‘The Blacklist’ Season 7, Episode 17 Recap: “Brothers”


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

The episode begins with a flashback to Detroit, 1995. Two cops are chasing a suspect down and they go to apprehend him. One of the cops hide as the other is shot by the suspect. The cop who hid calls for backup and kills the suspect. The cop kneels down next to his wounded partner and says, “I told you to take the money, Bob. The rest of us did. I’ll take care of Lisa and the boys.”

Courtesy of NBC

In present day, Ressler and his brother are driving home to Detroit when they discuss their father, Ressler’s job, and that Robby told their mother Donald was coming home. Back at their childhood home, Donald talks to his family about his job as an FBI agent and then they ask about the special case he is on. He tells them that it’s confidential and his mom tells him that Robby’s garage is expanding and was able to get the car he drives and her new watch. She tells her boys that she is glad they’re both under the same roof, and she wishes their father could see this. Donald sees his father’s old Detroit police coffee cup and has a flashback.

During this flashback, Lisa, the mom, is washing the same cup we just saw, as she tells young Donald he can’t keep skipping school. Young Robby, who is studying for the police academy tells him that he could wind up in jail but Donald doesn’t pay that any mind. The doorbell rings and it’s Tommy Markin, their father’s partner. He and other officers are there to tell Lisa that her husband died. Donald and Robby watch as their mother cries in the arms of Markin.

Present day Donald comes to and tells his mom that he is going upstairs to sleep. Robby meets him up there and Donald is suspicious of his activities. Robby says to Donald that he isn’t a screwup. Robby tells Donald about Ray Field and that one man makes a round about every hour or so. There is a pathway in the gate for both of them to fit through to get the job done. Donald tells Robby he needs to get supplies and we see Robby at the store getting shovels, flashlights, bleach, etc. Donald is sitting in the car and he has another flashback.

During the flashback, there are people gathered at the Ressler home in honor of Bob Ressler. Young Donald is drinking on the stairs and young Robby confronts him. Donald storms off and Tommy Markin sits next to Robby. He gives Robby his father’s necklace, because Robby is the next cop in the family. Markin gets a phone call so he excuses himself. Donald is outside listening to music and drinking when he overhears Markin’s phone call about the details of his father’s death. Adult Donald comes back from his flashback because Robby has finished getting the supplies. They put the supplies in the trunk and drive off but, they are being followed.

It’s night and the Ressler men arrive at Ray Field. Young Donald and Robby are seen arguing about Markin killing their father. Young Robby says he trusts Tommy Markin and tells young Donald that he would need evidence. He tells Donald to drop it and Donald storms out of their bedroom. Back to present day, Robby and Donald find the spot where the body was dug and the night guard is walking. They duck but Robby injures his hand on a wire, so Donald does the digging. Back to a flashback, young Donald breaks into Markin’s home and Markin catches him. Donald tells Markin he will come with him to tell the cops everything. Markin tells him he is the cops and that Donald isn’t thinking straight. Donald pulls his father’s gun on Markin, who tries to talk him out of it. Donald pulls the trigger and shoots Markin. Back in present day, adult Donald is digging and he reaches Markin’s bones. Robby says, “It’s been a while. You remember Tommy Markin, don’t you, Don?”

Again in 1995, young Robby arrives at Markin’s house and finds Tommy shot and Donald sitting on the floor with the gun. Donald tells him he didn’t know who else to call. Robby asks him how long it’s been, did anyone see Don come in, did Markin make any calls, etc. He tells him no one has called the cops so the gunshot wasn’t heard. Robby tells Donald to go home, wipe their dad’s gun, and he would take care of it.

In present day, Robby asks Donald if he thinks about that night and if he regrets it. Donald says that the man killed their father and was a disgrace to the badge. He says that Tommy got everything he deserved. Donald asks Robby if he regrets it, but Robby says they should get going. They wrap up the body in plastic and carry it to the car. They put the body in the trunk and drive off, not knowing they are still being followed.

Robby and Donald park the car and dispose of the supplies in dumpsters. Donald tells Robby that he didn’t give him credit for having his back and staying home to look after things. He thanks him for all that he did that night. “That night, everything in my life changed.” Donald says that it looks like Robby is doing well now and would even like to see his garage before he leaves town. Suddenly, they hear the engine and Robby’s car speeds off. “Okay, I can explain.”

