The Blacklist – Isabella Stone (No. 34)
By: MaryBeth McMahon
To a tune of AC/DC, the episode opens with two thieves (Catherine A. Callahan and Sean Patrick Folster) stealing a large amount of cash from a man who just died in a car accident. They retrieve what they want and speed off away from the scene of the crime.
In their apartment, Elizabeth (Megan Boone) wakes a sleeping Tom (Ryan Eggold) to deliver the news that his father died in a plane crash. Tom refrains from mourning his father, Howard Hargrave, and appears closed off. Elizabeth is surprised by Tom’s coldness and he simply explains that he didn’t know his father and doesn’t have any interest in his family. Tom mentions the job his mother (Famke Janssen) previously offered him and Elizabeth, now fully-accepting of Tom’s skills and lifestyle, refers to it as his “dream job.” He wants to leave his parents in his past and focus on his future with Elizabeth and Agnes.
Reddington (James Spader) has tea with his associate, Stratos Sarantos (Anthony Skordi), and they discuss the setbacks their shipping business has endured. He then announces plans to send Stratos away to Monte Carlo as an anniversary present for he and his wife, Corina (Jackie Sanders). Elizabeth walks into the restaurant and is surprised to hear that Red has multiple shipping operations. He reveals that their next blacklister killed his courier (Dieter Riesle) in Paris and it appears the man in the car accident earlier on was Red’s courier. Red explains how their next blacklister is a “character assassin” and destroys her victims by whatever means necessary, whether it be extortion, murder, etc. He is concerned that this ruthless blacklister, called Isabella Stone (Melora Hardin), will soon be after him.
During a briefing, Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) gets a suspicious call, but does not reveal much information as to who was on the other end. He gets back to the briefing and tries to rush the takedown of Isabella Stone, both because he does not always like acting in the interest of Reddington and because he now has someplace to be. He is clearly holding back what was said in the phone conversation, while also projecting his frustration with the FBI always focusing on Reddington and his demands.
Even though he didn’t want to focus on his family and past, Tom continues to watch news reports about his deceased father. He calls Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) and declares that he needs to talk to Red.
Stratos and his wife are in their Monte Carlo hotel room getting ready for the night. He heads downstairs to gamble, leaving his wife behind in the room. Corina exits the bathroom and is shocked to see Isabella Stone inside the hotel room. With a stone cold expression, Isabella Stone points a gun in Corina’s direction and gives her associate, Charlotte Hart (Catherine A. Callahan), the go-ahead to strangle Corina.
Ressler receives another phone call and mentions “bypass surgery” during the conversation. It is obvious that a member of his family is going through a medical issue, but it is not yet clear who is undergoing surgery. The discussion with his mother leaves Ressler feeling devastated by the news and hindered by the need to solve another case given to them by Red. He rejoins everyone in another briefing as Aram (Amir Arison) shows footage from a bar surveillance camera. The video show’s Reddington’s murdered courier leaving the bar. A suspicious man named Charles “Chip” Murphy (Sean Patrick Folster) watches the courier leave the bar and appears to speak to someone in a microphone to alert them of his exit. The team makes a plan to go to Fredericksburg, Virginia in search of a storage unit owned by Chip.
Tom continues to seek out answers from Reddington, who warns him about entering his mother’s world. Reddington reminds Tom that he has a wife and a child and should “leave well enough alone.” Reddington describes Tom’s father as a man who “wrestled with significant demons” and his mother as “a manipulative creature whose own husband didn’t trust her.” He warns that nothing good will result in digging for secrets and he can’t trust anything his mother will say.
Ressler and Elizabeth arrive at Chip’s storage unit without a search warrant; however, that doesn’t stop Elizabeth from breaking into it anyways. In her search, Elizabeth finds dossiers on Red’s murdered courier, as well as his associate Stratos and wife Corina. After hanging up on Elizabeth, Red urgently tries to warn Stratos of the danger he is in; however, Stratos is unable to communicate to Red after being slipped a sedative into his drink by Chip. Stone stages a dispute with Stratos while she is impersonating his dead wife. Stone and her team leave Stratos and his wife behind and have created a scene that makes it appear as though he killed his own wife.
After touching down in Monte Carlo, Ressler opens up to Samar (Mozhan Marnò) and says that his brother is the one going in for surgery. He expresses bitterness towards Reddington and all of the cases they attempt to solve because of him. Ressler says, “He may as well sign our checks. We work for him.” Samar expresses support for Ressler and keeps a positive disposition in response to his bypass surgery.
Stratos is arrested for the murder of his wife. Reddington shows concern for Stratos because even though Red trusts that he will not spill any information, he fears what will happen to Stratos if he is tortured. Extradition documents delivered by Ressler and Samar will not free Stratos from this predicament brought upon by the murder charges.
Tom continues to search for information about he and his family. After combing through multiple newspaper articles, he visits the home of the detective who led the case on finding Tom when he was reported missing thirty years ago. He mentions the name Christopher Hargrave, and the officer says that he isn’t missing but died. Tom says it is not possible and admits to being the missing boy.
Reddington stages a fake car jacking and reports assailants with descriptions identical to Baz (Bazzel Baz) and Dembe. The two are soon arrested by the authorities and brought into jail. Red pulls guns on the police and demands that they release Baz and Dembe. The three men lock up all of the officers in a room and release Stratos from his cell. During their escape, Stratos gets shot and the men are forced to leave him behind. Red couldn’t bear to leave behind his associate and friend of more than twenty years, but was left with no other option. He tells Stratos that no matter what, his children will be taken care of. Reddington freezes when he hears a final gun shot echoing up the stairwell and the shock on his face signifies an awareness that Stratos chose to take his own life.
Stone and her team have kidnapped their new target, Justin Sperry (Edward Baker-Duly), and are preparing to kill him. They attempt to make him tell fabricated and compromising information to the public as a means to take himself and Reddington down. Elizabeth and the FBI storm the property where Stone is holding Sperry. Stone pushes Sperry into the pool to drown the wheelchair-confined doctor. Elizabeth jumps straight into the pool and manages to free the doctor from his wheelchair and brings him to safety.
Reddington tells Elizabeth all about his past with Justin. He met the young doctor after he graduated from Harvard and began developing ALS. After their conversation, he hands a gift for Agnes to Elizabeth; it is a cuckoo clock to symbolic of cherishing one another’s time and simply enjoying the sound of the singing bird.
Although his brother successfully went through his surgery without incident, Ressler is overcome with guilt for not being there. Ressler’s distaste towards Reddington and his demands is growing much stronger.
After being questioned by Ressler and Samar, Stone is carted off to her lifelong prison sentence. Things take a turn when Baz and a small group of men force Stone’s transport off the road. They take her into their custody and deliver her straight to Reddington.