Monday, September 28, 2015

Welcome to The Blacklist Season 3!

** This article is almost completely comprised of spoilers. ** 

Written by Chompstick

It's good to be back to be back among my fellow The Blacklist addictees on the Blacklist Support Group.  I am deeply grateful to our loyal BSG members who were constant participants here during the summer. I am shocked at the volume of activity - almost 2,000 posts since the season 2 finale!!!  I spent the summer free-diving off the small island of  Ko Ri, in the Andaman Sea.  No internet (or donuts) of course, so I was absent from the site. But I'm back full-time. My enormous thanks to Tabasko and Charmed, two of my moderators, who helped keep the joint running smoothly in my absence. I had an extra daiquiri every day in their horror honor.

Trying to outrun a lionfish in Ko Ri
Full Disclosure:  My real vacation was to Virginia.  Read about Red's time spent in Ko Ri as told to Liz in in a monologue in Berlin. 

A warm welcome to our newest members:  Honey West, Kodiak, One Paul, Pamnation, and Tatiana.  Much of the spoiler material below was provided by Tabasko, who included contributions from Honey West, Marie, BL Mom, Kodiak, and One Paul. My sincere apologies to anyone I have missed.  Those Lionfish stings really do a number on your brain. 

The half hour video is hosted by my man, Ryan Eggold, and includes interviews with Megan Boone, James Spader, executive producers John Eisendrath and Jon Bokenkamp, and brief snippets from Hisham Tawfiq and others. 

The NBC site has other great videos, also.

The Blacklist, Season 3:  Opening Scene

Daniel Knauf

When you have a spare hour and a half, listen to this fantastic Podcast Interview with co-executive producer and writer, Daniel Knauf, who wrote, among many other great scenes, Dembe's backstory. Thanks, Marie, for providing this invaluable find.

Let's take a look at what to expect from season 3

At the end of season 2, Liz was framed by the Cabal for the murder of Senator Hawkins. She then murdered Attorney General Tom Connolly, which put her on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitive list. Shooting Connolly shattered Liz's amnesia and she remembered killing her father to protect her mother, Katarina Rostova, a Russian spy. Rostova may still be alive.

Season 3 promises to be much darker now that Liz is operating outside the law. This week's premier, The Troll Farmer,  will begin the season with high energy, urgency, and danger, picking up immediately where the season 2 finale left off. Liz and her newly blond hair are now fully immersed in Red's world, and together they are on the run, "more dangerous together than apart, since Liz has expert knowledge of FBI procedures and no one exceeds Red's vast resources." 

Poor Meghan ...

her hair is once again a topic of discussion.  

Assistant FBI Director Harold Cooper is under investigation so Donald Ressler must lead the task force in the manhunt.

He is conflicted and not only views Liz's actions as a personal betrayal, he is forced to struggle with right and wrong. Liz will turn to a very unlikely place in her bid to escape, which enrages Ressler, who is very gung-ho about catching his former partner and will go to great lengths to do so, even if it means putting others in danger. It will be rewarding to finally see Ressler receive greater character development. Like the other cast regulars, he has been sadly underutilized.

Aram and Samar are presumably around and hopefully get more action this season. At work and elsewhere.  It is unknown what they think of Liz.

At least initially, the Blacklister du week (for those of you new to the site, I take great pleasure in making up words) will be someone Red is seeking out ​for ​assistance, rather than elimination.

The executive producers state, "We have found opportunities for Red and Liz to convince the FBI that one of the best ways to keep track of them is to assist them in going after certain blacklisters, who Red and Liz are going after in order to exonerate Liz."  It seems that the blacklisters will be integral to the current Red and Liz on the run storyline, and the overall mythology, making the episodes more serialized. Many of us here at BSG have voiced a preference for more serialized episodes rather than a combined procedural/serial episode with a separate blacklister theme. The John/Jon's have implied a new show format, so perhaps that is part of it.

A fundamental element of the series is Liz's growth and discovery of who she really is. 

