Season Preview

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

When NBC concluded season four of their series “The Blacklist,” this viewer feared that the show’s best days were in the rear-view mirror. The season that ended in May, was incredibly dark as Raymond Reddington acted impulsively and that action cost him dearly. Reddington felt betrayed, and ended up putting a bullet into the head of the woman he used to refer to as his better half. However Red only wounded Mr. Kaplan, but took away her humanity in the process. The former Kathryn Nemec, became Hell-Bent on destroying the empire she helped create, and putting Reddington in some government black-ops site, where he would live out his final days getting tortured.

Kate was successful in destroying Raymond’s empire, but she ended up taking her own life rather than go to prison, taking a dive off of a bridge, and we watched her limp body lying in the water hundreds of feet below. She still had one more surprise for her former boss, a suitcase containing a human skeleton, that we saw in the possession of Tom Keen in the season’s final scene.

Kate told FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen, that she would reveal the truth to Lizzie, about her roots and exactly what happened during Keen’s childhood. However Kate’s final standoff involving Reddington and law enforcement officials, prevented her from passing on the information. Keen believes she was trying to tell her that Reddington’s her biological father, after Harold Cooper tested a DNA sample from some clothing the FBI kept in an evidence locker. The blood sample proved that Raymond Reddington’s the biological father of Elizabeth Keen, but it left open the question if the man we’ve come to know as Red, is in fact Raymond Reddington.

Despite the reservations I had in May, I’m now eagerly anticipating the show’s return on Wednesday, September 27. Why the change of heart? Simply because it appears that the show-runners of “The Blacklist,” will once again take this series and stand it on its head, as they did at the start of season three. However instead of exposing Liz Keen to Reddington’s world, as they did in that story-arc, this time it’s Red that has to make a drastic adjustment.

The “Concierge Of Crime’s” ceased to exist, replaced by the Fred Sanford of the criminal world. The man who could make the inside of a cargo container, look like a five-star hotel, now lives in a fleabag motor-lodge. He’s reduced to wearing hand-me-downs, and going hat in hand to apply for a job with a bail bondsman, he likely wouldn’t have hired a year ago. Judging by the clips released by NBC, it appears that starting back at the bottom has reignited that romance with the underworld. He tells Lizzie that he can’t remember the last time he felt this alive.

Not everything is hunky-dory in Raymond’s new universe however. The series introduced us to the new President of the United States, Robert Diaz, last season and he’s appointed a new FBI Director. The new Director’s auditing all of the bureau’s special-ops projects, and it’s just a matter of time before it’s discovered that Reddington’s empire lies in ashes, and his value to the bureau’s in jeopardy. Hence Raymond tells Harold Cooper, that he’s counting on Cooper and his Task-Force to help rebuild his empire.

So we’ve got the prospect of watching Raymond emerge like the Phoenix and become bigger than ever, or will his goal now turn into just getting powerful enough to keep providing names for the Task-Force? Will Reddington become satiated enough playing Grandpa, and having Liz as part of his life, or will he once again fall victim to his darkest impulses, leading to his shooting Mr. Kaplan?

That valise containing the skeleton will figure prominently in the upcoming campaign, as well as the ramifications from Laurel Hitchin’s accidental death in the previous season finale. Henry Prescott makes it clear to “The Boy-Scout,” Donald Ressler that the two will be seeing a lot of each other. Ressler also has to explain how he got his shield back from Hitchin, without revealing that he watched her slip and crack open her head, killing her instantly.

Lest we not forget the romance in the air, as Tom and Lizzie reunite after Tom went seeking his Redemption. There’s also a budding romance that seems to be steaming up quickly, between Samar Navabi and Aram Mojtabai. After playing cat and mouse games for the last two years, the couple appear to be blissful as this season opens. We might also witness Lizzie meeting her grandfather Dom, who Raymond told to seek Lizzie out if he failed to hear from him. Plus we still don’t know what Dembe’s up to, as he’s absent in all the clips the network’s released.

Last May, many fans surmised that season five could be the last campaign for the series, however I think that this new dynamic could give the show the shot of adrenaline it needs. If the show-runners and writers live up to past glory, this show might have another five-years left in the tank.

The Story Continues Wednesday, September 27, at 8:00pm on NBC.

