We suppose The Blacklist has a number of surprises in store as it embarks on its 10th and final season — and Sunday’s premiere brought a particularly pleasant one.
Amir Arison — who left The Blacklist during last season’s finale, along with Laura Sohn as Alina Park — made a brief (but still-delightful) return as Aram Mojtabai in the episode’s opening scene. As Aram left the Metropolitan Museum of Art and returned to his bike, looking more relaxed than he has in years, he was surprised to spot Red across the street, looking worse than he has in years: bearded, longer-haired, and strangely getting into a taxi instead of his usual private car. Aram called out for Red’s attention, but Red didn’t reply… and shortly after Red’s cab took off, there was a sudden explosion at a townhouse just down the street.
There’s no word on whether Arison will make additional appearances during Season 10, but his character’s fleeting return was an important one: It revealed that Red was back in New York City after taking sisters Mierce and Weecha back to Guatemala more than six months ago. Neither Dembe nor Cooper had any idea that Red was back in the area, and it’s anyone’s guess what he’s up to now that he’s returned to the city.
In fact, we didn’t see very much of Red during Sunday’s premiere. At one point, a real estate agent gave him a tour of a sizable property in the city — which he’s presumably looking to use for business, not pleasure — but the building failed to satisfy Red’s mysterious needs, and they continued their search. Meanwhile, near the end of the hour, Dembe picked up on the fact that Red no longer has security with him, isn’t using a car service and is getting around via public transportation. Red was cagey and merely said that nothing was going on with him — “well, nothing and everything,” he amended.
Thus, most of the episode focused on the people who are trying to track down Reddington and, ideally, kill him. You’ll recall that at the end of Season 9 — way back in May 2022 — Red’s longtime confidant-turned-nemesis Marvin Gerard set in motion a plan to get revenge on Red, by turning former Blacklisters (whom Red helped imprison) against him and exposing Red’s immunity deal with the FBI to the criminal underworld. During the Season 9 finale, Marvin Gerard gave a list of previous Blacklisters’ names to a criminal named Wujing, who popped up again in Sunday’s return as the clear leader of the plan to annihilate Red.
In the premiere’s final scene, Wujing recruited an assassin named Alban Veseli — better known as The Freelancer — to the cause of destroying Reddington. The Freelancer first appeared as the subject of The Blacklist‘s second episode ever, and he reemerged during Season 8 when Liz Keen required his services. Now, he’s out of jail once again, and Wujing wants The Freelancer on his team: “We’re not friends, Mr. Veseli,” Wujing stated. “But we do have a common enemy.”
Elsewhere in the hour, we were introduced to Siya Malik, the daughter of Parminder Nagra’s Season 1 character, Meera Malik. Siya now works with MI6, but after crossing paths with the FBI task force as they investigated that townhouse explosion in New York, Siya felt compelled to work more closely with the task force and finish whatever it was that her mother had started with them. To Siya, it’s no small coincidence that she and Harold Cooper encountered each other again after all these years; she suggested to Cooper that MI6 could loan her to the task force for a while — just until this current case, aka The Great Hunting of Raymond Reddington, is closed — and Cooper said he’ll consider it.
“I hope so,” Siya told him. “You need agents you can trust. I’m one.”
OK, your turn. What did you think of The Blacklist‘s final season premiere? Grade it below, then drop a comment!