The Blacklist 4×13 Review: ‘Isabella Stone’

“Isabella Stone” promised to be an action packed episode. and it did not disappoint. I was worried that Isabella Stone would just be a throw away villain easily defeated by Red, but she actually lived up to the hype. If Red hadn’t had the help of the FBI she probably would have come pretty close to completing her mission, if not succeeding in taking Red down all together.

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Which brings me to my first main point about the episode. From the beginning, Red and the FBI have had a partnership, he helps them catch Blacklisters, and the FBI gets to cross off some of the worlds most wanted criminals from their list. Lately though, this relationship has become almost completely one sided. Red still helps them catch criminals, but it has become increasingly for personal gain.

Isabella Stone is personally trying to destroy Red, and he brought in the FBI to help him fight his battle against her, even though she isn’t even really a target of the FBI. Yes, she’s a criminal and it will help the FBI to have her behind bars, but the case was really to help Red, not to catch a wanted criminal. As a result of this, the task force is becoming extremely frustrated. Cooper, Ressler, and Samar  are all not comfortable with how personal their relationship is getting with Red, to the point that they are almost helping him with his criminal operations. To make matters worse, Red isn’t handling it well at all.

To be fair, he had just gotten a very close friend of his killed trying to help him escape from prison, but he hung up on a phone call with Cooper who was confronting him about his misuse of the task force. If you want someone to keep working with you, hanging up on them is usually not a good idea.

I’m pretty sure this was Cooper’s exact face when Red hung up on him:

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If Red continues to expect the task force to do whatever he wants, there will be a point when he will push them too far and possibly cause the FBI to break off their agreement all together. As it is right now, Cooper and Ressler are certainly mad enough to make this a possibility.

Which brings me to my favorite part of the episode….Ressler. Guess what happened??? We finally got the beginning of a Ressler side story!!!!

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At the beginning of the episode, Ressler got a call from his mom that his brother was going to have to have major heart surgery. You could see that this was eating away at him throughout the episode, because he couldn’t leave work to be with his brother at the hospital. Now, he probably could have asked for time off, Samar, Aram, and Liz could have handled the mission, but he’s Ressler and he hardly shares his emotions with anyone and always tries to do his job, so we got to see him suffer in silence for all of “Isabella Stone”.

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Actual footage of me whenever they showed Ressler crying.

Now he did confide in Samar and she finally got him to tell her what was wrong, but it didn’t seem to give him much comfort. His brother came out of the surgery fine, but Ressler has a lot of internalized self-hatred, so he’s not going to stop blaming himself for not being there for his brother for a long time. I also think that his breakdown wasn’t just about his brother.

He has had a lot of terrible things happen to him that have been building up for a long time, and not being able to help his brother was the final straw. I’m hoping that we get to focus on this part of his character development for a while, and we see him go through the emotional process of blaming himself and how it affects his work as an agent. I wouldn’t put it past them to just never mention it again however and have Ressler go back to tackling suspects and showing no emotion, but I really hope that this is the beginning of a whole new side plot for Ressler.

One thing that bothered me about this was that Liz never once asked him if anything was wrong. She’s supposed to be the psychoanalyst of the task force, the one who can read people’s emotions like a book, but she didn’t pick up on the fact that Ressler was in a lot of pain and having an awful day? They even went to question a suspect together, and she still didn’t notice anything when they were alone and face to face.

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All I’m saying is that I’m expecting a big emotional conversation between these two in the near future.

Another sad moment from “Isabella Stone” was the death of Red’s close friend. You could tell that Red really cared about him, and the fact that his death was partly Red’s fault is going to tear him apart for a long time. Red is already kind of a mess emotionally this season, so this really isn’t going to help things at all.

This episode was really just a sledgehammer to the heart.

Tom also found out a little more about his past, and discovered that he was “murdered” as a child and his parents thought he was dead, so this is going to lead straight into the “Redemption” spinoff where he is going to try to uncover the truth about his past once and for all.

At the very end of “Isabella Stone,” Red and his team intercepted the prison transport carrying Isabella Stone, and he now has her in his custody, so we’ll get to see the fall out from that and what ends up happening to her next week.

Watch the trailer below for a preview of “The Architect”.

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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