Violet recaps Season 1 Episode 15 of The Blacklist, where Keen and Ressler investigate The Judge, who evens the score for wrongfully convicted prisoners, while Tom has a little fun with Jolene at the teacher conference! Following the recap, Violet shares her thoughts on the episode.
Episode Recap of The Blacklist, Season 1 Episode 15: The Judge
- A dazed looking man wanders down a snowy road in Pennsylvania, where a man driving by finds him. It turns out the dazed man is a District Attorney named Mark Hastings, who has been missing for 12 years. Reddington asks an associate to tell him where “Lucy Brooks,” who now goes as Jolene, has been. Meanwhile, at the teacher conference, Jolene drops subtle hints to Tom about having an affair.
- Reddington believes that Hastings has been held captive all these years, which would confirm that the myth of “The Judge” is true. Prisoners make last resort appeals to the Judge, who evens the score. The FBI believes that the appeals go through Frank Gordon at a book depository. When Ressler and Keen go to question Frank at the book depository, he attacks Ressler, and is able to get away.
- Keen and Ressler find appeals and files that Frank was reviewing. They discover that Cooper is next on the hit list. When Keen questions Rifkin, who is accompanied by Ruth Kipling, his spiritual advisor, he tells her that his confession was coerced when Cooper beat him under the orders of Assistant U.S. Attorney Connelly. Tom and Jolene have a few drinks at the restaurant bar, then move to the bathroom and start to get busy, but are interrupted when a boy walks in. She gives Tom her room key.
- Frank goes to Ruth’s place, where she has a barn filled with human captives, and tells him that if Rifkin dies, he is to tell the others to carry out the sentence on Cooper and Connelly. The FBI tries to figure out why the Judge thinks Rifkin is innocent. They discover that one of the event logs from Rifkin’s prison transport is fake. Keen questions the Marshal, William Munson, who tells her that Cooper beat Rifkin, and that he was the one who swapped out the entry logs to make the timeline make sense.
- Cooper finds Connelly and tells him they have a problem with Rifkin. Reddington’s associate finds a flash drive and reports where Jolene has been, which turns out to be many of the same places Reddington has been. Keen confronts Cooper and Connelly. Cooper admits that he beat Rifkin, but they both insist that Rifkin is guilty. Keen tries to stop Rifkin’s execution with the new evidence, but is unsuccessful.
- Cooper and Connelly are apprehended and brought to Ruth, the Judge. Reddington advises Keen that she needs to get Hastings to talk if she ever wants to see Cooper again. The Judge finds Cooper and Connelly guilty. Reddington visits an old colleague named Richard Abraham to get the real story about Rifkin. The only words Hastings says when Keen questions him are “Good night, Mother,” which she recognizes as the last words Rifkin said, and that were spoken to Ruth.
- Keen makes the connection that Ruth is part of the Amnesty Collective, the same group that Munson reached out to. The FBI arrives as Ruth has Cooper prepared for the electric chair. Reddington shows a classified Pentagon file to Ruth, which proves that Rifkin was guilty. Ruth turns herself in.
- Reddington warns Cooper that a war is coming. He says he’ll need Cooper’s help later, and when the time comes, he hopes he’ll remember how he helped save his life. He also asks Cooper to pull some strings for Admiral Richard Abraham, who helped save the day. Reddington’s associate shows him that Jolene has been following his every move. Reddington says he believes she’s finishing an operation, and would like to see how it plays out.
- Tom goes to Jolene’s room and tells her he can’t do this because he loves his wife. However, she calls him out, saying Elizabeth Keen is not his wife, she’s his target. He asks if “they” sent her to test him, and that he told her he was in love with Keen because that is what he’s supposed to be, that is his job.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 15 of The Blacklist: The Judge
Interesting gender bender episode, in that everyone kept referring to the Judge as a “he” when it was actually a “she”! Because of the assumption that the Judge was a man, Keen probably did not even think to suspect Ruth, despite being a woman herself. I also thought Keen was a little incompetent this episode (as usual), because when she first met Ruth, Ruth said she was part of the Amnesty Collective. I thought for sure when Keen was talking to Munson, who mentioned that he reached out to the Amnesty Collective, that Keen would make the connection. But nope. It wasn’t until near the end of the episode when they are researching Ruth that Keen “discovers” that Ruth is part of the Amnesty Collective that Munson was talking about. I was like, um, how is this new information when she already told you she was part of the Amnesty Collective when you met her?! Did the show do that for the audience’s sake, who may have missed the information from Ruth at the beginning of the episode? It just felt really weird to me that Keen wouldn’t have made the connection sooner.
Very convenient that Cooper just happened to be next on the Judge’s hit list, and that Reddington somehow knew this. Without Reddington’s involvement, the Judge would have pulled off the executions of Cooper and Connelly. Now Cooper owes Reddington for helping save his life, and I’m curious to see when and how Reddington will eventually call in this favor, whether it be sometime this season, or much further down the road.
It was fun to see Lance Reddick (Agent Broyles from Fringe) pop up this episode, playing Reddington’s unnamed associate. We’ve seen him pop up on a couple other shows recently, such as American Horror Story: Coven and Intelligence. Reddington asks Cowboy Broyles to investigate “Lucy Brooks,” the same girl Reddington looked up on the FBI’s ViCAP database, who faked her death, and is now going by Jolene, the same girl who’s trying to seduce Tom. It seems like she is Reddington’s daughter, but who knows? Anyway, so Cowboy Broyles reports that Jolene has been following Reddington. But why? In any case, it appears that Reddington knows that she is currently finishing up an operation (Seducing Tom? Or is there more to it?), and wants to see what happens. My question is, if Reddington knows what Jolene is up to, why didn’t he know she’s been following him?
We also find out this episode that Liz is Tom’s “target.” What does that mean? Is he going to kill her at some point? Or just trying to get information out of her? Or trying to influence her into doing something? Or what? This revelation about Tom just leaves us with more questions! Tom thought maybe “they” sent Jolene to test him, but who are “they”? Tom told Jolene he loves his wife because that’s his job, but what exactly IS his job? So the only reason he didn’t go through with sleeping with Jolene is because he would get in trouble with his employer? That is a weird job, and I want to know what the purpose of Tom’s job is. If that is his job, then he better hurry up and reconcile with Liz, because things aren’t looking so good with their marriage.
In the next episode, it looks like Tom is beating up a brunette woman, most likely Jolene, since he knows that she knows who he is now. Are we going to learn more about who Tom is next episode, or will we be kept in the dark? Just tell us exactly who Tom is already! That is all.
Scenes from The Blacklist, Season 1 Episode 16: Mako Tanida
Here are scenes from the next episode of The Blacklist, titled Mako Tanida: