‘The Blacklist’ season 4, episode 8 (fall finale) review: Is Liz Keen’s Reddington’s daughter — for real?

The Blacklist logo any seasonEver since the beginning of “The Blacklist,” the question at the top of this article was the question on everyone’s mind. When were we going to get an answer? When we do, does it even matter?

We’re not going to say that we loved every second of the fall finale, since there were some parts that dragged and we feel like the FBI’s job these days seems to be barging into various places where Reddington either previously left or was never at. Somehow, they need to get people like Ressler and Cooper involved in a more intuitive way. Yet, we absolutely loved Red delivering a little bit of meta-commentary while Alexander Kirk was about to inject him to death. Why does it matter if Red is the father? What does Kirk gain from that? What do we get out of that? It’s not why we watch the show, and for that reason it’s always been somewhat of a miscalculation for the producers to assume that this secret keeps us hooked.

Well, maybe the secret is out there … maybe. In a conversation with Kirk in the midst of his torment, Red told him that he was in fact her father; yet, at the end of the episode with Liz and Baby Agnes, Red was back in the whole “your father would have loved to see you now” mode. Which is it? We can easily argue that he told Kirk that just to satiate his mind, since he obviously wanted to hear the words. Or, maybe he said that to secure a certain degree of safety. Either way, Red’s still alive and Kirk, per Red’s proclamations, is “gone.” That was all he told Liz, and that will have to do for now.

As a whole, we gotta say that the show really danced around the end of the Red / Kirk showdown; beyond the iconic hat-placement, it was hard to determine precisely what Red was doing and where Kirk ended up. Maybe the ambiguity is a part of the point, but if this was really the end of Kirk on the show, it would’ve been nice to get something a little more definite. The same goes for Tom Keen if we’re gearing up to see him on “The Blacklist: Redemption,” but all signs to us indicate that he’ll be around for at least the winter premiere in January.

We’re not going to deny the greatness of James Spader, who was incredible really throughout the episode as we peeled back the layers of Red, including that lost connection to Katarina Rostova that he still craves and he’s missing from his world. We saw the good and bad from Red, the compounding and the fascinating. He also continued to befuddle the FBI, given that they had assumed for the longest time that his goal was to kill Kirk, when instead they determined that he was trying to use Dr. Adrian Shaw in order to keep him alive.

So, goodbye to Kirk? We’ll have to see what lies ahead in the second half of the season (we want to know about the whisper!), but we’ve got something else to get to for now…

Riding shotgun into the sunset – Mr. Kaplan left her cabin with Mr. Forest Hermit Guy (as we like to call him), and found someone willing to pick her up. How the show’s handled this to date is nothing short of wonderful, since we’ve created almost a completely different character now. Kaplan knows the power and influence of Red, and yet, we don’t see her as afraid. She’s probably going to do what she can to fight the good fight, even if that good fight now means against her former associate.

Episode Grade: B. What we know coming out of this episode is that we were entertained and stunned at times by Spader’s performance — even though we shouldn’t be. At the same time, we do feel left on the lurch once again when it comes to answers.

(Photo: NBC.)

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