The Blacklist: Frederick Barnes

This week’s episode was hella crazy!

First, some random guy leaves a briefcase on a subway and whatever was inside kills everyone on the train car! And, it wouldn’t be an episode of The Blackist if Reddington didn’t already know who did it and what they are capable of. We learn that his name is Frederick Barnes and he is a brilliant scientist with the knowhow and the resources to kill hundreds of thousands of people at once, if he so wishes. He is dubbed “the most dangerous man in the world” by Reddington.

The FBI soon learns it is a very rare disease that killed these people; a disease that can take decades to show up. Somehow, Barnes has isolated it, intensified and accelerated it, and is using it to infect as many people as possible. And of course, Reddington knows Barnes’ supplier, located in the Havana. Elizabeth is invited to go, but refuses as she is still mad at Reddington for setting up Tom.

It turns out that Barnes’ old lab partner’s son has the same disease AND that it is actually Barnes’ son and not the woman’s husbands. The disease is extremely rare, so there is no cure found as of yet; not enough people are infected with it to make research profitable. That is why Barnes is infecting so many people; to create enough awareness that research for a cure will be done so that he can save his son.

After the subway, Barnes’ next attack is a federal court room full of jurors. Keen and Ressler attempt to stop him from distributing the deadly gas, but it is too late. By the time Ressler reaches the jury room, all but one person are dead. Meanwhile, Keen had spotted Barnes and chases him outside. They are at a standoff with a government official and Keen lets him get away. The survivor of the attack is taken to hospital, where it is discovered she has a natural immunity to the disease. Barnes learns this and uses it to his advantage; he breaks into her hospital room, takes some of her blood and returns home, believing to have found a cure for his son.

Barnes reaches his son’s home and attempts to inject the boy with his “cure,” but Keen takes him down before that can happen; that’s not to say she didn’t hesitate (AGAIN!). She seemed torn on whether to let this mass murdererĀ attempt to save his son (remember, this is not a definite cure) or to take him down. She finally does her job and kills Barnes. After the ambulance, FBI, and coroner’s van arrive, we see Reddington observing the scene. The interaction between him and Keen next looks very painful for Keen. He tells her he will leave if she asks him to; she remains silent because she knows deep down that she needs him in order to find the bad guys and the truth about this weird relationship between her and Reddington, Reddington and Tom, and even herself and Tom.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to find Barnes, Keen grovels at Reddington’s feet, and admits she needs his help. He helps and all is well in that category. We see Reddington purchase an old house in Maryland for double the asking price (which, in this economy, is pretty pricey). We see him and his team enter the house, take a quick tour, Reddington describes that he raised his family in this house. As he is looking onto the front yard, we flashback to a memory of a little girl playing with bubbles on the front lawn. Moments later, Reddington and his team are loading back into the car and the house blows up.

One of the most interesting things about this episode, I found, is when Reddington says he sympathizes with Barnes’ need to “burn the world down” to protect who he loves the most. Now, Keen automatically assumes this is about her (a little egotistical!), but it really could be about anyone. As a viewer, we assume it’s about one of the Keen’s, not necessarily Elizabeth.

Again, the season-old question of “What is Reddington’s deal with Keen?” persists, but we are one step closer to finding out.

Tune in next week!

 

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