‘The Blacklist’ Season 7, Episode 5 Recap: “Norman Devane”


Image Courtesy of NBC

If you missed last week’s recap, check it out here.

This episode begins with our Blacklister Devane watching the family as they talk about Howie going to Abbott school. Devane tells Howie he has been selected for a scholarship if he so chooses. As Devane is leaving, Howie is told by his father to shake his hand, but Devane says he has a cold. Devane gets in his car and puts on gloves and a mask. He gets home and we see his routine. He uses tons of hand sanitizer, intensely scrubs his face and body in the shower, and then takes a plethora of pills while looking at DNA of Howie Keller.

Red is getting blood work done when “The Stranger” walks in, telling Red he has two leads from Paris. Norman Devane is the first lead because the woman who kidnapped him, which we know was Rostova, made a series of payments to him under the name Constance Drucker. Red tells him that he spoke to his wife and he hasn’t slept well and should attend his goddaughter’s wedding. He refuses and he doesn’t want to leave Red’s side. He wants to follow the lead, but Red calls the Task Force and says he has a case for them.

Liz is briefing the team when a picture of Elodie shows up on Aram’s computer. He quickly switches the screen, and she continues. She tells the team how he has made people die from what looks like natural causes, as we see Norman looking over Howie’s files. He has these monitors of Abbott school as Theo, another student meets Howie. They talk and Theo offers Howie weed, but he declines. Howie walks into the school as they discuss that Devane is connected to Paris. Aram says the WMD Directorate might have a lead to Liz which encourages him to head there.

Aram tells Liz about Elodie and tells him she is glad he is sleeping with someone. A man comes out and apologizes for keeping them waiting, but says he can’t help them. They tracked Devane but are unaware of what he is currently doing. Being the intelligent mastermind he is, he tells Aram and Liz that he weaponized illnesses. Liz tells him that they sent a drone strike outside of Damascus to eliminate him, but it was just his lab that they hit. They never found him. Liz asks about Antatole Kuragin and that they had tracked a payment Devane made to him. The man tells them that Kuragin is a Ukrainian hacker, but that the payment was seven years ago. The man tells Liz that Kuragin is in Havana, but that he can’t be found. He utters back, “I know someone who can.”

Devane is rolling what seems like a laundry cart to Howie’s room. He knocks and no answer. He turns a dial, and we see inside the room a gas that knocks Howie and his roommate out. Devane makes his move and takes Howie out of his bed into his cart. He takes him down the hall, but Theo has caught him, and knows Devane had Howie. He takes Howie down to the basement in his lab and injects him with a pathogen.

Red, Dembe, and the man known as “The Stranger” have arrived at Havana and are looking at Kuragin’s collection of salt and pepper shakers when Kuragin walks in. Red asks what Antatole thinks about Devane, but he gets defensive and pulls a gun. Dembe and The Stranger pull their guns as Red pulls out pepper casters from the workshop of Paul Revere. Kuragin and Red trade his casters for Antatole’s gun. Red presses him for information as he examines the casters. He says Devane paid him to create back door access to National Diagnostics Lab’s server farm. Red is asking about his gun when he accidentally shoots Kuragin in the head. Dembe reprimands him as Red shoots Kuragin again, accidentally, which splatters The Stranger with blood. The Stranger is upset, because now they won’t know what Devane was looking for. Red tells him to shower and change clothes, as he tells Liz about the National Diagnostics Lab.

Aram and Ressler visit the NDL and hand one of the workers a warrant to look through their system. The man tells them that it has over 100 million patients and whoever hacked it now has pertinent information on one-in-three Americans. “We’re gonna need access to that database.”

Theo confronts Howie and tells him that some janitor wheeled Howie in a laundry basket down to the basement. Howie counters that he would’ve woken up and that the weed Theo smoked may have caused him to hallucinate. Theo warns him that weird stuff happens at Abbott.

Liz and Ressler are discussing whether Aram should call Elodie two weeks after they slept together, as Aram is sitting right next to them tracing the hack. Ressler suggests he lie and tell her he was on assignment, but Liz disagrees. Aram finds that Kuragin hacked the system to give some root access they used to order a full genome test to sequence the genes of 20 teenagers. “Why? What makes them special?”