At a bar, Robby tells Don that his garage isn’t doing well and he had borrowed money from the Albanian mob that amounted to a total of $150K. The bartender comes over and tells Donald that he has a phone call. He answers the phone and the man says he has the car and the cargo in the back. The man says to meet with Jakov Mitko and not be late.

Courtesy of NBC

The Ressler brothers meet with Jakov and Robby tells him that he will get him his money. Jakov says it’s not about the money anymore. He brings them to the car and says that if they want it back, he wants Donald to go to the FBI field office in Detroit to Department Twelve and receive a file named “432.” If they give him the file by 5 p.m., he will give them the car with the body, and wipe Robby’s debt clean.

Donald and Robby leave Mitko’s and Donald punches Robby. He tells Robby that Department Twelve is where the names of undercover cops are held and the cop named 432 will most likely die now. He has to get him the file. Robby tells him that he can’t let him do it and he will take the fall. Donald says no but Robby tells him the truth about that night. In a flashback, we see young Robby at Markin’s cleaning the scene and then at Ray Field. He is going to bury the body when Tommy turns out to be alive. Robby asks if he killed his father and Tommy says it was just “business.” Robby gets angry and uses the shovel to finish the job. Back in the present, Robby said he wanted protect his future and that night had driven him. He tells Donald that he never regretted it; it made Donald the person he is today. Robby wants to turn himself in but Donald said they will turn themselves in together.

Donald and Robby are at the FBI field office in Detroit and Donald told Liz everything. He called her so that she can run point on the case and get Mitko and his men for their crimes. Donald says that him and his brother will turn themselves in when they’re done with the case. Liz doesn’t seem to agree with the plan. She says that she will help but wants to be sure he is ready to face the consequences when the FBI get the car and the body. She makes a call to Agent Patel to help her run point on the case and tells Donald they need to go over the plan.

Courtesy of NBC

In a garage, the team is getting set and Donald and Liz go over the plan. He also tells her that he didn’t like her at first when they met, but she is a great agent and the Task Force will be in good hands with her. Robby, Donald, and a tactile team are riding in the back of a van and Robby asks Donald if they are doing the right thing, because this is going to kill their mother when it’s over. The van stops and Donald and Robby go inside to Mitko’s. Liz is listening from inside the van and Donald says to Mitko that Robby gets to check the car for confirmation. Robby signals that the body is there and Donald hands over the file to one of Mitko’s men who goes to check it out. Mitko says that he may have more jobs for Donald to do. Suddenly, Mitko’s men come out to say the file is empty and a shootout ensues as Liz and the team respond. The team storms the greenhouse where Mitko’s men are and Mitko grabs Robby, holding him at knife point. Liz shoots Mitko and saves Robby.

Donald and Ressler are at the FBI office as we see a flashback to their father’s funeral. Young Robby was supposed to say a few words but can’t, so young Donald stands up and makes a speech instead. His speech was that he was shown by his father to be good and be on the right path. Back at the FBI, Robby tells them about Mitko and the money he owed him, as Mitko tells other FBI agents in interrogation to check the trunk of the car. An agent comes in to tell the Ressler brothers that there was an allegation against them and as Don goes to explain, another agent walks in. “Well this is interesting.” The trunk of the car is empty.

At the Ressler home, Robby and Donald discuss how the body disappeared and Donald says he has an idea but thinks they are safe. Lisa walks in and asks if Donald got Robby out of the trouble he was in and he says that Robby is going to be okay and the case worked out. She says Robby gets lost sometimes but their father would be proud because they stick together. Donald goes to his old room and gets his father’s necklace. In a flashback, we see young Robby holding onto the necklace. He says he couldn’t make a speech and gives the necklace to young Donald, saying he can’t be a cop. In present day, Donald gives Robby the necklace and has him hold onto it.

Courtesy of NBC

In D.C., Donald arrives at Liz’s apartment. He asks if she did it to protect him and is wondering how she cleaned up the body and the car. “I learned from the best.” He tells her he needs to know why. She says that he needed help and so she helped. He says he never would’ve asked her to take such a risk but she says that he didn’t ask. She tells him that it wasn’t for him, it was for her. She needs him. “So, what am I, a dipstick or a knucklehead?” “You’re a knucklehead and a dipstick and you’re someone that I rely on.” She tells him that her life is a mess with her complicated family history. Having Ressler there is having “a tiny island of calm.” He tells her she won’t be swept out and they embrace.

Thanks for reading and there are only two episodes left of the season!

Check out the promo for Friday’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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