‘The Blacklist’ Season 8, Episode 1 Recap: “Roanoke”

16 Min Read
Courtesy of NBC

This episode begins with Reddington and Dembe in the car. Red receives a phone call that needs his attention right away. Next, a man comes out of an elevator. The FBI is guarding a room with a federal defendant inside and ask what this man’s business is. The man puts a mask on, saying that he received a call that someone is sick with nuclear radiation. The mysterious man goes into the neighboring room and sees a “sick” man on the bed. He tells the FBI they need an ambulance. Paramedics arrive and go into the room, but a different plan was underway. The man with the mask and his team use a cage system to get into the next room — the guarded room. The federal defendant has his ankle monitor removed, and he escapes disguised as the sick patient. They leave via the elevator but the FBI figures out their ruse. Unfortunately, the team escapes.

Courtesy of NBC

Red goes to the warehouse where Dom is staying because he is finally awake. Dom can tell Red looks troubled, and Red tells him that Liz knows he is not Ilya Koslov. Not long after, Liz arrives at the warehouse and receives an update on her grandfather from Reddington. Red tells her they have a case to discuss and wants her and the Taskforce to look for “Roanoke.” He says that “Roanoke” helps people disappear, like Maddie Tolliver. Liz inquires about the banker Red met with, and he states that Maddie instructed the banker to wire money to a Philadelphia account managed by “Roanoke.” Changing the subject, Liz asks about Red’s tremors and health, but he deflects and wants her to focus on finding “Roanoke.”

Liz briefs the team on the man known as “Roanoke”; he has a distinctive scar, prints, and DNA in the system, but no name and is in the wind after escaping prison. She also tells them about the defendant who escaped from a hotel room in Philadelphia. After the team is briefed, Liz tells the team that the reason Red gave them this case is because the next task for “Roanoke” was helping Maddie Tolliver disappear. The team is perplexed because Tolliver was supposedly dead, but Liz tells them the truth. Maddie’s real name is Katerina Rostova — Liz’s mother. The team discusses Liz’s mom and how she was able to spend some time with her after all this time, as well as how this could put Katerina’s life on the line. Cooper asks Liz about her allegiance and she promises that she is on their side. The team breaks and Ressler confronts Liz about telling the team. She says that she felt the team deserved the truth. Ressler asks how she is going to tell her mother that she is being hunted by the FBI, but Liz says she didn’t have to because she already knows.

The defendant who escaped is brought to a warehouse where he is shot and killed by the man who helped orchestrate his escape. Meanwhile, one of the FBI agents who was guarding the door at the hotel tells Ressler about what transpired. Ressler leaves to talk with Liz and she tells him that Aram pulled the security cameras from the hotel. The video shows the armor-plated ambulance used during the escape. Liz says she will talk to Red to see if he can find out information on who makes these ambulances.

Reddington is seen making a smoothie while Dembe brings in a man named Cong Yang. Red tells Dembe that Liz texted about armor-plated ambulances and to give her the contact of a man named Eduardo, who may need an incentive to help. Red hands Yang a smoothie and asks him about his hotel, as well as his role in helping “Roanoke” escape from prison. Evidently, Yang was the superintendent of a Chinese prison.  Red tells Yang an amusing anecdote about being in a Hong Kong taxi, where he saw a cat in the middle of an intersection that stared at him, “like it knew me”. Red ends his story, telling Yang that he wants his “cat” and the newest alias of “Roanoke”

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Red calls his associate, Heddy, and gives her the name Yang provided: Santiago Vega. He asks her to reach out to her contacts at the IRS. She tells him not to worry and that she will take care of it. In the meantime, Keen and Ressler go to Eduardo Martinez’s shop and ask him about the customization of an ambulance he made. Eduardo doesn’t seem to cooperate, so Ressler asks about his visas. Not wanting to get in trouble, Eduardo tells them about the man who hired him and his warehouse. Keen and Ressler go to investigate the warehouse where they find blueprints from “Roanoke”. Liz states that they are one step closer to finding “Roanoke” and Red is one step closer to finding her mother. She tells Ressler that she tipped off Katerina about Red meeting with her banker. Ressler is inquiring about Liz’s loyalty and asks her, “Keen, do we have your allegiance or not?” As he asks, Keen sees a picture laying on a table of the warehouse where her grandfather is being held. She takes it with her.

Liz goes to confront her mother. She says that she lied about “Roanoke” being her escape plan. Katerina explains that he is, but she wants Dom to be abducted because she needs him to get away from Reddington. Liz demands her mother to tell her everything. Katerina tells Liz about her past in Russia with Dom and about why she had Liz grow up in America. She says she was trying to protect Liz from everything but that Reddington brought her back into it. Katerina tells Liz that Red, Dom, and her best friend betrayed and tried to kill her over a secret. Liz wonders what secret could cause that and Katerina tells her about a KGB mole called “N-13”. This operative stole 13 packets of intel and is still unidentified to this day, but still may remain active. “N-13” is stealing intel from other governments to create a damaging file, the Sikorsky archive. Katerina believes that her father framed her as the alleged “N-13” and that’s why she is being hunted. She also believes that Red and/or Dom is “N-13” and that Red has been using Liz all this time to gain intel about federal intelligence. Liz figures out her mother let Red meet with her banker so the FBI would warn Red and he would have Dom moved. While Dom is being moved, he could be abducted. Since Liz found the photo, Katerina, Dom, and Reddington’s lives are in her hands. Liz now has the truth; it’s up to her what she does with it.

