Entering it’s third season on NBC, The Blacklist returns with FBI agent Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone) on the run with fugitive Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader). They are pursued by former colleagues of Liz’s for her connection with the murder of 14 CIA agents, and the two have the resources to stay one step ahead of the FBI on every level. With Liz’s deep understanding of FBI tactics and procedures, and Red’s numerous connections, they cannot afford to be separated. Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Assistant FBI Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) are leading the manhunt to track down the duo.

‘The Blacklist’ Recap & Review

In the season 2 finale, Liz condemns herself to a life on the run when she shoots and kills Attorney General Tom Connolly. Red offers sanctuary to Liz in the form of his many connections who can help them both stay out of trouble.

The premiere begins without much introduction. There is little to bring the audience up to speed on recent events apart from some stray lines in a roadside briefing that tells us that Liz has gone dark, allegedly involved in murder, and running away with a criminal mastermind. They apparently plan to audit Facebook, Twitter and Reddit to track down the two. As official as that sounds, it is hard to imagine that strategy won’t be obvious for Liz. Ressler will have to try harder than that.

And as Liz and Red predict, they’ll never make it out of Washington D.C. with the perimeter in place. Red turns to her and informs that they will not be leaving, in accordance to his ingenious plan. As surveillance footage shows, Liz and Red’s van enters a tunnel. But it never comes out, instead being loaded aboard a vehicle transport truck.

The two head to a bar where Red has a conversation with the bartender and a girl named Tiffany who he shows some suspicion towards. The plan is to wait in the basement until a man Red refers to as the “The Troll Farmer” shows up.

In the next scene, a baby is kidnapped by a man played by Edi Gathegi. The baby is taken so the kidnapper can get in touch with the grandfather. We’ll find out who that is.

In a previous episode, we learn that Liz’s mother was a Russian spy. We see this information being used against her as a news bulletin comes on their TV. The Director (David Straithern) is talking about The Fulcrum, a scheme which Red exposed, and stating that his accusers are criminals and one is in fact the daughter of an enemy operative.

Back at the black-site, The Director meets with the kidnapper whose name is Matheus. He is upset that the Fulcrum was leaked and tells The Director that “Every breath you draw is at our discretion.”

Back at the bar, Red’s suspicion of Tiffany is spot on. She called the FBI and they all have scramble to avoid being caught. It’s an even closer call when Tiffany’s phone rings. It’s Aram calling again to check on the tip. But the agents investigating the bar find no trace of the secret cellar they are hiding in and the trouble passes.

Liz dyes her hair blonde and it renders Red momentarily speechless because she looks just like her mother.

Red and Liz finally get to meet with The Troll Farmer and his real name is Chang. His business is misinformation, creating media rumors to distract the public from actual events. Hence the name “Troll Farmer.”  Troll Farmer and his team will create a distraction while Liz and Red make their escape.

Ressler receives a photo on Twitter that indicates the location of the fugitives. It turns out that the location indicated in the photo is a gang hideout and Samar gets captures. Ressler shoots the gang member in a mist of blood and Samar is angry because she could have been killed. Aram starts getting more and more tips about their location, and Troll Farmers’s plan is working like a charm.

Red and Liz are hidden in a pair of vans. Red makes it through the checkpoint but Liz doesn’t. her driver takes a detour to avoid the checkpoint. Red tries to build her confidence, but she feels hopeless without Red. She tells her driver to take her to 2650 Wisconsin Avenue. Red knows exactly where she is going from the address alone and begs her not to go. She’s going to the Russian embassy.

Red calls Ressler and offers up The Troll Farmer in return for Liz’s escape. Ressler accepts the offer.

The third season of The Blacklist is no different from the previous seasons, except that they have upped the antes on how far the fugitives will have to go. Red will likely do quite well on his own. Liz however will face being sent to Moscow, which is probably much less than ideal. But at least she is not in prison.

The Blacklist airs Thurdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Pictured: Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axrm0a85E6M