Those were two very different approaches to deal with the same problem.
Red and Sikorsky had opposite ideas on handling Rakitin’s upcoming exposure on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 12.
Rakitin and Sikorsky made the big mistake of going behind Reddington’s back when dealing with Harold’s interest in Rakitin.
You can’t really blame them because Raymond really wasn’t handling Cooper despite his many assertions to the contrary.
Harold is chasing Rakitin so hard because he believes it’s the only way to bring Liz back in from the cold.
That still begs the question: Hasn’t Liz done too many illegal activities by any standards that she could ever be brought back in?
Sure, proving that Red is N13 and shutting off the flow of intel to Russia might be considered the greater good she could offer to offset her many dubious activities over the past few seasons.
But taking Reddington off the board also means the end to the Task Force and all the good it’s been able to accomplish through the years.
What happened to Rakitin was really on Rakitin.
First came his clumsy attempt to throw off the effort to locate him by sacrificing another analyst as “Rakitin.” That fooled nobody and instead put the spotlight on him.
Then, rather than let Raymond find a way to neutralize or deflect Cooper, Rakitin ran directly to Sikorsky, who decided to sanction Harold, Red’s feelings be damned.
They seemed to have forgotten who the key player was in this arrangement.
Their maneuver made Reddington choose between a man he liked and respected (Cooper) and a man he didn’t (Rakitin). Little wonder that things didn’t work out well for Rakitin in the end.
Congressman Freidenberg sure had a short stay on the show, didn’t he?
Only the fact that Harold hadn’t worked with him much kept him from noticing how squirrelly Freidenberg was acting. Yeah, he should have been more suspicious at being sent to a secluded parking garage.
At the same time that Rakitin was setting up Cooper, poor Red and Dembe had to fly hours supposedly to do a little handholding. Raymond was rightfully pissed when he discovered that he was just being sidetracked so that Harold could be killed against his wishes.
That didn’t stop Reddington from derailing Rakitin’s plans from a distance to save Cooper.
He decided it was time to sacrifice a longtime asset who had gotten too full of himself that he thought he could deal with Harold better than Red had.
Just as well, since Rakitin’s weak-ass staged suicide would never have held up.
Not that Rakitin being in FBI custody didn’t put Raymond in a pickle, especially after Cooper took time out to read in Panabaker on the legend of N13.
So this set up the contest to see what would happen first: Rakitin telling what he knew or Red keeping Rakitin from talking.
Harold quickly got the arrogant Rakitin doubting the strength of his hand by playing the tape of Red’s phone call to Aram. He was ready to turn on Reddington.
Poor Panabaker quickly discovered how fast and loose things get played on the Task Force, but she shortly got on board.
At the same time, Ressler was reaching out to Liz through Skip to let her know that the Task Force was closing in on Red and may soon be able to prove her theory about him being N13.
This was the smallest Liz presence since she disappeared seemingly months ago.
Poor Ressler has it bad for Liz. The way she has treated him this season, it’s hard to understand why.
Sadly, he jumped the gun on this one. He should always bet on Red.
Reddington didn’t seem nearly as concerned as he should have been about the FBI having Ratikin. That’s because he always has people for any situation.
One was the science teacher Geoffrey Hill, who once created gadgets for spies and would still take on an occasional special project.
All it took was seeing Red in his fedora for Hill to remember him.
I figured Hill would come up with gas to knock out the Task Force to retrieve Rakitin. But the eventual solution was even better.
Park must have known the other shoe would drop after she had Raymond clean up the mess she made of a thug back on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 6.
And to give that thug a new life, just so Reddington could hold him over Park’s head, was inspired.
Red asked so little of Park, just delivering a note with instructions to Rakitin. That seemed simple enough, compared to being an accomplice to a breakout or having to murder him.
Didn’t “poison” jump to mind when Rakitin found an empty piece of paper inside the envelope?
And having Raymond stroll in like nothing had happened was just the icing on the cake. Sure, Harold and Panabaker suspected him of having a role in Rakitin’s death. But after Park burned the evidence, who could prove anything?
And Red laid down the law afterward, slapping Sikorsky to remind him that Rakitin’s death was on his hands.
To follow Rakitin’s fall, watch The Blacklist online.
Did Red make the right choice in saving Harold?
Is he in the clear now with Rakitin gone?
Is Park out from under Reddington?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.