Finally, we got a much-needed explanation of how the situation reached the showdown point.
Through flashbacks, Marvin took viewers step by step through his plan to take over Red’s organization on The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 21.
What was fascinating was how integral Tyson Lacroix, Marvin’s best friend, was to his plan.
After all, Lacroix was gunned down after appearing in a couple of scenes on The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 15. He seemed to be just a footnote in the narrative.
But he was the driving force who pushed Marvin to act on his resentments toward Red and convinced him that he could take over Raymond’s empire.
Once the episode broke down Marvin’s conspiracy into a series of simple steps, it didn’t seem like such an overwhelming accomplishment as it did previously.
Actually, it was pretty simple. Reddington was distracted by his obsession with Liz’s death. Marvin, who had gotten accustomed to running things during Red’s absence, took advantage of that.
Should it have taken 20 episodes to get to this point?
The fact it did was thanks to Marvin and Lacroix’s marvelous job of obfuscation.
The key to that has been keeping Harold tied up as he attempted to solve the frame on him for Doug Coster’s murder.
And when Cooper was distracted with his secret side investigation, the Task Force didn’t work nearly as effectively.
You would think that without Liz’s many side crusades, things would have settled down for the team. But instead, everyone had their issues, partly caused by the two-year hiatus following her death.
So it didn’t take much to throw them off their game. And what Marvin did to Harold certainly managed to do that.
Raymond has used them as his investigatory arm for much of this season as they checked out elements of Liz’s death. Sure, they still took down criminals and organizations, but that was mainly in service of Reddington’s obsession.
Even after Red discovered that Marvin was behind Liz’s death, he remained distracted throughout his hunt.
That was because Weecha was hospitalized on life support resulting from injuries caused by the explosion on The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 18.
Mierce was correct when she blamed Raymond for Weecha’s relapse. Sure, there’s no telling Weecha what to do, but it would have been him if anyone could.
She also nailed it when she said it wasn’t safe to be around him. She was adamant that Weecha would only be safe if they went home.
Given a vote, Weecha would likely disagree because she’s dedicated to her work protecting Reddington. However, she’s not going to do anybody any good until she takes the time to heal, which she can’t do in Red’s world.
My best guess is that Mierce goes, but Weecha stays if she awakens and gets a vote.
Weecha’s incapacity opened the door for Dembe to go back to protect Raymond. But their dynamic had changed.
While Reddington was effusive about how much he had missed Dembe, Dembe appeared to treat his time with Red as some unfortunate past life that he had left behind.
And his actions throughout the episode proved that his heart is with the Task Force now, even though he did his damndest to save Raymond from himself.
What were they thinking when they didn’t check the car for bugs? After all, Marvin has access to everything of Reddington’s.
That oversight allowed Marvin to stay a step ahead until the airport showdown.
It was quick thinking on Red’s part to use that old C.B. radio to call for help when Fisker’s army pinned them down.
What gave Marvin the advantage was that Raymond and the Task Force worked at cross-purposes, which slowed them both down.
Cooper needed Marvin to prove his innocence. But Marvin in the Feds’ hands would mean the end to Reddington’s empire and the Task Force.
There was no doubt that Marvin would flip on Red in a heartbeat. Any sense of loyalty he might have had was long gone now.
Both Marvin and Raymond get tripped up by their arrogance.
Reddington used the bug in his car to misdirect Marvin, getting him to walk right into a trap at the airport. But his mistake was talking down to Marvin, downplaying his ability to be a leader, when he did Red’s job for two years during his absence.
Also, after Raymond attempted to keep Harold in the dark, Cooper had no choice but to alert the airport’s operations director, allowing Marvin to escape during the confusion caused by the blaring alarms.
Harold feared that Red was planning to kill Marvin, while Reddington was concerned about what Marvin might say once in custody.
Yet again, Red has sworn off working with Harold and the Task Force. It probably didn’t help that Aram’s impractical morality already miffed him.
But let’s be serious. With The Blacklist renewed for another season, the Task Force has to stay in place.
Also, the politicians involved with it like the results. They’ve looked the other way with Reddington all this time. Why wouldn’t they find a way to keep doing so?
To follow Marvin’s campaign, watch The Blacklist online.
Does Marvin’s conspiracy make more sense to you know?
Shouldn’t Red work with the Task Force?
What is the solution to tracking down Marvin?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.