The Blacklist Relisted – Episode 1 – The Troll Farmer
If you haven’t been watching The Blacklist, then you’re seriously missing out on one of the best criminal/spy dramas on current television. Forget that Fear the Walking Dead finale last night, because the premiere of The Blacklist season 3 was an intense manhunt that brought me back to Jason Bourne’s escape from authorities all throughout The Bourne Identity. I know heart pounding is a somewhat overused adjective to describe television shows now-a-days, but my heart was honestly pounding with excitement and angst while watching this episode unfold.
We pick up the exact second season 2 left off. Agent Keen has shot and killed a state official (the main baddie of last season), and is now a known ‘Russian terrorist’ on the run with the aid of wanted criminal Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington. This episode shows off some pretty fun inside looks on how Red makes his incredible disappearances that he’s been continuously making in the past seasons. With his expansive network of hackers, drivers, con artists and criminals, Red and Keen start to make their way out of the city, but Agent Ressler is hot on their heels. We get to see Ressler lead the FBI taskforce with iron determination to catch Keen, while at the same time we see him admit that he let Keen go earlier and it’s because of him that she had killed someone. Ressler goes through a few emotions this episode, but for the most part you can see anger and aggravation. I really enjoyed watching Ressler in this episode. He has taken a kind of “enough with the bull $#!7” mentality that really works for him. Having never seen Diego Klattenhoff in anything other than Agent Carter, I think he’s grown tremendously throughout his time acting on The Blacklist, and its led to him having such a powerful role in this season.
Returning as a side plot in this episode – but will most definitely be part of the overarching story for this season – is Dembe. When Dembe’s granddaughter gets kidnapped by a mysterious member of the Cabal, Dembe is forced to strike out on his own to get her back, and Red is nowhere to be seen. I actually liked how little time Dembe got for this episode. I think having it as a – not really calmer… but maybe quieter break from all of the intense running and chasing of this episode was a really nice touch. The situation Dembe and his family get put it is frankly terrifying and the new Cabal baddie is obviously sadistic and creepy. We see this new villain flaunt his control over not only Dembe, but to The Director as well. I really like Dembe as a character and him being one of Red’s only trusted companions, will make the stakes high for his side of the story.
We get a small bit of actual ‘blacklisting’ in this episode, as it’s titled The Troll Farmer. While this blacklister is introduced and plays a pivotal role in Red and Keen’s escape, we still get the same old scene of Red calling Ressler and ‘giving him a blacklister’ which kept this episode true to the series as a whole. I really loved watching Keen’s transition from beginning to end of this episode. We get a scared and dazed Keen at the start of the run and a calm and content Keen at the end. Also, did I mention she’s blonde now! Wa Wa Wi Wa! This new look digs up some old memories of Keen’s mother for Red, and we got to find out a bit more about her. I loved the intensity all of the Red and Keen scenes brought on, but also how calm and cool Red seemed throughout them. It makes you realize that he’s done this sort of thing more times than us viewers can imagine. This is really the part of the show that I’m most interested in as well. I’d much rather see Red’s world than the tired old FBI control room stories that we can get in plenty of other shows as well.
Overall this was a solid episode. By the last climactic scene happened and the credits rolled I was filled with raw energy and excitement. While I would tend to think that this season will all be just one big chase, the end of the episode throws in a curve ball that makes it so it may be less Jason Bourne and more Edward Snowden. I honestly have no clue where the next episode will take us, but it’s clear that with Keen’s mother as the center mystery person for this season, that it’s going to involve her life as an actual Russian spy quite heavily. You need to be watching this show. If you haven’t seen it before then I envy you. You get to go through the first two seasons with fresh eyes and it’s well worth it! If you are caught up and saw this episode, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this episode!