The Blacklist has always felt more like a big-budget Hollywood thriller than an episodic crime drama, and the premiere of season 2 doesn't suggest that's changing. Season 2 picks up at an indeterminate time after season 1 -- a few weeks at least -- and keeps the action going at a great pace. And though the premiere works well for returning viewers, it also serves as a decent introduction to the series that gives a nice introduction to the characters and their relationships.
Plus it was a lot of fast-paced fun where you're encouraged to root for the bad guy -- Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) -- simply because he's better than all of the other bad guys... at least as long as you stay on his good side. If you're a fan, this season is shaping up to be good fun. If you've never watched, then this is a good jumping on point. So what are you waiting for? Get watching!
Missed the premiere? You can catch The Blacklist on NBC Monday nights or watch it online on NBC.com or Hulu. If you missed the first season, you can watch it in its entirety on Netflix... or if you'd just like a crash course, this YouTube video will get you up to speed fast.
Now, let's dig into the premiere episode, which starts right in the middle of the action with Raymond "Red" Reddington waking in a car in Cameroon in his first kidnapping of the episode. (He gets kidnapped twice: it's a busy day.) Of course, because it's Red, this is all part of the plan: he wanted to meet up with the leader of the group in order to find out who arch-enemy Berlin has sent to hunt him.
Red offers $3 million in exchange for the information, but there's a time limit: Red's already arranged to have the compound struck by Hellfire Missiles, and soon everything's ablaze. In the end, Red gets his information, sets the cash he'd brought on fire, and walks away. If you've watched the series before, you know this is Red's style at its best, but for newbies it's a great introduction to the character... and it gives us our target for the episode, a hacker called Lord Baltimore who has a talent for finding people by mining their online data.
What is it with people on this show and location-based names? I don't know.
Red's FBI friends are none too happy about his methods, but his information is good and they set out to hunt Baltimore, starting with a lead that sends them to a data analyst named Rowan who puts on an excellent innocent act. How does she pull that off -- considering we'll later find out that she's Lord Baltimore? She has two distinct personalities and one of them is Baltimore.... but the other doesn't know it. Her accomplice Marcus knows how to trigger the shift, causing her to change from Rowan to Baltimore and helping her execute her plans while remaining above suspicion.