The critically acclaimed NBC show The Blacklist returns to our screens for it's third season in just under a month, and as we edge ever closer to the premier date excitement is mounting regarding the "different feel" that has been promised for the new season.
A New Equilibrium
To be honest, it was about time something happened to shake up the procedural format that the show had been following thus far. After a fantastically strong start in Season 1 it jumped the shark much earlier than expected in the middle of Season 2 with the overly silly "repressed-memory recovery" sub-plot in Luther Braxton Conclusion (S2E10).
Yes, I know that this incident feeds into the overall narrative question of Liz (Meghan Boone) and Red (James Spader)'s relationship, but it felt like pseudo-science shoehorned in for the sake of moving that narrative along without actually giving much thought to it. Which is a shame because the writing had been fairly clever up until this point.
Anyway, after it all got a bit weird in Season 2, series creator Jon Bokenkamp has promised that the format shake up in Season 3 will reinvigorate the narrative, bringing an "organic" sense of "a real energy and urgency".
The Blacklist Is Still The Name Of The Game
Though the whole format is going to be rocked come time for The Blacklist Season 3, Exec. Producer John Eisendrath says that Liz and Red will continue to follow the procedural formula of the show to an extent, as they continue to hunt down blacklisters episode by episode in an attempt to clear Liz's name. (Though you know, she did shoot an unarmed guy, even if he totally deserved it, so that's going to cause a whole heap of problems for her even if she manages to prove that Tom Connolly (Reed Birney) was in the employ of the Cabal.)
Now that her face is up there on the Most Wanted board alongside Reddington the Post Office team are going to be after Liz with a vengeance believing that she has betrayed them, Agent Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) most of all.
"That’s going to cause a lot of tension between those on the task force, each of whom has a very specific point of view about the value of [arresting Liz]. Ressler is a dogged, by-the-book guy who is going to bring them in. At the same time, 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." - John Eisendrath
Bokenkamp has made references towards the fact that the producers do in fact know where they're going with the Red/Liz subplot, with pieces of said puzzle being dropped over the last two seasons of the show's run.
“I understand that there’s an appetite to want the whole truth. But the whole truth won’t come until the end, and along the way, many breadcrumbs have been laid out. We’re definitely working toward an endgame."
An endgame you say? Yes please.
The problem with so many shows like The Blacklist is that the producers drag them out, allowing them to run into double digit seasons because they make money, with the writing suffering as the dead horse continues to be beaten.
It's far better to complete a concise series where the loose ends are tied and resolved rather than letting the story burn down and the narrative strands spin out of control until the ratings justify it being cancelled. The fact that they have an endgame in sight for the show bodes well, and we can only hope that it ends on a bang rather than a whimper.