The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington James Spader NBC

Spoilers for the Season 8 premiere of The Blacklist are discussed below

Well, that was a wild ride! The Blacklist came roaring back for its Season 8 premiere in the explosive manner it vowed to start off with, as it picked up right after last seasons’ shocker. It was an hour that seemed to be setting up a potentially illuminating follow-up next week. For now though, all fans’ eyes are on what the premiere had to offer.

In one surprising twist, Dom turned out to be alive and well in the wake of a recasting shocker. Guiding Light’s Ron Raines (Alan Spaulding) replaced the late Brian Dennehy in the role during the Season 8 premiere, leading to The Blacklist making good on the promise of the character’s return. How much longer Dom manages to stick around is a significant question heading into next week’s episode, and so are these.

The Blacklist James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC

Is Red N-13?

As teased before the Season 8 premiere, The Blacklist had Katarina divulge a pretty seismic revelation to Liz. She heavily implied that Red is the all-elusive KGB super-spy “N-13,” a.k.a. neizvestno (unknown in Russian)-13. Is this who Red really is? Liz jumped all over the possibility, but I think that's too easy of a leap. After the not for real-Ilya reveal, I have to remain guarded.

The Blacklist Laila Robins Katarina Rostova NBC

Is Katarina A Phony?

A lot of what Katarina told Liz and how she acted smelled of intense fakery. She clearly has an ulterior motive, and it seems ominous. After the Season 8 premiere, I remain more convinced than ever that this is not who Lotte Verbeek’s Katarina grew into but rather that Laila Robins is playing an imposter. Another fake may seem like a stretch, but how else can The Blacklist explain the monumental personality difference?

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC

Why Is Red So Sure Liz Has A Dark Side?

In the Season 8 premiere, Red and Cooper (Liz’s two father figures) commiserated over Liz’s turning of the tide. While playing the blame game, Red ended up saying it was Liz’s preconceived destiny -- one they seemed to fear for reasons previously revealed to be based on lies. Liz’s biological father, Raymond Reddington, was not a traitor. So is Liz actually heading for villain status, or is The Blacklist playing with us?

The Blacklist Hisham Tawfiq Dembe Zuma NBC

Is This The Endgame Season?

A lot of how The Blacklist handled its storylines last night hinted that the veteran crime drama is heading to the final minutes in the game -- or at least, the one that has propelled the series for the past seven seasons. The ending for Season 8 has been heavily speculated, and the premiere made me do a double-take. Liz’s destiny has put it within a disquieting striking distance.

The Blacklist Ron Raines Dominic Wilkinson Dom Rostova NBC

Why Did Dom Lie To Liz?

Dom’s relationship with the truth has taken a massive hit since his tall tale about Red being Ilya Koslov was exposed. Liz is grasping to understand his motivation, and so am I. What could be worth all of this torturous back-and-forth? The only thing I can come up with is Red is somehow related to Dom. Remember, Red’s “kiss” with maybe-Katarina was not steamy in the least.

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The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC

Was Liz’s Ressler Kiss Genuine?

Speaking of liplocks, it's time to address Liz kissing Ressler. Liz was acting so strangely when it happened, so I doubt shippers of The Blacklist pairing can rest easy in believing it's a genuine step forward for the duo. My guess? Liz was influenced by her mom’s horrifying story about being forced to sleep with a serviceman. I think Liz was trying to “seduce” Ressler, and she succeeded. Liz got his gun away from him.

The Blacklist Katarina Rostova Laila Robins Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC

Will Katarina Murder Dom?

Katarina has been trying to kill Dom for a while and, if Liz thinks she can hold him back, I'm doubtful she can. Her maybe-mom is out for vengeance, and she will not stop until she gets it. Remember, Katarina’s second husband was accidentally blown up by Dom and Ilya, instead of her. At this point, I think Katarina will succeed in killing Dom, making Liz inextricably responsible for her mom committing an outright murder. Her turn to villainy, complete.

The Blacklist Harry Lennix Harold Cooper Laura Sohn Agent Alina Park Amir Arison Aram Mojtabai Diego Klattenhoff Donald Ressler NBC

Are Viewers Really About To Learn The truth?

The Season 8 premiere, and the promo that followed, it heavily hinted that fans of The Blacklist were finally about to get some real answers. No more phony stuff! Is that actually going to be the case? Liz (and viewers) have been here before, hopeful without any entirely-existent optimism that it's happening. Answers did come in this modified season-opener, so we'll have to see. But right now, I doubt it.

The Blacklist Megan Boone Elizabeth Liz Keen James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC

Can Red Forgive Liz (Again)?

One aspect of the Season 8 premiere that took me by surprise was how well Red took Liz’s oscillating allegiances. He's been furious with Liz before, and it almost ended the friendly side of their relationship. Will he ever trust her again? She goes behind his back to learn his identity, almost gets him executed, and now she's siding with her mom. I could forgive Red for severing ties with her.

The Blacklist Katarina Rostova Laila Robins NBC

What Is Going On With Katarina’s Murder Accusation?

Katarina’s narrative on Dom does not add up. I can't see Dom wanting to indiscriminately kill his daughter because I can't imagine Red tolerating a person who would conspire to commit filicide unless there was some extraordinary circumstance such as self-defense. Despite her purported “trustworthiness,” Katarina’s troubling accusations only add fuel to the Katarina imposter theory. Of course, Dom hasn't exactly denied the accusation that I can remember.

The Blacklist has set up an assortment of conflicts, and I have no earthly idea where they're headed. Katarina’s influence on Liz was omnipresent in the Season 8 premiere, and she took a hit as a result. The series’ creator has teased that mama Rostova will have an impact on her daughter, and I don't see it as a good thing.

To her credit, Megan Boone’s performance during the Season 8 premiere brought empathetic shades to Liz’s befuddling quest for answers, and I did feel something for her in that regard. Time will tell if that sticks. New episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, and they will, hopefully, continue into 2021’s winter/spring schedule. While you wait for Season 8 to continue, you can catch up on past seasons of The Blacklist via Netflix’s releases.

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