in Television

The Blacklist 1×08 “General Ludd” Recap


By Laura Chytra

We begin tonight’s episode with a father and young son throwing around a football in a park.

They hear a boom and the boy wonders what it was but the dad says it’s time for them to go home. That’s not going to be possible though. A shoe falls from the sky along with the grotesque bloodied remains of a pilot, still strapped in his seat.Then the wheels of a plane fall out of the sky and on top of their car. Suddenly random airplane debris is falling everywhere and the father picks his son up, trying his best to run and dodge the falling wreckage. Sadly, they are both killed.

Doesn’t General Ludd bring to mind Anonymous? I can’t help but think that’s who they were basing this on, although there are some differences. The masks and computerized voice videos and hating the rich? Classic.

We’re at Liz and Tom’s house now. They have sex in the shower and creepy apple eating guy watches them. I really want to know who these guys are working for, and I guess I got my answer about whether the bathroom was off limits. I still don’t like Tom, and the fact Liz trusts him so blindly is making me dislike her, but I digress.

In the kitchen, Tom is watching the news. Can I just say that their kitchen is ridiculously nice for the combined salaries of a rookie FBI agent and an elementary school teacher? Neither are paid very well, so what the hell? Anyways, the news is talking about the cargo plane explosion. They think it was probably a bomb. Before Liz can give her opinion she gets a phone call from her adopted father. He’s in the hospital, they want to run some tests. Liz says she’s coming but he tells her not to worry, that it’s nothing serious. She relents and tells him to call her as soon as they’re finished. She tells him she loves him and hangs up. The oncologist thinks she deserves to know the truth.

We cut to FBI Director Harold Cooper, who is telling Red there’s no way he’s going to allow him access to VICAP. “Then you’ll just have to find another criminal to talk to Elizabeth Keen and make fun of Agent Ressler.”

He tells Harold he has no interest in cases that don’t interest him, but he may be willing to help if he is granted access to the database. Liz asks if that means he knows who did it, but Red says it’s not just one person.

He thinks General Ludd is responsible. The leader of the group is a man called Nathaniel Wolfe. They only have one picture of him. We find out the cargo plane crash was definitely caused by a bomb, and not mechanical failure. The bomb was placed inside a shipping crate. They have 2 suspects. The first is the driver who delivered the bomb, Roger Gard. The second suspect is Arthur Denning, a part-time employee of a fertilizer plant, who stole chemicals from the company warehouse. We see two people putting a bomb inside a laptop.

Ressler comes back to FBI HQ, he has security footage of Arthur Denning from the company he worked for. Liz says she got a company ID photo of Roger Gard. She asks Aram, the FBI tech guy, to pull up the photo. Well, what do you know! It’s the same guy. At least that cuts the suspect pool in half.

Liz is on the phone, leaving a message for her dad. She’s worried about him, wants him to call her. Ressler comes in, saying the employee files had one thing in common. They have his address. Cut to them bursting through the door, guns drawn. The place is empty but they find evidence and run prints and Liz figures out that the guy they’re looking for IS Nathaniel Wolfe. He just had a shitload of plastic surgery!

Luli and Red are in some woman named Mary’s garage. She’s making counterfeit money, and seems quite good at it. They want her to move to Malaysia but she’s not interested, her son is only 9 and she’s the treasurer of the PTA! Suddenly, Liz comes through the door. Red quickly covers for her, saying she’s one of his most trusted couriers. She tells him about Nathaniel Wolfe and how they found his fingerprints. He sits on the swing set. “I never tire of being correct.” Red laughs. He asks Lizzie about her father. The cancer is back? Liz wants to know who told him that. He says she should be there with him. Liz tells him she’s not playing this game with him.

He ignores her and mentions Dr. Abraham Maltz. Apparently he’s the best surgeon for this kind of business. They arrive at his office and Red tells Lizzie to follow his lead. This man is not on the blacklist. He’s an important asset that he needs to protect. Dr. Maltz asks what a beautiful girl like Liz is doing with Red. “Trust me, it’s not by choice.” she sulks. My mom thought her comment was rude and uncalled for. I tend to agree.

Red tells the doctor he needs some information but the doctor is reluctant to give anything up regarding his clients. Confidentiality is very important to him and he doesn’t even know who Liz is. She tells him she’s with the FBI and Red is working with them. They need to know what name Nathaniel Wolfe goes by now. He can’t believe it but under threat of his practice being torn apart, he gives them the information they need. Suddenly, Red is yelling at him. He can’t believe he would give up one of his clients due to a woman who claims to be FBI and a few ham-fisted threats. He’s playing it like they were testing him and Liz catches on. Great scene.

Nathaniel Wolfe is now going under the name Bradley Holland, a pilot. He’s going to bring down another plane. We see Wolfe in a pilot’s uniform. He kind of reminds me of Bill Hader except with blonde hair and creepier. He asks the flight attended if there’s room on the plane that’s about to leave, and she says there’s an empty seat in first class. He activates the laptop bomb and puts it back in his bag with a smile.

