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What That Shocking Death on The Blacklist Season 10 Means for the Task Force
The latest episode of The Blacklist proved Reddington always has a plan in motion.
Season 10 of The Blacklist is all about endings and unanswered questions. Raymond Reddington (James Spader) claims to still have a firm grip on his criminal empire, but as the list of angry Blacklisters coming after him grows, it becomes harder and harder to think the criminal concierge will make it out of this one alive.
On numerous occasions, Red has assured Agent Cooper (Harry Lennix) that he has everything under control, and at the end of "The Troll Farmer Pt. 2," revealed he had a plan in motion that would stop Wujing and the scorned Blacklisters entirely. Better yet, it would all go down in the next three days. Luckily, Season 10, Episode 9 ("The Freelancer Pt. 3") was an episode of twists, shocks, and double twists, so fans finally got a taste of what Red has been cooking up all season.
A big question among fans has been, "What is Reddington building?" At the top of the episode, we finally gained some understanding as we see Red do a scan of the post office with his private crew of hired hands. Red asks one of his goons about the post office's security, mentioning the consequences if they "can't see, or worse, if Cooper or anyone clocks a camera." The goon tells him everything is good to go, and Red still tells him to knock on wood.
Red is keeping something secret from the Task Force, and it's of the utmost importance to him. Cut to a forlorn Troll Farmer sitting with Cooper and Task Force BFF Senator Cynthia Panabaker (Deirdre Lovejoy). In the last episode, the Task Force brushed paths with the Troll Farmer after he was hired by Wujing to steal a highly confidential cyber warfare program called Hexroot. They arrested the Troll Farmer, but his anger toward Reddington and his role as an FBI informant was palpable.
Panabaker warns the Troll Farmer that if he doesn't retrieve Hexroot within the next two hours, she's turning him over to the CIA. The Task Force takes the Troll Farmer into the post office for questioning, where he sees Red chatting with Malek. Instantly, the Troll Farmer's cool demeanor heats up. Like many Blacklisters, he hasn't forgiven Red for selling him out. When Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) attempts to learn why Wujing wants Hexroot, the Troll Farmer reveals he and Wujing have no interest in taking down Red. They seek to unveil the truth of Red's empire and role as an informant, which will take down Red for them.
The Troll Farmer escapes his handcuffs using a paperclip Ressler leaves on the desk minutes before the CIA is due to arrive. After hacking the room's security panel, the door clicks open and he slips away from the post office. Note: during the Troll Farmer's escape, the Task Force agents seem uncharacteristically relaxed, even as the Troll Farmer flees with the post office's exact location.
Surprise: the Task Force was in on the Troll Farmer's escape the whole time! The Reddington Task Force orchestrated the entire thing to accomplish two goals: 1. Get Panabaker and the government out of their hair to settle conflict their way, and most importantly, 2. Use the Troll Farmer's escape to give Wujing the location for the post office. That way when Wujing swarms the confidential HQ for proof of Red's misdealings, the Task Force will be there waiting for him.
But this goes one step deeper because the Troll Farmer never went to the post office; he went to a decoy post office built by Red for his master plan. In a flashback, we see Cooper and Red in the new post office where Red details his reasoning for the decoy post office. The HQ has become a liability in recent years, compromising the safety of the Task Force, so by building an exact reproduction of the post office, they can use it to catch and arrest Wujing with the Troll Farmer's escape.
Hold on tight, because the twist keeps coming. Red was correct; as soon as the Troll Farmer reaches Wujing, he gives them directions to the post office. Wujing hops on the opportunity and gathers his troops, meanwhile, the Task Force does the same. But just when the Troll Farmer and Wujing's crew reach the post office and we think that Wujing and Red are finally going to have the shoot-out we've all been waiting for, viewers found another twist.
Red's no stranger to keeping secrets from the Task Force, and his actions in the episode's first scene finally make sense once Wujing's forces enter an empty post office. None of the Task Force or their forces are there; instead, Wujing notes Red's iconic fedora sitting on the desk. Just as Wujing begins to put the pieces together, he is shot and killed, and Red emerges from the shadows. That's right: Wujing is dead.
Cue Red's biggest jaw-drop of the season. Red's hired hands come out from hiding and point their guns at Wujing's mercenaries. While Cooper and the Task Force ignorantly watch the clock tick, Red reveals to Wujing's men that his criminal enterprise is based on manipulating the authorities (as proven by many of his actions this season). So they may have heard these rumors of being an "FBI informant," but that's just part of the illusion. After spinning a quintessential Reddington monologue, Red kills Wujing's right hand and recruits the rest of his associates within minutes.
And if Red's mic-drop moment wasn't insane enough, guess what: the Troll Farmer has been in on Red's plan the whole time. Red reached the Troll Farmer before Wujing did, and his former hacker-on-hand agreed to help Red orchestrate the complex takedown.
Red isn't afraid to stab a few backs to save his own behind, and in this labyrinth of an episode, he effectively played both Wujing and the Task Force to get what he needed. Wujing has been a headache for the entire season, and in one moment, Red ended his life. This is great news for the criminal concierge, but as you'd expect, Cooper wasn't too happy about it.
After twiddling their thumbs during Red's mind-boggling clean-up, the Task Force arrives at the O.G. post office to find a dead Wujing. There is no sign of Red, and they quickly learn that all footage from the day has been erased, as well as the entire archive of the Reddington Task Force's actions. It's as if Reddington was never there. Cooper gets a call from Red and is so upset he doesn't even greet his longtime colleague.
Reddington (sort of) apologizes for the elaborate ruse, but Cooper is rightfully very pissed off, especially as he realizes the actual reason Hexroot was stolen.
Hexroot is how Red was able to erase his entire archive.
"You didn't build that duplicate post office to fool Wujing," Cooper tells him. "You built it to fool us."
"To protect you, Harold," Red clarifies. "To insulate you and the Task Force from what I intended to do. Now you can honestly say you were not involved."
But Cooper isn't buying into Red's convenient narrative that this was all designed to benefit the Task Force and not Red himself. Plus, Cooper is the one who has to clean up Red's mess. Newbie agent Siya Malek is baffled by how the Reddington Task Force is running things, looking around like, Is this normal? This isn't MI6!
"You went too far this time, Raymond," Cooper tells him.
The episode ends with both men agreeing to reanalyze their business relationship. All records of Red's role as an informant are erased, so technically, the nefarious criminal has a blank slate when he needs it most. As for the Task Force, they've been double-crossed by Red time and time (and time) again. In Season 10 alone, Red has gone behind their backs, so will Wujing's shocking death be the straw that breaks the camel's back?