The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9 Review: Boukman Baptiste

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Finally, we got the story of how Dembe ended up as an FBI agent. 

And, as explained on The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9, it made perfect sense.

Only the reason behind Dembe's switching sides came back to haunt him when he least expected it.

Recalling Events From the Past -- Tall - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

Dembe moving to the right side only made sense as he has always seemed like a righteous man caught up in a dirty business.

He was loyal to Red, who could never be mistaken as righteous. Pragmatic, sure, someone who lives by his own code, yes, but righteous, not so much.

Lieutenants at Risk - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

But this odd couple were boon companions until they weren't anymore.

That split came when Vandyke killed Liz on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 22.

Raymond's world ended that night but not the way the dying crimelord had intended.

Although no one knew why Reddington disappeared that night, he explained to Dembe that he started walking and didn't stop until he met Mierce and Weecha in Cuba.

Red Under Attack - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

Doesn't it figure that someone so practical would find solace in someone so New Age-y as shaman Mierce? 

I think Marvin spoke for most of the viewers as he voiced his disbelief about Reddington's faith in a woman who evaluates his state of mind based on the condition of his bouquet.

What was never explained was how his organization didn't fall apart in his absence. At first, that was thanks to Marvin and Dembe, who were forced to step up in a big way.

Sure, Dembe learned a lot by osmosis through the decades. But he concentrated on security, so there was no way he was privy to the big picture until he had to be, largely thanks to Marvin.

Dembe's Flashback - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

Marvin was correct when he said that Dembe was Reddington's natural successor. Liz didn't know what she needed to handle the position, nor did she have any interest, even after wearing out her welcome in law enforcement.

But Red's a sentimental guy. That's why he takes every chance he can to hang out with Liz's daughter Agnes.

Now that he's back in his world, Raymond's hippy-dippy buzz had started to wear off. He needed someone to blame for Liz's death.

And so far, that someone has been Dembe, who had the gall to sign up with the FBI, despite what it ended up costing him, which included a good relationship with Isabella.

Dembe's New Boss - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

At least Harold was there to lend perspective to Dembe and explain why it was important for blacks to be inside law enforcement to bring justice for their people.

Cooper using his considerable influence, explained how Dembe could have passed the background check after years of serving as muscle for an international fugitive.

The reason Dembe couldn't stomach Red's job any longer was understandable after his hit team accidentally killed the young son of one of those vying to take Raymond's place in his absence.

Baptiste wanted revenge, pure and simple, no matter how much he cloaked it in a nationalistic rant about the big guy pillaging the little guys.

Mystery Man - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

When three port managers got killed, it simply appeared to be another uprising against a distracted Red. He even farmed out the problem to the Task Force rather than handling it himself.

Raymond should have known better than to try and muscle Dembe off the Task Force. Dembe laid out the facts for Harold, who quickly moved on to the problem at hand.

In the end, it was all a trap. Baptiste intuited that Dembe would quickly connect the dots and come racing to Baltimore, where he would be captured.

He didn't seem to care that Dembe was now an FBI agent and that he would have the wrath of both Red and the FBI coming down upon him.

Thinking Back - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

Yeah, Baptiste should have realized that a couple of thugs wouldn't protect him from the army up against him.

He was aware of Isabella, with a child for a child, his plan for revenge. Only Dembe offered up something unexpected: A way to bring down Reddington.

Aram's analysis of the data points from Vandyke's cell phone proved to Raymond that Dembe wasn't the person who led the killer to Liz.

That, in turn, caused him to have Marvin give Dembe the names he sought since Weecha and her team would ensure that those key people would never be put at risk. Weecha was so efficient that Baptiste wouldn't live to implicate Dembe in his son's murder.

Agnes and Pinky - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

At least Isabella understood more of what Dembe was trying to accomplish, and they could make up. It's just too bad that she and her daughter would have to move for her to feel safe.

Dembe also made up with Reddington as the two will share the mission of determining who set up Liz for Vandyke.

It was a satisfying ending with the two men reading to their granddaughters, a quiet moment at the end of a bloody day.

Now let's see if they can find their old chemistry and work together again for the common good.

Visiting With Agnes - The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9

To follow Red and Dembe's time together, watch The Blacklist online.

Were you satisfied with the story of Dembe's transition?

Does Raymond mean let bygones be bygones?

Might Marvin be the mole inside his organization?

Comment below.

Boukman Baptiste Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.5 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

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

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The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 9 Quotes

It's official. Our lives suck.


I'm not a religious man but sometimes a sinner's prayers are answered.

Baptiste [to Cooper]