Liz is sitting in front of the FBI building, where Red himself sat in the pilot episode. She reevaluates their conversations over the years when she receives a call. She meets Red at her grandfather’s warehouse and tells him they had a break in the case. Liz first asks what Katerina wanted with him in Paris but again, he deflects. He talks about Dom and it makes Liz angry. He says that he has answered the question when she asked and he has things that are his and only his. Liz shows him the picture she found at the warehouse and tells him Dom is the next target.

Liz is in her office, looking at a picture of her mother when Ressler walks in. She tells him that her mother can’t be trusted. He asks if she can be trusted and she assures him she can. She tells the rest of the team about Katerina’s plan to capture Dominic. Red’s plan is to move him to another safe house and Liz suggests an FBI medical vehicle for transport. Cooper agrees and has the team prepare.

Heddy is in Puerto Rico to find Vega. She calls Red to tell him that she has a plan to meet with Vega to deliver him a package. Eduardo and his men make another armor-plated vehicle, and Liz gives him a contact for a work visa. Red tells Dom about the change in plans, and Dom is moved. The FBI, Dembe, and Red prepare for the transport, and Liz demands she drive the vehicle that is holding her grandfather. Liz talks to Dom, and he knows she is angry. She says she only ever wanted to know why her, but he doesn’t give her any answers. Everyone is ready to go. Liz asks Red about the safe house and route. Little does Red know, Liz is wearing a wire so Katerina can listen in.

Dembe and Red are following behind the van, and Red tells Dembe his concerns about the operation and methods of “Roanoke”. Dom talks with Liz and she says that his lies did not help her, but now she knows the truth. Aram and Cooper check out a dumpster truck near Red’s warehouse but it is clear and quiet. Concurrently, Heddy calls Red to tell him that Vega is sick and he can’t be “Roanoke.” Red is being played. Dom knows Liz is up to something and their discussion becomes so intense that Dom’s heart begins to race. A man in a pickup truck is seen setting up tire spikes. Red calls Liz to tell her they need to take an alternate route because they have been set up. She says that she will be long gone by then and that Dom would be taken care of. Suddenly, Liz hits a remote and tire spikes activate to deflate Ressler’s vehicle, skips Liz’s, and then deflates Reddington’s tires. Liz drives off.

Back at the Post Office, Ressler, Park, and Aram talk about how Liz teamed up with her mother to con them and how Katerina took on the role of “Roanoke” to trick the team and Reddington into thinking he was still active. Red is in Cooper’s office talking to him about how they need to find Liz and Dom. We see Liz dropping off her grandfather at their destination and Dom being taken away. Cooper tells Red that Liz doesn’t want to be found and all Keen wanted was the truth, which Red refused to give to her. Red says that he gave her an education on “how people think, what they want, and what they are willing to do to get it.” Although Cooper is mad at Liz, he is furious at Red. Red has turned Liz into someone Cooper doesn’t recognize after seven years. Red tells him that he does, and although they both may not like it, they can see it for what it truly is — her destiny. Harold says they will find Liz without Red.

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Harold tells the team that they will conduct a manhunt for Agent Keen and her mother for Dom’s abduction. The team has obvious apprehension and are at odds about moving forward. Cooper tells the team that although it feels wrong, they have a job to do. Ressler receives a text from Liz saying they need to meet.

Ressler meets Liz at an undisclosed location and she asks for more time to get the answers she needs. He is flabbergasted at the request. Ressler says that Katerina will torture Dom, but Liz argues she won’t let that happen. Ressler steps towards her and tries to convince her to turn herself in. Liz says that she appreciates his support, but needs time to have Dom give them information on the Sikorsky archive and “N-13”. She says that she needs him to keep believing in her, and they kiss. Ressler says that he won’t give up on her but he can’t stop doing his job. She says that she knows and grabs his gun. He didn’t trust her when they first met, and now they’ve come full circle.

Liz meets with her mother and is told that Dom has made it to the other safe house. Katerina reassures her she did the right thing, but Liz says she lost her only friends. Liz will not hurt Dom but isn’t sure how they will get him to talk. Katerina tells her that Liz will get him to talk. Dembe goes to check on Red, who is sitting alone in the medical warehouse and says “I’ve lost her Dembe.” Dembe says they talked about this day, but they never thought it would happen like this.

What a premiere! Check out next week’s promo below!

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

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By Kailey
Kailey has been a writer for Nerds and Beyond since 2018. She received her bachelors degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May of 2020. Some of her favorite TV shows are The Blacklist, Supernatural, and Prodigal Son, to name a few. She also loves all things Disney! You can check her out on social media @kaileygross.
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