Reconvo: Blacklist S2 Ep: 4 Dr. Linus Creel

by

Veruca Salt and L.T. Milroy

After last week’s medical antics, we get another doctor as this week’s Blacklister. Only this one’s concerned with the mental side of things. We also see Red being omnipresent and awesome, and a supposedly indispensible Liz being generally clueless. As usual. This show has all bases covered.

LT: A woman appears to be in an intense state of anxiety.

01 stressed out woman

She goes to a bank to try to get a loan but is turned down. That’s because she’s down on her luck right now and really needs some cash. She shouldn’t have told that to the loan officer, since everyone knows banks don’t loan money to people who need it, only to those who already have it. The woman returns to her car and gets a gun out of the glove compartment.

V: I think this poster was the last straw:

02 we make dreams come true

LT: She goes back in the bank and starts shooting.

03 shoots

The whole time she’s flipping out, she’s being observed by a guy in a car who’s talking into a recorder, about how the last phase is complete, and the activation of AR105.

04 phase complete

In the cabin hideaway where Red has her stashed, Naomi tells him she wants to go home and start her life over. But Red is already setting her up with a new identity. She asks, “How much does she know?” in regard to Liz, and he answers, “Very little.” He says he can protect Jennifer, their daughter, but Naomi won’t tell him where she is. Her husband Frank arrives, and she runs out to meet him.

Liz talks to Red and wants to know where Naomi is, but he shuts down that whole line of banter immediately.

V: And she totally lets him change the subject. Cooper is her boss in name only. Red has chipped her and named her Fida.

LT: He instead wants to talk about the latest blacklister. He believes commando bank woman was part of a mind-control experiment by this week’s blacklister.

04 linus creel title card

V: I think they’re also making me eat chocolate. I guess that’s better than making me go in and shoot up a bank.

LT: The agents go over cases where otherwise normal-seeming people wig out.

06 others who snapped

Ressler’s heart isn’t in it, because he thinks this mind-control thing is just something Red is using to distract them from trying to find Naomi.

V: Which is true. But Ressler is just howling at the moon. Red is in charge of you, too, buddy. You just look even more ridiculous because you realize it, keep pointing it out, then just go along with the program.

LT: Liz asks Aram to go over Naomi and Frank’s phone records.

V: And just has to say she has a search warrant, because apparently Aram is led around by what’s inside his pants.

LT: The bank woman is Madeline, and Liz and Ressler interview her co-workers and ex.

V: They can’t interview her, because she’s on a forty-eight hour hold. Suicide watch. She talks with an unseen psychiatrist, so I’m sure everything is on the up-and-up there. And yep, when we finally see him, it’s the guy from the beginning who watched her shoot up the bank.

LT: They find that her life fell apart after some anonymous false accusations were made against her, and after going through the other recent cases, they find the same happened to the others who snapped.

V: The best line of the show comes from Liz:

Their problems metastasized like a cancer, striking to the heart of these victims’ identities.

Someone in the writing room is having a good time.

LT: See, Liz knows medical stuff, too! No wonder she’s so valuable to the FBI!

V: “Just the facts, ma’am” Ressler argues these people weren’t the victims. The people they shot were.

Okay, kids, can we all agree that they were all victims?

LT: Aram discovers all three possess a gene that made them prone to aggression, MAOA2R, the so-called “warrior gene”. It looks like the government is turning people into killers.

The guy from the beginning, who it’s now confirmed is Creel, watches a police chase on TV.

This time it’s the successful final phase: activation of AR106.  After he makes some notes, he calls a Senator Sheridan.

The agents find eleven cases of people wigging out in the past eighteen months. But they’re not just snapping, says Liz, they’re being triggered. It confirms what Red told them. Again, Red leads the FBI around by the nose. Whatever would they do without him? Probably look even more incompetent than they’re already portrayed, if that’s possible.

V: Apparently all they would do is sit around and stare at the walls, since the only cases they work are Red cases.

LT: Liz informs Cooper of their findings, and he spills the beans about Sub Project 7. It’s a black budget program on mind control funded out of the DIA to train and trigger ‘assets’. Coop resents Red exposing his agents to such dangerous things. Liz decides the only way to get the info she wants is to be part of Dr. Creel’s project.

V: So, I guess assets are housewives just trying to make ends meet? I love how Cooper is upset at Red for rubbing their noses in all of these horrible things the government has done, as if it’s his fault. Like, they were just so happy looking the other way and pretending the government only makes sure hospitals are fully funded. We don’t want to see all of that icky stuff! Where are the pictures of the puppies saved from burning buildings?

