The official summary of the Thursday, Feb. 12 episode of “The Blacklist,” titled “Ruslan Denisov,” reads as follows: “The task force must rescue an undercover CIA agent who was kidnapped by separatists in Uzbekistan; Red thinks they are up against a dangerous past associate known as Ruslan Denisov.”
After listening to our pastor deliver a message on the biblical “Parable of the Good Samaritan,” I saw a strong connection. As the story played out, FBI agents Keen and Ressler are sent to Uzbekistan to investigate and, perhaps, to rescue the undercover agent who, according to the CIA, “may or may not be” one of theirs. That, however, was just one of the subplots. The main event, as it were, involved Ruslan Denisov, a leader of a band of rebels who Reddington describes as “quite melodramatic, not to mention violent and entirely unreasonable.”
Seems Denisov has been kindnapping foreign representatives of American corporations and demanding ramsons “far about market value,” according to Reddington. As Reddington is describing Denisov to agent Keen, we see Denisov killing one such representative because “your company refuses to pay your ransom.”
Long story short, Denisov’s latest kidnapping of the CIA agent (posing undercover as a priest) is because of his claim that an American petroleum company is poisoning Uzbekistan’s soil and water with leaks from poorly constructed pipelines that, we find out, were authorized by a previous administration two years before “official” documents were signed and a second, more efficient, pipeline was installed.
We see examples of what the polluted water is doing to Uzbeki citizens: externally, they are getting skin lesions and/or having their skin separate from muscles and tendons. Internally, major organs are breaking down and hundreds have already died.
In essence, Denisov is trying to take care of the citizens of his country much the same way the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) took care of the traveler who was victimized by thieves on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.
Reddington, who has absolutely no trouble working for one faction or another, all in the name of profit — “There are no sides, just players,” he tells Keen — gets involved because Denisov and others like him “have cost me and my partners considerably more than he is worth.”
Of course, when Keen and Ressler go to Uzbekistan, they are pressured by the government there to take their side. Only after they are kidnapped by Denisov and shown what is happening to the people are they convinced that what Denisov is doing is a good thing. A Good Samaritan kind of thing, but with a different approach.
Long story short: The head of the oil company announces that his company is pulling out of Uzbekistan, only to have, very soon, a French company move in, thanks, of course, to Red Reddington. But the bad guys and their bad motives are eliminated and things will eventually turn out well for the Uzbeki people.
In the end, the guy who granted the original, illegal contract is crated and handed over to Denisov (by Reddington), the CIA backs down from killing everyone involved, and Reddington walks away with a boatload of money for being the middle man between the FBI, Denisov and the French fuel company.
As Reddington said, “There are no sides, just players,” and he was the biggest player. A Good Samaritan, like Denisov, as it were. But with a bigger ego and different ulterior motives.