The Blacklist Season 3 Episode 1 Review: The Troll Farmer

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Liz on the run… and a blonde?

I was surprised that The Blacklist Season 3 Episode 1 didn’t pull a time jump from the events of The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 22. I was totally prepared to see Liz and Red out on some exotic location dealing with other Blacklisters as the FBI team tried to go international to catch them.

Instead, the season premiere kept the exploits to Red and Liz trying to escape Washington, D.C., with some surprising turns of events.

On the Run - The Blacklist

It’s been said countless times before, but James Spader is fantastic as Raymond Reddington. He brings such a presence to the screen that he can make a scene of him describing something that happened in the past, all while just sitting with Liz, entertaining.

And his numerous quips and lines of dialogue are delivered in such a way that you’re eager to hear what he has to say next.

I figured he’d have contacts to try and help him escape, and I wasn’t surprised he managed to just get away from Ressler while hiding in that bunker. Seemed like the typical "so close, yet so far" moment that chase scenes usually have.

And I did have to roll my eyes at Samar getting captured while on the hunt for Red and Liz. I mean, how the heck did that even happen? Was she trying to take Liz’s normal place of getting caught by the bad guy? At least it wasn’t some drawn out situation, as Ressler ended it pretty much right as it began.

But I wasn’t expecting only Red to manage to get out and escape the FBI’s clutches. I really thought the hour would end with Liz and Red just managing to leave and the FBI having to keep up the chase in the next hour in some new location.

So while Liz was left to fend for herself inside the city, I simply assumed she’d find Tom to help her (though, didn’t he leave on a boat he was always talking about?).

In a very cool twist, Liz claimed to be a Russian spy and declared diplomatic immunity at the consulate. I didn’t see that one coming. I’m very curious to see where the story goes from there.

As for the case of the week/Blacklister, the hour did a nice job of incorporating the Troll Farmer without making him the focal point. And Ressler managed to take him down in the end anyway. Guess even when Red is on the run, he’s willing to help.

But it was the side story that involved Dembe’s family that really had my interest. Dembe is such a fascinatingly mysterious character, and we’ve continued to get little bits of backstory here and there. This time we found out he has a daughter and granddaughter!

Plus, we learned he was willing to do whatever it took to save his family. I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

Though, I am intrigued by this new villain, the one who is OK with killing babies and who is willing to go toe-to-toe with the director (but who is he working for in their organization?). It added an interesting new spin on a potential threat, while not abandoning the director or the fulcrum info.

This was a really solid start for The Blacklist Season 3. Not only was I engaged for the hour, but I wasn't constantly thinking about Red’s secret-keeping from Liz or even his real connection to her. Plus, there were plenty of new doors and opportunities opened for the series that could wind up making this the best season yet.

Were you surprised by Liz's decision? Should we be worried about Dembe? Sound off below, and be sure to watch The Blacklist online to catch all the action again!

The Troll Farmer Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Blacklist Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

Just because you’ve been bumped up to first chair in the orchestra doesn’t mean you can compose a symphony.


My name is Masha Rostova, and I'm a Russian agent.