In episode 5 of NBC's "The Blacklist" Season 3, all of the world's top assassins were targeting Red (James Spader) and Liz (Megan Boone), which was no fun. They have had about enough of all of this Cabal nonsense! Luckily, Red has a plan to turn the tables on the shadow organization in episode 6, "Sir Crispin Crandall."

The blacklister this week is an eccentric billionaire named Sir Crispin Crandall who is abducting pairs -- a man and a woman -- of experts in every major intellectual discipline -- anthropologists, mathematicians, etc. -- for some sort of "arc," as Red puts it. Red does not know exactly what Crandall is planning, but he knows that one of his kidnapped geniuses is Andras Halmi, a senior adviser to the CIA director (David Strathairn) -- aka the leader of the Cabal. He could hold the keys to clearing Liz's name so Red puts Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and the FBI task force on the case.

However, Ressler has a problem. He has been forced to work with CIA and the director -- yes, that director -- is expecting Ressler to share the FBI's intel about Red and Liz. Ressler tells him about Crandall, but leaves out the part about Halmi. Aram (Amir Arison) narrows down a Virginian mathematician as Crandall's next likely target and Ressler and Samar (Mozhan Marnò) get there just in time to save her from Crandall's henchmen. 

Meanwhile, Tom (Ryan Eggold) has himself in deep water with a local crime syndicate thanks to that enforcer he shot and stuffed in a trunk in episode 5. Cooper (Henry Lennix) tells him they will be sending their top man, Charlie Vulkins, to kill him, but Tom is not worried -- whatever it takes to exonerate Liz. However, when Cooper mentions Asher (Peter Vack) it gives him pause. He goes to Asher's house to try to get him to go into hiding, but he is too late. Assassins show up and after a brief scuffle -- which, in a fun twist, viewers only hear, along with Asher's fiancee -- they are both captured. That is just the beginning. The gang plans on making them fight each to the death!

Elsewhere, Red is building a restaurant! Yes, he is even bribing the inspector the speed up the process by pretending the restaurant is a gift for the inspector's young girlfriend. It is unclear what the end game of this plan will be, but apparently Halmi is essential to the scheme. 

Speaking of which, the FBI closes in on Crandall, but he is not at his company's headquarters. Apparently, he lives 24/7 in a jet that refuels in the air! He lands only to pick up one of his victims. Also, it appears he is removing the brains of his brilliant-minds collection to cryogenically freeze for a reboot of human civilization on another planet. The CIA director gets a tip about where Crandall will land next and he sends Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi), believing Red and Liz will be there to make a deal for the economist. 

The Blacklist The CIA director (David Strathairn, pictured) searches for Red (James Spader, not pictured) in episode 6 of "The Blacklist" Season 3. Photo: NBC

As for Tom, he is chained up and forced to fight Asher, but he refuses to throw a punch. However, Asher is given a knife he lunges at Tom and Tom decides he has no choice. His trained killer skills snap into action and he quickly pins Asher and stabs him in the throat, killing him. Tom -- who has killed many people over the course of three seasons -- is visibly shaken. He even vomits. 

Meanwhile, Red and Liz meet Crandall on his plane, just as the CIA director predicted. Red turns the tables on Crandall, criticizing his operation and giving him a lecture about how it is always smarter to bet on the now than the future. Crandall believes his plan will save him and humanity's future. Red disagrees. He shoots Crandall dead. 

Mr. Solomon shows up with a small army of gunmen to get Red and Liz and shootout ensues. Red and Liz slip out after taking down a few of Solomon's men, but Solomon has Andras Halmi's body -- he's dead. However, the Cabal adviser's thumbs are missing.

The CIA director races to a bank where Halmi has a safety deposit box, but he is too late. Red is there first and stole whatever was inside, leaving only Halmi's thumbs. That restaurant he was building was the lot next door to the bank and Red had used the construction site to tunnel in and open the thumbprint locked safety deposit box with Halmi's amputated digits. 

Red pays the CIA director a call. He has some major dirt. That security deposit box held the director's golden parachute fund need he ever have to flee the Cabal's grasp. Having taken away his safety net, Red promises to continue making things difficult for the director until he is exposed or killed by the Cabal unless he clears Liz's name. He refuses. The war continues. 

Red may have a hit a small road block in the quest to exonerate Liz, but don't forget about Tom. He is brought before Vulkins after killing Asher and sitting next to the gang leader is none other than Karakurt. Tom tells Vulkins and his body guards what he plans to do, but they still can not stop him from disarming and killing every last man except Karakurt. As for the Russian assassin, Tom chains him up and drags him away to take to Washington, D.C. The things he does for love!

Bonus Observations:

1. For an episode all about exonerating Liz, the former FBI agent hardly played a factor in any of the action. She barely had a line.

2. Red, on the other hand, had the line of the episode, turning Crandall's own phrase against him: "Death is just a process, right?" What a burn!

3. Red doing his best interior decorator impression was priceless!