“Blacklist” Recap: Season 8, Episode 1 – Liz and Ressler [Spoiler]

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The following post contains spoilers for The blacklistSeason 8 premiere.

That faint scent of smoke that you smell after watching The blacklistthe return? This is all Liz Keen bridges burned down in the very first episode of Season 8.

After an abridged seventh season, semi-animated finale, and extra-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, The blacklist returned to NBC on Friday, bringing with it Liz’s renewed determination to get real answers from Reddington. In the process, Liz not only doubled down on the new alliance with her mother, Katarina Rostova, but she betrayed both Red and the FBI task force, perhaps worse than in the past.

At the start of Friday’s premiere, Katarina informed Liz that she was looking for answers on the Sikorsky archives and a KGB mole under the pseudonym N13; Katarina was previously (and wrongly) accused of being N13, but she suspects it could be Dom, Red, or even both, in one way or another. But to get the answers she wanted, Katarina needed to leave Dom alone and she concocted a plan to abduct Dom – now awake from his coma – while he was transferred to a new facility. (Dom, previously played by the late Brian Dennehy, has been recast with Guiding light alun Ron Raines.)

Despite some initial hesitation, Liz eventually helped facilitate Dom’s kidnapping, completely blinding Red and the task force. Dembe reminded a desperate Red that Liz’s betrayal has always been a possibility – “Yeah, I know,” Red replied. “And I’m letting it happen anyway.” – when the task force was forced to launch a manhunt for Liz, who is now on the run. She did have a brief date with Ressler before taking off, however, and the two shared their first kiss (!) Before Liz suddenly escaped, pointing Ressler’s gun at him as she walked away.

TVLine spoke with executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath about the premiere, including that long-awaited kiss, the decision to recast Dom, and where the task force will go, now that Liz is hot. .

TVLINE | I admit that after Brian Dennehy passed away, I assumed Dom wouldn’t survive his coma and the character wouldn’t be on the show anymore. But now, after watching this episode, it looks like Dom is more integral than ever. Was the redesign the only logical option?
ASK | It’s always difficult to make that kind of decision. It is incredibly sad that people we know, work with and admire have passed away. In this case, while on the one hand [Dennehy] is irreplaceable, on the other hand, history was in a place where [Dom] played an absolutely decisive role. he is the central point of the story. He knows a truth that everyone is trying to understand. So even though it was a difficult decision to make, we felt it was necessary and we hope people understand it.

TVLINE | We knew from last season’s finale that Liz was going to betray Red after siding with her mother – but her betrayal of the entire task force was more unexpected. Why did she blow all of her relationships so deep?
BOKENKAMP | The members of the working group are his friends. We don’t interfere with the personal lives of these characters much, so they start to feel like family, and that’s a betrayal. It’s a tough decision for her to make, but it’s a binary decision. I don’t think she has the capacity to turn against Reddington with the working group. She thinks the push is too hard, that they’re aligned with him, and Katarina looks like they’re being lied to the same way Liz is cheated on. As difficult as that choice is, she really has no choice but to push back in the hardest way possible. The fallout from this, with all members – everyone has their own perspective on this. It will be interesting to see how everyone reacts, what they think about it and what this betrayal does to the task force – how they hold together, or not, with this decision she made.

TVLINE | And it’s not the first time she’s gone thug, either. She shot Tom Connolly, faked her own death, and on several occasions the task force gave her the benefit of the doubt and brought her back into the fold. Will any of the task force members have a hard time forgiving Liz after this?
ASK | Most of the task force blame Reddington for what happened to Liz. Before he came into her life, she had a perfect life. She’s had a life where she was innocent and kind and enthusiastic and loved everything with her life, and then this mysterious man comes in. And these people who distrust her – who is she, what is her connection to Reddington, what did she tell us – they started to kiss her very carefully. They observed during these years that someone who was just trying to learn the truth was denied the truth all these years, and suffered and had been subjected to incredible trials. The people who know her best are willing to give her not only the benefit of the doubt, but empathy and support as well.

Having said that, it is an extremely difficult position for them. They have an immunity agreement with the very person who [Liz] devotes herself to whatever she has to do to get the truth, and they are law enforcement officers, and she is breaking the law. It sounds like a situation where, rather than saying, “Enough, we’re done with you,” they get caught up in this very human tragedy.

TVLINE | How do you interpret the kiss that Liz and Ressler shared? It’s hard to read Liz’s motives in this scene. Is the kiss genuine? A con? A bit of both?
ASK | Ressler, of all the people, was the most suspicious of Liz at first. He was most certain that she had a program she was hiding from them, and over the years he was the one who was closest to her watching the pain she went through – along with Tom, who ‘he initially didn’t like. intensely but came, and obviously with Red. I think there is a certain authenticity to this. Authenticity comes from all the years they have spent together. It comes from their mutual understanding that they’re at the end of a long journey – because that Liz’s desire to know the truth can lead to places that will lead them to the end of their journey – and whenever two people have that tacit feeling. one for the other [and] realize that’s where they are, that latent feeling comes out. I think it’s good if the audience wants to read that there’s a lot of pent-up affection and emotion coming out right now.
BOKENKAMP | I agree it’s real, but I also think it’s a betrayal, right? This is what makes betrayal so terrible.
ASK | Oh, yeah, at that time.
BOKENKAMP | At that point, she takes his gun, it’s his way of escaping and making sure he doesn’t take it. I think it’s real, but it’s also betrayal. This is what is so complex and potentially difficult to navigate in the future.

OK, your turn! What did you think about The blacklistSeason 8 premiere? Vote in our poll below, then hit the comments with your full reviews!



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