The Blacklist 2×09 ‘Luther Braxton’: What happened in Belgrade?

Blacklist 2x09.1

First episode of 2015 and my god did it do its job. The task force tries to save Reddington from The Factory, a secret detention facility, but he has a plan of his own to tackle the next number on The Blacklist. Only issue is this number is a thief that shares a complicated history with Reddington. This post-Super Bowl episode looked like it was taking advantage of its slot by bringing us the most intense episode of this season, but it quickly stalled. Thankfully for us this episode stays enjoyable with the anticipation of James Spader returning to the screen. This show really is all about him. Ron Perlman guest stars as ‘Luther Braxton.’

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

The episode starts with Reddington being captured in Hong Kong shown to us via newscast. He is taken to a US Blacksite prison in the Bering Sea. The FBI team has no idea who has him or where. Reddington in captivity recites a phone number to his guard, as well as offers him a bribe, before asking to speak to the warden. Ominous, I love it. The CIA discover Reddington was taken to a level 10 facility known as The Factory and the FBI automatically assume he must have got caught on purpose. The warden arrives to speak to Red who explains that a prisoner, Luther Braxton, will escape within the next few hours. The warden scoffs at the idea. Cut to Luther Braxton (guest star Ron Perlman, Sons of Anarchy) being tortured in maximum security.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

While the team is filled in on Braxton he begins his breakout by shocking a guard with a homemade taser in his cell. They gas his room, but he is prepared. He lights a guard on fire and acquires his gun, taking out the remaining resistance. The warden comes to Red saying the FBI team is choppering in which he is completely against as it means Lizzie will be in danger. Braxton releases prisoners from his cell block, they suit up and gas the security room before taking control of the prison. Meanwhile the FBI land on The Factory only for Samar and Resler to get captured. Luckily Lizzie hid and looks like she’ll be pulling a John McClane. Samar and Resler are hung up like cattle.

The CIA brings in a hostage negotiator who goes through the typical cue cards, but Braxton means business. He immediately shoots the warden after letting him speak prompting Cooper to assume control. Lizzie meets up with Reddington and she won’t leave without her team. Luckily Red knows a few residents of The Factory. Reddington rounds up his band of The Usual Suspects who suggest overriding the boiler causing an explosion that would destroy the server room. Only problem is the entrance is a small air duct meaning Lizzie needs to again channel her inner John McClane. Everyone assumes a role in the plan except for a guy sitting on the couch. Red explains the guy screwed him over in the past and shoots him without hesitation (like the bad-ass he is).

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

Reddington calls Braxton in the security room and they talk about their past in Belgrade, revealing how Reddington screwed him over like so many others. Braxton immediately calls Cooper explaining he wants an all access code for the facility, and threatens to hang Samar if he doesn’t get it. Only problem is that a code such as that would allow Braxton access to vital information stored in that prison. Before Cooper can discuss their options with the CIA, Braxton calls back and raises Samar up, forcing Cooper to hand over the code. Braxton prepares to infiltrate the system while Lizzie makes her way to the boiler room.

The higher-ups including the Director (David Strathairn) reveal that Braxton must be searching for the Fulcrum, meaning that Reddington doesn’t possess it. They suggest that a facility unknown to the public is easily disposed of. They opt to scramble jets to bomb The Factory, giving Cooper and his team limited time to help Lizzie, Resler and Samar. Meanwhile Reddington and Lizzie have discovered that the boiler’s pressure valves need to be increased manually to cause an explosion, meaning it could blow up whoever does it. Their criminal compatriots opt out leaving Red and Lizzie alone on their mission. As they increase the pressure Reddington explains he cannot let Braxton get the Fulcrum and that Lizzie is the key to finding it.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

Suddenly men enter the boiler room and a firefight ensues, but the boiler explodes. Lizzie makes her way to an unconscious Reddington and attempts to help him. Men arrive prompting Lizzie to leave Reddington and she is captured. Cooper tries to reason with Kat Goodson (guest star Janel Moloney, The West Wing), but to no avail. Lizzie is brought to Braxton, telling him that Redddington is dead. He begins to beat on her. The guard Reddington bribed finds him and rescues him from the boiler room wreckage. He knows that Braxton has Lizzie. So Reddington arms himself with a shotgun and walks nonchalantly through The Factory, blowing away everyone. He enters the room, shoots all the guards and Lizzie injures Braxton. The three of them talk bringing Braxton to believe that Lizzie was in Reddington’s house that burnt down. Before Reddington can convince Lizzie to shoot Braxton, the airstrike is launched and it hits The Factory.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

Highlights of the episode:

  • The entire story. I mean you get the post-Super bowl spot and this is exactly what you do with it. John McClane style action, a high intensity situation revolving around the underlying story of this season, and top it off with the antagonist played by Ron Perlman? There was nothing wrong with this episode and I am very excited to see the conclusion on Thursday. (So soon, I love it!)
  • Did anyone else get a Die Hard-Face/Off-The Rock vibe from this episode?
  • Aram’s quick concern for Samar’s life. Somebody’s got a crush.
  • Every scene with Reddington as usual. But the highlights would be him shooting the guy on the couch and just waltzing through The Factory with a shotgun and revenge on his mind.

What did you think of this special post-Super Bowl episode of The Blacklist? Were you satisfied or disappointed? Excited for how this mini arc will end? Let me know in the comments below!

Dylan Phillips

Dylan Phillips

is a film fanatic and TV junkie from the mysterious land of Canada. He is an aspiring writer/director who hopes to make his mark on the industry one way or another, whether it be behind a camera or with a pen. When he isn’t watching hours upon hours of movies or writing scripts, Dylan can be found playing his guitar, avidly watching baseball or writing film reviews on his website and blog.

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