That's right, Liz is back! Tom takes a whirlwind trip back to D.C., where he pops in to check on Liz (Megan Boone) and Agnes and talks about how bummed he is to be missing big moments in his daughter's development. (How long has he been gone at this point? Hard to say, but I'm guessing a few weeks at least.) Oh, and he also wants the FBI's assistance in springing Howard (Terry O'Quinn) from the care facility where Scottie (Famke Janssen) has him held.
So while Cooper (Harry Lennix) frees Howard, who basically can't get the words "I'm being held against my will" out fast enough, Scottie summons Tom to her office and tells him she knows he's her son, and he broke her heart all over again by lying about that. When Tom protests that he felt caught between her and Howard and didn't know who to trust, she reiterates that Howard is nuts and says they can't let him get his hands on the information about Whitehall because it's a matter of national security.
Convinced that Tom knows more than he's letting on about Whitehall, Scottie turns him over to Solomon (Edi Gathegi) to torture him until he spills. After getting socked (literally) with pool balls a couple of times, Tom manages to escape and runs into an enraged, unhinged Scottie (#RubberBabyBuggyBumpers), and they come to blows after he tells her he wishes he had never taken the assignment, because all he learned about his mother was that she's a cold, heartless killer.
So if it isn't clear, Tom is officially Team Howard -- or, Team Dad, as he's taken to calling him. And it's straight to Howard Tom goes after escaping from Halcyon, with Nez (Tawny Cypress) -- who's conflicted about the whole thing, having developed a fondness and respect for Tom -- and Solomon hot on his tail.
En route to the FBI, Howard tells Cooper that Scottie stole his business with the help of foreign agents, and those agents are now using her to cause harm to the country. When he arrives at the FBI, Howard meets Liz, who notes the family resemblance between him and Tom. After he and Tom rendezvous in a comics store, Howard tells him they're going to build a satellite dish to hack into Halcyon's servers through a backdoor that Howard included when he was building them.
While they're doing that, Howard gives a very patriotic speech about how he saw America as a beacon of hope when he was growing up in Warsaw under an oppressive government. He laments that most Americans take their freedom for granted and tells Tom that's why he built Halcyon in the first place and is so determined to protect it from Scottie's clutches. "We have to stay vigilant if we don't want to lose the things that we hold most dear," he says, in a not-so-subtle nod from the Blacklist: Redemption writers' room to current events.
The hack -- which Scottie finds out about within seconds -- leads Howard and Tom to a warehouse, where a man looks to be trapped in a makeshift bedroom in a glass cage, working on a complicated math formula. Howard frees him from the bubble and the man introduces himself as "Richard Whitehall" and says he's being held there against his will, but has cracked a quantum computing code that poses a huge danger for infrastructure. Unfortunately, Scottie's men bust in and grab Whitehall -- but he manages to drop his backpack of research for Tom and Howard to pick up.
But outside, Solomon and Nez are waiting for them. She's clearly shaken when she sees Howard -- enough so that she ditches Solomon with a grenade decoy and flees the scene with the Hargrave boys. As they pore through Whitehall's research, Howard discovers that he's cracked quantum computing and therefore anyone with access to his research (i.e. Scottie) has the capability to develop super fast computers that could decrypt any communication in seconds, not to mention dismantling the security systems around banks, power grids, etc.
Back at Halcyon, Scottie's holding Whitehall and Solomon demands to know who he is. And Kat (Theodora Miranne) offers to turn in her resignation after a ringing cell phone leads Scottie to find out that she and Trevor/Daniel (Dan Amboyer) are sleeping together. But Scottie refuses to accept it, saying she's not in love with Trevor anyway and is going to need all her reinforcements to put a stop to Howard once and for all.
Tom, meanwhile, calls Liz and tells her he has to do one final mission and then he's coming home. The mission? Breaking into Halcyon through "the front door": Howard gives a mini press conference outside the Halcyon building, admitting that his death was faked and publicly accusing Scottie of forcing him out of the company and committing him. He says he's going to provide evidence to authorities that proves she tampered with his plane and signs off with this chilling address to Scottie: "I know you're watching, honey, and I'm coming for you."
We'll (presumably) find out in next week's finale if Tom made the right decision about which parent to trust.
The Blacklist: Redemption airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.