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The Blacklist - Smokey Putnam (No. 30)/Greyson Blaise (No. 37) - Review: "Empire"

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I have really been enjoying the first two episodes of The Blacklist this season, especially with Red having to breathe new life into his virtually non-existent criminal empire. James Spader has been, as always, amazing as Reddington and you can see a cheerier side to the character this season despite Mr. Kaplan taken everything from him last season.

We are used to Red, from the very start, using the blacklist for his own, and mostly nefarious, agenda. Season Five appears to be no different. In the first episode, we see him play the criminal justice system like a fiddle for his own gains. It's usually not until the end of a season or arc that Red's true intentions with the blacklisters are revealed. So far this season we have seen the unveiling of his plans at the end of each episode.

We still don't know much about what Red has truly lost except that he has no money. We can assume that all his contacts are gone or just not working with him altogether. This brings us to the focus of this season - Red has to slowly rebuild his empire from the ground up. I love this premise as we see Red at his most vulnerable and, oddly, his happiest. We also know that he needs a new 'cleaner' along with a new accountant and someone with the knowledge of the intricacies of moving large amounts of, well, anything around the world.

This is where Smokey Putnam comes into play. The blacklister from episode one brought not one, but two employees for Red. Red now has his 'mover' and just as important a new accountant because he can't do what he does best without money and lots of it. Another great part of this storyline is Liz being not only 'ok' with everything her father (I love that we can finally say that) is doing but appears to be enjoying herself and the time she is spending with Red. Of course, this newly discovered relationship with her dad will be short-lived because that is what always happens in the rollercoaster ride that is Red and Liz. The catalyst for this inevitable event will no doubt be Tom finally revealing to Liz the contents of the suitcase he seems to be travelling everywhere with.

Last week the blacklister was Greyson Blaise, a thrill-seeker/high-end thief. Red needed to get close to Blaise in order to better infiltrate his home and steal a very expensive penny. This episode showed the quintessential Red with him masterfully lying on the spot to get Blaise to come to his garden party in Lake Como. Red getting the couple who owns the home to let Red and the FBI throw a party was another instant of Red doing what he does best; getting people to do what he wants when he wants. Red, of course, succeeded in getting into Blaise's home and his plan getting Blaise arrested work flawlessly.

If what we have seen in the first two episodes of The Blacklist is any indication of the season to come then we are all in for a great ride with Red rebuilding his empire. Liz getting a little too comfortable with committing crimes with her father is another storyline that will be highlighted this season. I am anxious to see where Liz goes with her new-found love of the criminal underworld. And let's not forget Tom and the suitcase skeleton and how that will play into main two story arcs. It will definitely out a damper on Red's plan to build his empire if he has to deal with Liz not trusting him again. But, like I said it's going to be a great roller coaster ride.

Thoughts and Discussion

- I seem to recall Red literally 'making' money in a past season. Where is that little venture gone to? Can't he just make more money?

- Like I mentioned, Liz is getting a little too comfortable with Red committing crimes. Are we going to see Liz morph into a younger version of Red? I wouldn't mind seeing that.

- What do you think Liz's reaction will be when she finally learns the truth about the suitcase skeleton?

- Have we seen the last of Julian Gale? Or will he be back to throw a wrench in Red's new schemes?

Thank you for checking out my review! Please comment below so we can discuss the episode and the series some more. Have a great week everyone!

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