From: The Scene Blog

“The Blacklist": Liz Keen’s worst birthday


Note: The following recap contains spoilers for “The Blacklist,” season two, episode 17, entitled “The Longevity Initiative.”

Apart from the body part-ridden cold open, “The Blacklist” begins with some good news: Assistant Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix, “Man of Steel”) is recovering from his brain tumor diagnosis.

Also, happy birthday, Liz Keen (Megan Boone, “My Bloody Valentine”)! To celebrate, Raymond “Red” Reddington wants to find a man responsible for something called “The Longevity Initiative,” which is now in the human trial phase. And because this is “The Blacklist,” this means the scientists/researchers are experimenting on innocent, unwilling participants. Shadow-y science-corporate conspiracies and “The Blacklist’s” twist on the mad scientist trope, yes!

Cooper and future Attorney General Tom Connolly (Reed Birney, “House of Cards”) discuss the investigation, and Connolly vaguely suggests that Cooper and the FBI lay off. Cooper’s treatment is connected to the illegal experiments, and Cooper learns that his chances of continuing treatment are in danger. Keen and Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff, “Homeland”) continue to track down the scientists and their research.

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After being cleared of any charges, Liz’s ex, Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold, “90210”) is about to be killed by his secret agent boss, but luckily (or maybe, not so) for Tom, the German group he was infiltrating arrives to interrogate and torture him.

The scientist responsible for the experiments studies the concept of immortality, using the human genome. Reddington’s own investigation and involvement comes into question, as per usual. Ressler, Keen and Reddington track down the scientist, named Julian Powell (Joshua Close, “Fargo”) whose motivations derive from his role in his wife’s death. Powell kills himself after meeting with Reddington, and Liz and Reddington share barbs as Reddington’s interest in the science is revealed. And the FBI gets no justice. Nothing is justified in this episode. But Liz and Ressler have the cutest birthday celebration, so I guess everything is okay, for now.

Additional thoughts…

*Truck full of body parts, ew!

*Liz’s hat and scarf game is always really strong. And props to “The Blacklist” for portraying D.C. as actually cold in the winter!

*I love whenever there is a science plot, one character has to explain every detail as simply and as descriptively as possible to the law enforcement agents (and audience). Science exposition, another archetype?

*Tom is like the Alex Krycek of this show, playing allegiances to whatever will save his life at the time. I’m not mad about it. Krycek was a great character. (Surprised this is my only “X-Files” connection in this recap.)

*Confession time: I am shipping Ressler and Liz so hard at this point. I know they are so platonic at this point, but the birthday celebration at the end was almost Mulder and Scully-esque in its tone of respect and compassion.

Tune in to “The Blacklist,” Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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