LT: Cooper probably spends all his free time watching cute videos on youtube. Wouldn’t it be funny if Liz dropped by his place one day and caught him at the computer drinking chocolate milk and giggling like a loon at some kittens playing with a ball of yarn?

V: The only thing that would make it better is if Red was right beside him.

L.T. Liz and Ressler talk to Sen. Sheridan, who’s in charge of black budget programs. He laughs off Sub Project 7, says it doesn’t exist, and the FBI is wasting its time.

He agrees to send Liz the documents she asks for then hustles them out of his office. Right after they leave, Dr. Creel arrives for a meeting. So Sheridan is a lying gov’t dirtbag? What a surprise.

V: Could this guy be more than a cliché politician douchebag with that toothpick? Wow, they went for jerk with a side of jerk.

09 douchebag with a toothpick

LT: Naomi and Frank have a conversation. He doesn’t want to get a new identity and live on the run. He wants to go back to Philadelphia (we find out one of the reasons for that shortly). I could make lots of cheap jokes here, debating the merits of death vs. living in Philly, but I won’t.

V: Oh, c’mon. Just one?

LT: Ask W.C. Fields! Red says they can’t go back because he can’t protect them there.

V: She’s standing by her man. How touching.

10 stand by your man

LT: There’s a little discussion of Naomi’s past life when she was married to Red and was named Carla. She says Carla was a miserable housewife.

V: Married to a miserable man. Ouch.

LT: Red looks a bit hurt by that. Yeah, that’s quite a blow. Call the man a morally bankrupt killer devoid of soul and conscience, but don’t call him a lousy husband. That’s just mean.

V: In Red’s twisted world, it’s even worse. The man prides himself on protecting those he cares about. He will risk life and limb for them. Even in this discussion, he says there’s isn’t anything he won’t do to protect them. He is quite loyal and expects that same loyalty in return.

LT: The files Sheridan has sent the FBI are worthless, with most of the text redacted. Samar says it’s Level 4, and she doesn’t have that access. She suggests they get a polyglot (code-breaker) to break the code. So Liz calls Red.

V: Because of course. When you want crap done, you don’t use the obvious humongous budget of the FBI, with a crapton of resources, you call Red. Honestly, why have the badge at all, if it can’t even get you valuable information?

LT: That’s too much effort. Just pick up the phone and call Red. He can get a guy named Haskell help them, if Red can get Haskell to forgive him for that “falling-out at the craps table.”

Haskell is expectedly hostile when he sees Red, bitching about the money out of which he feels Red cheated him.

11 haskell

V: The exchange is what sets this show apart. Freaking James Spader comes through again. Haskell accuses Red of knowing about his addiction. Red stops his denial mid-sentence and is awesomely contrite as he tries to point out they won 25K, to which Haskell says he lost 50K after Red left, and he still doesn’t know how he wound up in Mesquite. Heh.

LT: He’s easy to placate, however, after Red breaks out a briefcase full of cash as a peace offering.

V: Works for me. And look! Liz is giving him her patented puppy-dog eyes. They’re like kryptonite!

12 puppy dog eyes

Liz’s disguise is that she’s a blogger who writes about social science experiments. Haskell suggests going into his office that is V2K-shielded.

13 secured office

LT: Haskell has un-redacted files.

V: Because he spends his days going through thousands of pages of redacted government documents. That might explain why he looks like he’s never been out in the sun.

The crux of Project 7 is that it was borne out of the human genome project. Basically they figured if DNA could be used to identify people who were predisposed to cancer, it could be used to figure out who is predisposed to become assassins. They used the brains of mass-murderers and reverse engineered. Then we get some explanation as to Creel’s references to the phases and activations.

Phase one: Disruption of their routine, daily life.
Phase two: Destabilize sense of self-worth.
Final phase: Sever the primary, emotional bond.

LT: There are also photos of those involved in the project, one of which shows Dr. Creel. He went into private practice after he was done with the project and was on-staff at each of the hospitals of the eleven warrior gene killers. He’s got a job counseling killers. How convenient for him. It looks like he finds people with the warrior gene through his Website.

V: Oh, it looks like they remembered Liz is a profiler with some kind of psychological background. That’s nice. She identifies the questionnaire Creel has on his site, as a modification of the Minnesota Mulitphasic Personality Inventory. Creel reconfigured the questions to flag aggression and low impulse control.

