The Fulcrum | The Blacklist “Luther Braxton” Review
The Blacklist’s ninth episode, “Luther Braxton,” is a special episode airing after the Superbowl. The episode starts with our favorite criminal mastermind, Raymond Reddington being captured. Reddington is taken to a blacklist prison “somewhere in the Bering Sea.” Considering the FBI task force has no idea what he’s doing, there’s a good chance he’s up to something. Reddington doesn’t do anything without a purpose, especially if it involves his capture.
After pulling some strings, the FBI find out that he is being held at a facility called The Factory. The Factory specializes in holding high profile prisoners who are usually tortured and then executed. The task force is realizing that there must be a reason why Reddington would get himself caught and taken to this facility. When Reddington arrives and is chained up, he only asks for the warden. He then proceeds to tell the Warden that a prisoner, Luther Braxton, is about to break out of the prison to go after CIA secrets.
When we first see him, Luther Braxton is being tortured. He is given something from one of the guards, which in turn helps him escape. He rigs his cell door to electrocute the guard who comes to check on him. Once the guard goes down, another rushes in with his gun at the ready. Sadly, this guard is lit on fire, and chaos ensues. Braxton gets the upper hand and kills the remaining guards. He lets the rest of the prisoners escape, thus forming his crew. Braxton is after the Fulcrum, a blackmail file that gives proof of a high profile clandestine organization that will send powerful men to prison and to be executed.
Meanwhile, Liz, Ressler, and Samar are on a chopper headed for The Factory. When they touch down, they meet a guard who tells them to get out and that the prisoners have already taken control. The guard gets shot, and he, Ressler, and Samar are taken hostage. Liz manages to go unnoticed and finds Reddington once inside the facility. Since he can’t get her to leave in the chopper, Reddington introduces her to his crew. Let’s face it, Red would never go into a mission like this without a plan and people on the inside.
A negotiator is brought into the FBI to deal with Braxton. He doesn’t take long putting the negotiator in his place. Within minutes, Braxton kills the warden and asks to speak to someone higher up on the food chain. Cooper picks up negotiations and proves to not be much better. Braxton asks for the master code for the prison that was sent to the CIA once there was a breach. The code will allow complete control over the prison, and it will allow Braxton to break into the CIA’s network, which could help him track down the Fulcrum.
Cooper tries to buy some time by saying that he will get his agents on finding the code. Realizing that he is only stalling, Braxton kills an innocent woman. He tells Cooper that his reactions are too slow and to get him the code. When Cooper hesitates, after he is told that the code could get Braxton into the CIA’s network, Braxton threatens to kill Samar and even starts killing her while the FBI listens. Cooper gives in and gets him the code. Now, it seems that it is up to Reddington and Liz to take Braxton down and save the Fulcrum.
The plan for Reddington’s crew is to take out the boiler, which will in turn take out the server room in an explosion. Reddington’s man tells him that the only way to get the boilers up to 700 psi is to do it manually. Whoever does it will have only seconds to get away from the explosion. The rest of his crew leaves, not willing to risk their lives. Liz stays and is determined to continue the mission. While they are working on getting the boiler to the desired temperature and pressure, Reddington reveals that Liz is the key to finding the Fulcrum. Reddington started this whole mission so that Braxton wouldn’t figure out that he would need Liz.
Meanwhile, the CIA (and possibly the clandestine organization) calls to order a strike on the black site. They understand that there are FBI agents and innocent people inside, but they send the orders anyway. Now, it’s a race against the clock for Liz and Red. They successfully blow up the boiler and even take out a few of Braxton’s men. Believing that Red is dead, Liz is captured by more of Braxton’s men and taken to him. Since the show is about Red, he can’t die so soon and is back on his feet in no time. He rushes through the remaining rioting prisoners and heads straight for Braxton.
Braxton and Red face off while Braxton starts to recount Red’s past. He mentioned the fire and the girl about which we have heard mysteriously little. Braxton seems to put the pieces together before we can and takes another hard look at Liz. He says, “She’s the one.” Hopefully he can clue us in because I am still not sure how Liz fits into all of this. With how smart this show is, maybe I am overthinking it, but I can’t wait for it all to play out. Before we get any resolution, we see a missile heading straight for the facility with Braxton, Red, Liz, Ressler, and Samar still inside. Thankfully, we only have to wait a few days for a new episode this Thursday at 9pm ET.