‘The Blacklist’ Season Finale: A Moment Four Years In The Making
The season four finale revealed who Reddington is to Elizabeth, and it was a moment everybody has been waiting for since the series began four years ago.
“Why didn’t you just tell me who you were? Why keep it a secret, come into my life, give up everything, go broke trying to protect me, and not tell me that you’re my father?”
Elizabeth has been wondering about that question ever since Raymond Reddington injected himself into her life, and it’s a question fans of The Blacklist have been wondering about for equally as long. Why does Red care about Liz so much? Who is she to him? Is Liz her daughter? Is he in love with her? Is he just using her to manipulate the FBI?
It turns out our initial instinct — that Reddington is Liz’s father — was correct. We finally know that lifelong criminal Raymond Reddington is the father of FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen. There was a while where that didn’t seem to be true — partially because it seemed like too easy of an explanation — but we, and Elizabeth, finally know the truth.
I have always thought the line between father-daughter and lover (and everything in between) was intentionally blurry. Reddington’s behavior would shift from controlling guardian to concerned paramour in a moment’s notice, and Elizabeth, albeit a bit more reticent, would constantly sway from “I hate you” to “I can’t stay away from you”, and back.
This was true even to the very end — the moment where Elizabeth tells Red they’re family and Red doesn’t deny it — as the lyrics of the song playing in the background, “Bloodstream”, goes:
“I think I might’ve inhaled you. I can feel you behind my eyes. You’ve gotten into my bloodstream…”
The ambiguity of the lyrics matches that which has always been present in Red’s relationships with Liz. The song, by itself, is a love song, a ballad about being so deeply in love with someone that you can feel them in your body. However, play this song while listening to Elizabeth tell Red they’re family and a whole new, very-blurry, layer is added. Of course, in their case, the latter half of the chorus can now be taken literally: Reddington is in Liz’s blood. The initial half, then, alludes to Liz, accidentally, no longer being able to, and no longer wanting to, stay away from Reddington.
A total of 89 episodes have aired, meaning a bit less than 90 members of the titular “Blacklist” has been dealt with, but with the blacklist going as deep as S04E13’s Natalie Luca (No. 184), it appears that there’s still room for four more seasons (assuming it lives that long). The show has been renewed for a fifth season (the spin off, The Blacklist: Redemption, was cancelled after one season), and while there’s been no word that it’ll be the final season, it’s hard to imagine the show going on for two, or even three, more years.
If show creator Jon Bokenkamp decides to set an endpoint, there are a few plausible reasons for not working through the entire list. Shows sometime reach a natural conclusion, and it feels like The Blacklist is heading towards one. (I confidently believe that the series finale will be titled “Raymond Reddington (No. 1).”)
Season 5 will probably follow Red as he rebuilds his empire with Liz by his side, and I suspect their relationship will still be blurry. Maybe it’s because that saying that daughters are fathers’ lovers from a previous life is true.