Well, that was close. The FBI task force very nearly had Red (James Spader) and Liz (Megan Boone) in episode 2 of NBC's "The Blacklist" Season 2, but after a "Dog Day Afternoon"-inspired hostage situation, the pair was able to shake their would-be captors. However, they can run but they cannot hide. Would their luck hold out in episode 3, "Eli Matchett"?
For the first time in a long time, the episode begins with a blacklisted criminal, not Red and Liz on the run. A group of men in biohazard suits are tending to a field of crops when, all of a sudden, one man pulls out an assault rifle and kills every last person in the group. He then opens the gate of the apparent research facility -- Verdiant Industries -- for some partners in crime to come in and "get to work."
Elsewhere, Red and Liz have a glass of wine and Red asserts that it is time for them to go on the offensive against the Cabal. Somehow, of course, he knows everything about Verdiant Industries -- it's a Midwestern agrochemical company that has the market on genetically modified seeds locked up (a more than obvious Monsanto reference) -- including that they were just robbed of a mother load of trade secrets by some vengeful farmers (see above). Verdiant is evidently an unofficial arm of the Cabal and Red wants to steal the data from the people who originally stole it and use the files as leverage.
Red and Liz show up at Verdiant, where they find that the facility had been bombed during the robbery. Red expects to find Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) waiting for them, but as fans know he is off being being tortured by Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi) for Red's location. Red dispatches Glen (Clark Middleton) to track Dembe down. Meanwhile, Red and Liz forcefully interrogate some of the workers who reveal that they believe a man named Eli Matchett (Don Harvey) is responsible for the crime.
Cut to the group of robbers from the beginning of the episode. They are arguing about what to do with the data they stole when Eli Matchett shoots the whole group dead. He has other plans.
Back at the FBI, Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and the task force are closing in on Red and Liz. They were able to track the getaway boat the pair had used in episode 2 and they are now on to Red's business in the Midwest. At the apartment of the Verdiant heists' inside man, Ressler and Navabi only miss Red and Liz by a few seconds. However, before Red and Liz sneak away they snag a case of copies of top secret Verdiant documents hidden in a vent.
That leads them to Eli Matchett's hideout where they find the dead Verdiant gang and a computer with all of the stolen documents -- Matchett has already skipped town after synthesizing some kind of chemical weapon from the data. Red and Liz download the files and scram, just narrowly getting out ahead of Ressler and Navabi again.
As Ressler and Navabi inspect Matchett's lab and discover they may have bigger problems than Liz, Red and Liz regroup in a nearby diner. However, they are spotted by a mysterious man who cleary knows their identities. He pulls a gun on Red, but Liz has seen the ambush coming and gets the jump on him. Liz shoots the man after a tense standoff, but, to Red's chagrin, Liz refuses to not take the man, who turns out to be an undercover cop, to the hospital. Using the cop's own car, they drop him to the hospital and then speed away. However, the collateral damage from Red and Liz's fugitive streak is taking an emotional toll on the former FBI agent.
Elsewhere, the FBI is closing in on Matchett. Ressler and Navabi spot his truck and soon they are on a foot chase through a nearby cornfield. Matchett is trying to release his chemical weapon, but Ressler tackles him. They wrestle on the ground until Navabi shows up and bails her colleague out.
Matchett is taken care of, but that's not good enough for Red. He has Liz fax the task force the documents proving Verdiant's Cabal connection. Then he pays a visit to Susan, the Cabal's go-to person at Verdiant. It turns out she was totally on board with Eli Matchett's data robbery/virus distribution plot. She wanted to create a deadly disease to profit from the cure. He wants her to deliver a message to the Cabal -- He is coming for them! Then, he leaves Susan for the FBI.
Toward the end of the episode, Red gets a call from Glen. Now Red knows his right-hand man has been kidnapped -- by the way, now Mr. Solomon also has Mr. Vargas (Paul Reubens)!
Oh, and then, there's Tom. Ressler refuses to work with the former double agent, even in the face of Cooper's (Henry Lennix) suggestion that he cooperate. Though Cooper tells Ressler he respects his decision, he later shows up at restaurant to meet with Tom himself. He wants Tom to go after Karakurt and help clear Liz's name. ... The plot thickens.
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