The Blacklist didn't mess around in its fall finale, delivering the series' biggest surprise death when Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) was killed at the hands of Ian Garvey (Jonny Coyne). It's a major turning point for Liz (Megan Boone) and the series, and with a big change like that, fans shouldn't expect things to go back to normal when the thriller returns on Wednesday.
In fact, the winter premiere, "Ruin," is The Blacklist's most unique episode to date, changing up the series' typical formula in a big way. Gone is the Blacklister of the week, and in is — well, we can't spoil you other than to say things are intense. To get more info on the game-changing episode, TV Guide spoke to Megan Boone about how Liz has changed since Tom's death, how the tone of "Ruin" sets the stage for the rest of the series and whether Liz is picking up on her dad's criminal habits.
"Ruin" is unlike any other episode of The Blacklist we've seen, and obviously I don't want to spoil what happens in it other than to say it's a real nail-biter, but what can you tell fans about the episode?
Megan Boone: This episode is very cinematic. It's a standalone film centered around Liz's experiences after Tom's death, which gives it a very reflective tone. So it's very different from anything we've seen on the show. It's a turning point in the series. I mean, the title is "Ruin." Normally our titles are Blacklisters. We've actually broken away from the formula of solving cases and we've really gone into Liz's personal experiences.
Since we're going into Liz's personal experiences, how would you say Liz is handling Tom's death?
Boone: She's not doing so great, Tim. She's physically very injured, it feels like she's lost a limb with Tom's death. She's chosen a life of isolation and she makes sure Agnes is well cared for, but she doesn't have the capacity to live the life she was living. She doesn't want her absence to hinder the good work of her task force, so she's able to get Red to agree to continue his work with them, but she has to run away.
There have been teases all season long that Liz is starting to embrace a darker side. Does Tom's death amplify those feelings or will she push those back to mourn?
Boone: We definitely see them emerge pretty quickly. Liz is suddenly trapped by an extreme weather event, and this threatening group of travelers stumble upon her cabin so she's forced to fight for her life. And we see her employ tactics that are more sadistic and aggressive than we've ever seen before. So there is definitely a darker side emerging — not just darker, sort of what you see is that she's leaning on some possibly genetically inherited instincts that she got from her father Red.
We know that Fanke Janssen is returning as Tom's mother Scottie. How does she fit into the world of The Blacklist now? And what's her mindset now that Tom is dead?
Boone: We can't say much about Famke's role. All we can say is that she's back.
Tom was doing some things with Red behind Liz's back, and it's probably fair to say that she's going to find that out soon. How will she react to that, and will it change her perception of Tom and their marriage?
Boone: I think that's what's revealed is of course she's disappointed that Tom wasn't totally forthright about what was going on, especially since it led to his death, but I think that ultimately she sees that his intentions were good and that he was on her side throughout the whole process. But I think what is going to be revealed is going to be possibly very detrimental to her dynamic with her father. It's hard to say because ultimately I don't know what those bones are, but it can't be good!
The Blacklist returns Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 8/7c on NBC.