On The Blacklist season 4 episode 20 tonight, the presence of a new villain in The Debt Collector emerged. On the surface, he had a mission to target Liz Keen, but what happened from there generated plenty of discussion — and surprises.
At first, signs pointed to a man in prison being the responsible part of the man, desperate to get revenge on Liz for his arrest. Then, one of the bigger twists of the season emerged when Reddington emerged himself as the responsible party. He ordered the Debt Collector to take Liz as a means of drawing out Mr. Kaplan and getting a measure of revenge. (Side note: With all of his talk of revenge, was Reddington a fan of the exploits of one Emily Thorne? Did he visit her old house in the Hamptons during “Cape May”? There’s a desire on this end to continue the narrative of a Blacklist / Revenge extended universe for the remainder of the season.)
The unfortunate result of Reddington’s plan is that, once more, he gave Liz little incentive in order to go along with it. As soon as Mr. Kaplan arrived to the rescue site, Liz sent out a flair in the form of a shout. It was enough to both get her attention and potentially scare her off the scene. The immediate tension of the situation cooled, and the confrontation between the two parties turned to a verbal rather than a physical one. Team Mr. Kaplan was on one side, and Team Reddington on the other. Liz was the mediator, the unfortunate counselor in the midst of the chaos.
The conflict came down to one question: Whether or not Kate was willing to exit in the same world as Red any longer. (She said no, understandably.) The FBI arrived for a confrontation of their own, and then things became all about whether or not they would kill anyone. Reddington was in the crosshairs of Gale, and he decided to be the one to throw the grenade into the mix. Mr. Kaplan is now back on the run, Reddington knows the truth about how Kate feels.
The Blacklist is at its best when it is able to combine the individual stories with serialized elements, and through, “The Debt Collector” Thursday succeeded. The showdown between Reddington and Kate was real and powerful; beyond that, the reveal of Gale taking the shot ratcheted things up to yet another level.
Now, there is only one more episode to go this season, and it feels almost silly to say that it will be big in the aftermath of all the carnage and near-deaths tonight. Episode Grade: A-.
Be prepared for the season 4 finale
Further details about this episode and the story ahead are available over at the link here. (Photo: NBC.)