'Hostages' episode 9: 'Loose Ends' need tying up

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The lipstick returns in Monday 's (Nov. 18) episode of "Hostages."

Given that lipsticks have fun names, let's call this one Kiss of Death, since that is its purpose. This is the lipstick that cleverly camouflages the poison intended to kill the president during his rescheduled operation. FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle ( Dylan McDermott) returns it to Dr. Ellen Sanders ( Toni Collette) and orders her to place it in locker 715 on the fourth floor before the hospital goes into lockdown, preparing for the president's operation.

Two important characters are killed off in this episode: The president's Chief of Staff Quentin Creasy ( Jeremy Bobb) and Secret Service Agent Stan Hoffman ( Paul Calderon). They were on opposite sides of the plot, with the chief of staff being in on the conspiracy and Hoffman digging to find out why there was a mistake with the first scheduled operation on the president and why the operating room nurse supposedly committed suicide.

Hoffman questions Ellen's husband, Brian ( Tate Donovan), and asked him if Ellen and his family were in trouble. Brian lied.

As Hoffman roots around, Carlisle tries to stop him.

"Some people never know when to give up," Carlisle tells Hoffman.

Hoffman acknowledges that he's stubborn when he is onto something. 

Creasy meets with Hoffman in parking lot to spill what he knows, demand $5 million, total immunity and be done with this life. Hoffman is too much of a straight arrow to go along with Creasy's demands. 

Besides, maybe he thinks that any government operative spilling the beans in a D.C. parking lot is too clichéd. Regardless, both men are dead by the end of the episode.

This episode reveals more of who's behind the assassination plot, why Carlisle wanted in and a few other plot points that haven't yet come together.

A chunk of that confusion swirls around the implausible character of Vanessa ( Joanne Kelly). She's an ambassador, the first lady's sister, the president's former lover and the current lover of Col. Thomas Blair ( Brian White). 

Blair is one of the key players in the assassination plot and has designs on becoming president. Vanessa kills the chief of staff by slipping poison into his wine glass at a cocktail party.

Could this all be over a sibling rivalry between the first lady and the ambassador? Perhaps Vanessa wants to be the first lady and will help take out the president and may have plans for the veep and others in the succession line and thinks that somehow her lover will then sit in the Oval Office? Why doesn't she have designs on the office herself? Could it be because she wouldn't be taken seriously in the whispery little girl voice she coos in?

It is still not obvious why there is some intricate plot to kill the president. 

Ellen, though, remains curious. She has the venom stored in the lipstick case analyzed, along with some of the president's blood. She then discovers that the president and Carlisle's dying wife have the same rare blood type. 

"Your wife is the president's daughter, isn't she?" Ellen asks Carlisle at the end of the episode. "Why don't you just ask him for the bone marrow? Why do you have to kill him?"

"Because he doesn't know she is alive," Carlisle says. "If he did, he would kill her."

Why? If anything, this episode dangles more loose ends that still need tying. 


Photo/Video credit: CBS