Howie is walking up the stairs at Abbott Boarding School when he is stopped by his teacher so she can praise him for his perfect score on his quiz. Suddenly, Howie collapses and the teacher stops and yells for a nurse. Theo visits Howie in his room and believes someone did something to him. He explains that kids get sick and disappear. Theo swiped keys from Dr. Mitchell, the principal, and wants Howie to accompany him to the South Wing. Howie doesn’t come, and Theo leaves.

The team is briefing Cooper on Devane. He used the system to pull patients with a similar demographic and sequenced their DNA using NDL’s system. The team doesn’t know why these kids with certain biochemical and genetic profiles were pulled. Liz tells Cooper that of the 20 kids, five developed life threatening illnesses, where three died and two survived. The team wonders why he is making these kids sick and how it connects with Reddington and Paris.

Theo uses the keys and gets into the South Wing. He films on his phone and discovers Devane’s lab. He looks through the files when Devane appears behind him and sprays him with a gas that knocks him out. Devane drags Theo through the lab.

Dembe finishes on the phone as Red sits on his plane in front of The Stranger. He tells Red that there is something he can’t shake. Red agrees, but he says that things happen. “I try to leave nothing to fate, but I’m perfectly comfortable with chaos.” Red asks about the second lead. He says he has a source for the man who coordinated Red’s abduction. Red suggests that The Stranger invite the source to the wedding so that the skittish source will be comfortable. The Stranger doubts it will work, but he assures Red he will try.

Liz and Ressler visit the families of the five boys who developed illnesses. Liz and Ressler both ask if the parents had any enemies or if anyone wanted to hurt their families. Moving subjects, they then ask about school, and the boys all have one thing in common: they attended Abbott Boarding School.

Dr. Mitchell tells the students over the intercom that Theo has died and that if anyone needs to talk, they can come to his office. Howie, seeing how he is getting worse, goes to Dr. Mitchell’s office. He tells Dr. Mitchell that there is something he has to tell him about Theo.

Aram is at the office, staring at his phone. He finally finds the courage and calls Elodie. He apologizes for not calling, and she decides to invite him to the Freemont. He agrees when he happens upon a similarity on the boys’ files. Aram tells Cooper that all the boys listed the same Virginia address as their second home. Liz and Ressler walk into the office and tell them that all the boys attended Abbott Boarding School. Aram tells the team that Devane had recruited them before they attended the school. Liz suggests that the genome sequencing was the last step in the enrollment process. Cooper asks if any students on his list are currently enrolled at Abbott. There’s only one, and it’s Howard Keller. Cooper tells the team to get to the school to try and prevent anything from happening to Howard.

Dr. Mitchell is heard in Devane’s lab. He tells Devane he just got off the phone with the police. He tells Devane to hurry and pack up because the police are on their way, and he can’t stall them for long. Norman has Howie on the table, and Howie tries to speak before Devane puts him to sleep. “It will be over soon. It’ll all be over very soon.”

Ressler and Liz are asking Dr. Mitchell what he knows about Devane, but he is not willing to cooperate. Liz makes a guard take her to Howie’s room while Ressler stays with Mitchell. Liz goes to the room, and Keller isn’t there. She tries to wake his roommate, but finds that he has been sedated, and she orders the guard to lockdown the school. Mitchell says that he wants a lawyer, but Ressler says that the man he is protecting is wanted by many federal and non-federal agencies. He tells Ressler he can’t help, because Devane didn’t try to kill his son. Rather, he tried to save him. Liz bursts into Devane’s office and finds Howie, but he is unresponsive. Devane is seen shredding paperwork and destroying his lab, but Ressler finds him. He tells Devane to show Ressler his hands, but Devane turns and sprays Ressler with a gas. He goes and grabs a vile from a fridge and tries to inject Ressler, but Ressler fights back and injects Norman instead.

The Stranger is seen in the backseat of Red’s car with Red and tells him that the meeting has been set. Liz calls Red and tells him that they found Devane, but he is infecting children. Red wants to speak with him, but Liz tells him that Ressler is taking him to the hospital, because he was injected with flesh-eating bacteria. Liz says that some children survived, and she is taking one of the children to the hospital.

