24
Nov
14

2:8 Decembrist: Tom was working for Red? (11/11/2014)

Tom’s having worked for Red doesn’t make much sense. Twice he was about to kill him:

1) Red was behind the attack on Tom by Zamani that almost killed him. Remember this exchange in the pilot?

Red: How did things go with Agent Keen?
Zamani: Paid her a visit, like you asked.
Red: And the husband?
Zamani: Like you asked.

2) Red recognized Tom outside the hospital after he suffocated Liz’s Dad, but Tom (though he looked disconcerted) did not seem to recognize Red.

3) Then, in the last episode in Season 1 (“Berlin: Conclusion”):

Red [shoots Fake-Berlin & says]: Well, that simplifies matters.
Red [essentially disarms at this point, dropping his gun to his side]: Just the three of us. Tom, put the gun down before you do something you’ll deeply regret. I’m the one you want. Make the right choice, Tom. But make it fast. Because when I get over there, I’m gonna take that gun away from you.
[Tom shoots at Red, wildly missing. Liz takes the opportunity to wrestle the gun from Tom and shoots him.]
[Red comes over to Tom, is going to shoot him.]
Liz: No!
Red: We can’t leave him alive.
Liz: Please go. I’ll finish it. This is between us.
Red: Do it quickly. I’ll be waiting outside…

From these three exchanges, it just seems impossible Tom was working for Red. In fact, he seems to have been trying to get rid of him, right up to the moment Liz took him prisoner.

I took Red’s paying Tom off at the end as trying to get rid of him too, just in a different way: giving him $$$ and plane tickets. He could have killed Tom by having Zamani do it, because Liz would not have blamed him. And he did want to kill him right after Liz shot him, but she stopped him. He can’t kill him now because of Liz. Maybe he also wants info on Berlin’s operation, but that’s new. But it just doesn’t fit that for four months Tom didn’t tell Liz “about us.” Yet, Red knew exactly what Tom was talking about. Whatever! “He’s not who you think he is” looms.

I think Red wants Tom dead, but believes Liz is still in love with him and he think she would never forgive him. Maybe Red can get Samar to toss Tom off a 12th story balcony or something (ha?). At any rate, I expect Tom to be around for a while, but he’s got both Red and Ressler on his case. He’d better stay out of their way or become very useful. Megan Boone said in an interview that Liz is NOT in love with Tom, that her holding him captive was a control/ego thing, not love. Let’s hope that’s the case.

[Cross-posted at WSJ Speakeasy]

โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”

August 15, 2015

Since I wrote this, I came across a couple notions in the scuttlebutt (ie Twitter) that may shed some light of this question of whether Tom recognized Red outside the hospital. The first was that when they shot the scene outside the hospital, the showrunners still did not know what the relationship between Tom and Red would be โ€“ including whether Tom knew who Red was โ€“ so the directions were to play it ambiguously. Whew โ€“ now that takes good actors. And I do think they succeeded in being ambiguous.

Second, the notion is that James Spader opposed the idea of Tom surviving after being shot in the gut. That he could survive a septic wound like that without intravenous antibiotics is even more unbelievable than the idea of Berlin’s daughter being a dissident at the tender age of 12ish.

It’s remarkable that The Decembrist pulled off these tricks as successfully as it did. It remains one of the show’s best episodes. So, more power to TPTB. Just hope they don’t try to do anything so preposterous again.



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