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The Blacklist: Redemption: That Weird Sexual Tension Between Scottie and Tom Won't Last Long

Ryan Eggold on what's ahead

Liz Raftery

This is turning into the worst reading of the will ever for The Blacklist: Redemption's Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold).

After being summoned to New York City, ostensibly for a private meeting about divvying up his deceased father's assets, Tom discovers that his father Howard (Terry O'Quinn) is not only very much alive, but is hoping to recruit Tom to go undercover into Halcyon, his mother Scottie's (Famke Janssen) team of underground mercenaries, in order to figure out why she tried to have Howard offed. And Scottie, on the other hand, is trying to convince Tom that Howard had a mental break after their son's (Tom, though Scottie allegedly doesn't know that) disappearance 30 years ago and now turned into a raving lunatic whom she had to force out of his own business. Who to trust? Just a typical Tuesday in the Keen household!

In our exclusive clip from Thursday's episode, Halcyon is on a mission to recruit Kevin Jensen (Kyle Harris), a journalist who also happens to be a longtime friend of Scottie's and who has been arrested for espionage by a foreign dictator.

"Without giving away too much, it's someone from Tom's childhood in a way," Eggold teases. "So the stakes, because of that, are much higher for him in this episode."

TVGuide.com caught up with Eggold to chat about what's next for Tom, the creepy (albeit one-sided) sexual tension between him and Scottie, and whether we'll see Tom return to The Blacklist in the spring.

The Blacklist: Redemption: Tom just wants Mommy and Daddy to stop fighting

Walk us through Tom's mindset right now, caught between his two parents.
He's very much like a pendulum right now, swinging between two truths. There's some larger plot that is in play, and there's some conspiracy involved, but which version of that truth is actually true is certainly evading him.

I think fans were relieved that Tom doesn't decide to abandon Liz (Megan Boone) and Agnes and instead goes away with Liz's blessing.
I think that Liz basically understands the need to understand yourself, the need to discover your origins and know your parents and all that, because she's very similar to Tom in many ways in that respect. She basically thinks that Tom will be a better man if he can answer these things for himself, and a better father, and a stronger person, if he can maybe put to rest some of the demons of, who am I, where do I come from, who are my parents? All these things.

Ryan Eggold, The Blacklist: Redemption
NBC, Will Hart/NBC

I love the setup that Tom thinks he's only going for a day or two. What can you say about what keeps him there?
You're absolutely right. In Tom's mind, this is a mission. Maybe a slightly longer mission than usual, but not like a forever thing. It's something that he's being tasked to do. He's going to do it, and he wants to find answers, both for himself and potentially for Howard. But he will undeniably be pulled deeper and deeper into this story.

Creator Jon Bokenkamp has said that the spin-off will allow us to see a more physical, cunning side of Tom. Do you think that's true?
I hope that's true. I would love to see more of that. I would love to discover more of Tom's physical prowess... and I would love to discover my own physical prowess since I haven't been able to go to the gym in like two months, or three. [Laughs]

It's definitely Tom in a different light because he has always been with Liz, and he's always been [in] that pair, or her sort of backup. In The Blacklist, he's been viewed through the scope of an extension of her. Which is great. I love his role on The Blacklist. But, [Redemption] istaking him out of that context and putting him in a new world where he doesn't have friends, he doesn't have a wife, he doesn't have a woman who loves him and a daughter and these things. He doesn't have any kind of comfort zone. He doesn't have even a home, really. It will force him to deal with things he hasn't had to deal with and stand on his own two feet in a way that he hasn't had to before. ... He's getting closer -- it sounds kind of stupid, but closer to himself than he's ever been, in a sense. He's digging for these answers about his own birth and disappearance and upbringing and, how did he end up being trained and becoming a spy? And all those questions which I think are deeply, deeply important to him, more so than he would ever let on.

Red (James Spader) told Tom that going to Scottie was a surefire way for him NOT to get the answers he's seeking. What makes him join forces with her anyway? Is it just his conversation with Howard?
I think it's twofold. Primarily, this man comes to him and says he's his father. It's like a bomb goes off and he wants to know who this person is and what the truth is, and this man says "Your mother does not have your best interests at heart, and is not a good person" and all these things. I think he wants to discover the truth. I think more than anything, he's closer than he's ever been in his life to potentially understanding his family and where he comes from, which he's always [wondered]. He was an orphan who became a spy, who traveled the world and went on missions and then took Liz as a job and then ended up falling in love with her, which was very life-changing for him. But I think this is the closest he's ever been to knowing the answers to those questions that have been plaguing him his whole life.

The Blacklist: Redemption boss answers all your burning questions

There seems to be some sexual tension going on between him and Scottie -- which is, frankly, a little creepy.
Yeah. I will say, I think we're going away from any sort of sexual tension dynamic because it is so strange. I think, on one level, it's somewhat justifiable because she doesn't know the truth, and they are strangers to each other. And he's not really making any advances on her. He's just trying not to blow it when she presents her sexuality, of which she has a lot. But I think we're going to go beyond that. It was something that in the beginning was kind of titillating and fun to play with, but I think that as we go on, the relationship's going to deepen, and that is going to go away. The episode we're about to start shooting, which is [Episode] 7, it just goes to a whole new level. So, yeah. I think they're going to very quickly go behind that stuff.

Will Scottie get a love interest?
Yes, there is a love interest. [Quickly] Oh god, Tom will never be her love interest. Yes, she will be getting her jollies elsewhere.

What's the dynamic between Tom and her love interest?
They have no relationship. I don't think Tom even knows that he exists.

Is the idea that Tom will go back to The Blacklist after Redemption?
I don't know if I'm supposed to say, but I can tell you that the plan, I think, is kind of to launch him more in this new direction and see where it goes. And then, whether [Redemption]gets picked up or doesn't and all those kinds of things, we have no idea. But I will tell you that I am absent for a large, large portion of The Blacklist [when it returns in April] if for no other reason than the fact that I'm on this set every second of every day.

What can you say about where Redemption is headed?
Particularly [Episodes] 6, 7 and 8, the end of it, it really starts to ramp up the bigger conspiracy of it all and the bigger picture and the bigger puzzle pieces that we're going for. That stuff is really exciting. ... The end just goes crazy, in the best way.

The Blacklist: Redemption airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.