The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17 Review: Ivan Stepanov

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Everyone is in Townsend's crosshairs now.

That's thanks to Stepanov and whatever tale he wove to Neville on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17.

Truth? Lies? Viewers didn't find out since Stepanov whispered something into Townsend's ear after near-constant torture since his abduction from Russia on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 16.

Rescuing Old Friends -- Tall - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

So the legend of Agent N-13 remains secret.

Still, there remained a lot of everyone attempting to use everyone else without revealing any more than was absolutely necessary. Misadventure ensued.

Dragged Into Search - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

If Red and the Task Force had actually worked together rather than around each other, maybe, just maybe, they would have Neville in a vice by now.

Instead, Townsend and his organization are after Raymond, Dembe, Liz, Priya, and the Task Force, since they are important to Reddington.

Granted, Neville lost his apartment complex and a warehouse in the process. But all that means is that he will need to move to a different property and set up a new headquarters.

If Aram and Ressler had gotten someone from the accounting firm to break sooner, maybe they could have gotten their hands on Townsend's digital records and would then have a list of Neville's properties. But no such luck.

Investigation Continues - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

There is plenty of blame to go around in this fiasco.

Reddington wanted to use the Task Force as part of his muscle to help find Stepanov before Townsend got any crucial information out of him.

But Harold's grand plan was to have his inside woman, Liz, find out what Stepanov disclosed about N-13.

The flaw in that logic was that Liz's cooperation with the Task Force had been revealed because of Ressler's hacked phone.

Rescuing Friend - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

This meant that Liz wasn't nearly the asset upon which Cooper had been banking.

So the Task Force had been cut out of the loop. That left Reddington's mole, Priya, as the only asset still in play.

Priya did what she was supposed to be doing. She created enough of a stink with Magnus that Townsend took a few minutes out of his torture to speak with her.

She even slipped the poison Red had supplied her into Neville's cup of tea. Only Liz's dramatics ruined what could have ended the Townsend problem when she knocked his cup from his hand, ruining Priya's attempt.

Seeking the Truth - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

\That maneuver did get Liz back in the game as Neville invited him to join him in questioning Stepanov after she swore off any further cooperation with the FBI.

That also served to cut Priya out of the picture since Townsend had addressed her concerns and paid her generously to keep quiet until he needed her.

As Raymond's only soldier on the ground, Priya had to tail Neville and Liz when they left to go to the warehouse when Stepanov was held captive.

Priya also became Liz's protector because Red knew what would happen to her if Stepanov was made to talk.

Red's Helpers - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

And for some reason, right after Liz stepped out in the hall to confront Priya, Stepanov broke down and spilled his guts.

Why then, especially after he had spoken so tenderly to "Masha?" Maybe he couldn't handle any more torture, or perhaps he made a strategic decision that Reddington could protect Liz.

We may never know. All that was clear was that Liz was suddenly on the outs with Townsend. Priya had blown her cover as well, explaining that Red had sent her to warn Liz.

Fortunately, that was when Red and his forces chose to storm Townsend's hideout. Unfortunately, it was largely a stalemate.

Disgruntled Agent - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

Everyone Neville wanted to kill was under one roof and barricaded in a cooler.

This, too, was on Reddington. He had opted to send the Task Force to Townsend's apartment to hamper Neville's operation while keeping them as far away as possible from Stepanov.

So Ressler and Aram were interrogating accountants when a badly outnumbered Red really needed the FBI's firepower. He should have routed them instead to the seat of the problem.

Raymond did have an unexpected asset in Priya. How she took out Townsend's men with a rewired shock collar was perfectly MacGyverish.

Helping Out Red - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

Then, when they needed an advantage, Liz jumped out of the van with a flashbang, just in time to stall them until the Task Force burst in after following the surveillance feed to the warehouse.

Red and company got away long enough to get Stepanov to much-needed medical treatment.

Rather than killing Stepanov near the end to keep him from falling into the wrong hands, Reddington forgave him for breaking and putting both Red and Liz in danger. Apparently, Raymond wasn't kidding when he described Stepanov as his oldest friend.

Red and Harold were both wrong when they argued that the other was the dishonest one. Cooper shouldn't expect the whole truth from a career criminal mastermind, and Raymond shouldn't expect Harold to do exactly what he's told with no questions asked.

Investigation Continues - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17

Aram had the best viewpoint. He looked at the arrangement philosophically. Red's allegiances are often questionable. But he has helped the Task Force get many bad people who threaten America off the streets. If he benefits as well, so be it.

The big question still to be answered is why didn't Liz cast her lot with the Task Force?

To follow Townsend's obsession, watch The Blacklist online.

Shouldn't everyone be focused on bringing down Townsend rather than fighting among themselves?

When will Liz come back into the fold?

Would you like to see more of Priya?

Comment below.

Ivan Stepanov Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (82 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 17 Quotes

Harold: The ironies abound.
Red: They do. The question is what are we going to do about it.

Dembe: We both know who did this.
Red: Elizabeth and Townsend.