‘The Blacklist’ Season 7 Episode 12 Recap: “Cornelius Ruck”


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

In season 7, episode 12 of The Blacklist, “Cornelius Ruck,” Red and Dembe arrive on the island in the Baltic Sea, where the buyer is supposed to meet for the caskets with the other five casket holders. Red and Dembe meet Arthur Rodman and other men under the island owner, who are there to take Red to the house with the other owners. Dembe and Red say goodbye. Red hands over his firearms and is driven to the house. Cassandra, whom Dembe doesn’t trust, and Red exchange pleasantries before they go into the house.

Courtesy of NBC.

Red settles in his room and greets Annika, one of the five, while Margo and Joko are betting money in another room when Red walks in to greet them. Mahmoud, the last of the group, greets Red and has unpleasantries with Margo. Cassandra discusses with the group about the buyer but Joko doesn’t seem on board because his cut is lower than everyone else’s. Red sternly calms him down and the group unanimously agrees on the buyer. All of them set their caskets on the table and Margo is the last to put her’s down, when suddenly blood drops on the table. Her nose is bleeding and Red tries to hand her a handkerchief before she collapses and dies.

Joko and Red bring Margo into the cooler, and Red examines her body and notices something interesting. The group meet back in the house and Joko tries to discuss her unhealthy habits that he believes led to her death. Joko and Mahmoud try and accuse each other but Red suggests they all go to their rooms for the night and the group agrees to reconvene in the morning.

Courtesy of NBC.

Red knocks on Cassandra’s door and he wants her to help him with a more “frigid” task. Red and Cassandra go to the cooler where Margo’s body is and he performs an autopsy on her. Red says that he noticed broken blood vessels and wants to find out why. Red and Cassandra discuss their past as Cassandra said she walked away from her husband and he considered walking away too from his life, but she had lied to him about how much money she took from the vault in Marseilles, and he had other obligations he couldn’t walk away from. Red says that Margo bled to death internally, and he says she was murdered by someone on the island by an anti-coagulating agent.

Red meets with Mahmoud, Cassandra, and Annika but Joko hasn’t come down to meet the rest of them. They agree it happened on the island and it was something orally ingested. Margo had arrived in the morning before, where she had breakfast with Mahmoud. Cassandra says he has motive because what’s a bigger motive than love? Mahmoud becomes angry and grabs a fire poker from near the fireplace and heads to Joko’s room. The others follow him and Red tries to persuade him against attacking him, since Joko is significantly taller and bigger than Mahmoud. “What do you intend to do, poke him to death?” Red stops Mahmoud from storming in and slightly opens the door. Red and the others walk in the room and Red notices fingers on the ground of the room. The more they walk, more fingers they find and then eventually, Joko’s body. Cassandra doesn’t think any of them are capable of this but Mahmoud says for treasure, anyone is. Red find Joko’s casket still in place, so it isn’t about the caskets and their fortune.

Annika is trying to leave but Cassandra is trying to convince her to stay. Annika tells Red he should leave too. Cassandra asks Red where Mahmoud is and we see Mahmoud go into the kitchen, into a pantry, and uses explosives to blow up the pantry. Annika is searching the house for anyone to get her off the island as Cassandra follows. Red is searching the house for Mahmoud and he hears an explosion. Mahmoud goes inside the wreckage to find a gun hiding and he takes it with him. Annika is looking for Arthur as Cassandra pleads with her. Annika begins to cough and suddenly, Mahmoud shows up with the gun he acquired. He blames Cassandra for setting them up just as Red shows up with another gun stashed in the house. Annika dies in Cassandra’s arms and Red shoots Mahmoud for not lowering his weapon. Red says he doesn’t have any reason to believe Cassandra for anything, she says. She says she didn’t poison anyone, but she knows who did.

