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Cold War Tactics | The Blacklist: Redemption “Independence, U.S.A” Review

The Redemption team heads to Russia to infiltrate a secret organization. It seems that the Russians have replicated Small Town, USA to train their spies to act like Americans. But, there’s more to this town than just some old Cold War tactics.

Tom and Nez find themselves as candidates in this spy organization. Thankfully, they make it to the next round and are given identities. They must never break from their identities, or they are out of the program. The unsaid assumption is that they will be killed should they fail this program. Of course, Tom had no problem with this. He was assigned as a husband, and it feels very stepford-ish. Once he realizes that there are eyes everywhere, he starts to get into character.

When Tom and his fake wife head to a neighbor’s birthday party, Tom gets into his cover story. There are tests all around and cameras to watch their every move. Tom never waivers. He’s actually so convincing that his fake wife is mesmerized. Later in the shower, she comes to join him. Tom is taken aback since there are no cameras in the showers. They can be themselves in there. Tom tells her about Liz, and they just talk about what the place really is.

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION -- "Independence, U.S.A." Episode 102 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelli Barrett as Cynthia, Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen -- (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION — “Independence, U.S.A.” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Kelli Barrett as Cynthia, Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

Meanwhile, I was finding myself having a hard time liking Nez. For some reason, I liked Solomon despite all of his wrongdoings on The Blacklist, but I still wasn’t sold on Nez, until this episode. Nez started to show her vulnerabilities and a little bit more personality. While she was having an “interview” in Independence, USA, the bank manager was coming on a little strong. The applicant pool is stiff, he tells her, as he rubs her thigh. Nez doesn’t take that and actually assaults the man. I’m pretty sure the whole neighborhood could hear me cheer.

This display was both good and bad. Nez realized that the potential spies are all being dosed with some sort of stimulant. The Russians want them compliant, so they don’t ask too many questions. Nez’s display actually got her to the next level. This is when Nez finds out that the identity that she thought was created for her is an actual American citizen. The Russians will perform plastic surgery to make her appearance close enough to the American to fool anyone. Now, it’s a race against the clock to get out of this crazy town and back home to protect the Americans from the Russian spies that were sent to take their places. They stopped the Russians from carrying out an attack, but is this the last we’ve heard from this secret organization?

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION -- "Independence, U.S.A." Episode 102 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen, Tawny Cypress as Nez Rowan -- (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION — “Independence, U.S.A.” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen, Tawny Cypress as Nez Rowan — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

Thankfully, we got to see Howard again. The Blacklist has always been good at keeping you guessing, and Redemption is no different. Tom tried to warn Howard that Scottie is digging into everything that he was doing before his supposed death. Scottie went so far as to track down who Howard was paying; Howard was looking into Christopher’s disappearance. Scottie actually wonders if Howard found Christopher, and she’s ready to start the search again.

Howard tells Tom how Scottie changed after his disappearance. Two months after Christopher disappeared, Scottie was in a terrible car accident. Howard said that she was not the same after the accident. While this seems understandable, Howard is worried that there’s a reason why she was so different. Howard believes that 30 years ago, his wife was murdered, and Scottie Hargrave is a Russian sleeper agent. While this all seems crazy, there’s a bigger question here. If she is an agent, what is the end game, and why has it taken 30 years? The agents that were taken out had an immediate target, but if Scottie is a Russian spy, then why?

Editor's Rating

Overall 95%
And just like that, The Blacklist: Redemption has regained my full attention. I was a little down on “Kevin Jensen,” but “Independence, U.S.A” gave me everything I wanted. I’m glad that with Howard’s suspicions, these sleeper agents won’t just completely be forgotten. The entire concept of these Russian agents is so interesting, that I’d be disappointed if we never heard about them again. I really started to enjoy Nez’s story. She clearly had a hard time being dosed with the stimulants after she reveals that Howard and Halcyon were the ones to help her get sober. Tom offers to get a cup of coffee, but she declines and heads straight to her former drug dealer. What a shame. Hopefully, we will get to see more from these characters and learn about their backstories.
95
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Jenny Lampe

Jenny Lampe

I'm a TV and movie enthusiast. I enjoy all genres and try to keep up to date on the latest hits. Follow me on Twitter at @JennyLampe.