The Blacklist 4×15 Review: ‘The Apothecary’

I’m going to try and make this review as coherent as possible, because I’m still reeling from that winter finale. We knew “The Apothecary” was going to be extremely painful because Red has been poisoned and was slowly dying, but man I was not expecting this.

I think you all know what I’m talking about, but just in case you don’t, I’m talking about Dembe poisoning Red.

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Yes, you read that right. Dembe, one of the only people who Red trusts completely and without question. The man whom Red would die for and vice versa. These two have been through so much together, and have saved each others lives so many times, there is just no way that Dembe was the one who did this. There has to be something else going on, because Dembe would never. Never in a million years would he willingly do something to harm Red.

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My favorite theory right now is that Kate is possibly behind this. As soon as Dembe realized what happened, he knew immediately that he would be suspected, and he went to find her and help do whatever he needed to save Red. Maybe it has nothing to do with Kate, but I just know that this is not Dembe. There is no possible universe in which he would poison Red. I could literally spend the whole review just repeating that over and over again, but there are a few other things to talk about.

First of all, can we just take a moment to reflect on how painful it was to see Red basically slowly dying for the whole episode while still going around trying to find who betrayed him? I mean honestly, coughing has never looked so painful.




That was only the beginning of the episode, and because he was dying, the coughing only got worse. It was so hard to watch.

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For the most part, “The Apothecary” was incredibly painful and intense, but there were some touching moments and a little bit of comic relief.

One of those moments was when Aram continued to be his adorable and incredibly loving self. Red showed up at headquarters on the verge of collapse and telling the task force that he had about two days to live. Aram skipped the first few stages of grief and went straight to denial.

And just to top it all of, when Red was in the hospital, he brought him a fruit basket.

Seriously Aram is pretty much an angel that fell to earth.

Now, Aram wasn’t the only one concerned about Red. Obviously Liz was, and Cooper, and yes….Ressler. This may surprise some people who like to find whatever reason they possibly can to dislike Ressler, but he doesn’t actually hate Red. They disagree on almost everything, and Ressler has a lot of problems with the things that Red does, but they have always had some form of respect for each other. Remember when Red saved Ressler’s life way back in season one by giving him a blood transfusion from his own blood when a bullet shattered Ressler’s leg? Because I do, and Ressler certainly does. No matter the things they may say to each other, I think that Ressler really does care about Red and Red cares about him. When Red stumbled into headquarters and told everyone he had been poisoned, you could clearly see the concern written all over Ressler’s face. He immediately jumped into action with the rest of the task force to save Red, even offering to rough up some suspects if he needed to. When it comes down to it, Ressler can’t stand to see someone else suffer, no matter how much conflict he may have had with that person in the past.

Now, there was one thing that I wish they had spent more time on. The main villain of the episode called the Apothecary, made all kinds of harmful drugs, one of them being the one that was used to poison Red. The apothecary had a wife who he had been continuously sedating. When Ressler and Liz searched his house, they found her, and she told them that he had repeatedly raped her while she was sedated so they could have a child and “have the family they had always wanted” as he described it. This was briefly touched on during his interrogation with Ressler and Samar, but it wasn’t discussed nearly enough. As the apothecary was describing what he had done, you could see that Ressler was restraining himself from pounding the guy into the ground, but that was about it. For how serious of a topic spousal rape is, they really just brushed over it and never mentioned it again. I understand that there is only so much time in an episode and they can’t focus on everything, but if they were going to bring this up, they should have done it when it could have been a main focus of the episode. Even if they had to have it in this one, they could have extended the dialogue of the interrogation to have Ressler and Samar condemn what he did more, or have Ressler and Samar physically take him down together like Ressler so clearly wanted to do.

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That’s all I have to say about “The Apothecary”. Unfortunately we have an eight week hiatus ahead of us, and it feels like an eternity.

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I mean they left us still not knowing who poisoned Red or what Dembe had to do with it? That’s another level of cruel.

In the meantime, while we’re all waiting for The Blacklist to return, the spin-off centered around Tom titled “Redemption” is airing Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC. So we we can ease the hiatus pain and get our Blacklist fix from that. The first episode of “Redemption” aired directly after “The Apothecary”, so you can check out my review for that as well, I’ll be covering the series for its entire run.

I’ll see you all on the other side of the hiatus, stay strong Blacklisters!

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The Blacklist returns at 9/8c April 20th on NBC.

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