Violet recaps Season 1 Episode 17 of The Blacklist, titled Ivan, where the FBI tries to track down a dangerous computer hacker, and Liz investigates Jolene’s mysterious disappearance! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
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Episode Recap of The Blacklist, Season 1 Episode 17: Ivan
- “Ivan” hacks into a computer system to obtain secret project files. A man tries to drive off with the prototype, but the hacker causes him to get into a car accident, and steals it. Reddington and Dembe meet up with Mr. Kaplan, who has located the bodies of Jolene and Cowboy. Reddington calls 911 to report a missing person.
- Liz gives Tom an Uncle Flippo Hippo for his class. A detective shows up at the Keen residence to question them about Jolene’s disappearance. Keen meets up with Reddington, who tells her about Ivan. This is the first time Ivan has struck on U.S. soil. The FBI begins investigating Ivan. Keen asks Aram to pull the phone records for Jolene’s phone number.
- The FBI discovers that the prototype Ivan stole was classified technology by the name of Project Skeleton Key that the NSA was working on. The Skeleton Key can cut through the world’s most secure networks with the push of a button. Reddington tells Keen that Ivan is in Belarus, and they come up with a plan to catch him.
- Reddington goes to Belarus and meets up with Ivan, and tricks Ivan into giving him back the money he stole from him in exchange for safe passage out of the country. Reddington pretends to shoot Ressler and fake blood comes out, as Ivan and Reddington duck into a car and get away.
- Liz reveals to Tom that Jolene is a wanted criminal, and vows to find her. Aram gives Liz the address from where Jolene made her last phone call, which was to Liz. As Reddington questions Ivan on his private jet, he discovers that Ivan did not steal the Skeleton Key, but that someone else has been using his name.
- The FBI realizes that the hacker they’re dealing with has only been operating a few months, and that one thing he’s done is increase a woman’s social security payments. When Ressler and Malik question the woman, they think it might be her grandson.
- As Liz arrives at the address Aram gave her, she calls Tom, who is inside his warehouse at that address, to ask him about it. He sees her approaching on the monitor, pretends she’s cutting out, then frantically takes down all the pictures just before she enters. Tom burns the pictures outside. He manages to move around her unseen, then knocks her down with a shove of the door to her face, and punches her while she’s down, then runs away.
- Tom calls in from a payphone and says to “Tell Berlin I was forced to liquidate.” The FBI shows up at a high school to question a student, Harrison Lee, but he hacks into the school’s security system and sets off the evacuation alarm, and is able to get away. Keen asks Reddington about Jolene, but he evades her questions. Back at the FBI, they discover that Harrison has been stalking Abby Fisher, the daughter of David Fisher, the lead engineer of the Skeleton Key project.
- Just as the FBI tries to warn Fisher, Harrison activates the Skeleton Key and makes DC go dark. Harrison texts Abby pretending he is her friend Jackie, and lures her outside. The FBI shows up at Fisher’s house, but Abby is already gone. With Fisher’s help, they track Harrison to a metro station, which is where Harrison has lured Abby. Harrison confesses to Abby that he stole her father’s project so that she doesn’t have to move to Colorado. He tells Abby he loves her, but she is just freaked out.
- Just then, the FBI shows up, and Harrison ducks into the train and has it drive away. Keen shoots the window, and is able to jump in. Harrison speeds up the train to make it crash. Keen is able to talk him down, and he activates the emergency brakes. The train stops just in time before it crashes.
- At home, Liz tells Toms about her attacker. As Tom cooks, she looks at the evidence report from the warehouse, and is shocked to see the Uncle Flippo toy she gave Tom earlier that day in one of the pictures. She goes to Reddington and tells him he was right. Reddington has completed the music box he was working on the whole episode, and Liz recognizes the song from her childhood. She realizes Reddington knew she would find out the truth and wanted her to know that everything would be okay.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 17 of The Blacklist: Ivan
Oh, just your typical “boy stalks girl by hacking into her phone and computer and thinks she’ll actually fall for him when he reveals what he’s been up to” story. Poor kid, things just didn’t go as planned for this loverboy. Pretty clever of him to take on Ivan’s persona, though. He even had Reddington fooled! That never happens, usually Red is right on top of things. Why couldn’t the FBI have figured out before they sent everyone to Belarus that the hacker they’re dealing with had only been operating a few months? Oh well, at least Red got his money back that Ivan stole from him, so the trip to Belarus wasn’t entirely wasted! Was anyone fooled when Reddington shot Ressler? It was pretty obvious that the whole thing was a setup, especially considering that Reddington and Keen were discussing setting up Ivan in the scene right before Reddington’s arrival in Belarus.
