Red (James Spader) has spent the entirety of NBC's "The Blacklist" Season 3 moving pieces around in the chess match between he and Liz (Megan Boone) and the Cabal, even arranging for the capture of an infamous assassin in episode 7. However, it would take just one pesky highway gang to derail everything in the winter finale, "Kings of the Highway."
As episode 8 begins, Red and Liz are in West Virginia on their way to Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) at "the store" where he is waiting for the "special package" they need to help them topple the Cabal. However, a simple stop for gas turns disastrous when Liz comes out of the gas station to find Red and the car missing. He has been kidnapped by a group of highway bandits that call themselves the Kings of the Highway and they want to hold Red for ransom -- they have no idea who they are dealing with!
Meanwhile, Liz needs help finding Red and calls Samar (Mozhan Marno). She takes the call ... from Ressler's (Diego Klattenhoff) bed. She traces Red's cell phone to a junk yard on Ressler's computer while he is in the shower and promises Liz she will not tell him about it -- he owes Red for finding her brother. Unfortunately, Ressler must have heard something from the shower because later he asks Aram (Amir Arison) to get the search history off his computer. Aram gets curious why Ressler would need the search history for his own computer and he asks Samar -- awkward. He realizes exactly why.
Aram promises he will not tell Ressler about Red's location, but he must be pretty sore his crush sleeping with the boss because he marches right into Ressler's office and spills everything -- he does make Ressler promise Liz will receive a fair trial first. Aram immediately confronts Samar in disbelief that she would betray him. She confesses that she is done it once before -- she tipped Red and Liz off about the FBI raid in the last episode. Ressler tells Samar to be gone by the end of the day. Now Aram feels guilty, Samar is mad, and no one is happy.
Elsewhere, Tom (Ryan Eggold) and Cooper (Harry Lennix) are still dealing with the whole Karakurt (Andrew Divoff) situation. Red says they need to keep them alive, but that proves difficult when Solomon (Edi Gathegi) and a bunch of Cabal gunmen show up at Cooper's house. They flee, along with Mrs. Cooper and are pursued in an intense car chase that leaves the party of four running through the sewers navigating homeless people and rats. Cooper's wife says she knows a place they can go, a cabin down south. Cooper asks about the cabin and his wife confesses to having had an affair before he got sick. Cooper is devastated, but while they have their moment, Tom cuts out a Cabal tracking device from Karakurt's leg -- classic Tom.
Back in West Virginia, Liz follows up on the lead at the junk yard and ends up finding Jasper, a tow truck driver working the Kings of the Highway. She seduces him hoping he will lead her to Red. However, the gang sees Red and Liz's pictures on television -- Ressler is now on the way and put out the word -- and calls Jasper. He realizes who she is and they fight over a gun in Jasper's apartment.
Meanwhile, Red has complicated things with the Kings of the Highway. After getting out of his handcuffs, he shoots one of the gang members and engages in psychological warfare with the rest, turning them on each other. It works and soon the leader of the group is dead and the new man in charge is willing to make a deal with Liz, who has taken Jasper hostage. However, as the deal goes down, Ressler and the FBI show up just in time to ruin everything. Red gets away, but Ressler is on Liz's tail. Meanwhile, Red's "special package" and Dembe are in FBI custody.
Ressler chases Liz deep into the woods, finally tackling her. He threatens to shoot her if she keeps resisting and, though she insists he would never fire on her, he promises otherwise. Finally, Ressler pulls out the cuffs and sends "The Blacklist" into the midseason break with the following words:
"Elizabeth Keen, you are under arrest."
"The Blacklist" Season 3 returns on Jan. 7.