The Blacklist: Redemption 1×01 Review: ‘Leland Bray’

The Blacklist spin-off titled “The Blacklist: Redemption” kicked off last night with it’s premiere episode, “Leland Bray”. It started out with Tom meeting  a stranger in the park who turned out to be his father who wasn’t actually dead. Apparently he faked his death after Tom’s mother Scottie Hargrave, tried to kill him. I have no idea who to believe in this situation. Whenever Scottie talked about her grief over her husband’s death, she seemed genuinely upset, but she could just be putting on an act. A really good one, but an act nonetheless. I definitely don’t trust her, but Tom’s father just seems really shady. He wouldn’t answer any of Tom’s questions, and wouldn’t tell Tom why he had to accept Scottie Hargrave’s job offer, just that he needed to do it with no other explanation. Also, a line that he kept repeating was:

Stay under the trees, they can’t see you under the trees.

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Which to me doesn’t inspire much confidence in his sanity and trustworthiness.

Overall, “Leland Bray” was pretty enjoyable. I still don’t really understand why Liz keeps encouraging Tom to find out about his past when she seemed so upset about it before, but Tom took her advice to find out what really happened to him as a child, so it’s happening now, whether she likes it or not.

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The premise of “Leland Bray” is that Tom is going in to help Scottie with one mission and that’s it, but we all know he’s going to get dragged in to more and more missions until he’s in too deep to get out. Honestly, I don’t think Tom really wants to go back to his domestic life with Liz.

Every time he gets to go out on a mission he just seems to be completely in his element, and I don’t necessarily think that that is something he will be able to give up once he finds out about his past once and for all. Tom does care about Agnes, but he’s never been comfortable in the role of father, always running off to fight bad guys whenever he gets the chance. I think this is going to be a pretty big dilemma for him to face at the end of “Redemption”.

Now I feel kind of bad for saying it, but my favorite part of the episode was definitely Solomon. He’s a terrible person, and I’ll never be able to look past him trying to kill Liz and the rest of the task force, and drugging and kidnapping Dembe’s granddaughter, and then kidnapping Dembe, and just in general killing a lot of people and being a horrible villain, but he has a charm and a tendency for witty banter that is impossible not to like.

Some of the best scenes from “Leland Bray” came from his banter with Tom and the ease with which he threw insults at him. I might come to regret it later, but for right now, Solomon is the best part of “Redemption” for me.

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Now, I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m not really a Tom fan,

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but I think that these episodes will be an interesting study of his character. He obviously has a strong moral code. He refused to hurt any innocent people in this first mission for Scottie, but I’m skeptical about how long that could last if he gets in too deep. If he continues to go on missions for Scottie, he could reach a point where he has no choice but to hurt an innocent person in order to keep his cover from being blown or dismantling the whole operation.

Whatever ends up happening, “Redemption” is a welcome outlet to focus on Tom without dealing with his tedious relationship drama with Liz that has become one of the main plot points in The Blacklist. I just hope that by the end of this, Tom finally gets all of the answers he needs about his past, so they don’t have to talk about it anymore in the Blacklist, and they can spend time developing other characters like Ressler, Aram, and Samar.

Redemption will be airing for eight weeks while The Blacklist is on hiatus. Join us next week to see what shenanigans The Blacklist’s version of the Suicide Squad will get into, and check out the trailer for the next episode, “Kevin Jensen” below!

The Blacklist: Redemption airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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