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The Blacklist

The Blacklist (NBC) - "The Longevity Initiative" Full Episode & Recap

While Liz tracks a billionaire who's trying to find the key to immortality, Tom makes a sacrifice in exchange for her safety. Lance Henriksen and Reed

Loyd Munroe and Julian Powell, boss and employee, are arguing in the specimen lab of a medical clinic, which is walled with aquarium tanks filled with assorted species of jellyfish. Munroe wants Powell to be more careful; if any more of their experiments go south, it's all going to come out. Powell invites Munroe to quit, but he continues with the night's work, hauling something - we don't see what - in the back of a produce truck. It's late at night when a cop stops him, demanding to get a look at the cargo. Stunned by the sight, the cop goes for his service weapon, but Munroe's too quick. Moments later, Munroe empties the magazine into the cop, and as sirens wail on approach, he hops into the police cruiser and speeds away. It's only then we see what was in the back of the truck: three corpses, all with skullcaps removed, brains exposed.

It's early in the morning when Cooper tells his wife he no longer needs his cane to walk. The medicine from the medical trial must be working; his tumor must be shrinking. Things don't seem to be working as well for Tom, who has called an unwilling Liz to talk. He's been on the run since Red blew his cover with the Germans, and he can't reach The Major. Just then, The Major pulls up in a limo, barking at Tom to get in. Before he hangs up, Tom tells Liz that he knows what today is and he hopes she has fun at Wing Yee's tonight. Just then, Red pops in with a 31st birthday offering: wine that Liz made with her stepfather Sam when she was a child - along with a backup, since the first has probably turned. Then it's on to the next Blacklister, a private company called the Longevity Initiative, dedicated to unlocking the key to human immortality, which is funded by tech billionaire Roger Hobbs. Red declined an invitation to become a founding member. The bodies in the back of the produce truck were not mutilated, but experimented on; clearly the Longevity Initiative has entered the human-trial phase.

Red arranges for Liz and Ressler to meet with Hobbs, who explains that his global initiative incorporates advanced technologies the mainstream establishment won't touch. When Ressler asks about the three corpses, Hobbs explains that although he has enough lawyers to fill a stadium, he has nothing to hide, and promises his complete cooperation. After asking for a list of all his researchers, Liz and Ressler move on to the morgue, where M.E. Phil Ryerson confirms that all three subjects died during neurosurgical procedures wherein foreign cells - some not human - were introduced to their brain tissue. Moreover, all three victims had sustained catastrophic frontal lobe damage before the experiment. In fact, one of them, William Eckhoff, was reported missing three days ago from a local care facility. Back at the clinic, a furious Powell screams at Munroe - why are his patients all over the news? Munroe could care less. Now that he's killed a cop, he's leaving the country. Hanging up, Powell resumes work with a patient, a woman who seems to have frontal lobe damage and definitely has a craniotomy. Powell asks her name repeatedly, but this woman can't speak, and when he grows agitated, she starts seizing.

Connolly stops by Cooper's office on the pretext of a friendly visit, but his real message concerns Roger Hobbs, one of the "good guys," who should be treated as a friend. Roger should be given the benefit of the doubt. This feels like shaky ground to Cooper, and he doesn't like it, but Connolly's warning is implicit. In the meantime, Liz and Ressler have traveled to St. Bartholomew's care facility, from which William Eckhoff was abducted. Administrator Allison Cruz offers to fetch a list of everyone with access to the facility, and explains that Daniel was sitting with another patient, John Paul, just before he disappeared. John Paul is mute, and he plays solitaire through his interview with Liz, only pausing to slide the king of diamonds across the table. Thinking John Paul can't be of any help, Liz turns her attention to the access list, where Loyd Munroe of Gold Crown Pharmaceuticals catches her eye. John Paul's look seems to confirm that Munroe's her man. When Aram discovers Munroe just bought a bus ticket to Canada, Liz orders him to have the local PD stop the bus. It all has Ressler thinking about Tom, whom he knows hasn't left the country. Has he called Liz? Tom is a murderer and Liz better be careful...

The Major tells Tom he's all set up for a flight to London, but when Tom can't find his gun, he knows the jig is up. Tom offers to disappear, but The Major won't hear of it. Tom burned Reddington for Liz, then went to the Feds?! Just as The Major is cocking his hammer, their car is T-boned. Gerst and the remaining members of Die Entretetchen have come for payback.

Liz and Ressler promise to try to keep Munroe off death row in exchange for information, so he quickly names Julian Powell as his employer. Munroe's job was to locate test subjects with frontal lobe damage, and he takes them to the clinic where the experiments took place. There's no sign of Powell, but Maynard is already on the scene, examining the woman we saw seizing, now dead. It turns out Powell has been injecting his subjects with a combination of fetal stem cells and jelly fish cells, and has kept meticulous records. His most recent work focused on Turritopsis dohrnii, also known as the immortal jellyfish, which may well be the only creature on Earth that can reverse its own aging process. Ryerson believes Powell must be experimenting on humans with frontal lobe damage in hopes of regenerating tissue. In short order, Aram learns that after Powell left his job at biotech company Sadovo Solutions in 2004, he pretty much fell off the grid. And who owned Sadovo Solutions? Roger Hobbs, who's on the phone with Powell at that very moment, ordering him to come in, now that he's endangered the Longevity Initiative. But Powell refuses. He's on the verge of a breakthrough, and his work is too important to be stopped.

