THE BLACKLIST Recap: The Courier
By Shawn Depasquale on October 23, 2013
I had to take last week off due to work obligations, but also because I’m not sure I can handle consecutive weeks of this show. Maybe they should air it every other week. This week I found myself enjoying the show a lot more than our previous outing together. I don’t think the show has changed, I just think my tolerance for nonsense has lowered with the time away. I should also mention that the show is a ratings monster, and people are eating it up and begging for more, which I suppose is a good thing; after all, it’s going to take them at least a season to explain how Alpha Male is the agent in charge of anything other than kicking down doors. That said, there’s plenty to marvel at in this latest installment, so let’s dive right into the fun stuff.
Liz and Secret Double Agent Tom are in bed when she decides to confront him directly about his involvement in super secret spy stuff. He doesn’t take the questioning well and promptly begins to throttle her, until…
She wakes up in bed! It was only a nightmare, as evidenced by her heavy breathing and Secret Double Agent Tom pulling the curtains back to let sun shine in the room. He in his usually Perfect Husband mode, going on and on about some nonsense that isn’t about being a badass killer spy guy. They’re also supposed to meet at the adoption agency at some point later that day. She promises she won’t be too busy hunting down super-criminals to show up to the meeting. (SPOILER: She misses the meeting)
Then a creepy guy in a mask, whom we’ll learn is called “The Courier”, carries a dude named Seth through a dirt field, dropping poor Seth (and a gas mask) into an empty meat locker. Seth begs to not be locked inside, but the Courier (Robert Knepper, better known as Tea Bag on Prison Break) is ruthless. Valiantly, Seth grabs a knife and stabs The Courier in the chest. Unbelievably, the Courier appears to be impervious to injury (he bleeds, though) and slams the lid of the meat locker shut, trapping Seth inside.
Back at FBI HQ, Red informs the crew that The Courier is “the perfect middle man for an imperfect world.” We also learn that he was carrying some kind of super top secret information Red is hoping to get his hands on and that an Iranian Spy is supposed to meet the Courier to deliver his money. Of course, nothing goes as planned, because the FBI agents on this show are all inept. They’re instantly made, probably because hey’re literally eight feet away from the Iranian with a camera “tailing” him.
The Courier, as they were warned by Red, is ruthless. He blows the Iranian’s head off and hops in his truck. Liz and the Competent Female Fed (who really did not show much competence this week…) give chase. They hop in a truck of their own, tearing through the streets after the Courier, eventually cutting him off by T-boning his truck in the middle of an intersection. He escapes and hides from the approaching agents behind a wall. He has just enough time to hide a micro-chip IN THE OPEN STAB WOUND ON HIS CHEST before Liz and CFF nab him.
Once in custody, CFF and Alpha Cop question him by yelling “What were you delivering?” over and over again. When that doesn’t work, Alpha Cop squeezes the broken arm the Courier sustained in the crash, but, clearly, the super criminal feels no pain. In fact, as we learn in the very next scene, he literally cannot feel pain. It’s a genetic disorder called congenital analgesia, basically introducing the first mutant into the Blacklist universe. At this point they’re beating Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at their own game.
Seth Nelson, revealed to be the world’s most important NSA analyst, is still buried alive, and it turns out the Iranian was meeting with the Courier to pay off a ransom to save Seth’s life. Ooops!! Scurrying to fix their mistake, the FBI searches the Courier’s house and discover’s his real name is Tommy, and that Tommy has a younger brother locked up in prison.
The younger brother proves to be the only weak spot this unbreakable man has, and Liz uses him as leverage to get information about who hired Tommy to kidnap Seth. We also get the Courier’s origin story via his brother: Their dad used to make Tommy fight against dogs in barbaric dogfights that the neighbors would bet on. The brother explains, “Tommy is broken, somewhere in his head a switch flipped.”
The FBI and Red meet to discuss the next plan of action. Red wants to go undercover to meet with the woman who they think has Seth taken. “You’ve killed three people,” the Director snaps. “I’m not perfect,” purrs Red in response. HA! This show.
Alpha Cop ends up volunteering to pretend to be the Courier and meet with the French woman who’s the mastermind behind the kidnapping. The French woman turns out to be a lot smarter than the FBI (big surprise there) and figures out that Alpha Cop isn’t the Courier. This is after, in order to prove himself impervious to pain, Alpha Cop slits his wrists without so much as an uncomfortable grimace (I’m calling that for a band name right now… “Thank you, Minneapolis, we’re the Uncomfortable Grimace!”) He tells the French woman, “I lost the only thing in this world that mattered to me, my job is all I have left,” as he cuts himself. He’s kind of growing on me, you guys. I think he’s winning me over.
He doesn’t win over the French woman, as I mentioned she sees through his story and bleeding arm, but is quickly taken down by the swarm of FBI agents that pile into her nightclub. Later, after telling them nothing in questioning, the police release her.
Meanwhile, the Courier escapes, having hid a million tools just beneath his skin, all over his body. One of those tools is a tiny knife which he uses to unlock his cuffs and murder the cops transporting him to a hospital (ironically, he was on his way to the hospital to have all those things removed… too late!). He disappears, off to who knows where.
Actually it turns out the French woman knows where. He’s returned to his trailer, presumably to hide, but they track him down and there’s a shoot out and the Courier is shot in the head, but because he doesn’t feel pain, he just keeps walking for a few feet and then crumbles like a ton of bricks. It’s wicked cool.
Red and Liz find Seth buried alive and dig him up. Liz tries to revive the unconscious man, while Red reminisces about having once died himself for a few minutes. Liz does her job, and Seth is saved. He is quickly loaded into an ambulance and taken into the care of a hospital staff with (one hopes) better skills than the FBI.
Later Liz gets a stack of declassified files about her husband from Red. Secret Double Agent Tom was involved with a mysterious murder at Angel Station hotel. This coincided with a trip Liz and Tom had taken there when he supposedly had a job interview. The man who was killed was named Viktor Fokin, ready to defect to the U.S. but a suspected U.S. double agent is believed to have killed him! (BOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! I called it!!! SECRET DOUBLE AGENT TOM FTW!!) The file contains a picture of an “unidentified white male suspect,” and guess who it looks just like? TOM!
Which is great for Liz; however, when she gets home that evening to confront her lying-ass husband once and for all, she’s double surprised to discover he’s waiting for her, holding his secret box of guns and passports and looking very, very cross. I’d love to tell you what happens next, but that’s where the episode ends. A cliffhanger of this magnitude guarentees I’ll be back (on time) next week with another recap of The Blacklist.