The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Smokey Putnam

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Mr. Kaplan may have wiped him out, but Red's not down and out.

He has a plan. He's always had a plan.

And on The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1, he took us (and Liz) on a fun ride as he began to implement that plan and rebuild his empire.

A Serious Discussion - The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1

It was easy to go along with Liz's thinking that Red was scared of the situation he was in. Even though he seemed like he was having loads of fun living in a motel, maybe it was a ruse, and deep down he was completely freaked out about it all.

But we should know Red better than that. He's complicated, clever, and his mind is always working.

How long did he sit at the restaurant waiting for the perfect car to steal? It was definitely enough time for him to think about his next steps.

He knew what he was going to do the minute he traded the car in for cash. He wasn't sure how it was going to get done, but he always knew what the end game was going to be even if we didn't.

And he was just waiting for Liz to ask him for a name to get the game going.

Who's on the Phone? - The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1

Given Red's limited resources, hunting down Smokey Putnam was a task, but Red was enjoying every minute of it. What was great about the whole adventure was that Red was continuing to train Liz on how to be a criminal.

After hearing Putnam's story about his gambling dad, you have to wonder if Red is foreseeing a future for Liz that doesn't include the FBI.

He's been training her for four seasons to think like a criminal, and now she's going be a criminal alongside her dad as she helps him rebuild. She may think she's doing it to help the task force, but Red knows better. 

Her father is a criminal, and her husband is a criminal. It won't be long before she's one, too. I'd bet my bottom dollar that one day she's going to give up the badge to take a walk on the dark side.

It's in her DNA, just like Putnam said.

Watching Liz and Red work together as a father and daughter team was fun. Finding out that he's her biological father took away much of the tension between them. 

She has a more carefree attitude with him and vice versa, and it's opened up a whole new dynamic which is a breath of fresh air. The daddy mystery had been sucking the life out of this show, and I'm glad the issue has finally been put to rest.

No one on the task force seemed surprised when Cooper told them the truth about Liz and Red's connection. There's going to be problems when he has to come clean with the incoming director, and it may turn out that Liz will be forced off the team anyway. 

By the way, Mr. Cooper told us about you and Mr. Reddington. Most people are happy to have a lawyer in the family. You've got a master criminal. How cool is that?

Aram

She won't have to worry about being unemployed if that happens, though. There will always be room for her in the family business. But we've already gone down the road of her running from the FBI, so it might turn out that the new director overlooks the Red and Liz connection.

There's been so much shoved under the carpet over the years that a tiny item like this should pose no problems. 

Still, there's always the threat that some hotshot director is going to come in and want to make some major changes without even considering the bigger picture, so I hope Red hurries up and gets his team together so he can start giving the Task Force some real Blacklisters to chase.

The best part of this entire hour was the look on Liz's face when she realized how Red had executed his plan to bring Putnam and Hawkins into his employ.

It should have been obvious when Red was going on about the circus that Putnam was more than just a job, but Red is so good at what he does, we just fell right into his spell.

Old Friends  - The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1

There is only one word to describe Raymond Reddington, and that is amazing. He did an amazing job getting the first portions of his foundation together, so I can only imagine how clever he'll be at gathering the rest. 

I don't know about you guys, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the ride!

Even though this hour was lighthearted, some dark threads were running through it, just enough to remind us that everything isn't all fun and games. 

Tom is back home and with him is the mysterious suitcase filled with unknown bones. He was going to tell Liz about it but changed his mind when she told him about Red being her father. It won't bode well for him should she find that suitcase before he says something if he says something.

On Guard - The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1

It's also not clear why he chose not to say anything. Tom knows he's diving into the deep end and could be worried that Liz will take Red's side, or he's worried that Liz will tell Red about the suitcase which will not be good at all.

For now, Tom's got one up on Red, but how long will it last? If that flash forward at the end of the hour is any indication, he's not going to have the advantage for very long. Red wants that suitcase, and what Red wants, Red gets. 

It's hard to believe that Tom might be killed off, but everything can't be perfect in Liz's life like it is now. The problem is if Red kills Tom, not only will Liz lose her husband, the fun dynamic between Red and Liz will be gone too. 

I'm a big fan of Tom, so I hope he doesn't go, though my favorite Tom is dark Tom. He was at his best on The Blacklist Season 1, but any chance of him returning to those glory days is long gone. So, maybe it is time for Tom to go.

The A Team - The Blacklist Season 5 Episode 1

Ressler's secret is another dark thread this season that has many possibilities especially now that Prescott knows the truth about Ressler's identity.

Ressler dug himself a hole by calling in the cleaner to take care of the Hitchin mess, and now he has to deal with the repercussions of that decision. I do not like Prescott's character at all, so if he just disappeared that would be fine by me. Maybe Ressler can ask Red to do him a favor and make that happen? 

"Smokey Putnam" was a great start to the new season giving us a fun new dynamic between Red and Liz and enough mystery and intrigue to keep us coming back for more. Oh, and did I mention how much I love Aram and Samar together? I'll just leave that there.

What did you think of the season premiere? Did you like the new, lighter tone?

What will happen to Tom? What about Ressler? Whose bones are in that suitcase?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts.

If you need to catch up, you can watch The Blacklist online right here via TV Fanatic!

Smokey Putnam Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (38 Votes)

Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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