Looking Out for No. 1 | The Blacklist “Ruslan Denisov” Review
The Blacklist’s eleventh episode, “Ruslan Denisov,” takes us to Uzbekistan. The episode opens with assumed criminals entering a church. They assault the priest who tells them that he is a simple man. The leader of the group scoffs at him, hands him a satellite phone, and tells him to talk to his maker. The priest calls someone and says that there is a situation.
Meanwhile, we find a woman talking to the cops about her missing husband, Eugene. We haven’t heard from Tom in awhile, but think back. Eugene was about to find Tom, locked up on the boat right where Liz wanted him until she got her answers. Eugene’s wife had the business card from Liz, and the cops took it. It seems like Agent Keen is going to have to answer for what happened on that boat. Tom killed the man to keep him quiet; yet, we haven’t heard a peep out of good ol’ Tom in awhile.
Raymond Reddington brings Ruslan Denisov to the FBI’s attention. He shows them that Denisov kidnapped a priest for ransom. When they ask why this is significant, Red says that the seemingly random priest is actually a CIA agent. Denisov is an abduction mogul. He holds high value targets for ransom. We see Denisov inform a hostage that his company wouldn’t pay the ransom, and the man was executed. The FBI decides to step in even though the CIA will want to handle this quietly and in house.
After landing in Uzbekistand, Agents Keen and Ressler are greeted by the leader of their special forces, Commander Kushan. They arrive at their hotel but are swiftly captured straight from the elevator by Denisov. Denisov does not want to hold them hostage; in fact, he wants to enlist their help. Denisov is after a big corporation, Anneca Oil. Anneca Oil built a pipeline in Uzbekistan that ended up poisoning their water supply. When Ressler and Keen had their doubts about proof of this, Denisov presented them with an hostage from Anneca Oil who’s body was blistered and burned from being immersed in the local water supply. At this point, Red reveals his true intentions. He allies with Denisov in order to help along the negotiations with Anneca Oil.
Keen and Ressler report back to the FBI who in turn fills in the CIA since their agent is still in Uzbekistan. The CIA sent the Uzbekistan special forces to the place with the hostages. Reddington had enough foresight to have Ruslan move the hostages, but they still took out a bunch of Ruslan’s men. This puts Ruslan into a tailspin of rage, where only Red can talk him down.
Red finds the man who is responsible for letting Anneca build their pipeline in the first place. He kept impeccable records showing that Anneca actually had a pipeline put in years before the current pipeline. That first pipeline killed thousands. He even offered to take Red’s men to a mass grave from the time of the first pipeline. Anneca folds and holds a press conference revealing that they are pulling out their pipeline effective immediately. Not to be outdone, we find out that Reddington helped out with Denisov, so the pipeline contract could be awarded to a competitor who is a friend of Reddington. Only Red would make sure to profit from everything he does.
Back in the U.S., the man who was guarding Tom on the boat, was brought in by the detective investigating Eugene’s case. The detective pressures the Samoan into breaking down and revealing that he knows what happened to Eugene. He makes a deal to take the police to Eugene’s body so that he doesn’t get in trouble for his involvement. The last scene we see are the cops digging up Eugene’s body. Now the detective is very suspicious of Agent Keen and her involvement with Eugene’s death.
This episode proves just how cunning and selfish Red is. He purposely brought this case to the FBI’s attention, single handedly took down Anneca Oil, and got the contract to go to a friend’s company. We also saw that his relationship is still very strained with Lizzie. She’s still unsure of what’s in the tiny box that was hidden in her stuffed bunny; even Amar couldn’t figure out anything. It was nice to see that the Blacklist-er, Ruslan Denisov, was not all bad. There was a lot of gray area surrounding him; not everything was black and white. Soon enough, everything with Tom being held hostage is coming to a head. I’m not sure how Lizzie is going to get out of that one. And when will we get to see Tom come out of hiding? Will he answer for killing Eugene? Will Lizzie break down and finally enlist in Reddington’s criminal expertise to get her out of this jam? Only time will tell; so tune in to The Blacklist on Thursdays at 9 ET on NBC.