OMG, a woman with the most annoying nasally voice is on the phone talking to Frank. She asks where he is then asks for Naomi’s number so she can call her, because sure, Frank is going to hand over his wife’s number to his mistress. It seems Frank’s decision-making skills are finely honed.

He wants to risk his and his wife’s lives on this annoying harpy?

14 harpy

Yeah, Frank, I hope Red gives you the full treatment.

LT: She’s tired of him telling her he’s going to leave his wife and wants him to do it already. So Naomi’s man has been skanking around. Like being minus a tooth and finger isn’t enough, she has to deal with a sleazebag husband, too?

V: Seriously, how can a woman who lived with RED REDDINGTON not be able to tell when her man is cheating on her? He’s as discreet as a sledgehammer. Naomi, go get some counseling and a clue.

LT: Pee Wee is back! Vargas has been waiting for this woman to get home, as it seems she left her dog alone all day. He doesn’t like that. Dogs get lonely, he says, and this one had an accident, which he was nice enough to clean up.

15 pee wee's cleanup

So Vargas is a bloodthirsty killer who hates the sight of blood and loves dogs. How very Pee Wee-like!

V: I love how she threatens to call the police with all of these dudes surrounding her. Has she never watched a movie or TV show?

16 shut up and sit down

And this face isn’t creepy at all.

17 creepy

LT: Liz writes up a fake profile for Creel’s counseling program.

V: I was write something like, “I HATEHATEHATE my ex-husband TOM!!!!!!” But it winds up being too close to what actually happens…

LT: Red takes a little walk with Frank, who’s still resisting going on the run with a new identity. Red leads him to a car, from which emerges Vargas, with the mistress’s dog. Red suggests Frank do the right thing, be a good husband, and go live with his wife in safety.

Frank is dim enough to still not get it.

V: This man is an idiot. I mean, a full-blown ass. Red should have fed this guy to the dog, not insisted he be with Naomi. First he has an affair with a detestable woman with no redeeming qualities. Then he can’t even get a sense for what and who Red is.

How can this man not sense a threat when he hears one? How can he be so light in the brain area, that he threatens to Red’s face he’ll call the police, just like his dimwitted girlfriend did? He and his girlfriend were made for each other and should go off together. But definitely not breed.

I kind of hate that they made Naomi’s husband into a dim-witted monster. It doesn’t reflect well on her character or her ability to sense when she’s living with someone who can have a whole other life right under her nose.

LT: Red reads Frank the riot act, in the form of a pointed stick to his throat: do what I say, or else.

19 red is serious

Then Red throws the stick for the dog, who just sits there.

20 dog just sits there

“City dog,” mumbles Red.

V: I love how Red can be so incredibly intense, then be relaxed and make a joke as he chuckles.

LT: We’re introduced to another of Creel’s guinea pigs, a guy named Duncan.

21 duncan

V: Duncan looks well! Dr. Creel is a miracle worker. Poor Duncan had the incredible misfortune of admitting to Creel he cheated on a test. And even though Duncan kind of gets the idea what he says in therapy is secret, he seems to be unclear about doctor-patient confidentiality and accepts that his admission was a cry for help, so it was okay Creel squealed on him. And I guess his online relationship with ‘Amber’ is doomed before it’s begun.

LT: Creel tells him, “It’s time. Trust me.” I’m sure that’s a great idea.

V: The hug was a nice touch

LT: Creel interviews Liz as Angela, who’s deeply troubled. Her wrists are even bandaged, for extra realism. She lays out her problems for him.

V: I love how she tells the story about how when she was younger, she had a boyfriend named Ronnie who cheated on her, so she took some pills in front of him to make him think she was committing suicide, and Samar automatically assumes the story is true. She bets Aram, who would never think perfect Liz would do such a thing.

LT: She’s asked about her ex, who just happens to be named Tom. No, she doesn’t change the names in her story to protect the guilty.

V: See? Anyway, Creel, of course, asks her to explore her fantasies. What would she do if she was above the law? Hey, maybe she can channel her inner Red!

LT: She tells the bad doctor of her fantasies of chaining Tom up and making him confess to all his lies. She’s pretty convincing. It sounds like she may be holding Tom captive somewhere.

V: She did!

LT: The crazy doctor actually has an interesting point here. He tells Angela that some people are genetically predisposed to being unable to respond well to stress and wig out. The inability to handle stress is genetic and as impossible to change as one’s height or eye color.

V: No joke. It looks like he’s getting through to Angela.

22 angela listening

Liz ain’t that good of an actress.

