Anyone know a good family counselor in the Washington, D.C. area? Because Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington could really, really use one.
The Blacklist kicked off its sixth season on Thursday with Part 1 of its two-episode premiere. (The second half will air Friday at 9/8c, which serves as the show’s new time slot). And just when we thought Liz and Red’s relationship couldn’t possibly get any more dysfunctional, the NBC drama proved with its Season 6 opener that we were so, so wrong.
As you might recall, Season 5 ended with a major discovery for Liz: The Raymond Reddington she’s known for the last five years is not the real Raymond Reddington. That man died 30 years ago, and Red — er, “Red” — has been impersonating him ever since. In the wake of that life-changing news, Liz has teamed up with half-sister Jennifer in order to get to the bottom of Red’s lies and, ideally, ruin him. Until then, though, Liz has to slap on a smile and pretend that everything is hunky-dory with the man claiming to be her father.
In Thursday’s premiere, Red asks Liz and the FBI task force to locate Dr. Hans Koehler, a master of facial reconstruction for criminals who were previously believed to be dead or have gone dark. Though Red tries to act as though this is just another task force mission, in which a bad man will be locked up for his crimes, Liz knows better. Given that Red has been impersonating another man for the last three decades, Liz suspects that he was once a patient of Dr. Koehler’s and wants to locate him for his own personal gain. (Liz’s hunch turns out to be correct: Red indeed had his face altered at the hands of Dr. Koehler, and he wants to track the man down so that he can obtain a USB flash drive containing sensitive information.)
Dr. Koehler is ultimately found working out of a warehouse in D.C., where he and his nursing staff are being held hostage by a patient, Bastien Moreau aka The Corsican. Moreau is an expert assassin who called on Dr. Koehler to completely reconstruct his face — and once the surgery is complete, Moreau murders Koehler and his entire team. Liz and Red arrive just as Dr. Koehler is bleeding out, and before he dies, he quietly gives Red a clue as to where the USB drive is located. As for Moreau, he evades the FBI’s grasp in the premiere, but Friday’s episode is appropriately titled “The Corsican,” so the chase will inevitably continue.
Red does eventually get his hands on Koehler’s USB drive, and we learn that the drive contains a list of Koehler’s previous clients. After wiping his own name from it, Red passes it on to Liz, and they have a conversation on a park bench that is full of thinly veiled references to Red’s big secret. “I prefer to keep my nips and tucks to myself,” Red says, after confirming that he was once a patient of Dr. Koehler’s. “Forgive an old man his vanity.” Liz responds, “I’m sure you were always handsome,” to which Red replies, “Was I? I can’t remember.” (According to series creator Jon Bokenkamp, Red legitimately has no idea that Liz knows his secret at this point — but I can’t help thinking that Liz needs to play it much closer to the vest.)
Elsewhere in the premiere…
* Liz and Jennifer begin digging into the mysteries surrounding Red’s 30-year lie, and their investigation brings them to Rehoboth Beach, a coastal town in Delaware. They discover that Rehoboth Beach was the site of the fire that ruined Liz’s childhood, and they enlist the help of a local sheriff to see if they can track down any other people who were there on the night of the blaze.
* Ressler becomes increasingly annoyed that Red is still providing the task force with leads, given that he shot someone in FBI custody last spring and should really be behind bars right about now. Cooper initially insists that Red is a valuable team member, but later tells Liz that he’ll shut down the task force if it becomes too intense for her at any point. Liz, never one to back down from Red’s mind games, tells Cooper that it won’t be necessary to end the task force anytime soon.
* Samar is finally given a clean bill of health and is approved to return to FBI duty… unless, of course, she’s been having any trouble with speech or memory loss. Samar tells her doctor that she’s feeling fine, but something is clearly wrong with her throughout the premiere. Though the episode doesn’t shine too much light on Samar’s lingering health issues, she seems a bit distracted during the hour — and when Dembe congratulates her (on her engagement to Aram, of course), she puzzlingly responds, “For what?” Uh-oh.
Your turn! What did you think of The Blacklist‘s first episode back? Grade Part 1 of the premiere in our poll below, then drop a comment with your full reviews!