After a few weeks of noticeably streamlined and engaging storytelling, The Blacklist has worked its way back to a familiar routine of giving its villains the lion’s share of the plot, while Red and Liz are developed in the margins, if at all. To see the series revert back to this is not much of a surprise. After all, NBC wound up with an incredibly successful show based off of this particular formula. But it also speaks to the time-filling needs of a network television series and they can be a considerable impediment to the efficient telling of a serialized story. And in that lies the real conflict of The Blacklist season 3. It isn’t Red and Liz against the Cabal; the show is at odds with its desire to tell a more focused and coherent story, and having to stretch that story over 22 hours.