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After months of speculation concerning the revelations that would surface during the premiere episode of the fourth season for the NBC hit series “The Blacklist,” most viewers likely ended the hour feeling no more informed than they were last May. Although the episode contained plenty of action and fraught with tension, including two volatile personal relationships, the hour ended after a lot of travel to windup in the same point it started at. Constantin Rostov left Cuba via a seaplane with his daughter Liz, his reluctant travel companion and Rostov’s hitman ended the evening with Agnes in his possession.

Why the show-runners and writers decided to reset a table instead of advancing the story perplexed this viewer, and left me wondering whether this episode’s purpose was to acclimate star Megan Boone back into the action, after missing the latter part of Season Three on maternity leave? While we got to see that Lizzie seems well-toned after her pregnancy, we didn’t acquire any major information that had yet to be revealed or speculated about. After spending much of the episode in a car trunk, Tom regained his freedom near the conclusion of the episode.

The episode did concentrate heavily on exposition in this episode, as Raymond attempted to come to grips with his mercurial feelings concerning Mr. Kaplan. Kate, not content to sit idly by and allow his sense of betrayal from dooming their relationship and perhaps her life, keeps trying to show Reddington she just tried to save Raymond from himself. However with even Dembe, telling Mr. Kaplan he can’t defend her, can she hope to make amends?

Emotions also ran high when the TASK-Force realized that Lizzie faked her death, as Keen’s colleagues realized they’d been lied to and manipulated and they all handled the news differently. Donald Ressler, seemingly had no problem with his former partner’s actions, realizing she was attempting to convince Reddington she died. TASK-Force Director Harold Cooper, exclaimed he didn’t think it was possible to feel so angry and happy simultaneously. Tech-Genius Aram, seemed to have problems processing the information, while Samar Navabi expressed her disdain and anger for Keen’s stunt.

We rejoin Dembe, Raymond and Kate, moments after they arrived at the Keen family escape-haven, not in time from stopping Alexander Kirk/Constantin Rostov’s henchmen kidnapping mom, dad and daughter. Mr. Kaplan looks at the blood on the floor and says it came from one of Rostov’s men and that he’s likely in the area. Seconds later Dembe says he’s got a location.

They arrive where the badly bleeding man’s being treated, to find out he just expired on the table. Raymond spits out that since his “Cleaner” over stepped her bounds, he would do her job and proceeds to hack the man’s head from his neck.

Liz demands that Rostov produce Agnes and Tom, Constantin replies that her daughter will soon join them. She then demands, that Rostov reveal his true identity and he responds that he’s indeed her father. He says Reddington and her mother had an affair, he says at one time he questioned if Raymond was her father, but Rostov confirmed Masha was his daughter. He says Reddington kidnapped her when she turned three and he never knew what happened to her until she and Reddington made headlines while they were on the lam.

Rostov’s got a hitman that might give Matthias Solomon a run for his money, he’s called Bobo, by his female companion, whose got Agnes in her arms and Tom’s tied up in the trunk. Neither father or daughter seem pleased with the situation, however Keen’s able to reach his hand through the tail light socket and the car behind them calls the police.

Reddington finds the house where Rostov’s holding Liz prisoner. He tells Constantin he’ll give him what ever he desires to release Lizzie and Rostov replies he wants the 26-years he missed with his daughter. Raymond responds that Liz was never meant to be raised by Constantin

Raymond contacts Cooper and tells him to send a team to Cuba, however Samar refuses to join Ressler for the mission due to her anger at Keen. Cooper let’s it be known he’s displeased with Navabi’s decision, but he’s basically helpless. He contacts old friend Cynthia Panabaker, to arrange for Ressler to meet with Manuel Esteban, a double-agent who works for Castro and the CIA. Raymond believes the despot can ascertain Lizzie’s location before Rostov can get her off the island.

Raymond tells Esteban, that with political relations improving between Havana and Washington improving, his days running his own prison and playing the two nations off each other are rapidly coming to an end. Any time the Double-Agent could be assassinated, however if he can get Liz’s location before Rostov gets her off the island, Raymond will keep the despot safe.

Tom’s taken out to the desert to dig his own grave, but of course he overpowers his captor and escapes. Mr. Kaplan recovers Agnes, from the hitman’s female accomplice, however they’re not able to stop Rostov from leaving the island via the seaplane. Reddington consoles himself with the fact they were able to get back Agnes, but that dynamic soon changes as the hitman T-Bones Raymond’s vehicle and grabs the infant out of the vehicle and puts his finger on Kate’s lips.

