Recap: Liz Is On Her Own in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 8, Episode 18 “The Protean”


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

The episode begins with The Protean going through file folders of Liz, Jax, Skip, and Esi. Then, he goes into a morgue to use the identity of a man named Rhys Engel who just died in London. The Protean makes a new passport with his new identity and talks to Townsend; The Protean arrives in the U.S. and checks into a hotel.

Skip, Esi, and Jax meet Liz at a secure location in an apartment building. She tells them that Neville Townsend is sending someone after her, and that whatever Ivan Stepanov told Neville, it turned him against her. She tells them she’ll call the FBI to see what they know.

Will Hart/NBC

Reddington and Dembe arrive at the Post Office and ask what the team found out on Elizabeth. Unfortunately, the team has no real leads. Cooper arrives to ask Reddington if he has news about Liz, but he says he only has information on the assassin Townsend hired. Reddington explains The Protean’s methods, and how he takes the identity of someone recently deceased. Reddington wants them to pull names of everyone who came through U.S Customs in the last 48 hours. Meanwhile, The Protean received Liz’s location and he arrives. Reddington tries narrowing down the suspect pool by giving a description, but Cooper says they’d have to go through the proper channels to pull the list. Red and Dembe leave and decide to get the list themselves.

The Protean fakes a delivery to be given access into Liz’s building. Skip asks if Liz was able to get into contact with the FBI, but she can’t get a signal. Liz thanks Skip for all that he’s done for her and heads to the fire escape to get a cell signal. The Protean makes his way inside the apartment and shoots Jax. Skip runs to her aid, but is shot. Esi hears commotion and goes to investigate, but she’s shot as well. Outside, Liz is on the phone with Cooper and he tells her about Stepanov. Liz is upset, but Cooper warns her that she’s in danger. Meanwhile, The Protean asks Skip where Liz is, but he refuses. Suddenly, a wounded Esi charges at The Protean and they struggle, but ultimately, he shoots her again and she dies. Liz makes another call to check on Agnes and then makes her way back into the apartment, but everyone is dead and The Protean is gone. The Protean calls his source for a way to leverage Keen, and the woman tells him that Liz has a half-sister and a daughter.

Red and Dembe meet with Max, who works at Customs and Border Patrol. Red tells Max that he wants the database to find a man fitting the description of The Protean. Max seems weary to help Reddington, but Reddington has to hilariously threaten Max’s parakeet in order for him to agree. Max gives him his laptop and they are able to access the database of names.

At Liz’s previous apartment hideout, Ressler and Park are at the scene with Cooper on the phone. They tell Cooper that Keen got away, but any protection she had is gone now. Park tells Cooper that they were able to identify Jax and Skip, but the Jane Doe (Esi) has blood under her fingernails and they’re going to run forensics to see if they can identify the assassin. Cooper warns Ressler and Park to watch out because not only is Keen in danger, but they all are as well.

A distraught Keen is walking alone on the streets and happens upon a seemingly abandoned house. She sees that no mail has been picked up, and she picks the lock to get inside. She calls out for someone, but no one answers and she finds car keys. In the meantime, a woman named Vivi Crabtree gets a text with a coded phrase. She goes inside a school and picks up Agnes from class, and tells her that it’s time to go with Mrs. French. At the front desk, The Protean is there and he’s signing in. As soon as Ms. Crabtree and Agnes leave, he sees Agnes name on the sign out sheet, and he excuses himself to follow them out. He watches them get into the car and pull away.

Will Hart/NBC

At Red’s restaurant, Red and Dembe show Paula Carter (Glen’s mother) the data base of names from Customs and Border Patrol. He wants her to narrow down the names, but she has a better idea: Bingo! (Just wait). At Liz’s hopeful new safehouse, she gets a call from Mrs. French that she has Agnes. Liz is relieved, and talks to Agnes about how her day at school was.

The Protean is staking out a house in his car and watching a woman grab groceries from her car when Townsend calls. He wants an update on Liz, but after a few moments, The Protean hangs up on him. A furious Neville calls him back, but The Protean tells him that it’s more complicated and he needs Neville to have patience; he will call him with an update when he has one. The Protean has a file folder and it’s of Liz’s half-sister, Jennifer. He’s currently outside her house.

At the Post Office, Cooper comes down from his office and asks for updates. Park tells him that the DNA they got from Esi’s fingernails doesn’t match anyone in their system. They have a shell casing from the scene, but all they know is that it came from a 9 millimeter. Cooper wants the team to put out a BOLO for any crimes that involve 9 millimeters, and the team reaches out to resources in the area.

Liz pulls up her messages on a computer, and sees a “Call me ASAP. 9-1-1,” from her sister, Jennifer. Liz calls her and Jennifer’s clearly upset. She tells Liz that someone got into her house and she tries to ask Liz what’s going on, and if it has to do with Reddington. Liz suggests she leave and meet her at a location where she can explain and she can make sure Jennifer is safe. While Liz gives her an address, Jennifer is being held at gunpoint in her house by The Protean. 