And just when it seems she’s totally on the hook, he brings up her parents, who died when she was four. He says if she could remember her parents, it might help her. They’re a glimpse into her future. Then Angela helps out the doc by mentioning the sins of the father. AND her scar. She seems to genuinely be seeking the doc’s guidance when she asks him if she doesn’t want to remember how she got it.

Liz, next time you’re creating a “fake” profile, you might try and make it more fake, so an evil doctor can’t draw you in, okay?

LT: He wants Angela to take a personality test, and he’s going to rush the blood test she’s already taken. Creel is SO way better at his job than Liz.

Skanky Frank has decided to take Red’s advice and tells Naomi they can’t go back to Philly.

V: Yeah, just Naomi, the mistress’s dog that Pee Wee appropriated, and her creepy, cheating, lousy, good-for-nothing husband. Naomi, keep the dog, dump the husband. At least she’s savvy enough to know his change of heart was due to Red, only she thinks it’s because he threatened Jerko’s kids, which just goes to show she doesn’t really know Red at all. I was never married to him, and even I know Red would never threaten a child.

LT: While Creel is out of the room, Aram instructs Liz how to hack his computer and get his password.

V: When the doc comes back in, it’s the traditional fake-out, where he accuses Liz of lying to him, only he thinks Liz is a junkie who stole scrips from his pad. She’d actually used one to write down the password, so she finds it and rips it up. Liz wants to know if he’ll call the cops, but he gets this gleam in his eyes and says he’ll be even more interested in her test results.

Then, in a nod to continuity, she uses her “magic” to make sure she got the one piece of paper with the password on it.

LT: Duncan is flipping out after being rejected by ‘Amber’, who’s found a new love named Paul.

23 duncan flips out

V: OOOH! He even types IDGAS. Nice slip past the censors, there, Blacklist!

24 IDGAS

He grabs a gun and a bunch of bullets. I’m sure everything will be fine.

The team uses Creel’s password and finds that all of Creel’s patients have killed someone (Seriously? Nobody has been clued-into the crappiest doctor in the universe?). Except one, of course. Duncan. They go to his place and roust his stoned roomies to find out where he is. They don’t know, but the team finds evidence of Amber and how she broke up with him, plus evidence he’s locked and loaded. They also learn Amber doesn’t exist and reiterate what they found out at the beginning of the episode. That Creel is the one phoning in the anonymous tips and catfishing, etc.

LT: Creel is at a community forum on gun violence. The team finds out about the forum from Amber posting about it. Duncan’s first clue this wasn’t some girl trying to flirt with him should have been that she called an anti-gun forum “cool.”

25 COOL!

Creel berates Sheridan for not taking his program seriously. He has proof that it’s not the shooter’s fault.

V: Before Duncan heads inside, he leaves his final video on his phone about how he did this because of Amber and how she’s a cheat. Boy, won’t he look silly when he finds out his dying declaration was to fake person!

26 duncan's last video

LT: Duncan shows up with a gun and starts shooting indiscriminately.

27 duncan shoots

But Creel insists Duncan shoot him.

V: He tells Duncan that Amber isn’t real. Then he seems to adopt the Amber persona when he twirls his hair and says, “Whatever.” He even quotes “IDGAS.” He’s trying to egg Duncan on.

LT: It looks like the doc thinks the only way his ideas will be taken seriously is if he’s killed. Sounds a bit shaky to me, but pretty much the kind of muddled plot I expect of this show.

V: Yeah, I guess all of the others don’t matter. If Duncan pulls the trigger, it will be proof the people with the gene can’t stop themselves from killing? I guess he just wants to be a martyr for his cause.

LT: The FBI arrives, and Liz tries to get Duncan to give up.

V: Creel is surprised when he sees Liz: “YOU!”

LT: Instead, Duncan shoots Creel. But Creel is just wounded, and when he sees that his plan to get himself rubbed out isn’t working, he grabs Liz and holds a gun on her.

28 liz hostage

These things tend to happen to the bestest agent ever, don’t they? I’m waiting for the episode where an infant jumps out of its bassinette and puts Liz in a choke hold.

V: Babies have really strong grips. I can see it happening.

LT: Just when it looks like crazy doc might go postal, a rooftop sniper takes him out. The FBI looks around to see what happened, because they know they don’t have a sniper on the roof. It’s parking lot guy Liz roughed up last week.

29 worst assasssin

V: Seriously? In every movie and TV show ever made, the assassin is gone before the bullet even hits the victim. In this case, he shoots Creel then hangs around for a minute surveying his surroundings, in full view of anyone who just looks up. While holding a huge gun. And nobody bothers to go after him, even though they know he’s not with the FBI.

