The Blacklist season 10 episode 1 recap: let the final game begin

James Spader, Hisham Tawfiq, Diego Klattenhoff and Harry Lennix in The Blacklist
James Spader, Hisham Tawfiq, Diego Klattenhoff and Harry Lennix in The Blacklist (Image credit: Will Hart/NBC)

NOTE: this post contains spoilers for The Blacklist season 10 episode 1, "The Night Owl."

The Blacklist season 10 starts with a bang, literally. At the end of season 9, Aram (Amir Arison) announced he'd be taking a leave from the task force and when season 10 picks up Aram is seen leaving the Met and walking to his bike, clearly enjoying his time off. He stops when he sees someone cross the street towards him. It's a heavily bearded but still recognizable Raymond Reddington (James Spader). He calls out to Red and waves, but when Red sees Amar he changes course and gets in a cab. 

Amar immediately calls Agent Cooper (Harry Lenix). Cooper tells him the task force isn’t active and Red has been in Guatemala. As Amar is telling Cooper Red is back in NYC there is an explosion across the street. 

In D.C., Dembe Zuma (Hisham Tawfiq) is working at an FBI site scanning files related to Marvin's (Fisher Stevens) work and his death. Cooper calls Zuma to let him know Red has been spotted. Zuma meets Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) outside of a 12-step meeting. Together they get on a plane for NYC. The task force is unofficially back together. 

Ressler and Zuma go to the explosion site, but before they can enter they're told it's an annex of the Chinese consulate and they can't enter. Chin Yao (Grant Chang), a member of the Chinese government, tries to keep them from entering, but Ressler and Zuma go in anyway after the fire department tells them a woman was inside during the explosion. They take the laptop that was found with her even though Chin Yao strongly objects and threatens to file suit.

Diego Klattenhoff and Hisham Tawfiq in The Blacklist

Diego Klattenhoff and Hisham Tawfiq in The Blacklist (Image credit: Will Hart/NBC)

Chin Yao then calls Wujing (Chin Han), who sent him to intercept the FBI. Wujing says Red is responsible for the explosion. Zuma and Ressler take the laptop to the now up and running task force command central, where Cooper is waiting. Without resident computer expert Amar they are not sure how to find someone that can access the charred and water damaged laptop. But Zuma brings in Tadeshi (Alex Shimizu), Red's go-to computer wizard. 

While Cooper goes to court to argue against Chin Yao, who has filed an emergency motion to stop the FBI from accessing the laptop, Tadeshi gets to work. He is able to recover three files before the call comes from Cooper that they lost the motion and the work has to stop. The files reveal the woman was Jennifer Ann Moores, a previous Blacklister who served time for theft but was given less jail time for helping the Blacklist task force. 

When she was killed in the explosion she was setting up a heist on Luxe International, a fine art shipping and storing company. She was specifically going after something called The Night Owl. Ressler and Zuma head to the Caribbean, where Luxe International has a facility, to talk to their security about The Night Owl.

When they get there they are greeted by Siya Malik (Anya Banerjee) and Richard Deever (Chris McKenna), who thank them for disclosing the information but aren't eager to give up anything else. Malik suggests they have someone above their pay grade make a phone call to get them access, which works.

Malik reveals that The Night Owl isn't a thing, it's a person that was brought to the Luxe site for interrogation. Luxe International is a front for a multi-agency black site where various international agencies can work together to solve sensitive crimes. The prisoner is another former Blacklister, Alban Veseli (Daniel Sauli). Otherwise known as "The Freelancer."

Malik reveals to Ressler and Zuma they haven't been able to get much out of Veseli. They are questioning him about the explosion of a gas pipeline that killed a politician. Ressler offers to take a crack at Veseli since they have history, but before he and Zuma get very far the facility comes under attack by Wujing and his team. 

While Deever, Malik, Ressler, and Zuma are trying to escape with Veseli Zuma questions how it's possible that a black site was compromised. He says that there must have been an inside informant helping Wujing. He's right. The inside man was Deever, who turns on Malik and shoots her when she tries to stop him from taking Veseli. She is wearing a bulletproof vest so she's banged up but not seriously hurt. Deever takes Veseli and delivers him to Wujing.

Back at the task force headquarters, the team debriefs and tries to figure out why Wujing was going after two former Blacklisters and if this is the start of something bigger. Reddington shows up and lets them know it is. He is confident Wujing is going to be coming after him, along with some of the other Blacklisters. 

Anya Bannerjee in The Blacklist

Anya Bannerjee in The Blacklist (Image credit: Will Hart/NBC)

But shockingly he doesn't seem concerned. Red also doesn't have any security with him, and he's been taking public transportation instead of a private car. Does Red no longer care that he's a target? Or maybe he's trying to draw out those that are going to attack by being in public? It's going to be an interesting season as Red’s true motive is revealed. 

Malik sits down with Cooper to talk about her mother, and she tells him that he influenced her decision to go into intelligence work. She asks to join the team and he's happy to have her on board.

All the pieces are in place now with most of the team back together, ready to get back to work.

The Blacklist season 10 airs new episodes on Sundays at 10 pm ET/PT on NBC, with episodes streaming on Peacock the next day.

Sonya Iryna

Sonya has been writing professionally for more than a decade and has degrees in New Media and Philosophy. Her work has appeared in a diverse array of sites including ReGen, The Washington Post, Culturess, Undead Walking and Final Girl. As a lifelong nerd she loves sci-fi, fantasy and horror TV and movies, as well as cultural documentaries. She is particularly interested in representation of marginalized groups in nerd culture and writes reviews and analysis with an intersectional POV. Some of her favorite shows include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Sandman.