At Bingo, Red address the crowd and makes announcements they should be aware of. Next, he tells them that they’ll be playing a different game; they’ll be calling a list of people until they call someone who’s supposed to be dead. The crowd becomes upset and Red starts to lose them, but Paula saves the day. She gets on stage and tells the crowd that Steven (Reddington) is a pastor, and someone stole money from his church’s new gym fund. The person who stole the money is posing as someone who is recently deceased and is on the list in front of them. Suddenly, the crowd turns a new leaf and get to calling.

At the location Liz gave Jennifer, Jennifer arrives and gets into Liz’s car. She tells Liz to drive because it’s a trap, and swiftly The Protean comes from around the corner and shoots at Liz’s windshield. Jennifer gets shot and Liz runs the assassin over. Injured, he writes down Liz’s license plate.

Liz is speeding to a hospital as Jennifer is bleeding from her abdomen. Jennifer is hysterical and thinks she’s going to die, but Liz tries to reassure her. Concurrently, Ressler and Park arrive on scene where Liz and Jennifer met. The officers on scene tell Park and Ressler that they found blood, 9 millimeter shell casings that match their BOLO, and glass. Also found at the scene is a cellphone believed to be the assassin’s, so Park finds and calls the last number he contacted and it was a hotel.

Still on the way to the hospital, Liz is squeezing Jennifer’s hand and Jennifer tells Liz she needs to take care of her cat. She reassures her that she’ll take care of her cat until she gets out of the hospital, and then they can all live together safely as a family. After a moment, Jennifer becomes quiet and stops squeezing Liz’s hand. Hesitantly, Liz checks Jennifer’s pulse, but there isn’t one. Liz pulls the car over and cries holding Jennifer. 

Back at Bingo, Paula and Red are passing out food to the Bingo patrons. After a few minutes, one of the Bingo players calls out, “Bingo!”, and says he found a guy named Rhys Engel who died in London two days ago. Red calls Cooper to tell him, and Cooper says that The Protean is at a hotel; Cooper calls Ressler to say they got the name. At the hotel bar, The Protean is looking up the license plate of the car Liz was driving to get an address. Some time later, Ressler and Park arrive at the hotel, and ask for Mr. Engel’s room. As they walk with his room key, The Protean bumps into them on the way out of the hotel.

Liz has Jennifer lying in the trunk of the car, and she prays over her. She feels bad for all those that died, and who helped her. Liz covers Jennifer with her jacket, and closes the trunk.

On the hotel security camera back at the front desk, Ressler and Park see The Protean had bumped into them before. When they looked into his room, it was wiped clean. Aram meets up with them at the desk to tell them he got the hotel’s information technology technician to get him access to The Protean’s hotel WiFi account. Aram saw that he used DMV database to look up a license plate. They believe it could be the car that Liz was driving. Suddenly, Ressler gets a call and it’s Liz. She asks Ressler to send someone to her car in Holland Point. She describes the car and says she needs him to pick up her sister, and bury her. Ressler apologizes for her loss, but Liz changes the subject by telling Ressler she hit the assassin with the car. Ressler tells her that he and Park were at the scene where she hit The Protean, and now, the assassin has the address from the license plate. The Protean has arrived at Liz’s location and steadily makes his way upstairs to her. Ressler, Park, and Aram head to Liz and The Protean makes his way into the room, but Liz is gone. The Protean calls Neville as he walks back to his car and says he has Keen’s location. Neville doesn’t sound too pleased, but he assures him he can deliver her tomorrow at a specified location. Unexpectedly, Liz sneaks up behind him and points her gun at his head.

Will Hart/NBC

Liz holds The Protean at gunpoint while she’s in the backseat and he’s in the driver’s seat. She asks if he’s the one who killed her sister and the others, and he tells her he was supposed to bring her to Townsend. She says he’s going to tell her everything she wants to know, starting with the meeting tomorrow. Almost in an instant, police cars fly down the alley and it’s Ressler, Park, Aram with an array of officers. Liz points her gun at The Protean and tells him to drive, but he refuses. Ressler, Park, Aram, and the other officers pull out their guns and approach the car, but Liz tells them to back down. They’re in a bit of a standoff for a few moments, while Liz has her arms wrapped around The Protean’s neck and the gun pointed at him because she wants answers. Eventually, Ressler opens the driver side door and wants him to step outside the vehicle, but suddenly, he tries to grab Liz’s gun and Ressler shoots him. Liz tries to get him to tell her what he knows, but Aram tries to get her out of the car. The Protean dies in the front seat, and Liz begins to be handcuffed. Cooper calls Red to tell him that Liz is safe, but they’re taking her into custody. Red wants Cooper to bring her there because her only chance of survival is in Reddington’s world. Liz is taken into custody. 

There’s a camera pan over the bodies of Skip and Esi at the morgue, and then Jennifer’s body in the trunk. Liz is contemplating in the back of a police car.

Thanks for reading, Blacklisters! Check out next week’s promo 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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