Ressler, who hadn’t made a deal with Esteban, turns the despot over to the Cubans and that causes the Cuban soldiers to release all of Esteban’s prisoners. However the two prisoners that Raymond’s most concerned with, Liz and Agnes, have been spirited away by Rostov and the search begins anew.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night, on NBC at 10:00pm EDT.

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/FOX

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Welcome to the Comic-Book Era of Television! While movie-screens are currently dominated by characters hailing from the Marvel Universe, the small screen’s embraced the world(s) of their rival DC Comics. Marvel’s represented on network television with their two entries on ABC “Marvel’s Agents Of Shield” and it’s winter replacement “Agent Carter,”  however their competition will air five shows, on three different networks in the upcoming season. The CW will add Legends Of Tomorrow, likely in January to its schedule joining mainstays Arrow and “The Flash.” CBS brings Supergirl to its lineup in November, in a series that looks very promising judging by its pilot.

The FOX Network comes out of the starting gates first as “Gotham,” returns to the airwaves for its highly anticipated second season, Monday September 21. After setting the story and introducing integral characters in season one, expect the series to go into hyper-drive in the upcoming campaign. Events will occur at a fast and furious pace from the onset according to published reports by “TV Guide,” saying that two major characters will die within the new season’s first few episodes.

One of those characters will likely be Captain Sara Essen, as the actress that portrays her Zabryna Guevara doesn’t appear in any of the preseason publicity package Fox put together. Combine that with the news that veteran TV actor Michael Chiklis joins the cast as a character named Captain Barnes and it seems to be an obvious conclusion. The other character could be Kristin Kringle, part of Edward Nygma journey in becoming the psychopathic criminal we know as The Riddler.

Season Two’s been labeled “The Rise Of The Villains,” Gotham City’s old guard criminals are gone, either dead like Sal Maroni (and presumably Fish Mooney) or left the city and retired following the example of Don Falcone. As season two opens The Penguin appears to be the King Of Gotham City, but that could be changed very quickly. Along with Oswald Cobblepot and Nygma, other familiar faces that we watched go to the Dark-Side in the first season return. Barbara Kean and Jerome meet each other while incarcerated at Arkham Asylum and realize they’ve got something in common, patricide.

Detective Jim Gordon and his partner Detective Harvey Bullock will try to keep the city’s citizens safe, while fighting corruption within the department. Over at Wayne Manor The Boy Who Will Be Batman Bruce Wayne, discovers secrets about his late father with the help of his guardian and family butler Alfred Pennyworth and an ally from Wayne Enterprises Lucius Fox. Last season we watched a sheltered boy turn into a savvy young man, after Bruce witnessed his parents’ murder by a lone gunman. Wayne will continue the search for his parents’ murderer on his own in the upcoming season and try to rid Wayne Enterprises of corruption that dates back to his grandfather’s days with the company.

The Story Resumes Monday September 21, at 8:00 pm on FOX.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

If somebody approached Elizabeth Keen in August of 2013 and told her what her life would be like just two years later, she’d likely think that person was clinically insane. One month later Liz became a rookie agent for the FBI and her life was never the same. Just as she was reporting for duty the most elusive culprit on the FBI’s Most Wanted List Raymond “Red” Reddington, showed up at FBI Headquarters and surrendered his freedom. He promised FBI Assistant-Director Harold Cooper “The Blacklist,” containing the names and information on the planet’s worst criminals. People that Reddington told Cooper that the FBI and other Law-Enforcement Agencies didn’t even realize existed.

In exchange he wanted two things, total immunity from prosecution and he would only talk to Agent Elizabeth Keen, an agent so new that Cooper didn’t even know her name. She balked at first at Reddington’s request to work with her, but the pair who had seemingly nothing in common, started working as partners. As the first season progressed we realized there was a hidden connection between Red and Liz, that the agent wasn’t aware of. She would also soon find out that her whole existence was based on nothing but lies.

Throughout season one her world got rocked by revelations, that gentle school-teacher that she fell in love with and married was actually a mercenary, hired to get close to her. He even lied about his name, taking on the alias of Tom Keen and won her heart. We’d find out later that despite his lies and deceit, she captured his heart as well.

While Raymond refrained from lying to Agent Keen, he only gave her enough information to keep her informed. Liz realized that a connection existed between them stemming from her childhood. She asked Red if he was her real father and he told her no, but he also failed to reveal the secrets he had about her childhood. However, Lizzie did start unraveling some of the lies that made up her life.

