Raymond Reddington and Co. are smarter than me. This is becoming very apparent. Sure, the FBI on this show may act line a bunch of fools, but the narrative is smart. I thought I knew one thing for certain going into this episode, “Gina Zanetakos.” Now I realize I have no clue about anything.
The episode starts out with a bomb maker and his client (the titular Gina Zanetakos) detonating a car bomb from 20 feet away. She asks him if he can make it radioactive, and, in one of the episodes funniest lines, he quips back “What do you think that was?… joke.”
We then clip to the continuation of last week’s cliffhanger, where Elizabeth and Tom are about to come to blows over the mystery box. I was fully expecting Tom to reveal his true nasty colors here, but I was underestimating this show. Clearly nothing is that simple. Instead, Tom begins accusing Elizabeth of owning the secret box, and earnestly denies any knowledge of the passports or the murder at the Angel Station Hotel. “I’m Tom Bond, and I just…between social studies and recess I go around assassinating people,” he snaps at her.
And in maybe the first intelligent move Elizabeth has made in six episodes, she doesn’t believe him and calls the FBI.
Of course, all respect I gained for her in that moment is promptly lost when she is super surprised by the FBI’s distrustful reaction. Honey, you just covered up your husband’s terrorist activity for, like, seven weeks. Of course they’re pulling you off the case. Calm down.
Said case is the hunt for Gina, whom we learn is a corporate terrorist and, as Red tells Elizabeth in a matter-of-fact tone, Tom’s lover. Ouch. Not pulling any punches there, Raymond.
This leads to one of the most interesting scenes, where Red gets Elizabeth put back on duty by threatening to “reminisce about that unfortunate incident in Kuwait” involving Director Cooper. Ooo, yes, can we please reminisce about the unfortunate incident in Kuwait? Their relationship is so entertainingly tense, and I am dying to know what Cooper is hiding.
After poisoning a man (rather sensually, I might add) who gives her confirmation on the car bomb’s delivery, Gina is confronted by Ressler, who she promptly pummels and leaves collapsed in an elevator. It’s very satisfying. I really don’t like Ressler.
At Gina’s house, they find a photograph of Tom, further confusing both Elizabeth and I. Upset, she goes to find Red, and, in by far the best scene of the episode (and one of the best of the series so far) he lovingly reaches out and holds her hand, comforting her. “You can trust me,” he affirms. I don’t know what he is to her (father, family friend, complete stranger with a weird obsession), but this dynamic is fascinating and, yes, adorable.
After the FBI conveniently intercepts a transmission about the bomb Gina ordered, Red talks to the bomb maker and gets Gina’s location. They manage to catch and injure her, but finding the bomb proves harder. The owners of a port in New Orleans apparently wants to contaminate Houston to boost New Orleans’ business, so they hired Gina to get an explosive car into the Texas port. Honestly, this whole part is a little too super-villain for me to take seriously. Ressler manages to drive the car into the ocean, rolling out at the last second. It’s all very exciting, but this show is at its best when it deals with the people, not the action.
Meanwhile, Meera, who I am quickly growing to love, if only because she is usually the only agent with a functioning brain, tracks down the principal who was supposedly interviewing Tom for a job at the Angel Station the day of the murder. Not only does he claim not to recognize Tom, but, in another surprise twist, Tom claims to not recognize him, either. The man who interviewed him was not the real principal.
Wow, this storyline was extremely well handled. I seriously have no idea anymore if Tom is guilty. Whatever is going on here, it’s unpredictable.
The captured Gina claims she has never met Tom and confesses to the murder at the Angel Station Hotel, explaining that a mystery man hired her to keep the victim, a defecting Russian spy, from talking and ruining one of his businesses. “His name is Raymond Reddington,” she reveals about her former employer.
Red, Red, Red, what are we going to do with you? The criminal mastermind’s credibility falls even further when a newly cleared Tom identifies Reddington’s right hand man as the fake principal he spoke to.
One of this shows strong suits is the consistently killer endings. This week’s offering is an intense scene where Elizabeth basically rips out the piece of my soul that was formed during the handholding scene. And then she stomps on it. Reddington still claims that Tom is the one lying, but Elizabeth tells him to go to hell and storms out. James Spader has no lines after she leaves, but his subtle facial changes say more than many actors do in a monologue. It’s a little bit heartbreaking. I adore this dastardly man.
The creepy surveillance people that bugged Elizabeth and Tom’s house a few weeks back end the hour by watching the security cameras curiously and asking the same question the audience undoubtedly is. Who is Tom working for?
Seriously, is he innocent? Is he a murderer? Or is he something else entirely? At this point, I wouldn’t dare guess who is telling the truth, Tom or Red. I know it’s only six episodes in, but I don’t think this show will be one for predictability.