It was also funny that Creel tells Liz he got her test results back and dies right as he’s about to tell her, so you think the secret dies with him. BUT NO! Samar managed to snag Liz’s test results, and by what she says about how Red must have known, Liz has the warrior gene. I’m sure that will never come into play…that is…until the plot calls for it. Liz refuses to say a word to Samar throughout this whole exchange, because she’s a grownup.

Also, also, in pretty much every case they’ve gotten, they’ve surmised that Red has an ulterior motive for sending them in a certain direction, yet they follow his command without question the very next time he sends them on a mission.

Based on no evidence, Samar comes out and tells Aram that Liz made up the story about Ronnie, but the look she has on her face before she does it, tells me she knows full well that story was real.

LT: Aram is thrilled he won the bet. Silly boy. He has been making himself useful , though, coming up with some paydirt for Liz on the phone records. He’s traced a bunch of calls to a Monica Lyons, Frank’s side piece, from a pay phone in a gas station in Maryland. Gas stations still have pay phones? Make it a booth, we’ll pretend it’s 1980.

Liz finds the cabin where Naomi is being held and goes to see her. She says Red doesn’t know she’s there. They have a conversation, but Naomi doesn’t reveal much, only that Red isn’t who you think he is, he wants something from you, he’s playing a game with you, blabbiddy blah blah blah.

V: Red overhears all of it and makes Oh, please faces.

30 red listens

Well to be fair, he pulls up and sees that totally nondescript HUGE black SUV he knows everyone at the FBI drives, so he already knows she’s there. I’d expect listening devices all over the cabin, not him just hanging back and listening from the other side of the screen door.

Good work, by the way there, Liz, in making sure there were no listening devices and the place was locked up tight, before you had this discussion. I know the FBI has no such equipment for you to be able to do that. Barring that, a quick look out the window every once in a while so you could have seen him arrive, might have served you well. You are the BEST at your job.

Naomi speaks the truth when she says, “There’s no one on earth who can make a woman feel like she’s the center of his universe, more than Raymond Reddington.”

LT: Liz asks what he wants from her, but at that point, Red walks in and ends this little not-so-covert meeting.

V: They might as well have had a neon arrow with COVERT MEETING TAKING PLACE HERE.

LT: Afterward, Frank, Naomi, and Red are standing by the car that will whisk them away to their new lives. Naomi pulls Red aside to tell him that Jennifer knew he’d come for her one day, but she doesn’t know where she is. They have a tender goodbye.

V: God, she’s right. Red really does know how to make a woman feel like she’s cherished.

32 tender red 2

 

 

He holds her hand and tells her that if she needs anything, to let him know. Then he kisses her sweetly.

33 tender red 3

She looks at him like she’s enjoying being the center of his universe for a moment.

31 tender red

Frank is not at all feeling awkward over this little display of affection, but he can kiss my butt at this point.

LT: He doesn’t even have the decency to look contrite after being caught being a cheating dirtbag and getting humiliated by Red. Tool. Naomi then asks Red, “When are you going to tell her?” He doesn’t answer.

After they leave, Liz confirms with Red that the sniper works for him. Apparently he’s been following her since Agent Malek died. Liz seems more pissed off than grateful that Red saved her ass yet again. She says she wants sniper boy to stop following her. Red counters that she’s acting like she has something to hide. Someone with something to hide? On this show? Who woulda thought.

V: NEVER!

LT: In the last scene, Liz is sitting in a warehouse-type place somewhere, holding a key and staring at a door.

34 liz with keys

After DreamTom appeared last week, I figured it was just a matter of time before he returned in the flesh. What could she possibly have to say to him at this point? Maybe her interrogation will turn out like it did last season when she had him as her prisoner, all locked up and in her control, and he still managed to get the drop on her and escape. He must be pretty confident he can make a fool of her again, an assumption that’s not without a solid base in reality.

Although, now that she knows she has the so-called warrior gene, maybe it will bring out some butt-kicking abilities in Liz she didn’t know she had.

Incidentally, uh…Liz has the warrior gene?? I would’ve guessed she had the lameness gene, but that’s just from watching her in action the past year.

And so ends another episode of The Blacklist. I guess we’ll find out next week if Liz has Tom chained up in a little room, just for her to cry all over him then probably fall in love with him all over again. It seems easy for anybody to come along and manipulate her. Red, Dr. Creel…and I’m also sure sniper guy is not going away. I’m kinda glad. Because I like looking at him.

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