She begins this year knowing more about herself: killing Connolly awoke a memory of Liz killing her father. She now knows why Red blocked her memory - to protect her from this awful memory, not to benefit himself. One evolution in season 3 is that Liz is no longer in denial and now accepts that Red is the person he describes himself as. In season 2, Liz said, "I know you think you care about me but every time you do something that makes me think you really do, you do something else that reminds me that you simply aren't capable of it."  Red called himself a "sin eater" (a truly fascinating concept) who will do whatever it takes to protect Liz, for reasons she's still not clear about. "I absorb the misdeeds of others darkening my soul to keep theirs pure, that is what I am capable of." What others, I wonder, other than Liz? Liz does still believe that Red holds all the answers. I think we can count on that being the case until the series finale.

Liz has gradually become less emotional in her work. 

She still acts from her heart, not her head, but is better able to make solid decisions that aren't based solely on emotion. Megan Boone's acting has matured greatly, and I believe the audience is responding positively to the more aggressive, darker Liz-with-a-backbone.

Some more specifics, mostly provided by Tabasko:

  • Spoiler photos and official NBC previews indicate a​ more action-oriented Red, which I think we will all welcome. 
  • Liz and Red disguise themselves as DC police officers.  To say that Red looks absurd is putting it mildly.  Liz, on the other hand, looks good as a blond.
  • They get derailed on their way out of the country. The spoilers have said they split up at some point. Wherever they go somehow infuriates Ressler, but he ends up helping Liz escape. Liz is also said to be getting help from the Russian embassy.
  • Edi Gethegi will be returning as Mr. Solomon, a henchman of sorts for the Cabal. It seems they will not know who he is at first. This is a recurring role, and he appears to be on through at least episode 6.
  • According to the showrunners, Solomon is evil, ruthless, and dangerous, and will do whatever it takes to find and kill Red and Liz.
  • Paul Reubens will be back as Mr. Vargas for at least three episodes. There is unanimous glee, I'm sure, at this news! There have been photos of him filming episode 2, it is believed, so he should be back soon. 
  • There is a dog in some spoilers, but it is not Hudson.  Or maybe it is, in his 5th or 6th incarnation. I guess we should assume that Mr. Kaplan will have to take Hudson now that she's serving as a Pet Recovery Agent for Cat in the Flat.
  • A fairly unknown actress put a few pictures of herself online indicating she was filming with The Blacklist and portraying a woman of “mystery and intrigue.” She has long, blond hair and was wearing big sunglasses and a scarf. In the one spoiler, it is mentioned that Liz realizes she resembles her mother more fully after she goes blond herself. The actress appears too young to be a current Katarina Rostova, but could it be her in flashbacks?
  • Jacob/Tom doesn't figure prominently (read: at all) in the spoilers (sob!), but he will be around. My prediction was that Liz and Red escaped with my Dreamboat on his boat, but that does not appear to be the case.
  • The spoilers say Jacob doesn't know yet that ​Liz killed Tom Connolly, but that he will turn up to help her when he finds out. So he will still be anchored to Liz. 

Tabasko has provided specific descriptions of the first several episodes, and included her own assessments:

Episode 1:  The Troll Farmer
"The FBI hunts for Liz for the murder of the Attorney General in the Season 3 premiere.  Also: Red and Liz try to flee the city with help from a blacklister called the Troll Farmer; and Dembe is put in a perilous situation."

Apparently, there are things called Troll Farms in St. Petersburg, Russia, that specialize in hiring loads of Russians to use the internet to cause panic, and spread pro-Russian propaganda.  There was a very interesting New York Times article about it. I am not sure if they are connected to the show's plot.

Episode 2: Marvin Gerard
Liz escapes to the Russian embassy as the FBI corners her and Red. Liz can trust no one but Red, who mobilizes a lawyer named Marvin Gerard to help them evade a difficult hostage situation. Meanwhile, the FBI tries to push Cooper out of the task force.

So, it seems Cooper is not in jail, as predicted by a number of BSG sleuths. ​ Marvin Gerard is in jail and Red and Liz somehow negotiate with t​he FBI to deliver him to them. He is in jail for kidnapping his son after his ex was given custody. Prior to that​, he was a very successful and well known defense attorney famous for winning very difficult cases. 