Liz found out that Tom was working for an enemy of Raymond’s named Berlin and the final episode of the first campaign culminated in a knock-down, no-holds-barred battle between husband and wife, ending when Liz shot Tom in his abdomen. We ended season one believing Tom had died, but Liz wasn’t through torturing the man who married her under false pretenses, quite yet.

Early in the second season, we find out that Keen enlisted a surgical unit to save Tom’s life in secret. Saving him wasn’t because of her love for him, she realized the only way she could contact Berlin was through the man she knew as Tom Keen. Liz had a score to settle with Berlin, he killed her fellow agent Meera Malik and nearly killed Harold Cooper, putting him in the hospital for months.

While during the first year of the series, Liz learned unsavory things about her husband, the second season resulted in Keen learning things about Reddington, that shattered her trust. Among her revelations, she found out Reddington had suffocated her stepfather to death, rather than allow him to tell Liz about her childhood. Red tried telling her all his actions were meant to protect her, but it damaged their relationship almost beyond repair.

While Red continued to provide the FBI a new name from The Blacklist each week, we soon realized that Raymond had other pressing issues on his plate, The Cabal and The Fulcrum. The Cabal’s a shadow organization including some of the most powerful people on the planet, whom we find out pull the strings behind world events. Although not specifically stated, we can assume The Cabal’s behind every great tragedy of the 21st Century. Red has an uneasy truce with The Cabal, based on the fact they believe Red possesses The Fulcrum, a file jam-packed with all sorts of evidence including pictures and names involved in all the Cabal’s funny-business.

While Reddington’s getting all his ducks in a row, the new United States Attorney General Tom Connolly, has put his old buddy Harold Cooper in some compromising positions. Connolly coerced Cooper’s doctor into making Harold believe that he was dying from a cancerous tumor in his brain. Connolly allegedly pulled some strings to get Cooper into a special trial-program to combat the cancer, which seemed to be effective. Cooper now felt obligated to the man he considered his patron saint and bent some rules and looked the other way to help Connolly out.

The National Security Director of the United States, runs The Cabal and orders a hit put out on Reddington. Red gets seriously wounded by gunfire but he survives the surgery. Not long after he greets a crew of hand-selected investigative reporters from around the globe and reveals the contents of The Fulcrum to them all.

Rather than backing off when Red threatened to expose every member of The Cabal, Tom Connolly started tightening the screws on Cooper and Liz. He then says that Keen and Cooper are heading to Federal prison, Samar Navabi’s to be extradited to Iran, where she’ll stand trial for killing an official. Reddington will get tried for treason and executed, Ressler’s Oxy addiction will get him drummed out of the Bureau. He’s even got things planned for Aram and Charlene. Lizzie simply snapped, pulled out her service revolver and shot Connolly dead. Season Two ended with Red and Lizzie on the run, him telling her he never wanted her to be like him.

Keen’s memories of her childhood rushed back when she shot Connolly. Suddenly she could remember being a four-year-old named Masha Rostova, the daughter of a former Soviet Intelligence Agent Katerina Rostova. When she shot Connolly to death, she suddenly remembered shooting her father to death when she was a toddler, to stop him from beating her mother. Raymond was there that night and helped cover-up the murder and somehow erased the memories from Masha’s mind. That was the reason he didn’t want her stepfather to tell her the truth, Red believed that Lizzie would be better off not knowing about the tragedy.

The Blacklist returns to NBC on Thursday night October 1, and the show’s released a bit of a sneak preview on digital media entitled “Behind The Blacklist: Season Three.” With Task-Force Director Harold Cooper in Federal custody, Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright’s assigned Keen’s former partner Donald Ressler to head-up the search for the two fugitives. Ressler known as “The Boy-Scout,” by his colleagues now needs to choose between his loyalty for Liz and his oath to uphold the law.

We don’t find out a lot about Season Three in the 30-minute video, however we do get to see Liz changes her hair-color to a honey-blonde that leave the normally loquacious Reddington tongue-tied. We also find out that the talented up and coming actor Edi Gathegi, featured earlier this year in Humans and Proof, will join the cast in season three. Gathegi, whose played warm and friendly characters in his previous two shows, seems to be destined to be far less cuddly on this series, as he’ll portray Sullivan a representative of The Cabal.

The last we saw of Tom Keen, he was leaving the DC Metro area on his boat, hoping to start a new life. Somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom and Liz cross paths once again in season three.