Red and Cassandra are in a car where says she was introduced to a buyer who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. She was taped for information and was arrested for theft, among other things. She cut a deal with him and Red realizes that is why she called everyone together. She told him she didn’t give up their names but the dig where the caskets were found was a cover for Turkish sources to meet with an undercover CIA agent posing as an archaeologist. American agents were inside the Turkish government and knew that this person had names of those agents. They killed the man who was figured out but he had already hidden a list of names as a microdot. On one of the caskets, the microdot was placed so that the intel could safely be concealed out of the country and into the U.S. Red says that now the CIA wants their intel back to protect their agents. Cassandra said the deal entailed recovering the intel from the caskets if every one of the casket owners walked free, until everything went sideways.

Red and Cassandra break into a little barn. Red asks for Cassandra’s phone, a screwdriver, and some tape as he fixes some binoculars to be able to find and read the microdot on one of the caskets. Red says that he misjudged her and they misjudged each other. He says that she misjudged why he couldn’t run away with her. He says he had obligations to the “young woman who he has been watching over” and he says her husband was not who he said he was. She asks if the young woman is still in danger and he says he hopes not. She says that maybe he doesn’t need to be under obligation anymore but he mentions is going to Agnes’ play. Red tells Cassandra to find tape and suddenly she calls Raymond over. There are other dead bodies in the barn, and it’s the island staff. Red thinks that Turks have killed them. Suddenly, a man comes into the barn and is looking for the caskets but Red gets the best of him.

Red interrogates the man and says that he and his friends are Turkish operatives that are there to recover the microdot and get the name of Americans in their government. When the man stays silent, Red says he may not know English but maybe numbers. Red holds his gun to the man’s head and counts down from three, but right before Red gets to one, the man speaks and says the microdot is on the smallest casket. Cassandra realizes that’s why Margo was targeted first but the man said that once everyone was alerted, they were ordered to eliminate all of them. Red checks the smallest casket and finds the list, but it’s not a list of American assets in Turkey, it’s the other way around. Ahmet, the name of the man, is overheard on a walkie. Red knocks out the man and answers for him. Red recognizes the voice and it’s Arthur. “Cassandra, do you realize what this means? The butler did it.” He is behind all of this and was hired to find the microdot of Turkish operatives. Red figures out his real name, Cornelius Ruck. Ruck wants them to surrender but Red declines the offer. Red asks Cassandra about leaving with the caskets and she kisses him and agrees they should leave with the caskets.

Ruck and his men look for Cassandra and Red as they try to escape the island. Cassandra pours gasoline outside the house and then signals to Red. She shuts off the lights on the property and Red attacks the men inside the house. Red distracts the men so that Cassandra can loosen a pipe near the fireplace but is heard. Just as Cassandra is about to be caught, Red shoots the men and saves her. Cassandra grabs her matches from the room where she left them earlier and sets the porch on fire where she poured the gasoline. Red is caught killing one of Ruck’s men and Ruck radios Cassandra saying that he will trade Red for the caskets.

Cassandra brings the caskets and Ruck makes Red open the briefcase then instructs him to stand next to Cassandra. He sees he microdot and Ruck orders his men to kill them. Red says that anytime would be good and Cassandra initiates an explosion. Red covers Cassandra from the blast but Arthur is only moderately injured. He grabs his gun but Red says that he forgot something, on the fish above the fireplace. Arthur goes to look, to see the fish is missing the tip of his nose when Red stabs him, killing him. Red and Cassandra look out the window to see it has stopped snowing, and they kiss. Dembe picks up Red and Cassandra and returns to D.C. They meet with Cynthia to appraise the caskets and she hands them a price. They look at the number and Red suggests they celebrate in Paris. Cassandra reminds him of one last obligation.

Courtesy of NBC.

Cassandra and Red watch Agnes’ dance from the wings as Dembe watches from the other stage wing. The Task Force team watches from the audience and are so proud of her. After the performance, Red is ready to go but Cassandra says goodbye to Red. She says that she saw how he looked at Agnes as she was dancing and knows he is not staying for obligation, but for love. They kiss goodbye and Liz arrives backstage to thank him for coming to the play. She saw his “friend” but he tells Liz he doesn’t have anywhere he needs to go. Liz thanks him for the Turkish intel and before she leaves, she says that it’s been hard since Tom died and taking care of Agnes. After everything, she tells Red they both deserve a bigger life.

Thanks for reading!

Check out the promo for next week’s episode below.

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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