"Welcome to the family."
With those words,Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) has officially made his transition to The Blacklist: Redemption.
Tom may never have had a chance to grow up with his mother and father as Christopher Hargrave, but on Redemption, he suddenly finds himself in the unenviable position of being caught between two warring parents, only one of whom is telling him the truth. That would be Scottie (Famke Janssen) and Howard Hargrave (Terry O'Quinn).
Thursday's pilot episode picks up immediately after the events on the winter finale of The Blacklist. Tom's been watching baby Agnes all night while Liz (Megan Boone) has been dealing with Red Reddington's (James Spader) poisoning debacle, and thinks she has an ear infection. While Liz and Tom are trying to sort out child care for the day, he gets a call from his father's attorney, who wants him to go to New York for a private meeting about Howard's will.
Liz encourages him to go, if for no other reason than they could potentially be inheriting millions of dollars (and Tom may get answers to some of the questions that have been plaguing him ever since his father's, ahem, "death"). It's just a day trip and, as she puts it, "What could possibly go wrong?"
As instructed, Tom goes to Washington Square Park to meet the mystery caller, who turns out to be his father Howard (who was allegedly killed in a plane crash a few weeks prior). According to Howard, the plane was sabotaged by his wife/Tom's mother Scottie so that Scottie could take over Howard's global company. Howard says he's been searching for Tom for 30 years and plans to keep up the ruse that he's dead, so that Tom can infiltrate Scottie's company and find out what she's up to. After all, Scottie offered Tom a job once before; why wouldn't she again?
While Tom's on the phone relaying the information to an understandably confused Liz, Scottie pulls up in a police car and, as Howard predicted, tries once again to recruit Tom to her organization.
In terms of the case of the week that Tom gets pulled into, involving a woman and her son who have been kidnapped, Redemption feels very familiar to its predecessor, with part of the team tracking down a vaguely memorable villain as they're guided by the brains of the operation back at the hub. We don't get much of a feel for the main players, save for the fact that Dumont (Adrian Martinez) is a little bit creepy and Matias (Edi Gathegi) is ruthless when it comes to getting information from potential informants.
But back to the central plot: Tom says he'll help Scottie find the kidnapped woman but that's it. After that, he's out. Needless to say, that plan goes out the window once Tom starts to empathize with Scottie, who seems to genuinely miss her husband and confides in Tom about how Howard was her "rock" after they tragically lost their son. But, she adds, Howard bottled up his pain until it turned into paranoia and he vanished a few months before the plane crash, after the company board declared him mentally incompetent.
Another interesting tidbit, per Scottie (as she creepily flirts with Tom -- who is, again, her son): Since Christopher's body was never found, Howard always held out hope for finding his son and left a sizable portion of the estate to him. But Scottie is less optimistic and her lawyers are working to have Christopher declared legally dead so that she can get Howard's money. The point is driven home at Howard's funeral, where Scottie gives a touching speech in which she blames herself for losing Christopher since she was supposed to be watching him the day he disappeared at the beach, and says she hopes she, Howard and Christopher will all be together in the next life.
Here's what we can expect from The Blacklist: Redemption
She may not have to wait that long. Immediately after Howard's father, Tom again meets him in Washington Square Park and says he's skeptical that Scottie is the conniving conwoman Howard is making her out to be. To prove his point, Howard shows Tom a report showing that the fuel system on his jet had been tampered with. He also shows Tom his personal war room in which he investigated his son's disappearance.
In Howard's version, Scottie was able to get over Christopher vanishing and Howard envied her because he was never able to. He dedicated his whole life to finding Christopher and his quest raised some serious questions about Scottie, particularly about her connection to something called "Whitehall." He was rewarded for his efforts by his wife accusing him of being insane and forcing him out of his own company.
So now, Scottie Hargrave is in charge of a global intelligence operation, but what is she using it for? Howard thinks her motivations are nebulous at best, and tasks Tom with stopping her. And Tom, after doing a sudden 180, is all in. He tracks Scottie down at the gravesite of Christopher and, now, Howard, where Tom slyly notes that his mother, like Scottie, also had an affinity for tongue twisters.
Scottie casually confirms that Tom's mother died when he was young and observes that life just sucks sometimes. For Tom Keen, if nothing else, life is about to get a lot more complicated.
The Blacklist: Redemption airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.
Well, for starters, the cab driver takes Tom to the wrong address in Manhattan -- namely, a pay phone booth where Tom picks up a ringing receiver to hear a voice on the other line refer to him as Christopher Hargrave and recite his whole history back to him.