Might there be a rift forming between Red and Dembe?
Did the torture specialist Dr. Laken Perrilos actually get inside Dembe's psyche during their session on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 10?
Maybe, or maybe not. Dembe has been with Raymond forever, and if he hasn't been driven away for good yet by what Reddington does, he'll likely never be.
There was even less Liz than there had been in the last five episodes, which wasn't much.
So what's the deal? Is Liz just being mysterious to keep both Red and the Task Force off balance? Or does Megan Boone have something pressing going on in her personal life?
I'm betting on the former. It's damn near impossible for a celebrity to keep their personal life out of the public eye. So Liz attempting to keep a step ahead of everybody makes more sense.
With a ninth season of The Blacklist coming, it's inconceivable that Liz would be written out since the series revolves around Red, then her, in that order, no matter what viewers' opinions of Liz may be.
Too many shows have hung around a season too long after losing key characters (everyone can come up with an example) so let's hope that The Blacklist doesn't fall into that situation.
That's why Neville Townsend has gained prominence in recent episodes. He can be the big bad without Liz having to overexposed.
Also, he's a shadowy figure who hasn't been beaten to death (either figuratively or literally).
Liz knows she can't bring down Reddington independently, despite the resources she's stolen from him. On The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 9, she managed to convince Townsend he was wrong to pursue Katarina and that Raymond was behind his family's death, to give her the ally that she desperately needs.
In short, Townsend can now do the heavy lifting for her in their pursuit of Red, so she can further slide into the background.
It's also becoming apparent that the Sikorsky Archive is becoming this season's Holy Grail. It's a nebulous concept hanging around for a couple of seasons begging to be better defined.
In broad strokes, Raymond and Dembe know what it is, and Townsend and Liz don't. It would be great to know why it's become central to this series.
That was why Townsend brought in an intriguing specialist in the form of Perrilos. It's just too bad she came off as an intellectual fraud.
She talked to Dembe about how white doctors have tortured people of color in the name of medical research, an indisputable claim. That's undoubtedly one factor in people of color suffering higher death rates from Covid-19: a lack of faith in health care.
But at the same time, she was torturing a black man (Dembe) while in the employ of a white man (Townsend).
She talked a good game to Dembe, but it was also clear that she took sadistic pleasure in what she was doing.
Perillos also made the mistake of selling Dembe short. Unfortunately, he escaped too late to save Raymond from his time in her torture chair.
It was enjoyable to watch the usually cool and calculating Reddington go off the rails to rescue Dembe. However, whether he traded places to save Dembe or to save himself is certainly up for debate.
Also, no one seemed to understand that Red was the type of man to take his secrets to the grave. With all his recent health scares, how much does it really matter what ends up killing him?
Even though Townsend was interrogating him, Reddington appealed to Liz's good angel, assuming that she was listening in on the transmission.
The Task Force was more useless than usual when it came to locating Perrilos.
Raymond had to create his own entry to Perrilos's lair by attacking one of Townsend's money men and forcing Townsend's hand.
The Task Force also got Dembe no closer to finding where Raymond was being held. He had to do that on his own, picking up a clue in an FBI file which led him to discover Ruddiger's betrayal of Red, whatever his motivations.
That, in turn, enabled him to rescue Reddington. It was enjoyable to watch first them, then Ressler, use Perrilos's own methods to squeeze intel out of her about Townsend, however much she knew.
And what was the purpose of Townsend beating up Ruddiger? There's no way Raymond would ever trust him again, so what good would he be as Townsend's mole?
It was a pleasing scene when Harold expressed his admiration of Dembe and his abilities. Dembe does deserve better than Red, regardless of their history.
On some level, Dembe realizes that Raymond means more to him than Raymond and that he could be sacrificed down the road for Red's greater good.
Harold also cautioned Dembe that a showdown with Reddington was coming and that Dembe needed to watch out for his own interests when that happens.
Could Dembe switch sides or step back from the dangerous life he's been living? After all that time with Red, he could definitely afford to retire.
To unravel Liz's plot, watch The Blacklist online.
Should Dembe get out while he can? Was Perrilos a fraud? How can Red get ahead of Liz and Townsend?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.