something about The Syndicate getting control of a port. Niko seems ambivalent, even when Red says he wants to triple the investment. I guess he’s a little afraid of Berlin.

LT: Then Liz has one of her obligatory meets with Red, wherein he basically taunts her for being a feeble G-woman, but she’s too dim to notice.

 06.5 red liz meeting

She wants to know where Naomi is, but Red is hiding her.

They finally get down to discussing the case. It seems Mr. Wyatt was a sleaze who was stealing pensions. It enabled him to buy a black market heart transplant from a Dr. Covington, who’s running an illegal organ ring.

02 covington

V: Yeah, he helps out the poor, the unfortunate…or any old sleazebag who has the money to pay him for a new heart, like this gentleman here with an oxygen tank, drinking a beer.

07 beer guy

Some of the worst of the worst are alive because of the good doc. It’s comforting to know that just a few years ago, Covington was considered one of the top Cardiothoracic surgeons in the country. I guess that wasn’t paying enough?

LT: Liz is generally bad-tempered through this entire exchange, which leads Red to say, as he stands up to get a drink, “Try a grapefruit gusher; it’s just like you today, a little sour.”

V: You know how those dreams you have can affect your waking hours? Well, it seems subconscious Tom has just as much power over good ol’ Liz as RealTom. It’s nice to know that even when Tommy’s not there, he can still manage to crawl up inside Liz’s brain and manipulate her.

Anyway, it seems Covington had a meltdown. He stole a set of lungs that were supposed to go to another guy and did an experimental surgery on a ten-year old. Then the guy who was supposed to receive the lungs, died.

08 covington

When the doc has a meltdown, he really has a meltdown. By the time they came around to charging him, he was off the grid.

The FBI would just fumble around picking their pants out of their butts if it wasn’t for Red, I think.

LT: And Liz, of course.

Mossad woman, whose name is Samar, is part of the crack FBI team now. Liz asks her how she managed to find the FBI in Warsaw last week, but she doesn’t answer.

V: It’s really kind of a pissing contest:

How did an Iranian wind up working for Mossad?

How did the FBI wind up working for Raymond Reddington?

Ooh, burn!

And since Tom’s still alive and well in Liz’s head, she gets even more pissy with Ressler, once they reach the ME’s office. She knows Red sent Samar to Warsaw. Ressler responds by saying she’s jealous Uncle Red has a new crush.

Ouch! People are zinging it to Liz left and right this week. I like it.

The ME lets them know he’d had a previous heart transplant.

LT: Wyatt’s wife tells the agents his heart was a transplant, but that it was rented.

09 wife

Covington charged $500,000 a year for it, and when they fell behind in payments, he repossessed it.

V: Yeah. I guess stealing money from people is profitable, but those mean ol’ SEC people investigating him…that put a little wrinkle into Wyatt’s plans. Hard for me to feel sorry for this victim.

LT: And he’s also apparently inexplicably lousy with money. Who would be stupid enough to rent a body part for half-a-mil a year?? If he’d already made up his mind to go the illegal route, surely he can get a better deal than that.

Look! It’s Paul Reubens. Yaay!

10 pee wee

That’s Pee Wee Herman, kids. Look it up if you’re unfamiliar. Pee Wee’s Playhouse was one of those great kid’s shows that actually plays just as well to adults. A true classic.

Pee Wee is Vargas here. He supposedly works with Berlin and looks to be conspiring with Niko to take Red down.

V: What the heck with the hair? Oh my God.

LT: Aram flirts with Samar. Hee! Aram has been coming into his own lately, but she’s still way out of his league and would probably eat him for breakfast, then use him as a toothpick.

V: Seriously. But she seems kind of amused by him. As you would be by a cute puppy.

LT: I think that’s exactly how she regards him!

The agents find that Wyatt made his payments to the Wellbright Fund, a charity of which a Dr. Albee is a consultant. a medical examiner in MarylandLiz and Ressler visit Albee,.

11 shady dude

He gets all panicky when Liz mentions the Wellbright Fund and rushes away before answering any questions.

V: Well, that would make me cross him off the suspect list for sure!

I guess Niko has come to Red with Vargas’s offer. They break with Red, and they can operate under his name. Niko thinks some of the others want to defect, and Red wants to be standing right in front of them when they do. Oh, I’ll bet.