Episode 3: Eli Matchett
Megan Boone tweeted some photos from this one with blood on her hands, and someone recognizes her. There was a piece online written by someone who claimed to work on the episode. Not sure if it’s reliable. Anyway, for sure they shot it in Iowa, in a rural looking location.

Episode 4: The Djinn
This is what they are: supernatural creatures in Islamic mythology as well as pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, kind of like demons. I think it will be a name for a real person, like the Stewmaker or Alchemist.  Veteran actor David Diaan has been cast for this episode as a character named Bahram Bakhash.

Episode 5: Wendigo
​Could be from The Mombasa Cartel (Wendigo- the company that owned the ranch that weird family in Alaska was hunting people on) Maybe more to do with Dembe. Or not.

Episode 6: Sir Crispin Chandler
​Patrick Chandler was the politician who the Kingmaker was setting up for winning an election. Then he killed his own wife. Who knows if its connected. It’s a funny name, regardless. I think they need Crispin Glover to play him. He would be a great blacklister.

Entertainment Weekly
TV Line


BL Mom said...

Chompstick, this is an excellent rundown. Applause to your crew and your great site.

Lisa Dale Jones said...

Thanks Chopstick - welcome back! That must have been quite a vacation!! This season will be amazing...

Laocoon said...

Welcome back! Missed you!

Tabasko said...

NBC Video Shoud We Trust Reddington

This is a fun, new one. Re-establishes a few basics. I like the feel of where the story is going. Very excited!!

Tabasko said...

Chomps, our pleasure! Glad to hear we upped the world dacquiri consumption a bit! Ha.

LOL, I hope your lion fish sting wasn't too painful. Did a Moken Sea Gypsy appear in the form of Ryan Eggold?

A well-written and entreating piece, from talented you! Too funny, Red does look pretty absurd in that uniform. He is much more suited to....suits. Everyone knows I am happy about more Ressler. Donald.....

Hmmm, a few updates since we did this.

-Aram does appear in a brief preview moment, where he is expressing his belief Liz is innocent to Samar. He seems worried. In the preview, Samar does not respond.
-Episode 2, Marvin Gerard, is in jail for kidnapping his son after his ex got custody. Not murder. Sorry, Mr. Gerard!
-Episode 3 is supposed to be Eli Matchett now.

Great, great job! LOL on Hudson and Mr. K.

Marie said...

Great job, Chomps!(I love the Tabasko photo. LOL)

And great work Tabasko and Charmed.

Chompstick said...

Tabs - *sigh* No Moken Sea Gypsy. No Ryan. No summer-long deserted beach vacation. lol
I just went back to add a disclaimer to my vacation claims, for anyone who might think I was lucky enough, or rich enough, to spend the summer off the coast of Thailand.

Nice avatar, Tabinski

Tabasko said...

Well, Mr. Chomplan, Ryan does not know what he's missing!

No summer exotic locales here, either, unless the Allegheny River really got an upgrade.

Thanks, Marie! : )

Chomps, some cool person made that avatar.

Kodiak said...

Excellent Season 3 intro, Tabasko and Chompstick. This is great. I enjoyed reading your insights into Liz, especially. This is great to have this all compiled in one place. Very well done.

Chompstick, thank you for the mention. You have a nice, smart and welcoming group. Great way to start a new season.

Tabasko, your posts break me up! I'm sure Mr.Gerard won't be offended (#5) Lol.

Tab #6 Good video. It really is a cool story. Given the choice, I trust Red. It has worked out well for the people he trusts.

Janie B said...

Gosh, it's great to hear from y'all again! I am thrilled and amazed to read (and see) all the info about Season 3. Thanks for all you do. On to Thursday!

Honey West said...

Good job, Chompstick! Love the recaps. There should be some lively discussions this season.

Tabasko #4, great find! I was too busy this weekend to check the NBC site for anything new. You tell me, in watching that video did you get the distinct impression that they were comparing Red's operations to the Cabal's? i still think he's sort of the AntiCabal. "In 1990 he turned his back on his family, his career and his country." That would sure seem to go against what we seem to think about him being framed and forced out of those things by the Cabal (or maybe even someone/thing else). Or perhaps that is THE "everything about me is a lie" LIE.

