"The Judge," Episode 15 of "The Blacklist," revealed Tom's real task. Red saved Harold Cooper from an execution. The 'Judge' was a soft spoken woman who was running an underground criminal justice organisation. And, it was revealed that Jolene/Lucy Brooks was keeping a watch on Red's every move. Unlike the previous episode, this episode of "The Blacklist" was tight and kept the 41 plus minute of viewing time interesting.
Here is the Recap and Review of "The Blacklist" Episode 15, "The Judge":
An assistant US attorney, Mark Hastings, resurfaces after being missing for 12 years. He looks dishevelled and lost. Hastings meets his wife but is unable to utter a word about where he was and what happened to him.
Red meets one of his assets, 'the Cowboy', and asks him to dig out details about Lucy Brooks who now goes by the name of Jolene. She had once faked her death to elude Red. Red wants to know where all she has been and her back-history. The 'Cowboy' finds out that Lucy Brooks has been keeping a watch on Red and his every move.
At Orlando, Lucy is playing her role as the charming, smiling Jolene to perfection. Tom gets a call from Liz, but he does not pick-it-up. Later, Jolene and Tom end-up in a bathroom, kissing and tearing their clothes-off, after a flirtatious drinking time. A kid interrupts these two cheating adults, as Jolene claims to have a fiancé. The guilt hits Tom and he says sorry, while Jolene gives him the key to her room.
Red discusses Hastings case with Liz and says that he must have been held captive by the 'Judge'. Red does not know who the 'Judge' is, but says that it looks like the myth about the person is true. According to Red, the 'Judge' believes in an eye for an eye, and helps a convict when all the legal appeals have been exhausted and there is no hope. It seems Hastings was held captive for wrongfully convicting and sentencing a person.
The FBI team investigate to find who the 'Judge' is and how prisoners pass their message of help to him. They zero-in on Frank Gordon, the man who works at the prison book depository. Liz and Agent Ressler go to meet Gordon. However, Gordon escapes from his messy office, after hitting Agent Ressler.
Liz and Agent Ressler discover that Gordon was looking into the case of Rifkind. Their boss, Cooper, was involved in the case and which makes him the next target of the 'Judge'. Rifkind is soon to be executed. Liz goes to meet Rifkind. He is represented by Ruth Kipling as his spiritual advisor. Rifkind says that Cooper beat him up to get a confession on the orders of the district attorney, Thomas Connelly. He claims that he is innocent.
Later, Gordon is seen discussing about the Riftkind case with someone on the phone. He is ordering the abduction of Cooper and Connelly if Riftkind is executed. It is revealed that Kipling is the 'Judge'. She wants to know how the FBI traced Gordon. Kipling feeds her prisoners, kept locked in small solitary rooms, built inside a barn.
An U.S Marshall confirms that Cooper coerced a confession from Rifkind, as Connelly wanted him to do that. Liz questions Cooper about beating-up Rifkind to get a confession. The latter sticks to the version that Rifkind was not innocent and he did what was needed to be done. Connelly reminds Liz that the time for an appeal has passed and the execution cannot be stopped. Cooper mildly warns Liz, "The only career you should worry about is your own."
At the execution of Rifkind, Cooper, Connelly and Kipling are present. Rifkind looks at Cooper and Connelly and says for the final time that he did nothing wrong. He says "goodbye, mother" to Kipling. Later, Kipling's men abduct Cooper and Connelly.
Liz calls-up Red to help FBI find Cooper and Connelly. She later goes to meet Hastings. He keeps staring, vacuously, without saying a word. His wife asks Liz to leave and switches-off the table-light. This makes Hastings react and he says, "good-night, mother." Liz realises that Kipling is the 'Judge', while Red meets one of his old colleagues to get classified information on Rifkind's case.
Cooper has been strapped in a chair, ready to be electrocuted. Red enters the barn with the classified information, which states that Rifkind had aligned with terrorists and was responsible for the death of innocent adults and children in Afghanistan. Red tells Kipling that she is a righteous person and she would not kill Cooper, but surrender herself. She does that.
Meanwhile, Tom uses the key to enter Jolene's room, but says sorry to her. He says that he loves his wife and cannot cheat on her. Jolene says that it is a wrong answer, as Liz is not his wife but his target. Tom's expression changes and he demands to know if they send her to test him. "I told you that I was in love with her, because that is exactly what I am supposed to be," Tom says to Jolene. "That is my job."
The end of the episode is just the kind of ending that keeps one invested in the episode. Tom did not completely unmask himself, but he gave a glimpse of his real face. Red was right that Tom is not what he pretends to be. The 'Judge' was like the killer robin-hood of the criminal justice system, and the case was different from the regular gruesome cases. Dianne Wiest was fantastic as the soft-spoken Kipling, the 'Judge'. "The Judge" is kind of the episode that "The Blacklist" needs to dole-out regularly to ensure that the viewers do not lose interest.