The Blacklist (S07E01) “Louis T. Steinhil”

The Blacklist returned for Season 7 with the premier episode, Louis T. Steinhil. Things were not looking good for Reddington (James Spader) following his abduction at the end of Season 6.

Red woke up in a hospital, trussed up like a turkey on a spit, on a table that rotated at regular intervals. Why couldn’t he feel his legs, and who was the French doctor?  But, it felt…wrong. The doctor informed Red that they had beaten him within an inch of his life, left him paralyzed from the waist down, and he was lucky to be alive. Yeah, about that. What happened to Katarina (Laila Robins) stabbing him with the needle and drugging him at the end of Season 6?  In a daze, Red soon remembered that, and was on his guard.

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The French doctor made way for the French cop, who informed Red they knew who he was, and wanted info on Katarina Rostova. If Red gave that information, it would enhance his chances of being extradited back to the US. But Red was tight lipped. He wasn’t going to spill the beans on that. Yet all was not as it appeared. Something the audience realized smartly too – because we’ve seen The Scimitar (S02E07). We’ve been down this fake hospital route before. Can you say lazy writing? Katarina watched Red on monitors, biding her time.

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Red soon figured out he was not in Paris, nor paralyzed.  After a quick hostile takeover and conversation with his nurse, and Red got the goods. They had given him an epidural every 4 hours to remove all feeling from the waist down. With the help of his nurse, (at gunpoint, but still) Red cornered the fake cop. Red then gave him a dose of Katarina’s medicine – the same drug that had knocked Red out in seconds on the Paris streets. With the fake cop out cold, Red made his escape from the fake hospital, finding himself on the streets of Annapolis, Washington DC.

But the best laid plans of mice and men…and Red, don’t always pan out. Soon recaptured, Red came face to face with his kidnapper. Katarina Rostova, in the flesh, who was done playing nice – because making someone think they are a paraplegic is fair game.  And no more fake docs and police to do her dirty work either.  Now she meant business, and with Red strung up on a fence, Katarina started draining Red’s blood. And would keep draining it until he told her everything she wanted to know.

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The task force had not been idle during Red’s ordeal. Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) informed Liz (Megan Boone) that Raymond was in trouble. They soon received a phone call from a french police officer (that fake guy), wanting to talk to Red’s lawyer, Marvin Gerard (Fisher Stevens). But the phone number Red used was a ‘code’ for if they ever took him, and he needed to alert the task force. They soon swung into action to rescue Red, but not before Liz fessed up. She told Cooper (Harry Lennix) and Aram (Amir Arison) that she had turned Red in. Then told them that Red wasn’t Red. That he was a Russian imposter named Ilya Koslov. Enter confused Aram and angry Cooper.

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After meeting an official at the French Consulate, Cooper got nowhere. It was also obvious that this French guy was fake. French doctor, cop and consulate official all worked for a Russian woman. Gee, who could that be? They tracked down Red’s location after questioning the fake official. But they were too late. They already held red prisoner in a new warehouse. We will have to wait for part 2 next week to find out if they rescue Red before he bleeds out. And is it too much to hope that Red will need an emergency field transfusion, and Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) can return the Anslo Garrick (S01E09) favor?

In another sub story, Liz was going through applications for a nanny for Agnes. None sufficed. Aram did background checks on all of them, and all failed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

For a season premier, this episode lacked a lot. It was mediocre, where it should have come in guns ablaze, firing up Season 7. The writers can – and have – delivered more than this in the past. It was lazy writing and had been done before in The Scimitar – even down to Red stealing a phone exactly the same way Liz stole a pair of scissors in The Scimitar. So it was predictable. Perhaps it was because it was part 1 of 2, but still, it should have had more bang for our buck.

The Blacklist airs on Friday at 8/7c on NBC.

Images courtesy NBC Virginia Sherwood | Sony/NBC | 2019 NBC Universal Media, LLC