It’s been two months since “The Blacklist” premiere teased the flash-forward scene of a gun-wielding Reddington (James Spader) standing over the bloodied body of Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) in an ominous twist of events. Now, in Wednesday night’s winter finale that scene comes full circle for the NBC drama. And it’s all because of a suitcase full of old bones.
The winter finale episode entitled “Ian Garvey” picks up where last week’s human-smuggling episode left off, with Tom in the clutches of the bespectacled, heavy-set Garvey (Jonny Coyne). The Blacklister is not only seeking the suitcase full of human remains, but is insisting on entrapping one Red Reddington, and using Tom to do it. Meanwhile, Liz (Megan Boone) has the entire Post Office out looking for her husband, and Red continues lying to her while tracking Tom’s whereabouts through his top-secret connections.
As seen in Variety‘s exclusive clip below, it won’t take long for Reddington and Tom to reunite following the kidnapping, or to realize that Tom is in pretty rough shape from the entire ordeal.
With the body count mounting and a suitcase full of secrets ready to come to the forefront, Variety talks with Eggold, showrunner John Eisendrath and creator Jon Bokenkamp about what to expect in the winter finale.
Is it safe to say this episode is a culmination of the Reddington-Tom relationship?
Bokenkamp: There was a flash-forward at the end of our first episode that showed Tom bloodied and in a very precarious place, with Red standing over him with a gun in fist. That was a little bit of a glimpse ahead of somewhere we’d end up. In this episode we do finally arrive back at that moment. So yes they are very much on a collision course and in this episode we get to a great moment where Tom and Red are in the backseat of a car together and the suitcase full of bones sits right between them. That storyline very much comes to a head.
Eisendrath: Tom was coming home to tell Liz all about the suitcase and what it was and then the first thing that she said to him in the premiere was, ‘Hey Red’s my father.’ Tom realized that maybe he shouldn’t show her what he found. So the first eight episodes followed him realizing that he needed to do something separate from Liz because Red was going to otherwise interfere with it. By the winter finale Red has done everything he can to get back the suitcase and then there it is sitting between Tom and Red. You wonder who is going to get the better end of the deal and where it’s going to end up.
Ryan, what has it been like getting more scenes with James Spader and showcasing that relationship?
Eggold: This season has been the most fun in a way because it was almost a little simpler before when there was no relation. Reddington was a guy who hired him to do a job, he disobeyed him, broke his trust and that was that. This season has been really interesting because there’s been this sort of forced attempt with Tom knowing that Red is Liz’s father, and that makes him his father-in- law in a strange way. There’s an exchange between them in the winter finale where they actually talk almost for the first time, where they communicate in a way they haven’t before. It’s very important for their relationship. James and I were talking the other day and saying that these characters have a lot of similarities. They’re both good at what they do, and they’re good at being unattached. That’s perhaps the source of some of their friction, that besides both having strong feelings for and towards Liz, they both
recognize a hint of themselves in the other.
In approaching these first eight episodes did you treat them like a mini-season?
Eisendrath: We do approach each season as two mini-seasons. Often I find that first batch of stories to be the most seamless. Eight episodes is such a good number to tell one through-line story where every episode can have a big turn to it. If you’re telling 22 stories you’re not going to have 22 huge turns. Eight is a great number so we did approach this year knowing what our endpoint was going to be and working backwards from there with the biggest turns we could put in the episodes.
Watch an exclusive clip from the winter finale of “The Blacklist” below:
“The Blacklist” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.