Before starting to write this ‘The Blacklist: Redemption’ series premiere review, there was one question that trailed through our head: Did the show do enough? Did it differentiate itself from the flagship series?
We’ll admit that there were some concerns entering the episode based solely on what it is we enjoy the most about “The Blacklist” proper. Specifically, we’re talking about the relationship between Liz Keen and Raymond Reddington. Tom Keen was a man in need of his own story, though, and it made sense to bring him over here. In the process, we learned that Tom was a worthwhile leading man. He’s a mysterious super-spy trying to get a sense of where he came from, and in the process, he found himself roped into a massive operation involving his mother (though she doesn’t know it) Scottie Hargrave (Famke Janssen) and the entire team over at Halcyon Aegie.
Side note — maybe by the end of this season we’ll start to figure out how to pronounce that.
The shocker that started Tom down this road was the revelation that his father Howard (Terry O’Quinn — OF COURSE John Locke is in the “Blacklist” extended universe) was alive, and he made it clear to Tom that Scottie was going to be recruiting him. He wants answers as to why he was presumed dead, and maybe through Halcyon … he can do that. Oh, and he’s also going to be taking on various missions in the process alongside Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathergi), his frenemy from last season.
Enter “Leland Bray”
This was the first case of the season, and it was a pretty high-octane one as we saw Tom, Scottie, and Solomon try to do a little bit of good. We will admit that some of the ins and out of the case were buried underneath the larger mythology, but there were some exciting sequences. Seeing Solomon and Tom tasked with a bloody “removal” near the end of the hour was rather fantastic … and surprisingly fun to boot. The rapport between these guys gives them total bromance material, and that is something that we hope lasts on the show.
As for the relationship between Scottie and Tom, it’s certainly creepy and a little Oedipal; hey, what do you expect? Tom’s tasked with keeping this a secret, and that is precisely what he did.
Near the end of the episode, we saw Scottie “bury” Howard, where she gave a somber eulogy about looking forward to seeing him and her son Christopher in the next life. Yet, that wasn’t quite clear. It turned out that Scottie may be involved in a secret operation known as Whitehall, which suggested that she may not be out for redemption as much as we thought. Howard’s got a TON of evidence of wrongdoing, and he’s also spent a ton of time searching for Tom. With that picture-board, we’re slightly convinced that Howard may also be a secret parent of Carrie Mathison from “Homeland.”
Our overall take
Despite reservations going in, “The Blacklist: Redemption” delivered a pretty intense series premiere with great action and a strong performance from Ryan Eggold at the center of it. There does need to be a little more humor injected into it here and there, but it’s a worthy extension of the universe. Let’s hope it remains a tightly-wound thrill ride for the next seven weeks. Grade: B.
What did you think about the “Blacklist: Redemption” premiere, and would you watch it again? Share in the comments below!