Finally, after months of Liz being on the run, there were developments. Lots of developments.
Townsend put Liz in the crosshairs of an elite assassin of The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 18.
And a body count mounted among those important to Liz.
It didn’t have to be that way if only Harold would have worked with Red on this one.
Reddington didn’t have to bring word of The Protean to the Task Force. He only did so because Cooper could have gotten access to resources Raymond didn’t have naturally.
Harold just picked the wrong time to get on his high horse, choosing to go through proper channels. It’s not like they don’t bend the rules with regularity, either for Red or against him.
So instead, the team ended up spending most of the episode cleaning up after the hitman as he mowed down Liz’s eclectic squad and her sister.
What was Harold’s point, really? Did he think Reddington meant harm to Liz when he was the one who warned the Task Force about The Protean? If Raymond wanted Liz dead, he wouldn’t have done anything.
Harold’s obstinance forced Red to get very creative. So he did. He brought back Paula Carter.
Reddington had discovered how resourceful Glen’s mother Paula was on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 15 when she did a favor for him in the hopes of getting him to float her a tiny loan.
That was when he hinted at there being a role for her in his organization. It turned out she was as good at finding people as Glen was.
First, Raymond got access to the Customs database based by threatening to microwave Max’s bird. So, he got the intel he had originally sought from Harold.
The problem was sifting through all that data. That was why he brought in Paula.
Were you as confused as Red when Paula was excited it was Bingo Night when he told her what he wanted? There really seemed no correlation between the two.
It was hilarious watching Raymond in his duties as Bingo caller, giving those announcements. Talk about someone out of his element.
No one there was buying what he was selling until Paula rescued him, describing him as a Texas priest who had been ripped off by an embezzling deacon.
That tugged at the players’ heartstrings. And didn’t they throw themselves into their mission, embellishing who they were and why they were calling?
Bingo in this case was finding the name of the assassin tracking Liz.
While Red was tracking The Protean, Liz was struggling to stay a step ahead of him.
Engel had every advantage as Townsend had fed him everything he knew about Liz. This meant that everyone in Liz’s circle was in danger.
That point was driven home early on when Liz returned from the roof to discover that her entire team was wiped out. Perhaps gathering them together to warn them about Townsend’s outrage wasn’t the best of strategies.
Shouldn’t the Task Force finding DNA under Esi’s fingernails have led somewhere or wasn’t there time for that to take place?
Liz thought ahead in having Vivi pull out Agnes from preschool. So at least Agnes was safe.
Not so for Jennifer, who had been safely living in witness protection since The Blacklist Season 6 Episode 8.
Obviously, Liz and Jen had a system for getting in touch with each other? So why didn’t Liz warn her about the hitman? It’s not like Liz has a huge circle of relatives and friends anymore.
The trap Engel set by having Jen meet Liz ultimately led to his downfall since he dropped his phone after Liz hit him with her car, the phone that led the Task Force to his hotel.
Tracking activity on the phone helped put Ressler in a position to warn Liz that the hitman was on his way to her location.
Liz wouldn’t have even been calling if she didn’t need Ressler to take care of Jen’s body.
Townsend has himself to blame for the failure of Engel’s assignment.
It was refreshing to have The Protean hang up on the unhinged Neville, who kept interrupting him looking for instant results.
And Townsend distracted Engel at a crucial moment with another call, allowing Liz to get the drop on him.
Liz showed admirable restraint in not shooting him, considering all of the pain he had inflicted upon her.
In the end, Engel opted for suicide-by-cop, moving quickly to cause Ressler to fatally wound him.
But it was unlikely he even had the information Liz wanted about where Townsend was. Engel seemed to be communicating with Neville’s staff remotely since he didn’t want anyone to know what he looked like.
In the end, after all these months, Liz ended up in the custody of the Task Force.
And Harold insisted on doing things by the book, even though that’s not what’s best for Liz or for those she worked with or for Red.
She would have been better off with Raymond. He would have known how to set up her and Agnes in a new life. Instead, she’s now a cop in prison, never a good situation.
To follow Liz on the run, watch The Blacklist online.
Is Liz safest in custody?
Will everyone go after Townsend now?
Can Red and the Task Force work together again?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.