Picking up exactly where we left off last week, Reddington (James Spader) is ready to get down to business and give Agent Keen (Megan Boone) the next name on his list: The Alchemist. And if you thought The Stewmaker was the creepiest dude on Red’s blacklist, well... say hello to The Alchemist!
Okay, actually they’re both pretty creepy. While the former makes bodies into soup, the latter just takes your genetic soup and makes another you from it... and then kills the fake you. Where does Red (James Spader) find these people?
While we’re still a little iffy on the how, we can say what he does. He kidnaps people and gives them an extreme makeover that includes some heavy dental work, some light tattooing, and some synthetic DNA manipulation, until they look good enough to pass for the body of his client who wishes to disappear. And then he has the victims die in such a way that their remains have to be identified in a lab, where dental and DNA testing falsely identifies the deceased as the Alchemist's fugitive client.
While the agents hunt down this mad scientist, Red continues his search for a mole on the inside at the Post Office, while occasionally advising Lizzie on how to catch her man. Keen and her fellow agents manage to track down The Alchemist’s latest clients, a husband and wife on the lam. However, one half-step ahead, the Alchemist finds both spouses and dispatches with each.
Nevertheless, the team is able to uncover The Alchemist's identity any way by looking into the circumstances of his latest victims' disappearance. He's revealed to be Eric Trettel, a failed medical student, who falsified a degree, wormed his way onto the Human Genome Project, and got into his little evidence tampering side project. Six years ago, he disappeared, leaving behind a wife and daughter.
When Keen goes to interview Trettel’s family, his wife makes it clear she lives in fear of her ex. “In his head he thinks we’re still together,” she says, warning Keen that he’s dangerous. Yeah, obvs.
Keen and Co. figure out the location of The Alchemist’s workshop, but by the time they get there, he’s cleared out, and he’s left two dead bodies in place of his wife and daughter. Of course they’re not his real family, just the fakes he fabricated and put in their place in order to buy himself a little time for a getaway (though not much, frankly).
Red, taking a break from his vengeance work to help Lizzie, tells her that the wife and daughter are the key to finding Trettel. She remembers that Annie, The Alchemist’s daughter, has diabetes and uses an insulin pump. Accessing her medical records, the team is able to trace her pump somehow to a pharmacy where Trettel and his two kidnappees have made a pit stop.
However, there’s also an Amber Alert out for Annie, which immediately grabs the attention of apparently everyone in the pharmacy. One man quickly demonstrates that we wouldn’t necessarily be safer if everyone had a gun, because he gets shot trying to take down Trettel... and poor little Annie also gets caught in the line of fire.
The scene quickly turns into a hostage situation. Keen oversteps the SWAT team’s protocol and tries to get Trettel to reveal the names of the people he's helped disappear in exchange for help for Annie, but he’s taken down in a sea of bullets before he can be of any help.
Keen and the team manage to get Trettel’s list of his clients anyway, which Red quickly yanks from her grasp — revealing his reasons for helping were all just a means of getting access to those names. It’s so weird that Red did something self-interested, right Keen? (Ugh, will she ever learn?)
Red goes off to finish carrying out his vengeance. Turns out the mole is Mira, which we called as soon as she was the first agent cat the Post Office cleared of involvement. However, if the scenes from next week are any indication, she may have information for Red that could keep her alive.. for now.
Meanwhile at the Keen House:
Tom (Ryan Eggold) turns down the job interview so Liz doesn’t have to choose between him and her career, and then he brings up the subject of babies again. When Lizzie promises to do anything to make up for being an absentee wife, Tom asks her to host a baby shower for a coworker, further convincing us that he’s evil. Because no guy wants to host a baby shower without sinister motives.
But he might not be the only one with sinister motives. Some chick named Jolene claiming to be a sub is also at the party and clearly is not just a teacher. She has a dossier with info on both Keens. Perhaps she’s a plant of Red’s?
After Liz predictably flakes out yet again on her plans to make up with Tom after they (again) fight, her husband decides to go to a gallery exhibit Jolene the "substitute" invited him to, and he’s doesn't answer his phone when Liz calls. Something tells us it’s going to take more than Chinese takeout for Keen to make it up to her possibly evil (but equally possibly just really sweet and sensitive) husband.