Monday, June 28, 2021

The Blacklist - Nachalo / Konets

It wasn't that long ago that I checked in on The Blacklist and found Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) obsessed with destroying Raymond Reddington (James Spader). The pair's love/hate relationship comes to a close in the final two episodes of the show's Eighth Season which also marks Boone's exit from the show. While the show never fully commits to delivering Elizabeth Keen the answers about her parents and Red's true identity in so many words, much can be gleaned from what is suggested in these final two episodes. In "Nachalo," Red delivers Liz into the heart of the Blacklist and offers more information about her mother. And in "Konets," the ailing Red decides to sacrifice himself by offering Liz all the answers she seeks if she kills him and assumes control of his organization.

Of the two episodes, "Nachalo" is the more intriguing as Liz's questions are answered not from Red but the stand-in ghost figures of the real Raymond Reddington (Colin Bates) and her mother Katarina Rostova (Lotte Verbeek). While covering some ground we already know, we also discover the series of events which led to the creation of the new Reddington along with some suggestive framing about the one character who had the ability to transform themselves into a character as powerful as the Raymond Reddington we have followed the past eight seasons. And, if true, Red's true identity further explains the master spy's obsession with Elizabeth Keen. The wrapping up of the Neville Townsend (Reg Rogers) is really secondary to the flashbacks and hints of answers the episode offers.

"Konets" is more melancholy, as Elizabeth finally comes to terms with accepting Red's offer in order to provide for the kind of security she and her daughter will need, although any bloodlust she may have once had about killing Reddington has long passed. However, an unexpected gunman throws a wrench into the works and Liz, rather than Red, is left bleeding on the streets. For those who hadn't heard about her leaving the show, the episode's framing offers a nice twist while offering one hell of a cliffhanger for Reddington and the FBI to solve when the show returns next season. The show, at its best and worst, has always centered around the core relationship between Liz and Red, and her death is certainly going to shake things up. Whatever comes next will certainly be different.

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