LT: Red’s Cleaner is back. Her name is Mr. Kaplan. So I guess I can stop calling her Linda Hunt.

V: Yeah, it cracked me up when I first found out Mr. Kaplan was a grandmotherly type.

LT: She’s in a cemetery performing what is evidently an off-book exhumation. More grossness.

 12 exhumation

As usual, her banter with Red is a highlight of the episode. We learn she once dated the sister of an associate of his. Could we get a flashback ep of how these two got together? It would be a very engrossing forty-three minutes. They find the evidence they’re looking for and take photos of the corpse.

Liz and Ressler confront Albee with the photos, and Liz accuses him of being a supplier of body parts for Covington. They have Albee make a phone call and set up a sting exchange for parts.

V: At least Albee is selling the organs of people who are already dead. He’s not the ripper-outer. And this is where we learn what I learned from Mythbusters a long time ago. That pig hearts are almost identical to human hearts. Also, thanks for showing it.

13 ressler with pig heart

Looks like Niko is trying to sell out his compatriots by showing Red some pics of them meeting with Pee Wee (he even mentions the hair!).

13 niko's comrades 1 14 pee wee 2

Red insists on meeting with the traitors himself. Niko looks worried.

LT: The M.E. hands off the pig heart, but of course, things never go smoothly for our agents, and they wind up in a chase after a motorcycle.

V: It’s hilarious that motorcycle guy makes Ressler in like three seconds by merely looking behind him. These agents are the best the FBI has to offer? And, you know, they may try to consider following people in something other than a humongous black SUV that absolutely doesn’t scream FBI.

LT: The organ guy eventually crashes into a car.

 15 motorcycle guy

 V: But seriously, if he hadn’t crashed, they would have lost him, as they were chasing the guy on foot!

LT: What was that all about? When they jumped out of the car, I was like, whaaa? Did they intend to run after him for miles?

Organ guy had some paperwork on him about the transplant this particular part was for. It’s the guy from earlier seen slurping a beer with an oxygen tank attached to him. His name is Babbitt. Of course, Red knows Babbitt, otherwise known as BB, and goes to see him. Red gets info out of him by spiking his drink with Viagra.

V: He doesn’t look too good.

 17 beer guy on viagra

But Red tells him there are two paramedics who will help him out if he calls Covington. He complies.

Oh, I guess Niko’s partners weren’t filled in about who and what Red is, as they go off to have a meeting with him. They’re surprised when Red tells them Niko sold them out, and one of them is even brave enough to let Red know he’s concerned about Red bankrupting their little organization. Red does what you’d expect and has the guys taken care of, in his usual Red way. Fortunately, it takes place off-screen.

LT: Cooper tells Liz that Dr. Friedman, the FBI shrink, is concerned about her. The doc recommends that Liz take some time off, but of course, the bestest agent in the world just wants to work.

V: Yeah, she’ll use her little vacation to hunt Berlin, because she’s a bad-ass, dammit! But Cooper won’t take the shrink’s advice, because he just can’t do without Liz. Why, the agency would fall to its knees!

LT: But Friedman and Cooper wonder how Liz will react if Tom is still alive, and Cooper offers his help.

V: But Liz has to go, because her real boss is calling. From BB, Aram is able to get a trace on the doc, but it’s a five-block radius. The team has forty-three minutes to find the foreclosed heart.

LT: Niko talks to Pee W-…Vargas, and tells him that he can get Red out of the way and take over his job.

V: Their photo-op worked, according to Niko, who says Red didn’t even check on the facts, because he’s getting reckless. Sure, buddy. Then he ups the ante. At least he knows he’s in big-time trouble for betraying Red, because he asks for PW to off Reddington, but Pee Wee knows Berlin doesn’t want him dead.

LT: Yeah, this bonehead thinks he’s going to just bump Red off and take his place atop Red Mountain. What a delusional twit. He’s a dead man walking. Vargas says to set up a meeting.

In their hunt for Covington, Liz and Ressler break into a locked-up storefront and find a rather impressively set-up hospital ward in the basement.

19 tricked out

Looks like those rich assholes who can buy body parts have gotten the place really tricked-out. In one room, a doctor is consulting with clients, a couple of parents.

 18 waiting room

Liz finds the operating room and breaks in, just as a procedure is about to start.