Can't wait for Thursday! Got my DVD recorder back up and running and able to record all channels again. Yeehah! Thank you, Mr. Google and all of the geeks out there who figured it out before I did!

Tabasko said...

Kodiak #9; That is a good point about Red. Dembe and Mr. Kaplan have a different lifestyle, to say the least, from the rest of us. They do work for Red, but there has to be a reason they care and stick around. (Except Luli, who it did not work out well for. Not Red's doing, though.)

He does have a slightly odd way in caring, where he does good things but there's often something coming back to him, too. But if I am Liz, I am definitely trusting him at this point. Red has these plans he needs certain things to achieve, but I think there's something that was, at least, at one time good underneath all that.

Janie B #10: Thanks! Nice to see you. Looking forward to your comments!

Tabasko said...

Honey West #11: Yes, I think that is a good point. They really went over how many major industries and areas Red has his operation into, something which they haven't covered in depth on the show as much lately, and something that will be coming more into focus in Season 3. He is a very powerful person and his operation, I think it is fair to say it rivals the Cabal. Anti-Cabal could very well be the case.

That statement about his disappearance, turned his back, etc., I do think that will end up being the "everything about me is a lie" lie. The why of why that happened, why someone with his life would up and leave with our apparent reason, and what happened during the 4 years before he resurfaced.........those are very interesting questions to me.

He has been shown to have some memories of remorse, things about the past he wants to forget, some serious loss of some kind, some sadness over losing his life of paying bills and play dates. I don't think it was his choice to just disappear to become The Concierge of Crime for only selfish reasons.

Just my current take on it, subject to change!

I am glad you are all set up for Thursday!

Chompstick said...

Kodiak, Honey West, and Tabloid -

That is a great video. The graphics, the pace, and the matter of fact voice-over all pack a punch in a way I think reflects what TPTB are saying is a change in the series this year. Darker, faster. I sure hope they don't eliminate all of Red's bon mots.

I don't have a lot to say other than voicing my agreement. The overview of Red was succinct and provided me with a greater understanding of the scope of his power. He kinda runs the world, no? Anti-Cabal is an astute assessment, Honey West.

#9 Kodiak - regarding trusting Red, I agree. He takes care of his own people, and while he lies and does whatever evil is necessary to take out his adversaries, he's loyal and honest with Liz and his other people. In return, he expects (demands?) the same from them (thus the demise of Gray). I would suggest that Red fully regards Dembe and Mr. Kaplan, and perhaps Hudson now, as his family. So sad that Luli died. He was very affected by her death - another family member.

#13 Tabasko said, "That statement about his disappearance, turned his back, etc., I do think that will end up being the "everything about me is a lie" lie. The why of why that happened, why someone with his life would up and leave with our apparent reason, and what happened during the 4 years before he resurfaced.........those are very interesting questions to me."

Even though the video hints at it being Red's choice to turn baddie, I still think Red was forced to disappear and the document theft was forced also. Underneath is a good guy. The why and how of the origin of his disappearance is the ultimate question and mystery of the series, the mythology (along with Liz's childhood) that serves as the foundation of the show. We won't get that answer for a long time.

Good to see you Raccoon, LDJ, BL Mom, and Janie B.

One Paul said...

This is quite a good preview and summary of Season 3. You've done an excellent job.

Chompstick #14

I really like your assessment here. I completely agree. I can see you, Tabasko, Kodiak, Honey West, others- have similar thoughts as I do. Red went where he did out of some necessity. Maybe by force, maybe by no other choice, which is kind of the same but also slightly different.

The abandonment of the family, career, etc. completely for his own choice to turn to a life of crime, that's the "everything about me is a lie" lie, completely agree.

No answer until the end, completely agree.

Chompstick said...

#15 - One Paul, "out of necessity" is a much more accurate descriptor than "forced" as I used. By no other choice is definitely what I had in mind; I just couldn't bring it to mind! lol

One Paul said...

Thanks, Chompstick! Same idea, really.

