Recap: It’s Hard to Know Who to Trust in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 8, Episode 16 “Nicholas Obenrader”

16 Min Read
Will Hart / NBC

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

At a realty office, a man named Bryan Heller tells a man named Becker that he agreed to money laundering for Townsend, but now the IRS is skeptical. Becker asks if any other associates know, and Heller says that Charlie does. Becker tells Heller that he’s already taken care of the IRS, and he shoots Heller. Becker comes into the common area and asks the two women associates where Charlie ran off to. They aren’t sure, but he takes them into the conference room and shoots them. Becker looks for Charlie, but he’s gone. He finds a picture of Charlie and takes it with him. He makes a call for a clean-up crew and says to tell Obenrader they have a loose end.

At Reddington’s restaurant, Red and Dembe meet with Thom McCarty. His crew does work for Townsend. Luis Espinoza assigns the jobs Thom gets to do for Townsend, but Red breaks the news that he assigns multiple crews. Espinoza is in charge of Townsend’s heisting, boosting, capers, and pilferage; Espinoza is putting money into his own pocket. Thom asks if Townsend knows, and Red says no; if he did, Espinoza would be taken out. Ressler arrives, and they sit down to discuss a case. Reddington recently learned that Townsend is laundering money through a listing agency called Kelmund Realty. It caught the attention of the IRS, and within 72 hours after the IRS audit, everything and everyone disappeared. It’s not a matter of how, it’s a matter of who: Nicholas Obenrader.

At the Post Office, Ressler briefs the team on Obenrader; he’s a management consult for criminal organizations. Obenrader is seen in the woods with dead bodies, attempting to cover them up with his men. An associate comes to Obenrader, shows him the picture that Becker got from Charlie’s desk, and says that there was a loose end. Obenrader calls Townsend and says it’s done, but he has one more loose end to tie up. Thom is there at Townsend’s and Townsend says that Espinoza may be “feathering his own nest,” so he needs a replacement. Back at the Post Office, Ressler tells the team that they don’t have any photos or fingerprints on Obenrader, and that his name is an alias. Although Obenrader made Kelmund Realty disappear, they still had an office. Cooper wants the team to go there, when he gets a call from Liz. She asks if he read the messages she provided from Reddington and his handler through the Post. He says yes, they all have, and she’s on with the team. She wants to know what leads they have, and Ressler tells her they couldn’t identify assets, but they got an address. It’s a cafe in Paris and they’re sending Aram to check it out. Liz wants to help, but Cooper says the team can handle it on their own.

Agents Park and Ressler arrive at Kelmund Realty. They are suspicious, and CSI found no prints, but they did find blood on the window sill. Ressler wants it run through DNA.

At Townsend’s, he’s boxing and Godwin comes to tell him he believes Keen is feeding information to the FBI. He knows Ressler is her contact, and they are working to get a line on Ressler’s phone. Townsend tells him that he trusts Keen. Turns out, Espinoza was in the punching bag, and he appears to be dead.

Ressler tells the team that the blood at the scene belonged to Charles Totten. He determines that the people at Kelmund Realty were professionally cleaned. We soon find out Totten has a brother, and Obenrader knows there’s a loose end he will want to tie up. Cooper wants Ressler and Park to head to Totten’s brother’s house to get to Charles before Obenrader does. 

In Paris, Aram is sitting in his car about to enjoy a croissant, when Liz and Rocco (her security) come into the car. Liz takes his croissant, and a flabbergasted Aram asks how she found him. She explains she knew where he would fly in, and what car he would be driving. He asks if Cooper said she could help, and she says maybe (which means no). He says they can work together, but as cops not criminals. The trio go inside the cafe, and Aram nicely asks the bartender for access to their security cameras. The bartender says no, so Liz improvises, and Rocco holds a gun to the man’s head.

Reddington and Dembe arrive in Sarasota, Florida, and meet with a man named Remy on Red’s plane. Reddington wants to employ one of Remy’s most valuable assets: Priya Laghari. Remy agrees and tells Red that she’s in London. 

In Aram’s car, Aram and Liz are looking at the security camera footage. Aram asks Liz if she would’ve let Rocco shoot the bartender, and she says no. They talk about how she does it all, raising Agnes, going after Reddington, and she thanks him for acknowledging her. Suddenly, they see Reddington come into the cafe on camera, and right behind him is his friend, who they get a good look at.

Ressler and Park arrive at William Totten’s cabin (Charlie’s brother), and when they knock on the door, Nicholas Obenrader opens the door posing as William. He says that Charles isn’t there, but let’s them in to ask a few questions about Charles. While in the cabin, Park is looking at the family pictures and sees in the reflection of the frame a dead body. She pulls her gun and Obenrader tries to shoot Park, but Ressler handcuffs him. Back at the Post Office, Park interrogates Obenrader and tells him if he doesnt start talking about his relationship with Neville Townsend, he will be moved to a black site. Meanwhile, Aram is back from Paris, and he walks into Cooper’s office to tell him the identify of Red’s friend: Ivan Stepanov. 

Reddington calls Cooper in his office and says he hasn’t been honest about his intentions. (Surprise, surprise.) Red doesn’t think Obenrader will talk, and the reason he put Obenrader on the team’s radar is so he can make a new friend. The team reviews Priya Laghari’s impressive career: she dabbles in jewelry, art theft, and intelligence. The team discusses Priya why they’re doing this for Reddington, and Cooper assures the team that it’s to get to Townsend. Continuing on in the discussion, Aram suggests since Liz is no longer officially FBI, she should pick up Stepanov in Moscow. Ressler calls Keen to tell her the identify of Red’s handler and that Cooper wants her to do the extraction, but Vandyke is listening on the other end.

Priya is in London and meeting up with a man named Nigel. She hands him a book, and as they go into Nigel’s safe, a sleeping Reddington awakes from his slumber. Nigel is taken aback, and Priya tries to leave, but Dembe stops her. Dembe escorts Nigel out so Reddington and Priya can talk privately.

Townsend listens to the message that Ressler left for Keen. Surrounded by Godwin and Vandyke, they ask why Keen is working for the bureau. Vandyke mentions that if Reddington’s handler has been identified, it would be a game changer. Townsend instructs them to get eyes on Stepanov in Moscow. He also wants to give Keen a job to keep her occupied. Meanwhile, Liz listens to the voice mail from Ressler and texts him that she’s on it.

Reddington and Priya talk, and he tells her he wants to be a provider for her. She asks what he wants her to steal. But instead of stealing something, he wants her to infiltrate Neville Townsend’s organization.

Park and Ressler are transporting Obenrader. They stop at a meeting point with other agents, but suddenly, one of the FBI’s tactile men has a gun and begins shooting. Park and Ressler seem to both be hit. The FBI tactile men put Obenrader into the tactile vehicle, where Reddington and Dembe are waiting. It was a ruse, so no agents were harmed.

Will Hart / NBC

In the truck, Obenrader tells Red he appreciates the favor and will do a thorough overview of his organization for free. Red says thanks, but he only consults with his gut and his friend (Dembe). Red knows that Neville asked him to manage the heist crews that Neville employs, and Red has a candidate. Obenrader doesn’t want to talk about client business, but Red tells him the “spoiler alert, as they say” of what’s in the boxes; they contain archival records of all of Obenrader’s clients. Reddington tells him to recommend Priya Laghari for the new position to Neville, and he won’t release Obenrader’s client records. 

Townsend and Liz talk about Priya. Neville wants Liz to pick her up, but she says she has another appointment. He says that this is important to him and asks her to push her previous appointment. Godwin tells Townsend that their man in Moscow has acquired Stepanov’s location. Townsend says he wants it done quickly; he stalled Keen, but she may already have her plan set in motion. Godwin questions Neville, but he says he’ll get confirmation she’s working with the FBI if he pretends to trust her when he doesn’t. 

Will Hart / NBC

Park, Ressler, and Aram are in position at the park to observe Laghari be collected and lead them straight to Townsend. Priya sits on a bench and answers the ringing phone in a paper bag next to her. She answers and follows instructions from Jax, one of Liz’s people. She walks over to the blue van, and Jax opens the door, while Ressler follows Priya and walks behind the van to put a tracker on it. Priya asks where she is going to sit, and Jax says she’s not, showing her the manhole. Priya climbs down and follows Liz, as the Task Force team tracks the van and Jax.

Will Hart / NBC

Liz calls Ressler, and she says that Townsend had her do a job to keep her busy, while Townsend and his men listen along. She says that she was able to get someone to Moscow for the extraction and that she and the FBI aren’t working together, but they’re all aligned against Reddington. Townsend says that Liz is right. Park followed the van and watches Jax leave it unattended. Park goes to the van and sees where there was a hole for Priya to escape.

Priya meets with Neville at his house, and Liz leaves to call Esi. She asks if it’s done, and Esi, who’s in Moscow, says it will be soon. Back at the Post Office, the team talks about Priya’s sneaky escape. Now, the team has to trust that whatever Laghari finds out and tells Reddington, that he’ll return the favor. Optimistic, Aram hopes it might be different, and Ressler says he’ll be sure to “include his optimism in his debrief to Cooper.”

Dembe and Red talk at the restaurant, where Dembe tells Red about getting the FBI to believe they helped insert a spy, when instead, they helped insert an assassin. Simultaneously, Priya asks Townsend what he wants her to steal, and he says all of it. He wants to put her under contract and pay her to identify items they might steal. Godwin interrupts, and Vandyke approaches the two to say it’s about Moscow. Priya pulls a small device from her ring and tries to put it near Neville’s cup, but he turns around to say that something has come up. 

In Moscow, Stepanov is abducted at his apartment. Ressler comes in to Cooper’s office to tell him that Stepanov was abducted, and both believe it was Keen. Esi tells Keen that she was about to extract Ivan, but now the place was swarming with cops. 

At Red’s restaurant, Dembe tells Reddington that their friend from Moscow has been taken. Next, Stepanov is in a chair when Townsend and Vandyke approach him. Neville sits down in front of Ivan and knows that he’s the one who created the archive that destroyed his family. He also knows that Ivan continues to feed intel to N-13. Ivan says that Katarina Rostova was N-13 and she’s dead, but Neville says she was framed. He wants to know why Ivan continues to work for Reddington and hopes Ivan can provide some answers.

Thanks for reading, Blacklisters!!

Check out next week’s promo below!

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8 P.M. EST on NBC.

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By Kailey
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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