Hobbs hangs up the phone, and turns to address his guest - Red. Investing so much in Powell was a risky bet, yet there's no way Hobbs could have known he'd be so reckless. Claiming it's the price of progress, Hobbs asks Red whether he'll help or not - by killing Julian Powell. Just then, Hobb's assistant announces that Liz and Ressler are downstairs, so Red accepts a file on Powell promising to see what he can do, and ducks out the back door.

Somewhere in a filthy, plastic-lined apartment, Elias, Gerst and goons have stripped Tom and The Major to their skivvies and tied them up. The Major's impatient - if they're going to do it, they should just do it. Elias is just beginning to carve up the inside of Tom's thigh when Gerst interrupts, having found an item of interest in Tom's wallet: an ultrasound photo with Liz's name written on the back. The Major admonishes Tom to keep his mouth shut, but he immediately explains he was hired to find out who killed someone named Sarah Hastings, then promises he won't say another word unless Elias promises not to harm Liz, who, by the way, is FBI. After conferring with Gerst, Elias backs off, prompting Tom to give The Major one last dig. "You know that girl you said cost me my life? She just saved it."

Dr. Levin calls Cooper with bad news: despite all the progress he's been making, Cooper's place in the clinical trial may be cut, due to an unexpected reduction in age parameters. Elsewhere in the Post Office, Liz and Ressler question Hobbs, trying to connect him to Powell. As promised, Hobbs has already lawyered up, and is pretty much impenetrable. Liz and Ressler tell Cooper Hobbs is lying and ask to hold him. For his part, Cooper says, "Not all suspects are created equal," then orders them to cut Hobbs loose. Trying a different tack, Liz asks Aram to help find Powell so they can connect him and his subjects to Hobbs. Aram has found one woman with frontal lobe damage noted in Powell's files who's still living, Leann McGrath. Indeed, Powell is already at Twin Pines Assisted Living Center telling Leann that he's failed her when an orderly stops him. Powell clocks him over the head and wheels Leann out the door, right into Red's clutches. Liz and Ressler run up just in time to see Red driving off with Powell. Red tries to relax Powell, explaining that he has no intention of killing him, per Hobbs' bidding. Instead, he's hoping to use Powell's research to aid in the recovery of memories of a friend. If Powell has proven brain cells regenerate over time, could his breakthrough be used to restore someone's memory? Powell allows that while in theory what Red's suggesting makes sense, there's a fundamental problem...

Back at Twin Pines, Liz and Ressler question the orderly, who explains that Leann is Powell's fiancée. When she sustained brain damage in a tragic car accident, Powell was behind the wheel. Liz understands that all Powell's work hasn't been about immortality, but reviving the love of his life. Meanwhile, Powell brings Red to Leann's home to explain how happy life was before her brain damage. Needing money to fund his research, Powell told Hobbs what he wanted to hear - that this research could help him live forever - and Hobbs wrote a check that afternoon. The truth is, Powell's research failed, utterly. He lied, falsifying data to retain his funding. Powell reaches into a desk drawer, pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the head.

That night, Hobbs congratulates Red for getting rid of Powell - everyone's calling it suicide. Red encourages Hobbs to cheer up. He may not have been able to spare mankind an untimely death, but some day he may be able to spare Red... Even later, Red picks up a very angry Liz, who demands to know if he killed Powell. Red admits he brought the case to the task force because he wanted them to flush out Powell; Red wanted the science, and they both know the science wasn't there. But Liz knows this is only half the truth. Red used the FBI to create a problem for Hobbs. He needed Hobbs in his debt, and now he is. Liz can't see it yet, but a dark cloud is approaching, and when it arrives, Hobbs will be just the thing.

Connolly visits Cooper on his way to a fundraiser to clear the air over their earlier conversation about Hobbs. He doesn't want anything to come between them. When Cooper asks whether Connolly knows anything about the possibility of being eliminated from the clinical trial, Connolly seems surprised. Cooper shouldn't sweat it; Connolly will just make a call, because that's what friends do.

Ressler finds Liz sitting in her office - what's she doing all alone on her birthday? The truth is, she doesn't feel like she has that much to celebrate. The fact is, Liz isn't sure if it really is her birthday or what her name is or who she is - any of it. Well, she does know she's the puppet of a high-functioning sociopath. Luckily, Ressler is on an upswing, and having predicted this very scenario, brought Wing Yee, Liz's birthday tradition, to her in the form of takeout. Liz pulls out the bottle of wine she made with Sam, and the party is on.

In a deserted alley, The Major calls in all his favors, sparing no expense. He wants Jacob Phelps. Tom burns several passports in a bathroom sink, then confronts himself in a mirror. Liz returns home to get the scare of her life. A bloody Tom waits in the dark in her motel room, not having anywhere else to go.

The Blacklist

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