Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) is wasting no time in dismantling Red Reddington's (James Spader) criminal empire on The Blacklist. But the question is, will she bring down the task force too?
On Tuesday's episode, after Kaplan alerts authorities to the 86(!) bodies we saw in that ice rink at the end of last week's episode -- all victims of Red's -- the attorney general launches a special investigation and taking the lead on the case is Julian Gale (Enrique Murciano). Right off the bat, it seems like Gale is taking the case personally -- "This is all my fault," he tells one of the bodies, with tears in his eyes -- and it doesn't take long for us to find out why.
As it turns out, Gale was Ressler's partner on the original task force that was assigned to investigate Red Reddington, and most of those 86 bodies are people he and Ressler tried to flip, including Diane Fowler (Jane Alexander), the assistant attorney general Red killed back in Season 1. This is unwelcome news for Ressler, since Gale's incredibly suspicious about the fact that the original task force was disbanded and that no one appears to be on the hunt for Red anymore. "He turned himself in," Ressler says feebly, which Gale takes as a joke. Gale's convinced that Red has a connection on the inside, and decides he's going to start his investigation by looking into Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).
Gale asks Ressler to partner up again, noting that this is their chance to take down Red once and for all and wash all that blood of their hands and, at Cooper's (Harry Lennix) urging (so that he can stay one step ahead of the investigation), Ressler agrees. And later, inspired by Gale's tenacity, Ressler decides to revisit his own white whale: the Reven Wright case. Red isn't worried about the investigation, however, and believes the U.S. government will sweep the whole thing under the rug.
And he may be right -- after Gale and Ressler re-create Diane Fowler's murder scene, they find a record-cleaning brush rife with fingerprints. Gale (seeming a little unhinged, tbh) believes this is the hard evidence they need to nail Reddington. But when Ressler sends the print for testing, it doesn't match Red, or anyone in the system for that matter. When Liz confronts Red about having it changed, he has no idea what she's talking about.
In a private moment, though, Red seems less confident. With tears in his eyes, he tells Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) that he's ashamed about believing that Dembe had betrayed him. Red also gives Dembe -- whom he acknowledges as his one true friend -- permission to cut ties with him whenever he wants to, as well as a box to be opened on the day he decides to walk away.
In non-Red developments, Semhar (Mozhan Marno) interviews for a prestigious fellowship, but ends up turning it down when she discovers that Aram (Amir Arison) was the one who nominated her for it. Her slightly flawed reasoning is that she's always been qualified for it, and she resents the fact that Aram only nominated her for it now because he feels badly about lying to her about his new girlfriend.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kaplan has enlisted the services of a bounty hunter named Philomena to track down Red's associates, including his lawyer Marvin Gerard (Fisher Stevens). She first tries to get them to betray Red willingly and, when they refuse, delivers them to the police themselves, along with evidence outlining their connections to Reddington.
But Red's cohorts aren't the only people Mr. Kaplan has her eye on. She also sneaks into Liz's apartment (and narrowly avoids running into Red there, after Liz refuses to let him up because he won't promise not to hurt Mr. Kaplan). Liz is alarmed to walk in and find Mr. Kaplan holding baby Agnes, and thrown for an even bigger loop when Mr. Kaplan puts Agnes in her crib, saying "You are safe, you are loved, you are wise." Naturally, this phrase strikes a chord in Liz, and Mr. Kaplan wastes no time in explaining to her that that's because Mr. Kaplan (aka Liz's nanny Katya) used to say it to Liz when she was a little girl. Mr. Kaplan begs Liz to run away from Red once and for all, and says her own motivation at this point is protecting Agnes.
Liz initially doesn't believe her, but quickly comes around -- even using the information as leverage against Philomena after she's brought into custody. Philomena tells her Mr. Kaplan is heading to Vienna, and Red and Dembe are hot on her tail. Can't wait to see how this European adventure plays out!
The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.