Tabasko said...

Chompaccino #15, One Paul #15: Yes, agree all around. Well written!

We are definitely still finding out about Red and his motivations. The other thing I find interesting is the concept of whether or not he will be able to "go back." The "hideous fish" story came up a few times in our summer discussions. Whether or not Red is so far over that he couldn't recognize a "light" if there was one. I think like Chomps, there is hope for him and underneath is something good.

Liz, maybe she will save him in a way, like she has begun to turn around the life of our friend Jacob. Although they are still calling him Tom in all the lists. Sorry, Chomps! But right now, Liz needs the saving.

Chompstick said...

I'm sticking with Jacob. Tom was the bad guy. Jacob was the young boy before he was taken and exploited, and now he is the (sexy) man seeking redemption, recognizing that he loves Liz and needs her and a normal life, turning his life around, and adopting uncharacteristic aquatic pursuits.

There's been much debate, but I'm in the school that the good guy is not an act. Therefore, he's Jacob, not Tom, the rotten bacteria at the bottom of a scummy pond. Follow my reasoning?

Tabasko said...

I sure do! Makes perfect sense. Maybe we need to start lobbying the show to begin using Jacob.

He got in the water at least once. His Season 3 promo pic, he's a bit wet!

Chompstick said...

I didn't see the pic! Where is it? Link please!

Tabasko said...

They are good

Tabasko said...

I meamt to send them with the other stuff. Totally forgot!!

fangirl said...

Jumping for joy!!! So glad to see you back Chomps!! You -- and your writing talent! -- have been sorely missed, O Fearless Leader.

Charmed said...

Chomps, Great articles and assessments that make me even more excited for the recaps. Thanks to all contributors

I would like to mention that many of us often agree due to the length of time we've posted together, not just because of the new "Agreeable Blog" software playing in the background 24/7. I think we finally got all the bugs out! LOL
Okay, that was a joke...

Chomperoo, Thanks for the nice things you said about Tabs and me as moderators. Luckily, we had some great people dropping by to share the summer and they ended up staying staying!

Thanks Marie. I enjoy being a mod with fun and interesting people like y'all. :))

Tabasko said...

Charmed #25: Agree on all that! Thanks, Chompanino!

Kodiak said...

Chompstick #14 this is great. You have summed it well.

Charmed #25 lol please someone copy me the agreeable blog software.

Chompstick #19 & Tabasko #20 I support you on Jacob. Cooler.

Tabasko said...

Ah!! Just realized I forgot one update to the Episode rundowns. The Troll Farm of the episode title seems to be Chinese, not Russian. There are several Chinese-American actors credited as "Trolls", a somewhat unfortunate resume entry, in the episode.

There is also one preview photo that shows Red and Liz in the room with them, and the "Trolls" are all seated at computers.

It has been described in the synopsis they will be sought out for help.

Charmed said...

Kodiak, I would like to be agreeable here, but I posted at 2:34 PM and you didn't answer back until 7:39 PM. Oops, we must have a bug!
I thought the "Agreeable Blog" software would be a big seller this Christmas, especially overseas.

Kodiak said...

Charmed #29 did I take that long? I'll quit my job tomorrow! They have all these requirements. Why.

Decca said...

Hello everyone, I have so enjoyed following all your musings on here over the summer, but now as the new series is starting in the US but not yet scheduled in the UK I will have to bow out for a while so as not to see any spoilers. I'll be back when it starts up again, albeit catching up with pages on previous episodes most of the time! Thanks and enjoy season 3 you lucky people ;-)

Chompstick said...

Hi Decca! Good to see you. Definitely avoid any spoilers. I think the consensus is that those who avoided spoilers probably enjoyed the episode more. I wish your viewing wasn't delayed. :(

Tabasko said...

Hi, Decca! We have had another poster also mention the series start date was not known in the UK. I hope it starts soon! Thanks for stopping by.

Charmed said...

#30 Kodiak, Yes, you did! Your humor fits right in at BSG.

Charmed said...

Hi Decca, Welcome. We will be here when your ready to share ideas anytime.

Charmed said...
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