We got a good chance to see precisely what this said reality was on Thursday’s The Blacklist Redemption episode 3 entitled “Independence USA,” otherwise known as the best episode of the season so far. The entire operation was so bizarre, mostly because the main bulk of the story revolved around Tom Keen heading undercover in what was basically a Russian prison compound, designed to precisely like America and operate under that sort of illusion. Here, people learned to function in a very particular environment, one that also certainly felt like The Truman Show since you were being watched and Russian operatives could eventually determine whether or not they wanted to promote you, assign you, or something else entirely. If you don’t do your job, let’s just say that they get rid of you.
Tom went overseas with Nez to infiltrate the place, and there were some parts of it that absolutely were awkward for him. Take, for example, the fake wife who got in the shower with him. Or, Nez responding very harshly when a job interview turned into blatant sexism. She responded precisely how you would imagine that she would. When everything started to catch up to her and Tom and they were about to be tracked down, she was essential in making sure they escaped. She also came close to running over Tom’s fake wife, so consider that a moment where things escalated quickly.
After Tom and Nez managed to get away, they did their best to get used to life in ACTUAL America. It turned out that one of the reasons Nez knew so much about the chemicals that Russia was using to brainwash people in the town was because she was an addict.
She continued her efforts to try to understand what happened to her husband Howard, and this is where things got a little interesting. We know that her quest to get answers on Howard is meant to be the main story of the season, but for most of the episode we were far more interested in everything in Russia. Still, Scottie started to have some doubts that her son was actually dead.
After Scottie revealed to Tom the full extent of her findings, he went to pass some of the information to Howard. This is where Scottie’s story really started to heat up, and we had the biggest shocker of the season so far: Howard believes that the Russian sleeper-town actually produced the new version of Scottie many years ago, and she was a sleeper agent trained at the compound to look identically like Tom’s real mother, who is deceased. Is this “Scottie” a fake? Time will tell.
This episode was all sorts of weird, and as a result of that, this was probably the best episode of the show to date. While the team could’ve done even more with the fake America than they did, it produced as strong as a standalone case as you may find the whole season. We almost wouldn’t have minded if the entire eight-episode season had remained in this place and turned into a serialized story. Still, the way the Howard twist connected the sleeper-town to the story of the season was pretty brilliant … and also pretty shocking. We’ll see where things go. Grade: B+.
The Blacklist Redemption episode 4
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