‘The Blacklist’ season 4, episode 15 review: Did Dembe poison Reddington?

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Who was behind the attack on Raymond Reddington and his crew? This was the question behind “The Apothecary,” Thursday night’s new episode of “The Blacklist” and, to go along with it, the final episode for the next couple of months. Within this story, there were opportunities to get answers … but there was definitely misdirection along the way. There’s also one big question courtesy of the end: Did Dembe poison Reddington? We’ll get to that further in a bit.

Let’s start here with a big reminder of the key event of the episode, one that informed every single thing that happened the rest of the way: Red starting out the episode in the hospital. He struggled to stay alive, but at the same time piece together what happened to him. This was basically the worst version of “The Hangover” ever.

The first big name that we saw floating around here was Marvin Gerard, certainly a familiar face with the team. Reddington, who was clearly poisoned and struggling even to stay upright, spent a good percentage of this episode stumbling around and trying to find the answers to everything that ailed him. Unfortunately, the further he went along, the more he looked as though he was one of the walkers from “The Walking Dead,” except that he could be killed and killed quickly.

Also, the further he went along, the further he realized that he did some pretty terrible things. He hosted a dinner party, and then locked everyone in the freezer. Classy move, Red. He did, through retracing his steps, realize that he’d had a glass of wine at the dinner … which may be key to figuring out said poisoning.

While all of this was going on with Red, the FBI Task Force was doing their part on their own to get some more news on the Apothecary and precisely what happened. Eventually, Liz and Ressler were able to track Hightower (a.k.a. the Blacklister of the Week) down, and at a baby store, no less! (Not the greatest spot for a shootout.)

The attempt at answers

Hightower was questioned at length by the Task Force, but unfortunately, he was not altogether keen on giving the Task Force any answers about who hired him. He claimed that he never knew his clients, but what he did offer was a potential cure. All it took was him getting the death penalty taken off the table.

When Red woke up, he was told that Marvin was found as he attempted to head south. He confronted him (so much for him staying and recovering with Aram’s fruit basket), and accused him of hiring Isabella Stone and doing everything else in order to ensure that the operation fell apart. (Also, there was still the mystery of Dembe’s whereabouts.) Marvin claimed that he was innocent, but let’s just say Red didn’t believe him.

It took a phone call from Liz to convince Red that it was not Marvin who could’ve been responsible for it, as he was poisoned with a bottle of scotch. The only two people who had access to it were himself … and Dembe. Boom. Dembe looks very guilty right now. Quite an ending! Yet, we know that this is a show that loves to be complicated, and it’s hard to believe this is it.

Overall take

The downside of this episode was that despite all of the great scenes we had, there were not all that many scenes in the episode featuring Liz and Red together. That’s always a shame, no? Beyond this minor critique, it’s still easy to say with the utmost confidence that this was a fantastic hour. Grade: B+.

What did you think about “The Apothecary,” and the various shockers that were contained within? Share some of your thoughts now with a comment!

(Photo: NBC)

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