The Blacklist Explores Human Experimentation

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Screen Capture: Delyn Wall and Keziah Wall as Corinne Walker and Grace Draxton / Nora Mitchell, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Delyn Wall and Keziah Wall as Corinne Walker and Grace Draxton / Nora Mitchell, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”



“Do you think this is some sick sci-fi version of human trafficking?” Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) said. “No. I think this is some sink sci-fi form of human experimentation,” Aram Mojtabai (Amir Arison) responds.

"The Blacklist" promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb
“The Blacklist” promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb

Brief Episode Synopsis: “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128)

Screen Capture: Joel de la Fuente as Dr. Guillermo Rizal in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Joel de la Fuente as Dr. Guillermo Rizal in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”

When Harold Cooper’s (Harry Lennix) team discovers numerous children are abducted under similar circumstances, the task force rushes to find the kidnapper. Meanwhile, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington (James Spader) continues the hunt for a man who can find anything. Elsewhere, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) considers a big change.

SPOILERS ALERT: If you have yet to watch this episode, please feel free to stop reading at this point in the article. Continue reading after you watch the episode.

Genetic Manipulation

Screen Capture: Joel de la Fuente and Keziah Wall as Dr. Guillermo Rizal and Grace Draxton, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Joel de la Fuente and Keziah Wall as Dr. Guillermo Rizal and Grace Draxton, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”

Does colour make a difference? While the little girl seen in the pre-opening-credits scene seems to think the colour of her golf ball is unimportant, colour is a significant genetic aberration. Different species survive because they successfully adapt to an ever-changing environment.

Corinne Walker (Delyn Wall) is abducted from a family arcade outside Minneapolis. It is soon realised this abduction is linked to the abduction of Nora Mitchell (Keziah Wall). At this point, a link to Grace Draxton’s (Keziah Wall) has not yet been made. Further investigation reveals none of these children are genetically related to their respective parents.

Dr. Guillermo Rizal (Joel de la Fuente) is conducting human experimentation. He wants to prepare the human species for significant climate changes. While this is a fictious narrative, there might be scientists that are willing to go to the same lengths as Rizal to ensure human survival.

What is Anna McMahon doing?

Screen Capture: Howard McGillin as Senator Chuck Christensen in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Howard McGillin as Senator Chuck Christensen in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”

How is Senator Chuck Christensen (Howard McGillin) linked with what Anna McMahon (Jennifer Ferrin) is plotting? Christensen discomfort with having to speak with Red is obvious. Reddington is looking for Mr. Cotton (Jason Cottle). McMahon wants to get to Cotton before Red. Cotton knows what McMahon is plotting. Because of the intrigue surrounding Cotton and what he may or may not know about McMahon, this is the perfect set-up for what we see in the coming two-part season finale.

Screen Capture: Howard McGillin and Jennifer Ferrin as Senator Chuck Christensen and Anna McMahon, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Howard McGillin and Jennifer Ferrin as Senator Chuck Christensen and Anna McMahon, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”

What is so important about the dossier? Why is McMahon trying to keep the content secret? Why does Red care about what McMahon is doing? Reddington always has another angel. Red still has secrets he wants left untouched. Blacklisters, fans of the series, are more interested in how the dossier impacts the shows principle characters than they are with the political fallout.

Liz’s Decision

Agnes is coming home. Do you remember when Liz made the decision to place her daughter with Tom’s estranged mother, Scottie, for safekeeping? Even though it might feel like years have passed since we last saw Agnes, it was during the shows’ fifth season.

Screen Capture: Megan Boone and James Spader as Elizabeth Keen and Raymond 'Red' Reddington, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Megan Boone and James Spader as Elizabeth Keen and Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, respectively, in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”

Since the series premiere, Liz and Red have had an ever-evolving relationship. Unlike Liz, Red is not the type of person to allow much emotion to show. He keeps much of what he thinks to himself. Only when he is comfortable with what he knows, does he reveal it to people close to him.

What is Red’s motivation? Is Red being self-serving or selfless? Many times, we have been led to believe Red’s motives revolve around self-preservation. Is this true? After Harold speaks of what family means, the realisation Liz loves Red for the person he is has become apparent. It does not revolve around their respective biology. Because Liz has come to regard Red has her father, he is therefore Agnes’ grandfather.

Is there a trailer?

Final Thoughts

Screen Capture: Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”
Screen Capture: Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper in the Cort Hessler directed The Blacklist episode “Guillermo Rizal (No. 128).”

The primary narrative is very much about what family means. Is it just biology or is it more than that? “Family is not about bloodlines,” Cooper said, “it’s about commitment.” Human experimentation, from the approach Rizal implements, is illegal. It is extremist. This is reminiscent of experimentation conducted by scientist Nazis during the Second World War.