James Spader and Hisham Tawfiq in ‘The Blacklist’. Courtesy of IMDb.

Ressler is seen driving Devane when a car speeds up, passes Ressler, and blocks the road to go any further. Ressler is about to pull his gun, but sees that it’s Reddington. Reddington says that he is taking Devane out of federal custody, but Ressler insists that wherever Devane goes, he goes.

Red interrogates Devane at a warehouse, as Spaulding Stark tries to treat him. Stark says it can be treated with antibiotics, but Norman tells him that this strain won’t, since he created it. Ressler is surprised to see Stark not in jail after being arrested. Stark is angry that Red brought an FBI agent, but Red exclaims, “it was a two for one deal.” Norman asks about the boy and Red says that he can’t figure out why Norman made the kids sick to cure them. Red figures out that Devane not only gave Keller the illness, but also the cure. He wants to know if it works. Red questions why, after the drone strike, Devane lowered his sample size to 10. Devane tells Red that after the strike, he developed an infection that almost killed him and was drug-resistant. He never realized how vulnerable he was. Red says that he is a germaphobe and that he can’t cheat death. Devane said that he can, by testing on others. Stark makes a comment, by Ressler’s remarks, that he never infected children and gave terminally ill people hope. Red works out that Devane found children with enough in common genetically to infect and cure them. If they were cured, it might work for him, too. Devane wants to know about Keller, but Red insists he tells him about the Russian from 1986 that reached out to him recently. Red promises to get him the cure if he tells him. Devane says that the Russian is Constance Drecker. He says she was looking for a treatment for a Patrick Masuda. Ressler is about to call Liz for the status on Howie when Red says he has the cure and shoots Devane, killing him. “He looks better already.”

Liz briefs Keller’s dad on why his son was infected and the deal that the headmaster made with Devane. A doctor comes to give the status on Howie, and she says his results are very unusual. Back at the warehouse, Stark is covering Devane’s body as Red apologizes. Stark says that his lab can’t be compromised, but Red said he has called his cleaners to handle it. Ressler calls Cooper to tell him that Devane is dead and they should let Red clean up the mess while looking the other way. Red asks about his blood work, and Stark goes to get it as Ressler walks back in, file in hand.

Aram arrives at the party with Elodie. They are Mr. and Mrs. Bloom. They are crashing a wedding. The cleaners are cleaning up and take Devane’s body away, as Red tells Ressler it’s better this way, but he disagrees. Red tells Ressler about the file but Ressler says he didn’t read it. Red tells him to not worry Liz about it, even though Ressler believes Red should tell her the truth.

Back at the party, Aram watches as Elodie dances, as we flash to the hospital to hear that Howie has been cured. Liz is also shown arresting Dr. Mitchell. At the wedding, when a man approaches Aram, who he thinks is Mr. Bloom, the man tells him the man Bloom is looking for is Gregory Flynn. He tells Aram that Flynn’s real name is Berdy Chernov and hands Aram a note. The Stranger and his wife arrive at the wedding, with their name tags missing under Bloom. Elodie asks who Aram was talking to, and Aram tells her he isn’t sure. He asks her to dance as the Bloom’s pass with Mr. Bloom, or The Stranger, worried about the source he was supposed to meet.

Liz and Ressler are talking about Constance Drucker and that she hired Devane to make a treatment for a man named Patrick Masuda. Ressler says they need to get to them first, but Liz says she would rather not know and doesn’t need to know. She doesn’t want to risk Agnes to find answers. Liz asks why Stark was there, and Ressler believes Red let him out because he thinks he is a visionary. The Stranger arrives where Red is staying and says there was a mix-up, and now the contact is in the wind. Red isn’t worried, because they had another lead. Red says that he got a prognosis about his treatment with Stark, and it was ineffective. “Sometimes things happen for a reason. And sometimes I just don’t know what that reason is.” The Stranger asks if he can help, and Red says he needs help finding Patrick Masuda.

Thanks for reading!

Here is the promo for the next episode!

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

Kailey has been a writer for Nerds and Beyond since 2018. She received her bachelors degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May of 2020. Some of her favorite TV shows are The Blacklist, Supernatural, and Prodigal Son, to name a few. She also loves all things Disney! You can check her out on social media @kaileygross.

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