The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19 Review: The Bear Mask

Huh! So that’s why.

The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19 went a long way toward explaining why Aram has been so ineffectual as interim Task Force leader.

Let’s face it, Aram got the job because he’s now the team member with the fewest black marks next to his name. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

Yes, he’s the most intelligent member of the Task Force. But this episode strongly made the point that he’s got issues with which to deal.

In summary, Aram blames himself for anything that goes wrong around him. He’s kind of the polar episode of Red.

Still Not Convinced - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

It was encouraging that Raymond must have recommended that Aram work with Dr. Odigbe since she mentioned that Mr. Homan had been one of her first benefactors.

Aram must have been desperate for answers to undergo psychedelic therapy. Letting go like that would be anathema to a straight-laced person such as himself.

And from the get-go, it was clear that it was going to be a head trip of an episode, with viewers having to judge what was real and what was a hallucination.

Pretty early on, it was evident that any scene with Aram in it was his trip unless it showed him reacting on Dr. Odigbe’s chair.

Aram Defenseless - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

The doctor instructed Aram to embrace the things that made him uncomfortable to learn more from them.

This journey led to Aram’s version of “Groundhog Day,” as he kept living the same scenario repeatedly. The concept isn’t nearly as enjoyable when his friends and coworkers kept getting killed each time.

As a result, Aram felt more and more inadequate in his position, as whatever choices he made led to the same result. Isn’t that insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?

Eventually, Aram broke out of this loop through sheer willpower. He confronted the mercenaries’ leader, a man wearing a bear mask, only to learn that man was a more assertive version of himself.

Bear Mask - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

Bear-Mask Aram made some excellent points, however harshly, about how Aram would have to step up and take command if the Task Force was to survive.

But Aram’s more formidable side seemed more likely to kill him than make him stronger, so it was good that his savior came along when she did.

It was great to see Samar again because she’s been missed. It was evident that Aram felt the same way.

This version of Samar could get through Aram as no one else could. She was able to get him to see that the bad things around him — to her, Liz, and Greylock — weren’t all his fault.

Samar Returns - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

Hopefully, between the encouragement from Samar and his talk with Harold, Aram will find himself in better shape for his new, taxing role.

Harold and Reddington made a little progress in their investigation into Liz’s death in the real world.

First, the good news: Weecha survived the bombing in what was thought to be Mr. Kaplan’s hideout. We shouldn’t expect her back in the field this season, however.

More good news: Weecha’s injuries brought back Mierce to nurse her back to health. However, Mierce wasn’t there to see Red as she blames his vengeance campaign for collateral damage such as Weecha’s suffering.

Weecha Recuperating - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

Regardless of Mierce’s opinion, Raymond wasn’t letting go of his investigation. Neither he nor Harold was buying that the body at the explosion site was Mr. Kaplan.

So he badgered that morgue worker into giving up a DNA sample from the body so that Vlad could get a second opinion for him. In the end, Kate stayed dead, as it was her sister, Maureen, who had been portraying her and who was the body found in the explosion.

While that solved one mystery, it’s safe to assume that Maureen wasn’t the mastermind of the operation but instead got sucked into this campaign to get a form of revenge for her sister. That still didn’t get Reddington, or Harold, any closer to the answers they sought.

Harold knew he was running out of time and leads. After Ressler discovered that Lecroix was hardly the fine, upstanding lawyer his wife described, they went back to ask her more pointed questions.

Seeking Answers - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

Only they found that Mrs. Lecroix was another loose end who had been killed. In fact, they were only a little too late and were able to capture her killer still in the parking garage.

Not surprisingly, the killer gave them nothing. But his phone was more informative, as it yielded another seeming dead end. His recent payment had come from an account at a bank in Lebanon that had been closed for years.

It took Red to solve that mystery as he recognized the account immediately, as it was one of his. This answer just created another puzzle because it meant that the mastermind was someone close to Raymond who would be able to access his account.

Those close to Reddington are a circle that keeps getting smaller and smaller. Who would he allow to have that kind of access? There are three episodes left to unveil that answer.

Crippled Aram - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 19

To revisit Samar’s journey, watch The Blacklist online.

Were you surprised that Mr. Kaplan remained dead?

Were you happy to see Samar again?

Will the psychedelic therapy help Aram to be a more effective leader?

Comment below.

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

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