Speaking of Ressler, just as I predicted last episode, he was already back at work so soon despite Audrey’s death, because he wanted to work in order to take his mind off of Audrey. It was so sad at the end of the episode when Keen invited Ressler over for dinner, but he declined, saying at least she had someone to go home to. Poor guy. Little does he know that Liz’s “someone” is not someone she should want to go home to.
So yeah, the whole scene with Liz and Tom at the warehouse was really dumb. First of all, it makes no sense that she would call Tom right as she’s arriving at the address to ask him if he knew the address. Why would he know anything about that? As far as she knew, Jolene was just a substitute teacher at Tom’s school, so why would Tom know her address? It didn’t make sense in the context of the storyline for her to call Tom, and the only purpose it served was to tip him off to her arrival and give him time to clean up a bit. I also have a hard time believing that she didn’t recognize Tom as her attacker. If she was able to give identifying features about the man who attacked her, down to his height and hair color, she would have known it was her own husband. It would be one thing if she actually didn’t see him at all, but if she saw that much of him, there’s no way she wouldn’t know it was Tom. So I felt like that whole storyline was poorly written.
I’m glad that she finally figured out that Tom is not the man she thought he was. Her first words when she arrives on Red’s doorstep were, “You were right.” Um, of course Red was right! I’ve been saying it all along that he’s always right! Keen believed him about everything else, but not this. I can understand why she wouldn’t want to believe it though. One thing I’ve been wondering is how did Liz and Tom meet, and how long have they actually been together? Tom mentioned this episode that they’ve been married 2 years, but how long did they know each other and how long were they together before getting married? I’m going to guess that it wasn’t very long, maybe like a 6 month whirlwind romance. Could be wrong though. But yes, the final scene of the episode, where Reddington is comforting Liz, was very touching. He was so gentle with her, like a father comforting a daughter. (Still not clear on if he is her father or not — it seemed like he was in that episode with Liz’s adoptive father, but then when she asked Reddington if he was her father, he said no. And Reddington insists that he has never lied to her. So who knows what his relationship to Liz really is.) I know I say this all the time, but James Spader is such a great actor.
It looks like things are going to get very interesting in the next episode, what with Liz knowing the truth about Tom, and actually agreeing to go through with renewing their vows!? Will Tom figure out next episode that she knows? I’m really curious to find out what happens next!
Josh’s Thoughts: The Blacklist, Season 1 Episode 17: Ivan
This week’s episode of The Blacklist, follows the same rhythm that most episodes have this season, where the procedural storyline is rather lackluster, but the overarching storyline keeps me engaged, especially any scene involving James Spader/Red Reddington.
I really was not able to get into the main storyline at all this week. First of all, the title of the episode was Ivan, yet this episode is barely about him. This young kid, who managed to steal this insanely powerful device is the mastermind criminal. Now, what does said mastermind want to use this device for? Woo-ing a girl. I find the story rather hard to swallow. Someone like this kid would not simply steal this device for a romantic gesture. If this kid wanted to woo a girl with this device, he would use it to steal/embezzle money to seduce the girl with money. I felt the writers for the episode were trying to come up with a more innocent plot line for the procedural aspect, when in reality, I think anyone who seeks this much power would want it for more sinister things.
I had a hard time swallowing the whole “Ipad that can control any electronics” plot device. One, I do not think any device could be as simple and quick to use (a couple of touches and the school’s fire alarms go off? The subway starts up without much effort?) Also, why is this subway completely deserted?
Ok, I will stop bashing the show, I am being a little picky I think with my last rant. Finally we get to see Lizzie getting closer to Tom, which was great to watch. I guess I have a couple of issues still with the episode however. One, why would Lizzie call Tom to tell him about her investigation of a building? I understand it was a plot device to add suspense to the secret-hideout scene, but it was really weird. I also didn’t understand how Lizzie was able to describe the man who attacked her there enough to identify height and hair color, but couldn’t recognize Tom. My wife, if I catch just a glimpse of her, I know it is her. I guess it could be denial for Lizzie, but again, something hard for me to understand.
But the final moments of the episode, when she sees the blue hippo in the trash—that’s the big payoff we have been waiting for this episode. It all comes crashing down for Tom because a stupid blue hippo he decided to toss out. Reddington has to be thrilled that Lizzie has seen the light, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I have a feeling the next few episodes at least Lizzie will be playing “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” with Tom, trying to figure out his next move, and who he is working for.
On the more relationship side of things, I bet this opens the door for some Ressler and Keen action. I foresee them getting together in the near future now that Lizzie has realized her marriage isn’t exactly what she thought it would be. All in all, despite my quibbles with this episode of The Blacklist, I am happy that the main storyline is progressing and am looking forward to the next few episodes.
Scenes from The Blacklist, Season 1 Episode 18: Milton Bobbit
Here are scenes from the next episode of The Blacklist, titled Milton Bobbit: