Recap: The Tables Have Turned in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 8 Episode 17 “Ivan Stepanov”

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

Ivan is strapped to a chair and is being electrocuted by a device around his neck, as Neville’s face is shown. Townsend continues to intermittently electrocute Ivan, as Townsend flashes back several times to the night his family was murdered. Neville wants answers, but Ivan continues to refuse. Neville says that in time, Ivan will become very suggestible.

At Red’s restaurant, Dembe believes that Ivan’s kidnapping may be a domestic dispute, but Red sternly states that they both know who is responsible: Liz and Townsend. They also discuss Priya who, as they speak, talks with Godwin about wanting to meet with Neville. Dembe gets a text that Cooper has arrived at the restaurant to meet them, and Dembe tells Red that involving the Task Force was a mistake. Red says that if Townsend has Ivan, Townsend will get him to talk, and they can’t risk it. Dembe says they should extract Ivan themselves, but Red is uncertain they can in time. Suddenly, Cooper walks in the door, and they tell him that Ivan Stepanov has been abducted. Cooper asks if Red has any leads, and Reddington tells him that he knows where and when he was taken, but the rest is suspicion. Cooper can’t help but see the irony, but Red is quick with his quips and says, “You know the irony of irony? It’s a word you understand, but can’t possibly define.”

At the Post Office, Cooper tells the team they will do nothing, at least until Liz gets her answers. Cooper says that their next move depends on Liz, who just happens to call the Post Office. She asks the team if they took Stepanov and they ask her the same, but she says by the time her team was sent there, Ivan was gone. Cooper wonders if Liz shared the information on how to find Stepanov with anyone; Ressler chimes in that he talked to Liz about Stepanov’s location on his bureau phone, but doubts Townsend had someone hack into his phone. Aram checks Ressler’s phone and says, “Well Mr. Ripley, believe it.. or not.”

At Neville’s, Priya makes him some tea and puts a poison tablet into his cup. Neville arrives and sits down, and Priya passes him his tea. She wonders if this is how he runs his business, but Neville assures her that he wants her to work for him. She agrees and goes to leave, when Liz storms in. She knows that he has Stepanov and that he put malware into Ressler’s phone. She knocks the tea cup out of his hand, which blows Priya’s plan of killing Neville. Neville shows Liz the current camera footage of Stepanov and says that she can come with him to interrogate him, but she isn’t permitted to make anymore calls to the FBI; Vandyke takes Liz’s phone.

Priya calls Reddington and says that she couldn’t kill Townsend. Reddington seems unfazed, and Priya continues that the woman was angry about him kidnapping a man named Stepanov. Reddington asks her if she was in Neville’s office, and she says that she was but she didn’t see Stepanov anywhere. Red tells her to text the address to Dembe as soon as they hang up. Dembe receives the text and tells Red that the building is on Park Avenue. They can’t put a team together to storm Park Avenue, but the Task Force can. Dembe worries about the Task Force interrogating Ivan, but Red says it’s a risk he’s willing to take.

Red and Dembe arrive at the Post Office, and Red decides to be truthful… mostly. He tells Cooper and the team that the reason he wants them to retrieve Stepanov is not just because he’s Russian Intelligence, but that he’s Red’s oldest and closest friend. Right now, that friend is in grave danger, and he needs the team to extract him. He continues that Townsend has Ivan, and Ivan has secrets about Red, Red’s business, and secrets that Reddington keeps from Elizabeth. Cooper tells Red that Townsend hacked into Ressler’s phone and knew how to capture Ivan from Ressler’s communication with Liz. Red says they have no idea the trouble they’ve caused, but Cooper is quick with his rebuttal about how Red constantly tells half-truths, keeping secrets, saving a Russian spy. Red pleads with Cooper, and Dembe gives the team the address on Park Avenue. Cooper says that this isn’t about him being N-13 or his relationship with the Russians, this is about why Reddington came into Liz’s life. Cooper instructs his team to reach out to the New York field office, and has the team prepare for the covert operation as Reddington and Dembe leave. While in the elevator, Dembe gets a call from Priya. He hands the phone to Reddington, and Priya tells him that Townsend is leaving, and Liz is going with him. Reddington tells her that she needs to follow them. Priya grabs a cab to follow the caravan with Townsend’s people and Liz.

Aram walks into Cooper’s office and tells him that he looked up occupants from the address they received from Reddington, and he found a small accounting firm called Bunning & Flecker Accounting. Aram suspects it could be associated with Townsend, but he isn’t sure if it’s enough for a warrant. Cooper calls in a favor from Cynthia Panabaker and asks if she can help him with obtaining a warrant.

Ressler, Aram, and more agents arrive at Bunning & Flecker’s and instruct all the employees to stay where they are and to step away from their devices. One of the men in the office hits a silent alarm, which alerts Blake in Neville’s headquarters. She opens the camera feed of the accounting firm to see the FBI has infiltrated. The man who triggered the silent alarm says that Neville, Liz, and Stepanov are not employees but are clients. Ressler tells him that they believe Ivan Stepanov was taken by Neville Townsend and possibly brought here. The associates tell them that there’s no one here, and they can search the place up and down, but they won’t find anything. Serious Aram says, “Thanks for your permission, but we’ve got a warrant for that, too.” Aram tells everyone that they’re taking their hard drives too. Meanwhile, Blake and Godwin meet with an associate of theirs who keeps data on Neville’s business and tell him to erase everything. The FBI starts their interrogations.

Priya and her cab arrive at a location of a run-down warehouse, and she calls Reddington. Reddington tells Dembe the address and they head there, but Reddington asks Priya to stall the interrogation. He tells her that Ivan Stepanov is being interrogated by Neville Townsend, and if Ivan talks, the first thing Neville will do when he finds out is kill Elizabeth. He says that he wouldn’t ask this of her if he could get there in time, but he can’t. He bribes her with a fortune, and he begs her to do this.

Inside the warehouse, Ivan continues to be electrocuted, but now Liz and Neville are in his presence. Neville tells him that he gave Ivan a taste of his own medicine by using a serum employed by the SVR that makes him highly suggestible. Liz tries to change the topic by asking about his relationship with Raymond Reddington. Ivan looks at her and smiles, “Masha.” Liz is surprised, to say the least. Simultaneously, outside of the building, Priya approaches the guard and pepper sprays him, grabs his gun, and pistol whips him. Red and Dembe are trying to get there as quickly as possible. Priya sneaks into the warehouse as Ivan continues to be interrogated. Back in the interrogation room, Ivan tells Liz that her mother was his friend, but Neville says that Katarina was more than that, she was his asset before he betrayed her. Liz asks Ivan if it was true that he betrayed her mother to help Reddington and let the world believe she was N-13, when it was Reddington all along. Neville also chimed in that the stolen files led to the death of his family, and it’s Reddington and Ivan’s fault.

Priya continues moving along in the warehouse trying to be undetected, when Liz approaches her from behind and takes her weapon. Out in the hallway, Priya tells Liz that Reddington sent her and if Neville learns the truth, he will kill her. Ivan leans over to reveal a secret to Neville.

Aram and Ressler interrogate the associates of Bunning & Flecker, but they maintain they don’t know anything about Neville. One associate, the one who pushed the button, asks Aram what may be in it for him if he talks. Concurrently, Liz and Priya talk about Reddington’s plan for Priya to infiltrate Neville’s organization to kill him, but there’s been a change of plans. The guard outside radios Vandyke to let him know that they have a floater. As Liz, Rocco, and Priya try to escape, Neville and his men apprehend them. Neville asks what they’re up to, and Liz wants to know herself. Priya is taken away, and Liz asks what Neville is going to do to her, but Neville says she should worry about what he’s going to do to her. Suddenly, Vandyke chloroforms Liz, and she passes out.

Will Hart/NBC

A passed out Liz is put into an SUV and all of a sudden, an armored truck crashes into the warehouse with Dembe and Reddington in the car behind it. Almost instantaneously, a shootout occurs. Red gets cover by one of his men so he can get to Ivan, while Priya is rescued by one of Red’s men. Priya finds Keen, and Dembe approaches the duo. He tells Reddington through his ear piece that he has Liz, just as Reddington has found Ivan. Reddington tells Dembe that he isn’t leaving him, and the shootout continues. Priya, Liz, and Dembe make it into Ivan’s interrogation room, unharmed. They barricade themselves into the room, while Reddington is trying to free Ivan. Meanwhile, Aram interrupts one of Ressler’s interrogations to tell him the location of Neville’s loft. SWAT, with Ressler and Aram, burst into Townsend’s main operation center.

Back at the warehouse, Vandyke updates Neville on the situation. Neville calls out to Elizabeth and Reddington and tells them he will kill Elizabeth in front of Red. In the room, Liz tries to ask Ivan what he told Neville, but Red tells Liz that he needs to rest. Ivan grabs Liz’s hand, and when he lets go, Liz notices blood. Neville’s men work to get them out of the room, as they try and plan an escape for Ivan to get to a doctor. They make it out of the room and successfully into the armored truck, but their driver is killed. Neville wants Liz and Reddington to exit the vehicle, and Liz risks herself so Dembe can get into the driver’s seat. Liz steps out, but the FBI, including Aram, Ressler, and Park, burst through the door with another shootout. Dembe gets into the drivers seat, and Park approaches Keen, but Liz activates the flash can and gets back into the truck as Dembe drives away.

Will Hart/NBC

The team calls Cooper to tell him they all got away, but Aram is piecing together footage to see where they went. Liz has separated from Red and calls Jax for her to instruct everyone to go off the grid. Red and Priya are watching Ivan being taken care of, and he says he will give her a number to a Marvin Gerard who will get her what she’s owed. Red goes in to see Ivan, and Ivan apologizes for letting Reddington down as Dembe tells Red that the FBI has arrived.

Will Hart/NBC

Red and Dembe meet the FBI, who are there to interrogate Ivan. Red says they have to wait until his doctors are done working on him. In the meantime, they discuss the Russian Knot and how Liz helped the Task Force decrypt the messages. Red tells them he was honest with them, and warned them not to pursue leads that would put Liz’s life in danger. After their interaction, Cooper goes to retrieve Ivan, but discovers he’s gone.

As Neville reels from the events, he instructs Vandyke to put out a new directive for Liz, the FBI, and Laghari. Red approaches Cooper in the empty makeshift hospital room and says that they all have a target on their backs. They need to work together.

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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