The team is racing to the airport. Meera is on the phone saying they need to tell Homeland to ground all flights and move the threat to code red. No flights should be landing or taking off. Wolf is sitting in the boarding area when a man beside him mentions the crash that happened. He mentions the father and boy who were killed and Wolf agrees that it’s terrible they died. He asks what he thinks about the group that claimed responsibility, General Ludd. “Sexually frustrated, living-at-home losers.” he calls them. He gets up and gives his laptop bag to the stewardess, saying he left his log book a few gates back. She says she’ll put his bag on the plane for him.

Tom calls Liz and tells her that her aunt called. Her dad is a lot sicker than he’s been letting on. The cancer has spread to his liver. It’s serious and Tom tells her they need to be there. Like, now. He’s already leaving and wants her to meet him there. He says he’ll book a flight for her tomorrow morning. Liz and Ressler arrive at the airport tarmac just in time to see the bomb go off, knocking them both off their feet. Being an FBI agent sucks.

We cut to Liz’s father in his hospital bed. He wakes up to find Red sitting next to him. “Hello, Sam.” Honestly, I had a feeling they knew each other, so this wasn’t surprising. I was surprised how close they seemed, though.

Liz tells Harold her father is sick and she needs to go see him but he says that isn’t an option, since all flights are grounded until further notice. They received a manifesto from General Ludd full of threats and general raging against the machine. Aram has traced a credit card in Holland’s name to the address of a storage facility in Brooklyn. Donald “Action Man” Ressler springs into action, grabbing the address. “Let’s roll.”

Sam and Red are laughing and catching up. Red says he’s missed that laugh. He takes his hand and tells him about Lizzie, how he finally got to meet her. He says there’s fire in her. She’s volatile, unpredictable. Soft, then hard, then soft again. Stronger than she knows. He tells Sam he gave her an incredible gift, taking her in and loving her as if she were his own. Sam says they gave him six weeks to live but he doesn’t want to wait that long.

Liz and Ressler arrive at the storage facility. It contains information about all of Wolf’s various identities and aliases. He plans on being John Horlbeck now, a 45 year old truck driver who works for a company that has a contract with the bureau of engraving and printing. When planes are grounded, the money moves by trucks.

On their way to intercept the truck, Liz gets a call from her dad. He tells her he’s known for about three months now, the cancer is back and it’s spread everywhere. He says he should’ve been honest with her and he’s sorry but he was trying to protect her. She tells him she loves him and he does the same. Sam hangs up and hands the phone back to Red, thanking him. Red leans over the bed. “You will always be her father, Sam. I can only hope to love her… and protect her… as you have,” he tells him, face serious. It’s like a creepy marriage proposal.

Suddenly he’s smothering him with a pillow. I honestly think this was a mercy killing. Sam said he didn’t want to suffer for six weeks, and I think the fighting is just the body’s natural response, even if you want to die. It’s sad Liz will never see her dad alive again though. YES, he is her dad. He raised her. I’m not here for that “adoptive parents aren’t really parents” crap. Red seems genuinely upset as he presses a kiss on Sam’s head after killing him.

Tom arrives at the hospital and asks about his father in law. The nurse gets flustered and says she’s sorry. Tom thanks her sadly. Red calls Lizzie from a pay phone. He wants to know how she’s doing. She says it’s not a good time. She tells him all planes are grounded so she can’t see her father. He reminds her his plane isn’t but she says she can’t talk now and hangs up the phone. It’s weird. “Hey, I just killed your dad. Want to talk about it?”

Red takes a seat next to Tom. Oh, shit. Tom doesn’t seem to know who he is at all, so I guess he’s never seen a picture of Red before? They make small talk. Red tells him he was there to see a friend who died. Tom says he came to see his father in law but he got here too late. Red sympathizes. “I’ve lost so many people and it never seems to get any easier.” he tells Tom, who doesn’t know what he’s going to tell Lizzie. Her dad adopted her when she was four years old and raised her as a single father. Red admits she will be heartbroken, but she will be fine.

Liz and Ressler found the truck but Wolfe gets away. Not before exploding stacks of money to give to the masses.

They realize he was after the drive that contains the blueprints for the new currency that was in a safe on the truck, but they intercepted before he could get it. He’s on the run now, and Liz realizes he’s probably still flying, just like Red. He asks where Wolf was last seen and promises her he’ll look into the matter. Sure enough, he finds him! That was easy. He takes his money and the drive, which he does have. He just replaced it with a counterfeit. He tells Denmbe to call Agent Keen. Her and Ressler arrive moments later to arrest Wolf. Ressler says he’ll take care of this and tells her to go see her father. She gets a phone call and breaks down.

At her father’s funeral, Liz puts flowers on his coffin and cries. Tom tries to comfort her and she hugs and greets the rest of her family. Meanwhile Res is searching for someone on VICAP. A 30 year old women named Lucy Brooks. Who is she? I don’t even want to bother guessing at this point. This show is extremely frustrating. that regard, it seems like every question is answered with more questions. Liz shows up at Mary’s garage to confront Red about the missing drive for the printing plates. He ignores her and tells her he’s sorry about her father.

He tells her the best way to keep the memory of her father alive is to talk about him. He wants her to tell him some stories about him. We end the episode with Red and Liz sitting beside each other on the swing set, talking. Another wonderful, albeit confusing episode. I still have no idea who to trust.

Rating: A-