21 the doc at gunpoint

Covington insists he’s misunderstood. He has a transplant to do on a kid and wants to continue. The kid dies otherwise!

V: The doc says he’s continuing with the operation, and Liz can shoot him if she wants to, but Ressler puts a gun to the doc’s head and ends the standoff.

22 ressler with gun to doc's head

While the doc is handcuffed, he states his case. The experimental surgery that lost him his license was transplanting an adult heart into a child, which you’re technically not allowed to do. The doc justifies what he did to Wyatt by insisting that the money he gets from him and the other lowlifes, goes to saving the kids.

LT: So the bad doctor is actually a good guy who saves little kids? Okay. Liz wants to let him continue with the transplant. Ressler doesn’t agree, but Liz wins.

During a meeting of bad guys, all of whom Niko thinks he has on his side, Niko tells Red he’s out. Vargas draws a gun, and Niko tells him to shoot Red. But of course, that’s not going to happen, and Niko finds out he’s been had.

23 red and the gang

He sits down, and we get one of those classic Red scenes, where Red has some fun with his victim before killing him, gregariously telling a folksy personal anecdote, as Niko watches him with huge eyes.

V: James Spader. What can I say? I love how he appears to relive the story to the point you truly believe it happened to him. This man is amazing.

LT: When storytime is over and Red shoots him, Vargas gets upset. It seems that Red knows Vargas doesn’t like “being around the bloody stuff” and should have warned him before plugging Niko. Just what Red needs, a villain with a weak stomach. Vargas’s henchmen prop him up as he begins to feel faint. Poor Pee Wee!

24 pee wee's afraid of blood

 V: I guess the other Deputy Minister died before he could get a heart transplant. Turns out the new DM is more than happy to have the syndicate run the port! All’s well that ends well!

LT: Must we watch the kid’s transplant?

V: OMG! SERIOUSLY!

Liz and Ressler speculate on whether Red knew Covington was saving kids. Ressler points out for every kid the doc saved, there were three killers he kept alive to keep up with their dastardly deeds.

Liz is totally okay with that tradeoff.

LT: Ressler tells Liz he doesn’t like what she’s become. I guess he was a fan of the wig.

Back at the office, Samar tries to buddy up to Liz, since they’re colleagues now. She wants to go out for a celebratory drink. Hey, wait for me, we’ll make it a threesome! But Liz has no intention of palling around with Mossad woman. Then they get into another pissing contest over who Red likes best.

V: Yeah, apparently Liz thinks Samar only found Red because he wanted to be found, and he has a reason for keeping her there. Liz doesn’t trust her, because neither of them knows why. Uh, Liz? You might want to keep that attitude in check, since you’re pretty much Red’s puppet. He placed you in your job as well, for reasons that are unclear. Do you not see the parallel?

LT: Back at the Bates Motel, Lizzie sees the parking lot guy she frisked earlier, and apologizes for her gauche behavior.

 26 liz flirts

He seems ok with it. Then she tells him she’s a federal agent. Huh?? Real smooth, Liz. Is that what they teach in Quantico? Seems kind of counter-productive to national security.

 V: He’s kind of hot. I think it’s her dorky way of flirting.

LT: I hope she doesn’t like him too much, before we know it she’ll be giving him the launch codes.

V: And no wonder she’s having nightmares if she’s staring at the wall o’crime all day and night, with pics of Red and Tom all over it.

 27 wall of crime

LT: Then we see parking lot guy go back to his room, where he gets out a bag full of firearms, complete with scope.

28 hot guy with a gun

 So it looks like Liz has been making friends with a sniper. Her instincts are spot-on, as always.

V: This seems to be a pattern with her. Suspect someone, have them give her puppy dog eyes, she backs down. I mean, I can understand why she’s the top profiler at the FBI. She’s the best.

LT: Red goes to see Naomi. She slaps him.

 29 naomi

 Apparently these two have some unfinished business.

V: Ya think?

LT: They could probably get a full season out of episodes just concerned with detailing the history of the multi-faceted and deeply sick relationship between these two. I’m sure it’s a hoot.

And so ends another chapter of The Blacklist. Did you think Red was in danger and didn’t know what was going on? Yeah, neither did we. Do you think Liz believes sniper guy is a good guy? Yeah, so do we.

Tune in next week, when Liz’s life is put in danger, because, and this can’t be said enough, she’s really good at her job.

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