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.